Sunday, August 31, 2008
Theodore Roosevelt was elected vice president when he had less than 2 years of experience as governor of New York.
“the Democrats also preach individual freedoms and individual rights, capitalism, free market, let-it-do-its-thing-best, let people keep as much of their money that they earn as possible."And Sullivan adds this sneer: "Rush Limbaugh approves of this message?"
But what Palin was saying, in context, is that Democrats in Alaska often share political views that elsewhere are commonly associated with Republicans. Further, she was pointing out that she has been aggressive in countering what she refers to as "the Party machine," meaning the entrenched Republicans in Alaska who feasted on pork and tried to build the Bridge to Nowhere.
Palin's words reflect laudable tendencies -- a willingness to find common ground with the opposing party, and to find fault with particular tendencies in one's own party. That Sullivan, who postures as an equal-opportunity critic of left and right, should criticize her for not mindlessly falling in line with Republican power brokers is pundit-malpractice of a high order.
It will be enjoyable, if and when McCain-Palin wins, to watch smoke come out of Sullivan's ears.
UPDATE 10:05PM: In the hours since I wrote this post, Sullivan has actually gotten worse.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.Could that have been something from one of his speechwriter's memos?
Islamic finance is a fast-growing sector that seeks to conduct financial practices in accordance with sharia, or Islamic law. It is a field that has gained considerable enthusiasm among Western financial institutions, as well as in the Islamic world. And it is an area that financial advisors and their institutions increasingly will have to grapple with, as it holds both significant attractions and worrisome quandaries.
Islamic finance carries a demonstrated ability and vast potential to attract an important client base — primarily Muslims, including the Muslim-American community, but also non-Muslims who are interested in an alternative approach to socially responsible investing. But Islamic finance also is increasingly controversial, as critics raise questions about the field’s legal, regulatory, political and ethical ramifications.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
UPDATE 2:54PM: Nope.
As for the orange pantsuit, while some argue it symbolized caution, orange also is a color associated with Europe's Christian Democratic parties, which would suggest Hillary is trying to portray herself as center-right, and that she's subliminally telling her supporters to vote McCain.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
John Koster’s August 13 column “Was this trip really necessary?” grossly distorts a broad swath of 20th-century history. Notwithstanding the German aggressions that led to World Wars I and II, Koster thinks both wars were “prompted in part by Churchill’s insatiable lust for personal glory.” Tellingly, he neglects to specify anything that Churchill did prior to World War I, and he glides over the fact that Churchill was out of power during most of the 1930s. Koster blames Churchill for the prolonged blockade against Germany as World War I ended, when in fact it was Churchill who, alone in the British Cabinet, argued for rushing ships loaded with provisions to Hamburg.
In the run-up to World War II, if Churchill’s anti-appeasement advice had been followed, the war may well have been prevented; German officers were ready to overthrow Hitler in 1935 if the Allies resisted his remilitarization of the Rhineland. Nor is it plausible that Churchill “shrugged off” the Soviet massacre of Polish officers, when in fact he was the Allied leader most determinedly opposed to Soviet domination of Eastern Europe. At the end of his essay, Koster throws in an irrelevant swipe against Charles Darwin, perhaps just to show that no illiberal conceit is too inane for Koster’s embrace.
Petraeus is careful not to credit all the progress to the surge of U.S. troops in 2007. The sea change came last year from a series of movements now known as the Awakening, when Sunnis, organizing around traditional tribal leaders, decided to turn on Al Qaeda as "an organization that embraces an extremist ideology, employs indiscriminate violence, and practices oppressive social customs," in the general's words. One of those customs was a ban on smoking. "That was the turning point when they cut the fingers off the first person who was smoking," he jokes. "Can you imagine an Anbar sheik being told he can't smoke?" So would the Sunni Awakening have succeeded without the surge? Possibly, he concedes, but the surge came at that time and helped empower Sunni leaders, paying their fighters and backing them up on the streets. This is where Seneca the Younger comes in: "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity."
There was also what Petraeus refers to as the "intellectual piece," a counterinsurgency strategy building on years of lessons learned the hard way, and intense coordination of military and diplomatic efforts. There was also, Petraeus says, "a civilian surge—[U.S. Ambassador Ryan] Crocker has seven ambassadors on his staff" and in the economic section of the embassy alone, staffing went from 130 to 200 this year with State Department augmentees; for the first time, all of the American Embassy's vacancies are filled, and with volunteers rather than draftees. And Iraqis have had an even bigger surge in their own security forces.And here's Andrew Sullivan truncating the above to score a cheap political point:
Petraeus is careful not to credit all the progress to the surge of U.S. troops in 2007. The sea change came last year from a series of movements now known as the Awakening. […] So would the Sunni Awakening have succeeded without the surge? Possibly, he concedes.I guess Sullivan ran out of pixels.
A rally by the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps featuring Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr drew just a few dozen people.The man managed to attract a few dozen people to Lolita Bar a few months ago. But then his momentum stalled.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Former Republican presidential contender Ron Paul has endorsed Don Young in his bid to win an 18th term in the U.S. House of Representatives.That's the Don Young of "Bridge to Nowhere" fame.
So what has been Ron Paul's major goal? I'd say, to build up his fundraising apparatus so as to perpetuate himself in congressional office. Mission accomplished. And, as a bonus, getting a chance to air his troglodytic view of the world, in which immigrants are a threat, trade pacts are nefarious, evolution is dubious, and neocons and the Federal Reserve (what? not the Templars?) cause most of the country's problems. With those priorities, what are billions in earmarks between friends?
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
An even more egregious example of libertarianism turned against itself (and an argument Sullum does not make) is the view that people have a right to sell themselves into slavery (that is, real slavery, which they can't get out of by saying so). There would be less freedom in a world that tolerates slavery than in one that prohibits people from making that particular choice. Just as there would be a distinct loss of freedom in a world where your neighbors have a property right to wall you up on your property and starve you to death.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
Competition works in space, no less than on Earth. Competition is the key to private-sector space efforts, and it's also a necessary ingredient on government projects (see, eg., moon shot). If they're to get anywhere, that is. The old Carl Sagan-inspired dream of nations defusing their tensions on Earth by joining hands in space hasn't accomplished much on Earth or in space.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
During Obama's make-believe presidency, we've heard about bold action, about the courage to talk to dictators. When faced with a real "3 a.m. moment," Obama -- who boasts about 200 foreign policy advisors, broken into 10 subgroups -- proclaims, "I'm going to get some shave ice."It seems to me that a third president in a row who's inexperienced at foreign policy is not an attractive option.
Now, of course, this is a bit unfair in that Obama had planned his no doubt well-deserved vacation for a very long time. But presidential vacations are always well planned -- and often interrupted.
Indeed, President Bush's jaunt to the Olympics as a "sports fan" should also have been cut short the moment tanks started rolling over a country he'd proclaimed a "beacon of liberty" during his visit there in 2005. By Monday, both Bush and Obama were playing catch-up to Sen. John McCain, who seemed to have grasped the gravity from the get-go and whose support for Georgia is long-standing. He took the lead from the outset, demanding on Friday morning an emergency meeting of NATO and Western aid to the fledgling democracy.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Meanwhile, at Reason, David Weigel acknowledges the Barr campaign's funding and ballot-access doldums, but still manages to find the situation "ominous" for Republicans. It'll be more ominous for Libertarians if their most famous candidate ever gets, say, 1 percent of the vote.
Readers wanting yet more on Bob Barr are recommended to click here, here and here.
Monday, August 11, 2008
UPDATE: Some Bush/beach volleyball team video here.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
RightMarch.com announces that Bob Barr, Chuck Baldwin, and Alan Keyes will all be speaking at a rally against illegal immigration that will take place in Denver on the first day of the Democratic convention.
The film emerges, more skillfully than "Flock of Dodos," as an exceedingly clever vehicle for making science engaging to a general audience, and also presents climate-change science in a more complex light than the overtly partisan "An Inconvenient Truth." Olson admirably exposes himself to the counters of a potent voice like [Patrick] Michaels, who looks as though he could make a helluva good doc himself.My review is here. Many more reviews are here.
McCain opposes farm policies popular in Midwest
By MIKE GLOVER,
Associated Press Writer Wed Aug 6, 4:38 AM ET
DES MOINES, Iowa - Republican presidential candidate John McCain opposes the $300 billion farm bill and subsidies for ethanol, positions that both supporters and opponents say might cost him votes he needs in the upper Midwest this November.
His Democratic rival, Barack Obama, is making a more traditional regional pitch: He favors the farm bill approved by Congress this year and subsidies for the Midwest-based ethanol industry. McCain instead has promised to open new markets abroad for farmers to export their commodities.
In his position papers, McCain opposes farm subsidies only for those with incomes of more than $250,000 and a net worth above $2 million. But he's gone further on the stump.
"I don't support agricultural subsidies no matter where they are," McCain said at a recent appearance in Wisconsin. "The farm bill, $300 billion, is something America simply can't afford."
McCain later described the measure, which is very popular throughout the Midwest, as "a $300 billion, bloated, pork-barrel-laden bill" because of subsidies for industries like ethanol.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Who knew? There is an organization dedicated to "giving back the night."Now, the International Dark-Sky Association happens to be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and the fact that there's a "dark sky" movement isn't all that obscure. But so be it -- bloggers often learn about their subjects as they are writing about them. Still, it's a bit much that Sullivan's very next post, criticizing Jonah Goldberg, contains this bit of snark:
Philosophy is easy when you know nothing about it, isn't it?
One of the more elusive and mysterious figures linked to Al Qaeda -- a Pakistani mother of three who studied biology at MIT and who authorities say spent years in the United States as a sleeper agent -- was flown to New York on Monday night to face charges of attempting to kill U.S. military and FBI personnel in Afghanistan.Worth reading in full, notwithstanding the L.A. Times writer's odd wording that the suspect did "what virtually no other woman has accomplished -- work her way into the clubby inner circles of Al Qaeda's command and control." Clubby? You'd think she was playing golf or something.
Monday, August 4, 2008
So they advocated creating health savings accounts, handing out school vouchers, privatizing Social Security, shifting government functions to private contractors, and curtailing regulations on public health, safety, the environment and more. And, of course, they pushed to cut taxes to further weaken the public sector by "starving the beast." President Bush has followed this playbook more closely than any previous president, including Reagan[.]The Bush administration has followed the agenda pretty much as described, sometimes without much success (eg, health savings accounts, Social Security) and in some cases getting it done but for the worse (the shifting of many military functions to private security contractors is a worrisome trend). Note that the Reagan administration made far less effort, if any, toward Social Security privatization or health savings accounts. The Bush administration has been a debacle in many ways, but it's not simply or entirely a story of big-government conservatism failing.
Also, I am interested in getting a copy of the hard-to-find book Ramapo Mountain stories and tales: tales of my recollections and collections, by Louis P. West. If anyone who has one happens to read this, please get in touch.
As far as I know, Ted Stevens didn’t contribute a dime to any of those projects. (True, some Alaskans helped fund his house, but the reverse isn’t true.) Rather, Stevens was a sort of Bridge to the Taxpayers of the lower 48. We’re the ones who paid for all the projects in oil-rich Alaska, not Ted Stevens.One good thing about McCain possibly picking Sarah Palin as his running mate is that it would be a slap in the face to the pork-barreling Alaska Republican establishment that dislikes her.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Friday, August 1, 2008
"They [the officers] will always keep in mind that their Countrymen are Freemen & as such are impatient of everything that bears that least mark of a domineering Spirit."