Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hard target

I hope that when the immediate crisis of Gustav has passed, there will be enduring interest in public and private agendas for hardening infrastructure against hurricanes, terrorism and whatever.

Governor for 2 years

Jim Manzi points out a correlation between successful presidents and ones who entered office with executive experience as governors. I agree with his gist, and add this historical footnote:

Theodore Roosevelt was elected vice president when he had less than 2 years of experience as governor of New York.

Sullivanizing Palin

Andrew Sullivan, who has become the pundit I most love to hate, is now in the process of throwing anything and everything he can think of against Sarah Palin. Now he accuses her of being anti-Republican, of all things, by quoting, with no context, Palin via a New Yorker piece:

“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.

Mailbox goslings

Our new mailbox, hand-painted by my wife:

And its inspiration, from our backyard:

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Basement to gym

My wife has transformed our basement into a gym, rapidly. Pull-up bar to come.

This is what it looked like this morning.

The bag hangs too low, and will be adjusted. A gung-ho friend holds it for me.

The action begins.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Palin = Roslin

In choosing Sarah Palin, McCain is targeting not just the Hillary vote but also another constituency: Battlestar Galactica fans. An impressive woman with reformist credentials entering high office with limited experience -- it sounds pretty familiar to me.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Not having a record

Well, I watched Obama's speech and found it fairly unremarkable, though I see some people were impressed. What stood out for me was this line:
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

My Research magazine article on "The Rise of Islamic Finance" is now available online. Excerpt:
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.

Morning commute

On the PATH train this morning, a young street-wise guy (he turned out to be 27 but looked younger) told me the problem with his generation is that they're "dumb as bricks." The problem with the boomers, he said, looking at a picture of Hillary in my newspaper, is that they think they're entitled (and he mistakenly thought I'm a boomer). He's for Obama, he told me, but emphasized that the problem with his generation, including the Obama supporters and the hipsters in Williamsburg, is that they're dumb as bricks.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

By Zeus

I'm beginning to wonder if the reports about Obama giving his speech from a faux Greek temple are just a brilliant fake-out, such that he'll actually show up in a normal, even understated, setting, and all the mockery now cascading toward him will look like overblown hype.

UPDATE 2:54PM: Nope.

Orange Hillary

I thought Hillary Clinton gave a pretty good speech last night, asking her supporters to vote for Obama without pretending that they or she should be particularly enthused about it.

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

Defending Churchill

The Villadom Times, a local New Jersey newspaper, ran a column by staffer John Koster extolling Pat Buchanan's view that Churchill was to blame for World War II. I wrote a letter to the editor, which the paper has run. Neither it nor the column is online but here's my letter:
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.

Delaying shuttle retirement

I've long been a non-enthusiast of the space shuttle. But it's better than nothing, and better than dependence on Russian rockets. (And having a cosmonaut recently take pictures of the war damage in Georgia from the International Space Station adds insult to injury.) Space policy tends to move with glacial slowness, so it's gratifying that some legislators, including John McCain, are pushing to stop the dismantlement of shuttle infrastructure now. (Via Rand Simberg.)

Moo north

Evidently, cows can sense Earth's magnetic field.

Editing Petraeus

Clearly, the import of what Gen. Petraeus is saying here is not that the surge was unnecessary:

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.

Barr movement update

The Bob Barr juggernaut rolls on.
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

The second time as farce

Via Instapundit, here are some of history's losers railing against their fate. But are these people historically literate enough to even know what the outcome of the 1968 election was? (And do they know enough Marx to understand the headline of this post?)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Paul endorses Young

The cruel hoax that Ron Paul has perpetrated upon people who thought his goal was advancing the cause of limited government is now complete:

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

Nothing to hear here

"No, an alien radio signal has not been detected." From an absorbing space-focused website called Astroengine. (Found via Carnival of Space.)

Biden veep

I think Joe Biden was a good choice. It's extremely important that the top people in the White House know something about foreign policy -- and if the president doesn't, at least the vice president should. Moreover, I'm rather pleased that my official prediction is still holding up.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The 2020 election

Todd Seavey should have included an online poll in this post. If the chips were down, I'd vote for the Pro-Technology Militarist-Isolationist Party, but with reservations.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Let Bob Barr debate

I agree that Bob Barr should be included in a debate or two with John McCain and Barack Obama. Such an event should also include other electorally challenged candidates such as Ralph Nader, Chuck Baldwin and Cynthia McKinney. None of which removes the imperative of having some presidential debates limited to people who have a realistic chance to become president.

Blinkered in Singapore

There's a not-very-smart op-ed in the Financial Times by one Kishore Mahbubani, dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. Titled "The west is strategically wrong on Georgia," it trumpets that most of the world supports Russia against "the bullying west." That's not so smart if you're in a small, wealthy nation, like Singapore, that might one day be a target for absorption by its larger neighbors, like Malaysia and Indonesia. Also, Mahbubani mentions the West's "looming failures in Afghanistan and Iraq," which suggests that news from Iraq, at least, is taking a while to filter through Singapore's censored press.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New Iraq book

Current reading: Tell Me How This Ends: General David Petraeus and the Search for a Way Out of Iraq, by Linda Robinson. I've just started but it looks promising. And I admired the author's earlier book Masters of Chaos: The Secret History of the Special Forces.

Libertarian slavery watch

One of the problems of libertarianism is that its principles, stretched beyond proportion and common sense, can twist around and defeat the philosophy's stated objectives. A belief in tolerating any and all consensual relationships, for example, can shade into a willingness to tolerate nonconsensual ones. And I believe Jacob Sullum is treading into some pretty treacherous territory in shrugging off a woman's complaint that her BDSM relationship turned into actual slavery. These things can happen, after all.

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

Radio note

I'm slated to be on the Gabe Wisdom Show on Aug. 20 at 7:30 pm ET, discussing the history of retirement.

Upstate NY vacation report

Back from Chautauqua, where highlights (besides Ken Miller's lecture) included a Chabad Lubavitcher discussion of Jewish psychology and the story of Solomon ordering a baby cut in two; and an excellent performance by Philadanco. Also of interest was a visit to Lily Dale Assembly, historic center of spiritualism, where I watched two "clairvoyants" in action. One did a decent job of cold reading, and gave vague advice that would be unlikely to be harmful. (e.g., Don't worry so much about the stuff still in boxes from the move.) The other was a woman with 47 years of experience channeling spirits and still nothing either plausible or useful to report.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Miller at Chautauqua

Biologist Kenneth Miller, author of Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul, gave a superb lecture at the Chautauqua Institution today. Topics covered included Tiktaalik, the geneaology of the creationist textbook Of Pandas and People, and how Mike Huckabee denies that he's descended from a primate, not realizing that it's not just a matter of descent. (And, as Miller pointed out, it wasn't Darwin who classified humans as primates; it was his great creationist predecessor, Linnaeus.)

Friday, August 15, 2008

JetBlue blues in Terminal 5

Well, I just found a nice JetBlue customer service person in Terminal 5 at JFK. Some of their other personnel (I'm talking about you, Newton) have veered between unfriendly and robotic. Of course, a 7-hour delay due to thunderstorms is not a pleasant experience for anyone. But I do recall the warning given by Philip Fisher, the great investment strategist of growth stocks, that some companies' growth outpaces their management's capabilities. (I'll be publishing more on Fisher in the not-distant future.) If I owned JetBlue stock, I'd be worrying about that right about now. Especially given that the company's had notorious problems in the past with stranding passengers, recently got sued for making a passenger spend a flight on a toilet, and was once known for its founder's goal "to bring humanity back to air travel."

Russian space

It should be obvious by now that bringing the U.S. civil space program into heavy reliance on Russia was a mistake. Part of the blame goes to Al Gore, though in fairness Russia looked a lot less menacing when he got them involved in the space station. And the Bush administration's allowance of a 5-year gap between the shuttle's retirement and its replacement isn't helping.

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

Serf no more

It turns out we're "Not on the Road to Cyber-Serfdom." That's good, but I could use a break from the Internet anyway.

Campaign space

Interestingly, space is emerging as an issue in the 2008 campaign. See here and here. Probably the electoral importance of Florida has something to do with this, but in any event it's good that the human future beyond this planet isn't entirely off the political radar screen.

Meanwhile on Enceladus

Some up-close pictures of another world here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Gillespie vs Blogette

Nick Gillespie is not fond of McCain Blogette.

Could it be because the Blogette's been beating Reason.TV in traffic?

Interrupted vacations

Jonah Goldberg notes the contrasting responses of three well-known politicians to Russia's invasion of Georgia (via Alarming News):
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."

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.
It seems to me that a third president in a row who's inexperienced at foreign policy is not an attractive option.

Beyond Barr

It turns out that Chuck Baldwin (who? the Constitution Party candidate) has an affinity for Theodore Roosevelt, who in the paleolibertarian view of things was a neocon fascist type, and yet Baldwin thinks Lincoln, whom paleos despise even more, one of the two worst presidents in history. It's getting hard to keep straight the convoluted strands of the right-wing fringe.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Bob Barr bonanza

Here, via Instapundit, is a piece on "Will Barr Have an Impact on Presidential Race?" It contains the words "While victory may currently appear out of reach..." Not just appear, my friends.

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

Declining Sullivan

I've long been a reader of Andrew Sullivan. I've sometimes been critical (see here and here, for example), but have often thought he has worthwhile things to say. That's why it's so striking to see such empty political verbiage at his site, as in his recent attacks on Bush for ... being seen in the presence of beach volleyball players (more power to him) or making an odd expression. Attacks over nothing subtract credibility from whatever substantive posts Sullivan might still be writing. (Ann Althouse has some comments here.)

UPDATE: Some Bush/beach volleyball team video here.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

My Three Fathers

Current reading: My Three Fathers: And the Elegant Deceptions of My Mother, Susan Mary Alsop. An interesting (so far) mix of memoir, history and geneaology, featuring various people who made history or were nearby while it happened.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Eighties radio

My recent radio interview on the "Roaring Eighties" is now available here. There were a few technical problems, though, so sound quality may leave something to be desired.

Edwards question

What's the worst part of L'Affaire Edwards? That he had the affair? That he lied about it? Or that when the Enquirer confronted him, he ran into a men's room in an unpresidential panic? Close call.

Hellhounds coming

Something for the people who come to this blog searching for Clinton Road: the Sci Fi Channel is reportedly planning a movie about Hellhounds.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The 1914 market

"One of the keys to defusing a crisis is to act quickly. If you hesitate it’s too late to put the genie back in the bottle." William Silber (no relation), professor of economics and finance at NYU, has some interesting thoughts on dealing with a financial crisis, citing the example of William McAdoo, the treasury secretary who shut down the stock exchange as World War I loomed.

Bush balance

At U.S. News, James Pethokoukis lists "Bush's 5 Smartest and Dumbest Economic Moves." It's a list worth studying, especially for small-government types who've convinced themselves Bush has been purely big-government, or who think any and all tax cuts are great (Pethokoukis makes some thought-provoking distinctions between the 2001 and 2003 reductions).

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The moderate on that stage

Could this be a clever strategy by Bob Barr to gain credibility by appearing with people wackier than he is? 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.

Sizzle update

Sizzle continues to get attention. Variety has a positive review that says the film may have some unintended effects in aiding global-warming skepticism. Excerpt:

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.

The non-myth of a maverick

I'm sure Reason will soon expose this as just more pandering from a big-government Republican:

McCain opposes farm policies popular in Midwest

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.

Other universe news

I'm not sure what the Fed is going to do about this: "Are we in danger of a fatal crash with another universe?" (PDF.) (Via Not Even Wrong.)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Rufus King in Queens

The King Manor Museum in Queens, profiled on NY1 today, looks like it's well worth a visit. Among Rufus King's achievements were being a framer of the Constitution, running for president, and opposing the slave trade. And as further proof he had particular merit, he was a Hamiltonian Federalist whom Jefferson nonetheless kept on as ambassador to Britain.

Obama losing energy

Here's some more evidence that Obama is going to lose the election. How could he and his advisors attack McCain for following the "Cheney playbook" on energy, when it was Obama who voted for the Cheney-inspired 2005 energy bill and McCain who voted against it? Did they think nobody would take a few seconds to Google this or look up the vote on Thomas? I thought it was McCain who lacked Internet savvy.

Sullivan on ignorance

Andrew Sullivan recently wrote a series of posts on the subject of light obscuring people's ability to see the night sky -- and then announced, as if it were a revelation:
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?

Bob Barr's trek

There's no Scotty to beam up Bob Barr from having to answer questions about his anti-Wiccan crusade, or something like that. Don't ask me, but you can read about it here.

The rationality weapon

Six years ago, I argued that promoting scientific thinking in the Muslim world was one key to undercutting the ideologies of terror. I still think that's true, but as I acknowledged then, there's also the danger some of that training will backfire, as with the MIT-educated woman who's believed to have worked for Al Qaeda:
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.

(Via Instapundit.)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Big-government conservatism?

I stipulate that it is wrong and thoughtless to regard George W. Bush and/or John McCain as exemplars of free-market, limited-government philosophy. But it's also wrong and thoughtless to regard them as completely antithetical to such principles. It's particularly wrong with regard to John McCain, foe of subsidies, earmarks, Medicare expansion and trade barriers. And the Bush administration, for all its big spending and unbalanced view of executive power, is recognizable in the following passage, even if the last line makes Matt Welch gag on his coffee:
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.

North Jersey history

Current reading: The Revolutionary War in Bergen County: The Times that Tried Men's Souls, edited by Carol Karels.

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.

Alaska bucks

David Boaz explains how Ted Stevens' generosity worked.
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

Atlas vs Jihad

The next Debate at Lolita is now set.

UPDATE 8/12: Program has changed. And it so happens I probably won't be there.

Surge perspective

Charles Krauthammer thinks the surge is "the biggest turnaround of American fortunes in war since 1864." (Via Jennifer Rubin.) I find, as a debater and polemicist, that overstatement does not help an argument. I also say remember the Battle of Midway.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Domineering spirit

I strongly recommend that the Homeland Security chowderheads who've come up with the new policy of arbitrarily confiscating laptops at the border acquaint themselves with the instructions of one Alexander Hamilton, founder of America's customs service:
"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."