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Saturday, July 30, 2005

NYT Forecasts- Do The Opposite

Back when I actually knew NFL football well, I used to bet on football cards in office pools. I never won. Then, I hit a hot streak by first filling out a card based upon what I thought would happen and then filling out a new card with all of the opposite picks. The mirror-image card would be the one I submitted.

Donald Luskin posts from Carl Futia , a Yale and Berkeley economics grad. Futia write:

I happen to think that the New York Times is essential reading for any investor. I systematically do the opposite of whatever the Times is encouraging its readers to do, and this investment strategy has been very successful.

The stakes are higher but I do not doubt that NYT reporting requires discounting if not assuming the opposite to be true.

The Economy Soars as the NYT Back-Pages It

The economy is booming and the NYT carried a synopsis of the relevant statistics and trends today. However, if you had run a featured business article with a headline that read "Suggestions of Strength in Economy", do you think you may have understated things when you wrote:

Forecasters said yesterday's report would lead them to raise their growth projections for the rest of the year; Morgan Stanley now expects growth of better than 5 percent during the third quarter, up from an earlier prediction of 3.7 percent. In the second quarter, growth exceeded 3 percent for the ninth consecutive quarter, the longest such streak since the mid-1980's.

That paragraph missed the front page. It was buried on the continuation on page 13. Besides that the NYT also advised on page 13 that wages rose by 2.4%, the housing boom continued creating jobs and increasing Americans' wealth, mortgage rates remain historically low even as bank interest rates rise for investors, factories have increased its capital investments to a 9 percent annual rate, inventories have fallen while production and orders have "surged", final sales grew to 5.8% (matching 1999 increases) and, for all the trade freaks, the trade deficit went down between 1-3%.

The article even closed with David Greenlaw, an economist at Morgan Stanley, advising:

"The U.S. is growing faster than the rest of the world. It's very difficult to cut into your trade deficit in that environment."

All the above are mere "suggestions" of strength?

What is the growth in the socialist economies of France and Germany that the NYT editors favor so much? Barely 1/3 of ours with unemployment numbers being the only growth statistic.

Last week I heard Ben Stein say that if Clinton had the same numbers (which in large part he did during what the NYT admitted was a "bubble") it would be an "economic miracle". Under Bush it is "tepid improvement".

Here the NYT bias comes through clearly. When we see small increases of national employment in any given month, not a higher unemployment rate mind you, the NYT carries the article on the front page right next to Muslim terrorism news or "rich get richer"/"jobs exported overseas" stories. This economic boom created by tax cuts and market confidence is relegated to page 13 of the Saturday business section.

As the rest of the national media follows their lead in their rewrites of NYT articles, most of this information will be missed by the newspaper readers and dwindling network news viewers. No MSM media bias against the President there.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Mike On Air-ant America

From Mike Taylor:

OK, maybe I have an obsession with radio waves, or I need to wear my tin foil hat more often to keep those waves from penetrating my brain.

It appears that Air America (what? who dat?), the failing liberal talk radio venture, has been caught stealing from the poor to give the rich:

“… (the) New York Department of Investigation is looking into whether hundreds of thousands of dollars were illegally transferred from a Bronx community center to Air America.”

One estimate has it that $480,000 was “mishandled” and transferred from the Bronx nonprofit organization that runs mentoring programs for children and day care for Alzheimer's patients.

The money was “loaned” to Air America to be repaid “with interest sometime in the future”. How come you and I can’t get terms like that when we ask the bank for half a mil?

Evan Cohen was both the “developmental director” of the Bronx community center and was the Chairman of Air America until he “stepped down” last year. Cohen is suspected of taking money away from old people and hungry children to help Air America spread hatred of evil George W. Bush and his rascally Republican gang of thieves… I guess George Soros had a yacht payment to make and couldn’t spare Al Franken any more money that month.

What did Howard Dean say a few months ago? Wasn’t it something about Democrats caring more for feeding hungry children than Republicans? Apparently it’s the other way ‘round, Howard.

Does this remind anyone of the UN Oil for Food scandal? Didn’t liberals at the United Nation steal money meant for starving Iraqi women and children to finance their summer homes in Portugal and keep mistresses in Parisian apartments?

An editorial from The Washington Times:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/op-ed/20050728-081354-1414r.htm

… and a blog spot from Michelle Malkin:

http://michellemalkin.com/archives/003117.htm

There’s a bonus to clicking on Ms. Malkin’s site, she’s one very cute conservative! (Married, I checked already. Hey, I’m divorced. I’m allowed to look!)

Only I Would Have Done Better Than Bush

But regarding the 75% or so of Bush's programs that I support:

Tax cuts (we need more and permanent), SS privatization, CAFTA, an aggresive war against terrorists and their strongholds, originalist jurists (maybe Roberts was not quite that) and Israel.

Bush's support of Israel is unprecedented in both words and action.

You have to assess your values in life and see how close you are to fulfilling them. Not all values are equal. The same goes for political issues. I favor a free market economy, strong security with military might and Israel's existence and support. In general, I get this from Bush. He has been dealt a tougher hand than even Reagan was dealt. He is playing his cards well. I see no comers from within or without his party that would have done better in the real political climate of today.

Except me.

Bush's Warts

A recent comment asked where was the criticism of GW in this blog on issues like the Mexican border, for instance.

Criticize Bush? As I have told many, he gives me 75% of what I want from a President and maybe even lower than that. The alternative was probably around 20% or less. So I am realistic that other than the American people handing the reigns over to me, I will be left empty on many issues no matter who is President.

So regarding my complaints on 25% of his presidency, where do we start?

Security:

1. The borders have to be better patrolled. The acts of those "vigilantes" were heroic and received little support for obvious reasons by the administration. Both the Mexican and Canadian borders needs to be sealed as best as possible to avoid illegal alines who pose a security threat to us.

2. Transportation security headed by Norman Minetta is a joke. The refusal to profile and evaluate passengers adequately means there will probably be an air event someday. Though arming pilots and sealing the cabins along with placing armed air marshalls aboard randomly is a good move). See more from Michael Smerconish's website.

Economy:

1. Tarriffs: The steel tariff was a blatant political ploy to try to nail down PA. and other big union, steel industry votes. It did not work and was anti-free trade meaning it hurts American business both short and long-term.

2. The BUDGET: He did not veto one spending proposal from Congress. This allows the vote whores to pay back lobbyists with our money and create uneven playing fields everywhere.

3. Deficit: Recognizing the spending on the terror was is absolutely necessary, there was no need for the Medicare program. The spending on this and other entitlements are what pushes the scale into the red. This was another ploy that appeared to be a blatant pursuit of the elderly vote. They are loyal Democrats no matter how foolish the liberal economic/benefit programs are. Bush should have recognized this. The AARP have sold the elderly on the Democratic Party. They should be written off politically. They have sold their vote for benefits.

Foreign Policy: More could/can be done to stop Syrian and Saudi involvement in terror.

Conclusion: I want all efforts employed to kill the terrorists and to have a free market economy. Bush has given me 75% of what I would do. There have been no more 9-11s, Saddam is living in close quarters, the recession has ended with a bang, people are employed and making money, Europe is recognizing we are doing many thiings right and some have emulated us (some even doing it better). I am not running for President and do not have the belly-achers in Congress to deal with in my perfect world. He does. His political instincts are awesome. He is a winner. But clearly more can be done and better ways should be found.

But when I consider the alternative, ....

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Scissors Cut Paper

Econopundit responds to the intellectuals signing some petition against GW for imperialism. These are liberals against terrorism. (They are very good at signing petitions. If only pieces of paper protected us more). Says Econopundit:

To all us Joe Sixpacks out here in the real world, what these educated elites see as obvious "Imperialism" is what we see as George W. Bush trying to keep fanatics from nuking American cities as part of an obvious ongoing terror campaign.

Hardball's Hard Numbers

Mike Taylor provides this analysis of the news viewing of the public. Apparently, famous liberal shills don't pull in viewers like they used to when they were the only game in town.

Believe it or not, it’s a close race to the bottom. Matthews may talk loud, fast and incessantly but is anyone listening? Even Nancy Grace, with her 150th consecutive show about that missing girl in Aruba, cleans Matthews’ clock!

A quick hit that should give some perspective on how many people actually WATCH various cable primetime talk shows. Note the precipice in viewers from FoxNews to CNN and all the way down to Tucker Carlson on MSNBC:


FOXNEWS GRETA 2,997,000
FOXNEWS O'REILLY 2,705,000
FOXNEWS HANNITY/COMBS 2,415,000
CNN LARRY KING 765,000
CNNHN NANCY GRACE 752,000
CNN PAULA ZAHN 623,000
CNN AARON BROWN 577,000
MSNBC SCARBOROUGH 462,000
MSNBC OLBERMANN 318,000
MSNBC HARDBALL 192,000
MSNBC TUCKER 178,000

Source: Drudgereport.com but most likely these are Nielsen overnight numbers from Tuesday.

Japan Creates Artificial Woman

The BBC reports that the Japanese have created a female android that is incredibly lifelike.

A scientist said:

"Repliee Q1 can interact with people. It can respond to people touching it. It's very satisfying, although we obviously have a long way to go yet."

As Woody Allen said in Sleeper: "These robots are uncanny".

There is no indication how well Repliee Q1 drives a car. It has been programmed to cook but has confounded scientists by reaching for the telephone instead. It has been unable to proficiently handle a TV remote. Scientists are trying to inhibit its talk mode to just say "Yes".

I could not resist.

Actually, if these androids are married, they need to be able to drive practically all day long shlepping the kids here and there in a van or SUV. They'll need to be able to talk in order to deal with repairmen, billing departments and schooling administrators. And the cooking? Everyone deserves Chinese take-out every now and then.

See. I realize the value of the woman at home. So chill out.

Pataki's Econ Report card

NY's Governor Pataki will not seek a 4th term. His report card economically was given by Larry Kudlow (whose opinion I highly value).

Looks like Pataki has chosen not to run again. He was strong supply-side tax cutter, which helped grow the NY state economy. He’s always gotten high fiscal marks on the Cato Institute’s governor scorecard. It’s tough to be even a moderately conservative politician in blue-state New York, but Pataki’s three-term governorship was a very strong achievement. He’s also looking for a supply-side tax reform package for next year’s budget. This package could be a cornerstone for Republicans statewide, including those who will run to succeed governor Pataki. Pataki was also a very strong homeland security governor, frequently acting behind the scenes, even getting less credit than he deserves. He appointed ex-FBI man James Kalstrom to oversee New York’s strong security effort. It's a shame to see him go.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Federalist Society

I alway thought Jefferson and Madison were kind of nerdy.

From Neal Meyerson:

Straight from the website www.fed-soc.org

Founded in 1982, the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies is a group of conservatives and libertarians dedicated to reforming the current legal order. We are committed to the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be. The Society seeks to promote awareness of these principles and to further their application through its activities.

This sounds pretty mainstream conservative to me. Dues are $50 for lawyers, $25 for the "public sector", and only $5 for law students.

Downtown

Staying with the philosophy thing, did you know that the lights are much brighter downtown and you can forget all your troubles there?

Frankl on Nihilistic Academia

From Victor Frankl in The Doctor and the Soul:

"I am absolutely convinced that the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Maidanek were ultimately prepared not in some ministry or other in Berlin, but rather at the desks and in the lecture halls of nihilistic scientists and philosophers."

Or the general halls of academia.

In an interview he said that unlike the the intellectuals, the fashionable crowd, the high-brows:

"The man on the street, he has always understood what I am saying. He sees that something is missing. He realizes that he is more than his id, more than his drives."

On heroism:

"[H]eroism ultimately can only be demanded or expected of someone-of only one person. You are never entitled to place the demand of heroism on any one else, not unless you have been in the same position, facing the same decision, the same way facing death as punishment."

And Frankl on religion?

"If you call 'religious' a man who believes in what I call a Supermeaning, a meaning so comprehensive that you can no longer grasp it, get hold of it in rational intellectual terminology, then one should feel free to call me religious, really. And actually, I have come to define religion as an expression, a manifestation, of not only man's will to meaning, but of man's longing for an ultimate meaning, that is to say a meaning that is so comprehensive that it is no longer comprehensible. . . But it becomes a matter of believing rather than thinking, of faith rather than intellect. The positing of a supermeaning that evades mere rational grasp is one of the main tenets of logotherapy, after all. And a religious person may identify Supermeaning as something paralleling a Superbeing, and this Superbeing we would call God."

I Will Follow The Constitution. Now Vote.

Many are commenting on the judicial screening process of the Senate. Henry Mark Holzer in an essay says this inquiry has nothing to do with a nominees political views. He says:

The Judiciary Committee and the full Senate are entitled to know from President Bush’s nominee for an Associate Justiceship on the Supreme Court of the United States basically one thing: what does John Roberts believe is the constitutional function of courts in general, and the Supreme Court in particular—and of the judges who sit on those courts.

On reflection upon Thomas Sowell's latest article Judge's 'views', Skip March writes the following:

Senate Democrats once again are able to frame the issue. That is the nomination process is about determining the nominees political/hot button issue views rather than judicial temperament. They're even getting away with bringing his faith into the process, which is in direct conflict with that pesky little Constitution. Republicans are once again compliant (e.g. turning over 75,000 White House documents). They are also letting their focus slip by falling into the Democratic strategy trap of arguing the political/hot button issue (e.g. Roe Vs. Wade). They need to stay on focus about judicial temperament. This will be an educational process for the American people as we have been indoctrinated into the Constitutional legitimacy of judicial activism over past decades.

I'm Offended And I Will Sue You

John Stossel discusses the new California case that allows workers to sue for sexual harassment when they are not even participants in the affair or act.

For us 1st Amendment lovers, this conversation between Stossel and Olivet Jones, a consultant who conducted a workplace seminar on sexual harassment that ABC News videotaped, is scary. Writes Stossel:

"So the person who hears it gets to determine if it's offensive?" I asked. "Even if your intention is good?"

"It doesn't matter, John. If I shoot you dead," she asked, "do you care that I didn't mean to?"

Shooting equals speaking? There's a difference between bullets and words.

"No," Jones says. "They have the same power."


In one way, she is right. Who cares whether my killer killed me because I am Jewish, a blogger or an attorney (OK that may be justification). That is why I am against hate crimes. Who cares what my killer's intent was.

However, in America, the offensiveness of words should be irrelevant. I recognize that the 1st Amendment was intended to apply solely to political speech. However, as a follower of Supreme Court precedent, the right has been expanded to encompass more speech. And conduct.

The proponents of sexual harassment cases are inconsistent since they are likely defenders of public acts that are offensive. Yet, when they get offended, it is an actionable tort.

London: Check Every Threat With Extreme Prejudice

Jeff Jacoby discusses how British Intelligence announced there was a reduced threat of a London terror attack 3 weeks prior to 7/7. With intelligence errors likely to be common (after all we are just people and the data analysts rely on is complex and disparate), he asks:

Which kind of intelligence failure is better — the kind that badly understates a threat, such as the one in London, or the kind that overstates a threat, such as the insistent warnings before the invasion of Iraq that Saddam Hussein was armed with weapons of mass destruction?

Millions of British wish the authorities gave the intelligence pointing towards a threat higher significance. And Gitmo captives deserve immediate trials exactly why?

Common Sense Applies. Geneva Does Not

Walter Williams reminds us:

During World War II, German soldiers captured not wearing their own army's uniforms were lined up and shot. In 1942, a German submarine landed eight Nazi saboteurs on the beaches of New York and Florida. Two months after a secret military tribunal, convened by President Roosevelt, six of the eight were executed, even though they hadn't killed or bombed anyone -- just being here was enough.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Talking to a 55-Year Old Hippie About Ecology

I sent an article to my liberal, hippie-for life friend (a friend for life as well) on pollution caused by governments. The Polluting State by Jayant Bhandari, from The Von Mises Institute website, discussed how in India the productive efforts of people were skewed towards “gaming” the socialist system than coming up with efficient uses of scarce resources. The system led to bureaucrats running a transportation system, among others, operated on coal-based power that has led to terrible pollution.

The essence of the message is that socialist governments have been the biggest polluters of the world.

His response was:

“Seems to me that the capitalist country known as the USA is the worlds biggest polluter, criticized the world over for not getting serious about carbon monoxide emissions, etc. and the global warming problem.”

I responded:

As usual, it is difficult to respond to a placard-level comment (as I have to create the assumptions and apply it to the conclusory words) but I decipher your point as being:

“The US failure to sign the Kyoto Accords will lead to global warming. If we sign it and follow its dictates, there will then be no global warming.”

It is the latter assumption that fails on a number of levels.

1. There is still no proven connection that a 33% reduction of emissions worldwide will alter the climate of the world at all. It is highly likely the “Little Ice Age” has ended and we are experiencing a new climatic era. If so, we need to continue to develop scientific methods of coping with whatever changes occur over the next century.

2. Major “polluters” are exempt from the protocol’s dictates on energy reduction. From my understanding of the Protocol, China and India along with all 3rd world and developing countries are exempt. The biggest polluters are the least developed technologically as they take care of immediate needs with what is available nearby. Ever heard of the deforestation and water pollution throughout Africa? Didn’t anybody mention that during the big concert a few weeks ago? A US reduction in emissions will have little to no effect in retarding the temperature growth.

3. But most importantly, the belief in Kyoto ignores its negative impact on our economy. The cost-benefit analysis has been completely removed from your consideration. The drastic reduction of energy generation and usage in a complex technology-driven country like the US would be devastating to our economy. Which segments of our population do you designate to not receive electricity? How will this affect businesses, prices for goods, access to goods and employment? Naturally, none of this is weighed into the analysis.

4. Where do you propose we cut energy use? Should we not provide air conditioning in the summer in the Northeast or year-round in the West and South? What about heating the North through the winter? The answer to ensuring our energy needs are filled is something that you have actively opposed your whole life-nuclear power. One of the biggest critics of the US “the world over” is France. However, France utilizes nuclear power on a much grander scale than we do. Shall we employ it finally? Shall we build the facilities to create the nuclear power and more facilities to store the waste as should have been done over the past 25 years? It is much cleaner than carbon fuels. But that would mean to accept an ogre you have fought for too long. What do you do with those placards you carried to all of those demonstrations?

5. As respects being “criticized the world over” that does not faze me. While the production and success of the US serves as a natural reason for envy “the world over”, do not doubt their reliance upon the US to assist their economies. They may garner support from the economically- ignorant but recognize we are saving them from their own proposal by refusing to sign the Protocol.

6. All the above ignores another theme of yours over the years. Finding alternate sources of energy. While we know that the alternatives of ethanol and others are inefficient as they burn more fossil fuels in production than is finally produced in ethanol, this would not help regarding pollution. The cleaner, non-nuclear options are being developed. Such is better done by private enterprise where creativity always takes place than with government programs that spin wheels and apply the “gaming the system” approach to science with results that never quite work.

I suggest reading “The Skeptical Environmentalist” by Bjorn Lomborg. There you will see a rational essay on the condition of the world ecologically with some meaningful suggestions on what areas of the world’s needs should be tackled. It may be more effort to read a book than to develop your scientific opinions from a 5-minute interview of Bobby Kennedy Jr. on the Today Show. But you may actually expose yourself to the concept of cause and effect as applied to credible data.

OBL Tried To Spike the Coke

Drudge reports Bin Laden had planned to poison cocaine after 9-11 but "the plot failed when the Colombian drug lords bin Laden approached decided it would be bad for their business." As the brains behind Al Qaeda, OBL shows us the economic intellect of a Chuck Schumer. If they win the terror war, the terrorists that is, one can imagine what a paradise the world would be. Besides the destruction of human rights, all industry, except the local black market kind, would cease to exist.

On the other hand, the successful plot would have made more Americans willing to do what it takes to destroy terrorism.

Constitutional Question: Would that affect interstate commerce such that he could be arrested under federal law?

Public School Buses- Why Are They So Antiquated?

My wife told me how her girlfriend, a PHD teaching education at a university, had remarked that the public school buses are horrible. When this friend was 8 months pregnant, the school bus driver did not allow her to accompany a field trip with one of her kids because the shocks were so bad on the bus that the bumps could harm the fetus. My wife asked me how school buses could be in the same condition that they were when we were kids. How could they not have improved at all over that time?

Was that a set-up or what?

I told her that public buses on the streets of NYC had to compete with trains, cars and private deliverers for passengers. Schools have a monopoly over its trapped patrons. There is no choice for almost all parents.

As I thought some more it came to me that another reason for no investment into better public school buses is the buyers in charge of the school budget do not consider the needs of the students. The focus of the budget winds up being the spender's needs be it immediate things like salary and office furniture or the "sexy" add-ons that draw praise like special needs-type curricula. Maybe the decision to purchase newer buses would be made by the carriers who contract with the municipalities. But, obviously, they get the contract without investing in new buses. The spenders recognize the expectations are for Spartan accommodations. In a free market such does not happen.

I had warned my wife before I answered that she would hear the same old explanation I give her whenever we discuss the state of public services. It sounds like a broken record sometimes but the simple economic analysis applies time and again. By the way, the professor-friend supports socialist health-care coverage and all other state controls. Even educators have trouble learning anything today.

NYT Wakes Up To Mugabe's Tyranny

The NYT has just discovered that Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is a blood-thirsty tyrant. They write:

"Mr. Mugabe...is increasingly out of touch with reality in the style of Stalin and Mao. He is starving and killing his own people...".

Mugabe has been a ruthless despot for 25 years. He has been lionized by European elites with little criticism all the time he has been in power. The NYT needed a late-coming UN pronouncement to be stirred into recognition of real atrocities. I guess Republican administrations have distracted "The Paper Of Record" from facing other small issues like genocide.

Suicide Bombers Kill Innocents- No Justification

Dennis Prager discusses the Palestinian contribution to the world: Suicide Bombers. Prager also believes that the world's Left has been enablers through their justification for the killing of innocents. The Left's logic goes as follows:

According to the world's Left, it's OK for Palestinians to put bombs in an Israeli student cafeteria because:

1. Israel occupies Palestinian land (even though a leftist Israeli government offered 97 percent of it to Yasser Arafat)

2. Therefore, Palestinians are engaging in legitimate resistance

3. Since Palestinians don't have sophisticated weaponry, they use their weapon, the suicide bomber

4. Israelis kill Palestinian civilians, so there is a moral equivalence between Israel and the Palestinians (even though the Palestinians target Jewish innocents and the Israelis do not target Palestinian innocents)

But, alas, the anti-Israel Left (an almost redundant description), too, did not understand the genie it had helped unleash onto the world. Why is it all right for Muslims to blow up Israeli children, but not Russian children? Israeli buses, but not British buses? Jews in Israel, but not Muslims in Iraq?

Even during my decades as a liberal, I could never buy this logic. It reminds me of the case against guns as stated by gun control advocates. But, again, even as a liberal, I recognized that it was the shooter, not the gun, who was guilty of crimes. Here, it is the bomber that is guilty.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Lies, Damned Lies and Democrat Spokespeople

Mike Taylor reponds to a piece in the Weekly Standard Meet Larry Johnson The CIA official turned Democratic spokesman has a pre-9/11 mindset. by Gary Schmitt :

This article may be of interest to those of us who delight in watching the Democrats shoot themselves in the foot… repeatedly:

Just as the Democrats have chosen to stand beside Michael Moore (proven liar) and Joe Wilson (proven liar), now they selected Larry Johnson of the CIA to give their recent weekly radio address. Where do you think Mr. Johnson stands in regard to the truth?

Johnson “excoriated” Karl Rove for “outing” a CIA officer on that Democratic radio address. Already we know that this guy is not telling the whole truth, (if Rove did out Plame, don’t you think the Special Prosecutor would tell Rove he’s a “target” in the investigation?). But Johnson’s past is intriguing. As this article by Gary Schmitt describes, Mr. Johnson has been a favorite CIA commentator among the Left.

Johnson wrote an Op-Ed piece in the NY Times on JULY 10th, 2001 entitled…. "The Declining Terrorist Threat" in which he argued that Americans were "bedeviled by fantasies about terrorism" and, in truth, had "little to fear" from terrorism...”

Two months later, Mr. Johnson was proved wrong. In extremely dramatic fashion. In fact, I don’t think you can get MORE wrong than Mr. Johnson.

Also in Mr. Schmitt’s article: Johnson appeared on PBS’s “Frontline” program in 1999 to play down the threat from Osama bin Laden. According to Mr. Johnson, "Osama bin Laden . . . has not been a very effective organizer or leader. He talks a great game."

Of course, the Democrats choose this prescient analyst as their spokesperson. Perhaps if the PIAPS (Princess in a Pantsuit) gets elected, Mr. Johnson could get a job running the CIA. He seems to be qualified as many other Democrats. He’s from the Michael Moore School of Terrorist Studies where the motto is “There is no terrorist threat… there is NO terrorist threat!”

Roberts Is For Federalism- How Extreme Can You Get

Jacob Sullum says that the detractors of Judge Roberts have helped us learn the positive judicial temperment of the SCOTUS nominee. In an article in Reason, Sullum writes:

In a 2003 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit involving the Endangered Species Act, The New York Times notes, Roberts "seemed to throw in his lot" with "advocates of the new federalism, that is, judges and scholars who believe Congress is limited in the laws it may enact, leaving some issues to the states."

The mainstream view, apparently, holds that Congress is not limited in the laws it may enact and that the Constitution reserves no issues to the states. That position is hard to reconcile with the basic structure of the Constitution, which describes a federal government limited to explicitly enumerated powers, as reflected in the 10th Amendment: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Anyone against the SCOTUS medical marijuana prohibition should favor Roberts' approach to federalism.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

NYT Takes A Side In Its News Analysis On The Unocal Bid By China

In the typical NYT tradition of fair and objective analysis of complicated issues such as the Chinese bid for Unocal by Cnooc, it took the final 2 paragraphs to find anyone willing to say something positive regarding the deal and free trade with China. In a two-page featured article in the Business section entitled “Who’s Afraid of China Inc.?” Steve Lohr examines the $18.5 billion offer to buy the American oil company ($1.5 billion more than offered by the other bidder Chevron).

Before hearing about potential benefits of trading with China and allowing this sale to go through we get to read negative comments from William Reinsch (a Clinton administration senior trade official) and Kenneth Lieberthal (a senior official of the Clinton administration). These guys were supportive of trade with China when Clinton was giving away weaponry and satellite technology to China about 10 years ago? We also hear from 2 members of Congress including a Republican unknown named Richard Pombo. (Where was anyone from Cato when Lohr was writing this article?).

Then, about mid-point in the article, when reaching out to some people who may have something positive to say, we hear that Congress will not idly stand by and allow this deal to go through by Congressional advisor C. Richard D’Amato and a Reagan administration trade official named Clyde Prestowitz. Prestowitz’ message is we would be hypocrites to not allow the sale given the massive trade surplus they have built up with us. I read that as a backhand criticism of Bush.

Then we hear more from security experts like Frank Gaffney and James Woolsey. I admire both men and their concerns about China are a must for us to consider. Funny, they are rarely quoted in the NYT on anything involving North Korea, The Middle East or Global Terror.

Then we read about an investment firm that sold its Cnooc shares because they felt the price offered for Unocal was too high. That sounds like proper investment considerations. I wonder if those investors have sold their Unocal shares yet. My guess is they are sitting on it waiting for Congress to up their stock values. Let’s check those “blind trusts” held by our Senators.

Nothing but fear over the deal can be garnered from this objective article. I suggest you cut up the paragraphs and reorder them from last to first of you want to read anything remotely balanced. Or skip it altogether and dream about the joy you would feel today if you owned a few thousand shares of Unocal.

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