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Friday, March 17, 2006

Resisting Arrest- Kid, Don't Do This

A man in Chicago was resisting arrest by throwing knives at police. Apparently distraught over problems with his girlfriend in Poland, the man began smashing car windows and police were called in. After throwing knives at police, the man then he cut off his penis (though police think he may have already done that act before they got there) and threw it at the police. Then he ran back into the house and got more knives to throw at police. Finally, the police tasered him and arrested him. His name: Jakub Fik. Really.

All this was reported in the Chicago-SunTimes.

Now how was he going to get his girlfriend back after that move?

The surgeons successfully reattached Fic's pri--, um, penis. His testicles are undergoing psychiatric counselling for traumatic stress syndrome.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Dubai Was A Peaceful Alternative To War

Would a liberal with serious bone fides be able change the Democrat response to Bush's solutions on terrorism from automatic antagonism to agreement on even one issue? Would they in some cases actually agree with Bush?

Doubtful.

Still, Tom Friedman sees the Dubai Ports deal as the very peaceful alternative that Democrats have been preaching since 9-11. Friedman writes:

What's ironic is that if Democrats who hate the Bush was in Iraq actually had a peaceful alternative policy for promoting transformation in the Arab-Muslim world, it would be called "the Dubai policy": supporting internally driven Arab engines of change.

Friedman is surprised at the Democrat opposition to the ports deal because he thinks their politics are motivated by what would be good for the country rather than what benefits their party. While both Republicans and Democrats saw the public opinion polls and quickly jumped to nix the deal, I was hoping there would be one stalwart Democrat to suggest this was a good deal. However, given their ownership by today's unions, there was never going to be support by any of them. As I said before, McCain continues to grow on me as a statesman with the interests of this country ahead of his party and polls.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Prices Will Increase Because Producers Want More Profits?

A caller to Rush wanted to talk about the likely price increase of gasoline even if oilwells are drilled in ANWAR or the coast of California. The caller opined that the oil companies will incur massive capital expenses in drilling and will have to recoup that cost plus charge a profit.

Thus, gas prices would increase despite the increased supply. Rush responded by merely stating he supports the additional drilling to reduce our dependence on foreign crude oil. Rush rhetorically asked whether there were capital expenses for oil companies if they merely continued to drill where they are currently drilling. Naturally, capital expenses, while not as great as perhaps the cost of locating new oil wells and buying and transporting the equipment, are likely to be greater. oil companies still try to recoup those costs (and all other costs as well). But, said Rush, no doubt over time prices inevitably go up.

That is not necessarily true. The price will react to the gas market and the supply and demand at the time it is refined and reaches the gas pumps. That price may be higher or lower but is not automatically raised due to the increased capital costs. In a free market, parties invest money, time and effort for profit. The amount of that profit will be as high as the market will bear. Suppose that after drilling in these US locations, the world oil markets increases supply four-fold (Okay. That is impossible, I know). Say, the sheiks see this competitive supply about to hit and decide they want to try to kill that newcomer right out of the box. So they pre-emptively incerase their supply four-fold. That increased world supply will create a glut and gas prices may go down to $.75 per gallon. The new US oil drillers will then lose money or more slowly recoup their money, if ever. And who will be shedding tears for those investors when gas costs under a dollar a gallon?

BTW, the caller said he was "all for capitalism, but...". It is capitalism that will advise us how much of the whatever is available. If we still do not need it, its price will drop. Profits are certainly never a sure thing.

Vicente Fox of Mexico just announced a new deep-water oil discovery he said could eventually yield 10 billion barrels of crude oil. Will that added supply increase or decrease prices worldwide?

Free Speech and Teachers

If you read or hear comments on legal or political issues you'll inevitably hear an American who was educated in one of our public schools and maybe even in one of our colleges say the following (this one was in Huffington's blog on the Colorado school teacher controversy):

You may not like the fact that a teacher was expressing his views, on either end of the political spectrum, but IT WAS F---ING ILLEGAL FOR THE STUDENT TO RECORD THE CLASS. Over and out.

This kind of hit and run comment is made over and over. Ignoring the expletive, how was the taping illegal? Is legality just something we know? Or are laws drafted by legislatures, decided by case law or codified in the Constitution? If so, then what was illegal about about the repercussions against the teacher's personal political classroom comments?

An important fact from this matter that I have heard is that parent's had given written permission for their students to attend Benish's class with the expectation that there would be controversial statements made. I am not sure this is true. I have Googled for any newspaper article to corroborate this claim. If the parental permission were given, then at least the students were forwarned. Even if such were given, there is a line that cannot be crossed by any teacher regardless of the "permission". Permission would still stop the expression of patently sexually offensive or racist comments, for instance. The political commentary that Bennish made in class would not cross that line. However, the lack of reporting about this parental permission tells me, there was no such thing.

Then we come down to the fact that the teacher is supposed to be spending valuable (and limited) class time teaching geography.

Getting back to the 1st Amendment. The 1st Amendment does not protect one from what happens after the utterance. In general it is a curb to censorship---the halting of the utterance pre-publication. And as to post-publication, there are legal safeguards inhibiting how government may react. The utterances should be protected when the teacher acts as a citizen on his own time. When he is lecturing to students in a core non-political subject, he has a job to do and should withhold his comments for more suitable situations. Because then we are talking about attempts at indoctrination.

As Thomas Sowell wrote yesterday:

The teacher's lawyer talks about First Amendment rights to free speech but free speech has never meant speech free of consequences. Even aside from laws against libel or extortion, you can insult your boss or your spouse only at your own risk.

Does anyone have an account where the parents provided consent? And has anyone published this consent form? If so, please email to me. Thanks.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Lame Ducks May Be Those Who Killed the Port Deal

Jack Kemp (and count me with him) is fed up with both parties over the "Port Fiasco". He wants to start a new party combining the foreign policy of Teddy Roosevelt and Harry Truman with the defense policy of Ronald Reagan and Scoop Jackson. He is looking for someone from either party who puts "principle ahead of politics and the next generation ahead of the next election."

He is particularly disappointed that:

a majority of the candidates for president from both parties cannot make the distinction between Middle Eastern radical jihadists who choose hatred and suicide bombs to attack the West from a small Arab country like the United Arab Emirates that chooses to stand with us against the tide in its own region in the war on terror and ends up getting the back of the hand from the U.S. Congress.

I have been harsh towards John McCain. However, on this issue and national security in general, he has been particularly statesman-like.

No doubt Bush did not read his tea leaves correctly to know that the political reaction to the ports deal would be so negative. On its face, it is one needing explanation. But, the substance of the deal is positive for the country and free market capitalism.

As discussed below regarding "maverick" Peter King, the President may have low polls right now before Spring of an election year. But those Republicans should beware. As Niall Ferguson wrote about supposed lameduck Presidents:

They should remember that a second-term president is not necessarily a lame duck — he is also a man with nothing to lose...[W]here the stakes are high — and they don't get any higher than American national security — the presidents are harder to roll over. The next time you hear the word "duck" in Washington, my advice would be to do just that.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Look Long Term And Watch It Grow

Star Parker discusses a study that shows that people's openness to choice is largely informed by their education level.

The issue of private accounts replacing social security retirement funding saw 50% in favor from college graduates but only 35% in favor from those with only a high school education. However, another study saw blacks almost 50-50 as respects school choice. The explanation why there is not a higher percentage against school choice may be that inner- city schools are soo bad that any school option (charter schools or voucher programs) is really no choice at all. Anything would be better.

As far as the riskiness of the stock market, history shows that such investment is incredibly safe and profitable so long as there is sufficient diversity of stocks. Today, mutual funds investments protect investors with that kind of diversity while the decisions of what specific stocks should be purchased and sold are left to professionals, fiduciaries over these portfolios. The latter removes the ratinal fear of the individual that he does not have enough knowledge regarding investing.

When I graduated law school I worked in the fiduciary division of a large CPA firm. I saw from doing the tax returns for wealthy clients that they earned massive amounts of wealth through their stock ownership. They did not necessarily make money from buying and selling. They made money by buying and holding onto the investments for decades. It was the spread of investments coupled with time of ownership that resulted in my placing many zeros (as in millions of dollars) in the various columns of the estate and trust tax returns. Their long period of ownership helped them avoid market downturns that occasionally occurred. I have read that in 75 years there have been only 2 rolling 10-year periods where the market has gone down. So, 2 out of 75 periods had losses! I'll take a 97% chance at increased investments.

I learned the secret of long-term stock ownership well before I had any money. I did not start investing in a retirement account until I was in my forties. Now, we all can become long-term investors with 401Ks and IRAs. As I reach an age where I will be unable to opt out of Social Security, I know that my modest investments made from paycheck to paycheck in personal retirement accounts will grow for a very fair return.

I am saddened that many others will be unable to protect themselves with retirement accounts because of the untrue claims by opponents of personal retirement accounts.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Peter King May Find A Horse Head In His Bed

Republican Congressman Peter King received very favorable press from the NYT, being dubbed a "maverick", their term for a Republican who pushes for a policy that the Democrats approve.

King as the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security led the opposition to the AUE take-over of the management of many US ports. King did not just demand investigation of the security risks in the sale but ignored most explanations put forth by the administration that security would remain the responsibility of the US through the Coast Guard.

The NYT also hails King for:

help[ing] steer his Republican colleagues toward safer political waters on an issue that could have haunted them in the fall elections.

Democrats also believe King's action were politically astute.

"He saved them," said Representative Joseph Crowley, Democrat of New York.

Whenever you get kudos and advice from consistent losers, beware.

And anyone familiar with the Godfather movies should think about the following proof of Bush's magnanimity towards King:

Any tension between the men appeared to have broken during a curious encounter Mr. King had at the White House, where he happened to be attending a bill-signing ceremony on Thursday, just as word spread that the port deal had collapsed.

Mr. Bush, after entering the room, went over to Mr. King, pinched his cheek (after faking a punch) and declared, "Good work," before walking away.

King should avoid going fishing with GW---ever.

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