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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Teddy: No Post Withdrawal Bloodbath in Vietnam?

The Ted Kennedy penchant for demagoguing is legendary. So is his trouble with honesty. While we allow him to stammer and sputter on, sometimes we have to call him out. This is one of those occasions.

Recently on Meet the Press, Teddy stated:

"First of all, I heard the same kinds of suggestions at the time of the end of the Vietnam War. The 'Great Bloodbath' -- we're going to have over 100,000 people that were going to be murdered and killed . . . Those of us that were strongly opposed to the war heard those same kinds of arguments at the time."

Can this be allowed to stand without correction? Thanks to Jeff Jacoby for the following quote of refutation:

"A gruesome holocaust took place in Cambodia, the likes of which had not been seen since World War II," James Webb, a scholar, combat Marine, and former Navy secretary, has written. "Two million Vietnamese fled their country -- mostly by boat. Thousands lost their lives in the process . . . Inside Vietnam, a million of the south's best young leaders were sent to re-education camps; more than 50,000 perished while imprisoned, and others remained captives for as long as 18 years."

Teddy and liberals with whom I was once kindred, you can bask in your opposition to and success in ending the Vietnam War. You can argue whether it ever had a true connection to American national interests. You can state that during the war there were acts of inhumanity visited upon our enemies.

But the bloody aftermath cannot be ignored. That Kennedy and his crowd can so wantonly deny the historical fact of the slaughter of Asian innocents by the leaders who overtook those countries after our withdrawal is intellectual dishonesty that characterizes the Left.

Immigration: Both Parties Deserve Punishment

Lou Dobbs is taking another populist position and expresses it in his CNN open letter to President Bush. In Dobbs to president: Do you take us for fools? , Dobbs writes:

And the lies keep coming from both political parties. This president is not enforcing the immigration laws enacted by Congress, and this Congress is failing in its duty of oversight to demand that those laws be followed.

Only a fool, Mr. President, Sen. Kennedy, Sen. McCain, would believe you when you speak of new legislation. You don't enforce the laws now.

Illegal immigration is a galvanizing issue for the public.

But as Dobbs fairly states, the fault is with both political parties. Neither party appears likely to tackle it the way the public wants.

While I would tend to seek election punishment towards the party in power, the opposition party offers nothing that I support on the issues of fighting terrorism (they do not fight terror, they talk to terror and the Moussaoui trial shows how effective it is to treat terrorists as criminals), continued and further tax cuts (they want to increase taxes), budgetary constraint (until I hear them suggest a cut to any entitlement then they are untrustworthy), improving public schools (yes, they will increase spending per pupil but the international test scores keep going down-where does that money go?), curing the fuel "crisis" (increase the price per gallon by adding more taxes or cap the price) and throw in a variety of social issues that treat minorities like children and not individuals with free choice and free will.

This is the saving grace for Republicans. Even when they flop on the most important issue in the minds of the electorate, they retain my vote. Why? Their opponents are incompetents.

Or as Thomas Sowell wrote:

Frankly, the Republicans deserve to lose this fall's election, after their wild spending and pandering to economic ignorance on gas prices. But a Republican defeat would only bring in the Democrats -- and the country does not deserve anything that disastrous. The Democrats' petty obstruction and irresponsible demagoguery in wartime disqualifies them for national leadership when a nuclear Iran and nuclear terrorists loom on the horizon.

Thanks to Bill Suda for the link.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Dear Congress: the News Is the Hawaii Gas Price Caps Failed

Did anybody see that Hawaii ended its gas price caps that they instituted last October? Apparently, it has cost consumers an additional 5 cents per gallon!

An analysis by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism estimated that island motorists paid $54.9 million more than they otherwise would have in the first five months under the cap. But research by cap supporter Rep. Marcus Oshiro indicated the limits saved drivers $33 million.

Russell Roberts of Cafe Hayek sarcastically compares the contradictory statements:

Always good to hear both sides, isn't it? Research by an economics professor and research by a politician. Six of one, half dozen of another!

Again per the news report:

"It was a failure, and other experts that have looked at it have said the same thing," said Anita Mangels, a spokeswoman for the Western States Petroleum Association, which represents ChevronTexaco and Shell Oil. "It was well-intended, but apparently according to the state's own agency has not served consumers well."

Aren't well-intended solutions that ignore economic principles such consistent failures? But they keep coming up with them.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A Happy Childhood Exposes You To The Death Penalty?

Thomas Sowell sees the Moussaoui trial as another example of government seeking cosmic justice at the expense of common sense. He wonders what is the relevance of Moussaoui's childhood to the issue of guilt or innocence. He writes:

Are only people with blissful childhoods to be held fully accountable for their crimes? Do jurors have any way of knowing how many other people with unhappy childhoods never murdered anybody?...The point here is that the safety of society usually overrides questions about some cosmic sense of justice for the individual. Jurors cannot act as if they were God on Judgment Day taking all individual circumstances into account. They are not equipped to do that and there is no point pretending that they are.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Iran: Home of Manly Men

It is reported that Iran is banning effeminate soccer players.

"I will ban athletes with an effeminate look," the head of the country's Physical Education Organisation, Mohammad Ali-Abadi said, told the Etemad-Melli newspaper.

"It is really disgraceful for Iran that young people step onto fields wearing make-up," the top official fumed. "When a man enters the field with dyed hair and groomed eyebrows he is disrespecting society."

I guess Dennis Rodman can cross off Iran as a place to finish his basketball career.

Hollywood and Darfur-We Have To Do Something! Let's Negotiate.

George Clooney and others have just awoken to the genocide that has been occurring in the Suda for the past few years. And something must be done about it!

Of course, that something must be done is one thing. By whom is the big question. Because unless Clooney and friends want to bless the US to act unilaterally, continues Darfur death is inevitable.

As Mark Steyn comments, the UN and its Security Council is nowhere to look for help:

If you think the case for intervention in Darfur depends on whether or not the Chinese guy raises his hand, sorry, you're not being serious. The good people of Darfur have been entrusted to the legitimacy of the UN for more than two years and it's killing them. In 2004, after months of expressing deep concern, grave concern, deep concern over the graves and deep grave concern over whether the graves were deep enough, Kofi Annan took decisive action and appointed a UN committee to look into what's going on. Eventually, they reported back that it's not genocide.

Thank goodness for that. Because, as yet another Kofi-appointed UN committee boldly declared, "genocide anywhere is a threat to the security of all and should never be tolerated". So fortunately what's going on in the Sudan isn't genocide. Instead, it's just hundreds of thousands of corpses who happen to be from the same ethnic group, which means the UN can go on tolerating it until everyone's dead, at which point the so-called "decent left" can support a "multinational" force under the auspices of the Arab League going in to ensure the corpses don't pollute the water supply.

Yes, action is required. But when a humanitarian military action to save those lives is attempted by the only world power willing and able to do so results in a response by the Sudanese, watch Clooney and the usual poseurs locate CNN and MSM cameras for their comments about the better solution of negotiation and sanctions.

But are they ever serious enough to trust? Writes Steyn:

If Anglosphere action isn't multinational enough for Sudan, it might confirm the suspicion that the Left's conscience is now just some tedious shell game in which it frantically scrambles the thimbles but, whether you look under the Iraqi or Afghan or Sudanese one, you somehow never find the shrivelled pea of The Military Intervention We're Willing To Support.

Pelosi Is Confident

From WaPo via Drudge:

Democratic leaders, increasingly confident they will seize control of the House in November, are laying plans for a legislative blitz during their first week in power that would raise the minimum wage, roll back parts of the Republican prescription drug law, implement homeland security measures and reinstate lapsed budget deficit controls.

Dems: Politically adept? We will see. Economically inept? Always.

NYU Teachers Ask: Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?

A Sunday NYT Style’s section cover story provided us the usual class envy propaganda we expect from the paper of record. The strategy is to show how people of equal skill and education have different incomes. It is especially egregious to the NYT mentality when the person doing the most social good gets paid much less than the “sellout”.

In “Money Changes Everything” I came across the following whopper:

At New York University, for instance, instructors make $35,300 for the current academic year, up from $24,500 for the 1985-86 academic year, according to the American Association of University Professors. A first-year associate at a large New York law firm, however, can earn as much as $170,000 with a year-end bonus, compared with about $53,000, including bonus, in 1985.

Translation: Capitalism is so flawed that people who provide educations at elite schools like NYU make paltry salaries compared to law practice (and, by inference, other selfish careers).

I had a few questions after reading that.

1. What are “instructors”?

I am sure they are not tenured professors. I doubt they handle more than one class. I am sure they work other jobs to pay their bills as anyone with a $53,000 salary cannot live in NYC or its nearby suburbs without roommates.

2. Are we comparing apples to apples?

The new lawyers at the top firms work well over 60 hours per week, have no personal lives and have no job security when they bill fewer hours or bring in no clients. Do these instructors work fewer hours? Do they receive housing for free? Is access to hot teen coeds worth something?

3. Why would an instructor accept such a low salary?

There is a pot of gold called security at the end of the rainbow. Move from instructor to tenured professor and you have something the lawyer (and Frenchmen) can only dream of. A pension and a job for life. How much money must a lawyer save per year to match that end zone payoff?

4. Why is there such a discrepancy in starting salaries?

Supply and demand tells us that the number of eligible law school grads with the credentials and ability for such a grueling job are considerably less than the number of humanities majors in the country. Additionally, maybe it also speaks to how the lawfirms actually reward their employees for their production while these universities see little value in the contributions of the instructors.

The NYT consistently pursues this culture war between the Have and Have Nots. We always need to assess if they provide us with credible comparisons.

A For Real Conservative In Ohio

As a NJ resident, I have almost lost all hope that the state can rebound from the tax death sentence it has self-imposed by electing John Corzine governor. He has proposed instituting major tax increases and touted the few band-aids he has placed on spending cuts.

For a sign of what can be done to resurrect NJ after Corzine has wreaked his version of "destroy the economy", we can look to Ohio. With a low growth rate and a steady loss of citizens (out-migration is 65 people ages 25-39 leave the state every day pe the NYT), Ohio is where NJ will be after the current administration completes Jim McGreevey's experiment of handing private earnings to unions and friends.

Star Parker highlights the openly conservative gubernatorial campaign of black, GOP candidate Ken Blackwell. The latter description is necessary since, if elected, Blackwell will be "the first black Republican governor in the nation's history" per Parker.

Going against the grain of politico consensus, Blackwell proposes:

[A] constitutional amendment that would put a cap on growth of state and local spending of 3.5 percent, or the sum of the rates of inflation and population growth.

That is great for starters. He also:

[S]upports constitutionally protecting traditional marriage and he opposes abortion. And, he supports school choice.

I am lukewarm towards the "traditional marriage" amendment concept as well as banning abortion but am a big fan of the school voucher issue.

I never find 100% of the political candidate I am looking for except in that local school board election I wrote about a few posts below. I cannot expect that from any candidate not named Neal Phenes. But overall, I like Blackwell's positions. And I like what it may mean for the future of Ohio. And just maybe my current home state of NJ.

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