I'm getting a bit tired of Senator McCain's anti-business shtick. The line about serving "for patriotism, not for profit" is pathetic. America spends more on its military than the next 35-40 biggest military spenders on the planet combined: Where does he think the money for that comes from?
As for his line about "some greedy people on Wall Street who need to be punished", aside from being almost entirely irrelevant to the subject under discussion (the subprime "crisis"), it reveals, I think, one of the most unpleasant aspects of McCain. For a so-called "maverick", he's very comfortable with the application of Big Government power, and the assumption of Big Government virtue. Undoubtedly there are "greedy people on Wall Street". Why should he and his chums be the ones who decide whether they need to be "punished"? If greed is to be punishable, why doesn't he start with a pilot program applied to, say, the United States Senate and report back to us in five years how that's going?
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Yet it's hard to deny today's Jesuits are in trouble. In raw numbers, the Jesuits have dropped from 36,000 in 1965 to about 19,000 today.
A key figure in the story of the Jesuits' implosion is Fr. Pedro Arrupe — another Spaniard who lived in Japan — and who, oddly enough, employed Nicolás as his personal barber. Elected 28th General of the Order in 1965, Arrupe was either a "second Ignatius" of prophetic proportions or a well-meaning naïf, depending on whom you talk to. Under Arrupe's guidance, the Jesuits' 1974 General Congregation decreed "the promotion of justice" as an "absolute requirement" for Jesuit activities.
The problem is that many Jesuits' "promotion of justice" collapsed almost immediately into radical left-wing activism. Sensible Jesuit-authored critiques of Latin American oligarchies, for example, soon degenerated into Marxist versions of liberation theology.
Many Jesuit universities have become virtually indistinguishable from your average left-wing secular academy. Some Jesuits candidly say the order's intellectual edge began seriously fraying in the 1970s, corroded by an idolatry of the contemporary — marked particularly by an embrace of Marxist critiques that would engender bad politics and even worse theology, including efforts to water down Christ's uniqueness in the name of that ubiquitous word: "dialogue."
By the early 1980s, Rome had had enough. In 1981, John Paul II took the radical step of suspending the order's normal governance. In 1983, Fr. Kolvenbach was elected Father-General. Though widely considered a good man, it's unclear he affected any significant change in the Jesuits' direction.
Sen. Clinton can claim only one clear victory niche. Among those who think the country is "not ready" for a black president, she won handily (48-23).[...]
In other words, Sen. Clinton runs strongly among those who judge a person by the color of his skin rather than by the content of his character, or who believe that America is still too racist to elect a black candidate, though they might personally harbor no such prejudice.
Although she got more support among whites than Sen. Obama did, she didn't win the white vote -- John Edwards did (at 40 percent). She only won the "America's not ready for a black president" vote. Call it Hillary Clinton's Confederate coalition.
Columnist Dick Morris, the disgraced former adviser to the disgraced former president, has already written that the Clintons will play this loss for all the "white backlash" they can get. However reprehensible, Mr. Morris thinks it's a winning strategy.
The Clinton presidential duo plays this tune at their own peril. (If she had won South Carolina, would her partisans have said "Hillary triumphed despite the high black turnout"?) Methinks Mr. Morris and the mainstream media misjudge most Americans, even most Democrats.
Friday, January 25, 2008
According to the front-page of today's Wall Street Journal, Bill Gates is issuing a clarion call for a kinder capitalism to aid the world's poor. Mr. Gates says he's grown impatient with the shortcomings of capitalism. He thinks it's failing much of the world, and he's slated to say as much in a speech later today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
This from a guy worth around $35 billion. (Give or take a billion.)
It appears Gates is ignoring the global spread of free-market capitalism that has successfully lifted hundreds of millions of people up from poverty and into the middle class over the last decade or so. Think China. Think India. Think Eastern Europe (and maybe even France under Sarkozy). Gates wants business leaders to dedicate more time to fighting poverty. But the reality is that economic freedom is the best path to prosperity. Period.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
What his campaign may have lacked in organizational luster and ambition it made up for in authenticity and charm. You knew his greatest dream in life wasn't to be president. You knew he'd be happy living life with his family, advising those who wanted his opinion and expertise, talking federalism with Beltway friends on weekends. When he was on Meet the Press a while back, Claremont's Seth Leibsohn said, admiringly, "Fred came off like his hour there was not the most important thing he had to do that day." There's something attractive about that.
I tried to explain, for those whose feelings were so hurt they didn't even crack the spine, that the title Liberal Fascism comes from a speech delivered by H. G. Wells, one of the most important and influential progressive and socialist intellectuals of the 20th century. He wanted to re-brand liberalism as "liberal fascism" and even "enlightened Nazism." He believed these terms best described his own political views —views that deeply informed American progressivism and New Deal liberalism.
As for the smiley face, that's a reference to comedian and social commentator George Carlin, who explained on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher that "when fascism comes to America, it will not be in brown and black shirts. It will not be with jackboots. It will be Nike sneakers and smiley shirts. Smiley-smiley."
I'm persuaded that Carlin was right — to the extent that fascism of any kind will come to America, it will do so in the guise of something "progressive." Indeed, American progressives, particularly before Hitler arrived on the scene in the 1930s, were openly sympathetic to Italian fascism. This isn't to say they copied it (or the fascism of Soviet Russia), as many claim. But rather that the ideas that gave birth to and fueled American progressivism — philosophical pragmatism, Bismarckian "top-down socialism," Marxism, eugenics and more — share common intellectual sources and impulses with those that gave us both socialism and fascism.
— Jonah Goldberg is the author of Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning.
Compared to the carbon dioxide that humans produce, Mother Nature routinely transfers 40 times as much CO2, and 24,000 times as much water vapor (Earth's primary greenhouse gas), back and forth between the atmosphere and the Earth's surface, every day.
Scientists have simply assumed that these natural processes have been in balance for centuries. But, what if there have always been some small — but natural — imbalances in those large up-and-down flows that slowly change over time? In that case, our measured increases in greenhouse gases and global temperatures might well turn out to be more natural than manmade, lost in the noise of natural variability.
Can I prove any of this? No — not yet, anyway. But neither have any scientists produced one single scientific paper showing that Mother Nature isn't the dominant source of what we are seeing. Mankind is one possible explanation, and our measurements of natural variability in the climate system on time scales of decades to centuries are simply not good enough to find out how many natural sources of variability are also out there.
Decades ago, economist Miltion Friedman explained that "found money" does not alter people's spending habits significantly. A tax rebate does not make people wealthier, leading them either to pay down debt with it (which is "stimulus" neutral) or put it into savings (also neutral).
For people to spend more, Friedman explained, they have to increase their regular income. They have to make more money over time, not just once.
The central fact to remember when assessing any government monetary policy is this: The government has no money of its own. Therefore, the government has no money to stimulate the economy. All it can do is return money that it took away from the economy to begin with.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Scientists at a California company reported yesterday that they had created the first mature cloned human embryos from single skin cells taken from adults, a significant advance toward the goal of growing personalized stem cells for patients suffering from various diseases.
Creation of the embryos -- grown from cells taken from the company's chief executive and one of its investors -- also offered sobering evidence that few, if any, technical barriers may remain to the creation of cloned babies. That reality could prompt renewed controversy on Capitol Hill, where the debate over human cloning has died down of late.
Five of the new embryos grew in laboratory dishes to the stage that fertility doctors consider ready for transfer to a woman's womb: a degree of development that clones of adult humans have never achieved before.
No one knows whether those embryos were healthy enough to grow into babies. But the study leader, who is also the medical director of a fertility clinic, said they looked robust, even as he emphasized that he has no interest in cloning people.
"It's unethical and it's illegal, and we hope no one else does it either," said Samuel H. Wood, chief executive of Stemagen in La Jolla, whose skin cells were cloned and who led the study with Andrew J. French, the firm's chief scientific officer.
Now, I don't think that Fred Thompson is lazy. I just think that, despite the southern drawl, which many (mistakenly, as anyone who has worked with smart NASA employees and contractors in Houston, Huntsville and the Cape would know) think is a mark of a slow mentality, that he works smart, and cheap. Robert Heinlein once wrote that: "Progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things."
Look, then, for rising pressure on government to provide new parental subsidies and child care programs, and on employers to provide more flextime and home-office options -- among various efforts to help women do it all. Look, too, for a cascading series of psychological and emotional adjustments as American society tilts, for the first time, toward matriarchy. What happens to male self-esteem when men are No. 2 (and not necessarily trying harder)? When more men work for women than the other way around?
Some of these adjustments will have international dimensions. Goldin, Katz, and Kuziemko note, "Almost all countries in the OECD"—the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group of advanced industrial countries—"now have more women than men in college and have had a growing gender gap among undergraduates that favors women." Yet much of the developing world, especially the Muslim world, remains predominantly patriarchal.
Many tradition-minded cultures in the Middle East, Africa, and parts of Asia already regard the Western economic and social model as emasculating. Radical Islam, in particular, abhors feminism. As the United States and Europe continue to feminize, will the anti-modern backlash, already deeply problematic in the Muslim world, intensify? As sex roles and expectations diverge, might hostility and misunderstanding mount between the West and the rest?
No, men are not about to disappear into underclass status. They will not become mothers anytime soon, and they will not stop secreting testosterone. Men's ambition will ensure ample male representation at the very top of the social order, where CEOs, senators, Nobelists, and software wunderkinds dwell. Women will not rule men.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
A former congressman and delegate to the United Nations was indicted Wednesday as part of a terrorist fundraising ring that allegedly sent more than $130,000 to an al-Qaida and Taliban supporter who has threatened U.S. and international troops in Afghanistan.
The former Republican congressman from Michigan, Mark Deli Siljander, was charged with money laundering, conspiracy and obstructing justice for allegedly lying about lobbying senators on behalf of an Islamic charity that authorities said was secretly sending funds to terrorists.
A 42-count indictment, unsealed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., accuses the Islamic American Relief Agency of paying Siljander $50,000 for the lobbying—money that turned out to be stolen from the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Monday, January 14, 2008
But Santorum's criticisms cut to the heart of conservative concerns about McCain: that he's not a conservative, that he's been damaging to conservative causes while in the Senate, and that he would be no friend to conservatives — never mind being one himself — in the White House.
In an interview with Mark Levin on Levin's radio show Thursday night, Santorum went so far as to call McCain "very, very dangerous for Republicans" on domestic policy. Santorum said: "I just have to tell you, as a leader, as someone who had to put these coalitions together, it was always hard and we very rarely on domestic policy had any help from the Senator from Arizona."
Friday, January 11, 2008
Interesting analogy. The article doesn't mention if Hillary used a Mexican accent.
A man shouted through an opening in the wall that his wife was illegal.
"No woman is illegal," Clinton said, to cheers.
Summing it up at the end, Clinton said, "We've only talked to a few people, but each of them talk about some part of the problem we are confronting. This is a problem that is only going to get worse if we don't address it."
Clinton said unscrupulous lending leads to bad mortgages, which lead to foreclosures, which lead to people with nowhere to go and vacant neighborhoods that can go rapidly downhill.
"We treat these problems as if one is guacamole and one is chips, when ... they both go together," she said.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Fred Thompson's campaign is once again at a critical juncture and again I am showing my support for the candidate of my choice by organizing a Blogburst in hopes that we can raise the funds necessary for Fred's campaign to be competitive.
The Thompson campaign held a conference call for sympathetic bloggers this afternoon. On the call, Senator Thompson stressed that he would stick to his campaign style, but added he would increase his efforts to make comparisons and draw distinctions with his opponents. A few highlights from call:
On his campaign style: "If it's too laid back for folks, it's too laid back for folks," and "we used to judge our Presidents and what we wanted in our Presidents on a different basis." "I stand or fall on the basis of who I am and what I believe."
On the press: "They will only be impressed by success on election night."
On the stakes: "This is a fight for the soul of the Republican Party." At stake is whether the GOP represents the GOP coalition or "moves left."
[Hillary] Clinton shot back, emphasizing, "Making change is not about what you believe or about making a speech, it's about working hard." Raising her voice, she said, "I want to make change, but I've already made change. I'm not running on a promise of change. But on 35 years of change … we don't need to raise false hopes of people in our country about what can be delivered."
Edwards told supporters, "The status quo is yesterday. And change is tomorrow. And tomorrow begins today..."
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Right now, half the states have decided that some kind of ID should be required to vote. It makes sense for the Supreme Court to allow federalism to work its will state-by-state. In 2006, the court unanimously overturned a Ninth Circuit ruling that had blocked an Arizona voter ID law. In doing so, the court noted that anyone without an ID is by federal law always allowed to cast a provisional ballot that can be verified later. The court also noted that fraud "drives honest citizens out of the democratic process and breeds distrust of our government. Voters who fear their legitimate votes will be outweighed by fraudulent ones will feel disenfranchised."
So the high court itself has already defined the nub of the case it is hearing today. On one side are those who claim photo IDs will block some voters from casting ballots, but offer scant evidence. On the other side are those who believe photo ID laws can act as a deterrent to irregularities the public increasingly views as undermining election integrity. Given the obvious political nature of the argument, here's hoping a clear Supreme Court majority reprises its 2006 finding and holds that such questions are best resolved by the elected branches of government and not by unaccountable courts.
In his brilliant new book Liberal Fascism, Jonah Goldberg (a colleague of mine) demonstrates how the opposite is the case, that fascism was a movement of the left and that liberal heroes like Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt were products of what Goldberg calls "the fascist moment" in America early in the 20th century. How we think of the ideological spectrum — socialism to the left, fascism to the right — should be forever changed.[...]
Goldberg sees the fascist exaltation of youth, glorification of violence, hatred of tradition and romance of "the street" in the New Left of the 1960s, still the subject of the fond memories for the liberal establishment in this country. Goldberg argues that "liberal fascism" — the phrase was coined by H. G. Wells, and he meant it positively — is a distant heir to European fascism. The liberal version is pacifist rather than militaristic and feminine rather than masculine in its orientation, but it also seeks to increase the power of the state and overcome tradition in sweeping crusades pursued with the moral fervor of war.
the Democratic primary is turning into a battle between the people that pay for Social Security and those that collect it.
This year, according to the indispensable Green Papers, there will be 798 super delegates at the convention in Denver. They include all elected members of the Democratic National Committee, all current Democratic members of Congress (including non-voting delegates), all sitting Democratic governors, and past party luminaries (e.g. former presidents). Unlike pledged delegates, who are bound to particular candidates, super delegates are free to vote their consciences.
women in NH. Obama got the independents to break his way, but Hillary
won with registered Democrats. On Bill Bennett's radio show this
morning, Karl Rove mentioned that Obama leads with the young voters
and wine drinkers, while Hillary gets the older voters and beer
drinkers. That gives Hillary a significant edge in the long run. If
she can hold on to the union endorsements, she's still in good shape.
There's also a theory that independents may have chosen to vote for
McCain on the Republican side, which effectively took votes away from
Obama. I haven't seen the numbers to confirm that, but it sounds
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Mike Huckabee wants to amend the Constitution to prevent children born in the U.S. to illegal aliens from automatically becoming American citizens, according to his top immigration surrogate — a radical step no other major presidential candidate has embraced.Mr. Huckabee, who won last week's Republican Iowa caucuses, promised Minuteman Project founder James Gilchrist that he would force a test case to the Supreme Court to challenge birthright citizenship, and would push Congress to pass a 28th Amendment to the Constitution to remove any doubt.The former Arkansas governor thinks the case against U.S. Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean was railroaded, Mr. Gilchrist said. Ramos and Compean are serving lengthy prison sentences for shooting a fleeing drug-smuggling suspect in the buttocks."I would make it my first act as president to pardon agents Ramos and Compean," Mr. Gilchrist said Mr. Huckabee told him. "I regret that they have spent yet another Christmas locked up in a windowless cell like animals and unable to be free and with their families."
Monday, January 07, 2008
Gever Tulley, founder of the Tinkering School, talks about our new wave of overprotected kids -- and spells out 5 (and really, he's got 6) dangerous things you should let your kids do. Allowing kids the freedom to explore, he says, will make them stronger and smarter and actually safer.
Facing a double-digit defeat in New Hampshire, a sudden collapse in national polls and an expected fund-raising drought, Senator Hillary Clinton is preparing for a tough decision: Does she get out of the race? And when?!
Sunday, January 06, 2008
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued increasingly alarming conclusions about the climatic influences of human-produced carbon dioxide (CO2), a non-polluting gas that is essential to plant photosynthesis. While we understand the evidence that has led them to view CO2 emissions as harmful, the IPCC's conclusions are quite inadequate as justification for implementing policies that will markedly diminish future prosperity. In particular, it is not established that it is possible to significantly alter global climate through cuts in human greenhouse gas emissions. On top of which, because attempts to cut emissions will slow development, the current UN approach of CO2 reduction is likely to increase human suffering from future climate change rather than to decrease it.
"Carbon dioxide is not to blame for global climate change," Sorokhtin writes in an essay for Novosti. "Solar activity is many times more powerful than the energy produced by the whole of humankind." In a recent paper for the Danish National Space Center, physicists Henrik Svensmark and Eigil Friis-Christensen concur: "The sun . . . appears to be the main forcing agent in global climate change," they write.
Given the number of worldwide cold events, it is no surprise that 2007 didn't turn out to be the warmest ever. In fact, 2007's global temperature was essentially the same as that in 2006 - and 2005, and 2004, and every year back to 2001. The record set in 1998 has not been surpassed. For nearly a decade now, there has been no global warming. Even though atmospheric carbon dioxide continues to accumulate - it's up about 4 percent since 1998 - the global mean temperature has remained flat. That raises some obvious questions about the theory that CO2 is the cause of climate change.
Friday, January 04, 2008
Thursday, January 03, 2008
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
A transcript of Senator Clinton's interview with Blitzer is posted here; a video of Senator Clinton's interview with Stephanopoulos interview is posted here. If any of the major Republican presidential candidates had spoken in this manner about the scheduled elections in Pakistan, surely an issue would be made of it.
Sen. Clinton really didn't know that the upcoming elections were for individual seats in Pakistan's parliament. She actually believed that Bhutto, Nawaz and Musharraf would be facing off as individual candidates for leadership of the country in the upcoming elections.
Sen. Clinton didn't know that Nawaz Sharif isn't allowed to run for office in Pakistan because of a felony conviction. She didn't know that President Musharraf won't be on the ballot because he's already been elected.
Sen. Clinton, a candidate for the leadership of the free world, apparently doesn't know the first thing about the country referred to by some as "the most dangerous place on earth."