Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Good economic news

According to this article: "Core personal consumption expenditures inflation, excluding food and energy, the Federal Reserve's preferred measure of inflation, was unchanged at a 0.7 per cent rate in the quarter - the lowest reading since the 1960s."

Bush was on his game today in Canada

He went to a troubled, bitter neighbor (& friend) and he stood his ground while affirming his appreciation of Canada. I liked his cocksure response to the following question:

Q: My question is for President Bush. And then, Prime Minister, if you would respond en Francais, s'il vous plait? In the days after September 11th, thousands of Canadians went to Parliament Hill to demonstrate solidarity with the U.S. -- and, in fact, in cities across the country. Yet, public opinion polls and other evidence suggest that now, today, our peoples are, in fact, diverging; that, in fact, our peoples are drifting apart. Why do you think that is? And do you have any responsibility for it?

BUSH: You know, I haven't seen the polls you look at, and we just had a poll in our country where people decided that the foreign policy of the Bush administration ought to be -- stay in place for four more years. And it's a foreign policy that works with our neighbors. Trade between our countries has never been stronger. But it's a foreign policy that also understands that we've got an obligation to defend our security. I made some decisions obviously, that some in Canada didn't agree with, like, for example, when we removed Saddam Hussein and enforcing the demands of the United Nations Security Council.

And then after recounting a couple of points of cooperation, he adds:

No, look, I fully understand there are some in my country -- probably in your country and around the world -- that do not believe that Iraq has the capacity of self-government, that they're willing to sign those people up for tyranny. That's not what I think. And that's not what a lot of Americans think. And they believe that democracy is possible in Iraq. That's a legitimate point to debate. But I'm the kind of fellow who does what I think is right, and will continue to do what I think is right. I'll consult with our friends and neighbors, but if I think it's right to remove Saddam Hussein for the security of the United States, that's the course of action I'll take. And some people don't like that; I understand that. But that's a good thing about a democracy, people can express themselves freely.

I, frankly, felt like the reception we received on the way in from the airport was very warm and hospitable, and I want to thank the Canadian people who came out to wave -- with all five fingers -- for -- (laughter) -- for their hospitality. (Laughter.)

Bush had a good response to a Mad Cow/cattle trade question. It wasn't exactly what they wanted to hear, but it was forthright and optimistic:

BUSH: Look, the Prime Minister has expressed the -- a great deal of frustration that the issue hasn't been resolved yet. And I can understand his level of frustration. There are a series of regulations that are required by U.S. law, and the latest step has been that the Agriculture Department sent over some proposed regulations to handle this issue to what's called the Office of Management and Budget. This is a part of my office. I have sent word over that they need to expedite that request as quickly as possible.

I fully understand the cattle business; I understand the pressures placed upon Canadian ranchers. I believe that, as quickly as possible, young cows ought to be allowed go across our border. I understand the integrated nature of the cattle business and I hope we can get this issue solved as quickly as possible.

There's a bureaucracy involved and I readily concede we've got one. I don't know if you've got bureaucracy here in Canada or not, but we've got one in America, and there are a series of rules that have to be met in order for us to be able to allow the trafficking of cows back and forth, particularly those 30 months and younger. So we're working as quickly as we can. And I understand the impact it's had on your industry here.

China 'gray lists' its intellectuals

China still insists on stifling free speech.

Speaking of the intellectual movement in China: "There has been a further split in recent years, with infighting among some intellectuals over whether they should be critics or supporters of market capitalism."

I have a solution: for every free market thinker China wants to get rid of, the U.S. will offer them one of our prize intellectuals in return - harvested from our top college campuses. In this way, people like Noam Chomsky can enjoy the fruits of utopia (where state favored institutions all begin with Peoples' this or Peoples' that) and the gagged Chinese thinker can experience freedom of expression. It's a win-win.

France admits to firing on demonstrators

I realize that the video does not show everything, but I didn't see a single machete, much less an AK in the hands of the demonstrators.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Ukraine updates

Here's a couple of maps that show the division in Ukraine, which I found off the Corner. The latest blogging I've seen (via Instapundit) is here. Thus far, the most comprehensive article about the nature of the vote fraud was this Telegraph piece.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you all have a good holiday. If any of you are passing through OKC, let me know.

Intelligent Intelligence Reform

I don't mind waiting for it.

Cat Stevens condemns the murder of Theo van Gogh

Okay, not really. The winner of the Man for Peace 2004 award (no doubt for his 70's work), along with the rest of the artistic community, has been silent on the matter.

I've searched and searched...

but I haven't been able to find any comments from Jimmy Carter regarding the Ukrainian election. I thought he was supposed to be all over this election stuff.

Congress against bunker busting nukes


Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Abu Ghraib multiplied

I'm sure the UN investigation will get to the bottom of this.

Shave and a haircut...

Nothing can happen to a Palestinian without accusations that Israel is to blame. Here it be noted that Fatah & Hamas and other Palestinian groups are 100% not responsible for their own conditions or actions.

Graphic footage from the Ivory Coast

via LGF

Monday, November 22, 2004

Belmont Club is keeping up on the Kevin Sites video

Although I still don't see what the fuss was about, the way the video was handled wasn't due to Kevin Sites - so it looks I was too quick to condemn him.

Update: LGF chimes in.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Wash Post drops Ted Rall

Under their new criteria, the DC rag wants their cartoonists to actually be funny and not just tasteless and abrasive. But Rall doesn't see it that way:

"More importantly, I forgot the editorial cartoonist's obligation to comfort the afflicted while afflicting the comfortable. I got the latter in that cartoon at the expense of the former. Special-needs children face a lot of challenges; they don't need, or deserve, mocking from me. ... The cartoon was effective in its way, but it could have been better."

Pretentious to the end.

Remember when.....

the GOP was the party of fiscal responsibility? We used to have tax-and-spend Democrats, but now we have tax-cut-and-spend Republicans.

At least it gives me an opportunity to talk to my 19-month-old son, when I have to explain to him why he has to shoulder our tax burden.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Shooting an unarmed man

This soldier's mistake was in not remembering he was on camera. While I wouldn't advocate shooting wounded, unarmed people, I'm not going to second-guess a solidier who has already been shot while fighting a war against insurgents. While politically embarassing for the U.S., and certainly confirming Arabs' most negative impressions of us, this guy erred on what was the side of caution, given the situation he was in. Erring in the other direction could have killed him with a different prisoner in similar circumstances.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Roadblock cleared on the roadmap to peace

It was probably time for Arafat to go. He had got the Palestinians to Oslo, but stalled out there. He walked away from a deal with Barak in 2000, and the result has been 4 years of violence. The U.S. tried to marginalize him, but could not remove him. The Palestinians would never have voted him out of office.

This is a golden opportunity to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. If the U.S. uses its leverage with Israel, we could make it happen.

Of course, there are some Palestinians who are still opposed to the existence of Israel.

Election postmortem

The blackboxvoting.org types annoy me. To make the case that fraud and/or recount malfunctions would turn the election, you would have to say that not only were 3.5 million votes incorrectly credited to Bush, but that no votes were incorrectly credited to Kerry. The truth is that Bush delivered a message that a majority of the American voters preferred to Kerry's message.

Part of the problem was the Anybody But Bushers (me included). I don't know that Kerry defined a vision that was distinctly different than Bush's. Granted, that may have been a vision of denying rights to gays and outlawing abortions (if abortions are outlawed, then will only outlaws have abortions?), but that's what made the difference.

The Republicans did the Dems a favor by chopping off Daschle. This (plus Gephardt's retirement) gives the Dems a chance for fresh blood in Congress.

During Bush's acceptance speech, I dropped a number of f-bombs. Clearly, a president who squandered 90% approval ratings for political advantage isn't all that interested in reaching across the aisle, unless it's to bitch-slap the opposition.

No more northeastern senators for the nomination. That hasn't worked since before Nixon. Look to the southern governors (all 4 of them). A governorship is an excellent place to gain executive experience. And, quite frankly, the Dems are woefully short of leaders who can relate or appear to relate to average Americans.

So much for Kerry's whim that he could win the contest without the South.

One element of the vote that completely perplexed me is the contingent of people who felt Bush got us into the Iraq mess, so he should be the one to get us out of it. In corporate America, you get fired and replaced for major snafus.

At least it's all on the Republicans now. No more blaming Clinton.


I'm not crazy about Kissinger's tenure as Secretary of State (and National Security Adviser at the same time), but he presents a compelling big picture look at the post 9-11 world.

"Democracy in the West evolved over centuries. It required first a church independent of the state; then the Reformation, which imposed pluralism of religion; the Enlightenment, which asserted the autonomy of reason from both church and state; the Age of Discovery, which broadened horizons; and finally capitalism, with its emphasis on competition and the market. None of these conditions exists in the Islamic world."

"In the potential cauldron after the January elections, some degree of internationalization is the only realistic path toward stability inside Iraq and sustained domestic support in America. The survival of the political process depends in the first instance on security—for which the United States retains the major responsibility—but ultimately on international acceptance to enable the Iraqi government to be perceived as representing indigenous aspirations."

"Unilateralism for its own sake is self-defeating. But so is abstract multilateralism. The former absorbs purpose into a sense of special national mission; the latter waters down purpose in a quest for a formal consensus. The challenge for America is to reconcile consultation with vast power."

Saturday, November 06, 2004

I'm not going

This guy was on active duty 87-91, and in the active reserves until '96 to fulfill his 8-year contract. And now they're calling him back, probably due to his skills as a truck driver and refueler.

I served 87-91 on active duty as an M-1 turret mechanic, and my Inactive Ready Reserve commitment ended in '95.

In a related note, a friend at work told of a buddy who had been in the service until he was in a Humvee accident. As a result of the accident, he has a plate in his head and rods in his legs. That resulted in a medical discharge. He recently got called back into service.

But hey, at least we don't have a draft.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

It's been a long campaign

And I'm drained by this point, like I'm sure the rest of you are. I'll be scarce on this blog for the next couple of weeks as I avoid contentious political discussions and news.

Monday, November 01, 2004

The full transcript

of the bin Laden tape. Much of it reminded me of Michael Moore.

Fifty reasons to vote for Bush

told in pictures

175,000 new jobs in October

The report is expected to come out November 5th

Regarding the recent Iraqi body count estimate

The recent study has problems.

But this period has claimed one victim for sure. A determination to defeat George Bush has led many newspapers, television networks, academics, NGO's--and now even medical journals--to jettison their standards of fairness, restraint, objectivity, and integrity. Whether Bush wins or loses, it will take years for these institutions and organizations to regain the reputations they freely chose to throw away.

Unfortunately, there's no spot on the ballot to vote against a candidate

And the un-candidate is not much of an alternative.