Wotka World Wide

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Stealth Liberalism

Barack Obama vented quite a bit of anger the other night for his convention speech, especially for George Bush and John McCain. However, he offered very little actual detail on what he would do as President. And there is a good reason why he hasn't been more clear: those issues are generally unpopular with voters. Kimberley Strassel considers what we can expect if he wins. And it will be expensive, the greatest explosion of federal spending since the Great Society. Who pays? All of us eventually, as it will just go right on the burgeoning national debt. No amount of tax increases can cover the spending in store for us. If only Bush had held the line on spending some, but he has signed virtually everything that has crossed his desk. Expect that trend to continue under Obama.

What is there to hide?

John Fund wonders why Obama is concealing so much about himself, with his campaign smearing or obstructing those who try and find things out about his past. These are legitimate questions. Candidates for President shouldn't be so secretive, as it makes them seem like they have something to hide. It is like John Kerry and his military records. You can't claim military heroism and then refuse to release the details. But Obama claims he destroyed virtually all paperwork or correspondence from his tenure in the Illinois statehouse. He refuses to fully release all documents relating to his housing deal with the corrupt and now convicted Tony Rezko. No one really knows what he did as a community organizer. And he was remarkably good at avoiding any policy or political statements while teaching law. Even his Senate tenure has been marked by an unusual number of "NV" votes (this stands for Not Voting, Excused, Absent, or Present). This has been especially true this year owing to the election, but also in years past to some degree, especially on certain issues, like abortion, defense, foreign affairs, energy policy, and even on issues like welfare and poverty. Oddly enough, he was on record for practically every appropriations bill, by far his most attended voting issue. Some other issues heavily voted include immigration, labor, and Iraq War issues, which of course make up some of his biggest supporters now. You can check out his record for yourself at Votesmart.org. I just don't get how this guy is such a change from everything we have already seen from liberal politicians.
Sarah Palin vetted as a VP candidate at the Wall Street Journal. They claim she is a reform candidate, and with her record of taking on Republicans over may issues in Alaska, voters can assume that McCain / Palin is not a business as usual ticket. This is especially true if they have spent any amount of time paying attention to John McCain's career, where he has gone against his party on a multitude of issues. She is a politician that has a similar attitude to John's, and I'm sure that is why he selected her. That, and she is a milf, which is always popular with voters. She is already getting coverage in Us Weekly, and she just had a spread in Vogue earlier this year.


Perhaps these two guys are more similar than we realize... They have remarkably similar stands on a number of issues, at least according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. However, on many of theses issues, like offshore drilling, tax cuts for the middle class, and staying tough on terrorists in Afghanistan and abroad, Obama is following McCain's lead when formulating his policies. Obama has even softened considerably on the Iraq War, opposition to which was his central issue throughout his career prior to the current contest. Most Democrats even acknowledge that a US presence of some type will be required for some time, even if we do start withdrawing combat divisions on the ground, and even then Obama's withdrawal plan is only sounding on target now because of the success of the troop surge, which he stridently opposed, and doesn't mention anymore.

One of their biggest differences is on abortion, but Obama won't go there because questions about it are "above his pay grade", whatever that means. Obama knows strong majorities oppose abortion, and he doesn't want to answer directly for fear of hurting himself in the polls. Too bad most voters won't pay attention to his voting record when judging him. If they did, they would see that he has opposed even regulating "partial-birth" abortion (while in the Illinois statehouse), which puts him to the left of most in the pro-choice camp.

On the other side, McCain is a big believer in man-made climate change, and has even sponsored legislation to create a cap and trade system similar to Europe. But will he get credit for this from environmentalists? Not for a second. He also supports limited amnesty for illegals, another issue of the Democrats. Notice that these issues are surprisingly absent from the political discourse we are now hearing this election season. Instead, it is all about evil Bush. McCain is more like Bill Clinton than George W. Bush, while Obama would be more like a Jimmy Carter type president. Who would you rather have running the country? Especially with crazy Nancy Pelosi running things in the House? That far-left Democratic agenda could proceed unchecked under a Democratic president. I don't know why that doesn't scare more people. Democrtats w0uld pass enough stuff under a McCain presidency, do voters really want every Democratic pet project to become law, as would happen under Obama's leadership?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

US concerned about Pakistan's stability?

With the deteriorating political situation in Pakistan, US military advisors are becoming concerned about strategic objectives against Islamic militants falling by the wayside. They just had a major meeting on a US aircraft carrier between the Joint Chiefs of Staff, along with Gen. Petraeus, and senior Pakistani military officials. Hopefully we can develop a positive rapport with them that can outlast the changes in their political leadership. The situation in the Afghanistan Pakistan border regions depends upon it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Denver part of China now?

Democrats and law enforcement in Denver have taken a page from the Chinese Communists and arrested a reporter for ABC News who was photographing and reporting from a public sidewalk in front of a hotel where many wealthy Democratic donors and senators were meeting. One officer was heard telling the reporter "You're lucky I didn't knock the f..k out of you." What a shame, what a disgrace. Apparently the Democrats have something to hide. Funny how paparazzi can harass and photograph anyone they want, wherever they want, but a national reporter is not allowed to report on a major political convention and the bigwigs associated with it. Shame on Denver first and foremost. I hope this situation gets major air time, and ABC files some major lawsuits, as this is an egregious breach of freedom of the press.

Still not sure what to make of the Russia / Georgia situation?

The esteemed Michael Totten reports directly from Georgia, where he consults with some authorities on the situation. And the verdict is that Russia is ultimately the aggressor. They initiated the conflict, using paid ethnic group thugs, and when the Georgians responded, they attacked using conventional forces. All while rolling out the standard Soviet-style propaganda, which news organizations like the AP duly repeated as news stories, with no actual reporting done by anyone not Russian. But when you go and check in South Ossetia, as Michael Totten has done, there are no casualties of Ossetians from supposed Georgian aggression. But there are plenty of wounded and dead Georgians, many of whom were working as peacekeepers, and got killed for it. Beware Putin and the return of Soviet aggression.

One way to determine if you are reporting things correctly is if the Russians cyberattack your website, which has happened to Michael Totten. Bush was stupid to declare Putin a friend he could trust, but hopefully our political candidates won't be so naive. Notice that talking to them isn't having much effect.

Why are they tied?

Obama can't seem to get any separation in the polls, despite the glowing reviews the media are giving him. Jonah Goldberg has some suggestions why. An excerpt:
Ask the typical Obama supporter why this should be so and you’ll get a range of answers. Some just stare at the poll numbers the way my late basset hound would look at me when I tried to feed him a grape: with pure unblinking incomprehension. Others act like the guy who sits alone with his shopping bags at the public library, muttering about Fox News conspiracies and how Karl Rove-like aliens are doing terrible things with probes of proctological exactitude. Still others just shake their heads at the racism of anyone who could possibly have a problem with a very left-wing politician with almost no experience, who often sounds like his campaign slogan is: “People of Earth! Stop Your Bickering. I Am From Harvard, And I’m Here To Help.”

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Nancy Pelosi is third in line to the Presidency?

God help us! This woman knows next to nothing, and thinks she is on a mission from God! She just sat down with Tom Brokaw on Meet the Press, and gave some very strange answers (when she even bothered to address his actual questions). Among others, she thinks that natural gas is an alternative to fossil fuels, when it is of course a fossil fuel. She still is adamantly opposed to oil development, especially drilling for it in the US, and she wants to tax the profits of oil companies. She also mentions how she and her husband have a "small" investment in natural gas, in the range of "$50,000 to $100,000". Note to Nancy, when your investment exceeds the average US household income, it isn't small. Never mind the fact that oil and natural gas are extracted in virtually the same fashion, sometimes from the same well even, and the burning of natural gas produces a range of gases that are undesirable. But somehow it is ok to drill for this resource, but not others that we have, in the speculative hope that we can transform the entire American automotive fleet from oil-based gas burning to natural gas burning engines. Imagine what it would cost to change every gas station over to supply natural gas as well. And the ultimate irony is that some of the newer natural gas extraction techniques are decidedly unfriendly to the environment. Does she have any idea how things work in the real world?

She also claims that the Catholic Church cannot decide for itself when life begins, despite the fact that it has been established in Catholic doctrine since the very beginning of the church that abortion is unquestionably a sin. Funny that she claims to be a practicing Catholic yet has no idea about the history of the church. She even badly mispronounces St. Augustine while attempting to quote him. Even the Bible speaks about the born and unborn using similar words in the original Greek. This implies that there is no distinction between the two; it even goes so far as to say in the New Testament that sin begins at conception. If life does not begin at conception, then why wear a condom or use birth control? Pro-choice people just need to admit that they are taking a life, plain and simple. They have just decided that other concerns outweigh that life. But they are afraid to admit it in public.

All these folks like Nancy Pelosi run around scaring everyone that Roe v. Wade is going to get reversed. Even if it was, the situation in America would not change substantially. Does it really make sense to have such an important right resting on the screwy logic of one Supreme Court decision that would probably be reversed under any type of impartial close scrutiny? Have Congress establish basic standards for the practice, and then let states regulate it themselves. Many are already doing this anyways. Funnily enough, that is what the Framers intended.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Best Collector Ever?

Dr. John Lattimer died last year at 92, and his daughter is cataloging his voluminous collection to settle estate taxes, as well as out of curiosity. He truly had some of everything, all odd and unique in some way. Among the items listed are Lincoln's bloody collar, his shaving mirror, and the inkwell from the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, Lee Harvey Oswald's letters to his mother, Charles Lindbergh's goggles, Napoleon's penis (supposedly, and he was a urologist, which might explain the interest), Hermann Goering's cyanide capsule that he used to kill himself, as well as his boxer shorts, a coat belonging to Custer, and Greta Garbo's drivers license (she was a patient). And that just scratches the surface. Of course, the NY Times ignores the weapons aspect, as in loads of Revolutionary and Civil War swords, rifles, cannonballs, World War II machine guns and lugers, and medieval weapons and armor. That last list is from Wikipedia. See, I never miss an opportunity to show the NY Times left wing bias. :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Why the 2nd Amendment exists

Armed 85 yr old woman makes intruder call the cops. Gotta love it! All these anti-gun folks forget that a handgun makes a frail old woman as powerful as the thug breaking into her house. It is all about empowerment, and people have a fundamental right to protect themselves. It is as simple as that. Imagine what could have happened in that confrontation had she not been armed. It wouldn't have left you smiling, I know that for sure.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sirius-XM merger

Check out the details of the finally approved Sirius-XM satellite radio merger. Very interesting stuff, although I don't quite get all the "monopoly" fears from Democrats. There are so many music sources out there, that consumers will simply not pay that much if they drastically increase their prices. And the merger was necessary to ensure the survival of either company, so the threat of increased prices is better to me than no satellite radio. Of course, I am a Sirius subscriber, so I am wondering how my base service will change. I really enjoy what they offer so far, and I am looking forward to some more options.

A-B / InBev merger

Details of the executive compensation for the Anheuser-Busch executives from the pending InBev buyout. They will, of course, make out like kings. Too bad there are only vague assurances for all those thousands of unionized workers. The execs sold their employees down the river while guaranteeing themselves millions. Unfortunately, this is the way buyouts work. Just ask the former TWA employees. Or the former Miller Brewing Co. employees, many of whom are now without jobs.

Monday, August 18, 2008

McCain's intellect

What goes on in John McCain's brain? The Washington Post offers us a glimpse.

How to Stop Putin

Charles Krauthammer illustrates the options we have at our disposal to deal with Putin and to help Georgia. Among them, kick Russia out of the G-8, eliminate their seat at NATO conferences, and block their World Trade Organization membership. These are good starts, and hopefully Condi Rice is over there now taking the steps to get these things going. Also, did you know the 2014 Winter Olympics are in Sochi, 15 miles from Georgia's former province of Abkhazia? Now would be a good time to announce our boycott of those games.

Musharraf announces resignation

The President of Pakistan has resigned. He has ruled since 1999, but fell from favor recently after sacking the Chief Justice and temporarily suspending the constitution and independent TV outlets. There had been an ongoing demand for his resignation, and the Parliament was set to vote on his impeachment soon.

The Bear is awake and angry

A Russian general just threatened Poland with a possible nuclear attack if Poland goes ahead with their plans to accept a US missile interceptor base. The US says they are trying to counter the threat of a rogue missile attack, ostensibly from someone like Iran, but an angry general in Russia or a weapons malfunction could be just as likely. I'd want protection too, especially after being used as a doormat by the neighbors for the last few centuries. I think we should go ahead and put bases and military in every former Russian satellite and tell them that democracy is the wave of the future and they need to get with the program.

What price the Olympics?

How much of a price has China paid to stage the Olympics? The government has appeared heavy handed and uncaring, which is essentially the everyday state of affairs anyways. Really, it just seems like China is trying so hard to prove they can hang with the West. It is like a high school popularity contest for nations. Which is scary given the price they have paid to stage these games, estimated at over $50 billion. This is far more than was spent on the response to the devastating earthquake that killed thousands earlier this year in Sichuan, including the thousands of children that perished in poorly constructed government schools while most buildings withstood the shock. They have also had their totalitarian practices magnified for the world, which makes their sales pitch a little harder to take. It is like the Wizard of Oz: look at all the lights and smoke, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. But the simple fact is no one can control the thoughts and desires of 1.3 billion people, no matter how many resources they commit to the purpose. Oh, but they are trying, with an estimated 30,000 internet monitors that spy on their fellow countrymen with impunity, such that an off the cuff comment on a web page about how things are run can land a person in jail with a night of beatings and interrogations to remind them to keep their thoughts to themselves, and then only if they are lucky. And the countless thousands of watchers that trail everyone of interest, which could be anyone. It will reach a point where half the nation is employed by the state to keep an eye on the other half.
But the world is watching, and China cannot truly advance as a nation until they open up. Check out this article in the Times Online, which details a number of the ridiculous and flagrantly wrong things that have occurred for these games to happen, and think about that while you get chills watching America win gold next time. It came with a price, and millions have paid it so we can get two weeks of good tv. I just hope it means that the nightmare that is China's government will cease to exist somewhat sooner as a result. China's leaders have high regard for honor, but it is obvious to everyone that they have shamed themselves to look advanced and sophisticated to a bunch of Westerners, and all the billions watching, including their own citizens, can see right through the facade.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

R.I.P. Jerry Wexler

Give the man his due. He coined the term "rhythm and blues", produced Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Wilson Pickett, among others, and he signed an unknown British band called Led Zeppelin to Atlantic Records. Wonder if they made any money on that move? And that just scratches the surface of his career. Check out some of his other accomplishments.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Oil in Alaska

Why should we drill in ANWR? Here are some ideas, along with major impediments to the deal.
For example, when you hear Democrats say it will be ten years before we get any oil produced, it is because the environmentalist groups that they are such good friends with are busy obstructing any energy development deals that are in the works, usually via lawsuits and complaints filed with governing agencies. We could be producing oil from there in two years, as Brazil plans to from the deposits they discovered just six months prior.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Texas Hold 'em vs. Russian Roulette

Austin Bay discusses potential military responses to assist Georgia against Russia. The best suggestion recommends a peacekeeping brigade:
"A peacekeeping brigade comprises at least two engineer battalions with attached military police, medical, Civil Affairs, signal units and lots of media connectivity. Cameras matter. Add State Department personnel. Add Special Forces with their linguistic talents and a light infantry battalion for local security. Embed non-governmental organizations with the guts to participate and promise support to NGOs who choose to operate on their own but would accept clean water and blankets. Why, Mr. President, you can help the human shields. Aren’t they heading for Georgia to stop a super-power invasion? Tell the human shields our peacekeeping outfit will give them MREs and bandaids while they chain themselves to Georgian churches to protect them from Russian bombs."
Of course, the US military doesn't have such a brigade, but it would seem useful there. It would be daring the Russians to make war on actual American troops, with heavy media coverage. I especially like the idea of bringing out the human shields, although I wonder how many are left after they tried to "shield" Iraq before the war began. Heh heh.

Originally via Instapundit.

Real oil or "Snake oil"?

The Washington Post neatly summarizes why environmentalists' claims of drilling offshore as "snake oil" are patently false. They even cover the issue of the existing leases that oil companies hold and supposedly don't use, a frequent talking point of Democrats like John Kerry, and why it is simply untrue. They still oppose drilling in ANWR though, trotting out the "pristine" argument offered by McCain and others, but they never explain how a 2000 acre facility in a region the size of South Carolina will ruin it, or what there is to ruin there. They also don't really address the effect that planning to drill has on the market, especially with all the speculators involved in oil futures. When President Bush announced that he was lifting the executive branch moratorium on offshore oil drilling exploration, oil prices started dropping the very next day. And they have been falling ever since. It is amazing how few people really understand economics. Now if we can only get Nancy Pelosi to allow a vote on this issue, we might truly see some real relief at the pump.

India finds out the hard way why price controls don't work

Unfortunately, they have tried this idea with pharmaceuticals, with the point of guaranteeing drug access for the poor, but it is thought that if the price controls continue, production of certain drugs that are unprofitable for the drug companies will simply cease. This of course leaves no one with the medicine they need. So they either need to nationalize the drug companies, which would of course be ridiculously inexpensive and inefficient, or they need to eliminate the price controls. They may be forced to do the latter very soon with elections looming. It appears that the problem partially stems from China closing chemical production factories during the Olympics. It is hoped that production will increase after the games are finished, but it may take the markets a while to reconcile the increases, potentially depriving many of needed drugs in the interim. Via the BBC.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More Russia / Georgia analysis

This time from Bloomberg, along with the suggestion that the Ukraine had better watch out, or they might be next, as both countries have applied to join NATO and both receive large amount of American military aid. At least a ceasefire has apparently been called. Via Drudge Report.
The sage Peggy Noonan offers her thoughts on the Presidential campaign, including analysis of each candidate's chances. She has been doing these sorts of things for years, and she really raises some excellent points. My favorite was her quote from McCain at the Harley rally in Sturgis, S.D., to the effect that he'd rather hear 50,000 Harleys roar, rather than a hundred thousand Berliners, any day of the week.

Russia invades Georgia - What to do?

For those that have been paying attention to the candidates and their response to this situation, Barack Obama recently came out against Russian aggression towards Georgia. This was a clarification of some of his other positions, to make him more closely mirror John McCain's position. McCain has been speaking out against the risks Russia poses for over a decade, particularly under Vladimir Putin's rule. The Wall Street Journal has some suggestions on what the West's response to this blatant violation of international sovereignty should be. If we don't act now, Russia could easily act to retake other former Republics. This could be the start of something big, and the world is too busy watching beach volleyball at the Olympics.
We should all hope that this does not develop into something truly serious, as a wrong move could start a major war, even World War III. Hopefully we will soon have some leadership that recognizes that the threat we are dealing with cannot simply go unchecked. Russia is seriously impeding upon the international order, but no mechanism exists within the UN to address the situation since Russia has a veto on the Security Council. This suggests that NATO might be a better vehicle for addressing aggression on this scale. A strong response now would be more likely to get Russia to stand down. The more the West dithers, the more emboldened Putin will become.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Edwards admits to affair MSM has been ignoring for weeks

John Edwards just confirmed that the National Enquirer reporting about his alleged affair was correct, which was obvious to most people all along, but now that he has admitted to it, it is officially ok for the mainstream media to report on it now. Not before he ok'ed it though, which is good to know that major media sources have such an agreement with a major Democrat, who could have possibly been the Vice Presidential candidate or Attorney General in the Obama Administration. However, such concerns didn't prevent the New York Times from printing a front page story about an unsubstantiated McCain affair. Funny how those double standards work, isn't it? And they wonder why circulation is down? And of course Edwards has been busy denying the affair let and right prior to this. He just finished campaigning for President with his cancer-stricken wife by his side. One of his major selling points was how he had stood by her wife through her fight with cancer. Guess this means he really is just a big fraud after all. Glad that is cleared up!

Russia attacks Georgia

Russia attacked its former territory Georgia today, after massing troops on the border over the last few days. They have employed tanks, airplanes, and artillery to attack Georgian forces and cities, killing hundreds. Think it is a coincidence that the world leaders are busy at the opening of the Olympics? Looks like we should accelerate that NATO membership for them as soon as possible to get Russia off their back.

Crafty Time

Time magazine is at it again, this time going to bat for Obama regarding his statement that inflating everyones tires properly will make up for not drilling on our coasts. Fortunately, blogs like Powerline exist to nail them to the wall, going after their bad data and even showing where they got it from and how they twisted it. Of course, most people are on to Time's games, but I remember being forced to read it in middle school and I pity the kids today having to make their way through such tripe.

Get ready for speed cameras Illinois!

Your wonderful governor is promising to blanket the state with speed cameras to ticket motorists and raise millions of dollars, which will be used to fund state police actions against "high crime areas". What a great state! They can't indict this Illinois governor fast enough! And were are supposed to blindly accept a product of the Chicago Daley political machine for President as well. They think they are practically an independent country in Illinois, especially in Chicago.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Chavez rushing to create dictatorship

Hugo Chavez is consolidating his control over Venezuela, passing a number of decrees enacting laws that voters just rejected by large margins. Many opposition candidates have also been barred from running for office, and it is increasingly likely that Venezuela will turn into a Cuba with enormous oil wealth. The US should be turning up the heat on this situation and not just focusing on problems in Asia.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Time for Iraqis to start paying more?

With Iraqi government oil profits over $50 billion so far this year, more than double the previous year, it is time they start dedicating funds to offsetting our costs in their country. The American taxpayer has funded this war, while Iraq has amassed huge surpluses from their oil wealth. President Bush should suggest that some of this money be applied to our government's expenditures for this year, especially considering how much has been spent so far. Won't hold my breath for that to happen though...

China fails in promise to allow media freedom during Olympics

Two Japanese reporters were beaten by Chinese paramilitary police in Kashgar, site of the deadly truck attack against local police just one day prior. China has apologized for the situation, but made a clear promise in negotiating for the Olympics to allow unfettered media access during the Olympics, which begin in three days. So I guess technically they have kept their promise, as they have a few more days to keep trampling on basic human freedoms without actually breaking their word.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Hollywood Blacklist Revived?

It sure looks that way. Academy Award winner Jon Voight, who won in 1978 for the anti-war "Coming Home", has since learned that he was duped by the anti-war movement back then. He just published an op-ed warning against an Obama presidency:
The Democrats have targeted young people, knowing how easy it is to bring forth whatever is needed to program their minds. I know this process well. I was caught up in the hysteria during the Vietnam era, which was brought about through Marxist propaganda underlying the so-called peace movement. The radicals of that era were successful in giving the communists power to bring forth the killing fields and slaughter 2.5 million people in Cambodia and South Vietnam. Did they stop the war, or did they bring the war to those innocent people? In the end, they turned their backs on all the horror and suffering they helped create and walked away.
Now many Hollywood types are suggesting it should be difficult for him to find work. Andrew Breitbart covers some of the comments made against him, and offers Voight's own reasoning for his positions, which seem well thought out to me. And may I also suggest he has had a pretty magnificent career (check his profile on imdb.com!), and he doesn't need some lefty producer determining whether they want him, but rather that they'd be damn lucky to have him, for the credibility he brings (see: "Transformers" as but one example).

Monday, August 04, 2008

City goverment run amok?

Milwaukee is pursuing an unpaid parking ticket by foreclosing on a man's house. The $50 fine has increased to $2,645 with interest and penalties. Got to love those city administrators! Really seems especially cruel and unusual when you read that he "has been diagnosed with psychological disorders that limit his "ability to understand, remember and carry out detailed instructions," according to documents from the administration. In addition he suffers from chronic pain caused by degenerative diseases of the knees and spine, as well as chronic respiratory disease, diabetes and obesity, among other ailments." Throw in the fact that he is/was sole caregiver for his elderly parents (the man is 62), and you wonder if these city officials are just completely heartless. All for having an unlicensed van parked in his driveway, because the radiator had gone out, and he hadn't had time to fix it. Even the judge in the case is to blame; he recognizes that a criminal in this situation would have had an attorney appointed immediately and gotten good advice, but since this is civil litigation, the man is responsible for his own defense. For shame Milwaukee! Yet another example of government power run amok. In St. Louis, they would have just repossessed his car and sold it, but Milwaukee is apparently much greedier. Wish there was some way to help pay this man's fine for him... Via Drudge.
More brilliance from Thomas Sowell:
"What is amazing this year is how many people have bought the fundamentally childish notion that, if you don't like the way things are going, the answer is to write a blank check for generic "change," empowering someone chosen not on the basis of any track record but on the basis of his skill with words."

St. Louis - You all don't even know what you're missing!

Lots of interesting things happen in St. Louis.

Of note this weekend, we had the great "World Naked Bike Ride" to protest dependence on oil.

Our corrupt police forces have also made their way into the news again. First off, in the police impound lot scandal, which has already led to the resignation of the police chief, the Post-Dispatch has published a nice story about one of the people who had her car seized by the police, who told her it was totaled, and then turned around and sold it to the chief's daughter for super cheap. I hope the Feds come down on them hard, and clean up this dirty police force.

And finally, in St. Louis County, in the township of Wellston, we have the amazing spectacle of former and current police chiefs brawling, and apparently drawing guns on each other. The mayor apparently tried to break it up, and had a heart attack. It would be funnier if it wasn't true.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

What is wrong with this election?

Postsecret has a pretty good idea...

The death of a Russian legend.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn has passed away at 89 in Moscow. He is famous for exposing the horrors of Stalin's slave labor camps to the world, and establishing the word "gulag" in the popular lexicon. His most famous work, "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich", chronicles the sufferings of an inmate of Stalin's prison system. Khrushchev ordered him to be published in 1962, as a way to break from the horrors of Stalinism, but later rulers banned his works and eventually deported him to the West. He eventually returned to Russia as a hero, where he continued to be a harsh critic of both Russian leadership and Western government as a model for everyone else, contradictory positions that reflect the nationalism of a man who loved his country, even after his own harsh treatment. He also won the 1970 Nobel Prize for Literature. The world owes him a debt for having the courage to chronicle some of the worst aspects of Stalinism, which prior to that time was still seen as some sort of socialist paradise by many left-leaning intellectuals in the US and Europe. His publications underscored how indefensible their positions really were.

The war against al-Qaeda continues...

This time in Pakistan. An airstrike in South Waziristan has apparently eliminated the explosives expert that engineered the U.S.S. Cole bombing in 2000,Abu Khabab al-Masri , as well as several other senior Al-Qaeda officials. Several Arab "experts" from various Middle Eastern institutes downplay the significance of the killings, but I think this is a big win for the US. Al-Masri is known to have run an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan, as well as conducting numerous chemical and explosives test, usually on dogs, and carried a $5 million US bounty. Sounds like a nice guy. Left unsaid in the AP article, is that the US had apparently received approval for an airstrike in Pakistani territory. This is a good sign that senior leadership in Pakistan remains committed to cooperating in the War on Terror. Now if they can only restrain some of the rogue elements in their intelligence service, which supports al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and is suspected to have some involvement in the barrage of bombings in India last week. Hopefully the US can continue to leverage good intelligence into swift action. That is what is going to ultimately take out foes like Osama bin Laden.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Economic data for second quarter

The economy grew at a 1.9 percent annual rate in the quarter, avoiding negative territory for the second consecutive quarter following a 0.2 percent contraction in the final quarter of 2007. Much more data can be found here.