Thursday, May 31, 2007

quote of the day

"Romney is the most perfect iteration I've seen of the television-era candidate. At one point, I squinted a bit and saw him in the middle distance: blue suit, white shirt, red tie, high forehead, slick black hair, tan, tall and ramrod straight — he could have been an exhibit in some future Museum of Natural History: Politicianus americanus."

Joe Klein

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


The Eco-socialists in Europe are catching up with the United States. That may sound odd, but it is true. While the U.S. may not have a thriving green/socialist party, it does have green/socialist policies.

Chief among them are farm subsidies for bio-fuels. These subsidies accomplish two goals. First, it (in their minds) is a boon for the environment. They think that the extraction and use of carbon based fuels is "raping" the earth, yada yada. Secondly, they want to control the free market to create a better outcome. They mistakenly think that bureaucrats can create a society that is based on some fuzzy ideals of social justice.

According to the NYT, farmers in Europe are only now growing bio-fuel crops. They are replacing wheat and barley with rapeseed. Anyone with the slightest ability to think logically would immediately know that items made with wheat and barley would become more expensive. The main two products being pasta and (most unfortunately) beer.

The Eco-socialists are hurting the poorest people in the world the hardest. No bourgeoisie will suffer. Although I couldn't possibly understand the Eco-socialists, I will venture a guess. While the poor might suffer in the short run, the long run goal is to also control the means of producing food. Maybe they think that subsidies will lead to greater control (which they are probably correct about). Either way we will all lose.


I disagree with anyone who says that going home for a long weekend is a "vacation". The definition of a vacation from is "a period of time devoted to pleasure, rest, or relaxation, especially one with pay granted to an employee".

Driving 8 hours just to bounce around visiting people does not fit the rest or relaxation categories. The finial category, pleasure, is often ruled out also. There is never enough time to visit everyone or spend enough time with each person, which invariably leads to riffs. Although the riff may be silly and short lived, it would be non existent on a beach in Cancun.

To rectify the problem I will propose abolishing usage of the term "vacation" as a legitimate descriptor of time off from work used to visit family and friends. Hence forth the term vacation shall only be used when describing a time away from work that is devoid of entangling alliances or mandates which lead to strict limits on time and place.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Robert Rector is wrong

The Wall Street Journal has effectively rebutted Robert Rector's claim that the life time cost of each immigrant legalized will strain the economy. The truth is that they provide an influx of young workers that will be necessary to sustain programs such as social security. For this reason, babyboomers should be encouraging copious amounts of immigration. The reality is that their future retirement in the sun will be financed by immigrants who are coming here now.

We don't want to reform social security; we don't want to scale back entitlements; and we don't want young workers to come here to replace an aging workforce.

What do we want then?

Serfdom: We're on our way!

Why are Democrats like Senator Schumer insisting that Americans be put on the road to serfdom? Yesterday, comrade Schumer held a hearing to investigate if “Market concentration in the U.S. Petroleum Industry [is] harming consumers”. Instead of simply complaining, I will suggest topics for future Senate investigations.

“Does any legislator understand that it’s idiotic to accuse oil companies of inflating prices by under producing when you take away their incentive by dictating how fuels are produced?”

“An Investigation into how much worse off Americans are when government regulates?”

“Is economic freedom an outdated idea?”

“Why do we laugh at the founders principles?”

“Abandonment of Economics 101?”

“Demagoguery: the death of democracy?”

House Version

Here is a roundup of the bill that was passed in the house by Schumer’s comrades that was posted on Reason's blog, Hit & Run. It is so wonderful that congress is passing laws that create vague language that allow bureaucrats to control target companies and entire industries through fiat. Soon we will be able to break the hold of the bourgeoisie!

"Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act - Makes it unlawful for any person to sell crude oil, gasoline, natural gas, or petroleum distillates at a price that: (1) is unconscionably excessive; or (2) indicates the seller is taking unfair advantage unusual market conditions or the circumstances of an emergency to increase prices unreasonably.

Declares unlawful: (1) intentional reporting of false price information concerning wholesale prices of such products; and (2) market manipulation regarding the purchase or sale at wholesale of such products.

Empowers the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and State Attorneys General to enforce this Act.

Sets forth civil and criminal penalties for violations of this Act.

Requires fines and penalties collected under this Act to be deposited in a separate fund in the treasury to be known as the Consumer Relief Trust Fund to provide assistance under the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) administered by the Secretary of Health and Human Services."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Sowell should know better

I usually agree with Thomas Sowell (roughly 98.79% rate of agreement), but find one part from his argument on immigration disagreeable.

He claims that immigration now is different from previous waves. Sowell is correct to assert that the world is smaller (immigrants can communicate with and travel to their home countries) but seems to insinuate that Hispanic immigrants have settled differently.

“People who crossed an ocean to get here, many generations ago, usually came here to become Americans. There were organized efforts within their communities, as well as in the larger society around them, to help them assimilate.”

Both of his statements are unsubstantiated and (in my opinion) incorrect. First, how does he know that people “usually” came here to be Americans? Although there are boat loads (no pun intended) of anecdotal stories of the downtrodden traveling to the city on the hill, there are also piles of stories of criminals and vagrants migrating for less than altruistic purposes. A cursory review of opinion in the early 20th century will show that they felt similar about the immigrants of their day. Imagine the consternation that sons of British immigrants (who came to America to become Americans!) had towards those Irish, Italians, and Eastern Europeans and who came to fill our cities with squalor, disease, and organized crime!

Secondly, I would like to know what communities did in the past to help assimilate their members. The major distinction here (missed by Sowell) is between assimilation and integration. Communities in the past would help their members integrate into society, but not assimilate. An integrated individual can function within the state with little or no language skills or cultural understanding. A short trip into any major city in this country will reveal a China town, Little Italy, etc. The inhabitants of these neighborhoods were assisted with integration but were not assimilated. In fact, these type of communities slow assimilation. They lessen the need for language skills, education, and cultural understanding through a lack of personal contact with assimilated Americans. Over time they too assimilate, but the process is retarded.

I felt compelled to write this because it exemplifies what I often see. People reminisce about a past they either do not know or have only a vague memory of, while also subtly implying that modern immigrants are inherently different. While I doubt this is Sowell’s purpose, it is still a problem.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


The most expensive hot dog in history?

"With his campaign gathering steam, Romney is in the midst of another intense burst of fundraising. On Monday, he started in Hartford, Conn., and traveled to Boston and then Houston. At Fenway Park, approximately 200 donors paid $2,300 apiece for a lunch of hot dogs with sauerkraut, chicken and potato salad."


Presidential race

A column by Christopher Cooper in the Wall Street Journal shows why this year’s presidential race may change presidential politics forever. Many people have made similar grand pronouncements about this year’s election but most are false. Contrary to popular belief this presidential election is no more important than any other year. Politicians attempt to fire up their respective bases by explaining how, unlike past years, this year is the most important ever. “If the other guy gets in we’re all in trouble”. Both the Kerry and Bush campaigns were very good at explaining how the other guy would be a disaster.

The real reason why this year will change everything is because of the shifted primary schedule. While we have all heard about states moving their primaries closer to Iowa and New Hampshire (Nevada has officially moved before New Hampshire while Florida has officially moved to Jan. 29). Pundits have severely understated the practical effect of this movement. Institutional candidates with large war chests will now have an enormous advantage.

How big is this change? States moving up, including Florida and California, allow for early voting. In a heavily contested election, such as this year, voters will no doubt flock to the polls early. Not only do these states allow for early voting, they also encourage it. California has a permanent absentee-voter program which allows voters the choice to have a ballot automatically sent to them in the mail. “In the 2006 primary, 2.4 million California voters, or 47%, cast mail ballots”. That is a lot of votes. The ENTIRE COMBINED POPULATION (according to the 2006 census estimate) of Iowa Nevada and New Hampshire is 6.7 million.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Immigration: Part I

While the immigration issue is debated (most of the debate is rhetorical nonsense) a larger issue is being missed: the bill will vastly increase the size and power of government. There are three ways that the proposed deal will extend the tentacles of government.

1. The government must be enlarge simply to comply with the logistics of processing the millions (10?, 15?, 20?) of illegal immigrants currently here. One day some poor soul in (presumably) Homeland Security is going to arrive at work (probably on a dreary Monday) and have a small stack of 10 million applications to sort through; and you thought your Monday was bad. On Tuesday this bludgeoned worker will come to work (thinking how could it get any worse) and be handed 400,000 applications from foreigners who want to be guest workers. Having not slept in 48 hours Joe worker comes to work pushing an IV bag pumping coffee into his veins. The caffeine helps, but after a morning meeting he is informed that they must establish a structure to implement the points system for approving the new visas’. This new visa must take into account education, English language knowledge, and personal attributes (the person must be an upstanding citizen). Needless to say, Joe is going to need help.

2. Homeland Security is being tasked with creating a national database that employers will be required to utilize in checking the status of new workers. First, businesses should not be tasked with sorting out who can and cannot work. If they are here they should be able to work. It is that simple. Businesses do not incorporate to do the work of immigration agencies. Secondly, (and more importantly) this database may be the precursor to a national ID. There may be a time when every citizen has an ID with a chip that contains all of their personal information (the military already does). If that day does come we can look back to the immigration reform of 2007 to find the origin.

3. David Isaacs, director of federal affairs for Hewlett-Packard, said that “a merit based system would take the hiring decision out of our hands and place it squarely in the hands of the federal government” in a recent NYT article. The proposed merit based system (that poor Joe Q. Worker will have to implement) takes away the need for a domestic sponsor. Immigrants will now be granted entry based solely on their level of education with no regard for their actual skill. For instance: the domestic need for educated workers may be for chemical engineers and computer programs (mainly from Europe, and Asia), but the preponderance of applications may be from immigrants with training in theology (mainly form the Middle East). Businesses, who are the benefactors of migrant workers, will no longer have a say in what workers they actually need. If the current bill (as I understand it) passes, it will allow the Federal government to decidedly change the character of the workforce. That isn’t even to mention the social ramifications of a law that favors Europeans and Asians over Arabs and Hispanics.

Friday, May 18, 2007

China amazes again

“The central bank also ordered banks to hold 11.5 percent of assets as reserves, up from 11 percent. Many banks already have even larger reserves, however, as they have been swamped with deposits from China’s brisk economic growth and large trade surplus, and have had trouble finding ways to lend this money.” more here

I have to say that I am amazed by the economic growth in China. My prediction of slowing growth has not even come close to reality. The affect of the central banks order for banks to increase reserves had almost no negative backlash. The problem: banks are already awash in money and can’t find enough people to give it to. The only response to that is: wow.

It’s hard to believe that China’s growth is going to slow any time soon but when it does it may be devastating to the U.S. and the world.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Leviathan on the Right

After reading Michael Tanner’s book “Leviathan on the Right” I would like to say that it is a very good book that should sharpen the debate about the divide between modern conservative thought (whatever that means) and libertarian philosophies.

Republicans have openly abandoned small government conservatism, as Tanner’s book further proves. The real question now is how to fix the problem. Without a strong Libertarian party, we must choose our course of action. Will we A) change support to the Democrats to send a message B) continue to support the Republicans who have abandoned social and most economic freedoms or C) split our votes between the two.

Option C would obviously be disastrous. Being a minority group, our power is already diluted. Splitting the minority in half would effectively cancel any sway we could have in major party politics.

Option A sounds enticing at the current moment. There is no better way to sting the Republican party for abandoning us than to move our registration to the Democratic party. They have consistently opposed indefinite detainment, supported immigration reform, and have pushed for a more federalist approach to addressing issues such as gay marriage and medical marijuana. The problem with option A is two fold. First, they do not believe in economic freedom. They generally believe that Government can create an ordered society if it just has enough resources. It doesn’t matter if the initiative doesn’t work because the line of reasoning is always that it doesn’t have enough resources. When it comes down to it, I simply just don’t trust them with taxes or free trade. Say what you will about the Bush administration and the Republican congress, but at least they have been good on these two bedrock issues. Democrats call for reforming the AMT is encouraging but in the end it is a shallow play for inner city votes and not a change philosophy. Voting for Democrats will only enable them to sink free trade agreements and fight the “I can spend more money than you” battle with Republicans.

The only reasonable course of action seems to be option B. While Republicans may have turned on small government philosophy, it has only been in the last 8 years. On the Democrats side they have been that way for almost the last 100 years. The Republican party needs a tune-up while the Democrats would require an engine overhaul. I also think that a reversion back to small government principles will happen almost naturally. It seems that losing control of congress in 06 wasn’t enough of a wakeup call. Will falling into a deeper hole in congress and losing the presidency in 08 turn things around? I don’t know the answer to that, but it must stand to reason that a party which loses (and I predict they will) two branches of government (and one could argue the third since the next president will almost assuredly be appointing a Supreme Court justice) in four years must do some soul searching. There was a superficial soul searching after the 06 midterm but the outcome seemed to be that Republicans were hurt by the Foley/Katrina/Iraq axes of evil and should elevate Reagan to idyllic levels as opposed to reinventing small government conservatism. So maybe then the answer should be to vote against Republicans in 08 so that they are forced to rethink their position after a miserable showing. So that means option A for 08 and then back to option B. If Republicans don't return to small government conservatism the only answer would be option D--move to Arizona (New Hampshire is too cold).

That might be the ticket, although I don’t think I could force my hand to check off a D. The possibility gives me the creeps.

Quote of the Day

Representative Tom Tancredo of Colorado said he had witnessed, in the course of his campaign, candidates move to more conservative positions on guns, abortion and immigration. “You know it’s beginning to sound like a Baptist tent revival meeting here,” Mr. Tancredo said. “And I’m glad to see these conversions. But I must tell you, I trust those conversions when they happen on the road to Damascus and not on the road to Des Moines.”

From the NYT

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I'm Back

I have had a long post vacation but I am back. Originally I stopped posting because work and school started to squeeze my time (somewhat) but now the semester is over. While I may never gain a strong readership, I will surely help myself. I have no doubt that my writing skills have been improved. The constant exposure to outside eyes (or simply the possibility) makes one concentrate harder on detail and content. It has been a good experience writing this blog so its about time I get back to it.