Friday, June 29, 2007

Why vote Republican in 08?

If your like me, then you are in the process of, or have already lost faith in the Republican party. But, there is still one issue for which I will surely pull the R lever in 08: the Supreme Court. This week two cases in particular have reminded me that although Republicans have forgotten their small government promise, their Supreme Court justices have delivered in the clutch.

The first case is very well known by now. In a 5-4 decision the court decided that "public school systems cannot seek to achieve or maintain integration through measures that take explicit account of a student’s race." While this is somewhat ambiguous, it is a strike at race based criteria for school children. While I can already imagine (I try not to read their nonsense so i have to imagine) liberals crying about how this is some return to segregation, it is actually comeback for common sense and the constitution. The actual cases involved schools that were attempting to achieve some sort of perfect racial harmony (and of course any elite liberal knows the exact mix which constitutes harmony); they weren't trying to mix a segregated school. A child in one case was prohibited from transferring to a better school because it would have thrown off the balance. Was this the purpose of desegregation? Are we to micromanage the exact numbers of each race in every school? No. Well at least not any longer.

In another case which received much less attention, the court struck down a remnant from that pesky Sherman Antitrust Act which stopped distributors and manufactures from setting retail prices (hence the term suggested retail price). Actually the arguments were rather silly. One side argued that it will hurt consumers while the other side argued that it may draw down prices. When did the Supreme Court become a deliberative governing body? The prices of goods should have zero bearing on the decision while the constitution should have 100%. Although the script was flipped, they made the correct decision.

After tax cuts, rulings like these are the only thing that keeps my hand on the R lever. The next president will have AT LEAST one appointment maybe two or three. Ginsburg's years are numbered and Stevens is old enough to be my great great great grandpa. The possibility of three nominations leaves one slot open for surprises. Remember, Scalia has gone hunting with Cheney in the never know.

If Ginsburg or Stevens (or both) are replaced with conservatives then we will hold the court for the foreseeable future. This is enough to vote R.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Immigration Bill Dead

Final vote on cloture: 46-53


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The REAL Problem with the Immigration Bill

As we all know the immigration bill is back, and (in my opinion) will pass the Senate. I had deep concerns when this bill first surfaced over its impact on the labor market.

Essentially the bill would take the demand mechanism away from business and give it to government. It would make government the clearing house for workers under a point system. The system will fail because government cannot possibly sort through the price signals which make up the labor market. Neither can business. They can only do it for their market for which they specialize, which is why the system works so well. It is not possible for a central bureaucracy to sort these issues out.

My concerns were confirmed today here. Apparently Canada has a similar points system and it is cramping the labor market. Huge surprise! Labor shortages in blue collar jobs (especially the fast growing oil sector) and long waiting lines (backlog of 800,000 applications with a wait of four years or more).

Everybody is so scared of Mexicans, while I'm scared of the government.

Zimbabwe: Global Example for Economic Disaster

Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, has set a wonderful example for how to destroy a country. I can only hope that when I am a benevolent dictator of some sleepy island in the pacific that I will have such foresight if i decide to rape my country.

His plan for developing the economy according to the NYT:

"[Mugabe's] legislation would establish a government fund to help citizens buy stock in public companies, and would allow the government to reject any corporate mergers, acquisitions, investments and other transactions in which so-called indigenous Zimbabweans did not hold a 51 percent stake. It was unclear, however, how Zimbabwe’s bankrupt government, beset by hyperinflation and a currency crisis, would finance the transfers."

What a wonderful idea. Rake the few remaining employers over the coals by essentially mandating a takeover and outlawing rational decision making. As any good politician would do, he is calling for patience. Thats because of the above stated hyperinflation problem. How bad is it? Comically bad.

"Prices change daily, if not hourly; one news report last week noted that golfers at a Harare country club were paying for their 19th-hole drinks before teeing off after discovering that prices were rising while they were on the course."

Yes, for only 400,000 Zimbabwe dollars you too can own a single American dollar.

I feel bad for the people of Zimbabwe. How do you rectify this problem? Elections? It is extremely difficult to defeat a person who has utilized such deep patronage politics for so many years and more difficult to find an honest candidate. Overthrow the government? Good luck.I guess the only answer is to move. A tough chore for a person with little money, education, and direction. The only positive is that it reinforces how lucky I am to live in the US despite the various faults.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Two Palestinian States

A headline in the NYT today read "Quartet Meets on Israeli-Palestinian Relations". The headline should have read "Quartet Meets on How to deal with Palestinian Civil War Which Threatens to Create Separate Terrorist State in Gaza". Admittedly, this isn't a very good headline, but it would explain the reality of the situation.

No serious observer truly believes that peace can be brokered among chaos. On one side there is a terrorist organization taking control by force and elections. On the other side is corrupt organization led by an ineffectual leader that is too weak stave off insurrection. Classic lose-lose situation.

Honestly this is one area where i have no coherent policy suggestion. There is no credible solution I have heard that can be noted here, and that is without the inter-Palestinian chaos.

Give land back to the Palestinians that Israel has 'taken', and they will incite more attacks. Respond swiftly and decisively to provocation, and they will incite more attacks. Build barriers to slow the influx of potential terrorists and be condemned by the international community. I have no clue.

I you have a clue please forward your suggestion to me and please CC or BCC it to Thanks for helping save the world.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Headline: "Gas shortages experienced around the country, regulaters miffed while politicians promise to fix the problem"

No this headline hasn't appeared yet, but it a distinct possibility if the current energy bill becomes law. I'm not certain about the bills chances in the house, but I am very hopeful the president will use the veto. It passed the Senate by a somewhat surprisingly large margin: 65- 27. Although there are a few annoying features in the bill, the price gouging issue is the worse.

Our comrades in congress will have the ability to throw penalties at oil companies whenever they feel unloved. This is crazy. In congress' ever expanding need for power they have decided to wade into the gray area of private pricing practices.

This is a de-facto price control mechanism. The threat of penalties will change the natural price signals mechanism. For those of you who have not been through Econ-101 (and it seems a majority of Senators haven't) that means shortages will follow. I wish I had some long technocratic jargon laced explanation backed with fancy math equations that nobody understands, but it isn't necessary. Price ceilings cause shortages. End of story.

So when there are gas lines and everybody is crying "why? why?" they can look back to the 2007 Energy bill for answers.

John Edwards exposed as fraud by main stream media

The second part of the headline, not the first, is the shock. Any warmblooded mammal with a brain larger than a pea already knew that Edwards was a fraud, but now liberals will have a hard time refuting it after this article.

We all know about his $400 haircut (which he blamed on his staff as any true leader would) but now we learn that he was using his non-profit 527 group OneAmerica and the Center for Promise and Opportunity, to fund his political jaunts.

Because of his purely demagogue standing, I wont waste my time blasting him. He is useless.

What I do find interesting is his opening of Pandora's box. His utilization of tax free issue organizations that are not binded by donation limitations is the wave of the future. It accomplishes a few things. First, it obviously allows one to collect donations with no limit. One might say that this money can't be used for political purposes, but how is 'political' defined? Is a commercial featuring a politician that reads 'vote for me' political, while a commercial featuring a politician saying 'cure poverty' not political? They both can achieve name recognition and frame the candidates character.

The goal of any campaign is to create and control their candidates image. This is the genius of Al Gore's stealth campaign. He is the foremost expert on global warming. I am not saying that he actually knows what he is talking about or is correct, but I am saying that John Q. Public believes it. Perception is reality in politics.

Expect to see the Edwards model utilized in the future.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

McCain on making English the official language: it is a "despicable influence"

I know McCain is not fond of official English legislation, but I didn't know he went this far...

"I'm not sure why McCain would go along with [the official English amendment to the immigration bill]. Back in 1988, when Arizona voters were being asked to approve an English-only proposition, then-Rep. McCain and two other Arizona congressmen sent a letter to then-Sen. Barry Goldwater, an honorary chairman for the drive. They asked Goldwater to remove his name from the effort, which they said was spreading a "despicable influence into Arizona."

When asked at the time about efforts to make English our official language, McCain said, "Our nation and the English language has done quite well with Chinese spoken in California, German in Pennsylvania, Italian in New York, Swedish in Minnesota and Spanish throughout the Southwest. I fail to see the cause for alarm now.""

From the Arizona Republic.

Worker Intimidation Act of 2007

Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell has renamed the "Employee Free Choice Act of 2007" to the "Worker Intimidation Act of 2007" here.

The Democrats on the hill are desperate to hand their Union friends the ability to intimidate employees into voting to unionize by eliminating secret ballots. Although I know this is purely political, I would like to hear a logical reason why secret ballots must be banished.

Supporters seem to admit that workers will be intimidated into unionizing because they only talk about the benefits of unionization. Why would more employees vote for unionization if the ballots are made public? Would they have a sudden epiphany? Does the secret ballot blind them to the realities of the benefits of forming a union?

The secret ballot protects workers from being intimidated by their employer. Why relinquish this protection? To expose workers to intimidation from union bosses, hence the new name "Worker Intimidation Act of 2007".

Monday, June 18, 2007

Good news in Iraq

I haven't said much about the situation in Iraq because I am actively involved in trying to have an analysis of the situation that I wrote published. It wont be in Foreign Affairs or anything of that stature but published is published. We'll see. But writing about it here after reading and writing about it for hours is not appealing in the least. After reading this article in the Washington Post, I decided to write something short.

I'm not sure how long it has been since I have read an article about U.S. policy in Iraq that I liked or agreed with; the long drought is now over. The military is now looking to co-op certain Sunni Arab groups in the fight against al-Qaeda. It is about time.

The real threat in Iraq is al-Qaeda.
Rhetoric surrounding al-Qaeda is often false or overblown. The case is often made that Iraq will become a "safe haven" or "breading grounds" for al-Qaeda if we "fail". Although this could happen a much bigger danger is a wider civil war which involves neighboring countries. This could be a catastrophic event that will greatly overshadow a few extremists planning attacks on the U.S.

How will this catistrophic event be realized? Through flaming sectarian hatred spread by al-Qaeda. They are small and relatively weak, but know how to cause trouble. The Sunni's have tolerated them because of their lack of power after the fall of Saddam (simplistic explanation but will due for now). This is essential because they need local support to operate. It seems that many Sunni tribal leaders have come to realize that a civil war is not in their best interest. Their minority status combined with lack of oil resources on their lands would give the Sunnis immediate underdog status.

Instead some groups have decided that al-Qaeda is the enemy (with the U.S. a close second and Israel a close third). Therefore, we should assist them in exterminating the biggest threat to stability in Iraq. To nobody's surprise the Kurds and Shiites don't like this idea. They claim that we may be arming people who have attacked the U.S. They also claim that these guns may be turned on them later. Both are valid concerns, but the need to defeat (or at least marginalize) al-Qaeda is more important.

Cato on Enemy Combatant ruling

Cato has a good summary of the enemy combatant ruling in the al-Marri case that I have written about in previous posts. I am no lawyer, but maybe I should be. Cato's legal expert Tim Lynch gives a legal opinion here that is stunningly close to my assessment. I'll paste his brief opinion but there is more info here.

The Al-Marri ruling (pdf) this week brings the “enemy combatant” controversy back into the news. I addressed the Al-Marri case in this article (pdf) for the Cato Supreme Court Review (see pp. 37-39). In the article, I set forth a legal framework for analyzing the competing claims of security and liberty. I think factors such as citizenship and place of capture matter.

President Bush advances the sweeping claim that the entire world, including every inch of U.S. territory is a “battlefield.” He then argues that the “battlefield” is no place for police officers, search warrants, trials, and judges. There are no rights on the battlefield. Bush is the commander-in-chief and he’ll decide who needs to be killed or locked up. And his decisions are final. No “second-guessing” by the Congress or the judiciary.

Despite his sinking poll numbers, Bush’s dangerous legal claims are alive and well. This evening, Bush could have any American secretly arrested and put on a plane for incommunicado detention and interrogation at Guantanamo. This is what a federal appellate court ruled in the Padilla case. And just when it looked as if the Supreme Court was ready to overturn that case and declare Bush’s policy (at least with respect to citizens in the USA) illegal, the Bush administration suddenly moved Padilla from military custody to civilian custody where he is now on trial in Florida. Bush’s lawyers told the Supreme Court that there was no longer any need to hear the case–since Padilla was no longer in military custody. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court agreed. By declining to hear Padilla’s appeal, the lower court precedent approving Bush’s sweeping legal claim was left in place. If an American were to be sent to Guantanamo this evening, it would take several years of litigation before the Supreme Court would be ready to rule on the matter. It is thus no exaggeration to say that right now the liberty of every American rests upon the grace of the White House.

Al-Marri’s case is about non-citizens imprisoned in military brigs inside the United States. Al-Marri is a citizen of Qatar. He entered the U.S. one day before the 9/11 attacks and the government says he is a terrorist and his mission was to engage in follow-on attacks here in the U.S. He was initially arrested and charged with criminal offenses, but then he was declared an “enemy combatant” and was moved to a military brig. He has been imprisoned in a South Carolina military prison for four years while his attorneys challenged the legality of his imprisonment. This week a federal appeals court ruled that Al-Marri must be (1) deported; or (2) charged with a crime; or (3) released from custody. The U.S. military cannot continue to keep him locked up.

This outcome creates a weird situation in which an American can be held in military custody, but a legal immigrant cannot be. I don’t agree with everything in the Al-Marri ruling, but it does reject Bush’s most sweeping claims about his power. Excerpt: “To sanction such presidential authority to order the military to seize and indefinitely detain civilians, even if the President calls them ‘enemy combatants,’ would have disastrous consequences for the Constitution — and the country. … We refuse to recognize a claim to power that would so alter the constitutional foundations of our Republic.”

Mr. Bush’s lawyers say they plan to appeal the ruling.

McCain: Good, Great, Bad, and Awful

If one person could ever be described in such a way it is John McCain. After reading government documents all weekend, I have decided to assign McCain an acronym: GGBA. Maybe BAGG. Yea thats better; McCain is a BAGG.

He confounds me. I would love to support him. He is truly a great war hero. It is impossible for any of us living our comfortable American lives to imagine what he went through. After being shot down over North Vietnam he was held prisoner for almost a decade (which must have seemed like centuries). His captivity began with him in a body cast lying in the mud being fed essentially flavored water. This would have been bad enough for anyone, but it was worse for him because his father was chief of all Naval operations in the pacific or CINCPAC for you acronym freaks. His father's position heightened his importance and intensified his cruel treatment. If McCain's story interests you then I highly suggest reading Faith of My Fathers. It is a truly inspirational book.

The good is commendable also. He has been a critic of Bush's handling of the war since before it was cool. Although his criticisms of the war were not heeded, it was the right thing to do. On earmarks and spending in general McCain is a hawk. Again here too he took a stance when it wasn't cool. Republicans were enjoying their raid on the bank while McCain was of the remaining fiscal conservatives left standing. Going against the popular political grain is tough enough, but it was his stance against the military industrial complex that is exemplary.

"Military industry lobbyists say they have long dreaded the prospect that Mr. McCain might ascend to the chairmanship of the committee, much less the presidency. He is the Senate’s most outspoken critic of military procurement policies, big Pentagon contracts, and especially earmarks — the Congressional add-ons to military spending bills that contractors crave.

“McCain has been a one-man wrecking crew,” said a prominent military lobbyist, speaking on condition of anonymity because he lobbies the committee." says the NYT

He has eschewed political expediency and fund raising (which may in the end sink his presidential campaign) for principle. I'm not sure there is a higher attainment for a politician than this.

The problem is when his stubbornness and political will is pointed in the wrong direction. This is where the ugly comes in. After the issues mentioned above, I can't think of a single issue that I agree with him. Not only has he been on the wrong side of many issue, but he has been the leader. He was not a sponsor for campaign finance; he did not simply vote for it; he is it. McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform is an abomination. Beyond being merely ineffective and reorganizing political campaigns (by shifting money towards independent 527's), it has pushed the constitution aside. Political speech is the target of the first amendment, not pornography or hate speech. That doesn't mean that I don't think that non-political speech shouldn't be protected. I do. But squelching political speech is in direct contradiction to what the founders intended. McCain should realize that all speech is equal. It is of no consequence if the person speaking has the opportunity and ability to speak more, i.e. rich.

Even his stance against earmarks and government spending is sometimes perplexing. The purpose of cutting spending should be to shrink the government. McCain has no desire to shrink the government. In fact he has seemed to support a larger government role in people's lives. At times he has even hinted at some sort of compulsory service requirement for all Americans. When he talks about service to country i sometimes can't hear what he is actually saying but instead hear the slight whisper of draft...draft...draft.

For these reasons, I cannot support him. For some odd reason though I still hate reading about his political downfall (the article cited above, and his recent poll numbers). Perplexing.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

WSJ disagrees with Fourth Cuircut ruiling and I

The opinion page of the WSJ today opined that the Fourth Circuit's ruling forcing the federal government to extend rights of habeas corpus to individuals who are either American citizens or in the U.S. legally. Their opinion was split into two parts. The first part predicts that the ruling will be overturned. I agree. They made broad sweeping proclamations that were not warranted.

"There's no doubt that the 2-1 Fourth Circuit ruling in Al-Marri v. Wright is remarkable and dangerous in its sweeping judicial claims. Judges Diane Motz and Roger Gregory, both Bill Clinton nominees, ruled that a person like al-Marri does not qualify as an enemy combatant, because the U.S. cannot be "at war" with a private group like al Qaeda."

I believe that the government can declare war against any foreign entity that threatens the security or sovereignty of the United States or any of American citizen. Furthermore...

"For the "enemy combatant" moniker to apply, the court said, a terrorist must have set foot in the soil "alongside" the forces of an enemy state--i.e., Iraq or Afghanistan."

As the WSJ states, this is odd considering that the modern terrorist organization does not necessarily have/need state sponsorship.

Where the WSJ goes wrong is their trust in the federal government. They trust that the government is an altruistic institution which would never misuse the "enemy combatant" label. Trust misplaced for sure. Why are we so scared of the American judicial system?

They, and others, claim that 1) plotting terrorists will get off (mainly through loopholes) and 2) sensitive information will be put out in court. Both legitimate concerns. Legitimate enough to scrap the constitution? I think not. Gangsters and mob boss trials threaten to also allow murderers to get off and out undercover informants or sensitive information, but do we hold them incommunicado without their rights of habeas corpus? No. Nor should we.

Furthermore the whole purpose of the enemy combatant label, or any suspension of habeas corpus, is meant for the battle field. It would be crazy to hold trials for combatants while we are still fighting a war. Although I am hesitant to do so, I will extend this to the war on terror although this should only hold for foreigners.

Under the WSJ's assumptions, Timothy Mcveigh could have been held as an enemy combatant. As despicable as his actions were, should he not have the protections of the constitution? Is somebody who conspires to shoot an FBI agent an enemy combatant? Where is the line drawn? I don't know and neither does the WSJ or the Bush administration. I will again ask conservatives who disagree with me one simple question:

Do you trust President Hillary Clinton with the power to hold American citizens incommunicado without rights of habeas corpus for alleged crimes against the state?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Pentagon confirms talks to build gay bomb

This has to be the best story of 2007. The Pentagon has confirmed that it was in talks to fund the creation of a gay bomb. The bomb would release hormones that would entice opposition soldiers into wanting to have sex with their fellow soldiers over fighting the enemy.

I don't think I could have made this up if I tried.

Executive Overreach Smacked Down

The Fourth Circuit federal court of appeals has ruled against the military detention of Ali al-Marri. Marri trained at a terrorist camp inside Afghanistan and was arrested in the United States for credit card fraud (he was preparing to eventually disrupt U.S. financial markets). He was held incommunicado for 16 months after his arrest in 2001 and is still incarcerated. The fourth circuit ruled that he could no longer be denied habeas corpus.

According to the NYT

The court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, said a fundamental principle is at stake: military detention of someone who had lawfully entered the United States and established connections here, it said, violates the Constitution.

“To sanction such presidential authority to order the military to seize and indefinitely detain civilians,” Judge Motz wrote, “even if the president calls them ‘enemy combatants,’ would have disastrous consequences for the Constitution — and the country.”

“We refuse to recognize a claim to power,” Judge Motz added, “that would so alter the constitutional foundations of our republic.”

I am hopeful that conservatives will embrace this court decision. Although conservatives and courts in general haven't been chummy, it would be a mistake to argue against this decision. If you are reading this thinking something like "Well how are we going to fight terrorism?" or "Why can't we hold terrorist who wish to harm this country?" I would like you to answer these questions.

1) Do you trust a distant federal government to use the title "enemy combatant" for only terrorists who are actually about to attack the United States?

2) Is somebody who attacks a federal building or federal interest (broadly defined) an enemy combatant?

3) Would you trust Hillary Clinton with such broad powers?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Immigration bill failure is a loss for Bush/Kennedy/Kyle but win for Madison

Flipping between the Sunday political talk shows, I noticed a theme. Nearly all of the pundits (all from the main stream media) agreed that the political system is "broken" or "Washington is failing us" because the Immigration bill did not pass.

There was near universal agreement that the "loud voices" from the left and right dragged the bill down. Minority groups that don't represent "us" ruined the chance for "real" reform.

First, they all endorsed change without detailing exactly how the change is positive. Is change, regardless of the details, better than the undesirable status quo? I don't think so. Secondly, when were the rules of incramentalism banished? Any freshman political science or public policy student should know that major sweeping changes normally only happen in crisis i.e. major war or a depression. Why is the Polysci-101 truism not known in Congress? Make no mistake, this bill would have been that big a change. It would have changed the lives of millions (12, 14, 16?) from the northern tip of Maine to the southern portion of California. Furthermore it would have had a major impact upon the labor market and economy as a whole which affects everybody. Maybe career politicians should consult with pimple faced college freshman first. Just a suggestion.

Although these issues are important, the most important point is one made by James Madison in Federalist 51.

"In a society under the forms of which the stronger faction can readily unite and oppress the weaker, anarchy may as truly be said to reign as in a state of nature, where the weaker individual is not secured against the violence of the stronger; and as, in the latter state, even the stronger individuals are prompted, by the uncertainty of their condition, to submit to a government which may protect the weak as well as themselves; so, in the former state, will the more powerful factions or parties be gradnally induced, by a like motive, to wish for a government which will protect all parties, the weaker as well as the more powerful"

According to Madison's views, the death of the immigration bill demonstrates how the system should work, not a failure as the pundits believe. An impassioned minority should have the ability to overturn the will of the majority (that is assuming the majority favored the bill which i doubt).

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Ahmadinijad has a blog?

Its true. He is apparently too busy creating atomic weapons to update it too often but still click here for a hoot.

Make English the official language

Last night the Senate thankfully voted to amend the immigration bill. They adopted Senator Inhofe's amendment to make English the official language 64-33.

Although making English the official language regularly enjoys approval ratings of 85% some people still think its somehow unconstitutional or racist. The fact is that it is simple common sense. If we are going to insist on having the nation state as our societal organization then there must be a common language. A common language is the most basic tool that can be used to gel a society.

The La Raza types who claim that it is racist are way off base. First, first-generation immigrants support official English. They do in polls which show 70+ approval nationwide, and at the polls (in Arizona exit polls showed that a majority of immigrants voted for OE). Secondly, to be racist means to show contempt or hatred. Official English simply codifies a common language. It does not in any way restrict or demean any non-English languages.

The ACLU types that claim official English is unconstitutional are wildly incorrect. The United States has somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 languages spoken within its borders. How many languages are printed? Maybe twenty at any given time. Lets be liberal and say 50. So does that mean that all the people who speak the other 250 languages are being denied basic constitutional rights? No. So if we reduced the number of languages printed to 1 would the people who speak the 49 languages that are currently printed be denied constitutional rights? No. The only area of our society that you are and should be guaranteed the right to interpretation is in the legal system. Past that your on your own.

Some Libertarians may feel as though societal cohesion is not important, but I do. A world devoid of states confined by hard boundaries not likely in the near future. While borders do exist, we must find a way to operate efficiently and somewhat peacefully.

If official English laws in any way restricted peoples right of free expression I would strongly oppose it, but it does not. OE laws instead restrict government, not people. The only problem with currently constructed OE laws is that it does not take away multilingual ballots. How someone can make even a slightly informed choice without knowing the language is beyond me.

Not withstanding the ballot issue, an effective OE law may lessen the welfare state burden by not allowing those who have not learned the language to collect. Although i don't think anyone should be collecting, any restriction of benefits is a net positive. This is not to say that immigrants are "draining" the system. The Bill O'Reilly and Lou Dobb's types perpetuate this lie. Immigrants come here to work. They are also very entrepreneurial which is another plus.

The bottom line is that making English the official language is a good move. Too bad it is attached to the immigration bill which, in my estimation, has very little chance of passing.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Stem Cell Issue Thankfully Dead (almost)

Nature online is reporting that scientists at MIT are now able to "switch" cells. They reprogram skin cells in mice to be used as embryonic stem cells. While this procedure may not be the end-all, it does prove a point about government funding.

Since the government has no need to respond to price signals, it should not attempt to reallocate resources. Stem cell funding is the perfect example. Once the government begins to offer greenbacks for research on stem cells then researchers will flock to that type of research. It distorts the market.

That doesn't even take into account the ethical issues. Is it ethical to forcibly take a persons money through taxes and allocate it to something that person believes is wrong? I'm glad that there is a possible replacement for embryonic stem cells, but i would be elated if government would stay on the sidelines of science.

Quote of the Day

"Russia‘s not going to attack Europe."

This is from President Bush's attempt to calm tempers between Russia and the West.

I know he doesn't read newspapers but jeez. I would love to know what leads him to conclude this.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Sports News

Gary Sheffield's comments yesterday were at best uncalled for and at worst racist. If you missed it, Sheffield said that Hispanics have taken over as the largest minority group in MLB because they are essentially push-overs. He claims that "his people" are athletically superior to "them" and that "they" are only being signed because they can be "controlled".

Sheffield insinuates that the control factor is money but also alluded to other personal behavior. He claims that "his people" must be spoken to as "men".

This is some of the kookiest stuff I've heard coming from a professional athlete in a while (and they say some stupid stuff). It sounds to me that he (and some of his friends) are on the decline and instead prefers to use race as an excuse. This is shameful. As with all athletes, he should stick to swinging bats and keep the social commentary to himself.

Under appreciated?

Asante Samuel has decided to skip mini-camp, training camp, and the first 10 games of the season because he is "under appreciated". Although I normally defend players requesting large contracts, this one is laughable. What is the offer that conveys "under appreciation"? $7.75 million!

FCC smacked down

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the second circuit in New York has dealt the FCC a big blow. Although I don't think this story will get major play with main st. America, it is a big victory for freedom of speech over government bureaucracy.

From the people who may disagree with me I ask one question: define decency? What is decent to you may be indecent to me and visa-versa, so who gets to decide? Some guy who is appointed because his daddy is a general?

If somebody miraculously did present a concrete definition of decency that was specific enough as to not infringe on freedom of expression, it would be subject to change. The FCC decided that "fleeting expletives" were all of a sudden a burden on the moral creature that is an American. Their reasoning?

"the commission had found that the mere utterance of certain words implied that sexual or excretory acts were carried out and therefore violated the indecency rules."

WTF! I wouldn't have used the acronym but the actual words may have implied a sexual act?!

To those of you who are of the opinion that TV is "out of control" or crude language is now "acceptable" (or whatever) I would suggest watching movies from the 80's. This weekend I saw the original Ghostbusters movie again. Released in 1984, the movie has several expletives and an overt sexual innuendo. The rating: PG. Today it could be fined over $300,000 if it was shown on network TV.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Words to live by

"Any bill that is 380 pages long is bound to have nooks and crannies reflecting private deals, quiet paybacks and ad hoc arrangements that you often don't learn about until it's too late."


No more Coke?

After years of pressuring the Sudan to stop the genocide in Darfur, they are now hitting back. The Sudanese ambassador, John Ukec Lueth Ukec, has responded to charges of genocide and threats of divestment by warning that he will cut the world off from gum arabic.

I believe we should take his threat seriously. Think about how inflated coke prices will affect our society. Drink your coke now, because if Sudan has its way we will all suffer miserable decaffeinated lives.

Watch video of the Sudanese ambassador threatening the existence of the west here.

Libby Trial Out of Control

The special prosecutor investigating the Plame leak case is now asking for a 30 month sentence for Scooter Libby. How silly is that? Libby's only crime was a white lie to investigators. Had he thrown them off the scent of a murderer or rapist then 30 months would be acceptable. The fact is that he lied to protect somebody that wasn't guilty.

What this really looks like is a prosecutor attempting to justify 3 1/2 years of investigating a non-crime.

A second issues that gets to me is the medias coverage of the trial. They have covered it to death when nobody outside of the DC beltway or subscribers cares. Even now that the moveon crowd can't get to their real prize (either Cheney or Rove) they only nod their head in approval that a Bushie will go to jail instead of jump up and down in jubilation.