Friday, September 30, 2005
Hooray for Cong. Peter King of New York. Last night, he spoke for many of us who are sick and tired of the media's instinctive Bush bashing.
King told MSNBC's Chris Matthews:
"Chris you want me to answer the question. Just because the President doesn’t watch you on television doesn’t mean he’s not doing his job. Franklin Roosevelt wasn’t hired to listen to radio accounts of D-Day. You’re hired to do the job and the President can do his job without having to listen to Chris Matthews or Andrea Mitchell or Tim Russert or any of the others. He is doing his job."
King goes on:
"I'm not talking about distorting the damage.
I'm talking about distorting President Bush's role. Somehow, this was almost entirely blamed on him. That was a certain impression given by the media from the very first moment, when the levees broke.
And you had Andrea Mitchell on talking about how that was because President Bush didn't put enough money into the water projects in Louisiana, or the levee control projects, when it turns out that he put more money in, in his first five years, than Bill Clinton did in his last five years.
And no state gets more money in the country than Louisiana does.
And use that as an example, and then go right through.
There was much more focus put on what President Bush was supposedly not doing, when the fact is it was the mayor who didn't provide the trucks, the buses to evacuate the people, sent the people to the Superdome without adequate food or water.
And then also, there's the governor. The governor of Louisiana, and I was down there last week, she said every report that was done before this, said that a storm of this magnitude would kill 20,000 people.
The fact is, so far there's less than 800. Every death is tragic, but why isn't your story less than 4% of those who were supposed to have been killed were not killed, because of the efforts of the federal government? The Coast Guard, remember, is part of Homeland Security. They were in the very first day rescuing thousands and thousands of people.
That's just an example of the distortion. It's continuing today, the way you're questioning the contracts, assuming something is wrong when the president is fully following the law."
Then he responded to all of this nonsense about Halliburton:
"But, also, remember, under Bill Clinton, most of the big contracts went to Halliburton and Bechtel also, especially Halliburton. They're the ones that do this type of work."
King is on to something. Media bias is obscene.
Bush has been accused of global warming, and the levees.
Bush is blamed for New Orleans' poverty. What did Bill Clinton do about the city's poverty rates?
There are legitimate reasons to criticize everyone at every level. However, what we are seeing is a level of Bush bashing that is completely unfair and unfortunate.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Last Saturday, I switched to C-SPAN to catch a little bit of the big antiwar rally. It turned out to be everything but a rally against Iraq. It was another one of those rallies against capitalism and globalization. These people supported everybody, from Castro to Zarqawi. They opposed everything, from Clinton's invasion of Haiti to our support of Israel.
Frankly, I was disappointed. I tuned in to watch an antiwar rally and I got a bunch of the same nonsense that we saw in Seattle and Cancun.
As Cindy Sheehan spoke, there were signs supporting the "freedom fighters" who killed her son and murdered 5 teachers in Iraq yesterday.
As feminists spoke, there were signs supporting the Iraqi terrorists, the same people who want their women at home, illiterate, cooking and having lots of babies.
As same-sex marriage advocates blasted Bush, there were signs supporting the radical fundamentalists who have no tolerance whatsoever for homosexuality.
I tried to find a Democrat. There were some but not one running for President in 2008.
James Lileks caught up with the demonstrators and offers this insight:
"Middle America might have legitimate gripes with the administration's war policy, but its citizens are disinclined to side with hairy people who paint President Bush as Hitler with dripping fangs. It's like holding a rally for lower taxes and inviting the Klan: Doesn't broaden the base.
Consider the signage provided by ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism):
"U.S. Out of Iraq, Haiti, Afghanistan, Korea, Philippines, Colombia, Cuba!" Yes, Haiti! No blood for ... for whatever they have. Skinny chickens. No blood for gristly poultry!
Of course, it goes without saying that ANSWER would want the U.S. out of Afghanistan; it didn't want the Taliban overthrown in the first place, especially if the U.S. Imperial War Machine did the overthrowing.
Better to let the Taliban drop stones on gays than give Mr. Bush something to smirk about." (http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/viewpoints/stories/DN-lileks_29edi.ART.State.Edition1.17c5147e.html)
There are three interesting articles about the rally.
First, Byron York recalls the highlights in his excellent summary: "Inside the Antiwar Demo----Stop the war. Impeach Bush. Destroy Israel. Remember Katrina. And don't forget Florida and Ohio..." (http://www.nationalreview.com/york/york200509260814.asp)
Second, Christopher Hitchens wrote another great article: "Anti-War, My FootThe phony peaceniks who protested in Washington" ( http://slate.msn.com/id/2126913/ )
Hitchens recently debated George Gallaway on C-SPAN on the war. It is a must see debate, specially if you want to see the greatest mismatch since Foreman knocked out Frazier in the first round of their championship fight years ago. ("Down goes Frazier" screamed Howard Cossell!)
I love this one from Hitchens:
"There are only two serious attempts at swamp-draining currently under way. In Afghanistan and Iraq, agonizingly difficult efforts are in train to build roads, repair hospitals, hand out ballot papers, frame constitutions, encourage newspapers and satellite dishes, and generally evolve some healthy water in which civil-society fish may swim.
But in each case, from within the swamp and across the borders, the most poisonous snakes and roaches are being recruited and paid to wreck the process and plunge people back into the ooze.
How nice to have a "peace" movement that is either openly on the side of the vermin, or neutral as between them and the cleanup crew, and how delightful to have a press that refers to this partisanship, or this neutrality, as "progressive.""
Third, Ed Koch, the former mayor of New York wrote about Cindy Sheehan and the people who joined her: "Speak Up, America" (
I love this one from Koch:
"On Sunday, September 25, 2005, Tim Russert of Meet The Press, summed up the situation prevailing before the war, saying,
“…post September 11th, there was a fear of terrorism, an inability to know whether there were weapons of mass destruction by the public or by the media. George W. Bush said there were. Bill and Hillary Clinton said there were. The Russians, French and Germans, who opposed the war, said there were. Hans Blix of the UN said there were.
Iraq refused to account for them to the U.N. We and our allies were right to invade, notwithstanding that other countries, terrified by the prospect of terrorism against them and tempted by corruption at the UN masterminded by Saddam Hussein through the Oil-For-Food program and lucrative vendor contracts with Hussein’s regime, did not join us."
Yet, my favorite one was from Ralph Peters on women's rights: "Global war on women" (http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2005-09-26-women-edit_x.htm).
The left is totally silent on women's rights in Iraq and Afghanistan. As Peters writes:
"Nothing so threatens Islamic extremists as the freedom Western women enjoy."
The antiwar crowd cheered lots of things, most of them anti-American and anti-freedom.
There were no major Democrats present. Why? Because they do not want to be associated with these idiots either. I guess that the Democrats are finally starting to figure out why they have lost 7 of the last 10 presidential elections.
Speaking of the war, the latest Rasmussen poll has very interesting information about where the public stands. I don't think that you will see this poll quoted often so here it goes:
"Most Americans (54%) believe that withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq will make things worse in that troubled nation. A Rasmussen Reports survey found that 20% disagree and say that troop withdrawal will make things better. These numbers are identical to the results of our August survey." (For more info, visit the Rasmussen Reports Home Page.)
The American people are not demanding a withdrawal from Iraq. Why? Because the US public understand what a premature withdrawal means.
Don't take my word for any of this. Is Senator Hillary Clinton calling for a withdrawal? Joe Biden? Joe Lieberman? Evan Bayh? Bill Richardson?
The antiwar movement makes a lot of noise but it does not win any elections.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
This is the latest from New York.
If the NYYankees win then Torre stays. If the NYYankees fail to make the playoffs then Torre goes.
Are you kidding me?
I understand that Steinbrenner is all about winning but firing Torre is the wrong place to start downsizing.
Torre has done a wonderful job of managing in 2005. In fact, this may be his best year as a manager because of the injuries to his starting pitching.
The NYYankees have problems. They are old and getting older. Their farm system is empty because they traded for veterans.
The rest of the story is that Steinbrenner wants to bring Lou Piniella to the NYYankees. Piniella was my favorite Yankee from the late 70s. He was a wonderful player with a flare for the dramatic hit.
Maybe Piniella belongs with the NYYankees but not because Torre is fired.
The AL West is over. The Angels clinched the division title by beating Oakland. The NL East is over because the Braves clinched their 14th straight division title!
Speaking of the A's, read "Moneyball", a wonderful review of how Billy Beane keeps the A's competitive with a very small payroll. (http://www.wwnorton.com/catalog/spring04/032481.htm)
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Over the years, Europeans have praised their system vis-a-vis the US.
It goes like this: we get long vacations, generous benefits and our military spending is minuscule. In other words, they say that we work too hard, don't provide enough job security and spend too much money on the military.
My European friends are not making that case anymore. Why? Because they are looking for work in the US! You cannot have job security or employee benefits if you do not have jobs!
First, let's look at the military spending.
The Europeans have enjoyed US military protection for 50 years. It was US troops, rather than European persuasion, that kept Soviet tanks from marching into Paris or Berlin.
The entire continent depends on the US Navy to protect the Mediterranean Sea and the US Air Force to keep their airspace free of missiles.
Second, let's look at the economy. I won't bore you with details. Just answer one question: Where would you rather look for a job? Dallas or Paris? Where would you rather start a business? The Carolinas or Germany?
I read a couple of interesting articles from Europe this weekend.
The first one is "Fear of failure curbs entrepreneurship in Europe" (http://www.sbpost.ie/post/pages/p/story.aspx-qqqid=8251-qqqx=1.asp):
"Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of an economy, or so the old adage says. Entrepreneurial capacity in any economy is a key determinant of economic growth and improvements in productivity.
As much of Europe struggles with high unemployment, European leaders are trying to encourage citizens to become more entrepreneurial.“
Entrepreneurs are the economic DNA which we need to build competitiveness and innovation in Europe,” European Commissioner Gunter Verheugen said recently.
Yet, according to a Eurobarometer survey, almost 60 per cent of European Union citizens have never considered setting up a business. Half of Europeans feel that “one should not start a business when there is a risk of failure'‘. Just 33 per cent of Americans share that view."
The article goes on:
"Michael Carey, chief executive of one of Ireland's fastest growing food companies, Jacob Fruitfield, said entrepreneurial spirit was more prevalent in the US because too many Europeans - and Irish people - “want to take the easy way'‘."
I wonder why? Why are Europeans looking for the "easy way"? Could it be that 50 years of a welfare state has destroyed self reliance?
It wasn't always this way in Europe. In the 19th century, Europeans brought their work ethic to places like Brooklyn, Chicago and Pennsylvania. They started businesses and made the American miracle possible. The European immigrants were the factory workers and the self reliant farmers that headed west and built our cities and towns.
The second article deals with the pessimism in Europe---"Europe sinks into self-doubt" (http://www.sbpost.ie/post/pages/p/story.aspx-qqqid=8250-qqqx=1.asp):
"The current political and economic climate is the most difficult that Europe has ever fac ed, ac cording to one source. Weak economies are crying out for structural reform. Politically, everyone is screaming for leadership."
To be fair, some parts of Europe are doing fine. Ireland is doing great because they cut taxes and have implemented a "business friendly" environment. Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic are growing, too.
In Poland, "The man who on Sunday almost surely will be elected president of Poland, Donald Tusk, says, "Deregulation is our obsession." He says his country "is saturated with nit-picking" laws." (http://opinionjournal.com/columnists/dhenninger/?id=110007305 Wall Street Journal, Sept 23, 2005)
Tusk is right. Europe is full of "nit picking laws". There are too many laws that discourage job creation and prosperity.
What does Europe need? It needs more self reliance and a lot less laws!
P.S. What about all of the anti-Americanism coming from Europe? Let me leave you with Prof. VD Hanson:
"France and Germany are also apparently unhappy:
They lost plenty of oil business and loans in Iraq; they are facing the wages of not assimilating Islamic minorities in their midst; and they are fathoming that socialist and statist policies cannot be salvaged by cheap election-time anti-Americanism in an age when the United States is more eager to keep our distance from them than they us." (http://www.nationalreview.com/hanson/hanson200509230813.asp)
Monday, September 26, 2005
Who was worse? Bill Clinton or ABC's George Stephanopoulos?
Last Sunday, the former president gave a campaign speech, full of hyperbole and misinformation. Unfortunately, Stephanopoulos forgot to ask follow up questions.
The bad news is that Clinton misled us again. The good news is that no one is watching ABC's "This Week" with George Stephanopolous.
Jerry Bowyer is the author of The Bush Boom and an economic advisor to Blue Vase Capital Management.
Like Bill O'Reilly last week, Bowyer has destroyed Clinton's message.
Check out the article and forwarded to your friends:
Sunday, September 25, 2005
New Orleans is a regional exception.
The South and the Sun Belt are booming. From the Carolinas, down to Georgia, to Kentucky, to Texas to Nevada, the region is growing. Even Louisiana is doing pretty well in this 2005 economy.
Since the 1970s, the South has been attracting investment except New Orleans.
Why is the Atlanta area growing? Mobile? Jackson? Louisville? Raleigh? They are growing but New Orleans is not. This is also true of Dallas-Ft Worth, San Antonio, Houston, Phoenix, Denver, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, Orlando, et al.
The answer is simple. New Orleans is not an attractive place to invest. It may be a "fun party town" but there is nothing more beyond casinos and jazz houses. Add to this that schools are broken and crime is rampant and no one wants to live in New Orleans!
We can start by reading "All the King's Men Cannot Save New Orleans---Federal dollars won't make the Crescent City great" BY DANIEL HENNINGER (Wall Street Journal, Sept 23, 2005):
"What is New Orleans today? It is the impoverished, lawless product of Huey Long's anti-capitalist populism, cross-fertilized with every poverty program Washington produced the past 60 years. The currently popular notion that "the country" somehow failed to notice that much of New Orleans had become a social and economic basket case is false. Every college student knows the basic storyline of "All the King's Men" if not that of former Governor Edwin Edwards (1992-96), now serving 10 years for extorting businessmen."
Pres. Bush has a chance to do something that no one has ever done. He can rebuild a city and make it better than it was before.
First, stop all of this nonsense about spending money. $200 billion is a small amount of money if you are presiding over a $15 trillion economy. We are talking about a very small investment relative to the size of our overall economy. Besides, the $200 billion figure is something that got into the national conversation. It is not an official figure. My guess is that it will be less. Remember the 10,000 dead in New Orleans?
Our federal budget deficit is less than 3% of GDP. Most countries would love to have a "monetary problem" like that!
Also, investments in infrastructure create a bigger economy. We are not talking about giving cash to people. We are talking about investing in roads and schools, the best investment that any nation can make. Recall how the federal highway system launched development all over the country.
Second, private money will flow into New Orleans if you make it an attractive place to invest. Capitalists are always looking for a good investment. This could be the most attractive construction project in history.
It could attract investors from all over the world. Why not? Despite all the gloom and doom, the US is still the most attractive place to invest.
Third, the city's public school system is already out of business. So let's give each local family a voucher and tell them to find a school of their choice. The state's higher-education system has the second-highest dropout rates in the South. New Orleans needs more technical and community colleges.
Fourth, turn the entire region into an enterprise zone. Make it so attractive that US companies will move their factories from Mexico to Louisiana. New Orleans already has a wonderful port and sits next to the Mississippi River. It is a natural place for commerce.
This is not a far fetched idea. It just takes a little creativity and a government with an understanding that wealth must be created rather than distributed or taxed.
Fifth, public housing and low income housing should be replaced with vouchers for private-sector housing units, which integrate retail and jobs and provide homes for a diversity of families.
It can be done. What we need is a president who believes in individual enterprise (we do!) and capitalists who believe that the profit motive is a good idea (we do, too)
Let's get started!
Friday, September 23, 2005
By any standard, Judge Roberts is a 10. He is very qualified. Yet, some Democrats are already lining up to vote against him.
The Washington Post reported this on Sen Reid's decision to vote against Judge Roberts:
"IN ANNOUNCING his opposition yesterday to the nomination of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to be chief justice of the United States, Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) made a remarkable statement:
"The president is not entitled to very much deference in staffing the third branch of government, the judiciary."
Leave aside the merits of the Roberts nomination, which we support; if Mr. Reid regards Judge Roberts as unworthy, he is duty-bound to vote against him.
But these are dangerous words that Democrats will come to regret."
I agree that Sen. Reid, and other Democrats, will regret this partisanship.
What's behind all of this? The answer is abortion.
Liberal groups are angry with Judge Roberts over abortion. They want Roberts to commit himself to preserving Roe v. Wade.
Elections have consequences, specially since Republicans have won 7 of the last 10 presidential contests. Yet, Sen. Reid wants to play politics.
Eventually, a Democrat will win and nominate someone to the court. What will Sen. Reid say?
More importantly, Sen. Reid needs to remember that he is from Nevada not Massachuetts or Vermont. He may want to have lunch with Sen Daschle and discuss the fate of liberal democrats in red states.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Former Pres. Clinton has done something very unusual. He criticized a sitting president.
As Jay Ambrose wrote:
"You might think that Clinton - if more motivated by principle - would return the favor by observing the long-honored understanding that former presidents do not encumber the difficulties of current presidents with partisan pummeling."
Clinton can't help it. Clinton has a huge ego and can't handle the loneliness of retirement.
I also think that he is unhappy with what historians are writing about him. Clinton's presidency is being seen as inconsequential because major problems were not tackled, such as Social Security and terrorism.
Clinton may be remembering what Dick Morris told him in 1996: Your legacy will be terrorism. (http://www.papillonsartpalace.com/clintoRn.htm)
"In early August 1996, a few weeks after the Khobar Towers bombing, Clinton had a long conversation with Dick Morris about his place in history.
Morris divided presidents into four categories: first tier, second tier, third tier, and the rest.
Twenty-two presidents who presided over uneventful administrations fell into the last category. Just five — Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Wilson, and Franklin Roosevelt — made Morris's first tier.
Clinton asked Morris where he stood. "I said that at the moment he was at the top of the unrated category," Morris recalls.
Morris says he told the president that one surprising thing about the ratings was that a president's standing had little to do with the performance of the economy during his time in office.
"Yeah," Clinton responded, "It has so much to do with whether you get re-elected or not, but history kind of forgets it."
Clinton then asked, "What do I need to do to be first tier?" "I said, 'You can't,'" Morris remembers. "'You have to win a war.'"
Clinton then asked what he needed to do to make the second or third tier, and Morris outlined three goals.
The first was successful welfare reform. The second was balancing the budget. And the third was an effective battle against terrorism.
"I said the only one of the major goals he had not achieved was a war on terrorism," Morris says. (This is not a recent recollection; Morris also described the conversation in his 1997 book, Behind the Oval Office.)"
Clinton's attacks on poverty, program cuts and taxes are dishonest. Check out how Bill O'Reilly completely destroyed Clinton's comments. (http://www.foxnews.com/printer_friendly_story/0,3566,169880,00.html)
Clinton's Iraq comments are even worse.
Check out Pres. Clinton's speech to the nation about Iraq in December 1998: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/middle_east/july-dec98/clinton_12-16.html
Check out Pres. Clinton on Iraq and WMD's:
"One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line."- President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998
"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."- President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998
In fact, you can check out The Democrats' "Greatest Hits" on Iraq: http://powerlineblog.com/archives/005456.php
My favorite is this one:
"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983."- Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998
What is Pres. Clinton up to? I don't know but he needs to stop.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
We had the good fortune of watching ARod play with the Rangers in 2001, 2002 and 2003. He did not fit here. I'm glad that the Rangers traded him. He fits a lot better in NY's veteran lineup than here in the Rangers' younger team.
Nevertheless, he was the best player on the team. He was a lot of fun to watch.
ARod is having one heck of season. He is keeping the aging NYYankees in contention and deserves the MVP award.
P.S. Alex turned 30 and he has already passed 400 homeruns!
See Alex's MLB homepage: http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/team/player.jsp?player_id=121347
Andruw Jones is the best player in the NL. He is not Willie Mays but he reminds me a lot of him. In 2005, Jones is having the best season any player has had in years.
Check him out: http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20050919&content_id=1215775&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb
Albert Pujols and Derek Lee deserve a lot of votes, too. But Jones is just superior.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
James Taranto is editor of OpinionJournal.com and co-editor, with Leonard Leo, of "Presidential Leadership: Rating the Best and the Worst in the White House."
Taranto's latest column is a "presidential rating" based on a study done by a group of historians and political scientists.
How is Pres. Bush doing? He ranks right in the middle, at 19th among 43 presidents. He is closer to the "above average" category than "below average".
What does this mean? It means that historians see GW Bush as a consequential president.
Let's hear from Taranto:
"Here's one way of thinking about the question: The three great presidents--Washington, Lincoln and FDR--all faced unprecedented challenges, all responded to them boldly, and all succeeded.
Mr. Bush has met the first two of these criteria: The 9/11 attacks were his unprecedented challenge; setting out to democratize the Middle East was his bold response.
Will he succeed--not just in bringing stability and representative government to Iraq but in beginning a process that spreads freedom throughout the region?
That will determine whether he joins the top tiers of presidents." (http://www.opinionjournal.com/forms/printThis.html?id=110007244)
He is right. We don't know how some of these events will unfold. Time will tell.
Taranto goes on to say:
"If he falls short, he may still get credit for trying. The lowest-ranking presidents tend to be not those who aimed high and missed, but those whose administrations were plagued by scandal (Harding, Nixon) or who were passive as crises built (Buchanan, Carter).
If Mr. Bush's vision turns out to have been overambitious, the more salient precedents may be the presidencies of Woodrow Wilson and Lyndon B. Johnson. Both had bold, forward-looking agendas, and both suffered enormous setbacks. Wilson sought to make the world safe for democracy, but America instead turned inward, leaving the world decidedly unsafe for democracy until after World War II. Johnson waged war both in Vietnam and on poverty, with one loss and one draw.
Yet neither one is judged a failure in the survey: Wilson is above average at No. 11, and Johnson is average at No. 18.
Like Mr. Bush, both are more highly regarded within their own party. Wilson finishes 7th among Democrats and 23rd among Republicans; LBJ, 9th among Democrats and 31st among Republicans."
As for the rankings, I agree with the top 3 of Washington, Lincoln and FDR. I agree with Reagan and Truman in the "above average" but was surprised that Eisenhower rated that high. Maybe Eisenhower is getting some overdue credit for being such a steady hand during the early days of the Cold War. I was happy to see LBJ get some credit for his domestic policies.
What will this list look like 50 years from now? I won't see it but GWBush will be closer to Reagan and Truman.
Bush's presidency is still a work in progress. Yet, as Mr. Taranto points out, he is already doing a lot better than his irrational critics would have you believe.
Another Bush "consequence" is going to be Justice Roberts and the other appointment pending to the Supreme Court. It is also very likely that he will get a 3rd one because even Justices cannot beat life expectancy.
I feel sorry for the angry left. They did everything possible to destroy Reagan and now he is rated # 6 on the list. They are doing everything possible to destroy GWBush and he is rated higher than Clinton.
The angry left needs to find something else to do, such as winning elections! Of course, you can not win elections by just being angry. You have to propose alternatives and put something on the table besides a "I hate Bush" note!
The rankings are: (http://www.opinionjournal.com/forms/printThis.html?id=110007243)
Sunday, September 18, 2005
Katrina was a natural disaster compounded by some very bad human planning and execution. We've spent much time looking back and analyzing what went wrong. Now, it's time to look forward. Let's fix the levees and the sorry state of inner city black Americans. Maybe Pres. Bush can actually finish what Pres. Johnson started 40 years ago!
Two weeks before Katrina, New Orleans was a very poor city run by a black mayor, a black city council and represented in Congress by a black legislator. In many ways, New Orleans was exhibit A of everything that is wrong with the inner city.
As Bill O'Reilly said in his Talking Points Memo this week:
"The aftermath of Katrina has produced a debate over poor Americans. There are about 37 million people living below the poverty line right now.
The issue was described this way by Newsweek (search) reporter Evan Thomas (search), a liberal guy but not alone, who writes, "Liberals will say [the authorities] were indifferent to the plight of poor African-Americans. It is true that Katrina laid bare society's massive neglect of its least fortunate."
Massive neglect? Let's take a look at that bit of overstatement.
Halfway through President Clinton's tenure in office in 1996, the poverty rate was 13.7 percent. Halfway through President Bush's tenure, the rate is 12.7 percent, a full point lower.
In 1996, the Clinton budget allotted $191 billion for poverty entitlements. That was 12.2 percent of the budget and a whopping amount of money. That's why Bill Clinton (search) was called the first black president by some.
However, the Bush 2006 budget allots a record shattering $368 billion for poverty entitlements, 14.6 percent of the entire budget, a huge increase over Clinton's spending on poverty entitlements.
Did the elite media mention that? Jesse Jackson (search) mention that? Of course they didn't, because it's much more convenient for Evan Thomas and others to imply America under President Bush has turned its back on the poor, but it's absolute nonsense."
I agree with O'Reilly that blaming Bush is what the liberals do first. Yet, money is not the problem. We have spent trillions in the so called war on poverty and we are losing.
What we need are new ideas and voices. There are ideas and fresh voices but the US news media always goes to Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Maybe they should invite some new faces to our television. Maybe we should pay attention to what some black Americans are saying.
First, pick up a copy of John McWhorter's 2000 book Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America. It is more relevant today than in 2000!
McWhorter outlines three aspects of modern day black America. This is not going to be a fun book for those who want to blame Bush or Cheney for the current plight of black America. My guess is that this book is banned at NAACP or Democrat party functions.
Another voice is Dutch Martin. He holds a BA in international relations from Boston University and an MS in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University. He is a columnist for TheBlackConservative.com and TheRightReport.com, and a member of Project 21, an African American leadership network out of Washington, D.C.
Martin reviewed McWhorter's book a few years ago:
"First is the Cult of Victimology. In it, victimhood is not seen as a problem to be overcome but an identity to be nurtured.
In the Cult of Separatism, the uniqueness of our history is used as a justification to exempt us from the rules that govern the rest of American society.
Lastly, in the Cult of Anti-Intellectualism, an affinity toward education is seen as running counter to an "authentic" black identity.
I have witnessed first-hand the manifestation of each cult and the masterful job each does in preventing blacks from realizing their full potential."
He concludes by writing something that should be posted in every corner of New Orleans:
"My life has taught me that individual initiative, hard work and a love of learning are tried and true means to achieving professional success and economic independence.
Losing the Race opened my eyes to aspects of modern-day black American groupthink that keep so many blacks mentally crippled in a perpetual state of whining, complaining and missed opportunities."
Professor Walter Williams is a very strong voice. He is one of the nation's best economists. He wrote this about the book:
"McWhorter doesn't argue there is no longer any racial discrimination in the United States, but racial discrimination is not the major problem for blacks today.
Instead, it's self-sabotage -- and he's right.
Let's look at it.
A black illegitimacy rate hovering around 70 percent is devastating but it's not caused by whites.
Black people have the nation's highest victimization rates for murder, assault, rape and other violent crimes, but it's not whites who are culpable.
Black students have the nation's lowest academic achievement. That can't be blamed on racism because academic achievement is the lowest in cities where the mayor, superintendent of schools, and most principals and teachers are black, such as Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Detroit.
Academic achievement is also the lowest where the most money is spent on education. Washington, D.C., ranks second in spending and ranks 49th in achievement."
Another voice is Star Parker, the president of the Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education and author of 'Uncle Sam's Plantation.' She wrote this about those playing the race card:
"What we are witnessing is a well-honed black political public-relations operation geared to obfuscation, stoking hatred and fear, and nurturing helplessness and dependence among black citizens. Such efforts keep black politicians powerful, diversity businesses prosperous and blacks poor."
Larry Elder is a TV host and columnist. This is what he wrote about New Orleans:
"Since 1978, for example, black mayors controlled the city of New Orleans, with many of the city's top officials also black.
What about their responsibility? What about the damage done by the modern welfare state, helping to create poverty by financially rewarding irresponsible behavior? What about the damage to the black psyche by so-called civil rights leaders who demand not just equal rights, but equal results, helping to create a victicrat-entitlement mentality?
Maybe someday one of the news anchors will ask one of the so-called civil rights leaders the following question:
Doesn't the demand for race-based preferences, set-asides, private sector anti-discrimination laws, social welfare programs, and social "safety net" programs all conspire to say one thing -- "You are not responsible"?"
Another fresh voice is Deroy Murdock, a New York-based columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a senior fellow with the Atlas Economic Research Foundation in Arlington, Va. This is what he wrote:
"The wild-eyed theory that Bush hates blacks so deeply that he would engineer their wholesale starvation, dehydration, and asphyxiation pries the scabs off these still-healing wounds and grinds fresh pepper into them.
Either such explosive nonsense is a warm pile of lies, or Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, FEMA's departed Michael Brown, Democratic Governor Blanco, and Democratic Mayor Nagin (who is black) share Bush's anti-black animus and helped him harm and kill black Americans on live, international television.
This is best-described scatalogically. But to keep it polite, the race hustlers who are exploiting this tragedy are beyond contempt. They are polluting the public square with nitroglycerine. Their twisted view of a bigoted America is belied by the 18,000 mainly black New Orleanians rescued by the Coast Guard, the $762 million in Katrina-related donations Americans of all colors have offered so far to our disadvantaged countrymen, along with free housing, schooling, and more.
Thousands of volunteers, many with white faces, raced to comfort the tempest-tossed, many with blacks faces."
Another voice is Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, founder and president of the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny. He said this about local politicians:
"The mayor failed in his duty to evacuate and protect the people of New Orleans. ... The truth is, black people died not because of President Bush or racism, they died because of their unhealthy dependence on the government and the incompetence of Mayor Ray Nagin and Governor Kathleen Blanco." (http://www.washtimes.com/functions/print.php?StoryID=20050909-113107-3180r)
How about more black voices? ABC News sent a reporter to the Astrodome to interview many of the black citizens of New Orleans who have settled there. According to the Media Research Center (http://www.mrc.org/cybersub.asp#webnews):
ABC News producers probably didn't hear what they expected when they sent Dean Reynolds to the Houston Astrodome's parking lot to get reaction to President Bush's speech from black evacuees from New Orleans.
Instead of denouncing Bush and blaming him for their plight, they praised Bush and blamed local officials.
Reynolds asked Connie London: "Did you harbor any anger toward the President because of the slow federal response?"
She rejected the premise: "No, none whatsoever, because I feel like our city and our state government should have been there before the federal government was called in."
She pointed out: "They had RTA buses, Greyhound buses, school buses, that was just sitting there going under water when they could have been evacuating people."
Not one of the six people interviewed on camera had a bad word for Bush -- despite Reynolds' best efforts.
Reynolds goaded: "Was there anything that you found hard to believe that he said, that you thought, well, that's nice rhetoric, but, you know, the proof is in the pudding?"
Brenda Marshall answered, "No, I didn't," prompting Reynolds to marvel to anchor Ted Koppel: "Very little skepticism here."
We have a great chance to rebuild a city and to give its citizens a fresh start. Let's do it by listening to Star Parker, Larry Elder and Walter Williams rather than the fraudulent voices of Jesse Jackson, Ted Kennedy, Howard Dean and Al Sharpton.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
Baseball has the best divisional arrangement in sports. It is better than the NBA or NHL, where the season is meaningless and everyone goes to the playoffs. (I love the NFL playoff set up but it is difficult to compare a 16 game schedule with 162 games.)
It reminds me of the 1997 Dallas Stars. They finished with the best record in the NHL. What did that get them? They got to play against Edmonton, with the 8th best record, and lost in 7 games. I am not taking anything away from the Oilers. Yet, why should you play 82 games to eliminate a few teams? I don't like it.
This year, the Cardinals are set but everything else is up in the air. Also, divisional play guarantees that the contenders will be playing each other.
Boston closes with the Yankees. The Indians finish with the White Sox. And so on.
How will it end? I don't really know. Check out the standings this morning: http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/mlb/standings/index.jsp
Check out the wild card: http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/mlb/standings/wildcard.jsp
So let me take a wild guess:
In the AL East, the Yankees will beat Boston by 1 game. Or maybe they will end up in a tie and set up another one game play off.
In the AL Central, the White Sox will hold on but the Indians will give them a real scare since they play six times.
In the AL West, I am going to punt and call it a 50-50 race between Angels and A's. We may have a one game play off here too! The Angels are a veteran club with a few injuries. The A's are a very young club without pennant race experience.
The Indians will win the wild card. The AL divisional winners need to keep an eye on Cleveland. They have the best record in baseball since August 1 and remind me of the 2003 Marlins that went on to win it all.
In the NL, the Braves and Cardinals look solid. San Diego is going to back into it because SF and LA can't win.
The Marlins and Astros will go down to the last weekend. I give the edge to Astros because of veteran pitching. Don't forget the Phillies and those Nationals! Frank Robinson has done a wonderful job managing the Nationals in 2005!
Let's enjoy this wonderful baseball pennant race!
Commissioner Selig has gotten a lot of criticism over the years. It's part of the job! Yet, he pushed for the wild card and divisional play in September. There is no question that baseball is more exciting because of it.
P.S. Rafael Palmeiro was the saddest story of 2005. What a terrible way to end a wonderful career. My guess is that Raffy is done because the Orioles won't bring him back. Sammy Sosa may be finished too! The O's are rebuilding so Sammy and Raffy just don't fit in!
Friday, September 16, 2005
Ron Fournier, AP Political Writer provides a little perspective:
"It's August in Crawford, Texas, and President Bush is on vacation. His poll ratings are slumping. He hears warnings of a looming crisis that will soon change the course of his presidency.
Is this August 2001? Or August 2005?
The answer is both." (http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/n/a/2005/09/14/national/w125456D55.DTL&type=printable)
Two weeks after Katrina, and this is where we stand:
First, the American public was critical of the response but it did not single out Pres. Bush. Hopefully, the blame game is over now that Pres. Bush and Gov. Blanco have publicly accepted responsibility for early mistakes.
Second, the race card was unfairly used against Pres Bush. Hopefully, we can look beyond skin color and address the root causes of inner city poverty.
Third, Pres. Bush delivered a good speech in New Orleans. It was not as dramatic as those 9-11 speeches. Katrina was a natural disaster whereas 9-11 was an attack on the homeland.
I agree with Dick Morris (http://www.thehill.com/thehill/export/TheHill/Comment/DickMorris/090705.html):
"But make no mistake about it: Every day for the next year, voters will see nonstop scenes of federal relief, rebuilding, renovation and reconstruction along with the empathy, sympathy and compassion these efforts imply in the heart of George W. Bush. He may have had a terrible first week, but he will rebound big time in the months to come."
As I said before, a significant majority now agrees that Bush is doing the right thing in New Orleans. (http://www.gallup.com/poll/content/?ci=18466)
"Responding to disasters is a source of presidential strength and popularity, and Bush is about to show how it is done."
I agree with Mort Kondracke, the Executive Editor of Roll Call:
"Reconstruction of the Gulf Coast is going to be the biggest public works project in American history since construction of the federal highway system. While Katrina will depress the U.S. growth rate and raise unemployment numbers for a quarter or two, in the long run it can be a boon to both.
Bush surely will want the program to be led by the private sector, but this also is an opportunity to put in place such ideas as Opportunity Zones, places where small businesses get tax breaks to rebuild, dispossessed homeowners get low-rate loans, and schools and hospitals get federal help." (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/Commentary/com-9_14_05_MK.html)
As always, the devil is in the details. Time will tell. As a conservative, I am not fond of a $200 billion federal program. As a realist, how else do you respond to a disaster of this magnitude?
It was a good speech.
Some people will never like Bush or anything he does. My guess is that most Americans will recognize the boldness of the President's speech and support its ambitious goals.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
The Drudge Report has a ratings breakdwon for the cable news channels. It is obvious that FOX News is killing everybody else:
CABLE NEWS RACE
MON SEPT 12 2005
FNC SHEP SMITH
FNC BRIT HUME
CNN LARRY KING
CNN AARON BROWN
MSNBC RITA COSBY
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Sadly, Mark Messier won't be back. He is retiring and concluding a wonderful career.
Well done Mark. Best of luck in your next career.
For more on Messier's incredible career, check this out: http://www.nhl.com/news/2005/09/234294.html
Monday, September 12, 2005
Robert Benne and Gerald McDermott have written: "Thirteen Bad Arguments for Same-Sex Marriage" (http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2004/009/18.51.html)
This is an important article because the California legislature has sent Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger a same sex marriage bill.
The governor has promised a veto. I am not familiar with California's constitution. Therefore, I don't know if the legislature can override a veto. (http://www.wttf.com/script/headline_newsmanager.php?id=431505&pagecontent=nationalnews&feed_id=59)
Same sex marriage is bad for traditional marriage, children, and society.
I can accept civil unions and other legal arrangements. However, marriage is between a man and a woman.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has the right idea.
Sunday, September 11, 2005
In October 2003, our family watched the Trojans defeat enemy #1 Creekview. The game was decided when Michael Cebold hit a last minute field goal.
The Trojans did not win again in 2003 or 2004.
Can you believe 15 losses in a row? Sadly, there were so many close games that could have gone either way. They went 0-15 but they were competitive in most games.
The Newman Smith Trojans broke a horrific losing streak defeating McKinney, 22-9.
Congratulations to new head coach Bobby Bounds and the entire staff.
Everybody, from the coaches to the parents, needed to win this game:
P.S. I should add that my #2 son Gabriel is a junior and playing varsity. Our # 3 son Alejandro is a freshman and they won Thursday night too!
Friday, September 09, 2005
About 10 years ago, the Dallas area started the Pres. George Bush Tollway. (Of course, we are talking about the first Bush, or Bush 41!)
It was a great idea and it has expanded the northern segment of what we call the "metroplex".
Finally, "Bush", as we call it, will complete one of its critical segments.
It is great.
The new segment will relieve the I-35 and 635 bottleneck.
The Dallas area now has two freeways named after presidents---635, aka as LBJ, and 190, aka as Bush.
For a map, check this story:
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Check out this very interesting article:
Naturally, everyone is thinking of New Orleans. Yet, life goes on elsewhere. New Orleans may be flooded with dirty water. The UN is full of corrupt and self serving bureaucrats. It really stinks at the UN.
The UK's Daily Telegraph reports today:
"The United Nations will today be attacked by an independent inquiry as corrupt, incompetent and wasteful in the harshest condemnation it has received since its founding.
The year-long investigation, overseen by the former US Federal Reserve chairman, Paul Volcker, will conclude that the UN was guilty of "illicit, unethical and corrupt behaviour" in running the $64 billion oil-for-food programme, designed to help Iraq's poor during a decade of sanctions."(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/09/07/wun07.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/09/07/ixworld.html)
FOX News is reporting that corruption was a way of life at the UN: (http://www.foxnews.com/printer_friendly_story/0,3566,168648,00.html)
In fact, Kofi Annan was forced to admit the obvious:
"The findings of today's report must be deeply embarrassing to all of us," Annan told the Security Council Wednesday.
"None of us member states, secretariat can be proud of what it has found. Who among us can now claim that U.N. management is not a problem or is not in need of reform?"
Claudia Rossett has been the lead journalist on the UN scandal. She was on top of the story when it was fashionable for Democrats to say nice things about the UN.
Her latest story is great: (http://www.nationalreview.com/rosett/rosett200509062343.asp)
"The problem here is that whatever the truth about the secretary-general's family ties to U.N. business, he was responsible for a great deal more than simply that particular U.N. contract.
Even after the many scandals broken so far, a full account of the U.N.'s management of Oil-for-Food starting with Annan's starring role as head of the organization would be an eye-popping thriller, and probably the healthiest thing to hit the U.N. since its founding.
Oil-for-Food was not a bookkeeping exercise. It involved oversight of Saddam Hussein, an oil-rich war-mongering tyrant who gamed every angle of one of the most corruption-prone relief programs ever devised.
Out of more than $110 billion in oil sales and relief purchases supervised by the U.N., Saddam by some estimates grafted out anywhere from $10 to $17 billion.
While the U.N. praised the program, Saddam used his ill-gotten money not only for palaces, but to rebuild despite U.N. sanctions his networks of secret bank accounts, illicit political payoffs and arms traffic and squirreled away billions that congressional investigators say may be funding terrorism today."
If Halliburton was found guilty of stealing $110 billion from a third world country, or anybody else, there would be marches and anti-US demonstrations in many cities.
Who is going to march and call on Kofi Annan, France, Germany and Russia to give back the billions that they took from the people of Iraq?
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Check out Walter Williams, one of the nation's best economists, and an African American.
Born in Philadelphia in 1936, Williams holds a bachelor's degree in economics from California State University (1965) and a master's degree (1967) and doctorate (1972) in economics from the University of California at Los Angeles.
In 1980, he joined the faculty of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., and is currently the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics.
Williams has written a classic on poverty. It should be read by every young man and woman in our high schools:
"Avoiding long-term poverty is not rocket science.
First, graduate from high school.
Second, get married before you have children, and stay married.
Third, work at any kind of job, even one that starts out paying the minimum wage.
And, finally, avoid engaging in criminal behavior." (http://www.townhall.com/columnists/walterwilliams/ww20050511.shtml)
My Latin American friends ask this question: Why didn't Pres. Bush send troops into New Orleans?
The answer is The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.
Most of us come from countries where the military plays a very visible role.
In Mexico, Pres. Fox recently sent troops to Nuevo Laredo. Back in 1985, Pres. De La Madrid sent the military to Chihuahua to put down a public revolt over election fraud. Most Mexicans have vivid memories of 1968 when another president put the Mexican military in the streets.
Many of us come from countries where the military changes governments and assumes control. Pinochet overthrew Salvador Allende in Chile. Chavez attempted a coup against Carlos Andres-Perez in Venezuela.
It is very different in the US.
The US president cannot send troops into the states. It is called The Posse Comitatus Act and it has been on the books since 1878.
In fact, The Washington Post reports that that the Bush administration sent Gov. Blanco a proposed legal memorandum asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/04/AR2005090401337_pf.html)
She refused. Most governors would have done the same thing.
Looking ahead, and specially in light of terrorism, it may be time to change this act. Maybe future presidents should should have the authority to overrule local authorities and get the federal agencies and military sooner.
However, I don't think that most governors or state legislatures will approve that. Frankly, most state governments want the glory when things go well and want to blame the "feds" when things go wrong.
As I said before, governors and mayors are usually very jealous of having the federal government "show them up".
Besides, let's not forget that governors are potential presidential candidates. They want to be in charge during a crisis. They want to be on TV managing a crisis.
In New York, Rudy Guliani and Gov. Pataki were brilliant in their handling of the 9-11. Our own Gov. Perry has been outstanding in using the Texas Guard to provide security and rescue operations.
Unfortunately, we can not say good things about Mayor Nagin of New Orleans or Gov. Blanco of Louisiana. They did not coordinate their efforts. They failed their citizens.
Please check this out from Bob Williams "Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin failed their constituents" in today's Wall Street Journal. Williams is the president of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, a free market public policy research organization in Olympia, Wash. (http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110007219)
P.S. The following information is from Wikipedia, the free Internet encyclopedia: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posse_Comitatus_Act):
"The Posse Comitatus Act is a federal law of the United States (18 U.S.C. 1385) passed in 1878, after the end of Reconstruction, and was intended to prohibit Federal troops from supervising elections in former Confederate states.
It generally prohibits Federal military personnel and units of the United States National Guard under Federal authority from acting in a law enforcement capacity within the United States, except where expressly authorized by the Constitution or Congress.
The original act only referred to the Army, but the Air Force was added in 1956 and the Navy and Marine Corps have been included by a regulation of the Department of Defense.
This law is mentioned whenever it appears that the Department of Defense is interfering in domestic disturbances.
There are a number of exceptions to the act.
National Guard units while under the authority of the governor of a state;
Troops when used pursuant to the Federal authority to quell domestic violence as was the case during the 1992 Los Angeles riots;
The President of the United States can waive this law in an emergency;
In December 1981 additional laws were enacted (codified 10 USC 371-78) clarifying permissible military assistance to civilian law enforcement agencies including the Coast Guard especially in combating drug smuggling into the United States.
Posse Comitatus clarifications emphasize supportive and technical assistance (e.g., use of facilities, vessels, aircraft, intelligence, tech aid, surveillance) while generally prohibiting direct participation of DoD personnel in law enforcement (e.g., search, seizure, and arrests).
For example, Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachments (LEDETS) serve aboard Navy vessels and perform the actual boardings of interdicted suspect drug smuggling vessels and, if needed, arrest their crews.
Under 18 USC 831, the Attorney General may request that the Secretary of Defense provide emergency assistance if civilian law enforcement is inadequate to address certain types of threat involving the release of nuclear materials, such as potential use of a Nuclear or Radiological weapon.
Such assistance may be by any personel under the authority of the Department of Defense, provided such assistance does not adversely affect US military preparedness.