Monday, October 31, 2005
Katrina did not wreck the economy. All the gloom and doom did not happen.
This week, we saw two interesting reports about the US economy.
JEANNINE AVERSA of the AP reported on Friday:
"Economic activity expanded at an energetic 3.8 percent annual rate in the third quarter, providing vivid evidence of the economy's stamina even as it coped with the destructive forces of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
The latest snapshot of the country's economic performance, released by the Commerce Department on Friday, even marked an improvement from the solid 3.3 percent pace of growth registered in the second quarter."
Sorry liberals. Your wish did not come true. We are not in a depression. On the contrary, most of the world's anti-Bushies would love to have the US economic growth.
There is even better news about black unemployment: "Black Unemployment Drops Under Bush" by Jerry Bowyer(http://www.humaneventsonline.com/article.php?id=9942).
Check the graph and read the article:
"George W. Bush is laying a claim to be the President who did the best job creating jobs for blacks.
Currently, black unemployment is 9.4%, which is significantly lower than the 10% it averaged in the Clinton years.
The current rate is also much lower than the average black unemployment rate over the past 30 years, which is 12.4%."
So the world did not come to an end after all. The doom and gloom brigade needs to smell the roses and join the rest of us who are positive and upbeat about the US.
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Libby won't be convicted. Why? Because the jury is going to have a very hard time understanding this case. As the Wall Street Journal writes today:
"Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation took nearly two years, sent a reporter to jail, cost millions of dollars, and preoccupied some of the White House's senior officials. The fruit it has now borne is the five-count indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the Vice President's Chief of Staff--not for leaking the name of Valerie Plame to Robert Novak, which started this entire "scandal," but for contradictions between his testimony and the testimony of two or three reporters about what he told them, when he told them, and what words he used."(http://www.opinionjournal.com/weekend/hottopic/?id=110007476)
In the end, there was no crime. What we have is a dispute between Libby and reporters. (http://www.washtimes.com/functions/print.php?StoryID=20051029-010448-3697r)
Secondly, Libby's defense will put Joe Wilson on the stand. Wilson will make a fool out of himself.
Wilson will be asked about his big mouth, the same one that boasted about his wife being a CIA agent long before Bush invaded Iraq.
Again, the Wall Street Journal speaks of Mr. Wilson:
"a critic of the Administration who was lying to the press about the nature of his involvement in the Niger mission and about the nature of the intelligence that it produced. In other words, Mr. Libby was defending Administration policy against political attack, not committing a crime."
Third, Valerie Plame Wilson will be put on the stand. She will confirm that she was not an undercover agent.
As IBD reports today:
"We won't recount the many ways the Wilsons attracted attention to themselves and blew their own cover. We will note, however, that Plame revealed her own identity when she gave $1,000 to Al Gore under her married name, listing a private CIA front group as her "employer." (http://www.investors.com/editorial/IBDArticles.asp?artsec=20&issue=20051028&view=1)
In the end, the jury will be so confused that they won't send someone to jail.
Beyond the facts of this case, I do agree that disclosing an agent's name is a crime. I agree that perjury and obstruction of justice are serious matters.
However, it did not happen here. Fitzgerald does not have a slam dunk case. I think that the defense will open up enough holes that the jury will not convict Libby.
Over the past 5 years, frustrated Democrats have invested their hopes and dreams in Michael Moore, forged documents and now Joe Wilson.
The net result will be the same: Bush wins, Bush wins!
Saturday, October 29, 2005
A few days ago, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Israel should be wiped off the map. (http://www.washtimes.com/world/20051029-010446-2002r.htm)
Why is anyone surprised?
Iran has been a terrorists state since Pres. Carter permitted them to hold US diplomats for over a year.
What's going on?
I think that the Iranian leader was attacking Israel for domestic consumption. There are lots of domestic problems in Iran. Young people want change. They want more freedom. Bashing Israel in Iran is a good distraction from the country's real problems.
What should we do?
It's time to take Iran very seriously. This is an outlaw nation with lots of oil money. Sooner rather than later, we will have to deal with Iran and destroy their military capacity.
Friday, October 28, 2005
Like Senator Tom Eagleton, Harriet Miers will be a footnote in 6 months. She will probably write a book, appear on TV shows and go on with her life.
Miers was not my first choice. Yet, I was willing to trust Pres. Bush on this one. Why not? Bush has made outstanding nominations so far.
I think that Pres. Bush cut his losses. He knew that Miers would be a distraction for weeks. So he cut Miers and will likely replace her with a very conservative judge. Politically, Bush will enjoy a rebound when he fires up the base with a popular choice.
What's the big picture? The problem is abortion. Since Roe v Wade, judicial nominations have turned into a circus, a political campaign, a partisan nuclear war, etc.
Frankly, I don't like it!
Let's overturn Roe v Wade so that future nominees to the court can be judged on their background rather than their position on abortion.
David Brooks wrote last April:
"Justice Harry Blackmun did more inadvertent damage to our democracy than any other 20th-century American. When he and his Supreme Court colleagues issued the Roe v. Wade decision, they set off a cycle of political viciousness and counter-viciousness that has poisoned public life ever since, and now threatens to destroy the Senate as we know it."
When Blackmun wrote the Roe decision, it took the abortion issue out of the legislatures and put it into the courts. If it had remained in the legislatures, we would have seen a series of state-by-state compromises reflecting the views of the centrist majority that's always existed on this issue. These legislative compromises wouldn't have pleased everyone, but would have been regarded as legitimate.
Instead, Blackmun and his concurring colleagues invented a right to abortion, and imposed a solution more extreme than the policies of just about any other comparable nation."
Before Roe v Wade, judicial nominations were back page news. It was about the judge and his judicial resume. Today, it's all about abortion.
How can we fix this mess? Overturn Roe v Wade and let the people choose.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
The White Sox surprised me three times in the post season. They beat Boston, the Angels and Astros. (http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/mlb/ps/y2005/index.jsp)
Frankly, I'm happy for Chicago fans. Like Boston, the fans have been denied a title for so long. Once in a while, the gods of baseball reward those who keep the faith.
The Astros are a great team and their roster has some very fan friendly players. Biggio, Bagwell et al are good role models at a time when many pro athletes do not understand their influence on kids.
Houston has some tough decisions pending in the off-season. Is Clemens retiring? How about Bagwell? Biggio is 37. The Astros need to make room for Chris Burke and some young players.
Yet, this is the ChiSox's moment. Enjoy it Chicago!
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
This blog is almost a year old. I have written many opinions about the war, domestic issues, the election and others.
Ten days ago, the Iraqi people voted. According to results, Iraq adopted a constitution. (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,173349,00.html)
Are we better off because of this? Of course, we are.
Why isn't this accomplishment getting more news coverage? I don't know but it should.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
There are two kinds of people in the world. There are those who accept injustice and then there is Rosa Parks.
About 50 years ago, Parks refused to sit at the back of the bus. She challenged an injustice and sparked a movement.
Parks did not seek fame but she left us quite a legacy. (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9809237/)
Monday, October 24, 2005
Macarena does not get it. Read her follow up to last week's column (http://www.dallasnews.com/cgi-bin/bi/gold_print.cgi):
"If I could make one small suggestion: Those of you so clearly concerned about our nation's immigration policy could channel your anger toward our president and your other representatives. Turn your rage into something positive."
This is true but Macarena should take her own advice.
It was her column last week that angered so many of us immigrants. Macarena took a cheap shot at the millions who watch O'Reilly or those who agree that the border situation is chaotic.
The bottom line is this: You can be in favor of immigration but opposed to chaotic illegal immigration.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
I was wrong. I did not predict a Houston-ChiSox series. Frankly, who did?
These teams have two things in common:
First, great pitching. I give the edge to Houston because of post season experience. Clemens and specially Pettite have won in October before.
Second, these clubs were built the old fashioned way. They did not go out and buy players. They developed pitching and most of the position players.
My prediction is Houston in 7.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Macarena Hernandez is a Dallas Morning News editorial columnist. She has written an opinion column about the killing of some undocumented workers.
You can read the full article at http://www.dallasnews.com/cgi-bin/bi/gold_print.cgi. This is the opening paragraph:
"On the last night of September, while they slept after a long day of work in the fields, six men were beaten to death with aluminum bats. One was shot in the head. Among the victims, a father and son killed in the same battered trailer.
The killers demanded money as they broke their bones.
The victims were all Mexican farm workers living in rundown trailer parks spread across two counties in southern Georgia. They had earned the money the killers were after by sweating their days on cotton and peanut farms or building chicken coops the kind of jobs you couldn't pay Americans enough to do."
So far so good. No one in their right mind supports the killing of innocent people, legal or illegal. Furthermore, it is true that some Mexicans are doing work that Americans won't do. This is why I support a work visa program so that people can work legally in the US. It is insane for people to be using fake documents to work at a real job. We need to change the system.
Again, so far so good.
However, Miss Fernandez did not stop there. She decided to take a cheap shot at Bill O'Reilly:
"Do they watch Fox's The O'Reilly Factor, where the anchor and the callers constantly point to the southern border as the birth of all America's ills? (Sample comment: "Each one of those people is a biological weapon.") "
O'Reilly has been critical of illegal immigration. Yet, he is critical of the government and not the individuals who cross over.
O'Reilly has also been tough on the Mexican government. He has pointed out that Mexico benefits from the US$ 15 billion sent south every year.
Yet, O'Reilly does not deserve this cheap shot. He did not say that the southern border is the "birth of America's ills".
O'Reilly has simply pointed out that a chaotic border is a dangerous thing in an age of terrorism.
O'Reilly is right about that!
Maybe Macarena Fernandez is looking for her 15 minutes of fame. However, she needs to be more responsible with her pen!
The Astros lost to the Phillies in '80. They played one of the best NLCS in '86 when they lost to the Mets. They lost a heartbreak to the Cardinals in '04. Add to this the losses to the Braves in '97 and '99 and to the Padres in '98.
It was different in 2005. (http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/mlb/ps/y2005/wrap.jsp?ymd=20051019&content_id=1255088&vkey=ps2005wrapup&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb)
The Astros are a great team. It is absolutely wonderful to see Biggio and Bagwell in the Series for the first time. It is great to see Clemens and Pettite pitching in the fall classic again.
Overall, congratulations to the Astros. They have been my favorite NL team for 20 years.
Go Astros go! Bring the World Series title to Texas! (http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/printstory.mpl/sports/bb/3404570)
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
This is why baseball is the best game. No clock. No running out the clock.
On Monday night, the Cards were down to their last out. Eckstein singles to left. Edmonds walks after taking a very close two-strike pitch. Albert Pujols then hits a 3 run homer and it changes the game. (http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/gameday_recap.jsp?ymd=20051017&content_id=1253412&vkey=recap&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb)
Frankly, I was hoping to see Lidge finish the game. Then I started thinking about Busch Stadium. Pujols' dramatic homer means that the Cards will get to play one more game at home.
St. Louis is one of the best baseball towns in the US. The fans are great. So give them another game before the Astros win the series!
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
According to Gallup, Pres. Bush has a 45% approval rating. (http://poll.gallup.com/) Rasmussen has the same 45% rating. (http://www.rasmussenreports.com/Bush_Job_Approval.htm).
The bad news is that Pres. Bush has sunk. The good news is that he has not dropped to the lows experienced by every president since LBJ.
POWERLINE is one of the best bloggers because they are serious, do their homework and avoid harsh partisanship. (http://powerlineblog.com/aboutus.php)
They were one of the first blogs to challenge the CBS memos a year ago.
This is how they analyze the numbers:
"But are Bush's numbers really that bad? His current Real Clear Politics average stands at 41.7% approval. That is at or about the low point in nearly five years in office.
How does it compare to other presidents' lowest poll ratings? Actually, it's not bad.
Here are the low approval ratings for the last seven presidents:
*Bush I: 29%
Yes, that's right: Every president since 1963 has had approval ratings, at one time or another during his administration, at least five points lower than Bush's current nadir."
Bush's numbers could sink further. Or they could bounce back. We don't know.
How will all of this impact the 2006 midterm elections? I don't see much much an impact yet. It is too early to tell.
In 1994, the Republicans won 50 House and a dozen Senate seats. It was one of the biggest mid-term reversals ever.
Some Democrats are talking about 2006 looking like a Bush 1994.
The '94 analogy is weak. Clinton's low point came in the summer and fall of '94, or right before the election. Clinton was OK at this point in '93. In fact, in Oct '93 Clinton was having problems with Democrats over NAFTA and free trade!
Secondly, the '94 election was the culmination of a trend that started in the mid-1970s. In other words, the country, and specially the South and West, were moving Republican since Nixon's 1972 landslide.
Can Pres. Bush be a liability for Republicans in 2006? Of course, he can. Can he be an asset? Yes, he can. It depends what happens in the next 12 months.
The liberals have been wrong about George W. Bush since '94. My guess is that they will be wrong again!
Monday, October 17, 2005
What more can you say? I was wrong. I picked the Angels but the Chisox proved me wrong big time. I am not really angry about it.
4 complete games.
Vlad Guerrero was limited to 1 for 20!
Congratulations to the AL champs!
This is the first World Series for Chicago since the Sox lost to the Dodgers in '59. The Cubs came close a few times, specially the tragic loss to the Marlins in '03.
Enjoy it Chicago. This is a great team!
Sunday, October 16, 2005
In less than one year, the good people of Iraq have proven all of the Western experts wrong. On Saturday, millions voted again and they want democracy.
It is time for some American liberals to get over Florida and see the good things happening in Iraq.
I am not suggesting that everything is perfect. It was not a perfect world in Philadelphia 1787 either. Somehow, our Founding Fathers found a way to agree and sent the document to the states for ratification
Overall, it was a great day for Iraq and democracy.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Baseball has wonderful traditions. Therefore, a .300 hitter in 2005 can be compared to one in the 1920's. This is not true of the NBA or NFL because the game is completely different than it was 50 years ago.
It took baseball until 1969 to set up divisions. Until '69, the AL winner played the NL winner in the World Series.
In the mid-90s, baseball added the wild card and an extra layer of playoffs.
Should the first round expand from 5 to 7 games? Yes.
Start the season on the last Friday of March. Start the first round of playoffs on the last Tuesday of September.
Should the season go back to 154 games? No. Keep the 162 game schedule.
Friday, October 14, 2005
Pres. Bush has been saying that Iraq is the central front in the war on terror. Some in the West have been mocking the president. However, his chief adversary agrees with him.
You can check this out by reading the 6,000-word letter from Zawahiri, presumably in hiding in Pakistan, to al Qaeda's commander in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi.
You can see the full letter by going to the Web site of the Director of National Intelligence at www.dni.gov.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
"The goal is a fundamentalist Islamic regime that begins in Iraq, extends into the neighboring secular nations of the region, assaults Israel and moves on from there.
And yes, he uses the word "caliphate."
But let Zawahiri speak for himself. The jihadists, he writes, "must not have their mission end with the expulsion of the Americans from Iraq, and then lay down their weapons, and silence the fighting zeal." Plainly said, these boys are in it for the long haul. Just because the U.S. might decide to pull out of Iraq hardly means that al Qaeda will stop trying to kill Americans."
The WSJ goes on:
"The long Zawahiri letter is a rough roadmap of the strategic vision for al Qaeda's intentions in Iraq and the global jihad.
If it has a familiar ring, that's because George Bush has been warning the world about it for several years." (http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110007397)
We can divide the free world between those who are still counting votes in Florida and those who see a threat and want to do something about it. Thankfully, Pres. Bush, PM Blair and PM Howard are in the second group.
Another person in the second group is Ed Koch, the liberal Democrat and former of New York, who endorsed Pres. Bush in 2004:
"It is because our President has been willing to stand up to international terrorism and so many leaders in the Democratic Party have not been willing to do so, that caused me and millions of others to cross party lines and support him in the last presidential election and cheer his victory; notwithstanding that I did not then, nor do I now, agree with him on a single domestic issue, ranging from his proposals to reform Social Security and to changing our tax structure.
For me, the single most important issue the world faced in 2001 and now, trumping all other issues, is international terrorism.
President Bush’s willingness in the face of all the attacks, so many unfair and ad hominen, to continue to stand up and exhort the world to continue the ongoing battle against international terrorism is why I admire and respect him so much." ( http://www.realclearpolitics.com/Commentary/com-10_11_05_EK.html)
This letter should be a wake up call to so many who do not understand what's going on in Iraq.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
The Angels won a gut check on Tuesday night. They played in New York on Sunday, won in Anaheim on Monday and beat a rested Chisox team on Tuesday.
They lost a heartbreaker last night. Was the call right? The pitch replay is inconclusive. The umpire confused the Angels when he seemed to be calling the batter out. It turned out that he was calling a strike out but the play was still going on. (http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20051012&content_id=1248286&vkey=ps2005news&fext=.jsp)
I like the Angels in 6.
Since '02, I have seen the Angels develop into one of the best teams in the AL. They are solid all around.
It starts with Mike Scoscia, their manager. I loved him as the Dodgers' catcher. I can still remember his clutch home run in the '88 NLCS. He was a tough player and he inspires the same kind of emotion from the Angels.
Figgins is a wonderful leadoff hitter. Guerrero, Anderson and Erstad are great.
The bullpen is solid.
It's true that the Chisox won 99 games. But they play in a weaker division. They had 19 games against Kansas City and Detroit. The Angels had to play 19 times against Oakland and Texas.
Put the Angels in the AL Central and they would run away with the division.
The Angels will be in the World Series again!
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Poor ARod. They are now calling him ADog in New York.
True. ARod had a horrible series. So did Sheffield and Matsui and just about everybody in that aging club.
The New York press has gone crazy. The silliest one is: "Yankees still without a title in the 21st century" by Kevin Hench of FOXSports.com
I should remind everyone that the Yankees did not win their first 20th century World Series until the 1920s when Ruth came over. They won 26 of the next 75!
The NYYankees have a lot of problems. ARod is not the biggest one. Age is the team's challenge. There are too many guys in their late 30s on the roster. The Yankees could not keep up with the energetic, and younger, Angels!
It is going to be another long winter in New York. I just hope that the Giants or Jets can bounce back and give the fans something to cheer about. Maybe the Knicks can win the NBA title! Maybe the Rangers or Islanders can win the Stanley Cup.
It's going to be a tough winter in New York! (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/11/sports/baseball/11next.html?pagewanted=print)
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Which Joe Torre will the NY fans remember? Will they remember the guy who won 4 World Series or the one who has not won a series since 2000?
Torre is a great manager. ARod should win the MVP. However, the NYYankees are not going to Chicago for the ALCS. (http://www.nypost.com/sports/yankees/55192.htm)
The NYYankees need youth. They need some new blood. Will they rebuild from within? Or will Steinbrenner go out and buy a new lineup?
Time will tell. But Steinbrenner can not be happy with the '05 Yankees!
P.S. It wasn't a good night for the NYYankees! (http://nydailynews.com/front/story/354642p-302327c.html)
Monday, October 10, 2005
Congratulations Chicago White Sox. 10 days ago, the Chisox looked like a team headed south. Today, they wait to host the LCS.
The Chisox showed a lot of character by winning and sweeping Cleveland. They showed a lot of talent by beating the Red Sox.
El Duque who was brilliant in relief to win game 3. How often does a guy come in with the bases loaded, no outs and goes 1-2-3.
I am very happy for the Chisox fans who have waited even longer than the people in Boston. This is the first playoff series victory for the Chisox since 1917. My guess is that no one in Chicago remembers that!
The Cardinals were expected to win. So I won't say much about that one. This was a terrible mismatch on paper. The Padres won 82 games in the awful NL West.
The Astros are a team to watch again. Check out their incredible 18 inning victory over the Braves! (http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/gameday_recap.jsp?ymd=20051009&content_id=1243956&vkey=recap&fext=.jsp&c_id=hou)
They play hard and have the best pitching in the NL, or perhaps, baseball.
The Astros will start Petite, Oswalt and Clemens. And they close with Lidge.
I am going to pick the Astros to beat the Cards in 7 games!
More on the Yankees-Angels later!
Sunday, October 09, 2005
According to some experts, Pres. Bush and the Republicans are in electoral trouble. However, who is in bigger trouble? The Republicans or Democrats?
The AP has a story "Dems Aim to Boost National Security Image" By ERICA WERNER:
"One of the Democrats' leading hawks, contending that the party's weak profile on national security costs them on Election Day, is planning to raise money to improve its message on defense issues.
"The failure of Democrats to articulate a compelling message and policy position on national security issues spelled doom for our party during the last election cycle," said Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif."
The article goes on:
"Many Democratic leaders share Harman's belief that the party's perceived weakness on national security is a serious flaw come election time.
A Pew Research poll last month said voters think Democrats can do a better job than Republicans on a range of issues from the economy to handling disasters, with the sole exception of terrorism, where voters preferred Republicans to Democrats 45 percent to 34 percent.
"We still live in a time where people feel threatened, and the Democrats have been at a disadvantage on this issue, and for them to make progress they have to address it," said Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center."
The LA Times has an editorial "In search of a winning idea" (http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-ideas06oct06,0,2395264.story?coll=la-news-comment-editorials):
"But a weak GOP does not a strong Democratic Party make. Before the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid order new stationery, they should ask themselves whether their party has any new ideas that can propel it to victory over the next three years."
You can't win hoping that the other team will fumble. You need to score. In politics, you score with a message but the Democrats do not have one.
Another one is "Democrats Urged to Abandon Election Myths" By WILL LESTER (http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/n/a/2005/10/06/national/w080054D29.DTL):
"To regain political power Democrats must abandon favorite election myths, adopt a strong position on national defense and pick candidates who connect with average voters, two political analysts from the party said Thursday.
Political scientists Elaine Kamarck and William Galston, both Democrats, warned that the most important first step is to abandon beliefs they describe as "election myths."
The report noted Republican gains among married people, Catholics, Hispanics and women during the last presidential election.
Democrats must choose to appeal to a broader majority that includes many moderates, said Galston, a political scientist at the University of Maryland.
The Democrats also must develop a coherent foreign policy because "we just don't have one," said Kamarck, a political scientist at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government."
Another one is "Report Warns Democrats Not to Tilt Too Far Left" By Thomas B. Edsall,Washington Post:
"On defense and social issues, "liberals espouse views diverging not only from those of other Democrats, but from Americans as a whole.
To the extent that liberals now constitute both the largest bloc within the Democratic coalition and the public face of the party, Democratic candidates for national office will be running uphill."
Last but not least, James Carville said that the party needs a new narrative:
"No Kumbayah crap....Sometimes the problem with being a Democrat is being a Democrat,” (http://www.dailynorthwestern.com).
Unfortunately, the party's liberal base, the dominant force in the presidential primaries, does not want to believe any of this. They want to turn the next presidential election into a national debate between liberalism and Republicanism.
I hope that we have such a debate in 2008. I don't think that Hillary Clinton wants that debate but the party faithful does!
As I wrote last January, the Democrats are having a huge battle between the national party, dominated by liberals, and the state parties, dominated by centrists.
Who will win? My guess is that the liberals will win in the short run but the Republicans will continue to expand their electoral hold on the middle class.
Sooner or later, the Democrats will figure out that it is better to be the party of Truman than of Michael Moore.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
He reminded us of who the enemy is. They are fanatics.
As Michael Barone wrote:
"We're not fighting against unfocused terrorism or people who set off bombs just because they like setting off bombs. We're fighting against people with specific totalitarian goals." (http://www.usnews.com/usnews/opinion/baroneblog/columns/barone_051007.htm)
My position is clear. We kill them or they will attempt to kill us!
The President spoke of Iraq. Unfortunately, the US media is determined to portray Iraq as a massive failure. The Iraqi people are not buying the doom and gloom. As Barone wrote:
"By any standard or precedent of history, Iraq has made incredible political progress–from tyranny, to liberation, to national elections, to the writing of a constitution, in the space of 2½ years. With our help, the Iraqi military is gaining new capabilities and new confidence with every passing month. At the time of our Fallujah operations 11 months ago, there were only a few Iraqi Army battalions in combat. Today there are more than 80 Iraqi Army battalions fighting the insurgency alongside our forces. Progress isn't easy, but it is steady. And no fair-minded person should ignore, deny, or dismiss the achievements of the Iraqi people."
My favorite line from the speech was:
"The civilized world knows very well that other fanatics in history, from Hitler to Stalin to Pol Pot, consumed whole nations in war and genocide before leaving the stage of history,.....evil men, obsessed with ambition and unburdened by conscience, must be taken very seriously — and we must stop them before their crimes can multiply."
As Pres. Bush said shortly after 9-11, this is a long war. It will go on beyond his watch. At least, he is tackling the issue head on. He is not kicking the can forward hoping that terrorists will not attack us again!
Friday, October 07, 2005
According to an AP story (http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/n/a/2005/10/05/financial/f131201D18.DTL), the price of oil fell to its lowest level in two months on Wednesday. The report goes on to say that "....evidence builds that the high cost of gasoline and other fuels is sapping demand."
So we drive less and prices drop. Demand goes down and prices drop!
I learned this in my first Economics class. It is called supply and demand and it is very effective.
In 1973, I filled up my dad's tank for 29 cents a gallon. It was an old 8 cylinder Ford station wagon and nobody cared about the MPG, or miles per gallon.
In 1980, I paid about $1 a gallon when I filled up my 4 cylinder car.
Today, we drive a very efficient 6 cylinder that weighs a lot less than my dad's old station wagon.
Like many others, I changed my habits and looked for a more efficient way to get around.
Is the same thing happening today? I think so.
Supply and demand works. Price controls and other government interventions do not.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
I saw a couple of excellent articles about Harriet Miers.
The first one is from John Cornyn, the Republican senator from Texas and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. (He served previously as attorney general of Texas, as well as a justice on the state Supreme Court.) This is what he wrote in today's The Wall Street Journal about Harriet Miers:
"She has spent her career representing real people in courtrooms across America. This is precisely the type of experience that the Supreme Court needs. The court is full of justices who served as academics and court of appeals judges before they were nominated to the bench. What the court is missing is someone who understands the consequences of its decisions on the American people." (http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110007361)
Sen. Cornyn is correct. We need someone who has actually lived in a real world, where real people have to deal with the consequences of Supreme Court decisions.
For example, how many judges met a payroll every other Friday? Or been forced to deal with the practical consequences of OSHA?
We live in a lawsuit crazy world. How many judges understand the business implications of that? How about the employment implications of so many restrictions on business?
My guess is that most judges do not have a clue.
The second article is from Thomas Lifson is the editor and publisher of The American Thinker. This is what he wrote:
"Ms. Miers has actually managed a business, a substantial one with hundreds of employees, and has had to meet a payroll and conform to tax, affirmative action, and other regulatory demands of the state. She has also been highly active in a White House during wartime, when national security considerations have been a matter of life and death. When the Supreme Court deliberates in private, I think most conservatives would agree that having such a perspective at hand is a good thing, not a bad thing." (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/Commentary/com-10_4_05_TL.html)
The Supreme Court, or government in general, could use a different perspective. Maybe Harriet Miers will bring that to the court.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Was I expecting Pres. Bush to nominate Harriet Miers? No.
I was hoping for a black or Hispanic nominee. I think that Pres. Bush had an opportunity to put a minority conservative in the court.
Was I shocked? No.
Myers was in every short list of potential candidates.
I think that Pres. Bush is making a personal choice. He knows Myers very well. He believes that she will be a true conservative in the court. Based on his previous appointments to the bench, I am ready to give Pres. Bush the benefit of the doubt.
We won't know until she has been in the Court for a few years. My guess is that we will be very happy with this nomination.
Miers is well known to us in Dallas. She was a very successful public figure before joining the Bush team in Austin and later in Washington.
Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard. I like what he wrote today:
"So why did Bush choose Miers? For him, these nominations are quite personal. He wants to feel comfortable with his nominee, confident his pick will be a conservative now and conservative 20 years from now. Bush picked Roberts after being impressed while interviewing him. His doubts were erased (and there were initial doubts about Roberts). My guess is with Miers his doubts were washed away too." (http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/006/167xqcii.asp)
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
What happened to the media in New Orleans?
As soon as the city was flooded, the media blamed the Bush tax cuts for the levees. As soon as poor blacks were left behind, the media accused Bush of being a racist. As soon as the hurricane hit the city, the media began running stories on global warming.
Things went from bad to silly when Cindy Sheehan called on Bush to get our troops out of occupied New Orleans.
What happened here?
Katrina turned into another Bush bashing show. Mark Steyn, one of my favorite Canadians, wrote this about the news media:
"They talked to goofs in power, like New Orleans' Mayor Nagin and Police Chief Compass, and uncritically fell for every nutso yarn they were peddled. The media swallowed more bilge than if they'd been lying down with their mouths open as the levee collapsed. Ten thousand dead! Widespread rape and murder! A 7-year-old gang-raped and then throat-slashed! It was great stuff -- and none of it happened. No gang-raped 7-year-olds. None.
As Ben Stein put it, it was the media that rioted. They grabbed every lurid rumor and took it for a wild joyride across prime time. There was a real story in there -- big hurricane, people dead -- but it wasn't enough, and certainly not for damaging President Bush." (http://www.suntimes.com/output/steyn/cst-edt-steyn02.html)
Hugh Hewitt is the host of a nationally syndicated radio show, and author most recently of Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation That is Changing Your World. His daily blog can be found at HughHewitt.com. He wrote this:
"I began to air my misgivings about the coverage and its associated hysteria on September 10. But now even the mainstream media is figuring out that its performance in New Orleans was a disgrace, an emotion-binging joyride fueled by urban myth, rumor, and a deep desire to injure the Bush administration."
To be fair, there are some very competitive pressures on cable news channels. At one point, there were more reporters in New Orleans than boats. Nevertheless, the media did not do a good job of covering this tragedy. Katrina was clearly made worse by media hype and lies.
Let me close with Dan Gainor, a career journalist and former managing editor with Congressional Quarterly. He is currently director of the Media Research Center's Free Market Project. (http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20051002/news_mz1e2gainor.html)
"There is no doubt that Katrina was an incredible tragedy, but it was nowhere near what was reported. What is true is that the sloppy coverage of Katrina's devastation will leave its mark on the media and on America for years to come."
Monday, October 03, 2005
The Yankees had a strong finish and the Indians did not. This is why the young Indians will watch the playoffs on TV. The Red Sox also benefited from the Indians' collapse.
So the Yankees will fly to LA for a series with the Angels and Boston will go to Chicago.
I think that the NYYankees will meet the Bosox in the LCS again. It reminds me of the Cowboys-49ers NFL championship games from the mid-90s!
The Astros are in and will fly to Atlanta. The Padres will go to St. Louis.
The Astros will meet the Cardinals for the LCS.
P.S. Jimmy Rollins' hitting streak reached 36 games. We will have to wait until 2006 to see if Rollins extends his streak. It is the 9th longest ever! (http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20051002&content_id=1234106&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb)
The Rangers had a bad season. Yet, Michael Young won the batting title. ( http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/spt/stories/100305dnsporanglede.6fe9b27.html)
The Rangers finished 79-83. They lost 14 games to the Angels! The 1-12 road trip in August killed them, too. They need a veteran pitcher and a lead off hitter for 2006!
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Campaign finance laws are so confusing that honest candidates can break the law. The system is a joke, as we have seen with the rise of PACs and 527s.
Campaign finance laws are not stopping the flow of money. They have created other ways of getting the money into the process.
Why are people trying to buy influence? Because we have a federal government that spends $1 trillion and it impacts employers and employees.
So what's the solution?
I think that we should eliminate all of the campaign finance laws and replace them with full disclosure.
For example, let's say that a labor union wants to contribute to a liberal senator's campaign. Go ahead and make the contribution and then disclose the amount on the candidate's website within 72 hours.
The contribution should be made in the union's name rather than through some third party organization.
Apply the same standard to business or personal contributions.
Full disclosure is the best policy.
Today's campaign rules are so confusing that campaigns have to hire lawyers just to make sure that they are not violating the rules. It is crazy.
Scrap the laws and bring full disclosure.
Saturday, October 01, 2005
On the surface, this is bad news for the Republicans. Yet, the indictment won't stick. DeLay will survive.
NRO has an editorial on the subject and they call it "Targetting DeLay"
"Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle has charged DeLay with conspiracy to make a contribution to a political party in violation of the Texas Election Code. The alleged violation involved a money swap between the now-defunct Texans for a Republican Majority PAC (TRMPAC), which DeLay helped found but never managed, and the Republican National State Elections Committee (RNSEC). TRMPAC sent a check for $190,000 to RNSEC, and RNSEC then sent checks totaling approximately the same amount to Texas House candidates in October of 2002.
Earle, a Democrat, calls this money laundering, because the money that TRMPAC sent to RNSEC came from corporations, which are barred from contributing to campaigns in Texas.
Earle is wrong. Before campaign-finance reform, this kind of soft-money for hard-money swap was perfectly legal and happened all the time.
In October of 2002, the Texas Democratic party did the same thing when it sent $75,000 to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and received $75,000 back from the DNC.
Also, as former Department of Justice official Barbara Comstock noted yesterday, “Had corporations sent money directly to the RNC or RNSEC, the transaction would be legal. How could anyone conspire to do indirectly what could legally have been done directly?” Earle considers these transactions illegal because he thinks they should be, and he’s convinced a grand jury to play along with him."
According to Rasmussen, who does daily tracking polls:
"On the second evening following the indictment of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a growing number of Americans believe the charges against the powerful Republican are politically motivated.
On Wednesday night, 43% said the charges were based upon the facts involved while 31% said they were politically motivated.
On Thursday, following a full day of news coverage, 37% said the charges were based upon the facts while 39% said they were politically motivated."( http://www.rasmussenreports.com/2005/Tom%20Delay_September%2030.htm)
Perhaps, people are having doubts about this indictment because of Byron York's investigative reporting: "Coming Soon: The Ronnie Earle MovieThe DeLay prosecutor has let a film crew follow him through the whole case." (http://www.nationalreview.com/york/york200509291814.asp)
My prediction is that this indictment will collapse. It won't fly. Democrats can not win statewide elections in Texas so they have decided to destroy DeLay.
Ronnie Earle has a bad track record. Check out The Wall Street Journal's lead editorial:
"The Majority Leader also deserves the presumption of innocence because of Mr. Earle's guilty past. A liberal Democrat, he has a history of indicting political enemies, Democrat and Republican, on flimsy evidence that didn't hold up in court.
In the mid-1980s, he indicted Attorney General Jim Mattox, a rival of his ally Ann Richards, on bribery charges. Mr. Mattox was acquitted and won re-election.
In 1993, he indicted Kay Bailey Hutchison, who'd just been elected to the U.S. Senate, on charges of misconduct and records tampering. Mr. Earle was forced to drop the case even before it went to trial.
Earlier this year, the prosecutor delivered a widely criticized speech at a Democratic fund-raiser in which he compared his prosecutorial targets to "Mussolini and his fascists" and all but declared that he had Mr. DeLay in his sights."`
DeLay is a hardball politician. He plays to win. He has exploited every opportunity to advance the Republican cause in Texas. He is a partisan and hits hard.
Break the law? I don't think so. Time will tell but DeLay will survive this one.