Sunday, January 18, 2009

A "War" filled with trickery

Notice how the headline of the NYTs piece says that the war is filled with trickery but the body of the story has examples all from the Hamas side.  The only side using civilians as weapons is the Arab side. Notice also that the trickery on the Israeli side is all aimed as avoiding civilian casualities, just the opposite of the aim on the Hamas side.

Monday, January 05, 2009

My kind of guy

President Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic has taken the helm at of the EU.  It is a meaningless position even when the guy running it isn't French, but still, it should be a lot of fun.

The Stupidity of Homeland Security

Michael Yon's tale of DHS's hearts and minds program.

What is so infuriating about this is that we have no real understanding of who are friends are.  We had a really good and important friendship with Thailand that no one in the US government seems to care much about.

Another point he makes is that the fact that these are all union employees makes it very difficult to discipline the bad apples that get on the job. It is a continuing mystery to me why people wanted the DHS screeners to be government employees.  If these clowns were private contractors they would be fired.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

An Amazing number

46% of Americans favor allowing the option of opting out of SS. I find that number amazing, especially after the stock market debacle.  I wonder if we will have a "Nixon Going to China" moment in public policy? On the other hand, even though opt out wins a plurality, the same poll has soak-the-rich (in the form of making all income liable to the SS tax--which people don't even bother calling a contribution anymore) policy winning a filibuster proof majority.

Obama and parenting

I think that this is actually one of the good effects of an Obama presidency.  Actually, I think that in the long run, Obama's personal example undermining the arguments that doing what you are supposed to do is not a matter of "acting white" will be a huge benefit.  It will also, I suspect, start in some subtle ways to grate on the left and eventually be a source of open friction between Obama and his own supporters.

One thing is odd.  Obama appears to smoke quite a lot. The press almost never publishes pictures with him doing so. Is there some sort of Rooseveltian understanding with the press?  Is that a good thing?  Is there some cotradiction in observing such an understanding given the push to have Roosevelt's statue portray him in a wheelchair?

Sound as the Dollar

I usually don't worry too much about debt levels, given that the US's credit worthiness is a matter of its standing relative to other advanced economies, virtually all of whom have much worse problems by almost any measure (the exception might seem to be Germany, though it has has a banking crisis almost as bad as ours as a proportion of GDP and has the weight of the rest of the EU which it has to carry through the Euro). But this article gave me pause.

Whatever else you say about McCain.... must be admitted: he had no talent for keeping his mouth shut.  Imagine McCain handling the Gaza war the way Obama has?  I can't.  For better or worse--and I think there are grounds for choosing worse, McCain would have found some way to make his position known.  The foreign press is, however, starting to loose patience with His Oneness.

Cool Word for the day

Apoptosis. I think this word has great potential.  There has to be some thing in politics it can usefully describe.  How about "Apoptostic Ideologies"? An ideology that envisions its own superannuation?  Like Communism sees itself as an ideology that one day will become unnecessary (or at least Leninism does?): after the dictatorship of the proletariate there will be no more need for governments. 

Remember the good old days?

Richardson quits.  What happened to the Republicans having the money scandals and the Democrats having the sex scandals? Where is Mel Reynolds when you need him?