Monday, June 29, 2009

Ricci and the Lawyerocracy

The lesson that you get from affirmative action law is that no matter what you do, how much you prepare and vet, if the grievance mongers don't like the outcome you are guilty. 

Epstein makes the point that under current law the 5 to 4 majority got it right, but what does that even mean? If the balance of the court changes then they will have gotten it "wrong?" Clearly there is no right or wrong, there is only the way the current majority wants it. 

Ricci and the Lawyerocracy

The lesson that you get from affirmative action law is that no matter what you do, how much you prepare and vet, if the grievance mongers don't like the outcome you are guilty. 

Kaus' greatest hits

Mickey Kaus reposts his greatest hits on the occasion of his tenth anniversary. I like this one: Does Welfare Cause Terrorism?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Why SAVS is vital

The Iranian government has just arrested 70 professorsThis is why projects like our Student Attitudes and Values Survey are so vital.  By forming an association among professors and students in the academic community that crosses racial, ethnic, political and sectarian boundaries we can raise the cost to governments of repressive action.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Judicialization of Politics

The Judicialization of politics continues apace with the leaking of internal DOJ memos recommending prosecution of Yoo and other lawyers.

End of the Global Warming Scare?

In Australia the actual details of a cap and trade scheme have forced some of the supporters of the Global Warming Industrial complex to rethink their positions. 

rules of engagement

Changed rules of engagement in Afghanistan--from killing the enemy to protecting our friends.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Infantalization of the Political Class

Daniel Henninger on the real effect of nationalized health care and Obama's "optional" program.  It is not just the people that are rendered indolent by government on auto-handout. 

I find the word "optional" especially suspect in all this.  After all, the only optional part is taking the service--you pay for it whether you want to or not. If a man sticks a gun in my face and robs me of all my food and then offers me a crust of bread which I, having nothing else to eat, take, is that really a voluntary transaction?

And let us always remember this from Voltaire (via

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

Proposal for Obama Foreign Policy Theme Song

How about "Ain't to Proud to Beg?"

Sunday, June 21, 2009

You're doing a heckuva job Brownie!

so now Obama has borrowed so much, and more importantly convinced people that is going to borrow so much more, that the dollar is tanking. And all the time he complements himself for how much he is accomplished.  Remember the smug self inflating humor he showed been speaking at the occasion of the end of his first hundred days in office? He really seems to think that spending money by borrowing nominations good credit is some sort of accomplishment.

Of course, when all this becomes too greater problem to ignore, we will hear about how this is all the fault of the Bush administration. Conservatives need to be ready for this nonsense now with counterarguments. The stimulus demanded to keep the economy from falling into a tailspin during the credit crisis did indeed require heavy borrowing, but that only excuses spending that occurs during the crisis. The borrowing that Obama has done is dedicated mostly to spending in the future, some 5 to 6% of the stimulus has been spent at present. The rest of it can only be defended on the traditional democratic grounds of wanting to make this nation more like Sweden. The additional spending that Obama is doing, a good 95% of the so-called "stimulus" money, has no justification in terms of the financial crisis but can only be defended on policy grounds -- something his oneness has so far not deigned to do.

Of course, and despair saying as many times as possible, none of this justifies the takeover of GM. This is a grotesque transfer of wealth from the efficient to the inefficient.  Whether GM comes back or not be a grotesque failure. The capital was going into propping up these brain dead dinosaur companies could've been put into healthy companies. Instead of propping up politically connected companies in Michigan money could've flown to productive companies in Mississippi that build cars people don't have to be bribed to buy.

All of this brings up the greatest danger of Obamanomics: stagnation. The car factories that aren't built, the drugs that are not invented will never be missed. We will settle into Euro-decrepitude and not even notice.  The example of a dynamic economy and society that makes clear the cost of socialism euro-style that America gives to the world will be gone.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Mau mauing the IG?

The account of the meeting where the inspector general was supposedly confused and disoriented reminds me of Tom Wolfe's "Mau mauing the Flack Catchers."  When you think about it, it kind of makes sense. The generation that learned how to get funds out of the government by intimidaing minor officials has now risen to sit on the board and uses the same techniques accross boardroom table.  "Fight the power! Oh wait, that's us?"

Friday, June 19, 2009

The worst thing he has done to Mississippi

The worst thing Obama has done to Mississippi is what he has done for Michigan: subsidize the UAW's cars over those made by Americans in Mississippi.  You see, the workers in Mississippi aren't sufficiently class conscious and do not have the sense to vote for their true class champions in the Democratic party.  This is going to start to grate on people.  Of course, it is obviously a disaster if, after spending all these billions ($60 billion?  Are we counting anymore?), the companies go down anyway.  But even more galling is if they survive and start taking back market share based on cost. 

This is starting to dawn on people (see Megan McArdle's excellent post).  Give Mississippi 60 billion and we could sell some cars too.  Oh wait, that would be unfair.  People are willing to buy ours without being bribed.

If there could be one good thing to finally come out of this mess it could be the realization that a car company doesn't have a nationality, and still less a share of stock. Only workers do.  We haven't helped American workers, we have helped Michigan workers--at the expense of those in Mississippi.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Infantalization of the Political Class

Daniel Henninger on the real effect of nationalized health care and Obama's "optional" program.  It is not just the people that are rendered indolent by government on auto-handout. 

I find the word "optional" especially suspect in all this.  After all, the only optional part is taking the service--you pay for it whether you want to or not. If a man sticks a gun in my face, cleans out my wallet and, on taking his leave, offers me a banana, was really a voluntary transaction?

Good Work, Your Oneness!

Dollar falling amid fears of its losing its status as world's reserve currency.

My Idea

There are two things that Republicans should stand for: Empowerment and Reciprocity.  By Empowerment I mean that benefits should go directly to the people. Obama's plans actually offer a great opportunity to do that.  The stocks that the US government has in GM could easily be distributed directly to households. The same holds true for his carbon permits.  The idea has a long conservative pedigree in education and welfare spending in general under the name of vouchers and the negative income tax.  Jack Kemp extended the idea to low income housing. Instead of the government running housing projects give the people in the housing rent vouchers.

It has the advantage of being understandable and of being something that the opposition can do. Obama wants to buy GM, fine, just offer an amendment to say that the stocks are distributed directly to the people.  He wants to have  a carbon tax?  Fine, we don't agree, but if we have to have it lets at least give the benefits to the people by distributing the rights to pollute directly to them.  

But like any worthwhile political strategy, it also splits the opposition.  The Democratic party is a coalition between the supposed beneficiaries of their policies and the government/NGO complex employees that supply those benefits.  The former often get the short end of the stick.  By "empowerment" strategies we cut out the middleman giving the actual objects of the policy more benefits and cut the Democrats off from an important part of their coalition. In doing so we expose the real hypocrisy at the heart of Obamanomics, that it is really an empowerment scheme for the educated elite that are morally repelled by marketplace occupations.

By reciprocity I mean that the laws that government people should be applied to their rulers. The primary application of this principle is in the setting of benefits and options.  The most obvious example is in the health care debate. Just require that anything the Senate and the public employee unions get should be available to the public.  This is a principle that people understand and support. It also has the potential of exposing a great deal of hypocrisy.  Why do Obama's kids get to go to the good school? How many of the politicians that have just taken over GM and are trying to force us to buy their cars drive them themselves?  

Finally, it is a very useful concept in foreign relations.  For instance, much of what divides elite and mass opinion is the conviction that our enemies should get the benefits of our restraint without having a corresponding obligation reciprocate. 

A great disadvantage of importing this principle into our discourse about foreign relations is the danger that it will come to be applied to trade.  Demanding reciprocity in trade is a terrible idea.  This is one case of elite/mass divide where the elites are right and the mass is wrong.  Unfortunately we free traders have fallen into the bad habit of trying to defend free trade on the grounds that our restrictions would lead to a trade war.  This is not an especially good reason to be a free trader.  The real reason to favor free trade is that trade restrictions hurt the party imposing the restrictions.  The net benefits of trade restrictions are far below their costs.  Perhaps the best that can be said for this aspect of reciprocity as a principle in politics is that it might force free traders to make their real case. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Those Kindly Uighurs

Thomas Joscelyn has a nice report in the Weekly Standard that draws on documents linked to on the NYT's own website to refute the NYT's own storyline on the Uighurs: that they are basically nice guys who have nothing against the US and only want independence from China.

March of the Crytocracy

The Lawyers take over the Military.  Michael Barone points out that the problem is deeper than Obama.  Stephen Hayes' reporting is the basis for Barone's oped.

Monday, June 15, 2009

actual apology

Truly Risable article by tina Brown

Really vile and snide take on the Palin-Letterman controversy by Tina Brown

Exhibit A:

"Does anyone believe that Palin really, truly thought Letterman’s sexual joke was about her 14-year-old daughter, Willow, not her 18-year-old, Bristol—who, after all, actually did get knocked up? My reading is she didn't believe it, but she was happy to have you believe it. Happy to have people—too many of them, unfortunately, who only pay attention with one ear—be her target audience."

Well, she went to the baseball game with her 14 year old daughter and the same evening there is a joke about her daughter having sex with a baseball player during the game. What is she supposed to think?  What would her daughter think? 

Oh yeah, she should know because Letterman is a gentleman and would never make a joke like that?  But are we to give him that benefit of a doubt?  We can take his words for their plain meaning, and their plain meaning was the daughter that was at the event he was referring to.  

And it is ok if in Mr. Letterman's head was the older daughter? Like she is now fair game because she did, after all, get "knocked up?"  Note how this has become the liberals' new favorite expression since it could be used against the family member of a conservative.  If you said that about an inner city youth on welfare you would be denounced as racist but aim it at a family member of a conservative politician and they find fifteen ways to work it into every five sentences.   Class.

Then this:

"The governor of Alaska doesn’t object to every wisecrack that relies for its punchline on a mental picture of a Palin daughter having sexual intercourse with an older man, even when the daughter is the one who’s still a minor. Here’s the statement Palin spokeswoman Meghan Stapleton issued after Dave invited the governor and her husband to come on the air with him: “The Palins have no intention of providing a ratings boost for David Letterman by appearing on his show. Plus, it would be wise to keep Willow away from David Letterman.”"

For Mrs. Brown's information, the joke does not rely on a mental picture of an older man having intercourse, it relies on an older man being crude and ill-mannered and unfit to be around young women--a rather obvious point in Mr. Letterman's case.

She finally adds: "Letterman’s joke may not have been his finest hour, but at least he swiftly apologized."  Mr. Letterman said he apologised if anything he said offended her, as if being offended by a crude joke at her daughter's expense (either of them) is something that would not necessarily be offensive in itself and then had the nerve to inviter her on his show.  That isn't an apology, it is an insult.

Strangest of all is the three or four paragraphs of fawning about Secretary Clinton's pants suits and briefing papers which is somehow meant to draw a telling contrast with Governor Palin.  The contrast between Clinton's "cheerfullness" is somehow supposed to show in a bad light Palin's "resentment."  This is quite bizzare.  We shoudl be impressed at Clinton for having gotten over not winning the Presidency (and getting the consolation prize of Secretary of State) in just a little over a year.  Wow!  This is the same Clinton who got herself back in the race by shedding tears at the great tragedy and loss the failure of her candidacy represented for the country.  The same Hilary who played the victim card (at the hands of the vast right wing conspiracy and later at the hands of her own phillandering husband) into the Senate?  This woman has made a career of feeling sorry for herself.  It has defined her public presentation of herself since the days of the "wodda coudda shodda" pink sweater news conference defense of charges that she made 100k trading pork bellies executing trades from a hospital bed. 

And Sarah Palin not cheerful?  I can't stand how cheerful she is!  I thought that was what made her so embarrassing to all of our elites, her relentless cheerfulness?  Sarah Palin told to be more perky and act more like St. Hillary, patron saint of the vast whinning conspiracy?  

Ann Althouse has a good take on Andrew Sullivan's screed on the same subject.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The cunning of history

It may be that Bush and Obama turn out to be a good team without intending to be.  Bush has set in motion democratic forces that would never have gotten uderway without military force to break the stalemate and Obama has diffused some of the tension caused by the conflict.  Thomas Friedman ends up making a similar agument.

Flynt Leverett argues that Ahmadinejad won the election. He points out that some of the criticisms that Mousavi is citing--running out of ballot paper, closing some polls too early--are not the kind of thing that could swing an election with such a large margin. 

It turns out that His Oneness has not even deigned to have so much as a conference call on the subject of Iran.  Can you imagine John McCain exhibiting such neglect?

"This is a debate among Iranians about Iran's future," the official says.

Iranian students murdered in the streets on camera and all his oneness can say is its a "debate" among the Iranians themselves.  Pathetic. 

Friday, June 12, 2009

The case for Fear

Leon Wieseltier makes the case for being afraid, a little afraid. He intriguingly draws on Cass Sunstien's psychologically well informed arguments about people's innate tendency to discount the highly unlikely to zero after a period of calm to argue that the President is not sufficiently alarmist.  He argues that calm may itself be a form of demagoguery.  The arguement is all the more interesting for being from an Obama supporter.

Chicago Style

Obama appears to have fired Inspector General of the Americorps for investigating a politically connected friend. If this is true it is really shocking.  It is far beyond what I would expect from Obama.  I don't mean the corruption, but the ham-handedness of the corruption.

An update from Byron York.  It makes me proud to be an American.  Notice that the hero of the story is not the lawyer but the bureaucrat. Note also the deafening silence of the MSM.

Update:  The WSJ Opinion page has a piece detailing the legal issues involved. What is odd is that the paper concludes that this may seem like "small beer."  This seems like rather straightforward corruption.  800k that is supposed to go to educating kids goes to washing a FOM (Friend of Michelle's) car and the only result is that more money is put in the pipeline and the guy who objects, the guy who is doing his job, gets fired?  How is that a small thing?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The rise or Fascism?

Tony Blankley discusses the implications of the European Parliamentary election results. It seems that the peasants are not going gently into that dark Cosmopolitan night.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

So maybe this democracy thing isn't such a bad idea?

Hezbollah loses Lebanon's elections. We may have to give Obama some credit (he surely will), but even then it is good news.

And check out the pictures on the AP story: "Democracy, whiskey, sexy"!

Targeted Killings

Obama's foreign policy applied to auto marketing

Kaus takes apart an Obama administration schill's (Lutz) analysis of why green cars will save GM: the example of how the "Halo effect" of the Prius was the "primary reason" for Toyota's success.  

several reasons for Toyota's ascendancy, none more important than becoming the darling of media analysts
and environmentalists in the wake of its seminal hybrid, the Prius
This is really too much.  But there is a sort of logic to it.  They people that believe having the approval of people like themselves will motivate dictators in North Korea and Iran to give up their ambitions apparently believe that the same cause will motivate American consumers to give up their money.  The belief in the efficacy of the Mandarinate's approval is the common thread to all they do.

France and America

In Normandy, gratitude toward the US has not faded - The Boston Globe
"Christian, do not forget the American soldiers who risked and sacrificed their lives for you along this coast on June 6, 1944," reads a marble plaque fixed to the wall of the nave. "The bell of this church guided them. You owe them to pray faithfully that God welcomes them."

Maybe we will pass each other on the way?

In Europe political parties of the left are moving right while we lurch left because we have to get with the rest of the world. Strange, isn't it? And all because of the economic crisis which we are doing much better in than they are.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Video Fisking of Obama's speech

Tigerhawk posts a video fisking of President Obama's speech.  All of the things that the West is accused of doing were done by the Muslim world on a greater scale, but only we are the only ones that ever have to apologise.  By the way, is it just me or is Obama's robotic swivel between his teleprompter screens going past annoying? 

Separation of Powers?

Don't worry, that is only an issue when Bush issues signing statements.  When it is the anointed one it is ok.

Liberalism at work

San Francisco, the center of the liberal universe, punishes man for shining shoes instead of doing was a good ward of the state is supposed to: stay dependent. You really can't make this stuff up. 

We hope he has learned his lesson and in future will spend his time wandering around drunk and begging.

If only we could get lawyers to run the world

Only one company worse than Chrysler in customer satisfaction with quality.  Want to guess which one?  Why Fiat of course!  It is a good thing the country is being run by geniuses.

New concern for national security

Dems are shocked that someone would discuss contents of a closed door briefing in public.  Of course, it is alright when you want to accuse the CIA of lying behind closed doors, but if you try to defend them it is suddenly aid and comfort to the enemy.  Then again, for the Democrats, the CIA may well be the enemy as far as they are concerned.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Well, so much for federalism

Here is a rather shocking item at the end of a story about South Carolina governor Sanford,

"Clyburn, D-S.C., inserted an amendment in the federal law with
Sanford's anti-bailout stance in mind, saying legislators could go
around a governor's refusal. While the legality of that was questioned,
U.S. District Judge Joseph Anderson on Monday cited it in saying it was
clear Congress intended to allow legislators to get around governors
who didn't want the money."

So now Congress can re-write state constitutions? 

There is no free lunch

The Obama administration is learning the hard way.  Now that there is good evidence that the recession is ending (no thanks to the as yet un-dispersed stimulus spending) the already issued debt and opened-ended spending commitments of the first 100 days are driving up long-term interest rates. How long can the housing market rebound with interest rates going up 26 basis points a week?  Not long I suspect. Like Bill Clinton before him, he is going to learn that the bond market is the 5th branch of government.


A cynical take on the U.N., "U.N. Me"--get it?

King Lear

Muslim world and Israel

Here is an article that goes out of its way to point out that Arabs are only one in six of the world's Muslims but then goes on to cite polling data only from the Arab world.

Round-up or Reactions to Obama's speech

Reactions from throughout the Muslim world to Obama's speech, focusing on Central Asia.  Mostly what you would expect but an interesting set of reactions from Iran, where a group of text-messagers who did not want to be named were positive in their reactions. 

The Muslim World's real problem

They don't know who their friends are--or their enemies.  Some memories of when Gaza was Egyptian.

Notice how all this stuff is like a thousand years ago?

Text - Obama’s Speech in Cairo - Text -
As a student of history, I also know civilization's debt to Islam. It was Islam – at places like Al-Azhar University – that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe's Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

comparisons between Islamic radicals and Christians

Kirchick, an editor of the New Republic writing an oped for the WSJ, argues that comparisons between the Christian Right and the Islamic fundamentalists are overblown


Guess which religion gets the benefit of the silence?

Pakistan stands up to the Taliban

It seems that the Pakistani government has finally stood up to the Taliban.  Though the pressure from the Obama administration was useful, the main impetus came from the people of Pakistan themselves.  It seems that seeing what the Jihadis do when they are actually in power is what finally mobilizes people to fight them.

Turnabout is fairplay--and good for us

Mona Charen has a nice piece on how unfair the charge of racism against Judge Sotomayor is and yet that it is only what the Democrats have done time and again to Republicans.  She focuses on the case of Judge Pickering from Mississippi.  The argument she makes and which I think has some merit is that this kind of turnabout, though it is unfair to the individuals involved, may be necessary to bring the practice to an end.  Unless the side that is victimized by an unfair standard returns the favor when the opportunity presents itself the advantage may lie with the least scruppulous side.  In a sense there is a duty to retaliate in kind.  This appears to be what happened with the special prosecutor law, the inequity of which suddenly became clear to Democrats after one was sicked on one of thier own--Bill Clinton. This may be a feature of systems that are inherently "political" in the sense that there is no neutral arbiter between the parties that has the power to enfoce rules.  The parties must enforce the rules themselves.  Enforcing them means being willing to subject them to the same injustices that the other side subjects you to.

Arthur Herman

Arthur Herman (the historian who wrote the recent book on Gandhi and Churchill as well as the history of the Scots-Irish in America and a biography of Queen Elizabeth's spymaster Walsingham (c. 1530-1590)) has a nice piece in commentary about the controversy surrounding torture and Guantanamo. It should serve as a reference for conservatives in this debate for years to come.