"There are men, in all ages, who mean to exercise power usefully; but who mean to exercise it. They mean to govern well; but they mean to govern. They promise to be kind masters; but they mean to be masters." Daniel Webster

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Why I'm Not a Conservative, Part II

Charles Johnson looks at the right-wing glee at the murder of Dr. George Tiller inside a church. Balloon Juice has more.

Andrew Sullivan reminds us of how Bill O'Reilly and others demonized Tiller. Al Giordano has more.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tricking Americans Into Real ID

Downsize DC reports that, without any Congressional authorization, the Department of Homeland Security is going to require American citizens to show either an internal passport REAL ID enhanced driver's license or passport to cross either the Mexican or Canadian border. It further plans to make it more expensive, more time consuming and more difficult to get a passport in order to encourage people to get an internal passport REAL ID enhanced driver's license.

Jim Babka has more.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Funny-Sounding Foreign Names

Kerry Howley takes on those who oppose Sonia Sotomayor because of how she pronounces her name. She also reminds us of this great rant by Nick Gillespie:

Thank you, Middle Eastern 9/11 hijackers, for finally getting the point through our thick skulls (forgive our slowness, but all too many of us are descended from immigrants) that the greatest security threat to the United States is the influx of Spanish speakers from across the border with Mexico.

Christ, it's bad enough that we have to eat foreign food, live in states with Spanish-derived names, and answer that extra question about which language to use at the ATM. (Thought experiment: How much is that extra second or two of time slowing down the U.S. economy and driving down our productivity, precisely at the moment when the Chinese are breathing down our necks like a bunch of post-industrial railroad coolies? You can be damn sure that the Chinese government doesn't allow ATM users to pick their own language.)

Carol Brady Reveals Her True Feelings

In 1976, someone decided it would be a great idea to give the Brady Bunch their own variety show. This clip may show why it didn't work:

U.S. Inflation to Reach Zimbabwean Levels?

Investor Marc Faber says he's "100 percent sure."

Silvio Berlusconi's Press Conferences Seem Interesting

He has the quote of the day.

Tom Tancredo Calls for Legalizing Drugs

He must be afraid that illegal immigrants will get them all if we don't.

Spoiling the Joke

No wonder they call him Instahack.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Last Voyage of the Starship Enterprise

Japanese Scientists Create Monkeys That Glow Green

And they got them to reproduce offspring that can glow as well. I guess regular monkeys weren't irritating enough.

Keeping a Wary Eye on Obama, Part VII

Have the bond vigilantes returned?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hugo Chavez's Thugs in Action

Trying to break up an educational conference, harrassing novelist Mario Vargas Llosa and his son Alvaro, who are attending the conference and harrassing the TV station that broadcast Alvaro's account of his detainment.

Why I'm Not a Conservative

I'm not offended by the way Sonia Sotomayor pronounces her name.

And I don't care how often the Republican echo chamber plugs Mark Levin's book, I think my time would be better spent rereading Jose Ortega y Gassett's "Revolt of the Masses" or maybe Richard Weaver's "Ideas Have Consequences."

Obama's Hit List, Part II

A lawyer for Chrysler's dealers says the decision to close 25% of the dealers came from the government, not company executives. And while those dealers who were closed were all Republican donors, some Chrysler dealers with strong Democratic Party ties saw competing dealers shuttered.

Michelle Malkin was skeptical of some of this when it first appeared, but she now seems a little more concerned.

In any event, this is why you don't want government making these decisions in the first place.

Keeping a Wary Eye on Obama, Part VI

China warns the Federal Reserve about printing money to pay for the government's massive spending plans.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Jose Canseco Taps Out

He must really need the money. His opponent Hong Man Choi (or Choi Hong-man to you, Ron) isn't the greatest fighter in the world. But he's about 10 inches taller and 130 pounds heavier than Jose and about 16 years younger. He has also spent the last four years fighting the best kickboxing and MMA fighters in the world and beating a few of them. Anyway, here you go:

Where the Right Is

Damon Linker looks at the Big 3 conservative magazines and finds we've come a long way since William F. Buckley founded National Review. My favorite part is is summation of neoconservatism philosophy: "Be Afraid! Be Very Afraid!

Obama's Enemies List

Doug Ross checked the list of Chrysler dealers scheduled to be closed under the government's plans for the company against campaign donations. He claims that every single one donated almost exclusively to Republicans.

Red State has more, as does Mercer University economist Scott Beaulier.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin is skeptical.

Nice Job, Media!

Radley Balko writes:

So in the several hours that we’ve known about the Sotomayor pick, Fox News’ Mike Huckabee put out a critical press release referring to her as “Maria,” the Politico referred to her as a “Latina single mother,” and NPR referred to her as “the daughter of immigrants.”

All three are wrong. Her first name is Sonia. She has no kids. And no, Puerto Rico isn’t a foreign country.

I don’t yet have an opinion on the merits of the pick. Need to read up on her a bit more.

Don't Blame Prop 13

Matt Welch says it isn't responsible for California's fiscal mess.

Now This Is Celebrity Sleaze

David Niven was the quintessential movie star, a legitimate war hero, a gifted raconteur and a best-selling author of a critcally acclaimed autobiography.

He was also, according to a new biography, involved in an absolutely awful marriage for many years.

Monday, May 25, 2009

I Don't Feel Safer

This piece on the latest "terror" plot busted by the feds is right on the money.

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
H.L. Mencken

Minor Quibbles

Over at National Review's The Corner, Richard Nadler asks just how much illegal immigration costs.

Orson Welles Drunk

Religion of Peace Alert

Will the violence ever end?

Conservatism and the GOP

Somebody asked me a few days ago whom my favorite bloggers are. Daniel Larison was at the top of my list. Even when I don't agree with him, which us about half the time, I almost always find his posts interesting, provocative and well written.

In his latest post, he builds on an earlier observation that self-identified conservatives are about the only group still sticking by the Republican Party by noting that these same conservatives loudly claim that the party has abandoned them. Why this disconnect?

It is not the case, on the whole, that these reliable Republican voters who call themselves conservatives have come around to adopting a strict version of the principled conservatism that either marginal critics or mainstream conservatives have in mind, but rather that the label has become a marker of belonging and evidence of one’s good sense as defined inside the movement and party. In other words, it has become a word on the right, like the word diversity in other contexts, that people use to show that they are bien-pensant people.

What damage has this caused to the image of small government or conservative ideas?

Even when it is true, for example, that the Republicans eventually lost the country because they failed to heed conservative wisdom (e.g., by abandoning prudence, restraint and caution and invading Iraq to the detriment of the national interest), it is very difficult for those outside the party to credit the idea that the antiwar conservative represents Real Conservatism, not least because most people who call themselves conservatives even now back the war and believe it was the right thing to do. They may be more likely to conclude, along with Bill Kauffman, that “for half a century, “conservative” has been a synonym for–a slave to–militarism, profligacy, the invasion of other nations, contempt for personal liberties and an ignorance of and hostility toward provincial America that is Philip Rothian in its scope.” The dissident conservative naturally wants to say that all of this is an abuse and perversion of the meaning of the word, and it is, but I think it is fair to say that most people are not going to investigate things that deeply. Why would they? It is not their responsibility to discover how the word has been abused–it is up to conservatives to stop embracing policies that encourage the distortion and abuse.

Keeping a Wary Eye on Obama, Part V

The U.S. Treasury is going to try to sell $100 billion in bonds this week. Early word is that private buyers aren't interested. That leaves foreign governments and the Federal Reserve. The more then Fed buys, the greater the chances of inflation, which, in turn makes the bonds less attractive to private buyers and other governments.

Keeping a Wary Eye on Obama, Part IV

The president of the Dallas Federal Reserve fears that the Fed's purchase of "toxic assets" and government bonds might spark inflation. Naturally, the administration is now talking about removing the regional Fed presidents fom the Fed's policy-making committee.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Orson Welles Roasts Dean Martin

Keeping a Wary Eye on Obama, Part III

The Chinese fear his spending and borrowing will spark rampant inflation and devalue the dollar. So do I.

We Called It Black Saturday

How to Drive Traffic to a Newspaper Web Site

According to officials at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, their big draws are pet photos, celebrity photos and photos of fashion shows.

Right-Wing DJs Spinning the Hate

A few days ago, on National Review's blog The Corner, Jerry Taylor suggested that right-wing radio, at best, preaches only to the converted and, at worst, hurts the image of conservatism and small government ideas among the rest of the nation. Other bloggers on the site quickly dogpiled him, with nasty and personal posts letting him know that such ideas were beyond the pale.

Mark Levin is the sort of person whom they defended. Incidentally, Levin, whose recent book has been celebrated by the Republican echo chamber, is one of the bloggers at The Corner.

Keeping a Wary Eye on Obama, Part II

British banks and stock brokers say that the administration's planned changes in tax rules may force them to stop servicing American clients or incvesting in American companies for their British clients.

Going Dutch? Not So Fast

Heleen Mees knocks down some recent praise of the Dutch welfare state:
Due to the high cost of labour (20-25 dollars per hour at minimum wage level) many low-skilled immigrants can't find a job and are forced to spend their lives in subsidised isolation. In the Netherlands, immigrants and people of immigrant background in the 15 to 65 age group are four times more likely to live on public assistance than other people in that age group; they are also over-represented in the crime statistics.

In New York it is exactly the other way around. Immigrants commit less crime and are less often unemployed. The gross minimum wage is lower than in the Netherlands at 7.25 dollars, but thanks to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) people with annual incomes up to 37,000 dollars actually end up with more money after taxes than before.

Michael Moynihan points out that the Dutch have actually been cutting their welfare state and seeing increased economic growth as a result.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Greatest Generals

At The American Scene, Conor Friedersdorf has a great post on Switzerland that quotes this passage from John McPhee:

In the First World War, General Ulrich Wille led the Swiss to victory. Victory consisted of successfully avoiding the conflict. As someone put it, “We won by having no war.” In the Second World War, the victorious Swiss general was Henri Guisan, of the Canton de Vaud. There is a General Guisan Quai in Zurich, a Quai General Guisan in Geneva. In every part of Switzerland, there are streets and plazas and equestrian statues—there are busts on plinths overhung with banners and flags—doing honor to the general of an army that did not fight.

Haunted By the Memory of Her Song

I'm not a big fan of the Big Hollywood blog, but this piece on the film "Rio Bravo" is quite good.

I saw "Rio Bravo" on TV not that long ago for about the 1000th time and enjoyed it immensely.

HT: Randy Barnett at The Volokh Conspiracy.

E-Verify: Another Strand in the Total Surveillance Web

Jim Harper notes that the government will keep all data about people submitted for an E-Verify background check for at least 10 years, and he reminds us he predicted this:

In my paper on electronic employment eligibility verification systems like E-Verify, I wrote how such systems “would add to the data stores throughout the federal government that continually amass information about the lives, livelihoods, activities, and interests of everyone—especially law-abiding citizens.”

It’s in the DNA of E-Verify to facilitate surveillance of every American worker. Today’s Federal Register notice is confirmation of that.

Neocon Consensus

At the Cato Institute's blog, Gene Healy writes:

Since Rich Lowry, Karl Rove, and Charles Krauthammer have all admitted that Obama’s anti-terror policies are substantially the same as Bush’s, I assume they’ll refrain from arguing that Obama’s making the country less safe, and they’ll hold the recriminations if and when there’s another terrorist attack. Right?

Keeping a Wary Eye on Obama

Foreign markets, investors, political leaders and pundits are concerned about the massiave deficit he has run up and the even greater deficits his spending plans will ential.

Freddy Fender and Flaco Jimenez

These two greats always sound good together

Friday, May 22, 2009

Best. Photo. Caption. Ever

Well, certainly so far this year.

Immigrants and Urban Renewal

Cleveland is one place where they are wanted.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Demoracts Reject Cap on Job Losses

Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee defeated an anmendment to their bill to cap carbon emissions that would have suspended the law if the EPA and the Labor Department agreed that it caused unemployment to exceed 15% in any given year.

Jim Cornette's History of Hardcore Wrestling

This one's a keeper.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Eefing and Hamboning

By the masters, Jimmy Riddle and Jackie Phelps:

Ilya Somin on Libertarian Hispanophobia

He joins the debat over at The Volokh Conspiracy.

Water Does Not Run Uphill

Economist Roger Koppl explains why big business supports cap and trade.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Countrywide Financial has been at the epicenter of the housing and financial collapse. Clusterstock has been reading up on the company and its CEO Angelo Mozilo and finds how they were aided and abetted by the government.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Case Against Libertarian Hispanophobia

At the EconLog blog, Arnold Kling and Bryan Caplan have been having an exchange on immigration, one-party rule and small government. Arnold kicks it off, Bryan responds and Arnold has the latest (so far) piece. Both men make very smart points.

UPDATE: Bryan has more.

Charting Our Economic Decline

Lew Rockwell says keep an eye on immigration.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

It's the Chicago Democratic Way

A businessman dares to stand up for his legal rights in court, so Barney Frank, Maxine Waters et al drag him before a congressional committee to see why he "actively opposes" their efforts to reduce foreclosers. They remind him they have the power to destroy regulate his business.

James Hanley has more, as does Clayton Cramer.

And here is Frey's response.

Rumsfeld's Reports to Bush

Oh, my. More here.

HT: Radley Balko.

Hey Sarita

Huntsman to China

Daniel Larison explains what the selection of Republican Utah Gov. Jon Hunstman as the new ambassador to China means.

$17 Billion Is a Lot of Money. $18 billion Isn't

Well, when Barack Obama is doing the math. Jacob Sullum explains.

More Foster Brooks

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Wow. Is David Letterman Bitter

I was a big fan of his shows on NBC, and I liked his first two or three seasons on CBS, but after a few years, it seemed like he started just going through the motions. I gradually stopped watching. But over the past few weeks, I've been watching him, and he just seems surly and bitter. Gotta Wonder what happened.

Obama's Instinct for Aides with Authoritarian Instincts

From the Cato Institute blog.

The Recession Has Hit Japan Hard

A pair of Yubari melons sold for just 500,000 yen.

The End of American Exceptionalism

David Gordon reviews "The Limits of Power" by Col. Andrew Bacevich.

Tightening the Noose Around the Right to Travel

Another interesting post from Jim Harper.

Spending is the Tax

Economist Jerry O'Driscoll writes:
If Milton Friedman is correct, however, the tax increase has already occurred. For Friedman, government spending is the tax — the measure of the extraction of real resources from the economy by government.

That's why I used to scoff at so-called conservatives who said that, at least, George W. Bush cut taxes.

Friday, May 15, 2009

"Buy American" Costs U.S. Jobs

Great, if maddening, story from the Washington Post on how the Obama administration is costing American jobs and may be igniting a trade war.

REAL ID Mission Creep

Jim Harper notes another proposal to expand the use of internal passports enhanced driver's licenses.

The Honesty of Jerry Taylor

Andrew Sullivan and Christopher Orr note the attacks from Jerry Taylor from his fellow bloggers at The Corner for daring to suggest that Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity don't persuade a lot of people who don't already agree with them.

The arguments against Taylor aren't very persusasive, and Mark Steyn, aka the stupid man's P.J. O'Rourke, really doesn't even try to argue. He just calls Taylor a bunch of names.

Solving the Immigration Problem - Once and for All

Ross Levatter writes about the Save the Endangered Americans Act.

Before the Next Teardrop Falls

The late, great Freddy Fender:

Before The Next Teardrop Falls - The best video clips are here

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Japanese Theory of the Business Cycle

That's what Tyler Cowen called this, and for the life of me, I don't know why.

The Russian Army, Such Kidders

The Washington Post vs. Barack Obama

The Post today has three different editorials blasting Obama's policies on the autmobile industry, entitlments and school vouchers.

Arnold Kling writes:
Since we know that the Obama Administration is centrist and pragmatic, the only inference to draw is that the Post has become a mouthpiece for the far right wing.

UPDATE: The editorial cartoon takes a shot at Obama's health-care reform plans, too.

The Indian Tiger

Investor Jim Rogers tells us of his trip to India.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Chrysler and the Rule of Law

Law professor Todd Zywicki on the damage the Obama administration is doing to the Constitution.

Japan Would Avoid Buying U.S. Bonds

The United States soaring debt, and the rising chances that the government will devalue the dollar, doesn't seem to be worrying many people here. But it has become a campaign issue in Japan.

How to Revive American Cities

Joel Kotkin says make them affordable and attractive for middle-class families with children.

Beer-Barrel Polka

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

All You Need to Know About the GOP

At National Review's The Corner, Jerry Taylor blogged a fairly lengthy piece critical of the late Jack Kemp that was ignored by his co-bloggers. Today, he suggests that, at best, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, merely preach to the converted and that, at worst, they may actually give conservatism a bad reputation among others, something their approval ratings indicates may be true. His co-bloggers react with fury to that.

UPDATE: Michael Moynihan has more at Hit & Run.

Awkward Family Photos

Yeah, that's right.

African-American Assaulted and Harrassed.

Well, that's what Paulo Serodio says.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Jack Kemp - A Dissenting View

Jerry Taylor writes:
It sure would be nice if tax cuts alone could deliver all of the wonders advertised by Jack Kemp, but alas, that proved not to be the case. Tax cuts in lieu of spending cuts neither starved the beast nor made government more affordable. It proved politically popular (for a while at least), but it simply transferred wealth from the future to the present and put the first nail (of many to come) in the coffin of the political movement launched by Barry Goldwater. Jack Kemp was not simply unenthusiastic about budget cutting; he was positively hostile to it.

While Jack Kemp’s many speeches in defense of capitalism and entrepreneurship were often inspiring, he never understood what Milton Friedman spent a lifetime patiently explaining: that government spending was the true tax on the private sector. One way or another, all federal dollars come from the private (productive) sector. They might be taxed away, of course, but they might also be borrowed (meaning that taxpayers tomorrow will pay for spending today . . . with interest!) or confiscated indirectly via the printing press (that is, via inflation).

Stress Tests May Boost BB&T

The bank was the only major bank with a presence in North Carolina to pass.

Here's an earlier post on why BB&T is in better shape than some other banks.

Allons Danser Colinda

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Before Ann Coulter

Peter Gemma recalls when conservative books were worth reading.

Relive the First 99 UFCs

Dave Meltzer and the other writers at Yahoo are looking back with an article on each of the first 99 Ultimate Fighting Championships.

The Best Ever?

Mike Mooneyham talks with wrestling legend Dan Hodge.

The First Non-White Player in NBA History Was Nisei

Here's a nice story on Wat Misaka.

Still Funny After All These Years

Saturday, May 9, 2009

How Hugo Chavez Silences Opponents

Tyler Cowen points to a new economic study that looks at what happened to those who signed an anti-Chavez petition.

Meanwhile, the Miami Herald has details on all the other ways Chavez retailiates against opponents. Socialism at work.

When Did Star Trek Become Socialist?

Ilya Somin wants to know? But the answer seems to be after Gene Roddenberry lost the last of his small amount of creativity.

Hey Baby Que Paso

Doug Sahm, Augie Meyer, Freddy Fender and Flaco Jimenez, aka, the Texas Tornados, perform the national anthem of San Antonio

He Rode the Short Bus to Yale

Clark Stooksbury writes:
Reynolds explains the real reason behind the torture issue. “But at any rate, the torture issue was mostly a political tool designed to cow right-leaning members of the punditocracy by calling them Nazis.”

I’m thinking of several non-Nazi words to describe Glenn Reynolds right now, but I’ll limit myself to the euphemistic term, “special.”

Andrew Sullivan has more.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Immigrants -Let Them In

Reason's latest video:

More here.

Brad DeLong Is Still an Ethics-Free Partisan Hack (Part of a Series)

DeLong tries to defend Soviet agent and leftist hero I.F. Stone and gets smacked down hard. He responds like a petulant child.

Things You Can't Even Talk About

John Stossel has a new special on tonight at 10. Reason has a preview.

Stay Classy, Joe

Remember when the Republican Echo Chamber couldn't wait to tell us each new thought that Joe the Plumber wanted to share? He's been not-so-oddly silent about Joe's latest wisdom.

UPDATE: More wisdom from Joe:

Samuel Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber, tells TIME he's so outraged by GOP overspending, he's quitting the party — and he's the bull's-eye of its target audience. But he also said he wouldn't support any cuts in defense, Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid — which, along with debt payments, would put more than two-thirds of the budget off limits.

HT: Andrew Sullivan

The Republican War Against Science

Charles Johnson has been posting some very good stuff on how the GOP has embraced creationism. He notes that many of the leaders in this movement, such as former congressman Tom Tancredo, are also opposed to vaccinatons, a movement that has already caused a resurgence in many illnesses such as measles and mumps.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

She Wore Red Dresses

Dwight Yoakam at his best, with an assist from Flaco Jimenez. Sorry, embedding was disabled on this one.

Top Mixed Martial Arts Moments

Courtesy of Cracked.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Questions About Real ID

Jim Harper has several for advocates of internal passports.

FDR Made the Recession a Great Depression

David Gordon reviews a new book that also makes the point that Herbert Hoover laid the groundwork for the New Deal.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Never Right. Still Taken Seriously.

For nearly four decades, environmental activist Lester Brown has been predicting imminent global famine. For four decades he's been wrong. Ron Bailey takes apart his latest claims of looming doom.

Freebird Michael Hayes Sings Some More

Monday, May 4, 2009

Baby, Baby

Everything you thought you knew about population growth is wrong.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

South Korea Seeks to Improve Its Brand Image

The Los Angeles Times reports that South Koreans are tired of being best know abroad as the country where politicians get into fistfights. The government has a program in place to improve the nation's image.

HT: Steve Sailer, who adds

Perhaps South Korea should promote that they have the world's largest and best organized riots. Their amazing riots feature well-drilled protesters, with their color-coordinated cop-whacking sticks, and their myriad riot policeman in Orc-like gear. South Korean riot police are conscripts, so there is no shortage of them. As one reader explained to me, in most countries, the job of the riot police is to stop riots. In South Korea, in contrast, the job of the riot police is to confront the rioters and Do Battle.

P.J. O'Rourke once compared South Koreans to Northern Irishmen. The South Koreans don't have Northern Ireland's fundamental ethnic division, so their riots tend to be organized around more ad hoc pretexts, but what shines through is their mutual love of a good donnybrook.

Ranches and Rivers

This is one of my favorite Joe Ely tunes, and this is one of the best versions I've heard.

Immigrants, Technology and Wages

Economist Don Boudreaux shows again why he writes some of the best letters to the editor these days.

Japan Becomes the Latest Country to Threaten Google

The Justice Ministry has begun an investigation of Google Maps.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Three Strikes

Philip Giraldi blogs on the AIPAC investigation.

Don't Panic

Experts say the swine flu may not be as deadly as some people feared.

Why Is BB&T in Better Shape Than Many Other Banks? Ayn Rand

BB&T President John Allison explains how Rand's philosophy guides the company in an interview with National Review.

I've Had Days Like This

Swine Flu Panic Fueled By Racism

Would the overreaction to this have happened in the first few cases had been documented in Canada or Europe?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Freebird Michael Hayes Sings

Sorry. Embedding was disabled on this one.

Close the Border

On the National Review's The Corner, Richard Nadler takes apart the arguments for closing the border to stop swine flu, which some scientists now say may have started in California.

He writes

I am constantly astounded at how little folks understand about the routine functioning of a free society.

Tell me about it.

Play Dead

My mom e-mailed this to me:

Mike Fumento on Swine Flu

My former colleague science writer Mike Fumento has a lot of good stuff on the swine flu scare on his Web site. Bottom line: Don't panic.