Saturday, April 30, 2011

AP on the President's Father

The Associated Press weighs in on the story about the President's father getting sent home without a degree by Harvard University. Here is their report of how the documents reached the public.

Meanwhile it appears Harvard is engaged in CYA as today nobody wants to remember that we once took a dim view of married men "running around with several girls" and engaging in polygamy. Now that behavior is only disapproved of in politicians.

Harvard knew that the serious library and computer facilities Barack Obama, Sr. needed to write an economics doctoral dissertation almost certainly would not be available to him in Kenya. Therefore, their "conclusion that you should terminate your stay in the United States and return to Kenya to carry on your research and the writing of your thesis” was code for "go away, we are finished with you."

Blade Runner Echoes

There is a General Electric medical ad on cable TV in which a man talks about the most beautiful thing he's ever seen was an image that showed her doctor that his wife's cancer was treatable. The lines leading up to that are:
I've seen beautiful things.
I've seen the sunrise on the painted desert.
Witnessed snowfall on the first day of spring.
Those lines remind me very much of the following from Ridley Scott's iconic SF film Blade Runner, spoken by Rutger Hauer who plays the replicant Roy Batty:
I've seen things you people wouldn't believe.
Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.
I've watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate.
All those moments will be lost in tears in rain. Time to die.
Great dialog creates echoes in the minds of creative people.

Friday, April 29, 2011

2012 Myths Debunked

Jay Cost does political analysis for The Weekly Standard, and is writing some interesting columns as the 2012 presidential race begins to move. Here he argues that Democrats' hopes of a weak Republican candidate are overblown.

He makes four points: the GOP has serious candidates, a harsh intra-party battle is unlikely, a "fringe" nominee is also unlikely, and an enthusiasm gap shouldn't be a problem. You should read his reasoning for reaching those four conclusions.

Points he doesn't make, but perhaps should have, include the following. Obama isn't generating, as President, the enthusiasm he did as a candidate. He is, however, generating lots of enthusiasm among those who want a different president.

Also to be considered, the President will have to try to make independents fear that four years under the Republican will be worse than the last four years under Team Obama. As former governors, the likely GOP nominees don't seem to lend themselves to that sort of demonizing.

Brownstein on the 2012 Dilemma

Ron Brownstein, who writes for National Journal, observes the dilemma implicit in the President's recent emphasis on the deficit:
Many of the groups that Obama needs to turn out most enthusiastically in 2012—particularly young people, African-Americans, and Latinos—are still suffering the most as the economy crawls back from the Great Recession.
What to do when those hurting most are the very ones you need to turn out to vote for you? Worrying about the deficit means spending less and doing less to stimulate the economy. That's Obama's dilemma. The whole article is worth your time.

Barack Hussein Obama, Sr.

Go here to see a fascinating collection of university and State Department documents concerning the history of the President's father, as a graduate student in the U.S. These immigration documents were obtained by others, using the Freedom of Information Act, who posted them at

Quote of the Day

Mark Steyn, writing for National Review Online:
The entire Middle East is a giant clogged septic tank of toxic waste.
Not a bad description.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


The Science Channel is rerunning the Joss Whedon SF series called Firefly. Other than their absolutely bogus identification of the episodes as "new," I support rerunning this excellent piece of "western set in the future."

Firefly is in many ways a cross between Gunsmoke and Wagon Train. The ship's captain is played by Nathan Fillion who even looks something like James Arness.

If you haven't seen Firefly, give it a look. BTW, the entire series is available as a boxed set of DVDs.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Second Verse, Same As the First

Several decades ago, as an undergraduate research assistant, I worked with a Professor Porter who studied the lives of Stanford MBA graduates. He determined that those who worked their way through college did less well in later life than those who did not work.

After mulling over the potential cause and effect relationships reflected by that correlation, he came to an interesting conclusion: students who did not work their way through college came from more money, had better connections, and, because of those better connections, started in better jobs after college.

Graduates who started ahead in the race of life, all other things being equal, stayed ahead. Not to mention that students who came from wealth had a reasonable chance of inheriting the family firm, becoming a CEO at an age when others were only dreaming of doing so.

Now here we see a USA Today story reporting the same findings for high school students. Those who work more hours in high school are less likely to finish college. Once again there is speculation about the meaning of the findings.

I suspect the meaning is the same. Those who work are less financially favored, and come from homes where there is less emphasis on education and consequently more emphasis on work and/or idleness.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Trend Continues

As regular readers know, COTTonLINE often features demographic research. An example of this, more women have been getting bachelors degrees than men for over a decade. Now the trend has taken the next logical step.

For the first time in U.S. history, the Associated Press reports newly released census data showing more women have gotten advanced degrees than men. On the other hand:
Women still trail men in professional subcategories such as business, science and engineering.
It will be interesting to observe the societal implications of this shift. I would be particularly interested to see a breakdown of education data by gender and race/ethnicity.

My hunch is that the observed gender imbalance is greater among African-Americans and Hispanics than it is among non-Hispanic whites and Asians. If the census doesn't emphasize this difference, it won't surprise me.

Boys More Competitive

Studies done with children in Germany appear to show that boys are more competitive than girls, both at young ages and when they are older. See the article from the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph which reports research presented at the Royal Economic Society's 2011 annual meeting.

One interpretation of these findings suggests boys' additional competitiveness may explain some of the typical gender-based wage gap. I daresay NOW will not accept this possible causation.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Behind the Tree

Long time Senator Russell B. Long was famous for his definition of tax reform. According to BrainyQuote, Long said tax reform means,
Don't tax you, don't tax me. Tax that fellow behind the tree.
Our nation faces a serious deficit, hardly anyone disagrees with that conclusion. What to do about it? If you are a Democrat, your answer is to raise taxes. Not broaden the number of people who pay taxes, but raise the rate on those who do. Meanwhile the Associated Press reports nearly half of Americans pay no federal income tax.

Why raise taxes? Because Democrats would like taxpayers, who coincidentally are mostly Republican voters, to pay more taxes and reduce the deficit. Go here to see that point of view defended by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.

I don't believe Krugman mentions that the taxed folks behind the tree are mostly Republicans.

African Jihadi/Crusaders

We wrote yesterday about modern Crusaders, the jihadi. We were too limited in listing their targets as being places with European culture.

Here is an article in Nigeria's Daily Independent which indicates the Boko-Haram jihadi/Crusaders have brought their "my way or the highway, sharia or else" culture clash to Nigeria. A hat tip to for the link.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Arguments For and Against

The 2012 presidential election will be a referendum on the performance of President Obama. Assuming the Republicans nominate a candidate viewed by the voters as serious and qualified, voters will vote for the president if they've liked his performance over the last four years, or for the Republican if they haven't liked Obama's performance.

Many pundits have suggested the president is likely to be reelected, based on a variety of arguments. Sean Trende, senior elections analyst for RealClearPolitics, has done a very nice two part article which looks at their arguments in considerable detail. You can find the two parts here and here. Trende concludes:
Right now the best you can say about Barack Obama's re-election chances is that they hover roughly around 50-50, and are largely dependent on forces outside of his control.
Odds of 50-50 aren't bad but the "outside of his control" part must give the White House heartburn.

Americans Favor Opportunity

President Obama is selling "fairness" in his discussions of taxation and spending. Arthur Brooks has an excellent Washington Post article demonstrating why Americans prefer "opportunity" over "fairness."

Brooks' basic argument is that if you believe you can influence your outcomes by diligence and hard work, you prefer opportunity. If you believe diligence and hard work won't help, that luck and connections are all that matter, you prefer fairness.

Most Americans favor opportunity. That's why tax-the-rich schemes aren't popular; the rich are mostly viewed as having earned their riches.

Quote of the Day II

Jonah Goldberg, writing for RealClearPolitics, about our president's crankiness at being less-than-idolized in office:
He demonized George W. Bush as an evil fool, but Obama has been forced to adopt many of the very policies he derided as evil and foolish. The "change" candidate is now the "more of the same" guy.
It's tough to keep blaming problems on Bush while acting like Bush. Folks will notice.

Quote of the Day I

Jay Cost, who writes for the Weekly Standard, summing up where the president now stands:
Who does Obama look like right today? I’d say Carter. Economic growth is slowing down, inflation is on the rise, the deficit is out of control, swing voters have gone away, and the guy in the Oval Office doesn’t seem to have the foggiest idea what to do about any of it.
The only thing missing is an embassy full of American hostages.

The New Crusaders

The Crusades started almost a thousand years ago, in 1096 CE and concluded nearly 200 years later in 1272. Crusades consisted of European Christians going to Palestine to attack without provocation the resident Muslims with the goal of taking over what Christians called the Holy Land, making it a Christian place. Those European expeditionary forces were called Crusaders.

Fast forward nearly 800 years and we find Muslims attacking without provocation the nations whose cultural heritage is obviously European. Their goal is the reestablishment of the Caliphate, and the conversion of everyone to Islam. These Muslim expeditionary forces are called jihadis, but should be called Crusaders, for they are engaged in exactly the same sort of cultural and religious imperialism as the former Crusades.

I am willing to agree with today's Muslims that the Crusades a millennium ago were wrong, and shouldn't have happened. Are today's Muslims willing to agree with me that today's crusading jihadis are likewise wrong, and shouldn't exist?

During the Crusades I believe most Europeans passively acquiesced in the expeditions to Jerusalem, but stayed home. My sense is that today most Muslims passively acquiesce in what the jihadis are doing, while not participating themselves.

I'd like to be proven wrong in this view.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Question

In countries with multiple tribes and very little sense of nationhood, what makes the U.S. believe we can successfully engage in "nation building?"

More Tribes with Flags

We've been commenting on the "tribes with flags" idea the New York Times' Tom Friedman came up with. I have another example of this for you, this one set in Afghanistan. You can find the Wall Street Journal article here.

While most Afghanis are Pashtuns, in the north of the country there are substantial numbers of Uzbeks and Tajiks. When the U.S. first became involved in Afghanistan, it was these individuals who were instrumental in defeating the mostly Pashtun Taliban.

Now the Uzbeks and Tajiks are forming militias and taking actions which may amount to ethnic cleansing against the Pashtun minority in their northern region. Talk about tribes with flags, here we go again.

Evolution Isn't Random

USA Today reports that His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI said, in his Easter homily, the following:
If man were merely a random product of evolution in some place on the margins of the universe, then his life would make no sense or might even be a chance of nature.
This shows a profound misunderstanding of evolution, for it is never random. Evolution is the development, over time, of those traits and characteristics in a species that enable that species to survive, prosper, and propagate.

Some species never find the "sweet spot" and become extinct. Others find a niche and last for eons essentially unchanged. A third group continue to evolve into new species.

Into which of these three categories homo sapiens will fit is as yet unclear. If I had to bet, it would be on category three.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Krauthammer's 2012 Racing Form

I've complained that the Republican field for presidential nomination lacks charisma. Columnist Charles Krauthammer, writing for The Washington Post, argues charisma will not be what is needed this time around.

I find I largely agree with his evaluation of the various candidates. At this point there is no clear favorite; Pawlenty and Daniels may end up being the leaders.

Smaller Government

Ron Brownstein, writing for National Journal, does a relatively even handed discussion of the amount of cuts in government services it will take to bring government spending down to the level of government revenues. It ain't pretty and we won't like it. This is the key data:
Since the 1970s, federal spending has averaged about 21 percent of the nation’s economic output, and federal revenue has averaged about 18 percent, with deficits making up the difference.
In other words, we have been spending on government 116% of what we've collected in taxes. That 16% overage we've borrowed, first from Japan and more recently from China.

You know what happens to a family that lives like this for several years, let alone 40 years. Their plastic gets overloaded and they spend a lot of their income servicing the debt (a fancy way of saying "paying interest").

It is what's happened to the American family, all 308 million of us. We've been living beyond our means and it has to stop.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

2012 Turnout

President Obama's approval ratings keep going down. Half of us don't approve of his performance and maybe a third think he's doing well.

Meanwhile, the many potential Republican presidential nominees suffer from a charisma deficit. They draw lukewarm approval ratings, at best.

What happens when Mr. Poor Performing Incumbent runs against Mr. (or Ms.) Lack of Excitement Challenger? Lousy turnout. Who does this benefit? Typically the Republican. This time, who knows?

In 2012 we could be headed for a presidential election where relatively few vote and even fewer care who wins. Pundits are saying it may be decided in Florida, a scary thought.

Since Reagan I've consoled myself with the thought that the ship of state can go for long periods of time without adult leadership. Long periods yes, but not indefinitely.

We are nearing dangerous waters and in need of a captain. I'm not sure I see one in the offing. That is worrisome.

Tribalism in Libya

On March 22, 2011, the New York Times' Tom Friedman wrote of "tribes with flags" in the Middle East. By this he meant that a number of the countries there were made up of several tribes ruled by one tribe. with little feeling of nationhood among the people.

Newsweek has just come out with an article making Friedman's point about Libya. It turns out the two power centers in Libya are the province of Cyrenaica in the east (think Benghazi), and the province of Tripolitania in the west (think Tripoli). The rebellion is centered in Cyrenaica, Gaddafi's supporters are centered in Tripolitania. It wouldn't surprise me if these represent two "tribes."

The only reason Libya exists as a nation is that the Ottoman Empire folded Cyrenaica and Tripolitania into a single colony and the Italians kept them that way for administrative convenience. Across Africa and the Middle East most national boundaries are this sort of colonial artifact which hardly anyone dares change, even though they make little sense.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cool Chile

Has Chile moved right, or made the right move? Maybe both? Investor's Business Daily reports Chile has turned down a constitution change that would have permitted public employee unions to bargain collectively and strike. Good for Chile.

The Chilean constitution forbids public employee bargaining and strikes, and includes right-to-work. If you were going to invest in Latin America, Chile would be at or near the top of your list of choices.

It's not politically correct to mention that today's prosperous Chile is the handiwork of Augusto Pinochet's economists, acolytes of Milton Friedman. It's true, of course, but definitely not p.c.

Some Things Don't Change Much

I was just reminiscing about a wonderful old Kingston Trio song, which relates to the world affairs flavor of this blog:
They're rioting in Africa, they're starving in Spain.
There's hurricanes in Florida, and Texas needs rain.
The whole world is festering with unhappy souls.
The French hate the Germans, the Germans hate the Poles.
Italians hate Yugoslavs, South Africans hate the Dutch.
And I don't like anybody very much!

But we can be tranquil, and thankful, and proud,
For mans' been endowed with a mushroom-shaped cloud.
And we know for certain that some lovely day
Someone will set the spark off, and we will all be blown away.

They're rioting in Africa, there's strife in Iran.
What nature doesn't do to us, will be done by our fellow man.
They're no longer starving in Spain, and the French and Germans are mostly happier with each other than formerly. There are no longer any Yugoslavs, but the Italians do hate the Albanians which is close. The beefs are different now, but the discontent is a constant. My source is this website at Lyrics Depot.

If you want to have some fun, rewrite the lyrics with current examples. Let's see, "They're rioting in Syria, and also Bahrain. There's earthquakes in Japan, tsunamis cause pain." How's that?

There is no need whatsoever to change the last two lines. Rioting is very much current in Africa as is strife in Iran. Of course, the final line is evergreen.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A New 2012 VW Beetle

CNN Money reports that Volkswagen will introduce a new version of the legendary Beetle, scheduled for release in the fall. The article cites Volkswagen as saying roughly 22.5 million Beetles have been sold worldwide.

I continue to be interested in the fate of the VW Beetle. I owned a couple of Beetles back in the day, when it was the funky vehicle of choice for grad students.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cause and Effect

As a social scientist, I've spent a professional lifetime trying to get people to understand the difference between correlation and causation. Correlation means two separate things occur in a predictable relationship to each other.

However, just because A is correlated with B doesn't mean A is caused by B. Maybe B causes A, maybe some other factor C causes them both, or it's remotely possible you've observed a coincidence.

Matt Ridley has a nice column for The Wall Street Journal on this very topic. His main example is that instead of increased carbon dioxide causing global warming, it now appears more likely that global warming is somehow implicated in an increased release of carbon dioxide.

Apple + TV = the Future

Will your next TV set be branded "Apple?" Imagine a set with Apple TV built in, with DVR built in, maybe even with wii built in, streaming movies off the Internet in surround sound.

The last major TV innovations were HDTV and flat screen, and they aren't exactly new. Who better than Apple to take home entertainment to the next level? See this article from Yahoo News originated by The Week for more info.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Finns Become Eurosceptics

Finland just finished a national election in which one of their several parties, the True Finns, was the strongest gainer. You can find the Associated Press story here on the website of the San Francisco Chronicle.

The euro zone is shakier than its advocates would like you to believe. The True Finns are known for opposing bailout funds for the Greeks and Portuguese; the party increased its representation in the 200 seat parliament from six seats to thirty-nine.

Finland joined the European Union in 1995, and the euro common currency zone when it began in 1999, perhaps seeking a counterweight to their huge, and sometimes belligerent neighbor, Russia. They have not, however, joined NATO as have several of their neighbors with concerns about Russian interference.

Peru Selects a President

Peru has been one of the true economic success stories in Latin America over the last decade or so. Now a presidential election has cast the continuation of that success into doubt.

Four candidates ran and the two who made it into the run-off are both questionable. The run-off candidate with the most votes was leftist Ollanta Humala, and running second was Keiko Fujimori, daughter of an imprisoned former president.

All four candidates received substantial numbers of votes. The question of how people who voted for numbers three and four will vote in the run-off is very critical.

Ollanta Humala concerns the Peruvian business community as he is viewed as a populist/leftist somewhat in the mold of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. It is feared he would nationalize natural resource-based industries and destroy the Peruvian economy, much as Chavez has done in Venezuela.

Keiko Fujimori concerns voters because her father's regime was both corrupt and somewhat repressive. On the other hand, father Alberto Fujimori is also popular with Peruvians as he managed to largely eradicate a violent, home-grown Maoist movement called Sendero Luminoso. His daughter claims her father laid the ground work for the subsequent economic prosperity; I'd guess she is correct.

Peruvian voters' choice boils down to increased equality without much prosperity versus more prosperity accompanied with more inequality. Add in how the voter feels about Fujimori Sr. and you've probably got the decision model.

My message to the Peruvians: don't feel like the Lone Ranger. The U.S. has been faced with choices between less-than-stellar presidential candidates for two decades or more. You hope you choose the lesser of two evils and get on with life. Sources for this post include this from Reuters, and this from The Wall Street Journal.

Grief in Greece

During the 1940s, many of the partisan groups fighting the Germans across occupied Europe were Communist, sponsored and supported by the Soviet Union. Coming out of World War II, a substantial part of the Greek people associated opposition to the Germans with Communism.

U.S. President Harry Truman provided post-war aid to the non-Communist side in Greek politics who, with that help, carried the day. The Greek Communists didn't go away, their heirs still battle for control of Greece.

Go see this Wall Street Journal article which talks about Greece slowly sinking into anarchy and possible civil war. I am concerned our current President, unlike Democratic President Truman, won't see the need to continue the Cold War fight against Communism.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Noonan: Obama Likely to Lose

Peggy Noonan, former presidential speech writer and long-time Wall Street Journal columnist, takes a look at the 2012 election and declares Barack Obama is likely to lose. Why? She says of our president:
The more that people experience his leadership, the less they like his leadership.
Noonan has some minor concern the GOP might nominate someone off-the-wall, someone nutso, although she doesn't name names. The primary and caucus system by which parties select presidential candidates can sometimes favor those with extreme views.


I know the fear of "death panels" will be used to belabor any plans to reduce the cost of medical care. We want to think we are more special, more important than that.

We imagine a group of tired, bored bureaucrats using actuarial tables for our age and illness to decide we probably won't live. Given that decision, they stop spending money on us beyond routine hospice care. That imagining is likely quite accurate.

On the other hand, everybody dies. And we know that a relatively large proportion of our total lifetime medical expenses will be incurred in our final months of life. Think how much could be saved if heroic measures were not taken in everyone's final months.

Perhaps we could lower the society's total medical expenditures by a third - that is an enormous saving. The model is triage.

Quotes of the Day

The trenchant Mark Steyn, writing for the National Review online, about the President's recent budget speech:
This country is dying, and the president just went on TV and bragged to the world he has no plans to change it.
The rest of the article is good too. Steyn gives us essentially the same thought in different words, saying the speech:
More or less declared to the world that this administration has no plan, and has no plan to plan on getting a plan anytime soon.
The only way Democrats can have government function as they prefer, without running up huge deficits, is to raise taxes dramatically. Raising taxes is not at all popular with voters. Therefore, no plan.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Need for a Deed

We've written about the imbalance between men and women in China and India. The results of this imbalance are beginning to be felt.

See this New York Times article about Chinese women refusing to date men who don't own the deed to a home, probably an apartment. Chinese parents are about to learn the truth of the maxim: "It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature."

Quote of the Day II

Jay Cost, writing for the Weekly Standard, about the President's unending stream of gaffes:
The right can’t stand him, the middle has abandoned him, and now even the left is criticizing him out in the open. Let’s face it: this president is just plain bad at politics.
Cost's whole article is worth your time. He substantiates the allegation of BHO being bad at politics.

Quote of the Day I

Dr. Charles Krauthammer, columnist and TV pundit, commenting on President Obama's budget speech at George Washington University:
I thought it was a disgrace, I've rarely heard a speech by a president so shallow, so hyper-partisan and so intellectually dishonest.
Dr. K isn't pulling any punches with that evaluation. My source is The Daily Caller.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What's It Worth?

Felix Salmon writes for Reuters that a slim majority of people don't realize their home is worth less than it once was, based on a survey done by Pew Research Center. Well...yes and no.

For people who bought their homes 10-15 years ago, that home may still be worth more than the owner paid for it. If those owners haven't taken the equity-based-on-inflation out of their home in a refi, they are still money ahead. They didn't pay a huge price for the home and they have accumulated some equity.

The real "underwater" owners are those who bought at or near the peak of the housing bubble, and those who refi'ed the bubble-created "value" from their homes and spent it. I suspect most of these are fully aware of their folly.

In any event, an owner can walk away from an underwater home and default on its mortgage. In this circumstance it is unlikely a lending agency will write him another mortgage. He must find another place to live, as a renter, where he only accumulates rent receipts. Given that reality, if he can afford to make his mortgage payments, he may continue to do so, underwater or not.

Tax and Spend

President Obama has weighed in with his approach to the budget. He wants to raise taxes, no surprise. You can check out the story here on CNN or here on Bloomberg.

Obama was quite partisan in his remarks at George Washington University, attacking Republicans for being "deeply pessimistic." His plan calls for the usual Democratic class warfare approach of steeply taxing the rich.

As we've noted here at COTTonLINE on several occasions, taxing the rich simply doesn't work. It inhibits economic growth; causing the rich to engage in various lawful tax avoidance behaviors - "tax dodges" - that add little to the overall economy.

Republicans are certain to attack Obama's plan as classical Democratic tax and spend behavior. Harried by the Tea Party, the GOP means to reduce the overall size of government, not just talk about it.

Obamacare Bombs

The Denver Post has a report, based on an Associated Press/GfK poll, concerning the dropping popularity of Obamacare health reforms. They note that:
Support for Obama's health-insurance expansion has slipped to 35 percent, while opposition stands at 45 percent, and another 17 percent are neutral. Among seniors, support has dipped below 30 percent for the first time.
As we know, the finding for seniors matters because, unlike younger Americans, most seniors vote.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

It's A Gas

T. Boone Pickens, fabled oil speculator, has some interesting things to say about getting the U.S. to convert to using much more domestically produced natural gas, and consequently much less imported oil. Assuming his numbers are accurate, he makes a compelling case.

Pickens' interest in gas isn't altruistic; he holds a large position in natural gas and would benefit hugely if we did as he urges. Just because he has a dog in the fight doesn't mean his reasoning is wrong. It does mean we should be sure what he's told us is accurate and is the whole story. See his reasoning here in Forbes.

Hanson: Poor Old California

Victor Davis Hanson, who lives in California's great central valley and views his state with a jaundiced eye, writes about it for Pajamas Media. He has an historian's grasp of what was, what is, and how we got from there to here.

I've lived through the times he talks about and Hanson has it right - almost twice the people but very little more infrastructure. What was adequate forty years ago, is adequate no longer.

BTW, a cold-eyed realist would dam every major canyon coming down out of the Sierra, catch the run-off for the dry years, and generate cheap, clean power with the falling water. Cold-eyed realists aren't popular in today's California, hence the problems Hanson catalogues.

Old News provided a link to an article in the Washington Times concerning the counterterrorism unit of the Los Angeles Police Department. For a liberal city in a liberal state, I find it interesting they are still doing this:
Los Angeles has one of the few big-city police departments with a dedicated counterterrorism intelligence program.
The LAPD started doing this kind of counterterrorism work nearly 100 years ago. My father, who had friends on the force, told stories of the unit tracking various Communist fronts in the LA area in the 1920s. Tracking them and arranging for them to be disrupted.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The First Half

When it became obvious that the Obama administration was going to handle terrorist suspects with kid gloves, giving them civil rights they certainly don't give us, we made a prediction. We predicted that fewer of the "bad guys" would be taken prisoner. We were right.

This article in The Los Angeles Times reports that the CIA is conducting fewer interrogations. What it doesn't say is the other half of our prediction, namely that our troops would take fewer prisoners by not allowing surrenders. Don't be surprised when this second part is finally reported. It is a logical consequence of prisoners not being valuable.

Quote of the Day II

Economist Robert Samuelson, a columnist for Newsweek, writing about our President's response to the dilemmas posed by our government deficit:
Obama urges an "adult" conversation and acts like a child, denying the unappealing choices.
Comparing the Democrats' whining to Rep. Ryan's GOP budget plan, Samuelson concludes:
Ryan is a model of intellectual rigor and political courage.
It remains to be seen whether this courage will cause the electorate to recoil in horror from the GOP.

Quote of the Day I

Governor Jerry Brown, being interviewed on the website of CBS-TV Los Angeles, about the state the state and nation:
We are facing what I would call a ‘regime crisis.’ The legitimacy of our very democratic institutions are in question.
I don't think I agree, but I can see how it could look that way from the Governor's office in Sacramento.

The Kennedys on TV, A Concluding Review

We viewed the final episode of The Kennedys last evening. It did not disappoint. All these years later I can still remember the shock I felt in grad school when Bobby was murdered in an L.A. hotel kitchen. That is where the mini-series ends.

An odd thing about the series was that, watching it, you would never have known Jack and Bobby had a younger brother Teddy. Can he have been so invisible during this time?

Perhaps the plan is to do a Kennedys 2.0 series including Ted at Chappaquiddick, his failed run for president, his evolution into grey eminence of the senate plus the death of John, Jr.? The family has been an ongoing soap opera.

BTW, it is clear why the Kennedy family and its hangers-on didn't want this series to air. Camelot loses magic when you see that the knights were flawed, the armor rusty, the table not round, and the motives often less-than-pure.

Rasmussen: Obama at Another Record Low

Check out this morning's Rasmussen Report. It reports our President has the fewest people ever (19%) strongly approving his performance. Rasmussen's polling found that:
There has been a sharp decline in enthusiasm among liberal voters.
That's not what the White House wants to see as the President announces his bid for reelection. Meanwhile, Rasmussen's Presidential Approval Index comes in at -20, not quite a record low but not a ringing endorsement either.