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November 2012 Archives

November 3, 2012

P-EWS, New Danger Threatens PEST Sufferers

Be on guard for the imminent outbreak of a new disease, "P-EWS" (Post-Election Withdrawal Syndrome). The symptoms include sudden illusions of loneliness and confusion, accompanied by loss of appetite for politics. P-EWS cases are expected to start spreading after Tuesday night.

Continue reading "P-EWS, New Danger Threatens PEST Sufferers " »

November 4, 2012

How a President Romney Could Tame Budget

by Dino Rossi

What chance would a President Romney have of bringing the federal budget under control as he has promised? History suggests that he would be accused, at best, of throwing widows and orphans in the street, and more likely, killing people. Regardless of the makeup of Congress, the job of moving toward budget balance requires a public that starts out supportive and stays supportive through months of debate and wrangling.

Continue reading "How a President Romney Could Tame Budget" »

The Varmints in Your Trash Can & Garden


Jim Sterba, author of Nature Wars: The Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comebacks Turned Backyards into Battlegrounds, excerpted a piece of the book Saturday for the weekend Wall Street Journal ("America Gone Wild"--subscription may be required.) It is story of the exotic world that has crept into our backyards.

Continue reading "The Varmints in Your Trash Can & Garden" »

November 5, 2012

Another Vote Looms: UK to Decide on EU

Nearly unnoticed in the US because of our temporarily blinding presidential election is a development in Britain that has implications for the future of the UK and European economies, and, indeed, for the US. Essentially, a parliamentary defeat of the Conservative/Liberal Coalition Government over the UK contribution to the European Union has led to the announcement that the Conservatives will field a referendum on the future of UK involvement in the EU. The statement was made by Foreign Secretary Iain Duncan Smith.

Continue reading "Another Vote Looms: UK to Decide on EU" »

November 6, 2012

Keep Your Sense of Humor!

Cartoonist Darrin Bell has a final shot:

(Click this image to view full-size version)

Post-Election, Both Parties Face Challenges

Before the results come in, some reflections:

Post-election, both parties face major challenges as the result of changing demographics, new technologies, questions about the accuracy of polls, voter fraud and the hyper-partisanship engendered when a presidential campaign lasts two years.

Continue reading "Post-Election, Both Parties Face Challenges" »

November 10, 2012

The Demographic Imperative

The Republicans have spent a lot of money on a failed attempt to reclaim the White House and their money sources will not be available hereafter for the vitally important job of rebuilding. Yet a dollar for rebuilding is probably worth ten in an actual campaign.

A large reason the Democratic Party is ascendant is that for over a generation liberal foundations and the federal government funded ostensibly non-partisan "community organizing" in minority communities. Who do you think paid the young Barack Obama's salary as a community organizer? Not the community.

Continue reading "The Demographic Imperative" »

The Economic Imperative

It's a sad but realistic rule of politics that the party in power tends to succeed if the public perceives the economy improving at the time of an election, while it tends to fail if the public perceives the economy as declining. It doesn't matter so much whether the economy is good and getting better or bad, but getting better. What matters is the direction of the economy and whether the public perceives it. (Likewise, it doesn't matter if the economy is bad and getting worse or good, but getting worse. Either is unfavorable for the party in power.)

Continue reading "The Economic Imperative" »

November 11, 2012

Look Closely at Texas' Politics

Texas is the second most populous state and the largest minority-majority state. Yet The Romney-Ryan ticket swept it and Ted Cruz became a new Republican member of the US Senate. Repubicans apparently did about ten percent better among Hispanic voters (38 percent of the Texas electorate) than they did nationally. Obviously, whatever they're doing in Texas should be studied elsewhere.

Continue reading "Look Closely at Texas' Politics" »

Reality of Obamacare Sinks In

The full implications of Obamacare won't be known for years. But, as Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Wesley J. Smith describes at National Review, businesses are already trying to free themselves from its requirements.

November 12, 2012

Kudos for New Berlinski Book

The immensely fecund mind of David Berlinski has produced another winner. View the Publisher's Weekly review of The King of Infinite Space: Euclid and His Elements now.

Nagel Book "Tightly Argued, Exacting"

Philiosopher Thomas Nagel's Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False is short enough to entice even the Darwinian fellow-travelers, but the book's 144 pages are "tightly argued and exacting," M. D. Aeschliman says in the November 12 National Review.

Continue reading "Nagel Book "Tightly Argued, Exacting"" »

November 19, 2012

America's Object Lesson

Have you heard the latest way for entrepreneurs to commit suicide?

Move to California.

California offers one of the most beautiful landscapes and most beneficent climates in the world. Yet state government has shown what excess can destroy.

Politics Among the Arabs

The exchanges between Hamas (in Gaza) and Israel are treated most of the time as a morality play in American media. And there is an assumption in some political quarters that the Israelis should forebear because, after all, the Arabs are becoming united in holy zeal. Supposedly, it's best to appease that sentiment, however wrong. The default position of the Obama Administration, after the election, is back to urging restraint--on Israel.

In reality, the Middle East is always a bubbling torrent, with cross-currents of many kinds, unexpected back waves and unnoticed eddies. Maybe things--and sides--are not what they seem.

Who had noticed, for example, that domestic politics in Egypt are conditioning the new government's reactions to the Hamas/Israel conflict? Yet that manifestly is the case, and not as one might expect. The Arab Spring is now in autumn, and the folks who demonstrated in Tahir Square and ushered the Muslim Brotherhood into office in expectations of rapid improvements in their living standards are now growing frustrated. Most of them apparently have better sense than to think a war with Israel is the way to resolve their domestic problems.

Meanwhile, Hamas, a faction of the Palestinians (they run Gaza, Fatah runs the West Bank), is riven itself by factionalism: the local crowd versus the exiles. (Fatah is pledging support to Hamas, but don't take that to the bank.)

Then there are the outside interests, from the Turks, who are eager to re-establish the influence that has waned after the Ottomans departed, to the Iranians and their Lebanese clients, Hezbollah, and on to Qatar and whoever else wants to throw in some aid or advice. And down the road, Syria is engaged in its own immensely complicated civil war.

Against this busy confusion of interests and personalities and, yes, ideologies, truly democratic Israel seems almost placid and predictable in comparison. That, and the new Iron Dome, are part of its strength.

Politics Among the Europeans

A new Observer polls confirms what we expected: given the chance in a referendum, the electorate of the UK would like to exit the European Union. Some 56 percent of all voters favor disassociation. Among Conservatives, it is 68 percent. Given the Ukip (independence party) threat to the Tories, Prime Minister David Cameron cannot ignore such numbers.

Continue reading "Politics Among the Europeans" »

November 20, 2012

Pilgrim Fathers' Wisdom on Property Rights

pilgrims working.JPG

The next time you hear about the Biblical injunction to share things communally (one way to read the book of Acts) you should point the speaker to the story of the Pilgrims whose memory we like to invoke this time of year.

Continue reading "Pilgrim Fathers' Wisdom on Property Rights" »

November 21, 2012

More Discrimination in Iowa

Before it was the decision to deny tenure to astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez at Iowa State, now it is a Law School instructor at the University of Iowa. Emails in the former case showed that the real issue with Gonzalez was his off-campus support for intelligent design. His scientific publishing record eclipsed those of almost all his colleagues. But his support for ID did him in.

Continue reading "More Discrimination in Iowa" »

November 26, 2012

The Campaign Consultant Trap

Morton Blackwell, the fabled conservative organizer (founder of the Leadership Institute) has produced an article at The Daily Caller that beautifully describes the trap that political candidates fall into when they entrust their election hopes to professional campaign consultants.

Continue reading "The Campaign Consultant Trap" »

Disproportionate Justice is Injustice

The New York Times manages to interview Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the maker of the anti-Mohammed film who is now serving a one year sentence for breaking his parole violation and using an alias on the Internet. The reporter doesn't seem to consider the truth that the punishment does not fit the crime. Parole violators get nothing at all or no more than couple weeks in jail for more than he did.

Continue reading "Disproportionate Justice is Injustice" »

Gaza Scorecard

Who won, who lost in the Gaza confrontation? Well, there actually is quite a scorecard and our John Wohlstetter, blogging regularly at Letter from the Capital, has supplied it.

Continue reading "Gaza Scorecard" »

November 27, 2012

Tax Battle Has Hardly Begun

In America, as in Greece a few years ago, the public only slowly awakens to financial realities. First to be agitated are those whose emoluments are in danger, starting with the public employee unions. But eventually the general public starts to notice alarming potential tax increases. Coming up: Obamacare surtax on high incomes, income tax increases on higher brackets, estate tax hike, payroll tax "cut" repeal, gift tax hike, alternative minimum tax, and, of course, the capital gains tax. Social Security taxes may go up as part of a reform package, along with a rise in the age of retirement. Then come the state and local tax increases.

Continue reading "Tax Battle Has Hardly Begun" »

Shoe-On-The-Other-Foot Award Goes to Reid

We can't get anything done in the Democratic Senate without abolishing the filibuster rule, right? Well, not according to Harry Reid, Barack Obama and Joe Biden--back in 2005. They were horrified at the idea they now promote. Don't you love politics?

November 28, 2012

Good Old Ike Days of 91% Top Tax Rate


Oh, the good old days of the Eisenhower Administration when the top income tax rate was 91%--now the source of sudden nostalgia by liberals like Paul Krugman. I was in college about the time in the early '60's when President Kennedy, a supposed liberal Democrat, cut that rate and ushered in a supply side economic boom that lasted at least a decade. "A rising tide lifts all boats," as he put it. The 91% rate had proven a dud.

I have been waiting for someone to tell the truth about the tax rates of the Eisenhower era. And now our friend and DI senior fellow Michael Medved has done so on the front page of USA Today.

Continue reading "Good Old Ike Days of 91% Top Tax Rate" »

Admin "Bloat" and the Student Loan Bubble

Is it just a coincidence that federal loans to college students are now approaching a trillion dollars--and default rates are over 11 %--during the same time that the number of college and university administrators is ballooning? Of course not: the availability of government-backed tuition money from students and their parents insulates higher education from the constraints faced by the profit sector. The administrators, as Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit points out, get to put themselves into the budget.

Meanwhile, faculty are noticing that the money is not going to them. At Purdue--where retiring Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is about to become President--the amount of administrative "bloat" is being quantified and names are being named. It will be fascinating to find what President-elect Daniels, who has been a famous and salubrious cost-cutter in state government, will do when he encounters the academic dragon.

Continue reading "Admin "Bloat" and the Student Loan Bubble" »

November 29, 2012

Obama Asks "Lincoln" to Help Solve a Crisis


If you admire Honest Abe you'll enjoy and appreciate Steven Spielberg's handsome new film, Lincoln. If you are alert to the political moment we are in, you also will see the relevance of the film to President Obama's strategy on taxes and spending.

Continue reading "Obama Asks "Lincoln" to Help Solve a Crisis" »

November 30, 2012

Perils of an Established Church

There was a time when I would have reacted with concern to the kerfuffle in Britain over failure of the Anglican Synod to approve the introduction of women bishops in the Anglican Church. Now, reading Wesley J. Smith's long post--and the Comments--at First Things, I can only smile. Thank goodness we do not have an established church in the U.S. of A.

Continue reading "Perils of an Established Church" »

Silent Generation Dad Silent No More

More unintentional humor from the Old Country. The Telegraph ran a wonderful rant by a Silent Generation father against his three supposedly wastrel Baby Boom children. I found it a pleasure to read, and apparently, so did others. Nick Crews, a normally taciturn retired submarine captain living in Plymouth, was a bit sorry it went public, but bemused by all the attention he has been getting. He obviously touched a nerve.

Continue reading "Silent Generation Dad Silent No More" »

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