A nice October surprise
176,000 new jobs in September.
176,000 new jobs in September.
Read the last paragraph of this obit. And then go honor the memory of 29-year veteran Bill Thomasset on Tuesday. I will.
In lieu of flowers, Bill would be most honored and gratified by your vote for the Bush/Cheney ticket in November!(I received this via e-mail. Anyone know the source newspaper?)
I started getting some traffic from a new source, so I decided to check it out. Turns out Betsy of Betsy's Page (the blog that helped put me on the map with a few key links) has a blogging husband, too. Newmark's Door claims NC State and Duke can compete with the Ivies anytime.
Lest you couldn't wade through the post below, or if you just haven't been paying attention, I support Bush for re-election. I support him primarily because of his leadership in the Global War on Terror. For other issues, read the post below.
Jane Galt writes 3331 words ultimately arriving at an endorsement for Bush. Here's how she came out on some of the issues, with my commentary following each issue. Note that the last issue, foreign policy, is what is determining my vote.
Issue: Jane Galt's choiceDavid M's commentary.
The Environment: Kerry by a hairDemocrats to their credit think more about the environmental implications of various activities; but the Democratic environmental agenda is often hijacked by the loony left who see most economic activity as intrinsically bad because it might harm the environment in some way.
Education: Bush by a landslideAgreed. I wish Bush had been less bipartisan on the drafting of No Child Left Behind. (Vouchers and school choice should have been a far bigger piece of the bill.) But Bush's instincts here are better than Kerry's.
Health Care: Bush easilyAgreed. Bush's prescription drug bill comprises some good ideas lost among a huge unfortunate new federal entitlement. But Kerry's plan has much, much more government involvement than anything Bush has proposed or signed; it's a plan which pushes us down the road toward likely disastrous long-term consequences.
Gay marriage: KerryAgreed. It's silly to amend the Constitution on this issue. Fortunately, it won't happen in my lifetime.
The Supreme Court: BushAgreed. To my mind, the main role of the Supreme Court is to keep the feds out of my life. Bush appointees would come a heckuva lot closer to doing this.
The Economy: NeitherDisagreed. Under Bush, taxes would be significantly lower than under Kerry, the deficit would be slightly lower and pro-business policies (especially re: dividends and capital gains) would tend to promote growth. Bush's big negative: He's let domestic spending grow outrageously. But Kerry's plan would grow it more.
Corporate Welfare: KerryNo point of view.
Tax policy: BushAgreed. Big time.
Poverty policy: BushAgreed. Economic growth and education are the ticket here.
Entitlements: BushAgreed, especially if you lump in Kerry's drastic increase in government sponsorship of healthcare.
Civil Liberties: Neither
Like may folks who consider themselves civil libertarians, I disagree with much of what the ACLU does. And I suspect the Patriot Act does far more good than bad. Does that put me in the Bush camp?
The Budget: Neither
Disagreed. I'm unimpressed with the deficits Bush has amassed due in large part to unrestrained new federal programs. But Kerry would be worse.
Foriegn policy: ???Here Jane meanders through pluses and minuses of each candidate ultimately seeming to come down on Bush's side.
The race is getting tighter according to the Iowa Electronic Markets where people put real money down on the election. Until recent days, the money was saying that Bush would win the popular vote, likely be a comfortable margin. Now opinion is shifting to say neither candidate, especially not Kerry, will garner more than 52%.
Note in the second chart the light blue and purple lines emerging neck and neck. Also note the red line, which had been the highest of all, dropping precipitously (though it still is significantly above its counterpart, the dark blue line).
Remember back in the first presidential debate when Kerry rattled off a list of retired generals and admirals who supported him? Here's the list he cited:
At the second presidential debate Kerry again rattled off a list, slightly edited from the first time round:
Then there is the headline on Kerry's web site trumpeting, "12 Generals and Admirals Endorse John Kerry." Those officers include:
An impressive list indeed.
But to add a little perspective, let's take a look at the retired generals and admirals supporting Bush:
12 for Bush, 12 for Kerry. All tied. Until, that is, you count the next 109 in the Bush camp:
Tally: Kerry 12, Bush 121.
For more information, read the Open Letter Signed By 121 Retired Flag Officers On John Kerry's Political Expediency Regarding The War On Terror. [Update: The link to the letter goes to the now-defunct George W. Bush campaign web site. You can find a copy of the letter as the last item here.]
(Hat tip: Betsy.)
As John Kerry has made clear, a focus of his foreign policy would be to strengthen our alliances so that the international community (particularly Europe) will help us out in Iraq and elsewhere.
Even though the guy has beaten the Yankees in two seven-game post-season series, a part of me likes him:
Interviewed on ABC, Boston pitcher Curt Schilling urged viewers to vote for the president.National Review writer/editor Kathryn Jean Lopez is a more loyal Yankee fan than I:
I cannot like this guy. Cannot. Will not be adult about this.
The bloggers at Wizbang now have available a pdf version of "The Global War On Terror: Where We Stand". Read it; it should get wide circulation.
OK, I'm in:
John Kerry accused the commander in chief of an horrific blunder during a time of war, before he had the whole story.... And he did it to play politics.
If that is not reckless then reckless has no meaning.
Update: See bottom of post.
For the past 72 years, the fate of the Redskins in their last game before the election has predicted whether or not the incumbent party holds the White House. If the Redskins win, the incumbent party stays. If the Redskins lose or tie, the incumbent loses the White House. The rule has held for the last 18 elections....Taranto then quibbled with the analysis:
David Dolan, an assistant professor of mathematics at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, calculated the odds of this happening for PackerNews.com: 1 in 263.5 million. (By the way, that's 2,600 times higher than the chance of getting killed by lightning!)
This number seems vastly out of line. If we assume that the Skins have a 50% chance of winning each game and the incumbent party has a 50% chance of winning each election, the odds of the two indicators matching up for 18 elections in a row are 1 in 262,144 (2 to the 18th power). The odds that they will match up for 19 elections in a row are 1 in 524,288. Does this mean you should bet against the pattern repeating? Of course not. The odds that it will are 50-50 (with Bush and the Skins both slightly favored).In trying to stir up the nest a bit, I e-mailed Prof. Dolan inquiring if he'd answer some questions on the record about his analysis and Taranto's critique. He agreed.
Update: Turns out the streak was broken in 1996, which that means the streak lasted 16 elections. On the surface, there was a 1-in-65,536 (2 to the power of 16) chance of that occuring.
David M: Did the PackerNews.com article convey your thoughts correctly? If so, do you stand by your statements?
Dolan: No. I was misquoted. I agree with the calculation noted in the WSJ.
David M: Please explain your methodology (in layman's terms if possible) for calculating the figure, 1 in 263.5 million.
Dolan: This is incorrect. It is off by a factor of about 1000.
David M: Please comment on Mr. Taranto's methodology for calculating the figure, 1 in 262,144 (2 to the 18th power).
Dolan: I believe this method is correct if you accept the chance of predicting an election correctly is 1/2. In order to refine the calculation, you would need to find the odds for all 18 elections and all 18 Redskins games. This would be difficult, especially for the early games. My sense is that the average for both would be around 0.5, so the calculation should be pretty good.
David M: How active a football fan are you? And what is your football team of choice?
Dolan: I am an active college football fan. I attend two or three games a year and follow all Division 1-A teams. My favorite team is Notre Dame.
David M: Whom do you pick in the Packers/'Skins game? Why?
Dolan: I am picking the Packers because since Sherman has been calling the offensive plays, they have been on a roll.
David M: Whom do you pick in the presidential election? Why?
Dolan: I am picking Kerry because more people will be voting in this election than in 2000 and that always favors the Democrats.
David M: Other comments?
Dolan: I use the Packers' season stats in my Applied Regression Analysis course. It's a good way to keep the students interested while they learn.
Bush detractors bash Bush for what he's done to the deficit. I agree.
(Pay no attention to either candidate's pledge to cut the deficit in half in five years.)
So, while Bush has never met a spending increase he's willing to veto, and while he has presided over outrageous growth in domestic spending, he's still better on fiscal policy than his challenger.
Only two things need to happen for you, dear reader, to be a part of history and watch the seventh game of the World Series from field seats by the Red Sox dugout.
Here's the vote among the Slate staff:
As evidenced by this survey, the vast majority at Slate wants John Kerry to win the election on Nov. 2. But don't get the wrong idea. We're not trying to help him do it.I take this analysis from the same piece more seriously:
The case most commonly made against fuller disclosure of opinion at "straight" news organizations like CBS—as opposed to journals of opinion like Slate—is that the information would be misused by media critics on the right. Movement conservatives would seize on the revelation that most journalists vote Democratic to discredit professionals who are doing their conscientious best to be fair. But wait—conservatives already dismiss the press as biased against them, on the well-supported assumption that most journalists at national news organizations are liberal. Is denying a cheap shot to critics really a good enough reason to withhold information that many news consumers would deem not only interesting, but useful and relevant?(Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan.)
Here is the statement from MSNBC (read on-air by Pat Buchanan) regarding Lawrence O'Donnell's on-air outrage which would have had him expelled from any high-school debate:
On Friday evening, we discussed the latest swift boat ad with “Unfit For Command” author John O‘Neill and MSNBC senior political analyst Lawrence O‘Donnell.
As you know, we often have heated discussions on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
And we welcome a vigorous, but respectful exchange of ideas and debate. Lawrence O‘Donnell is and has been a valued contributor. However, the manner in which he expressed his disagreement crossed a line. MSNBC believes he was disrespectful to you, the viewer, and that his insults did nothing to forward the debate or the understanding of a very critical issue.
We have spoken to Lawrence O‘Donnell, and he agrees. We can assure you that this will not happen again on this program.
Guest blogger Megan McArdle writes today on Instapundit:
If there's one thing I most fervently hope for this election, it's that whoever wins, wins big.Um, Megan, if you're going to be sitting in for Glenn, at least read what he's written in the past couple of days.
ANN ALTHOUSE: "My election day prayer is: may whoever wins win by a lot." Amen.
We're all familiar with what Kerry is saying about Iraq now:
Sen. John Kerry took a strong stand yesterday against President Bush's decision to invade Iraq, calling it a mistake and a "profound diversion" from the war on terror.
[The Washington Times, Sept. 21, 2004]
What folks may not realize is what Kerry was saying back in October 2001 ( dug up by Kaus and relayed via Insta-Megan) :
But we also have to be smart, Jim. And smart means not diverting your attention from the real war on terror in Afghanistan against Osama bin Laden and taking if off to Iraq...
Saddam Hussein didn't attack us. Osama bin Laden attacked us. Al Qaida attacked us.
[Kerry in the Sept. 30, 2004 debate against Bush]
I have no doubt, I've never had any doubt -- and I've said this publicly -- about our ability to be successful in Afghanistan. We are and we will be. The larger issue, John, is what happens afterwards. How do we now turn attention ultimately to Saddam Hussein? How do we deal with the larger Muslim world? What is our foreign policy going to be to drain the swamp of terrorism on a global basis?
[John McLaughlin's One on One, 11/16/01]
How can Kerry's current statements be anything except the worst combination of Monday morning quarterbacking and political opportunism?
There is a blog term for the massive boost in traffic a blog receives shortly after a link from mega-blog Instapundit: "insta-lanche."
[T]he Weekly Reader presidential poll of schoolchildren has pegged every winner since 1956.Weekly Reader:
This year's winner? George W. Bush — in a landslide.
Since 1956, Weekly Reader students in grades 1-12 have correctly picked the president, making the Weekly Reader poll one of the most accurate predictors of presidential outcomes in history.
President Bush was a strong winner in the student poll; the only state Senator Kerry won was Maryland. Senator Kerry was also in a statistical dead heat with President Bush in New York, Massachusetts, Washington, D.C. and Vermont. President Bush won most grades, although Senator Kerry did win among tenth-graders.
This is supposed to be a family-friendly blog, so I won't post this picture on the main page. But it is a hoot.
My work is cited on the editorial page of today's Wall Street Journal.
These figures come directly from my post on the topic in July. (For the record, I'm hardly a "campus blogger." I've been out of school for many years, and most of my postings have little to do with campus.)
Campus bloggersA blogger computed the percentages of Kerry contributions over Bush: Cornell 93%, Dartmouth 97%, Yale 93%, Brown 89%.
Democracy on the march in Afghanistan, despite the naysayers:
Hamid Karzai's main rival for the Afghan presidency conceded defeat Sunday with less than six percent of the vote count remaining.
Through an odd chain of events, I've got a passing familiarity with the merits of the recent asbestos trial between Kelly Moore and Union Carbide.
I recently lost out on a boatload of potential new readers because a blogger plagiarized my work verbatim. A high-traffic blogger (Michelle Malkin) then unwittingly linked to the plagiarist's blog instead of mine, and I missed out on all the traffic that came before I found the mistake and asked Michelle to fix the link.
I decided to look at the plagiarist's site, "Dave's Blurbs" (yes, we share a first name; otherwise I have no connection to this guy) and found a pattern more blatant than I expected.
I first found where the plagiarist congratulated himself without embarrassment on getting linked by Michelle:
I am honored that a well-known writer like Michelle Malkin would mention Dave's Blurbs in her very well-written O'Donnell article. Michelle makes mention in passing of my article of October 16 discussing George W. Bush's faith in God.
Arg. That was my post and should have been my link.
Turns out the guy has been blogging for years, but in the interest of time I decided to just check out his entries from this month only. He tends to post one entry per day (sometimes zero or two) and his entries frequently appear to be blatantly plagiarized. I googled a key phrase or two from each entry, and in many cases I found another blog with the same posting. His most frequent source seems to be Betsy's Page, which he has ripped off without attribution at least nine times already this month.
Following is a day-by-day list of the posts which "Dave's Blurbs" has plagiarized this month, and my best guess as to the source of the material. Each post below is fully or largely "borrowed," and in none of these cases is appropriate attribution given. Where I have noticed any potentially mitigating circumstances, I have noted them next to the link. In some cases he has combined two other blogger's posts into one of his posts; in these cases he leaves each post intact and just puts one after another.
Here is the list:Oct 1:
Oct 10 (two plagiarized posts in a day)
Michelle Malkin weighs in:
Apparently, the blogger at "Dave's Blurbs" has a rude habit of filching other people's blog entries and passing them off as his own. That's not blogging. That's plagiarism. Knock it off.
Update: As commenters to this post have pointed out, the plagiarizer has removed the plagiarized messages. Trying to access one of the plagiarized posts yields a message, "Sorry, but the entry you were looking for is no longer available." In fact, it seems he has removed all posts from his blog, plagiarized or otherwise. Wonder if he'll set up shop with a different name or give it up.By the way, here is my first post on finding out I'd been plagiarized.
If you haven't seen MSNBC political analyst Lawrence O'Donnell's crack-up on national TV, here's the video. Every time Swift Vet John O'Neill talks, O'Donnell drowns him out by shouting, "lies." Michelle Malkin describes the interchange:
O'Neill was his usual calm, dignified self--trying civilly to inject facts into the hate-filled O'Donnell's tirades. I swear O'Donnell acted like he was on something. He looked and sounded absolutely crazed.Until last week when I watched (and posted about) O'Donnell's description of Bush's belief in a "strange God" who would appeal to "very simple-minded religious people," I'd never paid much attention to O'Donnell. But he seems to be making quite a name for himself of late.
Does anyone in America doubt that Kerry has a higher IQ than Bush? I'm sure the candidates' SATs and college transcripts would put Kerry far ahead.
-- Howell Raines, former executive editor of the New York Times, writing an article entitled "The 'Dumb' Factor" in the Washington Post, Aug. 27, 2004.
To Bush-bashers, it may be the most infuriating revelation yet from the military records of the two presidential candidates: the young George W. Bush probably had a higher I.Q. than did the young John Kerry.
-- John Tierney in the Oct. 24, 2004 New York Times.
It's all based on this study by Steve Sailer.
(Hat tip: Betsy)
Michelle Malkin writes about Lawrence O'Donnell coming unhinged on MSNBC during a discussion with Swift Vet John O'Neill.
I also tried to leave a comment on the plagiarizer's page asking him to give me full credit. Apparently in his blog, he screens comments before they are posted, so presumably the comment will never get posted. Perhaps though he will take note.
From: DavidMblog - at - SoftHome.net
Sent: Saturday, October 23, 2004 4:54 PM
To: malkin- at - comcast.net
Cc: betsynewmark - at - att.net
Subject: You linked to a post verbatim plagiarized from me
I enjoyed your post on Lawrence O'Donnell, and I was particularly interested because I had blogged on the topic last week.
One of the stories to which you link is verbatim plagiarized from my post.
I wrote my post on Oct. 15, and sent an e-mail to Betsy Newmark of "Betsy's Page." Also on Oct. 15, Betsy posted a link to it.
The plagiarized post was written Oct. 16, a day later.
I'd much appreciate it if you would please update your post, and direct the link to me instead of to the plagiarizer.
Also, any help you could give in exposing the plagiarism would be appreciated.
Is anyone surprised that John Kerry supported our approach in Afghanistan when it was pragmatic to be supportive and opposes it now that attacking Bush suits his political needs?
And here he is in the 2004 debates (conveying a sentiment he has oft repeated):
CALLER: Hello. Yes, I would like to ask the panel why they don't use napalm or flamethrowers on those tunnels and caves up there in Afghanistan?
KING: Senator Kerry?...
KERRY: Well, I think it depends on where you are tactically. They may well be doing that at some point in time. But for the moment, what we are doing, I think, is having its impact and it is the best way to protect our troops and sort of minimalize the proximity, if you will. I think we have been doing this pretty effectively and we should continue to do it that way.
When the president had an opportunity to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, he took his focus off of them, outsourced the job to Afghan warlords, and Osama bin Laden escaped.
A pro-Bush spot, short on policy content and long on emotional connection.
I never leave baseball games early. Doesn't happen. Could miss a great moment. An heroic, game-winning-extra-base-hit type of moment, or a charming Don Mattingly-popping-a-piece-of-a-kid's-popcorn-into-his-mouth-after-catching-a-foul-pop-by-the-stands type of moment.
What he means is Old Testament... real Wrath-of-God-type stuff. Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies... Rivers and seas boiling... 40 years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanos... The dead rising from the grave... Human sacrifice, dogs and cats, living together... mass hysteria!
Here are the latest results of some of the various summaries of electoral polls, with special attention to the three biggest battleground states, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. 270 electoral votes are needed to win.
The Center for Media and Public Affairs has been studying TV election coverage. Key findings:
This would be silly parody if there weren't a video of the whole thing:
"For a guy who's been known derisively to the Bush crowd as the Breck girl," observes Shearer, vice presidential candidate John Edwards seems "way too interested in his hair." He tries to straighten it with his fingers. A makeup technician approaches with a comb, but the senator likes it just so and does the combing himself. He signals he's ready for hair spray by closing his eyes expectantly, like a child. Then Edwards and the technician straighten a little more with their fingers. Please don't tell me that thing in his hand is a compact. Oh, dear. It is.Update: Tee hee:
John Edwards deserves my vote - if he can bring the same focus and single-minded determination to the war on terror that he brings to parting his hair, Osama may as well surrender on Nov. 2.
A recent blast e-mail message from the Bush campaign highlights recent polls with this chart:
Steven Den Beste wrote this piece for the Wall Street Journal last year. It's worth re-reading.
I shop all too frequently at the local deep discounter, formerly called Odd Job, recently renamed Amazing Savings. The prices are decidedly low and the quality is decidedly mixed. The brand name coffee maker was a bust, but the folding chairs are a hit.
Additionally, customers may enroll via the web (note that the ASAP applications are only available in the stores).
Jed Babbin lists the top losers in a Bush or Kerry win.
Losers if Bush wins:
Losers if Kerry wins:
As Betsy Newmark advises, "look over his list of losers and think about which group you'd rather see losing. Vote accordingly."
David M in a Sept. 29 post:
And, needless to say they [foreigners] tend to hate Bush. Or at least the ones interviewed for this article do. Remember the last president that was hated overseas with a passion? The Post does:George W. Bush at the Oct. 8 debate:The deep antipathy has produced a round of Bush-bashing magazine covers, books and television debates that many foreign policy observers say is unprecedented, stronger even than the widespread repudiation abroad of President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.Remember the reasons for the European antipathy toward Reagan? He was a simpleton who couldn't understand that aggressive foreign policies like putting missiles in Europe would just antagonize the Russians and make the world a less safe place. He declared our enemy to be evil, not comprehending that the world is a more nuanced place.
Any of this sound familiar?
...I recognize I've made some decisions that have caused people to not understand the great values of our country.
I remember when Ronald Reagan was the president; he stood on principle. Somebody called that stubborn. He stood on principle standing up to the Soviet Union, and we won that conflict. Yet at the same time, he was very -- we were very unpopular in Europe because of the decisions he made.
I recognize that taking Saddam Hussein out was unpopular. But I made the decision because I thought it was in the right interests of our security.
You know, I've made some decisions on Israel that's unpopular. I wouldn't deal with Arafat, because I felt like he had let the former president down, and I don't think he's the kind of person that can lead toward a Palestinian state.
And people in Europe didn't like that decision. And that was unpopular, but it was the right thing to do.
Pundit Guy links to an A.P. article talking about how polling shows world opinion to be against Bush.
Only in Israel and South Korea did more people say their view of the United States had improved than worsened in the past two to three years.Of the 10 countries surveyed, take a guess which two were closest to terrorist states. You think that might give them a more realistic view of the War on Terror?
Last night (Thurs., Oct. 14) I saw MSNBC senior political analyst Lawrence O’Donnell commenting on Bush's view of God, and I was floored. The contempt O'Donnell showed for religion, and for believers in God, was palpaple. He framed his comments as a critique of Bush's views of God, and it was truly cringe-worthy.
O'Donnell was responding to this Bush statement at the last debate:
O'DONNELL: Well, but most Americans do not have that kind of simpleminded faith.
George Bush's God is a very strange God. This is a God who wants everyone to be free. That‘s a very, very peculiarly frustrated God. That is a God that has been apparently frustrated for centuries in George Bush's imagination...
O'DONNELL: Well, this is a God—this is also a God who gives the gift of freedom. He says that's a gift from the almighty, that the Afghan people got this gift from the almighty this year.
What was George Bush's God doing to those people up to now? You see, that‘s the problem with this. For very simpleminded religious people, that stuff works. That is a minority of the American population, who have a more sophisticated view of God, those who accept it. [Emphasis added.]
FYI, O'Donnell's bio is here. Some highlights include: producer/writer for The West Wing, political columnist for New York magazine, Democratic chief of staff of the US Senate Committee on Finance, senior advisor to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Harvard graduate.
BUSH: First, my faith plays a lot—a big part in my life. And that‘s, when I answering that question, what I was really saying to the person was that I pray a lot. And I do.
I believe that God wants everybody to be free. That‘s what I believe.
And that‘s been part of my foreign policy. In Afghanistan, I believe that the freedom there is a gift from the Almighty. And I can‘t tell you how encouraged I am to see freedom on the march.
And so my principles that I make decisions on are a part of me, and religion is a part of me.
To summarize, if JFK says words, the words are good; out of Bush's mouth, the same words are nefarious. Incredible.
George Bush would use those words exactly. It would mean something else.
What JFK was asking for there was more welfare spending, was more intervention on behalf of the poverty population. And what he was referring to there—although, look, I absolutely agree the words are interpretable in the Bush style, what he was asking for there is, remember the commandment to love thy neighbor as thyself. Remember the generosity, the actual direct financial generosity that implies to other people.
Seems the Founding Fathers' God must have been a very strange God, too, per O'Donnell's way of thinking.
We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness... [My emphasis.]
In an article on Jon Stewart's announcing he'll vote for Kerry at a breakfast yesterday, CBS's Jon Friedman reports that,
There was no meanness in his comic arsenal -- simply stinging wit and very funny observations.He also reports that Stewart mentioned, "retarded Bush from the first debate."
Jonah Goldberg on the final presidential debate:
The polls will show Bush "lost" the debate, but the polls will also show Bush gained ground because of it.Read the article for an explanation. It includes references to Eddie Murphy and Ralph Bellamy in Trading Places as well as a comparison of John Kerry to a certain, um, unmentionable body part.
Drudge unearthed this Democratic National Committee gem:
VodkaPundit's Stephen Green does not like it:
One top DNC official confirmed the manual's authenticity, but claimed the notion of crying wolf on any voter intimidation is "absurd."
"We all know the Republicans are going to try to steal the election by scaring people and confusing people," the top DNC source explained.
To these guys, winning office is more important than the sanctity of elections. Holding power is more important than the Constitution. Much as I despise at least half of what most Republicans stand for, they don't seem nearly as willing to trash the system they're trying to run.
I messed up. I incorrectly thought I had a gotcha moment involving NYT reporter Michael Slackman, and I ran with it without checking with him first. I take responsibility and I apologize to Mr. Slackman, to the New York Times and to my readers.
I apologize for not contacting you before running the blog entry about you. I should have done so. To make my apology public, I will post this letter on my blog.
I take it from your note to me of last night that you see the update correcting the entry as insufficient. I will review the entry in question and consider making additional changes.
For another perspective on whether the update was appropriate, please consider this message I received from the NYT public editor's office:
Dear David M.,
Thanks for sending us the post and especially for updating it with the response Mr. Petrelis received from Catherine Mathis.
Office of the Public Editor
In your message to me you assert that I leave my correction "to the bottom, where it can easily be missed." In fact, the first words of the body of the blog entry in question, in bold print, are (and have been):Note: Read the update at the bottom of this posting including the explanatory letter from the New York Times.
The update at the bottom of the posting includes a letter from the Times explaining the error and concludes with my statement, "I withdraw my criticism."
On a related issue, I was surprised to find that your "donation" to the NY State Dems is still listed without any correction at www.tray.com, despite that the NY State Dems regularly submit to the FEC updates and corrections which the FEC makes public within two business days. Have you asked the NY State Dems to correct the record with the FEC?
Jane Galt does not like the bill reducing corporate taxes on overseas earnings, because it is "larded with so many giveaways to every industry group with a lobbyist and a dream that the overall effect is awful." I don't yet know enough about the bill to have an informed opinion.
Highlights of her rationale for abolishing the corporate income tax:
- Get rid of all our poverty programs, except those aimed at the disabled, and temporary unemployment assistance, and institute the negative income tax. That is to say, the system should be continuously progressive, from a steep negative rate of up to 100% on very low earners, gradually declining until it zeroes out around $28,000 a year, and then rising gradually until it maxes out around 35% on the top brackets.
- Eliminate FICA and pay for Social Security and Medicare out of general revenue. It's time to stop pretending it's a pension system, when there are no assets in the "trust fund"
- Eliminate the corporate income tax
- Eliminate the special treatment for capital gains. All income should be taxed at the same level, regardless of its source.
- Eliminate all deductions. Period, end of statement. No mortgate, student, child, etc. All causes are equally worthy in the eyes of the person who possesses the deduction; it is a waste of our time as a nation to sit around arguing about who deserves what.
- Just say no to the Value Added Tax. In theory, it's a good tax. In practice, because it is extremely hard to tell what proportion of the price of anything represents the tax, it removes the good and natural pressure upon tax rates.
- Get rid of the estate tax, and tax the capital gains on whatever is sold.
If any of this interests you, go read her full posts.
- Corporations aren't People
- The Corporate Income Tax Costs the Economy More than it Earns
- The Corporate Income Tax is Extremely Distortionary
- It is Impossible to Close the Loopholes
- Eliminating the Corporate Income Tax Makes Corporate Welfare Harder
...Summary: The corporate income tax costs the economy much more than it produces in revenue. Eliminate it and watch a flood of economic activity be unleashed as all those unemployed accountants, tax lawyers, and IRS agents get to work inventing the next Furby. Recoup any lost revenue by eliminating the capital gains tax and treating capital gains as ordinary income in order to equalize the tax treatment of debt and equity, and it will be a long time before we see another Enron.
[Simpler] Summary...: The corporate income tax is very bad. You should be against it.
If the Gallup poll below is accurate, Americans think Bush will lose tonight's debate.
I'm waiting with bated breath to see this on the front page of the New York Times:
Edward Prescott, who picked up the Nobel Prize for Economics, said President George W. Bush's tax rate cuts were "pretty small" and should have been bigger.
Bali was two years ago.
Jason Van Steenwyk:
Now, how the Times can spin a story about rampant UN and French corruption into a "Bush is incompetent story" is beyond me. But the New York Times makes a game attempt.
Mark Steyn, writing today (and incidentally introducing a re-print of his "greatest hits" columns):
Don't take the word of your lazy rolling-news update anchor or the AP rewrite guy on the Duelfer findings on Iraq. Instead, read the report for yourself. It is an amazing document. It renders John Kerry, on foreign policy and national security, either a complacent fool or an utter fraud. It's not about WMD, it's about the top-to-toe corruption of the entire international system by Saddam Hussein. The "global test" is a racket, and anybody who puts faith in it is jeopardizing America's national security. If the lazy US media won't pick up this story now, shame on them.
A layman's description of the issue.
Four events of interest from the weekend:
Paul Bremer in today's New York Times:
Any doubt where Mr. Bremer stands?
The press has been curiously reluctant to report my constant public support for the president's strategy in Iraq and his policies to fight terrorism. I have been involved in the war on terrorism for two decades, and in my view no world leader has better understood the stakes in this global war than President Bush.
The president was right when he concluded that Saddam Hussein was a menace who needed to be removed from power. He understands that our enemies are not confined to Al Qaeda, and certainly not just to Osama bin Laden, who is probably trapped in his hide-out in Afghanistan. As the bipartisan 9/11 commission reported, there were contacts between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's regime going back a decade. We will win the war against global terror only by staying on the offensive and confronting terrorists and state sponsors of terror - wherever they are. Right now, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Qaeda ally, is a dangerous threat. He is in Iraq.
President Bush has said that Iraq is the central front in the war on terror. He is right. Mr. Zarqawi's stated goal is to kill Americans, set off a sectarian war in Iraq and defeat democracy there. He is our enemy.
Our victory also depends on devoting the resources necessary to win this war. So last year, President Bush asked the American people to make available $87 billion for military and reconstruction operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The military commanders and I strongly agreed on the importance of these funds, which is why we stood together before Congress to make the case for their approval. The overwhelming majority of Congress understood and provided the funds needed to fight the war and win the peace in Iraq and Afghanistan. These were vital resources that Senator John Kerry voted to deny our troops.
Mr. Kerry is free to quote my comments about Iraq. But for the sake of honesty he should also point out that I have repeatedly said, including in all my speeches in recent weeks, that President Bush made a correct and courageous decision to liberate Iraq from Saddam Hussein's brutality, and that the president is correct to see the war in Iraq as a central front in the war on terrorism.
A year and a half ago, President Bush asked me to come to the Oval Office to discuss my going to Iraq to head the coalition authority. He asked me bluntly, "Why would you want to leave private life and take on such a difficult, dangerous and probably thankless job?" Without hesitation, I answered, "Because I believe in your vision for Iraq and would be honored to help you make it a reality." Today America and the coalition are making steady progress toward that vision.
From an Iraqi blogger who describes himself as one more Iraqi voice of the silent majority:
And here we are, trying to organize elections, trying to control the security situation, trying to restart the reconstruction, able to talk, able to think, able to watch satellite T.V., use the internet, the mobile etc. – in short everything that we have been forbidden to do before. And without the slightest hesitation, we hail with Love and Gratitude our giant U.S. friend and his allies, standing with us shoulder to shoulder, braving the elements, braving death, calumny and hatred, shedding blood; to help us heal, to help us reach the shores of safety. And make no mistake, the campaign is winning and will achieve its objectives. Make no mistake; you have already created an allied nation in the very heart of the M.E. despite all appearances, which will produce all the long term benefits and consequences so many times reiterated by President Bush, to the ridicule and insults of the profoundly mistaken, of the profoundly hating.
America, stay the course - God, Decency, Honor, Hope and everything that is virtuous and right is on your side, beside the majority of the Iraqi people. America do not waiver, for you have never waged a more noble and just campaign in your entire history. America, we are winning, God’s willing, and Victory is coming sooner than many might think.
A murder was reported in today's Jerusalem Post:
Gunmen belonging to Fatah's armed wing, Aksa Martyrs Brigades, on Wednesday night shot and killed a Palestinian who had been suspected of selling land to Jews.What's worse, the Palestinean Authority doesn't seem particularly bothered by this sort of activity:
The PA has repeatedly banned Palestinians from selling lands and houses to Jews. Many Palestinians who were suspected of involvement in real estate deals with Jews have been murdered over the past few decades.Can you imagine an Israeli government rabbi proclaiming that anyone selling land to a Muslim would be killed? He would be roundly denounced and removed from any government position, if not prosecuted. And the U.S. media would have a field day. But an official of the PA endorsing the killing of Jews? Nobody in the U.S. media seems to care.
The PA Mufti of Jerusalem issued a 'fatwa' (religious decree) several years ago prohibiting Palestinians from selling land to Jews, saying those who violate would be killed.
A letter to America from 9/11 families:
Three years ago, on the day that began as a beautiful September morning, 19 men and their sponsors carried out a brutal and devastating attack on our country, leaving 3,000 innocent men, women and children dead, including our loved ones. In those first agonizing hours, and for weeks and months afterward as we searched for word of their fate, we were aware that the shock and horror of that day was not ours alone. With a gratitude we could not yet express, we felt the strong and steady embrace of our fellow Americans. The words, “Never forget,” defiantly written in dust or humbly penned on makeshift memorials, were also permanently etched in our hearts. We will never forget your strength, your courage and your endless generosity.(Via LGF.)
We speak to you now in the same spirit that you spoke to us then, as Americans, united on behalf of our country. Like many of you, we feel that our nation is poised at a critical moment in history. Like our parents and grandparents before us, we know that the choices we make today will affect our children tomorrow. But we face a new challenge, a new kind of war and an enemy who is different from the enemies faced by earlier generations. This is not an adversary who can be reasoned with or appeased, this is an adversary who has repeatedly demonstrated that its means and ends are one and the same: the wanton slaughter of innocents.
After the attack, President Bush articulated the primary lesson of September 11, that simply reacting to danger after lives are lost is a weak and unacceptable national defense. He believes that taking the fight to the enemy is the best way to ensure that the enemy will not bring death to our doorstep here at home.
Three years ago, George W. Bush stood with us and vowed that he would “Never forget.”
We stand with him now.
The number of pirate attacks worldwide has tripled in the past decade, and new evidence suggests that piracy is becoming a key tactic of terrorist groups. In light of al Qaeda's professed aim of targeting weak links in the global economy, this new nexus is a serious threat...
Apparently Edwards can turn with the political winds almost as well as his running mate. Stephen Hayes has the goods in the Daily Standard (on which this whole post is based).
Others argue that if even our allies support us, we should not support this resolution because confronting Iraq now would undermine the long-term fight against terrorist groups like al Qaeda. Yet, I believe that this is not an either-or choice. Our national security requires us to do both, and we can.
The terrorist threat against America is all too clear. Thousands of terrorist operatives around the world would pay anything to get their hands on Saddam's arsenal, and there is every reason to believe that Saddam would turn his weapons over to these terrorists. No one can doubt that if the terrorists of September 11 had had weapons of mass destruction, they would have used them. On September 12, 2002, we can hardly ignore the terrorist threat and the serious danger that Saddam would allow his arsenal to be used in aid of terror.Seems there's a pattern here.
Reactions certainly varied.
Confronted with Dick Cheney's obvious competence, incisive parries to his charges and devastating rebuttal of his phony statistics, Edwards looked like the proverbial deer in the headlights...
Cheney looked like a man and Edwards looked like a boy. On the attack, [Edwards] seemed, surprisingly, to be a shallow lightweight, almost transparent in his absence of heft and gravitas. Cheney looked like the authority, the wise one, the arbiter of facts and statistics...
Dick Cheney helped Bush get well from a poor performance. John Edwards made it look like the Democratic ticket was out classed and out gunned.
If last Thursday night's debate was an assisted suicide for president Bush, this debate - just concluded - was a car wreck. And Cheney was road-kill. There were times when it was so overwhelming a debate victory for Edwards that I had to look away.My take: Both candidates did well, and the impact on polls will be minimal. Cheney's calm attitudes and mastery of subtle issues dispelled any "dark lord" image, and Edwards showed enough command of substance to dispell any "eager boy wonder" image.
You get the point.
And learn from Edwards how to personalize and use the little guy as an example.
John Kerry at the debate last Thursday portrayed himself as consistent on Iraq:
I've had one position, one consistent position, that Saddam Hussein was a threat. There was a right way to disarm him and a wrong way. And the president chose the wrong way.But his record belies his purported consistency. Consider two representative Kerry comments. The first is from the Democratic primary debate, May 3, 2003:
I think it was the right decision to disarm Saddam Hussein, and when the President made the decision, I supported him, and I support the fact that we did disarm him.The second is from a September 6, 2004 speech where Kerry famously called the invasion of Iraq,
the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time.How can you reconcile those statements with a "consistent" view of Iraq? You cannot. Unless people are not paying attention.
John Edwards at the debate last night stated that,
millionaires sitting by their swimming pool, collecting their statements to see how much money they’re making, make their money from dividends, pays a lower tax rate than the men and women who are receiving paychecks for serving on the
ground in Iraq.
This statement is wrong from all sorts of angles.
First, Edwards is wrong on the facts. The Defense Department web site on military compensation states,
Earnings received while in the combat zone are excluded from taxable income.Update: Even if there were no combat zone deduction, Edwards' statement would be false. As MSNBC reports, "President Bush last year cut the tax rate on dividends to 15 percent, whereas most soldiers would be in a 15 percent tax bracket — and pay an effective rate much less after taking deductions for children and mortgages. (The article does not however note the combat zone exclusion.)
Second, it's not just the millionaires by their swimming pools who receive dividends; it's the middle class. According to the Heritage Foundation, in 1998 "70% of taxpayers directly receiving dividends earned less than $55,000 in wages and salary." (For more, read Who Really Benefits from Dividend Tax Relief?, from the Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis.)
Third, most millionaires pay a much higher tax rate than Edwards implies, because they have a good bit of earned, taxable income. And even for the subset of millionaires who are not working, their money was taxed when they did earn it. And if they inherited the money, it was taxed when their forbears earned it and again when they inherited it.
A high tax rate on dividends is illogical and discourages productive, job-producing investments. Consider this example:
You and some friends decide to take a risk. Despite your knowledge that many new companies fail, you invest your savings in starting a personal service company. You work hard, build up clients, and produce a good service. You expand the business, hire employees and incorporate. So far, so good. Because you were willing to risk your savings for later gain, you've been able to build a good company, provide a useful service and provide employment to others.
After a few years of hard work, you are able to turn a profit. You are a bit unhappy that your company must pay 35% of its profits in federal taxes, but you figure you'll accept it.
After some more time, despite the taxes, the company builds up some cash. You and your friends decide to pay yourselves some of the cash in dividends.
But the powers that be have heeded the advice of people like John Edwards, so your dividends are taxed at your ordinary income tax rate of, say, 27%. But the money was already taxed at the 35% personal service corporation rate. So ultimately, you receive less than half of each dollar that you company earned through your investment in the company.
On second thought, perhaps it wasn't such a good idea to risk your money in the first place...