Sunday, October 31, 2004

A nice October surprise

176,000 new jobs in September.

Friday, October 29, 2004

RIP, Bill Thomasset

Read the last paragraph of this obit. And then go honor the memory of 29-year veteran Bill Thomasset on Tuesday. I will.

(Click on image to enlarge.)

The relevant sentence reads,
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?)


Too funny.

A competition I wouldn't want to win

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.

Too bad for NC State and Duke.

Stop the presses: David M endorses Bush

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.

Commentary on an endorsement

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.

Here's the format:
Issue: Jane Galt's choice
David M's commentary.

And so, without further ado, the issues:
The Environment: Kerry by a hair
Democrats 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 landslide
Agreed. 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 easily
Agreed. 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: Kerry
Agreed. It's silly to amend the Constitution on this issue. Fortunately, it won't happen in my lifetime.
The Supreme Court: Bush
Agreed. 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: Neither
Disagreed. 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.
Trade: Bush
Corporate Welfare: Kerry
No point of view.

Tax policy: Bush
Agreed. Big time.

Poverty policy: Bush
Agreed. Economic growth and education are the ticket here.
Entitlements: Bush
Agreed, 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.

No meandering here for me. On this issue I support Bush. Unwaveringly.

To me, this is a one-issue election. Bush has earned my vote on his handling of the Global War on Terror. Like Ed Koch, I would vote for Bush even if I disagreed with him on many or most domestic issues.

Bush's instincts are right here. He understands what's at stake. We face a determined enemy who wants us dead. We need to take it to that enemy and to anyone reasonably suspected of supporting that enemy. If you run a county which harbors militant Islamist radicals, you should know that you are our enemy. With Bush in office, that is clear. There is no room for nuance.

We've got a horse race

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%.

In the first chart, the red line essentially represents people's guess of Bush's chance of winning the two-party popular vote; the blue line is Kerry:

(Click image to enlarge.)

(Click image to enlarge.)

Key to the second chart:
  • Dark blue: Kerry receives 52% or more of the two-party popular vote
  • Light blue: Kerry receives the biggest share, but less that 52%, of the two-party popular vote
  • Purple: Bush receives the biggest share, but less that 52%, of the two-party popular vote
  • Red: Bush receives 52% or more of the two-party popular vote

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).

Thursday, October 28, 2004

New media bias study

Chrenkoff looks at a new study on media bias.

(Via Tony Iovino.)

Retired generals and admirals: 12 for Kerry, 121 for Bush

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:

  • Gen. John Shalikashvili
  • Gen. John Eisenhower [Not sure he's a general. -ed.]
  • Gen. Tony McBeak [I think he meant "McPeak." Bush's oratory may be contagious. -ed.]
  • Gen. Adm. William Crown [Gen. Adm. Crown? Could be very contagious. -ed.]

At the second presidential debate Kerry again rattled off a list, slightly edited from the first time round:

  • Gen. John Shalikashvili
  • Adm. William Crowe
  • Gen. Tony McPeak
  • Gen. Wes Clark
  • Gen. Edward Baca

Then there is the headline on Kerry's web site trumpeting, "12 Generals and Admirals Endorse John Kerry." Those officers include:

  • Lt. Gen. Edward D. Baca
  • Lt. Gen. Daniel W. Christman
  • Gen. Wesley K. Clark
  • Adm. William J. Crowe
  • Vice Adm. Lee F. Gunn
  • Gen. Joseph Hoar
  • Lt. Gen. Claudia J. Kennedy
  • Lt. Gen. Donald Kerrick
  • Gen. Merrill “Tony” A. McPeak
  • Gen. John M. Shalikashvili
  • Adm. Stansfield Turner
  • Gen. Johnnie E. Wilson

An impressive list indeed.

But to add a little perspective, let's take a look at the retired generals and admirals supporting Bush:

  • Rear Adm. John Adams
  • Rear Adm. Donald S. Albright, Jr.
  • Lt. Gen. Teddy Allen
  • Brig. Gen. Dwayne Alons
  • Lt. Gen. Charles Bagnal
  • Brig. Gen. John Bahnsen
  • Rear Adm. Stephen Baker
  • Maj. Gen. John Barry
  • Rear Adm. Timothy Beard
  • Rear Adm. Frances Buckley
  • Brig. Gen. Richard Bundy
  • Brig. Gen. Carl Butterworth

12 for Bush, 12 for Kerry. All tied. Until, that is, you count the next 109 in the Bush camp:

  • Rear Adm. Joseph Callo, Jr.
  • Vice Adm. Kent Carroll
  • Brig. Gen. Robert Chadwick
  • Vice Adm. Edward Clexton, Jr.
  • Lt. Gen. John Conaway
  • Maj. Gen. Boyd Cook
  • Lt. Gen. Charles Cooper
  • Rear Adm. Frank Corley
  • Rear Adm. Michael Coyle
  • Maj. Gen. John D'Araujo, Jr.
  • Gen. John Davis
  • Vice Adm. George Davis VI
  • Gen. John Deane, Jr.
  • Maj. Gen. Gene Deegan
  • Rear Adm. Jeremiah Denton, Jr.
  • Maj. Gen. Neil Eddins
  • Rear Adm. Ernest Elliot
  • Rear Adm. Paul Engel
  • Maj. Gen. Merrill Evans
  • Rear Adm. Edward Feightner
  • Rear Adm. Kenneth Fisher
  • Maj. Gen. John France
  • Maj. Gen. Joseph Franklin
  • Rear Adm. J. Cameron Fraser, Jr.
  • Rear Adm. Alan Gemmill
  • Lt Gen William Ginn, Jr.
  • Maj. Gen. Harold Glasgow
  • Maj. Gen. Richard Goddard
  • Rear Adm. Fred Golove
  • Rear Adm. William Gureck
  • Rear Adm. Wallace Guthrie
  • Rear Adm. Frank Haak
  • Lt. Gen. Robert Hails
  • Maj. Gen. Jack Hancock
  • Vice Adm. Patrick Hannifin
  • Rear Adm. Whitney Hansen
  • Vice Adm. Peter Hekman, Jr.
  • Rear Adm. Grant Hollett, Jr.
  • Rear Adm. Bobby Hollingsworth
  • Lt. Gen. John Hudson
  • Brig. Gen. Oscar Hurt
  • Lt. Gen. James Johnson, Jr.
  • Gen. P.X. Kelley
  • Adm. Robert Kelly
  • Adm. George Kinnear
  • Rear Adm. J. Koenig
  • Brig. Gen. Peter Lash
  • Rear Adm. Paul Lautermilch
  • Maj. Gen. James Livingston
  • Rear Adm. Walter Locke
  • Rear Adm. Noah Long Jr.
  • Rear Adm. Joseph Loughran
  • Rear Adm. Thomas Lynch
  • Maj. Gen. William Lyon
  • Adm. James Lyons
  • Maj. Gen. Clark Martin
  • Rear Adm. Fredrick Metz
  • Brig. Gen. Thomas Mikolajcik
  • Rear Adm. John Moriarty
  • Rear Adm. Thomas Morris
  • Maj. Gen. James Mukoyama
  • Lt. Gen. Carol Mutter
  • Brig. Gen. Michael Neil
  • Maj. Gen. Stanley Newman
  • Vice Adm. John Nicholson
  • Lt. Gen. John Norton
  • Brig. Gen. Thomas O'Brien Jr.
  • Rear Adm. Robert Owens
  • Lt. Gen. Dave Palmer
  • Vice Adm. John Parker, Jr.
  • Maj. Gen. Jeremiah Pearson III
  • Vice Adm. Douglas Plate
  • Rear Adm. Don Primeau
  • Brig. Gen. John Quinn
  • Rear Adm. Conrad Rorie
  • Lt. Gen. Donald Rosenblum
  • Vice Adm. Robert Schoultz
  • Rear Adm. Luther Schriefer Jr.
  • Brig. Gen. Dennis Schulstad
  • Rear Adm. Jud Scott
  • Rear Adm. Kenneth Sears
  • Rear Adm. Joel Sipes
  • Rear Adm. Robert Smith III
  • Adm. Leighton Smith Jr.
  • Maj. Gen. Frank Smoker Jr.
  • Brig. Gen. William Spruance
  • Gen. Carl Stiner
  • Vice Adm. Edward Straw
  • Lt. Gen. Gordon Sumner, Jr.
  • Maj. Gen. Larry Taylor
  • Lt. Gen. David Teal
  • Rear Adm. William Thompson
  • Vice Adm. Howard Thorsen
  • Vice Adm. Nils Thunman
  • Brig. Gen. William Tiernan
  • Rear Adm. Ernest Tissot
  • Rear Adm. Paul Tomb
  • Brig. Gen. Guy Townsend
  • Vice Adm. Jerry Tuttle
  • Maj. Gen. Glen Van Dyke
  • Brig. Gen. Guy VanderLinden
  • Rear Adm. Lloyd Vasey
  • Maj. Gen. Russell Violett
  • Rear Adm. Edward Walker, Jr.
  • Rear Adm. Lemuel Warfield
  • Maj. Gen. Gary Wattnem
  • Rear Adm. Harvey Weatherson
  • Maj. Gen. William Webb
  • Adm. Steven White

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.)

They got the ring, but we've still got Yogi

Eugene Volokh points out some new Yogiisms quoted by Allen Barra. The best one:
"Yogi, is this going to become an annual event?"

"Well, yeah," replied the Hall of Famer, "if we do it every year."

Sacrificing Israel

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.

Charles Krauthammer thinks he knows how Kerry would accomplish this: by gradually, relentlessly turning the nation's back on Israel.

(Link via Jews for George, a site I found via Betsy's Page.)

Schilling for Bush

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.

Wizbang's "Global War on Terror: Where We Stand"

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.

Wizbang's writers have created a readable synopsis of where we stand in Iraq and on the War on Terror generally, and how we got there. The authors are clear in their defense of Bush's policies to date.

In 14 pages, this document presents a clear primer for for Kerry supporters who want to understand the other side before voting or for Bush supporters who want an organized way of thinking about Bush's strategy.

It's less intellectual but a faster read than Norman Podhoretz's "World War IV: How It Started, What It Means, and Why We Have to Win" from Commentary (called "must reading for anyone concerned with the direction America takes in the battle against radical Islamists" by National Review). Both pieces make the case for Bush's wartime leadership: Podhoretz in a highbrow, intellectually groundbreaking fashion and Wizbang in a shorter fashion more accessible to a casual audience.


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.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


I'm about 14 minutes and 45 seconds through my 15... [But there are still over five hours left in Wed; the numbers will go up.--ed. And what makes you think that will change the overall look of the graph?]

Dolan responds: Taranto's math right; 'Skins and Bush to lose; go, Irish!

Update: See bottom of post.

In piece on the Redskins in yesterday's "Best of the Web," James Taranto displayed his math skills. First he quoted Justin Taylor:

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....

David Dolan, an assistant professor of mathematics at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, calculated the odds of this happening for 1 in 263.5 million. (By the way, that's 2,600 times higher than the chance of getting killed by lightning!)
Taranto then quibbled with the analysis:

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.

Turns out Taranto was right; Dolan, who takes the whole thing in fun, says he was misquoted.

Onto more interesting topics, Dolan figures the pattern will continue with the Redskins and incumbent Bush both losing. Also, for the record, Dolan is a college football fan partial to alma mater Notre Dame, and he apparently follows the Packers enough to use their stats in his statistical coursework.

His answers to my e-mailed list of questions follow:

David M: Did the 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.

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.

However, it was actually considerably more likely than that. The new question is, "what are the chances that the Redskins pre-election fate corresponds with the incumbent party's fate 16 times in a row at some point in the last 18 elections? I calculate the answer to be 1 in 28,339. I leave it to the reader to check my numbers. I figure the 'Skins and incumbents have to share a fate for {elections three through 16}, and also for (either {elections 1 and 2} or {2 and 17} or {17 and 18} ).

(By the way, the Redskins have only been around for 18 elections.)

Bush's fiscal plan less bad than Kerry's

Bush detractors bash Bush for what he's done to the deficit. I agree.

Bush detractors say that's reason to vote for Kerry. I disagree. For three reasons:

  1. The deficit going forward. Under Kerry's plan, the deficit would grow even faster than under Bush's plan. (I base this analysis on Global Insight, Inc.'s modeling of the impacts of each candidate's fiscal proposals.) Here are the data:

    • 2009 deficit under Bush plan: $375 billion (bad)
    • 2009 deficit under Kerry plan: $447 billion (worse)

    • 2014 deficit under Bush plan: $532 billion (bad)
    • 2014 deficit under Kerry plan: $644 billion (worse)

    (Pay no attention to either candidate's pledge to cut the deficit in half in five years.)

  2. Tax cuts versus spending increases. The Kerry plan would increase the deficit primarily through increased spending (more than offsetting the increased taxes on high earners) while the Bush plan would increase the deficit primarily through lower taxes. Lower taxes are good; increased spending is bad.
  3. Drivers of growth. Any growth under the Kerry plan would be driven primarily by government spending. Bush growth would be driven largely by market-friendly policies (like extending the reductions in taxes on dividends and capital gains) which would ultimately boost both stock market values and capital spending, growing the economy. Bush's plan is better for the economy's long-term health.

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.

Be a part of history

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.

Game seven, if there is a game seven, will be one of the most historic games in the history of our pastime. Either the curse will be reinforced as never before, or it will be ended and the Bambino's ghost put to rest after 85 long years of haunting the Sox.

The only two things that need to happen are:
  • The Cardinals win the next three games, and
  • You fork over $54 thousand for these tickets.

(Via Fenster Moop at 2 Blowhards.)

Slate: We overwhelmingly support Kerry, but we're not trying to help him win

Here's the vote among the Slate staff:
  • Kerry: 45 (88.2%)
  • Bush: 4 (7.8%)
  • Michael Badnarik (Libertarian): 1 (2.0%)
  • David Cobb (Green): 1 (2.0%)
This transparency is good. It signals readers not to take Slate editor Jacob Weisberg too seriously when he concludes his very readable piece on the case for journalistic disclosure with this:
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.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


(Click to enlarge.)

This is what happens when a little-known blogger (me) gets a links from better-known bloggers: a Malkin-and-Betsy-lanche. From double-digit daily page views to a couple of thousand.

Unfortunately, when I had my Sulli-lanche and my two Insta-lanches I didn't yet have a counter, so I'll never know what those looked like...

MSNBC on O'Donnell: This will not happen again

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.

Too many chefs

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.

Here is Glenn quoting another Instapundit guest blogger two days ago:
ANN ALTHOUSE: "My election day prayer is: may whoever wins win by a lot." Amen.

Kerry's Monday morning political opportunism

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]

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]

What folks may not realize is what Kerry was saying back in October 2001 ( dug up by Kaus and relayed via Insta-Megan) :
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?

Monday, October 25, 2004


There is a blog term for the massive boost in traffic a blog receives shortly after a link from mega-blog Instapundit: "insta-lanche."

Last night Glenn Reynolds--Instapundit's blogger-in-chief--temporarily handed the keyboard over to several other bloggers, Ann Althouse of Althouse, Megan McArdle of Asymmetrical Information and Michael Totten of MichaelTotten.

This gives these three guest bloggers an easy opportunity to send some traffic back home. Two of the three have taken the bait. Would you?

The score so far:
  • It took Megan one post to link to her own blog.
  • Ann held out until her ninth post (10 hours and 23 minutes after her first post)
  • And Michael has posted seven times with nary an auto-insta-lanche in sight. (C'mon Michael, you've earned it. And everyone else is doing it...)
Any guesses how long, if ever, until Michael caves?

Update: Looks Michael held out until his eighteenth post.

In fairness to these guys, bloggers--even Glenn Reynolds--routinely link to their work elsewhere. If I had any online work elsewhere to which to link, I would.

Those darned kids: Bush in a landslide

USA Today:
[T]he Weekly Reader presidential poll of schoolchildren has pegged every winner since 1956.

This year's winner? George W. Bush — in a landslide.
Weekly Reader:

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.

(Via Betsy.)

Bad taste

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.

It just arrived via e-mail. Anyone know the source so I can give credit?

Shameless self-promotion

My work is cited on the editorial page of today's Wall Street Journal.

Harvard professor Ruth R. Wisse discusses being in the "conservative opposition" at Harvard. She writes,
Campus bloggersA blogger computed the percentages of Kerry contributions over Bush: Cornell 93%, Dartmouth 97%, Yale 93%, Brown 89%.
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.)

I'm delighted that Prof. Wisse is disseminating the information, and that she acknowleged the blogosphere. (Though I would have been even more delighted had she credited me.)

Update: Whoooeey--they've linked me! (Apparently pestering pays. Squeaky wheel and all.) And they've taken out the campus blogger bit.

Democracy on the march

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.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

An asbestos jury gets it right

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.

The jury got it right. The sad thing is that I am surprised they got it right.

Serial plagiarism exposed

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 4:

Oct 8

Oct 9

Oct 10 (two plagiarized posts in a day)

Oct 12:

Oct 13:

Oct 14

Oct 16

Oct 20

Update: Betsy takes it in stride: "That's the blogosphere. You can find anything out there, even your own words." Another post on the topic from Betsy here.

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.

Update: Yale Asst Prof Dina Mayzlin et al cite this incident, and indeed this blog post, in the June 2006 paper "Link to Success: How Blogs Build an Audience by Promoting Rivals."

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Lawrence O'Donnell yapping at Swift Vet ankles; an entreaty to CNN and Fox

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.

I do not watch much television (especially with the Yankee season over), but when I do watch, it tends to be between 10 and 11 p.m. And since I'm a news junkie, if I'm the one with the clicker, I tend to watch news. And the most interesting news show in that time slot is MSNBC's Scarborough Country, on which O'Donnell is an all-too-frequent guest. So I guess I'll be watching a lot of O'Donnell.

CNN and Fox News, I'm begging you, please come up with a palatable alternative. And not one that involves another new and fascinating point of view on the Laci Peterson case.

Bush's IQ greater than Kerry's according to new study

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)

I've been plagiarized

Michelle Malkin writes about Lawrence O'Donnell coming unhinged on MSNBC during a discussion with Swift Vet John O'Neill.

She makes reference to my earlier post on O'Donnell's contempt for "simple-minded religious people." Unfortunately though, instead of linking to me, she linked to another blog which had was verbatim plagiarized, without credit, from my post a day after I wrote it.

Michelle presumably did not know she was linking to a plagiarized post, and I trust she will correct the error when it is brought to her attention.

I just wrote a note to Michelle, with a copy to Betsy of Betsy's Page explaining the situation. (Note that my original post, as well as Betsy's link to my post, were written a day before the plagiarizer wrote his post.):

From: DavidMblog - at -
Sent: Saturday, October 23, 2004 4:54 PM
To: malkin- at -
Cc: betsynewmark - at -
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.

Thank you!

David M

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.


1. Thank you, Betsy, for writing about the plagiarism. Turns out that the plagiarizer had ripped off Betsy, too.

2. Thank you, Michelle Malkin. Michelle has not only redirected the link on her original post, but she also has added a new post about the plagiarism.

3. Turns out the plagiarist is a serial plagiarist.

Friday, October 22, 2004

And what would you like for your second wish, Mr. Bush?

ABC News headline: Gore to Stump for Kerry in Florida.

(Stolen, title and all, from Spoons.)

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Nuanced thinker or unprincipled opportunist?

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?

At the height of the battle in Afghanistan, Kerry said he wanted to minimalize the proximity of our troops to danger. Now he criticizes Bush for not involving our troops more.

During the battle Kerry called our approach effective and said, "we should continue to do it that way." Several years later, when it is politically pragmatic to do so, Kerry attacks the conduct of the war.

Here is Kerry in a December 2001 interview with Larry King:

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.

And here he is in the 2004 debates (conveying a sentiment he has oft repeated):
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.

(Via JustOneMinute.)

A tear jerker

A pro-Bush spot, short on policy content and long on emotional connection.

I never leave baseball games early

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.

Last night I left early. As Mike Francessa said this morning on Imus, it was like watching a prize fight where the challenger KOs the champ in the first round, then drags him around the rink for twelve rounds.

Hats off to the Sox.

A disaster of biblical proportions

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!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Meta-poll summaries

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.
  • Federal Review: Bush 291, Kerry 247 (fully allocated) or Bush 284, Kerry 221, toss-up 33. (FL and OH to Bush, PA is toss-up leaning toward Kerry.)
  • Election Projection: Bush 274, Kerry 264. (FL and OH to Bush, PA to Kerry.)
  • Real Clear Politics: Bush 227, Kerry 210, toss-up 101. (FL, OH and PA are toss-ups.)
  • Race 2004: Kerry 198, Bush 196, toss-up 144. (FL, OH and PA are toss-ups.)
  • Tripias: Kerry 279, Bush 259. (FL and PA to Kerry, OH to Bush.)
  • MyDD: Kerry 316, Bush 222. (FL, PA and OH to Kerry)
What does all this mean? Got me.

Balanced election coverage?

The Center for Media and Public Affairs has been studying TV election coverage. Key findings:
  • Coverage overall is meatier now than in 2000.
  • The big-three networks tilt towards Kerry, most significantly ABC.
  • Fox News tilts towards Bush.

Democratic joke of the day

Q. What's the difference between the Vietnam War and the Iraq War?

A. George W. Bush had a plan to get out of the Vietnam War.

The Stadium

This is where I'll be tonight,

watching the Red Sox tease their fans into thinking they might have a chance at vanquishing the Yankees en route to the World Series before succumbing to the inevitable.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


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.

Iraq ad

A 30-second ad from

Recent polls

A recent blast e-mail message from the Bush campaign highlights recent polls with this chart:

(Click on chart to make it slightly bigger.)

If you cannot read the chart, it shows Bush leading by 4.8% prior to the debates, Kerry leading by 0.2% during the debates and Bush regaining a 4.2% lead after the debates. (The chart takes the average poll results from five organizations: Gallup, Newsweek, ABC News, TIPP and Time.)

Indeed Bush seems to be leading the popular vote, but Kerry is making headway in the swing states. Stay tuned.

To see various takes on the electoral and popular votes, check out the sites listed on the right of this blog under the heading, "Election Polls and Sites."

Monday, October 18, 2004

The real reason we're in Iraq--and why we will stay

Steven Den Beste wrote this piece for the Wall Street Journal last year. It's worth re-reading.

Dead end


Exit only. Area closed to public. Dead end.

(Via Lileks.)

Enroll via the web (only it's not available via the web)

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.

They have now introduced a frequent shopper program ( called "ASAP"). I tried to enroll today online only to find that you had to do it in the store. Not a big deal, but I was amused by this oxymoronic explanation on the web site:
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:

  • Mainstream media, especially CBS News and the New York Times
  • Iran and Syria
  • The United Nations
  • EUnuchs
  • The OPEC nations.

Losers if Kerry wins:

  • The American soldier
  • Israel; our relations with China; India, Japan and South Korea
  • American doctors
  • Hillary.

As Betsy Newmark advises, "look over his list of losers and think about which group you'd rather see losing. Vote accordingly."

Bush rising

Whatever debate bounce Kerry saw is disappearing, according to the Iowa Electronic Markets:

Similar results at the Real Clear Politics poll of polls:

Update: Steven Den Beste adds some trend lines (but is it fair to start Bush's line at a low point?):

Friday, October 15, 2004

Great minds

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:
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?
George W. Bush at the Oct. 8 debate:

...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.

Foreigners: Down with USA! (unless of course we're threatened by terrorism)

Pundit Guy links to an A.P. article talking about how polling shows world opinion to be against Bush.

My favorite excerpt:
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?

MSNBC's O'Donnell: Bush's God attractive to "very simple-minded religious people"

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.

Update: Here is the transcript:

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.]

O'Donnell was responding to this Bush statement at the last debate:

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.

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.

Update: Betsy Newmark wonders if O'Donnell has read any Locke or Lincoln.

Update: Apparently O'Donnell dug in his heels tonight (Fri., Oct. 15) when MSNBC revisited the issue. I only caught the very tail end of the segment. I'll post highlights when the transcript is available.

Update: The Oct. 15 transcript is now available.

One of O'Donnell's chief complaints (first voiced in the Oct. 14 episode) is that Bush prayed before sending troops into war. Paul Kengor, a scholar of religion and the presidency, states that he "cannot name a single president in all of American history who didn‘t pray before committing troops. I can‘t name one." O'Donnell is unimpressed.

The segment includes video clips of Presidents Carter, Clinton, Reagan and Kennedy invoking God. But O'Donnell seems to think that if he likes a president, then it is okay for that president to invoke God, because he must be doing it for good. In response to a clip of JFK stating (in his inaugural address) that "God's work must truly be our own," O'Donnell says:

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.

To summarize, if JFK says words, the words are good; out of Bush's mouth, the same words are nefarious. Incredible.

Why does MSNBC give this guy air time?

Update: O'Donnell states that Bush's God is a very strange God for wanting everyone to be free. Two commenters on Betsy's Page draw attention to the Declaration of Independence:

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.]

Seems the Founding Fathers' God must have been a very strange God, too, per O'Donnell's way of thinking.

CBS: Bush is retard is "very funny observation"

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."

I happen to like Jon Stewart despite my disagreement with his politics. His show and his book both have moments of hillarity.

But does Friedman really think that calling the president retarded is more "very funny observation" than meanness? I can only guess where Friedman's political sympathies lie.

(Link via Betsy's Page.)

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Jonah Goldberg, John Kerry, Eddie Murphy

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.

"If no signs of intimidation... launch pre-emptive strike"

Drudge unearthed this Democratic National Committee gem:

(Click on the image for a larger, legible version.)

According to Drudge,

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.

VodkaPundit's Stephen Green does not like it:
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.

Apology to New York Times reporter Michael Slackman

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.

In the post in question, written seven weeks ago, I wrote a satirical piece about Mr. Slackman in which I accused him of covering politics for the Times while, in violation of Times policy, donating money to the Democratic party. Turns out that Mr. Slackman's payment to the Democrats was misfiled with the FEC as a contribution when in fact it was payment in exchange for services. (The services were use of telephone lines.) Thus the premise of my story was incorrect, and had I checked with Mr. Slackman first I would have known that.

Here is a letter of apology I sent to Mr. Slackman today in reply to a note he sent me yesterday:

Mr Slackman,

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.

Arthur Bovino
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, 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?


David M

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

"The corporate income tax is very bad. You should be against it"

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.

But I am intrigued by some of Ms. Galt's other postings on tax policy, notably, her tax simplification plan and her rationale for abolishing corporate income tax.

Highlights of the Jane Galt tax plan:
  1. 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.
  2. 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"
  3. Eliminate the corporate income tax
  4. Eliminate the special treatment for capital gains. All income should be taxed at the same level, regardless of its source.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Get rid of the estate tax, and tax the capital gains on whatever is sold.
Highlights of her rationale for abolishing the corporate income tax:
  1. Corporations aren't People
  2. The Corporate Income Tax Costs the Economy More than it Earns
  3. The Corporate Income Tax is Extremely Distortionary
  4. It is Impossible to Close the Loopholes
  5. 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 any of this interests you, go read her full posts.

Debate expectations

If the Gallup poll below is accurate, Americans think Bush will lose tonight's debate.

Does this mean Bush has "won" the expectations game, and that anything perceived as a tie or better benefits the President? Perhaps not. Registered voters (or at least the 515 registered voters polled by Gallup) called the second debate a draw, but there was certainly no perceptible poll bump for Bush.

±5 pct. pt. margin of error
Oct. 9-10, 2004
Sample size = 531
National adults

The Evil Empire

Some music for fans of the just-beat-the-cursed-Red-Sox-and-shut-up-Shilling-who-said-he'd-shut-up-55,000-Yankee-fans Yankees. (Make sure your volume is on.)

And a clip for the Yankee haters out there.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Nobel-winning economist says Bush tax cuts were too small

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.

The little girl at the airport

Bali was two years ago.

French corruption and the New York Times

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.

A complacent fool or an utter fraud

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.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Re-import drugs from Canada?

A layman's description of the issue.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Weekend news: Afghanistan, Australia, Kerry and baseball

Four events of interest from the weekend:
  • Democracy poked through in Afghanistan.
  • Australian election results were better than expected for the Bush-supporting incumbents. Does this portend good results for Bush? Are people more willing to vote for Bush in the voting booth than they are to tell a pollster of their support for the President?
  • Bloggers found a speech Kerry gave on the Senate floor in October 2002 criticizing Bush for waiting too long after 9/11 to address the "real and grave threat" emerging in Iraq. Kerry's latest accusations that Bush "took his eye off" Bin Laden in order to address Iraq seem fairly disingenuous. Will anyone notice?
  • The greatest rivalry in sports will see another round.

Friday, October 08, 2004

"No world leader has better understood the stakes in this global war than President Bush"

Paul Bremer in today's New York Times:

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.

Any doubt where Mr. Bremer stands?

Soldiers for Bush

Source: Army Times, via Congressman Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), via WizBang.

Letter from Iraq

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.


Aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the show?

Turns out I'm a mild-mannered assassination victim. (I took the 45-question test.) And you?

Thursday, October 07, 2004

PA Mufti endorses murder of Jews. U.S. press silent.

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.

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.
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.

9/11 Families for a Safe and Strong America

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.

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.

We agree...

Three years ago, George W. Bush stood with us and vowed that he would “Never forget.”

We stand with him now.
(Via LGF.)


From next month's Foreign Affairs:
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...

Kerry's not the only flip-flopper on Iraq

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).

In the debate, Edwards repeatedly said that Iraq was a distraction from the War on Terror ("Mr. Vice President, we were attacked but we weren't attacked by Saddam Hussein." The Admistration took its "eye off the ball.") But here's what Edwards said in October 2002 about authorizing the invasion of Iraq:
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.

In the debate Edwards repeatedly dismissed the connection between Saddam and terrorists. But this is what Edwards said in September 2002:
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.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

V.P. debate

Reactions certainly varied.

Dick Morris:

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.

Andrew Sullivan:

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.

On substance, I was more in agreement with Cheney than Bush, but I knew that going in.

Some advice for Cheney: The economy is doing great. Don't be defensive about it:
  • Fastest rate of growth in decades, faster than any other industrialized economy.
  • Phenomenal economic turnaround, despite our inheriting a recession and dealing with the economic consequences of 9/11.
  • Unemployment lower now than it was on balance in any recent decade.
  • More Americans, and more minorities, own homes now than ever before in our history.
  • All Americans who pay taxes paying lower taxes than when we took office.
  • Despite what the other side may tell you, the wealthy paying a greater portion of the income tax pie than they did before our tax cuts.
  • Inflation under control.
  • Interest rates low.

You get the point.

And learn from Edwards how to personalize and use the little guy as an example.

Will image of consistency outweigh record of vacillation?

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.

The frightening aspect of all this for me is that to the casual observer, Kerry can seem quite consistent and strong in any given speech, as he indeed seemed at the debate. Even a cursory look at his record dispells this consistency, but will the electorate, or more precisely the undecided portion of the electorate, study his record? If someone is still undecided now, I propose that that person has not studied the candidates' records and is unlikely to do so. Which means a consistent image in a few debates may carry more weight than a record.

I'm frightened.

John Edwards and dividend taxes

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...

Finally, for a bigger picture perspective, it is important to look at income taxes as well as dividend taxes. While the Democrats would have you believe that Bush pushed through a "tax cut for the wealthy," it is important to keep in mind that the wealthy pay a greater portion of the income tax pie under the Bush tax cut than they did beforehand. Hence the poor and middle classes pay a smaller portion. I do not know why the Republicans are not trumpeting the point, but they should be.

(Department of Defense link via Betsy's Page via PoliPundit.)