... he cites extensive data analysis to demonstrate that values advocated by conservatives — from church attendance to two-parent families to the Protestant work ethic and a distaste for government-funded social services — make conservatives more generous than liberals. ... When it comes to helping the needy, he writes: "For too long, liberals have been claiming they are the most virtuous members of American society. Although they usually give less to charity, they have nevertheless lambasted conservatives for their callousness in the face of social injustice.".
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Conservatives are more generous in giving than liberals. Syracuse University professor Arthur C. Brooks has done the research and is publishing a book - "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism," (Basic Books, $26) is due for release Nov. 24. It is now listed at Amazon.com for pre-order. The Syracuse Post-Standard (New York State):
Monday, October 30, 2006
Good for Lynne Cheney, the "Second Lady" of the US as Vice President Cheney's wife. She took Wolf Blitzer to task for promoting the propaganda of the Islamic jihad terrorists. I join her in questioning Blitzer's commitment to the United States. "Do you want the US to win?" "Then why are you showing this propaganda?" Wolfie says it's just news. Wrong. CNN is promoting the Islamic Jihadists' propaganda. CNN is working for them. Good for Mrs. Cheney for putting CNN back down in its hole. Double Tap is in the Army National Guard and spent a year in Iraq. He has the video.
The American Criminal Lawyers Union, I mean the ACLU, claims to work for our liberties. But they spend their time on the biggest threats to liberty - nativity scenes. Huh? And same-sex classes in schools. Huh? Unfogged reports:
The Education Department recently announced that they are giving school districts more latitude for implementing single-sex classes and schools. The ACLU and a bunch of feminist organizations are in a huff because they say that it is condoning discrimination and are threatening to sue.She has first-hand knowledge:
I think that's a bad move - I went to a single-sex high school and believe I got far more out of it than I would have in a coeducational setting. I think a lot of what I gained from the experience ties into LB's post about the lack of female pundits and what m. leblanc had to say about women's comments being ignored. I'd always been outspoken in class but it wasn't until I was at an all-girls school that I felt my comments were heard and challenged.And she has previous analysis of the lack, not lack, lower numbers, of female pundits.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Distinguished former President Bill Clinton is undermining AlGore's global warming road show with his own "global initiative." But Clinton is also twisting the facts to suit his agenda. Clinton is going around saying that Brazil has gained energy independece (true) by growing and using ethanol, but that's not true. Investor's Business Daily caught him this time in Clinton Shills For Bad Energy Policy:
Energy: Bill Clinton's back, now touting tax hikes for ethanol to California voters. "If Brazil can do it, so can we," he said, claiming an ethanol switch ended Brazil's need for foreign oil. Once again, he's telling whoppers. Brazil did achieve independence from foreign oil all right. It happened this past April. But Clinton, true to form, doesn't quite recall the critical point showing how it was done. Here's a clue for the semi-retired former president and policy wonk: Brazilian President Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva didn't celebrate the oil independence milestone out in an Amazon sugar field. No, he smashed a champagne bottle on the spaceship-like deck of Brazil's vast P-50 oil rig in the Albacora Leste field in the deep blue Atlantic. Why? Brazil's oil independence had virtually nothing to do with its ethanol development. It came from drilling oil.Oil. They did it by drilling for and consuming oil. From 2004 to 2006 Brazil increased its oil production by 400,000 barrels per day to 1.9 million. But ethanol only produces 292,000 barrels. That's 15% of the energy production. Let's keep looking for a developing alternate energy sources. But they have to make economic sense. If they have to make their own way in the marketplace, then some will become succesful, while others won't make sense and will fail. But it doesn't help to lie about them.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to Grameen Bank of Bangladesh and its founder, Muhammad Yunus. They provide micro-loans for the poor to help them start tiny enterprises. Great news! This is not the politically correct way to aid the poor. The "right" way is to feel compassion and donate our time and money to them. But it works. The people they are helping are enterprising. A small loan for a specific purpose helps them get going. How can you be sure the borrower does what she promised with the money? They organize the borrowers into small groups where they hold each other accountable! Alvaro Vargas Llosa of Peru is very active in getting micro-loans used in Latin America and around the world. He writes in TCS Daily:
For half a century, wealthy nations -- and rock stars -- have focused on foreign aid as the way to spur development. Foreign aid started with President Harry Truman's "Point Four'' program at the end of the 1940s, partly to pre-empt the spread of communism. To judge by ever increasing budgets and last year's call at the United Nations for a doubling of aid by 2015, it continues to be the fundamental focus of efforts to bring about prosperity in poor countries. No attention is paid to the fact that in sub-Saharan Africa, the region to which most of the foreign aid has gone in the last quarter-century, per capita income has dropped by 11 percent. Numerous government programs involving handouts and training have also failed to do the trick in many countries. What the poor really want is an environment in which undertaking a profitable venture is not a nightmarish bureaucratic and legal process.
Monday, October 23, 2006
300 million Americans as of this week. Good. Every person is productive, that is, can be productive and makes America a better place. Just because some choose not to be productive - and are allowed to - does not mean we should exclude someone else. We are not running out of land. Land that people value is getting more expensive - because people want to use it and will pay too. Also, in many areas the price rise is due to shortage forced by our politicians, who complain the loudest about the high prices they caused. Here in Seattle, WA, the county severely restricts any development beyond an arbitrary "rural" line. The intention is to force higher density in the already developed areas. And the result is what we call "a perfectly predictable surprise." (credit to a Republican female commentator whose name I don't recall.) Higher prices. Mark Steyn recognizes the good news and calls out the doom sayers:
But the wee bairn might have expected a warmer welcome from his or her compatriots. Alas not. "Three hundred million seems to be greeted more with hand-wringing ambivalence than chest-thumping pride," observed the Washington Post, which inclines toward the former even on the best of days. No chest-thumping up in Vermont, either. "Organizations such as the Shelburne-based Population Media Center are marking the 300 million milestone with renewed warnings that world population growth is unsustainable," reported the Burlington Free Press. Across the country, the grim milestone prompted this reaction from a somber Dowell Myers. "At 300 million," noted the professor of urban planning and demography at the University of Southern California, "we are beginning to be crushed under the weight of our own quality-of-life degradation."Because he already covered this development in his new book, America Alone which came out this week by coincidence.
America is the 172nd least densely populated country on Earth. If you think it's crowded here, try living in the Netherlands or Belgium, which have, respectively, 1,015 and 883 inhabitants per square mile compared with 80 folks per square mile in the United States. To be sure, somewhere such as, say, Newark, N.J., is a lot less bucolic than it was in 1798. But why is that? No doubt Myers would say it's urban sprawl. But that's the point: you can only sprawl if you've got plenty of space. As the British writer Adam Nicholson once wrote of America, "There is too much room in the vast continental spaces of the country for a great deal of care to be taken with the immediate details." Nothing sprawls in Belgium: It's a phenomenon that arises not from population pressures but the lack thereof.Also check Hugh Hewitt's write up of four books everyone should read to be apprised of the situation we are in and its urgency.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Even the liberal Seattle Times thinks Senator Maria Cantwell has done a poor job. They endorsed Mike McGavick for US Senate from Washington. He is very impressive. But am I surprised that they have very strange criteria for their endorsement? Been there.
In six years, Cantwell has grown somewhat in independence and influence, but not as much...Yes, you have to go against your political party, especially a Republican.
To demonstrate his independence, McGavick has called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. He also shows realistic thinking on a range of issues. On the Iraq war, McGavick wants to find a way to win and Cantwell wants to find a way not to lose.They are off on a strange route again. No difference between winning and not losing? When asked about control of public spending, Cantwell restates her support of the line-item veto, a reform that would require a constitutional amendment and therefore isn't realistic, either. Her actual voting record has not been for restraint. True; she has been one of the biggest spenders. Their bottom line fortunately is competence.
McGavick, in contrast, showed at Safeco that he was able to take on big problems. We think he could make an innovative and influential senator for Washington.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Stefan Sharkansky at Sound Politics points out that Mrs. Gregoire, who calls herself governor, earned an F for fiscal irresponsibility among the 50 states of the US. The list at Cato puts her near the bottom. But their narrative makes me sick, because it's true:
Christine Gregoire, one of the worst new governors in the nation, was elected in 2004 in one of the closest and most contentious elections in Washington history--a controversial Palm Beach-style recount made her the winner of the gubernatorial race by only 129 votes. Famous for being the lead negotiator in the $206 billion shakedown of cigarette companies known as the 1998 multistate tobacco settlement, Gregoire quickly took aim at state taxpayers upon entering office. She's raised multiple taxes already: the cigarette tax (by 42 percent), the gas tax (by 34 percent), the state's liquor tax (by $1.33 a gallon). And she resurrected the estate tax, too. Gregoire even helped the legislature overturn the law that required a supermajority to raise taxes in the future. All of this to fuel her spending binge, which expanded the general fund budget by more than 8 percent in fiscal 2006 alone. Tax activists have placed a repeal of the estate tax on the ballot in Washington, and Gregoire has already stated her opposition. In the meantime, she was quick to propose new ways to spend the $1.6 billion budget surplus this year. With a legislature controlled by her own party, perhaps the only check on Gregoire's big-government ambitions in years to come will be the usually feisty tax activists in the state.Good for our tax activists. Tim Eyman, let's keep after them.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Husks, stalks and leaves have cellulose for their structure. Cellulose has defied attempts to break it down for uses such as fuel. But now researchers are having success. But cellulose has other important uses. It is left in the field to reduce erosion and slowing the release of carbon dioxide. I am in favor of any fuel source that makes economic sense. The Seattle Times on Monday:
A federal Energy Department study concluded that cellulose plant materials could help renewables supply 30 percent of the nation's liquid fuel needs by 2030. But tapping farm fields to produce both energy and food crops also creates new risks for agriculture and the environment. Some cellulose materials — such as the corn harvest leftovers — already play an important role when returned to the soil. As they decay, they help fight erosion, improve the organic matter that is key to soil quality, and slow the release of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Christians are being persecuted - killed - in Indonesia. By the "religion of peace" - Islam. Monday, October 16: Palu, C Sulawesi (ANTARA News) - Reverend Irianto Kongkoli, secretary general of Central Sulawesi`s Christian church synod, was gunned down by an unidentified man here Monday morning, eyewitneses said. Eyewitnesses said Irianto, the reverend, was shot when he was about to buy building materials in Sinar Sakti shop on Monginsidi street in Palu subdistrict at 8:15 a.m. local time. "Suddenly a gunfire explosion was heard and the reverend collapsed with gunshot wound on his head" said a witness who spoke on the anonymity. The policemen from the Central Sulawesi district office and the Palu police precinct came to the site of the incident and cordoned of the place, the anonymous person said. Irianto and his wife were rushed to nearby Bala Keslamatan hospital on Wood Ward street, 500 meters away from the material building shop. Unfortunately, the reverend died afterwards. There was no official statement from the police but they directly searched for the perpetrators in Palu city. Persecuted Infidels in Indonesia is a blog covering the situation.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
In Alaska they enjoy the windfall of oil revenues - so much that individuals pay no taxes; they receive a check from the state. So they watch the price of oil. And they don't like what they see now. Alaska Journal:
The current slide in crude oil prices could accelerate into a plunge to as low at $35 per barrel next year, ConocoPhillips' chief economist, Marianne Kau, told a group of economists in Anchorage Oct. 11. That's a sobering prospect for the next governor of the state - who will take office in early December - because a dip in oil prices, combined with declining North Slope production, could throw the state budget into a deficit again after two years of surpluses. .... Prices won't dive to $9 per barrel that Alaska saw in 1999, but they could go to $35 per barrel, Kau said. "Given the current slowdown in the economy and high inventories in the market, prices should logically be at $35 per barrel now," she said.There is something new here ...
What has helped drive prices up is a huge flow of money coming into oil markets from commodity investment funds. These funds are likely to exit the market as prices slide, quickening the downturn, Kau said. "These new financial players are creating a lot of short-term price volatility.Steve Forbes predicted this last year, but a bit quicker, like by now.
It's no fun. Their declining population is causing empty towns and stagnant economic nongrowth. The Boston Globe:
Russia is the only major industrial nation that is losing population. Its people are succumbing to one of the world's fastest-growing AIDS epidemics, resurgent tuberculosis, rampant cardiovascular disease, alcohol and drug abuse, smoking, suicide, and the lethal effects of unchecked industrial pollution. In addition, abortions outpaced births last year by more than 100,000.``nezhiloye" -- depopulated
Antonina Makarova, 78, spends her days watching news and soap operas in her peeling wooden dacha, the only inhabited structure in two lanes of sagging cottages that once were a village. Her nearest neighbor, 80-year-old Maria Belkova, lives in adjacent Sosnovitsy, population 2. But Belkova can't hear anymore, and all in all, Makarova finds the television better company. ``All the houses here were filled with people. There was a cheese factory. But now everyone else has died. God has taken care of them, and he's still making me suffer," Makarova said. ``Even the thieves have disappeared." The Tver region, along the upper reaches of the Volga River 130 miles north of Moscow, is dotted with more than 1,400 villages such as Kstinovo marked ``nezhiloye" -- depopulated. Since 1989, the number of people here has shrunk by about 250,000 to about 1.4 million, with deaths outnumbering births more than 2 to 1.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
It's not funny. It's not tragic. It's just stupid. President Clinton sent Honorable Secretary of State Madeline Albright to North Korea to show Kim Jong Il how nice we are. She gave him a Michael Jordan autographed basketball. Clinton continued to send him nuclear material for his power plants - peaceful, you know. So they hoped. They hoped against all experience. Michelle Malkin's Hot Air has a very funny video about Albright's folly. And success of the tactic of being nice to your enemies, so they will like you. It's not tragic; it's stupid. Hot Air Zucker video YouTube is the host site for the video. They blocked access to it, by marking it "inapproprite," though it did not contain objectionable material, except for Clinton worshipers. World Net Daily has the story:
The popular video-sharing YouTube site, which is being purchased by Google for $1.65 billion, limited access to a political ad that mocks the Clinton administration's policy on North Korea, but contains no profanity, nudity or other factors generally thought objectionable. The company announced a "flagging" policy change just this week, about the time that a controversial spoof by Republican filmmaker David Zucker depicting former Secretary of State Madeline Albright as a cheerleader for Islamic terrorists started appearing with a warning page in front, requiring verification that a viewer is 18 before the video will appear.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Despite "Bridge to Nowhere" Senator Ted Stevens, you can now see where the big bucks go. Who gets it, etc. At Fed Spending.org - Built by OMBwatch.org with funding from Sunshine Foundation. Read about Senator Ted's dirty dealings at The Captain's. He is unbelievably bad. If Alaska had an honest senator they might get what they want, such as oil production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. All they get now is favors for Ted's family and friends.
Sen. Ted Stevens, considered the Republican king of pork, just before the pre-election congressional recess killed a requirement for the Defense Department to evaluate unauthorized earmarks imposed by members of Congress on the Pentagon. Freshman Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma had won Senate passage of the ''report card'' as part of the Defense appropriations bill. The evaluation would show that the military really does not want most of the estimated $8 billion in earmarks added by Congress this year. However, Stevens succeeded in stripping the reform from the final version of the bill before it was signed by President Bush. Coburn intends to try to pass the report card as a freestanding bill during the lame-duck session after the election.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
President Vladimir Putin of Russia has continuously tightened his control of the government. He has shut down independent newspapers and television stations. He has arrested independent businessmen. A few brave independent journalists have been digging into areas connected to Putin's past as head of the KGB secret police. One of them, Anna Politkovskaya, was shot and murdered as she walked into her apartment building. Reuters reports:
Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin, was shot dead on Saturday at her apartment block in central Moscow, police said. "According to initial information she was killed by two shots when leaving the lift. Neighbors found her body," a police source told Reuters. Police found a pistol and four rounds in the lift. Politkovskaya, a 48-year-old mother of two, won international fame and numerous prizes for her dogged pursuit of rights abuses by Putin's government, particularly in the violent southern province of Chechnya. "The first thing that comes to mind is that Anna was killed for her professional activities. We don't see any other motive for this terrible crime," said Vitaly Yaroshevsky, a deputy editor of the newspaper where Politkovskaya worked. Moscow chief prosecutor Yuri Syomin told reporters at the crime scene, a nine-story Soviet-era apartment building in central Moscow, that he was treating the death as murder. Paramedics took Politkovskaya's body, wrapped in a white sheet, out of the building and put it into an ambulance. A middle-aged woman laid flowers at the doors of the building and stood with her head against the wall, crying. Politkovskaya's silver Lada, filled with supermarket shopping bags, was parked outside the apartment block. Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, a shareholder in Politkovskaya's newspaper Novaya Gazeta, called the killing a "savage crime." "It is a blow to the entire democratic, independent press," Gorbachev told Interfax news agency. "It is a grave crime against the country, against all of us." In the days before her death, Politkovskaya had been working on a story about torture in Chechnya, which was expected to be published on Monday, her newspaper said. DISTRUSTED PUTIN The rebel province has been a constant headache for the Kremlin. Russia sent troops in 1994 to crush an insurgency but after 12 years of bloodshed and the devastation of the province's capital Grozny, sporadic attacks continue. Politkovskaya was a fierce critic of Putin, whom she accused of stifling freedom and failing to shake off his past as a KGB agent. "I dislike him for ... his cynicism, for his racism, for his lies ... for the massacre of the innocents which went on throughout his first term as president," she wrote in her book "Putin's Russia" which was published overseas but not in Russia.More at Michelle Malkin's web site.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
A good idea in theory is welcomed by rip-off men. The European plan to allow trading of carbon credits is off to a rough start. First, everyone cheated, except the British, I have heard. Everyone grossly overstated the offsets that they had - rain forests and such. Second, people are selling the 21st Century's Brooklyn Bridge. The Guardian in the UK:
.... Francis Sullivan, a carbon offset expert who led attempts by banking group HSBC to neutralise its emissions, said: "There will be individuals and companies out there who think they're doing the right thing but they're not. I am sure that people are buying offsets in this unregulated market that are not credible. I am sure there are people buying nothing more than hot air." The carbon offset market worth about £60m worldwide, up from £20m in 2005. Within three years it is expected to top £300m, as a growing number of organisations and companies race to declare themselves "carbon neutral". Mr Sullivan said: "There are sharks out there who are literally just trying to get money off you. People were offering to sell us large chunks of the rainforest in Papua New Guinea. I don't think it was theirs to sell." Concern is growing that the demand for offsets is allowing projects to claim savings they do not deserve, which are then sold on as "carbon credits". A tree planting or windfarm project reckoned to save up 30,000 tonnes of carbon could sell an equivalent number of carbon credits for about £3 each. To provide a true carbon saving, the developers of such projects must demonstrate that it would not have happened without the investment raised by selling such credits, called additionality. The saving is then worked out against what would have happened, the baseline..
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma took CNN's Miles O'Brien to task for advocating certainty of human-caused global warming and basing his case on a fictional movie! In a Senate press release:
Senator Inhofe also questioned O’Brien about his 1992 CNN report regarding fears of a coming ice age. O’Brien responded by citing the 2004 fictional Hollywood global disaster movie, “The Day After Tomorrow” to back up his science reporting. “This is "The Day After Tomorrow" scenario that we're talking about,” O’Brien said after being confronted by Senator Inhofe on his climate reporting.Inhofe also pushed back on accusations that his position is the result of donations by oil companies:
But when O’Brien interviewed global warming alarmist James Hansen on several different occasions most recently in August 2006, he failed to inform CNN viewers about Hansen’s partisan funding from Teresa Heinz Kerry’s left-wing Heinz Foundation, or Hansen’s subsequent endorsement of Democrat John Kerry for President. O'Brien also failed to inform CNN viewers of Hansen's partisan ties to former Vice President Al Gore and Hansen’s concession that the use of "extreme scenarios" was appropriate to drive the public's attention to global warming.And he reminded O'Brien that 12 years ago he was alarmist about global cooling.
INHOFE: And I wonder also, Miles, it wasn't long ago -- you've got to keep everyone hysterical all the time. You were the one that said another ice age is coming just 12 years ago. O'BRIEN: I said that? I didn't say that. [....] INHOFE: You said, in talking about a shift that was coming -- you said, "If the Gulf Stream were to shift again, the British Isles could be engulfed in polar ice and Europe's climate could become frigid. [From CNN Transcript titled Scientists Research the Rapidity of the Ice Age dated December 19, 1992.]" That's another scary story.Good work, Senator. Keep it up.
Sunday, October 01, 2006
George Will highlights Washington's censoring speech by court order in Newsweek. He is not covering the State Public Disclosure Commission's announcement Thursday that the wrong people are financing campaigns. See Interest groups have taken over elections, panel fears. They are just warming up; watch them. No. He is talking about the successful efforts last year by several cities to shut up talk radio hosts when they threaten tax revenues. Successful? Yes. After the judge ruled that their speech counted as capaign contributions John Carlson and Kirby Wilbur were able to keep talking because I-912 was an issue, not a candidate. There is no spending limit for issues (Will says there is during the last 3 weeks), but there is for candidates. So talk-show hosts are prevented from enthusiastically covering a candidate like Carlson and Wilbur did I-912. And he certainly slowed them down; a court order against one tends to cause caution. Will:
SEATTLE—As the comprehensive and sustained attack on Americans' freedom of political speech intensifies, this city has become a battleground. Campaign-finance "reformers," who advocate ever-increasing government regulation of the quantity, timing and content of political speech, always argue that they want to regulate "only" money, which, they say, leaves speech unaffected. But here they argue that political speech is money, and hence must be regulated. By demanding that the speech of two talk-radio hosts be monetized and strictly limited, reformers reveal the next stage in their stealthy repeal of the First Amendment.And
This is the America produced by "reformers" led by John McCain. The U.S. Supreme Court, in affirming the constitutionality of the McCain-Feingold speech restrictions, advocated deference toward elected officials when they write laws regulating speech about elected officials and their deeds. This turned the First Amendment from the foundation of robust politics into a constitutional trifle to be "balanced" against competing considerations—combating the "appearance of corruption," or elevating political discourse or something. As a result, attempts to use campaign regulations to silence opponents are becoming a routine part of vicious political combat.
Everyone knows the Democrats will win the US House of Representatives. "Everyone knows..." Time Magazine took a deeper look. Mike Allen and James Carny report:
But top Republican officials maintain an eerie, Zen-like calm. They insist that the prospects for their congressional candidates in November's midterms have never been as bad as advertised and are getting better by the day. Those are party operatives and political savants whose job it is to anticipate trouble. But much of the time they seem so placid, you wonder whether they know something. They do. What they know is that just six days after George W. Bush won re-election in 2004, his political machine launched a sophisticated, expensive and largely unnoticed campaign aimed at maintaining G.O.P. majorities in the House and Senate. If that campaign succeeds, it would defy history and political gravity, both of which ordain that midterm elections are bad news for a lame-duck President's party, especially when the lame duck has low approval ratings.Their report gets into how the Republicans are doing it.
In the off year of 2001, the creators of the 72-Hour program tested it in odd, lower-profile contests, including court races in Pennsylvania. The Bushies picked clusters of precincts where they quietly tried their new methods, then compared those with similar precincts where the campaigns did things the more traditional way. Those experiments helped Republicans develop a handful of precepts that constitute the party's playbook for this fall: .... Low tech can be better Caller ID, TiVo, cable channels and satellite radio all make it harder to reach voters than it was just a few years ago, increasing the importance of person-to-person appeals, the hallmark of old-fashioned, grassroots campaigns that used to connote an amateur or a low budget. "You clearly have to have TV ads," says White House political-affairs director Sara Taylor, "but for a little less TV, you can buy a whole lot of pizzas and phone lines and salaries for young men and women right out of college" to make phone calls, knock on doors and recruit and manage volunteers.But, of course, they end on a negative note.