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Willisms

« June 2005 | WILLisms.com | August 2005 »

Light Blogging.

Light blogging over this weekend, obviously.

Summer is fun.

Will pick up the pace soon.

In fact, WILLisms is hosting the History Carnival on Monday. If you have any last minute submissions that deal with history topics, send 'em my way.

Posted by Will Franklin · 31 July 2005 10:49 PM · Comments (3)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 124 -- National Basketball Association.

The NBA-

I support the NBA's decision to implement an age requirement of 19. But my motives are not necessarily pure. I prefer college basketball, and I prefer seeing high school players attend school for at least a year. It's just my preference. The University of Texas just recently got burned by one of its star high school recruits, who chose to go to the NBA rather than UT. Best of luck to him, but I think he would have been better off developing his game for a year in college, rather than warming the bench in the NBA.

One argument for the age requirement (still just 19) is that individuals may learn more discipline and maturity in college than kids who jump to the NBA straight from high school. Thus, college attendees are less likely to get into off-the-court trouble, right?

Well, there is some interesting new research that indicates those who attend all four years of college are actually MORE LIKELY to get into trouble off the court than those who skip college.

For example:

41.4% of NBA players went to school for 4 years.
57.1% of arrested NBA players went to school for 4 years.

nbaplayers.gif

8.3% of NBA players attended no college at all.
4.8% of arrested NBA players attended no college at all.

Source:
Sports Law Blog (via Marginal Revolution).

Lots more interesting stuff there. International players, for example, are better behaved than American players.

-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Unions.

Posted by Will Franklin · 31 July 2005 09:08 AM · Comments (1)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 123 -- Unions.

The Increasingly Irrelevant Labor Union-

uniondecline.gif
The unionized share of the total U.S. work force has been sliding steadily for years, and was down again last year to 12.5% from 12.9% in 2003. In the more dynamic private sector, only 7.9% of employees now carry the union label.

More and more, when people speak of the "bureaucracy," they're talking about unionized public employees, unaccountable to market forces, often unaccountable to the elected administration, and usually unaccountable to the American people.

Expanding or shrinking the size of government, therefore, is a matter of life and death for the public sector employee unions.

Source:

OpinionJournal.com

-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Global GDP Growth.

Posted by Will Franklin · 30 July 2005 11:59 AM · Comments (0)

John Culberson's Border Protection Corps.

Immigration is clearly the unheralded political issue of the year. It may not lead the evening network news every night, but with Democrats and Republicans alike moving on this issue, the political landscape is flooded with immigration reform proposals. Every politician wants a piece of the immigration pie; being tough on illegal immigration is going to be a litmus test for many voters across party lines, in upcoming elections. Bank on that.

Illegal immigration : 2005 :: Crime : 1993

If you're perceived as weak on immigration as an individual or a party, you're going to get burned.

It's no wonder that even liberal Hillary Clinton, in an effort to moderate her image, has made rhetorical flourishes on the immigration issue, courting those concerned with illegal immigration. It's also no wonder that the otherwise underwhelming Colorado Republican Tom Tancredo, who has been out in front on the immigration issue for some time now, is generating some buzz as a 2008 candidate, notwithstanding his recent "bomb Mecca" goof. John McCain (along with Senators Kennedy, Brownback, Lieberman, Graham, and Salazar) have offered an immigration measure in the Senate (.pdf). Jon Kyl and John Cornyn countered with a stronger measure (.pdf).

Combatting illegal immigration is increasingly a political no-brainer. Even the controversial Minute Men (a group it was easy to be skeptical about in the beginning) were supported by more Americans than the media let on (.pdf). And their efforts seemed to work. Americans are pragmatic. If it works, go with it.

In comes my Representative, John Culberson.

culberson.gif

H.R. 3622, The Border Protection Corps Act of 2005 (.pdf), would authorize Governors of border states to organize citizen-volunteers to patrol America's borders.

The skinny:

Today, U.S. Representative John Culberson and 46 original cosponsors introduced H.R. 3622 to create the Border Protection Corps made up of citizen volunteers working as sworn law enforcement officers under the command of the Governors of the border States and working “in cooperation with State and local law enforcement officials…and the United States Border Patrol.”

Border Protection Corps operations and the costs of detaining, housing and transporting foreign nationals taken into custody by the Corps or by state and local law enforcement would be paid for using the $6.8 billion in Homeland Security first responder funds that have been sitting unspent and untouched in the U. S. Treasury for over two years.

The Border Protection Corps Act invokes Congress’s power under Article I, Section 8 of the U. S. Constitution to “provide for calling forth…organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia… to execute the Laws of the Union,” which H.R. 3622 defines as “patrolling and defending the international border” of the United States “in order to prevent individuals from crossing the international border…at any location other than an authorized port of entry.”

The measure would essentially take the Minutemen idea and legitimize it, integrating able and willing volunteers (of which there are plenty) into the overall border security apparatus of the United States. But it could also stave off potential vigilantism, making the volunteers more accountable to state laws:

H.R. 3622 states that Border Protection Corps members “shall include only United States citizens with no criminal history and no history of mental illness.” Corps members must “take an oath to uphold the laws and Constitution of the United States and of the State… and shall have the right to keep and bear arms… [and can] use any means and any force authorized by state law to prevent individuals from unlawfully entering United States [or] to take into custody individuals who have so entered the United States.”

The Houston Chronicle (via blogHOUSTON), calling the proposal "unusual," notes that Texas Governor Rick Perry is open to the idea.

Culberson's "thunderclap" bill will almost certainly be opposed by the Washington establishment media and certain illegal immigration apologists, but it (along with the Kyl-Cornyn bill) could be effective in preventing scores of illegal aliens, including terrorists, from entering the U.S, all while protecting legal immigration. After all, inattention to illegal immigration could eventually undermine political support for legal immigration, which is so necessary to our culture and economy.

Posted by Will Franklin · 29 July 2005 03:28 PM · Comments (5)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 122 -- Global GDP Growth.

Gross Domestic Product Growth In Major First World Economies, 2004-

The Commerce Department released GDP growth numbers today, indicating that 2nd quarter GDP grew at a 3.4% pace. Some of the numbers from recent years were revised slightly downward. For example, for 2004, GDP growth was revised downward from 4.4% to 4.2%. Even with the revisions, and even with our already-larger economy, economic growth in the U.S. economy still outpaced that of our European friends.

Personal income, incidentally, was revised upward for all three years.

gdpgrowth2004.gif

Source:

CIA World Factbook
.

Just for reference, in 2004, Singapore's economy grew at a pace of 8.1%, Hong Kong's economy grew at a pace of 7.9%, India's economy grew at a 6.2% pace, China's economy grew at a 9.1% pace, and Russia's economy grew at a 6.7% pace.

Smaller, industrializing economies typically have more room to grow than larger, industrialized economies, which makes America's GDP growth even more astounding. Some Americans (mostly Democrats) want the U.S. to become more European. Seems like a fair deal, as long as "Europe" really means "Ireland." Ireland, as noted in yesterday's Trivia Tidbit, is rapidly becoming an economic leprechaun ("tiger" and "dragon" were already taken).

Following the rainbow to the pot of gold, we can see that Ireland did not become a successful economy by accident:

Ireland doesn’t have a flat tax, but it has slashed its corporate tax rate from 50 percent to 12.5 percent. Combined with other tax cuts, this helped turn the “Sick Man of Europe” into the “Celtic Tiger.” Unemployment has dropped from 17 percent to 5 percent, and Ireland is now the second-richest nation in the European Union.

Lower, flatter taxes and an open and competitive economy-- not a comprehensive European Social Model-- lead to greater economic prosperity. It's not rocket science. We should be more like Hong Kong, Ireland, and Singapore (economically, at least), and less like Old Europe.

I'd wager that few Americans even realize that the U.S., over the past couple of years, has been experiencing such strong economic growth, compared to the rest of the industrialized world. This must change. We must take the burden of economic literacy upon ourselves, one blog at a time.

The 2006 depends on it. Unfortunately, because of some downward revisions today, the headlines may create the impression that our economy is contracting-- that we're in a recession (something a startling number of Americans believe, despite concurrent optimism about their own personal economic circumstances).

And stay tuned for more accumulating evidence supporting the assertion that, YES, AMERICA, THE ECONOMY IS ACTUALLY IN GOOD SHAPE.

Could we do better?

Obviously.

But the way to faster economic growth is not the soft socialism of the increasingly Euro-enamored Democratic Party.

-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Globalization.

UPDATE:
Doing the fatwa trackback thing.

Posted by Will Franklin · 29 July 2005 10:13 AM · Comments (3)

Quotational Therapy: Part 32 -- Thomas Paine.

Thomas Paine's "The Crisis"-

tpaine.gif
THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but "to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER," and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.

-Thomas Paine, "The American Crisis," 1776.

-----------------------------

Previous Quotational Therapy Session:

Honest Abe.

The right quote can be therapeutic, so tune in to WILLisms.com for quotational therapy every Monday and Friday.

Posted by Will Franklin · 29 July 2005 09:25 AM · Comments (0)

Social Security Reform Thursday: Week Twenty-Six -- AmeriSave.

reformthursdayblue.gif

Thursdays are good days for reform, because they fall between Wednesdays and Fridays.

That's why WILLisms.com offers a chart or graph, every Thursday, pertinent to Social Security reform.

This week's topic:

The Democrats' AmeriSave Non-Plan.

Democrats this week announced their plan for "retirement security" in America. It's called "AmeriSave."

amerisave.gif

It is awful.

Just dreadfully bad.

It is so horribly atrocious that it's hard not to break out in a hyena-like, cackling laugh, or vomit a little in your mouth. It's just hilariously dumb.

This is not hyperbole, either.

Many of the ideas in the plan are not entirely objectionable, and there are even some decent (if recycled and non-responsive) ideas. Indeed, Nancy Pelosi even (awkwardly) extolled the virtues of compound interest as she announced the plan:

"Our plan will expand and improve existing investment accounts, such as 401(k)s and IRAs, so that American families can benefit from compound interest while retaining Social Security's guaranteed benefit, creating a comprehensive retirement strategy" said Pelosi.

But in the end AmeriSave is a complete non-sequiter. It does nothing whatsoever to save Social Security.

It's sort of like those Geico commercials.

"I have great news!"

"Oh yeah?"

"I just saved a bunch on my car insurance!"

Well, fantastic for you. But what does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

Nothing.

Absolutely nothing.

Even if Democrats were serious about this AmeriSave business, Social Security's current trust fund surplus would still become a deficit in 2017, Social Security would still be unable to pay its promised benefits beginning in 2041, we'd still see the same miserable rate of return on the 1 out of every 8 or so dollars we earn that goes toward Social Security, and Social Security would still have an unfunded long-term liability of 11 trillion dollars.

In other words, the Democrats' AmeriSave plan is no plan at all. It's posturing, so as to avoid the appearance of complete do-nothingism and obstruction.

Here is the problem:

socialsecurity2017.gif

Here is what would happen to the problem if we pass AmeriSave:

socialsecurity2017.gif

Nothing. The Democrats' plan is not a plan. This is just so silly. Poor Americans are not going to participate in these AmeriSave accounts, because so much of their paycheck each month already goes toward Social Security payroll taxes.

Most Americans believe we need to have some sort of safety net for our elderly. No American who works his or her entire life should retire into poverty. But we don't need dogmatic adherence to a broken program to achieve that lofty aim. We need real, creative, pro-growth solutions.

What is so unfortunate is that in 2000, the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), the once-moderate wing of the Democratic Party, (it seems, at least) endorsed meaningful Social Security reform (underlining mine):

An ever-growing share of the federal budget today consists of automatic transfers from working Americans to retirees. Moreover, the costs of the big entitlements for the elderly -- Social Security and Medicare -- are growing at rates that will eventually bankrupt them and that could leave little to pay for everything else government does. We can't just spend our way out of the problem; we must find a way to contain future costs. The federal government already spends seven times as much on the elderly as it does on children. To allow that ratio to grow even more imbalanced would be grossly unfair to today's workers and future generations.

In addition, Social Security and Medicare need to be modernized to reflect conditions not envisioned when they were created in the 1930s and the 1960s. Social Security, for example, needs a stronger basic benefit to bolster its critical role in reducing poverty in old age. Medicare needs to offer retirees more choices and a modern benefit package that includes prescription drugs. Such changes, however, will only add to the cost of the programs unless they are accompanied by structural reforms that restrain their growth and limit their claim on the working families whose taxes support the programs.

Goals for 2010

* Honor our commitment to seniors by ensuring the future solvency of Social Security and Medicare.

* Make structural reforms in Social Security and Medicare that slow their future cost growth, modernize benefits (including a prescription drug benefit for Medicare), and give beneficiaries more choice and control over their retirement and health security.

* Create Retirement Savings Accounts to enable low-income Americans to save for their own retirement.

That last point, creating retirement savings accounts for low-income Americans, is interesting. While vague enough to possibly mean "add-on" (rather than "carve-out") accounts, it's hard to argue with a straight face that poorer Americans are going to save for their own retirement on top of the mandatory amount they already pay into Social Security. What incentive is there for them to do so?

The above document, which could have been written by today's Social Security reformers, was signed by 73 elected Democrats at the time, including these high profile officials who remain in office:

U.S. Senators Evan Bayh (IN), John Kerry (MA), Mary Landrieu (LA), Joseph Lieberman (CT), and Blanche Lincoln (AR); U.S. Representatives Jim Davis (FL), James Moran, Jr. (VA), Allyson Schwartz (PA), Ellen Tauscher (CA); and Governors Janet Napolitano (AZ), Kathleen Sebelius (KS), and Tom Vilsack (IA).

Where is the leadership on this issue? Why have these Democrats allowed the DailyKos/MoveOn.org/Howard Dean wing of the party to "just say no" to crucial reform of a broken program, one that President Clinton declared a "crisis" numerous and distinct times?

It's well past time to reform Social Security. Let's get to it, right after the August recess.

The clock is ticking.


--------------------------------

Previous Reform Thursday graphics can be seen here:

-Week One (Costs Exceed Revenues).
-Week Two (Social Security Can't Pay Promised Benefits).
-Week Three (Americans Getting Older).
-Week Three, bonus (The Templeton Curve).
-Week Four (Fewer Workers, More Retirees).
-Week Five (History of Payroll Tax Base Increases).
-Week Six (Seniors Living Longer).
-Week Six, bonus (Less Workers, More Beneficiaries).
-Week Seven (History of Payroll Tax Increases).
-Week Seven, bonus (Personal Accounts Do Achieve Solvency).
-Week Eight (Forty Year Trend Of Increasing Mandatory Spending).
-Week Nine (Diminishing Benefits Sans Reform).
-Week Ten (Elderly Dependence On Social Security).
-Week Eleven (Entitlement Spending Eating The Budget).
-Week Twelve (Benefit Comparison, Bush's Plan versus No Plan).
-Week Thirteen (Younger Americans and Lifecycle Funds).
-Week Fourteen (The Thrift Savings Plan).
-Week Fifteen (Understanding Progressive Indexing).
-Week Sixteen (The Graying of America).
-Week Seventeen (Debunking Myths).
-Week Eighteen (Debunking Myths).
-Week Nineteen (Reform Needed Sooner Rather Than Later).
-Week Twenty (Global Success With Personal Accounts).
-Week Twenty-One (GROW Accounts: Stopping The Raid).
-Week Twenty-Two (Millions of Lockboxes).
-Week Twenty-Three (Support for Ryan-DeMint).
-Week Twenty-Four (KidSave Accounts).
-Week Twenty-Five (Latinos and Social Security).

Tune into WILLisms.com each Thursday for more important graphical data supporting Social Security reform.

Posted by Will Franklin · 28 July 2005 02:14 PM · Comments (4)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 121 -- Globalization.

Globalization-

Robert J. Samuelson, in his "The World Is Still Round" piece (via Townhall.com), explains that economic success is not arbitrary:

The United States, Europe and Japan offer an object lesson. All face, generally speaking, the same opportunities and threats from globalization. But results vary dramatically. Since 1995 American economic growth has averaged 3.3 percent; Europe's, 2 percent; and Japan's, 1.3 percent. (Europe refers to the 12 countries using the euro.) Even in Europe, stark contrasts emerge. Ireland's growth averaged 7.9 percent over the decade; Germany's, 1.3 percent. Somehow national policies, culture and business overshadow globalization....

Localization usually trumps globalization, though countries seem to succeed more when they encourage globalization. In 1990 per capita incomes in Ireland were 28 percent lower than in Germany, reports the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In 2004 the Irish were 26 percent higher. One reason that Ireland grew faster is that it eagerly welcomed foreign investment. Half of Ireland's manufacturing employment comes from foreign multinationals, compared with Germany's 6 percent, says the OECD.

-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Economic Literacy.

UPDATE:

Added to the Beltway Jam.

Posted by Will Franklin · 28 July 2005 09:48 AM · Comments (0)

A CAFTA Squeaker: Democrats Run Left.

After passing the Senate 54-45 late last month, the House of Representatives approved the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (.pdf) (DR-CAFTA) 217-215, in a vote that went right down to the wire.

In 1993, 102 Democrats (40% of the party) voted for NAFTA, while 43 Republicans (24% of the party) voted against it. Overall, it passed 234-200.

In 2005, 15 Democrats (7% of the party) voted for CAFTA, while 27 Republicans (12% of the party) voted against it.

caftanafta.gif

The trend was similar in the Senate vote, with Democrats running from trade from 1993 to 2005, and Republicans more-or-less holding steady on the issue over that time frame.

The Associated Press puts its own spin on the squeaker 217-215 vote:

To capture a majority, supporters had to overcome what some have called free trade fatigue, a growing sentiment that free trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada have contributed to a loss of well-paying American jobs and the soaring trade deficit.

A growing sentiment, eh?

That's one way to put it, I guess.

UPDATE:

The Democratic Leadership Council, which propelled Bill Clinton to office as a "New Democrat," once set itself apart from the Democratic Party of Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis with support for free trade. Indeed, the DLC is still for free trade today.

But even House Democrats associated with the DLC have eschewed that whole "New Democrat" thing.

38 of the 43 DLC House Democrats (88%) voted against CAFTA, while 10 of the 18 DLC Senate Democrats (56%) voted against CAFTA.

What happened to make the DLC so irrelevant?

I have no earthly idea, do you?

Posted by Will Franklin · 28 July 2005 12:41 AM · Comments (16)

Bigots In My Neighborhood.

I was just in my driveway changing a tire (a flat), swarmed by mosquitoes (killed 7 of them, bitten at least that many times), dripping with sweat, grease splotched all over my hands and on my baby blue Texas Longhorns shirt, when along comes a slightly overweight white man in his late 30s or early 40s, walking his small, fluffy, white dog, looking equally disheveled.

He spots my bumper and does a cartoonish double-take. A Bush/Cheney sticker. From 2000, no less.

bushcheney2000.gif

Oldschool.

So he engages in conversation-

Him: "Does that say Bush / Cheney?"

Me: "Yes, it does."

Him: "I wouldn't be advertising that if I were you."

Me: "Oh, yeah? Why not?"

Him: "Because it proves that you're a bigot."

Me: "How so?"

Him: "Especially in this neighborhood."

Me: "I don't think so."

At this point, his body language becomes aggressive, and he starts walking toward me.


Him: "You need to get outta here. You are a bigot."

So I pick up my socket wrench, and his dog sort of pulls him down the street in the other direction, stopping his march toward me.

Not wanting to engage (I just want to get my tire changed), I just sort of shake my head "no."


Him: "I can't believe this. When word gets around, it is going to be miserable for you."


Me: "Excuse me?"


Him: "Unbelievable. You bigot."


Me: "What are you suggesting?"


Him: "That you need to take that sticker off your car and stop showing your ignorance."


Me: "No, thanks."

So he walks away, turning over his shoulder a few times to give me a death ray stare. I go on changing my tire, ignoring him, because it's hot and steamy outside, and I just want to get my tire changed.

This whole thing sent me on an eerie flashback to about 15 months ago. All of our neighbors had put Kerry signs in their windows or yards or both. So we put two Bush signs in our second-story windows in response.

The next morning, our across-the-street neighbor, a white man nearing 60, was ranting to another neighbor, a ~35-year old white woman, directing his voice directly toward the signs (and thus, into the window).

It was your typical left-wing litany.

Corporations this; illegal war that; Bush is an idiot; blah blah blah. A few f-bombs, as well. And some other names, seemingly directed my way. I think I recall hearing a "we can't let them do this... why can't they just go away."

Then, a few seconds later, several raps on the window pane. The guy had actually scooped up a few bits of gravel (they were repaving the streets at the time) and thrown them at my window (this was just after Kerry secured the nomination, so emotions were running high for left-wingers).

So I peek out, then decide that's just unacceptable behavior. So I open the blinds and make my way down the stairs, then go outside. They are gone. But I stand outside for several minutes, inspecting the rocks that had been thrown, looking around so they'd know I had caught them in the act.

Yep, there are bigots in the neighborhood, all right. Bigots all over.

UPDATE:
I guess I should explain a little more about my neighborhood, so you have a little context. It's near downtown Houston, and this was a decidedly "Montrose moment," although we're almost more part of River Oaks (President George H. W. Bush's old Congressional district) than Montrose. We even receive the River Oaks Examiner on our doorstep, although we certainly don't pay to subscribe. Montrose (which we're on the border of) is known for its thriving gay community-- and bigotry, apparently.

Posted by Will Franklin · 27 July 2005 02:03 PM · Comments (38)

Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 16.

This week's WILLisms.com Caption Contest photograph:

dogbus.gif

The actual caption:

A group of dogs is taken to a day camp near Bogota in a bus in this photo taken on June 30, 2005. The Transmiperro system (Transport my Dog) is a day camp for dogs, where a colourful bus takes them to a camp in the village of Cajic, 30 km (19 miles) north of Bogot, where the animals are trained and enjoy games and activities. Each pet owner pays between $34 and $106 per month depending on the program the dog is enrolled in. The dogs are returned home, exhausted, at the end of the day. Picture taken on June 30, 2005. To match feature Colombia-dogs REUTERS/Jose Miguel Gomez

There must be a better caption out there for this photograph.


Entries will remain open until 11:59 PM, Central Standard Time, Tuesday, August 2. Submit your captions in the comments section, or email at WILLisms@gmail.com.


Last week's photo:

sumo.gif

Last week's winners (the best contest yet and difficult to judge all the great entries):

1.

Rodney Dill:

Harry Potter and the Prison of Assgrabbin'


2.

I. Ronnie:

"Michael Moore and Sandy Berger searching for secret documents."


3.

Giacomo:

"I love you, man." "You're not gettin' my Bud Light, Thorsten."


Honorable Mention 1.

wunderkraut:

Once again Germany rips Poland a new one.


Honorable Mention 2.

submandave:

Dude, it's Left-Left-Slide Right. Here, let me lead.


Honorable Mention 3.

Jay Tea:

"Hey, this thing really DOES 'lift and separate!'"

I almost totally copped out and gave everyone awards, but I didn't cave in at the end. If you have followed the Caption Contests over the past several weeks, you know that File It Under typically dominates these things. Well, not this week. Sorry, guys.

Captioning is totally classy. Enter today!

Posted by Will Franklin · 27 July 2005 09:39 AM · Comments (30)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 120 -- Economic Literacy.

Economic Literacy-

Let me preface this by saying that I have full faith in the American people to make wise decisions, given that they have the facts before them. But this is troubling:

* The personal saving rate in 2004 was 1% (compared to a 7% average over the past 3 decades) -Alan Greenspan, February 2005

* The 1.4% personal savings rate in 2003 was the lowest it had been since 1938.
-The Bureau of Economic Analysis, September 2004

* Only 15 states require an economics course for graduation.
-NCEE Survey of the States, March 2005

* Only 7 states require students to take personal finance for graduation.
-NCEE Survey of the States, March 2005

* 25% of all employees who are eligible to enroll in their employers' 401(k) savings programs don't contribute a dime.
-Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America

* 62% of Americans believe that middle and lower income citizens pay income taxes at the highest percentage.
-National Public Radio, Kaiser Family Foundation and the Kennedy School of Government survey

* Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed did not know that in times of inflation money does not hold its value.
-NCEE Harris poll

* 74% of parents feel unprepared to teach their kids about personal finance.
-FleetBoston survey, 2003

* Most Americans believe that corporations make over 46% profit, when in fact the average is 8%.
-Kaiser Family Foundation and The Washington Post survey

* In 2003, 1.6 million consumers filed for bankruptcy (the highest rate in history).
-"The Fragile Middle-Class: Americans in Debt" by Teresa A. Sullivan, Elizabeth Warren and Jay Lawrence

* University administrators state that they lose more students to credit card debt than to academic failure.
-Utah Mentor, 2003

* Today's average 50-year-old has only $2,300 saved toward retirement.
-National Endowment for Financial Education

* 48% of American credit card owners only pay their minimum monthly payment each month.
-Senate Resolution 48, 2003

Wondering about your own economic literacy?

Take the quiz.

You can also download the .pdf of the entire quiz.

Some of the questions are pretty easy (while some are exceedingly difficult without a calculator or professional knowledge of how these things work), which makes America's embarrassingly low scores all the more astounding.

Here are a few samples:

If you put $100 a month in an IRA that earns 6% annually, how much money will you have after 40 years?

$50,000

$150,000

$200,000

$360,000

If you leave $50.00 in a 5% interest-bearing account, how long does it take to double your money?

1 year

8 years

14 years

50 years

How many states have no income tax?

0

3

9

15

Which of the following industries has the lowest profit per employee?

Healthcare facilities

Clothing stores

Restaurants and hotels

Grocery stores

Which of the following pairs of United States Presidents cut taxes the most?

a. Presidents Reagan and Kennedy

b. Presidents George H. Bush and George W. Bush

c. Presidents Carter and Clinton

d. Presidents Ford and Nixon

After taking the quiz, it tells you what percentage people on average answered correctly.

Not so pretty.

Down in the 30-40% range, even.

We clearly need to stress economic literacy more in this country. Stay tuned for more.

Source:

FirstJobs Institute.

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Home Sales.

Posted by Will Franklin · 27 July 2005 09:36 AM · Comments (2)

Santiago Calatrava's Chicago Masterpiece.

The Fordham Spire:

spire.gif

Could this finally put Chicago on the map as a respectable city?

Just kidding. If you know you're skyscraper history, you realize that Chicago invented the skyscraper.

The New York Times:

Given the haunting image of the collapsing twin towers, it's hard for many Americans to fathom the enduring urge to build tall.

Yet now come plans for the nation's tallest skyscraper, a condominium and hotel building designed by Santiago Calatrava for Chicago's Near North lakefront. At 2,000 feet, the building, the Fordham Spire, would beat out the 1,776-foot Freedom Tower planned for ground zero.

Internationally, both of these designs are dwarfed by the Burj Tower under construction in Dubai, which is expected to reach 2,300 feet. Once completed, the Burj will overtake Taipei 101, a 1,667-foot office tower, as the world's tallest. And the Taipei building is certainly a short-time record holder; only in October did it surpass the 1,483-foot Petronas Towers in Malaysia.

Seems like the entire world is, once again, in a skyscraper-building mood.

Posted by Will Franklin · 26 July 2005 11:52 PM · Comments (3)

Some Call It A Bonfire/Carnival Of Classiness...

We call it "Classiness, All Around Us."

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Click to explore more WILLisms.com.

In no particular order, WILLisms.com presents classiness from the blogosphere (now with 50% more classy!):

1.

Leftyism, San Francisco's Achilles Heel-

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File It Under blog explains that San Francisco's political leadership is eschewing a prime tourism opportunity in the permanent berthing of the retired USS Iowa:

I hope that each person who used such pathetic and lame excuses to vote against this measure would be honest enough to look in the mirror and admit that you are political whores and that you sold out your souls and everything worth standing for so you could ensure your continued power. I hope you all trip down a flight of stairs patting each other on the back, you pack of godless jackals.

San Francisco politics is post-modern politics at its worst and part of a troubling emerging trend in left-wing politics of marginalizing-- and even villifying-- the sacrifice of World War II veterans.

2.

Australia's John Howard-

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Dean's World blog offers a unique take on John Howard's now-famous rhetorical disrobing of the British reporter:

The more I look at the "anti-war" apologists for terrorism, the more I think they look like victims of battered spouse abuse. Every time we get hit, they blame themselves and everyone else--all except for the batterer.

We didn't start the war on terror, but we're definitely going to finish it.

3.

Canadienne Ridiculousness-

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Chrenkoff points out that Canadian Miss Universe Natalie Glebova was forced to take off her sash when Toronto authorities invoked an absurd law prohibiting sexual stereotyping:

Any Toronto readers might enlighten the rest of us whether the local city council is providing good municipal services for the ratepayers' money, or whether they're just too busy making sure that no acts of sexism are occurring within the city boundaries.

Powerline follows up, noting this is not the first time Toronto has invoked this tyrannical rule.

4.

The Elite Media Establishment-

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Donald Luskin notes that David Brooks, despite his conservative pedigree, is still part of the elitist media:


Listen to this pearl-drop from David Brooks, defending the only principle to which he is truly loyal (the sanctity of his own profession):

When asked why, according to surveys, the public loathes the (liberal) press, David Brooks replied that it was “because people are idiots. The press is more honest and less salacious now than ever before.”

Just another example of a member of the establishment media not getting "it." And another reason why the proliferation of bloggers, not necessarily part of the Washington establishment, is so important for our Republic.


5.

America's Rail System-

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Political Calculations blog examines the failure of subsidized rail in the United States:

There comes a time that when a system breaks down, it must be changed or else it will fail entirely. The time for change for Amtrak will come on September 30, when the President's proposed budget for 2006 would discontinue Amtrak's taxpayer subsidy. Far from being a death knell for the railroad, the President's proposed budget marks a wake-up call for Amtrak's management, workers and passengers, who must brace themselves for the changes that will need to be made to make passenger rail service viable in the long term. For the U.S. Congress and the President, no subsidy should be granted to Amtrak without an enforceable guarantee that the railroad will finally undertake the radical restructuring that it has avoided for so long.

Incentives and disincentives matter. Amtrak needs to understand that there are negative consequences for mismanagement and waste.


6.

Sarbanes-Oxley and the American Economy-

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The Liberty Belles blog explains how excessive government regulation hurts investors but is a boon to accountants:

If broken windows hurt the economy, then Sarbanes-Oxley (the nasty piece of legislation produced by Congress after Enron went caput) has been a virtual Kristallnacht for American industry, costing companies over $5.5 billion annually to comply with its gargantuan accounting standards.

The law of unintended consequences at play once again.


7.

Karl Rove-

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The Political Teen blog offers an interesting take on the Karl Rove non-scandal:

As a child, do you remember playing the game “telephone”? Telephone is essentially someone whispering gossip in a person’s ear and then in turn they twist the words around and pass it along. To me this is what the Valerie Plame leak, Karl Rove scandal, “Plame Game”, Rove-gate, whatever you want to call it, is. This is a case of rumors getting way out of hand and quite possibly causing the loss of people’s jobs. These rumors have caused a liberal drumbeat that will not stop even if Rove resigns. They will not be happy until all Republicans in power are gone. If they can’t win elections, they might as well start fake scandals.

I completely concur. They couldn't take down Bush, so they went after DeLay. They couldn't take down DeLay, so they went after Rove. If the Democrats' strategy for 2006 and beyond is to drum up scandals, via their partisan "mainstream" media, they will continue to fail to gain the trust and respect of the American people.


8.

John Roberts-

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Daly Thoughts blog breaks down the potential persuasiveness of Judge Roberts' Supreme Court advocacy:

...in the cases that were brought before the Court where the result was not unanimous and Roberts was involved, it is clear that JusticeStevens was not often swayed by his arguments. However, the percentage of non-unanimous cases where Justice Kennedy sided with Roberts’ arguments is notable. The sample size is small, but there is some indication that a Justice Roberts might have considerable influence on Justice Kennedy– the primary swing vote on the court.

Winning friends and influencing colleagues is something that the other conservatives on the Court have been mostly unable to do.

9.

Catherine Baker Knoll-

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The Nose On Your Face blog offers a hilarious take on the favorite activities of weirdo Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania:

9. Visiting elementary schools during the month of December to inform children that there is no Santa Claus. And that all of their fathers are cheating on their moms.

8. Randomly spelling words backwards in memos to dyslexic state employees.

Read them all.


10.

India and China-

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By Dawn's Early Light blog examines how a rising India can help temper the geopolitical aspirations of China:

With 2.4 billion people, ensuring and encouraging democracy in China and India is vital to securing our long term freedom and influencing the South Pacific and thereby winning a front on the Global War on Terror.

America's emerging partnership with India is one of the great underreported stories of the year.

11.

No Child Left Behind-

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A Constrained Vision notes that the racial achievement gap in America is narrowing, but the Civil Rights Project (CRP) is not excited:

The civil rights outrage is that so many poor and minority school districts aren't teaching their students basic skills, not that NCLB is catching them. CRP has its priorities all out of whack.

It seems like certain liberal groups care less about educating Americans and more about scoring political points.


12.

Kossians-

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No Speed Bumps blog examines some recent infamous Daily Kos quotes:

When all you have to do is directly quote someone to make them look really bad – that is like shooting fish in a barrel.

Republicans need to be able to tie Democrats closely linked with Kos to the kinds of comments profiled therein. Kos is more than tacky, more than unclassy. Daily Kos is a gurgling fever swamp of anti-American nonsense. The American public needs to understand that being a Kos candidate ought to be a disqualifying association.


13.

Iraq-

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The Fourth Rail blog looks at the facts about Iraq and the failure of the establishment media to report them:

Other than the brief lull after the Iraqi elections, where much of the media engaged in soul searching, the story du jour from Iraq has been failure. As Iraq continues to move forward politically and the Coalition pushes deeper into Western Iraq, the cries of failure will only grow louder. Much has been invested in this meme, and it will not die easily.

After reading 1776, it is clear to me that if our modern hand-wringing press had been around during the American Revolution, world history would have turned out quite differently.


14.

Seinfeld-

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The Evangelical Outpost blog examines the syllogisms of Seinfeld:

Comedians aren't often known for their critical thinking skills and Mr. Spock -- the Vulcan embodiment of cool logic -- wasn't known for his jokes. But in a recent article in Philosophy Now, Julia Nefsky argues that logic has a very real and very important role in humor...

Stand-up comedy just might be one of the most difficult jobs in the world; turning a stand-up routine into the most successful show in television is just mind-boggling. I have a new respect for Jerry Seinfeld.


15.

Social Security Reform-

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Captain's Quarters blog notes that the Democrats finally have a Social Security non-plan plan:

The Democrats have taken a lot of criticism for talking about the coming crisis in Social Security financing for a decade before Bush came to office, and then suddenly pretending it didn't exist. When Bush presented his plans to reform Social Security, they tried to convince people that reform was unnecessary, which no one believes, and then deliberately decided to offer no alternative, which no one appreciated. Now they attempt to offer "retirement security" by focusing on the money the government doesn't confiscate without addressing the funds that it does.

Maybe this wan attempt will take some political heat off the party for its obstinate refusal to engage on Social Security. It shouldn't. It looks like yet another attempt to change the subject by ignoring the main problem.

Typical nothingness from the party with no positive agenda.


------------------------------------------------------------


Also, don't forget to check out all the old Trivia Tidbits Of the Day, the Reform Thursday series, the Quotational Therapy sessions, and the Wednesday Caption Contest (entries are due each Tuesday at 11:59 PM Central Standard Time).

Last Week's Classiness Certification from WILLisms.com:

*July 19, 2005.

WILLisms.com offers a weekly classiness roundup as a weekly feature, every Tuesday, with 15 blog posts deemed classy. The criteria for submissions: incisive original analysis, quirky topics nobody else is covering, fantastic graphics, or other posts that took a lot of work. We love to spread the word on upcoming blogs, being that WILLisms.com also fits that description. If you would like to nominate a post on your blog or another blog for inclusion, email us at WILLisms@gmail.com. Write "Classy Nomination" in the subject. You can also utilize this page to make your submissions. The deadline is each Monday at 11:59 PM Central Time.

Classy.

Posted by Will Franklin · 26 July 2005 10:30 AM · Comments (4)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 119 -- U.S. Home Sales.

American Home Sales, 1970 to 2005-

homesales.gif

Existing home sales recently hit a record pace.

Some call it a housing bubble (and have been calling it that for years, now), others believe it is just a natural consequence of a growing population, a growing economy, and low interest rates. For those entirely devoted to the housing bubble theory, you should at least differentiate the high density regions of the country from the heartland. You should acknowledge that there very well may be out-of-control housing bubbles in highly populated parts of the country, but there's also plenty of real estate to accomodate growth in much of the middle part of the country. And in the middle part of the country, housing prices have not gone as crazy as New England; a bubble can only burst it if exists.

As long as the population continues to grow, and as long as people want to "trade up," the housing market will remain strong nationally, even as localized bubbles occasionally pop.


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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Interest Rates.

Posted by Will Franklin · 26 July 2005 06:21 AM · Comments (2)

A Carnival of Carnivals.

*The Carnival of Revolutions
*The Carnival of the Capitalists
*The Carnival of Liberty

Go, enjoy.

Posted by Will Franklin · 25 July 2005 10:59 AM · Comments (0)

Quotational Therapy: Part 31 -- Abraham Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address-

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Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate— we can not consecrate— we can not hallow— this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

-Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863.

-----------------------------

Previous Quotational Therapy Session:

Friedrich A. Hayek.

The right quote can be therapeutic, so tune in to WILLisms.com for quotational therapy every Monday and Friday.

Posted by Will Franklin · 25 July 2005 09:38 AM · Comments (1)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 118 -- Interest Rates.

Interest Rates, 2000 to 2005-

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Interest rates are near historical lows, but they've been trending upward recently, in part as a response to the strong economic growth America has seen in the past couple of years.

-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: U.S. GDP Growth.

Posted by Will Franklin · 25 July 2005 09:36 AM · Comments (0)

David Gregory's MEET THE PRESS Moment.

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Time and time again, media figures fail to understand why the elite/establishment/mainstream media, collectively, is losing credibility-- and thus is losing readership/viewership.

David Gregory on this week's Meet the Press blathered a bit on the Plame/Wilson quasi-scandal, proving yet again just how out-of-touch he is (underlining mine):

MR. GREGORY: I do think that one--well, one point I disagree with Bill on is I agree that there should be a shield law, and this is an important conversation. But I think what has to accompany that is the debate we have within journalistic circles about when we promise confidentiality and whether it is to put a check on government or whether it is to be a vehicle for what may have been an egregious abuse of power here in smearing someone who's part of our national security apparatus, and I think journalists have to be very careful about this idea of confidentiality, and I'm a little bit troubled, and perhaps at the facts of this case, that there is not more of a national outcry on behalf of Judy Miller and on behalf of the facts of this case.

There's not more of a national outcry on behalf of Judy Miller, because Americans have no respect for Judy Miller. Americans have no respect for The New York Times. And Americans have no respect for the media as a whole. Indeed, "Journalist" is one of the least prestigious jobs in the country.

David Gregory, people don't like you, people don't trust your judgment, and people are fully aware that you and your colleagues constantly distort or misrepresent facts based on your ideological agenda. So, if we barely believe you when you report hard facts, why on earth would we believe your partisan preening, your faux outrage, your overbearing editorializing, and your hysterical rumor-mongering?

Let me get this straight. First, you want us to believe that there is some sort of "egregious abuse of power here in smearing someone who's part of our national security apparatus," yet you are dismayed by the lack of a grassroots campaign to "Free Judy!"

The networks still have enormous power and influence in setting the nation's agenda. But it's only a matter of time, as long as the self-important and hypocritical David Gregorys of the world populate the prominent network reporting positions, before Americans say "enough."

Posted by Will Franklin · 24 July 2005 03:46 PM · Comments (7)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 117 -- U.S. GDP Growth.

Economic Indicators-

Gross Domestic Product Growth:

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In the spirit of educating the public about the economy (HEY, AMERICA, THE ECONOMY IS NOT IN THE TANK!), stay tuned for more economic indicators.

By election day 2006, the facts pointing to a strong economy must translate into the public perception thereof.

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Record Tax Revenues.

Posted by Will Franklin · 24 July 2005 11:03 AM · Comments (0)

The Wit and Wisdom of John Roberts.

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John Roberts is still very much on the job, serving in his capacity as D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge even this week, despite his momentous nomination to the Supreme Court.

In one decision, U.S. v. Tarry M. Jackson (.pdf), Roberts dissents from the majority, and offers a glimpse into his sense of the law-- as well as his sense of humor.

Some brief background on the case, first, as seen by the The New York Times:

The question in the case was whether two police officers had probable cause to search the trunk of a car after stopping its driver, Tarry M. Jackson, late at night for not having a functioning light on a license plate. Mr. Jackson could produce neither a driver's license nor the car's registration, and the officers determined that the license plates were stolen.

The officers found a loaded gun in the trunk. They later justified the search by saying they were looking for additional stolen license plates or evidence that the car itself might have been stolen. Mr. Jackson was sentenced to 21 months for unlawful possession of the gun.

The judges in the majority, Judith W. Rogers and Harry T. Edwards, said the reasons the officers gave for the search were unconvincing, and the judges faulted them for not investigating Mr. Jackson's contention that the car belonged to his girlfriend. Judge Rogers was appointed by President Bill Clinton, Judge Edwards by President Jimmy Carter.

Roberts, agreeing with the original findings of the district court, dissents (underlining mine):

Sometimes a car being driven by an unlicensed driver, with no registration and stolen tags, really does belong to the driver’s friend, and sometimes dogs do eat homework, but in neither case is it reasonable to insist on checking out the story before taking other appropriate action. Even if Jackson had provided contact information for his girlfriend in response to inquiries from the officers, and even if the officers had been able to reach the girlfriend and she were responsive to their questions, I cannot see any conceivable value in the over-the-phone testimony of a suspect’s apparent girlfriend — someone unknown to the officers, whose number was given to them by the suspect himself — that an unregistered car with stolen tags, driven by an unlicensed driver, was indeed hers and was being used with her permission.

Finally, my colleagues’ insistence that police should have further questioned Jackson amounts to prescribing preferred investigative procedures for law enforcement. We have neither the authority nor the expertise for such an enterprise....

In the end, I would leave the judgment as to what lines of inquiry ought to be pursued to the officer himself, and judge probable cause on the facts as they are, rather than on what they might have been had the officer pursued a different course.

I wholeheartedly subscribe to the sentiments expressed in the concurring opinion about the Fourth Amendment’s place among our most prized freedoms. But sentiments do not decide cases; facts and the law do.

Assuredly, groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) will disagree strongly with Roberts' dissent. The concerns of civil libertarians are well-taken, although it does seem inappropriate for the majority in the case to second-guess the police in this instance, given the panoply of unequivocal reasons they had for probable cause.

But, facts of the case aside, the decision is interesting.

1. For the Souter-phobes, Roberts is in the minority against two liberals in the majority. This is just one of many pieces of evidence in the Judge's relatively limited record, indicating that he is no "stealth liberal."

Justice Souter, incidentally, had a 13-year record as a judge before his Supreme Court confirmation, but he still slipped through the cracks:

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2. One can understand how Roberts has cultivated his reputation for being affable. He has a witty writing style that should prove interesting reading for Supreme Court junkies for years to come.

3. Roberts clearly errs on the side of not making new law, not mandating new regulations, and not playing the "shoulda, woulda, coulda" game. By all accounts, his judicial philosophy is anything but activist. He is stubbornly adherent to the facts and the law.

4. While this decision very well may have been written before the nomination, it is nothing short of impressive that, in the middle of the greatest whirlwind of attention and scrutiny of his entire life, Roberts could produce such a cogent opinion. With the Supreme Court aging as it is, Roberts' energy and vigor could prove to be an important infusion of productivity into upcoming sessions.

Posted by Will Franklin · 23 July 2005 07:00 PM · Comments (4)

Another Straw Poll.

Speaking of too many polls, Patrick Ruffini has another 2008 straw poll that's sure to prove at least as-- and likely more-- meaningful as the ubiquitous "scientific" media polls on the subject.

Posted by Will Franklin · 23 July 2005 10:09 AM · Comments (1)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 116 -- Tax Revenues.

Largest Tax Revenue Increase In American History-

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Source:

Americans for Tax Reform (.pdf)
.

Spending is also increasing, but at a much less rapid rate than the growth of tax receipts. Thus, the shrinking deficit. Now, imagine if we could institute an across-the-board freeze in the growth of spending, or even just limit spending increases to inflation and population growth.


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Previous Trivia Tidbit: The Rise of the Polling Political Culture.

Posted by Will Franklin · 23 July 2005 09:21 AM · Comments (3)

Quotational Therapy: Part 30 -- Friedrich A. Hayek

Friedrich Hayek On Responsibility And Freedom-

So often people misinterpret the meaning of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, or even the concept of liberty itself, thinking that freedom of speech means immunity from criticism.

It manifests itself in the "don't question my patriotism" we hear so often from Democrats when they are criticized for their weakness (or worse) on the war on terror. As if they are supposed to be innoculated from the consequences of their words.

We see it in the media, and in popular culture. When Americans decide to boycott Dan Rather or the Dixie Chicks, we're told that we're somehow violating their liberty.

You've probably experienced it at some point, yourself, in a debate with someone online or elsewhere. It happens all too often. Well, let's put an end to that, shall we?

Friedrich A. Hayek elaborates on the role of responsibility in a free society:

Liberty not only means that the individual has both the opportunity and the burden of choice; it also means that he must bear the consequences of his actions and will receive praise or blame for them. Liberty and responsibility are inseparable. A free society will not function of maintain itself unless its members regard it as right that each individual occupy the position that results from his actions and accept it as due to his own action....

This belief in individual responsibility, which has always been strong when people firmly believed in individual freedom, has remarkably declined, together with the esteem for freedom. Responsibility has become an unpopular concept, a word that experienced speakers or writers avoid because of the obvious boredom or animosity with which it is received by a generation that dislikes all moralizing.

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-The Constitution of Liberty, 1960.

I hate to paraphrase a country song in a post about Hayek, but you've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything.

And when someone falls for something completely stupid (example: U.S. troops = Pol Pot), it is our responsibility to hold that person responsible.

-----------------------------

Previous Quotational Therapy Session:

Margaret Thatcher.

The right quote can be therapeutic, so tune in to WILLisms.com for quotational therapy every Monday and Friday.

Posted by Will Franklin · 22 July 2005 09:48 AM · Comments (4)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 115 -- Ubiquitous Polling.

Too many polls-

Polling has gotten out of hand. There are literally dozens of public polls on a variety of subjects in any given week-- many of which directly contradict one another, many of which ask leading, irrelevant, or inaccurate questions designed to promote the media's left-wing narrative, all of which are used by ideological and political partisans to undermine or bolster their respective agendas.

Here's a look at the historical progression:

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Source:
The Permanent Campaign and Its Future (You can get the full-text via the AEI website).

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: America's Unemployment Rate.

Posted by Will Franklin · 22 July 2005 05:00 AM · Comments (2)

John Roberts: The Political Contribution Record.

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Some conservatives (here, here, here, here, here and here) are worried that John Roberts will become another David Souter (a consistently liberal vote).

One can understand their concerns, but most of the evidence seems to indicate that Roberts is plenty conservative.

Take Roberts' political contribution record, for example.

Capital Eye explains:

As a partner at the Washington, D.C. law firm of Hogan & Hartson, John G. Roberts contributed $1,000 to George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign. Roberts, who Bush nominated last night to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, has donated to just three other federal candidates—all Republicans—over the years in what amounts to a modest record of campaign giving.

Roberts contributed $500 in 2000 to Republican Sen. Dick Lugar of Indiana, the state where Roberts was raised. Roberts' other donations to federal candidates came in the 1998 cycle, when he sent a total of $1,235 to Republican Peter Fitzgerald, who went on to defeat Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (D-Ill.), and $1,000 to Indiana Senate candidate Peter Rusthoven, who lost in the Republican primary.

The rest of Roberts’ political contributions went to Hogan & Hartson’s political action committee. Over the years, Roberts donated $7,450 to the PAC in amounts ranging from $850 to $1,100 per year, far below the legal limit. Overall, Roberts has made a total of $11,185 in campaign contributions to federal candidates, parties and PACs.

Capital Eye notes that the Hogan & Hartson PAC has leaned toward contributing to Democrats over the years:

Unlike Roberts, Hogan & Hartson is a major campaign donor. The firm has contributed $2.3 million since 1989 in individual, PAC and soft money contributions, 56 percent to Democrats.

However, in 2004, the Hogan and Hartson PAC gave two-thirds to Republicans, and only a third to Democrats; in 2002 it gave 57% to Republicans and 43% to Democrats; in 2000 it gave 64% to Republicans and 36% to Democrats; in 1998, 55% to Republicans, 45% to Democrats.

Jane Roberts, active in Feminists for Life of America, has a relatively short record of political contributions:

Roberts’ wife, Jane, a partner in the law firm of Shaw, Pittman, has made several contributions to the firm’s PAC totaling $3,772. Her lone contribution to a federal candidate was $250 to Fitzgerald in 1998.

Shaw Pittman PAC, in the 2002 cycle, made 56% of its contributions to Republicans, and 44% to Democrats, quite an out-of-the-ordinary ratio for a legal Political Action Committee. In the 2000 campaign cycle, however, her firm's PAC donated 62% to Democrats and 38% to Republicans. In the 2004 campaign cycle, during which Jane Roberts contributed no money, the PAC leaned Republican over Democrat, 62% to 38%.

None of this really proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that John Roberts will be a solid conservative once on the court, and it does not guarantee that he won't drift off steadily to the left (via M.M.) over the years, but it does provide an important glimpse into his political leanings. The only individual candidates to which John Roberts has given campaign contributions are Republicans. The smart money says that at some point during the confirmation process, at least one Democrat will raise Roberts' contribution to the Bush campaign in 2000 as some kind of scandalous, disqualifying revelation. Those of us in the real world will respond with a head bob, a sigh, and a "hmm, that's nice."

This information, together with other Republican affiliations throughout his career, ought to put conservative Republicans somewhat at ease. More importantly, President Bush, unlike his father, is a movement conservative. And unlike President Reagan, Bush has a relatively friendly Senate and a generally conservative national political climate. Thus, given President Bush's famous aptitude for making quality judgments about people, given Bush's campaigning on the issue since the 1990s, and given how important President Bush considers this choice, it is unlikely that President Bush would pick John Roberts if he believed there is even a chance Roberts could drift off to the left after winning confirmation.

Perhaps the most important point to consider about Roberts' contribution record: much like his relatively short paper trail on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, there's not a whole lot to work with in terms of political contributions. But the little we do have to go by indicates that Roberts was a wise pick on the part of the President.

Posted by Will Franklin · 21 July 2005 03:56 PM · Comments (4)

Social Security Reform Thursday: Week Twenty-Five -- Latinos and Social Security.

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Thursdays are good days for reform, because they fall between Wednesdays and Fridays.

That's why WILLisms.com offers a chart or graph, every Thursday, pertinent to Social Security reform.

This week's topic:

Latinos and Social Security.

As Ian Vásquez explains, Social Security reform would disproportionately benefit Latinos:

The current system has failed Hispanics and has failed to reduce poverty in old age among Hispanics. It has made them extremely dependant on Social Security for their pension benefits, putting them in a very precarious situation.

About 24% of Hispanics over the age of 65 live below the poverty line, compared to about 9% of whites and about 25% of blacks. Hispanic families have few assets. The median Hispanic household has about $1,200 in financial assets and less than half of such households were net savers in 1998. The fact that the current system does not allow for the creation of wealth and instead diverts income into the payroll tax, which is the biggest tax that most Hispanic households pay, is holding back Hispanics.

Let's take a look at some facts.

I. Latinos have a longer life expectancy than African-Americans or Anglos.

lifeexpectancy.gif

II. Latinos are less likely to save for their own retirement than other ethnic groups.

pensionparticipationrates.gif

III. Elderly Latinos are less likely to receive Social Security benefits than other ethnic groups.

receiptofss.gif

IV. Elderly Latinos are more likely to depend on Social Security just to "get by" than other ethnic groups.

National Council of La Raza (NCLR):

*Among Latinos who receive Social Security benefits, 75% of their income comes from Social Security.

*Social Security is the sole source of income for 31% of elderly Hispanic couples and 49% of unmarried elderly Latinos. This is true for only 11% of elderly White couples and 25% of elderly White singles.

That being said, because fewer Latinos are eligible for Social Security benefits (even though many of them have paid into the system their entire working lives), aggregate dependence on the program is not that much greater than other ethnic groups.

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Now, take all this information and put it into the context of the looming Social Security crisis. The consequences of the crisis: major slashing of benefits and/or a major tax hikes. If there is no reform, Latinos, who already rely on Social Security for so much of their retirement existence, would be hardest hit by benefit reductions. Meanwhile, personal accounts have the opportunity to empower the Latino community, giving workers a chance to earn, accumulate (through compound interest), and pass on real assets.

Some left-wing groups, such as the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), argue that Latinos are better off without reform and without personal accounts. Their assertions are hardly worth addressing in any great detail, as their findings are part and parcel of the same reactionary 1930s dogma that has taken over much of the Social Security debate. Liberal groups love to repeat the line that Social Security is an insurance program that has successfully kept millions of elderly Americans out of poverty. That may be true to some extent, but there are still far too many people living in poverty in spite of (and maybe even because of) the Social Security program.

The current Social Security system is a failure for Latinos. It has not kept Latinos out of poverty. It does not encourage savings. And the rate of return for continues to diminish for the average Latino:

fallingratesofreturn.gif

Social Security, currently, is a bad deal for Latinos. The relatively high payroll tax rate prevents lower- and middle-income Latinos, in particular, from developing a family nest egg. U.S. Treasurer Anna Escobedo Cabral explains:

My father worked hard all his life and paid into the Social Security system. He filed the paperwork to begin receiving benefits, but he died before receiving a single check. We came from a modest upbringing. My father could never really get ahead enough to save money. Social Security was all he would have had to support himself in retirement. He would have given anything to be able to pass those funds on to his children. Instead, the government kept that money.

Under President Bush’s proposal, my father could have passed on his Social Security personal account to his children and our family could have had a nest egg. Personal accounts would allow a younger worker the option to put a portion of their money into a conservative mix of bonds and stocks. That money would have an opportunity to grow over time at a rate greater than the current system can deliver. For example, someone who earns an average of $35,000 a year over their lifetime could expect to have nearly $250,000 saved in an account upon retirement.

Meanwhile, the Latino population is young and is expected to grow rapidly over the next few decades.

hispanicage.gif

Cabral notes:

As the youngest, fastest growing population group in America, Hispanics would directly benefit from the option to save a portion of their payroll taxes in a conservative mix of bond and stock funds. Unlike paying into the Social Security system, personal accounts ensure that your Social Security taxes are saved to pay your Social Security benefits, not spent on other government programs.
morelatinos.gif

Clearly, Latinos have a great deal at stake here. If and when the Latino community becomes fully invested in the President's Ownership Society, it is hard to imagine this GOP-trending group not becoming an entrenched part of the Republican political base over the long-term.

Stopping the raid on the Social Security trust fund surplus which exists over the next dozen years, creating personal accounts for every worker, is a step in the right direction. Let's do it.


Stop The Raid, Grow My Account
.



--------------------------------

Previous Reform Thursday graphics can be seen here:

-Week One (Costs Exceed Revenues).
-Week Two (Social Security Can't Pay Promised Benefits).
-Week Three (Americans Getting Older).
-Week Three, bonus (The Templeton Curve).
-Week Four (Fewer Workers, More Retirees).
-Week Five (History of Payroll Tax Base Increases).
-Week Six (Seniors Living Longer).
-Week Six, bonus (Less Workers, More Beneficiaries).
-Week Seven (History of Payroll Tax Increases).
-Week Seven, bonus (Personal Accounts Do Achieve Solvency).
-Week Eight (Forty Year Trend Of Increasing Mandatory Spending).
-Week Nine (Diminishing Benefits Sans Reform).
-Week Ten (Elderly Dependence On Social Security).
-Week Eleven (Entitlement Spending Eating The Budget).
-Week Twelve (Benefit Comparison, Bush's Plan versus No Plan).
-Week Thirteen (Younger Americans and Lifecycle Funds).
-Week Fourteen (The Thrift Savings Plan).
-Week Fifteen (Understanding Progressive Indexing).
-Week Sixteen (The Graying of America).
-Week Seventeen (Debunking Myths).
-Week Eighteen (Debunking Myths).
-Week Nineteen (Reform Needed Sooner Rather Than Later).
-Week Twenty (Global Success With Personal Accounts).
-Week Twenty-One (GROW Accounts: Stopping The Raid).
-Week Twenty-Two (Millions of Lockboxes).
-Week Twenty-Three (Support for Ryan-DeMint).
-Week Twenty-Four (KidSave Accounts).

Tune into WILLisms.com each Thursday for more important graphical data supporting Social Security reform.

Posted by Will Franklin · 21 July 2005 01:28 PM · Comments (3)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 114 -- U.S. Unemployment Rate.

The U.S. Unemployment Rate Over The Past Quarter Century, 1980-2005-

The United States economy is so mammoth that steering it immediately away from trouble is nearly impossible. Think of piloting an aircraft carrier. Now imagine trying to steer the great ship with a Dodge Neon steering wheel-- with no power steering.

It's going to be difficult, if not impossible.

A President is not entirely helpless to improve or wreck the American economy, but any policy implementation may take months or even years to come to fruition. Thus, it is disingenuous to "blame" President Bush for the economic slide he inherited. But liberals do it all the time. Are they really asserting that the mere presence of George W. Bush in the White House caused the dot com bubble to burst?

It is equally wrong to fail to give credit for the improving economy-- which has been improving for years now according to nearly every economic indicator.

Yet, a majority of Americans, while they tell pollsters that they feel good about their own personal circumstances, still believe the economy overall is not so hot. Economic illiteracy needs to be stamped out. So, the first of several standard economic indicators, to put the economic situation into perspective:

Falling unemployment-

unemploymenthistoric.gif

Source:

Recent Economic Developments (.pdf)
, Joint Economic Committee, U.S. Senate.

UPDATE:

Biggest drop in jobless claims in 30 months
.


---------------------------------


Previous trivia tidbits:

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21, Part 22; Part 23, Part 24, Part 25; Part 26; Part 27, Part 28; Part 29; Part 30, Part 31; Part 32; Part 33; Part 34; Part 35; Part 36; Part 37; Part 38; Part 39; Part 40; Part 41; Part 42; Part 43; Part 44; Part 45; Part 46; Part 47; Part 48; Part 49; Part 50; Part 51; Part 52; Part 53; Part 54; Part 55; Part 56; Part 57; Part 58; Part 59; Part 60; Part 61; Part 62; Part 63; Part 64; Part 65; Part 66; Part 67; Part 68; Part 69; Part 70; Part 71; Part 72; Part 73; Part 74; Part 75; Part 76; Part 77; Part 78; Part 79; Part 80; Part 81; Part 82; Part 83; Part 84; Part 85; Part 86; Part 87; Part 88; Part 89; Part 90; Part 91; Part 92; Part 93; Part 94; Part 95; Part 96; Part 97; Part 98; Part 99; Part 100; Part 101; Part 102; Part 103; Part 104; Part 105; Part 106; Part 107; Part 108; Part 109; Part 110; Part 111; Part 112; Part 113.

Daily Trivia Tidbits cover a wide range of topics, and they're usually not trivial at all; you never know what you might find. Stay tuned to WILLisms.com for more.

Have a trivia tidbit tip? Send it over to WILLisms@gmail.com.

Posted by Will Franklin · 21 July 2005 09:01 AM · Comments (2)

London Again?

I knew something was up when I heard a British voice come on the Radio on 590 AM KLBJ here in Austin, TX. Preliminary reports are coming in that there have been "incidents" in London again, exactly 2 weeks after the last bombing. Reportedly, there have been 3 incidents on the tube, and another one on a bus, possibly mimicking the brutal 7/7 attacks. However, so far there have been few reports of injuries (only one thus far), and no confirmation of actual bombs going off.

There are conflicting reports. MSNBC TV is reporting "nail bombs" on the Tube, but the BBC has this:

Dummy explosions using detonators only have sparked the evacuation of three Tube stations and the closure of three lines, a BBC correspondent has said.

Lots more coming in.

UPDATE #1: 8:06 AM - MSNBC is now reporting that there was a nail bomb at the Warren Street station. Reports are that it was in a backpack and was remotely detonated.

UPDATE #2: 8:13 AM - MSNBC (again) has reports that, due to the limited nature of these incidents, that Scotland Yard has speculated that this is more likely a "copycat" incident rather than an Al Qaeda operation (And this is purely speculation on my part, but these "incidents" took place around lunch, not during rush hour... I think Al Qaeda would have tried to maximize their casualties and attack during rush hour again).

UPDATE #3: 8:19 AM - The bus operator for the affected bus (the #26 bus) was interviewed, said there were no injuries on the bus, and only the windows were blown out on the upper deck.

Update #4: 8:23 AM - Reports that armed police have entered a hospital near the affected site (The London's University Hospital). Speculation that a suspect or suspects may be being treated there.

Update #5: 8:35 AM - Tony Blair should be addressing the Public within the hour, and President Bush should make a comment at 9 AM Central Time. I have to go to work now, so this will probably be the last of the updates, at least by me (Will might still add something). However, it does look like today's attacks (screw all this "incident" stuff) aren't on the same magnitude as the 7/7 attacks, and we should all be thankful for that.

Posted by Ian Pittman · 21 July 2005 08:00 AM · Comments (6)

Yemeni Riots.

The political situation is heating up in Yemen. Freedom House notes that the Yemeni people cannot change their government democratically:

Yemen's government suffers from the absence of any real system of checks and balances of power and any significant limits on the executive's authority.

Indeed, Yemen's elected president has, essentially, the powers of a dictator. And he has no problem using those powers, enriching himself personally to the detriment of the Yemeni people. Corruption is rampant, unemployment is high, and people are fed up.

saleh.gif

Yemeni frustration boiled over this week when the government raised prices on gasoline in order to tackle its budget deficit:

A litre of diesel rose to 45 rials (24 US cents) from 17 rials; a litre of petrol was priced at 65 rials, up from 35 rials, and a litre of kerosene rose to 45 rials from 16 rials. Gas cylinders rose to 400 rials from 250 rials.

The situation underlines the fact that Yemen's economy is mostly unfree and is thus one of the ten or so poorest countries in the world.

The rioting apparently took the lives of many Yemeni citizens:

yemenriot.gif


yemenprotest.gif

clash.gif


yemenfires.gif

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These demonstrations are not about poverty itself, nor about gas prices. These demonstrations, targeted against Saleh's rule, were nothing less than the early stages of revolution. Yemen, one of the world's most likely failed states, now stands on the brink of major political upheaval. That the Saleh government would crack down on the seething resentment bubbling up in Yemen today, violently or otherwise, is no surprise. Whether the regime uses the riots as an excuse to eliminate political rights further remains to be seen. The writing is on the wall, and because there is no truly free media to speak of in Yemen, the regime likely thinks it can get out of this situation without international backlash.

On the contrary, Yemen is a prime example of a nation in need of change, whether or not it is an ostensible ally in the war on terror. To paraphrase Condoleezza Rice, for so long, the U.S. opted for stability over democracy in the Middle East. For so long, we achieved neither. If ever there was a country in need of short-term instability-- out of which long-term freedom can arise-- it's Yemen.

UPDATE:

More at the Armies of Liberation blog.

Posted by Will Franklin · 20 July 2005 06:44 PM · Comments (10)

John Roberts, Dancing Machine.

Meet John Roberts, Dancing Machine:

johnrobertsdancer.gif

Last night, John Roberts' son, also named John (Jack being his nickname), was apparently dancing during the beginning of the President's announcement, prompting Roberts' wife Jane to take the kids off the stage. The dance party also prompted President Bush to "smirk" a bit during the announcement, which, for whatever reason, really bothers certain people on both the left and right.

A funny picture. I am sure John III is a good kid, just a little excited, maybe up beyond his bed time. If I were John G. Roberts, Jr. (the one that was just nominated), I would frame this picture and put it on my wall. It's a true "Kodak moment."

They'll all probably get a good laugh out of it one day, if they already haven't done so.

UPDATE:

GOP Vixen has another dance party picture.

Posted by Will Franklin · 20 July 2005 10:56 AM · Comments (11)

Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 15.

This week's WILLisms.com Caption Contest photograph:

sumo.gif

The actual caption:

Sumo wrestler Thorsten Scheibler from Germany, right fights against Robert Paczkow from Poland, left, during the Sumo tournament within the World Games in Duisburg, Germany, Tuesday, July 19, 2005. About 3,500 athletes from 100 countries compete for medals during the worlds largest meeting of non-olympic sports from July 14 - 24. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

There must be a better caption out there for this photograph.


Entries will remain open until 11:59 PM, Central Standard Time, Tuesday, July 26. Submit your captions in the comments section, or email at WILLisms@gmail.com.

Last week's photo:

nee.gif

Last week's winners:

1.

Sugar:

Pot Head stick-up!


2.

Rodney Dill:

DRUDGEBREAKING: The Asshat that muffled Michael Moore. Developing...


3.

Zsa Zsa:

The Taliban has finalized it's latest look in Burka fashion wear for the Fall 2005 Collection...

Caption away! If you enter, you are classy. If you win... well, you're the classiest.

Posted by Will Franklin · 20 July 2005 08:36 AM · Comments (33)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 113 -- Supreme Court Mentors.

JOHN ROBERTS-

johngrobertsjr.gif

John Roberts...

...will be the first former clerk to a justice of the Supreme Court who will join the Court as a justice himself while his old boss is still serving — assuming that Roberts is confirmed and that Chief Justice Rehnquist, for whom he clerked 25 years ago, is still serving when he is sworn in. Four other justices in the Court's history have previously served as clerks to justices of the Court, but none before has joined the Court alongside his or her former boss.

Source:


Bench Memos
.

---------------------------------


Previous trivia tidbits:

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21, Part 22; Part 23, Part 24, Part 25; Part 26; Part 27, Part 28; Part 29; Part 30, Part 31; Part 32; Part 33; Part 34; Part 35; Part 36; Part 37; Part 38; Part 39; Part 40; Part 41; Part 42; Part 43; Part 44; Part 45; Part 46; Part 47; Part 48; Part 49; Part 50; Part 51; Part 52; Part 53; Part 54; Part 55; Part 56; Part 57; Part 58; Part 59; Part 60; Part 61; Part 62; Part 63; Part 64; Part 65; Part 66; Part 67; Part 68; Part 69; Part 70; Part 71; Part 72; Part 73; Part 74; Part 75; Part 76; Part 77; Part 78; Part 79; Part 80; Part 81; Part 82; Part 83; Part 84; Part 85; Part 86; Part 87; Part 88; Part 89; Part 90; Part 91; Part 92; Part 93; Part 94; Part 95; Part 96; Part 97; Part 98; Part 99; Part 100; Part 101; Part 102; Part 103; Part 104; Part 105; Part 106; Part 107; Part 108; Part 109; Part 110; Part 111; Part 112.

Daily Trivia Tidbits cover a wide range of topics, and they're usually not trivial at all; you never know what you might find. Stay tuned to WILLisms.com for more.

Have a trivia tidbit tip? Send it over to WILLisms@gmail.com.

Posted by Will Franklin · 20 July 2005 08:33 AM · Comments (1)

Supreme Court Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.

johnroberts.gif

This is going to be fun.

UPDATE:

Liberal groups with pre-packaged criticisms of Roberts-

People For the American Way.

National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL).

National Organization for Women (NOW)
.

More to come...

Posted by Will Franklin · 19 July 2005 07:02 PM · Comments (10)

Tradesports Going Nuts For Luttig, Roberts, and Jones.

The Tradesports Supreme Court board is going crazy! I have never seen so much movement. Go check it out.

UPDATE:

And... there was good reason for the movement. John Roberts is apparently the pick.

Posted by Will Franklin · 19 July 2005 06:45 PM · Comments (3)

Some Call It A Bonfire/Carnival Of Classiness...

We call it "Classiness, All Around Us."

certifiedclassy.gif
Click to explore more WILLisms.com.

In no particular order, WILLisms.com presents classiness from the blogosphere (now with 50% more classy!):

1.

Yemeni Freedom-

yemenifreedom.gif

The Armies of Liberation blog points out that the Yemeni government is harrassing Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani, Yemen’s most prominent democracy advocate and reformer:

...the Yemeni government is targeting al-Khaiwani again: taking the paper, the building, the party, leveling false charges, trashing him in the official media, and there’s more death threats.

Freedom is on the march in the Middle East. The tyrants and terrorists know it. Thus, they are giving it their all, trying to halt the progress so desperately needed in the Middle East. They will fail.

2.

The Electoral-Based Community-

electoralbasedcommunity.gif

Patrick Ruffini is a proud member of the electoral-based community.

Sign me up.

Elections ought to matter. I am officially a proud member.

It's not rubbing it in. It's not being a sore winner. It's just a subtle reminder to those both inside and outside Washington that elections ought to have consequences.

3.

Cuban Justice and Liberty-

dissentincuba.gif

Babalu Blog points out some of Fidel Castro's thuggery against Cubans asserting basic political rights:

My heart goes out to the dissidents at that protest. If today's events are an indication of what they are up against, then not only do they have their work cut out for them, but they have some major brass ones.

The clock is ticking. When Castro finally expires, the Cuban political situation could get ugly-- but it may take a little ugly to see a free Cuba.


4.

The Incessant Anti-Bush Soap Opera-

gettingbush.gif

The Right Place blog offers a humorous take on the media's coverage of President Bush:

I keep thinking I'm watching a very, very bad tv series entitled "Get Bush!" that just drones on and on and on with no end in sight.

And it's getting tedious. This political season has been particularly frustrating, given the clear mandate the GOP received in the 2004. One would have thought the incessant drumbeat of "get Bush" would have dulled a bit following the unequivocal rejection by the American people.


5.

Scandalous not-so-scandalous scandals-

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The Astute Blogger takes us through the anthology of Bush scandals that were eventually debunked:

We should also always remember one of the most annoying and non-productive characteristics of the folks that make these Left-wing smears: even after they've been disproved, the Left-wing talking heads still repeat them over and over and over again.

It is truly amazing how many times the media errs on the side of smearing Bush. And how many times these scandals and scandalettes, after countless breathless media pronunciations of "guilt," turn up absolutely nothing in the end. The real scandal in the Rove/Plame/Wilson/CIA/Cooper saga is the media coverage.


6.

Akbar Ganji-

akbarganji.gif

The Daily Demarche blog notes the plight of Iranian dissident Akbar Ganji:

...the next time you hear someone say that "freedom isn't free" think of Akbar Ganji, and tell that person about him. Make sure that person knows that the bumper sticker slogan is still true, and that for much of the world it is an intensely current fact of life. And when you are confronted with someone who decries the Guantanomo prison, and the war in Iraq, remind them that our battles are with people like those who have imprisoned Ganji. Make sure they understand that we live in a society where a reporter can invent a story about the flushing of a Koran down the toilet and people die half the world away. Ganji lives in a world where he dares to speak the truth and faces the possibility of paying for it with his life.

Well said.


7.

Dick Durbin, Discredited-

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Say Anything blog notes that apparently Dick Durbin was even more full of it than we ever previously thought:

In short, because the investigation found no evidence to disprove the allegations in the email read by Durbin the accusations should stand. Because, apparently in the mind of Durbin and his ilk, the burden of proof is on the accused and not the accusers.

Durbin really ought to be ashamed of himself for this entire sorry episode.

8.

Teaching Unions-

neaindoctrination.gif

The Louisiana Libertarian examines the ridiculousness coming out of the recent National Education Association (NEA) meeting:

...if you read the New Business Items or NBIs which is the new agenda for the NEA, you'll find that these government school indoctrinators were more interested in promoting a far-left wing agenda than in teaching Johnny to read. The most offensive items to liberty can be placed into two categories: the stupid and the horrendous.

It's an eye-opener. Breaking up the NEA's lockdown on public education ought to be a priority for any serious long-term education reform effort.


9.

Selective, Disproportionate Outrage-

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Don Surber wonders why there is no outrage about horrific events in Afghanistan:

We are not dealing with an insurgency, a religion or a movement. We are dealing with anarchists who would sacrifice civilization itself for power.

We are in a war on terror. Let's never forget the soulless savagery of the terrorists we face. We must also stand with Karzai and stand together to finish the job in Afghanistan.

10.

Buyers' Remorse-

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Pardon My English notes that more Democrats than Republicans are wishing they could take their 2004 votes back:

...more Democrats who likely voted for Kerry were unhappy (16.73%) with their vote than Republicans who likely voted for Bush were unhappy (6.23%) with theirs--that's nearly a 3:1 ratio (2.68 to be exact).

While I would take the poll results with a grain of salt, it does show what should be intuitive: that the Democrats' continued strategy of attack attack attack without any actual counter-agenda is not winning anyone over.


11.

Chavez-

chavezbeast.gif

Cafe Hayek blog ruminates on the childish bullying of tyrants the world over:

Children as we understand them are uncivilized only temporarily. Parents and families civilize them; there’s hope for children. There’s no hope that bastards such as Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Robert Mugabe will ever grow up. They’re big and murderous and will be that way for as long as they breathe.

It's time to put these babies to bed.

12.

The Iraqi Constitution-

iraqifreedom.gif

Publius Pundit examines the text of the upcoming Iraqi Constitution:

If nothing else, it is a refreshing reminder of why America is encouraging and aiding in the expansion of freedom and democracy around the world. Iraq is on that path and there’s no stopping it.

Spreading liberty is America's charge. Fulfilling our nation's noble calling is not anything new, but it is certainly something we must rededicate ourselves to in the face of adversity. Ultimately, the mission in Iraq-- defeating the terrorists and establishing a free society-- is becoming a reality, piece by piece.

13.

Heroes-

heroes.gif

Pamela of Jackson's Junction believes we need to rethink our fast anf loose definition of hero:

Unfortunately, our modern definition of "hero" has been corrupted to include all manner of people who do not warrant the title. The athlete who just set a new sports record isn't a hero. Nor is the "daring" movie star or even the adventurer out to be the first solo climber to scale Mt. Everest. They may be brave -- but they don't meet the definition of a hero, for whatever they achieve benefits only "self." Real heroes are selfless.

14.

The ACLU-

stoptheaclu.gif

Stop the ACLU blog notes that the group wants to legalize child pornography distribution:

Is the ACLU completely retarded? I would love to think there was some kind of saving grace for an organization that says it is about protecting civil liberties, but with positions like this…which you KNOW are against the will of the people, I don’t know if there is.

Child porn is not a civil liberty.


15.

The Worst UT Graduate Ever-

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Lifelike Pundits blog looks at the idiocy of Paul Begala's "they want to kill us" comments:

If calling Republicans the equivalent of murderers is part of winning the war on ideas, then it's no wonder the Democrats are on the losing side. As usual, they have no compunction about saying truly vile things regarding their political opponents....

When politicians start pulling from the latrine for their public commentary, it's just a hop, skip and jump away from getting their actions from the same rank location.

The Democrats have finally declared moral bankruptcy.

Begala is the embodiment of everything that is bad in politics. Begala-- and people like him-- are a key contributing factor to America's cynicism with politics today.


------------------------------------------------------------


Also, don't forget to check out all the old Trivia Tidbits Of the Day, the Reform Thursday series, the Quotational Therapy sessions, and the Wednesday Caption Contest (entries are due each Tuesday at 11:59 PM Central Standard Time).

Last Week's Classiness Certification from WILLisms.com:

*July 12, 2005.

WILLisms.com offers a weekly classiness roundup as a weekly feature, every Tuesday, with 15 blog posts deemed classy. The criteria for submissions: incisive original analysis, quirky topics nobody else is covering, fantastic graphics, or other posts that took a lot of work. We love to spread the word on upcoming blogs, being that WILLisms.com also fits that description. If you would like to nominate a post on your blog or another blog for inclusion, email us at WILLisms@gmail.com. Write "Classy Nomination" in the subject. You can also utilize this page to make your submissions. The deadline is each Monday at 11:59 PM Central Time.

Classy.

Posted by Will Franklin · 19 July 2005 01:49 PM · Comments (10)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 112 -- Global Energy Production.

United States oil production share declining-

energyproduction.gif
Click for original .pdf.

Source:

ExxonMobil Energy Outlook (.pdf)
.

---------------------------------


Previous trivia tidbits:

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21, Part 22; Part 23, Part 24, Part 25; Part 26; Part 27, Part 28; Part 29; Part 30, Part 31; Part 32; Part 33; Part 34; Part 35; Part 36; Part 37; Part 38; Part 39; Part 40; Part 41; Part 42; Part 43; Part 44; Part 45; Part 46; Part 47; Part 48; Part 49; Part 50; Part 51; Part 52; Part 53; Part 54; Part 55; Part 56; Part 57; Part 58; Part 59; Part 60; Part 61; Part 62; Part 63; Part 64; Part 65; Part 66; Part 67; Part 68; Part 69; Part 70; Part 71; Part 72; Part 73; Part 74; Part 75; Part 76; Part 77; Part 78; Part 79; Part 80; Part 81; Part 82; Part 83; Part 84; Part 85; Part 86; Part 87; Part 88; Part 89; Part 90; Part 91; Part 92; Part 93; Part 94; Part 95; Part 96; Part 97; Part 98; Part 99; Part 100; Part 101; Part 102; Part 103; Part 104; Part 105; Part 106; Part 107; Part 108; Part 109; Part 110; Part 111.

Daily Trivia Tidbits cover a wide range of topics, and they're usually not trivial at all; you never know what you might find. Stay tuned to WILLisms.com for more.

Have a trivia tidbit tip? Send it over to WILLisms@gmail.com.

Posted by Will Franklin · 19 July 2005 08:49 AM · Comments (3)

The Boxing Revolution.

Boxing Alcibiades is hosting this week's Carnival of Revolutions. Go check it out.

Posted by Will Franklin · 18 July 2005 04:23 PM · Comments (4)

Trivia Tidbit Retrospective, Part II.

First off, gargantuan thanks go out to the fantastical guest bloggers from File It Under blog and Am I A Pundit Now? blog. And thanks to Ian Pittman for posting my pre-packaged trivia tidbits for me on Saturday and Sunday.

I think WILLisms.com needed a fresh infusion of classiness, and it certainly received it over the weekend.

Secondly:

Back from the anniversary weekend with my gorgeous, talented, lovely, and brilliant wife. We went to a secluded spot in the Texas Hill Country, away from pretty much all civilization. Saw lots of deer families, rabbits, and tons of hummingbirds. The cabin was exceedingly nice (and remarkably bug-free). It even had a pool and a hot tub. No cable or internet or satellite, which somehow served to slow down the clock a bit. Great times. Then we went to Austin to have dinner where we had our reception last year.

Great times all around. Back in Houston now. Recharged. Refreshed. All that good stuff.

For now, before I finish sorting through trackback and comment spam, as well as a lot of real emails, please enjoy the second Trivia Tidbit Retrospective:

triviaretro.gif

The Next Fifty:

-Islamic Politics.
-The Terminator.
-Kyoto.
-Liberal Academia.
-Software Piracy.
-STDs.
-Sumatra Earthquake/Tsunami.
-Chinese Tourism.
-Abortion.
-Growing World Energy Demand.
-Most Prestigious Jobs.
-Memorial Day.
-Best and Worst Drivers.
-Competitive Congressional Districts.
-CAFTA.
-Anonymous Sources.
-Japan's Demographic Crisis.
-Purple Democrats.
-Party of the Middle Class.
-Broadway's Resurgence.
-China's Pollution Problems.
-Brazil's Economy.
-Most WiFi'd Cities.
-Shrinking Deficit.
-Congressional Elections.
-Brain Food.
-France's Economy.
-College Investment.
-Product Names.
-Female College Enrollment.
-Chinese Oil Demand.
-Iran.
-Hollywood Movies.
-Value of Your Degree.
-Endangered Species Act.
-Navigating Cities.
-Record American Wealth.
-Zero Tax Liability Rising.
-Religion and Medicine.
-Cell Phone Taxes.
-Lance Armstrong.
-Incumbent Fundraising.
-Bird Flu.
-Wind Power.
-Online Gambling.
-NACDA Cup.
-Independence Day.
-Social Security Shortfall.
-American Foreign Aid.
-Botswana, African Model.

Ah, the memories.

The First Fifty.

UPDATE:

JAMMING
.

Posted by Will Franklin · 18 July 2005 03:35 PM · Comments (3)

Washed, Waxed and Buffed...

Well, Will is back. That means it's time for us to give up the "keys to the Ferrari" so to speak.

It was a pleasure taking her for a spin in your absence, Will. She's one classy ride. If you ever need our services, just give us a call.

Thank you again for the guest invite. We had big shoes to fill and it damn near took three of us.

Hoodlumman, Darius and Rob normally drive the Honda Accord that is File it Under.

Posted by Hoodlumman · 18 July 2005 01:52 PM · Comments (4)

Coffee Shop Blogging.

Sitting in an outdoor-ish coffee shop on South Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas. Doing the WiFi thing. Surrounded by Naderites and Bush haters.

Wading through several hundred emails, mostly spam. Regular blogging will resume fairly soon.

Posted by Will Franklin · 18 July 2005 09:47 AM · Comments (3)

Quotational Therapy: Part 29 -- Margaret Thatcher On Freedom.

A Battle Between Two Ways Of Life-

thatcher.gif
We are going into one of the biggest battles this country has ever known - a battle between two ways of life, one which leads inevitably to slavery and the other to freedom. Our opponents like to try and make you believe that Conservatism is a privilege of the few. But Conservatism conserves all that is great and best in our national heritage. What is one of the first tenets of Conservatism? It is that of national unity. We say one nation, not one class against another. You cannot build a great nation or a brotherhood of man by spreading envy or hatred.

Our policy is not built on envy or hatred, but on liberty for the individual man or woman. It is not our policy to suppress success: our policy is to encourage it and encourage energy and initiative. In 1940 it was not the cry of nationalization that made this country rise up and fight totalitarianism. It was the cry for freedom and liberty.

-Margaret Thatcher, 1950.


-----------------------------

Previous Quotational Therapy Sessions:

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21; Part 22; Part 23, Part 24; Part 25; Part 26; Part 27; Part 28.

The right quote can be therapeutic, so tune in to WILLisms.com for quotational therapy every Monday and Friday.

Posted by Will Franklin · 18 July 2005 09:32 AM · Comments (1)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 111 -- Presidential Vetoes.

Veto Power-

It is well-known that President Bush has never exercised his veto power over anything in his entire time in office. Less well-known is just how little the veto was used in the early days of our Republic:

presidentialvetoes.gif
-click to enlarge-

Of course, there was far less legislation in those days, as government was far more limited.

Washington through Monroe:

washingtonthroughmonroe.gif


Adams through Tyler:

adamsthroughtyler.gif


Polk through Lincoln:

polkthroughlincoln.gif


Johnson through Arthur:

johnsonthrougharthur.gif


Cleveland through Teddy Roosevelt:

clevelandthroughteddy.gif


Taft through Hoover:

taftthroughhoover.gif


FDR through Nixon:

fdrthroughnixon.gif

Ford through Clinton:

fordthroughclinton.gif


Source:

Senate Library (.pdf)
.

It is unlikely that President Bush will go two full terms, even with a GOP-controlled Congress, without using his veto power at least once.

Anyone care to wager what that first veto will be?

---------------------------------


Previous trivia tidbits:

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21, Part 22; Part 23, Part 24, Part 25; Part 26; Part 27, Part 28; Part 29; Part 30, Part 31; Part 32; Part 33; Part 34; Part 35; Part 36; Part 37; Part 38; Part 39; Part 40; Part 41; Part 42; Part 43; Part 44; Part 45; Part 46; Part 47; Part 48; Part 49; Part 50; Part 51; Part 52; Part 53; Part 54; Part 55; Part 56; Part 57; Part 58; Part 59; Part 60; Part 61; Part 62; Part 63; Part 64; Part 65; Part 66; Part 67; Part 68; Part 69; Part 70; Part 71; Part 72; Part 73; Part 74; Part 75; Part 76; Part 77; Part 78; Part 79; Part 80; Part 81; Part 82; Part 83; Part 84; Part 85; Part 86; Part 87; Part 88; Part 89; Part 90; Part 91; Part 92; Part 93; Part 94; Part 95; Part 96; Part 97; Part 98; Part 99; Part 100; Part 101; Part 102; Part 103; Part 104; Part 105; Part 106; Part 107; Part 108; Part 109; Part 110.

Daily Trivia Tidbits cover a wide range of topics, and they're usually not trivial at all; you never know what you might find. Stay tuned to WILLisms.com for more.

Have a trivia tidbit tip? Send it over to WILLisms@gmail.com.

Posted by Will Franklin · 18 July 2005 09:29 AM · Comments (2)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 110 -- Carbon Emissions.

Carbon Emissions in the Developing World-

CO-2 emissions. Environmentalists assert that carbon emissions are causing global warming. Thus, they want to do something about the problem. Which is respectable. But the environmental movement's solutions do not seem to match up with the identified problem.

emissions.gif

Source:

ExxonMobil (.pdf)
.

Emissions are greatest in the developing world, and every reasonable forecast projects that growth over the next quarter century will take place in parts of the world that are leaping forward from the 19th century to join the 21st.

---------------------------------


Previous trivia tidbits:

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21, Part 22; Part 23, Part 24, Part 25; Part 26; Part 27, Part 28; Part 29; Part 30, Part 31; Part 32; Part 33; Part 34; Part 35; Part 36; Part 37; Part 38; Part 39; Part 40; Part 41; Part 42; Part 43; Part 44; Part 45; Part 46; Part 47; Part 48; Part 49; Part 50; Part 51; Part 52; Part 53; Part 54; Part 55; Part 56; Part 57; Part 58; Part 59; Part 60; Part 61; Part 62; Part 63; Part 64; Part 65; Part 66; Part 67; Part 68; Part 69; Part 70; Part 71; Part 72; Part 73; Part 74; Part 75; Part 76; Part 77; Part 78; Part 79; Part 80; Part 81; Part 82; Part 83; Part 84; Part 85; Part 86; Part 87; Part 88; Part 89; Part 90; Part 91; Part 92; Part 93; Part 94; Part 95; Part 96; Part 97; Part 98; Part 99; Part 100; Part 101; Part 102; Part 103; Part 104; Part 105; Part 106; Part 107; Part 108; Part 109.

Daily Trivia Tidbits cover a wide range of topics, and they're usually not trivial at all; you never know what you might find. Stay tuned to WILLisms.com for more.

Have a trivia tidbit tip? Send it over to WILLisms@gmail.com.

Posted by Will Franklin · 17 July 2005 10:27 AM · Comments (4)

The Liberation Rationale

A common trick of the demagogue is to rearrange a timeline to fit one's rhetorical thesis. Liberal critics have now invented a brand-new trick: create a time line where there was none before. As in, "liberating Iraq was only a rationale that came about after we were already stuck in Iraq."

No, clearly, not.

I ask you Republicans and conservatives readers here to question yourself: was replacing tyranny with liberation and democracy one of the chief rationales for the Iraq war, or not? Before the invasion of Iraq, when Bush spoke of the chance at liberating Iraq, did that possibility thrill you or make you blanch?

Now what my Democrat readers here need to understand if they do not understand it already, is that a lot of Republicans really believe this liberation stuff. It is not a post-hoc justification. A great many of us we were liberationists in the Cold War. There is nothing 'neo' about this article of conservative faith, it is the Reagan foreign policy heritage. The liberation rationale for war in Iraq was in place before the war was even contemplated. And, the administration quite avowedly said that liberation was one of the reasons for war--so you cannot place it further out on the timeline. The fact that liberal demagogues feel the need to place it further out on the timeline is quite a telling trick to play - obviously democracy in Iraq interferes with the naysayers' rhetoric that nothing good has, or will, come from the conflict. Saying that liberation was an afterthought tries to imply that came merely by accident rather than something that was counted on from the beginning.

Truth is, deep in their hearts, the Democrats believe all this liberation stuff also. It was a Democrat who sent troops to the beaches of Normandy. It was a Democrat who sent troops to the beaches of Inchon. Warhawk Kennedy shored up South Vietnam to keep it free from communist tyranny. Johnson followed through by sending armies to Vietnam. Jimmy Carter made human rights the very centerpiece of his administration. Bill Clinton chided George Bush, Sr. for being too friendly with wholesale human rights abuser China.

Bill Clinton also waged a war in order to save lives in Kosovo. He also made profuse apologies for doing nothing about genocide in Rwanda.

These liberation and human rights rationales are your heritage too, Democrats. Do not think for an instant that they did not have considerable influence on George W. Bush when he made the decision to go to Iraq. I am not trying to trap Democrats into complicity with the Iraq War--I am telling them that they should be proud their influence is taken so seriously, not just here but around the world.

Democrats cheered Bill Clinton for liberating Kosovo and ending the ethnic cleansing there. So why the double standard now?

The mindset seems to be that Bush does not deserve credit for anything about this war, nor does he even deserve to win, because the real reason we went to war was [put alternate theory here]. Thus, the war is 'tainted'. We had false, impure motives for going to war in Iraq, Bush LIED about it, and Bush must be punished for this. Then others will see what happened to Bush, and never again will anything but pure altruism taint our rationales for war.

Let us assume Bush lied. More than that, let us assume that every accusation made by Democrats against Republicans in the Iraq War is true. Bush did cook up intelligence to start a war with Iraq. Bush wanted a war in Iraq for his oil buddies. Cheney thought of Halliburton first, and the troops later. Rumsfeld is incompetent, but enjoys cruelty toward detainees, Gonzalez is writing briefs on how to strip Americans of all their rights.

Fact is, this bunch of lying, greedy oil-soaked fascists achieved marvelous things. In spite of themselves, they defeated a genocidal tyrant and replaced it with a democracy. They did it in Afghanistan too. They brought the vote to 50 million men and women. Democracy spilled over into Lebanon. Democracy is no longer a dirty word in the muslim world. Libya surrendered its WMD program ( I guess you could say the liberation of Iraq really did eliminate WMDs after all). What is the lesson to be drawn here? That bad guys sometimes achieve things that would have earned Jimmy Carter an entire mantlepiece of Nobel Prizes?

I just can't help but think that 50 years from now, Iraq will be seen as the avant-garde victory for democracy that made the liberation of the entire region possible. If the Democrats want to take some of the credit, I won't begrudge them that.

I am Ken McCracken, and you're not. I can normally be found just making stuff up at Am I A Pundit Now?

Posted by · 16 July 2005 06:32 PM · Comments (8)

Torturous Investigating

I've come across this shocking story - the latest story to speak of that human rights devoid hell-hole, Guantanamo.

UNITED States interrogators at Guantanamo Bay subjected a suspected terrorist to abusive and degrading treatment, forcing him to wear a bra, dance with another man and behave like a dog, military investigators said yesterday.
First off, what? They called him a terrorist! I suppose the Scotsman doesn't share the BBC's practice of avoiding using such a non-neutral word.

Anyway, no doubt this falls under torture by the anti-war left. More vileness:

The committee heard that interrogators told him his mother and sisters were prostitutes, forced him to wear a bra, forced him to wear a thong on his head, told him he was homosexual and said that other prisoners knew it.
Very capable of hurting someone's feelings. Believe me, I know. That part about the mother and sisters prostitute comment, the homosexual quip - it sounds a lot like junior high and high school... possibly college. Though as I got older it becomes less like painful torture and more like friendly poker game smack talk. And that thong on the head thing - standard college hazing. I think it's in a hand book somewhere.

Based on life experiences and what I've read of history, an impromptu investigation of facts has revealed a fairly startling revelation.

prev_torture_sm.PNG


Just to be clear, that's 2005 AD. Now it's redefined...

vile_torture_sm.PNG


Torture manuals mailed out en masse to any U.S. citizen who wants one.

The Great Satan indeed.

Hoodlumman normally browses Victoria's Secret while blogging at File it Under.

Posted by Hoodlumman · 16 July 2005 11:05 AM · Comments (9)

Palestinian Terrorism Round-Up

While much of the world has been focused on the horrors of the London terrorist bombings, Palestinian terrorist factions have been busy destroying the 5 month old ceasefire with Israel.

While the Israeli government has been working to ensure that it abandons its Westbank settlements, drawing the Ire of Jewish hardliners within their state, radical Palestinians have been moving to destroy peace in the region. On Wednesday, a suicide bomber killed 4 people in the Israeli city of Netanya- shattering the truce, and giving Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon no choice but to take measures to ensure the safety of his citizens.

Israeli forces on Thursday engaged a terrorist commander and killed him, his terrorist forces responded by firing rockets at Israeli farms from an area in Gaza- killing a young woman, and causing much property damage.

On Friday, the Israelis responded by closing roads leading into Gaza, launching airstrikes on terrorist compounds and weapons caches, and arresting the fleeing terrorists.

Meanwhile, Palestinian "Prime Minister" Mahmoud Abbas has been wholly unable, or unwilling, to quell the violence committed by the Palestinian forces, despite Palestinian Security forces being given carte blanche permission to use force against the Islamic Jihad and Hamas members perpetrating the violence.

Today, Palestinian terrorists continued the violence by launching 8 fresh rocket attacks against Israeli civilians and IDF forces- luckily todays attacks seemed to have brought no new casualties.

I think we can expect the violence to continue, even as the Israelis move to abide by their promises to leave their Gaza settlements. The Israeli commitment to peace is not enough, unless there are clear-headed and capable leaders on the Palestinian side, committed to peace and capable of leading their "country."

Darius is a fellow contributor with Rob and Hood over at File It Under...

Posted by Hoodlumman · 16 July 2005 10:09 AM · Comments (2)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 109 -- Global Energy Demand.

Emerging Asia Driving Energy Demand-

asianoildemand.gif

Click for original .pdf

Source:

ExxonMobil's Energy Outlook (.pdf)
.

---------------------------------


Previous trivia tidbits:

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21, Part 22; Part 23, Part 24, Part 25; Part 26; Part 27, Part 28; Part 29; Part 30, Part 31; Part 32; Part 33; Part 34; Part 35; Part 36; Part 37; Part 38; Part 39; Part 40; Part 41; Part 42; Part 43; Part 44; Part 45; Part 46; Part 47; Part 48; Part 49; Part 50; Part 51; Part 52; Part 53; Part 54; Part 55; Part 56; Part 57; Part 58; Part 59; Part 60; Part 61; Part 62; Part 63; Part 64; Part 65; Part 66; Part 67; Part 68; Part 69; Part 70; Part 71; Part 72; Part 73; Part 74; Part 75; Part 76; Part 77; Part 78; Part 79; Part 80; Part 81; Part 82; Part 83; Part 84; Part 85; Part 86; Part 87; Part 88; Part 89; Part 90; Part 91; Part 92; Part 93; Part 94; Part 95; Part 96; Part 97; Part 98; Part 99; Part 100; Part 101; Part 102; Part 103; Part 104; Part 105; Part 106; Part 107; Part 108.

Daily Trivia Tidbits cover a wide range of topics, and they're usually not trivial at all; you never know what you might find. Stay tuned to WILLisms.com for more.

Have a trivia tidbit tip? Send it over to WILLisms@gmail.com.

Posted by Will Franklin · 16 July 2005 09:53 AM · Comments (0)

A Dedication, Baby

This goes out to all the lovers out there, young and old alike.

fiu_certified_classy.jpg

How Do I Love Thee by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, as it might have been read by Barry (poem hat tip, Gail):

Oooh sexy thing, How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
Oh, baby I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
Oooh yes, I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right, and I am your man, babe;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise, baby...
I love thee with a passion, oooh yes, put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death. Can you feel me?

As you may have expected, this is not Will, either. I'd like to thank Will for extending a guest-blogging spot to myself and fellow contributors Rob and Darius of File it Under. It's truly an honor.

Have a great weekend, Will. We look forward to helping hold down the fort. And wow, look at all these shiny buttons.

Hoodlumman can normally be found not reciting poetry at File it Under, baby.

Posted by Hoodlumman · 15 July 2005 10:45 AM · Comments (7)

Trivia Tidbit Retrospective.

This weekend is my anniversay. No, not my blogiversary (though it'll be 6 months of blogging on Monday). My real life wedding anniversary.

So I am turning the reigns over to Ian Pittman, who has guest blogged here in the past, as well as Ken of Am I A Pundit Now? blog, and James (a.k.a. Hoodlumman) of File It Under blog, who recently brought the world "Rovouflage."

In the meantime, enjoy part one of the Trivia Tidbit Retrospective:

trivialpursuit.gif

The First Fifty:

-Generational Turnover.
-Oldest Senate Ever.
-Oil Prices.
-Partisan Car Differences.
-Wealth From Scratch.
-The End of the Great Depression.
-What Americans Know.
-Profile of Congress.
-Support for a Woman President.
-Historical Presidential Approval.
-Young People and Cynicism.
-527 Committee Mega-Contributors.
-Six Year Itch.
-Global Cell Phone Use.
-Kim Il-Sung.
-Media Bias.
-Campaign Soundbites.
-American Wealth.
-The Curse of Oil.
-MoveOn.Byrd.com.
-OKC Bombing.
-Media Coverage of Reagan.
-Baby Names.
-Crack Dealing.
-Beginning of America's Oil Industry.
-Global Female Population.
-The Gender Gap.
-PAC Money.
-Free Trade.
-Environmentalism.
-Slumping Movie Sales.
-What Blogs Are Discussing.
-Internet Ads.
-Russian Economy.
-Sun Exposure.
-Climate Change.
-Karl Rove's Direct Mail.
-Real Estate Terms.
-Congressional Junkets.
-Hillary's Comeback.
-Upward Mobility.
-Parenting Paranoia.
-Fictional Billionaires.
-American Dream.
-Alternative Minimum Tax.
-Global Tax Freedom Days.
-Europe's Economy.
-Music Downloads.
-Worst Spammers.
-Top Internet Search Terms.

Surely, you can find something about which to be nostalgic. Ah, the memories of Trivia Tidbits.

I will be back to blogging on Monday. Enjoy the heck out of the guest blogging regime until then. These guest bloggers are way classy.

Posted by Will Franklin · 15 July 2005 10:13 AM · Comments (3)

Quotational Therapy: Part 28 -- Teddy Roosevelt, Man In The Arena.

Man in the Arena-

teddyroosevelt.gif
"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

-President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt; "Citizenship in a Republic,"
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910.


-----------------------------

Previous Quotational Therapy Sessions:

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21; Part 22; Part 23, Part 24; Part 25; Part 26; Part 27.

The right quote can be therapeutic, so tune in to WILLisms.com for quotational therapy every Monday and Friday.

Posted by Will Franklin · 15 July 2005 09:42 AM · Comments (0)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 108 -- Elephant Calls.

The GOP Mascot-

elephants.gif
Researchers are beginning to decipher elephant calls. Their bellows include frequencies well below the range of human hearing and can travel through air up to six miles. Elephants appear to hear even with their feet. Their rumbles create seismic waves in the ground, and elephants have been shown to freeze and look toward the source of a seismic wave 100 feet away.

Source:

"Saving Mali's Migratory Elephants," Smithsonian magazine.

---------------------------------


Previous trivia tidbits:

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21, Part 22; Part 23, Part 24, Part 25; Part 26; Part 27, Part 28; Part 29; Part 30, Part 31; Part 32; Part 33; Part 34; Part 35; Part 36; Part 37; Part 38; Part 39; Part 40; Part 41; Part 42; Part 43; Part 44; Part 45; Part 46; Part 47; Part 48; Part 49; Part 50; Part 51; Part 52; Part 53; Part 54; Part 55; Part 56; Part 57; Part 58; Part 59; Part 60; Part 61; Part 62; Part 63; Part 64; Part 65; Part 66; Part 67; Part 68; Part 69; Part 70; Part 71; Part 72; Part 73; Part 74; Part 75; Part 76; Part 77; Part 78; Part 79; Part 80; Part 81; Part 82; Part 83; Part 84; Part 85; Part 86; Part 87; Part 88; Part 89; Part 90; Part 91; Part 92; Part 93; Part 94; Part 95; Part 96; Part 97; Part 98; Part 99; Part 100; Part 101; Part 102; Part 103; Part 104; Part 105; Part 106; Part 107.

Daily Trivia Tidbits cover a wide range of topics, and they're usually not trivial at all; you never know what you might find. Stay tuned to WILLisms.com for more.

Have a trivia tidbit tip? Send it over to WILLisms@gmail.com.

Posted by Will Franklin · 15 July 2005 09:31 AM · Comments (1)

Giving Rove A Pass

It seems to be infuriating the Left that there is no groundswell of Republicans agreeing with John Kerry that Rove must go. Is it any wonder, considering that the grand jury has not even told us yet whether they think a crime has even been committed? Plus many key pieces of the puzzle are under seal with the grand jury, such as: who was Novak's informant?

Shouldn't we maybe sort that one out before we send old Karl packing?

The worst thing on the record about Rove in this matter is that he basically confirmed what Cooper already knew, and as a professional courtesy told Cooper to avoid this story as if it were handling yellowcake uranium itself. For Rove's part, if that is all it turns out to be, there is little extraordinary in it, let alone criminal.

On the other hand, if Rove is convicted of something, do I even need to say he should sit in jail? Or perhaps he could share a slap on the wrist and probation, right along with Sandy Berger.

Even if he is not indicted, it is true that the appearance of impropriety or wrongdoing is often damaging enough by itself. Rove could be damaged goods politically, dragging the Bush administration further down in the polls, being a hindrance rather than a help.

So why keep Rove?

Let us apply Occam's Razor here. Either: a) the Democrats and the Left are sincere in their desire to protect an asset of the CIA, or b) they are attempting to humiliate the Bush administration. I leave it to you to decide which it is, but God, I would like to think that it is the former, and that the Left has seen the light, and that from now on they will maintain a continuing suitable level of vigilance in national security matters. Even if it is a desire both to protect the CIA mixed with an obligatory attempt to humiliate Bush, perhaps this is progress.

Otherwise, if the intent is merely to humiliate Bush, detached from all real concern about espionage assets, why play along?

Bush has, rightly or wrongly, a demonstrated loyalty to employees (George Tenet), and a detached view of polls. He is unlikely to eject Rove in order to bolster his image in the eyes of his political enemies, nor should he. This situation is quite analogous to the full-court press the MSM has given Rumsfeld over many issues. There is no reason to think Bush would break form on this, and most likely would refuse to accept a letter of resignation from Rove.

The critics of the administration think it is the very height of hypocrisy for the Republicans to be giving a pass to Rove on this matter of national security. Perhaps we are giving Rove and the administration a pass, rightly so. Republicans know in their hearts that Bush may make mistakes, but that he has been unflinching in his prosecution of the GWOT. I think I speak for many (hopefully) when I say I trust him absolutely in this sphere, but do not expect perfection. The Republicans have always made national security the priority--whereas many Democrats and liberals have expressed open contempt for the CIA and the military since the Vietnam War--and so it is a little hard to stomach the Democrats' newfound love and respect for the sanctity of security issues.

And we Republicans know a hatchet job from the Left when we see one. We have had so many laid at our feet the last few years, such as the skewed coverage of Abu Ghraib/Gitmo/Koran events, Rathergate, Jeff Gannon, and the Downing Street Memo. This Rove episode has all the earmarks of those overblown half-stories, where innuendo and speculation are presumed to be fact.

Moreover, I do not recall ever seeing such an opaque campaign of political payback. It should be clear that this flap is not about national security, really. It is about revenge for Florida 2000, The Swift Boat Veterans, and Ohio 2004. This kind of stuff is why Republicans are thus far giving Rove and the administration a pass.

So in conclusion I ask, why give in to these howling noise makers?

Absent a conviction, firing Rove would be an admission, not of wrongdoing, but that the sheer decibel level on an issue can determine its outcome. And what a perverse incentive to ratchet up still more decibels that would create.

Surprise! This is NOT Will Franklin, but rather his padawan apprentice, Ken McCracken. I can also be found churning out memes irregularly at Am I A Pundit Now?

Posted by · 15 July 2005 05:51 AM · Comments (5)

Hillary Clinton Winning Early Money Primary.

hillarycash.gif

Today is my last day guest blogging at Wizbang. Go check out my post on Hillary Clinton's early fundraising success.

Posted by Will Franklin · 14 July 2005 12:54 PM · Comments (9)

Social Security Reform Thursday: Week Twenty-Four -- KidSave Accounts.

reformthursdayblue.gif

Thursdays are good days for reform, because they fall between Wednesdays and Fridays.

That's why WILLisms.com offers a chart or graph, every Thursday, pertinent to Social Security reform.

This week's topic:

KidSave Accounts.

Time is money, or so they say.

Lots of time, then, is lots of money.

Imagine if some anonymous benefactor had a deposited a modest sum of money into an investment account on your behalf, at birth. Now, imagine you are ready to retire, at age 67.

You get a letter informing you that the modest sum, over your lifetime, matured into quite a significant amount. And it's all yours.

KidSave Accounts take that concept and apply it to Social Security; the accounts would be the ultimate life-long retirement lockbox.

Illinois Congressman Jerry Weller (R) has introduced legislation which would create the ccounts:

At birth every child would receive a $2,000 loan from the Social Security Administration. The initial amount would be linked to inflation, so it would increase slightly every year. The money would be deposited into an account that couldn’t be opened until the owner retires or dies.

The account would be managed by the Thrift Savings Plan, the same plan that federal employees, including Members of Congress, use to manage our retirement funds. The KidSave accounts could reach up to $50,000 at maturity. Parents and grandparents can contribute up to $500 per year into a child’s KidSave account.

“KidSave would allow all children, from all socio-economic backgrounds, to enjoy the benefits of compound interest, to build a retirement nest egg at an early age,” said Weller. “Through KidSave, children will have the opportunity to lay the foundation for a secure retirement future and when they reach their golden years, they will have newfound wealth to spend on themselves or share it with their children and grandchildren.”

Congressman Weller noted that KidSave is a loan from Social Security, not a gift or a new government entitlement -- and it doesn’t cost taxpayers anything. When the account owner reaches age 30 -- an age at which most people are well along in their working lives -- the original loan would be repaid in five annual installments.

Americans for Tax Reform estimates that a child born in 2006 and participating in the default options within the Kidsave program would have over $150,000 after inflation at age 67:

kidsaveaccounts.gif

But wait, isn't this just some kind of hairbrained, risky, right-wing scheme?

Not at all.

In recent years, Democrats such as Joe Lieberman (Conn.), along with former Senators Bob Kerrey (Neb.), John Breaux (Lou.), and Senator Moynihan (N.Y.), and signed on to the KidSave concept (.pdf).

Over a lifetime, 2000 dollars, invested in a personal account earning interest, compounded monthly, could yield quite a significant sum over the period of 67 years. Jerry Weller's own estimate of $50,000 at retirement, in fact, is far too modest.

So how would the accounts work?

The basis for the accounts would be the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), the retirement program available to federal employees, including members of Congress. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), KidSave accounts would give Americans options (.pdf):

Many features of KidSave accounts, including investment choices, would resemble those of the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) for federal employees. If account holders, or their parents or guardians, failed to express a choice, the government would automatically assign them a default mix: 60 percent in a stock index fund (the TSP’s C fund), 20 percent in a corporate bond fund (the F fund), and 20 percent in Treasury securities (the G fund).

Looking at the TSP's historical rates of return (which a previous Reform Thursday covered extensively), the accounts would provide a strong rate of account growth:

tsprates.gif

Using the TSP Calculator, you can see for yourself how 2000 dollars (plus 9000 contributed by parents and grandparents), over a lifetime, at the range of interest rates above, could fully fund a robust retirement account.

Try it out
. We're talking big money, here.

What is this going to cost me? Won't this bankrupt the government?

The CBO estimates the program's costs thusly (.pdf):

About 4 million children are born each year, so crediting each with $2,000 would mean annual government contributions of about $8 billion. That figure would climb gradually with a growing number of births, the immigration of eligible children, and (after 2013) a rising contribution.

However, because the initial $2,000 investment would be recaptured by the government, the CBO has determined that the accounts would not significantly burden the federal budget over the long run. Frankly, $8 billion year is a drop in the bucket relative to the daunting financial crunch Social Security faces in a future without reform.

Remember, the "transition costs" of reform are just a way of recognizing existing obligations and moving them forward. The KidSave Accounts are similar in that regard.

What, then, are the advantages of KidSave Accounts?

I. They would be available to everyone, introducing millions of Americans to the Ownership Society.

II. They would be a loan, not a gift, meaning the impact on government outlays would be minimal.

III. They would empower lower-income families to accumulate a nest egg with real wealth and real ownership.

IV. They would be inheritable, allowing families and communities to build wealth.

V. They would prevent Congress from diverting the Social Security surplus funds into other pet projects.

Are KidSave Accounts the be-all-end-all for reforming the broken Social Security system?

Definitely not. But they just make sense as one pro-growth way to supplement Social Security benefits; for a relatively small amount today, the KidSave plan would diminish the burden on taxpayer caused by the looming demographic time bomb, preventing the need for painful choices down the road.

Ideas. Not immediate obstruction.
Reform. Not dogmatic ideological adherence to a broken system.
Ownership. Not confiscation and redistribution.

Choices.
Empowerment.

This is what reform is all about.

We're in the beginning stages of a profound Social Security reform movement. Like democratization, reforming a gargantuan government program like Social Security is a process, not an event. It is a journey, not a leap.

Discussing creative, innovative ideas such as KidSave accounts is part of the journey.



--------------------------------

Previous Reform Thursday graphics can be seen here:

-Week One (Costs Exceed Revenues).
-Week Two (Social Security Can't Pay Promised Benefits).
-Week Three (Americans Getting Older).
-Week Three, bonus (The Templeton Curve).
-Week Four (Fewer Workers, More Retirees).
-Week Five (History of Payroll Tax Base Increases).
-Week Six (Seniors Living Longer).
-Week Six, bonus (Less Workers, More Beneficiaries).
-Week Seven (History of Payroll Tax Increases).
-Week Seven, bonus (Personal Accounts Do Achieve Solvency).
-Week Eight (Forty Year Trend Of Increasing Mandatory Spending).
-Week Nine (Diminishing Benefits Sans Reform).
-Week Ten (Elderly Dependence On Social Security).
-Week Eleven (Entitlement Spending Eating The Budget).
-Week Twelve (Benefit Comparison, Bush's Plan versus No Plan).
-Week Thirteen (Younger Americans and Lifecycle Funds).
-Week Fourteen (The Thrift Savings Plan).
-Week Fifteen (Understanding Progressive Indexing).
-Week Sixteen (The Graying of America).
-Week Seventeen (Debunking Myths).
-Week Eighteen (Debunking Myths).
-Week Nineteen (Reform Needed Sooner Rather Than Later).
-Week Twenty (Global Success With Personal Accounts).
-Week Twenty-One (GROW Accounts: Stopping The Raid).
-Week Twenty-Two (Millions of Lockboxes).
-Week Twenty-Three (Support for Ryan-DeMint).

Tune into WILLisms.com each Thursday for more important graphical data supporting Social Security reform.

Posted by Will Franklin · 14 July 2005 09:40 AM · Comments (1)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 107 -- Syrian Instability.

Assad's Slipping Grip On Syria-

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Syria is well into a fateful period in its modern history. The economy is stagnating even as the population (now at 18.4 million) is expanding rapidly.

Petroleum, long the leading resource, is being depleted at such a rate that Syria will be a net importer of oil in only a few years. And when oil income dwindles, so, too, may the government subsidies— for items and services such as flour, cooking oil and transportation— with which the regime has curried public favor. “What happens when their main source of subsidies goes?” a World Bank official says. “Economically, this is Eastern Europe just before the Wall fell.”

Source:

Smithsonian magazine (.pdf).

More supremely interesting excerpts from the article beyond the click below.

---------------------------------


Previous trivia tidbits:

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21, Part 22; Part 23, Part 24, Part 25; Part 26; Part 27, Part 28; Part 29; Part 30, Part 31; Part 32; Part 33; Part 34; Part 35; Part 36; Part 37; Part 38; Part 39; Part 40; Part 41; Part 42; Part 43; Part 44; Part 45; Part 46; Part 47; Part 48; Part 49; Part 50; Part 51; Part 52; Part 53; Part 54; Part 55; Part 56; Part 57; Part 58; Part 59; Part 60; Part 61; Part 62; Part 63; Part 64; Part 65; Part 66; Part 67; Part 68; Part 69; Part 70; Part 71; Part 72; Part 73; Part 74; Part 75; Part 76; Part 77; Part 78; Part 79; Part 80; Part 81; Part 82; Part 83; Part 84; Part 85; Part 86; Part 87; Part 88; Part 89; Part 90; Part 91; Part 92; Part 93; Part 94; Part 95; Part 96; Part 97; Part 98; Part 99; Part 100; Part 101; Part 102; Part 103; Part 104; Part 105; Part 106.

Daily Trivia Tidbits cover a wide range of topics, and they're usually not trivial at all; you never know what you might find. Stay tuned to WILLisms.com for more.

Have a trivia tidbit tip? Send it over to WILLisms@gmail.com.

Read More »


Posted by Will Franklin · 14 July 2005 09:23 AM · Comments (0)

Rovegate: Same Ole Twelve Step Program.

Betsy's Page has a must-read on this Rove nonsense. No really, go read it.

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A few thoughts on the Rove kerfuffle:

1. Most Americans don't care about this story at all.

2. Those who do care made up their minds long ago.

3. The Democrats' calls for Karl Rove to be fired just ring hollow, in light of the fact that they called for Karl Rove to be fired a couple of weeks ago.

Remember that hysteria?

Yeah, Rove said liberals were weak on terrorism. America agrees. Because this latest bout of indignation comes so soon after the last ridiculous round of dander-ruffling, there's a serious credibility gap.

Ironically, if so many Democrats had not called for Rove to be fired just a couple of weeks ago, their demands today might seem more reasonable.

4. The media are similarly guilty. If this Rove thing had not come so closely on the heels of widespread media pontificating about how unfair it is that Judith Miller is going to jail, their conviction of Rove might seem more legitimate.

As it is, however, Americans aren't going to suddenly rally behind the idea of frog-marching Karl Rove out of the White House.

5. It is unfortunate that the big stories in all this (Joe Wilson's perfidy; the intial poor reporting) is largely being ignored.

6. It is not "splitting hairs" or "GOP spin" to note that there are very real differences between CIA covert operatives and other CIA employees. It seems, at least, that Karl Rove assumed Plame arranged the Wilson trip as a regular CIA desk jockey. What kind of undercover work could she possibly have been doing, anyway?

7. Nobody except the most devoted activist type is going to remember this mini-eruption of feigned outrage a year from now.

UPDATE:

Just One Minute blog continues to rip to shreds the media's conventional wisdom.

Posted by Will Franklin · 13 July 2005 09:59 PM · Comments (4)

I Ain't Afraid Of No Ghost.

How's the reality-based community doing?

Keepin' it real?

Mmm, not so much:

ghosts.gif

Editor and Publisher:

NEW YORK Gallup reports today that its latest poll found that one in three Americans “believe in ghosts.” The numbers: 32% of all adults say they believe that “ghosts/spirits of dead people can come back,” while 48% do not, and 19% are unsure.

An even larger number of Americans believe that houses can be haunted, with 37% holding that position, 46% saying no, and 16% not sure.

There's an ideological twist, with 42% of liberals saying they believe in ghosts--but only 25% of conservatives and 35% of moderates saying this.

Belief in ghosts declines with age, with 45 of those 18 to 29 sticking to that, while only 22% of those 65 and over holding that view.

It explains quite a bit.

Posted by Will Franklin · 13 July 2005 08:00 PM · Comments (6)

Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 14.

This week's WILLisms.com Caption Contest photograph:

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The actual caption:

A 'member' of the Ned Kelly Gang wears protective armour during a preview for the Sydney Royal Easter Show in 2002. Australia's most famous outlaw, Ned Kelly, was honoured by the government when the scene of his last stand against police was listed as a national heritage site(AFP/File)

There must be a better caption out there for this photograph.


Entries will remain open until 11:59 PM, Central Standard Time, Tuesday, July 19. Submit your captions in the comments section, or email at WILLisms@gmail.com.

Last week's photo:

wifecarrying.gif

Last week's winners:

1.

WunderKraut:

While competing in a local 10k race, Irishman Paul Robert is attacked and strangled to death by an obese, faceless Leprechaun mutant.


2.

Rodney Dill:

Sidney knew it was a lot of effort to get a leprechaun all the way home. It would be worth the effort as Sidney also knew something that the leprechauns did not know. They really were magically delicious.


3.

Hoodlumman:

Paul Roberts was reaping what he had sewn after answering years of "does this make me look fat?" with the wrong answer.


Caption away! Each and every one of you is classy to the max.

Posted by Will Franklin · 13 July 2005 08:53 AM · Comments (20)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 106 -- Supreme Court Confirmation.

Supreme Court-

There has not been a Supreme Court retirement in over 11 years, making the current Court the longest-serving nine-Judge roster since 1823. In fact, 56 Senators have never voted to fill a Supreme Court vacancy.

If Chief Justice Rehnquist retires, he could trigger two confirmation processes or just one, as the President has the option of elevating a current justice or simply naming a new chief justice. Only 5 of the nation's 16 chief justices were elevated from a seat on the Supreme Court.

Source:


The Judicial Confirmation Network
.


---------------------------------


Previous trivia tidbits:

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21, Part 22; Part 23, Part 24, Part 25; Part 26; Part 27, Part 28; Part 29; Part 30, Part 31; Part 32; Part 33; Part 34; Part 35; Part 36; Part 37; Part 38; Part 39; Part 40; Part 41; Part 42; Part 43; Part 44; Part 45; Part 46; Part 47; Part 48; Part 49; Part 50; Part 51; Part 52; Part 53; Part 54; Part 55; Part 56; Part 57; Part 58; Part 59; Part 60; Part 61; Part 62; Part 63; Part 64; Part 65; Part 66; Part 67; Part 68; Part 69; Part 70; Part 71; Part 72; Part 73; Part 74; Part 75; Part 76; Part 77; Part 78; Part 79; Part 80; Part 81; Part 82; Part 83; Part 84; Part 85; Part 86; Part 87; Part 88; Part 89; Part 90; Part 91; Part 92; Part 93; Part 94; Part 95; Part 96; Part 97; Part 98; Part 99; Part 100; Part 101; Part 102; Part 103; Part 104; Part 105.

Daily Trivia Tidbits cover a wide range of topics, and they're usually not trivial at all; you never know what you might find. Stay tuned to WILLisms.com for more.

Have a trivia tidbit tip? Send it over to WILLisms@gmail.com.

Posted by Will Franklin · 13 July 2005 08:52 AM · Comments (2)

South Korea: Wear Bikini, Get Discount.

koreanbikini.gif

This is the most unintentionally funny news story I have read in quite some time (underlining mine):

SEOUL (AFP) - A local government campaign to attract more bathers to a South Korean beach resort by offering incentives to swimmers wearing bikinis has upset women's rights activists.

Ahead of the peak summer bathing season, Buan County administration southwest of Seoul renamed its Byeonsan Beach Bikini Beach and promised wearers of skimpy swimsuits a 10-percent discount on bills for hotels, meals and beach equipment rentals.

The county put up wall posters with pictures of bikini-clad beauties and the inscription: "Show off your beauty and get a 10-percent discount."

Women's groups denounced the campaign as exploitation.

"This is an outrageous attempt to stimulate the regional economy by exploiting the female sex," said a statement from the association of women activists of North Jeolla Province.

A campaign to attract more visitors should focus on publicizing the southwestern county's "natural beauty instead of the naked female body," it said.

"We are appalled at this preposterous campaign and cannot suppress our mounting anger," it said.

But officials at the Buan county office were unrepentant and said by telephone that they had no plan to stop the campaign.

"I don't understand why they are so angry. This is just part of a publicity campaign aimed at promoting the name of the Bikini Beach. We have no intention to exploit or commercialize the female sex," an official told AFP.

It really just speaks for itself.

Posted by Will Franklin · 12 July 2005 10:26 PM · Comments (7)

Some Call It A Bonfire/Carnival Of Classiness...

We call it "Classiness, All Around Us."

certifiedclassy.gif
Click to explore more WILLisms.com.

In no particular order, WILLisms.com presents classiness from the blogosphere (now with 50% more classy!):

1.

Nancy Pelosi and Eminent Domain-

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Vodka Pundit (via Daly Thoughts) examines the potential motives behind Nancy Pelosi's zealous defense of the use of eminent domain to transfer property from one private entity to another private entity:

... why did I have to look all this stuff up myself? Shouldn't some MSM reporter have written about it already? It's not like it was hard to find.

Jay Rosen, if you're listening, if you changed the acronym DCCC to NRCC, and "Forest City" to "Halliburton," if Tom Delay had compared Kelo to 'the word of God,' if the family running Halliburton was also involved in legal defense for terrorists, and if the decision had also been heartily endorsed by Fox News, d'ya think I might have read about that in the Washington Post by now?

Media bias. It's real. And it needs to change.


2.

Rick Perry-

rickperrygoodhair.gif

PoliPundit points out a poll showing Texas Governor Rick Perry crushing Carole Keeton (Rylander) Strayhorn in a primary face-off.

I noted this hierarchy before (Perry > Strayhorn), which even some of my Texas politics insider type of friends thought was presumptive.

Presumptive, preschmumptive.

3.

The War Against Terrorism-

rootterror.gif

Outside The Beltway takes critical aim of the Kos claim that Bush is the cause of increased terrorism:

If we go even further back and look at the data from 1975 on (the last 30 years) we'd see that the last several years of terrorism incidents on average are about average. Given that we are fighting a war on terrorism that is not all that bad (and it isn't all that great either). If we go back even further, we can see that terrorism ramped up, then down and is now ramping back up. Are we to believe that this is all due which Presidents are elected...if so, then we need to go take back the Nobel Peace Prize from Jimmy Carter.

Standing up against terrorism is not the root cause of terrorism, past, present, or future.


4.

Supporting The Troops-

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Soldiers' Angel blog explains in detail how to support the troops via care packages.

Very classy.


5.

Not In Our Name-

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Chan'ad Bahraini blog (via Instapundit) notes that Muslims around the world are condemning the terror attacks in London:

A candlelight vigil was held this evening in front of the British Embassy to Bahrain to show solidarity with the British people, and to express our complete rejection of the terror attacks in London that took place on Thursday

Condemning attacks after they happen is an important and symbolic step, but moderate Muslims must apply the pressure to the terrorists, eliminating any doubt about where Islam stands on the deliberate murder of innocent civilians.


6.

Super Sizing Us-

morganspurlock.gif

Morgan Spurlock Watch blog takes note of Spurlock's high esteem for Cuba's Communist dictator Fidel Castro:

Judging by their actions, I gather most Cubans are rather eager to be "flooded" by "American consumer crap." Last I checked, there weren't many Miamians risking their lives on ramshackle rafts to escape our "consumer crap" for Castro's anti-capitalist paradise. Let's hope Spurlock does a bit of research while he's there. More than he did for his book.

Morgan Spurlock is like so many other documentary artists today. Long on distortion and bias and agenda, short on facts and balance.

[Thanks to Political Calculations blog for pointing out the Spurlock Watch blog]

7.

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm's Cool Plans-

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Kip Esquire asks how making cities more "cool" could possibly fall under the purview of the government:

That $100 million for the "cool" subsidies came from somewhere else in the state budget, or from higher taxes, or from higher deficits. Someone, somewhere in the State of Michigan, is picking up the tab.

Meanwhile, Michigan is one of the few states in the country not experiencing the benefits of the expanding economy over the past couple of years.


8.

President George W. Bush-

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Jay Tea points out two instances of the classiness of our President and his family.

1. "Sometimes Breeding Shows"

2. "What Didn't Happen In Denmark"

Just a profusion of classiness, all around us.


9.

Expose Exxon-

exxposeexxon.gif

Mary Katharine Ham of C-Log gives us a glimpse of a rare species of left-wing protester:

As I continued to watch, I determined that they were indeed teaching the front, center bat the finer points of head position. As you can see, her inexperience has lead her to get caught somewhere between indignation and compassion. Focus, little one!

Somehow I think ExxonMobil will survive.

By the way, is it just me, or do those protesters seem like their hearts aren't really in the game?


10.

New Zealand's Environmentalism-

nzenvironment.gif

Tim Blair explores some Kyoto/Greenpeace absurdity in New Zealand:

New Zealand’s population is only four million; and, according to its leading business group, “New Zealand produces only 0.2% of world greenhouse gas emissions.” Forget Kyoto; if you closed the whole country down, the reduction in greenhouse emissions would be just one-fifth of one percent. New Zealand is so freaky clean and non globally-warmed that glaciers actually grow there.

Yet, New Zealand is actively trying to bankrupt itself chasing after Kyoto goals.


11.

Rove and the Leak-


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Captain's Quarters blog explains how the media are driving the otherwise non-story about Karl Rove to embarrass the administration:

The only people engaging in a cover-up are the media -- the New York Times and Robert Novak. When they want this mystery solved, they'll tell us who leaked the name. Until then, they'll milk this for everything it's worth to embarrass an administration they dislike.

This is one of those stories nobody-- outside of activists, the collective media itself, and political junkies-- really cares about. Sure, Scott McClellan looks like a deer in the headlights in recent days. But the White House press corps, eschewing any vestige of objective reporting they had remain, is proving itself to be nothing more than a bunch of blow-dried, self-important drama queens.


12.

Human Engineering-

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FuturePundit explores the emerging possibility of brain nanowiring:

Picture an embedded nanotech computer wired up to feed the mind information as images, sounds, or simply thoughts that suddenly happen. At the extreme the nanowires could be used to take over a person and control them. Picture a "Manchurian Candidate" controlled by a foreign power. Or picture criminals whose nanocomputers monitor their thoughts and send inhibiting messages that prevent violent acts and other forbidden behavior.

It is a brave new world.


13.

Polling-

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Ezra Klein (via In The Agora) examines how polling may become impossible now that cell phones now outnumber landlines:

The question, then, is how long before this starts violently skewing poll results. Pollsters are legally barred from calling cell phones. Cell phone users, to some degree or another, make up a different demographic profile than the rest of the country (skewed young and economically mobile), and may have different political opinions than the land users. This got a lot of attention in 2004 but, in the end, the polls turned out almost exactly right (indeed, those who harp on the exit polling forget that nearly every poll in the country got the results within the margin of error). As the country switches to cell phones, though, that won't last forever. So when's the tipping point?

Unfortunately, our country relies on easily-manipulated opinion polls more than the only real poll that should matter.


14.

Democracy Budding In Kyrgyzstan-


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Publius Pundit offers some thoughts on this past Sunday's election in Kyrgyzstan:

If someone said to me today, “Kyrgyzstan is not a democracy,” all I could say back is, “Duh.” But maybe in twenty years I will be able to look back and say, “They did good.” Because the development of democracy in Kyrgyzstan is going to be a long one, just as it is in Eastern Europe, Latin America, and elsewhere in the world.

Registan spots the dancing Kyrgyz babes.


15.

Hurricane Alert-


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The Mudville Gazette believes the sensationalization of minor hurricanes will cause problems down the road:

But what about next time? Sensational type reporting - and exaggeration of minor storms into major stories - contributes to the lack of response on the part of many to a major storm when one does come along. People who erroneously believe they've survived a cat 3-4 storm will be in for a rude surprise when a real one moves in.

The media need to report the facts, not invent crises where none exist. Crying wolf can and will lead to complacency down the road.

Not classy.

------------------------------------------------------------


Also, don't forget to check out all the old Trivia Tidbits Of the Day, the Reform Thursday series, the Quotational Therapy sessions, and the Wednesday Caption Contest (entries are due each Tuesday at 11:59 PM Central Standard Time).

Last Week's Classiness Certification from WILLisms.com:

*July 5, 2005.

WILLisms.com offers a weekly classiness roundup as a weekly feature, every Tuesday, with 15 blog posts deemed classy. The criteria for submissions: incisive original analysis, quirky topics nobody else is covering, fantastic graphics, or other posts that took a lot of work. We love to spread the word on upcoming blogs, being that WILLisms.com also fits that description. If you would like to nominate a post on your blog or another blog for inclusion, email us at WILLisms@gmail.com. Write "Classy Nomination" in the subject. You can also utilize this page to make your submissions. The deadline is each Monday at 11:59 PM Central Time.

Classy.

Posted by Will Franklin · 12 July 2005 06:02 PM · Comments (1)

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas -- More Smutty Than Even Previously Thought?

Meet Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. If you've never heard of it, it is one of the most popular-- and most adult-oriented-- video games out there, rated M for "blood and gore, intense violence, strong language, strong sexual content and use of drugs."

Well, there's quite a hubbub today in the gaming community over a graphic (and secret) sex scene found in the game.

grandtheftauto.gif

The Boston Globe:

Enough with the endless controversy over violence in video games. Instead, let's talk about sex.

Raunchy, full-contact sex -- the sort of thing you'd see in a porn movie, only with cartoonlike, computer-generated images.

According to some software-savvy game geeks, you can find this kind of seamy excitement hidden inside one of the world's most popular computer games, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

As if Grand Theft Auto lacked for controversy. It's already the computer game that critics of the industry love to hate because of its relentless brutality. GTA has inspired a spate of legislation in such places as Illinois, Georgia, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C., all aimed at keeping violent games out of the hands of minors.

Basically the controversy boils down to whether Rockstar Games (and the Take 2 Interactive coding crew) included the pornographic scene in the original version, or whether computer coders merely hacked the game to add it. It appears as if the explicit scene was included in the original game.

Either way, it is hidden from the typically computer-illiterate gamer. But how many kids today are not computer whiz material?

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The game already carries an M for Mature rating, but:

...the presence of such a scene could well get the game rated AO (Adults Only). That kind of rating could cause major retailers to shove the game out of sight under the counter -- or maybe to not carry it at all.

Grand Theft Auto is big business, too:

Last year the video game industry raked in $7 billion in U.S. sales alone, with the controversial yet highest-selling title, "Grand Theft Auto," taking in $2 billion in sales.

Two billion. For one game!

It is because of, not in spite of, the graphic violence and sexual content, that the Grand Theft Auto video game series has been so successful.

Meanwhile, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) is taking extraordinary steps to prevent minors from renting or buying these games.

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New York's Chuck Schumer (D) and California'a Leland Yee (D) have both prioritized cracking down on video games.

Democrats across the country, typically proud of their permissiveness/tolerance toward cultural decay/progress, have determined that targeting video games is a political winner with the suburban mom crowd. Hillary Clinton got into the act recently, as well, arguing that Grand Theft Auto is part of a:

"...silent epidemic of media desensitization that teaches kids it's OK to diss people because they are a woman, they're a different color or they're from a different place."

Meanwhile, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), the industry's self-policing watchdog, is looking into the "Hot Coffee" modification and the game itself.

Ultimately, parents, not the government, must take charge of screening the content their children consume. The video game industry almost always classifies its games with appropriate ratings; however, if and when the industry fails to police itself, it will inevitably face the wrath angry parents (via vote-seeking politicians). Warning labels on products are an important tool for parents, but they have to mean something to be effective.

Posted by Will Franklin · 12 July 2005 10:56 AM · Comments (3)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 105 -- Eminent Domain Failure.

Eminent Domain-

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Some historical examples of the failure of eminent domain, pre-Kelo:

In 1959, through the use of eminent domain and a desire to foster economic development, the City of New Haven demolished the one-block-long Spruce Street, which was less than 500 yards from the town green and Yale's campus. With it vanished 23 houses and stores owned by Asians, blacks and first-generation immigrants from Italy, Russia, Ireland, Poland and Greece. There was the A.&P. grocery store, the Joseph Horowitz junkyard, Afinitto's meat market, two nightclubs, Jacob Gutkin's tailor shop, Dorothy Cohen's Hebrew tutoring business and Bill Jones's trucking operation, not to mention Charley Brewster's brothel and an after-hours juke joint where visiting musicians like Duke Ellington once played.

All these, along with row houses, apartments and single-family houses, disappeared. The plaza of stores that replaced it has since been torn down; a Walgreens now stands in its place.

Spruce Street was but one of the victims of the 1950's and 60's in New Haven, when an idealistic City Hall spent more federal government and foundation dollars per capita than any other in America to address poverty. (New Haven received $745.38 per citizen from the federal urban renewal program; the next closest city, Newark, received $277.33.) Through eminent domain, the city seized blocks of tenements - or in some cases, as in today's New London, stately if sometimes neglected houses - replacing them with sterile middle-class housing, upscale retail stores and an eyesore of a coliseum.

Those displaced were shuttled to remote housing projects like Brookside and Quinnipiac Terrace on the western and eastern outskirts of New Haven. With them went the street life of much of the city. In 1970, as urban renewal ended, the census ranked New Haven the 38th-poorest city in America. Ten years later, it was ranked seventh, with 23.2 percent of its population living below the poverty line. Today, more than a quarter of the city's families live in subsidized housing.

-NYT.


HANDS OFF MY HOME
:
handsoffmyhome.jpg

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Previous trivia tidbits:

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21, Part 22; Part 23, Part 24, Part 25; Part 26; Part 27, Part 28; Part 29; Part 30, Part 31; Part 32; Part 33; Part 34; Part 35; Part 36; Part 37; Part 38; Part 39; Part 40; Part 41; Part 42; Part 43; Part 44; Part 45; Part 46; Part 47; Part 48; Part 49; Part 50; Part 51; Part 52; Part 53; Part 54; Part 55; Part 56; Part 57; Part 58; Part 59; Part 60; Part 61; Part 62; Part 63; Part 64; Part 65; Part 66; Part 67; Part 68; Part 69; Part 70; Part 71; Part 72; Part 73; Part 74; Part 75; Part 76; Part 77; Part 78; Part 79; Part 80; Part 81; Part 82; Part 83; Part 84; Part 85; Part 86; Part 87; Part 88; Part 89; Part 90; Part 91; Part 92; Part 93; Part 94; Part 95; Part 96; Part 97; Part 98; Part 99; Part 100; Part 101; Part 102; Part 103; Part 104.

Daily Trivia Tidbits cover a wide range of topics, and they're usually not trivial at all; you never know what you might find. Stay tuned to WILLisms.com for more.

Have a trivia tidbit tip? Send it over to WILLisms@gmail.com.

Posted by Will Franklin · 12 July 2005 09:09 AM · Comments (2)

Carnival Barking.

The Carnival of the Capitalists.

The Carnival of Revolutions.

Go check 'em out.

Posted by Will Franklin · 11 July 2005 07:45 PM · Comments (0)

The Television Networks Don't Like Bush.

negativemediabush.gif

Another guest post at Wizbang [as it happens, I am going to need guest bloggers this weekend, Friday-Monday, for my one year anniversary]. Sort of a bonus trivia tidbit. Go check it out.

Posted by Will Franklin · 11 July 2005 04:35 PM · Comments (4)

John Forbes Kerry: Desperate For Relevance.

Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, wishing he were President, is still grasping for relevance, sending periodic messages on a variety of issues to his 2004 presidential campaign email list. The letters generally ask people to contact the media and/or elected officials, but many of them are just your typical fund-raising letters.

This month, Kerry's pet issue is the pending Supreme Court nomination:

kerrycourt.gif

Does John Kerry really believe his supporters are that simple-minded?

"Step one..."

Come on, Senator Kerry. We know you disdain those of us living in the middle part of the country. We know you believe Bush supporters are simpletons. But this ad is just incredibly lame. And bland. Whose mind is this supposed to change, anyway?

And, moreover, you want the same people who funded your lousy presidential campaign to pay for this ad to appear in newspapers all across the country?

Come on. You're becoming a lampoon of yourself. Do you really think that pandering to far-left groups devoted to the glorification of abortion is going to win over those Ohio voters the next time around?

In the email letter, Kerry tells his former supporters (and those of us who just signed up for the campaign updates), essentially, that he intends to filibuster any nominee who does not pass his own single-issue litmus test:

Dear Friend,

Let's make our principles crystal clear right out of the box.

We will never support a Supreme Court nominee intent on reversing Roe v. Wade and undoing critical civil rights protections. And we will never accept a double standard that says, on a decision vital to America's future, President Bush's most extreme supporters can campaign all-out while you and I are urged to be silent.

I am asking you to endorse and help pay for a powerful message that will appear in the days ahead in newspapers across the country. Show the President and the Senate just how strongly you feel about protecting our fundamental freedoms:

http://contribute.johnkerry.com/

From the range of choices the White House is currently considering, America and the Constitution would be best served if President Bush chooses a nominee in the mold of Sandra Day O'Connor, who was named to the Court by no less of a conservative than Ronald Reagan and approved unanimously by the United States Senate.

But President Bush's most extreme supporters are demanding a nominee who doesn't think or act anything like Justice O'Connor. They want a rigid ideologue who will reverse what President Bush has called the "settled law" of Roe v. Wade, one who will support their efforts to use the Supreme Court as a battering ram to undo decades of progress on civil rights, Roe v. Wade, and privacy.

They want something else as well.

They want you and me to participate in this momentous debate about fundamental freedoms with one hand tied behind our back. They actually expect us to step aside while they roll over our rights. Let's prove that we will never let that happen.

http://contribute.johnkerry.com/

While they unleash a multi-million dollar advertising campaign on behalf of President Bush's choice in close coordination with the White House, you and I are supposed to remain silent -- lest we be charged with "rushing to judgment."

While they conduct a no-holds-barred effort to brush aside any and all questions about the nominee's record and his or her commitment to protecting individual freedom, you and I are supposed to be silenced for fear of being called "obstructionists" and cowered by their threat to revive the "nuclear option."

That's worse than unacceptable. It's un-American, and it's not how we carry on public debate in the greatest democracy on earth. Show them that, with the future of the Supreme Court on the line, we won't stand on the sidelines:

http://contribute.johnkerry.com/

I know I can count on your support in making the following commitment: I will insist on a complete and full examination of the record of President Bush's nominee. And, if that nominee is intent on reversing Roe v. Wade and essential Supreme Court protections for civil rights, I will use every option I have as a United States Senator to keep that nominee off the Court.

Sincerely,

John Kerry

P.S. Don't let them silence our voices. Go out in your community and spread the word along to everyone you know by passing on this message. We must all commit ourselves to standing up for Roe V. Wade and our civil rights.

Incidentally, by "civil rights," John Kerry really means requiring affirmative action (race-based quotas), denying choice to kids in failing public schools, eliminating property rights (through Kelo-based eminent domain decisions), and removing all traces religion, entirely, from the public square, including from the Pledge of Allegiance.

There should be no doubt about what John Kerry is really talking about when he uses terms like "civil rights." If Kerry and his fellow Democrats block the President's nominee, it will only bolster the case that Democrats disdain democracy.

Obstruction of a qualified and mainstream Supreme Court nominee will only fit into the pattern we've seen in recent years of Democrats doing everything in their power to deny the demonstrated electoral wishes of our democracy. Americans don't like individuals or political parties messing with their democracy, and they will continue to respond accordingly.

One of these elections, the Democrats may finally hear what America is saying; they may, eventually, "get it."

Posted by Will Franklin · 11 July 2005 02:22 PM · Comments (5)

Alfred W. Bush?

alfredwbush.gif

Another guest post at Wizbang (Hillary makes a weird comparison). Go check it out.

Posted by Will Franklin · 11 July 2005 11:56 AM · Comments (4)

Quotational Therapy: Part 27 -- The President's Case For Action Against Iraq.

The President's case for military action against Iraq, delivered to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Pentagon staff-

I have just received a very fine briefing from our military leadership on the status of our forces in the Persian Gulf. Before I left the Pentagon, I wanted to talk to you and all those whom you represent the men and women of our military. You, your friends and your colleagues are on the front lines of this crisis in Iraq.

I want you, and I want the American people, to hear directly from me what is at stake for America in the Persian Gulf, what we are doing to protect the peace, the security, the freedom we cherish, why we have taken the position we have taken....

Those who have questioned the United States in this moment, I would argue, are living only in the moment. They have neither remembered the past nor imagined the future.

So first, let's just take a step back and consider why meeting the threat posed by Saddam Hussein is important to our security in the new era we are entering.

This is a time of tremendous promise for America. The superpower confrontation has ended; on every continent democracy is securing for more and more people the basic freedoms we Americans have come to take for granted. Bit by bit the information age is chipping away at the barriers economic, political and social that once kept people locked in and freedom and prosperity locked out.

But for all our promise, all our opportunity, people in this room know very well that this is not a time free from peril, especially as a result of reckless acts of outlaw nations and an unholy axis of terrorists, drug traffickers and organized international criminals.

We have to defend our future from these predators of the 21st century. They feed on the free flow of information and technology. They actually take advantage of the freer movement of people, information and ideas.

And they will be all the more lethal if we allow them to build arsenals of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them. We simply cannot allow that to happen.

There is no more clear example of this threat than Saddam Hussein's Iraq. His regime threatens the safety of his people, the stability of his region and the security of all the rest of us.

I want the American people to understand first the past how did this crisis come about?

And I want them to understand what we must do to protect the national interest, and indeed the interest of all freedom-loving people in the world.

Remember, as a condition of the cease-fire after the Gulf War, the United Nations demanded not the United States the United Nations demanded, and Saddam Hussein agreed to declare within 15 days this is way back in 1991 within 15 days his nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them, to make a total declaration. That's what he promised to do.

The United Nations set up a special commission of highly trained international experts called UNSCOM, to make sure that Iraq made good on that commitment. We had every good reason to insist that Iraq disarm. Saddam had built up a terrible arsenal, and he had used it not once, but many times, in a decade-long war with Iran, he used chemical weapons, against combatants, against civilians, against a foreign adversary, and even against his own people.

And during the Gulf War, Saddam launched Scuds against Saudi Arabia, Israel and Bahrain.

Now, instead of playing by the very rules he agreed to at the end of the Gulf War, Saddam has spent the better part of the past decade trying to cheat on this solemn commitment. Consider just some of the facts:

Iraq repeatedly made false declarations about the weapons that it had left in its possession after the Gulf War. When UNSCOM would then uncover evidence that gave lie to those declarations, Iraq would simply amend the reports.

For example, Iraq revised its nuclear declarations four times within just 14 months and it has submitted six different biological warfare declarations, each of which has been rejected by UNSCOM.

In 1995, Hussein Kamal, Saddam's son-in-law, and the chief organizer of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program, defected to Jordan. He revealed that Iraq was continuing to conceal weapons and missiles and the capacity to build many more.

Then and only then did Iraq admit to developing numbers of weapons in significant quantities and weapon stocks. Previously, it had vehemently denied the very thing it just simply admitted once Saddam Hussein's son-in-law defected to Jordan and told the truth. Now listen to this, what did it admit?

It admitted, among other things, an offensive biological warfare capability notably 5,000 gallons of botulinum, which causes botulism; 2,000 gallons of anthrax; 25 biological-filled Scud warheads; and 157 aerial bombs.

And I might say UNSCOM inspectors believe that Iraq has actually greatly understated its production.

As if we needed further confirmation, you all know what happened to his son-in-law when he made the untimely decision to go back to Iraq.

Next, throughout this entire process, Iraqi agents have undermined and undercut UNSCOM. They've harassed the inspectors, lied to them, disabled monitoring cameras, literally spirited evidence out of the back doors of suspect facilities as inspectors walked through the front door. And our people were there observing it and had the pictures to prove it.

Despite Iraq's deceptions, UNSCOM has nevertheless done a remarkable job. Its inspectors the eyes and ears of the civilized world have uncovered and destroyed more weapons of mass destruction capacity than was destroyed during the Gulf War.

This includes nearly 40,000 chemical weapons, more than 100,000 gallons of chemical weapons agents, 48 operational missiles, 30 warheads specifically fitted for chemical and biological weapons, and a massive biological weapons facility at Al Hakam equipped to produce anthrax and other deadly agents.

Over the past few months, as they have come closer and closer to rooting out Iraq's remaining nuclear capacity, Saddam has undertaken yet another gambit to thwart their ambitions.

-President William Jefferson Clinton; February 17, 1998.

presidentwilliamjclinton.jpg

Puts the case for action in Iraq into perspective.

[More of the speech beyond the click below.]


-----------------------------

Previous Quotational Therapy Sessions:

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21; Part 22; Part 23, Part 24; Part 25; Part 26.

The right quote can be therapeutic, so tune in to WILLisms.com for quotational therapy every Monday and Friday.

Read More »


Posted by Will Franklin · 11 July 2005 09:38 AM · Comments (5)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 104 -- American Stock Ownership.

An Investor Class: The Percentage of Americans Who Own Stock-

An ownership society is a necessity for an "comparatively advantaged" America to stay on top of the global economy. There's obviously much to work on, but there are also positive developments on this front.

stockowners.jpg

Source:

Americans for Tax Reform (.pdf)
.

Part of an ownership society includes making wealth-generating tools (IRAs, mutual funds, 401(k) plans, etc.) once reserved for the wealthiest elites available to the middle and working classes.

Personal retirement accounts in Social Security could avail these tools to all American workers.

Politically, stock owners tend to vote slightly more for Republicans, so it's no wonder Democrats are fighting tooth and nail against Social Security reform. They believe their party's very competitiveness is at stake.

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Previous trivia tidbits:

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21, Part 22; Part 23, Part 24, Part 25; Part 26; Part 27, Part 28; Part 29; Part 30, Part 31; Part 32; Part 33; Part 34; Part 35; Part 36; Part 37; Part 38; Part 39; Part 40; Part 41; Part 42; Part 43; Part 44; Part 45; Part 46; Part 47; Part 48; Part 49; Part 50; Part 51; Part 52; Part 53; Part 54; Part 55; Part 56; Part 57; Part 58; Part 59; Part 60; Part 61; Part 62; Part 63; Part 64; Part 65; Part 66; Part 67; Part 68; Part 69; Part 70; Part 71; Part 72; Part 73; Part 74; Part 75; Part 76; Part 77; Part 78; Part 79; Part 80; Part 81; Part 82; Part 83; Part 84; Part 85; Part 86; Part 87; Part 88; Part 89; Part 90; Part 91; Part 92; Part 93; Part 94; Part 95; Part 96; Part 97; Part 98; Part 99; Part 100; Part 101; Part 102; Part 103.

Daily Trivia Tidbits cover a wide range of topics, and they're usually not trivial at all; you never know what you might find. Stay tuned to WILLisms.com for more.

Have a trivia tidbit tip? Send it over to WILLisms@gmail.com.

Posted by Will Franklin · 11 July 2005 09:28 AM · Comments (0)

The Democrats' Direct Mail.

An interesting read on the Democrats' use of direct mail, which mostly emanates from their intellectual capital city, San Francisco.

In 1925, political scientist Harold Gosnell conducted a groundbreaking study that showed the power of direct mail in boosting turnout in a Chicago mayoral race. Less than a decade later, attack mailers were used to discredit muckraker Upton Sinclair in his 1934 bid for California governor.

For most of the nation's history, efforts to woo selected voters were primitive at best. A piece of mail — a form letter or perhaps a broadsheet designed to look like a newspaper — might have been delivered to a certain precinct based on its voting history. But even in a 75% Republican precinct, one in four letters were wasted on Democratic households....

...the trade magazine Campaigns & Elections listed more than 100 direct-mail firms in its most recent consultant scorecard. Of those, 15 or so handle the bulk of the work nationwide; among Democrats, many of the biggest players have San Francisco as their return address....

In 1925, political scientist Harold Gosnell conducted a groundbreaking study that showed the power of direct mail in boosting turnout in a Chicago mayoral race. Less than a decade later, attack mailers were used to discredit muckraker Upton Sinclair in his 1934 bid for California governor.

For most of the nation's history, efforts to woo selected voters were primitive at best. A piece of mail — a form letter or perhaps a broadsheet designed to look like a newspaper — might have been delivered to a certain precinct based on its voting history. But even in a 75% Republican precinct, one in four letters were wasted on Democratic households.

Also, voting records were often haphazard, so creating any sort of reliable mailing list was enormously time-consuming and, thus, not terribly cost effective. Sorting voters by occupation, marital status or ethnic surname in places like Los Angeles or San Francisco — something that can be done today in seconds — would take a team of campaign workers days to complete 50 years ago.

And then computers changed everything.

The use of refrigerator-size mainframes in the 1960s allowed for creation of the first quality voter lists, which enabled candidates and their strategists to target mailings based on such attributes as voting frequency, ethnicity, gender, household size and birthplace.

California was a natural proving ground, as the home of Silicon Valley. It also helped that the state kept some of the best voter records in the country and that a transient population and weak party system prevented the growth of Eastern- and Midwestern-style political machines, which stymied innovation there and kept candidates beholden to party bosses.

But the biggest incentive to improve the sophistication and reach of political mail was that proverbial mother of invention, in this case the need to work around the huge cost of television advertising.

Austin, Texas, meanwhile, likely holds the distinction of being the Republican direct mail epicenter.

Posted by Will Franklin · 11 July 2005 01:05 AM · Comments (0)

SPAM.

This past week or so, I have been getting literally about 300-400 spam comments and trackbacks per day. Going to have to tweak the software or possibly require typekey registration for comments. It's just gotten out of hand.

Posted by Will Franklin · 10 July 2005 03:34 PM · Comments (3)

San Francisco Protests Turn Violent.

The anti-American, anti-capitalist, anti-everything crowd has struck again in San Francisco:

sfcop.jpg

More on this in a guest post up at Wizbang.

Go check it out.

Posted by Will Franklin · 10 July 2005 03:17 PM · Comments (2)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 103 -- Pretty People Earn More.

Ugly People Can't Catch A Break-

Studies show attractive students get more attention and higher evaluations from their teachers, good-looking patients get more personalized care from their doctors, and handsome criminals receive lighter sentences than less attractive convicts.
The ugly truth, according to economics professors Daniel Hamermesh of the University of Texas and Jeff Biddle of Michigan State University, is that plain people earn 5 percent to 10 percent less than people of average looks, who in turn earn 3 percent to 8 percent less than those deemed good-looking.
A London Guildhall University survey of 11,000 33-year-olds found that unattractive men earned 15 percent less than those deemed attractive, while plain women earned 11 percent less than their prettier counterparts.
Size matters, too. A study released last year by two professors at the University of Florida and University of North Carolina found that tall people earn considerably more money throughout their careers than their shorter co-workers, with each inch adding about $789 a year in pay.

A survey of male graduates of the University of Pittsburgh found that the tallest students' average starting salary was 12 percent higher than their shorter colleagues'. The London Guildhall study showed that overweight women are more likely to be unemployed and that those who are working earn on average 5 percent less than their trimmer peers.

Source:


CNN
.

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Previous trivia tidbits:

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21, Part 22; Part 23, Part 24, Part 25; Part 26; Part 27, Part 28; Part 29; Part 30, Part 31; Part 32; Part 33; Part 34; Part 35; Part 36; Part 37; Part 38; Part 39; Part 40; Part 41; Part 42; Part 43; Part 44; Part 45; Part 46; Part 47; Part 48; Part 49; Part 50; Part 51; Part 52; Part 53; Part 54; Part 55; Part 56; Part 57; Part 58; Part 59; Part 60; Part 61; Part 62; Part 63; Part 64; Part 65; Part 66; Part 67; Part 68; Part 69; Part 70; Part 71; Part 72; Part 73; Part 74; Part 75; Part 76; Part 77; Part 78; Part 79; Part 80; Part 81; Part 82; Part 83; Part 84; Part 85; Part 86; Part 87; Part 88; Part 89; Part 90; Part 91; Part 92; Part 93; Part 94; Part 95; Part 96; Part 97; Part 98; Part 99; Part 100; Part 101; Part 102.

Daily Trivia Tidbits cover a wide range of topics, and they're usually not trivial at all; you never know what you might find. Stay tuned to WILLisms.com for more.

Have a trivia tidbit tip? Send it over to WILLisms@gmail.com.

Posted by Will Franklin · 10 July 2005 11:09 AM · Comments (2)

CAFTA: "New" Democrats No Longer.

In a recent guest post on Wizbang (I am guest blogging there for another few days or so), I noted the American political shift on free trade over the past decade. Republicans have remained more or less in favor of free trade at the same level over the past dozen years. Democrats, meanwhile, have abandoned the global economy, preferring the comfortable retreat of protectionism.

The Wall Street Journal has more:

The Central American Free Trade Agreement passed the Senate last week, as everyone expected, but the more interesting news is who voted against it. Hint: This isn't Bill Clinton's Democratic Party anymore.

Nafta was one of the former President's signature achievements, and free trade one of the issues he used to define himself as a New Democrat. But last week only 10 Senate Democrats found the nerve to support Cafta, as opposed to 27 who voted for Nafta in 1993. Support among House Democrats looks even worse, with 10 or fewer expected to support Cafta when it comes up for a vote this summer, compared with 102 who backed Nafta.

Just as startling is which Senators voted against free trade with our southern neighbors. They include Joe Biden, who is often lauded as a statesman-internationalist; Chris Dodd, the self-avowed friend of Latin American democracy; Evan Bayh, the alleged heir to the New Democrat mantle; Jon Corzine, who made a fortune from free global capital markets at Goldman Sachs; and John Kerry, who lost last year's election in part because voters suspected he wasn't what he claimed to be (e.g., a free trader).

The biggest surprise, at least to us, is the no cast by New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. We'd have thought that a modest trade-opening deal with a few poor countries was an ideal chance to continue her march to moderation and demonstrate to business that she'd follow in the path of her husband as she seeks the White House in 2008. Apparently not.

The WSJ contends, and I concur, that there are a variety of potential reasons for the Democrats' newfound opposition to free trade. One reason: Democrats planning on running for President in 2008 are beholden to the Kos/MoveOn.org crowd who vow to block Democrat who supports the President on anything.

The internet left is far removed from the mainstream of American politics and has little in common with the electoral base of the Democratic Party. A Kos denizen is wealthier, more "degreed" (hyper-educated), and otherwise more elitist than the typical Democrat. But he who controls the purse, controls the agenda. And the Kos/MoveOn.org types (along with unions and trial lawyers) have the cash on the left.

Whatever the reason, Democrats have clearly jumped ship on free trade for short-term political gain. This is bad policy, and typically bad politics from a party the American people are beginning to view as a permanent minority party.

Posted by Will Franklin · 9 July 2005 01:36 PM · Comments (2)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 102 -- School Choice.

PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS NOT PRACTICING WHAT THEY TEACH-

privateschool.jpg
Across the states, 12.2 percent of all families (urban, rural, and suburban) send their children to private schools— a figure that roughly corresponds to perennial and well-known data on the proportion of U.S. children enrolled in private schools. But urban public school teachers send their children to private schools at a rate of 21.5 percent, nearly double the national rate of private-school attendance. Urban public school teachers are also more likely to send their children to private school than are urban families in general (21.5 vs. 17.5 percent).
teacherspets.jpg

It is startling just how many public school teachers are sending their kids to private schools. What exactly does that mean for our public schools?

More on private school enrollment and household income differences (.pdf):

privateschoolhouseholdincom.jpg

Source:

Investor's Business Daily; and "Where Do Public School Teachers Send Their Kids to School?" from the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation (.pdf).

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Previous trivia tidbits:

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21, Part 22; Part 23, Part 24, Part 25; Part 26; Part 27, Part 28; Part 29; Part 30, Part 31; Part 32; Part 33; Part 34; Part 35; Part 36; Part 37; Part 38; Part 39; Part 40; Part 41; Part 42; Part 43; Part 44; Part 45; Part 46; Part 47; Part 48; Part 49; Part 50; Part 51; Part 52; Part 53; Part 54; Part 55; Part 56; Part 57; Part 58; Part 59; Part 60; Part 61; Part 62; Part 63; Part 64; Part 65; Part 66; Part 67; Part 68; Part 69; Part 70; Part 71; Part 72; Part 73; Part 74; Part 75; Part 76; Part 77; Part 78; Part 79; Part 80; Part 81; Part 82; Part 83; Part 84; Part 85; Part 86; Part 87; Part 88; Part 89; Part 90; Part 91; Part 92; Part 93; Part 94; Part 95; Part 96; Part 97; Part 98; Part 99; Part 100; Part 101.

Daily Trivia Tidbits cover a wide range of topics, and they're usually not trivial at all; you never know what you might find. Stay tuned to WILLisms.com for more.

Have a trivia tidbit tip? Send it over to WILLisms@gmail.com.

Posted by Will Franklin · 9 July 2005 08:37 AM · Comments (6)

Canada's Socialized Health Care.

canadasocialisthealth.gif

Another guest blogging piece up at Wizbang. Go check it out.

Posted by Will Franklin · 8 July 2005 01:33 PM · Comments (2)

Nancy Pelosi: Hyper-Hypocritical.

crazednancypelosi.jpg

On the issue of crucial Social Security reform, time and time again, Pelosi demonstrates her true colors:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told Roll Call last week that the Democrat effort to stymie President Bush on Social Security was one of their greatest accomplishments so far this year. Mrs. Pelosi, expressing what is now predictable vitriolic Democratic rhetoric said: "It was important for us to take him down, destroy [Bush's] brand."

Clearly, Nancy Pelosi has been paying a little too much attention to the "'New Ideas' Over-rated as Key to Election Wins" meme bouncing around the left.

Ponder that: NEW IDEAS ARE OVERRATED. What kind of liberals are these?

That's a rhetorical question, but the answer is that they are reactionary left-wingers, evangelically adhering to-- and longing for-- 1930s and 1960s dogma.


Social Security Reform-

June 17, on reform:

"It's not dead yet. We have to stay focused on taking that down."

Watch Nancy Pelosi's shifting comments on Social Security, first from Fox News Sunday back in March:

WALLACE: My question is, the Democrats — it's their plan, Social Security — what is your idea of how to solve the long-term solvency issue?

PELOSI: First, may I just say of that, that is what the taxpayers' dollar, a political ad on the Internet of the House Republican leadership. But that's another issue.

WALLACE: What's your plan?

(CROSSTALK)

PELOSI: The facts, I said, are these.

What?

WALLACE: What's your plan to solve the long-term solvency?

PELOSI: The plan for solvency is to stop robbing Social Security of its money for other purposes.

Okay, so Pelosi wanted to stop the raid on the surplus that Social Security will run for the next dozen years.

Compare that with her comments just a couple of weeks ago:

There's nothing wrong with Social Security lending money with the prospect of returning it - There is a surplus in Social Security, and under the law Social Security can lend that money to the government for other purposes.

Eminent Domain-

This exchange really just speaks for itself:

Q Later this morning, many Members of the House Republican leadership, along with John Cornyn from the Senate, are holding a news conference on eminent domain, the decision of the Supreme Court the other day, and they are going to offer legislation that would restrict it, prohibiting federal funds from being used in such a manner.

Two questions: What was your reaction to the Supreme Court decision on this topic, and what do you think about legislation to, in the minds of opponents at least, remedy or changing it?

Ms. Pelosi. As a Member of Congress, and actually all of us and anyone who holds a public office in our country, we take an oath of office to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Very central to that in that Constitution is the separation of powers. I believe that whatever you think about a particular decision of the Supreme Court, and I certainly have been in disagreement with them on many occasions, it is not appropriate for the Congress to say we're going to withhold funds for the Court because we don't like a decision.

Q Not on the Court, withhold funds from the eminent domain purchases that wouldn't involve public use. I apologize if I framed the question poorly. It wouldn't be withholding federal funds from the Court, but withhold Federal funds from eminent domain type purchases that are not just involved in public good.

Ms. Pelosi. Again, without focusing on the actual decision, just to say that when you withhold funds from enforcing a decision of the Supreme Court you are, in fact, nullifying a decision of the Supreme Court. This is in violation of the respect for separation of church -- powers in our Constitution, church and state as well. Sometimes the Republicans have a problem with that as well. But forgive my digression.

So the answer to your question is, I would oppose any legislation that says we would withhold funds for the enforcement of any decision of the Supreme Court no matter how opposed I am to that decision. And I'm not saying that I'm opposed to this decision, I'm just saying in general.

Q Could you talk about this decision? What you think of it?

Ms. Pelosi. It is a decision of the Supreme Court. If Congress wants to change it, it will require legislation of a level of a constitutional amendment. So this is almost as if God has spoken. It's an elementary discussion now. They have made the decision.

Q Do you think it is appropriate for municipalities to be able to use eminent domain to take land for economic development?

Ms. Pelosi. The Supreme Court has decided, knowing the particulars of this case, that that was appropriate, and so I would support that.


It is almost as if God has spoken? Yikes.

It's obvious Pelosi supports the Kelo decision, because it essentially undermines private property rights in America. Socialists do not believe in private property rights.

There are probably two other dimensions, as well, to Pelosi's theological support for Kelo.

1. The Schiavo situation.

The Democratic leadership has a talking point they feel is a winner, politically (and it is, among their base). The talking point is that Republicans are power-crazy, that Republicans do not respect the rule of law, that Republicans are too aggressively hostile toward the courts, that when Republicans disagree with a judicial decision, they will automatically do something brash, and so on.

So, when the Minority Leader was informed of GOP-initiated legislation designed to protect Americans from the application of Kelo at the federal level, the "Schiavo talking points" flooded forward to her accessible consciousness.

For Nancy Pelosi, the default answer to anything is to oppose anything and everything Republicans do.

2. The environment.

For liberals, powerful private property protections are inimical to environmental protection. The decision in Kelo v. New London essentially allowed a powerful private entity to confiscate the property of an individual against her will and without any public application, with the full blessing of a governmental entity.

One would think liberals would hate Kelo for that reason. Indeed, Kelo means that big corporations can essentially take any property they want, from anyone they want, as long as they get a few city council members to sign on to it. Thinking hypothetically, this could obviously have negative consequences for the environment.

But, because weak private property rights have traditionally been supported by the environmental movement, Pelosi likely erroneously associated Kelo with the protection of wetlands or endangered species.

Political Strategy-

Victor Davis Hanson believes the Democrats, especially elitists such as Nancy Pelosi, have taken all the wrong lessons from recent elections:

...instead of the hard, necessary work of winning the public over to a systematic alternative vision, the Democratic leadership seems to be hoping that a quickie scandal, a noisy filibuster or a slip overseas will tip a few million voters and thus return the Democrats to power....

Can't the Democrats find representatives other than a calcified Kerry, Sen. Joe Biden, Kennedy or Al Gore -- who all crashed in past general presidential elections or primaries and now drip bitterness? How do you politely tell your leadership that it, not just George W. Bush, is the problem?

Even those well-known Democratic luminaries who haven't failed at running for the presidency -- like California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco -- hardly represent a diverse electorate, unless residence within 100 miles of San Francisco reflects Middle America....

Apparently, the liberal opposition thinks sarcasm and negativism can reverse the larger political tide of the last three decades. Good luck.

Democrats regaining the position of dominance in American politics they held for much of the 20th century is just not going to happen with Nancy Pelosi at the helm in the House of Representatives.

Ethical Hypocrisy-

Debra J. Saunders asserts that Nancy Pelosi's pattern of rhetoric and behavior is one of "Ethics -- Only good for the other side."

...a funny thing happened on Pelosi's way to her ethics coup: She ran afoul of the same rules she hurls at DeLay.

As the Washington Post reported, last week Pelosi filed delinquent reports for three trips she herself accepted from outside sponsors. The biggie was a week-long 1999 trip to Taiwan, paid for by the Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce. The tab for Pelosi and her husband: about $8,000.

Just last month, Pelosi spokeswoman Jennifer Crider told Roll Call that Pelosi's "position is that the rules are clear; people need to follow them." Within days, Pelosi had to refile because she failed to follow these "clear" rules.

Here's another glitch: A senior aide to Pelosi, Eddie Charmaine Manansala, went on a $9,887 trip in 2004 sponsored by the same Korea-U.S. Exchange Council as sponsored DeLay's excursion -- then failed to file the mandated paperwork until a reporter asked about the trip.

And while Pelosi bashes GOP ethics, PoliticalMoneyLine, a data firm, crunched the numbers and found that in the last five years, Democrats took 3, 458 privately funded junkets, while Republicans took 2,666.

Indeed, Nancy Pelosi's hyper-hypocrisy is so hilarious it's almost too much to bear:

As Ed Patru of the National Republican Congressional Committee noted, Pelosi has made "ethics the centerpiece of the Democratic party's message," yet she is "the only minority leader who has been hit with fines for fund- raising violations."

Daly wasn't sure if Pelosi was the only minority leader to be fined. That's nice.

That is nice.

And that's our Nancy!

Posted by Will Franklin · 8 July 2005 11:25 AM · Comments (5)

Quotational Therapy: Part 26 -- Churchill On Perserverence.

We Shall Fight on the Beaches-

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...we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

-Sir Winston Churchill; June 4, 1940.

-----------------------------

Previous Quotational Therapy Sessions:

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21; Part 22; Part 23, Part 24; Part 25.

The right quote can be therapeutic, so tune in to WILLisms.com for quotational therapy every Monday and Friday.

Posted by Will Franklin · 8 July 2005 09:46 AM · Comments (2)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 101 -- Shrinking Deficit.

Economic Growth Leading To Lower Federal Budget Deficits-

Treasury officials say, thus far, in fiscal 2005, which began last Oct. 1, they have taken in nearly $100 billion more than previously projected. Individual tax receipts were up an impressive 21 percent over last year. Business tax revenues rose a whopping 48 percent. They took in a record $61 billion on June 15 alone.

"The numbers are an eye-popping vindication of the Laffer curve [a theoretical correlation between tax rates and growth] and the Bush tax cut's real economic value," tax-cut crusader Stephen Moore wrote in the Wall Street Journal.

What this means is that, despite somewhat higher spending, "The federal deficit could come in at $325 billion to $350 billion, significantly better than the White House $427 billion projection, or the Congressional Budget Office's $400 billion forecast," writes The Washington Post's economics reporter Jonathan Weisman....

This economy has growth written all over it: GDP growth is nearly 4 percent; unemployment is 5 percent; the robust housing market shows no signs of slowing; U.S. manufacturing accelerated last month for the first time in seven months; consumer confidence was up sharply and inflation tame.

Source:

The Washington Times (via File It Under blog).

UPDATE:

* 146,000 new payroll jobs were created in June. Payroll job gains in May were revised up to 104,000.

* Twenty-five consecutive months of job gains have added over 3.7 million new jobs to payrolls.

* Payroll employment has increased by 2.1 million over the year and over 1 million new payroll jobs have been created so far this year.

* The unemployment rate (calculated from the household survey of employment) edged down to 5.0% in June, from 5.1% in May. Last June, the unemployment rate was 5.6%.

* The unemployment rate is the lowest since September 11, 2001 and remains below the averages of each of the past 3 decades.

-Via Blogs for Bush, GOP Bloggers, and PoliPundit.


Of course, this is not an excuse for the still gi-normous size of government that has lingered under ostensibly Republican control of government in recent years, but it is proof that tax cuts can lead to greater economic growth, which, in turn, leads to lower deficits. Just a year ago, most people scoffed at President Bush's plans to cut the deficit in half in five years. Well, we're well on our way to making that target.

---------------------------------


Previous trivia tidbits:

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21, Part 22; Part 23, Part 24, Part 25; Part 26; Part 27, Part 28; Part 29; Part 30, Part 31; Part 32; Part 33; Part 34; Part 35; Part 36; Part 37; Part 38; Part 39; Part 40; Part 41; Part 42; Part 43; Part 44; Part 45; Part 46; Part 47; Part 48; Part 49; Part 50; Part 51; Part 52; Part 53; Part 54; Part 55; Part 56; Part 57; Part 58; Part 59; Part 60; Part 61; Part 62; Part 63; Part 64; Part 65; Part 66; Part 67; Part 68; Part 69; Part 70; Part 71; Part 72; Part 73; Part 74; Part 75; Part 76; Part 77; Part 78; Part 79; Part 80; Part 81; Part 82; Part 83; Part 84; Part 85; Part 86; Part 87; Part 88; Part 89; Part 90; Part 91; Part 92; Part 93; Part 94; Part 95; Part 96; Part 97; Part 98; Part 99; Part 100.

Daily Trivia Tidbits cover a wide range of topics, and they're usually not trivial at all; you never know what you might find. Stay tuned to WILLisms.com for more.

Have a trivia tidbit tip? Send it over to WILLisms@gmail.com.

Posted by Will Franklin · 8 July 2005 09:34 AM · Comments (1)

Supreme Court Nominations: The Next Generation.

Go check out my guest post on the new rules for Supreme Court nominations at Wizbang. And be sure to go check out the Patrick Ruffini post that inspired it.

Posted by Will Franklin · 8 July 2005 01:48 AM · Comments (1)

Rehnquist Retirement Rumors.

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I fan the rumor flames about Rehnquist's retirement over at a guest post at Wizbang, if you are interested in that whole Supreme Court thing.

David Hill (via PoliPundit) adds this bit of sad but unsurprising bit of news about American political/judicial knowledge:

...nearly two-thirds of Americans couldn’t name a single current U.S. Supreme Court justice.

Departing O’Connor was the best-known justice, named by 25 percent of Americans. Close behind her was Clarence Thomas, mentioned by 21 percent. No other justice was mentioned by more than 10 percent of the public.

Liberal Democrats will rant and rave that Bush plans to appoint “another Scalia,” but how threatening will that be when just 9 percent of American adults recalled Antonin Scalia’s name as a justice? And when Americans are so unfamiliar with the current court, what justifies popular involvement in the selection of a new justice?

Another poll, conducted in mid-May for AP-Ipsos, appears to redeem the public, however. This poll asked 1,028 adults nationwide whether judges base their decisions mostly on interpretations of the law or mostly on their personal beliefs and political opinions. Although a slim majority of 51 percent said the law prevails, a strong 43 percent said judges let their own views prevail. This sizable minority shouldn’t object to Bush’s trying to appoint a justice whose views are consistent with his own. If justices rely on their own views more than they rely on the law, Bush must appoint a conservative.

Media polls will also press for “moderation” because they know they can’t win the war for outright liberalism. A nationwide Gallup poll of 1,006 adults taken in mid-June, before O’Connor’s decision, asked Americans whether they would like to see Bush appoint a new justice who would make the court more liberal or more conservative than it now is or whether they’d keep the court as it is now. A strong plurality of 41 percent chose a justice who’d make the court “more conservative.” Only 30 percent wanted a more liberal court, and just 24 percent championed the status quo.

Americans, while they can't tell you the names of the Justices, have a distinct feel for the left-leaning ideological imbalance on the Court.

Ultimately, all this means is that this Supreme Court nomination battle will be waged by elites on both sides. Let's just hope our elites are better than their elites. We elites on the right are in a good position to convince the American people of the necessity and desireability for a new direction on the Court, especially in light of wildly unpopular recent decisions that an average American can understand right in his gut.

Posted by Will Franklin · 7 July 2005 12:56 PM · Comments (2)

Social Security Reform Thursday: Week Twenty-Three.

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Thursdays are good days for reform, because they fall between Wednesdays and Fridays.

That's why WILLisms.com offers a chart or graph, every Thursday, pertinent to Social Security reform.

This week's topic:

Support for the DeMint-Ryan Lockbox Plan.

Much of the case against Social Security reform rests on the alleged fact that reform is not popular. It's the third rail of politics. You touch it, you get zapped.

Left-wing interests groups have mobilized their members to write letters to their members of Congress, to hold signs like this...

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... and otherwise mobilize to oppose necessary Social Security reform. A reformed system would be bad for the left, politically. After all, reform would be an admission of the program's inherent structural failure; reform would give Bush a "legacy" type of political victory; and reform would, over time, create more citizens naturally inclined toward free enterprise Republicanism.

But, over and over (and over and over and over and over and over and over and over ), polling data show support for market-oriented reform. When people are informed of the actual facts on Social Security reform, they overwhelmingly support the Republican brand of reform.

The latest (.pdf), from Dutko Research (via Social Security Choice blog):

surpluslockbox.gif

If there is no reform in 2006, those responsible for the obstruction will be held accountable by the voters. Americans understand there is a problem, or a crisis, or a looming crisis, or a whatever you want to term it. If Congress fails to do anything to solve the problem, Americans will be disgusted. They will only take out their frustration on the Democrats if Republicans give reform their best shot. If too many RINO-types join the Democrats in opposing the meaningful reform that Americans want, Congressional Republicans will see no benefit.

Gary Andres explains the progression of the Social Security reform effort rather well:

The flow of the Social Security debate, while not rapid, is following a rational course. First, President Bush tried to convince voters about the nature of the problem. Polling data suggests he succeeded. For example, a Dutko Research late May survey found 81 percent saying Social Security needs change to remain solvent. If a large majority of voters now perceive a problem, it's logical that voters rank "strengthening Social Security" as the top domestic priority for congressional action.

Even with the Supreme Court scuffle, even with everything else on the legislative agenda, even with developments in the war on terror, if Congress comes up empty-handed, the folks, young and old, won't be happy at all.



--------------------------------

Previous Reform Thursday graphics can be seen here:

-Week One (Costs Exceed Revenues).
-Week Two (Social Security Can't Pay Promised Benefits).
-Week Three (Americans Getting Older).
-Week Three, bonus (The Templeton Curve).
-Week Four (Fewer Workers, More Retirees).
-Week Five (History of Payroll Tax Base Increases).
-Week Six (Seniors Living Longer).
-Week Six, bonus (Less Workers, More Beneficiaries).
-Week Seven (History of Payroll Tax Increases).
-Week Seven, bonus (Personal Accounts Do Achieve Solvency).
-Week Eight (Forty Year Trend Of Increasing Mandatory Spending).
-Week Nine (Diminishing Benefits Sans Reform).
-Week Ten (Elderly Dependence On Social Security).
-Week Eleven (Entitlement Spending Eating The Budget).
-Week Twelve (Benefit Comparison, Bush's Plan versus No Plan).
-Week Thirteen (Younger Americans and Lifecycle Funds).
-Week Fourteen (The Thrift Savings Plan).
-Week Fifteen (Understanding Progressive Indexing).
-Week Sixteen (The Graying of America).
-Week Seventeen (Debunking Myths).
-Week Eighteen (Debunking Myths).
-Week Nineteen (Reform Needed Sooner Rather Than Later).
-Week Twenty (Global Success With Personal Accounts).
-Week Twenty-One (GROW Accounts: Stopping The Raid).
-Week Twenty-Two (Millions of Lockboxes).

Tune into WILLisms.com each Thursday for more important graphical data supporting Social Security reform. We'll address more myths in future installments.

UPDATE:

OTB Traffic Jam
.

Posted by Will Franklin · 7 July 2005 10:52 AM · Comments (1)

Tony Blair's George W. Bush Moment.

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I hate to trivialize the dastardly deed committed today in London by those terrorist cowards, but I can't help but wonder what Tony Blair was thinking when making his statement to the press:

blairstumbles.jpg
"It is particularly barbaric that this has happened on a day when people are meeting to try to help the problems of poverty in Africa, and the long term problems of climate change and the environment."

Blair was clearly ad-libbing the entire speech, and it must have been a dizzying time for anyone in his position, but it strikes me as a little awkward to claim that it is "particularly barbaric" that this could happen in light of G8 leaders addressing "climate change and the environment."

When I heard that line, I cringed. Is he seriously going to plug the cause of global warming at a time like this? Frankly, Blair's entire statement, and the way he delivered it, left something to be desired.

Beginning with the peculiarly British statement that it is, "reasonably clear there have been a series of terrorist attacks in London."

I like Tony Blair. I love the way British people speak. But the way Blair delivered his initial statement vacillated between his best Hugh Grant impression and his worst George W. Bush impression.

At times, he seemed too stunned and flabbergasted to even express himself appropriately.

Historians of September 11, 2001 typically argue that President Bush was not really at his best in the immediate aftermath of the horror. The President's initial response was adequate, but Bush won over Americans in the days to follow, when he came through with brilliant and inspiring leadership. Those of us fond of Bush tend to remember that stoic, resolute version of President Bush in the aftermath of 9/11, and for good reason.

Contrast Blair's comments with President Bush's comments, elaborating on what Tony Blair really meant to say:

bushg8.jpg
The contrast between what we've seen on the TV screens here, what's taken place in London and what's taking place here is incredibly vivid to me. On the one hand, we have people here who are working to alleviate poverty, to help rid the world of the pandemic of AIDS, working on ways to have a clean environment. And on the other hand, you've got people killing innocent people. And the contrast couldn't be clearer between the intentions and the hearts of those of us who care deeply about human rights and human liberty, and those who kill -- those who have got such evil in their heart that they will take the lives of innocent folks.

The war on terror goes on. I was most impressed by the resolve of all the leaders in the room. Their resolve is as strong as my resolve. And that is we will not yield to these people, will not yield to the terrorists. We will find them, we will bring them to justice, and at the same time, we will spread an ideology of hope and compassion that will overwhelm their ideology of hate.

President Bush tied together what Tony Blair probably intended to say, noting the vast contrast between good and evil. Then he explained, succinctly and without a lot of dilly-dallying, that we will bring the bad guys to justice.

People need to hear that our leaders say, in plain language, that they plan to get the bad guys.

Now contrast Blair's comments from earlier in the day with his message of solidarity with the rest of the G8 leaders a little later on:


g8leaders.jpg

“We condemn utterly these barbaric attacks. We send our profound condolences to the victims and their families.”

“All of our countries have suffered from the impact of terrorism. Those responsible have no respect for human life. We are united in our resolve to confront and defeat this terrorism that is not an attack on one nation but on all nations and on civilised people everywhere.

“We will not allow violence to change our societies or our values, nor will we allow it to stop the work of this summit. We will continue our deliberations in the interests of a better world. Here at this summit the world’s leaders are striving to combat world poverty and save and improve human life.

“The perpetrators of today’s attacks are intent on destroying human life. The terrorists will not succeed. Today’s bombings will not weaken in any way our resolve to uphold the most deeply held principles of our societies and to defeat those who would impose their fanaticism and extremism on all of us.

“We shall prevail and they shall not.”

tbone.jpg

We shall prevail and they shall not. That's a George W. Bush line. And, sure, Blair was just reading the statement on behalf of the assembled leaders, but at that moment, Blair assumed the role of leader that George W. Bush perfected after 9/11.

The U.K. needs its Prime Minister to lead, not appear stunned; Great Britain needs Blair to speak powerfully and simply, not equivocate and guess and bumble; London needs Blair to promise that justice will be served for those responsible for the horror, not talk about his pet political projects. The good news is that, after a few early forgiveable stumbles, Tony Blair is now right on track.


The Political Teen has the video of Blair's London comments.

At 10 Downing Street, Blair's leadership shined :

10downingblair.jpg
It is through terrorism that the people that have committed this terrible act express their values, and it is right at this moment that we demonstrate ours. I think we all know what they are trying to do - they are trying to use the slaughter of innocent people to cower us, to frighten us out of doing the things that we want to do, of trying to stop us going about our business as normal, as we are entitled to do, and they should not, and they must not, succeed.

When they try to intimidate us, we will not be intimidated. When they seek to change our country or our way of life by these methods, we will not be changed. When they try to divide our people or weaken our resolve, we will not be divided and our resolve will hold firm. We will show, by our spirit and dignity, and by our quiet but true strength that there is in the British people, that our values will long outlast theirs. The purpose of terrorism is just that, it is to terrorise people, and we will not be terrorised.

A well-delivered and important message from Tony Blair. Much improved over the convoluted message early on in the day.


----------------------------------------------

UPDATE:

Other noteworthy blog coverage-

*Wizbang.
*The democracy guy blog.
*Michelle Malkin.
*Winds of Change.
*Joust The Facts.

Posted by Will Franklin · 7 July 2005 10:01 AM · Comments (20)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 100 -- Botswana.

BOTSWANA, MODEL FOR AFRICA-

botswana.gif

Since independence, Botswana has had the fastest growth in per capita income in the world. Economic growth averaged over 9% per year from 1966-99. The government has maintained a sound fiscal policy, despite three consecutive budget deficits in 2002-2004, and a negligible level of foreign debt. It earned the highest sovereign credit rating in Africa and has stockpiled foreign exchange reserves (over $5.3 billion in 2003/4) amounting to almost two years of current imports. Botswana’s impressive economic record has been built on the foundation of wisely using revenue generated from diamond mining to fuel economic development through prudent fiscal policies and a cautious foreign policy.

Source:

U.S. Department of State (via No Speed Bumps).

Botswana is the model for reforming Africa. It has a generally free and open market economy; it is freer, politically (.pdf -- Freedom House), than Brazil, India, and even Jamaica.

Corruption is low, the free enterprise system is allowed to work, and, what do you know, the country is one of the more successful countries in Africa. Botswana's per capita GDP ($9,200) is above that of China, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Turkey, Brazil, and Thailand; Botswana's per capita GDP even bests the world average.

Contrast Botswana with Zambia (or any number of sub-Saharan nations), and you can really see how much institutions matter.

In short, Africa could learn a lot, from one of its own.

Moeletsi Mbeki adds:

Successful development in Africa will not be achieved by throwing more fuel on the flames. Merely handing more aid money to African governments only reinforces the pattern of abuse. The key to development lies in a dynamic private sector. For a country to produce more, private individuals must generate savings and plow those savings back into the production process in the form of new and improved techniques, processes and products....

Future development in Africa requires a new type of democracy -- one that empowers not just the political elite but private-sector producers as well. It is necessary that peasants, who constitute the core of the private sector, become the real owners of their primary asset: land.


Trade, not aid!

---------------------------------


Previous trivia tidbits:

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21, Part 22; Part 23, Part 24, Part 25; Part 26; Part 27, Part 28; Part 29; Part 30, Part 31; Part 32; Part 33; Part 34; Part 35; Part 36; Part 37; Part 38; Part 39; Part 40; Part 41; Part 42; Part 43; Part 44; Part 45; Part 46; Part 47; Part 48; Part 49; Part 50; Part 51; Part 52; Part 53; Part 54; Part 55; Part 56; Part 57; Part 58; Part 59; Part 60; Part 61; Part 62; Part 63; Part 64; Part 65; Part 66; Part 67; Part 68; Part 69; Part 70; Part 71; Part 72; Part 73; Part 74; Part 75; Part 76; Part 77; Part 78; Part 79; Part 80; Part 81; Part 82; Part 83; Part 84; Part 85; Part 86; Part 87; Part 88; Part 89; Part 90; Part 91; Part 92; Part 93; Part 94; Part 95; Part 96; Part 97; Part 98; Part 99.

Daily Trivia Tidbits cover a wide range of topics, and they're usually not trivial at all; you never know what you might find. Stay tuned to WILLisms.com for more.

Have a trivia tidbit tip? Send it over to WILLisms@gmail.com.

Posted by Will Franklin · 7 July 2005 05:36 AM · Comments (1)

Social Security: Franklin vs. Bismarck.

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José Piñera (via Social Security Choice blog):

Otto von Bismarck, chancellor of Germany from 1871 to 1890, an aristocrat, a monarchist, and a Prussian nationalist, put in place the first social security system in 1889 in Germany. The U.S. Social Security Administration, on its website, traces its intellectual roots to Bismarck and to the 19th century European idea of the welfare state.

This was the Europe of Saint-Simon, Comte, and Marx, where central planning and collectivism were becoming the popular places to turn for the answers to the human condition. The folly of these ideas when taken to their logical conclusions, a process which Nobel laureate economist F.A. Hayek called the "fatal conceit," became widely appreciated after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

On another continent, a century before Bismarck, lived Benjamin Franklin, whom historian H.W. Brands called the "The First American." This master of technology saw human potential in creative, responsible individuals living in freedom. He wrote a famous memorandum on the 13 virtues -- such as frugality and industry -- needed for personal success. The individual is not a passive data point for central planners, but the locus of initiative, creativity, and individuality.

Franklin fully understood the extraordinary power of compound interest. In his will, he left 1000 pounds sterling each to the cities of Philadelphia and Boston, carefully calculated how much these funds would yield over 200 years at 5 percent interest, and stipulated loans to young artisans to help them start their businesses.

I'll go with Franklin over Bismarck any day.

Posted by Will Franklin · 6 July 2005 02:48 PM · Comments (5)

London Wins 2012 Olympic Bid.

It came down to Paris and London...

and London won.

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The French, meanwhile, are reeling:

Paris has been urged not to fight a fourth time to host the Olympic Games having lost for the third time in two decades.

The city, which had been favourite, has been told not to bid for a long time, French newspaper Liberation urged.

The French will have to miss out on the anticipated celebration and move straight to the hangover after having been rejected by the IOC to host the 2012 Olympics, the paper added.

Glad the British finally got a chance to host. It's been since 1948 that London was able to host the Olympics, and that was under less than favorable circumstances.

Also, a purely anecdotal note on NYC's bid: nearly everyone I know who lives in New York City deeply desired this outcome.

Posted by Will Franklin · 6 July 2005 10:40 AM · Comments (2)

Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 13.

This week's WILLisms.com Caption Contest photograph:

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The actual caption:

Irishman Paul Robert carries 118 kg Julia Galvin from Ireland in the World Wife Carrying Championships in Sonkajarvi, Finland, July 5, 2003. The bizarre event, in which a man carries a woman over a 250 metre obstacle course, is rooted in a local legend about a wife-stealing gang. Revived as a contest 11 years ago, it now draws contestants from all around the world. NO THIRD PARTY SALES/Tommi Korpihalla

There must be a better caption out there for this photograph.


Entries will remain open until 11:59 PM, Central Standard Time, Tuesday, July 12. Submit your captions in the comments section, or email at WILLisms@gmail.com.

Last week's photo (which only netted a few entries):

fountain.gif

Last week's winners:

1.

Jim Rose:

Austin Hilsmier, 3, from Chicago enjoys this interactive art exhibit titled, "That's Not Water".


2.

MajorDad1984:

Mom wasn't kidding when she warned me about having that last glass of water before bedtime.


3.

Rodney Dill:

. . . Not unlike what the Supreme Court did to property rights.


Caption away! Each and every one of you is way classy.

Posted by Will Franklin · 6 July 2005 10:04 AM · Comments (19)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 99 -- Foreign Aid.

FOREIGN AID-

greenbookforeignaid.gif

Source:

"Greenbook," U.S. Agency for International Development [USAID] U.S. Overseas Loans and Grants, Obligations and Loan Authorizations (via Fishkite blog).

Even taking out military aid, foreign aid has still burgeoned mightily under the Bush administration.

---------------------------------


Previous trivia tidbits:

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21, Part 22; Part 23, Part 24, Part 25; Part 26; Part 27, Part 28; Part 29; Part 30, Part 31; Part 32; Part 33; Part 34; Part 35; Part 36; Part 37; Part 38; Part 39; Part 40; Part 41; Part 42; Part 43; Part 44; Part 45; Part 46; Part 47; Part 48; Part 49; Part 50; Part 51; Part 52; Part 53; Part 54; Part 55; Part 56; Part 57; Part 58; Part 59; Part 60; Part 61; Part 62; Part 63; Part 64; Part 65; Part 66; Part 67; Part 68; Part 69; Part 70; Part 71; Part 72; Part 73; Part 74; Part 75; Part 76; Part 77; Part 78; Part 79; Part 80; Part 81; Part 82; Part 83; Part 84; Part 85; Part 86; Part 87; Part 88; Part 89; Part 90; Part 91; Part 92; Part 93; Part 94; Part 95; Part 96; Part 97; Part 98.

Daily Trivia Tidbits cover a wide range of topics, and they're usually not trivial at all; you never know what you might find. Stay tuned to WILLisms.com for more.

Have a trivia tidbit tip? Send it over to WILLisms@gmail.com.

Posted by Will Franklin · 6 July 2005 10:00 AM · Comments (0)

The Roe Effect.

James Taranto of OpinionJournal.com takes a fresh look at the Roe effect (that abortion, eventually, helps Republicans, politically):

Roe v. Wade is a study in unanticipated consequences. By establishing a constitutional right to abortion, the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court no doubt thought they were settling the issue for good, accelerating a process of liberalization that was already under way in 1973. But instead of consensus, the result was polarization....

It is a statement of fact, not a moral judgment, to observe that every pregnancy aborted today results in one fewer eligible voter 18 years from now. More than 40 million legal abortions have occurred in the United States since 1973, and these are not randomly distributed across the population. Black women, for example, have a higher abortion ratio (percentage of pregnancies aborted) than Hispanic women, whose abortion ratio in turn is higher than that of non-Hispanic whites. Since blacks vote Democratic in far greater proportions than Hispanics, and whites are more Republican than Hispanics or blacks, ethnic disparities in abortion ratios would be sufficient to give the GOP a significant boost--surely enough to account for George W. Bush's razor-thin Florida victory in 2000.

A rare must-read, in light of the upcoming Supreme Court nomination.

Posted by Will Franklin · 5 July 2005 11:35 PM · Comments (1)

Some Call It A Bonfire/Carnival Of Classiness...

We call it "Classiness, All Around Us."

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Click to explore more WILLisms.com.

In no particular order, WILLisms.com presents classiness from the blogosphere (now with 50% more classy!):

1.

Japanese Quirks-

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Marginal Revolution blog takes a gander at some uniquely Japanese cultural characteristics:

Many Japanese think green is a shade of blue, and they often take off their shoes before committing suicide.

Some fascinating stuff.


2.

U.S.-India Relations-

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Winds of Change blog takes note of an immensely important geopolitical event, one that was barely reported in the media:

...this week, The United States and India signed a 10-year agreement paving the way for stepped up military ties, including joint weapons production and cooperation on missile defense. Titled the "New Framework for the US-India Defense Relationship" (NFDR), it was signed on June 27/05 by U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and India's Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

This is a big deal. A very big deal....

Pretty soon some sad-eyed Chinese politician will have to campaign for election on a platform of being "stronger at home, and more respected abroad." Oh... right. Nevermind.

India is an important strategic ally for the United States in a rapidly changing world; it's also probably a good thing that the Indian people like us (.pdf) more than the Europeans.


3.

NBC's Brian Williams-


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IMAO offers this hilarious take on the strange moral equivocation of news anchor Brian Williams.

Fun times. And very classy.


4.

Marrying For Money-

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Brian Caplan of EconLog takes a unique look at marrying for money:

By going to the world market, the typical American man could probably use the lure of citizenship and a First World standard of living to find a wife who is better-looking, younger, and less demanding than he could find in the States. Roll your eyes if you must!

One can only wonder how much widespread this actually is.

5.

Live 8-

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The BrothersJudd Blog expresses what we've all been thinking on Live 8:

Those with even a modicum of historical perspective and good sense knew full well there is something very wrong and embarrassing here. But all of them felt obliged to bury concerns about rampant corruption, totalitarianism, waste, apathy and inefficiency in gooey bromides about how great it is that so many young people are showing that they “care”.

It’s not great at all. It is a self-indulgent, quasi-racist conceit which betrays the small, but growing, African middle-class and intellectual forces that are the sole hope of that wretched continent. It is an appalling surrender to a post-modern, post-colonial guilt that wasn’t even that persuasive in 1950's Paris, where it was born. It is a selfish, damaging triumph of silly Oprah-speak over genuine charity.

I have no doubt that Bono is sincere in his concern for Africa, but, watching Live 8, the effort really just missed the point. Millenium Challenge Accounts are what the world needs to get on board with, not awareness for the sake of awareness. Mark Steyn has some great thoughts on the matter.

Oh, and incidentally, Pink Floyd put on a freaking awesome show.


6.

The Coalition of the Deaf and Blind-

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Patrick Ruffini chronicles the coalition on the left devoted to re-writing the history of the political atmosphere leading up to the Iraq war:

Call us crazy, but is it that unreasonable to assume that: A terrorist after the war = a terrorist before the war? The debate over whether Ba'athist Iraq was a terror state as defined multiple times by the President in September 2001 is pretty much over. And yet liberals remain under the impression that Saddam was the Iraqi Robert E. Lee, an honorable and worthy opponent who obeyed the rules of warfare, and had nothing to do with terrorism.

Only a member of a coalition of the deaf and blind could actually believe that.

Yet, the elite media has actively assisted this bizarre leftist revisionism.


7.

Karl Rove, Valerie Plame, Joe Wilson, and Lawrence O'Donnell-

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Just One Minute blog has the best coverage of the "Karl Rove is the leaker" quasi-hysteria that erupted over the weekend. Just One Minute also adds, today:

The NY Times lacks a comics section, but makes up for it with stories like this....

At this point, the Times has become so separated from reality on this story, I don't know if they can ever find their way home.

Credibility is painstakingly earned and rapidly lost. It seems like some media types (ahem, cough, Lawrence O'Donnell, cough, ahem) may not be aware of that equation.


8.

2006 Senate Balance-

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Asymmetrical Information blog notes that the Democrats have almost zero chance of taking back the Senate in 2006.

9.

O'Connor, Dissenter-

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Patterico's Pontifications blog takes note of just how often Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has been in the minority in 5-4 decisions:

Today’s L.A. Times editorial on Justice O’Connor opens with this statement:

One fact sums up Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s pivotal role on the Supreme Court and the enormity of her resignation — she alone was in the majority of every one of the court’s 13 5-4 decisions this last term.

Wow. That’s really impressive. Except for one small problem . . . there were 24 5-4 decisions this Term, not 13 — and Justice O’Connor was in the minority in quite a few of those cases.

Sigh. Editorials and facts don't really go together anymore. More thoughts on O'Connor at The American Thinker (via PoliPundit).

10.

Low-key social life, eh-


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Michelle Malkin notes that Valerie Plame's private life is far from private.

It seems possible that nobody in particular outed Valerie Plame. After all, it's hard to reveal a secret that is already public knowledge.


11.

Gary Trudeau and Doonesbury-

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Powerline blog examines the point of a Doonesbury comic strip:

I'm not familiar with the characters Trudeau employs in this strip, but his point seems to be that bloggers are obsessive, clueless, vainly in love with the sound of their voice even if no one is listening, and perhaps delusional. I'm sure the portrait applies to some cartoonists as well as bloggers.

The common thread in all the hate mail I have ever gotten is that I am full of myself, narcissistic, and otherwise vain. An interesting take on a comic strip I never read.



12.

The Pelosi backfire effect-

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Captain's Quarters takes note of Nancy Pelosi's trip disclosure problems:

Pelosi has created a catastrophe for the Democrats, now including herself, by kicking over the travel-expenses rock. She may have aimed at DeLay, but her choice of weapons could not have been worse. It amounts to poetic justice that the misfire has specifically hit her as well as her fellow caucus members, who may soon decide that her leadership costs them more than it's worth.

The thing is, conservatives warned Pelosi not to go after DeLay unless she was sure she was spotless herself. But she pressed on anyway.


13.

Mexican racism-


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La Shawn Barber wonders what Mexicans really think of blacks:

I wasn’t going to blog about this because it nauseates me, then I changed my mind. Michelle Malkin beat me to the punch anyway. Whenever I see racist caricatures of blacks from back in the day, I cringe. To think there was a time in the U.S. when whites openly mocked and ridiculed blacks with these exaggerated stereotypes, and blackface comedy was all the rage.

It is amazing, but it is indicative of a greater, lingering, widespread backwardness in Mexico.

14.

America's Exceptionalism-

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Ken McCracken offers a nice look at America's unique identity:

If America is a transcendent ideal, one need not even set foot here to become an American. This is why America is not a nation: it is a universal principle, and not reserved merely for those fortunate enough to be American by an accident of birth.

America is still the shining city on the hill. No other country can make that claim.


15.

Gonzales, Bush's nominee?-

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The Decision '08 blog wonders if the futures markets know something the rest of us don't:

In any event, the price of the Gonzales contract has essentially doubled on heavy volume...when the choice is between random talking heads and people who are putting money where their mouth is, always follow the money...

The markets have been amazingly successful at making these kinds of predictions, but I would just bet that George W. Bush's famously close-knit circle of advisors is keeping their mouths shut until President Bush returns from Gleneagles, Scotland.


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Also, don't forget to check out all the old Trivia Tidbits Of the Day, the Reform Thursday series, the Quotational Therapy sessions, and the Wednesday Caption Contest (entries are due each Tuesday at 11:59 PM Central Standard Time).

Last Week's Classiness Certification from WILLisms.com:

*June 28, 2005.

WILLisms.com offers a weekly classiness roundup as a weekly feature, every Tuesday, with 15 blog posts deemed classy. The criteria for submissions: incisive original analysis, quirky topics nobody else is covering, fantastic graphics, or other posts that took a lot of work. We love to spread the word on upcoming blogs, being that WILLisms.com also fits that description. If you would like to nominate a post on your blog or another blog for inclusion, email us at WILLisms@gmail.com. Write "Classy Nomination" in the subject. You can also utilize this page to make your submissions. The deadline is each Monday at 11:59 PM Central Time.

Classy.

UPDATE:

Jamming.

Posted by Will Franklin · 5 July 2005 01:13 PM · Comments (12)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 98 -- Social Security Shortfall.

SOCIAL SECURITY SHORTFALL-

In just 12 years - 2017 - Social Security won't have enough payroll taxes coming in to pay promised benefits. At that point, and for the next 24 years until 2041, the Social Security Administration will rely on covering the shortfall by redeeming the IOUs held by the Social Security Trust Fund.

These IOUs are special government bonds that, by law, the U.S. Treasury must redeem for cash. But, where will the money come from to pay off the IOU bonds? There is no money set aside to pay them.

So, to cover the shortfall, there are benefit cuts, tax hikes, or cutting other government programs equal to the shortfall. Here's what we could cut:

In the first year of Social Security's cash deficit - 2017 - the shortfall is estimated at $8.8 billion. Using the current cost of government programs, we'd have enough money to make up this shortfall if we eliminated funding for Head Start, the Labor Department's five worker protection programs and the Supreme Court.

By the following year, 2018, the shortfall triples to $26.4 billion. So, added to the first round of cuts, we'd have enough if Congress also eliminated the entire Environmental Protection Agency, the WIC or women, infants and children nutritional program, the National Park Service and the Federal Drug Administration.

In the third year, Congress could make up the additional deficit by also eliminating the FBI, the Centers for Disease Control and the State Department.

Within three more years, in the year 2022, the annual shortfall will be over $100 billion. This represents additional cuts comparable in size to the National Institutes of Health, the FAA, and $12 billion in Title I education grants to local agencies. And it gets worse every year.


Source:


Tim Penny and Leanne Abdnor
, both former members of the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security, currently members of For Our Grandchildren.

Incidentally, current Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Republican, defeated Tim Penny in a three-way race in 2002.

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Previous trivia tidbits:

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21, Part 22; Part 23, Part 24, Part 25; Part 26; Part 27, Part 28; Part 29; Part 30, Part 31; Part 32; Part 33; Part 34; Part 35; Part 36; Part 37; Part 38; Part 39; Part 40; Part 41; Part 42; Part 43; Part 44; Part 45; Part 46; Part 47; Part 48; Part 49; Part 50; Part 51; Part 52; Part 53; Part 54; Part 55; Part 56; Part 57; Part 58; Part 59; Part 60; Part 61; Part 62; Part 63; Part 64; Part 65; Part 66; Part 67; Part 68; Part 69; Part 70; Part 71; Part 72; Part 73; Part 74; Part 75; Part 76; Part 77; Part 78; Part 79; Part 80; Part 81; Part 82; Part 83; Part 84; Part 85; Part 86; Part 87; Part 88; Part 89; Part 90; Part 91; Part 92; Part 93; Part 94; Part 95; Part 96; Part 97.

Daily Trivia Tidbits cover a wide range of topics, and they're usually not trivial at all; you never know what you might find. Stay tuned to WILLisms.com for more.

Have a trivia tidbit tip? Send it over to WILLisms@gmail.com.

Posted by Will Franklin · 5 July 2005 09:44 AM · Comments (3)

The Carnival Of Revolutions.

Registan presents this week's Carnival of Revolutions. Go check it out.

Posted by Will Franklin · 4 July 2005 11:03 AM · Comments (1)

Quotational Therapy: Part 25 -- Declaration of Independence.

INDEPENDENCE DAY-

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Take a moment, if it's been a while, to read the Declaration of Independence, in all its soaring majesty:

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

We should re-dedicate ourselves, every year, to these ideals.

Robert Faulkner's 1936 murals, depicting the signers of the Declaration (click for larger versions):


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- Visit The National Archives for more neat Fourth of July stuff.

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Previous Quotational Therapy Sessions:

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21; Part 22; Part 23, Part 24.

The right quote can be therapeutic, so tune in to WILLisms.com for quotational therapy every Monday and Friday.

Posted by Will Franklin · 4 July 2005 10:58 AM · Comments (3)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 97 -- Independence Day.

INDEPENDENCE DAY FACTS-

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4, 1826.

The oldest signer of the Declaration of Independence was 70-year-old Benjamin Franklin.

The youngest signer was 26-year-old Edward Rutledge.

Eight of the signers were born in Europe.


Source:

The National Archives.


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Previous trivia tidbits:

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21, Part 22; Part 23, Part 24, Part 25; Part 26; Part 27, Part 28; Part 29; Part 30, Part 31; Part 32; Part 33; Part 34; Part 35; Part 36; Part 37; Part 38; Part 39; Part 40; Part 41; Part 42; Part 43; Part 44; Part 45; Part 46; Part 47; Part 48; Part 49; Part 50; Part 51; Part 52; Part 53; Part 54; Part 55; Part 56; Part 57; Part 58; Part 59; Part 60; Part 61; Part 62; Part 63; Part 64; Part 65; Part 66; Part 67; Part 68; Part 69; Part 70; Part 71; Part 72; Part 73; Part 74; Part 75; Part 76; Part 77; Part 78; Part 79; Part 80; Part 81; Part 82; Part 83; Part 84; Part 85; Part 86; Part 87; Part 88; Part 89; Part 90; Part 91; Part 92; Part 93; Part 94; Part 95; Part 96.

Daily Trivia Tidbits cover a wide range of topics, and they're usually not trivial at all; you never know what you might find. Stay tuned to WILLisms.com for more.

Have a trivia tidbit tip? Send it over to WILLisms@gmail.com.

Posted by Will Franklin · 4 July 2005 10:55 AM · Comments (2)

Iraq: What Might Have Been.

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Americans, of late, have gone a bit wobbly on the mission in Iraq. After all, it has been two full years since the beginning of the ground invasion, and it is not yet a full and functioning democracy, with a stable security situation and a vibrant and diversified economic engine. More importantly, Americans are still over there. Americans, although we shrugged off our isolationism for good after Pearl Harbor, still don't like Americans being over there.

The left turned on the mission in Iraq long ago, and they've managed, through their establishment media, to hammer, day after day, slowly-but-surely, confidence in the mission. The terrorists in Iraq have managed to game the American media, as well, with high profile (but low strategic value) kidnappings and explosions and such.

They've managed to plant the seed of doubt in the minds of even those who demanded justice, no matter what it would take, for what happened on September 11, 2001. People see the car bombs, the rocket propelled grenades, and the jihadis, and they say "let's hightail it outta there." Some would like to take back the Iraq war entirely. Afghanistan was so much more fun. Even Iraq was more fun the first time around. The green tracer rounds lighting up the night. The correspondents wearing helmets, reporting live from the rooftops of the al-Rashid hotel. The good guys winning. The bad guys losing. Yay. Fun. Easy. Nintendo war. When is the victory parade through New York City?

But with no Iraq war, the advance of freedom would have been set back decades. Yes, decades. The events that the Iraq war set in motion will fan the flames of liberty for generations to come. Backing off of Saddam Hussein and relying on international institutions to contain the tyrant would have been a signal to the world that President Bush is not a very serious person, and the American people are not very determined in this whole getting the bad guys thing.

It's clear that Saddam Hussein was using and abusing the sanctions and the Oil-For-Food program. It's also clear that leaving Saddam Hussein in power would have led to a major relaxation of the sanctions, maybe even within months.

Leaving Saddam Hussein in power means no Bush Doctrine, and no Bush Doctrine means very bad things for the course of human history.

The Bush Doctrine can be summed up rather succinctly:

"The defense of freedom requires the advance of freedom."

And the advance of freedom is not going to happen in a fortnight, or even sixty fortnights (approximately how long it's been since the initial invasion of Iraq, in March of 2003).

Imagine, for a moment, no Iraq war.

With no Iraq war, there is no Bush Doctrine. With no Bush Doctrine, there is no impetus for change in the gurgling cauldron of poverty, corruption, Islamic fundamentalism, seething resentment, and rage, known as the Middle East. With no Bush Doctrine, the Cedar Revolution may or may not have happened. With no Bush Doctrine, it is far from probable that we would be seeing the kinds of stirrings of reform and progress in Egypt, in Kuwait, and even in Saudi Arabia itself. The Middle East is awash in a revolutionary zeitgeist, a moment of change-- and for the better.

President Bush loves to call the bluff of his rivals, adversaries and enemies, revealing them for the frauds they really are. One of Osama bin Laden's fundamental reasons for his jihad against the United States was the presence of the infidel in the holy land, adjacent to Mecca and Medina. American troops, of course, were stationed in Saudi Arabia following Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. Thousands remained there until shortly after the resumption of the Gulf War two years ago, when their mission (protect the Saudi oil fields from Saddam) was no more.

Okay, so the troops leave Saudi Arabia, what else can we do to call the bin Laden bluff? The al-Qaeda ideology is no ideology. It is nihilism. It is totalitarianism. It is chaos. It is extreme order. It is anything and everything, all at once. It's based on pure Islam, or on exacting revenge for centuries-old Arab grudges against Christendom, or on glory for those in charge. Whatever it is, Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and their ilk, are beginning to be exposed for a movement without a cause, an ideology without ideas, and a religion without God. Other than the destruction of the West, the al-Qaeda cult has nothing.

Osama bin Laden has no moral reason for his evil deeds, and he knows it. So he sells his death and destruction through the things that bother the Muslim people. When those things go away, when American troops are no longer on holy ground, the idea of suicidal terrorism in the name of fundamentalist Islam to force change becomes thoroughly unreasonable to even the most bitter and brainwashed of young men.

So, other reasons for jihad against the infidels. Other reasons, other reasons. Hmm...

Oh, how about that whole "support for corrupt Arab leaders" thing. That's a good one. Easy. Nearly every nation in the Muslim world has terrible, corrupt, and immoral governance. Just blame America for propping up your neighborhood dictator. It might even be somewhat true!

Even that is changing, with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice applying pressure recently:

"For 60 years, my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region here in the Middle East -- and we achieved neither. Now, we are taking a different course. We are supporting the democratic aspirations of all people."

...although not at the kind of pace that would undermine the primary mission. And we're also not demanding democracy immediately in every country around the world.

Indeed, the U.S. does not have a spotless history in the Middle East or elsewhere when it comes to our Cold War era geopolitical alliances. Charles Krauthammer posits that the alliances were:

...necessary and temporary. Our deals with right-wing dictatorships were contingent upon their usefulness and upon the status of the ongoing struggle. Once again we were true to our word. Whenever we could, and particularly as we approached victory in the larger war, we dispensed with those alliances.

Furthermore, the left enjoys bandying the "hypocrisy" label about with regard to the Bush Doctrine, screaming about how American can continue to allow the dictatorial Saudi monarchy, the Pharoahic kleptocracy in Egypt, or the military dictator of Pakistan to hang around if the goal is the spread of freedom.

Krauthammer has the answer:

Alliances with dictatorships were justified in the war against fascism and the cold war, and they are justified now in the successor existential struggle, the war against Arab/Islamic radicalism. This is not just theory. It has practical implications....

Some conservatives (and many liberals) have proposed instead that we be true to the universalist language of the President’s second inaugural address and go after the three principal Islamic autocracies: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. Not so fast, and not so hard. Autocracies they are, and in many respects nasty ones. But doing this would be a mistake.

Krauthammer also explains that there is no need to apologize or be defensive about our kid-gloves handling of Mubarak or Musharraf:

The principle is that we cannot democratize the world overnight and, therefore, if we are sincere about the democratic project, we must proceed sequentially. Nor, out of a false equivalence, need we abandon democratic reformers in these autocracies. On the contrary, we have a duty to support them, even as we have a perfect moral right to distinguish between democrats on the one hand and totalitarians or jihadists on the other.

This is a point that needs to be stressed. If the goal of ending tyranny in the world is legit, we need to use legitimate means of getting there. That does not mean we fight a war against every country not on Freedom House's list of free countries. It doesn't mean we necessarily support opposition groups, just because they are the opposition to the corrupt regime.

In all seriousness, the United States has begun to take away the causus belli (justifications for war) against the infidel West from al-Qaeda, one by one, all while destroying their networks and eliminating the root causes of terrorism over the long-run.

And there's no question that the very existence of Saddam Hussein's Iraq was a contributing factor to the lingering instability and suffering of the people of the Middle East. Saddam Hussein's Iraq had everything to do with terrorism.

Iraq was a unique threat, with distinct circumstances, and President Bush and the world were presented with a unique opportunity to not only end that threat, but advance the cause of liberty. Striking a blow against tyranny in the heart of the Middle East (the fertile crescent, no less!) can and will have enormous long-term consequences for the region. We're already seeing some positive stirrings; it is difficult to imagine that we won't see much more than stirrings in the years ahead.

The Bush Doctrine is an Alka Seltzer tablet tossed into the gurgling cauldron of resentment that is the Middle East. It fizzes and snaps and crackles and pops, then, suddenly, the acid is neutralized. Going into the war on terror was never supposed to be easy. President Bush warned the American people early and often that this global war against terror would not be quick and painless:

This war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion. It will not look like the air war above Kosovo two years ago, where no ground troops were used and not a single American was lost in combat.

Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists....

Indeed, in his Second Inaugural Address, President Bush noted that the sweeping goal of ending tyranny in the world is the "concentrated work of generations."

Twenty years from now, the world will look so different than it does today, that a world without the removal of Saddam Hussein just might be as unfathomable as a mid-1960s world with an aging set of WWII Axis regimes, still sticking it out, still causing trouble.

So imagine no Iraq war.

There'd still be the Afghan quagmire for Ted Kennedy to quack about.

There'd still be Guantanamo Bay gulag for Dick Durbin to spout drivel about.

There'd still be the full triumvirate of the axis of evil, taunting us, testing our weakness and irresolve.

Specifically, there'd still be a Saddam Hussein regime paying the families of Palestinian suicide terrorists for blowing themselves up. There'd still be a Saddam Hussein with a thirst for weapons of mass destruction, and a history of seeking, developing, and using them.

Some would have declared the United States victorious in the war on terror. Hooray, we've won.

Others, in the 2004 campaign, would have started challenging President Bush for his absurd restraint, or for bringing so many troops home from the theater so soon. Surely there are caves yet to be explored in Afghanistan!

In short, the "let's go back in time and not do Iraq" squad is disingenous about the reasons for the Iraq war, they are too quick to declare the war at present a disaster, and they are entirely lacking in the requisite "vision thing" that would allow them to forecast positive ramifications flowing from the liberation of Iraq over the next generation.

The most interesting counterfactual history of Iraq is the history yet to be written. If and when Iraq becomes a tourist destination for Westerners, if and when Iraq begins actively helping other nearby countries develop into free societies, if and when the vision of a prosperous, democratic, and independent Iraq without constant terror becomes a reality, it will mark the fruition of a key plank in the Bush Doctrine.

Over the next generation, watching the Middle East emerge from the Dark Ages into the 21st century will be wonderful/discombobulating/miraculous/frightening/amazing thing to witness. A true Middle Eastern Renaissance, emanating from Iraq.

UPDATE:

Wizbang is rounding up some "what-if" posts, plus Jay Tea's two takes (one and two).

The Shape of Days blog has a contribution.

As does The Pink Flamingo Bar & Grill blog.

UPDATE 2:

Joust the Facts has more thoughts on what might have been.

Posted by Will Franklin · 4 July 2005 06:15 AM · Comments (14)

The National Organization For Far-Left Women.

With a nomination for the Supreme Court looming, it is important to understand where groups are coming from, politically, when they make claims about whether a jurist is in the mainstream.

One left-wing activist group, the National Organization for Woman (NOW), wants to whip feminists into a frenzy over this issue.

Take a gander at the NOW webpage:

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Clearly, it's NOW that is out of the mainstream. Let's take a look around NOW's homepage, shall we?

Exhibit #1:

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On nearly every page on the NOW website, there is a "The Truth About George" button, which is really just an extensive personal attack against President Bush "and his cronies."

Oh, okay.


Exhibit #2:

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NOW asserts:

"The right wing immediately seized upon [the gay marriage] issue to rally its ultra-conservative supporters."

But support for traditional marriage is not some kind of right wing issue. Opposition to gay marriage cuts across ideological and party lines.

Exhibit #3:

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Rather than promoting crucial reform in Social Security, NOW demands adherence to the status quo. Typical left-wing dogma.


Exhibit #4:

downingstreetiraqnow.gif

NOW has joined the lunatic fringe on this issue. There's really no other way to put it. NOW accuses President Bush of "following in the footsteps of Richard Nixon and trying to steal the government," whatever that means.

Exhibit #5:

walmartnow.gif

NOW has hopped on the "Wal-Mart is evil" train, boasting about its long-term "campaign to expose Wal-Mart as a "Merchant of Shame" and as a retailer whose greed for profits comes at the expense of women and people of color."

While it is not always the most pleasant shopping experience, the left's crusade against Wal-Mart borders on paranoid. Wal-Mart is worthy of occasional criticism, but the left's single-minded campaign against Wal-Mart is ideologically driven, not to mention intellectually dishonest.


Exhibit #6:

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NOW complains about the Democratic Party establishment's recruitment of the otherwise liberal Robert P. Casey, Jr. to run in Pennsylvania against incumbent Republican Senator Rick Santorum.

Why?

Because he is pro-life.

Talk about a litmus test. No wonder it is becoming such a rarity to find a pro-life Democrat in the national party leadership.


And last, but certainly not least,
Exhibit #7:

livesontheline.gif

Lives on the line, eh? NOW points to six examples, spread out across the 21st century, of women dying due to illegal abortions.

Well, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that, from 1972 to 2000, there have been at least 338 deaths induced by legal abortions, a small (relative to the number of abortions) but not insignificant number. Many pro-lifers believe the CDC number may be an underestimation.

Meanwhile, since Roe v. Wade, there have been well over 40,000,000 abortions (.pdf) in the United States.

And it's just not at all likely that replacing O'Connor with a pro-life Justice would lead to Roe v. Wade being overturned.

And even if Roe were overturned, the U.S. would not suddenly see an explosion of back-alley abortions. Indeed, as James Taranto argued in his December piece "Be Careful What You Wish For," overturning Roe v. Wade, "abortion would likely remain legal in much of the country, and the Democratic Party would find it has nothing to fear from democracy."


---------------------------

So who is responsible for NOW's ridiculousness?

Well, Kim Gandy is the President of NOW, and as a reward for her outrageously far-left record over the past four years, she was elected to a second term this weekend.

kimgandy.gif

No wonder so few American women are willing to call themselves feminists. Whereas buddying up to feminist causes was once a way for college men to meet eligible and liberated women (if you catch my drift), today's campus feminist movement has devolved into a sad caricature of the worst feminist stereotypes.

Expect NOW to exclaim bloody murder unless President Bush's Supreme Court nominee is ardently pro-choice and left-wing (which obviously won't happen). Also expect NOW, lacking any political credibility, to lose its battle.

Posted by Will Franklin · 4 July 2005 01:25 AM · Comments (10)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 96 -- College Sports.

National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA): 2005 Sports Academy Directors' Cup-

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Each year, the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics determines the best overall college athletics programs (.pdf). The cup includes football, basketball (M & W), baseball, cross country (M & W), field hockey, soccer (M & W), volleyball (W only), ice hockey (M & W), swimming (M & W), indoor track and field (M & W), outdoor track and field (M & W), wrestling (M only), golf (M & W), lacrosse (M & W), rowing (W only), and softball (W only).

Nearly every year, Stanford wins. In some ways the Directors' Cup is a proxy for wealth and power and influence. In other ways, it is less meaningful, as many colleges and universities have no ice hockey team, or no football team, or no soccer team, or no wrestling team.


The 2004-2005 Standings:


#1. Stanford

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#2. Texas

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#3. UCLA

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#4. Michigan

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#5. Duke

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#6. Florida

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#7. Georgia

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#8. Tennessee

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#9. North Carolina

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#10. USC

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Previous trivia tidbits:

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21, Part 22; Part 23, Part 24, Part 25; Part 26; Part 27, Part 28; Part 29; Part 30, Part 31; Part 32; Part 33; Part 34; Part 35; Part 36; Part 37; Part 38; Part 39; Part 40; Part 41; Part 42; Part 43; Part 44; Part 45; Part 46; Part 47; Part 48; Part 49; Part 50; Part 51; Part 52; Part 53; Part 54; Part 55; Part 56; Part 57; Part 58; Part 59; Part 60; Part 61; Part 62; Part 63; Part 64; Part 65; Part 66; Part 67; Part 68; Part 69; Part 70; Part 71; Part 72; Part 73; Part 74; Part 75; Part 76; Part 77; Part 78; Part 79; Part 80; Part 81; Part 82; Part 83; Part 84; Part 85; Part 86; Part 87; Part 88; Part 89; Part 90; Part 91; Part 92; Part 93; Part 94; Part 95.

Daily Trivia Tidbits cover a wide range of topics, and they're usually not trivial at all; you never know what you might find. Stay tuned to WILLisms.com for more.

Have a trivia tidbit tip? Send it over to WILLisms@gmail.com.

Posted by Will Franklin · 3 July 2005 01:36 PM · Comments (1)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 95 -- Online Gambling.

ONLINE GAMBLING-

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Internet poker alone is a $2 billion-a-year industry with a million players monthly. ComScore Media Metrix -- which measures all U.S. Internet users at home, work and college locations -- reports more than 29.1 million unique visitors to online gambling sites in April, out of a total audience of 165 million.

And, according to a recent survey from The University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center, card playing for money has increased among males between the ages of 14 and 22. In 2004, 11.4% of in-school male youth reported betting on cards at least once a week, up from 6.2% in 2003; furthermore, 11.4% of these weekly card players are likely to gamble on the Internet. In addition, 43.2% of players who bet money weekly on cards were under 18, according to the Annenberg survey.

Source:

Knowledge@Wharton
.


UPDATE:

More on the deleterious effects of online gambling at Wizbang blog.


---------------------------------


Previous trivia tidbits:

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21, Part 22; Part 23, Part 24, Part 25; Part 26; Part 27, Part 28; Part 29; Part 30, Part 31; Part 32; Part 33; Part 34; Part 35; Part 36; Part 37; Part 38; Part 39; Part 40; Part 41; Part 42; Part 43; Part 44; Part 45; Part 46; Part 47; Part 48; Part 49; Part 50; Part 51; Part 52; Part 53; Part 54; Part 55; Part 56; Part 57; Part 58; Part 59; Part 60; Part 61; Part 62; Part 63; Part 64; Part 65; Part 66; Part 67; Part 68; Part 69; Part 70; Part 71; Part 72; Part 73; Part 74; Part 75; Part 76; Part 77; Part 78; Part 79; Part 80; Part 81; Part 82; Part 83; Part 84; Part 85; Part 86; Part 87; Part 88; Part 89; Part 90; Part 91; Part 92; Part 93; Part 94.

Daily Trivia Tidbits cover a wide range of topics, and they're usually not trivial at all; you never know what you might find. Stay tuned to WILLisms.com for more.

Have a trivia tidbit tip? Send it over to WILLisms@gmail.com.

Posted by Will Franklin · 2 July 2005 11:07 AM · Comments (3)

John Cornyn, Next Supreme Court Justice?

Hearing through multiple inside sources that President Bush is seriously considering Texas Senator John Cornyn to replace the outgoing Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court.

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Frankly, I am skeptical, and I would guess that Bush will nominate someone currently "in-robe," but there are many reasons it would make sense.

I. President Bush and John Cornyn go way back. President Bush knows Cornyn. He's worked with him. He's campaigned with him. He would be comfortable with his judicial philosophy, as well as his political ideology.

II. Moreover, Cornyn has been one of the more vocal Senators speaking out on behalf of President Bush's Circuit Court nominees.

III. Presidents typically prefer to nominate Justices from their state or region, because of the unique imprint such a nod can leave on the Court.

IV. Cornyn is supremely qualified. Prior to filling Senator Phil Gramm's Senate seat in 2002, Cornyn served for three years as the Attorney General of the State of Texas. From 1990-1999, Cornyn served on the Texas Supreme Court. Prior to that, he was a District Court judge in San Antonio for six years.

V. Conservative groups would rally behind Cornyn, while it is at the same time difficult to imagine left-wing groups mounting the kind of campaign necessary to obstruct a nominee against Cornyn. After all, it is difficult to imagine members of the Senate attacking Cornyn as viciously and personally as they have attacked other judicial nominees in recent years. And if Schumer and Kennedy, et al., do impugn Cornyn's integrity with hyperbolic nonsense, they will just look tacky.

VI. A special election in Texas to fill Cornyn's seat could send Henry Bonilla to the Senate, boosting President Bush's strategy to make the GOP more Latino-friendly.

VII. Cornyn's recent work on the eminent domain issue could serve as a rallying point for getting regular Americans behind the nomination.

VIII. Cornyn is relatively young, at age 53. He could be on the Supreme Court for 30 years, easily.

I just hope the debate does not get hung up on a single-minded obsession with the abortion issue, coming from either side, nor on a litany of issues.

It would be nice to know:

Where does the nominee stand on the line item veto?
Where does the nominee stand on eminent domain?
Where does the nominee stand on school choice?
Where does the nominee stand on the death penalty?
Where does the nominee stand on assisted suicide?
Where does the nominee stand on campaign finance laws?
Where does the nominee stand on the Patriot Act and other counter-terrorism measures?
Where does the nominee stand on citing foreign legal precedents?
Where does the nominee stand on gay marriage?
Where does the nominee stand on the Pledge of Allegiance?
Where does the nominee stand on the Ten Commandments in public places?
Where does the nominee stand on drug laws?
Where does the nominee stand on affirmative action?
Where does the nominee stand on the 2nd amendment?
Where does the nominee stand on business and labor regulation?
Where does the nominee stand on free trade?

While focusing exclusively on the abortion issue is silly, no single issue should qualify or disqualify someone from the Supreme Court. There will be hundreds of issues in the coming decades that we cannot even imagine, issues with competing principles at stake.

More important is how the nominee views federalism, separation of powers, and the Constitution itself.

Will the nominee legislate from the bench?
Will the nominee always adhere to stare decisis (following past rulings)?

The President, I am positive, will look at the big picture, rather than focusing on any single issue or handful of issues. A nominee's overall judicial philosophy is far more informative than the nominee's stances on a small number of hot-button issues.

After all, our world is a rapidly changing world. In the future there will be entirely new kinds of technological, legal, and moral issues popping up for our society. After several years, Supreme Court Justices almost always become part of the elite Washington establishment, so it would be nice to know that, if and when new issues appear on the legal landscape, the nominee would not sway too much with the prevailing winds inside the beltway.

On the retirement of Justice O'Connor, Senator Cornyn praised O'Connor for her service, noting:

“I’m confident that the President’s nominee to replace Justice O’Connor will be an able jurist and among our nation’s finest legal minds, but I am less confident of the treatment that nominee will receive from the President’s opponents. During the past four years, we have seen unprecedented obstruction, partisanship, and venomous personal attacks dominate the Senate’s judicial confirmation process. But the process ahead offers a fresh start, one that must be guided by an appreciation of the high office involved, and a personal respect for the individuals who stand as nominees.”

Earlier on Fox News, John Cornyn said that he had not received a call from the President on the issue, and that he enjoyed his job as Senator.

So we'll see. I am doubtful. But I am hearing from multiple independent sources that Cornyn is the buzz candidate within the inner circles of those crafting the decision.


By the way, go check out this humorous advertisement from UporDownVote.com:

treechopper.gif

It's good to see conservatives finally prepared for the left-wing onslaught that necessarily happens in these situations, going back to the infamous character assassination of Robert Bork.

Even funnier is this satirical news release: "President Bush Temporarily Nominates Judge Judy Until A Real Justice Is Confirmed":

judgejudy.gif

Funny.


UPDATE:

More on this rumor/trial balloon (via Daly Thoughts).

Posted by Will Franklin · 1 July 2005 03:13 PM · Comments (12)

CAFTA Victory.

Last night, CAFTA (Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act) passed the Senate, 54-45, with one not voting (via Publius Pundit).

Republicans voting NO:

Senator Burns, Montana.
Senator Collins, Maine.
Senator Craig, Idaho.
Senator Crapo, Idaho.
Senator Enzi, Wyoming.
Senator Graham, South Carolina.
Senator Shelby, Alabama.
Senator Snowe, Maine.
Senator Specter, Pennsylvania.
Senator Thomas, Wyoming.
Senator Thune, South Dakota.
Senator Vitter, Louisiana.


Democrats voting YES:

Senator Bingaman, New Mexico.
Senator Cantwell, Washington.
Senator Carper, Delaware.
Senator Feinstein, California.
Senator Lincoln, Arkansas.
Senator Jeffords (I), Vermont.
Senator Murray, Washington.
Senator Nelson, Florida.
Senator Nelson, Nebraska.
Senator Pryor, Arkansas.
Senator Wyden, Oregon.

[Joe Lieberman of Connecticut did not vote.]

A nice win for free trade, and a great way to advance America's geopolitical interests (such as checking the ambitions of Hugo Chavez), but it still must pass the House of Representatives.

UPDATE:

More at Wizbang blog.

Posted by Will Franklin · 1 July 2005 10:48 AM · Comments (1)

Quotational Therapy: Part 24 -- Reagan On The Power Of Ideas.

Ronald Reagan's Final State of the Union Address-

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History records the power of the ideas that brought us here those seven years ago. Ideas like the individual's right to reach as far and as high as his or her talents will permit, the free market as an engine of economic progress and, as an ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao-tzu, said, "Govern a great nation as you would cook a small fish; do not overdo it."

Well, these ideas were part of a larger notion – a vision, if you will, of America herself – an America not only rich in opportunity for the individual but an America, too, of strong families and vibrant neighborhoods, an America whose divergent but harmonizing communities were a reflection of a deeper community of values – the value of work, of family, of religion – and of the love of freedom that God places in each of us and whose defense He has entrusted in a special way to this nation.

All of this was made possible by an idea I spoke of when Mr. Gorbachev was here – the belief that the most exciting revolution ever known to humankind began with three simple words: "We the People" – the revolutionary notion that the people grant government its rights, and not the other way around.

....

And that's why our focus is the values, the principles, and ideas that made America great. Let's be clear on this point – we're for limited government because we understand, as the Founding Fathers did, that it is the best way of ensuring personal liberty and empowering the individual so that every American of every race and region shares fully in the flowering of American prosperity and freedom.

One other thing we Americans like – the future – like the sound of it, the idea of it, the hope of it. Where others fear trade and economic growth, we see opportunities for creating new wealth and undreamed-of opportunities for millions in our own land and beyond. Where others seek to throw up barriers, we seek to bring them down; where others take counsel of their fears, we follow our hopes. Yes, we Americans like the future and like making the most of it. Let's do that now.

-Ronald Reagan, January 25, 1988.


-----------------------------

Previous Quotational Therapy Sessions:

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21; Part 22; Part 23.

The right quote can be therapeutic, so tune in to WILLisms.com for quotational therapy every Monday and Friday.

Posted by Will Franklin · 1 July 2005 10:05 AM · Comments (2)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 94 -- Wind Power.

ALTERNATIVE ENERGY: WIND POWER-

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Source:

Wind Energy EIS Public Information Center
(via Marginal Revolution blog).

---------------------------------


Previous trivia tidbits:

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21, Part 22; Part 23, Part 24, Part 25; Part 26; Part 27, Part 28; Part 29; Part 30, Part 31; Part 32; Part 33; Part 34; Part 35; Part 36; Part 37; Part 38; Part 39; Part 40; Part 41; Part 42; Part 43; Part 44; Part 45; Part 46; Part 47; Part 48; Part 49; Part 50; Part 51; Part 52; Part 53; Part 54; Part 55; Part 56; Part 57; Part 58; Part 59; Part 60; Part 61; Part 62; Part 63; Part 64; Part 65; Part 66; Part 67; Part 68; Part 69; Part 70; Part 71; Part 72; Part 73; Part 74; Part 75; Part 76; Part 77; Part 78; Part 79; Part 80; Part 81; Part 82; Part 83; Part 84; Part 85; Part 86; Part 87; Part 88; Part 89; Part 90; Part 91; Part 92; Part 93.

Daily Trivia Tidbits cover a wide range of topics, and they're usually not trivial at all; you never know what you might find. Stay tuned to WILLisms.com for more.

Have a trivia tidbit tip? Send it over to WILLisms@gmail.com.

Posted by Will Franklin · 1 July 2005 10:01 AM · Comments (2)