The Babe Theory Of Political Movements.
Mar. 21, 2005 11:50 AM
Iran's Sham Election In Houston.
June 20, 2005 5:36 AM
Yes, Kanye, Bush Does Care.
Oct. 31, 2005 12:41 AM
Health Care vs. Wealth Care.
Nov. 23, 2005 3:28 PM
Americans Voting With Their Feet.
Nov. 30, 2005 1:33 PM
Idea Majorities Matter.
May 12, 2006 6:15 PM
Twilight Zone Economics.
Oct. 17, 2006 12:30 AM
The "Shrinking" Middle Class.
Dec. 13, 2006 1:01 PM
From Ashes, GOP Opportunities.
Dec. 18, 2006 6:37 PM
Battle Between Entitlements & Pork.
Dec. 21, 2006 12:31 PM
Let Economic Freedom Reign.
Dec. 22, 2006 10:22 PM
Biggest Health Care Moment In Decades.
July 25, 2007 4:32 PM
Unions Antithetical to Liberty.
May 28, 2008 11:12 PM
Right To Work States Rock.
June 9, 2008 12:25 PM
Social Security Reform Thursday.
March 13, 2008
Caption Contest: Enter Today!
Due: July 29, 2008
The Carnival Of Classiness.
Mar. 14, 2006
Quotational Therapy: Obama.
Apr. 4, 2008
Mainstream Melee: Wolfowitz.
May 19, 2007
Pundit Roundtable: Leaks.
July 9, 2006
A WILLisms.com(ic), by Ken McCracken
July 14, 2006
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Nazi Roots Of Islamofascism
Go out and murder the Jewish infidel in the name of the holy Koran . . . he who kills a Jew is assured of a place in the next world.
Sounds like something Osama bin Laden would urge, doesn't it? Actually, this quote was uttered long before bin Laden was even born, by Amin al-Husseini, (1895-1974) Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. The biography of Husseini reminds us that the term 'Islamofascism' is no mere neologism aimed at extreme Muslims in the wake of 9/11 - it is also a reminder of the Nazi roots of extreme Muslim anti-semitism that still rages today.
Husseini was one of the masterminds of the Holocaust. Husseini met with Hitler in 1941, and according to Adolf Eichmann's deputy Dieter Wisliceny (later hung after Nuremburg for war crimes):"The Mufti was one of the initiators of the systematic extermination of European Jewry and had been a collaborator and adviser of Eichmann and Himmler in the execution of this plan... He was one of Eichmanns best friends and had constantly incited him to accelerate he extermination measures. I heard him say, accompanied by Eichmann, he had visited incognito the gas chambers of Auschwitz."
Husseini recruited 21,000 Bosnian Muslims into the Scimitar division of the Waffen SS, which fought Marshal Tito's partisans in Yugoslavia.
If you think Husseini learned his anti-semitism from Hitler, you might be surprised to know it might have been the other way around. As early as 1920 Husseini was organizing pogroms against Jews while 'Palestine' was still under British control, killing hundreds of Jews and injuring many more.
Husseini's admiration for and collaboration with Nazism is by no means an isolated case. Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, was also an 'ardent supporter' of Nazi Germany, as was Anwar Sadat, who spent four years in a British prison camp for collaboration with the Third Reich. In his 1978 autobiography, In Search of Identity, Sadat wrote:
"I was in our village for the summer vacation when Hitler marched from Munich to Berlin, to wipe out the consequences of Germany's defeat in World War I and rebuild his country. I gathered my friends and told them we ought to follow Hitler's example...."
One of the founders of Syrias Ba'ath Party, Sami al-Joundi, said "We admired the Nazis. We were immersed in reading Nazi literature and books . . . . We were the first who thought of a translation of Mein Kampf. Anyone who lived in Damascus at that time was witness to the Arab inclination toward Nazism."
Gamal Abdel Nasser's brother Nassiri translated Mein Kampf into arabic, and was an enthusiastic supporter of Hitler.
A mere three years after the Holocaust ended, first secretary-general of the
Arab League Abdul Rahman Hassan Azzam declared
in bloodcurdling language reminiscent of the Final Solution that the 1948 war
against the young state of Israel will be a war of extermination and a
momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and
By the way, Yasser Arafat called Husseini a 'hero' - no surprise there, because Arafat's real name is Abd al-Rahman abd al-Bauf Arafat al-Qud al-Husseini.
Arafat was the Grand Mufti's nephew and he changed his name to obscure this fact. The torch was passed from Husseini to the Father of Modern Terrorism, whose Fatah party is now considered much more moderate than Hamas! Is it any wonder that books like Mein Kampf (a bestseller in Turkey and Palestine) and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion enjoy brisk sales throughout the Arab and Muslim world?
'Hitler' has even become something of a popular name for Palestinian children, and admiration for Hitler runs deep among many Palestinians.
Should it surprise us, then, to see pictures like this?
Quote Of The Day
Dave Price at Dean's World comes up with another good one - I gotta keep my eye on this guy:
. . . what would the U.S. do if Mexico demanded we return Texas, started referring to it as "the occupied territory," and began arming Hispanic separatist groups who fired missiles into our cities?
When you put it that way, I think the Israelis have shown remarkable restraint over the years.
Israel Arrests 64 Hamas Officials
. . . including ministers and parliamentarians. If Hamas doesn't like it, they have a simple way out: secure the release of Corporal Gilad Shalit.
Meanwhile, the Popular Resistance Committees are taunting the Israelis over Shalit's status, saying he could be dead or alive.
Update: the IDF has confirmed that Eliyahu Asheri was executed -
On Wednesday, elite police and IDF forces arrested Popular Resistance Committees operative Osam Abu Rajil, who was suspected to have been involved in the kidnapping. Abu Rajil led the forces to a mountainside north of Ramallah, where Asheri's body was found buried, Army Radio reported.
Update: Reuters reports that the al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade claims to have fired a chemical warhead at the Israelis, though the IDF has denied knowledge of any such attack.
Give Us Your Links!
Okay, I just rearranged my favorites in IE, and here is where I am at these days:
I still have a link to my old 'Am I A Pundit Now?' blog because I use the links and blogroll there quite a bit also, and of course I rely a lot on the WILLisms.com blogroll (which is why I occasionally bug Will to add certain things . . . ).
Blogging is often a hurried thing, and so for efficiency's sake I just run through these links, and I am almost certain to find something blogworthy along the way.
If you have any recommendations, send them along.
Israel has widened its military actions in the wake of the kidnapping of Corporal Gilad Shalit. The Popular Resistance Committees which kidnapped Shalit, claims to have executed another kidnapped Israeli teenager, Eliahu Asheri, and the al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade claims to have kidnapped a settler from near the Israeli city of Rishon Lezion.
Israel has buzzed Bashar Assad's seaside summer palace with four jets. Assad harbors Khaled Mashal, the supreme Hamas leader, in Damascus. Israeli leaders accuse Mashal of responsibility for Shalit's kidnapping.
Israeli troops arrested Palestinian Government Labor Minister Mohammed Barghouti, a member of Hamas, in the West Bank at a road block near Ramallah.
F-16 jets blew up three bridges on critical north-south routes through Gaza, and knocked out Gaza's140-megawatt power station destroying six new transformers. Half of Gaza's power came from this plant - the other half comes from Israel. Nearly 800,000 in Gaza are now without power. Gaza's economy is already in tatters - "roughly 40 percent of Gaza's residents live in poverty - defined by the World Bank as living on less than $2.20 a day - and unemployment is 55 percent." Water supply facilities in central Gaza were also destroyed.
Israeli artillery and naval gunboats shelled northern Gaza, attacking Kassam rocket sites and a rocket factory, and shelled the town of Beit Hanoun in preparation for a ground assault.
Israel has threatened even broader military action, and a possible thrust into Syria if Shalit is not returned.
Is The New York Times A Pack Of Treason Weasels?
New York Times editor Bill Keller is puzzled as to why the article revealing the existence of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT program, is creating such a firestorm. Yes, checking banking records to track terrorists is an obvious strategy, and yes the administration even announced its intention to do so after 9/11 (a program that the Times editorial board even advocated immediately after the WTC attacks). But the operational details have been unknown until now, and even the name of the program had been kept under wraps. The CIA has proven yet again that is is a keeper of secrets that can keep no secrets: Coalition of the Willing members and other international partners in the War on Terror must be wondering what details of cooperation with the United States won't likewise end up on the front page of the New York Times.
Bill Keller's own argument that these revelations are no big deal because the administration itself 'trumpeted' its existence is refuted by the article in question: it mentions that Uzair Paracha was convicted in 2005 due to an investigation involving SWIFT, and that it was also instrumental in capturing Riduan Isamuddin, better known as Hambali. Yeah, tracking financial records around the world is an obvious way to find terrorists, but apparently Paracha and Hambali didn't know enough details to avoid getting caught. As Hugh Hewitt has suggested, al-Qaeda can now reverse engineer Hambali's transactions to find out where they went wrong.
The government argued that "the anti-terror program would no longer be effective if it became known, because international bankers would be unwilling to cooperate and terrorists would find other ways to move money," and indeed, the New York Times may well have taken away a proven and effective tool in the War on Terror, a war that is primarily an intelligence-driven enterprise.
The rule in journalism now is that 'information wants to be free,' and if secrets can make it past the goalie it is a fair score (and the Pulitzer is the trophy). This however is an abuse of journalistic responsibility, and violates the balancing test that says if the harm of revealing secrets outweighs the public's interest in knowing the secrets, the press should voluntarily keep it under wraps.
Thus, what is so galling about the SWIFT revelation is that it was so completely gratuitous.
Lawbreaking, abuse of the legal process, incompetence and so forth are all fair game for reporting, in that abuses are detrimental to national security, and exposing these weaknesses actually strengthens the war effort. This breaks down however, when there are no abuses or illegalities, and disclosure does nothing to improve or strengthen national security, and in fact harms it.
Notice what the Times article does not mention. Unlike the NSA wiretap story it has no allegations of illegality. This is because the SWIFT program is perfectly legal: banking is probably the most heavily regulated industry in the United States, and the War on Drugs has taught us that there is virtually no expectation of privacy whatsoever in banking records vis-a-vis the government. The Supreme Court in United States v. Miller, 425 U.S. 435 (1976) held that there are no Fourth Amendment rights nor privacy rights in bank records, and there are hundreds of prosecutions every year for structuring and other forms of cyberlaundering where the government issues nothing more than a subpoena to obtain bank records. Nor has the Times asserted that there were any abuses of the SWIFT program.
The tepid justification the Times has offered is that the need to know about this program and the potential abuses therein is somehow in the 'public interest.' Well guess what, every single government program whether secret or not is a possible tool for abuse, and thus every conceivable government program and secret is a justified target for exposure according to the Times' self-serving standards.
The government has lived up to its end of the bargain by refraining from prosecuting journalists and thus not chilling their free speech. Journalists have not reciprocated, but this is not entirely their fault. The government is partly to blame for this, because the press and the Department of Justice have reached an accord whereby once secrets get out into the public, there will be no prosecution. There was no prosecution when the Chicago Tribune revealed that intelligence had broken the Japanese codes during World War II (leading to the turning point victory at Midway). Fortunately, the Japanese were not reading open source intelligence, and the government did not prosecute in order to keep the revelations from getting overseas.
The New York Times learned firsthand that there is no penalty for reporting national security secrets when it published the Pentagon Papers. In that case, New York Times. v. U.S., 403 U.S. 713 (1971), Supreme Court Justice Byron White
specifically cited section 793(e) of 18 U.S.C., on unauthorized possession of a document relating to the national defense, as well as sections 797 (graphical representations of military installations) and 798 (code and cryptographic information), and wrote: I would have no difficulty in sustaining convictions under these sections on facts that would not justify the imposition of a prior restraint. [emphasis added].
The Justice Department did not take the step of prosecuting Daniel Ellsberg, because of the scandal surrounding the break-in of his psychiatrist's office, and so fate helped set today's hand-off policy regarding journalist prosecutions.
There are no such security or political issues in the SWIFT case, and this provides the government with a golden opportunity to put a check on a grossly irresponsible press that has proven itself incapable of policing itself. The Department of Justice needs to empanel a Grand Jury and haul the reporters before them to find out who leaked the details of this program to the press. Journalists have absolutely no immunity here - they can sit in jail for months for contempt of court as did Judith Miller until they give up the goods, and then DoJ can prosecute the New York Times itself. If they will not act responsibly, responsibility must be thrust upon them. The gravity of the War on Terror compels it.
In the meantime, we can forgive the poor Times reader if they can no longer figure out if leaks are good or bad. The SWIFT leak is the obverse of the hysterial reaction to the Plame leaks, a sort of ho-hum business-as-usual exposure according to the Times, with the salient difference that the SWIFT case actually impinges on national security. Which is why the liberal Times could care less.
Israel May Topple Hamas
"We will make sure that the Hamas government ceases to operate if the kidnapped soldier is not returned to us alive," the source told AFP on condition of anonymity.Shavit was abducted Sunday from a remote military post near Gaza. Israeli troops are massed along the border in response to the kidnapping.
Update: Israeli military forces have now entered Gaza.
'Silence Can Be A Weapon'There has been a revolution taking place in warfare, and the U.S. leads the way:
In Afghanistan and Iraq, the locals quickly get to know when American troops are fighting in the area. They are the ones firing single shots. The other guys, be they Taliban or Sunni Arabs, fire their AK-47s on full auto. But it's the sparser American firepower that dominates. Better training, and high tech sights, make the U.S. troops very accurate. Snipers are much more in evidence, with up to ten percent of American troops qualified for this kind of shooting.Rodney Graves for the tip.
Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 347 -- Our Wealth Overwhelms Our Debts.
We're Rich, We Are-
Our national debt is not insignificant. What "we" owe folks in China and other countries is not insignificant. But it's also important to keep it in perspective.
...when we treat the U.S. as one family, we can create a balance sheet that’s quite admirable: Assets: $66 trillion. Liabilities: $13 trillion. Owner’s Equity (or Net Worth): $53 trillion.
Neat. We're doing okay as a country, it would seem.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Talk Radio.
China Pressures North Korea On Missile Test
Thankfully, the only member of the six-party talks that is likely to cause North Korea to exercise restraint in testing its Taepodong-2 missile is warning Kim Jong-Il about his foolishness:
HONG KONG — China joined the US, Japan, France, South Korea and Australia in telling North Korea to refrain from testing a long-range missile, saying it may damage six-state talks on ending North Korea’s self-declared nuclear programme. China had told the North Koreans that there are “a lot of concerns”, Wang Guangya, China’s envoy to the United Nations, said in New York. “If they do it, then the political atmosphere among the major parties will be very negative,” Wang said. “You cannot say this action is a violation of this or that convention, but it would not be a constructive move.”
It might not violate 'this or that convention', but it does seem to violate the intent of the 2002 DPRK-Japan Pyongyang Declaration, which Pyongyang reaffirmed in 2004:
"The DPRK side expressed its will to extend its moratorium on missile tests beyond 2003 in the spirit of the declaration."The United States meanwhile has wisely refused to engage North Korea in direct bilateral talks.
Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 346 -- Talk Radio Personalities.
Evidence Of Mainstream Media Bias: The Best Alternative Media Sources Are Overwhelmingly Right-Of-Center-
Why do liberal talk radio folks do so poorly?
The numbers don't lie, after all:
Source: TALKERS magazine.
Very telling. It's not that liberals have lots of smaller radio personalities, while conservatives have a couple at the top. That would be the reverse of the blogosphere, where liberals control a few sites at the very top, while MANY, MANY more medium-sized conservative sites flourish.
No, liberals fail at talk radio because liberal talk radio is nothing more than a reiteration of the establishment media message, with less professionalism and more honesty about biases.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Death Taxes Are Fundamentally Unjust.
Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 60.
The actual caption:
South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, gets a hug from Senate Chaplain, George Meetze, wearing dark suit, as he begins the session Wednesday, June 14, 2006, in Columbia, S.C. Bauer is headed for a runoff against Republican challenger Mike Campbell. The winner of the June 27 runoff will face Democrat Robert Barber in the general election in November in the lieutenant governor's race. (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)
Surely there's a better caption for this photograph.
Entries will remain open until 11:59 PM, Central Standard Time, Tuesday, June 27. Submit your captions in the comments section, or email at WILLisms@gmail.com.
Winners from last week:
Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Green Jeans have not aged well at all.
"Leroy, you paint like I feel."
"C'mon, man, sing it with me! To dreeeeeeeeeammmm... the im-POSS-iblllle dreeeeeeeeeammmm..."
Holy Crap! Thats Jerry Lewis??
An aging Mark Hamill plays Luke Skywalker in the new musical "Flaming Yoda." Leroi Neimann plays C-3PO.
The heavy bidding by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for Niels Bohr's plutonium paperwieght at this years Jerry's kids beneift prompeted Mr. Lewis to throw in his "Pope Benedict visits Dante" night light and a personal back massage from Kevin Kilne to the Iranian despot.
Quote Of The Day
Wow, a 'quote of the day' two days in a row? Pure coincidence, trust me. Couldn't pass up this goodie though, from Jonah Goldberg, offering a critique of Slate on its 10th anniversary:
Contrarianness is a great and good thing—when driven by reason and facts. But contrarianness for its own sake is often the very definition of asininity. Mavericks who break from the herd to point out hard truths can be heroes. Mavericks who break out from the herd just to get noticed are pretty annoying. If the emperor has no clothes, by all means say so. If he doesn't, saying otherwise for the sake of saying so is not only a tiresome shtick, it also reduces your credibility.Read the whole thing here.
America Is Losing The Chocolate Race
America is an undisputed worldwide powerhouse economically, militarily, and politically. The U.S. dominates in computing, science, communications, and a whole host of other fields of endeavor. I am ashamed to say, however, that America lags behind in one of the most important fields of all: chocolate.
American chocolate is the equivalent of Chrysler K cars from the 70's - absolutely terrible, and has the competition around the world just laughing at us.I hate to say it, but the iconic Hershey Bar, putative symbol of American chocolate-making prowess, just sucks. It has a waxy look, a waxy feel, and a waxy taste. No wonder - it has wax in it, and a very low cocoa butter content. Though in fairness, I've had Morinaga chocolate from Japan, and Lotte chocolate from South Korea that was even worse. You could wax your car with that stuff. Chocolate often contains carnauba wax, which is also literally used as a car wax.
Europe has it all over America when it comes to chocolate. What really makes chocolate scrumptious is the cocoa butter content, and EU rules stipulate that "milk chocolate" must have at least 25% cocoa butter. U.S. FDA regulations stipulate a paltry 10% cocoa butter content by comparison (though 20% cocoa butter is required in white chocolate).
The Europeans also know what to do with chocolate - Americans don't even seem to know what the hazelnut is, and yet the Europeans mix hazelnuts and chocolate with abandon. They even make a chocolate-hazelnut paste called Nutella that is just awesome. (Nutella is made by the Italian company Ferrero, which also makes the tasty Ferrero-Rocher chocolate balls, which are pretty easy to find in the U.S.) Hazelnuts and chocolate is as natural a combination as soup and sandwich. And yet the uncultured American bourgeoisie seems to prefer . . . the peanut.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a chocolate gap. Go to your local supermarket and get some Lindt, as shown, or Toblerone, or some equivalent high-quality European chocolate, and taste the difference. We are AMERICANS dammit, are we going to let these European gourmands just push us around??
To borrow a phrase from the Democrats - America, We Can Do Better.
Quote Of The Day
From Dave Price, regarding Christine Rosen's critique of An Army Of Davids:
Rosen then misstates Instapundit's laconic news/opinion aggregation as "vacuity," a category error if I've ever seen one. This is like complaining that your car lacks a mizzenmast and tends to take on water in heavy seas.
. . . or like thinking that Rush Limbaugh is a 'journalist'. Many error-prone critiques of blogs do indeed arise from confusing the 'blog mission' with scholarship, journalism, or some other enterprise. And much of the ire towards blogs arises from thinking that blogs are trying to muscle in on these territories. But blogging has its own 'blogic' or blogging logic (trying to coin a phrase here), that is more spontaneous, personal and (ideally) self-correcting than those other enterprises. It is a different animal altogether.
Whaling Nearly Becomes Legal Again
Legal whaling is making a comeback:
Is there undue influence and perhaps even corruption at work at this estimable international organization? Quoth Daniel Drezner:
Who thought this would ever become an issue again? The world market for whale meat seems to be very limited - only the Japanese seem to value this delicacy. The legalization of whaling would not include endangered species such as the blue whale, so why all the blubbering?
Amnesty for Terrorists?Officials in Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government announced an amnesty plan for terrorists:
The plan, quickly and mysteriously released and rescinded by the prime minister's office last week, calls for a prisoner release and pardons for those "not proven guilty in crimes and clear terrorist activities" and a review of the process by which former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party are removed from public life.The plan includes an organization that has shades of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission or El Salvador's Comisión de la Verdad:
The amnesty plan, which apparently includes many insurgents who have staged attacks against Americans and Iraqis, calls for the creation of a national committee and local subcommittees to welcome insurgents and begin a "truthful national dialogue in dealing with contradicting visions and stances," according to a version of the plan published in an Iraqi newspaper yesterday.What seems oddest about this is that most domestic opposition comes from Democrats on this issue. I don't get it - they vociferously opposed Bush's de-Ba'athification plan, and much of the Democrats' leadership have been preaching cut-and-run and other linguini-spined positions - so this sudden on-cue 'tough guy' approach seems most out of character indeed. Perhaps, like a stopped clock, they occasionally lurch into the truth in spite of themselves.
Kos Gets Even Uglier
Wasn't Kos supposedly going more mainstream?
It seems to have become a repository of anti-semitic propaganda instead:
The only things missing here are the Stars of David and the hook noses.
Yeah, I know this is a Kos diarist and not Kos himself. But that is his name at the top, is it not? Let's see if this gets pulled down or not.
In case you weren't aware of the background here, Yale University declined to hire mideast expert Juan Cole away from the University of Michigan. Joel Mowbray has a thorough article on the controversial Cole, outlining many of the reasons why he wasn't hired. One of the funny Cole incidents of late was when he accused Christopher Hitchens of being drunk while writing this article. Andrew Sullivan was with Hitchens when he filed the article (stone-cold sober, according to Sullivan) and gave Cole a nice smackdown. A blog classic.
As for Kos, good luck putting lipstick on this pig.
Yeah, What He Said
Psychoanalyzing the Left is my own personal pet blogging project, so I love it when I come across things like this:
What makes a liberal a liberal? It’s a question I’ve been asking myself lately, perhaps because every liberal I meet nowadays seems to ask me how in the world I could be a conservative. My stock answer is that I’d love to be a liberal because, you know, chicks dig the progressives. But also because I’d love to resolve debates with clever rejoinders like “Halliburton!” or “Fox News!” or “Karl Rove!,” and because I’d love to engage in intellectual group hugs rather than confront awkward truths, and because I’d love to show how my heart is in the right place by supporting benevolent-sounding but historically discredited social policies which end up devastating the very communities they’re intended to benefit. So, yes, I’d love to be a liberal . . . except these pesky I.Q. points keep getting in the way.Read the rest - Liberalism, on the Couch by Mark Goldblatt at NRO.
Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 345 -- Death Tax Rates Too High In America.
Double Taxation, Without Representation-
So, the death tax cloture vote was 57-41 last week. Irritating. It needed 60 and only got 57. My sources tell me that Chafee, Pryor, and Landrieu had all apparently pledged to be among the 60, within 24 hours of the vote. All three lied.
We need to abolish the death tax. Permanently. Here's why (.pdf):
International tax competition is a good thing. The results are clear. Those with lower taxes win. They win jobs. They win investment. They win GDP growth. America needs to win the low tax competition. The death tax is holding us back.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Europe Needs Major Change.
Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 59.
The actual caption:
Comedic legend Jerry Lewis, left stands with artist Leroy Neiman next to the Friars Club statue at the Friars Club celebrity roast in Lewis' honor Friday, June 9, 2006 in New York City. Lewis has been 'roasted' previously in 1971, 1986 and also in 1955 with then partner Dean Martin. The comedian-philanthropist was named abbot of the Friars Club and then roasted by his peers.(AP Photo/Stephen Chernin)
Surely there's a better caption for this photograph.
Entries will remain open until 11:59 PM, Central Standard Time, Tuesday, June 20. Submit your captions in the comments section, or email at WILLisms@gmail.com.
Winners from last week:
♪ It's fun to dry out at the M-A-Y-O ♪
Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) describes his A.A. Sponsor as being about 30" wide, 7 feet tall, and having extraordinarily good hearing in a news conference at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island June 5, 2006. (Stew Milne/Reuters)
"I side-swiped a cab, bounced over the curb, hit a few garbage cans, then I lost control of my car."
...and that's why I want to be treated like I'm black.
"So then I says to Cynthia McKinney, just back that big A-- up."
I like big butts an' I cannot lie. You otha brothas can't deny. That when a girl walks in wit' a itty bitty waist an' A round thing in yo' face. You get SPRUNG. Wanna pull up tough, cuz you notice that butt was STUFFED.
Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 344 -- Europe Lags America In Globalization.
Very Michigan-like, Europe Is-
Relative to the United States, Europe is failing. Badly. Take France, for example:
...unemployment is averaging 10% this decade and has not been below 8% for 20 years. And, while the overall level of unemployment has remained stable – albeit at a shockingly high level – the unemployment rate among young men (in the 16-24 age group) jumped from 15.3% in 1990 to 21.4% in 2005.
Europe needs to seriously reexamine its ideas and policies, before its ideas and policies lead Europe to relative economic ruin. As we've seen, small-sounding differences compound into huge differences over time.
Here's why, from the Dallas Fed (.pdf):
#1, Economic Freedom:
What all this adds up to is simple and straightforward:
More government interference in the economy is bad.
We have some choices. The Michigan/Europe way. Or the American way. I choose success. I choose the American way.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Cha-Ching For The Government: Lower Taxes Have Produced "Record" Revenues.
The Zarqawi Effect
Terrorists from the al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade - a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fatah - kidnapped Benjamin Bright-Fishbein in Nablus last Saturday.
The terrorists released him as soon as they realized he was an American.
"Apparently, the kidnappers did not want to end up like Zarqawi,"
a defense official said.
Quotational Therapy: Part 103 -- Democrats & Earmarking.
Jim Moran Reveals His Cards A Little Too Early: Pork-
Democrats are giving us plenty of clues (and then some) regarding their plans, in the event that they regain the House of Representatives. The latest, from the would-be Appropriations Chairman, Jim Moran:
The money quote:
“When I become chairman [of a House appropriations subcommittee], I'm going to earmark the s#1t out of it."
And more context:
If Democrats win back control of the U.S. House of Representatives in November, U.S. Rep. Jim Moran said he would use his position in the majority to help funnel more funds to his Northern Virginia district.
Moran is a prime example of everything that is wrong with politics today, particularly the Democratic Party. If Republicans in swing districts stay home to teach Congressional Republicans a lesson, the joke will be on voters.
Previous Quotational Therapy Session:
The right quote can be therapeutic, so tune in to WILLisms.com for quotational therapy on Monday and Friday.
Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 343 -- Uncle Sam Awash In Cash.
Even With Substantial Spending Growth, Tax Receipt Growth Continues To Flourish-
2005 was a great year for government revenue growth, even amidst lower taxes (maybe because of lower taxes, if only partly). Government spending growth was swamped by revenue growth.
Well, 2006 is compounding that trend, through a comparable period (October through May) (.pdf):
Source: MTS (.pdf).
That's good news for those who seek smaller deficits. It's also good news for tax cutters.
Again, as usual, the bulk of the spending increases have been focused on national security, Social Security, Medicare, and Hurricane Katrina-related relief.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Growth Is Good.
Surprising Iraq Casualty Stats
Here is an unexpected statistic: nearly one-quarter (21.4%) of the casualties in Iraq were from non-hostile incidents - that is, they have no connection at all to combat:
581 deaths from accidents and situations having nothing to do with combat seems quite high. But then again, in 1991, the year of the Gulf War, 1,787 soldiers died while on military duty worldwide, but of those only 147 were killed in combat during the first Gulf War (according to the Defense Manpower Data Center statistics provided by the DoD. Look at that .pdf and you will see the surprisingly large number of casualties every year that are self-inflicted, as well).
If you go to this page you can even see incident-by-incident how the non-hostile fatalities occured if you put in the right filter. Many are health-related as you might expect. Many are helicopter and other vehicle accidents. (The Iraq Coalition Casualty Count site is grim and efficient - and rather fascinating and well-put together).
Paul at Wizbang informs us, in addition -
An analysis of the Army's ground accident database, which includes records from March 2003 through November 2005, found that 60 of the 85 soldiers who died in Humvee accidents in Iraq or 70 percent were killed when the vehicle rolled, the newspaper reported. Of the 337 injuries, 149 occurred in rollovers.
Rollovers that some are blaming on needless uparmoring of Humvees. Paul is right about a little demagoguery going on here - some Democrats (Hillary!) have made a point of harping on the issue of body armor for the troops as well, to the point where troops objected.
Hello! Welcome back to the PUNDIT ROUNDTABLE, our semi-regular thrashing out of the issues. I am your host, Ken McCracken. Here is the topic for this week:
Topic : On a scale of 1 to 10, how important a development is the death
of Zarqawi for Iraq? Why?
Now, I only got one response back this week from all the pundits I tried to contact. Normally, I would cancel the Roundtable, or put it off for another week. But considering our sole pundit is the QUEEN OF ALL EVIL I thought that might just be a bad idea. So here we have Roundtable newcomer, Rosemary Esmay!
The Host's Last Word: As a strategic victory in Iraq, killing Zarqawi is big, but not that big. I'd give it a 5. Zarqawi is not responsible for much of the ongoing terrorist violence in Iraq - the ex-Ba'athist dead enders are. I'd bump this up to a 7 if we could find out that Zarqawi was responsible for terrorist acts such as blowing up the Golden Mosque in Samarra, which led to the type of sectarian violence that Zarwqawi was so desperately trying to foment.
But the real victory with Zarqawi's death took place here, in the United States. I give it a 9. The MSM was forced to do wall-to-wall coverage on this critical political victory for George W. Bush, and this will no doubt bolster much of the lagging support for the war, ensuring that it does not succumb to 'Vietnamization'.
I keep saying this: the 'insurgency' cannot defeat us in Iraq - they can only defeat us here at home.
That's all! Come back next week for the next edition of PUNDIT ROUNDTABLE!
10 Goofy Thoughts About Zarqawi's DeathThe ego defenses were in high gear yesterday, as cognitive dissonance set in among many on the left in the wake of Abu Musab Zarqawi's death.
A virtual squirmfest of conspiracy-mongering, armchair quarterbacking and classic moobat dimthink ensued. A sight to behold.
3. Killing Zarqawi doesn't change anything. It doesn't change anything? Well, we'll never know will we, after all the guy is now dead. That is like saying that killing this guy changed nothing during World War II. Right on cue, Jack Murtha said "I think we cannot win this." Take a bow, Jack.
4. I question the timing! You knew this one was coming. AllahPundit: "Send me any links you find of people questioning the timing, the stupider the better. Ten points if they tie it to Haditha, a thousand points if they tie it to the start of Yearly Kos." And sure enough, Democratic Rep. Pete Stark of California took the bait - "This is just to cover Bush's [rear] so he doesn't have to answer for Iraqi civilians being killed by the U.S. military and his own sagging poll numbers. Iraq is still a mess -- get out."
6. Okay, we can bring the troops home now! "Our troops have done their job in Iraq." - John Kerry
7. Zarqawi was just small potatoes. "As terrorists go, he was what sportswriters might call a scrub." - Scott Thill
"There is no evidence of operational links between his Salafi Jihadis in Iraq and the real al-Qaeda; it was just a sort of branding that suited everyone, including the US. Official US spokesmen have all along over-estimated his importance. Leaders are significant and not always easily replaced. But Zarqawi has in my view has been less important than local Iraqi leaders and groups. I don't expect the guerrilla war to subside any time soon." - Juan Cole
"Zarqawi's importance to the tactical situation in Iraq has always been
overstated, and I doubt he has any significance at all to the strategic situation."
8. Bush blew earlier chances to kill Zarqawi. "U.S. forces passed on taking him out three times." - Russell Shaw, citing this article by MSNBC, which claims: "long before the war the Bush administration had several chances to wipe out his terrorist operation and perhaps kill Zarqawi himself but never pulled the trigger. In June 2002, U.S. officials say intelligence had revealed that Zarqawi and members of al-Qaida had set up a weapons lab at Kirma, in northern Iraq, producing deadly ricin and cyanide."
What a minute. You mean to tell me that al-Qaeda was in Iraq before the invasion, and they were cooking up WMDs? The devil you say!
9. He's not really dead. Or, he was already dead for some time, but
spent a Weekend At Bernie's: "I can't help but wonder if al-Zarqawi wasn't
killed some time ago and they just decided to announce it today and tell us
he was killed in yesterday's raid." - TalkLeft
(. . . again, which deserves some kind of award for hitting most of the above points all in one post).
10. Killing never solves anything. Michael Berg takes the extreme view over the death of his son Nick's murderer.
There are still more, such as "He deserved a trial, hot meals and cable t.v.," "his martydom will only create even more terrorists", "how many civilians died trying to kill this guy?" Play along at home if you like!
Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 342 -- The Power Of Growth.
Growth Is Good-
Some more perspective on the global economy:
The global economy is roaring. "For the first time since 1969," reports a newsletter I rely on, Bridgewater Daily Observations, "not a single country in the world has had negative year-over-year growth."
Okay, let's imagine it:
4.4% growth is excellent. Not quite as fantastic as America's 5.3% Q1-2006 growth, but better than America's 3.5% 2005 GDP growth. And much better than the European Union's 1.7% 2005 GDP growth.
If the United States, at every level, aggressively pursued pro-growth policies (less and fewer taxes, less and fewer regulations, etc.), we may very well be able to sustain 5.3% growth, year after year, for decades. Then again, you never know. Let's just assume we could. Here's what that 0.9% additional annual growth would yield over a lifetime:
A LOT more, in other words. Even with just 3.5% growth in 2005, the United States Gross Domestic Product (including inflation) added 10,000 dollars worth of value PER family. In just one year.
Now, let's take Europe's 1.7% rate over a lifetime:
Those percentage points-- and fractions of percentage points-- so boring and underreported, have amazing implications over time. In the long run, the divergence we're likely to see between the United States and Europe will lead to two drastically different societies, with drastically divergent standards of living.
More from a 2001 piece on how to tweak these percentages for the better (underlining mine):
Growing trade deficits signal improving economic conditions, while shrinking deficits often occur in times of economic trouble. During the last 25 years, the U.S. economy has on average grown about a percentage point faster, 3.5 percent vs. 2.6 percent, in years when the trade deficit expanded compared with years when it shrank. The unemployment rate on average fell 0.4 percentage points during years of rising deficits and rose 0.4 points when the deficit shrank. Manufacturing output rose much faster during years of rising trade deficits than during years of shrinking deficits.
Growth has profound consequences over time. Economic consequences. Political consequences. Moral consequences. When we trade growth for the false promises of liberal utopianism, we are shaping the future-- profoundly-- for the worse.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Late Night Jokes.
Quotational Therapy : Part 102 -- Tom DeLay's Farewell Speech.
Liberalism, Partisanship, Etc.-
Representative Tom DeLay gave his farewell address in the United States Congress yesterday. Here's an excerpt:
In preparing for today, I found that it is customary in speeches such as these to reminisce about the good old days of political harmony and across-the-aisle camaraderie, and to lament the bitter, divisive partisan rancor that supposedly now weakens our democracy.
The right quote can be therapeutic, so tune in to WILLisms.com for quotational therapy on Monday and Friday.
Yet Another Terrorist Nailed
Still more good news - Palestinian terrorist Jamal Abu Samhadana was also killed today in an Israeli air attack on a training camp of the Popular Resistance Committees in Rafah.
Samhadana had been appointed last month as chief of the Palestinian Authority's interior ministry - its security services. On his appointment, he had this to say:
"We have only one enemy. They are Jews. We have no other enemy. I will
continue to carry the rifle and pull the trigger whenever required to defend
In addition to his body of work with the PRC, the Telegraph article also tells us:
In recent months, he has directed the continuing barrage of Qassam rockets fired from Gaza into Israel, guaranteeing that he remains a high-priority target for Israel. Hours after his appointment, Zeev Boim, Israel's housing minister, said Abu Samhadana's new status conferred no immunity on him.And so they have.
Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 341 -- Late Night Jokes.
This Is Where Most Americans Get Most Of Their Political Information-
Would you believe that President Bush is the #1 target of late night comedians?
Yep, it's true:
Okay. Nothing that groundbreaking in these numbers.
But these are slightly more meaningful:
In the first five years of his presidency, George W. Bush was the target of eighteen percent of the 15,400 jokes from late night talk show hosts Jay Leno, David Letterman, and Conan O’Brien. This compares to sixteen percent for Bill Clinton during the first five years of his presidency.
So, more jokes about Bush than Clinton, at comparable times in their administrations. Interesting.
What's even more interesting is remembering how Clinton jokes made some people like President Clinton. He was the cool guy. The frat boy womanizer. The dope smoker. The overeater. In the world of late night jokes, President Clinton was John Belushi. Today, the jokes about Bush are mostly just about what a terrible, unlikeable person he is (which is clearly bogus) (.pdf):
Almost a third of the jokes (101) told about President Bush mocked his intelligence. Other leading topics were Mr. Bush's declining popularity, his personality, the port security story, and the war in Iraq.
Not only that, but there are more Bush jokes this year than last year, by far (.pdf):
For 2005, 544 jokes were told about George W. Bush -- averaging about 45 jokes per month. That pace has more than doubled so far this year, as there have been 307 jokes directed toward Mr. Bush -- averaging 102 per month.
Late night jokes seem to parallel approval ratings. Causation? Correlation? And which direction? Who knows. But it is suspicious how the two run in tandem. But when you think about how many Americans get their political news from comedians, it's not that hard to see the connection.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Death Taxes Are Terrible.
Osirak + 25 Years
Via Wikipedia we find that today is the 25th year anniversary of the Israeli attack on Saddam Hussein's Osirak reactor (creepily named after Osiris, Egyptian god of the dead by the mercenary French technicians who built it).
Widely reviled at the time (even by the United States) the wisdom of this illegal, pre-emptive attack is now appreciated by those who understand that nuclear weapons should never fall into the hands of psychopathic dictators.
In my blackest of black hearts, I have had thoughts along these lines regarding some of the 9/11 widows:“These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by griefparrazies. I have never seen people [manipulating] their husband’s death so much.”
Well, while playing Mad Libs, Ann Coulter decided to say this instead:
"These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by griefparrazies. I have never seen people enjoying their husband’s death so much.”
Yeah, this crosses the line. Loutish, says Rick Moran.
I would not go so far as to declare Ann Coulter persona non grata, for she is spot-on correct more often than she is dead wrong. It certainly detracts from the weight of whatever she might say in the future, though.
Iraq Jihadis Tried To Stage Child Massacre
. . . just as they have tried to stage so many other massacres:
[Capt. Andrew] Del Gaudio said he made a tough call after a roadside bomb killed four of his men in April. While securing the scene, he was shot at by a machine gun in a follow-up attack. When he aimed his weapon to return fire, he saw that the gunmen had a line of children standing in front of them and two men filming with video cameras. He held fire until the children moved out of the way but was shot in his hand, which was only inches from his face.
If the Jihadis are capable of something like this, is it not also possible that something like Haditha was staged? Or at least exaggerated:
The media manipulation by the insurgents is brilliant and extremely effective. The press has become a puppet for the insurgents; the insurgents know exactly what they are doing with these "massacres" (quoted here because the investigation has not been completed, nor have any charges been filed) and the political nightmare they will cause the current administration. Bodies are produced for film, and there is zero fact-checking by the media--the media eat up this "news" like there is no tomorrow. A couple of hundred bucks paid by the insurgents to a few guys/ladies in the town where this "massacre" occurred to make up some bad news and pine for the BBC's or CBS's or whoever's cameras is a nice month's salary for many and money well spent by the insurgency.
The gullible press is indeed acting as an unwitting fifth column for the Islamofascists. Prepared to believe everything the Jihadis say no matter how outlandish, but almost never prepared to believe a thing our own troops on the ground say. It seems nearly miraculous that Capt. Del Gaudio's account even made it into the press.
P.S. Which reminds me of something even more unbelievable . . .
Read More »
In pondering the behavior of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, I cannot help but think of the 500,000 plastic keys that Iran imported from Taiwan during the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88. At the time, an Iranian law laid down that children as young as 12 could be used to clear mine fields. Before every mission, a plastic key would be hung around each of the children’s necks. It was supposed to open for them the gates to paradise.Is that right? This was written by a guy named Matthias Küntzel, who seems legit. I can scarcely believe this is true.
« Close It
Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 340 -- Death Taxes
When I was in 9th grade, my Social Studies teacher really, really, really liked FDR. And there's nothing wrong with that. But as the year went on, her reasons for really, really, really liking FDR became apparent.
For her, it was the socialism thing. She was a socialist. Once, passingly, she fawned over the dramatically increased death taxes (from 20% to 45% to 60% to 70% to 77%) Franklin Roosevelt implemented in the 1930s. It finally evened the playing field, she asserted. How wonderful. How fair.
So I stopped her.
Aren't death taxes one of Karl Marx's 10 Communist Commandments (abolition of rights of inheritance)?
Don't they create massive inefficiencies by diverting so much capital into government coffers?
Don't they punish success, dissuade entrepreneurship, and undermine the importance of family?
Don't death taxes encourage rich people to spend their money gratuitously during their lives to avoid having it all confiscated at death?
Aren't a lot of farmers and small business owners considered "rich" because of the assets they have on paper, when, in reality, they lead somewhat modest lives?
And what about folks who have struggled (eating ramen and riding the bus) their entire lives, only to make it big at the very end? Is that fair to take away all (or even nearly all) of their money when they die?
Okay, maybe I didn't rattle off all of those particular questions. But I did ask several similar skeptical questions in rapid-fire fashion.
Her response had something to do with the death tax helping charities, helping everyone start life at a level playing field, and producing a great deal of funding for "the war" without hurting the bulk of regular Americans.
So, what about that last claim: does the death tax, which only hurts a few percent of Americans directly, produce any sort of windfall for the government, allowing lower taxes on everyone else?
The answer: No. Death taxes generate relatively little revenue for the government.
Indeed, the Tax Foundation notes that death taxes are not a big money maker for the government (.pdf):
The death tax currently produces <2% of federal tax revenues. Notice that under President Roosevelt that number rose in the beginning, then plummeted as people figured out ways to avoid paying it.
The Tax Foundation explains (.pdf) (underlining mine):
the estate tax has never been an important federal revenue source. In recent decades it has accounted for only 1 to 2 percent of federal receipts, and many economists argue that even this tiny figure may overstate estate tax revenues. Substantial evidence suggests the estate tax may actually raise zero or even negative federal revenue once the full economic effects of the tax are taken into account.
More empirical evidence against the death tax (.pdf):
A 1994 study found that the estate tax’s 55 percent rate at the time had roughly the same disincentive effect as doubling an entrepreneur’s top effective marginal income tax rate.5 Thus, because of the estate tax an entrepreneur facing a 31 percent statutory income tax rate would behave as if he or she were facing an effective 62 percent income tax rate.
In other words, the death tax changes behaviors. Those changed behaviors are not good for the economy. One of those behaviors is the accounting-industrial complex that has grown up around minimizing/avoiding death taxes, not to mention just plain paying them (.pdf):
One 1992 study by economists Henry J. Aaron and Alicia H. Munnell estimated the cost of complying with estate taxes to be $1 for every dollar of revenue raised—nearly five times more costly per dollar of revenue than the notoriously complex federal income tax.
Taxes-- all taxes-- should be simple, low, straightforward, and foreseeable; that structure ought to be relatively stable, if not permanent.
Our economy needs to compete in a global marketplace. That marketplace includes more than ports and shops and factories and skyscrapers. It includes the marketplace of ideas. Of policies. Ironically, a wave of lowering taxes is sweeping across Europe today-- even in left-leaning countries. Much of Asia (Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, etc.) has had lower taxes for many years.
If we are concerned about jobs and American competitiveness, we can't let other countries beat us at our own low tax game. That includes income taxes, corporate taxes, sales taxes, death taxes, property taxes, import/export taxes, and every other category of taxes/fees/levees under the sun.
High taxes drive capital and individuals away. There's a reason "low taxes" and "pro-growth policies" go hand in hand. Anyone familiar with the concept of heat transfer understands that heat always flows to cooler spaces, away from hotter ones, when possible. Putting a piece of ice on your forehead on a hot day cools you off because you are transfering some of your heat to the ice cube, not vice-versa.
It's the same with high taxes. Just as energy flows from hot to cool, capital flows from high tax jurisdictions to low tax ones.
Let's repeal the unfair death tax. Let's keep fighting for lower-- and fewer-- taxes. And let's do it soon. There's an election coming up, after all.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Gross State Product Differences Are Not Arbitrary.
Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 58.
The actual caption:
Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) answers questions during a news conference at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island June 5, 2006. (Stew Milne/Reuters)
Surely there's a better caption for this photograph.
Entries will remain open until 11:59 PM, Central Standard Time, Tuesday, June 13. Submit your captions in the comments section, or email at WILLisms@gmail.com.
Winners from last week:
BUSH: "I'm glad you enjoyed the KFC boxed lunch, Prime Minister... and yes that's a very common side effect."
The President's proctologist had strange tastes.
"Mmmm...tastes like International Zionist Conspiracy"
BUSH: "Sorry, Ehud, Dr. Evil impressions only work when one uses the pinky... and no I am not giving you one milllllion dollars!"
Taken moments before the incident, Isreali Prime Minister Olmert is seen preparing to give President Bush a "wet willie."
*You complete me.*
Bilbray Beats Busby In The Prequel
. . . to serve the seven months left in Randy 'Duke' Cunningham's term in California's 50th Congressional District.
Yep, that was Francine Busby, of "you don't need papers for voting" fame.
The real election comes this November, when Republican Bilbray and Democrat Busby will likely square off again.
WILL FRANKLIN ADDS: This makes the DailyKos.com election record, what, zero-and-twenty (0-20) now? That site is the kiss of death for any candidacy, it seems.
Update: Kos has a cold (awwww . . . ), and by reading the comments I'd say that the 'moral victory' ego-salve meme is going to rear its ugly little head again.
Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 339 -- Gross State Product, Not Arbitrary.
These Trends Are Not Accidental-
Ideas matter. Good ideas succeed. Bad ones fail.
Indeed, while the overall U.S. economy is running full steam ahead, with every state (other than Louisiana) showing economic growth over the past year, some state economies are created more equal than others:
Notice any trends?
Sure, there's the red/blue thing that holds up-- with only an occasional exception. Moreover, though, there's policy. As we've seen before, states-- red or blue-- with relatively lower tax burdens tend to perform better, economically; meanwhile, states-- red or blue-- with relatively high tax burdens tend to perform poorly.
That explains why New Hampshire, a state that went for George W. Bush in 2000, stands out in the New England region. New Hampshire has one of the better tax structures (possibly even the best) in the country. Meanwhile, Ohio has one of the worst.
Generally, though, Republican-dominated states are posting stronger economic growth than Democrat-dominated states.
Again, that's just a trend. There are definite exceptions to the trend. But, clearly, ideas matter. Policies matter.
When Republicans act like Republicans (and most do, despite some of the grumbling we hear these days), good policy becomes good politics. At the same time, how many elected Democrats do we know that truly act like Republicans?
That was rhetorical, but the answer is pretty close to zero. Just like Michigan's Gross State Product growth.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Manufacturing Sector Is On A "Record" Pace, Although The Media Won't Ever Admit Such.
Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 338 -- America's Manufacturing Base.
Did you know that American manufacturing is not in the toilet? That all of our manufacturing is NOT going to China? And that U.S. manufacturing has seen three straight years of growth?
Indeed, it is flourishing. You have to go back 27 years to find a longer positive streak than the United States currently has going.
BizzyBlog has much more on this absurdly underreported phenomenon, including an explanation of this chart:
These are good times for the economy, folks. Very good times.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Ridiculously Awesome GDP Growth.
Quotational Therapy: Part 101 -- Francine Busby.
Are We Positive She's Not From Chicago?
The San Diego special election to replace corrupt Congressman Duke Cunningham took an interesting twist in recent days. The Democrat, Francine Busby, "misspoke" on the issue of illegal aliens voting. Here was the key quote:
"YOU DON'T NEED PAPERS FOR VOTING."
And here's the longer exchange in context:
Busby said she was invited to the forum at the Jocelyn Senior Center in Escondido by the leader of a local soccer league. Many of the 50 or so people there were Spanish speakers. Toward the end, a man in the audience asked in Spanish: “I want to help, but I don't have papers.”
You can also listen to the entire thing in .mp3 format here.
Culture of corruption, eh?
The right quote can be therapeutic, so tune in to WILLisms.com for quotational therapy on Monday and Friday.
Lies Of Omission About Kerry
Just remember the name Thomas Lipscomb when some dope tries to tell you that the Swifties claims were 'unsubstantiated':
Kate Zernike's story on the front page of the Memorial Day Sunday New York Times, "Kerry Pressing Swift Boat Case Long After Loss," is an unfortunate reminder of the Times's embarrassingly poor coverage of Kerry in the face of the Swift Boat Veterans' for Truth charges in the 2004 election. Now as then, the Times acts as if the issues involved were between Kerry's latest representations of his record and the "unsubstantiated" charges of the Swift Boat group. The Times used the term "unsubstantiated" more than twenty times during its election coverage and continues to make no discernable effort to examine any of the charges in detail.
Welcome back on this lovely Sunday afternoon to another edition of PUNDIT ROUNDTABLE. I am your maître d', Ken McCracken. Here are our topics for this week:
Topic 1: What are your thoughts on the Big Guy in the Sky, theology and religion? Why is there Being rather than Nothing, anyway?
Topic 2: What is your favorite meal? (Give us recipes if you got 'em).
I am very pleased to introduce a new guest to the Roundtable, Tim Blair. Hello Tim, what do you think?
Next is returning pundit Laurence Simon, with his thoughts on these matters. Laurence?
I am so glad that Pundit Roundtable regular Mark Coffey of Decision '08 (Because It's Never Too Early!) has allowed us to bring him back. Mark, what do you say?
Mmmm . . . lovely pizza.
I like mine with pepperoni and fungus.
The Host's Last Word: I was raised as a midwestern Unitarian, which is an extremely radical sect of protestantism, so radical that it is literally unrecognizable as christianity. I think I learned more about the Dhammapada in Sunday school than I did about the New Testament. The first sex education class I ever had was in Sunday school if you can believe such a thing. So, growing up, the whole God thing came with a pretty skeptical point of view.
I am an atheist, more or less. Too much evidence to the contrary for God's existence in my opinion, particularly due to the presence of evil in the world. I have a hard time believing that an all-knowing, all-powerful and loving God allows it to exist. Does not compute.
I think Being exists because Nothing got bored of itself, and decided it needed something to play with. Nothing merely negated itself, and voilà! here we are.
I never knew about this type of cooking until I went to Taiwan, where they call it tiebanshao (and, naturally, the Chinese claim to have invented it. And the chefs don't flip shrimp into their chef hats). The best meal I ever had was an all-you-can-eat (!) tiebanshao, where the cook presented me with a large slab of seasoned and garnished dofu. Every single bite had unfolding layers of rich flavors, it was just marvelous. I like dofu any way you serve it, but I never expected it to be my supremo meal.
I hope to eat at Charlie Trotter's one day.
Well that's all for this week's gustatorial edition of Pundit Roundtable - see you next time!
The Goldstein Thesis + Two Cents
Ace is known as a snark artist in the blogosphere. Sometimes he takes the lampshade off his head however, and comes up with some thoughtful stuff. In his post Why Does The Unhinged Left So Hate Jeff Goldstein? he brilliantly deconstructs the psychology behind leftist 'thinking', such as it is, and shows it for what it is: ego defense. There is a bit I'd like to add to the thesis.
The default political stance for humans is conservatism. Your parents spent a lot of time and effort teaching you the rules of society that have developed into tradition in your social or ethnic group over many generations, and you learn how the status quo operates. It isn't really that much of a political conservatism per se, just a practical grappling with society as it has developed. Only when you know the rules, do you become free to question and break them.
This conservatism is for the common guy. The special, gifted, thinkers however are not satisfied being the hoi polloi. They self-select into an elite - an avant-garde who gain admission by rejecting the major tenets of society. Mind you, it doesn't take real brainpower to join - logic and reason are actually impediments to the suspension of disbelief required to think that Marxism, for example, is viable and should be emulated. Buying into the rhetoric of such failed philosophies such as Marxism actually reveals a gullibility and an inability to reason that runs counter to real intellectualism.
But that is not the point. Leftism isn't about pursuit of the truth - it is about feeling special. Leftism isn't about trying to find new and effective ways of doing things - it is about proving that you deserve to remain among the elite by accepting new ideas - any new ideas - as long as they skewer tradition. All it takes is knee-jerk contrariness, as in: the traditional concept of marriage is wrong and men should be allowed to marry men. There is no real examination of the worth and value of traditional marriage here, nor even a real investigation of its faults - just a desire to shock all of those billions of squares who think traditional marriage should stay what it is. Rejecting the peasant beliefs catapaults one into the elite. Mission accomplished. So then becoming a leftist 'thinker' is an easy task that requires very little thought: simply find a cherished traditional or conventional belief, and demand its repeal. The more outrageous, the better in fact.
Conventional belief: the victims of the 911 attacks were regular folk harming no one, who didn't deserve to die.
Repealer: those who died on 911 were 'little Eichmanns' keeping the wheels of the Nazi death machine well-oiled, and deserved to die for their past crimes.
See how easy it is? If you play along, maybe you too can earn big bucks as a tenured professor at a major university.
The good news is, leftism is a huge soporific that avoids the need to actually act upon any ideals. After all, we have heard repeatedly from the left that Bush is the new Hitler, and that we are living under a fascist state. If they really believed this, wouldn't they be manning the barricades? Either they think our fascism isn't really all that bad ( I guess because it is a strange fascism that, for some reason, allows the free flow of ideas on the internet), or once they merely mouth opposition to the 'fascism', the real task at hand -maintaining one's elite bona fides - has been accomplished. No need to get up from the keyboard and actually do anything about it. Expressing 'outrage' are the dues paid for ongoing elite membership - that is all that is required.
Latino 'Madrassa' Principal Speaks Out
. . . and embarasses himself with the types of racist bloviations worthy of the Ku Klux Klan:
We don’t want to drink from a White water fountain, we have our own wells and our natural reservoirs and our way of collecting rain in our aqueducts. We don’t need a White water fountain. So the whole issue of segregation and the whole issue of the Civil Rights Movement is all within the box of White culture and White supremacy. We should not still be fighting for what they have. We are not interested in what they have because we have so much more and because the world is so much larger. And ultimately the White way, the American way, the neo liberal, capitalist way of life will eventually lead to our own destruction. And so it isn’t about an argument of joining neo liberalism, it’s about us being able, as human beings, to surpass the barrier."How's that Mexican way of doing things workin' out for your brethren south of the border, pal? Aren't so many of them risking life and limb to come here to escape just the sort of society you are proposing?
Via Michelle Malkin.
The Actor Becomes The Role
Sometimes an actor is so good in a role, they appropriate it. They define it. They lock out the competition. Here are my Top Ten Movie Blurb picks where the actor became the role. I know, I know - a few of these are television roles, and many of the portrayals here have no real competition. That is not the point. The point is rolemaking excellence, and those who have achieved it.
My last Top Ten Movie Blurb was All My Favorite Villains.
A few more ideas I have are All My Favorite Clowns, and Top Ten Movie Speeches (Carl Spackler from Caddyshack will show up I guarantee - "So I jump ship in Hong Kong and make my way over to Tibet . . ." ). Keep some popcorn handy.