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« October 2006 | WILLisms.com | December 2006 »

Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 81

This week's WILLisms.com Caption Contest photograph:


Here is the actual caption:
A monkey drinks during the monkey buffet festival in front of the Pra Prang Sam Yot temple in Lopburi province, 150km (94 miles) north of Bangkok November 26, 2006. More than 2,000kg of fruit and vegetable were fed to the animals during the annual festival.

Uh-huh . . . a likely story. Give us a fuller account, please.

Entries will remain open until 11:59 PM, Central Standard Time, Tuesday, December 5. Submit your captions in the comments section, or email at mccracken.ken@gmail.com.

Last week's photo:

Boehner sings.jpg

Winners from last week: 1. Rodney Dill:

I for one, welcome our new liberal overlords.

2. radio free fred:

On To Baghdad And Let's Win There.

3. DaveD:
John Boehner and his singing Boehn-aires announce their reunion for next year's "Minority" Tour.

Honorable Mention #1 Terry_Jim:

House Republican Conference reaches out to the Black American voters by singing a medley of Funk-a-delic tunes.

Honorable Mention #2 elliot:
Just then Simon Cowell (American Idol) came out of the audience and said "That was absolutely dreadful"

Honorable Mention #3 cory:

All together now:

We're Men
We're Men in tights...

Captions never quit, and quitters never caption! Enter today!

Posted by Ken McCracken · 28 November 2006 02:07 AM · Comments (21)

"The Sawdust Caesar Ends Up In The Gutter"

Warning: Mussolini gets his head blown off at the end, and hung up like a side of beef!

Heh, now you gotta watch this one, right? Now this is how you report a major war event:


Gee, which side do you think the producers of this newsreel were on? No insincere feigning of 'objectivity' here - the reporter and the editor are clearly revelling in the elimination of the loathsome Benito Mussolini.

Did I say loathsome? I meant, he was a punk who deserved a gun butt across that smug mug of his:


To quote Tony Montana: "Well LOOK AT YOU NOW."

Not saying here that we should return to an era of 'jingoistic propaganda' - but please, surely we can also do without the constant slimy insinuations from reporters these days that every mistake, miscalculation and misdeed is always solely and uniquely the fault of the U.S.

Update: Er, actually I guess he didn't quite get his whole head blown off at the end. There are pictures of him hanging upside down at a Milan gas station, head more or less intact, with his sweetie pie hanging there as well.

Ah, love!

P.S. For these very reasons, I strongly support releasing footage of the impending execution of Saddam Hussein - I hope it ends up on YouTube. Can you say . . . closure?

Posted by Ken McCracken · 28 November 2006 01:06 AM · Comments (2)

We Need An Exit Strategy For . . . Afghanistan?

Multinational flags at ISAF in Kabul - courtesy of NATO photos.

This looks like a trifle on the surface, but it could be the tip of an ugly iceberg. At an upcoming NATO summit regarding Afghanistan, superpower Belgium is getting nervous and wants an exit strategy - and is rattling the nerves of some of the other participating nations.

"While heads of government are to make a show of unity over Afghanistan at tomorrow's alliance summit in Riga, Belgium's Defence Minister has questioned the future of Nato's most important mission."

Belgium has a whopping 246 soldiers stationed in Afghanistan:

Though Belgium only makes a small military contribution to the Nato mission, the Minister's comments will alarm senior figures at the alliance's headquarters where there is already concern that France is getting cold feet about its role in Afghanistan. Paris has remained publicly committed to the mission but Nato sources are concerned about the possibility of an eventual French withdrawal. They are pressing for an enhanced UN profile in Afghanistan to reassure the French who are suspicious about an expanded role for Nato because of Washington's hold over the alliance."
Is this the 'multilateralism' that the Democrats assured us was the cure for all diplomatic and military ills the world over? It seems that when the going gets tough (and it is getting tough in Afghanistan) and when we need them most of all, certain European partners can be counted on to cut and run. I wonder where they got the idea from. I suppose I could kinda sorta see Belgium giving up were it a coalition partner in Iraq. The defeaning drumbeats of defeat coming from the MSM has even shaken some erstwhile stalwart Republicans here in the U.S. But Afghanistan is the good war on terror, as opposed to the Halliburton quagmire of lies that is Iraq - and so it is disheartening to see coalition partners backing away from this far less controversial conflict. Are these francophonic jitters going to lead to wider fissures in the coalition, that eventually dooms Afghanis to another dark age under the Taliban?

Remember: a great many leftists such as Michael Moore and MoveOn.org were opposed even to the invasion of Afghanistan, insisting that the proper response to 9/11 should be self-flagellation. Keep an eye out to see whether Democrats will now begin pitching the usual excuses to cut and run from Afghanistan that they are using in Iraq, such as the war is 'unwinnable' and 'incompetently run'.

Posted by Ken McCracken · 27 November 2006 08:16 PM · Comments (4)

Sunday Heidi Weimaraner -- Update: 10 Months Old.

Heidi and Mrs. WILLisms.com a week or two ago at Enchanted Rock in Central Texas:


Read More »

Posted by Will Franklin · 26 November 2006 12:09 AM · Comments (6)

Happy Thanksgiving.

Reporting from the island of St. Maarten.

Happy Thanksgiving. And happy holidays, more generally.


The picture is from St. Thomas, Wednesday night.

Good times.

Posted by Will Franklin · 23 November 2006 06:09 PM · Comments (4)

Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 80

This week's WILLisms.com Caption Contest photograph:

Boehner sings.jpg

Here is the actual caption:
House Republican Leader-elect John Boehner (C) sings after the House Republican Conference re-elected him to head their caucus, November 17, 2006. From L-R are House Republican Whip-elect Roy Blunt, Rep. Eric Cantor, Boehner, Secretary of the Republican Conference-elect John Carter and RNCC Chairman-elect Tom Cole.

This just cannot be the full story. Please give us a proper caption.

Entries will remain open until 11:59 PM, Central Standard Time, Tuesday, November 28. Submit your captions in the comments section, or email at mccracken.ken@gmail.com.

Last week's photo:


Winners from last week: 1. elliot:

...what happens when you buy cheap 'Boot-Leg' Viagra.

2. DaveD:

OK gentlemen, the first one to knock his opponent's hat off without using his hands wins.

3. Buckley F. Williams:
Although Ramesh and Hassan received polite applause from the audience for their rendition of "Middle Eastern Cockfight Serenade", it wasn't until they added more jazz hands that the crowd truly went wild.

Honorable Mention #1 chsw:

Both having defeated their former colonial master, the Special Silly Walk Services of India and Pakistan commenced their match-play silly walking tournament. India is up one goose-step and a pleiae at the end of the first day.

Honorable Mention #2 Rob B.:
While the Rockettes are for diversity, their international orginizational rules had to be ammended in regards to moustaches.

Honorable Mention #3 Rodney Dill:

Unfortunately each member of the honor guard had only put on one of the new anti-gravity boots.

Captioning makes the world go 'round. Enter today!

Posted by Ken McCracken · 22 November 2006 12:57 PM · Comments (21)

Fun With Intelligence!

Google Earth kinda makes me feel a little . . . naked. Like, there is the house I grew up in, from a perspective I had never known it from. There is Manhattan, beautifully laid out in all its detailed splendor. I am quite sure al-Qaeda finds it to be an invaluable tool. It is like the GPS satellites launched by the Pentagon: all are free to use or abuse its powers.

Mind you, it allows someone like Douglas Hanson, writing at the American Thinker, to put on his amateur imagery analyst monocle and estimate that Iran's defenses in the Strait of Hormuz have improved since the first incarnation of Google Earth.

Google-Earthing North Korea has unearthed some very interesting finds.

And check this out:


Huangyantan - a 900x700m scale model of Aksai Chin in the Karakorum region of the Himalayas, a battlefield in the 1961 Sino-India war, discovered by an intrepid amateur analyst. Very cool and kinda creepy.

If you want to see something really interesting, go look up Diego Garcia in Google Earth. Diego Garcia is the Pentagon's permanently-fixed aircraft carrier in the south Indian Ocean, actually an island that is part of the British Indian Ocean Territory. A strategic base for the B-52, B-1 and B-2, this is a place so secretive and sensitive that journalists have never been allowed to visit. Close to all the action in the Middle East, the U.S. government naturally denies that any terrorist suspects have been 'detained' there.

Searching for 'Diego Garcia' in Google Earth will not get you there, but type in 'Maldives' and then keep going south. Then you can instantly see what an interesting arrangement Diego Garcia is. Er, perhaps national security should preclude releasing such images. Then again, any intelligence agency that has failed thus far to amass at least that much information about Diego Garcia is probably little threat to our nation.

Diego Garcia small.jpg

Hmm, it looks like our B-52 in the middle there just kinda evaporated.

Be sure to toggle on the Google Earth Community in the layers menu, so that little markers appear that inform or disinform you of some of the features of Diego Garcia, including the 'Diego Garcia base crop circles' that one sly and clever vandal inserted there.

It is not surprising that these photos exist. The only thing new here is that now the public can see them, a small democratization of the previously arcane and occult art of imagery analysis.I can't help but think that, all things considered, these types of disclosures will favor the open societies that developed this technology over those dark forces that still think ignorance is best.

Posted by Ken McCracken · 21 November 2006 03:20 AM · Comments (2)

Do Jews Win Too Many Nobel Prizes?

Samir 'Ubeid, an Iraqi researcher living in Europe, is upset that the Nobel Prize was awarded to "167 Jews, from among those 15 million scattered around the world, while abandoning 1.5 billion Chinese, a billion Indians, and 380 million Arabs."

He adds "this is racism."

Mr. 'Ubeid thinks that, because the gene for genius is equally distributed among all human ethnic groups, prizes acknowledging such genius should likewise be equally distributed. Quotas for the Nobel Prize, if you will. This is an affront to Arab dignity, because so few of them receive the prize as compared to Jews. Is it possible that Arab societies - imprisoned by despotisms that stifle economic and scientific progress, and suffering from woeful levels of illiteracy and miseducation - are the real culprits here?

No - the real reason is that "this prize stems from the core of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion."

There's that woeful miseducation at work right there.

'Ubeid has inadvertently lurched into an interesting point here, Jews do seem overrepresented in winning such prizes. Unlike Mr. 'Ubied I am quite comfortable and secure in my own ethnic heritage, and so I am not the least bit threatened by Jews running away with all the prizes. Face it, Jews have simply had an impact on history, arts and sciences all out of proportion to their numbers. Much of it has been great for civilization and humanity, some not so great. Compare and contrast:

Milton Friedman
Karl Marx

And that is just in the field of economics.

So how has this come about? I am not Jewish and so I cannot explain it - but I have a feeling that a great many Jews cannot explain it either. Perhaps 'Ubaid is wrong and there is in fact some kind of 'genius gene' more commonly found in Jews than others. Or, perhaps there is some X factor in Jewish culture that fosters such accomplishment.

In any event, I wish someone would inform Mr. 'Ubaid that placing his own racism and bigotry onto others is a psychological phenomenon known as 'projection'.

Posted by Ken McCracken · 17 November 2006 03:30 PM · Comments (12)

Milton Friedman 1912-2006

What Friederich Engels said of Karl Marx upon his death should really now be said of Friedman, that today "the greatest living thinker ceased to think."

Condolences to his family, friends, and the legions of those he helped free through his ideas.

Posted by Ken McCracken · 16 November 2006 12:56 PM · Comments (1)

Dems Elect Hoyer Over Murtha

The Dems wisely chose Steny Hoyer over Jack Murtha by a vote of 149-86 to be the next House majority leader. James Clyburn of South Carolina is now the majority whip, the number 3 position in the House.

That's a big ouch right there for Nancy Pelosi, who campaigned hard for the ethically-challenged Jack Murtha. Pelosi seems to have learned nothing from the Republican defeat this month - that when you espouse certain principles, such as 'cleaning up Congress', but practice them in a flexible way, people will call you on it.

Kudos to the Dems for blocking this trash from gaining a leadership post. Let's hope they don't forget their principles when Pelosi tries to appoint Alcee Hastings as chair of the Intelligence committee.

Posted by Ken McCracken · 16 November 2006 12:31 PM · Comments (4)

Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 79

This week's WILLisms.com Caption Contest photograph:


Here is the actual caption:
Indian (L) and Pakistani border guards goose-step during a flag lowering ceremony at Wagah in July. Indian troops guarding the country's only land transit point to Pakistan have halted an aggressive military ceremony ahead of a resumption of talks next week.

This just cannot be the full story. Please give us a proper caption.

Entries will remain open until 11:59 PM, Central Standard Time, Tuesday, November 21. Submit your captions in the comments section, or email at mccracken.ken@gmail.com.

Last week's photo:

Winners from last week: 1. Cullen:

Hmm, dad got pregnant once. Would it be so wrong for me to get my own pair of balloons?

2. chsw:

I think I'd like to be a Hollywood plastic surgeon when I grow up.

3. Rodney Dill:
Ya did kill off all those Predator thingies, right Dad?

Honorable Mention #1 John in IL:

Christopher gives a big shout out to dad's favorite band, Nena .

Honorable Mention #2 Elliot:
That Foley guy sure is swell, balloons, candy, and he even wants my email address.

Honorable Mention #3 Sgt.Fluffy:

One day, I will be able to have implants.....

Captioning goes where others fear to tread. Enter today!

Posted by Ken McCracken · 15 November 2006 09:33 AM · Comments (32)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 378 -- Education Spending & Outcomes.

More Spending Isn't Automatically The Answer-

U.S. students perform poorly in math, relative to other OECD nations:


Meanwhile, spending on education in the United States is extraordinarily high, even as a percentage of our #1 GDP in the world:


Indeed, the United States spends plenty on education, according to The Heritage Foundation's Education Notebook:

Annual U.S. Department of Education spending on elementary and secondary education has increased from $27.3 billion in 2001 to $38 billion in 2006, up by nearly 40 percent. According to the department, annual spending on the Title I program to assist disadvantaged children grew by 45 percent between 2001 and 2006. In 2007, the department will spend 59 percent more on special education programs than it did in 2001....

Since the early 1970s, inflation-adjusted federal spending per pupil has doubled....

Under a Republican-controlled Congress, federal spending on higher education has increased almost as dramatically as K-12 spending over the past six years. For example, annual Department of Education spending on federal Pell Grants grew from $8.7 billion in 2001 to $13 billion in 2006, nearly 50 percent growth. The federal government spends considerably more on higher education today than it did during the Clinton administration. According to the College Board, federal funding for higher education in 2004-2005 totaled $90 billion, a real increase of 103 percent over ten years.

An increasing number of students receive federal subsidies for higher education. For example, 5.3 million students received federal Pell Grants in 2005, an increase of 44 percent over ten years. In all, in 2006 more than 10 million Americans will receive various federal subsidies for higher education.

Spending has gone up, up, up, with only marginal and spotty improvements in results:


It seems obvious that throwing money at a problem is not the answer. We need some radical new ideas on education, if we are to remain the greatest country in the world. We need serious education reform, not more of the same. Those ideas are not coming from the teachers' unions.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Competitive House Races.

Posted by Will Franklin · 15 November 2006 09:32 AM · Comments (9)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 377 -- Competitive House Races.

Out Of The Ashes, Some Targets For 2008-

We will win back majorities in 2008. While the cumulative effect of the election was a "thumping," as the President put it, the Democrats' individual victories were shallow and small:


Lots and lots of elections won by 5,000 or fewer votes. Many won by half a percentage point. Tons won by less than 55%.

With a strong Presidential team at the top of the ballot, following all of the scandals and strife and socialism from Democrats over the next two years, the GOP will rise again in the House of Representatives.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Our New Anti-Trade Congress.

Posted by Will Franklin · 14 November 2006 01:55 PM · Comments (3)

Quotational Therapy: Part 112 -- Pelosi & Fairness.

Promises, Promises-


Nancy Pelosi, still nuancing her way through life:

"What they did was very effective in pulling up all the ladders for any other party to gain the majority," incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said last week of the Gingrich revolutionaries. "They just shut the doors to debate on the floor, to amendments coming, to even how special orders [speeches] were conducted. Everything they were effective in using to gain the majority they shut down."

"We're going to do the opposite," she pledged.

Yet, later in the same article...

But there are limits to such sentiments. In the 1990s, Republicans shifted the number of committee seats allotted to the majority and minority parties to virtually ensure that no cross-party collaboration would be needed to draft and pass legislation. When asked whether she may change those ratios as a goodwill gesture, Pelosi last week snapped, "I don't see a scenario where there is going to be much appetite for that."

So, nevermind, in other words.

Probably the same fate as this pledge:

Special-interest projects, which helped fuel several recent congressional scandals, are often anonymously slipped into spending bills by lawmakers at lobbyists' behest.

Pelosi's approach to the issue is certain to come under renewed scrutiny. In one of her first acts as speaker, she has pledged to crack down on earmarking.

"I would just as soon do away with all of them," she told reporters this week.

End earmarks, and you'll have a handful of very happy bloggers. You'll also annoy far more constituents who rely on or expect their member of Congress to bring home pork for the district. Will Nancy do away with all earmarks?


Previous Quotational Therapy Session:

Charlie Rangel

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

Posted by Will Franklin · 13 November 2006 04:46 PM · Comments (1)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 376 -- Democrats & Protectionism.

Our New Congress Is Decidedly More Isolationist-

Just after the election, Simon J. Evenett and Michael Meier of Switzerland's University of St. Gallen examined the new Congress and found that it is far more protectionist than before (.pdf):


Not a single seat switched from anti-trade to free-trade. Many switched from free-trade to anti-trade. Opposition to free trade agreements may have even been a deciding factor in helping "socially conservative" Democrats get over the hump in many tight races.

Indeed, we live in changing times. We have a changing economy. If there was a single domestic theme that drove voters to the polls in places like Pennsylvania and Ohio and Indiana, it was the notion that American jobs are not secure. Union members came out in droves to vote for a higher minimum wage and more trade barriers. Even some evangelicals finally found some acceptable Democrats, because these Democrat candidates mostly spoke their language on God, guns, and gays.

Ironically, the national "vote for change" may have actually been a somewhat localized fear of change in dozen or two blue collar House districts away from the coasts.

While this phenomenon really only explains a portion of Republican losses, it is one of only two major non-structural domestic themes raised successfully in this election by Democrats.

The other theme that Democrats used to win over independents, raised exclusively outside the blue collar belt that voted on trade/jobs/wage issues (in scattered affluent suburbs), was that Republicans have gone too far in imposing values on the rest of the country (in other words, stem cell research, as in Missouri).

*** [Click "Read More" below to see the structural reasons for GOP losses.]

But, let's get back to the Democrats' protectionism, one of the few actual issues Democrats actually advanced on the domestic front.

As Thomas Friedman might put it, Democrats have chosen the "scapegoat" response to global challenges, eschewing the "Sputnik" response:

• Democrats raised trade-related matters far more often than Republicans.

• All of the new Democratic Senators had bad things to say about trade reform.

• The free trade agreements (FTAs) signed by the Bush Administration were prominent targets of Democrats' ire, with half of Democrats making the CAFTA agreement an election issue.

Just because some of these new Democrats are pro-life, pro-gun, or anti-gay marriage doesn't mean they are "moderate." In looking at some of the new candidates, we have an infusion of 1930s-style economic isolationists and socialists into the 110th Congress. These Democrats, called "moderate" because they hunt and go to church, have chosen the head-in-sand left-wing response on some of the great economic issues of our time, entitlements and trade.

So, to the small 'l' libertarians out there who did not vote for Republicans because you were upset about excess spending and/or too much moralism coming from the Republican Congress, congratulations.

Your votes, or lack thereof, actually made the difference in key races, perhaps moreso than votes for Ralph Nader made the difference in 2000.

You libertarian protest voters successfully sent your message.

Your votes, or lack thereof, empowered the worst sort of anti-libertarian members Congress, and although that can't be what you wanted, that's the only way your message will be interpreted by our media.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Who Pays What In Taxes.

Read More »

Posted by Will Franklin · 13 November 2006 03:09 PM · Comments (2)

The Tenth Mainstream Melee -- Our New Democratic Overlords.


It's a non-blog adventure.


Los Angeles Times: "Speaker-to-be is no stranger to earmarking"

Super Succinct Synopsis-

Nancy Pelosi is sending decidedly mixed messages on earmarks.

Super Succinct Snippet-

During the last congressional session, her district received far more earmarks than a typical district, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan watchdog that tracks congressional spending.


Pelosi has defended her earmarking, including at a news conference in March. "There are many earmarks that are very worthy," she said. "All of mine, as a matter of fact."


In one of her first acts as speaker, she has pledged to crack down on earmarking.

"I would just as soon do away with all of them," she told reporters this week.

This year, Pelosi was among those who assailed Republicans' use of the practice.

And when the House adopted a rule in September requiring authors of some, but not all, earmarks to be identified, she called it a "political gimmick to make it look as if something is happening."

Flip. Flop. Flip. Flop. Pelosi really is all over the map, isn't she? Especially on earmarks.



DMN: "It's our serve"

Super Succinct Synopsis-

Thomas Friedman notes that the Democrats in Congress are more protectionist than their predecessors.

Super Succinct Snippet-

The big question for me is, how will President Bush and the Democratic Congress use China: as a scapegoat or a Sputnik?

Will they use it as an excuse to avoid doing the hard things, because it's all just China's fault, or as an excuse to rally the country – as we did after the Soviets leapt ahead of us in the space race and launched Sputnik – to make the kind of comprehensive changes in health care, portability of pensions, entitlements and lifelong learning to give America's middle class the best tools possible to thrive?

Thomas Friedman is torn. On the one hand, he is a believer in free trade and globalization, but on the other hand, he is politically and ideologically left-of-center. Thus, he's willing to give these economic isolationists now in power the benefit of the doubt. For now. That's not going to last very long, as Democrats choose walls and Smoot-Hawleyism over real reform.



The Wall Street Journal: "Democratic Gains Raise Roadblocks To Free-Trade Push"

Super Succinct Synopsis-

Iraq was an issue, so was corruption, and the sum total nationally was a bloodbath; nevertheless, Democrats largely won individual races ever-so-marginally on a socially conservative, economically populist message in the Ohio River Valley (and similar blue collar areas).

Super Succinct Snippet-

Even in states that historically have rejected anti-free-trade campaigns, such as Iowa, Kansas and Missouri, candidates who ran heavily on such a platform won. While the dominant themes of the campaign were Iraq, terror and scandal, there were plenty of signs that economic insecurity was coloring voters' decisions.

In exit polls, half of voters said they felt the "state of the national economy" was "not so good," or "poor." Economic concerns were particularly big in the industrial Midwest, where free-trade critics won some of their biggest gains and voters in some states put economic concerns first.


Congressional Democrats have long been moving away from free-trade support. In the 1990s, dozens of House Democrats regularly supported free-trade initiatives like the North American Free Trade Agreement backed by then-President Clinton, which won 102 Democratic votes. But only 15 Democrats backed the Central American Free Trade Agreement negotiated by the Bush administration in 2005.

The incoming batch of trade skeptics that unseated incumbent Republicans largely represents a new breed. Many are conservative on issues such as gun ownership and abortion and on economic issues like taxes, but veer populist on trade issues.

From a nitty-gritty behind-the-scenes standpoint, the new Democratic majority in the House was won mostly in blue collar districts. Union voters, many of whom were microtargeted into voting for Bush in 2004, turned out for protectionist Democrats this year in a big way. This is no accident. Unions and other left-wing organizations, while still far behind the curve when it comes to identifying and mobilizing friendly voters in non-urban areas, have caught up to Republicans just enough to eek out the sorts of ~5000 vote victory margins we saw all around the country.



The Wall Street Journal: "Redistricting: Home to Roost"

Super Succinct Synopsis-

Republicans spread their supporters too thinly when redistricting in 50/50 type regions like Pennsylvania.

Super Succinct Snippet-

In 2002 the fruits of the work in Pennsylvania -- as well as similar efforts in Ohio, Michigan and Florida -- were clear when the Republicans' U.S. House majority widened to 229-204. Mr. DeLay wasn't done, though. The next year, he pushed through a new congressional map in Texas that produced another net gain of five Republican seats in the Lone Star state. By 2004, his House majority had grown to 232-202.

While Republicans lauded their Texas coup, pro-Democratic union leaders at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, across the street from the White House, pored over the 2004 presidential and congressional results. They began to put together a pattern: Republican-held House seats where Democrat John Kerry narrowly won or lost also included high concentrations of union members.


"If Republicans had been a little less aggressive, they could have won several of those seats. If they gave the Democrats one more seat, they could have shored up by several percentage points the other seats," says Nathaniel Persily, a political scientist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

While the article blames Tom DeLay for diluting Republican districts via redistricting, spreading thin the GOP base in Texas worked because Texas is a conservative Republican state, without strong unions.

Spreading thin in places like Pennsylvania was only a good idea to the extent that strong Republican incumbents were expected to easily hold out until the next Census, when "blue states" such as Pennsylvania are projected to lose a dozen or more Congressional seats to "red states" like Texas in the reapportionment process.



New York Post: "Are Dems Bolton Already?"

Super Succinct Synopsis-

Throwing Bolton out: yet another annoying consequence of the elections.

Super Succinct Snippet-

It now appears likely that U.N. Am bassador John Bolton, faced with intransigent opposition from the new majority party, will have to step down.

That would be a tremendous loss for America's diplomatic efforts. And it would send exactly the wrong signal to the nation's enemies - who were rejoicing last week and feeling emboldened in the wake of the Dems' victory Tuesday.

Bolton = reform and common sense at the UN.

Ergo, Democrats are against reform and common sense at the UN. In no organization is the culture of corruption more entrenched and consequential than at the United Nations. Ambassador Bolton has been a strong voice for change at the United Nations. He's also been an articulate and effective supporter of American interests in the world. It's a shame that he'll likely be replaced by some lame candidate who does not even speak for the President.


The previous Mainstream Melee.

WILLisms.com and many other blogs sometimes focus too much on our fellow bloggers, while excluding well-done professional journalism from our posts.

The Mainstream Melee is a quick survey of five non-blog sources, coming atchya at completely random intervals. The stories are either underreported, particularly well-written, interesting, or otherwise important to the big picture. But generally there will be a theme of some kind in the choices.

Posted by Will Franklin · 13 November 2006 12:14 PM · Comments (1)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 375 -- Who Pays Taxes.

Tax Cut Versus No Tax Cut-

The tax structure is not accidentally more progressive than it was when Bush took office. The tax cuts ("for the rich") actually made the difference (.pdf):


Our new left-wing overlords, meanwhile, are determined to raise taxes. The media, of course, call that tax hike a "repeal" of a "tax cut" ("for the rich"). Raising taxes, or failing to extend the tax cuts which are set to automatically expire, will likely give Americans a serious case of buyer's remorse two years from now. Indeed:

According to the Treasury Department, all American taxpayers will experience a tax increase if the 2001 and 2003 tax provisions are not made permanent. On average:

* 115 million taxpayers will see a $1,716 increase.
* 84 million women will see a $1,970 increase.
* 48 million married couples will see a $2,726 increase.
* 42 million families with children will see a $2,084 increase.
* 12 million single women with children will see a $1,062 increase.
* 17 million seniors will see a $2,034 increase.
* 26 million small business owners will see a $3,637 increase.
* More than 5 million low-income individuals and couples will no longer be exempt from individual income tax.



Previous Trivia Tidbit: Fertility Rates.

Posted by Will Franklin · 10 November 2006 07:23 PM · Comments (0)

Quotational Therapy: Part 111 -- Charlie Rangel.

This Man Now Controls American Economic Policy-


Democrats are already revealing a rampant outbreak of entertaining foot-in-mouth disease. Relegated to irrelevance for so long, they've gotten used to saying outrageous things without consequences. Charlie Rangel is a great example of that syndrome. He is quoted as saying:

"Mississippi gets more than their fair share back in federal money, but who the hell wants to live in Mississippi?"


I know that's just Charlie Rangel being Charlie Rangel, but that's precisely the view most of our new coastal overlords have, when it comes to dumb ole "red America."

What Charlie's comments immediately brought to mind, however, is the fact that New York lost two Congressional seats in the reapportionment following the 2000 Census. They are expected to lose at least one, likely two, or possibly three more Congressional seats the next time around (.pdf). Indeed, New York has the highest rate of internal outmigration in the country. In other words, New York had more net people move to other states than any other state, from 2004 to 2005 (.pdf).

Bottom line, in Charlie Rangel's wonderful New York, people are walking the walk when it comes to the question, "who the hell would want to live there?"

And it's not pretty.

Oh, these next two years are going to be interesting.

Previous Quotational Therapy Session:

An Avowed Socialist Among Our New Democratic Overlords

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

Posted by Will Franklin · 10 November 2006 11:49 AM · Comments (1)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 374 -- Civilization & Replacement.

Too Rich For Kids-

Among OECD countries, nearly every single one has a fertility rate below the replacement rate:


What will become of these countries? Will they begin to give incentives to attract more immigrants from the developing world, just to maintain the same population levels? If so, what becomes of their cultures, their languages, their economies, their laws, and so on?

If they don't let in droves of 3rd world immigrants, will they merely languish in population? What happens to their pyramid scheme entitlement programs? What happens to a society with plenty of octogenarians and very few whippersnappers? Who defends their countries, militarily? What happens to their schools and their industries?

For much of the OECD, it's a future filled with demographic dilemmas.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Rasmussen Reports Nailed It.

Posted by Will Franklin · 9 November 2006 05:02 PM · Comments (4)

Social Security Reform Thursday: Week Sixty-Six -- The 7.65% Solution.


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 7.65% Solution.

Democrats now control the House and Senate. Social Security reform, which might very well require 60 solid reformers in the Senate, just took a major leap backward. Sure, some Republicans also opposed reform, but it was primarily Democrats pretending everything's just fine as is.

That leaves us in a depressing limbo. While there certainly are prominent Democrats out there who have called for Social Security modernization based on market principles, they are almost all former members of Congress, like former Representative Tim Penny (whom I personally campaigned against in the 2002 Minnesota gubernatorial race), former Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, and former Representative Charlie Stenholm of Texas. President Clinton even once seemed receptive to personal accounts, before his liberal constituencies changed his mind for him. There are plenty of elected Democrats, past, current, and future, who know in their heads that Social Security needs reform and know in their hearts that personal accounts are the only win-win-win solution, but they would rather cut and run than endorse a marginally controversial idea.

Those in charge of Congress today, especially the chairs of committees that deal with entitlement reform, are simply unreasonable socialists who may never agree to even the most basic and uncontroversial reforms, let alone anything meaningful.

Thus, to all the Republicans in Congress who were too timid to act in 2005, shame on you. You missed an opportunity to leave a profound positive legacy, improving the lives of real working people, and keeping America the greatest economy in the world.

You also missed a chance to eliminate left-wing scaremongering on Social Security once and for all, while winning over skeptics (especially young professionals, who are somewhat liberal on social issues but extremely conservative on fiscal ones; incidentally, 2 million more young voters turned out in 2006 than in 2002 and went 3-2 for Democrats, with particularly strong turnout in states with tight Senate races, according to this .pdf from "CIRCLE") as the personal account portfolios showed real growth in the short run and eye-opening potential over the long run.

In essence, failing to advance the ball on Social Security reform was part of an overall failed Congressional GOP game plan in which the lack of offense on just about any issue whatsoever over the past two years led to easy touchdowns on November 7 for the inferior team, the Democrats.

And that's where we find ourselves today.

But the Social Security reform movement is a growing, idea-based movement. We're so right and reasonable on the issue, I am cringeworthily embarrassed-- personally-- for those who reject reform.

So let's keep advancing the ball, shall we?

There's a great website called "America Is Listening" which has a reform plan called the 7.65% Solution.

Here's a bit of how it works (.pdf):


Medicare and Social Security are both looming crises for our nation. Social Security was supposed to be the easy one. We were supposed to be able to knock that one out and in the meantime pray for a solution on Medicare. Unfortunately, some ostensibly pro-reform folks in Congress used Medicare's larger crisis as an excuse not to act on Social Security.

Good thinking, guys!

So, clearly we face a drastically different America without major entitlement reform. The longer we wait, the more impractical and painful reform becomes. The sooner we act, the better.

Without getting too wonky, here's the gist of the 7.65% Solution (.pdf):

All workers would immediately redirect 6.2 percent of their taxable Social Security earnings and 1.45 percent of their taxable Medicare earnings into their Protected Personal Accounts for a total of 7.65 percent. Workers will own and control these Protected Accounts just as they do today with a 401k or an IRA.

Here's how an individual's benefits would look over time (.pdf):


Meanwhile, protected personal accounts would prevent insolvency (.pdf):


So, we'd achieve true, permanent solvency, without tax increases, benefit cuts, or pushing the retirement age back.

Here's a timeline on how this reform plan would enhance our free enterprise system (.pdf):


Instead of entitlements consuming ever more of our economy, reform would actually provide our free market engine with more fuel to improve our nation's standard of living and stature in the world.

These calculations, however, are only good if we act before mid-2007.

The clock is still ticking:

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

Read More »

Posted by Will Franklin · 9 November 2006 11:34 AM · Comments (4)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 373 -- Rasmussen Dead On Again.

I Shouldn't Have Doubted-

In 2004, Rasmussen Reports was the most accurate polling firm, by far. When Zogby and Gallup and the rest had it drastically wrong (typically tilting in the direction of Senator Kerry), Scott Rasmussen's polls were amazingly precise and predictive. Those of us who remembered Rasmussen's success in 2002 relied on his "pro-Bush" polling in 2004 to keep us sane, when, based on what the others were saying, it looked like we'd almost certainly have John Kerry "reporting for duty."

Over the past few weeks and months, I thought for sure that Rasmussen must have lost some of that magic this year. Surely some of these polls are off. How on earth could Debbie Stabenow be up by so many in Michigan? And George Allen, no way will that one be so close. Surely Mike DeWine isn't down by double digits in Ohio. And so on.

Nope. I was wrong. The polls from Rasmussen Reports were dead on again:


Congrats to the folks at Rasmussen Reports. I apologize for doubting. It won't happen again.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: A Successful Tax Experiment In Need Of Replication.

Posted by Will Franklin · 8 November 2006 10:29 PM · Comments (1)

Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 78.

This week's WILLisms.com Caption Contest photograph:


The actual caption:

Christopher Schwarzenegger, 9, son of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, holds balloons during his victory celebration Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2006 in Beverly Hills, Calif. Schwarzenegger defeated Democrat Phil Angelides to claim a second term, capping a yearlong comeback. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

Surely there's a better caption for this photograph.

Entries will remain open until 11:59 PM, Central Standard Time, Tuesday, November 14. Submit your captions in the comments section, or email at WILLisms@gmail.com.

Last week's photo:


Winners from last week:


Will Franklin:

Guns don't kill people. Chuck Norris kills people.

[Yeah, that's right. I am the winner of my own caption contest. How's that for nepotism? Or autonepotism? That's just the kind of mood I'm in today.]


GOP and College:

See check this out. *Grab* Now tell me what college you failed out of!



Chuck Norris is shown "choking the age off" of LCpl. Sapp who is actually a veteran of the Korean War.

Honorable Mention #1

radio free fred:

"Mark Foley Showed Me This Hold."

Honorable Mention #2

Rodney Dill:

Military Charades*: "Ok let met guess, You're John Kerry."

(*Other than John Kerry's service)

Honorable Mention #3


Chuck agreed to put everyone in the unit asleep using the sleeper hold instead of any of them having to watch The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.

Honorable Mention #4


"Now let's say you're in a situation where a series of roundhouse kicks are impractical: I would recommend the Norris Noogie™."

Honorable Mention #5


Is Chuck Norris gonna have to choke a b*tch?

Honorable Mention #6

Will Franklin:

How much wood could Chuck chuck if Chuck could chuck wood?

Captioning is better than ad hoc post-mortems, ad infinitum.

Enter today!

Posted by Will Franklin · 8 November 2006 12:23 PM · Comments (20)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 372 -- The Best Medicine For "Outsourcing" ("Offshoring") Of Jobs.

Not Surprisingly, Lowering Taxes Equals Greater Prosperity-

One month before election day in 2004, Republicans in Congress tossed those of us who love lower taxes a bone, if only a small one. On October 22, 2004, President Bush signed into law the "American Jobs Creation Act," which was immediately denounced by the left-wing establishment media as a meaningless and symbolic political ploy.

It was very much a Republican effort, as all the usual suspects (Pelosi, Rangel, etc.) of the Democratic Party voted against it. A look at the votes on this tax cut:

Just 36% of Democrats in the House of Representatives voted for it.
Meanwhile, 91% of House Republicans voted for it.

So, was it just a symbolic GOP trick to energize the base and boost turnout? Or did it actually accomplish something?

Well, obviously and not at all surprisingly to those of us who still believe in the free enterprise system, the lower taxes benefited the American people. Instead of gouging companies for making profits in other countries, the measure drastically cut the tax (to a flat 5.25%) on repatriated profits. This encouraged companies to reinvest those profits back home in the United States.

While this provision lasted only a single year (2005), the results were stunningly powerful.

The American Shareholders Association has the data on this little one-year-only tax experiment (.pdf):

* In response to lower tax rates, foreign subsidiaries increased their repatriations six fold from $36 billion in 2004 to $217 billion in 2005.

* As a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), repatriations increased from 0.31 percent in 2004 to 1.74 percent in 2005.

Stunning, yet not surprising. This is the kind of amazingly fruitful economic experiment that calls for more, more, MORE!

Another way to look at it (.pdf):


When the tax rate was low and simple, companies brought back their profits, creating jobs and boosting the economy (and filling the coffers of the Treasury) here in the USA.

Even if their profits could generate a better return in the U.S. than overseas, America’s current tax system encourages American companies to invest in foreign countries and not invest in America. We need to replicate 2005's low, flat repatriation tax policy and make it permanent. Immediately. We need to end the current travesty of double taxation that is putting American companies at a competitive disadvantage.

Want to stave off outsourcing of jobs to other countries? Economic isolationism in the vein of what our new Democratic overlords from the Ohio River Valley and elsewhere want is not the answer. Tariffs and protectionism and nativism are not the answer.

Lower taxes, predictably, are.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Time To Lower Our Corporate Tax Rate.

Posted by Will Franklin · 7 November 2006 10:23 PM · Comments (0)

FINAL PUSH: Stir Your Phone Into Triumphant Action.


Click here to get your list and start making GOTV phone calls for Republicans candidates locked in tight races. It's easy, and afterward you'll be able to boast that you made the difference Tuesday night when Republicans outperform the media projections.

Posted by Will Franklin · 6 November 2006 03:40 PM · Comments (2)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 371 -- We Still Need Major Tax Reform.

Tax Cuts In 2003 Were Nice, But We Need To Advance The Ball-

The world is getting smaller.

Ever since the fall of the Soviet Union, countries around the world have moved to gain a competitive advantage for their business communities, by lowering their corporate tax rates. It's one of the better ways to fight "outsourcing" (offshoring) of jobs.

And it makes sense. Everything else being equal, lower taxes will attract and retain corporations and other large engines of commerce and industry.

Just look at the falling rates (.pdf):


Sure, we in the U.S. have seen similar trends in other tax categories, but when it comes to corporate taxes, our trend is similar to that of France (.pdf):


That is to say, our trend is flat, which is not in line with the global trend. Our corporate tax rate is the same as it was in the early 1990s.

We need to be the low tax beacon for the world. In every tax category. That's the path to attracting and retaining more and better jobs, growing our economy, and remaining the greatest country on the face of the planet.

Source: KPMG's Corporate Tax Rate Survey (.pdf).


Previous Trivia Tidbit: A Huge Difference On Spending.

Posted by Will Franklin · 6 November 2006 03:02 PM · Comments (2)

Quotational Therapy: Part 110 -- A New UberSocialist In The Senate.

Flaming Socialist Bernie Sanders, Replacing Middling Socialist Jim Jeffords-

Behold, Bernie Sanders, the new socialist Senator from Vermont:

"Yeah. I wouldn't deny it. Not for one second. I'm a democratic socialist."

A vote for a "moderate" Democrat in your red state is a vote to empower socialist Democrat Bernie Sanders and his un-American agenda. Frankly, Bernie Sanders is a socialist, sure, but he's not even the most liberal member of the House, according to Mr. Right's ideological rankings. There are plenty of socialists, ideologically-speaking, in Congress today, none of them Republicans.

But we already knew that much of the hard left, which increasingly controls the agenda of the Democratic Party, loves Karl Marx and votes accordingly.

[Thanks to Andrew Roth of Club For Growth for pointing me toward the story.]

Previous Quotational Therapy Session:

Dean Attack!

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

Posted by Will Franklin · 6 November 2006 01:52 PM · Comments (3)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 370 -- On Spending, There Is Indeed A Difference.

Democrats Would Outspend Republicans By A Huge Magnitude-

Would-be Democratic committee chairs have proposed, on average, 90 times the spending their Republican counterparts have proposed.

The nonpartisan National Taxpayers Union has the facts on spending:

* Potential Democratic Chairmen in the House of Representatives propose to spend over 90 times what their Republican counterparts propose. The average Democratic Chairman has a net annual agenda that would increase spending by $931 billion, compared to an average net agenda for a Republican Chairman of only $10 billion (even if the GOP retains control, new Chairs would be named due to retirements and term limits).

* In the Senate, the numbers are far lower, yet potential Democratic Chairmen still have endorsed over $40 billion in new outlays, in contrast with $12 billion for potential Republican Chairmen.

So, Democrats are still the big spenders we've always known them to be. But a trillion extra dollars in proposed government spending is kind of a big deal.

This is typical, based on the past few years. Here are the totals for proposed legislation introduced in the House (.pdf):

Democrats: $262 billion.
Republicans: $20 billion.

Democrats: $402 billion.
Republicans: $31 billion.

Democrats: $547 billion.
Republicans: $12 billion.

And here's your beautiful visual of those numbers:


Want to get specific on proposed spending increases? Let's look at specific "battleground" Senate races, again from the non-partisan National Taxpayers Union:

Missouri -
Democrat Claire McCaskill: $43.7 billion
Republican Jim Talent: $3.4 billion

Democrat Jim Pederson: $87.6 billion
Republican John Kyl: Negative $143 million

Democrat Jon Tester: $89.4 billion
Republican Conrad Burns: $1.2 billion

Democrat Debbie Stabenow: $42 billion
Republican Mike Bouchard:
Negative $1.2 billion

Democrat Harold Ford, Jr: $34.1 billion
Republican Bob Corker: $1.5 billion

There is a dime's worth of difference between the parties, and then-some. When you consider that the bulk of additional spending over the past several years is attributable to 1) automatic entitlement spending increases, and most of the rest is attributable to 2) the end of the false "peace dividend" we had between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the fall of the World Trade Center, the big spending Republican Congress doesn't look quite as bad. Moreover, the few bad Republican apples (* cough * Ted Stevens of Alaska * cough *) responsible for so much of the infamous pork spending are increasingly being offset by a few Republican spending crusaders (Coburn, DeMint). Then consider that Democrats wanted to spend far more on all of their socialist dreams, the sort of dreams that make all pork spending combined look like picked over pocket change.

If you're sitting this one out to send a message, the only message the American media will hear is that you are ready for a left-wing agenda, with higher taxes and much higher spending, in this country.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: 4.4% Unemployment & Comparisons.

Posted by Will Franklin · 5 November 2006 02:42 PM · Comments (9)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 369 -- America's Economy = Reason To Vote GOP.

Jobs & Our Economy-

Four-point-four percent unemployment. That's where the United States finds itself on the eve of President Bush's second mid-term election.

That's right, 4.4% (.pdf):


4.4%. With a good trend, clearly.

Anything at or under 5% is generally accepted as "full employment." Historically, 4.4% is the stuff of dreams. Globally, 4.4% is practically unfathomable. There's no political spin in the world that can make 4.4% unemployment out to be anything but darn good.

That 4.4% rate is due to the 2 million new jobs over the past year and 6.8 million since the 2003 tax cuts.

Meanwhile, in heavily protectionist, heavily regulated, heavily unionized, heavily taxed Michigan (.pdf): 7.1% unemployment.

Michigan is the only state not devastated by Katrina (more specifically, the only state not ending in "ississippi") to have a rate of unemployment above seven percent.

But even Michigan benefits from being part of the United States. That is to say, Michigan might have one of the more disappointing state economies in America, but imagine if Michigan weren't American. It could be a lot worse.

Michigan may indeed have the worst economic policies of any state in the Union, but at least they have a tax slashing President in the White House to offset some of their left wing labor union orthodoxy.

Indeed, at least Michigan isn't:

Spain - 9.2%
France - 9.9%
Germany - 11.7%
Belgium - 8.4%
European Union - 9.4%

China - 9.0%
India - 8.9%
Iran - 11.2%

If the people of Michigan are ready to become more like America, and less like Europe, they need to vote for Dick Devos and Mike Bouchard on Tuesday. If the American people want to remain more like America and less like Europe, economically-speaking, they need to vote for Republicans on Tuesday.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Tax Cuts For Everyone.

Posted by Will Franklin · 4 November 2006 07:58 PM · Comments (4)



Make the calls. It will make the difference. Don't be shy.

Click here to get started.

Posted by Will Franklin · 3 November 2006 11:24 AM · Comments (1)

Quotational Therapy: Part 109 -- Howard Dean Is Democrat-In-Chief.

He's Plum Crazy-


From Vermont's top newspaper:

"I think there's a lot of similarities between Nixon and Agnew and Bush and Cheney," Dean said, referring to vice presidents Spiro Agnew - also forced to resign from office - and Vice President Richard Cheney.

"They're both using the IRS for political purposes. They're both spying on people they don't like and not just terrorists, but also American citizens. Neither one of them particularly believes in judicial rights. They've both been dishonest with the American people."

Seriously? That's what you're going to go with, Howard? Cheney is spying on people because he doesn't like them?

Whether the Democrats' party chief is Howard Dean or John Kerry or Nancy Pelosi, it's frightening to think about any of these folks being in charge of the greatest country in the world.

Previous Quotational Therapy Session:


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

Posted by Will Franklin · 3 November 2006 11:20 AM · Comments (1)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 368 -- Tax Cuts For Everyone.

Especially The Middle Class-

From one of Majority Leader John Boehner's "The Majority Project" emails:

According to the Treasury Department, in 2005 more than 94 million tax filers benefited from lower tax rates – lower taxes that would be jeopardized if Rangel and the Democrats have their way.

I, for one, do not welcome the prospect of paying thousands in higher taxes in the coming years. Thus, I did not welcome any Democrats onto my ballot in the voting booth.

A vote for a "moderate" Democrat House member is a vote for Charlie Rangel and John Conyers and Nancy Pelosi. A vote for a "moderate" Democrat for the Senate is a vote against good judges like John Roberts and Sam Alito.

A vote for Democrats is a vote for protectionism and defeatism and UNism on the international stage, and oldschool confiscatory socialism domestically.

A vote for Republicans is a vote for free trade and American exceptionalism/strength on the international stage, and lower taxes domestically.

Vote in ideas. Don't sit this one out.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Texas Is On The Right Track.

Posted by Will Franklin · 3 November 2006 09:54 AM · Comments (0)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 367 -- Texas & Republican Leadership.

A Winning Combination-

The Texas economy continues to outpace the national economy (which is none too shabby, by the way).

Job growth has been stronger in Texas than in the overall national economy:


Texas is now the number one exporting state in the nation:


The housing bubble never really happened in Texas, so we're still seeing growth in real estate, construction, and other property-related commerce:


Meanwhile, Texas still has no income tax, we're finally seeing some property tax relief, home ownership is roaring, and we have a record budget surplus. Related to that surplus, our Governor is the second best in the country, fiscally-speaking. Texas has the 6th best overall tax climate for business in the country, but if we can achieve permanent property tax relief in Texas, that ranking could easily move to #1.

On top of that, Texas is now the leading producer of wind energy in the country, we've seen massive tort reform, massive deregulation of various industry giants, and Governor Perry is working to devote at least 65 cents of every education dollar to the actual classroom, something that education reform activists in many states around the country are working on (and "movement conservatives" can only dream about in most states).

Bottom line: if you're in Texas and you're voting to keep the reform train chugging along, and the economy strong, you're voting Republican.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Red & Blue In The Military: A Cause/Effect Puzzle.

Posted by Will Franklin · 2 November 2006 04:29 PM · Comments (2)

Have 30 Minutes? Want To Keep The Kos Kidz Out Of Power?

Want to help good Republican candidates locked in tough races with liberals?

You can use your cell phone (maybe use your free evening minutes), your home phone (maybe you have free long distance), or whatever other phone you can find, to make crucial GOTV calls on behalf of Republicans in closely contested campaigns.


Do it.

Click here to get your call list of 30 people, which will take approximately 30 minutes to get through.

Posted by Will Franklin · 2 November 2006 09:29 AM · Comments (1)

Social Security Reform Thursday: Week Sixty-Five -- America Is Behind Sweden In Social Security Reform.


Thursdays are good days for reform, because they fall between Wednesdays and Fridays. And reform is a long-haul process, not a fleeting event. So we're going to keep plugging along with the case for reform, even as the issue goes off the political radar screen.

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

This week's topic:


First, just a quick refresher of one of the root causes of Social Security's problems, straight from Congressman Todd Tiahrt's website:


More retirees per worker. Or, fewer workers per beneficiary. And that's just one of Social Security's structural flaws.

Here's what those flaws will mean for workers, absent major modernization of the system:


So, yeah... blah.

But it's even worse than that. We're now (as in currently) getting embarrassed on the international stage due to our own system's inadequacy, relative to the reformed and reforming Social Security programs in other countries.

If you have any foreign parents or grandparents, you might know a little something about "totalization agreements." Basically, they're bilateral agreements between the United States and other countries (typically Western countries, with strong economies). The idea is to prevent double taxation, and/or double benefit coverage, and streamline the taxes/benefits into one country's Social Security system.

In an age before totalization agreements, Mrs. WILLisms.com's "Oma," now 94 years old, worked in Germany for a couple of decades, then Canada for several years, then the United States for decades more. At various points in time, she paid into more than one Social Security system, from abroad. And today, her benefit structure from each country is nearly impossible to figure out.

Hence, totalization agreements.

It only works when the other country and the United States have similar Social Security structures. Otherwise, it's difficult to reconcile what fair tax/benefit levels ought to be, and which country or countries ought to be collecting and paying those respective taxes and benefits.

Well, this document (.doc), sent from the administration to the Congress, outlines how some of Sweden's Social Security reforms are rendering our totalization agreement with that socialist paradise moot.

Here's an excerpt (underlining mine, for emphasis):

"When the original agreement was concluded, Sweden had a two-tier Social Security system that consisted of an earnings-related, defined-benefit program and a residence-based, flat-rate benefit program. Recent Swedish legislation restructured the system. People born after 1953 are now covered by a program consisting of three components. It includes an earnings-related, defined-contribution benefit program administered by the government, a program of individual investment accounts, and a guaranteed minimum pension payable if income-based pensions and certain other income fall below specified levels. People born before 1938 remain covered entirely under the old system, while those born between 1938 and 1953 are covered partially under the old system and partially under the new system according to a sliding scale that varies with the person's year of birth."


It's just embarrassing that our Social Security system is so rickety and cantankerous and obsolete, that it can no longer play in the same league as Sweden's modernized, market-reformed system.

We should have the classiest and most advanced Social Security system in the world, not the system that's too adherent to 1930-style socialism for the... socialists.

Just how ironic is it that President Bush's scary privatization plan somehow gained approval in Sweden (and other corners of Europe). That Rove! Always working in mysterious ways, even internationally.

We have a choice to make, when it comes to Social Security. We can either stick with the broken Depression Era status quo and lose some of our competitive advantage, vis-à-vis the rest of the civilized world; or, we can enter the 21st century and continue to be the greatest economic power on the globe. The choice is not difficult.

Once we make the choice to fix Social Security, the choice essentially boils down to tax hikes, benefit cuts/delays, or personal accounts.

It's time to get on the personal account bandwagon.

It's time for reform.

The clock is still ticking:

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

Read More »

Posted by Will Franklin · 2 November 2006 09:02 AM · Comments (3)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 366 -- Who Serves In The United States Military.

A Portrait Of America-

America's military boasts members from every single state. If you can think of an American ethnic group, religion, educational level, or wealth class, it's probably represented in the American military. The best part of America's military today is that it is an all-volunteer force, nearly unanimously made up of people who believe in America, believe in freedom, and love their country. As President Bush put it yesterday, our troops are plenty smart, and they are plenty brave. For John Kerry to perpetuate the myth-- left over from the Vietnam era-- that the American military is a bunch of dropouts, misfits, and would-be-criminals is just irresponsible and unfortunate.

But then again, John Kerry has been ripping American troops for being little "Jenjis" Khans, war criminals, terrorizers, and so on, for about 35 years now. Thus, Senator Kerry's latest comments, which imply the American troops are uneducated and/or a bunch of failures, just fit his three decade long modus operandi. It's precisely his worldview. Indeed, one wonders if the demographic geography of the United States military is why Kerry so resents our troops.

Some states send a disproportionately high or low number of troops into the military. Based on 2005 data from the Heritage Foundation, red states, generally, produce a high number of troops per capita, whereas blue states mostly produce a low number of troops per capita:


Thus, one might wonder if this red/blue phenomenon is a contributing factor in John Kerry's deep-seated loathing of the men and women in America's armed services. It's those stupid red staters, the ones who voted against him, that disproportionately join the military. So, get an education, or you might end up stupid, Republican, and stuck in Iraq like them.

Apology or not, John Kerry's comments summed up his own true feelings, and the feelings of the old guard hard left, the same ones who would take over all of the committee chairmanships in Congress if Democrats pull off a miracle upset next Tuesday.

It's a chicken and egg scenario, too. Are Republicans generally more supportive of the troops than Democrats, BECAUSE there are more troops from Republican areas, or are there more troops from Republican areas, BECAUSE Republicans are generally more supportive of the troops than Democrats?

Now that he's finally apologized, John Kerry's comments will drift into the ether, but the debate he ignited might have-- ironically-- allowed the Michael Mooreian myth about an "army of the underclass" to be put to bed once and for all. We can hope, at least.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Empirical Proof The Media Are Amazingly Biased.

Posted by Will Franklin · 1 November 2006 04:23 PM · Comments (2)

Channel Your Energy Into Results.


Do you have 30 minutes to spare? Do you want Republicans to win next Tuesday? Be an integral part of the infamous/famous Rovian right wing conspiracy Get-Out-The-Vote Republican turnout machine. Make some calls. Let's win this thing.

Click here to get your call list. It's easy. It's interactive. And it'll make a difference.

Posted by Will Franklin · 1 November 2006 03:19 PM · Comments (0)

Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 77

This week's WILLisms.com Caption Contest photograph:


Here is the actual caption:
Actor and martial artist Chuck Norris playfully puts a choke hold on US Marine LCpl. Nathaniel Sapp of Niskayuna, New York, during a visit to Combat Outpost Rawah in Al Anbar Province, western Iraq October 30, 2006. Norris, best known for his role as Walker, Texas Ranger, is on a week-long USO tour to boost morale among US troops in the region.

The U.S. deploys its greatest weapon in Iraq - and this is all Reuters can come up with? Show them what's what, and come up with a real caption.

Entries will remain open until 11:59 PM, Central Standard Time, Tuesday, November 7. Submit your captions in the comments section, or email at mccracken.ken@gmail.com.

Last week's photo:


Winners from last week:

1. Zsa Zsa:

Hefty, hefty, hefty! Wimpy, wimpy, wimpy!

2. elliot:

When Billy Ray saw who Miley was dating, he flipped his mullet.

3. Hoodlumman:
Manny absolutely loved perky hor'dourves.

Honorable Mention #1 Sgt. Fluffy:

HaHaHa, that pretty funny Miley...Now, GET IN MA BELLY!

Honorable Mention #2 Rodney Dill:
I can carry two of these little honeys. One under each man boob.

Honorable Mention #3 McCain:

What is it that women see in Ted Kennedy?

Captioning is one percent inspiration, and 99 percent perspiration. Enter today!

Posted by Ken McCracken · 1 November 2006 08:35 AM · Comments (23)