November 15, 2005

Why Hasn’t the President Been “More Forthcoming” about The War? S.O.B. Alliance Member Explains It All

Filed under: News from Other Sites,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:00 pm

Joe Lieberman, for one doesn’t understand (link requires registration).

The quick answer: Based on what we know of their planned behavior, the opposition would have taken political advantage of anything perceived as less-than-perfect.

Don’t think so? In “Lieberman’s Mistake,” Weapons of Mass Discussion has the proof.

Why Not as Many WMDs as Expected Were Found: Jay Rockefeller Explains It All

On Fox News Sunday (from Bill Bennett column in National Review; HT Lucianne; bold is mine):

(Chris) WALLACE: Now, the President never said that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat. As you saw, you did say that. If anyone hyped the intelligence, isn’t it Jay Rockefeller?

SEN. (Jay) ROCKEFELLER: No. The — I mean, this question is asked a thousand times and I’ll be happy to answer it a thousand times. I took a trip by myself in January of 2002 to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria, and I told each of the heads of state that it was my view that George Bush had already made up his mind to go to war against Iraq — that that was a predetermined set course which had taken shape shortly after 9/11.

So assuming that the heads of state believed him (safe assumption–he’s on the Intelligence Committee), Saddam had a full 15 months’ warning to hide or transfer out weapons of mass destruction and related technology out of the country. Thanks, Senator Rockefeller–traitor.

It’s a wonder that we have found enough WMDs to support that one justification among many others for the invasion (the site linked isn’t supportive of the War, but the reasons it lists in the bottom half of the page are mostly spot-on). And yes, we have found WMDs.

Nov. 15 Outside the Beltway Jammer.

Passage of the Day: The Wall Street Journal on the Car Luddites

It’s about time somebody said these things (link requires subscription; bolds are mine):

Welcome to the modern-day Luddite movement, which once raged against the machine, but now targets the automobile. Just last month, environmentalists organized a “world car-free day,” celebrated in more than 40 cities in the U.S. and Europe. In the left’s vision of utopia, cars have been banished — replaced by bicycles and mass transit systems. There is no smog or road congestion. And America has been liberated from those sociopathic, gas-guzzling, greenhouse-gas-emitting SUVs and Hummers that Jesus would never drive.

It all sounds idyllic, but in real life this fairy tale has a tragic ending. As Fred Smith, president of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, reminds us, if the “no car garage” had been a reality in New Orleans in August, we wouldn’t have suffered 1,000 Katrina fatalities, but 10,000 or more. The automobile, especially those dreaded all-terrain four-wheel drive SUVs (ideal for driving through floodwaters) saved more lives during the Katrina disaster than all the combined relief efforts of FEMA, local police and fire squads, churches, the Salvation Army and the Red Cross. If every poor family had had a car and not a transit token, few would have had to be warehoused in the hellhole of the Superdome.

This month we paid honor to the heroism of Rosa Parks for fighting racism through the bus boycott in Montgomery. What helped sustain that historic freedom cause was that hundreds of blacks owned cars and trucks that they used to carpool others around the city.

A strong argument could be made that the automobile is one of the two most liberating inventions of the past century, ranking only behind the microchip. The car allowed even the common working man total freedom of mobility — the means to go anywhere, anytime, for any reason. In many ways, the automobile is the most egalitarian invention in history, dramatically bridging the quality-of-life gap between rich and poor. The car stands for individualism; mass transit for collectivism. Philosopher Waldemar Hanasz, who grew up in communist Poland, noted in his 1999 essay “Engines of Liberty” that Soviet leaders in the 1940s showed the movie “The Grapes of Wrath” all over the country as propaganda against the evils of U.S. capitalism and the oppression of farmers. The scheme backfired because “far from being appalled, the Soviet viewers were envious; in America, it seemed, even the poorest had cars and trucks.”

It’s not hard to imagine life in America without cars. If you travel to any Third World Country today, cars are scarce and the city streets are crammed with hundreds of thousands of bicycles, buses and scooters — and peasant workers all sharing the aspiration of someday owning a car. But in America and other developed nations, the environmental elitists are intent on flipping economic development on its head: Progress is being measured by how many cars can be traded in for mass transit systems and bikes, not vice versa. The recently passed highway bill establishes a first-ever office of bicycle advocacy inside the Transportation Department. The bicycle enthusiasts seem to believe that no one ever has far to go, that it never rains, that families don’t have three or more kids to transport, and that mom never needs to bring home three bags of groceries.

I’ll go further and repeat a point The Journal first made about thirty years ago: Autos, trucks, and the highways that support them represent the single-greatest mass transit system yet devised. The fact that trips are made only by one or a few persons at a time doesn’t change the fact that millions of people, and billions of dollars of goods, are moved point-to-point, and door-to-door, in safety and comfort, something no other “mass transit” system can claim.

BONUS: Origin of the term “Luddite.”

UPDATE: Triticale has good anecdotes on where anti-car sentiment comes from.

Quote of the Day: On Corporate ‘Social Responsibility’

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Quotes, Etc. of the Day — Tom @ 11:01 am

From Stephen Bainbridge at Tech Central Station:

They say that when a politician starts talking about “our kids” that taxpayers need to hang onto their wallets. Likewise, when a businessman starts talking about how socially responsible his business has become, investors need to hang on to their wallets.

…. and get out of the stock.

Bizzy’s AM Coffee Biz-Econ Links (111505)

Filed under: Consumer Outrage,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:03 am

The Boycott Season

The Christmas shopping season is upon us, which also means that the holiday boycott season has also arrived.

Hugh Hewitt says to boycott Target because they won’t let the Salvation Army collect outside their stores. The Catholic League wants us to boycott Wal-Mart because their employees have been instructed to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Sears appears that they may be going in a similar direction. The American Family Association demands that we boycott K-Mart because they’re selling obscene and violent music CDs.

I’m sure I’ve just scratched the surface. The boycott should be a very selective weapon reserved for big, big issues. For example, I recognize that I have called for people to attempt to not use Yahoo! services or go to Yahoo! News and other links, but I would argue that the technological suppression of the human rights of 1.5 billion people in China, including jailing dissident journalists for 10 years, IS one of those big, big issues.

By turning it into the tactic of first choice over every slight, boycott addicts have diluted the strategy’s effectiveness across the board. If there are too many calls for boycotts, almost none of them will work. The other ones noted here, though important in their own way, pale in comparison to the long-term implications of China, with the active help of Yahoo!, successfully establishing a perfect police state over its entire population.

Thanks for nothing, boycott addicts.

Ohio’s Senators: A RINO on Spending and a RINO on Taxes

Zheesh. DeWine worries about “cuts” being too deep (they aren’t even “cuts”–they’re reductions of planned increases) and opposes ANWR drilling, while Voinovich opposes extension of the the tax cuts (translation: He’s OK with a tax increase that because of reduced economic activity won’t raise the revenue he dreams it will):

Voinovich, Dewine split on budget bill

WASHINGTON – Ohio’s two senators split over a budget-cutting bill passed by the Senate on Thursday, with Sen. George Voinovich supporting it and Sen. Mike DeWine opposed.

DeWine, R-Cedarville, was one of five Republican senators who voted against the bill because it would allow exploratory oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Voinovich, R-Cleveland, voted for the legislation, which he praised for cutting almost $40 billion in federal spending over five years.

“Congress must remember that all the choices it makes right now are being measured against a backdrop of ever increasing deficits, Medicare costs, disaster relief funding and the cost of the war against terrorism,” Voinovich said.

Though DeWine considered the cuts in the Senate-passed legislation to be acceptable, he is worried that when a compromise bill emerges from the House and Senate, it might include more severe cuts that hurt the poor, his spokesman, Jeff Sadosky, said.

Looking forward to a package of tax cuts pending in the Senate, Voinovich said he plans to vote against the tax cuts because “any tax cut at this time is fiscally irresponsible.”

What a pair. Put the two of them together and you’d have something close to a domestic Howard Metzenbaum. If these two weren’t (mostly) supporting the War on Terror, they’d be almost worthless.

University Pay Scales Out of Control

The Chronicle of Higher Education has released a survey of the pay of college presidents (Chronicle survey requires subscription; link is to a news article on the survey). Five, all heads of private universities, make over $1 million a year. Each of the top five public university presidents makes over $650,000.

I suppose you might argue that the top dogs’ earnings aren’t out of line in comparison to pay scales in private industry, but high paydays aren’t occurring just at the very top. For example, Thomas Lifson at The American Thinker points to a San Franscisco Chronicle article revealing that 2,275 employees in the University of California public university system earn over $200,000 per year, with nearly 500 earning over $300,000, “at a time when UC leaders say they have been forced to raise student fees 79 percent over four years, increase class sizes and curtail student services to cope with cuts in state funding.”

Lifson notes:

….. higher education is a classic oligopolistic industry, greatly in need of healthy competition and structural reform. Tuition has increased at double the level of inflation for generations, to the point that many upper middle class families sacrifice their security to pay for four years of education.

A good place to start would be to apply anti-trust laws to collusion on tuition and scholarships, and to enforce transparent accounting standards and full disclosure of compensation on these tax exempt institutions.

As any economist would tell you, the outrageous college cost increases have been fueled for decades by the universal availability of student loans, the additional college tax breaks passed eight years ago, and then the universal deductibility of student loan interest thrown in during the first Bush term. The increases, and the number of academics living high on the hog, will continue as long as the subsidies keep flowing.

In light of all of this, it’s especially galling to hear the litany of “greedy capitalist pig” rhetoric emanating from some of these very same institutions of alleged higher learning.

Positivity: Egyptian Twins Going Home After Successful Separation Operation

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:12 am

They want to see their grandma (link requires registration; HT Large Bill):