January 10, 2007

Catch of the Day, ‘What a Tangled Web’ Dept. — Pelosi Wanted More Troops in Iraq in 2004

Filed under: Taxes & Government,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 6:41 pm

From Matt Naugle’s Rightometer at Human Events — Nancy Pelosi supported an increase in Iraq troop levels in 2004 in an interview with Tim Russert (link to Rush Limbaugh’s site will probably be gone shortly behind his subscriber firewall; Addendum — see UPDATE below; full text was found, so additional excerpted material is being provided; bolds are mine):

MR. RUSSERT: What would you do in Iraq today right now?

REP. PELOSI: What I would do and what I think our country must do in Iraq is take an assessment of where we are. And there has to be a leveling with the American people and with the Congress of the United States as to what is really actually happening there. It’s very hard to say what you would do. We need more troops on the ground. General…Shinseki said this from the start, when you make an appraisal about whether you’re going to war; you have to know what you need.

MR. RUSSERT: So you would put more American troops on the ground?

REP. PELOSI: What I’m saying to you, that we need more troops on the ground. I think it would be better if we could get them to be not American that we could appeal to our European allies, NATO…

MR. RUSSERT: But if they say no, would you put more American troops on the ground?

REP. PELOSI: The clear and present danger facing the United States is terrorism. We have to solidify; we have to stabilize the situation in Iraq. As Secretary of State [Colin Powell] has said, “You break it, you own it.” We have a responsibility now in Iraq And we have to get more troops on the ground. But when General Shinseki said we need 300,000 troops, Secretary Wolfowitz said “wildly off the mark,” because they knew a commitment of 300,000 troops would not be acceptable to the American people. So they went in with false assumptions about rose petals, not rocket-propelled grenades, and we’re in this fix now…

MR. RUSSERT: Would you send more American troops in order to stabilize the situation?

REP. PELOSI: Yes. And let me just say this, we must internationalize the situation. We cannot take no for an answer. We have to use our diplomacy to the fullest extent to get more international troops on the ground. And we have to truly internationalize and Iraqitize the situation.

“Internationalization” was a dumb argument then and it’s dumb now. Why? Well, there has been, and still is, an international coalition against the War on Terror. I think when a Democrat says “internationalize,” it means “if we don’t have France, it doesn’t count.” But (oops) France is in the War on Terror coalition. How “internationalized” do things need to be?

So I look forward to tonight’s Democratic response to President Bush’s speech demanding a stronger “surge” than he is advocating. What’s different now?

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UPDATE: Just found a Google cache transcript of the entire interview whose original address was democraticleader.house.gov/ press/articles.cfm?pressReleaseID=590 — i.e., this was an officially released interview blessed by the party. The excerpt above can be found entirely within that document.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Paragraph of the Day: George Will

Filed under: Economy,Quotes, Etc. of the Day,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:45 pm

It’s from October, but Will makes a very astute observation that shouldn’t disappear into the mists just yet. It also has a term I wish I would have thought of:

Economic hypochondria, a derangement associated with affluence, is a byproduct of the welfare state: An entitlement mentality gives Americans a low pain threshold — witness their recurring hysterias about nominal rather than real gasoline prices — and a sense of being entitled to economic dynamism without the frictions and “creative destruction” that must accompany dynamism. Economic hypochondria is also bred by news media that consider the phrase “good news” an oxymoron, even as the U.S. economy, which has performed better than any other major industrial economy since 2001, drives the Dow to record highs.

Macy’s Loses Their (OSU National Champion) Shirts

Filed under: Business Moves — Tom @ 11:45 am

Macy’s printed up an unspecified number of T-shirts proclaiming Ohio State as NCAA football champs before Monday night’s game.

Oops.

A business suggestion: It seems like there might be a market in Gainesville for those T-shirts. Buyers can be relied on to add their own big red, or scarlet, Xs.

BizzyBlog Referred to in Wikipedia (Though Not Accurately)

Filed under: Economy,News from Other Sites,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:08 am

The Wiki entry on Sarbox is here. Search within it in the “Costs of Implementation” section for the word “disputed”; the footnote [2] refers to this previous BizzyBlog entry.

The problem is that my post that Wiki refers to doesn’t really discuss what is claimed: “The amount of business displaced from Wall Street to the City of London remains disputed ….”

My entry only notes that a great deal of business is being displaced; one person quoted says that only 8% of new IPOs are listed in the US. No other figure is quoted. So although I’m sure that there amounts and percentages in dispute relating to how many and what percentage of new IPOs are being done overseas because of SarBox, there is no actual dispute going on within my entry.

I guess this is an example of “caveat user” relative to Wikipedia.

The original entry was annotated so that Wiki readers coming over will get a heads-up.

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UPDATE: A clarification — The business being displaced is to London AND Hong Kong.

USA Today Reporter: ‘Card Check’ in Union Organizing Is an ‘Open Process’

In an article Wednesday about organized labor’s legislative goals for the 110th Congress, USA Today’s Sue Kirchoff mischaracterizes a law that would move the union organizing process away from secret-ballot elections, and makes it sound like an improvement in representative government (bold is mine):

The AFL-CIO ….. is looking ahead to a second bill that sponsors call the “Employee Free Choice Act.”

The bill would make it easier for unions to gain representation through an open process in which workers sign cards, in addition to secret ballot elections. Currently, the National Labor Relations Board oversees a secret ballot after a union or employer meets requirements to seek one. An employer can also recognize a union if a majority of workers sign authorizing cards.

….. “The bill would allow more workers to bargain for their entry into the American middle class,” says Stewart Acuff, AFL-CIO national organizing director.

About 70% to 80% of new workers organized every year come into unions via a process other than traditional elections, a big shift from 5% about 20 years ago. Unions say that under the traditional ballot process, companies often try to delay the process or intimidate workers.

The first sentence of the second paragraph of the excerpt makes it appear as if card-signing AND secret-ballot elections would take place under the new law, when in fact it is one or the other. In practical terms, the bill in question will eliminate secret-ballot elections in most contested situations, because union organizers will prefer the peer pressure-driven method of getting workers to sign authorizing cards.

Ms. Kirchoff’s article also fails to explain why the bill is even necessary in light of the move away from “traditional elections.”

Yes, what supporters are calling “card check” is an “open process” — “open” to intimidation and coercion, the very thing union organizers amazingly claim is somehow built into a secret-ballot election later in Kirchoff’s article. Going unexplained is how someone can be intimidated when casting their ballot in secret in an election closely supervised by the National Labor Relations Board.

The Orwellian-named “Employee Free Choice Act” will eliminate free choice in many, if not most, organizing situations. It overturns the secret ballot process that organized labor’s forefathers fought long and hard for in the 1930s, in effect making it a betrayal of one of the greatest legacies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and The New Deal. Back then, the belief was that employers usually had intimidation and coercion working in their favor, and that secret ballot protections were necessary to prevent those influences from being effective.

Now organized labor appears to want its cake and to eat it too: It will go for “card check” when they think they have the upper hand in applying organizing pressure, and secret ballots when they don’t. “Free Choice” would appear to have very little to do with any of this.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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Previous Posts:
- Dec. 30, 2006 — What’s Wrong with Allowing ‘Card-Check’ in Union Drives?
- Oct. 28, 2006 — Why Should the “Card Check” Idea be Chucked?

Couldn’t Help But Notice (011007)

Filed under: Business Moves,Privacy/ID Theft — Tom @ 6:18 am

From the NY Times, in an article on hijacked computers (may require free registration):

the consensus among scientists is that botnet programs are present on about 11 percent of the more than 650 million computers attached to the Internet.

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Why were the music moguls so paranoid about online music? It turns out that it’s saving their skins:

Album sales in the United States – on CD and through legal downloads – fell by 4.9% in 2006, according to research company Nielsen Soundscan.
But the growth of digital music, especially the purchasing of individual songs, meant music sales rose by 19.4% overall, compared to the previous year.

Digital single-track sales were up by two-thirds, while twice as many digital albums were sold as in 2005.

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Rumors of the cable news race tightening appear to be somewhat on target:

The 2006 cable primetime ranker is out, and Fox News Channel is the only cable news in the top 20. FNC is #8, behind Nick at Nite and ahead of FX. The channel averaged 1,404,000 viewers in primetime in 2006.

CNN came in #26, averaging 752,000 primetime viewers. MSNBC is ranked #35, averaging 382,000 viewers.

This link from last year about 2005 results, in a post primarily about revenue, indicates that CNN had 753,000 primetime viewers and Fox 1,707,000; there was no mention of MSNBC, and no indication of viewership rankings (rankings in the post are for revenue generated). Given the distance that still exists between #1 and #2, I think it’s fair to describe 2006 as butt-whipping by Fox — just not quite as severe.

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Too Much Information Dept.:

Unisys Demands Cash For Helping Delta Air Lines Ship Dead Bodies
Computer giant asks bankruptcy court to order payment for a system that tracks corpses transported on Delta’s aircraft

Sometimes the Piper Collects at the Most Inopportune Times

Filed under: Education,General — Tom @ 6:13 am

During the 1960s and 1970s, I was not an Ohio State fan. Let’s just say it was very easy for that generation to dislike Woody Hayes, and leave it at that.

I was obviously biased, but I thought then that Buckeye players had an annoying and sometimes obnoxious penchant for overcelebration to the point of being out of control after touchdowns and good plays.

I root for the Bucks now (except against UC and Xavier — I know, dream on), but my observation that Buck players overdo it with the histrionics, group pile-ons, and the like after something good happens has remained, even compared to most other teams, which have, unfortunately, done a “good” job of catching up in the meantime.

I guess that’s why I’m not as surprised as a lot of other folks are at this (which, by the way makes this homer material sheer fantasy):

Ohio State had an eye-popping initial answer to Florida’s supposed speed advantage. Ted Ginn Jr. took the opening kickoff and sprinted into BCS title-game history with a 93-yard touchdown return.

But the fast start for Ginn and the Buckeyes took a sudden turn in the wrong direction. While the scarlet and gray portion of the crowd erupted, Ginn hurt his left foot. The injury happened during the post-play celebration in the end zone, Ginn said.

Paul Brown and Bear Bryant (who is given credit for the quote) had a point when they said: “Act like you’ve been there before.” I guess the admonishment now has to go to entire teams — “Act like you guys have scored a touchdown before.”

So the Piper visited Monday night. Though they carry a heavy burden, it certainly isn’t entirely the fault of Ted Ginn and his teammates. I would have thought that sometime in the past 40 years, a Bucks coach might have done something to ensure that the players mellow out on the silliness (and borderline poor sportsmanship). It never happened.

I have a feeling this lesson will stick in the craw for quite a long time. It should.

Apple Is Cool, But It Needs to Be for Business Too

Filed under: Business Moves — Tom @ 6:08 am

OK, the big excitement is over Apple’s iPhone. — and, apparently, justifiably so.

But as eWeek author David Morgenstern notes, the most important move the company may be making is that it may be serious about courting small- and medium-sized business customers.

I will tell you as a 20-year plus Mac user in business, that with the exception of a few industries, it has not exactly been a Mac-crowded world. More company would be welcome, and it’s (finally) a logical growth area.

I’m with Paul Hackett on This One Until I See Something to the Contrary (see UPDATES)

Filed under: OH-02 US House,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:03 am

Three of them, one of him. I don’t see the problem, though additional facts, and a little brush-up on what the law says you can and can’t do, may change things.

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UPDATE, Jan. 12: After reading the Enquirer article on the incident (HT Volokh via Instapundit), I’m still supporting Hackett; in fact, I’m on the verge of cheering him. The Volokh discussion is leaning in his direction. The grand jury leak, especially if it’s by one of the three, should be prosecuted.

UPDATE 2, Jan. 13: Here is apparently where the contention is

As the men approached the stop sign on Pipewell at Given Road, he attempted to block their vehicle from continuing. He said in his statement that the men then went in reverse behind him and drove onto Keller Road before stopping in the driveway of 8725 Keller.

This is when the three men and Hackett diverge into their own account of events. Lawall said the car began to overheat from the damage suffered in the crash and pulled into the Keller Road home. Hackett then approached their vehicle, he said, tapped his gun on the driver’s side window and ordered the men out of the car and onto the ground. However, Lawall said the rifle was never pointed at them.

Hackett said in his statement that he kept a distance of 15 feet to 20 feet from the car and told the men to exit the car. He then called his wife and informed her of his location.

The Indian Hill Rangers arrived shortly thereafter. Officer Paul White said in his report that once he realized Hackett was armed, he told him to put the weapon away. He also told Hackett “he should call us with the vehicle information and not take things into his own hands.”

With all due respect, Officer White, why not?

UPDATE 3, Jan. 20: Hackett won’t be charged (HT Volokh via Instapundit) according to Hamco Prosecutor Joe Deters as reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer. This is no surprise based on what is known.

Positivity: 14 Year-Old Becomes the Youngest to Sail the Atlantic

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:58 am

Awesome (video is at link):

Wednesday, 3 January 2007, 18:06 GMT

A 14-year-old boy has arrived in Antigua to become the youngest person to sail the Atlantic single-handed.

Michael Perham, from Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, ended his 3,500-mile voyage when he sailed into Nelson’s Dockyard at 1400 GMT.

Michael takes the record from Isle of Wight teenager Seb Clover, who was 15 when he made the crossing in 2003.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott called Michael a “successful sailor in the great British maritime tradition”.

The teenager, who has spent six weeks at sea, was escorted into dock by a flotilla of boats.

‘Huge accomplishment’

On reaching the shore, where he was met by a steel band, Michael said he had been overwhelmed by the reception he had received.

“It feels absolutely fantastic being back on dry land, absolutely brilliant,” he told BBC News.

Michael’s yacht, Cheeky Monkey, was shadowed by his father, Peter, a quantity surveyor, who was also in radio contact.

Mother Heather Perham said her son had been inspired by Seb Clover’s record in 2003.

“He’s a very adventurous lad. When he heard about the trip that Seb and his father had done… it challenged him.”

Speaking to her son via video-link for the first time since reaching shore, Mrs Perham congratulated him on his achievement.

“Congratulations Michael from everyone here in the family,” she said.

“We are very proud of you. It’s a huge accomplishment for yourself and to set an example for other young people to have adventures and live life to the full.”

Stuart Phillips, head teacher at Chancellors Secondary School, which Michael attends, said: “It is an amazing achievement and goes to show what young people can achieve.”

Mr Phillips said Michael, who began sailing at the age of six, was in his first year of GCSEs and had been given a revision programme to support him.

He said: “What he has achieved is an education in itself and when people achieve success in something like this it translates into success in other areas.”