Sunday, December 31, 2006

Innovation in a vaccuum

Americans have become increasingly comfortable with the idea of exporting our manufacturing jobs because, as the argument goes, the R&D side of manufacturing is staying here in the US. And, the economists tell us, R&D is where "the real money" is made, and the "well paying jobs" are.

The NYT, in a surprisingly useful article, asks the question, "can we still be the hotbed of innovation when our production capacity is gone?" As they say, it is a question infrequently asked, which is unfortunate, since we're staking our economic future on it.
Saturday, December 30, 2006

I'm speechless

According to this site, Duncan Hunter is the "Co Chair, Congressional Task Force on Bowhunting"

This is just getting too good to be true. What's next? Is he also the driving force behind the "Congressional Task Force on Increasing Cheesburger Size", the "CTF on Increasing Access to Firearms, Bourbon and Steak," and the "CTF for bringing Championships to the Mets and Jets"?

John Conyers is doing his share

The incoming House Democrat from MI, slated to become the new chair of the House Judiciary Committee, is just doing his part to help clean up the "culture of corruption" in Washington:

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) has "accepted responsibility" for possibly violating House rules by requiring his official staff to perform campaign-related work, according to a statement quietly released by the House ethics committee late Friday evening.

Seriously, the only thing worse than voters who pulled the lever for Democrats thinking they could "clean up Washington" are the members of the press who know how dirty these guys (Jefferson / Hillary / Reid / Dorgan / Kennedy / Dodd / Menendez / Hastings and now Conyers) are and only report on Republican "corruption."

Mary Jo Kopechne is still unavailable for comment.

Some more ideas on "good government"

Here is how the Dems would confront the "culture of corruption," especially if a Clinton returns to the White House:

The scandal involved a scheme by Clinton administration officials to sell seats on taxpayer-funded trade missions in exchange for campaign contributions to the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign. When Judicial Watch began investigating the scandal, Clinton administration officials deliberately concealed and destroyed records regarding the trade missions to avoid releasing them to Judicial Watch. In fact, Ms. Nolanda Hill, a business partner and confidante of then-Clinton Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, testified at a dramatic court hearing during the litigation that the Clinton White House “instructed” Brown "to delay the [Judicial Watch] case by withholding the production of documents prior to the 1996 elections, and to devise a way not to comply with the court’s orders."

Ms. Hill also testified that Brown, who was killed in a plane crash during a trade mission to Bosnia, admitted to her that Hillary Clinton conceived of the scheme to sell trade mission seats. Specifically, the court heard testimony on how Brown allegedly complained about being “Hillary’s [expletive] tour guide.”

Clinton administration misconduct was so egregious that the Commerce Department took the unprecedented step of asking that a judgment be entered against itself in order to end the lawsuit prematurely and stop further revelations. The court denied the Commerce Department’s request, ordered it to conduct a new search for trade mission records and authorized additional discovery into the illegal concealment and destruction of government records.


I guess when Ms. Hill's "confidante" died on one of Billary's fund raising trips, that was pretty much the last straw. No more Mrs. Nice Gal.

We hardly knew ye...

Apparently Chuck Hagel's presidential campaign is over before it started. While I doubt I could have been persuaded to vote him b/c of his mercurial behavior, he would have added something unique among the current crop of GOP hopefuls: a multi-lateralist, non-interventionist foreign policy voice.

In other news, he's apparently not going to run for reelection to the Senate, which is too bad. That will put another Senate seat in play for the Dems.

NBC News joins re-ups with the Idiots Parade

NewsBusters highlighted some typical MSM lunacy here. There's not really too much to add, they did the work for me.
Friday, December 29, 2006

A couple of new Hunter links

Weed through the Kucinich and Obama stuff in the 12/17/06 episode of "Road to the White House", and there's a Duncan Hunter speech in there (starts around the 25:00 mark).

Also, Chuck Yeager (!) endorsed Rep. Hunter for President.
Thursday, December 28, 2006

New addition to the blogroll

For anyone with an interest in Bourbon, check out the "Kentucky Straight Bourbon" link in the blogroll at the right.

The blogger is a refreshingly honest gentleman who doles out a lot of helpful advice. How he samples a bourbon. What he looks for in a good bourbon. How bourbon is relatively new to him, and how his tastes have changed as he's become a more experienced bourbon drinker. Then there's his "bar." He has reviews of a slew of different labels, with interesting insights into what makes each good or bad.

This site appeals to the experienced bourbon drinker, the novice, and the non-bourbon drinker with an interest in learning about bourbon.

At the starting gate

There's still plenty of time to flip affiliation, but as of now, which candidate would you support for President in '08? Give your top 3.

Fredo: Mitt (1) / Hunter (2) / Brownback (3)

Here's my guesses for the other contributors. Let me know how I do:

SHK: Mitt / Hagel / Rudy

DC: Rudy / McCain / Mitt

MB: Mitt / Hunter / McCain

This chicken tastes so...familiar

In this article, we discover the FDA is approving cloned animals for our food supply. Two questions:

1) If the animals have identifical genes, won't that make our food supply more vulnerable to disease and death?

2) Is this the Bush Administration's FDA?
Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry Christmas

While Fredo was too busy eating lasagna, cappicola, mozzarella and prosciutto with his family to post yesterday, I hope that all of you enjoyed a Merry Christmas. May our Lord, true God and true man, bless you and yours in the coming year.

Rep. Very, Very Goode

You need to use a Ted Knight inflection to say it right.

Anyway, Rep. Virgil Goode spoke like an American when he denounced the use of a Koran to swear in a new U.S. Congressman from Minnesota who is Muslim. Here's what he had to say:

"The Muslim representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Quran.

We need to stop illegal immigration totally and reduce legal immigration and end the diversity visas policy pushed hard by President Clinton and allowing many persons from the Middle East to come to this country.

I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped."


CNN seems to be wondering why Rep. Goode has not yet apologized. Silly, silly CNN.

BTW, if you'd like to congratulate Rep. Goode for his pro-America anti-PC stand, here's his contact info. E-mail is unavailable unless you live in his district.

Phone: (202)225-4711
Fax: (202)225-5681
Saturday, December 23, 2006

'Round the campfire liturgical music

It really, really annoys me. Distracts me from prayer most everytime I go to mass, since it has become so ubiquitous. I just came across a great essay on the topic by Thomas McFaul. Here's my favorite part:

Try to imagine what it would be like if the rest of the Church's art were dumbed-down to this degree. Paint-on-velvet say, replacing the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Or an upturned bathtub with a plastic Virgin, spray painted blue, replacing the Bernini's. Would the clergy and faithful sit by silently and endure such an insult? Is music a less important art form in the eyes of the modern church? It would seem so.
Friday, December 22, 2006

Hunter's 2nd Ad

Right Wing News has it here.
Thursday, December 21, 2006

So much for the argument that...

illegal immigrants do jobs Americans won't do.

A Revealing Exchange

For those of you interested in the AMSOL kerfuffle, it's worth checking out the blog Fumare. It frustrates me that they've taken the wrong side in the debate, b/c if it weren't for that, they seem like they'd be great guys. For one, they have a love of smoking. Two, they're extremely well versed in Catholic issues and bring a lot of interesting posts to bear on the state of the Church. Three, they're just plain funny, even when they're being insulting. And last but not least, they care about AMSOL (though maybe not as much as they care about a few of the profs they're idolizing above the school).

Probably the only problem for them is that they're right so often, they have a hard time seeing when they're wrong. In reviewing a post on the blog (about Tom Monaghan throwing his support behind Sam Brownback for President), one of the main Fumare posters, A.M., went on a bit of a rip against wealthy Catholics (sparked by his anger at T.M. and those who support him). The discussion that followed was very interesting: the poster who supported Monaghan (30-06) said he'd continue to be a booster of AMSOL regardless of how the Florida-move controversy is resolved. No such offer was forthcoming from the anti-administration set.

The entire post and comments on Fumare can be viewed here.

Below is a pared down version of what I thought were the more interesting parts of the conversation:


Run, Sam, Run!

TM to assist Sen. Brownback for a presidential run. All I can say is, "Run, Sam, Run!"

[What follows is from News-Press.com]

Monaghan's most important role would be delivering that message to wealthy, like-minded potential campaign donors. Most analysts say the lack of a fundraising network confines Brownback to second-tier status in a crowded GOP field. Brownback is counting on Monaghan to change that."I hope he'll help us in a number of ways, with people he knows around the country," Brownback said.A key will be Legatus, a lay group for conservative Catholic CEOsthat Monaghan founded. The organization has more than 5,000 members...."That's the blue-chip group," said William Donohue, the president ofthe Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, a conservative group on whose board of advisers Monaghan sits. "In Legatus, he's got thousands of members who are all Catholics, all well-to-do. This is the cream of the Catholic community. And they all have friends. You talk about where to go for fundraising, there's a list there that's been around for a number of
years."
[End of cite from News-Press article]

AM's Observations……2.) Legatus = "the cream of the Catholic community?" Way to go Bill…

…Note to Bill Donohue: The "cream of the Catholic community" are the moms that stay at home and raise their children, the grandmothers that attend daily Mass, the men (white and blue collar) who say the rosary with their children in the evenings--handing on their faith, the humble middle-aged woman who works at a crisis-pregnancy center and spends her day talking a teenager out of an abortion, the faithful priest who wakes in the middle of the night to anoint a dying soul, and the faithful sister who washes the floor of her convent and prays for peace…

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

Comments:

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

AM writes: "The "cream of the Catholic community" are the moms that stay at home and raise their children, the grandmothers that attend daily Mass, the men (white and blue collar) who say the rosary with their children in the evenings"

No doubt. So true. Just like the wives I've met in the AMSOL community, many with large families. And the bright courageous lads and ladies who left other opportunities on the table to go to a place like AMSOL, b/c they believed in its mission. These are the same folks who stand to have the value of their degrees crushed, were the ABA to revoke AMSOL's accreditation. And who, may I ask, specifically requested the ABA to begin their fact finding mission--a mission that may end in damaging the the most valuable asset (their degree) that many of these AMSOL grads have? I know that mocking financial resources is the order of the day, but folks: these are your own peers, not mine. You might try acting like you care.

.30-06 12.18.06 - 8:41 pm #

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

.30-06 Point taken, but please don't make the mistake of thinking that we don't care, just because we're motivated to fight a tyrant. What you see on these pages is the public face of the opposition - you see argument, rhetoric and logic (and yes, some polemic). You do not see the compassion that truly does underly all this (at least for many of us). It breaks my heart to see my alma mater torn asunder like this.If I were the weeping kind, I would weep for the current students. I feel their plight, truly. And for alumni as well. I am one of them, currently in a job I'd like out of, and wondering if my AMSOL degree will help me or hurt me in my upcoming job
search. Nonetheless, we cannot be silent. What you're suggesting is that we stop
calling the police about our abusive patriarch for fear of what they may do to
our "happy home".Don't blame the victims, 06. Or those who would fight back to
see the abuse stopped altogether.

AMSOL_Pioneer 12.18.06 - 9:06 pm #

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

Well, in my judgment, the decision of what state to place a law school in is
a long way from the decision of whether to beat one's spouse. I'm not sure that
analogy really stands up. I think the best argument for those who oppose the
move to FL has been that the ABA might strip the law school of its
accreditation, injuring its long-term prospects and the livelihood of its
alumni. But for the same people who have been offering this argument to then
turn around and REQUEST the ABA inquiry is, well, hard for me to understand. I
guess its kind of like the folks who sneak knives onto airplanes to show that
our security is lax. The only difference is that the TSA is a government
agency--it can show little competency and still keep getting funded. The law
school has real competition and public embarassment has real consequences.

.30-06
12.19.06 - 12:19 am #

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

.30-60,I'd reiterate what I said to Anonymous to you:
I believe the ABA inquiry is about CURRENT problems with the
governance/administration of the law school. The ABA requires faculty
involvement in the governance of a law school; for the last year now, faculty
concerns have been ignored. At any other law school in the country, even a whiff
of a possibility that the majority of a faculty had no confidence in their dean
would have lead to the dean's resignation... but not at AMSOL. It is the duty of
the faculty to their students to report current violations of ABA standards,
especially those violations that the faculty believe are detrimental to the
school's well-being and detrimental to the legal education of current students.
As Pholgizo said, better some fact-finding by the ABA now, instead of a
dissolution of the law school later.

Thales, Man of the Year 12.19.06 - 5:41 am#

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

Thales,

Whether the ABA investigation is a result of the move, or rather a result of the N.C. manifesto and "current governance" does not seem to be the point: Dobranski's email indicates the ABA is coming at the request of some faculty members, and that assertion has been denied by no one (especially the ones who most likely did it) in the faculty. Sure, the Dean could be lying, but not even the most anti-Dobranski elements here seem to believe that. The risk of some negative action being taken by the ABA against the law school has been brought on by faculty action.

I understand that in their minds--and probably yours--their action is justified. More than that, perhaps an ABA investigation was inevitable. Don't know. But either way, the fact remains that they requested the ABA to take an action that could damage alums and the institution.

I guess my only point is that you folks have been slamming the Dean and T.M. for considering something that many here honestly believe would damage the Law School (move to FL). How about a little consistency when the faculty do something that could also cause some serious damage to AMSOL (request ABA presence and interference)?

I have no experience with the ABA, but if they're like the other oversight agencies I've dealt with, you never know what will happen once they get inside your four walls (how long they'll stay, whether the subject of their investigation will change, what their ultimate action will be). It was a tremendously risky move to make.

.30-06 | Homepage | 12.19.06 - 8:55 am | #

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

.30-60,AMSOL is a law school... as such it is involved with the ABA,
whether we like it or not. AMSOL is reliant on the ABA for its accreditation and
the ABA has oversight of the goings-on at the law school, whether we like it or
not. In order to gain ABA approval and accreditation, AMSOL represented to the
ABA financial stability, a good library, good students, good faculty, etc. If
there are fundamental problems in these areas, it would be the height of
foolishness to try to sweep them under the carpet, in the hope that the ABA
doesn't notice. Full accreditation doesn't mean that the ABA will never look at
AMSOL again. The ABA will look at AMSOL some time in the future (and they will
definitely look at AMSOL if it decides to move to Florida - with a possible
revocation of accreditation).So, ABA inquiry and interference is inevitable.
Should the ABA look into problems now, or when AMSOL reaches the
point-of-no-return and finds itself in Florida with a substantial change in
faculty?It is not an ABA inquiry that will damage the school (remember, in order
to achieve accreditation, the ABA had to make many periodic visits and inquiries
to the school). If damage comes from the ABA inquiry, it will be the result of
fundamental problems found by the ABA during the inquiry.

Thales, Man of the Year
12.19.06 - 9:41 am #

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

Thales,I don't disagree with some of what you're
saying here. In fact, it's similar but a little stronger than what I
said:

"perhaps an ABA investigation was inevitable." -me

"ABA inquiry and interference is inevitable" -you

But that doesn't address the issue of timing (and while I offered the possibility, it's probably too early to say such an investigation is inevitable). Why bring the scrutiny down on yourself? It may come anyway, but there's too much to lose to court trouble.As you say, ABA oversight is a fact of life. But so is, for example, IRS oversight. Let's consider that example--I may be the most ethical guy in the world, but that doesn't mean that an IRS auditor, armed with 10,000 pages of IRC rules and regs, couldn't gin up a way to hit me with back taxes, interest, a penalty, etc. Now it may be my goal to be more in compliance with IRS rules and regs, but wouldn't it be prudent to do my best to handle that situation on my own, without inviting official sanction?

I have no doubt that the ABA has many folks in it who were anti-AMSOL from the get go, since the industry is laden with liberal secularists. Why put yourselves in their crosshairs one year, one month, or one week before you have to? And what if the BOG elects not to move? There may have been no ABA investigation (as opposed to normal ongoing oversight) at all if not for the request by the faculty.

.30-06 Homepage 12.19.06 - 10:01 am #

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

.30-60,Yes, it would be more prudent to handle things on your own, without
inviting official sanction. I think the position of the faculty, however, is
that they've tried to handle things on their own; they've brought concerns to
the Dean and they've brought these concerns and their concerns about the Dean
himself to the BoG... with no response.And why the ABA now and not later? I
think because the faculty think that a decision in favor of Florida is
inevitable and imminent. Up until last December BoG meeting, the Dean was saying
that the BoG might decide at the December meeting; now it sounds like the
decision will happen at the next BoG meeting in March. So the decision is
imminent. And from all evidence so far, (eg, the lack of response to the
faculty/alumni/student concerns about Florida; the Reed-White feasibility
study), it appears that the BoG will be deciding in favor of Florida. So the
faculty decided to act.

Thales, Man of the Year 12.19.06 - 10:25 am #

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

Thales,You write,"And why the ABA now and not later? I think because the
faculty think that a decision in favor of Florida is inevitable and
imminent."

Fair enough. Unlike Newbie whom I replied to above, you're shooting
straight by writing that the move to Florida is the primary motivation for
notifying the ABA. Whether it was a justifiable action to take, in light of the
possible consequences to AMSOL staff, students and alumni, is a judgment call.
Since we've both let our judgments be known, I guess there's no sense rehashing
it.

.30-06 Homepage 12.19.06 - 1:45 pm #

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

lawdog,"I am encouraged by the
number of our fellows who put aside self-interest to do what is right. Maybe you
should take notes." ...

...while you are right in asserting
that a willingness to see one's own degree devalued for "justice" to prevail is,
in a sense, selflessness, the related consequence is that the value of other
people's degrees, who may or may not agree with your struggle, is also
diminished.

.30-06 Homepage 12.19.06 - 1:54 pm #

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

30-.06,..."If TM steps down, or bows out.... are you committed enough to help support
AMSoL in AA, or is the concept of AMSoL just attractive to you ....no matter
what or where its future or demise may lay? To think that the struggle here is
soley a result of, or is brought on by a potential move to Florida is an insult
to the Founding Faculty, the dedicated staff, and the deserving alums who have
watched (for more than just the time this blog or NC votes have existed) the
actions of TM et al. They have had their eyes open for some time...... give them
some credit.

newbie 12.19.06 - 2:54 pm #

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

Newbie,You ask: "If TM steps
down, or bows out.... are you committed enough to help support AMSoL in AA, or
is the concept of AMSoL just attractive to you ....no matter what or where its
future or demise may lay?"The answer to that question is yes. I would continue
to support AMSOL in MI or FL
. There's just no other school doing what AMSOL is
doing. I don't think my financial contribution (even if combined with 1,000 of
my closest friends) would equal T.M.'s monetary commitment, but I'd still be on
board either way.

.30-06 Homepage 12.19.06 - 4:41 pm
#


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

First '08 commercial I've seen

This pithy 25 second spot from Duncan Hunter neatly ties together fair trade with national security. I'm really starting to like this guy. Hope he has some San Diegans with deep pockets behind him.
Monday, December 18, 2006

Selfish portion of AMSOL faculty "out" themselves

For those of you who haven't been paying close attention from home, and want a little more background, I've written on this topic a few times: here, here and here.

Ave Maria School of Law was founded about 6 years ago due to the generosity of Tom Monaghan, former Domino's Pizza CEO and grade-A Catholic philanthropist. Through his foundation, Tom's committed upwards of $1B to Catholic causes, and education has been at the top of his list: Ave Maria College in Yspilanti, MI (which later moved to Florida and is now Ave Maria University), and the Ave Maria School of Law (AMSOL) which is now considering a move to Florida to be co-located with AMU.

The Law School's mission is unique: to integrate the rich history of Catholic teaching on natural law into the modern legal curriculum, and ground its students in the timeless truths of the Church, as well as the ins-and-outs of a legal career. I once considered attending AMSOL, but I doubt I'd have been able to stomach being around the turncoat portion of the faculty and alums who are trying (in vain) to destroy the school's promise.

[Just as an aside, one of these turncoat professors has a narcissistic pseudo-history of the Law School, in which he traces the school's origin to his (and some of his colleagues) dispute w/ the Univ. of Detroit-Mercy. Safranek, in detailing the conflict w/ UDM, alludes to just how bleak his job prospects at UDM were: "the law school began discussing how to terminate the Catholic faculty who had protested the University’s actions." Presumably, the same situation applied to Murphy, Falvey, and Myers, who are listed as fellow "protesters" in Safranek's article.

What an odd place to start a history of AMSOL, with Safranek about to be fired. Any semi-normal history of the school would rightly have started with the necessary ingredient that enabled the institution to exist: Monaghan's wealth, and his spiritual journey that led him to make that wealth available to others. Such a history would have moved on from there to discuss Tom, sitting in a board room, listening to a proposal by a bunch of down on their luck law professors, and deciding to turn their lemons into lemonade.

I have to admit, Safranek's logic is a little easier on my ego. I get to be a founder, too. After all, I've had the idea for a Catholic School of Journalism for years. It would ground its students in objective truth and shatter the AP/Reuters secular monopoly on wire services. I haven't met my committed Catholic billionaire donor yet, but since he'll be an afterthought, and someone I can vilify a few years after I get my hands on his money, I guess I'm a "founder" too.]

Well, this past week, it came out that the aggrieved faculty, who've incited all degrees of discontent over the potential Florida move, have taken the additional step of outlining their grievances to the ABA. They did so knowing full well that this would lead to an investigation of the school. The worst case scenario for AMSOL would be that the ABA revokes their full accreditation, making it harder to attract students, staff, and damaging the value of an AMSOL degree.

Basically, the faculty has taken the step of throwing overboard the livelihood of the lawyers they taught (as well as those lawyers' families) in order to get their way. They don't want to move, and No Man is going to stand in their way. Either they'll win, or they'll cause as much collateral damage as they can on the way out.

Who can get these dissidents to cease and desist for the good of the mission? Not their chaplain, Father Orsi, who has apparently been opposing the insurgents' divisiveness (why would an orthodox Catholic Law Professor feel the need to listen to a Priest?). Not their boss, the Dean, whose calm demeanor could have been used as an example to handle this dispute with class, not divisive rancor. Not the founder, whose generosity made the institution possible. Not the Board, who actually has the responsibility for making these types of decisions (after all, why have obedience to actual authority when one can stand on conscience alone?).

Yep, this past week, after years of impugning Mr. Monaghan, Dean Dobranski, and anyone who disagrees with them as "Un-Catholic", the dissident faculty members outed themselves. They're nothing but a bunch of self-serving opportunists who took advantage of Tom Monaghan when they were down on their luck, and UDM was about to cut them loose. And now they spit in his face, and the faces of the very students they taught, in order to serve their own convenience. When the school moves (which I have to imagine they will for reasons I laid out in the earlier articles), and the insurgent members of the faculty decide to resign rather than go with the school, all that will be left to say is "good riddance."

The Top of the Slippery Slope

Now that the election is over and the Democrats won big, this news about a wedge issue comes out. Healthy new-born babies may have been killed in Ukraine to feed a flourishing international trade in stem cells. Those conservatives who don't call themselves social conservatives should pay attention. Who thinks it's ok for babies to be killed in the name of science?

Romney

Some coverage of Romney in Newsweek.. Not a particularly insightful piece offering any new information, but first time I've seen him covered in Newsweek.
Friday, December 15, 2006

Are you kidding me???

This must be the definition of irony!

Fair Trade Hunter

John Hawkins of Right Wing News conducted an extremely interesting interview with Duncan Hunter here.

While the interview covered a lot of ground, his dicussion of trade policy is worthy of note. Especially since this will likely be a point of differentiation between him and the rest of the GOP field.

While even the armchair economist (like myself) is aware that free trade leads to the most efficient use of capital, the political question that confronts America at this point in time is how America should respond to nations that trade with us but do not maintain a level playing field. Most GOP politicians just parrot the party line that "free trade is better", but they rarely address the fact that free trade, as far as our government is concerned, is generally a one way street: we open our markets to foreign nations while our partners enact policies designed to create a trade surplus with the US. The tilted playing field is being created by foreign governments, and cannot merely be resolved by companies increasing efficiency or improving their products. The government needs to act and has not.

The net result is that there are areas of the country, especially the rust belt, where the loss of manufacturing jobs has devastated the economy. This can get lost in national GDP statistics, but it has a real impact in terms of people's lives and, therefore, in the nature of our political discourse. Take last month's Senate vote in OH. Mike DeWine is looking for a job right now, and that has as much to do with Sherrod Brown skillfully using the trade issue as with Iraq. While the majority of folks in flyover country are conservative in temperment (and, IMHO, lean-GOP voters), many people are simply tired of watching a continued deterioration of the job and wage situation for a large number of their neighbors. Or worse yet, for themselves. As a result, Republicans made no headway against Demcoratic incumbents in MI, and GOP seats were lost in large numbers in the industrial belt from IN (Chocola, Hostetler, Sodrel) to OH (Padget, DeWine, Blackwell) to PA (Santorum). Restoring the confidence of rust-belt working class Americans (who are socially conservative but have seen their states come on hard times) in the GOP will be essential for the future succeess of national Republican candidates.

Here's what Duncan Hunter had to say on the topic:

Duncan Hunter: Well, first, ...I'm a supporter of supply side economics and I think the general proposition that if you leave a few bucks in the pockets of American businesses rather than take it for taxes, ...(then) the tax base is actually increased and revenue is enhanced. I believe that's a valid proposition and I support that and that's been reflected in my voting record for tax cuts. So I think that's the way you supply - you increase the revenues into the federal government and you do that by encouraging growth.

Now there's one thing that I think is very, very important right now, where I diverge, I think, some from the Club For Growth...I'm a Ronald Reagan trader...let me quote you Ronald Reagan on trade. He said, "To make the international trading system work all must abide by the rules." He further said, "When governments assist their exporters in ways that violate international laws, then the playing field is no longer level and there's no longer free trade."

Right now...when we compete with China, China starts with 74 points on the scoreboard before the opening kick-off. They get a 17% rebate...to their exporters; they're exporting to the US. Basically they're allowed to operate tax-free. Then they put in place a 17% penalty on our importers. That creates a 34% disparity in the world's competition. Then they de-value their currency by 40%, through currency manipulation. So they start with 74 points on the scoreboard before the opening kick-off.

That disparity is so great that you now have lots of financial advisers who are walking into the boardrooms of companies throughout America telling their people that even if they have a more efficient labor and production rate than the Chinese in their particular industry, that it makes sense from a tax and tariff standpoint to move their jobs from the US to China. So we have actually...acquiesced to a system that doesn't allow the most efficient trader to win. It allows the subsidized trader to win and the effect of that is that you have businesses which pay high wages throughout this country -- not based on labor rates but based on the way government has set the rules and set the competition in this arena called trade, that are contemplating moving to China.

...Let me give you an example. I was in South Carolina. Nucor Steel in Charleston has 800 workers. They produce as much steel as... a Chinese plant which has 17,000 workers. They beat the Chinese 20 to 1 for labor efficiency and they pay their people an average of $75,000 a year. Labor cost is not a major issue with them because they're so highly efficient and they are so leveraged with technology and yet, they see now China which is expanding its steel production this year by 130 million tons which is more than the total steel production of the US.

That's not fair; that's cheating and that causes aberrations in the trade system and it moves massive amounts of income of what otherwise would be American revenues off-shore. So I don't think you're going to be able to get the US budget deficit under control unless we have a fair trading system. So I believe very strongly in the Reagan position on trade when he said what he said to make the international trading system work, all must abide by the rules. They're not abiding by the rules and it doesn't make a lot of sense to play in a league in which all the other teams have 74 points on the scoreboard before the game begins. If they're really that efficient and really that good and they really want the rules of Adam Smith to work, then they shouldn't need the 74 points before the game starts.

That has to be a part of any attempt to balance the federal budget - and one more point, we in government do lots of things that individuals should do for themselves. I'm a conservative; I believe that the government that governs the least governs the best. There is one area where only the government can make a difference and can control the situation and that's in international trading arenas. Only the government can sign a trade deal; individuals can't sign a trade deal. So, if China insists on a trade deal that gives them 74 points on the scoreboard before the opening kick-off, the workers and management at Nucor Steel can't change that. They have to live within the rules that their government has created so that's one obligation of government which not only should be discharged by government but government is the only entity which can discharge it. So that's a difference that I have with some of my colleagues.

Tired of Your Nine-To-Five Job? Become a Professional Victim

I always say you can learn do anything by reading about it and practicing. Finally there's a guide to making yourself a victim.

Donate to the DNC...They Need More Tin Foil Hats

Unbelievable. Joy Behar of The View speculates that Tim Johnson's stroke is a Republican conspiracy. And while the liberal media's coverage of the health of Mr. Johnson is at the least in poor taste, Bob Franken of CNN says that Democrats are more sincere in their expressions of concern than Repbulicans (Newsbusters). Let's all pray for Tim Johnson and his family, and talk about the politics of the situation at a more appropriate time.
Thursday, December 14, 2006

McCain

Article by Novak suggesting "inside" support for McCain may be lining up.

Illegals

Romney's position on illegals is nice and clear.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006

War on Terror

While I'm certainly not a comprehensive (or even focused) expert on this issue, this Air Force General makes a point that I figure is the most realistic assessment of the long-term situation.

New Application for the Double Standard

Will the media ever understand that they operate under a double standard? Violence in video games is fine as long as it's not violence against the anti-Christ in a Christian themed game. Read this. The bile rises from within each time I'm subjected to the MSM's bias. It's really getting ridiculous.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Interesting Brownback News

Sam Brownback, every SoCons favorite potential President--until he went soft on the illegal immigration issue--may be seeking redemption with the America First crowd (and just as a side note, does any American believe our government should serve America Second? Or Third? Or Thirty-eighth?). A recent piece in the The New Republic by Noam Scheiber offered this tantalizing tidbit:

Then there is the immigration issue, which is either a colossal political miscalculation or the policy equivalent of Catholic self-flagellation. In 2005, Brownback signed on as a co-sponsor to the relatively moderate Kennedy-McCain bill. The reaction from rank-and-file Republicans has not been kind. Steve Scheffler, the head of a conservative evangelical group in Iowa, told me, "The biggest thing [Brownback would] have to address is why did he vote for that horrendous bill?" Kensinger says Brownback's answer is simple: "The Bible says you will be judged by how you treat the widow, the orphan, the foreign among you. That's the end of it." He believes the key is how Brownback manages his position--not the position itself. But Chuck Hurley, a Brownback law school classmate who runs the influential Iowa Family Policy Center, has hinted a shift could be in the works. "I understand he's been doing some consulting about that issue," Hurley told me conspiratorially, citing an upcoming meeting with a local anti-immigration politician.

If Sen. Brownback gets back on the right side of Sens. Kyl & Cornyn on the illegal immigration issue, he would immediately grab the mantle of the best conservative option, IMHO. If he continues to support guest-worker-amnesty, not so much.
Monday, December 11, 2006

Thank you, America

Thanks so much for putting our public security in the hands of Democrats. Speaker-elect Pelosi went out of her way to ignore normal protocol, and passed over the ranking member on the Dem side when she hand-picked her new chair of the House Intelligence Committee. And what bright, shining star had grabbed the Speaker's attention, so that she was willing to pass over Rep. Harman? Rep. Silvestre Reyes of TX.

Well, he's sure hit the ground running.

Is al Qaeda a Sunni organization, or Shi'ite?

The question proved nettlesome for Rep. Silvestre Reyes of Texas, incoming Democratic chairman of the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

"Predominantly -- probably Shi'ite," he said in a recent interview with Congressional Quarterly, a periodical that covers political and legislative issues in Congress.

Unfortunately for Reyes, the al Qaeda network led by Osama bin Laden is comprehensively Sunni and subscribes to a form of Sunni Islam known for not tolerating theological deviation.

Reyes' problems in the interview didn't end with al Qaeda.

Asked to describe the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, Congressional Quarterly said Reyes responded: "Hezbollah. Uh, Hezbollah," and then said, "Why do you ask me these questions at five o'clock?"

Why social issues are not merely "private matters"

Glenn Sacks has today's installment on the topic here:

The recent announcement from the National Center for Health Statistics that the out-of-wedlock birth rate is at an all-time high is bad news for America’s children. It would be easier to understand, perhaps, if it were naive teenage mothers who were creating this trend. However, according to the new NCHS study, the trend--which is creating 1.5 million babies a year--is being driven by adult women, many of whom are in their 30s and 40s and are choosing single motherhood. They should know better.

The rates of the four major youth pathologies--teen pregnancy, teen drug abuse, school dropouts and juvenile crime--are tightly correlated with fatherlessness, often more so than with any other socioeconomic factor, including income and race. The research is clear that children need fathers, not simply as breadwinners, but also for the valuable parenting--and fathering--they provide.

When a particular segment of society is becoming uneducated, with a greater propensity towards criminal behavior, and as a result, is sucking resources out of the community instead of contributing, it's a political issue.
Thursday, December 07, 2006

On hiatus

Work has been getting busy. Sorry for the lack of posts. The next few months are going to be really hectic for me, so posts will be on the less-occassional side. I hope to weigh in when I get the chance.

Unfortunately for me, not everyone has a tenured job where 50% of the work day can be spent ripping the boss. You know, the "Catholic" thing to do.
Monday, December 04, 2006

How Am I Supposed to Live Without You?

Bolton is stepping down as U.N. Ambassador without ever getting Congress to vote on his confirmation. Maybe McCain and the other "Republican" members of the Gang of 14 knew they were going down. Let's see if the remaining R's use the filibuster on nominations as the Dems did. And if they do, let's see if the D side of the Gang of 14 still opposes the nuclear option.

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Always sniffing for the truth

Always sniffing for the truth

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