Oct 312008

We all knew that the Wall Street Journal was not going to be improved by the Rupert Murdoch takeover, but did anyone foresee that it would come to this? Yesterday’s lead headline: “Fed Steps Up Assault on Slump.”

What kind of headline is that? It uses emotionally loaded terms, but imparts no information. You have to read further to learn that what happened is that the Fed cut interest rates. Whether that rate cut constitutes an “assault” on anything might be for poets and rhetoriticians to decide. But I’ll bet the Federal Reserve Board didn’t get together in a board room and do like this:

“We have a motion and a second to assault the slump. All in favor? All opposed? OK, motion carried. Let the minutes show that we voted 5-2 to assault the slump.”

Oct 312008

The College of St. Catherine bans Bay Buchanan from speaking on campus. The reason? Because as a 501(c)(3) organization it has to avoid any appearance of partisanship. (Buchanan is not running for office or campaigning for anyone, so that isn’t really the reason, but you know what they mean.  If not, see below.)

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., on the other hand, goes into a fourth grade classroom and tells the kids that in Lincoln’s time, “Republicans used to be the good guys.” One mother was not amused, but Kennedy says it’s OK, “since those children struck me as exceptionally bright and capable of making their own political determination.”

Does this mean that the children attending the College of St. Catherine are exceptionally dumb?

Does it mean Murch Elementary School now has to start paying taxes?

h/t to The Weekly Standard

Oct 312008

Conservative Republicans for years have had to put up with hostile questions from LeftDemocrat reporters. It comes with the territory. There is a certain amount of whining and complaining about it from people like myself, but the politicians generally learn to take it in stride. Take, for example, Sarah Palin’s interview with Katie Couric. (I didn’t watch it, but I read a transcript.)

Now Joseph Biden got a small taste of it himself when Barbara West of WFTV asked some hostile questions. She asked her questions in a polite, respectful manner, and Joseph Biden handled them well. He challenged the questioner at a few points — nothing at all wrong with that. His answers were less slimy than the usual political answers — and even revealed a bit of the truth: There will be no Obama tax cuts. There will instead be tax “credits.”

Obama should have been pleased at the way his VP handled himself, but he acts as though Biden is a delicate flower who will wilt when he gets too close to anyone who doesn’t genuflect before the Obama image. Instead of praising the process of give and take, he blacklisted WFTV.

That is not at all an improvement over the George W. Bush’s hostile relationship with the press, and is certainly not behavior worthy of someone who is supposed to be a defender of our First Amendment freedoms.

How is Obama going to handle negotiations with hostile foreign leaders if he can’t handle hostile U.S. news reporters?

In related news:

I suppose we can take comfort in the fact that Obama appears to be doing no more than riding the wave of repression that’s sweeping the globe.

Oct 312008

Your average “environmentalist,” given a choice between growing the government and doing something good for the environment, will throw the environment under the bus every time. I’ve been saying that for several years now, but Steve Sailor suggests that a new opportunity may be coming whereby these people can prove me right again. It’s in his article, “Infrastructure blowout.”

The usual tax and spend crowd wants the govt to spend money on infrastructure to boost the economy. But it takes a lot of time to do any big projects, given the need for environmental impact statements and other hurdles. Steve asks, “Is the Democratic Congress really going to suspend the Environmental Protection Act and all the rest of the environmental impedimentia?”

The answer is: Sure it will, if that’s what’s needed to grow the government. But keep in mind that boosting the economy is not really the point, either. Growing the government is the main objective, and that can be accomplished by 15-year spending plans that do have to go through all the environmental motions.

Oct 242008

George Will informs us that Congress is casting a greedy eye on tax-free university endowments. (“Washington’s Willie Sutton Moment“) It wants more money to control, so it wants to control how these endowments are spent.

I agree with Will to some extent. We should never miss an opportunity to point out that corporate greed is mainly a problem of government greed (governments being our largest corporations).

But instead of just complaining, I wish Will would suggest something positive, like removing the tax-exempt status of university endowments. It would be a positive step toward creating a society in which there are no privileged classes – where we’re all in it together. When it comes time to discuss whether taxes should be raised, then all of those articulate people who are running our nation’s universities would have a stake in the issue, too. As it now stands, they always want more taxes to pay for more student loan programs, for research grants, for this program and for that. They are oblivious to the downside, of how their demands for money can destroy the tax base needed to support the institutions they run. Removing their tax-exempt status would motivate them to think harder about sustainability — about how we can sustain the economic engine that is needed to support our universities and make them even greater.

Oct 232008

Today I realized one more thing that’s irritating about the way the left is treating Joe the Plumber. They keep talking about what would happen under Obama’s plan. It’s that word plan.

In the olden days it wouldn’t have been called a plan. It would have been called a campaign promise.

We all know what those are worth. But some people somehow think calling it a “plan” somehow makes it legitimate. Under Obama’s plan, he’s going to tax us a lot and somehow that is going to generate magic revenue that he is going to graciously bestow on people. We know it’s all pie in the sky, and we know he knows it, because he’s dressing up his handouts and calling them “tax cuts.”

But that’s not what’s really annoying about all of this. What’s annoying is that people think the economy can actually be planned. But the only part that’s a sure thing is the tax increases. That we can count on. In fact, we can count on getting even more of those than are being promised. There is a huge government constituency that will hold Obama to those promises. As for the rest of it, that part can no more be planned than affordable housing can be planned. And we now see what all of the plans to give us affordable housing got us.

BTW, I googled “Obama’s plan” and “McCain’s plan” (with the quotes). “Obama’s plan” gives 516,000 hits, and “McCain’s plan” 310,000. That would be a reason to vote for McCain over Obama, especially when you notice that there are a lot more web pages that talk about Obama’s plan as though a plan is a good thing. That’s a good reason to vote for McCain (but it’s not a good enough reason).

Oct 222008

Maybe somewhere, someday, a news editor will tell reporters and writers that there is no law requiring them to fill up space in a news article with non-sequiturish quotes that do nothing to explain or illustrate. At best, they are just a way for the writer to slime the article with his/her editorial biases. At worst, they just waste the reader’s time.

The AP article linked here is an example of what I’m talking about. It’s actually an informative article. But why the man-on-the-street quotes? They’re inserted almost randomly. The article could be improved by just omitting them.

Here’s the crap that could just as well be removed, or could be randommized and inserted anywhere else and make just as much (or as little) sense.

“I trust McCain more, and I do feel that he has more experience in government than Obama. I don’t think Obama has been around long enough,” said Angela Decker, 44, of La Porte, Ind.

But Karen Judd, 58, of Middleton, Wis., said, “Obama certainly has sufficient qualifications.” She said any positive feelings about McCain evaporated with “the outright lying” in TV ads and his choice of running mate Sarah Palin, who “doesn’t have the correct skills.”

Said John Ormesher, 67, of Dandridge, Tenn.: “I’ve got respect for them but that’s the extent of it. I don’t have a whole lot of affinity toward either one of them. They’re both part of the same political mess.”

Oct 222008

When Barak Obama says he wants to “clarify the public interest obligations of broadcasters who occupy the nation’s spectrum,” maybe he’s trying to be Bush III: URL and URL