Saturday, November 15, 2003

Local Accountability

Steve Verdon has already taken a rip at this Kevin Drum post, but I have a few things to add.

Drum cited an LA Times article which contained this:
"Today's passage of my job protection amendment is a victory for the thousands of families in Missouri, and across the nation, whose jobs were threatened by California's attempt to force-feed the nation dangerous new regulations without concern for job loss or safety," Bond said.
That's exactly right. If the rest of the country doesn't have the pollution problems CA does, then why should they be forced to adopt the same solution?
The amendment, approved on a voice vote, represents a major setback for the state's strategy for fighting the smog that continues to plague Southern California despite half a century of pollution-control efforts, state officials say.
And that strategy is clear. CA wants to keep their natural advantages with climate and surroundings without suffering the downside. If they can make sure that all of the rest of us suffer the same way then they can cancel out the economic impacts. So instead of looking for local solutions (remember "think globally, act locally"?), they try this self-serving nonsense and then claim that the rest of us are bad guys for not being pushovers.

So what's a local solution? Ban transit unions from going on strike, so they keep more cars off the road. Tax the crap out of gasoline to see if that has any impacts on the margin. Locate the heavily polluting cars and get them off the road - they might be amazed at how much difference this would make. Or just ban the small gas-powered devices that they would otherwise regulate.

What, we can't do that! Then politicians would be offending people who can vote them out of office instead of dumping problems on voteless corporations in other jurisdictions far away. Transit worker unions would throw a fit. And residents would be bearing the true costs of living in the area - faced with those finally, they might decide that a bit more smog isn't so bad after all, or that they'd really rather live somewhere else.

Some people will suffer health impacts. I propose that they relocate, just as they might from Denver's altitude, Buffalo's snow, Arizona's heat, Louisiana's humidity or Montana's emptiness. IMO proposing that we change LA to suit their problems is just as asinine as trying to change the other situations I mentioned. It might even make sense to relocate the vulnerable with public funds if the net cost will be cheaper than alternatives.

LA has been bullying the Southwest for a long time about water issues and the like. Now they're going national, acting like a bunch of spoiled children and trying to make this into a partisan issue. Let's put them back in their place.

Friday, November 14, 2003

On pacifism

I saw a quote in Bigwig's comments and looked it up on the web. I found this page. Enjoy.

Joel Mowbray on NYC's new gay high school

Right here.

Take another look... this post by Glenn Reynolds. It has kept growing in response to lefty braying about fairness - it seems that some of them don't want to be associated with their associates, and they come up with false analogies. Reynolds sets them straight and offers more links.

This all reminds me of my nuclear power career. The antinukers would try to represent themselves as against problems with the technology when in fact they were out to eliminate the technology itself. And today their intellectual heirs on the left pretend to be antiwar when in fact they are anti-US.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

What is Zell Miller up to?

Believe it or not, Doug Turnbull has blogged recently and he has a theory.

He could be right. But I'd like to believe that Zell finally just got sick of the Dems and now that he's beyond retribution he can tell them off.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Ted Rall = Tokyo Rose?

If you must, read this. But really, you're better off taking my word for what follows. For that item was written by Ted Rall, who is offensive even by hard-left standards.
Soon the American public will note that the anticipated five-year price tag of $500 billion, with a probable loss of some 4,000 lives and 10,000 wounded, is not a reasonable price to pay to get our 2.5 million barrels of oil flowing to the West each month. This net increase, of just 0.23 percent of total OPEC (news - web sites) production, will not reduce U.S. gasoline prices.
Let's assume he's right. So does that mean it wasn't ever about the OOOOIIIIILLLL? And does that make Ted Rall a "chickenhawk" for failing to go over there to fight alongside his heroes?

He's not through yet - after all, the item was posted on Veterans' Day:
It is no easy thing to shoot or blow up young men and women because they wear American uniforms. Indeed, the soldiers are themselves oppressed members of America's vast underclass. Many don't want to be here; joining America's mercenary army is the only way they can afford to attend university. Others, because they are poor and uneducated, do not understand that they are being used as pawns in Dick Cheney (news - web sites)'s cynical oil war.
This is more wrong and offensive than mere words can tell. I'll content myself by noting that somehow it has become about the OOOOIIIIILLLL again. I guess Cheney isn't so good with numbers, huh?

If we ever lose First Amendment protections, it will be because of the likes of Ted Rall.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

What's in it for George Soros?

Soros, who has financed efforts to promote open societies in more than 50 countries around the world, is bringing the fight home, he said. On Monday, he and a partner committed up to $5 million to, a liberal activist group, bringing to $15.5 million the total of his personal contributions to oust Bush.
From here:
Soros has become as rich as he has, the aide said, because he has a preternatural instinct for a good deal.
Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, which promotes changes in campaign finance , has benefited from Soros's grants over the years. Soros has backed altering campaign finance, an aide said, donating close to $18 million over the past seven years.
Conspiracy buffs can have some fun with that.

But really, what does George Soros want with the Democrats? Oh yeah:
In past election cycles, Soros contributed relatively modest sums. In 2000, his aide said, he gave $122,000, mostly to Democratic causes and candidates. But recently, Soros has grown alarmed at the influence of neoconservatives, whom he calls "a bunch of extremists guided by a crude form of social Darwinism."

Neoconservatives, Soros said, are exploiting the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to promote a preexisting agenda of preemptive war and world dominion. "Bush feels that on September 11th he was anointed by God," Soros said. "He's leading the U.S. and the world toward a vicious circle of escalating violence."
Good grief.

Psst, all you al-Qaeda types - George Soros is Jewish. I certainly don't wish the man any harm besides perhaps a bop upside the head hard enough to pound some sense in. But in opposing Bush irrespective of his challenger, he certainly gives aid and comfort to a worldwide cabal of creeps that would cut his head off on videotape for no better reason than his Jewishness.

Maybe that's OK with Soros. After all, he's partly to blame for anti-Semitism:
When asked about anti-Semitism in Europe, Soros, who is Jewish, said European anti-Semitism is the result of the policies of Israel and the United States.

"There is a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe. The policies of the Bush administration and the Sharon administration contribute to that," Soros said. "It´s not specifically anti-Semitism, but it does manifest itself in anti- Semitism as well. I´m critical of those policies."

"If we change that direction, then anti-Semitism also will diminish," he said. "I can´t see how one could confront it directly."

That is a point made by Israel´s most vociferous critics, whom some Jewish activists charge with using anti-Zionism as a guise for anti-Semitism.

The billionaire financier said he, too, bears some responsibility for the new anti-Semitism, citing last month´s speech by Malaysia´s outgoing prime minister, Mahathir Mohammad, who said, "Jews rule the world by proxy."

"I´m also very concerned about my own role because the new anti-Semitism holds that the Jews rule the world," said Soros, whose projects and funding have influenced governments and promoted various political causes around the world.

"As an unintended consequence of my actions," he said, "I also contribute to that image."
How is that? If you weren't Jewish the idiots would just claim that you were the proxy for one.

What Soros doesn't contribute to is Jews:
Though he´s ranked as the 28th richest person in the United States by Forbes magazine — with a fortune valued at $7 billion — Soros has given relatively little money to Jewish causes.

Soros´ first known funding of a Jewish group came in 1997, when his Open Society Institute´s Emma Lazarus Fund gave $1.3 million to the Council of Jewish Federations, and when Soros gave another $1.3 million to the Jewish Fund for Justice, an anti-poverty group.

As much as Jews may not like what Soros has to say — at the Nov. 5 meeting, he called for "regime change" in the United States and talked of funding projects in "Palestine" — they are eager to get Soros involved in giving to Jewish causes.

"In many ways, this was an introduction for Soros," Charendoff said. "He remarked to me how impressed he was with the quality of the people he met. We can only hope that this was a beginning of an engagement with the Jewish funding world."

Soros said he has not given much to Jewish or Israel-related causes because Jews take care of their own, so that his financial clout is better directed elsewhere.

Steinhardt tried to correct him on that point, saying the field of Jewish giving is not as crowded as Soros thinks.

"Even if we were a crowded field," Steinhardt told Soros, "I´m sure we could make room for you."
Certainly Soros can do what he wants with his money. But if he can't come up with something better than this I have to wonder about his competence.

Monday, November 10, 2003

WTO abuse

IMO one of the more underrated scandals of the Clinton administration involved the illegal campaign contributions from China and elsewhere. It was clear that 1) the donors gave significant sums, 2) they expected something for their money, 3) there are US policies they would like to control (access to technology, readiness to defend Taiwan, etc.).

So now we have this little disagreement with the WTO about steel tariffs. These tariffs were widely questioned for good reason, and the WTO has ruled that they are unacceptable. In response,
American jeans, Florida orange juice and dozens of other US products could double in price from next month because of a growing transatlantic trade war.
OK, fair is fair. Until I read this:
In drawing up its list of sanctions, the EU has deliberately selected products from states which are crucial to President Bush's electoral hopes.
That is beyond the pale. This is supposed to be about fair trade, not politics. Foreign powers' attempts to influence Presidential or other elections in the US are not acceptable, by this means or any other.

UPDATE: Now the WSJ weighs in against the tariffs - no surprise there. They have other, better reasons to oppose the tariffs, but this was worth noting:
Meanwhile, the strategy of using the tariffs to score political points has backfired. The tariffs have done nothing to win over protectionists, as evidenced by the growing number of blue-collar union endorsements of Democrat Presidential contender (and anti-free-trader) Dick Gephardt. Karl Rove might also note that a disproportionate number of the steel-consuming jobs that have been lost are in key battleground states like Florida and Pennsylvania, which Mr. Bush needs if he is to win re-election.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Gay gods?

As in, are there any? I understand that Zeus had an eye for boys once in a while but he was predominantly straight. What about other mythologies?

Sex and the Single Worm

Yep, I ripped off the title too, from Richard Gayle. It's about a worm with two sexes, but one of them occurs only 0.1% of the time. You'd think that that would make it pretty frustrating for the 99.9%, but they are actually hermaphroditic and can do themselves - it's the 0.1% that have to find a mate.

Actually it's weirder yet, but you'll just have to follow the link and read it for yourself.

Terri Schiavo website

Richard Sorge

Steven Den Beste is discussing the various alliances of WWII and how they influenced the war here.

He notes that Germany and Japan were trying to exploit each other in various ways, claiming that Hitler declared war on the US after Pearl Harbor because he thought he had a deal that the Japanese would attack the Russians in the East. That would tie up Russian troops in Asia, lightening the load on the Wehrmacht.

The Japanese never came through, but the Russians couldn't be sure of that at first, so they kept forces in Asia in case the Japanese attacked.

Then, through the work of a German Communist spy named Richard Sorge, they discovered that the Japanese had no plans to attack in the East. As a result the Russians would redeploy troops stationed in Asia to fight the Germans.

Sorge operated out of the German embassy in Japan, so he had access to incredibly valuable information, and he proved his value to the Russians again and again. Through him the Russians had warning of many significant events, including the German invasion of Russia.

Sorge was caught by the Japanese and hanged in 1944.

Scum sucking bottom feeders

Or, an encounter with the comment spammers. Thanks to Jeff Jarvis

Are the Saudis on board yet?

Or will they just chalk this bombing up to Ramadan?

LA transit workers' strike

Arthur Silber is having transportation problems in LA because of the transit workers' strike.

A question for liberals - how can you promise people that they can depend on public transportation, then permit the workers to go on strike?

A challenge to libertarians - how do you solve problems like these?

An opportunity for new governor Arnold Schwartzenegger - do you have the power to make the strikers go back to work, and if you do, will you use it?

As for me, There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time. - Calvin Coolidge

Remember PATCO?