Showing posts from December, 2004

Sore Loserman?

Dino Rossi refuses to concede the Washington Governor's race, arguing that there is still uncertainty about the election outcome. It's essential that we disassociate party affiliation from this issue and discuss it in the abstract: OLYMPIA, Wash. - The night before Washington's secretary of state was scheduled to certify {REDACTED] Christine Gregoire as the governor-elect, her {REDACTED] rival Dino Rossi called for a complete re-do of the longest, closest governor's race in state history. "The uncertainty surrounding this election process isn't just bad for you and me -- it is bad for the entire state. People need to know for sure that the next governor actually won the election," Rossi said Wednesday evening, reading from a letter he sent to Gregoire. A revote would be the best solution for the people of our state, and would give us a legitimate governorship," the letter added. I've redacted party affiliations in a symbolic attemp

Media for Purple Folk?

In my previous post, I did a quick and shallow review of conservative talk radio as I left Chicago for the holidays. As an update to that post, I should probably concede that I was harder on Michael Medved than I should have been. I caught another show before turning in the rental car and enjoyed it immensely. He was discussing Iraq with an intellectual who was calling for the United States to withdraw from the Middle East and provide massive reparations to the Iraqi people for "breaking their country". Despite the wide ideological gulf between Medved and the professor, he was civil and asked some good pointed questions. The professor was a much better guest than the guest on the previous show I complained about and was able (IMHO) to explain and defend his position relatively well. I was enjoying the show immensely and I was disappointed that I had to have the car back to Hertz before the show was finished. For purple staters, I'd recommend Medved on this basis. I fel

The People Have Spoken

BBC reports that it's official. Congratulations to Viktor Yushchenko and, more importantly, to the Ukrainian people who forced the powers that be to conduct an honest election. It doesn't hurt to have 12,000 international observers on hand either. Another nation has taken a positive step towards freedom and democracy. Yushchenko: "We were independent for 14 years, today we became free."

Since it's Christmas

First of all, Aziz has graciously invited me to insert a few of my thoughts onto Dean Nation, and the super-majority of those thoughts are conservative and right-of-center. If you don't know me, most of my writings have darkened the halls of Tacitus . So thanks for the podium, Aziz. You're one of the smart and reasonable ones (and not just because you invited me on board). Another member of the group of smart and reasonable liberals is Nicholas Kristof . Like with his opinion on Sam Brownback, there's probably not a single political issue that we agree on, but for our common concern for humanitarian causes. What his piece tells me is that he's a good guy, open-minded, intellectually honest and does not let his political ideology blind him from from seeing admirable features in those he deeply disagrees with. So thanks, Nick. I may rip you a new one next week but you have my respect. So in that spirit of bonhomie, let me wish you all a Merry Christmas.

Why is AM talk radio so bad?

For the holidays, I drove my girlfriend home from Chicago to eastern Iowa. On my way out of Chicago, I turned on the AM dial to see what was going on in the talk radio world. Since I rarely listen to radio in my daily life, I always enjoy seeing what's on the AM dial. When younger, my uncle would listen to it as we went out on windmill jobs, so it's always interesting to me to listen to how much has has changed, and how much is still the same... Listening on WIND 560 , I managed to catch the tail end of the Michael Medved show, portions of Michael Savage , and the entire Michael Reagan show. Of the three, Medved was the most entertaining. He had some professor of communications on the show who he and his listeners hammered for his liberal views. Despite my sympathies for the professor's views, the prof poorly defended them and was easily manipulated into falling into the liberal professor stereotype. The Michael Savage show was a "best of" show, where th

Is voting obsolete?

Matthew is on to something here: Indeed, the whole voting concept may be outdated. You could just get together a list of every registered Democrat in the country, then take a statistically valid random sample of 1,000 or so of these people fly them all to a big hotel in Dayton (shades of Balkan diplomacy), and tell them they're not leaving until some candidate has the support of 600 people. Important elected officials, interest group leaders, and consultant types could make themselves available to hang around the premises and offer their off-the-record opinions. OK, he is just (tounge-in-cheek) talking about primaries, but if you think about it, this could equally apply to national elections as well. Bear with me for a moment... There are several major problems with voting : 1. Fraud increases the margin of error, which means in a highly polarized electorate, may become the same order of magnitude as the margin of victory, in which case the outcome of the election

Spirit of America

I'd like to remind everyone that the deadline for donating to the Spirit of America's "Friends of Iraq Blogger Challenge" is tonight, Dec 15th at midnight. Please do think about kicking in 5 or 10 bucks if you can spare it to help buy Iraqi children toys, fund Arabic-language blogging tools, and other worthy endeavors. More details on what projects the Spirit of America funds is below the fold... I've set up a donation link, whose modest donation totals can be tracked here under "City of Brass" . Join me and let's add our voice to the chorus promoting success in Iraq and help to the Iraqi people, to whom we owe no small moral debt. The list of projects is below - I have designated that the funds raised by my link above can be spent as the charity deems best. If one of these appeals to you more than the others, however, you can sign up yourself and donate directly to one of these causes only. 411th Civil Affairs - Re-equip Universit

Koufax Awards

Forget ye not the Koufax Awards .

The Best of All Likely Worlds

Update: Cross-posted over at Gene Expression . If you are a fan of the history of ideas you will know that Voltaire once mocked Leibniz's contention that we live in "the best of all possible worlds." Now, Leibniz was a very intelligent man, the inventor of the useful calculus notation and a world-rank philosopher, aside from being professional trained as a lawyer, he dabbling in mine engineering and his day-to-day consisted of diplomacy and archiving to pay the bills. So, it makes sense that some of the spirit of Leibniz lives on today. For many human beings, though not asserting that this is the best of all possible worlds, believe that we can (with mild effort) attain the best of all possible worlds. I believe that such utopianism is folly, though the intentions might be laudable, the intersection between political and attempts to enforce the best of all possible worlds (whatever norms you might hold up as "ideal") and human nature have been catastrop

Social Security Privatization: no free lunch

Kevin Drum admirably snd succinctly illustrates the paradox at the heart of so-called social security "privatization" proposals. The key point is that Social Security will run out of money in the trust fund by 2042 if GDP growth is assumed to be 1.8% or less. But privatization schemes require robust stock market growth (5% or more) for them to provide benefits. So the key question for pro-privatization advocates is: Are there any plausible scenarios in which long-term real GDP growth is less than 2% but long-term real returns (capital gains plus dividends) on stock portfolios are well over 5%? The answer is unlikely to be yes. Harry Reid put it bluntly on Meet the Press this sunday - the point of Privatization schemes is not to save Social Security, but to undermine it, with the goal of destroying it outright. Social Security is not in any internal danger (unlike Medicare, which of course was expanded irresponsibly under President Bush's aegis last term).

Changing of the guard

Q . What do the United Nations, the NAACP, and the Palestinian Authority all have in common? A . They all are facing a critical decision point in terms of future leadership. Doverspa makes the case for Bill Cosby to lead the NAACP, and Glenn Reynolds was the champion of Vaclav Havel to lead the United Nations (as the chorus of calls for Kofi Annan to resign grow international and bipartisan ). For the Palestinians, Arafat is already gone, and either way the election goes, to the Palestinian equivalent of Howard Dean (Marwan Bargouti) or John Kerry (Mahmoud Abbas), it will represent a rejection of the insider corruption that characterized Arafat's rule. Hopefully. This represents a season of potential change, at key nexuses of domestic and international politics. What will the repercussions be? Somehow it seems like a fresh wind blowing out stale air.

Dean to announce on Wednesday

From Joe Rospars (a Dean Nation alumni) at the O-blog comes word that Dean is set to make a major announcement about "the future of [the Democratic] Party" on Wednesday. The DNC chairmanship is not explicitly mentioned, but you can read between the lines. Click extended entry to read the post, and my comments: Dean to Speak Wednesday on the Future of Our Party Over the past month, as he always has, Governor Dean has been listening to what Democrats, independents, and regular people across the country have to say. On Wednesday, December 8, at The George Washington University, Governor Dean will speak about a vision for the future of our party. He'll be speaking at the Jack Morton Auditorium in the Media and Public Affairs building at Noon. We'll be streaming the speech live here on the blog and at . More details to come over the next 24 hours ... UPDATE : The time of the speech has been changed to 12 Noon on the same day,

Bill Cosby should lead the NAACP

*Thank you to Aziz for inviting me to post this on Dean Nation, I am a regular contributor and editor at * NAACP President Mfume stepped down as leader this week. His 9 years were mostly an organizational success bringing the group out of bankruptcy and regaining national notoreity. However, the infamously bad relations between the NAACP and President Bush led to the President skipping offers to speak with the most well-known civil rights group in the country. The Chairman of the Board Julian Bond's anti-Bush tirade led to an ongoing IRS investigation about the organizations apolitical status. Mfume may be pondering a run for Senate in Maryland if Senator Sarbanes steps down in 2006, but more immediately the NAACP needs a new leader. Names are flying, but one keeps creeping up as an acceptable choice across the spectrum... Bill Cosby. Mr. Cosby vaulted back into the media with a controversial speech at the NAACP's commemoration of the 50th anniversar

In true dialectical fashion

Michael Ledeen writes that the Left is dead. As a polemic, it is well-crafted. But does it realy make sense? America had very little of the class hatred that dominated Europe for so long; American workers wanted to get rich, and believed they could. Leftist Europeans — and the bulk of the American intellectual elite — believed that only state control by a radical party could set their societies on the road to equality. The success of America was thus a devastating blow to the Left. Interesting read on history, but I disagree. If anything the Left has been the cause for reduced class tensions - because only via the Left has the middle class propspered (the rise of unions, wage and labor laws, consumer protection, regulation, etc). If you hark back to the era of unrovaled dominance of eth Right, ie that of President LcKinney and Tamany Hall, you see that class hatred was entrenched and corporatism rampant. It took the Left - in the person of Teddy Roosevelt, yes, a Republica