Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Potpourri

On Bill Cunningham and John McCain: Now that Jerry Springer is in Chicago, Marge Schott has gone to her reward, and Pete Rose has paid his debt to society, Bill Cunningham is Cincinnati's only residual embarrassment. We urge our entire Republic forever to turn off this faux conservative's program, consigning his vulgar rants and insinuations to the oblivion they so richly deserve.

At the McCain rally, Cunningham wanted nothing more than for Cunningham to become the story. He succeeded. As a radio personality, he is not a controversialist but one who must himself be the focus of controversy.

That the McCain campaign extended their invitation to Cunningham does not inspire confidence in Senator McCain's prospective ability to manage intelligence gathering and analysis.

On Global Warming: It appears that currently we are enjoying the most widespread snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere since 1960. Meanwhile, sunspot activity is notably low, an indicator of reduced energy discharge from the sun. Not doubting that changes in the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere influence temperatures marginally, we are still drawn to the overwhelming conclusion that nearly all of our planet's climate is determined by factors that have nothing to do with human activity.

We assert that this February sets a record not only for snow cover but also for length. It's been the longest month in our experience. The combination of cold, precipitation, gloom and the endless sniping between two liberal presidential candidates has driven us nearly to despair.

On NAFTA and Globalism: The Democrats' bash-NAFTA extravaganza has yielded one positive outcome: articles from various sources detailing the massive consensus among economists that the United States has benefited economically from free trade, not least from the NAFTA agreement. In the run up to Ohio's primary, anti-NAFTA speech is the only alternative for candidates who can't publicly admit that Ohio's economic woes mostly have to do with the long-term decline of the Big Three auto manufacturers, largely because of their own mismanagement, aided and abetted by the United Auto Workers.

On the Ohio Primary: We urge gentle readers to vote in favor of Issue 10, the Cincinnati Public School's tax levy. This small levy will preserve vital services in a district that performs better than most of its urban peers. (Note to our most rabidly anti-tax, anti-public-school, gentle readers: no one said that the district is less than wasteful and inefficient, just that the alternatives are all worse in the near term.)

On Jeopardy: We belatedly congratulate Walnut Hills High School sophomore Rachel Horn, friend of Daughter of SWNID, on crushing her opponents in the finals of the Jeopardy teen tournament.

Remember the Dancing Hillary Flash Video?

A comment from a web site featuring video of Obama "dancing" on Ellen DeGeneres's program:

WOW. I LOVE OBAMA! Obama so great. Obama so wonderful. I wish Obama was like canonized right now. He deserves it. Obama is just so awesome. So articulate. So beautiful. So Majestic. I love Obama'a ears. Obama should replace Jesus. Who needs Jesus anyway? He's like so... dead. Obama will open the skies and the trumpets will sound and bliss... OBAMA '08.

-Paid for by friends for Obama. Duuude.

SWNID asks those who know: does Obama's dancing surpass SWNID's?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Recent Global History Lesson

As a late boomer, we commend this entertaining flash presentation to those who haven't lived through the history of the last 60 years but need to know about it, and for those who have and don't mind being reminded of it.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hillary's Rant, Strickland's Two-Step, Obama's Unintentional Praise of McCain

We enjoyed this CNN video for a couple of reasons.

First, it captures Hillary in the full expression of her signature self-righteousness. Title it, "Don't Cross the Queen or You'll Lose Your Head." We figure that this is a close as we'll get to the profanity-enhanced tirades in the White House in which she threw the Republic's china at the Head of State.

Second, it captures Ohio Governor Ted Strickland nervously shifting his weight and his eyes back and forth as he witnesses his chances at a national ticket dissolving before his eyes.

We recommend watching this morning's series of CNN videos a bit further to hear Obama say that McCain wants to continue George Bush's economic and foreign policies. We want to reply, "You got a problem with that? We happen to be partial to lower taxes and safety from terrorists."

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

That Other Country That Had a Revolution

We thank gentle and erudite reader Scott for pointing us to Gray Lady piece chronicling what has proved to be a controversial proposal from the President of France: that all French schoolchildren should learn the story of a French child who died in the Holocaust.

Sarkozy's most provocative statement about this proposal is undoubtedly this, as reported by the Times:

Adding to the national fracas over the announcement, Mr. Sarkozy wrapped his plan in the cloak of religion, placing blame for the wars and violence of the last century on an “absence of God” and calling the Nazi belief in a hierarchy of races “radically incompatible with Judeo-Christian monotheism.”

Fair enough, we say, and true enough. For the French, however, you'd think that the very foundations of the Third Republic had been shattered. The article is fun reading mostly to see how French intellectuals are decrying the proposal. Apparently, a pupil who learns about a child who died at the hand of the Nazis will be permanently traumatized, unable to function in the placid society that is today's enlightened France.

We are reminded again of the two paths taken in the Enlightenment's two great political revolutions. In France the path was anti-clericalism and anti-religious secularism, shot through with radical idealism about the capacity of human reason. In America the path was a sober assessment of human limitations as demonstrated in history and taught in Protestant Christianity, yielding protection of religion from the state as well as the opposite.

We remain convinced that on balance, the path taken by our Republic is better than theirs.

SWNID a Hillary Supporter?

In the last two weeks SWNID has received three phone calls from the Clinton campaign, all assuming that we are inclined to support the New York Junior US Senator's presidential bid.

In one we engaged in conversation for some time with a very polite and articulate campaign worker. When we expressed reservations about Ms. Clinton's role in the 1990s as First Enabler, not something we regard as a positive example for the women of our Republic, the campaign worker, after pausing, replied, "Well, we're trying to steer clear of Bill." Our response, "I wish Hillary had permanently and legally steered clear of Bill in 1998," provoked no further discussion on the subject.

Certainly the image of Ms. Clinton's "readiness" for office is not confirmed by her campaign's inability to recognize someone publicly devoted to the cause represented at this web site.

Still, we find ourselves SWNIDishly ruminating on the vote we will cast on March 4. Shall we take advantage of Ohio's open primary to cast a vote for the Democratic underdog, now Ms. Clinton, hoping to complicate the Democratic party's choice of candidate and thereby boost the chances of our preferred lesser-of-evils, Senator McCain? We are torn between what might be a useful political tactic and the immutable repugnance of even appearing to affirm a Clinton.

So the ironic possibility remains that we will do what the legions of Hillarians who phone our home have begged us to do. Call us again, Clintonistas! We'd love to talk!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

CCU Viral Marketing

Follow this link to see all entrants in the CCU student promotional video contest sponsored by CCU's marketing department.

We are awed by the talent of these amateur videographers.

Bush as Truman

We commend to gentle readers today's WSJ opinion piece by William McGurn, former Bush speechwriter and current NewsCorp executive.

McGurn reminds the skeptical that the much-maligned Bush has been proved right on a number of big issues, like tax cuts, stem-cell research and the Iraq surge. Of course, "proved right" is still subject to interpretation of the data, but data there are.

We'll add two other items to the list headed "Bush was right," namely, Social Security and health insurance.

On the former, Bush advocated the introduction of private investment accounts. As we have noted before, born-again Democrats who insist on a budget surplus and Social Security "lock box" are in effect arguing that Washington should tax people beyond the rate of federal spending and invest the surplus for people's retirement. Bush thinks it's bad for Washington to make investment decisions and good for people to make them for themselves. But in 2007 his proposal died thanks to the doctrinnaire opposition of the Reid-Pelosi Congress.

On the latter, Bush advocated taxing high-end, employer paid health insurance and offering tax deductions or credits for individually purchased policies. The notion was to begin to make it easier for the uninsured to buy insurance and to fund government subsidies for those who can't afford insurance. Again, the proposal died in Congress without as much as a committee hearing.

In all this, we cannot help but compare Bush to Truman, a POTUS beset with a multitude of domestic and foreign problems, confronted by a difficult military situation, sometimes subject to the excesses of his own personality (government control of steel mills was not the greatest of Truman's ideas, nor was his intemperate letter to the critic who reviewed his daughter's voice recital), but over time proved right-headed in his most significant actions.

Brooks on Obama Comedown Syndrome

David Brooks has been reading comments on this blog, apparently. Today he assesses the "dialogue" between PS/SWNID and JB in CA regarding the Hope Pope, Barak Obama.

We offer a few morsels of quotation (attributed, thereby avoiding the trivially alleged plagiaristic tendencies of the object of discussion:

Is giving Robert Byrd’s campaign $10,000 the kind of change we can believe in?

If he values independent thinking, why is his the most predictable liberal vote in the Senate? A People for the American Way computer program would cast the same votes for cheaper. . . .

The victims of O.C.S. struggle against Obama-myopia, or the inability to see beyond Election Day. But here’s the fascinating thing: They still like him. They know that most of his hope-mongering is vaporous. They know that he knows it’s vaporous.

But the fact that they can share this dream still means something. After the magic fades and reality sets in, they still know something about his soul, and he knows something about theirs. They figure that any new president is going to face gigantic obstacles. At least this candidate seems likely to want to head in the right direction. Obama’s hype comes from exaggerating his powers and his virtues, not faking them.

Those afflicted with O.C.S. are no longer as moved by his perorations. The fever passes. But some invisible connection seems to persist.

How long will it persist? At least until November?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Opposing Independence for Kosovo a Surrogate for Domestic Politics

Kosovo has declared independence, and the United States is the first to back it up diplomatically. Certain other nations object. On request of gentle readers, we make the following SWNIDish observations:

  • This is the fruit of Wilsonian foreign policy, which in Bush's hands (and oddly in Clinton's hands in this one instance) has become muscular Wilsonianism. We think it's good for the United States to encourage the development of liberty and democracy where it has the opportunity and the means. Albanians in Albania and Kosovo are now the only people in the world who are predominantly Muslim, pro-American, pro-Bush and pro-Clinton. And Bush's trip to Africa highlights the benefits of his enlightened concern for that continent as well, with good results for both sides of the exchange.
  • There is no way imaginable that Kosovo could have returned to Serbian control after the murderous ethnic cleansing campaign mounted by the Serbs in the 1990s. Our personal experience in Kosovo was brief, but it included multiple exposure to billboards listing names of hundreds of missing and dead, with the simple, heartbreaking English caption, "We are still missing them." So independence is the only way this episode could go next.
  • The nations that are protesting this aren't concerned about Kosovo at all but about their own separatist movements. Those countries probably need to reckon with a couple of realities: (a) their own economic and political development can blunt the felt need for independence among ethnic minorities; (b) membership in the European Union makes such independence much less problematic for those from whom the minorities separate, as they tend to become members of the larger European family.
  • The Russians are protesting this not only because they face separatists but because the Russian regime needs foreign enemies to justify its domestic fascism. Russian leaders for centuries have used the myth of Russian-Serbian brotherhood to stoke the fires of nationalism and so to distract Russians from their miserable internal situation. For those who worry about offending Russia, we counter that Russia wants to be offended.
  • Kosovo now needs two things: (a) to get some economic development going; (b) to follow through on its pledge to protect its own minorities (as enshrined in the design of its new flag). In other words, it needs something like the economic and political ideals pursued by the "better angels" in the country that it lionizes, the United States.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Obama and Hillary Follow the Loser

Today's WSJ provides an important gut check for Americans infatuated with "change."

Gentle readers will recall a certain faux populist, noted for his excellent hair and recently retired from the contest for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, who tried to get the big prize by pitting American business interests against American workers. It worked so well for him that he lost every primary in which he ran, including his home state's.

Now the two remaining Democrat candidates, per the perceptive reporters at Murdoch's Crown Jewel, have adopted the soon-forgotten John Edwards's William-Jennings-Bryan-redux rhetoric. NAFTA is bad, trade is bad, corporations are bad, profits are bad. Workers are good, jobs are good, staying in the same assembly-line job all one's life is good.

We draw attention to the obvious, which is our spiritual gift:
  • Stable manufacturing jobs depend on corporations that make a profit, as the recent history of the American automobile industry illustrates negatively.
  • The candidates of "change" are this week running on rhetoric that eschews change in favor of somehow restoring the American economy that existed briefly between the end of World War II and the beginning of the microchip revolution.
  • This political strategy failed Edwards but is for some mystical reason now embraced by his surviving former rivals who are locked in life-or-death struggle.

Pardon us if for genuine change we continue to look toward the GOP, whose sole surviving candidate is sensibly recommending that we reduce our highest-in-the-developed-world rate of corporate taxation as a means of becoming more competitive globally. That's true populism.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Varieties of Baptist Experience

We want gentle readers to appreciate this juxtaposition.

The first is a YouTube video* of a Baptist minister preaching on a phrase in the KJV that probably offends certain elements of contemporary taste. It was forwarded to us by a professional colleague who savored it as an example of, shall we say delicately, biblical interpretation that eschews thoughtful principles. And let's just say that it represents what is one extreme of the Baptist movement in the United States at present.

The second is an article from the utterly necessary WSJ detailing the recent "Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant," a gathering of Baptists sympathetic to the views of former President and current Embarrassment Jimmy Carter. We quote this paragraph as a taste of an event not widely covered in the media:

Novelist John Grisham offered an audience of several thousand his advice for how "we as Baptists [can] disarm our critics" (as if that should be their main concern). "Stay out of politics," he advised. Of course, it all depends on what you mean by "politics." Mr. Grisham made sure to mention the need to eliminate the death penalty. Earlier in the day, activist Marian Wright Edelman advocated reaching out across political divides to solve the problems of America's children -- by making sure, for instance, that the Bush tax cuts don't become permanent. (Just how such folks will handle fiscal matters when they get into power became clear when a Covenant official addressed the crowd: He asked for several dollars more than had been previously requested, since each printed program ended up costing $3 to produce, not $2.)

We SWNIDishly enjoy exposure to these extremes of someone else's ecclesial family, reminded that our kooks are not much different from anyone else's kooks.**
*We link rather than embed out of respect for those gentle readers who would rather not hear a minister of the gospel repeatedly use an English term that was more socially acceptable in the 17th century than it is today.

**Thanks to Professor Jacob Neusner for once formulating the dogma of kooks on a Firing Line program in the 1990s.

The Great Kemp to Conservatives: Get a Grip, Support McCain

SWNID is a Jack Kemp Republican. Jack Kemp is Seldom Wrong. He should have been at least Chief-Executive-in-Waiting, if life were just.

In a recent column Jack Kemp reminds conservatives, the people who supposedly enjoy reading history, that certain Great Conservatives were distrusted by their conservative peers. The result was not the glory of the skeptics.

The point is that conservatives need to get over their animosity toward Senator McCain and channel their energy into getting him elected.

But judging by the comments on the article, most conservatives would rather watch their cause go into the deep freeze for eight years than reward someone who occasionally deviated from orthodoxy and party discipline.

WHHS Student Obliterates Jeopardy Opponents

We offer SWNIDish congratulations to friend-of-daughter-of-SWNID and Walnut Hills High School sophomore Rachel Horn on her massive triumph on Jeopardy last night.

Horn proves what we say all the time about WHHS: it's a place that nurtures teens' academic abilities rather nicely. There's nothing trivial about it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Jazz at the Top: Fans Ask Why

We would like to impute good taste to our Republic with the announcement that jazz giant Herbie Hancock's River is the Grammy winner for Album of the Year.

But with critics like Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune, we can't.

Kot calls the award a lifetime achievement surrogate for a recording that isn't the artist's best, given in a year when members of the academy didn't want to vote for other nominees for various nonmusical reasons.

We wonder whether it wasn't also a vote, like the Oscar votes for An Inconvenient Truth and Nobel votes for Gore's warm globaloney, that is a surrogate for the presidential election. Herbie is notable as an Obama Brahmin, after all.

But, to borrow a phrase, whatever. Listening to an OK Herbie Hancock recording is better than listening to the best pop recording in any year.

Political Prophet Brooks: Dem President Will Outrage Dems

The Gray Lady's token center-right commentator David Brooks today offers a reality check, by way of certain-to-be-true prognostication, on Democratic hopes for hope in a Democratic presidency. The obvious truth that Brooks soberly exposes is that neither potential Democratic POTUS will be able to fulfill promises to the party's base to withdraw American troops from Iraq or initiate massive the federal programs with their attendant spending. That is, neither will be able to do so without creating disasters that will expose the lie of the left's agenda.

Brooks is best when he points out that the same contradiction was at the heart of the 1992 Clinton campaign. Remember the middle-class tax cut that evaporated a week after the election? Robert Rubin's fiscal realities crashed Robert Reich's hope for change. And we doubt that Slick Willie was the least bit surprised.

In the harsh light of obvious realities, "Yes we can"--really the appeal of both Democrats, whose policy positions, insofar as they are available to us, are indistinguishable--becomes yet another vapid, positive-thinking mantra that really amounts to shallow self-delusion.

SWNID repeats our own parable on such matters. Simply wanting an outcome deeply is no assurance that the outcome is possible. SWNID may want to dunk a basketball through a rim at standard height using no artificial means of attaining altitude. SWNID may work hard at improving our vertical jump for said outcome. But SWNID's bitter and obvious reality is shortness and middle age, preventing even our most dearly held hoop dreams from becoming reality.

Before "Yes we can" must come answers to fundamental questions, like "What can we do with what we have?"

Saturday, February 09, 2008

We Ask Three Questions About Hillary

On our own: why is no one commenting on the weirdness of Senator Clinton loaning $5 million to her own campaign. We know that she had to hustle to get a grip on the upper middle class as a governor's wife, corporate lawyer and cattle-futures speculator. We know that she wrote books that made a lot of royalties, ostensibly donated to charity. We know that Senators and Presidents make low six figures. We know that her husband is the world's best paid public speaker. We assume that she and Bill maintain some separate assets (and other separate stuff), given the nature of their relationship. So we figure that she has some money but isn't rich the way a lot of politicians, who were born to money (cf. any Kennedy) or had big business interests (cf. any Bush) before entering politics, are rich.

We know that she desperately wants to be POTUS.

But she's willing to part with $5 million of her own swag, wherever it came from, to try to do it? How desperate is she, anyway?

With Peggy Noonan: what will Senator Clinton do now that she's losing? Is she capable of doing what Romney did? Or will she destroy herself and damage her party in what's starting to look like certain defeat?

On our own again: it's widely assumed at this moment that Senator Clinton has a decent chance to defeat Senator Obama in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Is this because old-line, lunch-bucket, union-member, factory-worker, white Democrats won't vote for the black guy? So is Senator Clinton willing to become the Democrat who revives the party's segregationist roots?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

When Celebrities Unite, SWNID Wants to Run Away

A bunch of Hollywood types have joined to create a video incorporating words from an Obama speech with some things that resemble music.

There's creativity in this thing. But there's also creepiness. We think Obama is a very able guy. If his voting record in the Senate weren't so at odds with everything that we hold to be true, we'd seriously consider voting for him.

But this is starting to look like a personality cult. There's not a word of substance in this speech, and there's little substance in anything that seems to come from him. Of course, why deal in boring specifics when you can get folks going with positive-thinking mantras like this?

But we'll say that the worst of this is that Herbie Hancock has been reduced to plopping down a few chords in these bland changes and tinkling a couple of ornaments on top near the end.

Romney "Suspends," So Dems Now Have Big Problem

The big, unexpected breaking news is that Mitt is "suspending" his campaign. On the fly with even less contemplation than usual, we opine the following:

  • Suspended campaigns never get revived. Mitt is done for 08.
  • There's so obviously no hope for Huckabee (and we won't mention the man with two first names who's alleged by some to be a Republican candidate). If Huck doesn't drop out soon, he'll look like a party pooper, while Mitt looks extremely classy and statesmanlike.
  • To be sure, Mitt probably realized it would take more of his own millions to make a go, and a man who earned that much money isn't likely to throw it away on a quixotic campaign.
  • So McCain is the nominee for sure and can now start acting presidential. With condolences to Mitt's and Huck's and even Paul's supporters among our gentle readers, we invite all to rally around the inevitable lesser of two evils (the nature of every political choice in our Republic or any other) in November. On this we will even extend grace to the likes of Ann Coulter, who is surely a regular reader of this blog, though not apparently inclined to listen on the first round.
  • This is a HUGE problem for the Dems, who look set to have a tough fight that may go until the convention and involve litigation, which is how Democrats prefer to settle close elections these days. While their candidates destroy each other, McCain can look like a statesman.
  • Romney is well positioned to win the GOP nomination in 2012 or 2016, depending on whether McCain wins and whether, if he wins, he runs for a second term at his advanced age. Republicans have largely nominated people who have been VP, are related to a recent president, or were the most recent runner up for the nomination. If Jeb Bush doesn't run, that means that on the next contested nomination Romney would need only defeat McCain's VP if McCain is elected.
  • Of course, Romney may become McCain's VP. But we're still for Lindsey Graham. Or Colin Powell. Or Condi Rice.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Dirt Cookies in Haiti

The desperation of the world's poorest citizens is well illustrated in this AP article on hunger in Haiti.

We won't dare to offer a comprehensive solution to the profound problems of the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation. We agree with the opinion offered several years ago in the Atlantic by a former US State Department official who said that Haiti's economic problems are rooted in the worldview of voodoo, which creates the social chaos that makes even a subsistence economy impossible. Hence, opined the retired diplomat, the only solution to Haiti's problems is religious conversion.

We do suggest, however, that those who believe that because they have received the grace of God, they must live graciously can alleviate some of the problem, at least for many, with their generosity. We can't make Haiti "work," but we can feed some suffering Haitians.

As is our habit, we recommend gifts to International Disaster Emergency Services, which regularly funds feeding programs administered by churches in Haiti. You gift will have tremendous impact if channeled through that highly efficient organization.

Update: The article we referenced is Lawrence E. Harrison, "Voodoo Politics," Atlantic 271:6 (June 1993) 101-07. For those with access to EBSCO Host (CCU library users and others with similar access), the article can be accessed here (from outside CCU's network) or here (from within CCU's network). We have discussed the article with our most excellent Haitian friends, who agree heartily with its conclusion, though we recognize that not all are persuaded. Harrison is more recently the author of The Central Liberal Truth, which argues that culture is the primary determinant of a country's prosperity. Harrison's is not a popular position in the circles he frequents, but he has the advantage that evidence seems to favor his conclusion.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

Today's WSJ opinion page is graced by an article ascribed to the Junior Senator from New York, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is apparently running for President. In said article, Ms. Rodham Clinton purports to offer her formula for restored American prosperity.

We hope to offer point-by-point observations on Ms. Rodham Clinton's program, should time allow. For now, we can suggest only a few points to consider.

  • Much of this program merely announces intentions, not the means to fulfilling those intentions.
  • At the center is what Ms. Rodham Clinton describes as the "most aggressive" plan to address health care (really health insurance). We note that her plan is the most aggressive because it is the most radical departure from the present system, about which a large majority of Americans express personal satisfaction, though worrying about others' health insurance. We are reminded of a famous remark from the ever-insightful P. J. O'Rourke: "If you think that health care is expensive now, wait until it's free!"
  • We note that in Massachusetts, Governor Romney's mandated health insurance, like Ms. Rodham Clinton's plan, has driven up costs enormously and not created universal insurance. Somehow, when government pays for something, it becomes more expensive.
  • Overall, Ms. Rodham Clinton apparently does not believe that a problem as complex and longstanding as health insurance should be addressed incrementally. She favors sweeping, aggressive, immediate change for a problem whose roots are in the price and wage controls of the 1940s and whose span encompasses the single largest segment of the economy, not to mention the lives and health of all the Republic's citizens. If in the health care game America is behind five runs in the bottom of the 9th with no runners on base, Ms. Rodham Clinton apparently believes that the best strategy is to swing from the heels.
  • Ms. Rodham Clinton's discussion of health care in particular and govenment in general is laced with language about controlling costs. That means, of course, limiting the availability of certain kinds of services. The notion that government can be more efficient than private enterprise in distributing services has little theoretical or empirical support. At any rate, we recall that Vice President Gore was charged with comprehensive governmental reform in the 1990s. And how did that help, exactly?
  • Much of what is presented as policies for the economic well being of all is actually for the benefit of certain favored classes. Specifically, we wonder how a program to get more women and minorities in STEM careers is important for global competetiveness, as opposed to getting more Americans in general in those fields (if indeed more are needed, an open question according to many statistics). We wonder too how making it possible for a union to organize a shop without a secret ballot, the so-(Orwellian-)called Employee Free Choice Act, will accomplish prosperity for anyone, least of all in a global economy.
  • Ms. Rodham Clinton speaks as if the only efficacious investment is government investment of tax funds. Our future depends on government spending on research and development, not on, say, reducing the corporate tax burden so that American industry can research its own solutions that are economically viable.
  • Ms. Rodham Clinton's plan to encourage savings is coupled with promises to make savings unnecessary: shoring up Social Security, providing more government funds for higher education, solving the housing problem, providing more direct payments to the unemployed and underemployed, providing health insurance as an entitlement. The reason to save (concern about the future) evaporates if her ambitious goals are fulfilled in other areas. Ironically enough, Americans' failure to save is most optimally explained because of their relative lack of concern for their futures, thanks to the belief that government will bail them out (rather similar to the reason that mortgage lenders threw caution to the subprime wind). Ms. Rodham Clinton would have us believe that we are extremely anxious about the future but unable to save for it without an external incentive.
  • Furthermore, a program of tax breaks for retirement savings sounds very much like the Bush plan to allow a part of payroll taxes to be devoted to individually controlled retirement accounts, something that Ms. Rodham Clinton vigorously opposed. We are not altogether sure why this means of accounting is better to her, except that it has the government doing more handling of the money.
  • We remember the great promises of 1992, including the middle-class tax cut. Another Clinton withdrew that promise days after the election, claiming that his new access to government figures (actually the OMB's estimate of the federal deficit, a matter of public record) made him realize that such a tax cut was impossible. In this case, Ms. Rodham Clinton tells us that the plan for paying for all this is on her web site. We looked at the site and will note that (a) on the home page there's no obvious link to the pay-for-it part of the Grand Plan: (b) Google doesn't find any occurrence on the site of the phrase "pay for my economic plan," the very phrase in the WSJ article that is supposedly explained on the site.

In sum, we recall a deservedly famous song by the Who that summarizes our outlook on all these wonderful plans. For those who prefer a different kind of summation, there's always Barry Goldwater's.

Log of Superbowl Statements from Senators Kerry, Clinton, Others

We provide gentle readers with an overlooked part of Superbowl festivities, namely a log of statements made during the game by US Senators from the home states of the two teams, plus some other relevant stuff.

Pregame Joint Statement from Senators Kerry and Clinton: While we do not trust the Bush administration to provide the leadership that America needs to provide a Superbowl that will restore our nation's security at home and its respect abroad, we nevertheless affirm the pressing need for America to engage in this historic struggle. We vote to authorize the Super Bowl.

Statement from Senator Kerry at 5:01 in 1st Quarter: While I supported this game initially, I am now opposed to it. Intelligence that had the Patriots as favorites was clearly trumped up by the Bush administration, one of the many lies that this President has told the American people. I urge an end to this game as soon as possible, as a Patriot's victory is now clearly impossible.

Statement from Senator Clinton at 14:57 in 2nd Quarter: Had I known at the beginning of this game what I know now, I never would have supported it. Our only course of action is to end this game immediately. America's sports resources need to be devoted to the real contest, the NBA championship. Or NASCAR, if you're from the South, like I am, y'all.

Statement from Senator Kerry at 11:05 in 4th Quarter: It is by now clear to everyone that the Bush administration has completely mismanaged this game. Not another drop of Patriot blood should be shed for this unjust and unwinnable contest. I urge the President to withdraw our forces immediately.

Statement from Senator Clinton at 5:12 in 4th Quarter: I am the only person who can bring a dignified end to the debacle that this Super Bowl has become. I have the experience necessary to lead our country out of the quagmire that the Bush administration has created and bring our New York Giants home. Not another minute should be spent on this unwinnable game.

Statement from Senator Kerry at 2:07 in the 4th Quarter: This game was built on a lie to the American people. We were told that the Giants would welcome us as liberators. Instead we are engaged in a contest based on false intelligence foisted on us by the neocons who run the Bush administration. Not even my lucky hat is enough to bring victory to our New England Patriots.

Statement from Bill Belichick at 0:02 in the 4th Quarter: I've had enough of these statements, and I'm more embarrassed by these Senators than by my team's performance. Let's end this thing now.

Statement from House Speakere Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid During Postgame: President Bush's cronyism and tax cuts for the rich have yielded yet another injustice for the American people. In the last two years, the Super Bowl MVP award has gone to 0.07% of the families of NFL players. America's working families deserve better. We call on the President to redress the imbalance created by his unjust policies. Mr. President, it's time we restored the American Dream for everyone!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Old St. George Suffers Fire in Spires

We alert our global readership of former Cincinnatians that the spires of the historic Old St. George church building burned last night. Recently a center for eclectic community and religious activities and more recently closed, the building on the National Historic Register, increasingly a white elephant, now may be doomed to destruction.

We hold many fond memories of OSJ, where we attended theatrical performances, weddings, receptions and other events and where members of our own circle of friends sometimes resided. Like other local landmarks important in our personal experience (the original Skyline Chili location, CCU's Old Main, Grammer's Restaurant, Riverfront Stadium, WNOP), it may now slip into nothing except such memories.

24, Past and Future

We thank gentle reader Rob for directing us to this paleodigital trailer of the early exploits of Jack Bauer:

We direct gentle readers further to the informative article on the travails of 24 production for Season 7 in this day's WSJ. Besides the writers' strike and the problems of keeping any television franchise fresh, producers are struggling with Hollywood culture's reaction to charges that the show has normalized torture.

And so we challenge the comic minds who created the video above to make a second that examines 24 in the political environment of the 1990s. Maybe Jack trying to stop a corrupt cattle futures or real estate deal, head off an extramarital tryst, or prevent a corrupt presidential pardon?

Meanwhile, it appears that the cursed Audrey has been revived and thanks to the trauma of her Chinese incarceration been transformed into a bimbo featured on Lipstick Jungle, a program whose name and publicity demonstrate it so patently execrable that we promise never to watch once or comment upon again. We do thank the show for one public service, however: the assurance of no more Audrey sightings on what's left of our favorite TV experience.