Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A Puzzlement

Lots of politicians and pundits are saying:

1. The U.S. situation in Iraq is hopeless.

2. By being there, the U.S. provokes killing and destruction.

3. The U.S. should not pull out immediately.

Why shouldn't the US pull out immediately?

A Must See Cartoon

Click on this: today's Rall cartoon.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Bush Has No Political Antenna

Quote of the week:

"The media are wondering what ever happened to the Bushies' political antennae," a prominent Republican told me. "They don't have antennae. They just have a transmitter—and the party is beginning to tune them out."

from "Bush's Broken Political Antenna" by Joe Klein.

Defeat in Iraq

Buckley says that “One can’t doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed.”

At the end of his statement Buckley, states several versions “defeat.”

Another con, a second generation con, Bill Kristol is quoted as saying: "we have not had a serious three-year effort to fight a war in Iraq."

Maybe these former vocal supporters of Bush's Iraq war could teach their good friend Bush to say: “I was wrong. Victory is impossible in Iraq. To prevent further useless bloodshed of Americans, allies and Iraqis, I have ordered our generals to bring our troops home as soon as posible."

That would show real "Support Our Troops." spirit.

A Fallacy

In today's column, Graduates Versus Oligarchs Krugman contradicts the new Fed chief Ben Bernanke. Krugman accuses Bernanke of making a mistake in saying that incomes of the well-educated have risen.

Krugman supports his position by presenting data that in fact average incomes of college graduates have not risen substantially.

Krugman furthermore presents data showing that incomes of the top 1% have risen to $400,000; the top .1% to $1.6 million and the top .01% to $6 million. He attributes this to the establishment of an oligarchy, a ruling class.

To some extent that is true. Apalling examples can readily be named.

Surprisingly, Krugman overlooks another possibility: that a college degree adds little to the market value of the person who has it. College students do not learn all that much that translates to value to an employer.

What is very likely is that when Bernanke used the term "well-educated," he did not mean average college graduates. What Bernanke probably meant was graduates of the Ivy Leagues and other top-rated undergraduate schools and holders of advanced professional degrees (MD, JD and MBA), and Ph.D.'s in Economics, Business, Psychology, Biology, and other sciences.

So the fallacy may not have been Bernanke's, but Krugman's.

Finally, neither Krugman nor Bernanke are members of any oligarchy. Yet they both have incomes that place them in the top .1%, possibly even in top .01% . How do they do it? With intelligence, hard work and Ph.D.'s in Economics. Both have written successful Economics textbooks.

America is still the land of opportunity. It just takes more talent and work to make it big.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

How Americans Are Voting with Their Money

Performance of three mutual funds:

Last six months.
Top line is Fidelity Latin America (FLATX). Second line is Vanguard Emerging Markets (VEIEX). Bottom line is Vanguard S&P 500 Index Fund (VFIAX).

Bush Is Optimistic About Iraq

Story reported in Chinese People's Daily:

"We can expect the coming days will be intense. Iraq remains a serious situation, but I'm optimistic," Bush said.

Bush made the remarks after the bombing of the Golden Mosque, a Shiite shrine in northern Iraq and following religious clashes left more than 100 people killed.

It would be very good if Bush shared his thinking that leads him to be "optimistic."

How to Choose a President: the Same Way as Choosing A Cardiologist

Conclusion of Sarah Vowells column in today's NYT:

Seems as if American voters picked the current president because they thought he'd be a fun hang at a cookout — a jokey neighbor who charred a mean burger and is good at playing Frisbee with his dog. What we should be doing is electing a president with the nitpicky paranoia you'd use to choose a cardiologist — a stunted conversationalist with dark-circled eyes and paper-cut fingertips who will stay up until 3 tearing into medical journals in five languages trying to figure out how to save your life.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Bush Who Cried Wolf Too Often

It's really delightful to see Bush hoist by his own petard.

No one expresses this sentiment better than William Greider in the Nation.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Newsweek on Bush: Defensive and Weak

Below, an excerpt from a highly-rated column by Eleanor Clift on the Newsweek website:

Bush is at an all-time low. Exhorting a crowd of the faithful with a speech in Indiana, he sounded unhinged recycling old campaign lines about “hunting down the terrorists,” and how 9/11 changed him. “It’s hard to be a risk taker when you’re worrying about war all the time,” he said—a statement meant to convey who knows what. Before leaving Washington, Bush posed for a photo op releasing a Cabinet report that assessed, from the administration’s perspective, what went wrong in the Katrina response. His signature bravado is still evident, but events have eaten away at his credibility and left him defensive and weak at a time when the country needs him. This week’s attack on the Shiite mosque-followed by violent anti-Sunni reprisals—has thrust Iraq closer to all-out civil war despite Bush’s exaltations about how many times the Iraqis braved the terrorists to vote. The Muslim world is rocked with protests over real and perceived slights against Islam. And all of France is fixated on a horrific incident in which a gang of Muslims kidnapped and tortured a Jewish man in an apartment for three weeks, finally killing him.

Re: The Middle East, What If . . .?

What if, way back in 1948, the Arabs (the name Palestinian did exist yet) had decided to make the best of the partition.

What if they had declared a Palestinian State with all the rights and privileges of statehood and opened diplomatic relations with all nations including Israel?

What if, furthermore, they had organized a democratic government, just as India did after the British left?

What if they had told their Arab "friends" not start any wars against Israel? Furthermore, what if they had asked the United States, the USSR and European nations to bring pressure to bear on Syria, Egypt and Jordan to stay out of Palestine and Israel?

What if the new Palestinian government had asked the United States to help with money and advice on the setting up of a modern nation with proper schools, health care, higher education, government departments, industry, retailing, finance, etc.?

How different the Middle East would be now.

A Welcome Development: Conservatives Challenging Bush

The Cato Institute (the Harvard of conservative think-tanks) reprints an excellent article entitled "Secrecy Fetish Hurts Terror War."

The Real Flaw in Port Security

The real flaw in port security is not Dubai. It's something totally different.
An article in the WashPost concludes:

Much more serious, in the view of Petersen and other experts, are gaps in security that have nothing to do with the Dubai takeover.

"We've spent barely $700 million in federal grants to U.S. ports for security, compared with almost $20 billion for aviation security," Petersen said. "And most important, we are doing an abysmal job in assisting ports in the developing world in improving security to even minimal acceptable standards."

Since 2001, Washington has arranged for customs officials to work in 42 foreign ports with rights to inspect containers before they head for U.S. shores; Dubai was the first in its region. But that covers only 80 percent of the containers entering the United States.

"If you're an al-Qaeda operative, you're going to send a bomb from a developing country where you know those safeguards don't exist," Petersen said. "That's the key flaw. We should be investing now in the countries that pose a real threat to our national security, with more security grants. But many of these ports don't even have adequate fencing or lighting."

Thursday, February 23, 2006

How Do You Say "Cool Drinks" in German?

This picture was taken last Summer on a mountain trail in the German-speaking part of Switzerland.

A Cartoon That Must not Be Missed

See this one.

The Dubai/Ports Dispute

"Experts" have explained in all the media the intricacies of the port deal and "proven" that there is no additional risk caused by turning our ports over to the United Arab Emirates. Maybe. But this is not a technical imbroglio that can be explained away with facts and logic. It's something else.

We don’t trust our President. It’s that simple.

Bush has abused our trust too many times.

I watched HIS hissy fit on FoxNews as he tried to defend the deal. I thought to myself: “What a sorry excuse for a President this ill-tempered old brat is."

It’s really time for him to go. We have heard his delusions and lies for five years and we don't need any more of that.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

If You Like Charts . . .

. . . here are two you should see:

Bush: Challenging Nixon


Flush Bush

Bush Challenges Congress, Will They Impeach Him?

Widely reported in the media, Bush says that he will veto any bill that neutralizes handing over 6 US ports to an Arab company. This after leaders of Republican House and Senate questioned the hand-over.

We will now see what Frist and Hastert are made of. I suspect it's Jello.

Why Are Arabs Different?

In Yemen, an editorial writer commenting on the violent Muslim reaction to the Danish cartoons wrote:

"Muslims had an opportunity to educate the world about the merits of the Prophet Muhammad and the peacefulness of the religion he had come with," Mr. Assadi wrote. He added, "Muslims know how to lose, better than how to use, opportunities."

Or as an Israeli politician said about 30 years ago: "The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity."

Why are Arabs different?

When faced with adversity, most people try to figure out what to do to improve their condition. Arabs seem to react by burning cars and buildings and killing Jews and Christians and yes, other Arabs.

On the other hand, our President's behavior has not been exemplary either. Or the behavior of people who voted for him.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Now It's Official: Bush Favors Diluting Minority Voting Rights

FoxNews website reports that:

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Friday granted the Bush administration's request to join Texas in defending a Republican-friendly congressional map engineered by Rep. Tom DeLay.

The (Bush) Justice Department approved the plan although staff lawyers concluded that it diluted minority voting rights. The Bush administration asked the high court last week for permission to participate in the case, supporting Texas.

The cases are League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry, 05-204; Travis County v. Perry, 05-254; Jackson v. Perry, 05-276; GI Forum of Texas v. Perry, 05-439.

Perry is the Republican Governor of Texas, an ally of Bush and Tom DeLay.

This really, really stinks.

Rumsfeld Comment Is Incomplete

Rumsfeld says that al Qaeda has better PR that US.

Maybe. It certainly has better killing efficiency than US, which supposedly is Rumsfeld's business.

It cost al Qaeda $500,000 to kill 3000 Americans on 9/11, which works out to $167 per kill.

It has cost the US (Rumsfeld) $400 billion to kill 30,000 Iraqis, which works out to $13,333,333 per kill. Besides that the Iraqis are not even al Qaeda.


Maureen Dowd uses the term "sketchball" in this context:

Rummy misses the point: we're supposed to be the good guys, the beacon of freedom. Our message is supposed to work because it has moral force, not because we pay some Lincoln Group sketchballs millions to plant propaganda in Iraqi newspapers and not because the press here plays down revelations of American torture. If the Bush crew hadn't distorted the truth to get to Iraq, it wouldn't need to distort the truth to succeed there.

I did a search on "sketchball." After half a dozen tries, I found:

a. A person that is so involved in drugs, alcohol, sex, and general debauchery above what is conceiveably possible.
b. A shady character.
c. Someone that appears to have no moral judgment, self-respect, or general hygiene to the point where he/she is a total laughingstock that must be avoided.
Holy crap man, he lives in Roxbury, obviously hes a sketchball.

She dumped him and went out with two other guys on the same day? Holy sketchball, batman!

by Rooster Oct 24, 2003

at urbandictionary.com.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Wal-Mart Chief Speaks Wisdom: Hypocritical Economists Should Listen

From Lee Scott's (Wal-Mart CEO) website, as reported by the NYTimes:

Wal-Mart's focus has been on lower income and lower-middle income consumers," he wrote. "In the last four years or so, with the price of fuel being what it is, that customer has had the most difficult time. The upper-end customer got a tremendous number of tax breaks about four years ago. They have been doing very well in this economy.

Guess to which customer group the hypocritical recommenders of high gasoline tax belong?

It's A Good Thing

It's good that some in Congress are expressing concern about Bush giving Arabs control over 6 East Coast ports.

See article in WashPost.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Why Politicians Do Not Like to Raise Gasoline Taxes

Because politicians who raise gasoline taxes lose elections. See Bill Clinton's biography.

This bit of wisdom was provoked by yet another inane article in the NYT entitled: "A Way to Cut Fuel Consumption That Everyone Likes, Except the Politicians" by an economist, Robert H. Frank.

What does Frank propose? A steep gasoline tax, $2 per gallon. Why? Because it would cause car buyers to buy fuel efficient cars instead of gas guzzlers.

Why not raise the fuel economy standards?
Why not slap a stiff sales tax on gas guzzlers? Like 100% or 200%, or even 1,000%?

I suspect all high income people who recommend a gasoline tax of being hypocrites.

A Scary Story of Small Town (In)justice

A young man was railroaded by a small town powerful family into a death sentence and the public defender representing him was fired for filing an appeal of the outrageous sentence.

As reported on the Fox News website by Radley Balko a policy analyst at the Cato Institute, a conservative think tank.

What Bill Gates Said

This is what Bill Gates said:

NEW YORK (AP) -- When Bill Gates appeared at a computer security conference in California this week, he greeted his audience with a quip. "I'm really glad to be here," said the Microsoft Corp. chairman. "My other invitation was to go quail hunting with Dick Cheney."

Can You Believe This? Part 2

It took the NYTimes 5 days to comment editorially on the stunning news that a Middle Eastern Arab company with ties to terrorists was put in charge of major US ports including NYCity.

The Fox News website reported on Feb. 12, 2006 that:

A company in the United Arab Emirates is poised to take over significant operations at six American ports as part of a corporate sale, leaving a country with ties to the Sept. 11 hijackers with influence over a maritime industry considered vulnerable to terrorism.

It was not until today that the NYTimes said editorially that it was The Wrong Way to Guard the Ports.

In my Feb. 12, 2006 post Can You Believe This? I suggested to President Bush (with empathy) that he was out of his mind for putting Middle Eastern Arabs with ties to terrorists in charge of our ports.

Maybe I should be writing the editorials for the NYTimes?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Cheney Shooting Incident

Some people are saying that now that Cheney has expressed his regrets, we should put this incident behind us. No, we should not, we should learn from it.

We obviously need tighter regulation of hunting.

Hunting is at least as dangerous as driving. Constant awareness of who is nearby is essential.

It is a fact that as people age, their ability to stay aware of their surrounding diminishes. This is what causes the increased incidence of collisions among elderly drivers. This and slowing down of reaction time and confusion.

In this instance, both shooter and victim demonstrated insufficient awareness of their surroundings. Also, Cheney was too focused on shooting the birds to perceive that his friend was in the line of fire.

Time for Cheney to put away his guns, for sure. Time also for geezers to be tested before their hunting licenses are renewed.

When the Robots Take Over

All the science fiction depicting robots or computers taking over is just that: fiction.

What's real is the power of the Internet and the software that enables government and business to spy on us. That has happened. Nothing can stop it.

I don't know about you, but it has made me feel naked. I guess I'll have to get used to it.

Tax Cheating Equals Deficit

An article in today's NYT says:

A new report by the Commerce Department found that Americans failed to report more than a trillion dollars in income on their 2003 tax returns. That was a 37 percent increase in unreported income from 2000.

In a separate report, the Internal Revenue Service looked at both unreported income and improper deductions and concluded that Americans shortchanged the government by $345 billion in 2001 — an amount almost equal to the projected federal budget deficit for 2007.

Why? Because Congress does not provide enough funds for enforcement of tax laws. Do you think cheaters bribe Congress persons?

Delay in Reporting Cheney Shooting

Once again, Cheney has shown that he has “other priorities.” He does not have to behave the way normal people do.

Cheney’s odd behavior has been reported in the press for all the years that Cheney has run this Administration. Any voter who was paying attention knew that Cheney holds himself to be above the rules that guide decent Americans.

Let’s not blame the press. Let’s not even blame Cheney.

If anyone is to be blamed, it’s the voters who re-elected Bush and Cheney.

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Sun Came Out!

Someting Is Not Right

Someting is not right about this whole business of fussing about wire taps, eavesdropping and such.

Here’s why:

1. The complexity of the Internet is so great and the resources of the Executive Branch are so deep that, realistically Bush and his helpers can read all the e-mails they want and there is no way of stopping them.

2. Terrorists know this.

3. There are many other ways bad people can communicate so that the NSA will not detect them. My favorite is that they can use comment spaces on busy blogs to post encoded messages to their partners. There must be many other ways, as well.

My suggestion is this: Let Sen. Arlen Spector conduct his investigation and by all means let the other Republican politicians in Congress stir up all dirt on Bush and his crowd and let the chips fall where they may.

We must never lose our focus on the big issues:

(a) Maintaining (and accelerating) U.S. innovation in science and business.

(b) Extricating the US from the Iraq mess.

(c) Re-joining the community of nations. Wars are terrible. Negotiation and co-operation are far superior. Let’s get back on track.

At Last! The Bush and Abramoff Picture

Finally, a Jack and George picture (Jack has the red circle around his head - it's not a halo):

Health Savings Accounts, Another Tax Cut for the Rich

In today's WashPost Mallaby explains how Bush's "Health Savings Accounts"

1. Will provide yet another tax cut for the rich,
2. Have been sneaked into the budget without any discussion.

Mallaby also describes major risks associated with this scheme.

How does one react empathetically (to George and Laura) on this?

The Bubbles Will Burst - When?

In today's column Krugman is predicting once again that the interest rate, value of the USDollar and East and West Coast housing bubbles will burst.

When? Krugman does not say.

If he is right, people wanting to protect themselves from these multiple bubble bursts should:

1. Sell all the US real estate they own.
2. Sell all the American bonds they own.
3. Sell all their US stocks and stock mutual funds and invest the cash in foreign stocks and/or mutual funds, not European, but "Emerging Markets."

That is, if they believe Krugman.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Comparison Is Mind Boggling

In today's editorial the NYT presents a list of the things that George Bush has done wrong. Some are just plain lies and some are violations of his oath of office.

Clearly, Clinton was impeached for a lot less. Yet, the NYT can't bring itself to say "impeach Bush and Cheney."

Not that I want Bush and Cheney impeached. That would not show empathy to George W. and Laura.

Also, I don't want Denny Hastert running as an incumbent in 2008.

It Snowed!

Can You Believe This?

Can you believe this?

WASHINGTON — A company in the United Arab Emirates is poised to take over significant operations at six American ports as part of a corporate sale, leaving a country with ties to the Sept. 11 hijackers with influence over a maritime industry considered vulnerable to terrorism.

Source: Fox News story.

Following Laura Bush's request to show empathy, I offer the following comment to our President:

"I really feel sorry for you, Mr. President, but you seem to have lost your mind."

Is that enough empathy?

"The Decline and Fall of Europe"

I was shocked to read a well-documented article entitled "The Decline and Fall of Europe".

Cause: too many people, not enough innovation.

Whew, I'm glad I cleared out Europe Index fund from my portfolio. Did that just two weeks ago.

Where did I put the cash? Into FLATX. Look it up.

Is Laura Going to Ask for Empathy about This One, Too?

In today's WashPost:

Katrina Report Spreads Blame
Homeland Security, Chertoff Singled Out

By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 12, 2006; Page A01

Hurricane Katrina exposed the U.S. government's failure to learn the lessons of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as leaders from President Bush down disregarded ample warnings of the threat to New Orleans and did not execute emergency plans or share information that would have saved lives, according to a blistering report by House investigators.

A draft of the report, to be released publicly Wednesday, includes 90 findings of failures at all levels of government.

Is Laura going to ask for empathy about this one, too?

Laura Asks Hillary for Empathy

See article and photograph. Here is the first paragraph:

TURIN, Italy (AP) -- Laura Bush said Saturday that Hillary Rodham Clinton's criticism of her husband's administration was "out of bounds," arguing that the former first lady should show some empathy for the current White House occupants.

Laura found that Hillary had failed to show empathy when she had called the Bush administration "one of the worst" in history.

(Presumably Laura does not say anything in public without clearing it with George W. and Karl Rove.)

Empathy. What a change. No more sliming and eviscerating. Now, we are supposed to empathize.

It's a wonderful idea. Maybe Hillary should have said: "George, I really feel sorry for you and Laura, but you are really a very bad President." Yeah that would show a lot more "empathy."

Saturday, February 11, 2006

What Should the Democrats Do?

There's been a lot of chatter criticizing the Democrats for being overly cautious. See for example, the seven letters to the editor of the NYT on the subject a few days ago. Much of the criticism comes from Democrats.

There are a couple of "buts" here:

1. By not criticizing Bush, the Democrats are not setting themselves up as targets for the Rove sliming machine. This is a very big "but."

2. Also, they are giving the Republicans a clear field for criticizing other Republicans. Three examples from Page 1 of today's NYTimes:

a. "Republican Speaks Up, Leading Others to Challenge Wiretaps"

b. "Ex-FEMA Leader Faults Response by White House"

c. "Ex-C.I.A. Official Says Iraq Data Was Distorted"

There's a saying: "Never stand between a dog and his fire hydrant (or tree)."

As long as Republican dogs are p-$$--g on Bush, the Democrats are well advised to stand out of the way.

Why All the Fuss about Bush's Snooping?

Terrorists are surely much smarter than Bush, Gonzales and the rest of the Bush clowns.

If terrorists need to communicate securely, there are many ways to bypass the NSA snoops. One has been mentioned on the internet. They can open Yahoo mailboxes and not e-mail the messages but save them as drafts. Once a day, the sender’s partner opens the mailbox and reads the draft and posts another draft. No e-mail is sent and the communication takes place. To make the communication even less detectable, the communicators may use multiple mailboxes and code their messages.

Another obvious route is to post coded messages on blogs.

How does the NSA know who I am, who reads this post and what the post really means when it is decoded?

Terrorists can also use multiple blogs on different servers to further confuse the NSA.

They can also avoid setting up blogs. They can just use other people's blogs and post anonymous coded comments. Not even the NSA can track and decode all blog posts and comments. What if the messages are in Hungarian? Who, at the NSA can even translate them? What if they are both coded and in Hungarian? Or Pashtun or Tadjik?

Friday, February 10, 2006

Should Bush Reinstate Saddam Hussein?

Considering how hopelessly chaotic Iraq is now, White House staffers are possibly considering reinstating Saddam Hussein.

Should Bush reinstate Saddam Hussein as absolute tyrant of Iraq?

Ex-CIA Official's Unsurprising Disclosure

Intelligence 'Misused' to Justify War, He Says

By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 10, 2006; Page A01

The former CIA official who coordinated U.S. intelligence on the Middle East until last year has accused the Bush administration of "cherry-picking" intelligence on Iraq to justify a decision it had already reached to go to war, and of ignoring warnings that the country could easily fall into violence and chaos after an invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

See article and picture.

Somebody Important Finally Said It

When you dismantle a system in which there is a despot who controls his people by force, you have chaos. I'm not sure we won't miss Saddam.

- Head of Israeli Domestic Security

BBC report.

Any bets on how long it will be before Bush announces a new objective for the Iraq war?

Why Can't Friedman Say What's So Obvious?

Friedman is once again beating the drums for a gasoline tax.

His next to the last paragraph:

That's why we need an urgent national effort, starting with a gasoline tax, to move the U.S. economy onto a path of more fuel-efficient cars and renewable energy. If we do it, everyone will follow.

No, Thomas, we can't have a high gasoline tax. Low income people do not have alternatives to using cars. With some exceptions, public transportation does not exist in the United States. The U.S. is different from Europe.

What we need is a high tax on gas guzzling cars and on big homes that waste huge amounts of energy on heating in the winter and cooling in the summer.

Why can't Friedman say that? What's stopping him?

Evangelical Christians Oppose Global Warming

What a kick-in-the-butt for our President!

See full page ad in the NYTimes yesterday and/or see their web-site.

Wrap-around View of Paris

Click on this and . . .

Once you have the picture, move the bottom scroll bar slowly for a wrap-around view of Paris.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Standard Tests for Colleges

Today's NYTimes reports the beginnings of a movement toward standard tests for colleges.

There are plenty of opponents.

One thing is abundantly clear. The level of understanding of science among supposedly well-educated people is absolutely terrible. The evidence I present is ignorance of editors, columnists and letter-writers in the NYTimes, the "newspaper of record." In the great debate of our usage of energy, far more ignorance of basic concepts is diplayed than understanding.

The level of knowledge of economics isn't much better.

As for critical thinking, it makes me weep that tens of millions of Americans, many of them college graduates, voted for Bush in 2004. They just could not see through his transparent lies.

Cheney T-shirt

My son Peter took the advice I posted earlier and searched for "Cheney t-shirt" and found this exquisite version:

"All European Life Died in Auschwitz"

I am repeating a translation of an article by Sebastian Vilar Rodriguez that appeared in a Spanish newspaper recently.

All European life Died in Auschwitz
By Sebastian Vilar Rodriguez

I walked down the street in Barcelona, and suddenly discovered a terrible truth - Europe died in Auschwitz!

We killed six million Jews and replaced them with 20 million Muslims. In Auschwitz we burned a culture, thought, creativity and talent. We destroyed the chosen people, truly chosen, because they produced great and wonderful people who changed the world.

The contribution of this people is felt in all areas of life: science, art, international trade, and above all, as the conscience of the world. These are the people we burned.

And under the pretence of tolerance, and because we wanted to prove to ourselves that we were cured of the disease of racism, we opened our gates to 20 million Muslims, who brought us stupidity and ignorance, religious extremism and lack of tolerance, crime and poverty due to an unwillingness to work and support their families with pride.

They have turned our beautiful Spanish cities into the third world, drowning in filth and crime. Shut up in the apartments they receive free from the government, they plan the murder and destruction of their naïve hosts.

And thus, in our misery, we have exchanged culture for fanatical hatred, creative skill for destructive skill, intelligence for backwardness and superstition. We have exchanged the pursuit of peace of the Jews of Europe and their talent for hoping for a better future for their children, their determined clinging to life because life is holy, for those who pursue death, for people consumed by the desire for death for themselves and others, for our children and theirs.

What a terrible mistake was made by miserable Europe.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Bush As the What Me Worry Kid

You Just Can't Trust the NYTimes Anymore

David Leonhardt struggles mightily to prove that hybrids are no good. I will not try to repeat his absurd arguments.

The simple facts are that if we scrapped all our gas guzzlers and replaced them with hybrids, we would not have to import any petroleum from Saudi Arabia and we would not be funding al Qaida.

Dowd Marginalizes Herself

Dowd presents a hysterical incomprensible diatribe against Hillary Clinton that serves to prove more than anything else how envious Dowd really is.

See Dowd's unofficial picture.

Newsflash: Friedman Beats Two Dead Horses

Friedman beats two dead horses today:

1. Friedman proves that Cheney is a bad guy. We know that. We have known that for five years. Some of us wear t-shirts that mock Cheney. (Google "Cheney t-shirt" for a sample.)

2. Friedman yammers again about the wonders a high gasoline tax would do. He "proves" his case by making an invalid comparison with Europe. Friedman totally overlooks the basic fact that the US does not have adequate public transportation and tens of millions of lower income people must drive to work every day. They simply cannot afford to pay more for gasoline. If taxes are to be used to reduce gasoline consumption fairly, what needs to be taxed is gas guzzling cars and large homes that waste fossil fuels for heating and cooling. He does not recommend that because that would affect him. What a hypocrite!

Monday, February 06, 2006

What If Cheney Was Right?

A few years ago Cheney earned a lot of criticism for saying "Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy."

What if Cheney was right?

What if, wanting above all to be personally virtuous, all Americans had taken Cheney comment as a sound basis for managing our lives?

We would have scrapped our gas guzzlers and replaced them with small cars with small engines.

We would have replaced our Mac Mansions with bungalows.

We would have, as a consequence greatly reduced our addiction to oil.

What is stopping us from following Cheney's advice?

Weaning Kids Off Wasteful Consumption

Our society is plagued by conspicuous consumption. No question about it.

An article in Slate relates how one family dealt with their 6 year old son's dawning addiction to wasteful consumption.

Bush Cuts Back on Cancer Research

See article in the WashPost.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Best Rebuttal to "Muslim pogrom against the free press"

See Hitchens column.

Will This Nightmare Never End?

Every time I tell myself that the Bush nightmare will end eventually, I read news that tells me that the Bush disaster is even worse than we already knew.

See today's NYTimes regarding the corruption regarding the oil and the insurgency

Ignorant, Hypocritical Columnists

Kristof seems to think that electricity comes out of the wall. It doesn't. It comes from a fossil fuel burning power plant. Kristof bull$hits about a 1000 mpg car because it draws its power from an electrical outlet. He does not understand that it's more efficient to burn the fossil fuel in the car's engine than to burn it in the power plant and transmit the electricity to the car driver's home and to charge the battery in the car. It requires more fossil fuel drive an electric car than to drive a gasoline powered car. Kristof just doesn't understand that.

Another blooper: Kristof and Friedman and many others don't understand that burning ethanol or "biomass" in a car engine releases just as much carbon dioxide to the atmosphere as burning gasoline. Furthermore, if the production of ethanol or any other fuel requires fossil fuels (which it does), it's a losing proposition regarding petroleum dependency.

A hypocritical blooper: Recommending higher taxes on gasoline. Raising gasoline taxes is impossible. The US simply does not have adequate public transportation. Millions of low income people must drive to work - they have no alternative and they don't have the money to pay higher fuel taxes. Of course the columnists with their $300,000 salaries and outside incomes from books and speeches can afford their gas guzzlers and the higher fuel taxes. Let's consider instead a 100% tax on all gas guzzlers or on all cars priced above $20,000, rising to 200% on cars priced above $30,000, and 1000% on all cars priced above $40,000. Let's also consider doubling real estate taxes on homes above 2,000 square feet. If we want to reduce petroleum dependency through the tax laws, we sure can. Lets put the burden where it belongs, on the conspicuous wasters, not on poor working people.

Disclosure: I am far from poor, but I am not a conspicuous waster. My house is 2,000 sq. ft. and I drive a mid range Camry.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Guaranteed to Cause Loss of Sleep

See article by William S. Lind.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Is Is There No End to the Failures of the Bush Administration?

On top of everything else, now Bush has failed in his State of the Union speech to do anything about our hoggish consumption of petroleum and previously failed to anticipate the Hamas victory.

If I had an employee this incompetent, I would fire that employee.

See the Toles cartoon: