Thursday, December 08, 2005

George Will on Analog Welfare

I love Will but rarely does he make me laugh.

In his column on the the "compassionate conservatism" of tax dollars subsidizing TV viewers for the switch to digital, he asks:

"Why is this a crisis? Because, although programming currently is broadcast in both modes, by April 2009 broadcasters must end analog transmissions and the government will have auctioned the analog frequencies for various telecommunications purposes. For the vast majority of Americans, April 2009 will mean ... absolutely nothing. Nationwide, 85 percent of all television households (and 63 percent of households below the poverty line [emph. added]) already have cable or satellite service."

He calls the pending house version of the law (cheap at $990M, ack!) the "No Couch Potato Left Behind Act."

Former Ambivalence about Immigration Reform

I've always been of two minds on the issue. I've always felt that as a nation of immigrants, we should welcome those who come here to make a better life for themselves and their families. If they needed to cut corners to get here, so be it. If I were struggling to put bread on my family's table, I'd make like Jean Valjean and do what it takes.

Since 9-11 though, I've become uncomfortable with my position. Clearly, the possibility of terrorists crossing illegally changes everything. That's easy. The question of what to do to stop them is more difficult. I have no answers and that is not the subject of this post.

Another thing that has changed my feelings about the issue has to do with multi-culturalism (and its sister, political correctness) and the "balkanization" of our country (and Europe as demonstrated in France with the riots and the UK with the recent bombings there). It is the transformation from the "melting pot" to the "salad bowl" our country seems to be experiencing. I know the problems here are nowhere near that of France, Germany and apparently the UK, but I fear it is only a matter of time.

As she usually does, Peggy Noonan has asked some questions in her column today that offer some of the reasons why my thinking has changed. I think it primarily a matter of respect:

"What does it mean that your first act on entering a country--your first act on that soil--is the breaking of that country's laws? What does it suggest to you when that country does nothing about your lawbreaking because it cannot, or chooses not to? What does that tell you? Will that make you a better future citizen, or worse? More respecting of the rule of law in your new home, or less?"

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Subsidize Big Oil!

Thoughts on Windfall Profits from Paul Greenberg:

"What about the millions of Americans whose retirement depends on their mutual funds, in which oil stocks are heavily represented? How many of those pension funds are dependent on the oil companies' profits, and what happens to those pensions if the profits evaporate? Don't the pensions shrink, too? Instead of talking about laws against price-gouging, shouldn't Congress now be holding impassioned hearings, complete with widows and orphans, to ask how it can help increase Big Oil's income to help those dependent on it? Worse news could still be ahead: The price of gas, which hovered around $3 a gallon on Labor Day, now has dropped some 80 cents and could dip below $2 a gallon by Christmas. Oh, the humanity! Shouldn't Congress act before it's too late? Disaster impends!"

Can't we all agree on this?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Anathema? Update

Does anyone know why the noun "anathema" never has an article in front of it?

"My conservative views are anathema to my liberal friends."

instead of

"My conservative views are an anathema to my liberal friends."

Update: I may not know anything about predicate nominatives, but the folks at Princeton don't seem to have any difficulty using an indefinite article:

"he is an anathema to me"

Monday, December 05, 2005

George Will on "Windfall" Profits

George Will offers this pocketbook argument against the tax:

"They [Robert J. Shapiro, former undersecretary of commerce in the Clinton administration, and Nam D. Pham, an economist] calculate that 41 percent of oil company stocks are owned by pension plans and individuals' retirement accounts. Hence much of the tax's burden would have fallen on current and future retirees, reducing both the market value of, and dividends paid by, those stocks. The cost to all the oil companies' shareholders, in forgone stock appreciation and dividends, would have ranged -- depending on oil prices and inflation -- from $21.3 billion to $121.8 billion per year."

I know I'm the only person on the planet who cares about this stuff but actions have consequences and our representatives have to consider them while they preen.