Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Touching the Real Third Rail

Unintended Consequences

I post this not so much because of the Roe v. Wade content but because it can show what happens when good, principled conservatives sit out this case the 1986 midterms when the Republicans lost the Senate majority. Reagan campaigned like crazy for the Republican senators but seven seats were lost in 1986. Après ça le deluge.

From today’s column by Jeffrey Lord at the American Spectator (long but a great history lesson for those of us occupied by, er, other things in the mid-80s):

With the release of the papers of Roe's author, Nixon appointee Harry Blackmun, Justice Blackmun himself reveals that Kennedy [Me: Reagan appointee after the Bork disaster and the other Ginsburg...I’d forgotten about him] was poised to agree with a draft opinion of Chief Justice William Rehnquist that would essentially overturn Roe. Under pressure from Blackmun, Kennedy did something that would have been unthinkable for Bork: he switched sides, turning a 5-4 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey from an opinion overturning Roe v. Wade into one that reaffirmed it.

In other words, the loss of seven Senate Republicans, six by the closest of margins, saved Roe v. Wade. More accurately, a relative handful of conservatives in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota and Washington, by either taking a pass on the election entirely or actually voting for the liberal, inadvertently rescued the most controversial Court decision of our day.

Whatever on thinks about the pro-choice/pro-life arguments, clearly those that sat at home in November, 1986 didn’t intend for this to happen. Dobson and friends had better think and pray long and hard

Monday, October 22, 2007

Is it really Islamofascism?

From Christopher Hitchens at Slate:

Does Bin Ladenism or Salafism or whatever we agree to call it have anything in common with fascism?

I think yes. The most obvious points of comparison would be these: Both movements are based on a cult of murderous violence that exalts death and destruction and despises the life of the mind. ("Death to the intellect! Long live death!" as Gen. Francisco Franco's sidekick Gonzalo Queipo de Llano so pithily phrased it.) Both are hostile to modernity (except when it comes to the pursuit of weapons), and both are bitterly nostalgic for past empires and lost glories. Both are obsessed with real and imagined "humiliations" and thirsty for revenge. Both are chronically infected with the toxin of anti-Jewish paranoia (interestingly, also, with its milder cousin, anti-Freemason paranoia). Both are inclined to leader worship and to the exclusive stress on the power of one great book. Both have a strong commitment to sexual repression—especially to the repression of any sexual "deviance"—and to its counterparts the subordination of the female and contempt for the feminine. Both despise art and literature as symptoms of degeneracy and decadence; both burn books and destroy museums and treasures.

When Markets Fail, Choose Markets

Also from TCS (I love these guys):

The Cure for Market Failure

At the University of Chicago [Me: as much as I hate to go against the Chicago School], economists lean to the right of the economics profession. They are known for saying, in effect, "Markets work well. Use the market."

At MIT and other bastions of mainstream economics, most economists are to the left of center but to the right of the academic community as a whole. These economists are known for saying, in effect, "Markets fail. Use government."

Masonomics [Me: George Mason University school] says, "Markets fail. Use markets."


Masonomics sees market failure as a motivation for entrepreneurship. As an example of market failure, let us use a classic case described by a Nobel Laureate which is that the seller of a used car knows more about the condition of the car than the buyer. Masonomics predicts that entrepreneurs will try to address this problem. In fact, there are a number of entrepreneurial solutions. Buyers can obtain vehicle history reports. Sellers can offer warranties. Firms such as Carmax undertake professional inspections and stake their reputation on the quality of the cars that they sell.

Masonomics worries much more about government failure than market failure. Governments do not face competitive pressure. They are immune from the "creative destruction" of entrepreneurial innovation. In the market, ineffective firms go out of business. In government, ineffective programs develop powerful constituent groups with a stake in their perpetuation.

Business Screws Up; Choose Markets

A biz I love (Amazon) and one of which I’m not too fond (Target) make bad mistakes as set forth in this TCS article:

Consider business practices that alienate customers and clients. Surely no business with a general clientèle, such as Amazon, Home Depot, or Kmart, has this as a goal. Yet it occurs. Why?

The offending employee may be evil, bitter, or malicious, but economists have little to say about individual characteristics. Rather, economists examine the incentives and information facing the person who annoyed or harmed the customer. Here are two examples.

You’ll have to read them but both are egregiously bad errors. The good news? Go to or Wal-Mart and exercise your freedom to choose. Amazon and Target will make corrections out of nothing but self-interest. The Market will take care of errors made by businesses.

But what about when markets fail?

Rangel working on Tax Cut?

Why haven't I heard of this? Go Charlie!

From Kudlow:

In recent news, Treasury man [Treasury Secretary Henry] Paulson has in fact taken a strong-dollar step with his proposal to slash corporate tax rates. The former Goldman head honcho is working with House Ways & Means chairman Charlie Rangel to reduce the 35 percent corporate tax rate all the way down to 25 percent. This is a terrific idea. Studies have shown that 70 percent of the benefits of a corporate tax cut would go to the American workforce, boosting jobs and wages.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Observations from the Range

Went to the range today, finally getting around to seeing how some of my Dad's old handguns perform.

I should have known they would be perfect. He may have been frugal (I doubt he bought any of his guns new) but he was a perfectionist.

Anything hit beyond 10 yards with the .25 and beyond 15 yards with the .32 was pure luck.

Any living thing ever hit with a .25 is likely going to keep doing what it was doing unless the shot was very lucky.

They are all dangerous but a Colt .45 is very scary.

Lots of young kids there learning from their dads.

Guy next to me was sighting some kind of rifle. I don't know what it was or what he hunts but yikes. I had my 29 db earmuffs on and every time he fired that cannon, I jumped a foot.

What's happened to Dems?

Hanson on Dems:

By habit I remain a registered Democrat, largely because my parents and grandparents were agrarian populists in outlook. I also try to vote and support (even as our district boundaries keep changing) one Democrat, Jim Costa, our local Democratic congressman, who is cut from the Scoop Jackson mold. Central Valley Democrats used to be considered mainstream center-right people in a way unimaginable now. We forget that a long time ago, Democrats were considered sort of tough, practical minded, a world away from the blueblood golf course crowd, receptacles of conservative values in a way the elite Republicans were not. That’s ancient history now.

I throat clear like that because of the steady insanity shown by the Democratic political class.

When we factor in the “Betray-us” ad, the Hollywood antics, and the university embarrassments, whether denying Larry Summers a right to speak at UC Davis or welcoming in Ahmadinejad at Columbia, one is forced to ask, “What happened to liberal thinking and the Democratic Party?” Why do dissent and criticism almost immediately devolve into elemental rage, whether Durbin screaming that our soldiers are Nazis or that their leader is a traitor? Why do deans, media heads, and politicians show such bad taste?

You’ll have to read his answer at his pajamasmedia post (it’s the penultimate section under “Democrats”).