20 ways to determine if you're a real Alabamian
Dan has the details.
News and views from the Right side of Bama
Audemus jura nostra defendere
Dan has the details.
According to the Mobile Press-Register, their latest poll shows that John McCain would "rout either U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York or U.S. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois by more than 20 percentage points in Alabama."
McCain was favored by 52 percent to 30 percent of those surveyed against Clinton while 5 percent picked another candidate and 13 percent didn't know or didn't answer. Going head-to-head against Obama, McCain was chosen by a 57-33 percent margin, with 2 percent choosing another candidate and 11 percent who were undecided or didn't answer.
The Star actually asks a good question, one that I've wondered about myself:
What is the difference, one might ask, between Siegelman's accused crime and what President Bush does when he appoints a big campaign contributor to an ambassadorship?But, is there really no difference? It seems to me that there is, and that it boils down to this, from Siegelman's NY Times bio:
There is no difference.
The two men [Siegelman and Scrushy] were convicted on bribery charges stemming from a donation Mr. Scrushy made to retire a campaign loan Mr. Siegelman had taken out during a referendum campaign seven years earlier.If Scrushy's donation was not intended to fund the lottery campaign (which it couldn't have been, since the lottery referendum had been held seven years earlier), but rather to help Siegelman retire a loan that he had made to that campaign, then it seems to introduce an element of "personal benefit" that isn't typically involved in a run-of-the-mill campaign donation. I'd still be reluctant to characterize it as a bribe, though, and I'm curious to know how common a practice this sort of thing is and how federal campaign finance laws - and perhaps more importantly, Alabama's own campaign laws - would handle it.
Last Friday, I gave my thoughts on the 11th Circuit's ruling to release Don Siegelman from the federal hoosegow. On Thursday, the Alabama GOP said it was "disappointed" with the court's decision. While the GOP's reaction may not be too surprising, it seems overly vindictive, playing right into the hands of those who seek to cast this case as having been motivated solely by partisan politics. A more appropriate response would have been something like what the Birmingham News wrote in its editorial today :
In releasing Siegelman from prison, the appeals judges had to conclude the appeal raised "substantial questions of law or fact likely to result in reversal or an order for a new trial." That must inspire hopes for Siegelman and his supporters of ultimately having the case overturned.On appeal, Siegelman's defense team may show that he was innocent of the federal charges on which he was convicted, but as many of his fellow Alabama Democrats can attest, Don Siegelman ran one of the most ethically-challenged administrations in modern memory. In fact, Siegelman himself conceded as much during the district court proceedings. He didn't contest that many of the accusations of ethical misconduct against him were true; he only said that his actions didn't violate federal law. It seems to me that the GOP would do better to point that out than to dwell on how disappointing it is that Siegelman is no longer behind bars.
But it's foolish to predict victory for Siegelman at this point. Thursday's ruling uses previous decisions to further define a "substantial" legal issue as "a `close' question or one that very well could be decided the other way." That doesn't mean the 11th Circuit has made up its mind. The court certainly didn't think so little of the case as to also release Scrushy, who it considers a flight risk and refused to set free.
But it does mean the charges against both Siegelman and Scrushy will be thoroughly vetted in the appeals process, as they should be.
In our view, Siegelman's actions leading to this case didn't serve the taxpayers' interests at all, and his justifications of those actions reflect a terribly cynical and sad view of political service. His actions as part of this criminal case haven't always reflected well on him, either.
But whatever our opinion of Siegelman's conduct, it doesn't change the fact he is absolutely entitled to fair treatment in the criminal justice system.
Click here to see my blog translated into Jive. (For a good laugh, be sure to scroll down to Thursday's posts. )
Vladimir Putin wants to build a tunnel (invasion route?) to link Russia and the United States.
From the New York Times:"Treasury Dept. Plan Would Give Fed Wide New Power."
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals today ordered that former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman be released from prison pending appeal of his conviction on federal bribery, mail fraud, and obstruction of justice charges.
According to the Huntsville Times:
Housing crisis? What housing crisis?
Between 2006 and 2007, the Huntsville metropolitan area experienced the 50th fastest rate of growth in the United States and the most rapid expansion out of all Alabama metros.
During that year the population here jumped from 378,054 to 386,632, a 2.3 percent increase, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau. That leaves the Huntsville Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Madison and Limestone counties, with about 20,000 more people than the metro area of Montgomery.
I meant to publish those last two posts in the opposite order. I'm gonna leave them how they are, but they flow a little better the other way around.
Alas, not here. But this is welcome news from across the pond (H/T Phi Beta Cons):
It would be nice if Alabama's publicly-supported institutions would follow suit. Women's Studies programs are almost without exception devoted to political activism and the promotion of radical feminist ideology, all under the guise of genuine scholarship.
Women's studies, which came to prominence in the wake of the 1960s feminist movement, is to vanish from British universities as an undergraduate degree this summer. Dwindling interest in the subject means that the final 12 students will graduate with a BA in women's studies from London's Metropolitan University in July.
Universities offering the course, devised as the second wave of the women's rights movement peaked, attracted students in their hundreds during the late 1980s and early 1990s, but the mood on campuses has changed. Students, it seems, no longer want to immerse themselves in the sisterhood's struggle for equality or the finer points of feminist history. ...
The course's critics argue that women's studies became its own worst enemy, remaining trapped in the feminist movement of the 1970s while women and society moved on.
"Feminist scholarship has become predictable, tiresome and dreary, and most young women avoid it like the plague," said Christina Hoff Sommers, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for public policy research in Washington and author of Who Stole Feminism? "British and American societies are no longer patriarchal and oppressive 'male hegemonies'. But most women's studies departments are predicated on the assumption that women in the West are under siege. What nonsense."
NRO's Kathryn Jean Lopez explored it in this article from March 2002.
Programs in “Women’s Studies” have been established at many American colleges and universities, including several UNC-system campuses. An analysis of the programs at five of those universities — East Carolina, N.C. State, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Charlotte and UNC-Greensboro — reveals that interest in them is weak and declining among students, that the course readings are strongly biased and often unscholarly in their treatment of differing points of view and counter-arguments, and that Women’s Studies programs attract almost no outside support from interested parties. Therefore, Women’s Studies programs fail to achieve academically worthwhile objectives while imposing a cost burden upon university budgets.I would venture to guess that what's true of these programs in North Carolina is also true in Alabama. Actually, that's more than a guess:
The eighties have been the decade of the reactionary. In national politics and in social attitudes, progressive liberalism has been forced into retrenchment, and feminists find ourselves in an environment that seems overtly more accepting but is actually more hostile. More women work than ever before, are in the professions, have educations, and have seen some small improvements in income. It is more respectable not to marry, or to be a single parent, and "liberated women" are fixtures in television series. Yet, E.R.A. was defeated in 1982 and is rarely heard of today; affirmative action for women has been all but destroyed after the Reagan years, and we are losing ground in reproductive autonomy. Many women are increasingly poor. Worse, our young people are for the most part apolitical, and many young women - perhaps most - believe that feminism is beside the point, all important battles having been settled.It gets worse from there.
To the editors of the Annistion(Red) Star and others who cling to the misguided notion that "laizzez-faire" economic policies led to the Great Depression, and who further suspect that such policies are the source of our present economic woes, I suggest reading last week's op-ed by Amity Shlaes. A healthy dose of Milton Friedman wouldn't hurt, either:
Among the highlights: "The Tomb of King Peepankhamun", "U-2 Peep-D," "Peepator Craig's 'Wide Stance,'" and "Peeplona: The Running of the Peeps."
This sounds absolutely wretched: a mixture of Bud Light and Clamato, with a little salt and lime added in. It sounds at first like a perfect drink for hung over mermaids, but apparently it's popular enough here on dry land to have earned a name - a "chelada."
Appearance: Pours a nuclear orange hue with several large bubbles that dissipate quickly. Looks like fruit punch. How do you grade this? What is the expectation for a tomato beer?In a slightly less positive review, another guy writes this summary:
Smell: Tomatoes Beer and Feet
Taste: An odd combination of beer, tomatoes, salt, and lime. There is so much going on here. Faintly reminiscent of vomit.
Mouthfeel: You would think something with tomato juice would have more body.
Drinkability: I am not going to drink any more of these, and I may not finish this one. If someone wanted this style of drink badly enough, they should make their own.
Later . . . okay. It is growing on me a little. I will finish the can 16oz); raising my drinkability score by .5 a point.
So, who's gonna try it? Any volunteers?
Bud Light Chelada is proof that the gods of beer have a dark and mean sense of humor. This has to be the vilest and nastiest beer I’ve drank in my life. It’s not pleasant in any way or shape. It actually brought tears to my eyes at the thought of having to drink the whole 22 ounces and made me do the “it’s icky” dance. Any of you with young kids knows what I’m talking about. I’m not joking when I warn you, for the love of all that is good and right in the world, DO NOT DRINK THIS BEER. I give it .5 out of 10. Yes, point five out of ten.Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go gargle with Everclear.
In Alabama, a powerful state agency is charged with making critical decisions about who is allowed to provide health care services. This Certificate of Need review process stifles competition, invites corruption, and raises the costs of health care for everyone. Lawmakers should seriously consider the Alabama Policy Institute's suggestion to repeal the state's CON law. Michael Ciamarra and Michael Morrisey explain why here.
Here is the One we've been waiting for.
Death, be not proud, though some have called theeO death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.
- John Donne (1572-1631)
From C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Book II, Chapter 4: "The Perfect Penitent"
I have heard some people complain that if Jesus was God as well as man, then His sufferings and death lose all value in their eyes, 'because it must have been so easy for Him': Others may (very rightly) rebuke the ingratitude and ungraciousness of this objection; what staggers me is the misunderstanding it betrays. In one sense, of course, those who make it are right. They have even understated their own case. The perfect submission, the perfect suffering, the perfect death were not only easier to Jesus because He was God, but were possible only because He was God. But surely that is a very odd reason for not accepting them? The teacher is able to form the letters for the child because the teacher is grown-up and knows how to write. That, of course, makes it easier for the teacher; and only because it is easier for him can he help the child. If it rejected him because 'it's easy for grown-ups' and waited to learn writing from another child who could not write itself (and so had no 'unfair' advantage), it would not get on very quickly. If I am drowning in a rapid river, a man who still has one foot on the bank may give me a hand which saves my life. Ought I to shout back (between my gasps) 'No, it's not fair! You have an advantage! You're keeping one foot on the bank'? That advantage-call it 'unfair' if you like--is the only reason why he can be of any use to me. To what will you look for help if you will not look to that which is stronger than yourself ?
Such is my own way of looking at what Christians call the Atonement. But remember this is only one more picture. Do not mistake it for the thing itself : and if it does not help you, drop it.
Madison County Commissioner Mo Brooks has become the latest politician to end the speculation and rule out running for the District 5 Congressional seat now held by retiring Bud Cramer. In a statement today, Brooks says he has a duty to his Commission district, and his law practice and will not run. Brooks also says the campaign for Congress would be a burden when it comes to obligations to his family.That's too bad. He'd have been a good one.
Fox News reports:
Woman Goes for Leg Operation, Gets New Anus Instead
A German retiree is taking a hospital to court after she went in for a leg operation and got a new anus instead, the Daily Telegraph is reporting.
The woman woke up to find she had been mixed up with another patient suffering from incontinence who was to have surgery on her sphincter.
The clinic in Hochfranken, Bavaria, has since suspended the surgical team.
Now the woman is planning to sue the hospital. She still needs the leg operation and is searching for another hospital to do it.
This (and this) provides a whole new perspective on the role Mikhail Gorbachev played in the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of Communism.
Whenever Ronald Reagan would mention his suspicion that Mikhail Gorbachev was a secret believer, everyone on the White House staff would scoff, thinking the president naive. When I had the opportunity to speak to Gorbachev a couple of years ago, however, I found myself concluding that Reagan had been onto something after all. Why, I asked, had Gorbachev refrained from putting down the revolution of 1989, just as Khrushchev had put down the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and Brezhnev had put down the Prague Spring of 1968? "Because of something I shared with Ronald Reagan," Gorbachev replied. "Christian morality."So, Reagan was right all along. Again.
During Reagan's second term, when he supported Gorbachev's reform efforts and pursued arms-reduction agreements with him, many conservatives denounced his apparent change of heart. "Ignorant and pathetic" was the way Charles Krauthammer viewed Reagan's behavior. William F. Buckley Jr. urged Reagan to reconsider his positive assessment of the Gorbachev regime: "To greet it as if it were no longer evil is on the order of changing our entire position toward Adolf Hitler." George Will mourned that "Reagan has accelerated the moral disarmament of the West by elevating wishful thinking to the status of political philosophy."So, what did President Reagan know and when did he know it? Could the foundation of trust between the two most powerful leaders in the world have been built upon their shared Christian faith?
Liberals have been trying for years and years to persuade Alabamians to raise property taxes, and so far they haven't met with much success. The chief barrier has been our much-derided state constitution. In order to increase property taxes or income taxes in Alabama, the constitution has to be amended, a process which requires a 3/5 vote in both houses of the legislature and subsequent ratification by a majority of voters via public referendum - held either locally or statewide, depending on the scope of the proposed increase.
Essentially, the plaintiffs are asking a federal court to force Alabama to restructure its tax code in a manner that would violate its own state constitution. There are some big problems with that.
A federal lawsuit filed on behalf of some Lawrence and Sumter county public school students challenges the state's property tax system, contending property-tax revenues do not sufficiently fund K-12 schools and that disproportionately hurts black students.
Jim Blacksher, a plaintiffs' attorney, said Monday the suit, if successful, would force Alabama to confront tax reform, not just in property taxes, but across the board. It seeks class-action status.
The suit, filed Friday in northern Alabama's federal court, contends the way schools are funded, rooted in racially discriminatory property tax restrictions in the state's 1901 constitution, forces local governments to raise school revenues primarily through regressive sales taxes.
Shelby Steele's column today is worth reading. Here's a little:
...in the end, Barack Obama's candidacy is not qualitatively different from Al Sharpton's or Jesse Jackson's. Like these more irascible of his forbearers, Mr. Obama's run at the presidency is based more on the manipulation of white guilt than on substance. Messrs. Sharpton and Jackson were "challengers," not bargainers. They intimidated whites and demanded, in the name of historical justice, that they be brought forward. Mr. Obama flatters whites, grants them racial innocence, and hopes to ascend on the back of their gratitude. Two sides of the same coin.
But bargainers have an Achilles heel. They succeed as conduits of white innocence only as long as they are largely invisible as complex human beings. They hope to become icons that can be identified with rather than seen, and their individual complexity gets in the way of this. So bargainers are always laboring to stay invisible. (We don't know the real politics or convictions of Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan or Oprah Winfrey, bargainers all.) Mr. Obama has said of himself, "I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views . . ." And so, human visibility is Mr. Obama's Achilles heel. If we see the real man, his contradictions and bents of character, he will be ruined as an icon, as a "blank screen."
Thus, nothing could be more dangerous to Mr. Obama's political aspirations than the revelation that he, the son of a white woman, sat Sunday after Sunday -- for 20 years -- in an Afrocentric, black nationalist church in which his own mother, not to mention other whites, could never feel comfortable. His pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, is a challenger who goes far past Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson in his anti-American outrage.
From the University of Alabama News (with my comments interspersed):
UA Professor Explores Lives of Exotic Dancers and the Cultural Influences of Strip Clubs in New Book
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – A friend’s surprising decision to leave graduate study to pursue life as a stripper inspired Dr. Catherine M. Roach, an associate professor in The University of Alabama’s New College in the College of Arts and Sciences, to examine the lives of strippers and how popular culture has embraced the world of strip clubs.
The result of her exploration, the scholarly book “Stripping, Sex, and Popular Culture,” is publishing this month by Berg Publishers. Roach will give a reading at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 25, in Gorgas Library, room 205.
Amazon.com has found that customers who bought Dr. Roaches scholarly work on stripping were also interested in Ashley Alexandra Dupre's (aka "Kristen's) new book: "Up, Up, and Away: The Happy Hooker's Guide to Rocket Science."
Roach uses a qualitative research approach to discover how women working in strip clubs see their lives, their roles, and their customers.
It is indeed important to take a "qualitative research approach" when visiting strip clubs. Particularly here in Huntsville, where "having teeth" can be a very important quality for a stripper. Or not, I suppose, depending upon one's ultimate objective.
“I interviewed dancers and visited as many clubs as I could,” says Roach, who also is affiliated with the department of women’s studies at UA. “A lot of that comes out in the book. It’s a narrative with stories and voices from the dancers."Mike Price is so hating himself right now for not taking that position as a UA Women's Studies professor instead of head football coach.
Roach’s interest in strippers and striptease culture arose when a longtime friend of hers from her native Canada left a graduate program in the Midwest and starting working in a strip club.
Assuming that this longtime friend possessed the qualities of a successful stripper, it's doubtful that her prior pursuit had been a graduate degree in women's studies. If you know what I mean.
“When she was telling me about her new job at the club, my first response was shock,” says Roach, who earned her doctorate in religious studies at Harvard and researches environmental ethics, gender, and popular culture. “Surely this is not a good thing for a young woman to be doing. We’re both self-identified feminists working in feminist areas. From that perspective, I worried about whether the job was degrading and dangerous. Aren’t the clubs seedy? Isn’t this sexual objectification of women? Why are you doing this, I wanted to know.”
But her friend, Roach says, had another concept of her work as a stripper – one that Roach wanted to explore further as a scholar. She says she continued to keep an open mind toward exotic dance and other work of a sexual nature as her feminist-based preconceptions were challenged.
A feminist scholar who harbors preconceptions and prejudices? Who woulda thunk it?
“My friend liked it, and actually from a feminist perspective, she was finding this to be empowering and positive in various ways, not just financially -- although that was a big part of it -- but also socially and sexually,” Roach says. “It was working well in her life. So I felt fascinated by that and wanted to know more.”
Over the course of four years, Roach pursued her research by interviewing dancers, neo-burlesque performers, prostitutes, organizers in the sex workers’ rights movement, and others from the areas of West Palm Beach, Fla.; Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, Ala.; Atlanta; San Francisco; Toronto; and Ottawa. Her book ranges from descriptions of strip clubs and in-depth interviews with dancers to the meaning of a culture that increasingly embraces the open sexuality that strip clubs embody.
"Organizers in the sex workers' rights movement?" How exactly do you organize sex workers? Sounds like an interesting topic for Ms. Roach to explore in her next book. Which hopefully will contain pictures.
“It’s this huge phenomenon that’s taken off in pop culture in contemporary America,” Roach says. “There are stripper aerobics classes at your local gym now. There are pole dancing studios. Sales of thongs have skyrocketed. If all of this is going on in pop culture all the time, what should we make of it?”
New College is a part of UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes Scholarships, Goldwater Scholarships and memberships on the USA Today Academic All American Team.
Your tax and tuition dollars at work at the Capstone. Aren't you proud?
Here in the West, "Easter Sunday is the first Sunday which occurs after the first full moon (or more accurately after the first fourteenth day of the moon) following the 21st of March."
The Huntsville Times has this article on Cramer's career.
Acknowledging that his announcement stunned friends and colleagues — he said Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gasped when he informed her — he described wavering over the decision for two to three years. He also acknowledged that the seat could shift to the GOP, although he said the right Democrat can win.Politico.com's Josh Kraushaar notes that "this will likely be one of the Republicans' top pickup opportunities" in the 2008 House race.
Ed Whelan compares the rhetoric to the reality.
Doc's Political Parlor has a list of possible contenders to replace Bud Cramer in the U.S. Congress. So far, only Huntsville attorney Ray McKee, a Republican, has actually announced his intention to run.
The AP is reporting that U.S. Rep. Bud Cramer (D.-Huntsville), who has represented Alabama's Fifth Congressional District for 18 years, will not seek reelection in November.
Author, playwright, and former liberal David Mamet has this "election-season essay" in the Village Voice. The whole thing is worth reading (and worth forwarding to all your liberal friends), but I particularly like Mamet's thoughts on the Constitution:
I'd observed that lust, greed, envy, sloth, and their pals are giving the world a good run for its money, but that nonetheless, people in general seem to get from day to day; and that we in the United States get from day to day under rather wonderful and privileged circumstances—that we are not and never have been the villains that some of the world and some of our citizens make us out to be, but that we are a confection of normal (greedy, lustful, duplicitous, corrupt, inspired—in short, human) individuals living under a spectacularly effective compact called the Constitution, and lucky to get it.
For the Constitution, rather than suggesting that all behave in a godlike manner, recognizes that, to the contrary, people are swine and will take any opportunity to subvert any agreement in order to pursue what they consider to be their proper interests.
To that end, the Constitution separates the power of the state into those three branches which are for most of us (I include myself) the only thing we remember from 12 years of schooling.
The Constitution, written by men with some experience of actual government, assumes that the chief executive will work to be king, the Parliament will scheme to sell off the silverware, and the judiciary will consider itself Olympian and do everything it can to much improve (destroy) the work of the other two branches. So the Constitution pits them against each other, in the attempt not to achieve stasis, but rather to allow for the constant corrections necessary to prevent one branch from getting too much power for too long.
Rather brilliant. For, in the abstract, we may envision an Olympian perfection of perfect beings in Washington doing the business of their employers, the people, but any of us who has ever been at a zoning meeting with our property at stake is aware of the urge to cut through all the pernicious bullshit and go straight to firearms.
The New York Times reports that Jefferson County is in big trouble financially:
Jefferson County is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy after a series of exotic bond deals that the bankers concocted went wrong, and the interest on its debts, rather than shrinking as the bankers had promised, has ballooned like a bad subprime mortgage.
Officials from Birmingham, the county seat, are trying to persuade Wall Street creditors to let them soften the terms of the deals. If they fail, the county could sink into in one of the biggest public bankruptcies in American history.
Read the whole thing here.
This is pretty good at explaining the subprime mess. Maybe because it's got cartoons. (Some foul language, too, so beware.)
What do they have in common? Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby writes:
Each is a good reminder of that most powerful of unwritten decrees, the Law of Unintended Consequences - and of the all-too-frequent tendency of solutions imposed by the state to exacerbate the harms they were meant to solve.
(Click on the image to enlarge.)
From the Weekly Standard last Tuesday:
The same could be said of Michigan and other "Rust Belt" states. As Thomas Sowell wrote last week:
WHEN VOTERS IN OHIO go to the polls today, they will have heard over and over again from Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton that their state's economic troubles are caused by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other trade treaties.
But there was fresh evidence last week that NAFTA has had little to do with Ohio's doldrums, its job losses in particular. When the U.S. Air Force awarded a $40 billion contract for 179 new aerial refueling tankers, Ohio wasn't in the running as a site where the aircraft might be built. Instead, they'll be built in Alabama outside Mobile.
Why? The answer is simple: Alabama's business climate is good and Ohio's isn't. When major business projects are looking for the best site, job-hungry Ohio is rarely considered. And NAFTA has little or nothing to do with it.
Barnes and Sowell are right: Honda and Toyota and Mercedes and Hyundai are not hiring folks in the old manufacturing centers of the rust belt. They're hiring them in low-tax, right-to-work, pro-business states like Alabama.
While American auto makers are laying off workers by the thousands, Japanese auto makers like Toyota and Honda are hiring thousands of American workers. But they are not hiring them in the rust belts.
They are avoiding the rust belts, just as domestic businesses are avoiding the high costs that have been piled on over the years by both unions and governments in the rust belt regions.
In short, the rust belts have been killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. That is a viable political strategy, so long as the goose doesn't die before the next election and politicians can avoid leaving their fingerprints on the weapon.
But the people who lose their jobs, and who live in communities that decline, need to look beyond the political rhetoric to the grim reality that there is no free lunch.
Many workers in the new plants being built by Toyota and others apparently already understand that. They have repeatedly voted against being represented by labor unions. They want to keep their jobs.
Here's a site for engineers (and others who are "analytically minded") who like to cook. Looks tasty.
About the name: Cooking For EngineersThe various life forms that call my petri dish of a kitchen home needn't fear, though, as I can't seem to find anyone with much interest in "Cleaning for Engineers."
Michael selected the name "Cooking For Engineers" on a whim. He has no idea if it means "To cook for the purposes of providing engineers with food" or "To instruct engineers in the science and art of cooking". He likes the ambiguity, and other people seem to find the name intriguing and even interesting. He regrets that the name can be misread (when in a rush) to be "Cooking Foreigners".
"John Denver karaoke sparks Thai killing spree:"
A gunman in Thailand shot-dead eight neighbours, including his brother-in-law, after tiring of their karaoke versions of popular songs, including John Denver’s Country Roads.
Weenus Chumkamnerd, 52, put his gun to the head of a respected female doctor and seven of her guests as they partied at her home in Songkhla Province, South Thailand.
"When I began shooting nobody pleaded for his life because they were all drunk," he said after his arrest.
He said he was so furious with their awful singing that he did not notice he had murdered his own brother-in-law.
"I warned these people about their noisy karaoke parties. I said if they carried on I would go down and shoot them. I had told them if I couldn’t talk sense into them I would come back and finish them off," he added.
Mr Chumkamnerd, who works as a rubber tapper, was arrested after going on the run after his killing spree in the town of Hat Yai, near the Malaysian border. ...
A neighbour said that the karaoke group normally sang Thai pop and southern Thai ballads, but one particular western tune could be heard often - John Denver’s ‘Country Roads’.
Country Roads is a hugely popular song in south east Asia, and the neighbour said the revellers had been singing it over and over again.
Read George Will today. Michael Moore isn't the first leftist to become infatuated with Fidel Castro. And certainly not the smartest.
President Bush's fantastic speech on Cuba, which he delivered last October at the State Department to an audience that included family members of several Cuban political prisoners, is worth reading.
Here's some encouraging news from the New York Times:
HAVANA — A growing underground network of young people armed with computer memory sticks, digital cameras and clandestine Internet hookups has been mounting some challenges to the Cuban government in recent months, spreading news that the official state media try to suppress. ...The Cuban people's thirst for freedom has been denied for far too long. They've endured political and religious persecution and economic hardship to a degree that many of us in this country have neither the will nor even the capacity to imagine. While we revel in our liberty and affluence, we often fail to appreciate just how precious and rare they really are.
“It passes from flash drive to flash drive,” said Ariel, 33, a computer programmer, who, like almost everyone else interviewed for this article, asked that his last name not be used for fear of political persecution. “This is going to get out of the government’s hands because the technology is moving so rapidly.”
Monday, John McCain announced that Alabama Governor Bob Riley had endorsed him for President. On Tuesday, the Democratic National Committee claimed that Riley's endorsement was "payback" for a political favor McCain allegedly performed for the Governor as a U.S. Senator.
Hmmm. McCain is now the presumptive Republican nominee for President; his defeat of Mike Huckabee in Tuesday's primaries made that a done deal. Could it be that Riley endorsed McCain for the simple reason that McCain will be the Republican standard-bearer this November? If Riley had intended to return a favor of the sort alleged by the DNC, then why wouldn't he have endorsed McCain sooner, perhaps late last year when the Republican race was still competitive? As it stands, Riley's late endorsement is the closest thing to a non-endorsement that you can get, at least as far as Republican party politics are concerned.
The presidential race revisited Alabama on Tuesday when the Democratic National Committee charged that Gov. Bob Riley's endorsement of Sen. John McCain amounted to payback for McCain withholding information that would have linked Riley to a now-jailed lobbyist.
Riley endorsed the Arizona senator and presumptive GOP presidential nominee on Monday. On Tuesday, the DNC charged the endorsement was a reward for McCain's having withheld an e-mail discovered during a Senate investigation by a committee McCain led. The e-mail would have tied Riley to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the DNC said.
Abramoff is serving time for defrauding Indian gaming clients out of millions of dollars. McCain's Senate hearings have been credited with uncovering some of that fraud. McCain has used his role in the investigation to show he is a maverick who will fight special interests, even those aligned with the GOP if they do wrong.
But the DNC said that perception is part of the myth of McCain, and to debunk it they have been sending out "myth-busters" like the one Tuesday.
"Though John McCain has repeatedly claimed he took on Jack Abramoff and the Republican culture of corruption, a recent story revealed that McCain covered for his friend, Alabama Governor Bob Riley, who was fighting a tight re-election battle at the time, by refusing to release key evidence that would have linked Riley to the Abramoff scandal. Yesterday, Riley returned the favor by endorsing McCain," the press release stated.
From the University of Alabama Crimson White:
Four participants in an anti-war demonstration were arrested Friday by University police.The Tuscaloosa News has more here.
The group, whose names have not been released by the University, reportedly stormed through the second-floor doors of the plaza entrance to the Ferguson Center around midday Friday and began yelling and cursing. They ran towards the circular couches near the information desk, where three people whose heads were covered with red and white checkered scarves were sitting.
The four people dressed up like soldiers began directing their shouts toward those three individuals. They pushed them around, restrained them and eventually took them out the door.
After the three "detainees" were taken away, one of the four "soldiers" announced that events like what had just been simulated were a common occurrence many miles away from the United States. He said people who were considering joining the army should consider that they will be doing things similar to what had just been simulated. He also said the military is oppressing people thousands of miles away.
He then invited any more students interested in learning about the issue to a meeting that night in Morgan Hall. ...
According to UA spokeswoman Schandra Clark, two of those taken into custody were UA students involved with Students for a Democratic Society. The other two were non-students involved with the group Iraq Veterans Against the War.
Clark said all four involved were arrested Friday and have been charged with disorderly conduct, and the two students have been referred to Judicial Affairs.
After protesters dressed as Iraqi civilians were ‘arrested’ by protesters in military costume and hauled away, Jason Hurd, president of the Asheville, North Carolina chapter of IVAW - who was invited by the Tuscaloosa SDS chapter to speak on his experiences in Iraq, gave an impromptu speech, explaining that the purpose of the action was to demonstrate what life in Iraq is like under the occupation.Trouble is...life in Iraq under the U.S. "occupation" is not like that. The idea that U.S. troops are running around the Middle East detaining prisoners at random and without cause is simply untrue.
Raise your glasses!
For more info, visit the Free the Hops web site and the Free the Hops blog. Dan Roberts has also been covering the developments in this story regularly on his blog - Daily Dixie.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama House passed a bill Tuesday that would allow the sale of gourmet and imported beers that have an alcohol content as high as 13.9 percent.
Under current law, beer sold in Alabama can't have an alcohol level higher than 6 percent.
The House passed the measure known around the Statehouse as the "Free the Hops" bill on a 48-42 vote after a spirited debate. ...
The bill now goes to the Senate for debate.
In case y'all missed this story last week:
The U.S. Air Force on Friday named Northrop Grumman Corp. and EADS North America to build its next-generation fleet of aerial refueling tankers, spurning a bid from rival Boeing Co. in a surprise decision that could launch a new era of jet production in Mobile.
The Air Force made its choice after a fierce competition between the two teams for one of the single largest defense contracts in U.S. history. Estimated at up to $40 billion, the deal includes 179 planes to be delivered over the next 15 years. Boeing was regarded as a heavy favorite by defense analysts and other experts who cited the Chicago-based company's political clout and its legacy of building commercial and military aircraft.
"To say this is a great day for Alabama is a monumental understatement," said Gov. Bob Riley. "This will go down in history as one of our greatest days."
Los Angeles-based Northrop and its partner, a subsidiary of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., plan to assemble and modify their tankers in a pair of new plants at the Brookley Field Industrial Complex, creating 1,500 jobs.
- Mobile Press-Register
Boeing is threatening to fight the decision, objecting to the fact that EADS is a foreign company, while casually ignoring the fact that Northrop Grumman is an American company and that most of the suppliers for the new aircraft will also be American companies.
Allan H. Meltzer considers the recent policies of our "independent" Fed in the Wall Street Journal (H/T Greg Mankiw):
One lesson of the inflationary 1970s: A country that will not accept the possibility of a small recession will end up having a big one when the politicians at last respond to the public's complaints about inflation. Instead of paying the relatively small cost of a possible recession, the public pays the much larger cost of sustained inflation and a deeper recession. And enduring the deeper recession is the only way to convince the public that the Fed has at last decided to slow inflation.Robert Samuelson adds (again, H/T to Greg Mankiw):
Economic forecasts are not very accurate; still, the International Monetary Fund, the Congressional Budget Office and even the Federal Reserve do not forecast recession in 2008. The Fed thinks that the unemployment rate may rise to 5.3%, below the postwar average. In any event, it cannot do much to change economic activity or unemployment experienced in the next few months, and the Fed anticipates stronger growth in the second half of the year. Why the haste to cut interest rates drastically?
The freezing up of short-term financial markets called for more borrowing. The Fed's response was creative and correct. It recognized that its responsibility as lender of last resort required bold action to maintain the payments system; and it delivered.But the rush to bring real short-term interest rates to negative values is an unseemly and dangerous response to pressures from Wall Street, Congress and the administration.
Since August, the Fed has been under enormous pressure to ease money and credit. It has. The overnight Fed funds rate has fallen from 5.25 percent in early September to 3 percent now. Politicians are clamoring for the Fed to prevent a recession. Banks and other financial institutions want cheaper credit to enable them to offset losses on subprime mortgages. There is fear of a wider economic crisis if large losses erode confidence and, by depleting the capital of banks and other financial institutions, undermine their ability and willingness to lend and invest.
Unfortunately, the Fed shows signs of overreacting to these pressures and repeating the great blunder of the 1970s. Underestimating inflation then, the Fed repeatedly shoved out too much money and credit in a vain effort to keep the economy near "full employment." Now, switch to the present. Again, the Fed has underestimated inflation. It expected the economic slowdown to suppress inflation spontaneously. But so far, the lower inflation hasn't materialized in part because, outside of housing, there hasn't been much of an economic slowdown.
It's true that the Fed is treading the proverbial tightrope. No one wants a financial crisis; but no one should want the return of stagflation either. The American economy -- a marvelous but flawed engine of wealth -- periodically goes to speculative or inflationary excesses. If most of those excesses aren't given the time to self-correct, we may be trading modest pain today for much greater pain tomorrow. Trying to prevent a recession at all costs is a fool's errand that could ultimately backfire on us all.
City Journal's Ibn Warraq asserts the superiority of Western values. Multiculturalists beware. This is subversive stuff.
When y'all click through to New York Times articles that I link to from time to time, does it prompt you to register or does it go right to the story? Someone lemme know.
They call Alabama a "red state," but this is ridiculous:
Señor Chávez appears to be spoiling for a fight with our Colombian allies:
CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuela and Ecuador mobilized troops to their borders with Colombia on Sunday, intensifying a diplomatic crisis after Colombian forces killed a senior guerrilla leader at a jungle camp in Ecuador.
President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, whose government has warm ties with the rebel group, threatened Colombia with war and mobilized tank units and fighter jets near the border between the two countries.
"I will not cede more power to the state. I will not willingly cede more power to anyone, not to the state, not to General Motors, not to the CIO. I will hoard my power like a miser, resisting every effort to drain it away from me. I will then use my power, as I see fit. I mean to live my life an obedient man, but obedient to God, subservient to the wisdom of my ancestors; never to the authority of political truths arrived at yesterday at the voting booth. That is a program of sorts, is it not? It is certainly program enough to keep conservatives busy, and liberals at bay. And the nation free."