Monthly Archives: April 2006

Class warfare

My friend Tom Foley pushes term limits as crucial to our society.  I’m beginning to agree with him based on this latest outpouring from the political class, to which almost all of our elected officials belong.
 
It’s their calling on Bush to “launch an investigation into possible price gouging by oil companies” that does it for me:
“Anyone who is trying to take advantage of this situation while American families are forced into making tough choices over whether to fill up their cars or severely cut back their budgets should be investigated and prosecuted,” House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Illinois, and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tennessee, wrote in a letter to President Bush. “Therefore, we believe that Federal law enforcement agencies and regulators should take every available step to ensure that all Federal laws protecting American consumers from price-fixing, collusion, gouging and other anti-competitive practices are vigorously enforced.”
Anti-competitive?  This is when the feds protect competition?  When did they get going on that operation?  And it’s while labor unions have privileged status, not to mention affirmative-action measures all over the place.
 
 
William Anderson recalls “economic crimes” and “speculation” as excuses for government crackdown in the late unlamented Soviet Union.
Today, we see the top lawmakers in the United States trying to take a page out of the USSR in calling for prosecution — and, one would suppose, imprisonment — of oil company executives because gasoline prices have risen drastically at the pump.
He has more to say at the Mises Institute site here.  http://www.mises.org/story/2128

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Class warfare

My friend Tom Foley pushes term limits as crucial to our society.  I’m beginning to agree with him based on this latest outpouring from the political class, to which almost all of our elected officials belong.
 
It’s their calling on Bush to “launch an investigation into possible price gouging by oil companies” that does it for me:
“Anyone who is trying to take advantage of this situation while American families are forced into making tough choices over whether to fill up their cars or severely cut back their budgets should be investigated and prosecuted,” House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Illinois, and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tennessee, wrote in a letter to President Bush. “Therefore, we believe that Federal law enforcement agencies and regulators should take every available step to ensure that all Federal laws protecting American consumers from price-fixing, collusion, gouging and other anti-competitive practices are vigorously enforced.”
Anti-competitive?  This is when the feds protect competition?  When did they get going on that operation?  And it’s while labor unions have privileged status, not to mention affirmative-action measures all over the place.
 
 
William Anderson recalls “economic crimes” and “speculation” as excuses for government crackdown in the late unlamented Soviet Union.
Today, we see the top lawmakers in the United States trying to take a page out of the USSR in calling for prosecution — and, one would suppose, imprisonment — of oil company executives because gasoline prices have risen drastically at the pump.
He has more to say at the Mises Institute site here.  http://www.mises.org/story/2128

Brown, Byrne, Kass

If you’re looking for a real nothing column, Mark Brown today try Sun-Times, where we get the latest off the top of his hairless head about the George Ryan jury.  Setting up the problem faced by the judge, mistrial or not, and to be faced by appeal judges, ditto, he tells “what Ryan’s lawyers seem to think” (he’s not sure? Webb says he’s appealing) but says he will “leave that to the legal experts.”
 
Legal experts.  They wouldn’t return his calls?  None are cited or quoted, not even anonymously.  We know they are a shifty lot, but couldn’t he nail down even one?  Not even on background?  No, he could not.  Instead, he offers his “own take, as [he] wrote earlier.”  Great.  That’s why we buy the Sun-Times, to get his “take,” the hell with experts, and warmed over, at that.  They don’t call him King of the Cracker Barrel for nothing. 
 
Meanwhile, Chi Trib has Dennis Byrne — on a Sunday, no less — asking where the heck are corporate biggies who give millions for a park, support “quixotic-like” (sic: “quixotic” will do, or if he insists, “[Don] Quixote-like”) reform endeavors, and fund civic reports but exercise no muscle to achieve reform.  Byrne gives a brief history of Illinois corruption and gubernatorial convictions and refers to “career criminals like George Ryan and some in Mayor Daley’s inner circle” along the way, concluding:
I don’t mean that we should turn government over to a corporate junta. But the 12 honest jurors who convict the likes of Ryan sure could use some help.
Last but not least, John Kass has questions for jurors in the coming trial of Mayordaley’s patronage chief, as:
If you’re the 19-year-old son of a Carpenters Union boss, shouldn’t you be made a building inspector–in the wake of fatal porch collapse and nightclub disasters–even though you’re unqualified?
 
Doesn’t being a member of the 19th Ward Democratic Organization entitle you to make more than $100,000 a year as a city graffiti blaster? If the answer is “No,” what are you? Stupid?
 
Are you black, white, Hispanic or other in real life and on paper? [For designation as oppressed minority in need of special treatment and rich contracts]
Kass is pretty good in these matters, but even Homer, also of Greek extraction, nodded.  So he speaks of the mayor being “aggravated,” meaning “angered.”  Sorry, Kass, it don’t compute.  “Aggravate” means to make matters worse.  That’s what Kass does when he does all this reporting and summarizing of city corruption: that is, he aggravates the situation facing City Hall and in so doing angers the powers that be.
 
How’s “pissed off”?

Brown, Byrne, Kass

If you’re looking for a real nothing column, Mark Brown today try Sun-Times, where we get the latest off the top of his hairless head about the George Ryan jury.  Setting up the problem faced by the judge, mistrial or not, and to be faced by appeal judges, ditto, he tells “what Ryan’s lawyers seem to think” (he’s not sure? Webb says he’s appealing) but says he will “leave that to the legal experts.”
 
Legal experts.  They wouldn’t return his calls?  None are cited or quoted, not even anonymously.  We know they are a shifty lot, but couldn’t he nail down even one?  Not even on background?  No, he could not.  Instead, he offers his “own take, as [he] wrote earlier.”  Great.  That’s why we buy the Sun-Times, to get his “take,” the hell with experts, and warmed over, at that.  They don’t call him King of the Cracker Barrel for nothing. 
 
Meanwhile, Chi Trib has Dennis Byrne — on a Sunday, no less — asking where the heck are corporate biggies who give millions for a park, support “quixotic-like” (sic: “quixotic” will do, or if he insists, “[Don] Quixote-like”) reform endeavors, and fund civic reports but exercise no muscle to achieve reform.  Byrne gives a brief history of Illinois corruption and gubernatorial convictions and refers to “career criminals like George Ryan and some in Mayor Daley’s inner circle” along the way, concluding:
I don’t mean that we should turn government over to a corporate junta. But the 12 honest jurors who convict the likes of Ryan sure could use some help.
Last but not least, John Kass has questions for jurors in the coming trial of Mayordaley’s patronage chief, as:
If you’re the 19-year-old son of a Carpenters Union boss, shouldn’t you be made a building inspector–in the wake of fatal porch collapse and nightclub disasters–even though you’re unqualified?
 
Doesn’t being a member of the 19th Ward Democratic Organization entitle you to make more than $100,000 a year as a city graffiti blaster? If the answer is “No,” what are you? Stupid?
 
Are you black, white, Hispanic or other in real life and on paper? [For designation as oppressed minority in need of special treatment and rich contracts]
Kass is pretty good in these matters, but even Homer, also of Greek extraction, nodded.  So he speaks of the mayor being “aggravated,” meaning “angered.”  Sorry, Kass, it don’t compute.  “Aggravate” means to make matters worse.  That’s what Kass does when he does all this reporting and summarizing of city corruption: that is, he aggravates the situation facing City Hall and in so doing angers the powers that be.
 
How’s “pissed off”?

Cowering in our bunkers

Dennis Byrne invokes H.G. Wells to illustrate libs’ foot-dragging in the War on Islamofascism:

In H.G. Wells’ “Time Machine,” the helplessly fattened Eloi spend most of their time waiting around their pleasant surroundings to be snatched away by cannibal Morlocks. Those succulent pinkish Eloi who luckily aren’t invited for dinner this time can only wait their turn, not so much in fear, but–simpletons that they are–in resigned ignorance.

Though he wrote it more than 100 years ago, Wells nonetheless had many of today’s Americans nailed. Today’s Eloi are Americans whose only “strategy” for dealing with the dreadful and grisly terrorist assaults on us is to pull back and wait for the next one.

He also gives a hard-copy hat tip to “blogger Jim Bowman” (me) for putting him on to the liberal Brookings Institution’s “Iraq Index”

to my knowledge, the most comprehensive statistical compilation of Iraqi conditions, tracking economic, public opinion and security data. While partisans make sweeping assumptions about what are factual questions, the periodic report lays out such comparative data as pre-war and current levels of telephone and water service, unemployment, Iraq security forces, troop facilities and coalition strength.

I won’t try to characterize the report one way or another, except to say that those blind to any good news will be surprised.

It’s of course an answer to such attempted rebuttals of an earlier Byrne column as the letter from Mt. Prospect suggesting Chi Trib send Byrne to Iraq and offering to pay his way back, which with its opening faux statement of agreement manages to be snide enough.  But it turns out the Brookings Institution, a liberal organization, has been keeping track and Byrne, who tipped his hat in the earlier column to war correspondents, needn’t go there.  Is that good enough for Mt. Prospect?  We do not know.

Cowering in our bunkers

Dennis Byrne invokes H.G. Wells to illustrate libs’ foot-dragging in the War on Islamofascism:

In H.G. Wells’ “Time Machine,” the helplessly fattened Eloi spend most of their time waiting around their pleasant surroundings to be snatched away by cannibal Morlocks. Those succulent pinkish Eloi who luckily aren’t invited for dinner this time can only wait their turn, not so much in fear, but–simpletons that they are–in resigned ignorance.

Though he wrote it more than 100 years ago, Wells nonetheless had many of today’s Americans nailed. Today’s Eloi are Americans whose only “strategy” for dealing with the dreadful and grisly terrorist assaults on us is to pull back and wait for the next one.

He also gives a hard-copy hat tip to “blogger Jim Bowman” (me) for putting him on to the liberal Brookings Institution’s “Iraq Index”

to my knowledge, the most comprehensive statistical compilation of Iraqi conditions, tracking economic, public opinion and security data. While partisans make sweeping assumptions about what are factual questions, the periodic report lays out such comparative data as pre-war and current levels of telephone and water service, unemployment, Iraq security forces, troop facilities and coalition strength.

I won’t try to characterize the report one way or another, except to say that those blind to any good news will be surprised.

It’s of course an answer to such attempted rebuttals of an earlier Byrne column as the letter from Mt. Prospect suggesting Chi Trib send Byrne to Iraq and offering to pay his way back, which with its opening faux statement of agreement manages to be snide enough.  But it turns out the Brookings Institution, a liberal organization, has been keeping track and Byrne, who tipped his hat in the earlier column to war correspondents, needn’t go there.  Is that good enough for Mt. Prospect?  We do not know.

OUR INTIMIDATED GENERALS

Chicken colonels we have heard of — full colonels with big bird insigne, versus Light Colonels, the lieutenant variety — but chicken generals?  This is what Judith Apter Klinghoffer thinks, as she says at George Mason University’s History News Network, and may all my rants be as articulate:

I am writing in the hope of lowering my blood pressure. Islamists around the world are on a rampage and all the media focus is on retired generals who did not dare confront their superiors or even tell the truth to the president when asked to do so in the most direct manner.

I have called for Rumsfeld’s replacement months ago but that is besides the point. For the generals to attack the Secretary of Defense on the issue of troop numbers in Iraq in 2003 is ridiculous. I want to know whether they think we need more troops in Iraq today or tomorrow. To hear two and three star generals whine that Rumsfeld is too intimidating causes one to ask who else can so easily intimidate them? Are we talking perhaps of the insurgents, Ahmadinejad, Assad Fils, the North Korean or China? Imagine being a soldier who has served under the command of so easily intimidated a general. Their retired generals’ contention that they are speaking for their active duty colleagues merely makes matters worse.

On This Week Joe Klein, whom no one can accuse of being a Bush fan, said that Bush repeatedly asked the generals in Iraq if they had everything they needed and they repeatedly assured him they did. But when Jerry Bremer asked them what they would do with an additional division, they said, we’d clear Baghdad. Excuse me? The American army in Iraq does not have a single general with enough guts to respond to the president’s question with “depends on what you want us to do?”

Sorry, guys, civil control of the military is not our problem. Gutless military leadership is.

I will quote and endorse Instapundit, who linked this:

Ouch.

OUR INTIMIDATED GENERALS

Chicken colonels we have heard of — full colonels with big bird insigne, versus Light Colonels, the lieutenant variety — but chicken generals?  This is what Judith Apter Klinghoffer thinks, as she says at George Mason University’s History News Network, and may all my rants be as articulate:

I am writing in the hope of lowering my blood pressure. Islamists around the world are on a rampage and all the media focus is on retired generals who did not dare confront their superiors or even tell the truth to the president when asked to do so in the most direct manner.

I have called for Rumsfeld’s replacement months ago but that is besides the point. For the generals to attack the Secretary of Defense on the issue of troop numbers in Iraq in 2003 is ridiculous. I want to know whether they think we need more troops in Iraq today or tomorrow. To hear two and three star generals whine that Rumsfeld is too intimidating causes one to ask who else can so easily intimidate them? Are we talking perhaps of the insurgents, Ahmadinejad, Assad Fils, the North Korean or China? Imagine being a soldier who has served under the command of so easily intimidated a general. Their retired generals’ contention that they are speaking for their active duty colleagues merely makes matters worse.

On This Week Joe Klein, whom no one can accuse of being a Bush fan, said that Bush repeatedly asked the generals in Iraq if they had everything they needed and they repeatedly assured him they did. But when Jerry Bremer asked them what they would do with an additional division, they said, we’d clear Baghdad. Excuse me? The American army in Iraq does not have a single general with enough guts to respond to the president’s question with “depends on what you want us to do?”

Sorry, guys, civil control of the military is not our problem. Gutless military leadership is.

I will quote and endorse Instapundit, who linked this:

Ouch.

30 years late

Chi Trib’s Diane Rado’s sidebar to her page-oner on the cost of textbooks — there’s a markup! you save by buying online! — is a cameo study of journalism today.
 
* “Illinois spends taxpayer dollars” on nonpublic schools, she opens.  As opposed to the other kind of dollars Illinois spends.  “Taxpayer” helps get our dander up.
 
* “. . . even as public schools struggle” to buy books.  Dander rising.
 
* It’s $3 million vs. $24 million for publics.  Oh?
 
* “While taxpayers might be surprised . . . ”  While she’s at it, she might try “although,” which has only one meaning, while “while” has two, one of them having to do with time, as in “at the same time,” etc.
 
* The state has been doing this “since the mid-70s,” she says in the fourth paragraph.  Oh?  This sneaked up on her.
 
* Americans United does not like it, never did: “Taxpayers ought to stand up . . .” says their spokesman.
 
* “Not everyone agrees” with him.  Not everyone?  Hardly anyone, to judge by the 30-year standing-up hiatus.  Who’s even been talking about it, with the George Ryan trial and all? 
 
* The Catholic lobbyist who got the money in the first place has the last word, however: “It is in the state’s interest to keep private schools healthy,” he says.  We don’t know what else he said, but anyhow his last comment hangs there: “They save the public school system money.”  I’d say that’s pretty obvious, but does Rado know it?  If nonpublic schools closed tomorrow and sent their kids to public ones, does she realize what it would do to the price of textbooks?  Heck, readers would be asking, “Who’s George Ryan?”

30 years late

Chi Trib’s Diane Rado’s sidebar to her page-oner on the cost of textbooks — there’s a markup! you save by buying online! — is a cameo study of journalism today.
 
* “Illinois spends taxpayer dollars” on nonpublic schools, she opens.  As opposed to the other kind of dollars Illinois spends.  “Taxpayer” helps get our dander up.
 
* “. . . even as public schools struggle” to buy books.  Dander rising.
 
* It’s $3 million vs. $24 million for publics.  Oh?
 
* “While taxpayers might be surprised . . . ”  While she’s at it, she might try “although,” which has only one meaning, while “while” has two, one of them having to do with time, as in “at the same time,” etc.
 
* The state has been doing this “since the mid-70s,” she says in the fourth paragraph.  Oh?  This sneaked up on her.
 
* Americans United does not like it, never did: “Taxpayers ought to stand up . . .” says their spokesman.
 
* “Not everyone agrees” with him.  Not everyone?  Hardly anyone, to judge by the 30-year standing-up hiatus.  Who’s even been talking about it, with the George Ryan trial and all? 
 
* The Catholic lobbyist who got the money in the first place has the last word, however: “It is in the state’s interest to keep private schools healthy,” he says.  We don’t know what else he said, but anyhow his last comment hangs there: “They save the public school system money.”  I’d say that’s pretty obvious, but does Rado know it?  If nonpublic schools closed tomorrow and sent their kids to public ones, does she realize what it would do to the price of textbooks?  Heck, readers would be asking, “Who’s George Ryan?”
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