Friday, July 26, 2002
Thursday, July 25, 2002
""Professionals are thus waiting for capitulation so they can buy. But capitulation is a lot like Santa Claus: everyone waits for it, but no one ever sees it when it's there, only when it's gone. As the inestimable Max Jacobs said, "Every time people I work with tell me they think the market's capitulated, I say 'No, no! The fact that you're saying that means it hasn't capitulated yet!". (Max speaks with a lot of exclamation points. It's a trip.)"
I guess I do get a little excited sometimes. And I don't want to hear the word capitulation! That means you!
"Europe's reflexive anti-Semitism doesn't really matter much, since today's Europeans lack the power, will and courage to act upon their bigotry." (I just like this one because it makes fun of Europe's impotence. Is it a coincidence that a new, more powerful Viagra competitor got clearance from a European panel today?)
And I also liked,
"The same critics will tell you that by killing civilians in their attacks, the Israelis -- or the Americans -- simply turn other civilians against them. This is nonsense. Civilians who shield the enemies of Israel or the U.S. are already anti-Israel or anti-American. But if our strikes against the masters of terror come to seem inevitable, those same civilians will turn against terrorists who try to use them as living shields -- as villagers in Afghanistan already have done. Terrorists and their supporters must learn that they will be allowed no hiding places. Not in their homes, not in churches or mosques, and not in foreign countries to which they might flee. This is a war that must be fought without compromise. It is, above all, a contest of wills. Every apology is a surrender."
"Some believe that this loss of anonymity could be dangerous for those who prefer to remain hidden, like victims of domestic violence."
"Waqaas Fahmawi, 25, used to sign petitions freely when he was in college. 'In the past you would physically sign a petition and could confidently know that it would disappear into oblivion,' said Mr. Fahmawi, a Palestinian-American who works as an economist for the Commerce Department. But after he discovered that his signatures from his college years had been archived on the Internet, he became reluctant to sign petitions for fear that potential employers would hold his political views again him. He feels stifled in his political expression. 'The fact I have to think about this,' he said, 'really does show we live in a system of thought control.'"
It seems like Google is guilty of helping rapists and is a tool for "thought control" (which I guess is defined in this case as people actually doing something with petitions that you sign of your own free will). You know what's next, calls for a search engine regulatory agency. I can't believe these reporters get paid for writing this crap.
Wednesday, July 24, 2002
"So Bush critics have instead dragged up a low-interest loan the President got from some oil company he was a director of over a decade ago. "President Bush likes to preach responsibility," said Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe. "When it comes to his own records, the motto is: 'The buck stops over there.' " "It is hard to lead when you haven't done the things that you're asking others to do," tutted Dick Gephardt, House Democratic leader. This is the same Terry McAuliffe who founded Federal City Bank, which was deemed by regulators to be using unsound banking practices and which, while Mr. McAuliffe was also serving as finance director for the 1988 presidential campaign of one Dick Gephardt, gave said Gephardt an "unusual and unsecured" loan for $125,000.
So, if the low-interest loan won't jump, the only outrageous Bush-toppling scandal left in play is the fact that in 1990 Harken Energy Corp was a few months late filing a routine letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission confirming that Mr. Bush had divested some stock and was blah-blah-blah ... growing drowsy ... zzzzzzzz ... impenetrable technical violation ... losing the will to type ...
By the end of last week, the ethics bores were whipped up over the SEC's latest investigation -- into Bristol-Myers Squibb for practices that "inflated sales by $1-billion." What this boils down to is: Their sales guys went around saying hey, you should buy our products now because they'll be going up next year. According to the New York Daily News, "Critics charge the company knew the resulting, incentive-driven sales exceeded demand but encouraged the stockpiling anyway as a way to meet profit projections." "Bristol-Myers may be forced to restate its revenues," said Steven Tighe, drug analyst at Merrill Lynch. What for? No one's suggesting they didn't sell the stuff. Actual product changed hands: the customers have the drugs; the drug company has the money. That puts Bristol-Myers' customers one step ahead of, say, GroupAction Marketing's customers -- or, at any rate, the government ones. So in what sense is this "inflating" sales? Talk about a damp Squibb.
More to the point, it's a model of rectitude compared to what passes for bookkeeping in your average U.S. Government department, especially the "sensitive" ones (Office of Civil Rights, Bureau of Indian Affairs, etc.). A good rule of thumb in government budgets is: no figure means nothing. I mean, it looks nice, it fills the dollars-and-cents box on the spreadsheet, but for all the relationship it bears to anything you might as well enter Anna Nicole Smith's breast size on every line. At least that way, we'll know they're artificially inflated.
No accountability? Missing billions? Fantasy bookkeeping? Pick any Federal agency you like. WorldCom's $4-billion is less than a third of the $12.1-billion Medicare misplaces every single year. It's less than a thirtieth of the $142-billion the Federal Government has overspent its supposedly binding budgets by in the last five years. It's less than one-sixtieth of the new US$248-billion farm subsidy bill, three-quarters of which goes to a bunch of multimillionaire play-farmers like Ted Turner and David Rockefeller."
"In September 2001 (only five days, in fact, before the destruction of the World Trade Center), the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet reported that 65 percent of rapes of Norwegian women were performed by 'non-Western' immigrants–a category that, in Norway, consists mostly of Muslims. The article quoted a professor of social anthropology at the University of Oslo (who was described as having 'lived for many years in Muslim countries') as saying that 'Norwegian women must take their share of responsibility for these rapes' because Muslim men found their manner of dress provocative. One reason for the high number of rapes by Muslims, explained the professor, was that in their native countries 'rape is scarcely punished,' since Muslims 'believe that it is women who are responsible for rape.' The professor’s conclusion was not that Muslim men living in the West needed to adjust to Western norms, but the exact opposite: 'Norwegian women must realize that we live in a multicultural society and adapt themselves to it.'"
What is wrong with these people? Why must we adapt to a closed anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-individual society? Is the idea of being tolerant of other people's cultures so important that we must give up everything else for the sake of it? It's appeasers like these who made World War II possible. The difference is that in today's case we are dealing with a culture instead of a political movement.
" Allen Iverson, I have written unkindly about you, too, suggesting that you were a dangerous thug. Mr. Iverson, you are a fine man and a role model to our nation's youth, and you have every right to allegedly threaten people with guns if you need to find out where your wife is. Or for any reason at all, sir."
When I wrote that our captains of industry were "the greediest bunch of no-talent morons the world has seen since the Harding administration," I was talking through my hat. You guys are awesome. You made a few mistakes -- but, look, am I so perfect? On behalf of our nation's investors, pensioners, widows and orphans, and also on behalf of your many, many thousands of grateful former employees, I would like to thank you all for your years of hard slogging as stewards of our great corporations. You deserve every penny you got your sticky mitts on, and I, for one, am happy to be left holding the bag. I would invest my little all with you again, if I still had a little all.
John Walker Lindh, your father says that you are "a really good kid," who "loves America." Right-o, all is forgiven; sorry. John Henry Williams, don't listen to the critics. There is nothing shabby about freezing your dad and selling off his DNA."
See, anyone can be nice if they just try.
Tuesday, July 23, 2002
"I think it's an indication of their intelligence," he said. "I'm not here to be friends with a bunch of people who stand at the side of the road, who've had too much to drink, and want to yell."
"It's an issue of class: Do you have class, or do you not have class? That's not the way a classy person acts."
"Must we compare the record of capitalism with that of the state, which, looking at the sweep of this past century alone, killed hundreds of millions of people in its wars, famines, camps, and deliberate starvation campaigns? And the record of central planning of the type now being urged on American enterprise is perfectly abysmal.
Let the state attempt to eradicate anything--unemployment, poverty, drugs, business cycles, illiteracy, crime, terrorism--and it ends up creating more of it than would have been the case if it had done nothing at all.
The state has created nothing. The market has created everything. But let the stock market fall 20 percent in 18 months, and what happens? The leading intellectuals discover anew why the Bolshevik Revolution was a pretty good idea, even if the results weren't what idealists might have hoped. We are told that we must rethink the very foundations of civilization itself.
In every society, there is greed, fraud, and theft. But let these vices rear their heads in a socialist society--though the norm is a continual and brutal struggle for power--and the fact goes unnoticed or is attributed to the remnants of capitalist thinking. Let these vices appear in a largely free economy, and the cry goes out: take away the freedom to trade and put the state in charge! "
Monday, July 22, 2002
"Factions weren't really in evidence, but disputes did break out. During a heated discussion of racist elements within Marxism itself, Brenda Stokely, chairman of the New York Labor Party, broke through a crescendo of exasperated voices with the cry: "There should be free everything for everybody!"
At this point, Mr. Smith warned that participants should not content themselves with imagining alternatives to capitalism. Such alternatives "are inevitable," he said. "I've never seen the U.S. ruling class so out on a limb." But "there's nothing that says egalitarian socialism or a feminist society, and not global military control, is the next step."
Other lecturers were less gloomy. An articulate, if chirpy, young woman named Lisa Featherstone gave an update on the anti-globalists who disrupt meetings of the World Trade Organization or "wherever else global bourgeoisie get together." She said that the slogan "another world is possible" had become "ubiquitous" on campuses. Young people had even taken to "anti-capitalist lifestyles." She cited the Anti-Authoritarian Baby-Sitters Club, where "the fiercest looking men" give up a day of protesting to stay at home and watch the kids.
At the mention of this novelty, an argument erupted in the back of the room. Josh, a graduate student, said that the lives of the protesters were shot through with what Marx referred to as the fetishism of commodities. Their love of organic food, he implied, was greater than their love of the oppressed who grow it. Ms. Featherstone conceded the point. She mentioned that organic farming might actually be "more exploitative" than large, mechanized farms, "because it requires more stooping."
Several people nodded their heads approvingly, happy to learn something new. Finally, "Capital" had something fresh to teach! Another world is possible indeed. "
Hmmm...no mention of the 100+ million and counting victims of the various 'Marxist' experiments in the last century or the overwhelming increase in living standards by all of the residents of the evil capitalist countries (although Ms. Featherstone did concede that the big, evil capitalist farms might actually require less stooping). But I think the grand philosophy of this crowd was best summarized by the line shouted by one of the participants: "There should be free everything for everybody!". Here, here! I would like my Ferrari delivered to my home please.
"In Maryland, wildlife managers announced last week that they're considering killing mute swans, which were imported four decades ago from Europe. The swans are gobbling their way through acres of underwater grasses that support other species. Capable of eating up to 10 pounds a day each, the 4,000 birds counted in 1999 in the watershed are expected to grow into a population of 38,500 in the next eight years, state officials said. Wildlife managers have tried to shoo the birds away from the grasses, redistribute them in same-sex groups, and shake their eggs to prevent them from hatching."
How is this any more evil than pollution? They are killing animals for no other reason than because they might harm the balance of an ecosystem. What right do they have to decide which species should live and which shouldn't? We're not talking about killer bees here, we are talking about swans.
Better mortgage rate and breast-size increasing lobbies expected to join the fight. In fact the breast-enlargment and penis-enlargement groups would make natural allies.
It seems that Boston's 'Living Wage' statute which requires local contractors to pay a minimum wage of $10.54 an hour may force multiple child care facilities supporting low-income families to close because they can't afford the increase. [more]
Sunday, July 21, 2002
Interesting post on the Qu'ran (Koran) and the problems of translation at Ideofact.
Another fine post by Den Beste on why the ICC is a bad idea.
Also, taking on the premise of "Reign of Fire" he comments on how dragons would actually fare against modern military equipment.
He thinks we would win easily although as one of his readers pointed out:
"Update 20020715: Robert writes as follows:
You're forgetting the dragon's most dangerous weapon -- our own stupidity. Any species reduced to a handful of individuals is endangered, and thus would immediately be protected -- never mind the danger they pose! Clearly, humanity hunted them nearly to extinction, and there's NO WAY it's gonna happen again.
Dragons would be protected from all hunting, and having one move onto your land would mean you lose all control over that land. And there SURE ain't no way to "shoot, shovel, and shut up" with a dragon!
So, much like Florida alligators, dragons would go from fascinating curiousity to minor pest to major menace in, oh, twenty years or so.
Unfortunately, his point is well taken."
Will Wilkinson takes on Stanley Fish and post-modernism.