I thought the cheap shots that I have heard over the last decade were because 90% of the professional class in
Monday, May 30, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
We then saw Gibraltar, still a British territory, and a very British town. We saw St. Michael's cave, a huge cavern so large concerts are given inside. Stalagmites and stalactites were sawed off to make room for a hospital in World War II, and you can see after 60 years, tiny 1/4" long stalagmites starting to form again. In other areas where the stalags were not cut off, they are enormous--up to fifty feet long; so the insignificance of our time on earth was brought home.
Cadiz was a lovely little city with purple flowered trees smelling like rhododendrons, a lovely beach area, narrow streets and ancient buildings. It seemed like a good place where you could forget the rest of the world, and just relax and enjoy the quiet life.
Lisbon was also beautiful, but it had a lot of graffiti. We ate Belem pastries--justifiably world famous. It is a tart shaped crispy crust, with a luscious vanilla custard inside.
A few days abed, and I felt well enough to enjoy London. The weather was perfect, and the flowers, particularly the roses, were all in bloom. Inner London was immaculate, no graffiti, spanking clean red buses and no trash. People were enjoying the parks; they were crowded with people of all ages. Dogs were allowed unleashed in the parks with their owners , and the dogs were all extremely well behaved. I asked the taxi driver if there was no graffiti because of the royal wedding, and he said, no; there is never any graffiti. He thought it was because of so many cameras in the city. He said there were more cameras in London than in Moscow or Beijing. He said if you put the wrong trash out, you have the police knocking on your door. Is that the price to pay for cleanliness? I am not so sure.
A couple of general observations: 25 years ago when I first went to Europe, I could tell the Americans from the natives. Now, everyone dresses alike, except that Europeans still wear different shoes--thinner soles, and pointier. No clogs, and few running shoes. Europeans also dress somewhat more modestly and neatly than Americans: when I got back to Logan, I realized that American girls are wearing much tighter jeans, and they all looked sloppier. I also rarely saw anyone in Europe who was even modestly overweight. I think the walking has a lot to do with it. Americans need to exercise more.
I have several pent up blog posts, which I will post in the days to come.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Have we heard anything from Cindy Sheehan? What about Code Pink? Anything on the nightly news about the horrors of bombing civilians or of not getting involved in the internal affairs of a country? Is there anyone on the left opposing the war in Libya? I did find two: First, Dennis Kucinich, Congressman from Ohio. Remember him? Remember that he was opposed to the invasion of Iraq? Remember we heard quite a bit about him during the Iraq war - he was on the nightly news quite a bit - Sunday news shows and such. I bet you didn't know that he is opposed to the Libyan invasion. I bet you didn't know that he is saying President Obama has violated the UN Resolution and the US Constitution and that it might be an impeachable offense. I also found that Cindy Sheehan is opposed to the Libyan invasion. Remember her camping out at Bush's Texas ranch? We saw quite a bit about her in the news back during the Iraq war - not so much now.
What a contrast!
Bush gave Saddam Hussein two years of warning - telling him that he had to abide by the UN resolutions that he had been violating for more than ten years. When Saddam refused, Bush obtained Congressional approval and approval from the UN before a coalition of forces led by the U.S. invaded Iraq. He also set forth the purpose of invasion in a statement to Americans. He had a goal to remove the threat and to give the government of Iraq back to its people. He had clear military objective.
Nevertheless, Bush faced daily negative news stories about the war. People like Dennis Kucinich and Cindy Sheehan appeared on all of the news stations and on the Sunday news shows. Bush faced daily protests. He was hung in effigy. He was accused of being Hitler. His life was threatened. When searching for Denis Kucinich and Libya I found that some political blogs brought up his opposition back in March, but the only television news organization that has reported this recently is Fox News.
What's the difference? Obama is a Democrat and Bush is a Republican. Obama can get away with an itchy trigger finger and not clearly defining goals or purpose when invading another country. Bush can spend two years making a case for an invasion of Iraq and get all the requisite approvals and still be ripped to shreds by the media and the progressives.
Will we hear similar opposition on our nightly news about Obama? No, we will not. The mainstream media does not want to undermine President Obama during the upcoming election. They may want you to think they are objective, but comparing their coverage of Bush and Obama show their bias. That is why Americans need to look at all different sources for their news - not just ABC, NBC, CBS, AP. Get a well rounded version of events from other organizations and sources and then decide.
Next blog: Libya and Iraq - A Lesson in Obama's Hypocrisy
Monday, May 9, 2011
And finally, President Obama was quoted as saying anyone who questioned whether Bin Laden "deserved what he got needs to have his head examined". Wow. George Bush had said he wanted Bin Laden "dead or alive", and we never heard the end of that quote as proof that Pres Bush was a cowboy. But neither Cokie nor the interviewer commented on Obama's comment. Obama's incredible arrogance is never commented on by NPR.
The next story was a deferential interview with (we heard twice) a "Nobel Prize winning" economist Joseph Stiglitz. Stiglitz made all the liberal talking points: he called people who want to reduce government spending "mindless" three times; and he said they were driven by "ideology". His position on the deficit---he thinks we need to spend much more---was "intelligent". And he said those who want to reduce government spending don't want to "tax billionaires a little more"--a cheap political shot at those who believe raising taxes will hurt our economy. He also took yet another cheap shot at Pres. Bush, saying that an example of spending for infrastructure that should have been done was the levees in New Orleans. Never mind that Pres. Bush had nothing to do with the fact the levees had not been sufficiently reinforced, and there was plenty of infrastructure spending during the Bush administration. It is part of the liberal mantra that is repeated over and over. The interviewer concluded his interview by saying Stiglitz sounded like he believed the people who wanted to reduce the deficit were "short sighted rich people", and the Stiglitz agreed. The NPR interviewer never asked one hard question of Stiglitz because Stiglitz's views are the same as the world view of NPR: conservatives are stupid and driven by ideology. Never mind that Paul Ryan's budget is an thoughtful intelligent, courageous proposal. One may disagree with Ryan's approach, but it is certainly not "mindless". Moreover, Stiglitz is the ideologue. Stiglitz said the role of government is to make society more "equal", a radical ideology that will reduce our standard of living and curb our freedom. Yet the NPR interviewer never commented on such radicalism, or questioned any of Stiglitz' overtly partisan comments.
This morning is typical of NPR's everyday bias.
Friday, May 6, 2011
Author's Note: I wrote this in May 2009 when Sen. Leahy called for investigation of Justice Department Lawyers who issued legal memos stating that enhanced interrogation techniques are not torture. It is relevant now because enhanced interrogation techniques helped to find Osama Bin Laden, according to Leon Panetta, the present director of the CIA. Despite that fact, Attorney General Holder's Justice Department is pursuing criminal investigations of CIA officials who conducted enhanced interrogation. The article is also relevant because The liberal Establishment continues to call those techniques "torture" Since the liberal Establishments calls the techniques "torture", no one questions the name calling and dutifully repeats the mantra over and over. This is another example of the monolithic Establishment culture in America. The fact is that the techniques used by the CIA were not torture as defined by the statute, as indicated below. But facts don't seem to matter to the Establishment which wants to demonize its opponents and criminalize its opponent's conduct.
I was reminded of the racism charge last night when I listened to the Republican debate in South Carolina. Fox News had Frank Luntz, a pollster, set up a focus group to listen to the debate. The group consisted of white South Carolina Republicans. After the debate, the vast majority of the people in the group said that they were most impressed by Herman Cain, the former Godfather's Pizza CEO, and would vote for him for President. Cain won the debate hands down. Only one person supported Cain before the debate. But Cain's performance was so impressive that the voters were swayed in his favor.
Cain is a black man--not half white, like our President, if one wants to note such silly and irrelevant distinctions.
There was not one mention of race; the voters talked about Cain's candor, straight forward answers, and his experience. For white South Carolina Republicans, race was not a factor, as it seems to be in old hat liberal circles.
Here is my prediction: unfortunately, the Left will now go after Herman Cain, like they did Clarence Thomas, Condi Rice and Colin Powell. To the Left, these people are members of a "victim" class who are supposed to think in lockstep with liberals-- a genuine racist view.
So, to my liberal friends: stop the silly racism and stupidity charges. They are so yesterday. Lets assume that everyone of us has a good faith desire for what is best for America and American citizens--and that we are intelligent enough to grasp the issues. Once we agree on these basic premises, we can discuss our divergent views on how to reach the same goal, and as Herman Cain said last night: become "problem solvers".
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
This morning I listened to Peter Robinson's Uncommon Knowledge podcast. He interviewed Andrew Ferguson, editor of the Weekly Standard and author of the book Crazy U. During the interview Ferguson talks about what he has learned about the state of college education in America as his son went through the application and matriculation process.
At one point Robinson asked Ferguson why colleges charge so much for their product. Ferguson said that when he went to Occidental College in the 1970s the tuition was $16,000 per year in today's dollars, and today the tuition is over $40,000. How can they do that when the United States has what is supposed to be a free market economy?
Ferguson said that he asked an expert this question, and the expert said that colleges keep raising their prices because they can. Parents have bought the idea that their children must attend the best possible name-brand school to be successful in life, and therefore they are willing to pay any price. He mentioned the fact that the government subsidizes education through grants and loans, but only in passing.
I found this answer less than satisfying. Ferguson has underestimated the effect of the federal government handing each student a blank check to use to pay the school. Colleges can raise the tuition because the federal government will loan the student and his parents an arbitrary amount to pay for school. Of course, it's not just a blank check. There are strings attached, and 22 year olds regularly graduate (or worse, fail to graduate) with student loan debt that exceeds the size of a mortgage on one's first home.
The first step toward a free market in higher education is to end the federal subsidy of the student loan programs. With less money chasing the existing supply of college education, prices will fall because of the interplay between supply and demand. Furthermore, the federal government needs to cut spending anyway because it is spending far more than it takes in through taxes. Ending federal student loans will therefore address two pressing problems facing Americans -- the soaring cost of college and overspending on the part of the federal government.