Saturday, October 19, 2002

BLOG MERGING PLANS UPDATE
I appreciate the help I'm getting from other bloggers publicizing my request. I have one writer, Skip Oliva at The Intellectual Passivist, interested in merging blogs. I'm still searching for more bloggers, so if you consider yourself a free marketer, small-l libertarian, or capitalist, send me an e-mail. If you despise socialism in all its form, send me an e-mail. Also, if you have a successful blog and you're willing to take on other writers, send me an e-mail.

Some good candidates for a group-written blog include:
1. Economists, or someone very knowledgeable of economics.
2. Students and educators interested in writing about left-wing political indoctrination at universities and public schools.
3. People who mind paying high taxes.
4. Consumers who mind paying more for products because of laws, regulation, and tariffs.
5. People who mind government intrusiveness.
6. People who like to goof on wealthy entertainers that pretend to hate capitalism and wealthy people.
7. Current bloggers simply interested in posting links to news articles, commentary, and other bloggers.
8. Business owners.
9. Non-Americans.
10. Current bloggers who write intelligent original content and get a link at InstaPundit every so often.

I'll keep updating my progress here in forming a group-written blog.

sabertoothjournal--at--yahoo--dot--com

Friday, October 18, 2002

SEARCH FOR WRITING PARTNERS
I have been writing The Sabertooth Journal for two months now. I am unable to devote enough time to maintain a consistently high quality and quantity of writing that meets my standards. I would like to take on additional writers or combine The Sabertooth Journal with another blog or blogs. If you are a free marketer who currently has a blog or would like to write for a blog, send me an e-mail if you would like to form a group-written blog. Current bloggers not interested in this offer can do me a big favor by publicizing my request on your blogs.
HIATUS
I will be taking a two-week hiatus from writing The Sabertooth Journal. I will return the first weekend of November. Visit the blogs I have linked to on the left-hand side.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

LEFTIST INFILTRATION OF FORMERLY MAINSTREAM CHURCHES, PART IV
After reading others commenting on how left-wing non-religious people have taken over formerly mainstream churches in America and abroad, I looked into the political policies of the nearby Episcopal church in Santa Monica, California. The church has a newsletter with editorial and opinions that it posts on its public website.

On the website, the rector gives his convoluted definition of a "just war," which has 10 criteria that have nothing to do with religion. The associate pastor explains why church members should support a Santa Monica living wage ballot initiative that according to the most basic economics would lead to widespread unemployment. But best of all, the rector gives a socialist rant on why capitalism, Republicans, and the founding principles of America are evil.

I encourage readers to read the essay in its entire stupidity, but some the rector's best quotes are:
The American Experience, since its inception, has been shaped by an essential contradiction: the need to protect the privileges of the elite coupled with a fear of the masses in tension with the professed ideals of democracy and the proclamation of the ideology of equality. The men of means who crafted our foundational documents (the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights) and thus who shaped our National Identity were men who were themselves formed by an 18th century English culture of hierarchal and hereditary aristocracy dependent on a "neo-feudal" exploitation of the lower classes.

To be reminded that five groups of "Americans" were not represented at the Constitutional Convention--Indians, slaves, indentured servants, women, and men without property--is not simply a matter of retrospective political correctness masked as historical critique. Rather, it is to observe that in being both excluded from the table and from the creative imaginations of those who were there, the interest of the majority of "Americans" were neither represented nor protected. This essential "design flaw" has been played out in 200+ years of American history, as a struggle to live up to the ideals of democracy and equality in the context of an economic and political system which conspires to protect corporate wealth and power and the privileges of the elite. The issue is not conservative/liberal or Republican/Democrat but one of basic paradigmatic understanding about how the world works.

Franklin Roosevelt (President from 1933-1945) did much to try to "save capitalism from the capitalist" by progressively taxing the rich. The top rate was between 91% and 94%. This tax scheme remained in place until the 1960's, it should be recalled. By 1970, the income gap had narrowed substantially, with the top 1% owning barely 20% of the wealth.

Accelerating during the Reagan/Bush revolution, the gap between rich and poor is nearing record highs again. In 1999, the top 1% owned a third of the wealth of the nation. The top fifth of all the American populations now earns 11 times more than the bottom fifth - the largest gap in the Industrial World. President Bush's efforts to repeal the mischaracterized "death tax" (a tax designed to prevent the transfer of wealth of the richest Americans to their heirs and thus prevent the establishment of an American Aristocracy similar to England) threatens to further accelerate the development of a "plutocracy," which Kevin Phillips defines as the "fusion of money and government, or a "rule by the rich."

Our American tradition, with its profession of equality for all, compels us to question a system which increasingly functions to protect the priviledge of the few to the detriment of the many. Most egregious of all is an increasingly regressive tax system for the richest individuals and corporations (including off-shore tax dodges) which provides few resources to clean up the environment, improve public education, repair and rebuild aging and decaying infrastructures in our cities, fight debilitating diseases, provide universal health care for all citizens including a prescription drug plan for seniors, adequate childcare for the working poor, long term care for the aged, insure jobs for all who are able to work, transition homes for the homeless, better mental health care and hope for the world's poor in greater charity overseas. The militarization of the U.S. economy, which continues to involve us in curiously timed foreign wars which distract us from the critical needs at home, must be reversed. Anyone recall "the peace dividend?"

I could write an entire essay on what's wrong with the rector's rant, but let me limit it to just a few points. The rector clearly is oblivious to economics and how wealth is created. He likes to blame capitalism and America's capitalist culture for the existance of the poor, but he's making the typical socialist mistake of failing to understand that everyone, including the poor, is wealthier and better off under capitalism. He gave the typical capitalism is greed routine, and he refuses to acknowledge that the entire basis of socialism is greed. The greed of expecting and taking what others have earned. Even worse, this immoral theft is backed by the coercive power of government.

The rector goes out his way to blame Republicans for everything, while cheering on Democrats. He makes a gross accusation by calling war preparation for the Middle East "curiously timed foreign wars which distract us from the critical needs at home." How original! He cites a 1999 statistic on the distribution of wealth, but blames Reagan and Bush, not Clinton who had been president for six years. He even congratulates Franklin D. Roosevelt for creating destructive income taxes with marginal rates over 90%.

But I think that the worst part is the rector uses his phony religious and moral authority to demand political actions. There's a huge difference between giving a sermon on helping the poor and demanding that the coercive power of government enforce these so-called morals of his. The rector fails to see the connection between religious freedom and economic freedom. If Americans shouldn't be free to spend and earn their money as they like, then maybe Americans shouldn't be free to pick and choose their religion as they like. The wealth created by economic freedoms are what support his and all American churches. Destroy the system that creates the wealth, and his church will simply go out of business. Unlike Europe, failing churches in America cannot be propped up by tax dollars.

The rector thinks that he's coming off as intelligent and visionary by telling us to "think outside the box." In reality, his diatribe is just one socialist cliche after another--not intelligent or original. And to use the church and bible to justify his socialism has destroyed his credibility and moral authority. It's no wonder membership at these "liberal" churches has been consistently decreasing.
LEFTIST INFILTRATION OF FORMERLY MAINSTREAM CHURCHES, PART III
Christopher Johnson at Midwest Conservative Journal gives a fisking to an editorial by William E. Swing, Episcopal Squishop of California, and Alan Jones, Dean of San Francisco's Grace Episcopal Cathedral who write:
Intervention in Iraq may become necessary but not without the United Nations, not without factoring in the possibility of unintended consequences, and not without further conversations with Muslim countries, lest the divide of hatred grows larger. Initiating war against a sovereign country where no triggering event warrants such action establishes a precedent that could invite chaos among nations in the future. A pre-emptive strike that initiates a war is not in keeping with the history of our country; nor is it even in conformity with a religious understanding of a "just" war. To go to war now would require nothing less than the consensus of the world's nations.

Johnson's response:
This paragraph is yet another reason why no one with intelligence takes the Episcopal Church seriously anymore. We are not to go to war unless there is a "triggering event." 3,000 people died in the last "triggering event" involving the United States. According to Jones and the Swinger, the United States is to wait until the next "triggering event" before we even think about doing anything military. 3,000 more people incinerated, a small nuke set off somewhere, some major city's hospitals swamped by anthrax or smallpox cases, say. While we're burying the bodies, we are to have "further conversations with Muslim countries, lest the divide of hatred grows larger" and we are to go get the permission of the United Nations before we start shooting anything.

LEFTIST INFILTRATION OF FORMERLY MAINSTREAM CHURCHES, PART II
Donald Sensing at One Hand Clapping writes about the neo-Marxist politicization of Western Christian theology.
The neo-Marxist politicization of Western Christian theology is not total, but it's very deep. These are men and women who have allowed themselves to be propagandized by postmodern dialectics and, like the leftists Rosenbaum describes, see no redeeming virtues in Western civilization, especially America. They have no theology, not really, they have only left-wing political philosophy (and not even a well-done philosophy) that they have dressed up in God talk and called theology.

Plus he has some links to further reading.
LEFTIST INFILTRATION OF FORMERLY MAINSTREAM CHURCHES, PART I
John Ray writes at Frontpage Magazine that only churches that have lost their traditional Christian values have become Leftist.
An important result of their replacing traditional Christian faith by Leftist amorality is that the mainstream churches now seem to feel that they have no authority to offer moral guidance of any kind. For instance, rather than oppose or condemn the undoubtedly evil Saddam Hussein (who himself says that from his point of view Hitler was too weak), they are more likely to ask their congregations to “pray for peace”! If such responses were to become common in the population at large, this would surely be a serious erosion of the values that underlie Western civilization and perhaps even of the values that underlie any civilization. So perhaps we should hope that the decay into irrelevancy of the mainstream churches will continue apace.
YAHOO! WATCH
Yahoo! simply can't resist putting environmentalist propoganda on its front page. Today it's "Study: Snows of Kilimanjaro melting."

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

CALIFORNIA PAID LEAVE UPDATE
I mentioned a few weeks ago that I would give an update on the new law in California mandating paid leave for employees under certain situations. I was going to post readers comments and link to other opinions and analysis of the law. Unfortunately, the interest in this law is pretty low. I only received one response from a reader. I couldn't find any bloggers commenting on it. And a web search of articles critiquing the law were all written before the law was passed.

I'm shocked at the disinterest in the story. I truly believe a critical line has been crossed in the creation of a truly socialist welfare state. This could very well be the start of European-like low productivity and high employment cause by unreasonable labor costs. My only hope is that the California system goes broke or taxes are raised to outrageous levels before this type of thing catches on in other states, or even worse at the federal level.
MILWAUKEE MOB-BEATING MURDER
My wonderful hometown of Milwaukee recently made the national news with a mob-beating death of a man by a group of children. Eleven of the 14 people charged so far in the beating death are minors age 17 or younger, including one 10-year old child.

I was pleasantly surprised that the blame for this is overwhelming directed at the children and their irresponsible parents. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel asks "Where Were the Parents?"

Milwaukee radio talk show host, author of the great A Nation of Victims, and now blogger Charles Sykes writes that the usual suspects are out calling the children "victims," but a "debate has broken out in the black community over the issue of personal responsibility versus finger-pointing; and it includes some remarkably blunt truth-telling." (Thanks to The American Mind for the link.)

But I am a little disappointed that there isn't some blame and finger pointing at a very likely culprit: the welfare state. When daddy is no longer necessary because he has been replaced by welfare, this is what you get. Not just a bunch of professional leeches and a culture of learned helplessness and laziness, but you get a bunch of criminals. Taxpayers not only pay for a lifetime of prison for these degenerates, but taxpayers also pay for the creation of these monster with the welfare state. I don't believe in the welfare state on moral and philosophical grounds, but economically speaking, the welfare state appears to have a very low payoff. Could the outcome possibly any worse if the welfare state didn't exist? Could America possibly have anymore people unwilling to care for themselves and their children? The answer of course is no. The welfare state creates an economic incentive to live like this.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel provides these demographics of the neighborhood where the crime took place, but the newspaper failed to provide the demographics in a useful manner. What would be very useful to know is what percent of households headed by single mothers with children are on public assistance. And what percent of children charged with this crime are on or have ever been on public assistance. Some of the backgrounds published on the parents show they had fathers around and mothers with jobs, but I suspect the welfare state has created these situations and certainly plays a huge role in inner-city culture.
LEFTIST ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE WAR
John Hawkins at Right Wing News has two good overviews of problems with the left's arguments against war in the Middle East. The first essay is "The Quick and Dirty Leftist's Guide to Arguing Against the War on Terrorism." The second essay is "Ok Smart Guys -- What's Your Solution?"
MIDDLE EAST OIL DEPENDENCY
I get tired of listening to politicians, pundits, and the media talk about America's dependency on Middle East oil. There's no such thing. Not because some people like to argue America only gets a small percentage of its oil from the Middle East, but because oil is a commodity sold with a world-market price. Whether or not America gets its oil from the Middle East, America wants the Middle East to pump as much oil as possible, because the greater the supply of oil, the cheaper oil is everywhere, regardless of the source. It simply doesn't matter where America gets its oil.

I found a good primer on oil economics in regards to war in the Middle East in an interview with economist and historian Daniel Yergin. It isn't complete, but it's a quick read.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

YOUR DUTY AS A LOYAL SABERTOOTH JOURNAL READER
I'm not receiving enough hits per day on this blog. I typically get around 90 hits per weekday, when I'm not getting any traffic from a more well-known and popular blog. I update this blog practically everyday, and I answer all of my e-mail. I do that for you, my loyal readers.

So go tell your family, friends, and co-workers to read The Sabertooth Journal. When you read something you like, link to it on your blog. If you don't have a blog, send e-mails to other blogs to read and link to what you liked. Feature The Sabertooth Journal as the "Site of the Day" on your blog. Send me e-mails with original free-market comments, so I can cut and paste them on to The Sabertooth Journal. And read The Sabertooth Journal everyday.
PEPSI BLUE AND VANILLA COKE REVIEWS
PepsiCo is still limiting distribution to convenience store sizes like 20-ounce and 1-liter plastic bottles, like how PepsiCo originally introduced Mountain Dew Code Red. I have never noticed Pepsi Blue across the street at the 7-11 I frequent, so I finally bought a bottle of Pepsi Blue in the town of Needles, California, near the Arizona border a few weeks ago.

Pepsi Blue is absolute crap. It has a terrible berry flavor, and PepsiCo should be embarrassed that they make such a product. This is the type of product I might expect from Shasta or some other cheap bargain brand of soda. Pepsi Blue is a product that destroys brand equity, and PepsiCo should seriously consider taking the Pepsi name off the product, before consumers start associating the Pepsi brand with cheap, phony-tasting soft drinks. If it weren't for the sugar, I would have to give this product zero stars. Pepsi Blue: 1/2 star out of 4 stars. To learn more about Pepsi Blue, read the Pepsi Blue blog. The blog is not written or hosted by PepsiCo.

Vanilla Coke on the other hand is heaven sent. I'm already a loyal customer. This is the type of product that makes me proud to be an American. Vanilla Coke: 4 stars out of 4 stars. Enjoy the Vanilla Coke blog, too. The blog is not written or hosted by Coca-Cola.

Here's a fun fact you may not know. Cola does not have a noticeable flavor. Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola are not cola-flavored drinks; you're tasting other flavors when you drink them. I read an article a few years ago, where a publication had professional tasters drink and describe the flavors of both Coke and Pepsi. It was determined that Coke has a vanilla flavor, and Pepsi has a citrus flavor.
KMART TESTING NEW LOGO
Kmart is testing a new logo, replacing its red and blue sign with gray and lime green in an updated style. I think Kmart's logo is the least of the bankrupt retailer's concerns. There's no word if Kmart intends to keep items in stock, pick up the junk in its aisles, and prevent customers without shirts from entering the store.

I can only recall being in a Kmart once in the last ten years. There's a Kmart across the street from the Los Angeles Farmers Market on 3rd Street. The one time I ran into the Kmart, after breakfast at the Farmers Market, I found the place to be filthy and in disarray.
A WOMAN'S RIGHT TO KNOW
Here's some stupidity from the right. I received an e-mail asking me to contribute to the great cause of a "woman's right to know" about the risks of abortion.

Come to think of it, this is a good idea. The government should provide citizens with information, so consumers can make intelligent decisions. The government should do this with every product or service in America. If there is one thing in life I can count on, it is the government providing me with essential and critical information in an unbiased, non-political, and intelligent manner so I can make correct economic and life decisions. God knows that if it weren't for the government providing me information on goods and services, I would never have the ability to search out and learn critical information necessary for making intelligent purchasing decisions on my own.

Can't the right learn from the follies of the left. If they truly wanted something to go away, why would they create more government bureaucracy staffed by lifetime government employees? The government employees in the "Woman's Right to Know" bureaucracy will have a vested interest in ensuring that abortion remains legal. Outlaw abortion, and they're out of a job.
HATE-AMERICA TERRORISTS LAUNCH "PRE-EMPTIVE ATTACK" IN SAN JOSE
Terrorists from the hate-America crowd destroyed two military recruiting vehicles and vandalized recruiting offices with the terroristic threat "Pre-emptive Attack" in San Jose on Monday.

The motive behind the arson remained unclear, though some officials privately acknowledged the graffiti could mean it was a reaction to plans being made to wage war against Iraq. President Bush has argued that a pre-emptive strike is justified because Iraq has been trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction and has denied access to weapons inspectors.

``It's hard to know what this means,'' said Marti McKee, a spokeswoman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. ``Maybe there's a political motive for this,'' she said. ``Maybe somebody has a grudge. It's hard to speculate.''

Yep, sounds like the ATF all right. Good thing they're on the job.

I'm curious in whose name was this done. (Not In Our Name.) Are these terrorists trying to stifle dissent to the anti-war agenda? What brought on this bellicosity? Shouldn't people be free from this type of coercion? Won't this create a "cycle of violence"?

The best part of this terrorist act is these left-wing kooks just told us pre-emptive attacks are legitimate.

Monday, October 14, 2002

SUNDAY LOS ANGELES TIMES WRAP-UP
Here are comments from Sunday's Los Angeles Times. You can use the username "sabertooth1" and the password "sabertooth1," if you haven't already registered for a free password.

GOVERNOR DAVIS APPOINTEES GAVE $12 MILLION TO CAMPAIGN
Nearly one-fifth of the $64 million Gov. Gray Davis has raised for his reelection, about $12 million, has been directed to his campaign by people he appointed to state boards and commissions.

This is very seedy. Don't condemn this because Governor Davis is a Democrat; condemn this as politics as usual. No, I'm not talking about campaign finance reform. This is about the government being too big, the sale of government positions that are unnecessary, and the continued shakedown of deep pockets by people who make the laws. We wouldn't read stories like this, if the government wasn't too big, too intrusive, too powerful, and out of control.

DAVIS' PICKS LOOK A LOT LIKE WILSON'S
In gender and racial makeup, Gov. Gray Davis' appointees who require Senate approval are not much different from those of Gov. Pete Wilson, a Republican criticized by minorities for his opposition to affirmative action and illegal immigration, Senate records show.

It's bad enough that racists like the L.A. Times think its important to determine the qualifications of government appointees by taking a look at their ethnicity and gender. Clearly the L.A.Times thinks ethnicity and gender are important qualifications, and thinks there should be more minorities and women appointees.

But take a look how the L.A. Times phrased the title of the article. Instead of writing that statistics show that Democratic Governor Davis doesn't appoint enough minorities or something like that, the The L.A. Times sugarcoated its criticism of Davis by writing that Davis isn't any worse than that jackass, racist pig, former Republican Governor Pete Wilson. Why was Wilson's name placed in the title? Was it necessary? Is this about minority appointees or is this about Wilson? This article says more about the L.A. Times than anyone or anything else. What complete crap.

L.A. LAGS BEHIND LARGEST U.S. CITIES IN BASIC SERVICES
Here's a poorly written article, with poor analysis. The L.A. Times writer points out that when comparing the five largest cities, Los Angeles trails the other four in "key measurements" of many municipal services. The writer made the mistake of looking at the inputs like number of officers, fireman, and employees and doesn't look at the outcome and effectiveness. The article does say LAPD has the slowest response time of police departments, but is that the best measurement of effectiveness? Does being four minutes slower make any difference? The critical issue should be are taxpayers getting the most bang for their buck.

I also suspect that Los Angeles was only compared with four other cities because Los Angeles didn't look as bad when comparing the 10-largest or 20-largest U.S. cities. There's no story if Los Angeles doesn't look bad. Either that, or the writer was too lazy to do research beyond five cities.

And by the way, former Republican mayor Richard Riordan gets the blame.

THE POWER OF THE WEST COAST DOCKWORKERS UNION
Here's the best parts:
"It's really disappointing that collectively they don't see how good they have it," said Jim, a payroll clerk at a Los Angeles terminal who, like many union critics, said he feared repercussions if he used his full name.

"It's insanity down here," he said. "They work half the time of most people and make twice the money and gripe about it all day. And any loss, any concession -- it's like drawing blood from a stone."

Such grumbling is nothing new, said David J. Olson, a political science professor at the University of Washington who has made a specialty of studying the ILWU.

"People have been making the same kinds of charges for decades -- that the union is arrogant, strong-headed, too militant, too possessive of the space it occupies on the docks," he said. "I see greater consistency than differences here. It's been a fundamental principle of the ILWU from its first breath that the union controls the production process on the terminals. They see themselves as lords of the docks."

And a little further down:
[The union founder] realized that his fledgling labor group needed two things to survive: a union-controlled hiring hall that would bypass corrupt bosses on the docks and a bargaining unit that spanned the entire coast so shipping companies couldn't play one port against the other.

If this isn't collusion, I don't know what is. It's a good thing unions are exempted from antitrust regulation.
NOT IN OUR NAME
WSJ's Best of the Web has been giving updates on the Not in our Name petition, and now FrontPage Magazine tells us who these "activists" really are. In case you still haven't read the petition, read it here; it's adorable. And be sure to read the bold-lettered "celebrities" who signed the petition.
Sydney Morning Herald Editorial
I just swiped this link from InstaPundit, but it's too good not to repost on my site. The title of the editorial is "Bleeding Hearts Left Exposed as Fools," written after many Australians died this weekend in a terrorist attack in Bali. The conclusion is dead-on correct:

Whatever personal positions are held about Bush, Blair and John Howard, contemporary terrorism amounts to an attack on Western civilisation.

Islamists have already declared war on Western Civilization, yet somehow we still have to listen to the left tell us we've brought this upon ourselves, and that we shouldn't be fighting this war on terror.

Sunday, October 13, 2002

MORE ON "CHICKENHAWKS
I mentioned in the previous posting that charges of "chickenhawk" by leftists were leveled against President Bush. In this opinion piece from the San Jose Mercury News, Democratic Congressman Pete Stark writes:

Let us not forget that our president -- our commander in chief -- has no experience with, or knowledge of, war. He admits that he was at best ambivalent about the Vietnam War. He skirted his own military service and then failed to serve out his time in the National Guard. And, he reported years later that at the height of that conflict in 1968 he didn't notice "any heavy stuff going on.''


According to this article that does not show President Bush is the most positive light, Bush flew an F-102 fighter-interceptor in the Texas Air National Guard after receiving his commission in 1968. So Bush served as a combat pilot in the Texas National Guard. Unlike today when reservists and guardsmen are regularly called to active duty to serve in combat zones, serving in the National Guard during the Vietnam War may have been a good way of avoiding combat in Vietnam. Even still, I can think of a lot better ways to avoid combat than to be a combat pilot with the possibility of being called to active duty.

As a Harvard graduate, Al Gore was somehow able to avoid a commission and probably a assignment as a platoon commander, and instead enlisted to become a military journalist in Vietnam. California governor Gray Davis was probably a military lawyer in Vietnam. Being a military journalist or lawyer in Vietnam were probably safer than being a combat jet pilot in America. And what about Pete Stark? According to his bio, he was in the U.S. Air Force from 1955 to 1957. Stark's "experience with, or knowledge of, war"? Apparently zero. I guess he isn't qualified to make decisions on matters of war then either.

The more I think about the "chickenhawk" label, the more I realize I don't get it. I don't understand the underlying principle of calling someone a "chickenhawk." I realize it is a personal attack, but I don't understand anything beyond that. Since these attacks have been directed at President Bush, leftists cannot be saying military experience is a necessary qualification of making political decisions to go to war. The leftists are saying combat experience is a necessary qualification of making political decisions to go to war. Think about what that means.

The left is arguing that a president and senior civilian defense officials must have combat experience to be qualified to make decisions of war. For the sake of consistency, I think making a political decision not to go to war is a military decision, and therefore a lack of combat experience would disqualify people from objecting to war. But let's just say the left is arguing that a pro-war decision cannot be made without combat experience. What does that mean?
1. America could not elect presidents without combat experience, because America would be a sitting duck for attacks. A president without combat experience would not have the necessarily qualifications to order an attack repulsed or retaliation of any kind. Therefore, America could only elect president with combat experience. This means:

2. America could not elect women, homosexuals, certain religious adherents, the obese, the disabled, or any other person who was disqualified from military service or combat duty to be president.

3. America would have to launch a war every ten years of so to ensure a sizable pool of combat-experienced presidential candidates.

4. Now that wars are fought and won within weeks, plans for wars would have to be announced approximately a year in advance to allow future presidential candidates an opportunity to receive the standard military training that would qualify them to be in combat.

5. All future presidential candidates would have to be granted their requests for combat assignments.

6. All future presidential candidates would have to actually see combat. Wars and battles would have to be prolonged to ensure all future presidential candidates received the opportunity to shoot at enemy combatants and to be shot at by enemy combatants.

This is the world the leftists envision for America.

Saturday, October 12, 2002

ANTI-AMERICANISM ARGUMENTS
Three wonderful counter-arguments to left-wing anti-war arguments were linked to on InstaPundit today. These counter-arguments give further credence that the left wing's arguments against the war are simply just anti-American garbage.

Ralph Peters writes in the New York Post about how the left uses phony caring about the welfare of Americans in uniform.
THERE are few things more repugnant to a soldier than a coward who claims to speak on his behalf. At present, there seems no end of politicians and pundits claiming we dare not strike Saddam because of the danger of friendly casualties. Self-appointed voices of conscience warn of tens of thousands of American dead.

That's nonsense. And when those who despise the men and women in uniform invoke the welfare of our troops to further their failing agendas, they transcend the commonplace cynicism of Washington. This is hypocrisy as a moral disease.

Make no mistake: The anti-war voices long for us to lose any war they cannot prevent.

The Sound an the Fury writes about charges of "colonialism" by the United States, which I suppose is the same charge as "imperialism."
And I would love to see any of these so-called opponents to colonialism speak out against Wahhabist colonialism in Europe or Afghanistan (or the repeated Arab desire to colonize Israel by force and commit genocide in the process). The failure to do so shows that the objection is not to colonialism but to the West and to democracy. It's frankly appalling and close to racist to see people complaining that a repressive and murderous dictatorship might get replaced by a democracy because the people leading the transition aren't the same skin color as the victims of the totalitarian regime.

Richard Bennett writes about "chickenhawk" charges against the president, who supposedly is unqualified to make decisions about war because he never served in Vietnam when he had the opportunity. Bennett's reply to the Democratic Congressman Pete Stark who made the charge:
So now you're trying to tell us that Vietnam was a just war, and the President should have been on the front lines, where you weren't? You need to make up your mind about that.

I love this argument. It had never occurred to me that the left is arguing that our political leaders should have served in the military during Vietnam. If they honestly believed the Vietnam War was unjust and morally wrong, they could never make their "chickenhawk" argument. Hell, they should be congratulating these politicians and civilian military leaders for doing the right thing, and not serving in Vietnam. But they won't, because they don't have a consistent argument or principles other than their anti-Americanism.

Another thing occurs to me, because of this counter-argument to "chickenhawk" attacks. Last month, I discussed how everyone under the age of 40, who meets the qualifications, has had the opportunity to serve in the very professional, well-equipped, adequately-paid American military without legitimate fear of death or grievous injury in a foreseeable war. This includes service in the reserves or National Guard, which does not interfere with school or career plans. The left has activity been arguing against and protesting military policy--particularly social policy--for the past 15 years, yet these people have refused to serve in the military. I mentioned that I will be happy to throw this back in their faces when protesting against American military social policy resumes, but I failed to make the logical concluding argument.

Since not going to war is a military decision, people who have not served in the military are not qualified to make that argument. They have said themselves that only those who have military experience--particularly in war--should be making these decisions. "Slinging hash" and treating psychiatric patients in Southern California doesn't quite meet the criteria. I apologize for stating the obvious, and for stating something that someone else has certainly already said.

Friday, October 11, 2002

YAHOO! WATCH
Here's more garbage from Yahoo! The Yahoo! homepage is greeting its visitors today with "Study: Aging women want sex, but men fail". Yahoo! believes the failure of men with limp penises to be one of the five most important "news" items today, along with Virginia snipers and Iraq war plans. Studies Yahoo! will not be publicizing in the near future because they do not fit Yahoo!'s agenda:
1. Young men want sex, but young women fail.
2. Married men want sex, but women fail.
3. Men want sex with multiple women, but women fail.
4. Men want sex in morning, but women fail.
5. Men want (fill in blank) sex, but women fail.
JIMMY CARTER ADMITS TO BEING SOCIALIST IN NOBEL ACCEPTANCE
Jimmy Carter, whose inaction and cowardice in 1979 Iran is the likely source of America's problems with Islamic terrorists, has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In Carter's written acceptance statement, he writes:

During the past two decades, as Rosalynn and I traveled around the world for the work of our Center, my concept of
human rights has grown to include not only the rights to live in peace, but also to adequate health care, shelter, food, and to economic opportunity.

I hope this award reflects a universal acceptance and even embrace of this broad-based concept of human rights.

For further proof that "human rights" is code for socialism, take a look at all of the issues you can read about at the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights website. The High Commissioner did congratulate Carter in a statement:

The High Commissioner also commends his adoption of an inclusive approach in this regard, which takes into account the interdependence and indivisibility of all human rights - civil, cultural, economic, political and social – for all people.

I suppose I should be happy the award was not given to former commissioner Mary Robinson. Here's a collection of the some of Mary's best stuff: Village Voice, BBC, Innocence Abroad, and the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler.

Since Carter has publicly spoken out against President Bush's Middle East policies, do you think just maybe the Nobel Prize committee was taking a swipe at Bush? The Wall Street Journal reports that it is:

"It should be interpreted as a criticism of the line that the current administration has taken," said Gunnar Berge, chairman of the Nobel committee. "It's a kick in the leg to all that follow the same line as the U.S.," he added.
(Quote via AtlanticBlog)

Thursday, October 10, 2002

CRITIQUE OF FISKING
CalPundit has an interesting critique of fisking, a technique common among warbloggers. (Click here if you need a definition of fisking.) Fisking usually entails breaking down a commentator's arguments point-by-point, so the liberal CalPundit cleverly makes his point by breaking down the Gettysburg Address. His conclusion on fisking:

Childish, petulant, ignorant, and willfully trying to miss the bigger point. Almost autistic in the certainty that their hyper-rationalism has dealt a devastating logical blow to their safely-out-of-sight opponent.

Folks, there's a reason you don't see "real" pundits do this kind of thing in the New York Times, and it's not because of liberal media bias. It's because it's stupid. Knock it off.

I do think a good point is made of about missing the bigger picture. The context and underlying principles of an argument can be more important than the evidence that is suppose to support the context and principles. This can be especially true in newspaper and television commentary that have space or time constraints. A great example of missing the big picture is misguided critiques of the U.S Constitution by those who do not understand the context and principles of the entire document, the American form of government, and natural rights.

In defense of fisking, I find it to be a logical and speedy way for someone to break down another's arguments. Most bloggers are not being paid for their blogging activities, have limited time to write, and the commentary is time sensitive, so fisking works well within these constraints. In addition, many of the stars of blogging are lawyers and picking apart arguments in a logical fisking manner comes natural to them.

I don't think I've actually fisked anyone on my blog. I do break down news articles, not commentary, for bias and to note the different points being made. I pick out a few relevant sections, but usually not all, and intersperse the sections with my commentary. My homeschooling article critique from today is the closest thing to fisking, but again this was a news article, not someone making an argument.
MORE REASONS TO PRIVATIZE EDUCATION IN AMERICA
Here are two articles from yesterday and today from the Los Angeles Times. These articles are more evidence of how screwed up taxpayer funded education is. The first article from yesterday in on the taxpayer-funded Los Angeles Leadership Academy charter school.
While many schools commemorated the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks by listening to patriotic songs or making memorial banners, students at the Leadership Academy instead learned about the oppression of Afghan women under the Taliban and about Muslim Americans whose civil liberties have been violated in the United States over the last year.

As Columbus Day approaches, plans are underway to teach about historical injustices against Native Americans.

The second article tells of a special-education teacher who got into a spat with his principal, because he didn't wear the right color hat. The teacher's class was moved to another facility, and he was reassigned to clerical duty.
In September, Maurer filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Riverside, saying that school officials retaliated against him and violated his constitutional right to free speech. He also says his due process rights were violated.

The lawsuit seeks financial damages, but Maurer and his attorneys say their fight is not about money.

Yeah, right.

(Username/password: sabertooth1)
DOCKWORKERS' PAY
Previously I questioned the accuracy of the annual pay of dockworkers, because it is way out of step with prevailing market wages. I still don't have perfect information to report, but here's an update on dockworkers wages.

A CNSNews article reports:

The Pacific Maritime Association, which represents the shipping companies, insists the average longshoreman currently earns nearly $107,000 a year and full-time marine clerks earn an average of more than $128,000. Furthermore, the PMA says its latest contract offer calls for longshoremen to eventually earn $114,500 and marine clerks $137,500.

However, one longshoreman, who did not want to be identified, told CNSNews.com he would have to work two years in order to make $125,000. The ILWU said a vast majority of longshoremen fall into that category.

"The basic wage is $27.68 an hour. Now you multiply that by 2,000 hours, which is what is considered full-time work and you come out to like $55,000," said Steve Stallone, ILWU spokesman in an interview with CNSNews.com.

Here's a report I lifted from a public message board:

A little background is in order concerning Longshoremen. This is a closed group whose members vote on every new applicant. Over 90% of new mwmbers are current members family or relatives. It is nepotism at work. The only members that are not related are ones who are friends with current members previously before applying and they recieve recommendations from their friends in the brotherhood. New members are never recruited outside of this nepotism situation. You cannot join the union without recommendation. This closes the employment possibilities to only a few chosen individuals. This is why I don't like unions at the docks or anywhere else that the Union has this level of control over employers. It is an unfair system. Sort of a twisted affirmative action program. By the way my friend the longshoreman is third generation in his career. His father and grandfather were longshoremen as well. A apprentice longshoreman starts out at $27.00 an hour and is guaranteed at least 80 hours a month to start until he becomes a journeyman. Journeyman or book longshoremen requires 5 years as an apprentice. Journeyman pay starts at $34.00 an hour with 160 hours minimum guaranteed per month. My friend is a Master level Longshoreman and he says that he pulls down in excess of $120,000 per year not including overtime and benefits. All training is provided by the employer as well as full paid health for the member and immediate family. But as someone pointed out it is a dangerous hard job that requires you to be physicially fit. You won't find any fat longshoremen unless they are full time union officials.

The dockworkers' union had some particularly nasty things to say of President Bush for invoking the Taft-Hartley Act. Here's a press release from the ILWU union that calls Taft-Hartley "anti-union employer-government collusion." This press release is nice compared to the statement an ILWU union representative read for the television cameras yesterday. I saw the statement on the local Los Angeles news, but could not find it anywhere online. If you want the perfect example of collusion, look no further than a union that conspires to slow productivity among workers already being paid approximately double the market rate of labor.

Julian Sanchez has an interesting point about this labor disagreement.

What I noticed was how the slowdown apparently works: the union just encourages its workers to follow all regulations strictly. In other words, when the labor laws are actually followed as written, an industry is crippled so severely that the president considered it a serious threat to the economy (and, somewhat obscurely "national security"). Translation: only pervasive lawbreaking prevents the economy from being crushed under regulatory burdens. When people actually follow the law, the president has to intervene to get them back to breaking it. Onionesque.

Brink Lindsey also notes the critical point that should be learned from the West Coast port closings: imports are critical to the American economy. Without imports, America has a shortage of necessary goods, and manufacturing plants shut down. If only politicians would remember this lesson in the future.
CAPITALISM IS KEY TO ENDING POVERTY
Radley Balko of The Agitator has a new column up on FoxNews.
CALIFORNIA WARNS PARENTS OF HOMESCHOOL EDICT
I reported in August that the California government intends to crack down on homeschooling parents who did not have state-approved teaching credentials. The L.A. Times is reporting that the California Department of Education is warning that parents should not homeschool their children without teachers' credentials or affiliation with a public school. Here are some of the best parts of the article:

Supt. of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin wrote a letter to California's state senators last month asking for a legislative solution to the issue and saying the state was wrongly accused of harassing home-schoolers.

Eastin has made no formal judgment about the educational value of home-schooling, but says all schooling needs to be supervised by professionally trained staff. "Home schools are not even subject to competition from private schools, where the marketplace would presumably ensure some level of quality and innovation," she said in the letter.

So all schooling needs to be supervised by professionally trained staff. I'm curious what the definition of "professional" is. Do incompetent public school teachers whose students can't read, write, or add count as "professionals"? I suspect "professional" means approved by the government. Eastin is almost making a pro-competition-in-education comment, but I'm sure she really doesn't want any competition to her authority and power in state educational matters.

Once considered on the fringe, home-schooling has grown in recent years as more parents are disillusioned with the quality of public schools. Advocates estimate there are up to 100,000 home-schooled children in the state and 2 million nationwide, figures that education officials could not confirm. Home-schooling has spawned a cottage industry of educational materials that are often sold and discussed at large annual conferences.

Home-schooling is considered legal in California only when students are taught by a credentialed tutor, a state-approved charter school, or enrolled in an independent study program supervised by a public school district. The public school affiliation requires home-schoolers to sign a contract of their involvement and entitles them to access to school resources. Aside from helping to account for children, the programs also keep the state eligible for some federal funding based on pupil attendance at home.

Can you believe that crap? This is nothing more than an attempt to keep the tax dollars flowing. You would think homeschooling would be popular among taxpayers, because there are less kids having $10,000 per year wasted in tax dollars on their substandard, unaccountable public education. But the state of California has created a regulatory barrier that keeps the tax dollars flowing to support failing public schools and to screw over taxpayers. I've long suspected schools diagnose children as disabled because there is extra federal funding per disabled pupil. This homeschooling funding scam helps prove my point what public schools are all about.

The state says it is easy to register as a private school. The form asks for basic information such as the school's address and the list of grades being taught, but does not require any investigation into the school's legitimacy.

California exempts private school teachers from having to earn the credentials required of public school teachers. David Kopperud, of the state Student Attendance Review Board, said truancy officials have historically left home-schoolers with private school status alone because it was rare to find a family that neglected to educate their children. He said school districts were already burdened by regular truancy cases in which officials were certain children were not learning.

In theory, a truancy investigation can be opened based on information gathered from private school forms that tellingly list the number of teachers as "one" and students as "one." Few school districts, cities and counties, however, have the resources to do that.

Of course, homeschooling parents are not neglecting to educate their children. These people have made a conscience choice to educate their children, because they love their children and the public schools are not capable or accountable.

In many counties, parents can be fined up to $500 for violating truancy laws. Los Angeles County has some of the strictest laws, calling for fines of up to $2,500 or a year in jail if parents refuse to comply.

Fascinating. The largest and most incompetent school system in California, Los Angeles Unified School District, has the largest fines to protect its power and status.

Some policy watchers say the state's interest in home-schooling is a product of the heightened attention placed on educational accountability, as advocated by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Lawmakers in California and elsewhere have recently placed more restrictions on charter schools, a burgeoning area that mirrors the unrestricted growth of home-schooling.

A nice, vague comment written up by the Times writer. Who's saying this? Which policy watchers? Policy watchers in the government? Policy watchers in teachers unions? Policy watchers with a vested interest in keeping tax dollars flowing and quashing competition?

"There's a huge backlash" toward alternative education, said Jeanne Allen, president of the Center for Education Reform, a Washington, D.C., group that advocates school choice. "You have increasing numbers of home-schoolers, charter schools, virtual schools and satellite schools. Now you have a federal law that says if public schools are failing, students can leave [for another school]. The threat to the status quo is enormous."

Well said. This is clearly about protecting the status quo, teachers unions, and government power. Anyone who reads this article and still believes the government is "looking out for the best interest of children," I want to get an e-mail from you explaining why and how you believe this.
HARRY BELAFONTE STUPIDITY WATCH
I wasn't sure if I wanted to comment on Harry Belafonte's remarks, but Yahoo! thinks this is one of the six most important news stories last night and this morning. The major media sources are reporting this, including CNN and FoxNews, so the story must be important.

I'm shocked that the media would give so much time to a blatantly racist comment as though the content of Belafonte's remarks are worth sharing--maybe my expectations of the media are still too high. It would be one thing if the comments were being shared by the media in a negative light, but that's not what's happening here. In the last part of the Reuters article I linked at the top, the context of the comments are that this was unexpectedly refreshing and actually positive.

Leitner, a local sportscaster who hosts his morning talk show on KFMB each weekday, told Reuters that Belafonte was in San Diego for a performance there on Saturday.

Leitner said he was struck by the bluntness of Belafonte's remarks.

"People have become so politically correct," Leitner said. "Even on talk radio nowadays, for someone to come out, an African American, to go after Colin Powell like that ... was so unusual in this day and age that it really stood out."


The reality is these comments aren't unusual. Blacks attack other blacks for being "Uncle Toms" and "sell-outs" all the time. Anyone who listens to Larry Elder's radio show can tell you that.

Both Right Wing News and Culpepper Log have interesting comments on the Belafonte remarks. I think Culpepper Log's analysis is correct. It's Belafonte who is doing what "massuh" wants by towing the line of the liberal Democratic Party, the party 90% of blacks vote for. Belafonte is insulting Powell for being his own man, and making his own independent decisions and affiliations. Even more remarkable about Belafonte's attack on Powell is that Powell in publicly known for disagreeing with Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld on Middle East policy.

The only thing Powell and house slaves have in common is they are black. We can thank the racist Belafonte for pointing that out.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

U.S. SUPREME COURT REFUSES CASE OF WISCONSIN FATHER
The U.S. Supreme Court refused Monday to hear an appeal from a Wisconsin deadbeat dad with nine children who was barred from fathering any more children unless he showed that he could support them all.

I'm going to refrain from commenting on this like I normally would. There's a lot of interesting issues here. Read it for yourself.
A LITTLE HUMOR
I found these web pages over at The Spoons Experience. These pages are really too good not to share. Click here, and here.
ANN COULTER'S LOOKS
There was a recent debate among bloggers regarding Ann Coutler's looks. Start here at Jesse Walker's blog and scroll up for many of the relevant links. Walker writes for Reason magazine.

I do find Ann Coulter's abrasive style to be entertaining, but I don't find her attractive. I think commenting on Coulter's appearance is fair game, because she certainly uses her looks and blond hair to garner attention for herself. If you visit Coulter's website, you'll notice she has three pages of images--not really the best way to get people to focus on the content of one's arguments.

I was listening to Ann Coulter on the Larry Elder's radio program a few months ago. Coulter argued in her book, Slander, that corporations are now liberal. Her evidence was that the Big Three automakers filed superficial briefs in support of the University of Michigan's affirmative action admission policy. As is typically of media people you don't understand business, Coulter didn't understand the automakers made a business decision to file the brief in support of affirmative action. The marginal cost of writing and filing the briefs was negligible because the automakers were already paying the salaries of their corporate lawyers. Once one automaker filed a brief, the other two had to, or face media scrutiny. The automakers know damn well that affirmation action and racial preference laws cost them money in lower productivity, lawsuits, and bureaucracy, but they rightly assumed their opinions would not change the court opinion. Most importantly, the automakers guessed correctly that they would receive positive media coverage for filing their briefs. The automakers determined they would sell more vehicles by filing a brief in favor of affirmative action, instead of filing a brief opposed to affirmative action or simply doing nothing. It's just business.

Another pundit playing right-wing babe is Laura Ingraham. Ingraham is pretty good looking and she's even blond now. Ingraham's website has some photographs, but not in the blatant look-at-me style of Ann Coulter's site.
NAZIS VS. SOVIETS DEBATE
One of my favorite topics is why the Nazis are considered worse than the Soviets, who murdered many, many more people. ParaPundit discusses why Nazis get more bad press than Soviets. He has links to other web logs discussing the issue, and there are a lot of good comments from readers at the end of his post.
CAMPUS HATE PARADE?
My favorite columnist and avid reader of The Sabertooth Journal, John Leo, asks if America's left-wing college campus culture is becoming anti-semitic. I'm incredibly interested and even shocked by this apparently recent turn of opinion in regards to Jews and Israel among the left-wing elites on college campuses and even in the media.

When I attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Golden Age of the Thought Police in the early 1990's, there was most certainly Jewish cooperation in the establishment of politically-correct speech codes and universities policies. Dorm residents weren't allowed to put Christmas decorations on their own door, and public dormitory floor decorations were officially winter decorations. Residents were scolded by the dormitory floor's house fellow (university housing representative and employee) for using the term Christmas decorations. This was done so non-Christian students, most of whom were Jewish, would not feel left out. I suspect the Jewish participation in these absurdities was driven by the relatively small percentage of Jewish students at the University of Wisconsin compared to other left-wing elitist universities.

Still I find left-wing attacks on Jews and Israel surprising, considering Jews really have been historically discriminated against and abused. Mr. Leo writes:

[Jews] have been historic victims for centuries but are doing too well in America to qualify as officially aggrieved. And as Muslims have been welcomed into the grievance culture, the status of Jews on campus, the stronghold of PC, has become problematic.

Yes, success does breed enemies, but I think the left's turning on Jews is part of the left's lone-remaining consistent argument: hate America. The left hates America, white men, the military, historical social structures, and Western Civilization. If there's a problem is the world, it was caused by Western Civilization, of which America is a part. And what is one of the foundations of Western Civilization? The Jewish bible. The left believes Judeo-Christian morality plays a role in most of what's wrong in the world, so Jews are no longer victims, but part of the problem.
UNEVEN TRADE
I'm finally getting around to posting this article from Reason. It's more evidence on how government meddling keeps poor countries poor, and how free trade and capitalism would lift the rest of the world out of poverty.
MARINE TAKES DOWN STREISAND
In an article published in Britain's The Telegraph, every Marine's favorite actor, R. Lee Ermey, has some words for spelling-bee champ and Shakespeare historian Barbra Streisand.

R Lee Ermey, who made his name as the fearsome drill sergeant in the film Full Metal Jacket, told The Telegraph that Streisand's views were far from representative of Hollywood as a whole.

"Once again, Barbra Streisand has opened her alligator-sized mouth wide before her humming-bird brain has had a chance to catch up," said Ermey. "Of course, she has the right to her opinion, but what she does is use the 'bully pulpit', helped by her fame, and people think she's talking for Hollywood."

Ermey, an ex-marine and outspoken supporter of Mr Bush and the war on terror, continued: "We need to do something about the situation before it turns round and bites us in the ass. Democrats are criticising President Bush for not spotting signs that 9/11 was coming. But they don't want him to act to stop the next disaster. Ms Streisand does not speak for me or many other folks in this business."

By the way, in the Marine Corps, the correct term is drill instructor. The army has drill sergeants.
POLLING BIAS AT THE L.A. TIMES TOO
Yesterday, I posted some articles that attacked the New York Times' polling that supposedly showed President Bush needs to pay more attention to a weak economy. Well, the L.A. Times is doing some odd polling too. There is evidence that the L.A. Times is conducting and presenting polling information to the benefit of the incumbant Democratic governor Gray Davis, and at the expense of the Republican challenger Bill Simon. Wienerlog has the scoop.
FREE-MARKET SOLUTION TO HIGH TAXES
Here's a wonderful free-market solution to high gasoline taxes in Britain. British drivers have been filling their gas tanks with cooking oil used to deep-fry fish. Of course, the British government doesn't like losing its tax dollars to creative citizens, so a police squad has been formed to put an end to this. Read about it here.
NEW YORK TIMES IN NEED OF COPY EDITOR?
The New York Times reports today that two Americans were awarded the Nobel Prize in economics. (username/password: sabertooth1) There appears to be a large error in the article:

In an article published in Science in 1981, they reported results of a study in which 152 students were given hypothetical choices for trying to save 600 people from a disease. Using one strategy, exactly 200 people could be saved. Using another, there would be a one-third chance that everyone would die, and a two-thirds chance that no one would be saved. Seventy-two percent of the subjects, preferring the less risky strategy, chose the first option.


Does that make sense? Isn't that another way of saying there's a 100% chance everyone would die? I think the New York Times meant to write "there would be a one-third chance that everyone would live, and a two-thirds chance that no one would be saved." The reason for this is because the expected value of both situations would be the same: 200 people saved. (Choice 1: 200 x 100% = 200; Choice 2: 600 x 33.33% = 200.)

The way the Times writer wrote the article, of course Choice 1 is less risky, and everyone would pick it. There's no need to award a Nobel Prize over something that stupid. We should be asking why 28% of the subjects chose the option where everyone dies. The point of the economic study is to find out how people evaluate risk when the risk is the same. Apparently the evaluation of risk isn't linear. There's value in the sure thing.

The great Armchair Economist, Steven Landsburg, discusses the rational evaluation of risk in his regular Slate column. And to show how useful the evaluation of risk is in everyday life, Landsburg applies this economic theory to the evaluation of risk when committing crimes in another Slate column.

In a quick search of my permalinked economics blogs, no one else mentioned this story.

UPDATE: The New York Times just fixed the error on the website. Does anyone know how to find and link to a cached copy of the article with the error?

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

YAHOO! MEDIA BIAS
I use Yahoo! for my Internet Explorer homepage, so I can't help but notice the four to six most important news stories at any given time, according to Yahoo! I've been meaning to comment on this before, but has anyone else noticed a distinct liberal bias?

Currently on the Yahoo! homepage, we learn Insurers: Climate change may cost $150B. That's right: may cost. So is this news? Clicking through, we find the article was written by an Environmental News Service correspondent. Who are they? I don't know, but here's the first paragraph:

Climate change is causing natural disasters that the financial services industry must address, a group of the world's biggest banks, insurers and re-insurers warned Monday. They estimated the cost of financial losses from events such as this summer's devastating floods in central Europe at $150 billion over the next 10 years.

So climate change is responsible for this summer's flooding in Europe. Europeans were right to blame America and its lack of support of the Kyoto protocol for the European flooding.

In the third paragraph, we learn who's behind this "group of the world's biggest banks, insureres, and re-insurers":

A partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the financial institutions, known as UNEP Finance Initiatives commissioned the report. It shows that losses as a result of natural disasters appear to be doubling every decade and have reached $1 trillion in the past 15 years.

Who would have guess that an organization like the UN was behind this?

Further down, we are reminded of the Bush admininstration's lack of support for the protocol:

The [Kyoto] protocol, agreed under to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, limits the emission of six greenhouse gases linked to global warming. Thirty-nine industrialized nations were to have been governed by the original agreement signed in Kyoto, Japan in December 1997, but the Bush administration said in 2001 that the United States would not ratify the protocol, and Australia followed suit this summer. It still has not entered into force.

Actually in July 1997 by a 95-0 vote, the U.S. Senate urged the Clinton/Gore Administration to reject the Kyoto Protocol. The senate refused to ratify the treaty long before Bush was president.

Yahoo! will post on their homepage any news article that supports environmental causes, including information that is re-released old news or a "study" that confirms nothing. Yahoo! thought the top news piece yesterday was the biased New York Times poll that supposedly shows public support for war with Iraq is down, and Yahoo! did not seem to think a French tanker explosion this weekend off the coast of Yemen was news. I'll be keeping an eye on Yahoo!

UPDATE: Read commentary on the New York Times poll from Dick Morris and The Weekly Standard.

UPDATE 2: Read more on the lack of news being reported in regards to the environment from TechCentralStation.

UPDATE 3: What remarkable timing I have. At 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time (the original posting is stamped 2:36 p.m.), Yahoo! switched out the climate-change insurance story and replaced it with Report: Over 11,000 species face extinction. This time it's a Reuters story promoting a World Conservation Union press release.
THE MYTH OF MINORITY DISPROPORTION IN COMBAT
This commentary was published in the National Review Online late last week. The author is a retired Marine officer. Here's the meat of the article:

While overall, minorities comprise 30 percent of the Army, one of the two services that would be expected to bear the brunt of close combat in Iraq, they tend to be underrepresented in the combat arms. As the incomparable Tom Ricks observed in a January 1997 article for the Wall Street Journal, the "old stereotype about the Army's front-line units being cannon fodder laden with minorities" is false.

The fact is that blacks disproportionately serve in Army combat-service support units, not combat units. When Ricks wrote his piece, such units had become "majority minority," with more black soldiers than white. By contrast, he observed, the infantry, which generally suffers the most casualties in wartime, had become "whiter than America." African Americans constituted nine percent of the infantry, compared to 11.8 percent of the age eligible civilian population. In 1995, 79 percent of the new troopers were white, compared with 74.3 percent of civilians. There is little evidence to suggest that these figures have changed much over the last five years

Why is this the case? Ricks pointed out that the new demographics of the Army have to do with the dynamics of an all-volunteer force — Blacks and whites join the military for different reasons. On the one hand, white youths are frequently looking for adventure while they try to raise money for college. As a result, they tend to flock to the combat arms, especially elite units like the Rangers and airborne. On the other, young black males, "are generally seeking skills, and so gravitate toward administrative and technical jobs. Because they often find the Army a fairer and better place to live than civilian society, blacks tend to stay enlisted longer: Though only 22% of today's recruits are black, the Army itself is 30% black."

In addition, most pilots are white, as are most special-operations forces, e.g. Navy SEALS and Army special-forces. This leads one to the conclusion that in a war, middle-class white kids, not minorities, would be at the greatest risk, since they make up the bulk of the combat arms. So much for the conventional wisdom.

The author is using data from the 1990's so I suspect that he was unable to get newer information. You can find the racial make-up of each service branch in the aggregate here, but I couldn't find any public information regarding the racial make-up of combat occupational specialties. I made a phone call to Marine Corps Public Affairs, and worked my way from Los Angeles to Headquarters to Quantico, where I was told the Marine Corps does not track information on race by Military Occupation Specialty. My personal experience as a Marine rifleman in the Marine Corps Reserve from 1991 to 1997 supports the author's argument, but I admit my situation probably skews the racial make-up of the training platoons to which I was assigned.

Whatever the answer is to the racial make-up of combat troops, it simply doesn't matter anyways. Everyone in the American military has chosen of their own free will to be there. The argument regarding minorities bearing the brunt of combat is really just another "hate America" argument from leftists: white men, America, its military, and Western Civilization are bad; minorities are victims. The left is really making a racist argument that minorities are not capable of making choices in their own best interest. The argument also is more evidence that the left doesn't really believe in "freedom of choice."

Thanks to Gene Expression for the link.
ROCK THE VOTE OUT TO BRAINWASH MTV VIEWERS
I learned today that Rock the Vote is "creating a revolutionary tolerance program" for the Los Angeles Unified School District. This information was conveyed to me in an unrelated story, so I don't have the specifics on the Los Angeles schools' program. I couldn't find the information on the Rock the Vote website, but I did find this press release that mentions the program near the end. I sent an e-mail to Rock the Vote requesting more information on the L.A. program.

Visiting the website gave me the opportunity to find out more about Rock the Vote's politics and initiatives. Rock the Vote used to pass itself off as a voter registration organization that focused on young people, but that's clearly not its intent.

When you click on Rock the Vote's homepage, you're greeted with a child pointing a revolver at you in the top right-hand corner. When you click on the child with the gun to "explore both sides of the issues in the upcoming election," you will be taken through a Flash Media presentation with eight photographs representing eight campaign issues for you to "explore." The eight pictures are:
1. Child with a revolver pointed at you.
2. A fetus.
3. An ashtray filled with cigarette butts.
4. Two homosexual men snuggling.
5. Forest trees next to a cleared field.
6. The KKK burning a cross.
7. An empty electric chair.
8. A voting booth.

The intent is supposedly to give two side of the issue. Putting your mouse over the "Y" box gives one quick argument; putting your mouse over the "N" box gives a contrary quick argument. Of couse, Rock the Vote already framed the issue with pictures that bias the discussion. There are many ways to provide an image for gun laws and hate-crime legislation without using a child with a gun and the KKK burning a cross. The written arguments are biased and factually suspect too.

We also learn about Rock the Vote's political agenda regarding "violence." Here's the best part from the "violence" page under the heading "Homicide Rates Are Up":

[A] former student at the Appalachian School of Law shot and killed three people on the campus: a dean, professor and student. In addition, three students were wounded. The shooter told a judge on Thursday that he was mentally ill. He has been charged with murder.


Rock the Vote did a great job of leaving out critical information on how two law students used their own firearms to disarm and capture the shooter. Those unfamiliar with those facts can read one article here.

Learn about Rock the Vote's call for election reform, its dislike of money, and much, much more.

Monday, October 07, 2002

"BUMFIGHTS" LAWSUIT
I mentioned over a week ago that one of men involved in the production of the BumFights Video has finally been charged with a felony for allegedly soliciting the violent acts in exchange for money and alcohol. I should have predicted then that there would be a lawsuit filed on the bums behalf by some kind-hearted lawyers. The lawsuit alleges civil-rights violations, assault and battery, and other charges.

One of the lawyers, Browne Greene, representing the bums is quoted as saying, "The real bums are the ones behind the camera, not the ones in front of the camera." The lawyer also said the suit was filed to "discourage this manipulation for private greed."

Any money recovered in the lawsuit will be divided among the two bums, homeless advocacy groups, and the attorneys. Greene "declined to say how much money the lawyers might get, saying it was a matter between the clients and their attorneys."

Thank God America has lawyers like these around to protect our civil rights and to protect Americans against wanton greed. There's certainly no "private greed" going on in this lawsuit.
PARASITE WIFE GOES ON STRIKE
CNN reports that a 45-year-old Indiana housewife, Kathy Thompson, has gone on strike from doing housework until she receives some "appreciation" from her husband of four years. This story has also been picked up by ABC's Good Morning America, Inside Edition, and other media outlets.

After reading the original newspaper story that appeared in this Muncie, Indiana StarPress article, we learn that Ms. Thompson spends her mornings studying for her high-school equivalency and her afternoons working a part-time job at her father's factory. CNN didn't think this was relevant information.

Both articles fail to mention what type of "appreciation" Ms. Thompson gives her husband for bringing home a paycheck that pays for the home she won't clean, the food she won't cook, and the beds she won't make. The articles also fail to mention any plans of Ms. Thompson to get a job where she can pay for her own rent and food.

An Internet search on Google and CNN failed to list any media stories that congratulate "striking" husbands for quitting their jobs or refusing to share their paycheck, because they don't receive enough appreciation from their wives.

Sunday, October 06, 2002

MISLEADING COMMENTARY FROM ELEANOR CLIFT IN NEWSWEEK
Eleanor Clift writes in Newsweek:

WATCHING DEMOCRAT JIM McDermott hold forth from Iraq on how President Bush is misleading the American people made me wonder how such a smart person can do such a dumb thing. The trio of Democratic House members who traveled to Iraq—and then, while still on enemy soil, gave numerous interviews critical of U.S. foreign policy—are learned people with significant life experience.

There’s not a lawyer among them. McDermott is a psychiatrist, Michigan’s David Bonior is a former seminarian and California’s Mike Thompson is a former college professor. All three served during the Vietnam war. McDermott counseled troubled troops; Thompson was awarded a Purple Heart. They know the face of war, and they were seared by it. Their arguments against a preemptive military strike on Iraq have merit, but Baghdad is not the place to wage the debate.


Now Ms. Clift does write, "All three served during the Vietnam war." But she continued by writing, "They know the face of war, and they were seared by it." This is the same incessant, excuse-making argument from the left: Representatives who served in the military when it was their turn are more qualified to make decisions regarding war, and their objections to war with Iraq should be taken seriously. If only the "Baghdad Democrats" had actually served in Vietnam, and seen the face of war.

Jim McDermott reports his military service as "U.S. Navy Medical Corps, Lieutenant Commander, Chief Psychiatrist, Long Beach Naval Station, California, 1968-70" in his Congressional biography. Again, read Horsefeather's commentary on McDermott.

David Bonior reports his military service as "Following graduation, Bonior joined the Air Force and was stationed in California. There he worked as a cook, slinging hash by day and attending night classes at Chapman University, where he earned a Masters Degree in History in 1972" on his Congressional biography.

Mike Thompson reports his military service as "Thompson was the first Vietnam veteran elected to California's State Senate. He served in combat with the U.S. Army as a staff sergeant/platoon leader with the 173rd Airborne Brigade where he was wounded and received a Purple Heart. He was also an instructor with the Army's Airborne School" in his Congressional biography.

So one of three was actually in Vietnam. I'm curious if meeting Vietnam veterans on a college campus in 1969 counts as knowing "the face of war." Maybe even having a family member who served combat duty in Vietnam counts as being "seared" by the "the face of war." Ms. Clift simply isn't presenting the information in an honest manner.

Link to the article from Brothers Judd via InstaPundit.
SUNDAY LOS ANGELES TIMES WRAP-UP
Here are comments from Sunday's Los Angeles Times. You can use the username "sabertooth1" and the password "sabertooth1," if you haven't already registered for a free password.

WEALTHY ENTERTAINERS CRITICIZE HOUSING DEVELOPMENT FOR INTENDING TO MAKE MONEY
Rob Reiner and new buddy Dylan McDermott were part of a protest over a housing development proposal just outside of the city of Los Angeles. Washington Mutual Banks is planning on creating a 3,050-home development near the border of Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

McDermott, who stars on the television show "The Practice," is quoted as saying, "Washington Mutual is all about money, and they're just trying to make more money." The article made no mention of the anti-money McDermott refusing to accept his six-figure-per-episode salary.

Even though this development will not be located in Los Angeles, Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn was at the protest stating, "Washington Mutual, listen to the people. They don't want this project." There were only 250 people at the protest, but 10,000 people would live in the development. I suspect a portion of the 250 at the protest were there to see celebrities.

BIG LABOR BUYS AND OWNS CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR
Big Labor continues to buy, own, and manipulate Democrats. The L.A. Times is reporting that 2002 was a huge year in California for Big Labor in getting socialist legislation passed. The L.A. Times even let Big Labor give their spin without question.
Union leaders say their victories were a triumph for working Californians, not a tribute to labor's massive political contributions.

"These are issues that are important to your average family," said Art Pulaski, secretary general of the federation.

Labor's victories went far beyond the headlines. Unions succeeded in inserting "prevailing wage" language in dozens of bills on various issues, in the process nearly scuttling a hard-won overhaul of the state's construction-defect law and gumming up renewable-energy legislation sponsored by environmental groups, lobbyists and legislators said.


CHICAGO REQUIRES DISCLOSURE ON SLAVERY
Chicago's City Council voted to require all companies doing business with the city to reveal any past "investment or profits from the slave industry." This is really just the first step from a bunch of devout racists and professional victims from demanding slavery reparations, but if companies admit to past involvement in slavery and are penalized in someway, it would certainly count as extortion. I hope businesses decide to leave Chicago and layoff their Chicago-resident workers instead of participating in this racket.

L.A. TIMES PROMOTES EXPANSION OF WELFARE IN "NEWS" ARTICLE
Here's a good example of advocacy journalism that promotes more socialism in the form of child-care subsidies. The L.A. Times made sure to personalize the issue by beginning the article:

Like other parents throughout the United States, Sonya Brown scrambles every day to meet commitments for work and the care of her young child.

For Brown, 25, who juggles her $6.15-an-hour job with college courses, a government benefit pays for her 3-year-old son's day care. Without it, she says, "I would be in big trouble."

Rashida Walker, 32, is already struggling. "I wanted to keep my son in day care, but I couldn't afford it," said Walker, who was laid off in January from her job on a computer help desk. Since then she has been unemployed, and her 16-month-old remains on the waiting list for a child-care subsidy.


Nowhere does the article mention the choices these women made to find themselves in these situations. And nowhere in the article is it pointed out that if people took responsibility for the consequences of their choices and actions, there would be less people who could not afford child care. The article also failed to mention government regulation that drives up the prices of child care in America.

DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS PANDER TO IOWA'S LEFT WING
Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) embarrassed himself by prefacing his anti-war comments with "I would be willing to be the first to put my uniform back on and go defend this country..." Well, at least he was a combat veteran of Vietnam, unlike "Baghdad Democrat" Jim McDermott, who was Navy psychiatrist stationed in California during the war. Read Horsefeather's wonderful commentary on McDermott.

The article goes on to report the same left-wing cliches that Bush is acting Clintonesque by "distracting" America with a war for political decisions. Of course, a war is a political decision, and so is making the claim Bush is "manufacturing the confrontation to benefit Republicans."

IMAGINARY NEWS EVENT USED TO SLAM NEVADA'S "ANTI-GAY" MARRIAGE INITIATIVE
The L.A. Times published this one-sided AP "news" piece. The article uses the context of a "vigil," instead of the voter initiate itself, so the newspaper could report only one side of the Nevada voter initiate that would define marriage as being between a man and a woman. There's a lot of good loaded wording in the article like "anti-gay", "hatred", "deny", "homophobic bigotry", "fear", "spiteful", "divisive", and "demonizes."

By the way, the newsworthy vigil that necessitated covering the event and writing this article only contained "about 150 people."

COSTA RICA GOING AFTER "DEADBEAT DADS"
The L.A. Times reports that Costa Rican men "are assumed responsible unless DNA test prove otherwise." The article misrepresents the system for determining paternity in America:

This [DNA] procedure contrasts dramatically with the nation's former paternity system, which was similar to the ones in effect in most of the U.S. and nearly every other Western country. In those systems, paternity is determined through court hearings that can take years and cost thousands of dollars in lawyers' fees.


A man in America can be forced to pay child support, simply because he was named as the father by the mother. According to the American Coalition For Fathers and Children, almost 80% of the paternity judgments in Los Angeles County in 2000 were assigned by default, without a court hearing "that can take years." A man later found not to be the father through conclusive DNA evidence is still legally responsible for child support, even in cases of outright fraud.

The article mentions it is hoped "that men will be more aggressive in using birth control." Nowhere does the article mention that it is hoped that women would act more responsibly in their sexual, reproductive, parental, and financial choices.