Thursday, July 03, 2003
God Save our American States ...
This is from a letter by Abigail Adams,
in Boston, to John Adams,
who was in Philadelphia with the
July 21, 1776.
Abigail Adams, 1766
Wednesday, July 02, 2003
GoodFrom Fox News:
BAGHDAD, Iraq — Faced with a growing insurgency and frequent attacks and ambushes on coalition troops, a group of U.S. and British politicians vowed on Wednesday to stay the course in Iraq -- one day after President Bush ensured [they probably meant assured] Iraq won't slide back into hands of Saddam loyalists. ..After the Clinton years, it seems strange and wonderful, almost intoxicating, to have a government--two governments-- that don't cave as soon as things get tough.
Brings to mind the far-gone days of Reagan and Thatcher...
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Unbelievable stuff! 12 Trillion Dollars overlooked...IMPORTANT UPDATE: Part of these calculations have been retracted by Michael Boskin. See Here.
A friend writes: "Take a look at this. An elephant in the room is an understatement. I know Boskin and he is a very serious and careful fellow. This could be the biggest failure in government statistical reporting in history."
No kiddin'. From Business Week, New research says taxes on boomer retirement savings could bring in trillions:
Anyone who takes a look at the long-term forecast for federal spending comes away profoundly depressed. As baby boomers age, they will collect Social Security checks en masse and run up enormous Medicare expenses. Long-term forecasts from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office show federal spending soaring from 18% of gross domestic product today to 24% in 2040 -- way ahead of expected tax revenues. In order to avoid colossal budget deficits, many economists say, the U.S. will need to slash benefits, raise taxes, or both._ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
"distracted-driver" personality typeVia Gizmodo, this article suggesting that people distracted by using cell-phones while driving are the sort who are likely to be distracted anyway.
..According to an analysis by the USA insurance company, Response Insurance of their national driving survey, people who use cell phones when driving are more likely to be distracted from the road even when they are not talking on a phone. The results indicate there may be a "distracted-driver personality" type behind the wheel.Not too terribly surprising. Using a cell phone does distract one while driving. But the focused driver will try hard to minimize this. And the other drivers...well, they're just drifting along in a daze anyway...
Tuesday, July 01, 2003
depends on the meaning of 'usually"From a NYT editorial, The Scramble for Hard Money
...The latest tallies from last year's Congressional elections show this Republican advantage paying off handsomely, perchance temporarily, now that the era of unlimited "soft money" donations from corporations, unions and individuals has been ended by the McCain-Feingold law. With its superior donor base, the G.O.P. attracted almost 50 percent more contributors than the Democrats and showed a commanding edge among lower-budget donors who gave less than $200 apiece. Sixty-four percent of them gave to the Republicans, versus 35 percent for the supposed party of the people, according to a detailed study by the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan watchdog group.DID they know it? I haven't followed this stuff closely, but I remember stories, after CFR passed, of Democrats suddenly and belatedly realizing that they were in trouble... By the way, though I'm a Republican, I still thing CFR is unconstitutional, and I'd scrap it in an instant...
...The sad reality is that election costs jumped by nearly a third in just four years, to $2.2 billion. And Congressional candidates who outspent opponents won a stunning 94 percent of the time, usually via 10-to-1 edges in financing.That last sentence is interesting. The first half, the part you usually hear, implies that a candidate with just a little more money is almost sure to win. The second half implies that "usually" these wins are due to a huge disparity in funds, with races where the disparity is small presumably having much more even chances...
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Sunday, June 29, 2003
slippage and false startsWayne Wei-siang Hsieh writes
...The proper response to the task facing Washington in Iraq is not to over-plan, to trust in the self-proclaimed expertise of "experts"--no matter how well-meaning, but to be flexible, to give local personnel on the ground flexibility to adapt to different conditions. No one knew how the war was going to turn out, how exactly the post-war balance of power in Iraq would calibrate itself--to have drawn up an elaborate plan would have been absolute hubris.The security issue here is the compellingist. If the Ba'athists take over (which may be what's going on) it would undo all the good results of invasion. We did the right things, such as the decapitation strikes, but may have missed the #1 snake. c'est la guerre. So now we do it the slow way.
And the slow messy way is often best. I was long ago impressed with an argument in BH Liddell Hart's excellent book Strategy, on the futility of "lightning victories." The enemy who is defeated before he really begins to fight doesn't really believe he has been defeated. He thinks his loss was a cheat, and is likely to strike back savagely at some later date. Examples are the French defeat in 1871, which led to a burning desire for revenge not satisfied until WWI. Or the Japanese victory at Pearl Harbor. The Japanese imagined that defeat might lead us to negotiate a compromise, but in fact the hit-while-we-weren't-looking nature of their strike made it certain that we would spend unlimited lives and treasure to crush them.
The advantage of a victory won with difficulty is that people believe it really happened, that it wasn't some sort of slight-of-hand. It tends to stick. And for the Iraqis, the good side of all the disorder they are suffering is, that if they finally win through to a condition of order and prosperity, they will value it. They will be thoroughly disenchanted with anarchy, and willing to work hard to keep it at bay.
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It's so true, so painfully true that...
There's one in every discussion group(Thanks to Dean)