Saturday, November 29, 2008
Summers . . . has begun to call for government policies to correct the transfer he identifies as beginning in 1979 of some $664 billion, or $600,000 per family, to the top 1 percent of the income distribution, at the expense of the bottom 80 percent, whose family incomes, Summers argues, are on average $7,000 below what they would have been had income gains been distributed equally to each percentile."Transfer"? "Distributed equally"? That income was never transferred or distributed, it was earned. There are many reasons for the rise in income inequality, but to begin a discussion of the income gap with the concept of income being "distributed" is to begin with a false premise.
ALABAMA 36, AUBURN 0
You'll excuse me if I failed to blog the last three touchdowns. I've been basking in the glow!
RAMMER JAMMER YELLOW HAMMER! The shutout against Auburn was sweet -- Alabama allowed only 8 first downs and 170 yards -- but perhaps the sweetest thing was in the 4th quarter, after Saban pulled all the starters, and backup quarterback Greg McElroy threw a 34-yard TD. Now the No. 1 Tide is 12-0, undefeated going into the SEC championship game against No. 3 Florida and, as the CBS announcers agree, will probably still be the underdog!
13:15 3rd Quarter: TOUCHDOWN! Alabama recovers a fumble and, on first down, John Parker Wilson throws a 39-yard TD pass to Nikita Stover. Extra point blocked. Alabama 16, Auburn 0.
HALFTIME -- Alabama blocks a 40-yard Auburn field goal attempt. Glenn Coffee is on the sideline with what appears to be a minor ankle injury. I understand that Nick Saban doesn't want to risk aggravating the injury if he can win without Coffee but . . . I'm not sure if that's possible. We need him healthy.
10:28, 2nd QTR -- TOUCHDOWN! Glenn Coffee breaks an off-tackle run down the right sideline for 41 yards. The TD run was set up by Wilson's 3rd-and-11 pass to Julio Jones. Alabama 10, Auburn 0.
End of the 1st QTR: Leigh Tiffin's FG caps a long drive. Alabama 3, Auburn 0.
Alabama now leads the time of possession 8:40-5:55, and that kind of 14-yard drive is just what we need to run down the Auburn defense.
1:51 1ST QTR: John Parker Wilson runs a QB sneak for a first down on 4th-and-1 at the Auburn 29.
6:19, 1st QTR -- Glenn Coffee runs for Alabama's first first down.
7:36, 1st QTR -- Auburn starts at midfield, can't make a first down, punts. Alabama again starts deep in its own territory. Lousy field possession. Need to make something happen, O.
9:55, 1st QTR -- Auburn got two first downs, then had to punt, now Alabama goes 3-and-out.
PREVIOUSLY: While we wait for the Iron Bowl kickoff, now would be a good time to read my column about the game.
UPDATE: Ooooh, Tech upsets Georgia, 45-42!
Paul Krugman of the New York Times has been on the attack lately in regard to the New Deal. His new book "The Return of Depression Economics," emphasizes the importance of New Deal-style spending. He has said the trouble with the New Deal was that it didn't spend enough. . . .As I said Monday, many of Obama's supporters "will be disheartened to discover that there is no magic in Obama's economic plan, a patchwork of warmed-over Keynesian 'pump-priming' claptrap as stale as the memory of Hubert Humphrey."
New Dealers raised taxes again and again to fund spending. The New Dealers also insisted on higher wages when businesses could ill afford them. Roosevelt, for example, signed into law first his National Recovery Administration, whose codes forced businesses to pay an above-market minimum wage, and then the Wagner Act, which gave union workers more power. . . .
High wages hurt corporate profits and therefore hiring. The unemployed stayed unemployed.
It is evident that many liberals (even Nobel prize-winning liberals) simply can't shake their mental addiction to the Keynesian fallacy. Back in the '60s, liberals prescribed Keynesian "solutions" to an economy that was already running at full tilt, and the ultimate result was the "stagflation" of the '70s. Now, amid a deflationary financial freeze, their answer is yet more Keynesianism. When the only tool you've got is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.
Don Boudreaux on the Keynesian demand-side obsession: "It's ultimately futile as a means of restoring vigor to a market economy." More comment from Bill Anderson and McQ.
If you don't get what's wrong with Keynes (and Krugman), let me try to explain what is really meant by "supply-side" economics. Keynesians have always focused on the demand side of the supply/demand market equation, trying to figure ways to boost consumer buying power. The genius of Art Laffer and the other so-called supply-siders was to realize that the secret of capitalism is . . . (wait for it) . . . capital.
You might have figured this out yourself, if you'd ever tried to start a business with change you found under the sofa cushions. Capital investment is the secret of creating new jobs, and the secret of promoting capital investment is a business environment that offers the opportunity for . . . (wait for it) . . . profit.
Once you understand that, political economy (which is what most people mean when they talk about "economics") becomes fairly simple. Governments worldwide make policies that have economic impacts on the business environment. The secret of success is to make policies that allow the kind of profit opportunities that will attract capital investment.
Keynesianism doesn't address this fundamental economic reality. The Keynesians suffer from a fixed-pie (static) conception of capital investment, and can never seem to grasp how their tax/spend/regulate approach serves as a disincentive to investment in a dynamic economic environment. They bitch, bitch, bitch about "outsourcing" and "offshore investments" without ever confronting how their policy schemes contribute to this exodus of capital.
UPDATE: Marion Maneker sneers at the "troglodyte right" (!) for their admiration of Shlaes' book, and then cites Megan McArdle's criticism of Shlaes: "There is an academic argument that the National Recovery Administration prolonged the Great Depression. . . . But the Great Depression is complicated, and it’s hard to make the case that government intervention was the main problem with the economy." A criticism that, even if accurate, does not vindicate Krugman!
It is not necessary to believe that "government intervention was the main problem with the economy" in the 1930s to believe that the interventions were, both specifically and generally, an impediment to recovery. There were fundamental economic problems (including the moribund condition of Europe) that, in the 1920s, led to the Crash -- a classic financial "panic" of the sort that the American economy had experienced before.
In the past, these panics had been sudden and severe, followed by a year or two of sharp recession, and then a gradual recovery. The fact that the normal historic boom-bust-recovery cycle didn't happen after 1929 -- that instead the crisis extended for a full decade and did not end until World War II -- is the salient fact to be explained. And this Shlaes has sought to do. (See also Jim Powell's FDR's Folly and Burt Folsom's New Deal or Raw Deal.)
Obviously, the Smoot-Hawley Tariff was a big contributing factor to to the Depression (protectionism doesn't work), but since that was a Republican policy, liberals don't waste their time defending the tariff. Where they get flinchy is when Saint Franklin comes under attack, because Roosevelt's approach -- programmatic interventionism -- is still the basic liberal economic policy 75 years later. To say that the New Deal didn't work, that it in fact made the Depression worse, is to undermine the entire economic rationale of the Democratic Party. And thus Krugman's partisan hostility to Shlaes.
Say what you will about Bill Clinton, at least in his embrace of global free trade, Clinton tried to break free of partisan dogma (Democrats having adopted protectionism about 40 years after Republicans abandoned it). As is becoming increasingly clear in the current crisis, most liberals are still clinging desperately to Keynesian nonsense like a frightened child clings to a security blanket. They would rather preserve their dogma than do things that might actually foster economic recovery. And I'm a troglodyte?
UPDATE: Krugman fires back. Nothing like a full-on pissing match between the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Life is good. And Alabama's leading Auburn 10-0 at the half.
UPDATE II: Linked by Fausta. Thanks.
- Barbara Dafoe Whitehead's The Divorce Culture: Rethinking Our Commitments to Marriage and Family is a mind-opening examination of the historical development of our society's attitudes toward marriage and divorce. This is a book I enthusiastically recommend to anyone who wants to understand the crisis that currently afflicts the American family.
- Carolyn Graglia's Domestic Tranquility: A Brief Against Feminism is the best defense of traditional womanhood you'll ever read. Keep in mind that Graglia graduated law school back in the pre-feminist era, so she offers a powerful first-person debunking of the feminist myth that the "women's movement" was necessary to women's "empowerment."
- Ten years after it was first published, Wendy Shalit's A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue remains a powerful rebuttal to the barbaric culture of promiscuity. Shalit takes on our society's popular mythology of the evils of sexual "repression" in a way that is elegant, intelligent and persuasive.
As documented by this superb Washington Post Op-Ed today from Dileep Padgaonkar, former editor of the Times of India, the Indian Government -- inThat's what we need: Journalists and bloggers running the world's counter-terrorism programs.
response to prior terrorist attacks -- has been employing tactics all-too-familiar to Americans: "terrorism suspects have been picked up at random and denied legal rights"; "allegations of torture by police are routine"; "suspects have been held for years as their court cases have dragged on. Convictions have been few and far between"; Muslims and Hindus are subjected to vastly disparate treatment; and much of the most consequential actions take place in secrecy, shielded from public view, debate or accountability.
As Padgaonkar details, many of these measures, particularly in the wake of new terrorist attacks, are emotionally satisfying, yet they do little other than exacerbate the problem, spawn further extremism and resentment, and massively increase the likelihood of further and more reckless attacks -- thereby fueling this cycle endlessly -- all while degrading the very institutions and values that are ostensibly being defended. The greater one's physical or emotional proximity to the attacks, the greater is the danger that one will seek excessively to empower and submit to government authority and cheer for destructive counter-measures which allow few, if any, limits.
UPDATE: Linked by Ace. Welcome, morons! And don't forget to check out the 2008 Holiday Book Sale.
UPDATE II: Thanks to Kev the commenter who points out what an ungainly sentence Greenwald has beginning with "As Padgaonkar details . . ." Sixty-three words!
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed to help start a nuclear energy program in Venezuela and said Moscow is willing to participate in a socialist trade bloc in Latin America led by President Hugo Chavez.The "Camelot" comparisons for the Obama administration might be a little more accurate than we thought. "Watch, we're going to have an international crisis . . . to test the mettle of this guy. . . . I guarantee you it's gonna happen."
Medvedev used his visit to Venezuela—the first by a Russian president—to extend Moscow's reach into Latin America and deepen trade and military ties. Chavez denied trying to provoke the United States, but he welcomed Russia's growing presence in Latin America as a reflection of declining U.S. influence.
Chavez and Medvedev planned to visit a Russian destroyer docked in a Venezuelan port on Thursday. The arrival of Russian warships this week for training exercises with Venezuela's navy was the first deployment of its kind in the Caribbean since the Cold War.
Authorities released few details about the mayhem that broke out at the Toys "R" Us store around 11:30 a.m. Friday, sending scared shoppers fleeing. . . .(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)
The victims were identified as Alejandro Moreno, 39, of Desert Hot Springs, and Juan Meza, 28, of Cathedral City. No one else was hurt.
Witnesses Scott and Joan Barrick said they were checking out of the store when the brawl began between two women, each with a man. . . .
One woman suddenly started punching the other woman, who fought back as blood flowed from her nose, said Scott Barrick, 41. The man who was with the woman being punched pulled a gun halfway out of his pocket, then shoved it back in, he said. . . .
The other man pulled a gun and pointed it at the first man but forgot to cock it, Scott Barrick said. The first man tried to run but was blocked by the line of people, then ran back toward the store's electronics section as the other man fired his gun, he said. The first man reached a dead-end in electronics, turned around and ran toward an exit, pulling his gun and firing back, Scott Barrick said.
HAGERSTOWN, Md. -- Some of the "Black Friday" shoppers flocking to malls were buying bullets, boots and hunting licenses for Maryland's modern-firearm deer season, which opens Saturday.Liberals look at a deer and see Bambi. Conservatives look at a deer and see venison.
Drew Trimble, pushing a loaded shopping cart out of Dick's Sporting Goods in Hagerstown, said hunting helps stretch his food dollars.
The 28-year-old information-technology worker from Harpers Ferry, W.Va., said he and his hunting buddies got two deer in the Green Ridge State Forest during the early muzzleloader season. They hope to bring back more meat during the rifle season, which ends Dec. 13.
"It's nice not to have to buy beef from the store since we have venison," Mr. Trimble said.
More than 68,000 people hunt for Maryland deer, an activity that helps control the deer population while contributing more than $150 million annually to the state's
economy, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
The rifle season is the most popular deer-hunting season, accounting for nearly half
of the deer taken each year. DNR Deer Project Leader Brian Eyler predicted hunters will kill up to 45,000 deer during the next two weeks.
Friday, November 28, 2008
A Queens teacher fired for bedding a 17-year-old male model is suing to win her job back, saying she had no idea her lover boy was enrolled in high school during their affair.Exactly how is Ms. Salamino different from those idiots who end up caught on camera with Chris Hansen? I am unfamiliar with the New York Department of Education's rules, but I'm reasonably sure that the taxpayers of New York would frown on any teacher dating a 17-year-old. The taxpayers be damned, of course, when it comes to a tenured teacher in the union-controlled public school system.
Gina Salamino, 37, contends her job as a tenured second-grade teacher at Public School 121 should have been spared because Joshua Walter was so busy catwalking he never attended a single class during the 2006-07 school year.
"They have no case," Salamino angrily told the Daily News. "There is no improper relationship."
Salamino maintains in Manhattan Supreme Court documents that it's "complete fiction" and "ludicrous" for the Department of Education to insist the globetrotting runway star was a "student" when he hooked up with the teacher, who was then 34.
Be assured that if Ms. Salamino should win her suit, others will learn from her example. Hey, if all that's preventing an affair between a teacher and a teenager is the teenager's status as a student, then all the teenager needs to do is drop out of school, and it's perfectly legal.
I am no prude, but this disturbing effort to blur the legal distinctions about underage sex -- involving a professional educator, no less -- is an entirely logical extension of the demand for unrestricted sexual freedom. Unless you're willing to say "anything goes" without regard for the consequences, then at some point the line must be drawn, and the line ought to be clear enough that everyone knows where it is.
Fifteen-year-old Disney "Hannah Montana" franchise starlet Miley Cyrus poses in her panties, shows her bra, and now poses topless in Vanity Fair -- and yet no legal action is threatened? Meanwhile, in Texas, the mere suspicion that teenagers are getting married causes a SWAT raid and state officials take 416 children away from their parents.Notice how the pop-culture sexualization of adolescents plays a role here, just as with the Miley Cyrus photos. Because this New York boy was modeling for Hugo Boss as a teenager, he is therefore legally "fair game," according to Ms. Salamino and her lawyers. The popular culture is offering up teenagers as sex objects and, therefore, some people feel entitled to act on these cultural messages. And yet what is winked at when it involves a TV starlet or a fashion model is enough to land others in prison. But who are we to judge? After all, didn't the Supreme Court tell us that "individual decisions concerning the intimacies of physical relationships . . . are a form of 'liberty' protected by due process"? Ms. Salamino can ride her teenage lover like a pogo stick and that's her constitutional right.
Maybe if the polygamous cult would make some Disney movies, they could get away with it. Otherwise, Texas officials might fear those fundamentalist kids are being deprived of an underwear-flashing, topless-posing normal adolescence like Miley's.
"Yes, I'm thrilled that he won the election, underscoring the American ideal that we live in a forward-thinking democracy, where any man or woman can rise to the highest office in the land. And I'm proud that even Obama's staunchest foes -- particularly the man he defeated, John McCain -- seem to be willing to accept his victory and pledge to help him turn around the economy and cure the nation's other ills."
-- Jon Friedman
You know, that is kind of an odd statement for a "media watchdog" to make. And I share William Jacobson's skepticism of the president as a magical healer who can lay hands on the nation's ills and effect a cure.
Friedman's a big Rachel Maddow fan, go figure.
What these people desire, I would suggest, is a foreign policy that is fashionable among our "allies" -- that is to say, the defenseless European social democracies who would under no circumstance be able to offer effective military assistance to any project of mutual interest.
You want "realism" in foreign policy? Think in terms of Army divisions and naval carrier task forces.
The change we've been waiting for may not be immediately quantifiable, but personal responsibility, educational ambition and smart public diplomacy -- all by example rather than exhortation -- could go a long way toward curing what ails us.
This was a sophisticated attack. The terrorists had thoroughly cased the locations, and had checked into the hotel days in advance. The terrorists targeted Jews, killing five, including a rabbi and his wife. Americans were also targeted, including a Virginia man and his daughter who were killed.
There is no fool-proof means of preventing such attacks, in India or anywhere else. The only effective long-term strategy is to identify terrorist groups and their members, place them under surveillance, and try to disrupt their plans by arresting them for weapons charges, immigration violations and the like.
For reasons that you probably don't want to contemplate too much, I keep getting random Google-hit traffic from a post I did about Miley Cyrus months ago. So, I was staring at my Site Meter, and thinking of my successful traffic-baiting with "Sarah Palin bikini pics," and it occurred to me that "Miley Cyrus bikini pics" might generate similar interest. (Yeah, traffic's slumping lately.) So think of this as an experiment.
And check out this sexy video!
My tastes in classical music are eclectic. Jimmie wants more Wagner, but Wagner is mostly opera, and I can't stand operatic singing. (I'm convinced the demons in hell warble like operatic sopranos.) The only Wagner I like is instrumental parts like "Ride of the Valkyries." I like Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky, and Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" and "An American in Paris."
I suppose I'll be written off as a philistine for confessing that I also like John Williams, but it's kind of a sentimental thing. I used to have a girlfriend who was a huge "Indiana Jones" fan, and she liked to . . . uh, enjoy some quality time listening to the soundtrack.
This is another aspect of the "Fox Effect" I've written about before. Fox has its own combative brand that has in recent years tended to define the GOP brand. Two Irish Catholic guys from New York, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, have effectively become the face of the Republican Party. Is it unfair ethnic stereotyping to say that these two argue like a couple of Irish Catholic guys from New York?
Both O'Reilly and Hannity have a habit of bullying guests with whom they disagree. If you've ever seen this shtick -- constantly interrupting, badgering, insulting, demanding that the guest "answer the question!" but never giving them time to do so -- it is impossible to enjoy unless you have a sadistic streak. It's the same cacaphonous ugliness that I always hated about CNN's old "Crossfire" show, and every other "shout show" imitator. There is an audience for that confrontational style of TV (4 million tune into O'Reilly regularly) but you're never going to build a genuinely mass audience for rude disagreement.
When a David Brooks or a George Will or a David Frum sneers at Republican "populism," it is this belligerent mode of discourse that they have in mind. Hard-core Republicans may cheer when Hannity works his bully-boy routine on a liberal, but such acts of signification -- "I aggressively diss liberals, therefore I am a true conservative!" -- can never persuade the unpersuaded.
Most conservative Fox viewers don't notice this, simply because of their ideological affinity with the bully boys. But remember when Bill O'Reilly sneered at talk-radio "Kool-Aid drinkers" and "right-wing liars" who opposed the bailout?
See? When O'Reilly points the obnoxious name-calling at you, it's not quite so enjoyable, is it? (My apologies, BTW, to any Irish Catholic New Yorkers who don't like being lumped in with O'Reilly.) This kind of rudeness gives the conservative intellectual class a pretext to disparage "populism" and to denounce Sarah Palin as a particularly divisive populist. The intellectuals, quite rightly, don't want conservatism to become so closely identified with rhetorical belligerence.
If Murdoch himself is concerned that the O'Reilly style is "vulgar" and "menacing," to what extent has the general public absorbed that general perception of conservatives that O'Reilly and his Fox cohorts have helped create?
After a GOP beating, there is always a debate between the people who want the party to become more principled and those who want to turn the GOP into a poll-driven pile of mush that they believe will be more appealing to centrists. . . .The big-government approach -- whether you call it "national greatness" or "compassionate conservatism" -- is not a fighting creed, because it does not offer a meaningful alternative to Democratic Party liberalism. Republicans were able to win elections in 2002 and 2004 on national-security issues, but ultimately it was failure to pursue a politically effective domestic agenda that undid Karl Rove's "permanent Republican majority." More to the point, as I've previously noted, independent voters are not "centrist" or "moderate" in an ideological sense. Independents are actually "low-information" voters whose political ideas are an ill-informed hodge-podge that conforms to no ideological template. There is no coherent middle-of-the-road agenda to which they subscribe.The moderate argument that Republicans lose independents because of specific conservative policy stances -- on immigration, abortion, gay rights, etc. -- simply does not fit the reality of who these voters are. (And there is plenty of evidence that independents tend to be conservative on social issues.) Low-information voters often can't name their representatives or senators, but they usually know who the president is and which party he belongs to, and if they don't like the president (Bush is at 26% approval), his party will pay the price. The Republican Party's electoral problems, then, are more simple than some would have us believe. The simplicity of the problem doesn't mean the solution will be easy, but "moderation" -- chasing a centrist will-o'-th'-wisp -- is unlikely to be part of the solution.
One of the most surreal aspects of the post-2008 campaign is listening to moderates pretend that the last eight years never happened.
You say that the GOP can't win as a small government party. Well, we've already tried being a big government party for the last 8 years and it failed. You think running a moderate, pro-amnesty candidate who eschews social issues is the key to winning elections? Well, that's who we ran in 2008 and he received even less votes than George Bush did in 2004.
(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)
The U.S. State Department said on Friday two Americans were among those killed in the attacks by militants in the Indian financial capital Mumbai.Allahpundit has a fresh thread.
Spokesman Gordon Duguid said the department had notified the families of the victims. He did not give details or identify the dead Americans.
Earlier, a group called the Synchronicity Foundation said two Americans who were in India as part of a meditation program had died in the attacks.
The Synchronicity Foundation said in a statement on its website that Alan Scherr and his 13-year-old daughter Naomi were killed.
It gave no details about how they were killed but said Scherr and his family had been involved in the Synchronicity community in Faber, Virginia for more than a decade.
UPDATE: Five Jewish hostages killed at Chabad House.
Death toll estimated at 145.
A worker died after being trampled and a woman miscarried when hundreds of shoppers smashed through the doors of a Long Island Wal-Mart Friday morning, witnesses said.Should have shopped the Holiday Book Sale.
The unidentified worker, employed as an overnight stock clerk, tried to hold back the unruly crowds just after the Valley Stream store opened at 5 a.m.
Witnesses said the surging throngs of shoppers knocked the man down. He fell and was stepped on. As he gasped for air, shoppers ran over and around him.
"He was bum-rushed by 200 people," said Jimmy Overby, 43, a co-worker. "They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me. They took me down too...I literally had to fight people off my back."
11/26: IMMIGRATION 11/25: THOMAS SOWELL 11/24: THE GREAT DEPRESSION 11/23: BLACKLISTED BY HISTORY 11/22: MISES & HAYEK 11/21: WHITE GUILT BY SHELBY STEELE
- Michael Phelps dates Vegas cocktail waitress. Going for the gold(digger).
- Britney Spears abusing . . . laxatives?
- A-Rod and Madonna? Dude, don't go there!
- Hollywood star whizzes on the sidewalk.
- Britney's mom says Britney is a great mother. Hey, she should know, right?
- Ruined by David Copperfield.
- Natalie Portman, because she's hot.
- Kate Winslet, because she's hot.
BTW, I hereby officially pronounce today International Natalie Portman Cleavage Day in the blogosphere. Don't worry, your wife's at the mall all day with your credit card . . .
The network's attempt to revive the primetime variety show failed to draw an audience Wednesday night, tying for the evening's lowest-rated program.Gee, let's give a show to an obnoxious, unattractive lesbian, and then when it flops, we'll blame the format. These Hollywood people are geniuses, I tell you!
A mere 5 million viewers tuned in for the 8 p.m. premiere of "Rosie Live," with the program earning a 1.2 preliminary adults 18-49 rating. The telecast matched ABC's recently canceled "Pushing Daisies" as the night's lowest-rated program on a major broadcast network.
NBC had high hopes for the special and planned to expand the program into a series should viewers re-embrace the decades-old variety format.
Of course, if one defines "grownup" as a person who agrees with Paul Krugman, and "hack" as a person who does not, then one might come to a different conclusion.The important thing is not Krugman or his opinion, but the fact that nothing proposed by Team Obama will fix the economy. It's all warmed-over Keynesianism, and it won't work. But when it comes to simple arithmetic, Mankiw smokes Krugman.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
The 2008 Holiday Book Sale continues with a bonanza of excellent titles about The War. (When a Southerner says "The War," there's never any need to wonder which war he's talking about.)
Shelby Foote's epic trilogy, The Civil War: A Narrative, should be in every American home. Foote sought to write a history worthy of Homer, and that high ambition makes his account a genuine classic. Foote's work is especially important because of the attention he gives to the Western theater of the war, which is sometimes slighted by historians more fascinated with the war in Virginia. Douglas Southall Freeman was arguably the greatest historian of the war, and his magnificent 4-volume biography of R.E. Lee -- now available in a 650-page abridged version -- and his Lee's Lieutenants: A Study in Command are must-have titles for any serious student of the war.
Bruce Catton was not only an excellent historian, but a great prose stylist, and I heartily recommend his account of U.S. Grant's wartime leadership, Grant Moves South: 1861-1863 and Grant Takes Command: 1863-1865. Perhaps no campaign of the war was more fateful than W.T. Sherman's advance through Georgia to capture Atlanta in 1864, and Albert Castel's Decision in the West: The Atlanta Campaign of 1864 is the best chronicle of that dramatic chapter of the war.
Finally, every student of the war should try to get past the interpretations of historians and see the conflict as it was seen by the men who fought it:
- Richard Taylor's wonderful Destruction and Reconstruction is a book that every student of the war should read. The son of President Zachary Taylor, Gen. Richard Taylor commanded a brigade under Stonewall Jackson in the Valley Campaign of 1862, later defeated Gen. Banks in the Red River Campaign, and in 1865, surrendered the last Confederate army east of the Mississippi. A Yale graduate with a sarcastic wit, Taylor filled his memoir with clever literary and historical allusions that will bring a smile to the face of the erudite reader.
- Henry Kyd Douglas was a Marylander who served under Jackson and J.E.B. Stuart, and his memoir, I Rode with Stonewall, is one of the best of its kind. Of particular interest are Douglas's memories of famed artillerist John Pelham and his account of the Battle of Sharpsburg, which was fought in his own backyard, so to speak.
- Robert E. Lee called James Longstreet his "war horse," and Longstreet's From Manassas to Appomattox is the only account of the war written by one of Lee's corps commanders. While many dispute Longstreet's version of events at Gettysburg -- the most controversial episode of his career -- it is nevertheless an invaluable first-person account by one of the most important soldiers of the war.
In The Year of Bottomless Bailouts, I am most grateful this Thanksgiving for Americans who refuse to abandon thrift, personal responsibility, and self-reliance. When the moochers and entitlement-mongers drive you mad, remember that our nation still serves as home to millions of citizens who do for themselves. Like our Founding Fathers, they are God-fearing people -- the ones elitist pundits deride as "oogedy-boogedy" -- who will never put their faith in The Cult of You Owe Me.She tells a nice story. Read the whole thing. Meanwhile, Jules Crittenden writes:
The tide of history remains opposed to tyranny. One of the worst of the modern era, Saddam's Baathist regime, is out of business. In Gaza, in Burma, in Zimbabwe, in Sudan, in China, in Georgia, in North Korea and Iran, while tyranny still exists, it is widely condemned. For all the rhetoric we sometimes hear, people know where the tyrants live. The values and freedoms nurtured in America and exported, gratis, at the expense of our own nation’s blood and treasure, are the values and freedoms most widely admired, and desired where they are not already emulated in the world.People seeking grievances to grumble about and evidence to justify discouragement will always find it. Gloom and self-pity are always easier than gratitude and hope. We complain of what we don't have and neglect to be thankful for the blessings all around us.
It is helpful at times to reflect back on all that God has done for us. There is an old hymn that includes the lyric, "Hither by Thy grace I've come." And those words inspre me as I think back to that moment in August 1987 when I sat in my '84 Chevette in the parking lot of the Calhoun (Ga.) Times, praying that I would get the $275-a-week sports editor's job for which I was about to interview.
The day before, I'd been driving a forklift in a warehouse on Fulton Industrial Boulevard in Atlanta when the call came informing me of this opportunity. "Great," I said. "Just one question. . . . Where in the hell is Calhoun, Georgia?"
Well, it was there that I met and married my wife. Sometimes I recall the prayer I said in that parking lot and think, "Wow. I ought to pray more often." Surely, I can't complain of all God's blessings toward me in the intervening years. Being human, however, I still complain when the hardships come. It is difficult to be thankful for the hardships, to recognize that our disappointments and trials are equally part of God's plan.
The pilgrims whose 1621 feast we commemorate at Thanksgiving recognized their dependence on God. As William Bradford said of the 102 settlers who arrived off the New England coast in 1620: "What could now sustain them but the spirit of God and his grace?" They had a mystic faith in God's will, as described in the eighth chapter of Romans:
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. . . .We cannot deserve God's grace and mercy. We are "sinners in the hands of an angry God," as Jonathan Edwards said: "There is nothing that keeps wicked men, at any moment, out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God." Deserving nothing but destruction, then, it behooves us to reflect in all humility upon whatever design God means to accomplish by our preservation, to be grateful to play some part in His purpose, and to understand that it is through no merit of our own that we are called.
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
If God wishes to destroy us, nothing can save us. Yet if God wishes to save us, nothing can destroy us. This faith requires that we be thankful even for God's chastisements. Remember that the Israelites were God's own chosen people, yet they were enslaved by the Egyptians, conquered by the Assyrians, Babylonians and Romans. This was not because God had any particular favor for Israel's conquerers; rather, those heathen nations were instruments by which He chastised His people, part of a larger design of which the heathen knew nothing.
In everything, God has some purpose, and in nothing do we have cause to complain. Suppose that you lost everything. Suppose disaster came, and you lost your home, your career, every material possession and hope for advancement. Suppose that this disaster not only involved you, but that it also took the lives of many of your closest friends, and even destroyed your community. What would you say in the midst of such an all-encompassing disaster?
The march of Providence is so slow and our desires so impatient; the work of progress so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope.My six children are all healthy, and my beautiful wife is even now preparing a lavish Thanksgiving feast. Alabama is undefeated. With so much to be thankful for, I cannot complain. And history still teaches us to hope.
P.S.: Don't forget to shop the 2008 Holiday Book Sale!
UPDATE: I see from the comment field that we have been honored with a visit from Jennifer at Double Nickel Farm, who inspired Michelle Malkin's column. God bless you, ma'am.
UPDATE II: I have to note the bizarreness of the accusation of universalism from an anonymous commenter, who responded to my remark, "In everything, God has some purpose, and in nothing do we have cause to complain," with this:
if you believed that then you would also believe tyrants are the will of god, and if so, you will find them in heaven, since the will of god cannot be denied, they are not only commanded and obligated but tools of the all mightyEh? I very definitely believe in good and evil, and don't understand why someone would say that an attitude of humility -- God's absolute sovereignty, a divine will beyond our comprehension -- should result in the belief that Hitler is in heaven. God is sovereign; evil men cannot escape or defy the will of God. Our puny mortal minds cannot fully comprehend this, but it is so. God's will appears to us mysterious, and it is our arrogant faithlessness that causes us to question and doubt.
in other words, if you believe these words then Hitler and every single person is in heaven and you must also believe there is no good and there is no evil.
Who are we to judge God? I would ask you to study the Book of Job and contemplate the faithfulness of Job, who refused to complain of the evils that had befallen him, even when his neighbors told him to "Curse God and die."
God's existence is objective, and thus independent of our belief. There are many people who seem to think that there is some eternal merit to their particular theological preconceptions, and so they will sit around arguing furiously over these things, as if they could argue their way into heaven. But it seems to me that Ecclesiastes ends with a very important point: Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
It is that "Fear God" part that we are today too guilty of ignoring. Faith may be a difficult thing, but it is a very simple thing.
Fresh gunfire and explosions were heard late Thursday in Mumbai as police battled terrorists at three sites almost 24 hours after the first wave of violence hit the city.Possibility of an al-Qaeda link is unclear:
Fresh explosions have been heard at the Taj Mahal hotel, where police are trying to free hostages.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh suggested the group behind the terrorist attacks, which killed 125 people, was based outside the country.
CNN reporters said regular gun fire and blasts could be heard Thursday at the Oberoi and Taj Mahal hotels and a Jewish center in the city. . . .
"It is evident that the group which carried out these attacks, based outside the country, had come with single-minded determination to create havoc in the financial capital of the country," [Singh] said. . . .
Authorities found 8 kilograms (17 pounds) of RDX, one of the most powerful kinds of military explosives, at a restaurant near the Taj, indicating that the attackers may have been planning more violence.
Gunmen also remained holed up in a building called Chabad House, where several Jewish families live. Rabbi Gabriel Holtzberg, the city's envoy for the community, was being held inside with his wife, a member of the Hasidic Jewish movement said. The couple's 18-month-old baby was released unharmed.
Christine Fair, senior political scientist and a South Asia expert at the RAND Corporation, was careful to say that the identity of the terrorists could not yet be known. But she insisted the style of the attacks and the targets in Mumbai suggested the militants were likely to be Indian Muslims and not linked to Al Qaeda or Lashkar-e-Taiba, another violent South Asian terrorist group.Allahpundit has a fresh thread today. PREVIOUSLY: India is hit with the kind of large-scale coordinated attacks that are an al-Qaeda trademark:
“There’s absolutely nothing Al Qaeda-like about it,” she said of the attack. “Did you see any suicide bombers? And there are no fingerprints of Lashkar. They don’t do hostage-taking and they don’t do grenades.” By contrast, [security expert Sajjan] Gohel in London said “the fingerprints point to an Islamic Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group."
At least 101 people have been killed in attacks by gunmen in Mumbai , police said on Thursday. At least six foreigners have been killed and the death figure has gone up to 101 now," Ramesh Tayde, a senior police officer told from Mumbai's control room.The Indian Mujahideen group that has taken credit for the attack has clear ties to Pakistan, the Weekly Standard reports:
In one of the most violent terror attacks on Indian soil, Mumbai came under an unprecedented night attack as terrorists used heavy machine guns, including AK-47s, and grenades to strike at the city's most high-profile targets -- the hyper-busy CST (formerly VT) rail terminus; the landmark Taj Hotel at the Gateway and the luxury Oberoi Trident at Nariman Point; the domestic airport at Santa Cruz; the Cama and GT hospitals near CST; the Metro Adlabs multiplex and Mazgaon Dockyard -- killing at least 80 and sending more than 900 to hospital, according to latest reports.
The attacks have taken a tragic toll on the city's top police brass: The high-profile chief of the anti-terror squad Hemant Karkare was killed; Mumbai's additional commissioner of police (east) Ashok Kamte was gunned down outside the Metro; and celebrated encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar was also killed.
Indian intelligence believes the Indian Mujahideen is a front group created by Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Harkat ul Jihad al Islami to confuse investigators and cover the tracks of the Students' Islamic Movement of India, or SIMI, a radical Islamist movement. The groups receive support from Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence and are al Qaeda affiliates.Hot Air has an extensive roundup, including this CNN video: The Counter-Terrorism Blog names the group Lashkar-e-Toiba as a likely sponsor of this attack. The terrorists were seeking American and British hostages at the luxury hotels in Mumbai:
Two terrorists carrying guns tonight took 15 people, half of them foreigners, hostage on the roof of the luxury Taj Hotel, one of the hostages who managed to escape said.Via Ace of Spades, where the flaming skull alert is in effect.
...Replying to a question, Patel said the terrorists wanted to know if any one of the hostages was carrying American and British passports.
They clearly wanted foreigners, he added.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
This goes to show how the mentality of some people has been influenced by recent history. Since Newt Gingrich and the GOP took Congress in 1994, the big question among liberals has been, "What will Republicans do?" Everything has been conditioned on that question, and they can't seem to shake the habit. (Fact: 41% of CNN viewers didn't even realize Democrats had taken control of Congress.)
Republicans never consolidated power. After six years of divided government, with congressional GOP fighting Clinton tooth and nail, when Bush took office he had a House with a very narrow Republican majority and a 1-seat majority in the Senate. At the very zenith of his power (2003-06) Bush never had more than 55 Republicans in the Senate, whereas Obama will have 58 Democrats, perhaps 59.
The GOP poses no impediment to Democrats enacting whatever policies Democrats want. This is (or should be) frightening, but the great disadvantage to Democrats is this: They can't blame Republicans.
Sure, for a while, they can say that they're dealing with the toxic result of the Bush years, but that song will get old pretty quick. By Election Day 2012, will expect Obama to have accomplished something -- not merely in terms of passing legislation, but actually making things better -- and it's hard to imagine him being able to do that.
Obama's progressive base doesn't understand that he can't enact the kind of left-wing economic program they expect, because it would cause capital flight from U.S. markets at a time when we're very much in need of capital. But I guarantee his economic advisers are cautioning him about this danger. Lawrence Summers is not a stupid man.
One of the keys to organizing a GOP resistance will be denying Obama and the Democrats the mantle of "bipartisanship" for any of their key measures. That is to say, House and Senate Republicans need to make sure that they whip the maximum number of "no" votes on Obama's agenda items, so that in 2010, they are in position to hang that agenda around the Democrats' necks in the midterms.
A few months back, my little boy came home from Second Grade and said to me, "Guess what we learned today?" I said: "Rosa Parks." He said: "How did you know that?" I said: "Because it's always Rosa Parks."I'd laugh, except it's no joke. The Historic Victimhood Narrative is virtually the only history or civics taught in American public schools today. "America The Beautiful" has been replaced by "America The Oppressive." Parents who send their offspring to these government-run indoctrination camps should be prosecuted for child abuse.
UPDATE: Matthew Yglesias offers the excuse that the "greater attention given in recent decades to the contributions of women and ethnic minority groups is about trying to expand the circle of people who feel invested in the national narrative."
This is what Marxists call "social history" or "people's history," and is the sort of thing that leftist academic activists like Howard Zinn have made popular in America. Scouring history for relatively obscure figures who can be made into political heroes -- role models for The Movement, as it were -- is the sort of propaganda tactic that anyone familiar with the Soviet Union will recognize: "Comrade Pavlik -- be like him!"
Children are taught to reverence a pantheon of symbolic personalities whose biographies are didactically rendered in such a way as to ignore whatever fundamental reality might contradict their function as symbols. The student/subject of these thought-control projects develops a conditioned response to the invocation of the holy names. Obversely, social didacticism requires certain demon characters who symbolize oppression and injustice, who are subjected to the same kind of one-dimensional treatment.
The student subjected to such politicized "history" cannot be said to think about history. Rather, he has an autonomic reflex, and reacts instinctively as he has been trained to react.
One of the reasons that women and minority conservatives are so vilified is that they contradict the Left's narrative of women and minorities as "change agents" on the side of Progress. Our Marxist indoctrinators teach children to reverence a catalog of non-white-male symbolic heroes whose martyrdom and/or courageous protests are exalted as archetypes of progressive activism. This is why college leftists always react so furiously when they encounter a Michelle Malkin or a or Shelby Steele or a Star Parker contradicting today's latest leftist dogma.
The 2008 Holiday Book Sale continues with three excellent books on the immigration issue:
- Michelle Malkin's Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores shows how the issues of immigration and national security are intimately connected. Her riveting account of how Mohamed Atta and his fellow terrorists took advantage of lax immigration enforcement is particularly informative.
- Peter Brimelow's 1996 classic, Alien Nation: Common Sense About America's Immigration Disaster is a lively debunking of the economic, political and cultural fallacies underlying the open-borders arguments. Brimelow's account of the history of America's immigration laws is especially important, given that conservatives are accused of heartless bigotry for wanting to enforce an immigration law drafted and supported by that mean-spirited right-winger . . . Ted Kennedy.
- Pat Buchanan's State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America spent 10 weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list in 2006, even though such "conservative" journals as National Review refused even to acknowledge its publication, while it was (predictably) slammed by liberals. If it's that politically incorrect, you know it's got to be great!
Let's face it, if Thanksgiving reminds us of nothing else, it reminds us that the Indians paid the price for having a weak immigration policy. Now the country's so overcrowded, you can't even find a parking space at the mall. Fortunately, with Amazon.com, you don't have to go to the mall. Just one click and you can have your gifts delivered nationwide. Why wait? ORDER NOW!PREVIOUSLY:
For author Richard Rodriguez, no one is talking about the real issues behind Proposition 8.The "real issues," my foot. This argument is a transparent coalition-building gesture: "We're all gay now!" Rodriguez utterly ignores that gay militants are the aggressors in this battle of the "culture wars," that this is a fight of their choosing, and that -- far from seeking to "scapegoat" anyone -- opponents of same-sex marriage are strictly playing defense.
While conservative churches are busy trying to whip up another round of culture wars over same-sex marriage, Rodriguez says the real reason for their panic lies elsewhere: the breakdown of the traditional heterosexual family and the shifting role of women in society and the church itself. As the American family fractures and the majority of women choose to live without men, churches are losing their grip on power and scapegoating gays and lesbians for their failures.
There are no protest marches by hetero "swingers," no boycotts by divorced moms, no petition drives by single guys. If homosexuality is an issue in 2008, it's only because gay-rights activists insist on making it an issue. Having spent the past three decades calling attention to themselves, they now complain they're getting too much attention. It's like Britney griping because the paparazzi won't leave her alone.
And don't overlook how horribly Rodriguez has suffered: He's published three memoirs celebrating his gay/Lation identity-politics narrative. Oh, what a pathetic victim . . .
- Sunday, 6:30 p.m. -- Fundraiser at the W Hotel Midtown in Atlanta. Tickets are $1,000 per couple, or $5,000 for "hosts." The invitation notes that "The Run-off is a separate election cycle and contribution limits start over."
- Monday, 8:30 a.m. -- James Brown Arena in Augusta
- Monday, 11 a.m. -- MLK Jr. Arena in Savannah
- Monday, 1:30 p.m. -- Georgia Fairgrounds in Perry
- Monday 4 p.m. -- Gwinnett Arena in Duluth
Today, meanwhile, the Chambliss campaign is hosting a "BBQ Lunch Victory Rally" with Gov. Sonny Perdue and former Gov. Zell Miller in Gainesville.(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)
Essentially, you cannot take a job if the salary was increased during your current congressional term. And the salary for cabinet officials has gone up in the past year.Not that the Clintons have ever let the Constitution stand in their way before, but Ed Morrissey points out:
Still, the intent of the founders is clear, and not something to shrug off so lightly. They wanted to keep Congress from creating cushy sinecures for them to occupy when a friendly President took office. The attraction of power, cash, and cronyism would lead to corruption and a permanent political class that would cease answering to the electorate.We are well past the point where constitutional restraints have any real meaning. On the one hand, the Supreme Court looks at the Constitution and sees things -- "penumbras and emanations" and the "sweet mystery of life" -- that aren't there. On the other hand, the limits of the enumerated powers are ignored and the 10th Amendment eviscerated by the very existence of the massive establishment in Washington. If the Constitution had any real power, the Department of Education would not exist.
The Constitution now means whatever the fashionable professors say it means. Perjury and obstruction of justice cannot be "high crimes and misdemeanors," the professors assured us during the Lewinsky scandal. I'm sure the Clinton Foundation can make a few research grants and buy off enough law professors to legitimize whatever it is that Hillary wants. The dictatorship of the professoriate!