Monday, May 29, 2006

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

More Negativity from the Strib

Another "Iraq is a Disaster" editorial from the Star Tribune. I think the last paragraph sums it up fairly neatly:
What is to happen to Iraq? Perhaps this new government will defy all odds and actually pull the country together. We can all hope that will happen, but don't bet the farm on it. More likely is what many are coming to expect and some seek: a loose confederation of three states, one Kurdish in the north, one Sunni in the middle and one Shiite in the south. The big question is whether Iraq gets there relatively peacefully, or whether the division results from a protracted, bloody civil war. Either way, it won't be much of a legacy for this failed experiment in exporting democracy from the United States.
To the Star Tribune, Iraq is a failure even if we happen to succeed there.

Just one question

for Newt Gingrich, Nancy Pelosi, and Dennis Hastert. In what universe is videotape of a Congressman taking a cash bribe insufficent cause to obtain a search warrant? I'm not in the business of exhorting people to do stuff, but I'm sure going to write my Congresscritter to express an opinion on the subject...

Monday, May 22, 2006

After reading the text (courtesy of the Wall Street Journal) of John McCain's speech to the graduates of the New School, I disagree with Professor Althouse's take on his speech. I don't believe the speech was inappropriate for a graduation, being about the need for civil debate and for reconciliation. As far as his delivery of it, I can't say without actually hearing it. I'm not all that sure I'll get an objective account from someone who blogs for the Nation, given that magazine's political slant. I suspect that a different view of his speech would be expressed at National Review, for example.

Was he "asking for it" by speaking in front of a so-called liberal crowd (so-called because they definitely failed to behave in a way consistent with "liberal" values)? Yes, speaking in front of a crowd that disagrees with you tends to encourage hecklers. On the other hand, if the Senator only spoke to friendly crowds, the same people who would turn their backs on him during his speech would accuse him of being afraid to speak to those who disagree. He just can't win.

Not that it really matters all that much. The boorish, rude, and insulting behavior of the students and faculty of the New School who condemn someone for giving a speech to a group they dislike tells me that the actual content of Senator McCain's speech was irrelevant. Their minds were closed long before he opened his mouth to speak.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Today's Kersten column makes the point (oft-made in the blogosphere, not very often in the mainstream press) about the difference in treatment between works that offend Muslims and those offensive to Christians. I don't have anything to say on the subject that hasn't been said before, but in the very same Opinion Exchange section there is a Garrison Keillor piece making fun of Catholics that makes Kersten's point for her. Does anyone think the Star Tribune would run similar pieces making fun of Muslims?

Note: The link to the Keillor piece is not to the Star Tribune because it's not present on the Strib site.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

How things have changed

I never thought I would ever see this in my lifetime. (Click on the TV ad partway down the left side of the page). Who would ever have thought that California would need to advertise to get visitors?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Moussaoui Sentence

Although the editors of the National Review are disappointed in it, I don't believe the jury's verdict in the Moussaoui case is wrong. I admit that it wouldn't have kept me awake nights if the jury had sentenced this clown to death, but I don't know that he's worth killing. He no longer has a soapbox and the jury denied him what he claimed to desire - martyrdom. If he conned the jury to avoid execution, he may find the prospect of spending twenty-three hours a day for the next thirty or forty years counting dimples in the concrete walls of his cell less attractive than he thinks. He will become a pathetic, mostly forgotten figure sitting in a little room from which he can't even see the sky.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Jobs Americans won't do

According this profile (note: audio file) at National Public Radio, illegal immigrants make up just under 5% of the workforce, and tend to be more concentrated lower skilled occupations. Examples of where they are concentrated include:
  • 24% of farming jobs
  • 17% of cleaning jobs
  • 14% of construction
  • 29% of roofers
  • 12% of food preparation jobs

Average earnings for a Latino male:
  • undocumented, in US for 5 years: $430/wk
  • legal immigrant w/green card: $700/wk
  • immigrant who becomes US citizen: $930/wk

These numbers, if accurate, suggest a couple of things to me. 1st, the majority of "jobs Americans won't do" are done by, well, Americans. 2nd, the gap in earnings between illegal and legal workers is not small, probably more than the 8% figure found in the WSJ. You guys sure there isn't any exploitation going on?
I just finished watching the whole of Firefly this week, and although I don't believe it was intentional the 'verse portrayed in the series has some similarities to the Spinward Marches in the Traveller universe. This in spite of the fact the Alliance is a very statist government compared with the Third Imperium. The constant search for work, dislike of psychs, a certain devotion to free enterprise come to mind. Both places have a touch of the Wild West about them, as well.

I was also wondering why the most attactive of the women charaters to me happened to be Kaylee...