Aug 31 2008

Complaints from the Right about Gov. Palin’s nomination

Category: Biden,economy,election 2008,McCain,Obama,Palin,politics,White Househarmonicminer @ 9:20 am

This fairly mild criticism from Powerline assumes “facts not in evidence” about the nature of economic knowledge required by a President, or Vice-President:

When I traveled with Senator McCain last November, just about the first question he answered was, what will you look for in a running mate. McCain responded that, first and foremost, he would want someone already qualfied to be president. Second, he said that because the economy is not his strong-suit, he would want someone with strong expertise in this area.

McCain did not say he wanted someone who would appeal to a potentially disaffected constituency within the Democratic party, or call attention (in an ironic way) to the inexperience of the Democratic nominee, or make such a splash as to counteract any Democratic convention bounce, or create a contrast to the Democratic vice presidential nominee, or “shake up” the Republican party, or “freshen up” the ticket, or reinforce his image as an opponent of corruption.

From the Left, such a criticism of Obama makes some sense, because the Left believes in complicated, frighteningly sophisticated economic models that supposedly allow the government appointed economic elites to tinker with the economy in the just the right way to make everything come out right.  These are essentially rooted in Keynes and Galbraith, both liberal progressive icons, because they are thought to have described a way to combine markets and capitalism with government management of the economy. Leaving out the fact the no one in the world knows enough to do such a thing, at least criticism of Obama makes sense, to the effect that he doesn’t know enough about economics to be President (economics of the liberal progressive brand, that is). Obama surely doesn’t have a detailed background in these matters, and so will be totally dependent on his advisers, economic rasputins all.

Does it make sense to level a similar criticism at Sarah Palin?

In a word, no. Here’s why.

Economics as understood from the right does not require a President who is deeply versed in complicated theories of market manipulation, and academic theories of how to rob Peter and pay Paul to make us all better off. It requires a President who knows enough to avoid wasteful spending, to keep taxes low, to keep regulation to a minimum, to encourage the development of energy resources, to remove as many barriers to free trading as possible, etc. It is not complex, and mostly requires a President who will avoid doing harm, supported by advisers who can help with the details.

Arguably, Sarah Palin has far more background in economic management than Obama, because in her executive roles she has cut taxes and spending. It is not complicated, and her behavior in office tells us all we really need to know about her economic background and perspectives, which is more than sufficient.  It is not an overstretch to say that if Congress had spent the last 8 years voting to do the sorts of things Palin has advocated, and has done as governor, we would all be in far better shape economically.  In fact, it’s more likely that the Congress would still be Republican.

So who, exactly, is unqualified here?

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Aug 30 2008

News Flash: Sarah Palin Should Disqualify Herself!!!

Category: Palinamuzikman @ 3:10 pm

Is she in the pocket of \

It is the opinion of this writer that Sarah Palin should immediately withdraw from the Republican ticket and no longer be considered for the office of Vice President!

I have it on good authority she has ties to Big Fish. In fact evidence seems to point to an “evil trinity” – ethically questionable dealings over the last few years involving Ms. Palin, Joseph Hazelwood, and Charlie Tuna! And why are so many copies of The Little Mermaid sold in Alaska? Shouldn’t there be an investigation? Under the guise of ending dependency on foreign bait I think Ms Palin and her willing accomplices in Big Fish are trying to run up the price of nightcrawlers and salmon eggs. If she becomes Vice President you can kiss the government Valveeta Cheese program good bye! Then how will the poor afford to go fishing? Is this the kind of compassion we want from our government?

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Aug 30 2008

Kudos to Politico and Yahoo

Category: election 2008,Group-think,McCain,media,Palin,politicsharmonicminer @ 2:54 pm

Here is something so rare that it’s essentially a man bites dog story. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen something quite like this in political reporting. After running a story quoting various academics and political commentators bashing Gov. Palin as “too inexperienced” to be vice-president, Yahoo/Politico actually ran this update with a response from the McCain campaign.

Update: After reading this article, the McCain campaign issued the following statement: “The authors quote four scholars attacking Gov. Palin’s fitness for the office of Vice President. Among them, David Kennedy is a maxed out Obama donor, Joel Goldstein is also an Obama donor, and Doris Kearns Goodwin has donated exclusively to Democrats this cycle. Finally, Matthew Dallek is a former speech writer for Dick Gephardt. This is not a story about scholars questioning Governor Palin’s credentials so much as partisan Democrats who would find a reason to disqualify or discount any nominee put forward by Senator McCain.”

Two things, one unremarkable, one not:

Continue reading “Kudos to Politico and Yahoo”

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Aug 29 2008

Take A Deep Breath

Category: election 2008,McCain,Palinamuzikman @ 11:09 pm

Did you ever walk outside after a storm has passed and the sun begins to peek out? The air is so clean and washed by the rain. I love that smell. Ever throw open a window in a room that’s been closed up for some time? What a contrast between the stale, stuffy air inside the room and the fresh breeze that blows in through the window. Have you ever gotten in your car on a hot, smoggy day, driven up to the mountains, then rolled your window down to take that first deep breath of cold, crisp mountain air? It’s almost shocking! A brisk reminder to the lungs of truly fresh air.

Now I know in the days and weeks to come much will be said, both pro and con, about John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential running mate. But just for today I do declare it feels like someone opened a window in this stuffy room.

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Aug 29 2008

The Left at Christian Universities, part 5: Silencing Free Expression the Gentle, Positive Way

This is a post in the chain on “The Left at Christian Universities”. The last, on diversity, was The Left at Christian Univs, part 4: Diversity.

It now appears that at least portions of the American academy are waking up to the threat against free speech and academic freedom represented by speech codes and “hate speech” laws, even in other nations.

Beware of Canada, where academic freedom is in jeopardy. That’s the message of a growing number of eminent scholars within the American Political Science Association (APSA) who have signed a petition expressing concern about presenting their work in Toronto, the expected location of the 2009 APSA conference.

And excerpts from the petition:

Continue reading “The Left at Christian Universities, part 5: Silencing Free Expression the Gentle, Positive Way”

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Aug 28 2008

On Friendship

Category: friendshipamuzikman @ 11:26 pm

I suppose it is a sign of getting older when one starts counting time in decades rather than years. And though we remain a largely youth-oriented culture I am getting old enough to realize how foolish young people are in their frequent disregard of the perspective available to them by those who have taken a few more laps around the sun. I was guilty of it as a youth and I hear my kids making comments that reflect the same silliness. They truly believe the internet, cell phones, video games and iPods did something to fundamentally change human nature. The landscape has indeed changed but the wild adventure through adolescence remains fundamentally the same E ticket ride (kids – look it up), dealing with the same struggles common to all who would enter adulthood.

One thing I have learned (and I wish I had realized a lot sooner) is how rare and precious are true friends. In college (a few decades ago), I could count my friends by the fist-full. But tested by time very few remain. And those few who do remain are not store-bought, just-add-water-and-stir, we-once-took-a-class-together friendships. No, I’m talking about life-long, self-sacrificing, shirt-off-your-back, storied, battle-tested, in-the-trenches friendships that have survived everything life could throw at them. No one I know has a surplus of those!

There are most certainly plenty of good reasons for this. Marriage, career, raising a family, moving, etc. all contribute to a shift in priorities and a necessary move into new seasons of life. The time a college-age student can spend hanging out with buddies is just no longer available when adult life intrudes. But there are those exceptions who manage to do whatever it takes to remain close. There are those few who will continue to go the extra mile or two to maintain a close friendship. And as the clock keeps ticking and the years fall away like so many autumn leaves, those true and close and dear friends become more rare than a Cubs World Series ring and more valuable than words can express.

Young people take friendships for granted. I wish they wouldn’t. But you really can’t explain to a young person that with age comes a certain melancholy, almost a loneliness. How sad it must be for those who have neglected to nurture those few real friends. They only get harder to find as the years fly by.

So here’s to you and a heart-felt “hail fellow well met”, Cody, Ernie, and Tim. True friends all. The rarest kind.

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Aug 28 2008

My life verse

Category: humor,theologysardonicwhiner @ 9:00 am

It has become popular in Christian circles for people to talk about their “life verse”, as if anyone’s life can be reduced to any sentence or two, no matter how profound and spiritual. It’s probably a heresy to believe such a thing… I’ll figure out which one later.

So, just to get into the spirit of things:

My life verse is “what can go wrong may very well go wrong”, found in the apocryphal Gospel of Murphy, in the 13th chapter (which ain’t the love chapter, trust me). In fact, I believe it’s the 13th verse, reportedly revealed to Murphius Morphius (his Latin name) on a Good Friday the 13th, a divine gift to explain why Morphius’ scribe tripped and impaled himself on his reed pen, forcing Morphius to write it down himself, in blood, the scribe’s blood, left ventricular, I do believe.

I know, you’re thinking I got it wrong, and the verse is really, “What can go wrong WILL go wrong.” That’s because you’ve been reading inaccurate translations that collapse the rich meaning of the original Greek dialect (a rare, almost unknown mixture of classic northern Greek, southern Macedonian, and Turkish delight). This dialect employs the ablative case, in which extra meaning must be rhetorically “scraped off” before the nugget of true meaning is exposed. (This was necessary to keep British (Druid) tourists from knowing what the locals were saying about them.) So some translators err on the side of scraping off just a bit too MUCH meaning, and lose the central point.

Clearly, if it was true that, “What can go wrong WILL go wrong,” this post would never have been created and successfully installed on this website. I suppose there may be other points of view on that.

I’m glad he didn’t compose music.

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Aug 27 2008

She lies so casually, and so grandly, but tells the truth once… or twice

Category: election 2008,McCain,Obama,politics,White Househarmonicminer @ 9:04 am

Hillary has always had a very distant relationship with the truth, of course, all the way from the lies she told the press to protect Bill from his dalliances, to the lies she told investigators about Whitewater (“I’m sorry, Senator, I don’t recall.”) and the White House travel office firings (she masterminded FBI accusations to taint innocent people so she could install her cronies in their places), the lies she told investigators about her role in the Vince Foster coverup (she had his office “sanitized” before investigators could get there), blah, blah, blah, the list is so incredibly long that it would take a week to write it all down.

Her speech to the Democrat convention in Denver was no different, just on a grander stage.

Just to mention one of her more minor lies of the evening, did you know that John McCain is not for equal pay for equal work for women? I didn’t either. Neither does he.

Did you know that the US government “gave” the oil companies their recent large profits? Imagine that. She is either a breathtaking liar, or breathtakingly ignorant about how the economy works. I’m betting on the former.

Nearly every paragraph (sometimes every sentence) either assumed a lie, or told one outright. Again, the list of lies in her speech is so long, I just don’t want to waste the time listing it all.

But she told the truth in two ways, at least, one explicitly, the other implicitly.

She said that unless Obama is elected, the Democrats would not be able to complete their makeover and utter restructuring of American life, the economy, universal health care (meaning, if you work, that you pay for someone else), punitive taxation, new entitlements, etc. That’s absolutely true.

And while she endorsed Obama, I did not notice much about Obama’s preparation for the job in her speech. She did not praise his character, his background, his abilities, anything at all that might be positive about Obama directly. It was all about the policies she wants, and the observation that if Obama loses, they won’t happen.

In her omission of any particular praise about Obama, she told the truth, both objectively, and in terms of her “personal truth” about him, given the disdain in which she holds him, and given her previous sober assessment of Obama’s preparation for the job:

That must have been some speech he gave in 2002.

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Aug 26 2008

What’s In A Name (Caller)?

Category: Group-think,humor,politicsamuzikman @ 10:45 pm

The comments that follow are by no means based on scientific, analytical, mathematical or statistical methods. They are admittedly entirely anecdotal and personal, supported and substantiated by only my individual observation. Nevertheless…

I have read some blogs here and there. I have even left an occasional comment, but not many. Mostly I have written response comments concerning politics and political issues. I have even flown into the enemy’s lair (The Huffington Post), left a hurried comment while looking over my proverbial shoulder, and then run over to Rush Limbaugh’s website just to wash off!

Until lately most of what I’ve done that would pass for blogging is to write an occasional note on my Facebook page, usually trying to provoke thought in one or more students at the university where I teach.

But other than the aforementioned Facebook, where things generally remain civil because we all tend to know each other, I have had a fairly similar experience each time I engaged a liberal in written discussion. After trying to craft a cohesive, cogent statement about what I think and why I think it, I am rewarded with a response consisting of a couple paragraphs of name-calling, leftist pejorative cliches’ and downright hateful invective. in fact it happened tonight on good ol’ generally safe Facebook!

So, what is it with the rabid left? (And the dog metaphor really does work here) Many “hard-left” bloggers are like half-crazed dogs, having no desire to engage in even a greeting sniff or to acknowledge the presence of other breeds. They just want to mark their spot and move on. (Hey, wait a minute…move on, Wow!, you don’t suppose… nah, it couldn’t be!)

C’mon leftist friends, what are you afraid of – facts? persuasion? truth? a differing opinion that actually makes sense? How about trying a little persuasion. Make an argument, defend your position, and try not not to be so (yep, here it comes), “dog” matic!

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Aug 26 2008

Do we want the Rookie at bat in the bottom of the ninth with two outs?

Category: election 2008,Iran,Islam,McCain,Obama,politics,White Househarmonicminer @ 9:00 am

Obama is not the heavy hitter we need to deal with this.  Neither, will all due respect, is his pinch-hitter, who has a flashy looking swing, but simply misses the ball way too often.

A senior Iranian atomic official said Sunday that Iran has chosen the site for and started designing a new 360 megawatt nuclear power plant.

Iran has yet to complete construction of its first nuclear power plant and has previously sent conflicting signals about the state of work on a planned second plant. An Iranian official said this year construction work had already begun.

Can we have a show of hands for all of you who would like Obama to be the one we depend on to navigate the treacherous waters of Iran’s nuclear armament intentions?  This is not a misused cliche…  if Iran’s nuclear facilities are attacked, they plan to close the Strait of Hormuz.  They’ve been buying Russion Kilo-class subs to do it with, along with lots of land-based ship killer missiles from both Russia and China.  We’ll reopen it, of course….  but it will take some time, and will leave huge unresolved problems.  How does $250 per barrel of oil sound to you?

Personally, I’d like to be putting at bat a player with sufficient reputation that the opposing pitcher decides to walk him instead of just throwing fastballs at his head, followed by a change-up that leaves him whiffing.

This is the big-leagues, not celebrity baseball.

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