Saturday, May 30, 2009

Negotiators have reached an agreement on language for a same-sex marriage law here in New Hampshire. The bill still needs to pass the legislature, but it appears that the language changes will satisfy the Governor.

Looking for a job? Uncle Sam is hiring.

Newspapers can be saved by Federal action, without a bailout, believe it or not. They need an anti-trust exemption to allow them to charge for their online content, according to this piece.

Mark Steyn mocks the President (and others) for their inability to do anything more than talk when it comes to the threat from North Korea.

Roger Simon mocks Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh by wondering what they would do differently.

The sad fact of the matter is that unless we are willing to use military force against North Korea or Iran, then we must face the prospect of both nations achieving nuclear power status (it appears, of course, that the North Koreans are already there). We must also, though, understand that these nations present different problems. The North Koreans are unlikely to nuke anybody, in my estimation. The regime just wants to stay in power, which means they need cash. They want nukes to use as bargaining chips for aid, and to sell on the black market. Iran is dangerous because it's regime has an apocalyptic ideology which could result in the use of nukes against Israel. Both are bad outcomes because each increases the probability that some city, somewhere, will be destroyed by a nuclear bomb, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths. But each situation should be handled differently.

If I were President, prior to an Iranian test of a nuclear weapon, I would secretly tell them that any use of nuclear weapons by them against Israel or any of our other allies in the region will be considered as if it were a nuclear attack against the United States and would result in a massive retaliation by our own nuclear arsenal. If that failed to dissuade them from continuing with their nuclear program, once they achieved a working nuclear weapon, I would publicly make the same proclamation. Iran's leaders must be made to believe, without question, that if they use nukes, their country will be destroyed utterly and completely. During the secret discussions I would assure them that I would prevent any unilateral actions by the Israelis. All of this, of course, would require that the Iranians (and the Israelis) believe my statements to be credible. I wonder if President Obama would carry that kind of credibility if he were to undertake that type of discussion.

As for North Korea, I would make the same assurances regarding any use by them of their nukes. If they use them against South Korea or any of our allies, we would destroy them. But, I would assure them that they would not be attacked otherwise (as I said, I don't think that is there main concern, anyway). Then, I would pay them to shut down their facilities. It stinks, I know, but other than military action, how to stop them from trading on the black market? A blockade? It would only work if China were to cooperate, which I doubt, and might lead to a massive conventional attack by the North Koreans (remember, it was the oil embargo that led the Japanese to attack the U.S in 1941).

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Boston Globe has this story about members of the "Free State" movement who have made their homes in New Hampshire, and what some of them have been up to.

With the international security situation becoming ever more unstable, it may be that it is the Democrats who face more political trouble and division than the GOP.

Here is an explanation of the treaty that is causing the North Koreans to rattle their sabers.

Paul Krugman says politics is behind recent inflation fears.

Michael Gerson says Republicans should oppose the Sotomayor appointment, and Charles Krauthammer says they should criticize her where appropriate, but she will be confirmed.

Here is an argument against gay marriage that I have not heard made in the past. It is an interesting piece, though I think several points are very debatable, which is why I am unconvinced.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Clifford D. May explains why it is not possible to reason with the Islamists.

A new report is out on the Massachusetts mandatory health insurance program and, just like those places where health insurance is not mandatory, they are running into trouble caused by rising costs and the effects of the recession. I'll say it man's costs is another man's income.

A simple test reveals whether you are a conservative or a liberal, and it says something about how our political attitudes are hard-wired in our brains.

South Korean and American military forces raise the alert level on the Korean peninsula in response to North Korean threats.

Fred Barnes writes about a principled, conservative opposition based on good scholarship.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Boris Johnson, the new Mayor of London, narrowly avoids a fatal accident while scouting out a new bike path.

Tom Brady is back, and he talks with Sports Illustrated reporter Peter King. As a Patriots fan, I rejoice at his reappearance on the local scene.

Home sales and prices fall again in Massachusetts.

North Korean warns of military action against South Korea if the South Koreans join the U.S. in stopping North Korean ships as part of an operation to prevent the North Koreans from transferring nuclear equipment to other nations or entities. The North Korean government is infamous for it's bellicose statements over the years. Someday, I fear they will actually follow through.

The bellicose words and actions of the North Koreans is a kick in the teeth for the President and his efforts to do better than previous Presidents on the issue.

Soon, we'll just have to call it Government Motors. Then the question will be...would you buy a car from this (G)-man?

Why Sonia Sotomayor is not good news for Libertarians.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

President Obama's options are limited when dealing with the North Koreans and their nuclear and missile programs. Dan Blumenthal and Robert Kagan have some advice for the President, including putting an end to the unproductive six party talks. Since direct military action against North Korea is off the table (barring any direct attack by the North Koreans against the U.S. or our allies in the region), it seems to me that there are no good options. We will have to live with a nuclear-armed North Korea, and a nuclear-armed Iran, and all the countries that follow their lead. It seems that our long run without a nuclear attack (the last one was against Nagasaki in 1945) will not last much longer. John Bolton has some thoughts on why the Obama Administration is making things worse.

Autopsies of War Dead Reveal Ways to Save Others is the headline for this story in The New York Times. I'm surprised it took them so long to start doing this routinely.

Ralph Peters has a suggestion for the proper way to deal with terrorists.

Robert Reich says the only way to fund health care reform is to tax employer-provided health insurance benefits. I'll be shocked if Congress ever goes along with that idea.

The Associated Press is reporting that the President will nominate U.S. Circuit Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace Justice Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court. A formal announcement is expected later this morning.

Monday, May 25, 2009

North Korea tests a nuclear device. More evidence of the interesting times that we live in.

Some perspective on the scandal that has damaged the British Parliament.

Merchants on the border are worried about the increase in the Mass. sales tax, and they should be.

Robert J. Samuelson writes something that has been obvious to me for a long time...that the only way we will see action concerning Social Security and Medicare is when the programs are actually bankrupt. Only then will Congress move to make changes.

Things you should know about the United States, and the U.S. Army, in World War II.

Finally, take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices made by the soldiers of that war, and all before and since, on this Memorial Day.

It is reprinted in many places today, but this poem, written by a Canadian in World War I, best reflects the sentiments of the day.

In Flanders Fields
John McCrae, 1915.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Toby Harnden writes about the 10 punches Dick Cheney landed on President Obama's jaw during their dueling speeches about terrorism and torture.

Colbert I. King writes about why Federal prison officials can't be trusted to control Al Qaeda prisoners, since they can't control the guys they are already holding.

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann say the terrorists won't even get to the prison system, since they'll end up being released by Federal judges.

In the end, the real dispute continues to be between the concept of treating terrorists as criminals, or treating them as wartime enemies. If terrorism is a problem of criminality, then those caught committing such act should face a judge in a courtroom, with rules of evidence and proper procedure. If terrorism is an act of war, then terrorists should face the business end of an American soldier's weapon. If he lives, he should be held according to a special set of rules. This, of course, is part of the problem. Our rules for dealing with criminals are pretty well set, with a couple of centuries worth of precedent and tradition. Our rules for dealing with prisoners of war are also pretty well set, with at least a century of precedent and tradition. Unfortunately, since terrorists are operating outside the boundaries of traditional war between nation states, since they do not wear uniforms, are not paid, armed and trained by a national government, they are not covered so neatly under the rules, which is why the Bush Administration struggled to come up with a procedure for dealing with them. President Obama cannot wish away this problem with soaring rhetoric. I do not believe these terrorists can be dealt with adequately by the existing legal system, nor can they be fought as if they were criminals. This is war. The terrorists are the enemy. If a framework does not exist for dealing with a stateless enemy, then one should be developed.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Federal Government is moving General Motors on a path toward bankruptcy, perhaps as soon as next week. Some people believe that such a move would be disastrous for the economy.

Paul Krugman has already concluded that the health insurance industry is set to double-cross the President on health care reforms. Actually, the health insurance industry, as well as the organizations that represent health care providers, hospitals and other clinics, and the pharmaceutical companies, will all oppose those reforms which would cost them money. That's the way it works. But, I think Krugman knows that.

New numbers show an increase in teen pregnancies in this country, after over a decade of decline. But, according to the author of this piece, the real crisis is in the continued increase in the number of children born out of wedlock.

Charles Krauthammer says President Obama's deeds vindicate President Bush.

On the other hand, Con Coughlin says President Obama has given Iran's leaders the green light to develop nuclear weapons within the year.

Meanwhile, the Taliban try to take over Pakistan. It is not a happy thought to think of a world where the religious zealots in Tehran and the even more zealous members of the Taliban have nuclear weapons.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Michael Tanner has more details about the ObamaCare health reforms. The bottom line? A new Federal system will be created to compete with private care. This Federal plan will be cheaper, so it will crowd out the private plans over time. It will be cheaper because the Feds will determine what they will pay for the services, and the providers will be left with no choice but to provide the service or get out of the business. Remember, when thinking about health care keep this in man's costs are another man's income. Which is why passing his health plan, or even achieving something that lowers health costs, is a difficult row to hoe.

Unlike Charles Foster Kane, Google doesn't think it would be fun to run a newspaper.

While the folks at the Pentagon hesitate to release a report on the recidivism of former Guantanamo detainees, the Democrats in Congress are hobbling the President's plans to close the facility by going NIMBY on the issue of where to put the detainees.

Of course, you don't need foreigners to hatch terror plots here in America, as there are still some guys willing to give terrorism a go right here in River City. Fortunately, they aren't the brightest bulbs in the light tower, and the FBI still has some smart folks trying to stop them.

California is a budgetary basket case. This article in The New York Times blames their system of direct democracy and the super majority requirements for budgets and taxes. George Will blames their movie star governor. At least one California paper tried to blame the voters, only to take that editorial off their website and replace it with a piece blaming the politicians, a move that caused at least one blogger to say newspapers deserve to die. I think there is plenty of blame to go around. The voters bear some responsibility in that they keep voting for legislators who pass spending programs without the requisite tax revenue to support them, then turn around and blast the politicians when they have the chance through the ballot initiatives. The Governor shares the blame, since he does not provide the leadership necessary to create momentum for workable solutions. Perhaps a bumper sticker should appear on California automobiles reading, "Where is Reagan Now That We Need Him".

Gay marriage is not yet a reality here in New Hampshire, as the House fails to pass a bill legalizing the practice with the conditions necessary to avoid a gubernatorial veto. A House-Senate conference committee will try to work out the differences and get something that can pass both houses and avoid a veto.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Good news for New Hampshire retailers as the Massachusetts Senate approves an increase in the Bay State's sales tax. Just the news of such a move ought to drive increased traffic into our stores, especially those close to the border.

Jeff Jacoby reminds everyone that a two-state solution in the Middle East is not the preferred solution for the Arabs. Their solution? Let Palestine be Judenrein.

Democrats in Congress say no to funding for closing down the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. They want more details on the plan. I can actually agree with them on this one.

Arianna Huffington continues to be deliriously happy about the transformative nature of the Obama Administration. When her disillusion comes, it will be something to see.

Michael Gerson writes about the disillusionment and despair at the Central Intelligence Agency. Every one of the officers who voted for Obama should think long and hard about the lessons learned.

A call to fight ObamaCare. I fear that the political will to fight this won't be there until after the new rules and programs begin to have deleterious effects.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I was never very good at math, which makes me just like the majority of elementary school teachers in Massachusetts. That's not a good thing.

But, I suppose I'm pretty happy (despite my jobless state), which make me just like my fellow old, male Republicans.

General Petraeus speaks with The New York Post and answers questions about the road ahead regarding Afghanistan.

The President is set to announce today tough new auto emissions and mileage standards. Now that they have, in effect, become wards of the state, auto industry leaders are set to endorse the new standards after years of bitterly fighting against them. The one good aspect for the auto industry is that the standards will be uniform, rather than the patchwork state-by-state pattern existing today.

If, like my wife and I, you pay your credit card bills in full and on time, you're about to get hit by the credit card companies, who are being forced by the government to be more lenient with the folks who don't pay in full and on time. The credit card companies were making serious dough by slamming folks with late fees, etc., and giving folks with sterling credit lots of benefits. That will all change. Thanks again, Mr. President.

Monday, May 18, 2009


This Monday morning seems to be the morning for gloomy predictions about the financial health of the United States. They seem quite justified to me.

For instance, Robert J. Samuelson wonders how much deficit spending does the Obama Administration have to propose before people start calling the President "irresponsible"?

Let's see. From 2010 to 2019, Obama projects annual deficits totaling $7.1 trillion; that's atop the $1.8 trillion deficit for 2009. By 2019, the ratio of publicly held federal debt to gross domestic product (GDP, or the economy) would reach 70 percent, up from 41 percent in 2008. That would be the highest since 1950 (80 percent). The Congressional Budget Office, using less optimistic economic forecasts, raises these estimates. The 2010-19 deficits would total $9.3 trillion; the debt-to-GDP ratio in 2019 would be 82 percent.

Read the whole thing...and weep.

Clive Crook also sees the ugly numbers, and wonders if the recent 'stress test' the Treasury Department conducted on the big banks was simply a political exercise that did not use tough enough assumptions about poor economic growth conditions moving forward.

The idea of a stress test is to make pessimistic assumptions -- assumptions with no more than a 15 percent chance of coming true, according to the tests' designers -- and then work through the implications. The assumptions have to be pessimistic, otherwise there is no stress. The problem is, the exercise carried out by the Federal Reserve Board and by Treasury did not consider a seriously bad case. The tests imagine unemployment rising to 10.3 percent in 2010, for instance, compared with 8.9 percent in the base case. But unemployment is already at 8.9 percent and headed higher. In an improbable but entirely possible bad case, unemployment could go well over 10.3 percent next year.

Read that whole thing...and weep some more. I am not an economist. My area of expertise is in politics and the media. But these numbers are truly frightening. As Mathew Continetti points out in this piece in The Weekly Standard about the recent reports made by the trustees of Social Security and Medicare...

The saying goes that the federal government is nothing more than a giant insurance company with a side business in defense. Most federal expenditures, after all, go to just four things: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, interest on the national debt, and the Pentagon. But here's the bad news: The insurance company the government most closely resembles is AIG.

Read the whole thing...and weep if you plan to live past 65 (or have children or grandchildren that you care about). The Baby Boom demographic tsunami is drawing near, we are now adding to our debt in levels not seen since the Second World War, and our economy is, quite possibly, going to be mired in this recession for some time to come. I hate Doomsday scenarios, and I remember talking with people who were sounding the alarm on this issue back in the mid-1990s. Doomsday didn't come then. But, just because we managed to grow our way out of the problem then, doesn't mean we'll do the same today.

In a related issue, economists Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore take a look at how the economic crisis is causing state legislators to look for ways to 'soak the rich' in their states, and why that does not work. Why? Because people, especially wealthy people, can move, taking their wealth and expertise with them. So, do the actions of the low tax states cause a race to the bottom on social services and quality of life?

Those who disapprove of tax competition complain that lower state taxes only create a zero-sum competition where states "race to the bottom" and cut services to the poor as taxes fall to zero. They say that tax cutting inevitably means lower quality schools and police protection as lower tax rates mean starvation of public services.

They're wrong, and New Hampshire is our favorite illustration. The Live Free or Die State has no income or sales tax, yet it has high-quality schools and excellent public services. Students in New Hampshire public schools achieve the fourth-highest test scores in the nation -- even though the state spends about $1,000 a year less per resident on state and local government than the average state and, incredibly, $5,000 less per person than New York. And on the other side of the ledger, California in 2007 had the highest-paid classroom teachers in the nation, and yet the Golden State had the second-lowest test scores.

Read the whole thing...and weep if you live in California, New York or New Jersey.

More economic news, as the folks in the media try to figure a way to make money in the Internet Age. Read the whole thing and weep...if you work (or still hope to) in the traditional media (especially newspapers, but also radio and TV).

China is emerging as a leading maker of automobiles, and the torch may be passing from Detroit to the Middle Kingdom. Read the whole thing...and weep if you work in the automobile industry, or any related industry, or care about American economic power and security.

What do all of these things have in common? An empire stops making things, instead spending all of it's energy in moving money around and overextending itself through the accumulation of global security responsibilities, which leads it from being the world's greatest creditor nation to a debtor nation, all the while a continental-sized competitor is busy turning itself into the manufacturing center of the world. I think we've seen this story before. It led to something called The American Century.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The American auto industry continues it's fall as GM announces a plan to drop 40 percent of it's dealerships. This is very bad news in a lot of ways as local dealers do many things in their communities, and local media, including newspapers, radio and TV stations, rely on their advertising dollars. The fall of GM and Chrysler is just another body blow for newspapers.

Here is an interesting article on some ways that the Federal Government could save newspapers by making changes in law, rather than through direct subsidies. I haven't thought about this enough to comment, so I will ponder it for now and then write more on the issue later. But my first thought is that it makes sense that the people who generate content should not be forced to give that content away for free, but are they being forced to do so, or is that content being taken from them without their consent because of the way in which laws are written?

Bill Kristol gives thanks for Dick Cheney. I agree. Don't be taken in by articles in the MSM that find Republicans who are critical of Cheney for his outspoken ways. The reporters and editors of those publications want the GOP to LOSE, so of course they find spineless Republicans who quail at the fire coming from a FIGHTING Republican. Keep it up, Mr. Vice-President.

Are Islamists on the verge of taking over Somalia, or what's left of it?

While President Obama is busy retreating from campaign promises, including the one where he said he would not rely on military tribunals to try terrorists, Speaker Pelosi is busy trying to convince people she wasn't briefed on the 'enhanced interrogation techniques' the CIA was using against those terrorists. Here job is being made more difficult by the new Director of Central Intelligence, former Democratic Congressman and White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta, whose past associations ought to give him a little credibility with Democratic partisans, who rebuts Pelosi's charge that CIA briefers didn't tell her the truth.

Meanwhile, a London paper is reporting that Panetta recently went to Israel to urge the new Israeli government not to attack Iran without first notifying the U.S. government.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Governor Lynch is set to sign a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, if lawmakers will make a change in the bill that would prevent religious organizations from having to perform such marriages if it violates their beliefs. More thoughts on this later.

Mexican migration into the United States is in decline. It makes sense, since we have fewer job opportunities here. When the economy, so will immigration (legal or otherwise) from Mexico.

David Brooks sees the light at the end of the fiscal tunnel, and it is the oncoming train of unsustainable debt. As the numbers come into focus, I suspect more people will begin to worry about this problem. Will the MSM sound the alarm, even if it means being critical of their man in the White House?

Paul Krugman goes to China, and finds a country governed by leaders who are unwilling to lower their carbon output. Meanwhile, the Australians are eyeing China's military buildup, and taking action.

A new kind of trade war, one that doesn't involve tariffs.

Why the President's poll numbers are sure to drop. The answer, in part, is the coming of undivided government.

Charles Krauthammer defends his position on torture.

We've heard a lot about Muslim radicalism, but some are concerned about Hindu radicalism in India.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Larry Kudlow believes the Obama health care plan will bankrupt the nation. Actually, if they ever get it passed, it will not bankrupt the nation. In the end, future Presidents and members of Congress will be forced to raise taxes, or cut other expenditures to the bone, or the future bureaucrats who run the health system will cut costs by denying care. In fact, in all probability all of those things will happen.

Nouriel Roubini believes that the Chinese may be on their way to global financial dominance, as the U.S. falls into deeper and deeper debt. History shows that global empires who stop making things, and transform themselves from creditors to debtors, always lose their top status, even if the core nations don't disappear (Spain, Great Britain and Holland all come to mind). The United States has an advantage that those other nations do not, of course, since it is a continental-sized nation.

"Meet the new boss...same as the old boss".

Ralph Peters has this take on the command shakeup in Afghanistan.

Amir Taheri believes we will see a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

If you do nothing else today, read this piece by Mark Steyn in Imprimis. It is a clarion call for recognizing how we are losing our freedoms here in the West.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Social Security and Medicare are in financial difficulty, especially Medicare, which is now paying out more than it is taking in. The numbers are made worse by the recession, but a crisis is coming now matter how well or badly the economy performs. The demographic wave of Baby Boomers will swamp these programs, forcing some future administration and Congress to cut the benefits, raise taxes enormously, or some combination of both.

Benny Avni thinks the Obama Administration is following a dangerous path on the issue of nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons...rogue regimes...terrorists...the Obamamaniacs think we can talk it through, after all, "I'm OK, you're OK".

The Chairman of the Journalism Department at Boston University's College of Communications has some thoughts on the future of newspapers. What future? The business model is broken. The old days are not coming back. News will now be consumed on the web. Right now, people are getting it mainly for free, so they are unwilling to pay for it. At some point, when most or all of the newspapers are gone, there won't be much worthwhile content available. If, at that point, there is a demand, then people WILL be willing to pay for it, lacking any other free options. Then, a new business model will take shape.

Jeff Jacoby thinks Colin Powell should follow Arlen Specter out the door. Based on most of the positions I think he has taken over the years, it does seem like he is more of a Democrat than a Republican.

Michael Gerson believes the GOP has a death wish.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Faced with a popular President who will continue to receive adulatory coverage from the MSM, how should the GOP respond?

First, we should stop the navel gazing says Bill Kristol. There are plenty of opportunities for principled opposition for Republicans, and we should take them.

Second, according to Fred Barnes, we should not be afraid to be the party of 'no'. Again, it's about principled opposition to policies that go against our core values as conservatives.

Third, and this is related to both of the prior recommendations, Pat Buchanan says we need to be a fighting party. That means using whatever political means are at our disposal to oppose and block those Obama and Democratic policies that are most obnoxious, especially when we have a majority of public opinion behind us.

The GOP squandered a good deal of it's political and moral capital during the Bush years. It's time to start building it back up. How? We need to ask ourselves a few simple questions. If we can agree on the simple answers, then we can start going about the business of building up popular support to see our vision succeed, and the other guy's vision fail.

Do we believe that the government which governs best, governs least? If so, we should oppose nearly all new spending programs or programs that expand government and, moreover, we should advocate true spending cuts and program eliminations.

Do we believe that taxation, at it's core, is the concept of using the coercive power of the state to extract money from it's citizens? If so, we should always wish to use that power sparingly, only to fund those things which we cannot do privately.

Do we believe that to ensure the peace, we should be prepared for war? The world is a dangerous place, filled with tyrants and fanatics, who not only are not susceptible to our ideas of democracy and liberty, but actually reject those ideas.

If we agree on those simple things, then we have a place to start, and start we must, right now, before President Obama and his allies move us so far down the road to real Socialism, that we will be unable to find our way back.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Michael Oren believes Israel faces seven existential threats. I do not share Oren's optimism when he concludes that Israel can survive these threats. They might survive one or two of them, but all seven? Israel will not exist as a Jewish State at the end of the 21st Century. One of the seven threats will destroy Israel in the end.

Michael Goodwin hopes the American Left will unite behind the President in prosecuting the war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. He shouldn't hold his breath, though, waiting for that to happen.

Paul Krugman believes the fact that lobbying groups representing insurance and pharmaceutical companies are now expressing support for health care reform is a good sign. These groups are simply trying to shore up their own positions as they see a political climate that is favorable to Obama. The President has already shown a Johnson-like ability to politically strong arm potential opponents (see the Chrysler deal) and the GOP is weak and disorganized. They hope to be eaten last. But, they'll get eaten, anyway.

Michael Barone says our political elites are out of touch with the masses on the issues of climate change and gun control. Which is why the Democrats in Congress are not going to do much of substance on either issue, despite the squawking of partisans.

King Abdullah of Jordan says the meeting between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will determine whether his region will see peace or war. No, I think the issue of peace or war will be determined in Tehran and Jerusalem, not Washington, New York or Geneva.

Selig Harrison says the issue in Pakistan is one of ethnicity, as the age-old conflict between Punjabis and Pashtuns is made more extreme by the introduction of radical Islam. That makes sense to me. The Taliban is based on the social customs and history of the Pashtuns, who live on both sides of the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. Because of their customs and history, as well as the political and economic chaos that has plagued them for decades, the Pashtuns were almost uniquely susceptible to the radical Islam of Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Now the Punjabis who govern Pakistan, and make up that country's army and social, economic and political elites, see the danger. Will they prevail, or will the Taliban, or will the country break up? Just more evidence of the interesting times that we live in.

Robert J. Samuelson says President Obama is blowing smoke on the issue of corporate taxes. A Chicago politician, blowing smoke? I'm shocked, shocked.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

The man responsible for bungling the Air Force One photo flyby over NYC gets the axe.

Unemployment is still on the rise, but it seems to be slowing, which is another sign that we might be past the worst part of this recession, although most experts believe it will still be some time before we can get into a recovery.

An argument against President Obama's health care plans.

Red Sox great Dom DiMaggio has passed away at 92. "The Little Professor", so called because of his diminutive size and the fact that he wore eyeglasses, was one of the best center fielders in Red Sox history and was a part of those great teams in the 1940s. He, like his teammate Ted Williams, also sacrificed part of his Major League career to serve the country in World War II. RIP.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Victor Davis Hanson writes about how Republicans lost their appeal, and how to get it back in time to win in 2012.

If the Republicans can offer a sane alternative of balanced budgets to the current mega-deficits; if they demonstrate the nexus between those who don’t pay taxes and those who have so much money that they don’t worry about taxes; and if they can talk without braggadocio of the tough choices abroad that are not solved by apologies, then they will win again in 2012.

Conservatism is the political belief that best mirrors human nature across time and space; but because its precepts are sometimes tragic and demand responsibility rather than ever-expanding rights, it requires adept communicators — not triangulators and appeasers whose pleasure is only for the moment.


Another good review of the new Star Trek Movie and here is a negative opinion of the film.

Ralph Peters believes the Obama Administration and the MSM are being taken in by the civilian casualty con being played by our enemies in Afghanistan.

A compelling new theory about what caused the Tunguska explosion in Siberia in 1908.

Charles Krauthammer explains why the Hamas 'peace' plan really isn't about peace at all, it's about victory...for Hamas.

Michael Gerson writes about new research that explains why the young in America are abandoning religion.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

An armchair theorist describes what is wrong with U.S. policy regarding Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Put simply, the Taliban, murderous as it is, is not the problem. The problem is the Pakistani military and the stubborn refusal of Washington to comprehend this basic reality. We need to remind ourselves that Pakistan is not a sovereign state with a military, but a sovereign military with a state at its disposal to use as it sees fit.

I believe his diagnosis of the problem is correct. However, the reason he is an "armchair theorist" is his proposed solution...

...what needs to be done without delay is to start the process of transforming the Pakistani military back into an instrument of the state from its current status as a state within the state. The military must be denied once and for all the role of political kingmaker it has long exercised, as well as the inordinate influence it has in the economy. Further, the ISI must be either closed down or put under strict civilian control. Islamabad must also seriously consider doing away with the special status of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, which has contributed to the prevailing lawlessness that the Taliban has exploited. A reconciliation with India is an essential precondition to the success of all of these measures and is very doable; a reconciliation with the Islamist thugs is not. This is the only kind of Washington agenda that would offer real hope of stabilization in Pakistan and the eventual defeat of the Taliban across the border.

It sounds great during a cocktail party, but is an absolute fantasy when applied to the real world.

Speaking of fantasies, George Will uses a famous fantastical tale to illustrate what is happening with American automakers.

Anatole Kaletsky says the U.S. will still rule the post-crisis world.

David Ignatius says America's Baby Boomers are in for a tough retirement.

Another good review of the new Star Trek movie. One blogger rates the Star Trek movies. You guessed it...The Wrath of Khan is #1.

A deal is reached to keep The Boston Globe running, as unions make concessions. This will keep the Globe running for some time going forward, and may make it's financial condition palatable enough for someone to buy it. Still, it does not seem like the Globe, or any other newspaper, will survive very long into the future.

My best wishes go out to Jerry Remy, the television color analyst for Boston Red Sox games for the last twenty years, as well as a former Sox player. He recently was operated on to treat lung cancer, and he has faced complications which will sideline him indefinitely. I hope he recovers from those complications and comes back soon, as I believe he is the best baseball analyst on television.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

While it appears that the H1N1 flu is on the wane, it pays to remember that during the previous pandemics over the last 100 or so years, each was marked by a mild Spring outbreak, followed by a more virulent and deadly outbreak in the Fall.

Dana Milbank points out that President Obama is riding a wave of good news and optimism.

Pitfalls remain, however. As mentioned above, the flu could make a deadly comeback, and Obama's weakness could lead to disasters in places like Lebanon.

We could also see a meltdown in Pakistan, despite (or, perhaps because of) the Pakistani Army's offensive against the Pakistani Taliban.

Then there are the banks. Bank of America needs $33.9 billion in capital, according to the U.S. government, to be considered healthy, while other banks are going to need to prove to Federal regulators that they have the wherewithal to make loans without taxpayer assistance if they are to get out from under their TARP restrictions. Meanwhile, Progressives like Harold Meyerson are calling on the President to do for the banks what he is doing for Chrysler. Meyerson credits the different approaches to the fact that the Treasury men who are leading the charge all have Wall Street ties, which is a valid point. More important, though, for understanding the difference is the fact that Chrysler has tens of thousands of union employees, while the banks do not. Meyerson and other Progressives still do not understand that their hero is a Chicago politician, despite the fact that he looks and talks like an Ivy League intellectual. As a Chicago politician, Barack Obama understands that he needs votes, which the union men and women whose jobs he is trying to save will give him if he is successful, while the bankers will provide him money if he plays ball with them. So, unions and old-line bankers ..."good", hedge fund "speculators"..."bad". Just keep that in mind, and you'll understand what is going on.

Here in New Hampshire, Charlie Arlinghaus says we should pity poor State Senator Lou D'Allesandro, as his politically timid colleagues dump the state budget in his lap. I've known Lou for years and know him to be a good man. But, he's not a magician. Good luck, Lou.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Kevin Hassett takes a dim view of the strong arm methods used by the Obama Administration to force Chrysler into a bankruptcy that benefits the unions but leaves the lenders out in the cold. Mickey Kaus calls it a debacle. The outcome makes perfect sense to those of us who warned that Obama was no centrist. He is a left-wing Chicago Democrat with an Ivy League degree whose ideology was formed with the help of a Black Radical preacher. So, you're surprised he favors the unions over the 'speculators'? You're surprised he has travelled the world apologizing for American actions? You're surprised he wants 'dialogue' with anti-American thugs? I'm not.

Arthur Herman corrects another of Obama's historical errors, this one about Winston Churchill and the issue of torture.

Iran launches airstrikes against Kurdish fighters across the border in Iraq. Since Iraq's airspace is still officially under U.S. control, if this story is accurate, it could be seen as provocative, unless the Iranians got American permission to launch the attack. I think it may be the result of a growing Iranian belief that Obama is weak.

The Taliban grows stronger in Pakistan. The Viet Cong analogy grows stronger in my mind.

Dan Abrams interviews Bush's lawyers.

The Sun is quiet. Could it lead to another Little Ice Age?

Sixteen people banned from entering Great Britain, including radio talk host Michael Savage.

Monday, May 04, 2009

The New York Times Co. files a warning order for a potential shutdown of The Boston Globe. Perhaps a final negotiating ploy to get the unions to give in.

As U.S. officials worry about the security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, Ralph Peters says it is time to walk away.

Susan Boyle has been performing for a long time, check her out at age 22.

Pontiac dealers face the future without their legendary cars. As a former Pontiac owner (a 1978 Pontiac Grand Prix) I grieve with them.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Ralph Peters describes the civil war going on in Pakistan.

There is also a civil war on Wall Street.

Justice Souter has decided to come home to New Hampshire, a decision that will result in the first Obama pick to the Supreme Court. It will not change the ideological balance of the court, unless Obama's pick is a closet conservative in the same way that Souter was a closet liberal before he was selected by President George H.W. Bush.

Was World War II a just war? Watch the video at this link.