Friday, April 16, 2004

More on taxes
On overview of how our current tax code violates the key tenants of our Constitutional government. If we must be taxed, a national sales tax would make more sense.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

A sign al Qaeda is crumbling?
Osama bin Laden is looking to play nice, something he wouldn't do if he thought things were going well. Andrew Sullivan has the response, which, alas, cannot be repeated in respectable company.
Yeah, but what's my draconic name?
My elven name is Elrohir Ancalimë. I have no idea how to pronounce it. The rest of my family have the names of Celebriän, Caranthir and Tamuríl.

UPDATE: Ah, I have a hobbit name, too, though Drogo Knotwise of Michel Delving just doesn't have quite the ring to it. The rest of my family would be Orangeblossom (heh, she is wearing orange today), Marroc and Tigerlily. Easier to pronounce, at least.
Woo hoo! No taxes!
I want my money back. The key question is, when the IRS comes to my home demanding my money and I whip out this document, will they say, "Shucks, I guess you got us. You'll never hear from us again."? Yeah, right.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Better the 2nd time
I picked up the Matrix: Revolutions DVD yesterday. I was disappointed when I saw it in the theatre - it did not have as profound a conclusion as I was hoping. Maybe it helps to be over the initial disappointment, but I enjoyed watching it last night. It's Agent Smith that makes it worthwhile. Take him out and the film wouldn't be nearly as enjoyable.
Bush and Sharon
I've been pleasantly surprised by President Bush's support of Israel today:
In what appeared to be a major shift in U.S. policy, Bush said, "In light of new realities on the ground including already existing Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to have a full return to the 1949 line."
I would have used the word "suicidal", but "unrealistic" works, too. I do not believe Israel could adequately defend itself from within its original borders. Those that have attacked Israel since its inception from neighboring land shouldn't be whining when that land is taken from them.
That was quick
InstaPundit notes that Air America is falling apart.
The press conference
Well, I ended up missing most of the press conference last night. My kids and I were on a secret mission to prepare for my wife's birthday tomorrow. From the limited amount I saw, at least I can say that there's no doubting Bush's sincerity. His lack of polish actually helps here - the simple, straight-forward answers a sign of clarity.

Here are some other reviews:

Andrew Sullivan thought it was "Bush at his best".

Julian Sanchez over at Reason says it was "bizzaro".

InstaPundit has a balanced round-up.

I was hoping National Review would have an article up, but not yet. The reaction on the Corner (start here and scroll up) is actually a little mixed.

Surprisingly, TAPPED doesn't have anything to say about it, whereas A Small Victory is "damn proud".

Professor Bainbridge was hoping for Churchill and ended up finding him someplace else.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

60 Minutes Comes Clean
An interesting article by Slate discusses the role of the media in whipping up war hysteria against Iraq. It seems that en mass they all used debunked information from a group called the INS. One hundred and eight news stories, disseminated by the press, were floated by this group prior to the war. Most of these stories, it turns out were unsubstantiated. We need to be more skeptical in our thinking. After all, if every newspaper in the country parrots the same thing it must be true. Right? ; )
Your Kids are Fine!
Have you ever had someone tell you that your kid "needed to see a doctor?" It's most disconcerting when this person may be one from your kid's school. What is normal behavior anyway? Well, here is an interesting article that discusses tot therapy. Turns out, if you just let the kid alone they'll grow up just fine. Gee!
News conference tonight
Bush is holding a press conference tonight - only the third one since taking office - to talk about Iraq and about the events leading up to 9/11. I'm sure the reporters will be tough on him, that is, if it's not scripted like that one a year or so ago. I have more concerns about the situation Iraq than about whether or not 9/11 could have bee prevented. It looks to me like Iraq is not ready for us to turn over control by June 30, yet if we don't I fear there will be massive uprisings a thousand times worse than the ones we've seen this month. It's a pickle.

One thing is for sure: he'll lose my vote if he ends up preempting 24. [Yes, that was a joke. [Maybe.]]

Monday, April 12, 2004

Kerry Releases Kerriness Index
Sorry, that's Misery Index. The index tracks seven key indicators: median family income, college tuition, health costs, gasoline cost, bankruptcies, the homeownership rate, and private-sector job growth. Somehow, this is all lumped together with 1976, apparently, set at 100.

What's fun is that Republican administrations always have a decline in the Misery Index (which is bad, in a perverse inversion of how indexes usually perform) and Democrats always have an increase. Carter saw an overall improvement in the lives of Americans. Carter? Oil crisis, Iran hostages, stagflation? This leads to an overall improvement?

Anyway, the stats show that Bush has had a decline in the Misery Index (bad, bad) over his term. Only homeownership has improved.

What does this prove? That the economy is cyclical. Woooooooo!!! Big revelation.

Kerry wants to use this as a launching point for his own policies, of course, including:
"• John Kerry’s agenda to promote universal access to college—including $50 billion of tax cuts for college. John Kerry has proposed a $25 billion State Tax Relief and Education Fund that would reduce the pressure on states to balance their budgets by raising tuition for working families. John Kerry is also pushing for a College Opportunity Tax Cut – substantial tax relief to help families pay for college.

"• John Kerry’s agenda to promote more affordable health insurance for all Americans—including $177 billion in tax credits for health insurance. John Kerry has proposed a series of tax credits and other measures to ensure that healthcare is more affordable for American families. Kerry’s policies would reduce health insurance premiums by up to $1,000 and improve health outcomes."
What's missing is the simple concept of supply and demand. Healthcare and education are commodities. People don't like to think about them in these terms, but that's their problem. As demand for the goods increase, and their supply remains the same, either the price will rise or the quality will decline. Simple economics. Easy access to college and medicine, both good things, will have economic effects. Prices will fluctuate.

Kerry's solution is to make the problem worse.
Will it ever end?
Some Korean outfit is suing Microsoft for bundling Instant Messenger with Windows. What's next, a suit over the nefarious Notepad?
August 6 PDB
The August 6 Presidential Daily Briefing memo has been declassified, and can be read here. Condelezza Rice repeatedly stated that the memo was a historical document, citing information from past attempts and highlighting information from previously known intelligence. It also mentions the FBI's 70 ongoing, al-Qaeda related investigations.

I saw nothing to contradict Dr. Rice's comments about the PDB. The 9/11 Commission's assertions that this memo should have been taken more seriously strains credulity. This memo mentions no specific threat from al-Qaeda, only that it appears that they may do something. Does the Commission really believe that a 71st FBI probe would have broken something?
"EU budget laggards ignore empty Brussels threats"
The headline says it all.

Note the quote at the bottom of the article. In spite of all the problems the EU is having in trying to keep countries in line with the Growth and Stability Pact, he still thinks everything's working. How deluded can you get?
Alternate history
I learned of this alternative account of what might have happened via InstaPundit. Having Israel condemn the U.S. for its overzealousness is a nice touch.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Post Discussion
You'll never guess who I met at PhotoSpiva (an photographer's show) last Friday. Our friend John! He seemed a little hesitant to engage in conversation. I mentioned that I saw his letter to the editor and he warmed up a little. Evidently, we are communicating on some level aren't we? Obviously, he has been thinking about what was said at the discussion club. I chose not to engage him at the show, however. Perhaps another time?