Thursday, May 26, 2005

Peggy Noonan on "Public Servants"

OpinionJournal - Peggy Noonan: "People who charge into burning towers are heroic; nuns who work with the poorest of the poor are self-denying; people who volunteer their time to help our world and receive nothing in return but the knowledge they are doing good are in public service. Politicians are in politics. They are less self-denying than self-aggrandizing. They are given fame, respect, the best health care in the world; they pass laws governing your life and receive a million perks including a good salary, and someone else--faceless taxpayers, 'the folks back home'--gets to pay for the whole thing. This isn't public service, it's more like public command. It's not terrible--democracies need people who commit politics; they have a place and a role to play--but it's not saintly, either. "

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

NC Judge Boyle in the Political Wind "'At this point, Boyle is outside the agreement,' Tracy Schmaler, [Sen. Patrick] Leahy's committee spokeswoman, said Tuesday. 'I don't know how it affects him.'
Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, a moderate Pennsylvania Republican, said last week that Democrats, whom he didn't name, had told him they would not block Boyle.
Sen. Elizabeth Dole continues to urge her colleagues to approve Boyle's appointment.
'It's unconscionable that he has been held up this long,' said Lindsay Taylor, a Dole spokeswoman. 'He's due an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor.'
Boyle enjoys broad bipartisan support among lawyers who practice before him. The American Bar Association has rated him well-qualified for the job."

Racial Preference in Education

Carolina Journal | Carolina Journal | John Hood's Daily Journal: "'s fair to say that the best evidence leans against Bowen and Bok's thesis that lowering admissions standards for minorities has no adverse effect on their college performance, which has the additional disadvantage of being severely counterintuitive.

If preferential policies don't produce the desired result, why do college administrators and state policymakers continue to promote them? Here's where I think Gryphon really nails it. 'Affirmative action programs are the primary way that college administrators offer an institutional apology for the exclusionary policies of decades past,' she writes, so it is 'an expressive act as much as a policy decision.'

It is all about intention, in other words, and an intention that can scarcely be faulted given the racially charged history of UNC and state government in general. But good intentions don't make good laws."

Edwards Campaigns at LSE

ABC News: The Note: Intraparty Love and Warfare: "Senator Edwards is scheduled to speak about global challenges facing the United States and Europe at the London School of Economics at 11:30 am ET."

Senator Edwards has a full schedule in his political campaign perhaps next against Senator Elizabeth Dole in a bid to return to the national platform. Oh, I forgot he is campaigning to reduce poverty on behalf of the state-funded UNC Law School.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Kerry's Form SF 180

The caveat emperor - The Boston Globe - - Op-ed - News: "During an interview yesterday with Globe editorial writers and columnists, the former Democratic presidential nominee was asked if had signed Form SF 180, authorizing the Department of Defense to grant access to all his military records.
''I have signed it,' Kerry said. Then, he added that his staff was ''still going through it' and ''very, very shortly, you will have a chance to see it.'
The devil is usually in the details. With Kerry, it's also in the dodges and digressions. After the interview, Kerry's communications director, David Wade, was asked to clarify when Kerry signed SF 180 and when public access would be granted. Kerry drifted over to join the conversation, immediately raising the confusion level. He did not answer the question of when he signed the form or when the entire record will be made public...

...Kerry's communications director, David Wade, was asked to clarify when Kerry signed SF 180 and when public access would be granted. Kerry drifted over to join the conversation, immediately raising the confusion level. He did not answer the question of when he signed the form or when the entire record will be made public.

Several e-mails later, Wade conveyed the following information: On Friday, May 20, Kerry obtained a copy of Form 180 and signed it. ''The next step is to send it to the Navy, which will happen in the next few days. The Navy will then send out the records," e-mailed Wade. Kerry first said he would sign Form 180 when pressed by Tim Russert during a Jan. 30 appearance on ''Meet the Press."

Six months after Kerry's loss to George W. Bush, it feels somewhat gratuitous to point out how hard it can be to get a clear, straight answer from Kerry on this and other matters."

Social Class and Education

Class Matters - Social Class and Education in the United States of America - The New York Times - New York Times: "Only 41 percent of low-income students entering a four-year college managed to graduate within five years, the Department of Education found in a study last year, but 66 percent of high-income students did. That gap had grown over recent years. 'We need to recognize that the most serious domestic problem in the United States today is the widening gap between the children of the rich and the children of the poor,' Lawrence H. Summers, the president of Harvard, said last year when announcing that Harvard would give full scholarships to all its lowest-income students. 'And education is the most powerful weapon we have to address that problem.' "

This a long and important article.

Female Advantages in Business

What Women Want - New York Times: John Tierney said,"A friend of mine, a businessman who buys companies, told me one of the first things he looks at is the gender of the boss.

"The companies run by women are much more likely to survive," he said. "The typical guy who starts a company is a competitive, charismatic leader - he's always the firm's top salesman - but if he leaves he takes his loyal followers with him and the company goes downhill. Women C.E.O.'s know how to hire good salespeople and create a healthy culture within the company. Plus they don't spend 20 percent of their time in strip clubs."

Still, for all the executive talents that women have, for all the changes that are happening in the corporate world, there will always be some jobs that women, on average, will not want as badly as men do. Some of the best-paying jobs require crazed competition and the willingness to risk big losses - going broke, never seeing your family and friends, dying young."

Federalist Paper No. 66 and the Deal in the Senate

Efforts of 2 Respected Elders Bring Senate Back From Brink - New York Times: "After weeks of seemingly fruitless negotiations between the two sides, Mr. Byrd, 87, a West Virginia Democrat who has spent more than half a century in Congress, and Mr. Warner, 78, a Virginia Republican who regards himself as an 'institutionalist,' met privately twice on Thursday. They parsed the language of Alexander Hamilton's Federalist Paper No. 66 in an effort to divine what the founding fathers intended when they gave the Senate the power to advise and consent on nominees. After trading telephone calls over the weekend, they drafted three crucial paragraphs.
The agreement contends that the word 'advice' in the paper 'speaks to consultation between the Senate and the president with regard to the use of the president's power to make nominations.' It goes on to state, 'Such a return to the early practices of our government may well serve to reduce the rancor that unfortunately accompanies the advice and consent process in the Senate.'"

Monday, May 23, 2005

US Senate Deal on Judges

US Senate Makes Deal Posted by Hello

Senators Reach Deal to Avert Showdown on Judicial Nominees - New York Times: "The 14 senators who forged the compromise included, on the Republican side, Mr. McCain, Mr. Graham, John Warner, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Mike DeWine and Lincoln Chafee, and on the Democratic side, Mr. Lieberman, Mr. Byrd, Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Daniel Inouye, Mark Pryor and Ken Salazar.

Under the accord, announced in a hastily called Capitol news conference, the 14 senators pledged to vote to end prolonged debate on three of President Bush's most disputed appellate court nominees: Priscilla R. Owen of Texas, Janice Rogers Brown of California and William H. Pryor of Arkansas.

The 14 senators made "no commitment to vote for or against" the filibuster against two other nominees, Henry Saad and William Myers, Mr. McCain said."

AP via NYT Bias

Prodded Anew by Bush, Senate Plunges Into Marathon Debate - New York Times: "...with Republicans seeking to strip Democrats of their right to filibuster nominees to the appeals court and Supreme Court."

News story, not an op-ed - and there's no liberal bias?

Krugman's Depression - You Heard It Here

This is what I wrote in this space early last Friday morning:

"In all economic situations, Krugman always looks for, predicts, and earnestly hopes for a depression caused by Republicans who are too foolish to just raise income taxes, sales taxes, payroll taxes, corporate taxes and use any tool to grab any assets in the hands of any entity not in poverty."

This is Krugman today:

America Wants Security - New York Times: "Here's my thought: maybe 2004 was 1928. During the 1920's, the national government followed doctrinaire conservative policies, but reformist policies that presaged the New Deal were already bubbling up in the states, especially in New York.
In 1928 Al Smith, the governor of New York, was defeated in an ugly presidential campaign in which Protestant preachers warned their flocks that a vote for the Catholic Smith was a vote for the devil. But four years later F.D.R. took office, and the New Deal began.
Of course, the coming of the New Deal was hastened by a severe national depression. Strange to say, we may be working on that, too. "

{See my post 05/20/05 7:47am: "Yuan Revaluation: Krugman Says Economists Are Confused, Proves With His Confusion".}

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Europe's Reality and Ours

Tomorrow (the web is a wonderful thing) IBD's editorial points out the harsh reality of Europe's future Today in Investor's Business Daily stock analysis and business news: "Europe Closing Shop?"

And today's Arizona Republic's editorial comes to the same point "European social model is limping on the runway":

After citing the statistics of "old" Europe's economic failure compared to the United States the following is the conclusion:

"In the United States, the basic choice on social policy is whether to pursue the European model and increasingly rely on the government to provide economic security, or enhance an American alternative in which individuals are more empowered to obtain economic security for themselves. The current Western European experience offers an instructive and cautionary lesson about that choice."

The biggest issue facing the United States, my country as I am proud to say, is the dichotomy between two theories and as much as I try to sum up it boils down to capitalism or not, faith in God or not.

The public debates that really irritate me is first that the notion that one (I, Me) can't be a believer in economics and have a compassion for people.

The other irritation is that according to some I can't have my belief as a Catholic and still be compassionate, concerned, be an advocate for people that I disagree with, and even have a great time.

I digress and will save the remainder of this for another day.

Fouad Ajami: "The Middle East Embraces Democracy --and the American President"

Today's WSJ (Online articles on Sat. & Sun.) OpinionJournal -Bush Country: "To venture into the Arab world, as I did recently over four weeks in Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq, is to travel into Bush Country. I was to encounter people from practically all Arab lands, to listen in on a great debate about the possibility of freedom and liberty. I met Lebanese giddy with the Cedar Revolution that liberated their country from the Syrian prison that had seemed an unalterable curse. They were under no illusions about the change that had come their way. They knew that this new history was the gift of an American president who had put the Syrian rulers on notice. The speed with which Syria quit Lebanon was astonishing, a race to the border to forestall an American strike that the regime could not discount. I met Syrians in the know who admitted that the fear of American power, and the example of American forces flushing Saddam Hussein out of his spider hole, now drive Syrian policy. They hang on George Bush's words in Damascus, I was told: the rulers wondering if Iraq was a crystal ball in which they could glimpse their future...

As I made my way on this Arab journey, I picked up a meditation that Massimo d'Azeglio, a Piedmontese aristocrat who embraced that "springtime" in Europe, offered about his time, which speaks so directly to this Arab time: "The gift of liberty is like that of a horse, handsome, strong, and high-spirited. In some it arouses a wish to ride; in many others, on the contrary, it increases the desire to walk." It would be fair to say that there are many Arabs today keen to walk--frightened as they are by the prospect of the Islamists coming to power and curtailing personal liberties, snuffing out freedoms gained at such great effort and pain. But more Arabs, I hazard to guess, now have the wish to ride. It is a powerful temptation that George W. Bush has brought to their doorstep."

If you get a little down from the Sunday editorials go and read this heartening narrative from Professor Ajami.