Saturday, July 09, 2005

Morgan's Mack Turns Down $25 mln Yr Base For More Pay for Performance U.S.: "Morgan Stanley Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Mack said he's changing his employment agreement with the firm and no longer will accept a guarantee of $25 million a year in pay. Mack's pay will be based on the firm's performance, instead of being pegged to the compensation received by his four Wall Street counterparts, he said in a letter to employees today. He would have received a minimum of $25 million this year and again in 2006 provided the CEOs of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Merrill Lynch & Co., Bear Stearns Cos. and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. made an average of at least that much.

'I don't want anyone to think that I am entitled to something that others are not,' Mack said in the letter, a copy of which was sent to Bloomberg. 'This is a business built on trust.'

His reversal highlights the pressure Mack is under to rebuild morale and restore Morgan Stanley's reputation
after a public battle to oust his predecessor. Morgan Stanley said yesterday that former Chairman and CEO Philip Purcell, 61, will receive a cash retirement bonus of $44 million and co-President Stephen Crawford, 41, can collect $32 million should he resign for any reason by Aug. 4.

Purcell's package has drawn fire from some investors as being too high for someone who presided over a 50 percent decline in the New York-based firm's shares during his last five years in charge.

Mack said certain decisions were made by others at the firm 'in good faith' and he's not going to 'second-guess' them.

'Even if the previous contract seemed technically reasonable, Mack seems to be saying he'll leave it up to the board to reward him as he tries to enhance shareholder value and increase the performance of the business,' said Michael McKeon, head of financial-services consulting at Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. in New York."
Nice move - it reassures all stakeholders that Mack is fair and willing to bet on himself as he obviously is doing. I would bet with him that he will make even more with this "generous and fair" move on his part given how Morgan Stanley compensated CEO failure. Also note Mack certainly accepted his signing bonus as detailed in my post a few days ago. Mack was very wealthy before his return to Morgan and now he's betting house money - and it is good for the firm too.

"Democrats and CAFTA"

OpinionJournal : "The Central American Free Trade Agreement passed the Senate last week, as everyone expected, but the more interesting news is who voted against it. Hint: This isn't Bill Clinton's Democratic Party anymore. Nafta was one of the former President's signature achievements, and free trade one of the issues he used to define himself as a New Democrat...

Why this protectionist turn by Democrats?

...Perhaps Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Biden and the rest are all eyeing each other as they maneuver for 2008 and want to make sure no one can get to their left with Big Labor. Or perhaps they all believe they have no choice but to march to the orders of, the Daily Kos and other liberals who are threatening primary challenges for any Democrat who supports Mr. Bush on anything. The latter theory is supported by Ron Brownstein's article in the latest National Journal about the rise of this Bush-hating, but rich and mobilized, Internet-based left.

Whatever the explanation, this Democratic turn against free trade is bad for the country. The U.S. hasn't had a protectionist President since Herbert Hoover, and we all remember how that turned out. "

Friday, July 08, 2005

Tom Friedman on Muslim Extremism

If It's a Muslim Problem, It Needs a Muslim Solution : "The Muslim village has been derelict in condemning the madness of jihadist attacks. When Salman Rushdie wrote a controversial novel involving the prophet Muhammad, he was sentenced to death by the leader of Iran. To this day - to this day - no major Muslim cleric or religious body has ever issued a fatwa condemning Osama bin Laden.

Some Muslim leaders have taken up this challenge. This past week in Jordan, King Abdullah II hosted an impressive conference in Amman for moderate Muslim thinkers and clerics who want to take back their faith from those who have tried to hijack it. But this has to go further and wider.

The double-decker buses of London and the subways of Paris, as well as the covered markets of Riyadh, Bali and Cairo, will never be secure as long as the Muslim village and elders do not take on, delegitimize, condemn and isolate the extremists in their midst. "

US Jobless Rate at 5% Lowest Since September 2001

U.S. June jobless rate falls to 4-year low of 5% : "The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 4-year low of 5% in June as the economy added 146,000 payroll jobs, the Labor Department said Friday. Payroll growth was 48,000 under the 194,000 expected by economists, but April and May hiring were revised up by a total of 44,000. May's payrolls were revised to 104,000 from 78,000 previously. Economists had expected the jobless rate to remain at 5.1%. The unemployment rate was last at 5% in September 2001.

Average hourly earnings rose 3 cents, or 0.2%, to $16.06 in June, as expected. Earnings are up 2.7% in the past year. The average workweek was unchanged at 33.7 hours in June. The factory workweek was also unchanged at 40.4 hours. Total hours worked in the economy rose 0.2%. Among 278 industries, 55% were hiring in June, down from 57% in May. The report shows continued improvement in the labor market.

It is not likely to have much impact on the Federal Reserve's deliberations about whether to keep raising interest rates. The Federal Open Market Committee will have the July employment report in hand when it next meets on Aug. 9."
For the negative spin on the same news the NYT's report.

"Our Politics Fiddles While London Burns"

London Bus 7-7-5 Posted by Picasa

Daniel Henninger in a piece titled " 'Close Guantanamo'? " echoes my sentiments in my previous post - OpinionJournal - Wonder Land: "The U.S. seems to have experienced a post-9/11 fall from seriousness. As the reality fades of a September 11 in America, a resort in Bali or a train station in Madrid, it somehow seems 'safe' to propose setting a deadline to remove our troops from Iraq, to close Guantanamo, to dump the Patriot Act. We in America can do any of these things, and it will still be OK. We can believe that Islamic terrorism is less than it is, and get away with it.

One more time? Should one assume that July 7 in London--the ripped-open double-decker buses, the stunned, bloody faces of those who lived--will in time fall in the queue of concerns to make it safe to argue, again, that all of this will go away if George Bush goes away?

...The standard response to all this is that if George Bush and Tony Blair hadn't done Iraq, we'd all be as one in the war on terror. The standard response before September 11, was that if we weren't so close to terror-beset Israel, none of this would ever happen. For 30 years, the standard response to this terror has gotten many of us killed. "

WSJ 0n 7/7/5

OpinionJournal : "Will yesterday's savagery reunite the West against its common enemy?

That was an impressive sight yesterday, in Gleneagles, Scotland, of British Prime Minister Tony Blair responding to the London terror attacks flanked in solidarity by all the world's major leaders. Now let's hope those leaders react with the resolve President Bush showed after 9/11, rather than retreat the way Spain did after the Madrid bombings last year.

...The best response would be for G-8 leaders to immediately expand their commitments to both countries [Iraq and Afganistan]. Islamists are most dangerous when they sense weakness. And they can be forgiven for detecting it as they've watched debates in Europe and the U.S. in recent months. The calls to close Guantanamo, the recriminations over rendition of terror suspects, the demands for a "date certain" to withdraw from Iraq: In the mind of al Qaeda these are all signs of the West's flagging will to prevail...

...For months the debate in Washington hasn't been over how best to fight terrorists but how harshly we treat them. Rather than strengthen the Patriot Act, Congress wants to weaken it by creating a library loophole. The press corps has wallowed in Abu Ghraib as the defining event of the entire Iraq War.

...Perhaps the London bombings will inspire a new shared determination. Yesterday Mr. Blair read a joint statement of the leaders present, including France's Jacques Chirac and Germany's Gerhard Schroeder: 'Today's bombings will not weaken in any way our resolve to uphold the most deeply held principles of our societies and to defeat those who would impose their fanaticism and extremism on all of us. We shall prevail and they shall not.' More than what they say, the world will be watching what those leaders now do, al Qaeda most of all. "
As unfortunate as yesterday certainly was, perhaps the event will wake up many Americans who have quickly forgotten what 9/12/01 felt like and the resolve that our country shared, however briefly. It appears now to have faded in the stink of partisan politics, the creep of pacificism and protectionism, the great waving of the Downing Street Memo as something it certainly is not, the disconnect of some that Operation Iraqi Freedom is indeed part of the Global War on Terror, and an impression to the world that Osama bin Laden may have been right after all when he wrote and proclaimed that the West and especially America is too weak to fight a hard long war against Islamic jihad.

Will the geart voice of the American and British people push our leaders to fight and show our resolve or show weakness until we have another catastrophe greater than our 9/11/01 and 7/77/05? What does it take for Westerners to realize this is indeed a war we are fighting whether we want to or not?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Thinking About a New Computer? Google Earth - System Requirements

A great new free application from Google - Google Earth which provides remarkable satellite pictures, mapping and other features gives us a clue what we will all need in computer capabilites in the not so distant future: Google Earth - System Requirements:
"Recommended configuration:
Operating system: Windows XP
CPU speed: Intel Pentium P4 2.4GHz+ or AMD 2400xp+
System memory (RAM): 512MB
2GB hard-disk space
3D graphics card: 3D-capable video card with 32MB VRAM or greater
1280x1024, 32-bit true color screen
Network speed: 128 kbps ('Broadband/Cable Internet')

Insecure Home Wi-Fi Users

Man Charged With Stealing Wi-Fi Signal : "ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Police have arrested a man for using someone else's wireless Internet network in one of the first criminal cases involving this fairly common practice. Benjamin Smith III, 41, faces a pretrial hearing this month following his April arrest on charges of unauthorized access to a computer network, a third-degree felony.

Police say Smith admitted using the Wi-Fi signal from the home of Richard Dinon, who had noticed Smith sitting in an SUV outside Dinon's house using a laptop computer. The practice is so new that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement doesn't even keep statistics, according to the St. Petersburg Times, which reported Smith's arrest this week.

Innocuous use of other people's unsecured Wi-Fi networks is common, though experts say that plenty of illegal use also goes undetected: such as people sneaking on others' networks to traffic in child pornography, steal credit card information and send death threats. Security experts say people can prevent such access by turning on encryption or requiring passwords, but few bother or are unsure how to do so. Wi-Fi, short for Wireless Fidelity, has enjoyed prolific growth since 2000. Millions of households have set up wireless home networks that give people like Dinon the ability to use the Web from their backyards but also reach the house next door or down the street."
How secure is your network right now?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Mack Scores $25 mln Payday at Morgan Stanley

Financial Services - Company Announcements : "John Mack, who returned last week from a four-year exile to become chief executive of Morgan Stanley, will earn a minimum of $25 million a year in total compensation, according to a regulatory filing made late Tuesday.

Mack, whose contract runs through 2010, will receive no less than the lowest-paid among the CEOs of Goldman Sachs, Lehman Bros., Bear Stearns & Co. and Merrill Lynch & Co., the filing said.

Morgan Stanley is also giving Mack 500,000 shares of restricted stock. A fifth of those shares are vested, and another 20% will vest annually through the final year of his contract.

Under terms of the deal, Mack will also receive retirement benefits as if he had not been ousted in 2001. That year Mack lost a power struggle with Philip Purcell, the CEO he replaced last week."
I looked for you: MWD (Morgan Stanley) closed at $53.77 today, so Mack's signing bonus in the vested stock gift was worth $5.377 mln, if he gets all 500,000 shares in today's dollars that is worth $26.885 mln. before any stock appreciation. So the five year deal is worth approximately $157 million. Nice work if you can get it...

A Mother Who Lost Her Son in Iraq Writes...

Beth Houck is a resident of Mount Ulla, NC and wrote a letter last week, a portion of which follows Son's death should not be in vain: "As a gold star mother - that means I lost a son in combat - I was very much interested in the Salisbury Post's article dated June 13 regarding the altered position of Congressman Walter B. Jones on the War on Terror.

You may remember that this man coined the phrase "freedom fries" to show support of our military and disdain for France's lack of help in the War on Terror in Iraq. You may also remember the genuine concern the Post showed in reporting the loss of our son, Lance Cpl. David Houck on 26 November 2004 at the Battle for Fallujah. I have since returned Congressman Jones' letter of condolence with a personal letter expressing my concern for his change of position. I've also talked to several combat veterans and seasoned veterans from World War II who share my same sentiments. I'll explain...

...If Congress gets involved in telling the military what to do, such as demanding a timetable for a pullout from Iraq, then my son WILL HAVE DIED IN VAIN. I will have to tell his daughter that he died only to have the insurgents who hate freedom take over Fallujah again.

Germany never attacked us; yet FDR led us into Europe to free them from a mad man. Truman finished that war and started one in Korea when North Korea never attacked us. John F. Kennedy led us into the Vietnamese conflict in 1962 when Vietnam never attacked us. Clinton sent troops to Bosnia without U.N. or French consent when Bosnia never attacked us. Ask Iranians and the Kurds in northern Iraq about chemical weapons. They bear the scars today.

I will close with a quote from Gen. R.A. Huck, presently commanding Marines in Iraq:

"We are finding that most Iraqis want to live in peace. We are giving them the opportunity to take hold of their own future and build a better Iraq for their children. Your family's great sacrifice has helped to make that possible. Thank you for your courage. You continue to be in our prayers."

Therefore, will you join me in asking Congress to leave the military alone to do bravely, professionally and effectively what they are trained to do? "
Please read all of her letter; it is claer and from her heart. I am sure President hears this over and over during his unpublicized meetings with the families of lost loved ones.

Monday, July 04, 2005

July 4, 1776 - July 4, 2005: 229 Years Ago

The Declaration of Independence Posted by Picasa

The Declaration of Independence:

Action of Second Continental Congress, July 4, 1776, The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

"IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world....

...In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor. "

(Emphasis added is mine. The full documaent available at the link. Note: All Fourth Of July pieces will stay top of the fold today.)

The Declaration of Independence: Parchment Locations

For a brief complete history of the events around the Fourth of July 1776 go to The Declaration of Independence.

Some facts I had forgotten about - since the signing of the engrossed parchment on August 2, 1776 the document has moved from time to time for rather obvious reasons;the locations given for the Declaration from 1776 to 1789 are based on the locations for meetings of the Continental and Confederation Congresses:

Philadelphia: August-December 1776
Baltimore: December 1776-March 1777
Philadelphia: March-September 1777
Lancaster, PA: September 27, 1777
York, PA: September 30, 1777-June 1778
Philadelphia: July 1778-June 1783
Princeton, NJ: June-November 1783
Annapolis, MD: November 1783-October 1784
Trenton, NJ: November-December 1784
New York: 1785-1790
Philadelphia: 1790-1800
Washington, DC (three locations): 1800-1814
Leesburg, VA: August-September 1814
Washington, DC (three locations): 1814-1841
Washington, DC (Patent Office Building): 1841-1876
Philadelphia: May-November 1876
Washington, DC (State, War, and Navy Building): 1877-1921
Washington, DC (Library of Congress): 1921-1941
Fort Knox*: 1941-1944
Washington, DC (Library of Congress): 1944-1952
Washington, DC (National Archives): 1952-present

*Except that the document was displayed on April 13, 1943, at the dedication of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC.

George Will on McCullough's '1776'

A Timely Reminder in '1776': "When George Washington, in a spiffy uniform of buff and blue, sitting his horse with a grace uncommon even among Virginians vain about their horsemanship, arrived outside Boston in July 1775 to assume command of the American rebellion, he was aghast. When he got a gander at his troops, mostly New Englanders, his reaction was akin to the Duke of Wellington's assessment of his troops, many of them the sweepings of Britain's slums, during the Peninsular War: 'I don't know what effect these men will have upon the enemy, but, by God, they terrify me.'

You think today's red state/blue state antagonism is unprecedented? Washington thought New Englanders "exceeding dirty and nasty." He would not have disputed the British Gen. John Burgoyne's description of the Americans besieging Boston as "a rabble in arms." A rabble that consumed, by one sober estimate, a bottle of rum per man each day.

Using narrative history to refute historicism, McCullough's two themes in "1776" are that things could have turned out very differently and that individuals of character can change the destinies of nations. There is a thirst for both themes in this country, which is in a less-than-festive frame of mind on this birthday. It is, therefore, serendipitous that "1776," with 1.35 million copies already in print, sits atop the New York Times best-seller list on Independence Day.

But, then, serendipity has often attended the Fourth of July. That day is the birthday of Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804), arguably the father of American literature. And of Stephen Foster (1826), arguably the father of American music. And -- saving the most luminous for last -- of the sainted Calvin Coolidge (1872), who oversaw a 45 percent increase in America's production of ice cream.

So, this Fourth read McCullough. Perhaps by the light of a sparkler."
In addition, I highly recommend McCullough's 'John Adams'. I plan on reading '1776' around Christmas this year when I will have the time to selfishly enjoy one of America's great writers.

Glenn Reynolds on Independence Day

Independence Day - Glenn Reynolds - "We usually call it the 'Fourth of July,' but it's worth mentioning that what we celebrate on the Fourth of July is America's independence. Not America's membership in the family of nations, not America's connectedness with the rest of the world, not the many ways in which America is like other countries, but American independence.

That's an unfashionable thing to celebrate in these days of overarching international institutions, globalized trade, and global media villages. But although there are plenty of positives to globalization, there are plenty of positives to independence, too.

It's no accident that the biggest enthusiasts for increasing the power of international institutions, after all, are usually the people who are losing the political battle at home. Independence means we get to decide whether to go along. Being independent means that you may choose to demonstrate -- as America did in the Declaration of Independence -- a "decent respect for the opinions of mankind."

But the Declaration showed that respect by explaining why Americans were doing something that, if the opinions of other countries were determinative, we never would have done.

...Power to the people. It's an American idea, and it's one that elites, abroad and at home, have always found threatening."

"Do You Know What Day This Is?"

From Dennis Byrne in the Chicago Tribune: "Most people call today the 4th of July, or just the 4th. That's fine. But what we're really celebrating today is Independence Day.

The distinction is worth a thought. The 4th is parades, fireworks, squirt guns, bands and picnics. Independence Day is freedom and the community we call the United States of America.

But as sweet as it is to celebrate our independence, we should boldly celebrate something more: our delivery of the gift of independence to millions elsewhere.

Few nations have had the rare privilege of bestowing such a magnificent gift. It has happened only twice in the past 60 years, when the United States and its allies released tens of millions from fascism's grip, and when we and the Free World (we used to capitalize it) peacefully released millions from the captivity of Soviet communism.

Historically, you can't get much bigger than that. Yet, what's happening now might be as historic.

We have liberated two nations, and their millions of people, from brutal tyrannies. We have brought the prospect of democracy to the Middle East, a region that has rarely, if ever, known it. We have confronted today's most rancid oppressors.

It is notable that in all instances, we--the United States--were instrumental in these global victories. Can anyone really believe this was an accident? Can anyone doubt that our national character and our values had something to do with it? America's main export is freedom, and not just as an idea. Our actions have bettered the lives of millions. The price is high, but it's worth it.

Yet, some would turn this mountain into a molehill. They will not allow us to bask in what should be a proud time in our history. We should feel ashamed, they tell us, with some success. Just like during and after the Vietnam War, when we engaged in a period of self-loathing perhaps unmatched in our history.

As historian David McCullough noted, if our War of Independence "had been covered by [today's] media and the country had seen how horrible the conditions were ... and what a very serious soup we were in, I think that would have been it."

We can't bestow independence on every country, although we're roundly criticized when our efforts to bring cures, prosperity, stability and peace to suffering nations fall short. And certainly, where we spend our lives and treasure in the cause of freedom is subject to cool-headed debate.

But what's it worth to us? Why care about spreading freedom? The answer is here, in this question: When was the last time we were invaded by a free nation? "

Krugman: Red America Kills by Obesity

Girth of a Nation - New York Times: "The Center for Consumer Freedom, an advocacy group financed by Coca-Cola, Wendy's and Tyson Foods, among others, has a Fourth of July message for you: worrying about the rapid rise in American obesity is unpatriotic.

...It sounds like a parody, but don't laugh. These people are blocking efforts to help America's children.

...So there is, understandably, a movement to do something about rising obesity, especially among the young. Bills that would require schools to serve healthier lunches, remove vending machines selling sweets and soda, and so on have been introduced in a number of state legislatures.

...But even these mild steps have run into fierce opposition from conservatives. Why?

In part, this is yet another red-blue cultural conflict. On average, people living outside metropolitan areas are heavier than urban or suburban residents, and people in the South and Midwest are heavier than those on the coasts. So it's all too easy for worries about America's weight to come off as cultural elitism.

More important, however, is the role of the food industry. The debate over obesity, it turns out, is a lot like the debate over global warming.

So what can we do?

The first step is to recognize the industry-financed campaign against doing anything for the cynical exercise it is. Remember, nobody is proposing that adult Americans be prevented from eating whatever they want. The question is whether big companies will have a free hand in their efforts to get children into the habit of eating food that's bad for them. "
First, John Edwards says red america kills kids by starvation; now Krugman says red america feeds kids too much bad food just like the "big" companies want...

So, Krugman wants to 1)restrict the free speech of big bad companies out to kill people (isn't a dead customer by definition not a good customer?) and red state conservatives play into the hands of the conspiracy; and 2) have the government dictate the diet of children for their own good (Krugman notes that "nobody is proposing that adult[my emphasis] Americans be prevented from eating whatever they want.")

Krugman sees the ads by the food industry as seemingly "parody"; I think Krugman's columns are ghost written by Scott Ott of Scrappleface fame.

Since Krugman's "Fourth of July" column only mentions our Independence Day in an oblique comment added seemingly as an afterthought to today, I guess Krugman thinks the Declaration of Independence was just another crazy treatise from a red state guy from Virginia, Thomas something or other, wanting the government out of his affairs.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Frum on Foote

David Frum's Diary on National Review Online: "JUL. 2, 2005: THE ETERNAL THINGS
I have always believed that Shelby Foote was one of the very greatest of American historians, fully the equal of Francis Parkman, a country mile ahead of the vainglorious Henry Adams. In the national convulsions that will be triggered this week by the resignation of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and the revelation of the source of the Valerie Plame leak, can we pause just a moment to pay homage at the death of this great artist and chronicler? Foote was a Southerner and a Union man all at once, who honored the courage of the soldiers of the Confederacy while never conceding an inch to those who doubted that the right side won., usually the abode of the snide and petty, has a surprisingly sensitive appreciation of Foote's achievement. [See earlier post on this blog.]
A reader [of Frum] writes on Foote:
'In the spring of 1981 as a freshman at Auburn University I went to a luncheon lecture by Shelby Foote--a unviversity sponsored event. Thinking back I can't remember why I went. I'd never heard of Mr. Foote, had never read anything he'd written, and didn't know anyone who had. There were maybe fifteen people there. Most probably English grad students it occurs to me now. Shelby Foote enthralled me. He was a gentleman. He was well spoken. He was soft spoken. He described how his novel Shiloh started out a short story about a young Mississippi boy's first occasion uttering a rebel yell. Mr. Foote said something like, 'He'd charged the hill and yelled his yell, but I kept writing for two hundred more pages.' I read in an obit that Foote's three volume, 3,000 page magnum opus about the civil war was originally supposed to be a short one volume work.

'I have since met other great men, or men alleged to be great. Shelby Foote is the one I remember though.'"

Good News on School Vouchers

Ohio Voucher Plan For Schools Tripling: "Ohio is more than tripling the size of its school voucher program, making it the nation's largest since the practice of using public money for private-school tuition was found constitutional three years ago.
The tuition aid, which has been available only in Cleveland since 1996, will allow as many as 14,000 additional students statewide to leave schools that persistently fail academic tests and move to private schools, beginning in the fall of 2006."