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I'm taking Jonah Goldberg's advice and am taking the plunge into a Left-dominated institution. I've just joined Metafilter. Instead of griping about how too many posts and comments there bash President Bush, Republicans, and free markets, while praising Ralph Nader, I will give them a little dose of RIGHT thinking.
"Conservatism After Clinton"
But if consumers want more music produced in the future, then methods must exist for paying artists to create it and businesses to distribute it. Any workable system requires the existence of reasonable, enforceable intellectual property rights, sophisticated contracts, and well-functioning markets.
"Barbarians At The Gate: Napster Gets Pushed Back"
I've found a funny and conservative comic strip: Mallard Fillmore. This tv news duck can't stand moderates--squishes in my world; points out the visual disabilities of certain Floridians; and doesn't like the Army's new slogan. It also doesn't hurt that Mallard reminds me of some other feathered creature that use to grace the pages of the comics.
Is there some unwritten rule for Democrats that they can only criticise their leader's actions when he is out of office?
One point about Madonna's defense of Eminem: she has to defend his music out of self-defense. If she condemned Slim Shady's lousy raps, others could go after her own controversial escapades. Remember "Like a Virgin," the whole underware-as-outerware chic, "Erotica," and the book Sex? In the moral relativistic world Madonna lives in criticizing another musician for outrageous content would be throwing rocks in her own glass house (or is it castle?).
"Talking to Ghosts"
You knew Earnhardt was really, really good when year after year NASCAR got a little boring because you knew Earnhardt was going to be the champion. Kind of like knowing Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls were the ones to beat year after year. Godspeed, Dale.
"Earnhardt Dies Following Daytona 500 Accident"
There's more tragedy in the sports world. The only player to play for the Boston, Milwaukee, and Atlanta Braves died yesterday. Eddie Mathews was probably the third-best player to don a Milwaukee Braves uniform (behind Hank Aaron and Warren Spahn).
Here's a piece of trivia to tuck away for just the right moment: Eddie Mathews was featured on the cover of the first issue of Sports Illustrated. Godspeed, Eddie.
"Mathews Didn't Back Down"
Bill Buckley chastises Warren Buffett for his defense of the estate tax:
Rudolph Giuliani brought charges against Marc Rich in the 1980s. He doesn't accept Bill Clinton's op-ed explaination.
"Giuliani Says Clinton Op-Ed Raises More Questions"
He even admits that this pardon was unusual because "Ordinarily, I would have denied pardons in this case simply because these men did not return to the United States to face the charges against them." Clinton doesn't explain why he didn't bother to ask the opinion of the federal prosecutor in New York whose office indicted Mr. Rich. He does deny that contributions from Rich's ex-wife had any bearing on his decision. "There was absolutely no quid pro quo," writes Clinton.
Every once in a while I appreciate multiculturalism.
Salon.com is usually pretty lame, but I love their take on vegetarian Survivor, Kimmi:
"The Silence of the Wallabies"
"Bush in the Moment, Bill in History"
Anarchy Lew Rockwell offers this fine response to those guilty rich people who want to retain the death tax:
"The Super-Rich Tax Themselves"
"An Underworld Classic"
Timothy Lynch reviews the Oscar-nominated movie, Traffic.
Democrats on Capitol Hill have begun buckling on tax cuts. Algore proposed $500 billion last year during the election. Now, Dick Gephardt and Tom Daschel have boosted it up 50% to $750 billion.
The rhetoric has even changed. Daschel came out and said, "The American people deserve a major tax cut this year." Of course, only $750 billion over ten years is minute compared to the over $20 trillion the federal government will spend over that time. It also makes the President's "gamble" (as noted on the cover of Newsweek) hardly risky.
"Tax Cut Votes Still Lacking, Bush Told"
"20 Alternatives to the XFL"
The band Manic Street Preachers may have "a lot of respect for the Cuban people and the Cuban culture" (what about that thug Castro?), but I have no respect for a band who thinks America is "the devil's playground."
"Manic Street Preachers in Cuba for Historic Gig"
More music news. My friend, former co-worker, and greatest bass player in Milwaukee has a nice write-up in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
"Bassist Bender Finds Love, Harmony in Local Music Scene"
I've envisioned electricity tankers containing superconducting wire that fills up at the local power plant and takes the electricity to an electric car re-fueling station (MobilExxon or Enron?) or to a factory where it's transfered to the on-site electricity storage facility containing its own superconductor. It would seem to be much cheaper than running superconducting wire all over and keeping it cold with liquid nitrogen. Of course, room temperature superconductors would solve that problem.
Practical superconductors would allow power plants that no one wants in their neighborhoods to be built in the middle of no where. Nuclear plants scattered across the Nevada and Arizona deserts could power the entire country, and I'm not even considering the possibility of fusion power stemming directly from these new superconductors.
"Electric Industry Abuzz About Breakthrough Superconducting Technology"
Kiron Skinner, Annelise Anderson, and Martin Anderson, the editors of Reagan, In His Own Hand were interviewed by National Review Online.
"Which Weapons Should President Bush Skip?"
The Cato Institute will be celebrating the 250th anniversary of James Madison's birth with a conference called "James Madison and the Future of Limited Government." I'll have to crack out my copy of Madison's classic Federalist #10.
I mustn't have been the only conservative to question the nomination of Larry Thompson as deputy attorney general. National Review's John Miller and Ramesh Ponnuru responded to the criticism by writing that Thompson is "well liked by many conservatives who knew him when he was a district attorney in Georgia." One slight problem is he may support affirmative action in hiring.
It still doesn't answer my question of whether Thompson was picked because he was black. In the recent past, Republicans have had the tendency of using race as an attempt to squelch possible liberal attacks. When Clarence Thomas was nominated to the Supreme Court to replace Thurgood Marshall, many conservatives thought liberal opponents would confirm him easily so as not to appear mean to a black man.
While a good justice, I wonder if Thomas would have been nominated if Thurgood Marshall would have been a white man. Similarly, would Larry Thompson have been nominated if John Ashcroft wouldn't have been accuse of being a racist and a confederate sympathizer?
What the laws did was give the police a huge incentive to arrest people suspected of having drugs. The police could claim the assets, sell them off, and increase their budgets without going to the taxpayer/voters.
In recent years, there has been a public outcry. Utah and Oregon citizens voted to only confiscate assets if there was a conviction, and Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) has authored federal legislation to reform the practice. Joining them are legislators in Washington who want to require convictions before assets can be seized.
We clearly made a mistake. First, the decision did not receive the proper review within the firm. And second, we should have been far more sensitive to the strong feelings of our clients over Mr. Clinton's personal behavior as President.
My initial reaction was to applaud those MSDW clients with the "strong feelings." Clinton's a slimeball, and I would have been upset if a company that managed my money would waste 100K on Bill standing up in front of a few hundred people trying to invent a legacy that doesn't include impeachment or scandal.
But after thinking about it for a little while, I lean toward leaving Bill alone. This man craves attention--both good and bad. He's out of office, he won't be indicted, and he's a private citizen. If some company wants to waste money on his insight (or dating tips?) so be it.
And doesn't this attitude of revenge coarsen the culture? Republicans/conservatives will continue to attack Clinton until he fully atones for his sins--which will be never. Then President Bush leaves office (hopefully in eight years) and Democrats/liberals will attack his election "theft" and his slips of the tongue until he atones for his sins--which also would be never.
I just want Bill Clinton to fade away. Putting up with him for eight years is enough. I want his stench to dissapate. I want him out of sight and out of mind.
Bye, Bill. I want you to go find a dumb blond and a box of Krispy Kremes and go away.
And don't get me started with the asine idea by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) that Clinton could be impeached over the questionable pardons he issued just before leaving office.
Tunku Varadarajan takes a different stance. He loves the MSDW client outrage and wants to see pre-emptive threats from clients, shareholders, and university alumni.
"Shareholders of the World, Unite!"
Is the nomination of Larry Thompson as deputy attorney general affirmative action by Republicans? While Thompson seems to have solid conservative credentials (he was an advisor to Clarence Thomas during his vicious confirmation hearings), would he have been picked if he were white? Would Thompson have been on the short list for the position if John Ashcroft wouldn't have gotten a beating on race issues during his confirmation hearings?
This looks like a sop to Jesse "Who's your daddy? Why, it's me!" Jackson, the NAACP, and the Congressional Black Caucus. It won't placate them. It's not Ashcroft's stance on racial issues that bothers these race-baiter, it's his conservatism. They can easily argue that Thompson is a token black who isn't really black because he's a conservative and "real" blacks can't be conservative (see Shelby Steele's brilliant analysis).
The Ashcroft hearings embolden the race-baiting left. The best thing Ashcroft can do is ignore their out of the mainstream invectives and focus on upholding Federal laws fairly for all Americans.
"Black Atlanta Lawyer to Be Ashcroft Deputy - Post"
I'm giddy with anticipation. Krispy Kreme is coming to Wisconsin! You get me into a Krispy Kreme, and I'm sure I'd start drooling like Homer Simpson. Ooooh, donuts!
Krispy Kreme Stores Coming to Wisconsin!
Bob Novak reports:
For all the new power provided George W. Bush as president, it has deprived him of a pleasure he enjoyed while governor of Texas: communicating privately with friends and close associates via e-mail.
Will these e-mails someday come to the surface and show the true intellectual capacity of President Bush in much the same way as the recently published radio commentaries of Ronald Reagan?
"Inside Report: Muzzling the President"
Even though Kel got voted off in the second episode, he's my second favorite contestant (I could look at Elisabeth for the whole hour each week.). That's because he's a military man and an avid National Review reader.
"Whitney Houston's Marijuana Charges May Be Reinstated"
Why, oh why is Nirvana's Nevermind number 2 on VH1's 100 Greatest Albums of Rock 'N' Roll? I did think it was something fresh and new when it came out in 1991(?), but now Kurt Cobain's angst-ridden songs feel stale. Angry, hopeless music can only be entertaining for so long. Also, how can you put Nirvana at number 2 while leaving Led Zeppelin all the way back at 43 (their debut). Even worse, Guns 'n Roses' Appetite for Destruction ranks ahead of Zeppelin, and they certainly didn't out hard rock the masters.
100 Greatest Albums of Rock 'N' Roll
Reagan's enemies (were they ever called "Reagan Haters" like "Clinton Haters?") may just roll their eyes and look at this love fest as nothing more than blind hero worship. However, those of us who understand and appreciate the historic accomplishments of Reagan's eight years in office have new ammunition: Reagan's own words.
Reagan, In His Own Hand, a newly discovered collection of his personally written radio commentaries from the 1970s was just recently published. In those brief essays, we don't see an old man clinging to aids for policy details while he played to the crowd. Instead, we see a very well read man who had a clear vision for America and the ability to connect with everyday Americans.
Paging through the essays, Reagan's future tough approach to the Soviet Union is displayed. He also shows us his love for limited government: "[I]f government would someday quietly close the doors; if all the bureaucrats would tiptoe out of the marble halls; it would take the people of this country quite a while to miss them or even know they were gone."
Some of the essays fit in with current political controversies. Reagan opposed intrusive census questions; he supported the Electoral College. In 1979, he talked about the unfairness of the marriage tax penalty. It's been over twenty-two years, and that still hasn't been fixed yet!
And probably the most timely quote I found has to do with what to do with our federal budget surplus. Reagan wasn't obsessed with paying down the debt. He knew where the money really came from, the American taxpayer:
I have always believed that government has no right to a surplus; that it should take from the people only the money neccessary to fund government's legitimate functions. If it takes more than enough it should return the surplus to the people.
Honor Reagan's birthday. A revived economy, the end of the Cold War, the defeat of Communism, and the return of American confidence are part of his Presidential legacy. No cheap pardons, no fiddling with the English language, and no stealing of furniture for this man.
To really get into the mind of Ronald Reagan, avoid Edmund Morris' biographical failure Dutch and dig into thoughts from the man himself.
"Now They Recognise Reagan's Greatness"
Ang Lee has presented us with a gorgeous work of art, one that reverently follows the conventions of its genre without being hemmed in by them. This film is, in a word, terrific.
But will it be better than Traffic?
"Ang Lee’s Little Masterpiece"
Maybe Hillary is just cleaning up her act to prepare for a 2004 Presidential run. To really clean things up she'll have to put a muzzle and a chastity belt on Bill.
"Clintons Will Pay for Gifts Received in Last Year"
I found Pyra's biggest business flaw via Matt Haughey:
Although this sounds like another shoulda, we should have had a business expert on board, to handle all our business dealings.
It sounds eerily like those first rock and roll bands in the 50's who signed the first record contract shoved in front of them without looking at the fine print realizing they signed over all rights to their music forever.
Matt doesn't see it as arrogance on Pyra's part but rather hubris:
It seems stupid now, but when you make web pages and web applications, you get this weird sense of god-like power. You can make the sun rise and the sun set, you can kill someone's application with a single blow, you can create whole new worlds in which thousands dwell. So certainly, when it comes to making money, your swelled, I-can-code-anything head figures it can do the business aspects too, right?
Some people can move from code to business and succeed (Bill Gates). Others have to accept that they just don't have the skills or temperment to lead a company to profitablity in order to survive. New leadership then has to be brought.
Pyra and Blogger both are still alive and will continue to exist for the unforeseeable future. It sounds cliche, but any start-up should examine what went wrong.
One side note: Is it just me, but do I smell a book appearing in about a year examinating the rise and fall of Blogger? There's a good story here. A couple of people hack together a simple program to automate their weblog addiction then offer it to the world. The tool explodes in popularity, a company forms around it, but it cracks under its own success.
I'm sure that simplification of the Blogger/Pyra adventure is full of errors, but there is a good story there.
Behind the Website
But doing away with DOE turned out to have very little support within the business community. This was because DOE is a significant source of corporate welfare and also because the energy industry sees the energy secretary as its representative at Cabinet meetings.
It would have been nice if Mr. Noah pushed his opinion a few years ago when Republicans like former Sen. Rod Grams (R-MN) introduced legislation that would have done just that.
"Abolish the Energy Department!"
Come on guys! Mike can't be the only person who has an opinion. Vote for your pick of which Backstreet Boy I most look like. So far, Howie D is winning with ONE WHOLE vote. I thought the Net was an interactive medium? Pointing, clicking, and devouring my screeds are great by themselves, but let me know if there's a pulse out there among my reading public.
James Cramer noticed that the costs of running web sites are coming down. This could be really good for those companies that survived the Great Internet Crash.
With all of these costs coming in so low, I suspect that in the second-half of 2001 the remaining Net companies will see some terrific margin expansion. It's still too early to know which ones will remain, but it isn't too early to speculate that the raw costs of running a dot-com are about to get back to reasonable, or even sub-reasonable levels.
But will it save TheStreet.com?
"State of the Web: Expense Control"