The Jury Talks Back


The Times of Carlos Slim

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin M @ 10:04 pm

The NY Times to be exact.  Carlos Slim, owner of much of Mexico, has bailed out the money-losing Newspaper of Record.  In a complex transaction, Slim has provided $250 million and received 6-year notes paying 14% and warrants for about 10% of the company (he already owns 7%).  The Times takes pains to point out that the Sulzberger family’s control remains intact due to the super voting rights of their special share class.

No doubt the editors of the Times will insist on their vaunted editorial independence, never mind who signs the paychecks.

Insufferable Secularist

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fritz @ 8:24 pm

Why do I get the feeling that Heather MacDonald is an insufferable pedant and a holy horror at dinner parties?

Bill Kristol, attending a private meal with President-Elect Obama and a group of conservative journalists, writes,

After a dinner with him that I attended last week, as we said our goodbyes, I overheard one of my fellow conservatives say softly to the president-elect, “Sir, I’ll be praying for you.” Obama seemed to pause as they shook hands, and to thank him more earnestly than he did those of us who simply — and sincerely — wished him well.

A nice moment.  An interesting contrast to the liberal scolds who are always promising to leave if the political winds don’t go their way.  Faith binds us together and all that.

Heather MacDonald, devoid of any instinctive sense of charity, weighs in, writing,

Obama’s politeness is admirable; I can imagine another response to the revelation that your interlocutor is contacting God on your behalf.

First, there is no reason to imagine that President-Elect Obama does not believe in God.

Second, I have to ask: what response, pray tell?  I’ve always wondered at the acknowledgement of the weight of responsibility the crown bore when the phrase “God save the King” was used in the highest sense of seriousness.  My reading is that the praying columnist meant something very similar.

In addition, I would hope that for even the densest, most aggressive atheist, praying and talking to God are two completely different activities.  They may both be completely useless, but they stem from different states of mind.  I didn’t get from Kristol’s description that the fellow thought that he was a prophet.

Atheism doesn’t have to be stupid.  Or am I the pedant now?

California legislators refuse to take responsibility for budget crisis

Filed under: California Politics — aunursa @ 1:19 pm

California legislators have failed to agree on a resolution to the state’s $42 billion budget deficit.  While Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger warned last week that the Golden State faces insolvency, finance officials say that unless the problem is resolved, the state will have to send IOU’s next month instead of payments to state contractors, refunds to taxpayers, and grants to college students and low income and disabled residents.

State Democrats want to cut some programs and raise taxes to bridge the gap, while Republicans reject any plan that would increase taxes.  Since state law requires a 2/3 majority to pass, a budget must receive at least some Republican support to reach the governor’s desk.

Frustrated with lawmakers’ failure to send him a budget, Schwarzenegger suggested that legislators and the governor should lose their salaries and expense funds for each day that they miss the June 15 deadline for producing a budget.  The San Francisco Chronicle was unimpressed, calling it “a cheap stunt from a millionaire film star.”  (As one reader noted, that in itself was a cheap shot.  Schwarzenegger is not a millionaire film star; he is the @#$% governor.  I don’t see the Chronicle referring to Barack Obama by his previous job titles.)

While state politicians can’t agree on how to balance the budget, they are united in rejecting the idea that they should have to make any sacrifice of pay or perks.  Senate minority leader Dave Codgill (R, Fresno) says it’s enough that their pay is suspended during a budget stalemate.  “It just seems to me inappropriate to add a penalty just because it isn’t on time.  Is that what the people of this state want?  A budget that’s on time regardless of its quality?  I doubt that.”  Assemblyman Mark Leno (D, San Francisco) refuses to take any responsibility for the fiscal crisis.  “Why should I have my pay withheld when I’m being held hostage by a minority?”  (As previously reported here, and contrary to most other states, California lawmakers receive among their many perks free new cars.  And taxpayers foot the bill for their driving expenses.)

I get penalized at my job when I fail to complete a project on time.  If my department fails, we all get blamed.  We don’t get to pass the buck to someone else.  If elected officials are unable to perform their jobs, then they should notify their constituents and resign their positions.  I’m quite confident that we can find 120 capable citizens in this vast state who can take over and prepare a state budget that is reasonable, fair, and completed on time.

President Bush’s Legacy – His Greatest Domestic Achievement Has Gone Unrecognized

Filed under: Uncategorized — Justin Levine @ 12:54 pm

[by Justin Levine]

I’m pretty much on board with the assessments that the Bush Presidency has been a mixed bag, with more downs than ups. A more accurate assessment of a President never comes until years (sometimes decades) after he leaves office, since the effects of policies that are set in motion continue to make ripples in events long afterwards, even when the country changes direction. 

I have always felt that Bush was unfairly maligned for Katirna. I also always considred the “weapons of mass destruction” issue in Iraq to be an irrelevent sideshow that sometimes overshadowed the more important question of the overall handling of how the war was conducted (which itself does not seem all that impressive at the moment, though the jury verdict ultimately won’t come back on this for several more years). Even so, its always a dicey proposition to make hard judgements on issues such as these since its impossible to assess what state the world would be in today had Saddam remained in power. Anyone claiming to know that is simply lying in order to support their own political biases. 

I don’t give him as much credit for appointing Supreme Court Justices Roberts and Alito as some in the polically conservative camps do since he was only forced to appoint Alito after an outright revolt over his attempt to appoint Harriet Miers. While the Roberts appointment came first, a Miers appointment had the potential to negate much of the positive effects that Roberts had to offer. So any perceived achievement for judicial restraint and reasoning in this area belongs to the protesters, not Bush. 

I have always admired Bush for his decent temperament. He never seemed to have a big ego and never went out of his way to make arguments partisan (unlike the Clintons, whom I continue to despise because of these exact qualities). But an assessment of the Bush Presidency must be primarily based on actual policy decisions, more than personal temperament. 

With that all said, everyone assessing Bush’s legacy on all sides seems to have ignored what I consider to be his greatest domestic achievement (assuming that keeping us safe from terror attacks can be properly credited to Bush’s leadership and is also not labeled as a ‘domestic’ achievement).

Bush’s greatest achievement came relatively early on in his Presidency, so many have seemed to overlook it. This achievement has made the quality of millions of people’s lives much better – so much so that nearly everyone takes it for granted. Perhaps this is why nobody is talking about it.

So I will spare you the continued mystery [after the jump].

My vote for the greatest domestic achievement stemming from the Bush Presidency is (drum roll please)….


IT IS OK to Fly the Flag Today

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin M @ 9:34 am

And tomorrow, too.

Even though I voted for the other guy, and even though the inauguration hoopla is over-the-top and tiring, this event is still America at its best and worthy of the Flag.

It’s not about Obama, it’s about America.

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