Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Uncertainly Not!

Scooter gets a semi-free pass.

Still gonna cost him a few bucks, but maybe all those folks who were clamoring for his release will pony up the quarter million he owes in fines. The New York Times is all sad, but still thinks this was fair.

Poor wittle baby.

Shrub commutes Scooter's sentence to time served (none) and a fine, plus his felony conviction still stands. Which is good, maybe he won't be able to vote wherever he lives. Or something. Disbarred, one hopes. He'll have to make some sort of honest living.

Or else become a political consultant or lobbyist. (which one do YOU think is more likely?)


Elsewhere the spin machines are in overdrive, the US Attorneys' scandal is now moving into the sixth or so month of controversy, and the phrase Executive Privilege is being tested for all it's worth in the newspapers of record. Hillary Clinton has said we're safer since 9/11. Barack Obama has stated with a straight face that the Bush administration has not yet done anything worthy of impeachment.

Do these people read the paper?


Michael Moore's film has started to make a fairly large splash. He reports on his website that the distribution company is letting it into at least 200 more screens. Moore may be strident, and a bit of a blowhard some times, but what he's talking about in SiCKO is where this country should have gone years ago. We're very low-ranked in terms of the health of our citizenry, and I suspect that part of the reason for this is how low-ranked we are in the intelligence of our citizenry. An uninformed, uneducated citizenry believes everything they tell us, no matter how transparently false it may be. And we've been sold, year after year, about the inefficiency of government-run anything. Except, of course, in places where these sorts of things actually work (France, England, Canada), or when perhaps the country doesn't spend every available bit of capital on new and better guns, planes, tanks and bombs.

We spend 43% ($420 billion) of our Gross Domestic Product on the military. The next highest spender is China, at 6% ($62.5 billion). They have about triple our population. For those leftos who want to protest the war, or protest the warrantless wiretapping, or anything else for that matter, protest this first. No country should spend this much of their capital on the machines of death, least of all when constantly talking about spreading peace.

Monday, July 2, 2007


A dear friend of mine is currently getting her Master's in International Relations. I think that's what it is. She is sending me articles by Tom Friedman, all about the wonders of globalization, and how the United States is so far behind everyone, mostly in terms of education.

Which is unfortunately true. We crank out the dumbest bunch of louts the world has seen in many a decade, who don't read the newspaper and don't think for themselves very much, and who don't speak out much, except for the phrase "I want..."

Yes, I'm a curmudgeon.

Friedman goes on and on about how great it is in India, to where many things (such as software development) are outsourced, and how it's the US' fault, because we don't educate our children well enough to compete against these people. What he doesn't mention is wages, which are quite a bit lower in India.

It would be great (in that old world, the ideal one) were we to have a fully educated populace, where everyone gets a shot a college (because we're all so darn smart), or else physically gifted and can play sports for money. The proponents of globalization all talk about outsourcing this and outsourcing that, while American workers are supposed to somehow benefit from all this outsourcing by having everything made elsewhere for cheaper. Meanwhile, with better eucational programs, more Americans can become Systems Engineers, Software Engineers, Architects, Lawyers, Doctors, Tailors, Road-pavers, toilet attendants... experimental subjects...

How does America's economy perform when we manufacture nothing anyone else wants, except consumers? How do the rank and file benefit? Is everyone going to be playing the stock market, while people in other countries do the actual work? As Phil Knight once so famously said, "Maybe Americans don't want to make shoes..." If we lay off all our workers, and they can get work at factories built by foreign companies in the United States, who send all their profits back to Japan or Germany (or wherever). Meanwhile, General Motors makes all of their cars in Mexico or Brazil, where labor & safety standards are lower, and these are sold in the US, to people who don't have to work?

How will it all, well, work?