Defending the virtues of liberty, free markets, and civilization... plus some commentary on the passing scene.

Freedom's Fidelity

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

No Yuppies! - Random Thoughts Generated While Jogging

I was out jogging in the neighborhood last evening (photos here) and came across a sign planted on an empty lot - 'For sale, commercial space, etc.' Underneath the specifications, written in ballpoint pen so it could be seen from distances of up to four feet away, someone scribbled "No Yuppies." Well, I guess that's progress, it could have easily discriminated on skin color rather than achievement, or lifestyle, or whatever it is that makes one a yuppie... I don't really know the qualifiers. But I do know the startving artists want to keep their neighborhood pure and full of starving artists. Fortunately I don't have to worry about any income cleansing that may go on in the neighborhood as I can easily transform myself into a starving artists. Yes, it's not that hard to be one, all you have to do is create art that no one wants to buy, I can do that, I really really suck at painting, drawing, and sculpting.

In any case, this neighborhood I live in, was for a time known as one of the "hippest neighborhoods in the country" fillled with artists, musicians, grunge types, with an electic mix of ethnicities too. Well, over the last several years the neighborhood has become the hottest in the city, in other words, "the yuppies are taking over." It's horrible, old crumbling buildings are being rehabbed, crime is steadily dropping, property values are going up, and then a couple of years ago (hopefully you're sitting down) MTV's "The Real World" moved in and was filmed here. Some of the locals protested, marching outside the Real World loft, expressing such passionate sentiments as "Why don't you all move out of that loft and try living in the real world!" or "MTV is not the REAL WORLD!" "You live in the fake world!!" You get the idea. I submit that anyone with the time or motivation to actually protest the Real World (read: stand outside their loft and yell stuff to them) is spending little time residing in the real world themselves. But back to progress: A Starbucks moved into the neighborhood a few years ago as well. So they tossed bricks through the window in protest, yet the next day, people still went to Starbucks and Starbucks still sold them coffee. You can't stop corporate America!

But they still try, when a group met here in Chicago a couple of years ago to discuss free trade (IMF? WTO? maybe just a bunch of business leaders?) these hipsters were out to protest in full force. Wearing Levi Jeans, Nike shoes, and making copies of their signs at Kinkos they protested against "Corporate America." When they got tired they refueled on Starbucks. I'm sure the irony of it all was completely lost on the participants. It may be time to thin the herd.

All of this reminded me of this picture:

I lifted it from Vinod's blog, where he notes: "What scathing irony that even this proud Jihadi's de rigeuer black mask was so obviously made from a cannibalized Nike ski hat! His one defiant display of purity begins with that most Western & consumerist of all symbols - the Nike Swoosh."

Ha ha ha, right on Vinod, and with that, my infrequent posts here will be even less frequent over the next week or two. I'm going to the Kentcuky Derby!!

UPDATE 5/19/04: posted here:

In response to this post an artist who is not starving sends some astute observations on Wicker Park and gentrification:

was just checking your blogs, read your thoughts about yuppies while jogging.
it's funny to someone who lived in wicker park in 1977 to see how things are 25 years later. the starving artists are the ones who pushed the latino families out of this neighborhood years and years ago. they were able to pay more than the starving families, so out they went, presumably further west on division street. in way less than a generation. and i'll bet most of the "artists" bitching about gentrification weren't the ones who started it, but the irony is still thick. they're bitching about "preserving" a neighborhood that they infested, a community they evicted. and they'll join the corporate world soon as the school loan runs out, probably buy/build a condo next door to a nightclub and then complain about the traffic and noise.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Pat Tillman, Every Soldier

In a train compartment on the way to Scotland, World War II author Richard Hillary asked Peter Pease, another young pilot, his reasons for fighting.

"Well, Richard," he said, "you've got me at last, haven't you? I don't know if I can answer you to your satisfaction, but I'll try. I would say that I was fighting the war to rid the world of fear - of the fear of fear is perhaps what I mean. If the Germans win this war, nobody except little Hitlers will dare do anything... All courage will die out of the world - the courage to love, to create, to take risks, whether physical or intellectual or moral. Men will hesitate to carry out the promptings of their heart or brain because, having acted, they will live in fear that their action may be discovered and themselves cruelly punished. Thus all love, all spontaneity, will die out of the world. Emotion will have atrophied. Thought will have petrified. The oxygen breathed by the soul, so to speak, will vanish, and mankind will wither."

Inspired by 9/11 Pat Tillman walked away from fame and a multi-million dollar NFL contract to join the Army. He went out of his way to avoid publicity for this, refusing all interview requests and in fact not even issuing a statement when he retired from the leaugue. He wanted no special treatment, preferring to earn his way into the elite Army Rangers unit, and he did it. Last Thursday in Afghanistan, Pat Tillman was killed in action.

The reasons for Tillman not to quit football and join the Army were numerous. It would have been easy to tell himself that he was born with a special talent to play in the NFL, to tell himself that despite a higher cause pulling at his heart, he should realize that he has an important role in his current life as a new husband, brother, and popular athlete. Not everyone could or should be a soldier after all.

Over the last couple of years I have often contemplated enlisting. Here I sit and write on this blog, that's read by handful of people, arguing for war. But will I do it myself? Am I obligated to? Am I "chickenhawk" if I don't? I don't know, but those are the questions that rumble around my gut with regularity. With my career languishing in a mediocrity that I'm not particularly interested in, I decided that, if in a few months things haven't changed I will have to seriously consider enlisting in the Army. I recently shared this with my girlfriend and I got a look back that I have not seen from her before. I saw so much sadness and fear in her eyes, and then felt a tremendous rush of guilt for sharing my thoughts with her.

Pat Tillman made his decision upon returning from his honeymoon. I imagine when he told his bride of his plans he got the same look that I did. But he went through with it anyway. He went to go defend a society that was more than willing to make him financially secure and accord him celebrity status for what he was already doing. But he gave that up, he gave up his money, his new wife, and in the end, his life.

Tillman's sacrifice, of course, is worth no more or no less than what thousands of other U.S. troops are doing. His death is no more or less heartbreaking than any of the others. He recognized that more than anyone else. But what Tillman did was put a face on the war, his death is a sobering reminder of what families across America deal with every day.

Pat Tillman is someone I will tell my children about, he did what many of us (myself included) only wish we had the courage to do. Pat Tillman makes me proud to be an American.

It is with that in mind that I have made a request to adopt a soldier, which you can do by going to Soldier's Angels. You can also send a care package for as little as $20. I am vowing to send at least one a month going forward.

Another project that seems very useful is the Spirit of America, I have made a few donations to this grass roots organization as well. Click on the link for more details.

Rest in Peace Pat.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Founding Fathers and Sons of April 9

Iraq needs some founding fathers, people that understand the value as well as the messiness of freedom. People that understand the maintenance it requires. Mohammed at Iraq the Model is one of those. I rarely link to items that I don't have something of substance to add to it. This is one of those exceptions. You simply MUST read these two posts. The first is Mohammed's posting of what he wrote on April 9, 2003, that famous day that they tore down Saddam's statue and decades of nightmares. (Excerpt)
The rest of my friends and neighbors were waiting to hear from us, I screamed "Saddam has fallen" Everybody was shocked. Some of them couldn't say a word, one of them asked me to repeat what I said and I replied "F*** Saddam". None of us dared before to swear at the 'leader' in public. My father put the radio aside and I saw tears in my father friend's eyes, who hugged my father and congratulated him. We started to hug each other with tears of joy but I was somewhat depressed. I want to go out to the streets and scream as loud as I can to celebrate my freedom, but I couldn't.
The second was written on April 9, 2004 and got me teary eyed, excerpt:
It's the day that brought me back to life. It's the 9th of April and I'm free, and they will not steel my joy again and they will not silence me. A year ago at the same date, the thieves and criminals prevented me from celebrating my freedom in the open air, and today thieves, criminals and fanatics are doing the same, but they will not steal my happiness that is making my soul fly and dance with joy and they can't stop this.

A year ago, words failed me as I met the 1st American soldier, and I still remember his name, "corporal, Adam" and all I could utter was "thank you!" how could I ever put my whole life in few words? How could I have thanked that soldier enough? How could I have told him what it meant to me to see him and his comrades-who brought me back to life- at last? Thank you Adam, Lieutenant Antonio, Captain Brian Curtis and all the coalition soldiers who I can't remember their names, and those I never met.

It's the 9th of April and I feel safe! And I don't care what those 'political experts' on the newspapers and TV channels, say about the 'occupation', deteriorated security and 'unemployment'. You can't understand this, because you never experienced real fear this long. Let me tell you about it, as I'm one of those who passed Saddam's filthy test of life.
The statue fell and with it, horror fell. You don't know what it means to be scared to death most of your life, brothers and sisters. I knew that and I faced it during the reign of evil and darkness. I was afraid to talk, I wasn't allowed to think and I wasn't allowed to feel... I wasn't allowed to love.

How dare anyone imply to me how should I feel? And who they think they are, those who try to put words in my mouth? I'm alive and I'm free, and I have the right to say whatever I feel and chose the words I like. No one will tell me again what to say and what to feel.
For thirty years Iraqis have been held face down in the mud. Can you imagine the psychological damage of living under these conditions? Men and woman were told not to think, not to act, and not to feel, doing so would imperil their lives. Personality was outlawed, punishable by death. I don't know how people like Mohammed made it through those dark ages with thoughts and dreams of freedom still in tact, but somehow they did. As the rest of the world shrugged with indifference, men like Omar, Ali and Mohammed, Zeyad, Sam, and Salaam spotted hope under the dark menacing shadow of Saddam and Sons. I don't know how, but how could I? I've never lived under anything resembling the horror that they have experienced. I can only take inspiration and hope that we do our best to help this country and the rest of the Middle East trudge toward freedom and a better, safer world.

Go Read Both Posts. Now.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Trade Deficits - Good, Bad, Indifferent?

Dan Drezner excerpts this Reuters report on trade and calls it good news:
U.S. exports leapt four percent -- the highest monthly increase since October 1996 -- to a record $92.4 billion, while imports rose 1.6 percent to a record $134.5 billion.

The politically sensitive trade gap with China fell nearly 28 percent in February as imports from that country slipped to $11.3 billion, the lowest level in nearly a year, and exports to China rose 17 percent to $3.0 billion.

The lower dollar appeared to help all categories of exports, as shipments of industrial supplies and materials and autos and auto parts both set records. Exports of consumer goods were only slightly below the record set in November and exports of capital goods, such as aircraft and industrial machines, were the highest since May 2001.

Exports of services, which include travel, also set a record.
Does this really matter though? I know it does politically, we often hear doom and gloom reports about growing trade deficits, but in terms of free trade economics and wealth creation does this really matter?

I have a major trade deficit with the grocery store in my neighborhood. I spend hundreds of dollars a month there and they buy nothing from me. I have a major trade surplus with the company I work for. They purchase labor from me every day, but I don't buy any of their services.

Yet, somehow the grocery store, the huge corporation I work for, and myself are all doing relatively well, despite the existence of massive trade surpluses and deficits between us. Would I be better off quitting my job and instead going to work for the grocery store in an attempt to narrow my trade deficit with them? Or should I start using my free time to grow my own food with the aim of becoming self-sufficient in that respect? Would the company I work for be more successful if it fired all workers that it had a serious trade deficit with? The answer to the above questions is an obvious "no."

In the case of China, we are buying more products from them than they are buying from us, but what are they doing with those American dollars if not using them to purchase American products or services at some point in the future? I'm not sure a trade deficit figure, in and of itself - with one specific country, has much of any explanatory power in terms of a nations economic well-being. Am I wrong?

UPDATE: I posted this question in Dan Drezner's comments section.

UPDATE II Welcome Carnival of the Capitalists readers, FYI - here's another, informal econ related post from this week. Thanks to C of C for another great edition.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Has Kofi Annan no shame?

From the Chicago Tribune:
In Geneva, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called on the international community to stay alert to prevent massacres like that in Rwanda.

"We cannot afford to wait until the worst has happened, or is already happening, or end up with little more than futile hand-wringing or callous indifference," Annan told the UN Human Rights Commission.
Given that he was against the removal of Saddam Hussein, just what is his standard for "the worst"? Somewhere under 800,000 but greater than this?

Easterbrook's Alternative History

I wrote about this below, (here and here) but Greg Easterbrook takes it a step further and posts an alternative history had Bush attacked Afghanistan before September 11.
On August 7, 2001, Bush had ordered the United States military to stage an all-out attack on alleged terrorist camps in Afghanistan. Thousands of U.S. special forces units parachuted into this neutral country, while air strikes targeted the Afghan government and its supporting military. Pentagon units seized abandoned Soviet air bases throughout Afghanistan, while establishing support bases in nearby nations such as Uzbekistan. Simultaneously, FBI agents throughout the United States staged raids in which dozens of men accused of terrorism were taken prisoner.
Reaction was swift and furious. Florida Senator Bob Graham said Bush had "brought shame to the United States with his paranoid delusions about so-called terror networks." British Prime Minister Tony Blair accused the United States of "an inexcusable act of conquest in plain violation of international law." White House chief counterterrorism advisor Richard Clarke immediately resigned in protest of "a disgusting exercise in over-kill."
When dozens of U.S. soldiers were slain in gun battles with fighters in the Afghan mountains, public opinion polls showed the nation overwhelmingly opposed to Bush's action. Political leaders of both parties called on Bush to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan immediately. "We are supposed to believe that attacking people in caves in some place called Tora Bora is worth the life of even one single U.S. soldier?" former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey asked.
Bush justified his attack on Afghanistan, and the detention of 19 men of Arab descent who had entered the country legally, on grounds of intelligence reports suggesting an imminent, devastating attack on the United States. But no such attack ever occurred, leading to widespread ridicule of Bush's claims. Speaking before a special commission created by Congress to investigate Bush's anti-terrorism actions, former national security adviser Rice shocked and horrified listeners when she admitted, "We had no actionable warnings of any specific threat, just good reason to believe something really bad was about to happen."
...."I was given bad advice," he [Bush] insisted. "My advisers told me that unless we took decisive action, thousands of innocent Americans might die. Obviously I should not have listened."
Easterbrook's conclusion is impeachment for Bush.
When considering war, besides being just, it must also be feasible. It would be near impossible to look at what happened in Rwanda 10 years ago and argue that intervention would have been immoral. The political climate at the time though, left it unfeasible. Highlighted by the experience of Mogadishu just two years before, Americans were not ready to tolerate casualties trying to solve century old problems in a far off lands that, at least superficially, are of no relevance to us. What would the military strategy be anyway? The genocide in Rwanda was a result of tribal fighting. Which tribe's side would we have taken, the Hutus or Tutsis? Why? It's not as though there was a single figurehead or a distinct regime that needed to be toppled.
We face this same problem today with North Korea. There are incredibly compelling reasons to invade: Kim Jong-Il is a nut job that presents a clear threat to the world and people there are so hungry that they resort to eating babies. But they are a nuclear power and there is a good chance that they, in retalliation, would send some nuclear strikes to Seoul and possibly Tokyo. Are we willing to risk that?

A pre-9/11 strike on Afghanistan carried similar risks. That is, we would have really chanced destabilizing a nuclear state in Pakistan. Remember, this was a country that recognized the Taliban until September 11 forced them to choose between it and civilization. It is no given they would have taken our side or that Musharraf's regime would not have been over-run by Islamic militants, who then would have had nuclear access. Were we, as a nation, prepared to take those risks and invade a country over non-specific intelligence? Even in the aftermath of the attacks we hardly tolerate increased airport security, and don't forget the complaints this past Christmas about the government being too aggressive in canceling flights from Europe.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Quick, Informal Commentary on the Economy

Just some not particularly bold predictions and thoughts that I wanted to get down, if I'm right, you can be sure I'll revisit this in a few months. So, right now we are hearing a lot about gas prices. National averages are at "record highs," but that's only true in nominal terms. Adjusted for inflation and purchasing power, a 1981 gallon of gas would cost you $2.83 in 2004. But there's less sensationalism when you put it that way. I live about 2 miles out of the Loop, the gas station on the corner is $2.09. The national average is $1.77. Lots of that price is taxes lots of that is environmental regulation, but those costs are pretty well fixed, and thus don't play a facotr in recent increase. Still, I've been hearing plenty of speculation that once the increased summer demand comes we're going to see $3.00 a gallon at the pump. Come to think of it I heard that last year and the year before that. My prediction is that prices may still rise a bit but will fall and level off again to close to what they were last summer.

Here's why: high prices create more incentive to cheat, some members of OPEC will increase production and sell a little more oil for a little less than market value. Companies will also increase production in response to the high price, this includes domestic companies, and those in Canada, our largest foreign supplier. My prediction is that summer gas prices will probably be about what they were last year. (*ahem* ceteris paribus- assuming the situation in the Middle East stays roughly similar to what it is today)

Gas prices in this election, are not much more than transient noise to be sure, but the economy is always a big one, usually the one in fact. This election though, it's riding shotgun. For the record, I think that Bush's tax cuts probably did soften the blow of the recession to some extent, but I subscribe to the belief that the president has very little influence on the health of the economy, especially in the short term. Nevertheless the economy matters politically, politicians can make or break careers on their ability to pass blame when its down, and court credit when its up. The electorate generally gobbles this up, partisanship explains much of this, but it just might be that economic ignorance of the function of markets explains more. Whatever the reason, it matter. A lot.

For the last few months we've been hearing about the "jobless recovery" and that seems to be a longer term characteristic of this recovery. The last few quarters have shown all the signs of solid growth and the end of the recession, but the unemployment number hasn't been shrinking at the rate it was told. Sure, it had fallen to the mid-90's level of 5.6% but that's where it seemed stuck, and actually ticked up to 5.7% in recent weeks. Given the shock of the bursting of the tech bubble, the devastating attacks of 9/11, corporate scandal, and a war, I think our economy (which is just the aggregate of 'us') has shown to be remarkably resilient. Companies had to adjust, and one way they did was to reduce employees and increase their productivity.

Here's some anecdotal evidence: Over the last three years, the department I work in (finance related), has seen better than a 50% increase in business, and we've done this with one less employee. There were some important technological improvements in our workflow instituted that dramatically increased our productivity. We were just asked to work faster and longer if we needed. We all had good job security and even if some of us felt overworked, where were we going to go in this market? I suspect that was how many companies improved their bottom line, and are now a little reluctant to start hiring. Or were, up until last month when the economy added a staggering 308,000 jobs. The most in one month since April 2000.

Demand is finally starting to outpace productivity increases, and businesses believe that demand is here to stay, so they started hiring. All of the blame that democrats have heaped on him for the slumping economy have, once again, created the impression that the president can simply create jobs and wealth with the stroke of a pen. One month is far from a trend, but if one emerges, Bush will happily agree with the Democrats insinuation that he controls the economy and will take credit for the increasingly robust job market. If this happens we could see Bush by K.O. come November.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Passionate Hatred

Mel Gibson's "The Passion" is breaking box office records in the Middle East. That surprises me about as much as reactions like this:
Hanan Nsour, a veiled, 21-year-old Muslim in Jordan, came out of "The Passion of the Christ" in tears and pronounced her verdict: Mel Gibson's crucifixion epic "unmasked the Jews' lies and I hope that everybody, everywhere, turns against the Jews."
Somewhere, Mel Gibson's father is smiling.

I haven't see the movie and I probably won't. These days I read enough about real violence and torture, that I don't need to see it movies. I think Stan from South Park got it right when he demanded his money back after seeing the flick exclaiming, "Dude, that wasn't a movie, that was a snuff film!" How does two hours of brutal torture teach anyone anything about the life of Christ? What's in the movie that wasn't previously known? Did everyone just think that Christ got his ass kicked real bad until Mel Gibson came along and showed us that, in actuality, he got his ass kicked really really really bad? What's that supposed to teach me again?

Two more random thoughts:

It's easy to not fear death when you know you're the son of God and you know where you're going when it's all over.

Beatings like that were the status quo in Saddam's Iraq.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Fallujah Fallout

My first reaction to the atrocities committed in Fallujah last week was that we should drop a few daisy cutters on that city. My second reaction was that we should pull out of Iraq and let them figure it out for themselves. Both are wrong. That is exactly what the perpetrators were hoping for. With Mogadishu in mind this seems like it was a made for TV event. That is why cameraman from Al-Jazeera were there to capture it on tape, and that is why the corpses were beaten, dragged through the streets and finally hung from a bridge. They were bait.

It was the early 90's that 18 U.S. soldiers in Somalia were killed and some dragged through the streets. It was enough to make us pullout and we are still paying for that decision. It was that experience in Mogadishu that discouraged us from intervening to stop genocide in Rwanda a few years later and gave further credence to the theory that, if a few casualties were inflicted, America would cut and run. These events, along with our lack of response to the USS Cole, African Embassy Bombing, and Khobar Towers attacks, were key ingredients to bin-Laden's (mis) calculation that our response to 9/11 would be to drop to our knees and try to understand "why they hate us."

As happened in Somalia, the beasts of Fallujah were hoping that U.S. forces would come rushing in to retrieve the bodies and exact retribution, where further ambushes set up by the enemy were waiting. Last months the Islamists tried stoking tensions between the Shiites and Sunnis, but the Shiites called for restraint. As Steven Den Beste has noted, the strategic goal of terrorism is to provoke reprisals. In this case, reprisals that lead to mass civilian casualties for Al-Jazeera to broadcast to the Arab world. Reprisals that would make the Sunnis of the area feel that they have no part in the new Iraq. Not taking the bait, there was again calls for restraint and patience:
"We are not going to do a pell-mell rush into the city," [Brig. Gen. Mark] Kimmitt said. "It will be at a time and a place of our choosing. It will be methodical. It will be precise and it will be overwhelming."

It looks like that time is now:
FALLUJAH, Iraq -- Hundreds of U.S. and Iraqi troops in tanks, trucks and other vehicles surrounded the turbulent city of Fallujah on Monday ahead of a major operation against insurgents following the grisly slayings of four American security contractors last week.

Explosions and gunfire could be heard coming from the center of the city. Streets on the outskirts were largely deserted.

A liberal democracy in Iraq would be a catastrophe for the Islamic fundamentalists. It's 90 days and counting until power is turned over to the Iraqis. When that happens it will be a lot harder for terrorist groups to stage attacks in Iraq that kill Iraqis and still hide under the guise of fighting the occupiers. This is a critical time for all involved.

Update:(via InstaPundit) Blackhawk Down author, Mark Bowden writes:
It is a mistake to conclude that those committing such acts represent a majority of the community. Just the opposite is true. Lynching is most often an effort to frighten and sway a more sensible, decent mainstream. In Marion it was the Ku Klux Klan, in Mogadishu it was Aidid loyalists, in Fallujah it is either diehard Saddamites or Islamo-fascists.

The worst answer the U.S. can make to such a message--which is precisely what we did in Mogadishu--is back down. By most indications, Aidid's supporters were decimated and demoralized the day after the Battle of Mogadishu. Some, appalled by the indecency of their countrymen, were certain the U.S. would violently respond to such an insult and challenge. They contacted U.N. authorities offering to negotiate, or simply packed their things and fled. These are the ones who miscalculated. Instead the U.S. did nothing, effectively abandoning the field to Aidid and his henchmen. Somalia today remains a nation struggling in anarchy, and the America-haters around the world learned what they thought was a essential truth about the United States: Kill a few Americans and the most powerful nation on Earth will run away. This, in a nutshell, is the strategy of Osama bin Laden.

...The response should not be to back away from the task, but to redouble our efforts.
Which means recognizing that the gory carnival on the streets of Fallujah is not evidence of the mission's futility, nor is it something to chalk up to foreign barbarity. It was deliberate and it must be answered deliberately. The lynching of African-Americans would have ended decades earlier if authorities had rounded up and punished those participating in crimes like the one in Marion. Somalia would be a vastly different place today if the U.S. and U.N. had not backed away in horror from the shocking display in Mogadishu.
Like his book, this article is well worth the read.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Kos is a popular lefty blogger, who like Instapundit, I've always viewed as reasonable, just decidedly on the other side. That was until I read his thoughts on the atrocious mutilations of American civilians in Fallujah:
Let the people see what war is like. This isn't an Xbox game. There are real repurcussions to Bush's folly.

That said I feel nothing over the death of mercernaries. They aren't in Iraq because of orders, or because they are trying to make Iraq a better place. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them.
Disgusting. This is something I expect from fringe anti-American groups like ANSWER, not Kos.

These guys that were ambushed and mutilated are all former servicemen. I guess Kos calls them mercenaries because they are former military men who took these high paying (from what I've read roughly $2000 a day) high risk jobs that they didn't have to take, but chose to. So, the Kos logic goes, they deserve what they got.

That folks, exemplifies my current problem with the American left. For years they have held a rhetotorical monopoly on human rights issues, but that position is severely undermined by their complete inability to acknowledge the fact that 25 million people have been liberated from Saddam's brutal oppression. I wonder, do they really care about human rights? Do they really care about individual liberty beyond what will help them politically? It seems the answer is a resounding "no."

Kos, the big fucking pussy, can't even stand behind what he said above, he changed the post. Michael Friedman (and some others) knowing that he would back off his original comments (like a giant cry-baby) took a screen shot of the original that you can view here.

But now he has changed the post, and starts with this:
There's been much ado about my indifference to the Mercenary deaths in Falluja a couple days ago. I wrote in some diary comments somewhere that "I felt nothing" and "screw them".
"In some diary comments somewhere"? Huh? That somewhere was on your blog you ass!! You act like it was written on a teenagers diary that's hidden between the mattress and box spring so mom won't find it.

If nothing else it exposes Kos as a phony. Kos! If you believe in what you say, stand behind it! Changing the link only shows that you don't believe in what you say, it shows that you'll only say what you think as long as you have public support. You fucking PHONY, stand behind it! If your comments were off the cuff, just say "I didn't really mean that, I was angry that these Americans were killed because I was against this war." You didn't do that though, you tried to pretend that you never really said it in the first place, you gave the lamest pseudo-apology that I've ever read in the blogosphere. Spineless.

For more on this and the phony apology read here and here

Jay Reding offers a face and bios about the men who died that Kos thinks should be screwed.

Michael Friedman also has sent complaints to those that advertise on Kos's blog. He's gotten some results too. Go here for details.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Paul Hornung - Staunch Supporter of Affirmative Action

This was all over talk radio here in Chicago this week:
Hornung told Detroit's AM-1270 The Sports Station (an ESPN radio affiliate) on Tuesday that Notre Dame must ease up on its academic restrictions because "We gotta get the black athlete," he said. "We must get the black athlete if we're going to compete."
We know Hornung is not a racist, so what's all the fuss about? Colleges and law schools all over the country tout the fact that they lower standards to increase minority student enrollment. That's what affirmative action is all about, Hornung merely articulated the argument.

Here in Chicago, pressure is coming from the usual suspects to lower standards for the sole purpose of getting more blacks hired at the Chicago Fire Department. Unlike the Notre Dame football program, the CFD deals in life and death, not wins and losses. So where is the outrage? Is there a double standard here, or is Notre Dame football just that important?


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