I've often thought we would have been much better off - all of us - if we'd gone in and partitioned Iraq into Kurd/Sunni/Shiaa thirds. I understand the reasons for not doing so, but I still disagree with them. Ralph Peters has taken this concept to its ultimate conclusion: Don't stop in Iraq, but redraw the whole region. Behold:
Fascinating. I suggest you look at the maps first, then read Peters' paper.
Thought assignment: Does the UN as it exists stand to promote this solution or to hinder it?
It seems there's a problem in Florida -- teachers can't find affordable housing close to their jobs. Interesting article in today's Pravda here. So naturally our leaders in schooling and government are calling for reform of zoning laws that artificially increase the cost of housing by restricting the supply, right?
Wrong-o, el stupido. Their brilliant solution -- put school boards into the housing business! Have the government construct houses just for teachers and to h*** with the 14th amendment. Those people never fail to maze me.
You know why I'd want to be president in the first place? This is why:
Air Force One. Talk about your perq's! If you're the president, you can fly this baby anywhere you want, anytime you want, for any reason you say. How cool is that?
I'd be up in Air Force One about 3 days a week, and I'd land just about anywhere with a runway long enough. And I'd come in with virtually no warning -- just drop in on towns without all the ridiculous prep work they do now. Wouldn't it be cool if you felt like, at any minute, the President of the United States might drop in?
After I'd finished evicting the Old Media from the White House, I'd gather Congress together and tell them this:
Unless & until they come up with a budget that preserves Social Security receipts or otherwise repairs Social Security, I will veto their budgets and just let the whole federal government come to a screeching halt. Or they can override my veto. The time has come for them to do their damn job or take full responsiblility for the fiasco on the horizon.
... have done this a long time ago. From InstaPundit we learn:
I'M NOT SURPRISED AT THIS DEVELOPMENT: "The Bush administration, seeking to limit leaks of classified information, has launched initiatives targeting journalists and their possible government sources."
Members of the press are, for the most part, appalled. But having made a big deal of leaks and their alleged harm to National Security in the Plame case, they're in a poor position to complain. Bill Keller's outrage is particularly out of place, and his suggestion that the Bush Administration is waging war at home on the values we profess abroad is just a political sound-bite: There's not even a right of journalists to protect leakers under the U.S. Constitution, despite journalists' representations, and doing so has hardly been a slogan on the war on terror. The tendency of the press to conflate its own desire for guild-like special privileges with the protections of the First Amendment is one of the reasons for its decline in trust and popularity.
You know what else I'd do? I would, in my first week in office, kick all the daily press sources out of the White House. Not just because, or mainly because, the current American and international MSM/Old Media press corps is hostile to conservatism. I mean, sure, it is hostile, and enemy recognition is an important part of any war, but the main reason I'd kick them out is to change the perspective of the Executive Branch.
I say the President and the entire Executive Branch should be thinking much longer-term than they are. Part of the problem is the never ending task of feeding the 24/7/52 appetite of the modern cable and internet news monster. Let those folks at CBS, NBC, FOX, MSNBC, ABC, WaPo, NYT, etc., go elsewhere for their daily grist. Into their former offices, which are the property of the US Government, not the particular media squatters currently inhabiting them, bring monthly media outlets, magazines, long-term TV products, radio and bloggers. Anyone morphing into a daily outlet gets evicted. Any executive branch employee talking to the evictees gets fired or transferred to Diego Garcia or the Aleutian Islands.
Under President Pedro's system, we'd all have time to actually think about the important things going on, and wouldn't spend so much national energy on the endless tempests in tea pots (anyone remember the VP's accidental shooting of a hunting partner?). Plus, the pay-back would be sweet. David Gregory, eat sh*t & die!
Even better, although this is probably too much to hope for, the daily news outlets would be forced to turn their attention away from an endless search for the next Presidential X-gate and might even start focusing on the non-governmental parts of our society. I think we'd be a lot better off if the news fire hose from the White House and the rest of the Executive Branch were replaced with news of industry, science, engineering, and the world. There is much more to life than politics, and our national discussion of politics could certainly be improved.
Green Bay, WI - Like a pot of bratwurst left unattended at a Lambeau Field pregame party, simmering tensions in the strife-torn Midwest boiled over once again today as rioting mobs of green-and-gold clad youth and plump farm wives rampaged through Wisconsin Denny’s and IHOPs, burning Texas toast and demanding apologies and extra half-and-half.
The spark igniting the latest tailgate hibachi of unrest: a Texas newsletter's publication of caricatures of legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi.
Protestors demonstrated against the images throughout the Badger State yesterday, with violent egging and cow-tipping incidents reported in Oconomowac, Pewaukee, Sheboygan, Ozaukee, Antigo, Oshkosh, Waubeno, Wauwautosa, Waunewoc, Wyocena, Waubeka, and Washawonamowackapeepee.
But the data are becoming overwhelming that the nation is moving left and is likely to stay that way through at least the 2006 election — and, if President Bush doesn’t adjust, for a lot longer.... Why the leftward move? A big part of the reason is the success the Bush administration has had in solving and hence diminishing the importance of the Republican agenda. Taxes have been cut, we have not had a terror attack since Sept. 11 and trial lawyers are on the defensive. The issues that remain — energy, environment, healthcare and Social Security — usually are Democratic and liberal....
To reverse the situation, therefore, Bush has three options:
(A) Fight the Democrats on issues that are already in play but have a Republican skew.
(B) Raise new issues that have a built-in skew right and a Republican orientation.
(C) Recast Republican positions on Democratic issues that are already in play to make them work for the GOP....
For instance, dick recommends:
Two new solid Republican issues are begging for attention from the White House: immigration and drugs.
The administration’s guest-worker program is a good step in the right direction to appease Hispanic voters, but it must be accompanied by some red meat for the base — the border fence passed by the House. The fence without guest-worker rights will alienate the fastest growing bloc of voters, the Latinos. The guest workers without the fence will do nothing to move voters toward the GOP....
Bush should urge drug testing, with parental consent, in schools in his State of the Union address and put drugs back in play as a domestic issue. Crime is down, but drug use is still a vital Republican issue. Put it back on the agenda.
Finally, the Republican Party had better consign itself to defeat in the next two elections unless it does more to elaborate an energy/environmental policy. It must go beyond nuclear power and Alaska drilling in policies to achieve more energy independence.
Terrorism and pump prices have made this issue the dominant one in our political matrix. Bush needs to make hydrogen and hybrid cars a key part of his program and needs to challenge America to switch and end our dependence on imported oil.
On the environment, Americans have already decided that global warming is causing weather aberrations like the hurricane activity this summer.
Interesting stuff, Dick. Not the kind of opinions one hears every day from the new media.
What I'd like to see the GOP do:
Energy: Develop a short term and a long term energy policy. Short term = DRILL! DRILL!! DRILL!!! Alaska? Hell, yes! Florida? Yes! Drill in the middle of goldarned Pennsylvania Avenue if there's even a sniff of oil there. Kick those enviroweenie tree huggers to the curb and don't let 'em up until gas is $1/gallon. Long term = Nukeyulur (for real) and hydrogen (for fun). Clean sweep any and all reg's against nuclear now and put in place, from scratch, stuff that makes sense and will work. And maybe it'd be a good idea not to have most of our oil and natural gas infrastructure vulnerable to hurricanes. Let the Democrats be for $3 gas -- we'll be for $1 gas. See who wins.
WOT: Bomb Iran. A lot. 26 years over due.
Taxes: Cut 'em.
Homeland Security: Disperse. Spread the Federal Gov't all over the place. Why not?
Immigration: Wall + guest worker card with teeth.
Social Security: Come out and say "What were we thinking?" and repeal the federal free drugs for old people program. Why spend so much money on a program no one likes anyway? Then forget Social Security for '06, but make it one of the pillars of the '08 Contract with America.
The Courts: How to take maximum advantage of the complete fools the democrat senators have made of themselves? Break up the 9th Circuit into two or three circuits and pack 'em with conservatives. The Democrats have really made asses of themselves with respect to judicial confirmation hearings, and nobody believes anything they say anymore. Breaking the 9th would really drive them around the bend -- I mean, they would come unglued -- and would be worth it just for the entertainment value.
Drugs: Not a federal issue. Leave it to the states.
Foreign Policy: Make fun of France at every opportunity. We love it on the Right, and the Lefties never fail to step up and tell us all just how much smarter the French are then us stupid Americans. Talk about Lucy, Charlie Brown, and the football! Works every single time. (Full disclosure -- I did have a glass of French wine at a party the other night (and it was real good btw) but I didn't buy it.)
So that's my plan: Make fun of France, bomb Iran, drop Social Security, split the 9th, drill until gas hits $1/gallon, nucyuler power, disperse, and cut taxes. It would be fun and it would win.
Why are Americans so well off? It's not just because of America's fruited plains and its alabaster cities. In fact, it turns out that such natural and man-made resources comprise a relatively small percentage of our wealth....
As noted above, 90 percent of intangible capital is accounted for by years of schooling and the rule of law. On average, the rule of law explains 57 percent of countries' intangible capital while schooling accounts for 36 percent. The World Bank has devised a rule-of-law index that measures the extent to which people have confidence in and abide by the rules of their society. An economy with a very efficient judicial system, clear property rights, and an effective government will produce higher total wealth.
On the World Bank's rule-of-law index, the United States scores 92 out of a possible 100. The Swiss are even more law-abiding, achieving a score of 99 out of 100. By contrast, Nigeria's rule-of-law index score is a pitiful 4.8; Burundi's 4.3; and Ethiopia's 16.4. The OECD's average score is 90, while sub-Saharan Africa's is 28....
Where is the Wealth of Nations? convincingly shows what countries need to do to create wealth and lift billions of people out of abject poverty. Establish the rule of law and educate people. The big question that the World Bank researchers don't answer is : How can the people of the developing world rid themselves of the kleptocrats who loot their countries and keep them poor?
The answer is, of course, obvious. The kleptocrats can be removed by force, and only by force, by us, and rather easily. Don't believe me? Just ask Saddam Hussein.
There's plenty wrong with America, since you asked. I'm tempted to say that the only difference from Canada is that they have a few things right. That would be unfair, of course -- I am often pleased to discover things we still get right.
But one of them would not be disaster preparation. If something happened up here, on the scale of Katrina, we wouldn't even have the resources to arrive late. We would be waiting for the Americans to come save us, the same way the government in Louisiana just waved and pointed at Washington, D.C. The theory being that, when you're in real trouble, that's where the adults live.
And that isn't an exaggeration. Almost everything that has worked in the recovery operation along the U.S. Gulf Coast has been military and National Guard. Within a few days, under several commands, finally consolidated under the remarkable Lt.-Gen. Russell Honore, it was once again the U.S. military efficiently cobbling together a recovery operation on a scale beyond the capacity of any other earthly institution.
We hardly have a military up here. We have elected one feckless government after another that has cut corners until there is nothing substantial left. We don't have the ability even to transport and equip our few soldiers. Should disaster strike at home, on a big scale, we become a Third World country. At which point, our national smugness is of no avail.
How are we going to mobilize the blogosphere in support of cuts in wasteful spending to support Katrina relief? Here's the plan.
Identify some wasteful spending in your state or (even better) Congressional District. Put up a blog post on it. Go to N.Z. Bear's new PorkBusters page and list the pork, and add a link to your post.
Then call your Senators and Representative and ask them if they're willing to support having that program cut or -- failing that -- what else they're willing to cut in order to fund Katrina relief. (Be polite, identify yourself as a local blogger and let them know you're going to post the response on your blog). Post the results. Then go back to NZ Bear's page and post a link to your followup blog post.
The result should be a pretty good resource of dubious spending, and Congressional comments thereon, for review by blogs, members of the media, etc. And maybe even members of Congress looking for wasteful spending . . . . .
Hummingbird Finally, my first hummingbirds. Saw them on a fire bush in Crystal Beach, FL. My rental's neighbor's yard is all xeriscaped, which is ugly to me but just fine with the little hummers. At first, I thought they were the biggest hornets I'd ever seen.
Flamingo! One of these dudes flew right over my house. I couldn't believe it. And please don't tell me it was a roseated spoonbill because it was a frickin' flamingo, dude! Huge and pink and right there above me. I was like so freaking out, you know?
Falcon! Don't see these guys too often. Wish we did. Bet the morning doves don't.
Black Skimmer These beauties are getting scarce, but one flew by yesterday at low tide on the hunt for minnows.
Dead sea turtle cool, but smelly
Reddish Egret These have been hanging out around the pool quite a bit lately. Must be a new group of adolesent birds -- the youngsters like to hunt where the water is clear, and it takes them a day to figure out there are not now and never will be fish in the swimming pool no matter how clear the water.
Brown Pelican I saw a flock of about 200 of these at Disappearing Island yesterday, just south of Anclote Island on the west coast of FL. Good to see such a large flock.
Wood Pecker They've developed a sudden interest in the orange tree, which just went into bloom.