Monday, November 28, 2005

Koan of the week

And now for the weekly koan: (because economics is called the dismal science for a reason and if I convince one person to read this, I will have bored them to tears after that last post)

The zen master Gutei had a habit of raising one finger in the air whenever he was explaining a question about zen.
One of his young disciples was beginning to immitate him and whenever anyone asked the boy what his master was teaching him he would raise his finger.
Gutei heard about this and when he next saw the boy he observed him doing it one day and he pulled out a knife and seized the boy's hand and cut off his finger.

The boy yelped and ran away and as he fled crying Gutei called out,
The boy stopped and turned around and looked at his master through his tears. Gutei held up his one finger and the boy went to hold up his one finger and when he realized it wasn't there he bowed.

At that moment the boy became enlightened.

gas prices and macroeconomics

J-Dub recently said..."I've been calling for a gasoline tax for years, and the Congressional Budget Office agrees. I know Darin will have something to say about this, but it's the best way to encourage the type of changes we need. A tax on gas would inflate the price of cheap oil that has a strong arm on our economy. Because gas is kept relatively cheap (notice how low the prices are now after public outrage), technology has little incentive to provide new methods. Cheap gasoline has already permanently damaged other types of transportation like rail traffic, and it encourages us to consume more. The environmental impact of burning gasoline is huge. Even if you won't agree that global warming is real, surely you agree that a gas combustion engine produces emissions that are harmful."

I responded on his blog in a long winded comment, but I figured I would sum up here...

A basic misunderstanding of macroeconomics…

Fuel prices are determined by thousands of individual market actors making thousands of individually beneficial decisions—there are contracts between oil companies and refineries and retailers, wholesalers, etc…. When people rail against “Big Oil” acting in concert to screw the consumers and make exorbitant profits, it conjures up images of marble lined conference rooms, leather chairs and long legged secretaries lighting the cigars of the wealthy “robber barrons.”
In reality, prices are determined by supply and demand. You reference this summer’s high prices as a result of these unscrupulous oil companies, and now that the public is alert to their nefarious ways, the prices have come down…..you are correct that prices were higher this summer than they are on average now, but you are wrong as to what caused it.
Hurricane Katrina (yes, the hurricane that George Bush single handedly steered into the Louisiana coast) took more than 10% of the U.S. refining capacity offline and knocked out some of the pipelines needed to deliver the gas from the gulf coast to the rest of the country. (It is very difficult to sail a super tanker right into North Dakota, so consequently they tend to take it to a port city and then truck it elsewhere).

In other words, a significant decrease in supply resulted in a short term increase in price. The market has responded, (imports increased) and prices have gone back down.

Congress can no more abolish the laws of supply and demand than a physicist could repeal the laws of thermodynamics.

If you increase the taxes on a gallon of gas, you will directly negatively impact the poorest among us, as they spend a disproportionately high percentage of their income on gasoline than the wealthy. Think about it, if the working poor among us make $600.00 a month, and they spend 2.00 bucks a gallon on 30 gallons a month—that’s 60.00 dollars a month keeping gas in their vehicle, then they are spending 10% of their income of gasoline. If you raise taxes on gas--- let’s say 50 cents, then that same 30 gallons now is 75 dollars a month and 12.5% of his pay. In return, the higher price of gas at the pump does not necessarily equal a diminished demand for driving…think about it—how far do you have to drive to work? Does that distance change when gas is more expensive? No, it just means that you will sacrifice more out of another budget bucket.
The path to hell is paved with good intentions, I am certain that you intend well, but if you study further you will come to different conclusions.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Victor Davis Hanson

A very smart guy, historian senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, and prolific author wrote something very insightful about the current stance of Dems and their flirtations with the "cut and run" mode of thinking....

So Democrats have overcome two caveats. First, they are beginning to sound like Michael Moore while distancing themselves from Michael Moore. Second, they have come up with a clever escape ploy from their own previous rhetoric. Yes, they voted for the war, but the intelligence they had was “not the same” as the president’s. And besides, they were merely senators who fund wars, while George Bush was the commander-in-chief who directs them. “He started it — not us” may be the stuff of errant boys on the playground, but it apparently offers a way out of past embarrassing speeches and votes. Even more clever, they now claim that voting “to authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq” in October 2002 is not quite the same as actually authorizing a war in March 2003.Consequently, the Democrats are now inching toward jettisoning their final reservation and embracing the Howard Dean cut-and-run position. Still, shrewd pros like a Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Dianne Feinstein, or Chuck Schumer are not quite there yet for two other understandable worries. The polls say Americans are tired of the war, but not yet ready to quit and give up on all that has been achieved, leaving brave Iraqi reformers to ninth-century beheaders and suicide-murderers. Second, these more astute Democrats are not sure that the Iraqi gambit might not work, especially with the December election coming up, the public trial of Saddam, the growth of the Iraqi security forces, and the changed attitudes in Europe, Jordan, and Lebanon. Many talk a lot about Vietnam circa 1967 but deep down and in silence most have mixed emotions about Saigon 1975.
For now Democrats stammer, sputter, and go the Bush shoulda / coulda route — not quite ready to take the McGovern sharp turn, forever waiting on polls and events on the ground in Iraq, always unsure whether peace and democracy will come before the 2,500th American fatality.
Yet as they hedge — on television praising Congressmen Murtha who advocates withdrawal, but making sure they vote overwhelmingly on the record to reject his advice — they should consider some critical questions.
First, are the metrics of this war in the terrorists’ or our favor? Are the Iraqi security forces growing or shrinking? Are elections postponed or on schedule? Are Europe, Jordan, Lebanon, and others more or less sympathetic to a war against Islamic terrorism in Iraq? Are bin Laden, Zawahiri, and Zarqawi more or less popular or secure after we removed Saddam? Is al Qaeda in a strengthened or weakened position? Is the Arab world more or less receptive to democracy in the Gulf, Egypt, Lebanon, and the West Bank? And is the United States more or less vulnerable to a terrorist attack as we go into our fifth year since September 11?
I ask those questions in all sincerity since the conventional wisdom — compared to the true wisdom and compassion of those valiantly fighting the terrorists under the most impossible of conditions — is that we are losing in Iraq, our enemies are emboldened, and the Arab world has turned against us. But if we forget the banality of New York Times columnists, the admonitions of NPR experts, and the daily rants of a Barbara Boxer, Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, or Al Gore, more sober and street-smart Democrats are in fact not so sure of these answers.
So these wiser ones wait and hedge their wagers. They give full rein to the usefully idiotic and irresponsible in their midst, but make no move yet to undo what thousands of brave American soldiers have accomplished in Iraq.
What exactly is that? Despite acrimony at home, the politics of two national elections and a third on the horizon, and the slander of war crimes and incompetence, those on the battlefield of Iraq have almost pulled off the unthinkable — the restructuring of the politics of the Middle East in less than three years. And for now that is still a strong hand to bet against.

I have the power!!!

So I was rolling around listening to my favorite talk radio station on Wednesday 950 KWOS (pronounced "K Double U O S" don't get lazy on the "W"), and guess what the CBS news affiliate reported?

The Buddha Boy Story!

Is it possible that a producer in New York has been tuning in to djobe? It's probably more likely that they were reading the Associated Press just like I did...

But for now I would like to think that I have the power to influence my local radio station....

Another funny thing that I just thought of, if you listen carefully to the pronunciation of the word "cloudy" when weather men anounce that it will be "partly cloudy" the guy on my local station always says, "cloddy." And then, in my best radio announcer voice, I make fun of him....

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

At want point does one become responsible?

Lot's of talking heads bemoan the fact that Debbie LaFave has pleaded guilty to 2 counts of Lewd and Lascivious behavior (isn't that the name of a rock band?) and got no prison time....

I say KUDOS to the judge for having the balls to sentence the woman appropriately, she will serve probation but no hard time.

If you don't know, this 25 year old teacher in Florida engaged in some sexual activities with one of her students (he was 14 at the time). At what point can we say that the 14 year old "boy" bears SOME responsibility for his actions? It takes two to tango, if the kid walked into the mall and stole a bottle of acne cream, we would slap his wrist and send him to a Juvenile Detention Center because he is responsible for preventing himself from stealing someone elses personal property.

But for some reason, when a super hot teacher asks him to do a remake of the Van Halen video, "I'm hot for teacher," SHE is the only person that engaged in the lewd and lascivious behavior? Was he not present? Was he forced into it? Was it against his will? No way...he got his friend to drive the SUV, he put himself in the back seat with her and I am pretty sure there was no force...


The disingenousness of the Dems that are currently claiming that Iraq was "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time," or that, " "Staying The Course Is Not A Winning Strategy," is staggering.

The fact that the MSM let's these morons get away with it is proof of their own ideological bias against the effort.

Here is a quick round up of the leading voices of the "cut and run" crowd, and what they had to say about Iraq over the past couple years...

Former President Bill Clinton: "We Have To Defend Our Future From These Predators Of The 21st Century. ... [T]hey Will Be All The More Lethal If We Allow Them To Build Arsenals Of Nuclear, Chemical And Biological Weapons And The Missiles To Deliver Them. We Simply Cannot Allow That To Happen. There Is No More Clear Example Of This Threat Than Saddam Hussein's Iraq. His Regime Threatens T he Safety Of His People, The Stability Of His Region And The Security Of All The Rest Of Us." (President Clinton, Remarks To Joint Chiefs Of Staff And Pentagon Staff, Arlington, VA, 2/17/98)

Former Vice President Al Gore: "[I]f You Allow Someone Like Saddam Hussein To Get Nuclear Weapons, Ballistic Missiles, Chemical Weapons, Biological Weapons, How Many People Is He Going To Kill With Such Weapons? He's Already Demonstrated A Willingness To Use These Weapons ..." (CNN's "Larry King Live," 12/16/98)

Former Secretary Of State Madeleine Albright: "[I] Think That Clearly Iraq Is A Very, Very Serious Problem ... Iraq Is A Very Serious Problem, And Clearly Has A Lot Of Weapons Of Mass Destruction ..." (NBC's "Meet The Press," 2/9/03)

Sen. Reid Never Said Fellow Dems Used Intelligence To "Hype The Threat":
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY): "In The Four Years Since The Inspectors, Intelligence Reports Show That Saddam Hussein Has Worked To Rebuild His Chemical And Biological Weapons Stock, His Missile Delivery Capability, And His Nuclear Program. ... It Is Clear, However, That If Left Unchecked, Saddam Hussein Will Continue To Increase His Capability To Wage Biological And Chemical Warfare And Will Keep Trying To Develop Nuclear Weapons." (Sen. Hillary Clinton, Congressional Record, 10/10/02, p. S10288)

Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA): "We Have Known For Many Years That Saddam Hussein Is Seeking And Developing Weapons Of Mass Destruction." (Sen. Ted Kennedy, Remarks At The Johns Hopkins School Of Advanced International Studies, Washington DC, 9/27/02)

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI): "[Saddam] Has Ignored The Mandates Of The United Nations, Is Building Weapons Of Mass Destruction And The Means Of Delivering Them." (Committee On Armed Services, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 9/19/02)

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL): "One Of The Most Compelling Threats We In This Country Face Today Is The Proliferation Of Weapons Of Mass Destruction. Threat Assessments Regularly Warn Us Of The Possibility That North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Or Some Other Nation May Acquire Or Develop Nuclear Weapons." (Sen. Dick Durbin, Congressional Record, 9/30/99, p. S11673)

Sen. Russell Feingold (D-WI): "With Regard To Iraq, I Agree, Iraq Presents A Genuine Threat, Especially In The Form Of Weapons Of Mass Destruction, Chemical, Biological, And Potentially Nuclear Weapons. I Agree That Saddam Hussein Is Exceptionally Dangerous And Brutal, If Not Uniquely So, As The President Argues." (Sen. Russell Feingold, Congressional Record, 10/9/02, p. S10147)

Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA): "I Certainly Think [Saddam's] Developing Nuclear Capability, Which, Fortunately, The Israelis Set Back 20 Years Ago With Their Preemptive Attack, Which, In Hindsight, Looks Pretty Darn Good." (Fox News' "The Big Story," 8/27/02)

Of course, these idiots can say "Bush lied about WMD" and Chris Matthews/Katie Couric/Matt Lauer et al. just nod their heads in agreement.

A proposal that no one supports...not even the guy who proposes it

Congressman Jack Murtha (Democrat from Pennsylvania), decorated veteran and patriot has proposed immediate “troop redeployment” because they have become the target in Iraq.
He calls the war in Iraq a “flawed policy wrapped in illusion.”

He says, ''the U.S. cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It's time to bring the troops home. . .They have become the enemy....It is time for a change in direction. Our military is suffering, the future of our country is at risk. We cannot continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf region."

It turns out that he doesn’t have the courage of his convictions, as the House voted 403-3 against a resolution “expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately." Murtha was not one of the three who voted against, so while he proposes the immediate withdrawal, he doesn’t actually vote for it.

Of course the AP, (that unbiased bastion of apolitical reporting) played it like this…

An influential House Democrat who voted for the Iraq war called Thursday for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, another sign of growing unease in Congress about the conflict.

Reading that, one might be confused as to what actually happened, but let’s be clear…99.26% of the members of the House voted to stay the course in Iraq, against an immediate troop withdrawal. Actually, it was just an expression that they think the troops should be redeployed, and they couldn't even back that....further proof that the Democrats are actively engaged in aiding the enemy by publicly supporting our defeat in the press while still trying to hide behind a facade of, "we support the troops," with their votes. The Democrats have politically tied their hopes to our withdrawal and defeat abroad, and the media is complicit in their manipulations and machinations.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Ram Bomjon--Buddha Boy

There is a 15 year old boy in Nepal who is attracting a lot of attention from local buddhist devotees for apparently fasting and meditating for approximately 6 months.

Many people are coming to see him because his story mirrors that of the historical Buddha--it is claimed that he meditated without food or drink for 49 days under a pipal tree and then gained enlightenment.

This boy has already been under his pipal tree for longer...scientist and physicians are unable to confirm if he has actually gone without food or drink, they are only able to see him from 5 yards away, and therefore they are only able to confirm that he is alive....

Just quit, it's the American way...

Wow, this is from a retired Army officer in the New York Post:

QUIT. It's that simple. There are plenty of more complex ways to lose a war, but none as reliable as just giving up.
Increasingly, quitting looks like the new American Way of War. No matter how great your team, you can't win the game if you walk off the field at half-time. That's precisely what the Democratic Party wants America to do in Iraq. Forget the fact that we've made remarkable progress under daunting conditions: The Dems are looking to throw the game just to embarrass the Bush administration.
Forget about the consequences. Disregard the immediate encouragement to the terrorists and insurgents to keep killing every American soldier they can. Ignore what would happen in Iraq — and the region — if we bail out. And don't mention how a U.S. surrender would turn al Qaeda into an Islamic superpower, the champ who knocked out Uncle Sam in the third round.
Forget about our dead soldiers, whose sacrifice is nothing but a political club for Democrats to wave in front of the media. After all, one way to create the kind of disaffection in the ranks that the Dems' leaders yearn to see is to tell our troops on the battlefield that they're risking their lives for nothing, we're throwing the game.
Forget that our combat veterans are re-enlisting at remarkable rates — knowing they'll have to leave their families and go back to war again. Ignore the progress on the ground, the squeezing of the insurgency's last strongholds into the badlands on the Syrian border. Blow off the successive Iraqi elections and the astonishing cooperation we've seen between age-old enemies as they struggle to form a decent government.
Just set a time-table for our troops to come home and show the world that America is an unreliable ally with no stomach for a fight, no matter the stakes involved. Tell the world that deserting the South Vietnamese and fleeing from Somalia weren't anomalies — that's what Americans do.
While we're at it, let's just print up recruiting posters for the terrorists, informing the youth of the Middle East that Americans are cowards who can be attacked with impunity.
Whatever you do, don't talk about any possible consequences. Focus on the moment — and the next round of U.S. elections. Just make political points. After all, those dead American soldiers and Marines don't matter — they didn't go to Ivy League schools. (Besides, most would've voted Republican had they lived.)
America's security? Hah! As long as the upcoming elections show Democratic gains, let the terrorist threat explode. So what if hundreds of thousands of Middle Easterners might die in a regional war? So what if violent fundamentalism gets a shot of steroids? So what if we make Abu Musab al-Zarqawi the most successful Arab of the past 500 years?
For God's sake, don't talk about democracy in the Middle East. After all, democracy wasn't much fun for the Dems in 2000 or 2004. Why support it overseas, when it's been so disappointing at home?
Human rights? Oh, dear. Human rights are for rich white people who live in Malibu. Unless you can use the issue to whack Republicans. Otherwise, brown, black or yellow people can die by the millions. Dean, Reid & Pelosi, LLC, won't say, "Boo!"
You've got to understand, my fellow citizens: None of this matters. And you don't matter, either. All that matters is scoring political points. Let the world burn. Let the massacres run on. Let the terrorists acquire WMD. Just give the Bush administration a big black eye and we'll call that a win.
The irresponsibility of the Democrats on Capitol Hill is breathtaking. (How can an honorable man such as Joe Lieberman stay in that party?) Not one of the critics of our efforts in Iraq — not one — has described his or her vision for Iraq and the Middle East in the wake of a troop withdrawal. Not one has offered any analysis of what the terrorists would gain and what they might do. Not one has shown respect for our war dead by arguing that we must put aside our partisan differences and win.
There's plenty I don't like about the Bush administration. Its domestic policies disgust me, and the Bushies got plenty wrong in Iraq. But at least they'll fight. The Dems are ready to betray our troops, our allies and our country's future security for a few House seats.
Surrender is never a winning strategy.
Yes, we've been told lies about Iraq — by Dems and their media groupies. About conditions on the ground. About our troops. About what's at stake. About the consequences of running away from the great struggle of our time. About the continuing threat from terrorism. And about the consequences for you and your family.
What do the Democrats fear? An American success in Iraq. They need us to fail, and they're going to make us fail, no matter the cost. They need to declare defeat before the 2006 mid-term elections and ensure a real debacle before 2008 — a bloody mess they'll blame on Bush, even though they made it themselves.
We won't even talk about the effect quitting while we're winning in Iraq might have on the go-to-war calculations of other powers that might want to challenge us in the future. Let's just be good Democrats and prove that Osama bin Laden was right all along: Americans have no stomach for a fight.
As for the 2,000-plus dead American troops about whom the lefties are so awfully concerned? As soon as we abandon Iraq, they'll forget about our casualties quicker than an amnesiac forgets how much small-change he had in his pocket.
If we run away from our enemies overseas, our enemies will make their way to us. Quit Iraq, and far more than 2,000 Americans are going to die.
And they won't all be conservatives.
Ralph Peters is a retired Army officer.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


I work for a company that owns the marketing rights to MU and one of the perks is I occasionally get tickets to basketball games...and when you sit this close, even Bimidji State is a great game...

Koan of the week

Koan's are little parables passed down for centuries from one monk to another to illuminate a small teaching...koans typically have a moral, or a twist, or perhaps they are so illogical that in their absence of rational thought they force someone to abandon logic.

This one is called black nosed Buddha---
A nun who was searching for enlightenment carved a wooden Buddha and covered it in gold leaf. It was very pretty and she carried it everywhere she went.
Years passed and still carrying her Buddha she settled down in a small country temple where there were many statues each with its own shrine.
She burned incense in front of her own statue, and not wanting to share any of the perfume with the other statues, she devised a funnel that would direct the smoke toward her own. This blackened the nose of her Buddha and made it especially ugly.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Tell me your thoughts on bottled water

I am asking people a few questions, feel free to leave comments here, or email me your responses.

If you buy bottled water (and I know some people do not--)
but, IF you buy bottled water--what contributes to your decision to buy one brand over another? Are you brand loyal? Is it packaging? Is it price alone? Does the ownership of the brand affect you? (ie Central Dairy bottles water, do you "support the local business")
Coca-Cola and Pepsico market their own brands, do you seek out or avoid them? Can you taste a difference from one brand to another? (Jess doesn't like Aquafina, and thinks that Evian is the best tasting)
Are you concerned about drinking water that has been treated from the Missouri river? What about the recent Fluoride issues? (people in my water district did not have the required fluoride added to their municipal water) What about hard water? If it stains your shower, your dishes and your toilet--does it affect your kidneys? (probably)

At this point I am just collecting some very basic market research from a skewed self selecting group of consumers, stay tuned for what I find out....

Monday, November 14, 2005

A-10 or better

Those of you that know me, know that I enjoy cards...and about three years ago I caught the Texas Hold 'em bug.

Since then I have given 10 bucks to my friends on a bi weekly basis and in exchange they have allowed me to hang out with them, (it's really a good deal because I have certainly spent more for less). Occasionally I win, and by occasionally I mean less than 10 times out of more than a hundred attempts I win.

Recently Wes (former co worker, poker buddy, and all around decent guy) and I were strategizing what I could do to improve and we decided that without an A-10 or better I should fold the hand pre-flop. That would insure that I am not bleeding away my chips on hands, chasing straights--I would only be in hands that I had a legitimate shot at having "the nuts."

I will probably play one night this week, and if I am able to stick to that rule--we shall see if I do better than normal. Normal would be 4th or 5th out of 10, which is good enough to sit at the table for a while and get nothing in return...except of course the camaraderie.

For those of you wondering, "how can djobe have three kids at home and a beautiful wife who works evenings find time to play poker once every week or two?"

Well the answer is simple, I wait for her to come home from work, I put the kids to bed and then I go. It means I lose an hour or two of sleep, but hey--people sleep too much anyway.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Who could have predicted this?

A shooting at a 50Cent movie? I know it seems unlikely, but apparently a couple of armed thugs got into a tustle at a showing of 50's semi-autbiographical movie and managed to fatally wound one.

They decided to pull the movie indefinitely at that theater....but the hip hop culture does not promote or encourage violence, these are two completely unrelated events...

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Trading dialogue for shelter

My apologies to John--I am guilty of being one of those trolls that comments on someone's blog and instead of politely disagreeing I got a little beligerant.

Anyway, it made me think about something I read about arguing.

There is an ancient custom among some monks that a traveling monk can seek shelter for the evening at a monastery if he is able to win a debate about Buddhism with one of the resident monks. He only wins shelter for the evening, in the morning he must continue.

There was such a temple in northern Japan run by two brothers, the older brother was wise and learned and the younger was stupid and had only one eye.
One evening a wandering monk came seeking shelter and the wise brother instructed his younger brother to take the debate on the condition that the dialgoue be in silence-because he was exhausted from many hours of studying he wanted to retire.
A little while later the wandering monk came to the older brother and says, "what a wonderful brother you have, he has won the debate and so I must move on."
The older brother was surprised to hear this and asked the wanderer to relate the dialogue to him.
The wanderer explained: "First I held up one finger to represent Buddha. But he held up two fingers to represent Buddha and his teachings. So I held up three fingers to represent Buddha, his teachings and his followers. Then your clever brother held up his clinched fist in my face to indicate that all three came from one realization."
With that the wanderer left.
Later the younger brother came in looking distressed. The elder says, "I understand you won the debate."
"Won nothing. He was a very rude man," says the younger.
"Tell me about the subject of the debate," says the elder.
"First he held up one finger to indicate that I have only one eye. So I held up two to congratulate him for having two eyes. Then he held up three fingers to indicate that we only have three eyes between us! So I shook my fist at him and threatened to punch his nose, and he left."

All arguments are futile and stupid

Arguments are a prelude to violence, it is an attempt to defeat someone--and understanding of truth cannot be forced...you cannot overpower someone into agreement. You might be able to silence someone if you are good, if you know the tricks of debate, but you will not have convinced them or changed their mind, you will have only silenced them until they have an opportunity to restart the argument.

Truth exists in an of itself regardless of one's ability to perceive it.

France's "Katrina"

must reading from Ralph Peters in the New York Post--

Paralyzed French officials complain of "unfair" media attention (welcome to the reality club, Pierre). Yet, hardly two months ago the French media celebrated the suffering in New Orleans — ignoring the brave response of millions of Americans to Hurricane Katrina to concentrate exclusively on the Crescent City's lower 9th ward and one nutty, incompetent mayor. Utterly devoid of self-awareness, the French cherish their image of America as racist. But minorities in the United States have opportunities for which their French counterparts would risk their lives. Our problem is that demagogues convince the poorest of our poor to give up on getting ahead. In France, the non-white poor never have a chance of any kind. France has no Colin Powell or Condi Rice, no minority heading the equivalent of a Fortune 500 company, no vibrant minority political culture. When Americans who adore la vie en France go to Paris (the intelligentsia's Orlando), they don't visit the drug-and-crime-plagued slums. If tourists encounter a Moroccan or a Senegalese "Frenchman," he's cleaning up the sidewalks after the dogs of the bourgeoisie. Willfully blind to reality, liberals continue to praise the racist culture of France by citing the Parisian welcome for Josephine Baker or the Harlem jazz musicians in the 1920s. But the French regarded those few as exotic pets. The test is how they treat the millions of immigrant families whose members don't play trumpets in bars or sell their flesh in strip clubs. There is no Western country more profoundly racist than France. …Does anyone really believe that the country that enthusiastically handed over more of its Jewish citizens to the Nazis than the Nazis asked for is going to treat brown or black Muslims as equals? Meanwhile, the Chirac government is stunned. Its members truly believed that supporting Arab and African dictators and defying America's efforts to liberate tens of millions of Muslims would buy safety from the 5 million immigrants and their children who have not the slightest hope of a decent future. … Desperate apologists for France's apartheid system claim that the present uproar is merely about youthful anger, that Muslim fundamentalism isn't in play. Just wait. Islamist extremists aren't stupid. Thrilled by this spontaneous uprising, they'll move to exploit the fervor of the young to serve their own ends. Expect terror. Whether the current violence ebbs tonight or lasts for weeks to come, the uprising of the excluded and oppressed in the streets of France has only begun.

double edge sword

One of the best parts about Jess working as an educator for Parents as Teachers is that I have lots of time in the evenings when she is working and it’s just me and the kids.
One of the hardest parts about Jess working as an educator for Parents as Teachers is that I have lots of time in the evenings when she is working and it’s just me and the kids.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

How much money can they make? a Google...

In an unprecedented move, Congress has convened an investigative committee to audit the business practices of Google after reports of “windfall profits” and possible price gouging.
Analysts estimate that Google profits nearly 24.2 cents per dollar of sales revenue; compared with other industries these figures are staggering. Oil companies for example make (on average) about 9 cents per dollar of sales, banking averages about 15 cents… During these economic times---on the heels of multiple natural disasters and possible disruptions of supply of advertising—the attorney general wants to ensure that Google is not gouging consumers in order to pocket record profits for greedy executives of “Big Internet Search Engine.”

What will these greedy executive do with their money? Apparently, they will buy a 767…

Friday, November 04, 2005

Wal-Mart toots it's own horn

Wal-Mart commissioned a study by Global Insight, an economic forecasting firm, to measure the impact of Wal-Mart on the overall economy.

They claim to have created 210,000 plus jobs and saved consumers over $263 billion over the past 19 years which translates to approximately $895.00 per person (in the US).

There is more about it here.

It is not always easy to sort out good and bad, but on the whole I think Wal-Mart is an example of wildly successful capitalism.

Paris erupts

For the past 8 straight nights there have been riots in suburbs around Paris.

It might have something to do with unassimilated North African (muslim) immigrants, but most reports refer to the rioters generically as "youths."

Quick stat--French unemployment for under 28 years olds is 23%. US unemployement is 5.4%, (many economists consider 5% unemployment to be "full employment.")

Housing projects that are predominantly expatriate Muslim communities have been abandoned by French authorites, leaving the local clerics to police themselves.

It is only a matter of time before French police crack down hard on the rioting, I predict this weekend, after the Friday news cycle.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

better late than never

After literally shopping for more than a year, I finally bought Jess a new vehicle to cart the children around in. It is exactly what I wanted, fits all of our family and then some.