Thursday, January 31, 2008
The Rise of the Yuan
As Congress considers legislation to shoot ourselves in the foot over Chinese currency issues, it's important to remember that the Yuan is rising. According to Bloomberg News:
The yuan gained 0.1 percent to 7.2253 per dollar as of 10:25 a.m. in
Shanghai, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trade System. The currency
touched 7.2235, the strongest since the dollar peg ended in July 2005. It has
appreciated 1.1 percent this year, after gaining 7 percent in 2007.
And there are rumors they will let the Yuan float sometime in the next two years. Patience, Congress, patience.
The Japanese (who else?) have created a dental robot
to give dentists a patient to practice on. Definitiely watch the video
. It's quite, well, I'll let you decide what it is.
The Wall Street Journal has a semi interesting article
predicting what our future will look like in 2018. Most of the predictions are ho hum but I like this one:
One technology, still in the laboratory, will take the viewing experience a
step further: holographic images in our homes. (Think of the hologram of
Princess Leia in "Star Wars.") "Our TV may be a projection toward the center
of the room," says Dan Silverberg, vice president for high-definition media
development at Warner Bros. "Actors will be almost on a stage."
The poor referees in football, baseball and basketball. Think we're second guessing their calls now? Just wait.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
The Edward Answer
Lots of pundits wonder why Edwards didn't endorse either Clinton or Obama and offer a vareity of well meaning reasons. I think that's silly. Edwards, always the slimy weasel, is keeping his options open. He doesn't know if Obama or Clinton will win and wants to play a part in the new administration, whichever one it is. So, he's hedging his bets. He'll endorse when he knows who will win.
A Winning McCain
I've been dubious of McCain's prospects to win the Republican nomination but the Florida victory is a big step for him, and he's leading in the polls heading into Super Tuesday. I thought his work on immigration reform and some of his other stands would sink him with the Republican base and it may still happen but increasingly it's looking like I might be wrong about McCain winning the nomination (not for the first time!--Sam. Nor the second--Floyd). At this point, Romney is the only one who can stop McCain and Romney has his own set of baggage. Perhaps the Republicans are falling into the habit of voting for the party elder, as they did with Bob Dole in 1996. At any rate, McCain is in good shape at the moment but a week is a lifetime now in politics. Romney may mount a comeback or at least enough of one to make the convention this summer interesting.
Of course, I don't think it matters too much who the Republicans run since the party is more than likely headed to an historic defeat in November, one that will force the party to re-think itself or lead to the rise of another major party (Is this prediction better than the McCain will lose one?--Sam. Much better, at least for now!--Floyd).
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Obama as Head of State
As a libertarian-minded conservative, I agree with almost nothing of Barack
Obama's actual policy positions. Whether it is with education, health care, or
fiscal matters, Obama is a liberal in the truest sense of the word. He fails to
respect federalism and his policies can often border on socialism. Indeed, I
have trouble identifying any policy positions of Obama's that appeal to me. In
short, I think Barack Obama would make a terrible Head of Government.
Yet, as David Kopel has deftly noted, the Head of State is an entirely different role
altogether, and regardless of your ideological perspective, there is something
tremendously appealing about Obama. Indeed, several of his recent speeches - his Iowa victory, a speech on MLK Jr. Day, and the South Carolina victory - have given me goosebumps and caused me to swell with pride at being an American.
I actually agree with many of Obama's social and foreign policy positions but think his economic policies are short sighted. Nonetheless, he's a breath of fresh air especially compared to his opponents.
A Moderate Economy
Freakomics Blog has an interesting post
about how the ups and downs of our economy have moderated since the mid-1980s. It's something I wonder about when I fear doom and gloom. Is there something different now or are we stretching the balloon with liquidity? As always, we wait and see.
Monday, January 28, 2008
A Political Pyschopath
I never understood the right's hatred of Bill Clinton. I wasn't a huge fan and understood his faults but never understood the visceral loathing they had for him. His, after all, was a relatively moderate presidency. In fact, he ran as a moderate Democrat not beholden to the usual liberal pieties of the extreme left of the Democratic Party. For the most part he governed as one as well.
Today, however, I can understand why people hate Clinton so much. He's a political psychopath. I don't use the term lightly or in a hyperbolic manner. He is amoral, using whatever will get him what he wants when he wants it and he has no feelings of remorse. In the end it is all about him, him, him.
We shouldn't fool ourselves that Hillary Clinton is innocent in all of this. This is her campaign and her strategy. She has sanctioned her surrogates, including her husband, to run a dirty, racist campaign. Now, I've written that many Democrats will support Clinton because they view Republicans as Lex Luther and think they must fight fire with fire and so are heartened by the Clinton tactics. But the truth is, if you run a dirty and racist campaign, you are dirty and racist. So, I'll be the first to say it in print, Bill and Hillary Clinton are racists.
The Left Revolts?
Many in the Dem camp have finally had it with the Clintons:
The former President's repeated injections of racial references are unacceptable
in modern politics, or even modern society. If he were a commentator on the Golf
Channel, he would be asked to resign.
But that said, enough's enough. I don't like dog whistle racial appeals when
Republicans do it, and I don't like it when Bill
Clinton does it.
White South Carolina Democrats
Despite Obama's slaughter of Clinton in South Carolina, he did lose the white vote to her by a substantial margin. I wonder whether white Democrats voted against Obama because they are racist or because they think their fellow whites are racist and so don't think Obama can win in November?
Does The Speech Change Anything
Obama, as pointed out
, gave one of the great political speeches
of the last 20 years. But, he's still behind in the national polls and in large delegates states such as New York, New Jersey and California with nine days to go until Super Tuesday. The question is whether The Speech is transformative. Will the themes and delivery of The Speech change the dynamic. The Clintons have done their best, using racism and other skulduggery, to paint Obama as the "Black" candidate. They hope in the Super Tuesday states such as California that they will win the white vote and sink Obama's chances. The Speech was a resounding refutation of these kinds of politics. Any self-respecting Democrat should view the Clintons as nothing but southern racists. But, we don't yet know the effect of The Speech and its possible transformation of the race (no pun intended).
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Obama's Victory Speech
If you haven't watched it
, do so now. It's one of the great political speeches of the last 2o years. It is beyond me why any liberal would vote for Clinton over Obama.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
First Blackjack Post
I recently got an ATT blackjack and thought I'd see if I can blog using it. Apparently so if you're reading this. I'm hoping I'll get faster at typing.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Word on the street is that capitalism is being given the back of the hand at the annual gathering in Davos. Apparently Bill Gates will give a speech denouncing the evil market forces. Looking forward to reading it but it's interesting how the end of the Soviet Union suppressed the inner rage against capitalism for the last fifteen years or so. The feeling never went away but now these folks feel liberated to say their thoughts out loud. It's only natural in a rapidly changing world that there is angst. But, the path of peril is paved with nonsensical thoughts. Davos has often played the part of a big concrete truck.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Same As It Ever Was
In some people's view
, it's always the time for more government intervention.
Is economic history about to change course? Among the chieftains of
politics and industry gathering in Davos for the World Economic Forum on
Wednesday, a consensus appears to be building that the capitalist system is in
for one of those rare and tempestuous mutations that give rise to a new set of
When students of economics open their history books in 2030, they might
read about 2008 as the year when the groundwork was laid for a re-regulation of
certain markets, a more redistributive tax system and new forms of international
policy coordination, economists say.
Honestly, I can't ever remember a time when certain folks like the ones quoted in this article didn't think it was a new era of larger and more intrusive government. Despite the failure of socialism and communism, the dream was never vanquished. For many, everything is an excuse for more government--climate change, credit crisis, CEO pay, health care. No matter the problem, there is only one solution. I would guess that in the U.S. we are indeed about to enter a new era of increasingly large government. Whether this will be effective or necessary is another matter.
I heard one so-called conservative fool talk about what an outrage it is that Jose Padilla was sentenced to only 17 years. He declared him guilty of all the charges that were dropped by the government because you see we are guilty until proven innocent in our justice system. Shaun Mullen sums up
the outrageous Jose Padilla case accurately:
For me, Padilla has been the ultimate wake-up call to the true character of
the Bush administration: Imprisoning one of its own citizens on U.S. soil with
no charges of any kind and then keeping him for years incommunicado, a line that
I never though I would see crossed in my beloved America.
And yet the line was indeed crossed. Whoever is elected president must make sure we step back into the land of liberty and erect safeguards to make the line more difficult to cross in the future. If there is another terrorist attack, who knows what other rights will be thrown overboard in panic and lust for power. It was truly conservatism's worst hour to support these types of actions by President Bush, actions that subvert all that conservatism allegedly stood for.
Genetic researchers in China, Britain and the United States are teaming up
to unravel the full genetic code of at least 1,000 people around the world - an
unprecedented scientific project that could cost tens of millions of dollars and
eventually reveal the roots of hundreds of diseases.
"The 1000 Genomes Project will examine the human genome at a level of detail that no one has done before," Richard Durbin of Britain's Wellcome Trust Sanger
Institute, who is the project consortium's co chair, said in today's announcement. "Such a project would have been unthinkable two years ago. Today, thanks to amazing strides in sequencing technology, bioinformatics and
population genomics, it is now within our grasp."
Sooner than we think, perhaps in less than 10 years, it will be affordable for all of us to have our genomes mapped and the age of individualized medicine will begin. The acceleration of technology gives me hope even as our economic policies raise the fear meters.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Ready, Aim, Foot
I continue to hear word from D.C. that Congress will pass legisltation imposing penalties against China unless they rapidly adjust their currency. I even hear the legislation could pass with veto proof majorities. If the U.S. economy is headed for a rough patch (I think a recession probably started in December) then we can always make it worse by creating a trade war. Best if our Congress recesses and acts like Hippocrates.
Ready, Aim, Foot
The last few days of markets dropping like John Edward's poll numbers has certainly attracted lots of attention. However, I'm not sure folks realize just how much some international markets have fallen in recent months. 35 countries have seen their markets go down 20% or more, including in France and Mexico. But Asia has also been hit with Taiwan, India, Thailand and the Philippines all going down 20% or more. It will be interesting to see how rapidly growing emerging markets react to economic difficulties. Here in the U.S. we're liable to do something stupid like pass shoot-in-the-foot legislation against China. Let's hope the whole world stays sensible if there is a worldwide economic downturn.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
The Point of Clinton
One of the delights of our little world is people's insistence that if lever A is pulled, consequence B will happen. If the Fed lowers rates and the government pours in economic stimulus all will be well they maintain. Deflation will be fought off and the economy will right itself. Of course, Japan pulled these levers and for 15 years nothing happened but more recession and deflation. America's economy is very different from Japan's but still let's not get too cocky that we know what we're doing.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Speaking of Liars
I remain dubious that John McCain will win the Republican nomination. He's angered the hard core Republican base too much on issues such as immigration, taxes and campaign finance reform. But people like Tom Delay are crazy when they say, "McCain has done more to hurt the Republican party than any elected official I know of." One assumes Delay knows himself and if so then he certainly knows someone who has hurt the Republican party more than McCain. Wild spending and unethical behavior happened repeatedly on Delay's watch. Delay's leadership hurt the Republicans far more than any straying from orthodoxy that McCain has committed.
That's Why They Like Clinton
Andrew Sullivan keeps pointing to examples
of Clinton and her team (including her husband) practicing dirty politics. I agree they do and have pointed them out myself on occasion. But I think Sullivan is mistaken if he thinks pointing this out will hurt Clinton. There's a large segment of the Democratic Party who think such politics is justified because they believe for years their party was too innocent and the Republicans dirty and that's why the Dems kept losing elections. This is nonsense, of course, but that's what they believe. And, so when they see the Clintons playing dirty pool it doesn't turn them off. Instead, it gives them hope that Clinton is their best chance to win the general election. It's crazy but then so are the people who think their party is pristine and the other Lex Luther.
The Pathological Liar
Well, Democrats, apparently you want to put the pathological liars
back in the White House. The rest of us thank you for your thoughtfulness.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Out with the Prime Minister of Finland and then off to Teatro ZinZanni (which you should go to when you're in Seattle or SF). More blogging soon. In the meantime, in light of the current economic situation, RUN FOR THE HILLS!
Thursday, January 17, 2008
The Mess We Face
More than once I've criticized Republican candidates and the party itself for going down an anti-science path with a rigid foreign policy and a short-sighted view of personal liberty in fighting Islamic terrorism. But, the Democrats continue a socialist mind-set when it comes to our economy. John Mauldin's Thoughts from the FrontLine
captures one of Obama and Clinton's many myopias when it comes to how the economy works:
The Democratic candidates agree that the Bush tax cuts needs to be repealed.
So, in 2010 we face the largest tax increase in history if that is to be the
case. Want to double the dividend and capital gain taxes? Vote for Hillary or
Obama. Watch your stocks tankThey want to "tax the rich" and make more for
middle class tax cuts. Sounds nice, but let's look at the facts. The bottom half
of taxpayers only pay 3% of the total income taxes collected, which is 1% less
than before the Bush tax cuts. 44% of the US population, or 122 million people,
pays no income tax at all. The richest 1% of the country pay 39% of all taxes
($365,000 income and up), which is 3% more than before the Bush tax cuts, under
the Clinton tax policy. The top 5% ($145,000) pay 60% of all taxes (up 5% from
1999); and the top 25%, with income over $62,000, pay 86% of all taxes. It seems
to me that the rich are paying their fair share. Every category is paying more
now than under Clinton, except the bottom 75%Under any Democratic plan, they
would want more than 50% of US citizens to pay no income taxes. If you pay no
taxes, why do you care if we run deficits? Polls clearly show that those who pay
no taxes are overwhelmingly against tax cuts, as they think it will cut their
entitlements and benefits. The plan is clearly to build a constituency of voters
who will vote Democrat to increase taxes on someone else and spend the money on programs for them.
If you don't like Mauldin's politics he's still worth reading for his market and economic insights.
Are You Down With S&P?
In case you were wondering, old man Russell informs us that The S&P Composite dropped 5.3% during the first five days of the new year. In the 80 years of the S&P's existence, that's the worst performance ever." My hope is the stock market will start to turn around late in the year. My fear is it may go down quite a bit before then and could stay down longer than people think.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Server Was Down
The server host for SamSpeak was down the last 24 hours so some posts from this morning were lost and access may have been spotty. But, we're back up and now unstoppable.
The Race Continues
Not much to say about Michigan other than than the race is up for grabs still. However, it was nice to see Huckabee go down to a big defeat. Let's hope this continues this next week too.
Honest, It was an Accident
A drug commonly used to treat arthritis caused a dramatic and rapid
improvement in patients with Alzheimer's disease, according to physicians in
There's still a long ways to go in confirming this, however.
However, scientists and others not involved in the work worry that the
report, which was based on trials in a few patients and hasn't been
independently confirmed, may offer little more than false hope for Alzheimer's
sufferers and their families.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Huckabee Amends the Constitution for God
"[Some of my opponents] do not want to change the Constitution, but I
believe it's a lot easier to change the constitution than it would be to change
the word of the living God, and that's what we need to do is to amend the
Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's
standards," Huckabee said, referring to the need for a constitutional human life
amendment and an amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
If this quote is accurate, then Huckabee is an even greater danger to the Republic than I realized. Let's hope he gets his clock cleaned in Michigan, Nevada and South Carolina and we can all get back to worrying about the buffoons running for office rather than the Taliban in our midst.
Obama and Clinton and Race and Reconciliation
Read their two statements
and make your own judgement...okay, I can't be that circumspect. Obama compliments the Clintons and his is a giving statement. Clinton's is the usual weaselly selfish political framing. I disagree with both on much economic domestic policy but Obama sure is a much better character than Clinton. Obama for a few days fell into Clintons trap and I suppose many will give her credit for cunning and perhaps such is a good trait to have in a president. But it sure isn't very appealing. Maybe I'm a sap.
Monday, January 14, 2008
The Race Trap
Clinton and Obama are "Sparring Over Race" the headlines tell us. I could certainly be persuaded I'm wrong on this but I'm guessing Obama has fallen right into the Clinton's trap on the issue of race being raised in the campaign. One of the big appeals of Obama is his transcending old fault lines, including those of race. The Clintons, by making statements that subtly raise race and the ire of African Americans, are working to make Obama seem like leaders of the past. This will erode Obama's support. Let the Bill and Hillary show run its course. Don't bite, Obama
California Dreaming of Intruding
The California Energy Commission wants to control your thermostat
. Well, yours if you live in California, that is. Though I suppose they wouldn't mind controlling other people's thermostats too. Once you go down that power road it becomes pretty intoxicating after all. My guess is this kind of government control will lead to progress on technology that steers us away from centralized energy sources. This will be good in the sense that it will put us at less risk to terrorist attacks or other problems that come with a central grid system. It will have its downsides too but so does everything.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Buffy and Technology
I was up late participating in the annual Economic Forecasting Panel for the Purchasing Manager's Association so not much blogging today. My forecast was gloomy (more on which later) but I also talked about the accelerating rate of technology. I told the audience that because of the writers' strike my wife and I have been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer (a number of people pumped their arms over their heads when I said this to indicate they too are Buffy fans--who knew purchasing managers had such good taste?) and noted the episodes were filmed in the late 90s during the height of high tech mania. And yet, nobody was using a cell phone showing how much things have progressed since that time. And, Buffy and her friends could have really used cell phones to call for help when they were being chased by vampires. Shows from today will seem real dated in just five years, I predict.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Blue Ray Vs. HD DVD? Neither
I'm confused by all the coverage recently that Blue Ray has won the format battle against HD DVD. Isn't it a Pyrrhic victory. For a few years these new high def DVDs will be useful but soon we'll download our movies directly. Netflix, for example, is now offering a box that will allow you to download movies directly to your box and watch on your TV. At Mac World next week we're likely to receive news about iTunes movie downloading. The era of receiving DVDs in the mail from Netflix, much less going to a video store, is rapidly coming to an end. The DVD like video tapes and 3.5 inch disks, is soon to be outdated. So, bully bully for Blue Ray winning over HD DVD format but it doesn't really matter much in the mid-term.
More Campaign Stereotyping Foolishness
Now that the get Obama phase of the campaign has started the media is proselytizing the Clinton claim that Obama has nice words but no specifics. This is a baseless accusation. If you listen to Obama's speeches and read his web site, he is every bit as specific, if not more, than Clinton in outlining his proposed policies. But the media is running with this stereotype because they don't do any real thinking or reporting. The media is continually being rebuked in this campaign so far by the voters--let's hope they keep it up. Obama's problem isn't that he doesn't offer specific policies, it's the policies that he offers that are a problem, at least to those of us who want a less intrusive government and more market oriented policies.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Clinton's win in New Hampshire positions her strongly to win the nomination for the following reasons:
1. The Dem primaries are proportional in giving delegates based on percentage of votes.
2. Clinton is likely to win most of the 798 super delegates
3. In the coming days before Nevada and South Carolina, Obama will likely be scrutinized more than Clinton.
4. The Democratic voter who worries that a black man can't win may dampen Obama's vote counts in the coming contests.
But, if Obama rebounds in South Carolina and Nevada, he will be positioned well for the Super Tuesday contests. The best news is that the insufferable John Edwards appears to not have much support. Let's hope that keeps up. Update: You can see here that Clinton already has a large lead in delegates due to the super delegates.
Big Question I haven't seen answered: why did Obama do so lousy in the big cities of New Hampshire and so well in the small towns. Or, if you prefer, why did Clinton do so well in the cities and so bad in the towns. I haven't seen explanations for this in the exit polls (which may or may not be reliable)
McCain's win is going to make lots of folks decide he is the front runner or at least the main opposition to Huckabee. Maybe. But so far, as we pointed out in the earlier post, there have been three states and three separate winners. The media and pundits desire for a simple story line is going to cause them to get the race wrong yet again. My guess is the Republican race is going to be very muddled with shifting leaders and no real front runner. For one thing, voters are turned off by the media trying to say who is inevitable. With more sources of information now available, the mainstream media may no longer be able to control the agenda. So far only three states have voted and they are all small states. They are not the deciding factor on who will win the nomination. Which is as it should be. At this point, it's impossible to say who is going to win the Republican nomination. Huckabee? McCain? Romney? Giulani? Thompson? Some of other unidentified candidate? No one knows, despite what they'll tell you in the coming days.
Other BIg Story
In the era of cell phones and recognition that the media are fools, polls are increasingly unreliable. Not that everyone won't forget that tomorrow when they look at polls in Nevada and South Carolina.
Even and Odds
What do know after New Hampshire? Really, only this: after the three Republican state contests there are three separate winners: Huckabee, Romney and McCain. After two Democratic state contests, there are two separate winners: Obama and Clinton. Every thing else is up your ass analysis--which I will engage in myself shortly.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Will McCain Really Win?
He's been surging into the front runner role mostly by default. Romney is rightly perceived as a phony and Huckabee is Elmer Gantry at best and nuts at worse. But, it's hard to imagine John McCain winning the Republican nomination. A man who pushed hard for comprehensive immigration reform is going to have a tough time getting votes in most Republican primaries. After New Hampshire, it will be interesting to see how he does. This is a perennial wish of the pundits but this time it may come true--a brokered convention seems entirely possible.
Who Will Win?
The Intrade market exploits that collaborative wisdom particularly well
because it attracts a self-selected group of people willing to risk money on
their answers...with a few clicks on Intrade, you can see the accumulated
expertise of thousands of people betting on the campaign. Because they put
up their own money and act anonymously, they’re less likely to fall prey to
the errors of herd thinking
Right now, Intrade says Obama and McCain will win New Hampshire.
Monday, January 07, 2008
Self Driving Car Update
We've been saying for over two years now that the self-driving car is not far off. In fact, by our estimates it is now five to eight years away. This idea is finally become more mainstream. For example, there's now a wire article
that says GM says self-driving cars are only ten years away.
Cars that drive themselves—even parking at their destination—could be ready for sale within a decade, General Motors Corp. executives say.
GM, parts suppliers, university engineers and other automakers all
are working on vehicles that could revolutionize short- and long-distance
travel. And Tuesday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas GM Chief
Executive Rick Wagoner will devote part of his speech to the driverless
"This is not science fiction," Larry Burns, GM's vice president for research and development, said in a recent interview.
No, it's not science fiction. And, GM is probably right that the cars will be ready for sale in ten years. They will exist before that but it will take time to go from an existing experimental car to the market. And, there will be legal and psychological issues to work through. But the self driving car is coming, and it's coming sooner than people realize, especially political leaders.
The R Word
Are we in a recession or at least a serious economic downturn? I would guess yes. In fact, I believe history will show the downturn started in November 2007. The S&P 500 Index is now below its level of a year ago as is the Wilshire 5000, a good proxy for the overall stock market. A lower stock market is not a sufficient condition for a recession but it is a necessary one.
In addition, the monetary base—reserves and currency held by banks and currency held by the non-bank public—has recently entered negative territory. This is a bad sign. In fact, when both the stock market is down and the monetary base decreases, this has always signaled a recession, according to the economists at Northern Trust Bank.
Interestingly, the DOW average is not below its level of a year ago. DOW companies are large businesses with a global reach whose international customers are often as important as domestic ones. This may be a sign of the strength of the world economy compared to the U.S. Of course, by tomorrow, the DOW could be down too.
At any rate, in all likelihood, we're already in a recession. The questions remaining are for how long and how deep.
End of the Republicans
We are preparing for the great November massacre when the Republican party will be brought to the electoral slaughter. They are likely to lose seats in the House and Senate and will also lose the White House. They will then face a choice. Will they continue down the path that has destroyed them as a mainstream political entity--becoming the national equivalent of the Washington State Republican party? If they do, then a new party will arise. Or will sanity regain its grip? Either way, it will be fascinating to watch.
Clinton May Still Win the Nomination
The pundit class is playing right into Clinton's hands. All the chatterers (aren't you one--Sam. Well, yeah, but I'm a prettier then the rest--Floyd) are basically saying Obama is unstoppable. But, if Clinton can keep it close in New Hampshire, then she can claim she was written off as dead and is now back in the hunt. If Obama wins by a large margin in New Hampshire than Clinton is in big trouble but if she keeps it close, I think she still has a good chance.
Clinton's Anger Moment
All the pundits think Clinton hurt herself when she became angry after John Edwards weaselly pontification on change during the New Hampshire debate. I disagree. I think she was at her best during that moment. Yes, she was angry but who wouldn't be angry when they see Edwards trying to jump onto the change bandwagon just as he has rode the populist freight train. Plus, Clinton wasn't an out of control incoherent angry, she was eloquent and measured, dolloping out her ire in concise and effective talking points explaining why she thinks she is the one who can get change done. Now, her argument may be complete BS but she presented it very effectively.
They Run The Economy?
The most telling moment of the Democratic debate in New Hampshire was Bill Richardson saying, "I'm the only one who has run a state economy." This sums up the Democratic philosophy. They think the government, and the leader of the government, runs the economy rather than millions of individuals. And listening to them during the debate you can see why they think they run the government; Democrats believe people are helpless, incapable of taking care of themselves in virtually every aspect of their lives. When John Edwards talked about the economy you'd think we Americans were all three-year old children who aren't even potty trained. This is why the Republicans descent is so troubling, the Democrats don't offer much hope either. They aren't beholden to religious nuts but they are beholden to an outdated philosophy. They offer their help--but beware, it is not a hand up but one that will push you down.
Friday, January 04, 2008
The DC View
Our intrepid DC Correspondent reports, "McCain is back. And Joe Lieberman will be his running mate." Could be. He also says:
After faltering early, McCain has returned to his tack of being consistent,
honest, and disciplined. He rises above the fray of religion, which will appeal
to moderate Republicans. He is hawkish on defense, yet willing to take unpopular
stands. If he and Obama win the nominations of their parties, we have a real
opportunity to have a general election that will discuss ideas and offer
Americans a true choice for which direction they see the country moving. Perhaps
this is just my whimsical centrist independent dream. But I truly believe that
those two candidates are the best for their parties and that there is a good
chance it will turn out that way.
It's a good dream.
Nothing's Over Until We Decide It Is
In my glee at Obama winning and Edwards going down, I got a little excited and forgot that Iowa is one small unrepresentative state. The election is not over on the Democratic side. Clinton and, gulp, Edwards, are competitive in other states. It's silly and counterproductive to declare the race over after a complicated caucus in one tiny state. One hopes, but doesn't think, the media will treat the race as it is rather as they want.
The Republican Race
Republicans are in a world of hurt. Mike Huckabee represents all that is wrong with the post-Reagan party. He is a big government Republican, in favor of a more intrusive big brother regime in our pocketbooks, bedrooms and social lives. He doesn't believe in evolution and thinks God is guiding him to the presidency. Mike Huckabee is the Ellen Craswell of the national Republican party. Craswell was a crazy Christian candidate who won the Republican nomination for governor in Washington State. She lost in a landslide and the Republican party continues to slide into irrelevance in Washington State. The same fate is in store for Republicans on a national scale until and unless they become a modern party again with a coherent liberty and limited government philosophy coupled with a reasoned foreign policy that recognizes it is a new world out there. George Bush has destroyed the party and harmed his country.
It is unlikely that Huckabee will win the nomination. But, if he does, in addition to the worldwide SamSpeak headquarters moving offshore, Huckabee's win will likely lead to a new third party.
However, Huckabee's win in Iowa provides an opening for one of the other candidates such as McCain, Thompson or Giulani to rise to the nomination. The possibility of a brokered convention looms. Maybe Al Gore will be the Republican nominee!
A few weeks ago, a former intern from Germany emailed me to tell me he was now with Xing,
a social business networking site. He asked me to join it and even though I'm already in LinkedIn
and a little too busy for another such network, I agreed as a favor to our former intern. This morning, I was contacted through the site by an Austrian who wants to relocate to the U.S. West Coast and was seeking assistance in his job hunt. He's a talented, experienced guy who will do well for a company in the U.S.
John Edwards does not understand our world at all. He is all about "us" and "them" creating enemies wherever possible and barriers at every turn. It is not the 1930s or 1970s. We are an interconnected global community now. Edwards is a phony and an anachronism. The sooner he is gone from the race the better.
History in Iowa
As a conservative writing on the Corner in National Review puts it:
Yes, it's early, yes, a lot could happen. But a man who could not have used
certain restrooms forty years ago is in the center ring, not as a freak in the
manner of Alberto Fujimori or Sonia Gandhi, nor even as a faction fighter in the
style of Jesse Jackson, but as a real player. One of our great national sins is
being obliterated, as the years pass, by the virtues of our national system. I
don't agree with Obama and I don't particularly like him, but I am proud of this
If you are for limited government and examine the Democratic candidates, you realize there is not much difference in policy among them. Being that it is likely a Democrat will win the presidency, who would you hope would win the nomination? If you're me, it's a candidate who does not have a Boomer Generation outlook and who is moving the country forward from our tainted racist past. I disagree with Obama on a host of domestic economic issues but he, alone among the major Democratic candidates, offers something different. He also occasionally, as with Social Security, breaks with Democratic orthodoxy (although I disagree with the solutions he offers to fix SS).
It truly was a historic night in Iowa. Many of his policies, unfortunately, will change our country in ways that I fear will be deleterious. But Barack Obama will also change America profoundly by who he is and what he represents if he is elected president.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
Two quick thoughts which I'll expand on in just a bit.
Obama's win is historic.
Huckabee's win (although I doubt he'll win the nomination) is more evidence that the era of big government is with us again.
Oh, and one other thought, Fred Thompson, John McCain and Rudy Giulani are still very much in play in light of tonight's results.
Stay tuned for much more including the theory of the SamSpeak D.C. correspondent.
Countries With Most Billionaires
Thought this stat was interesting:
U.S. - 269
Germany - 28
Italy - 17
Switzerland - 15
France - 15
Hong Kong - 14
Mexico - 13
United Kingdom - 12
I don't know who's going to win Iowa (although I'm guessing Clinton and Romney) but I do know that our country is the loser if Huckabee and Edwards win.
Beginnings of a Big Deal
To no one's surprise the Justice Department is launching a criminal investigation into the destruction of the interrogation tapes. Mark my words, this is the beginning of a very big deal.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
More Iowa Shmayowa
The New York Times headlines a story, "What if Iowa doesn't decide anything for the Democrats?" Isn't this an idiotic idea? Why should one state out of fifty--and a not particularly representative one at that--be the deciding factor? The presidential primary/caucus system has been broken for a long time and the breakdown has been exacerbated by the puerile views of the media. Report who won Iowa on Thursday night but don't draw any deeper meaning than that in a strange caucus system one candidate happened to win a small and anachronistic farming state. Iowa shouldn't decide anything for the Democrats or Republicans.
Wee the Wii
Played the Wii for the first time yesterday. A friend bought it and we all tried it out, playing tennis, baseball and boxing. I was unstoppable at tennis. I've been thinking of buying one of these for the last year. They're great fun but I wonder how much better they'll be in two years? And when will they have competition? Where's Sony and Microsoft? In the meantime, bow down to my unstoppable net play.
The Big Lebowski
As I have for the last eight years or so, I watched The Big Lebowski on New Year's Day. When I saw it in the theater, I went with a bunch of friends. I walked out saying it was a masterpiece, eliciting strange stares from my companions. A number of years later, I discovered I wasn't the only one who recognized the greatness of The Big Lebowski. You may not have time today to watch the film but for now watch this decidedly un-work friendly YouTube salute
to the cursing in the movie. In the meantime, and as always,
The Dude Abides.