Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Here I go Vlogging again...

By now, everyone has heard of Rev. Wright's crazy antics essentially damning Obama's campaign...A stellar performance by all! I have SOOO much I would like to say but I tried hard to limit it to just a single consideration.

Lou Reed: Take a Walk on the Wild Side.

Hear it here.

Guantánamo drives prisoners insane, lawyers say.

Somehow I doubt it. It does however, drive liberals insane. That alone makes it worthwhile.

Greenspan's Long Lost Thesis.

Barron's Jim McTague had a chance to review one of only two existing copies of Greenspan's 1977 NYU Doctoral thesis. Astonishingly, it focuses on Housing booms and busts.
Some highlights:

• A discussion of soaring housing prices and their effect on consumer spending;

• An anticipation of a bursting housing bubble. Greenspan even wrote: "There is no perpetual motion machine which generates an ever-rising path for the prices of homes."

• A failure to anticipate a broader housing mania spilling into the general economy;

• Its doubtful anyone in 1977 could forsee the securitization process of subprime loans, including Greenspan. He did write, however, "a sharp break in prices of existing homes would pull down the prices of new homes to the level of construction costs or below, inducing a sharp contraction in building."

• In the introduction to Greenspan's thesis, he noted that homeowners were refinancing for larger amounts than their original mortgage, in essence monetizing increases in their home's market value and spending the excess cash on goods and services. This broke new ground in 1977, as the economic models at the time were not tracking this source of income.

Tax Problems Threaten Al Franken's Senate Candidacy.

As I've noted before, liberals are big on getting you to pay more in taxes. Themselves...not so much.

Democracy and International Human Rights Law.


The undemocratic origin of most international human rights law greatly reduces the desirability of allowing it to change the domestic law of democratic states. Most international law is made through highly undemocratic procedures. Thus, on average, the quality of what we call raw international law rules that have not been ratified by domestic democratic processes is likely to be lower than that of domestic legal rules established by liberal democracies.

Our article does not rest on theoretical arguments alone. We describe several concrete effects of the nondemocratic generation of international human rights law. For example, we show how the influence of unrepresentative legal elites and authoritarian states has led to the establishment of potentially harmful international law norms with respect to hate speech, the humanitarian law of war, and comparable worth.

Nevertheless, our conclusions about international human rights law are not wholly negative. Our embrace of democratic processes as an effective generator of human rights naturally leads to a willingness to consider domestic enforcement of international human rights that directly strengthen citizens' control over government policy. We thus seek to reorient international human rights law from generating controversial substantive rights to protecting norms that will facilitate the leverage of citizens in controlling their own governments. As an example, we advocate more ample protection and enforcement for migration rights because these allow citizens around the world to vote with their feet and thus help them control the actions of the governments under which they live.

Cindy Sheehan files to take on Pelosi.

I think it says a lot about San Francisco that someone can campaign for office there based on the premise that Nancy Pelosi is too conservative. I can't see Sheehan winning (with the war both winding down and going reasonably well her big issue is more or less off the table), but she has real potential to embarrass Democrats this fall. Should be fun.

Neoconservatism, circa 1776.

The Iraq War will always be linked with the term ‘neoconservative,’” George Packer wrote in his book on the war, and he is probably right. The conventional wisdom today, likely to be the approved version in the history books, is that a small group of neoconservatives seized the occasion of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, to steer the nation into a war that would never have been fought had not this group of ideologues managed somehow to gain control of national policy.

This version of events implicitly rejects another and arguably simpler interpretation: that after September 11, 2001, American fears were elevated, America’s tolerance for potential threats lowered, and Saddam Hussein naturally became a potential target, based on a long history of armed aggression, the production and use of chemical weapons, proven efforts to produce nuclear and biological weapons, and a murky relationship with terrorists. The United States had gone to war with him twice before, in 1991 and then again at the end of 1998, and the fate of Saddam Hussein had remained an unresolved question at the end of the Clinton administration. It was not so unusual for the United States to go to war a third time, therefore, and the Bush administration’s decision can be understood without reference to a neoconservative doctrine. After September 11, the Bush administration weighed the risks of leaving Saddam Hussein in power against the risks of fighting a war to remove him and chose the latter, its calculus shaped by the terrorist attacks and by widely shared suppositions about Iraq’s weapons programs that ultimately proved mistaken.

I know what I'll be doing May 22.

I think there is no fictional character that I ever loved more (and not so secretly wanted to be) than Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones Jr. Good to see he's back at it.

Home Inspection Nightmares.

Now that can't be good.

About the whole Bill Ayres thing...

I think Hugh Hewitt hits the nail on the head when he points out just how unreasonable Barack Obama's friendship with this guy is.

Some of My Best Friends Are Liberals. None of Them Are Terrorists.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Professor decides to sue students over poor evaluations.

How clever. Given the state of the academy and our legal system, its a wonder that nobody thought of this before. Perhaps next we'll have politicians suing reporters for "intentional infliction of emotional distress" when they ask hard questions.

Is there anybody out there?

Grendel muses on our lonely universe.

Alarmists are destroying the credibility of the environmental movement.

Crying wolf will do that.