FOOD for thought (ya, bad pun I know)
With mad cox now in the US, I'm curious how this plays out.
The Atkins craze has recalibrated the US economy in many ways because of the unexpected increase in beef sales, and the subsequent trickle down that's caused. (for instance, cows eat corn, corn is harvested by tractor, therefore both Dole and John Deere are trading higher as a result of Atkins)...
But with a possible beef scare, does this counteract the Atkins craze?
WHY THE CLUB FOR GROWTH IS COOL!
Hereâ€™s what Senator John McCain said during the debate about passing
the campaign finance law upheld by the Court last week:
â€œWhat we're trying to do is stop organizations like the so-called Club
for Growth that . . . spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in attack
We are shocked and appalled by the Supreme Courtâ€™s ruling upholding
draconian restrictions on our ability to even mention the name of a
congressman or candidate name within 30 days of a primary election, or 60
days before a general election.
Justice Antonin Scalia was exactly right when he wrote in his
blistering dissent that â€œThis is a sad day for the freedom of speech. Who could
have imagined that the same Court which, within the past four years,
has sternly disapproved of restrictions upon such inconsequential forms
of expression as virtual child pornography, tobacco advertising,
dissemination of illegally intercepted communications, and sexually explicit
cable programming would smile with favor upon a law that cuts to the
heart of what the First Amendment is meant to protect: the right to
criticize the government. For that is what the most offensive provisions of
this legislation are all about.â€�
The Club was one of the many plaintiffs that petitioned the Court to
strike down the law. We are disgusted that Sandra Day Oâ€™Connor and David
Souter joined the three other liberal judges on the Court to erode our
protections under the Bill of Rights. After all, James Madison once
wrote that the Supreme Court is supposed to be â€œthe bulwark of our
As the above quote from John McCain indicates, this law is intended to
reduce the clout of the Club for Growth. Thatâ€™s a tribute to our
success. We want to reassure you that this new law will not stop our
activities. It will in no way weaken our resolve to continue to elect solid
free market, pro-growth candidates, to speak out for tax cuts and other
vital issues to our economy and to continue running our award-winning
and influential TV and radio ads, when appropriate. The limitation on
â€œsoft dollarâ€� advertising by the Club makes our fundamental mission of
raising and bundling dollars for our candidates all the more valuable.
No other group is able to raise candidate contributions to match the
Club in this regard.
We will continue to praise pro-growth policies and candidates and to
make life miserable for the Tom Daschles and the Arlen Specters and other
Republicans in Name Only. There is a legal way to get around the
30-day and 60-day advertising restriction and that is to have the Club for
Growthâ€™s PAC pay for the advertising during the banned period.
Until now, the Club has not made a substantial effort to raise money
for the Clubâ€™s PAC. We didnâ€™t need to. But now with the first primary
elections barely 30 days away, we will place a new emphasis on building
a war chest in our PAC so we can continue to praise or criticize
candidates for their policies that would either help or harm our nation.
We are also consulting legal experts to determine whether we can or
should reorganize the Clubâ€™s charter to regain our full free speech
Any member of your family can contribute to the Clubâ€™s PAC. You and
any member of your family are allowed to donate up to $5,000 each and
every year to the Club for Growth PAC.
A husband and wife are allowed to donate as much as $10,000 using one
check, if the check is drawn on a joint account and both spouses either
sign the check or a note with the check indicating it is a joint
While contributions to the Clubâ€™s PAC are limited by law, remember that
you can continue to write a check for any amount to the Club for
Growth. Donations to the Club don't count against any limits on
contributions to PACs, parties or candidates. We can use these unlimited funds to
find new members who can give money to our PAC and candidates, as well
as for advertising prior to the 30-day primary and 60-day general
election ban. Of course, contributions to the Clubâ€™s PAC are not tax
We will not be muzzled by the McCain-Feingold law.
JOHN MILLER SUMS UP MY THOUGHTS FOR THIS MORNING NICELY
Isn't it curious how good news for America, Iraq, and civilization in general is bad new for Howard Dean and the Democrats?
A SAD DAY FOR FREEDOM
Robert L. Bartley Succumbs To Cancer at the Age of 66
By a WALL STREET JOURNAL Staff Reporter
Robert L. Bartley, who made The Wall Street Journal's editorial page one of the nation's most influential conservative voices during his 30 years as its editor, died at age 66.
Mr. Bartley's editorials, which won him a Pulitzer Prize in 1980, ranged from criticism of arms-control treaties to doubts about President Bill Clinton's character. His greatest impact came in turning the Journal's editorial page, as he put it, into "the mouthpiece of supply-side economics," the tax-cutting ideology that has influenced Republican fiscal policy from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush.
Mr. Bartley prided himself on what he called the "muzzle velocity" of his editorials, which offered a sharp contrast to his quiet demeanor. He was a "soft-spoken Midwesterner whose voice is usually the softest in any crowd," conservative columnist Robert Novak wrote earlier this year in the Weekly Standard. "He has let his keyboard do the talking -- in a very loud voice indeed."
Mr. Bartley, who once considered himself too liberal to be comfortable on the Journal's editorial page, attributed his strongly held views to his Iowa upbringing. "I think there is something about a Midwestern background that tends to make people unafraid in expressing their own opinions, a little less sensitive to peer pressure maybe than in the East," he said in an interview several years ago.
"Robert Bartley was an articulate and most effective advocate of free markets, indeed freedom generally. His thoughtful voice will be sorely missed," Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said.
Until the mid-1970s, the Journal's editorial page worried about federal budget deficits, arguing that government borrowing crowded out borrowing by private firms and thus hurt the economy; Mr. Bartley's professional preoccupation was with arms-control treaties and campus unrest. His first editorial-page hire, Jude Wanniski, who was a columnist for a Dow Jones & Co. publication called National Observer, changed all that. Mr. Wanniski introduced Mr. Bartley to two unconventional economists, Robert Mundell, then at the University of Waterloo in Canada and later a Nobel Prize winner, and Arthur Laffer, an alumnus of the Nixon White House budget office. Both saw tax cuts, even when financed by borrowing, as an economic tonic, and Mr. Laffer's famous "Laffer Curve" persuaded many politicians that cutting tax rates could produce higher government revenues by giving people more incentive to work.
Mr. Bartley eventually became a convert, and shaped the sometimes-dense writings of the supply-siders into lucid editorials and features. The movement's first big break came in 1978 when a Republican congressman from Wisconsin, William Steiger, successfully proposed a cut in the capital-gains tax to stimulate investment, winning the Journal's hearty endorsement. Then Ronald Reagan, running in the 1980 Republican primary, adopted supply-side ideas and went on to act on them with his 1981 tax cut and the 1986 Tax Reform Act, which lowered marginal tax rates. The Journal's editorials have been championing tax cuts ever since, shaping the debate over fiscal policy to this day.
"How many other editorial pages can say they created the economic policy for an administration and for an era? Without The Wall Street Journal editorial page, there is no supply-side economics," journalist Fred Barnes said in a Public Broadcasting System documentary in 1999.
"It's clearly something on which I've had an impact, certainly more than any other thing," Mr. Bartley said in an interview. "But basically I consider myself a journalist, and I'm proudest of developing the editorial page as one that breaks a lot of news, of which this is one prominent example. We were proud of it because we were ahead of the news, not because we made it happen."
Mr. Bartley's editorial page could be sharp in criticizing individuals with whom it disagreed, not just their points of view. One editorial, upbraiding Republicans too willing to raise taxes to shrink budget deficits for Mr. Bartley's taste, took aim at New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici with the headline: "John Maynard Domenici." The reference, of course, was to British economist John Maynard Keynes, who ranked high among the villains in Mr. Bartley's long list.
In June 1993, the editorial page singled out Vincent Foster, deputy White House counsel and a former law partner of then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, with a headline "Who Is Vincent Foster?" Other editorials about Mr. Foster and his role in the Clinton White House followed. On July 20, 1993, Mr. Foster killed himself. A note later found in his briefcase said, "The WSJ editors lie without consequence." The editorial page later published four books compiling its investigative commentary into the Clinton's Whitewater land investments and the Clinton presidency.
"Many of the ideas that Bob conceptualized and crusaded for over so many years by now have taken root at or near the center of political and economic life," said Peter Kann, chairman and chief executive of Dow Jones, publisher of The Journal. "On issue after issue he turned out to be right. Most broadly, the philosophy that he summed up as "free men; free markets" has turned out to be ascendant in country after country around the world. In that sense, the sometimes-lonely warrior turned out to have a world of allies. Ascendant ideas will be Bob's most enduring legacy. But that legacy also includes the men and women he hired, taught and inspired at the Journal editorial pages who remain to carry on his work. "
Mr. Bartley viewed himself as an optimist, and was heartened by what he had observed during his career. At a retirement party in 2002, he contrasted the current political climate to the one prevailing when he took over the editorial page 30 years before. "This was not merely a troubled society," he said, "this was a society in the process of becoming unglued."
"Don't wish for the good old days," he counseled his admirers. "In 1972, problems were worse. We did overcome Communism, stagflation and the Vietnam syndrome. For all our momentary problems, at the turn of the century the Soviet empire had collapsed, democracy was spreading in unlikely spots … and the American free-enterprise mode was established as the route to development."
"What I think I've learned over three decades," he said, "is that in this society, rationality wins out, progress happens, and problems do have solutions. This, I like to think, is what happens when a society incorporates the traditional editorial credit of my newspaper: free markets and free people."
The son of a professor of veterinary medicine, Robert Leroy Bartley was born in Marshall,, Minn., on Oct. 12, 1937, and grew up in Ames, Iowa. He earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from Iowa State University and a master's degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin
In 1962 at age 24, Mr. Bartley was hired as a reporter in The Wall Street Journal's Chicago bureau. The book reviews he contributed to the paper's editorial page impressed then editorial-page editor Vermont Royster, who asked him to join the editorial page in 1965. "Bartley at first resisted on grounds that he wasn't conservative enough. After all, he voted for Lyndon Johnson against Barry Goldwater," Mr. Novak has written.
But he took the job anyhow. When Mr. Royster's successor, Joseph Evans, died suddenly in 1972, Mr. Bartley became editor of the editorial page. He was named editor in 1979 and a vice president of Dow Jones in 1983. He became editor emeritus in 2002 and continued to write a column called "Thinking Things Over."
Mr. Bartley's Pulitzer Prize was awarded for a wide-ranging set of editorials. One, titled "Down With Big Business," argued that General Motors' support for Jimmy Carter's wage-price guidelines was a means to squeeze small competitors, such as "XYZ Bumperlight Lens Co." The editorial concluded: "Historically, capitalist economies have prospered through competition, innovation and particularly a sensitive price mechanism transmitting unimaginably efficient signals for less production here and more investment there. If you freeze the system, you will lose its thrust toward progress. But in many ways, GM's life will be easier. So don't look to big business for unequivocal defenses of capitalism. We guess that's up to the folks at XYZ Bumperlight Lens."
Earlier this month, President Bush awarded Mr. Bartley the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. "A champion of free markets, individual liberty and the values necessary for a free society, his writings have been characterized by profound insights, passionate convictions and an unyielding optimism in America," the citation read.
Over his career, he also won a Gerald Loeb Award and a Citation for Excellence from the Overseas Press Club of America. He was the author of a book on Reagan administration economic policy, "The Seven Fat Years: And How To Do It Again," published in 1992. He was awarded honorary degrees from Macalester College, Babson College and Adelphi University.
Mr. Bartley is survived by his wife, Edith, who was his high school girlfriend -- his only one, according to his brother Dale -- and by their three daughters.
DEMOCRAT DEATH SENTENCE
This is music to my ears, or rather eyes, as it may be. From today's WSJ Opinion Journal Political Diary comes news of Southern Democrats bitch-slapping Terry McAuliffe to spend money down South. Ya, like that's going to help much. Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina are going to swing Dem...not a chance!
But Terry McAuliffe has been a polarizing figure in Dem politics. Many see him as the reason the Party keeps losing. He's so unpopular, in fact, that he's had some of his lieutenants sign fundraising letters in lieu of his own John Hancock. To save his arse, he might just capitulate, furthering Bush's chances of reelection. Lets hope!
Terry McAuliffe has been traveling the party circuit and giving himself plaudits for his leadership, despite last month's losses in the Mississippi and Kentucky gubernatorial races. "The Democratic party's plans for taking back the White House remain on target," he says.
No sale, say southern black Congressional leaders. They recently summoned the DNC chief for an earful of complaint about the party's abandonment of the south -- and to demand, in writing, a commitment to spend money next year helping elect and re-elect local Democratic officials. "It's the same old, same old every year. The South gets left out. That is why we need it in writing," Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson told the congressional newspaper "The Hill" last week.
Mr. McAuliffe may have a hard time complying, with so much of the party's freight paid these days by unaffiliated interest groups and millionaires. For one thing, these groups frequently have little interest in local races, especially in regions where winning might mean relaxing the standard Hollywood-Manhattan liberal litmus tests. Their central goal is knocking off George Bush, then implementing their policy preferences through the appointment of liberal judges.
Rep. Thompson would be better off talking to Howard Dean. The Vermont ex-governor wants to be competitive in the south (the real point of his confederate flag contretemps), and is already taking time off from New Hampshire and Iowa to campaign in other states -- 14 last month -- including some unlikely to play a role in the Democratic nomination and even some that lean heavily Republican. He's not writing off anybody. Most of all, Dr. Dean has his own funding base separate from the liberal interest groups.
--Holman W. Jenkins Jr
No one has ever accused Lyn Nofziger of being a squish. Lyn, after all, worked for Reagan from his time in Sacramento, to his '76 challenge of Gerald Ford, thru part of his time in the White House. Lyn is about as conservative as they come, and is a beacon of light to people like me. He genuinely is one of my heroes. After all the recent bruhaha of the Gay Marriage debate, I found his take very interesting...
And I have difficulty understanding folks who are all atwitter about the subject.
True, I am opposed to it, mainly on religious grounds. If my church approved of homosexual marriage I would find another church. But I think the idea of an amendment to the constitution barring such marriages is kind of like the amendment that banned liquor. It won’t work.
An amendment might ban civil unions that are labeled marriages but I don’t see how one could ban civil contracts between two adults that would have the force of marriage. Neither do I see how such an amendment could prevent employers, insurance companies or hospitals from treating homosexual couples the same way they treat married couples.
Finally, I don’t see how in this land of the free anyone could justify any law or amendment banning a church from sanctifying, at least in its own denomination, a homosexual marriage.
If I’m right, then why go to all the trouble of trying to get such an amendment passed. Also why try to pass something that probably will not pass and thereby weaken your case.
As I have said before I am opposed to any amendment that would limit freedom, even if it would ban some activity or organization that I oppose. Amendments should expand and guard and guarantee liberty, not further limit it.
If any state wishes to ban homosexual marriages that’s okay by me although I still wonder, “Why bother?”
Society, not laws, should and usually does decide what is right and wrong, what is permissible and what is not when it comes to those activities that do not impinge on the rights and freedoms of others. Currently. the social pendulum is swinging in favor of treating homosexuality as normal and therefore okay.. Maybe not in what remains of my lifetime, but eventually, I’m sure it will swing back the other way, especially if the homosexual lobby overplays its hand, as such lobbies are wont to do...
In the meantime, there will be conservatives and conservative religions that continue to stand against it and will provide bases for those opposed to it..
And in the meantime, also, for my part I will continue to stand for freedom, for individual responsibility, for states’ rights and for the constitution as it is written. With all this on my plate to worry about, I don’t have time to meddle in the affairs of a couple of gay guys or a couple of lesbian women who think it would be neat if they could just get married.
From today's Wall St Journal
By TOM MCCLINTOCK
Have you ever had to make serious cuts -- 15% or more -- in your family budget because of an unexpected job -- loss or unforeseen expense? It's not pleasant, but it's not impossible. And it's also not permanent. As long as you're willing to face your financial problems squarely, you can be sure that the hard times won't last forever and things will improve.
But if you're not willing to face those problems -- if you paper over your debt by borrowing and continue to spend as if that debt didn't exist -- those hard times will follow you far into the future.
State government is no different. And as the new administration decides which road it will take, it is important to understand the simple math of the state's finances.
California's current budget deficit is caused by two actions Gray Davis took last year to paper over his mismanagement: He illegally tripled the car tax and he attempted to borrow $12.6 billion unconstitutionally.
Gov. Schwarzenegger rescinded the illegal tax increase on his first day in office. It's important to note the word "illegal." Not one of the conditions required to raise the car tax had been met, and it was only a matter of time before the courts ordered the money to be returned to taxpayers with interest. By acting now, he saved California from having a multi-billion dollar hole blown in a future budget by court order.
But repairing this problem requires that local governments be reimbursed for their losses. In addition, the courts have already invalidated $1.9 billion of Mr. Davis' borrowing plan, further deepening the deficit. According to the Legislative Analyst's Office, these developments mean that the state will end up spending $76.9 billion this year, with only $74.2 billion in revenue.
It gets worse. The courts are also poised to strike down the additional $10.7 billion of borrowing in Mr. Davis' last budget. It is not a pleasant financial situation. But it is also not impossible. If the current rate of state spending were reduced 13.4% on Jan. 1 and frozen through Gov. Schwarzenegger's first budget, the state would be back in the black, free and clear of external debt, and able to start the governor's second year in 2005 with a clean slate.
A 13.4% reduction would mean cutting $5.2 billion from this year's budget before Jan. 1 and setting next year's budget at $66.6 billion. That's a big cut -- and it means giving up billions of dollars of programmed spending increases next year. But it's still 15.2% more than California was spending when Mr. Davis took office. And after 18 months of austerity, Gov. Schwarzenegger would be able to plan his second budget with $12 billion of breathing room in 2005 when revenues are projected to reach $78.6 billion. Like a family that has faced its finances squarely and tightened its belt, California would be solidly back on its feet and looking toward a sunny future.
The alternative is to borrow the difference at heavy rates of interest over the next generation. Like a family that can't bear to change its ways, it would end up dragging its financial difficulties into future years as it struggles to meet its current expenses and pay down a crushing credit-card debt as well.
These are the two roads diverging in the budget woods and the choice that is made in coming weeks may well determine whether California has the fresh financial start it deserves, or whether the ghost of Mr. Davis' excesses stalks a generation to come.
Mr. McClintock, a Republican California state senator, recently ran for governor of California.