October 30, 2003

Women at Work

Interesting article in the NYT magazine this Sunday about The Opt-Out Revolution. On the surface this is about women who, after Ivy League educations, high-powered professional degrees, years of achievement and promotion in the workplace, choose to leave their careers for "the mommy track". As the article says "women are rejecting the workplace" and "26 percent of women at the cusp of the most senior levels of management don't want the promotion".

But what struck me when reading it, is how much the article resonated with me as a man — and with things I've seen and heard my male friends say and do. Perhaps part of what's going on is the larger story of the death of the career. As the women say,

All that coming and going, they say, is the entire point. ''This is not permanent,'' Kresse says. ''It's not black and white; it's gray. You're working. Then you're not working. Then maybe you're working part time or consulting. Then you go back. This is a chapter, not the whole book.''

Van Hooser says: ''I am not a housewife. Is there still any such thing? I am doing what is right for me at the moment, not necessarily what is right for me forever.''

Likewise, most of my male friends tend to be on non-traditional career paths. They don't want to work 9-to-5 at a steady job for 40 years. They switch jobs, take time off, start businesses or non-profits, consult, work part time, write, study, take care of family (dogs), etc. With 7.5 years at Fulcrum, I have the longest tenure of anyone I know from my class at school — and I would be out of here in a minute if I didn't get to pretend to be the boss most of the time.

So, perhaps, there's something bigger going on. Is it driven by technological change? The transition to the service economy? The requirement of our "flexible" economy? Or is it a cultural ripple effect from the feminist revolution — the unleashing of a new group of employees on the workplace making all workers take a look around and say "Hey, this ain't that great." I don't know, but this may be another step towards a Free Agent Nation.

Posted by richard at 09:43 AM | Comments (2)

October 28, 2003

Perfidious Gaul

In a New York Times op-ed last month, Thomas Friedman said openly that France is not our friend:

It's time we Americans came to terms with something: France is not just our annoying ally. It is not just our jealous rival. France is becoming our enemy.

If you add up how France behaved in the run-up to the Iraq war (making it impossible for the Security Council to put a real ultimatum to Saddam Hussein that might have avoided a war), and if you look at how France behaved during the war (when its foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, refused to answer the question of whether he wanted Saddam or America to win in Iraq), and if you watch how France is behaving today (demanding some kind of loopy symbolic transfer of Iraqi sovereignty to some kind of hastily thrown together Iraqi provisional government, with the rest of Iraq's transition to democracy to be overseen more by a divided U.N. than by America), then there is only one conclusion one can draw: France wants America to fail in Iraq.

This is not a new idea, of course. It has been bandied about by conservative bloggers for months. But this is the first time I had seen such a blunt statement of it in the mainstream media. Reactions to France's recent intransigence have ranged from the absurd (renaming French fries, Freedom fries) to the poorly thought out (pouring already purchased French wine down the drain) to the highly effective (boycotting French wines and abstaining from French vacations).

But beyond these retaliatory measures and expressions of displeasure, is it time to fundamentally rethink our strategic relationship with France?

The answer, I fear, is an unequivocal yes. An examination of France's recent policy moves, beyond the limited sphere of the Iraq War (about which even reasonable people can disagree) shows just how far French values have parted ways with American ideals. In fact, a close look will show that the two have never had a special affinity, and that our historical interactions have simply revealed the ebb and flow of national interests periodically coming into alignment.

The French Tradition

Many readers will, at this point, interrupt and bring up the long history of friendship between the United States and France, starting with their support during our revolution. Indeed, we most likely owe our victory to the French aid, but the idea that it is based on any sort of inherent friendship between the nations is off base.

France is the birthplace of raison d'etat, which claims that nation-states, as finite and temporary creations of man, are not bound by the same moral restraints that govern the immortal souls of man. With this logic, Cardinal Richelieu justified Louis XIV's alliance with the German princes against the Holy Roman Emperor — the first time any major Catholic country had aligned itself with Protestants. The doctrine was expanded to condone the scorched earth policy of the cordon sanitaire around France, which helped fuel French expansionism of the period.

By the time of the American revolution, raison d'etat was firmly entrenched as the foundation of French diplomacy. French support of the Colonies, far from based on any identification with the ideals of the revolution, was simply another step in France's recurring conflict with England, another try at the French and Indian War.

This fact is born out by the oft-forgotten fact that the first war ever fought by the new United States was against the French — the so-called Quasi War of 1791-1800, a dispute about tonnage charges on French vessels that led to attacks on American merchant ships.

Any further affinity with French ideals is surely mitigated by the fact that two empires and no less than five republics have held court in France since their support of our revolutionary beginnings.

All of this is not to say that France is alone in its use of raison d'etat. States do tend to look after their own national interests after all. From Bismark, to Disraeli, to Stalin, to De Gaulle, to Kissinger, most modern states have had their practitioners of realpolitik. So given that states can be expected to act self-interestedly, it's worth looking at the diplomatic and political traditions of the state to judge the likelihood of our interests ever being aligned.

Despite the gift of the Statue of Liberty, French traditions have never been in strong agreement with American ones. Replete with as much exceptionalism as American foreign policy, French diplomacy has never been counter-balanced by the strong currents of isolationism and Wilsonian idealism that must be reckoned with in the US.

Today, the dominant foreign policy traditions in France revolve around neo-colonialism, mono-culturalism, and Continental rationalist liberalism, all of which are at odds with American ideals.

So, through this lens, let's examine recent French actions to determine how aligned our values (and not just our temporary interests) are.

The French Record

Everyone should be aware of the familiar litany of charges of French obstructionism during the build up to the Iraq war: Chirac's threat to veto any US resolution authorizing force; France's veto of NATO defensive planning for Turkey (forcing the US to take the matter up at the Defense Planning Committee, of which France is not a part, in order to get unanimous consent for the planning from the other 18 members); the extensive lobbying of the three African nations on the Security Council to vote against the US resolution; the use of Turkey's imminent bid for EU membership as leverage for getting them to deny the use of their territory for US troops; the attack on "New Europe" where Chirac told the 13 nations that signed the letter supporting the United States that they missed a good oportunity to "shut up"; etc. Since the fall of Saddam, they have continued their opposition to the US occupation and insisted on a (too) hasty transition to Iraqi control.

Together these show, as Friedman argued, more than an alternative approach to Iraq, more than a difference of opinion — they show an active desire to thwart the current US policy, and a willingness to spend real diplomatic capital to achieve that goal.

But even if you opposed the war in Iraq, and believe the French acted in a principled fashion in their opposition, the record of French perfidy goes back much farther, and it is marked by a complete absence of principles. I submit:

  • NATO & Force de Frappe — Since the Suez Crisis, the French, angered at the lack of US support for Anglo-French interests, led by Charles de Gaulle, have insisted upon having their own independent nuclear strike force. They went so far as to withdraw from NATO. Showing again their fair-weather multilateralism, they bucked world opinion in 1995 and 1996 when they performed above ground nuclear tests in the South Pacific. It is widely believed that, despite the environmental consequences, the tests were unnecessary except as a show of force.
  • Bosnia & Kosovo — Siding with its historical ally, the Serbs, France refused to support NATO action in Bosnia without a UN resolution authorizing force, despite evidence of ongoing ethnic cleansing. Chirac allegedly brokered a deal with Milosevic to hold off NATO bombing of Serb forces approaching Srebrenica in exchange for the Serbs returning captured UN peacekeepers. Free to act, the Serbs killed all 7,000 male Muslims in the town and expelled the women. After the war, France was also unhelpful in prosecuting war criminals, refusing to allow the French commander of UNPROFOR forces, Gen. Janvier, to testify in public at the Hague and allegedly striking deals with Ratko Mladic and blocking British and NATO attempts to capture Radovan Karadzic.
  • Mugabe & Zimbabwe — Despite his racist and catastrophic policy towards white farmers and his brutal suppression of dissidents and the media, Chirac continued to coddle Robert Mugabe, inviting him to a meeting of African Heads of State and meeting with him personally. All this in spite of the EU's travel ban and sanctions. This is all part of an effort to expand French influence in Anglophone Africa, fortifying France's perceived "special relationship" with the continent (see below).
  • Rwanda — In the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, France armed and trained the (Francophone) Hutu paramilitary groups, supporting them against the (Anglophone) Tutsi minority. In their Operation Turquoise, they allegedly protected and armed the fleeing Hutus, slowing the advance of Tutsi rebels, presumably out of fear of losing influence to the English-speaking Tutsis from Uganda. The genocide of 500,000 to 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutus resulted. After a Tutsi revolt successfully overthrew the Hutu extremists, France allegedly helped evacuate Hutu leaders suspected of genocide. While they initially denied their involvement during the genocide, it later surfaced that France was a "co-belligerent" with the Hutus. (Full disclosure: the US is certainly not blameless here as the Clinton administration, potentially still gunshy after Somalia, teamed with the British to beat back a UN resolution to intervene early in the process — but the French efforts go beyond indifference).
  • Neocolonialism — Long after WWII, France continued to exert control over its African colonies through the Communaute and then the Ministry of Co-operation and the Franc Zone. It fostered economic dependence in its former colonies. It also was involved in military actions to prop up governments in Cameroon, Mauritania, Gabon, Congo, Chad, Niger, and the Central African Republic. There is evidence much of this post-colonial intervention was driven by the desire to maintain the balance of Francophone and Anglophone spheres, to support governments that promoted France's economic interests, and to succeed in attempts to get uranium for France's nascent nuclear program. Even after their involvement in Rwanda in 1994, and their subsequent "hands-off" policy, France has not been able to stay out of Côte d'Ivoire (despite not having a mandate from the UN or EU).

    Of course, having mostly lost the language and currency wars on its own, France has now shifted to a new and ultra-modern form of colonialism — a colonialism masquerading as internationalism. This new colonialism transforms UN mandates into massive and corrupt aid programs (like the late Iraqi Oil for Food program) administered by (and with proceeds going to) Eurocrats. With the nod of the "international community", failed states are turned into dependent states — dependent on peacekeeping troops for security, foreign aid and NGO hand-outs for subsistence, and the often illiberal whim of the UN for legitimacy. Instead of fostering local institutions to enforce the rule of law, property rights and contracts, administrators are installed who play favorites. Instead of opening barriers to trade, addictive aid grants are given and loans made. Instead of encouraging liberal, federal republics (complete with the attendent loss of control) local strong-men are supported and coddled. Instead of promoting internal security forces, the peace is "kept" just enough to make arms trafficking attractive again (See the recent news about Pierre Falcone "unfortunately" being named Angolan ambassador to UNESCO in order to give him diplomatic immunity to charges of trafficking 350 million of Russian arms in 1993-4.) Also, the TotalFinaElf scandal shows the depths of the ties between French industry and its colonial policies.


  • Israel & Palestine — France consitently takes a soft-line with Palestinian terrorist groups, and continues to deny that Hamas is a terrorist organization. This is part of the larger French mission of assuaging the Arab street to achieve the position of special liaison between the West and Islam. It also plays well with their disillusioned Algerian youth and feeds the already strong currents of anti-semitism at home. There has been much discussion of their tepid responses to the recent anti-semitic hate crimes which have taken place in France since the latest intifada. A clear example of this tactic could also be seen after Mahathir Mohammad's recent speech to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (which claimed that Jews ruled the world and implied they got others to fight and die for them) where France joined Greece in blocking an EU condemnation of the speech.

  • Farm Export Subsidies — France spear-heads the EU's recalcitrance on agricultural subsidies. While the US and Japan are no saints in this area, the EU insists that the farm support be export subsidies, some of the most trade-distorting and damaging to developing countries. In addition to supporting France's rich farmers, this helps keep the developing countries dependent on the international aid and is part of France's larger neocolonial strategy.

The French Strategy

France continues to practice raison d'etat and have co-opted the principled stances of the peace movement to push their current agenda. That agenda is three-pronged:

First, to continue to expand it's neo-colonialist efforts through the UN and international community;

Second, to create a counter-balance (led by France) to perceived American hegemony through the replacement of NATO with a European defense force and of the dollar with the Euro; and

Third, to act as a bridge between the Muslim world and the "West" by consistently opposing Israeli and American policy.


However, to anyone with a grasp of economic, demographic, and geopolitical reality, unless they manage to fully hijack the international organizations, their ambitions far exceed their abilities. Their current position on the world stage does not reflect their importance, but simply rewards their once-greatness. Their permanent seat on the UN Security Council is ludicrous by any metric that denies India, Brazil, and Germany a spot. The mini-revolt of "New Europe" made them realize that even their de facto leadership role in the EU is in jeopardy. Their military lacks the basic logistical support to fly itself anywhere, taking months to assemble the single division that fought in Gulf War I. Their economy is in shambles, hampered by short work weeks and incessant strikes. Demographically, they face twin time-bombs of old pensioners and disenfranchised Muslim immigrants (mostly from former-colony Algeria). In fact, the latter shows the unlikelihood of them playing the role of a successful bridge to the Arab world.

However, the eventual failure of their strategy, no matter how assured, should not cause much comfort, as there is plenty of room in the mean time for them to cause trouble and, as in the case with the Iraq war, thwart American policy.

So what should we do about it? This is a difficult question, and since this post is getting fairly long, I will defer my thoughts on what America's response should be to a future post, but it is clear that we are well past thinking of them as an "annoying ally".

Posted by richard at 11:54 PM | Comments (3)

The Idle Rich

Dan Drezner is Defending the idle rich?, and some interesting comments ensue. In response to someone who questions whether there is any value in allowing the idle rich to exist, I responded with an argument from my current reading list:

Hayek makes the case fairly strongly in "The Constitution of Liberty". He claims that the rich drive experiments in new ways of living, some of which will, through technological progress, trickle down to the masses. Most household appliances, modes of travel, luxury items, and other modern conveniences are examples. Without the early (rich) adopters, these would either have never been created, or would have been adopted much more slowly -- all to the (long-term) detriment of the rest of us. The quality of life improvements driven by aesthetics that Virginia Postrel is talking about in her new book would also probably qualify.

He makes similar cases for the need for rich "independents" (i.e. those who don't depend on employment for their living) to start risky ventures, support the arts, experiment philanthropically, etc.

He claims that the harms of the completely-idle rich (while an example of the kind of waste that often occurs in market systems) are outweighed by the benefits accrued from the few whose independence helps society.

As for why it's better to have them selected by birth rather than lottery. Both are random in the sense that neither would give the fortune to someone who is more deserving than those who don't have fortunes. But the former is more moral (in the classical liberal's eyes) because it respects the property rights of the parents. And, Hayek argues, it is more likely that someone born to a rich family will be raised, educated, and trained to be able use the wealth well. This last is a bit of a stretch, given the behavior of the "celebutants" but I wonder how much better the average lottery winner deals with their sudden fortune....

[Hayek] would claim that it would require the state to determine deserts -- who in all of society deserves the fortune. Hayek believes that this objective is fundamentally at odds with a society based on freedom (from coercion, that is). He claims that societies based on freedom can only distribute wealth based on value, not merit, because any attempt to distribute based on merit would involve the continuous intrusive and coercive involvement of the state, eventually leading to stagnation. Any attempt to measure merit perforce leads to arbitrariness rather than the general rule of law, with all of the attendant consequences. Any qualification system would privilege our current (or historic) ideas of merit and shut out any conceptions that might serve us better in the future when we are faced with new challenges, new technologies, new enemies, etc. The Chinese examination system and its focus on Confucian scripture would be an example of this last.


Read the rest, as they say.

Posted by richard at 11:47 PM | Comments (2)

October 18, 2003

Europe 1945

A couple of interesting posts pulling things out of the archives about the reconstruction of Europe in 1945. First, Foreign Affairs magazine has this report by Allen W. Dulles to the Council on Foreign Affairs in December of '45.

Second, there's these articles from Life magazine that are posted over at Jessica's Well:

The troops returning home are worried. "Weve lost the peace," men tell you. "We cant make it stick."
...
Never has American prestige in Europe been lower. People never tire of telling you of the ignorance and rowdy-ism of American troops, of out misunderstanding of European conditions....

All we have brought to Europe so far is confusion backed up by a drumhead regime of military courts. We have swept away Hitlerism, but a great many Europeans feel that the cure has been worse than the disease.

The taste of victory had gone sour in the mouth of every thoughtful American I met.

Now as the Foreign Affairs article pithily says, "history doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes." So, while it's possible to read too much into this, I think there are four things worth keeping in mind, regardless of what you think about the current occupation of Iraq:

  1. Just because it's tough going six to nine months in, doesn't mean it's doomed to fail. Allen Dulles thought the situation in Europe might be "beyond us" in 1945, but we successfully rebuilt the continent.

  2. The European reconstruction was hard. That should be sobering to those that admit that Iraq poses even greater challenges (ethnic & religious tensions, terrorism, etc.)

  3. The critical reporting might be beneficial because it keeps the administration honest about real progress. This one is hard for me personally to swallow because the current overly-negative slant of the mainstream media drives me crazy. But, it's hard to tell — it took several years for the administration to get on track with the Marshall Plan and other bold new approaches — critical news might have pushed them to keep looking until they hit on a plan that worked.

  4. And finally, sometimes muddling through is all you can do. People criticize the Bush administration for underestimating the post-war challenge and not having a plan that addressed all of the issues. Bush supporters point to the fact that many of the contigencies that the original plan addressed simply didn't materialize (refugee crisis, WMD usage, oil well fires, etc.) I think it somewhere in the middle, but the fact of the matter is that is probably too complicated and dynamic to plan out completely in advance. What's needed is flexibility, determination and the resources to see it through.

Posted by richard at 05:46 PM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2003

Conservatism

An interesting discussion over at John & Belle Have A Blog about Conservatism.

It's particularly interesting to me since I'm currently reading Hayek's The Constitution of Liberty which has an excellent essay at the end, entitled "Why I Am Not a Conservative". Back in 1959, Hayek raised many of the same points as are raised in the online discussion, including struggling with the term "liberal" in its classical vs. modern senses. Recognizing that in modern usage "liberal" had been distorted to mean social-democrat, he settles on "Old Whiggist" after rejecting "libertarian" as "singularly unattractive".

Anyway, Hayek is not a conservative because of conservatism's "propensity to reject well-substantiated new knowledge because it dislikes some of the consequences which seem to follow from it." He goes on to reject its "proneness to strident nationalism" and its anti-internationalism which is "frequently associated with imperialism" and "the mission to civilise" others.

But beyond that, it seems to me that the trouble that they're having in the online debate is with trying to group many disparate things together and talk about them under one category: conservatism. This suffers from several problems that all such ontological discussions tend to have.

First, it ignores the diachronic nature of the category, in this case conservatism. Since it is defined in reaction to change, conservatism is greatly dependent on the historical context in which the conservative lives. The "conservative" hard-liner in Russia may actually be a Communist pining for the Soviet era. In Afghanistan, a Taleban. So today in America, a free-market classical liberal can feel conservative when defending free (and dynamic) markets, because of the long-standing American tradition of economic liberty.

Second, it demands consistency when none is required. It's tempting to apply a single label to all of someone's positions. I think this has something to do with the desire to make the appropriate label depend not only the person's positions but also on their metaethical rationale for that position — how they got there, what (single) path they took to reach that position.

But often, people reach different conclusions in different spheres because of (not in spite of) their philosophical belief system. And thinking that rejecting change in one area (say culture) logically requires rejecting change in another (say economics) is starting from an assumption that they are and should be comparable. Something both devout Christians and social democrats might disagree with.

Third, it tries to project a multidimensional space onto a line or a plane. Many people, including the originator of the thread, have recognized that the traditional left-right spectrum is not really very useful (except for polarizing issues). Some have tried to address this by sticking with the liberal-conservative dichotomy, but breaking it out into moral and economic dimensions. Others have tried to come up with new linear systems, like Evil-Stupid. Other favorites are Individualist vs. Communitarian and Pessimist vs. Optimist.

Although these one-dimensional labels inherently undercharacterize political stances, some spectra are more relevant than others to the particular historical time in which they are applied. In fact, I think the one proposed by Virginia Postrel in her book, The Future and Its Enemies is particularly suited to this day and age.

Postrel argues for distinguishing between "stasism" and "dynamism". "Stasists" are characterized by their desire for a static future. Their visions of this future vary widely: from centrally-planned technocracy, to religious and moral traditionalism, to eco-sustainable utopianism. But they share a common assumption that the future can be planned, and moreover should be. And of course, some chosen group, whether the clergy, the bureaucracy, our ancestors, or elite intellectuals, knows best about what form that future should take. Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader on the same side.

"Dynamists" on the other hand believe the opposite. Unintended consequences bedevil any attempt at control. Utopianism is wishful thinking. Central planning fails. And the future is unknowable. Because our knowledge is increasing, we cannot anticipate what we don't know — we can't even predict what we'll desire, value, want in the future either, because our beliefs and our conception of the good change with the new knowledge. We're best off creating a system that safeguards liberty (simple freedom from coercion) and anticipating the likely (though never certain) gains from the ensuing increases in knowledge, culture, art, technology and material wealth.

After thinking about this for a while, it's interesting to listen to people's positions on issues and project them onto this new stasism/dynamism line instead of the tired conservative/liberal one. You probably have no trouble slotting me in one end or the other.

In all, though, an interesting debate. Where else would you get to read various and sundry philosophers weigh in on an issue like this?

Posted by richard at 11:43 PM | Comments (0)

Where's Israel?

Well, I originally thought that this was overblown. But on a closer look, the State Department leaving Israel (and only Israel) off of a map of Saudi Arabia could only be intentional. (Found at Winds of Change.NET)

Maybe this is being diplomatic, but it sure seems like kissing ass.

Posted by richard at 10:24 AM | Comments (2)

October 13, 2003

Affirmative Action

This seems to me to be the wrong way of looking at it.

Virginia Postrel points out suspicious standards in admissions at UC Berkeley. The San Francisco Chronicle analyzed the school's new admission policy that was supposed to get the university in line with Proposition 209.

According to the article:


More than 400 students -- nearly 90 percent of them minorities -- were admitted to UC Berkeley in 2001 with below average SAT scores under an admissions policy that was to have ended racial preferences at state universities, The Chronicle found in an analysis of admissions data.

UC Berkeley officials developed the policy, which considers grades and SAT scores but includes other factors, such as socioeconomic status, after voters approved Proposition 209 in 1996 to ban affirmative action in admissions.

Bu the analysis of the data shows that of the 422 among the bottom tier of admitted students, 378 were minorities. Seventeen were of unknown race and 27 were white.

The paper seems to be concerned with the results — most bottom-tier students are still minorities, even under the new system. Now, I'm no fan of race-based admissions, but this seems like a ridiculous reaction without further evidence that they are secretly flaunting the law.

Many of the principled objections to affirmative action (including the Supreme Court's prohibition against dictating outcomes) leave room for (or even demand) the use of these other socioeconomic metrics to level the playing field. They just require that they be applied equally to all races. I've argued for additional metrics that take into consideration household income, relative school performance, number of parents, level of education of parents, etc. All of these would embody the (I think legitimate) principle that people who perform equally well, but in a tougher environment, deserve a leg up. And they deserve it regardless of race.

But...., all else being equal, you would expect that any such program would help minorities much more than whites. First, because minorities do worse on the traditional metrics in the first place, you would expect a large percent of "bottom-tier" students (when, I'm assuming, ranked by these traditional metrics) to be minority applicants. Second, because more minority students live in the kinds of situations that you're controlling for with the new system, you'd expect them to be over-represented still more. All without suspicious standards.

Those who are worried about this seem to have lost their principles and suddenly, they're the ones shooting for outcomes. They begin to look more like the charicatures painted by advocates of AA — they just don't want minorities to succeed.

"It is outrageous. They don't have any business going to Berkeley," said [Chair of the UC Board of Regents, John] Moores, who did his own preliminary study of 2002 admissions data recently without looking at race. He was intrigued by the 2001 data and said it appears the students were admitted for "all the wrong reasons."

"I always expect the kid that doesn't test well that turns out to be a whizbang, but there are not hundreds at Berkeley. It can't be," Moores said. "I believe there is a huge element of social justice behind some of the (decisions). I question whether people are really being honest of what the chances are of students being successful."

So, he's not just against race-based admissions, he's against social justice....

Bottom line, if UC Berkeley is really still using race but just obscuring that fact, it's a problem, but other than innuendo I don't see evidence of that. If they've actually switched to a system that is truly race-blind but manages to take into account the fact that the playing field is not level, and this actually helps many minority students, then I'm just ecstatic that someone finally got it right.

Posted by richard at 08:34 PM | Comments (2)

October 09, 2003

Not that Finegold...

From the Boston Herald, Finegold wants to ban the sale of pro-Yankees merchandise within a mile of Fenway Park:


"Every so often, you need to put people over profits," Finegold said. "Our dearly beloved Red Sox fans have suffered quite a bit."
...
The move apparently has the support of Gov. Mitt Romney - his spokesman asking why Finegold was suggesting the no-Yankee zone would be only one mile.

Still, never fear, Red Sox Nation - Finegold says he has no interest in getting rid of the perennial favorite "Yankees Suck" T-shirts.

Posted by richard at 01:41 AM | Comments (2)

October 08, 2003

So it's Governor Schwarzennegger

Results are here at CNN.

One interesting thing. With 99% of precincts reporting, Schwarzenneger got 88,001 more votes than Gray Davis, i.e. more people voted for Arnold than against the recall. That should quiet one criticism of the recall process — that more people could want Davis for governor than any other candidate, and he could still lose.

Here's an interesting map (via Instapundit) of the results by county. Schwarzenneger trounced everyone everywhere except a thin strip near San Francisco.

Now to see if he can govern.... The Republicans may soon wish they weren't in charge in California.

Posted by richard at 12:39 PM | Comments (1)

October 06, 2003

Ranching Industry Association of America?

Seen in someone's signature line at Slashdot:


The RIAA says that it is concerned about artists. That's true, in exactly the same way a rancher is concerned about his cattle.

Posted by richard at 10:26 AM | Comments (1)

Sports Segregation

Interesting post at Marginal Revolution about Jim Crow in professional sports.

Posted by richard at 10:24 AM | Comments (0)

October 03, 2003

Reflections on American Power

Here's a thought-provoking essay on American power:

Ive been thinking about Power. Thinking about what real power entails, and more importantly, wondering if there is a way to defeat that ancient and highly reliable adage and perhaps find a way for a nation mine -- to wield power, enormous power, without being corrupted -- enormously.

The use of power is straightforward, and throughout history we see salvation or ruin as a direct result of the application of power. But the moral use of power: that is a Jackalope; its a Snark easy to talk about, but damned hard to catch. But chase it we must, because the United States is a moral country, filled with decent and generous people, and we can see that the few times in our history when we did not fight a moral cause produced stains on our honor and history, and wrote a page or two identical to the volumes of horrors inflicted by nations and empires with no such moral inhibitions and restraint.

It's long, but worth it — read the whole thing at Eject! Eject! Eject!: POWER.

Bill Whittle comes from the conservative side of the house, but he knows the difference between exceptionalism, which I believe is an important, and justified, part of a shared American identity, and triumphalism, the dangerous and self-congratulatory perspective towards which our hubris drives us.

Posted by richard at 09:35 PM | Comments (3)

Free Agents?

Don't know much about Centrists.org, but I found some interesting graphs there. (Via Instapundit).

Bottom line: the two main methods of determining number of jobs in the US, the household survey and the payroll survey, are diverging according to Bureau of Economic Analysis statistics, with payroll falling and household rising sharply. A sign of more self-employment?

This certainly fits with my experience with my brother out in LA and MF up in Boston. Neither would count in the payroll survey, but both claim to be "working".

Posted by richard at 09:24 PM | Comments (0)

Letters from the Front

Check out this site for letters from our service men and women. Some are mundane, but many are touching and uplifting:


Front Line Voices

Posted by richard at 09:20 PM | Comments (0)