"This is the golden age of capitalism. The wealth is more expansive and deeper than in the past – not four hundred or a thousand rich, but tens of thousands."
Head of Barnes & Noble
Son on NYC cab driver
"America excites an admiration which must be felt upon the spot to be understood. The hopefulness of her people communicates itself to one who moves among them, and makes him perceive that the graver faults of politics may be far less dangerous there than they would be in Europe. A hundred times in writing this book have I been disheartened by the facts I was stating; a hundred times has the recollection of the abounding strength and vitality of the nation chased away these tremors."
"The American Commonwealth"
"Right now we have an unemployment rate of 5% and headline inflation topping 4%. We have economic growth of 0.6%, extremely low consumer confidence and weakening consumer spending, small business optimism at a 28-year low, and of course a housing market that is showing declines in excess of 20% in some parts of the country.
These are hardly statistics to celebrate, but they are a far cry from the crises of the 20th century. Next time someone compares the present to the Great Depression, stop them. Between 1929 and 1932, the Dow Jones index went to 41.22 from 380.33, a decline of 89%. Today's hang-wringing about a 20% decline in the major indices (much of it since recouped) doesn't come close.
The unemployment rate in 1933 was 24.9%; seven years later, after the intensive efforts of the New Deal, it stood at 14.6%. Even adjusting for changed methodology since then, today's jobless situation hardly compares. While the recent collapse of Bear Stearns shocked Wall Street, in 1933 alone 4,000 banks failed, and millions not only lost their homes but were rendered homeless.
It is also common today to hear comparisons to the stagflation and grim economy of the 1970s. Here too perspective is in order.
For all the present talk of volatility, in 1973 and 1974 the economy expanded 10% in the first quarter of 1973, contracted 2.1% in the third quarter, went up 3.9% in the fourth quarter, went down 3.4% in the first quarter of 1974, then up 1.2% in the second quarter – continuing like a bouncing ball for another year.
The unemployment rate went from 4.9% in 1973 to 8.5% in 1977, and then nearly broke 10% in 1982. Meanwhile the stock market went from 1067 in January 1973 to 570 in December 1974, a drop of 46%. And there was double-digit inflation and a sharp rise in the price of oil, which represented a higher percentage of consumer spending than today."
Who Stole The American Spirit
Read more @ Wall Street Journal.
"...In 17 years of practicing law I'd never been accused of ethical or professional lapses. Since my arrival in Washington, however, I've been called corrupt and unethical, and labeled as everything from a Klansman to a Nazi (my last name seems to generate that latter pejorative) for my work at the Department of Justice.
All of these charges were levied because I dared to take a different view of the law than the political left in the area of civil rights, voting and election law. Those outside Washington cannot conceive how far advocacy organizations, party activists and congressional staffers are willing to go to personally destroy anyone who doesn't agree with their political agenda.
In 2001, I joined the Justice Department as a career lawyer in the civil rights division. True enough, I had been warned the division was a cauldron of left-wing political activism. In fact, in a 1990s redistricting case, a federal judge criticized the career lawyers of the division for behaving like the in-house counsel of the ACLU. He said that "the considerable influence of ACLU advocacy on the voting rights decisions of the United States Attorney General is an embarrassment."
The reputation of the division was well-deserved. From the very first day on the job it was clear that my new colleagues were offended by my presence. Indeed, I eventually learned from a few friendlier lawyers in the division that it was a miracle I had been hired: The career staff would discard qualified applicants if they saw anything that suggested conservative leanings..."
Hans A. Von Spakovsky
Career counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the Department of Justice
Read more: Anatomy of a Beltway Smear Campaign.
at 6/06/2008 Posted by Sunny Badger
A long pause. A very long pause. “Where do the Mermaids stand?,” says I.
“Yes. You see, I am a Mermaid.”
“There are no such things as Mermaids.”
“Oh, yes, I am one!”
She did not relate to being a Giant, a Wizard, or a Dwarf. She knew her category. Mermaid. And was not about to leave the game and go over and stand against the wall where a loser would stand. She intended to participate, wherever Mermaids fit into the scheme of things. Without giving up dignity or identity. She took it for granted that there was a place for Mermaids and that I would know just where.
Well, where DO the Mermaids stand? All the “Mermaids”—all those who are different, who do not fit the norm and who do not accept the available boxes and pigeonholes?
Answer that question and you can build a school, a nation, or a world on it.
What was my answer at the moment? Every once in a while I say the right thing. “The Mermaid stands right here by the King of the Sea!” says I. (Yes, right here by the King’s Fool, I thought to myself.)
So we stood there hand in hand, reviewing the troops of Wizards and Giants and Dwarfs as they toiled by in wild disarray.
It is not true, by the way, that mermaids do not exist. I know at least one personally. I have held her hand.
All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten
at 6/05/2008 Posted by Sunny Badger
"There was once a day when conservatism was driven by principles: smaller government, less-intrusive government, strong national defense, fiscal sobriety. But in the years since that day, the putative heirs to Reagan have trampled not just those principles, but also principle itself.
The ideology that wanted small government now presides over expanded government, the one that wanted less intrusion now seeks to regulate bedroom behavior, the one that demanded strong national defense has run the military into the ground, the one that championed fiscal sobriety turned a $236 billion budget surplus into a $400 billion deficit. And if thoughtful conservatives see the disconnect, if they have the intellectual integrity to find it shameful, the newsflash is, thoughtful conservatives no longer predominate their ideology.
No, that honor goes to unthoughtful conservatives, the loud, proudly ignorant voices of talk radio, books and television of which Kevin James is now the poster child. Matthews kept asking him to explain the sins of Neville Chamberlain and he kept crying, "appeasement! appeasement!" clinging to the words like a drowning man to a raft.
That's what people like him do. They are geniuses at rhetoric ("War on Christmas," anyone?) that rouses the rabble and lets them feel aggrieved, while simultaneously having the intellectual heft of cotton balls. But they can no more step beyond that rhetoric than Gilligan could step off his island. There is no there there."
Leonard J. Pitts, Jr.
at 6/04/2008 Posted by Sunny Badger
The store went up last year outside of town.
There was a cornfield where I'm standing now,
smiling, saying hello, and handing out ads
for plastic purses, towels, and microwaves.
The job doesn't pay much, but neither did farming.
Pete, my old neighbor, wearing clean overalls,
comes in. I say, "Hey, you lazy fart, I see
you're taking a day off to loaf in town."
And Pete says, "You should talk, getting paid
for standing around in an air-conditioned store."
While we talk about the rain last night,
the possibility of early frost, the price of hogs,
a dozen customers pass by ungreeted,
and I feel uneasy about not doing my job.
In one way, it's like farming--spending hours
on the tractor, with lots of time to daydream.
Now, I invent secrets I'd like to tell customers.
"Every third mineral water bottle is filled
with Russian vodka. Snakes have been found
in the cups of the imported brassieres."
But I only say, "Hello, how are you,"
and send them on their way down the aisles,
which are nothing like rows of corn.
Leo Dangel, Home from the Field
at 6/03/2008 Posted by Sunny Badger
Line for Obama rally exceeds a mile
Large crowds began forming early today to get a spot at tonight Barack Obama rally at the Xcel Center. St. Paul police initially reported more than 50,000 people were inline for the event. By 6:30 p.m. the line extended more than 1.5 miles.
St. Paul, Minn. — Many of the thousands who arrived several hours early for Sen. Barack Obama's appearance in downtown St. Paul said the wait was a small price to pay in exchange for watching history unfold.
The Associated Press is reporting that Obama has sealed the Democratic presidential nomination today, taking him one step closer to becoming the nation's first African-American president.
at 6/03/2008 Posted by Andy Rand
"I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale."
"We, the members of the new Republican Party, believe that the preservation and enhancement of the values that strengthen and protect individual freedom, family life, communities and neighborhoods and the liberty of our beloved nation should be at the heart of any legislative or political program presented to the American people. . . . Our task now is not to sell a philosophy, but to make the majority of Americans, who already share that philosophy, see that modern conservatism offers them a political home. . . .The job is ours and the job must be done. If not by us, who? If not now, when? Our party must be the party of the individual. It must not sell out the individual to cater to the group. No greater challenge faces our society today than ensuring that each one of us can maintain his dignity and his identity in an increasingly complex, centralized society."
"The rich hire lawyers and accountants for a reason - to pass the tax bill on to you."
George W. Bush
at 6/02/2008 Posted by Sunny Badger
"My vision for renewing our party in 2008 is the same as it was when I ran [unsuccessfully] for leader after the 2006 elections: I believe the way back to a Republican majority is to the right. Our new Republican minority must rededicate itself to the ideals and standards that minted our majority in 1994. Only by renewing our commitment to fight for the principles embodied in the Contract with America can we hope to have the credibility to earn back the opportunity to lead this national legislature. We will only defeat the Democrat agenda by presenting a positive, conservative message in vivid contrast to the big government liberalism of the new majority. To renew our majority, we must offer this nation a compelling vision of fiscal discipline and reform. . . .We must again embrace the notion that Republicans seek the majority not simply to govern but to change government for the better."
Rep. Mike Pence
at 6/01/2008 Posted by Sunny Badger