“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Democrats Face a Civil War in Pennsylvania

Obama’s failure to win Ohio and Texas and the upcoming battle for Pennsylvania spells big trouble for the Democrats. Pennsylvania is controlled by Democratic boss and Governor, Ed Rendell. Fast Eddy is a huge supporter of Hillary. Obama would normally have a tough time in most of the center counties of Pennsylvania as they are mostly Republican and ethnic white. Pennsylvania, without Philadelphia, is a red state.

Philadelphia is not popular in most of the state. Besides being crime ridden with awful and expensive schools, Philadelphia is majority black. Philadelphia is also a county. It cannot support itself without taxes from all the other counties. It is an economic drain on the state and is perceived as politically corrupt and a money sponge. It is a violent city with many no go areas and run by a new black major following eight years of an incompetent black major, John Street.

To win Pennsylvania, Clinton will have to work the part of the state that is not Philadelphia. This has a lot to do with the Democratic proportional sharing of delegates. The Pennsylvania race will only heighten racial, age, ethnic, gender, and class divisions already apparent in the state. This will have national implications.

The blacks already have gone to almost a 90% support for Obama. Hillary can do nothing to get their support. Many white voters will be uncomfortable with a black candidate that is so supported by black voters to the exclusion of a white candidate, Hillary. Hillary will win Pennsylvania but it will tear the Democrats apart.

Why Clinton Isn't Dead

By Robert D. Novak Washington Post
Thursday, March 6, 2008; Page A21

The scope of Hillary Clinton's latest resurrection can be appreciated only in light of the elaborate preparations that had been made for her expeditious burial. That she is very much alive can be attributed to her true grit but also to the revelation that Barack Obama is not a miraculously perfect candidate after all.

Assuming that Clinton would at best eke out a victory in Ohio on Tuesday to end her long losing streak, prominent Democrats were organizing a major private intervention. A posse of party leaders would plead with her to end her campaign and recognize Obama as the Democratic standard-bearer. To buttress this argument, several elite unelected superdelegates (including previous Clinton supporters) were ready to come out for Obama. Those plans went on hold Tuesday night.

Clinton's transformation of the political climate with her decisive victory in Ohio and unexpected narrow win in Texas coincided with Obama facing adversity for the first time in his magical candidacy, and he did not handle it well. The result is not only the prospect of seven weeks of fierce campaigning by the two candidates, stretching out to the next primary showdown April 22 in Pennsylvania, but also perhaps what Democratic leaders feared but never really thought possible until now: a contested national convention in Denver the last week of August.

By chance, this critical week for Obama began Monday with jury selection in the Chicago corruption trial of his former friend and fundraiser Tony Rezko. For the first time, the story of this political fixer's connections with the Democratic Party's golden boy spread beyond the Chicago media. In a contentious news conference, Obama was uncommunicative. He ended the session by walking out and announcing that eight questions were enough.

Less obvious than his Rezko performance but more disturbing to insiders was Obama's handling of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

With NAFTA having become an expletive in economically depressed northern Ohio, the two Democratic candidates competed with each other in pandering -- denouncing the trade agreement that was a jewel in President Bill Clinton's crown. The trouble began when Canadian television reported that Obama economic adviser Austan Goolsbee had visited Canada's consulate in Chicago to reassure officials there.

Old Democratic hands cringed when both Clinton and Obama in their Cleveland debate last month blithely advocated the (dangerous) renegotiation of NAFTA. They were really disturbed by what happened next. Obama denied the Goolsbee mission, then had to back down after a Canadian diplomat's memo confirmed the visit. A longtime Democratic political operative, not aligned with either Obama or Clinton, told me that this was a serious misstep in what he had considered a flawless performance by a political neophyte.

This week, Obama lent credence to longtime claims by the Clinton camp that the young challenger would melt under Republican heat. Now he must face weeks of struggle against a revitalized Clinton, and there's no sign when it will end.

A month ago, before the Obama boom really began, his number-crunchers plotted a probable outcome wherein Clinton would win both Ohio and Texas on March 4 and still fall short of a delegate majority at the convention. To avoid carnage in Denver, Democrats have been telling me for weeks that a majority of delegates would somehow align themselves behind whichever candidate has the momentum.

But who has the momentum? Clinton will claim it, particularly if she wins in Pennsylvania, which would give her every major state except Illinois. But Obama will point to his advantage in the number of states and delegates won. A showdown in Denver may be unavoidable.

Such a showdown would reveal the consequences of eight years of Democratic procedural decisions that made no sense save for the premise that Hillary Clinton, as she expected, would be handed the nomination on Super Tuesday. That the convention will be held unusually late raises the prospect of not knowing the identity of the Democratic nominee until shortly before Labor Day. The decision to deprive Michigan and Florida of delegates because their primaries were scheduled too early cannot stand in a contested convention. That Hillary Clinton's candidacy still lives forces Democrats to cope with their mistakes.

2008 Creators Syndicate Inc


  1. Much BS has been written on the subject.
    Novak condenses the facts.

  2. It would be nice if the Black Community could be convinced of the FACT that Obama's positionS lend aid and comfort to the Genocide of Black Communities which is a growing phenomenon.
    ...See Los Angeles, CA.

  3. Judging Gun Rights: Are They Inalienable?
    By Ken Blackwell

    Editor's Note: This column is co-written by Ken Blackwell and Sandy Froman

    “Rights [are] antecedent to all earthly government …” John Adams

    As a historic Supreme Court case on the Second Amendment looms, District of Columbia v. Heller, two unexpected perspectives show what is at stake in this case for all Americans.

    Between the two of us as authors, our commitment to the Second Amendment, coupled with our real-life experiences, explodes the stereotypical images of gun owners in America. We are living proof that the Second Amendment is a blessing for all Americans, and that all Americans have a vested interest in the pending court case.

    What would compel a petite Jewish woman born in San Francisco and educated at Stanford University and Harvard Law School to buy a pistol and end up as the president of the National Rifle Association?

    Growing up in the Froman family in the California Bay Area in the 1950s was idyllic. No one in my family owned guns. We didn’t even hunt or shoot. While real guns weren’t part of my life, “reel” guns were. Television Westerns like “Have Gun Will Travel” and of course, the “Rifleman,” were a type of morality plays — good guys and bad guys both used guns except the bad guys used guns to hurt and threaten people while the good guys used guns to protect and defend themselves. That lesson was never forgotten.

    Thirty years later, as a young lawyer in Los Angeles, my gun awakening came in the form of terror when someone tried to break into my house in the middle of the night. Unable to defend myself, it suddenly became very clear that the person responsible for protecting my life and safety was me.

    I refused to be a helpless victim. It was time to buy a gun and learn how to use it. Later when I joined the NRA and began receiving their flagship publication, the American Rifleman, I knew that Chuck Connors was right. Guns in the hands of good people save lives.

    Growing up in the Blackwell household in the central city neighborhoods of Cincinnati informed my public policy work as mayor of the Queen City and as an undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Families like mine — low income, civically engaged, and responsible — expected access to firearms for safety. Then, as now, criminals were not inclined to break into a house where the owner was armed.

    Things were tougher in the South where the Deacons of Defense, most of whom were veterans like my father, chased away KKK riders and thugs. These groups of armed men patrolled their neighborhoods to keep them safe at night. Whether it’s an individual or a family who has to fight against random criminals or organized threats, our lives are evidence that Americans, particularly women and minorities in today’s urban areas, need our Second Amendment rights.


    The Supreme Court has never settled the controversy at the heart of the great American gun debate: Whether individual citizens have a constitutional right to possess private firearms. Now the High Court has agreed to answer this question, in what will most likely be a 5-4 decision that could go either way.

    This month the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in District of Columbia v. Heller. It is the first ever Supreme Court case that has the promise of finally answering the question of what the Second Amendment means. Assuming that the Court does not dismiss the case on some technicality, Heller could become the definitive standard for gun rights in America.

    VIDEO: Media assault on the Second Amendment

    VIDEO: DC v. Heller

  4. By nationality, the United States still easily led the rankings with 469 billionaires up from 415 last year, but Russia replaced Germany as the second placed country with 87 billionaires.

    Third-placed India saw the number of its super-rich jump to 53 entries on the list -- four of them in the top 10 -- although China and Hong Kong if taken together would overtake it, with 42 and 26 billionaires respectively.

    Japan, although still the second largest economy in the world, saw its number of billionaires trailing at 24 -- overtaken by Turkey, which this year saw its number of mega-tycoons on the list jump from 22 in 2007 to 35.

  5. The Elephant Bar is supported largely by the generous donations from its readers. All the money is kept in a lock box next to the pickled pigs feet jar. Has anyone spotted the key?

  6. Two weeks ago Hillary was up by 25 points in Texas and Ohio, but on March 4 she only won by 10 and 5 points in those states respectively, and only picked up a net gain of 10 delegates, but the media is saying that she is the one who has the "MO".

    Jonathan Alter at Newsweek says her math problem has gotten even worse.

  7. From Trish's posted article:

    "For to take the opposite view today is to resemble a manufacturer who, running at a loss, decides to raise his price, and when his declining sales increase the loss, wrapping himself in the rectitude of plain arithmetic, decides that prudence requires him to raise the price still more--and who, when at last his account is balanced with nought on both sides, is still found righteously declaring that it would have been the act of a gambler to reduce the price when you were already making a loss."

    geee, that makes business so simple, just reduce your price and get rich to heck with the complexities of margins and all that. Same goes for taxation - so simple dammit just cut tax rates.

    from doug's posted article:

    "Between the two of us as authors, our commitment to the Second Amendment, coupled with our real-life experiences, explodes the stereotypical images of gun owners in America. We are living proof that the Second Amendment is a blessing for all Americans, and that all Americans have a vested interest in the pending court case."

    upon reading I had this nasty vision of 2 Latino gangbanging gun owners loving stroking their pieces.

  8. Found this at Wolcott's

    "Hoarsing Around

    The "Hoarse Whisperer"--that's Barry Crimmins' nail-perfect nickname for Republican standard-bearer John McCain, whose victory speech last night looked and sounded like General Jack D. Ripper on fast forward:

    McCain's oratory is inane. Last night he had sheer terror in his eyes when was reading his speech off the teleprompter. At times it sped up and he sped up. You could almost hear the guffaws from the control room. He turned his head but his eyes stayed fixed on the scrolling text.

    That the remarks were prepared was the only thing that made them noteworthy because it made yo realize, "Holy shit, he planned this blather!"

    Friends, we must respectfully discuss our bloodlust.

    His speeches sound like a bad local car dealer ad. He calls us all "friends" again and again. And then he asks his "friends" to help him bring glory to our nation with "victory" in a total blunder of a war.

    Excuse me, Mr. Hoarse Whisperer, but people who ask me to sign off on indiscriminate carnage are not my friends.

    And he's now trying to dismiss Obama's questioning the phony premises for the needless and insane war in Iraq by calling such questions "an old argument.' He then tells us we don't have time for old arguments...

    So I guess McCain's message is: It's not time for old arguments-- it's time for old candidates.

    Somewhere, in some tastefully appointed room, Mitt Romney is wringing his manicured yet manly hands and wondering, How the fudge did I lose to this guy?

    Because even alone with his thoughts, Mitt would never use the "-uck" word, for fear of being celestially overheard."

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. That's because you have a perverted, pornographic mind, Ashley:
    The article was talking about SELF DEFENSE, of a Jewish Woman, and a black, including defending others against the KKK.
    Your Heroic Illegal Gang Bangers are regularly shooting people on the basis of racial hatred and "superiority," and a desire to run other races out of town.
    I guess I see why that is such a turn on to you, but it is still sad and pathetic.
    Lately, in LA, the victims have been mostly children, so I suppose they have gained stature in your mind like the noble "Palestinians."
    You are one sick dude or dudette, or biTran, or whatever.

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. The Jewish mom, the black, the white, and the Latino gangbanger are equally covered by the second amendment.

  13. When guns are outlawed only gangbangers will have guns. And bob, cause without a constitutional amendment, he's not turning is in. A Supreme Court ruling won't do for me.


    Hi, I'm Pat Condell.
    I don't respect your beliefs
    and I don't care if you're offended.

    Vid 1, Pat Condell on Expectations:

    Vid 2, Pat Condell on Europe:

  15. Obama's The Guy With The Math Problem

    Story says he can't win in November. But if that's true, why am I always reading the Republicans think Hillary is the easier to beat?

  16. Apropos of nothing.

    Tim Lee of

    February 25, 2008
    Deregulation Used to Be a Liberal Idea

    One of my favorite things about Matt Yglesias’s blog is that he’s considerably better-informed than his commenters, and is willing to say things that he knows perfectly well will piss them off. The latest example is a post where Matt opines that “the movement, started under Jimmy Carter then of course continued by Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, to deregulate important aspects of the American economy was basically a good thing.” This provokes almost unanimous condemnation from Matt’s readers. But Matt’s right.

    I think it’s amazing how many commenters here appear to have absolutely no knowledge of the nature of a lot of regulations in the 1970s and before. I’m not talking about meat inspections or environmental laws here, but the regulation of trucking, airlines, telecommunications, securities, and a number of other industries were thinly veiled attempts to create government-supported monopolies for the benefit of incumbent businesses. The ICC, for example, which regulated surface transportation, carefully controlled which trucking companies could drive which routes. They routinely denied applications to provide new service on the grounds that the route in question already had “enough” competition. The result, not surprisingly, was that prices were significantly higher than they would be in a competitive market. Airlines were the same way. The CAB actively prevented the airlines from cutting prices or expanding service. And until the early 1970s, the FCC actively worked to prevent competition in the long-distance market to keep AT&T’s profits up.

    Not only did consumers get screwed from higher prices, but this created a lot of waste too. Trucks would commonly drive from one city to another, and then drive back empty because they couldn’t get permission to carry cargo on the return trip. In the 1960s, airplanes were almost half empty, on average, because they weren’t allowed to cut prices in order to attract more passengers.

    Airline, trucking, and long distance deregulation were a win from just about every ideological perspective. It was good for consumers (especially low-income consumers), free markets, and economic efficiency. The major losers were incumbent businesses who no longer enjoyed monopoly profits. It’s a rare example in which elite opinion across the political spectrum converged on a set of changes that benefitted almost everyone in society.

    A final thing to note is that these policies were championed by liberal Democrats. The key players were Jimmy Carter, Ted Kennedy, and Stephen Breyer, who worked for Kennedy in the 70s. This was a great triumph of liberal intellectuals over corporate interests. Yet a generation later, the smart lefties who read Matt’s blog seem to be completely oblivious to what was probably Jimmy Carter’s most important domestic policy accomplishment.

  17. "..these policies were championed by liberal Democrats. The key players were Jimmy Carter, Ted Kennedy,.."

    So what changed?

  18. So what changed?

    Let me guess. The pinkos realized that the practically of such policies are of actual benefit to the United States.

  19. "It was good for consumers (especially low-income consumers), free markets, and economic efficiency. The major losers were incumbent businesses who no longer enjoyed monopoly profits."

    One of the underlying ideas buttressing my belief in free trade.

  20. why am I always reading the Republicans think Hillary is the easier to beat?

    Thu Mar 06, 03:34:00 PM EST

    It's probably better to simply allow, bob, that the odds are against the incumbent party candidate after an eight-year run in the WH. 4 of the last 5 elections occurring at the end of back-to-back terms went to the party challenger. (Exception being GHWB.) Familiarity breeds contempt. Or at least simple exhaustion.

    Additionally, party identification is currently up among Democrats and down among Republicans.

    Who would the 'better' opposition candidate be this time around? One who wasn't breathing. (Unfortunately McCain almost fits that bill on the Republican side himself.)

  21. One of the underlying ideas buttressing my belief in free trade.

    Thu Mar 06, 04:12:00 PM EST

    Whatever gets ya there, ash.

    Whatever gets ya there.

  22. Bobal your story assumes that GOP turnout will be at 2000 or 2004 levels. But buyer's remorse is already setting in over McCain, and this time there's no critical foreign policy issue (Iraq) that hangs over the election. Instead, there's a recession, and that didn't bode well for Republicans in 1932, 1960, and 1980.

  23. Gas prices are a bummer. But if people would think about it they'd realize the prices are likely to get worse under the democrats.

    Hillary in the Spirit Passes theological exam.

  24. '80 was a bad year for Republicans?

  25. That was the year the pubs failed by two or three states to sweep the board, Sam. An off year. Elected some unknown named Ron somebody.

  26. “Gulf states have become more pragmatic in their oil policy which is no longer based on political considerations. I don’t think this will affect US-Gulf relations,” Saudi economist Abulwahab Abu-Dahesh told AFP.

    “Oil market fundamentals are dictating exactly the opposite of what the US president has asked for... Oil prices are no longer determined by supply and demand alone,” Abu-Dahesh said.

    OPEC, which produces 40 percent of the world’s oil, said after deciding to keep output unchanged at a meeting in Vienna that it was supplying consumers with enough crude and insisted it was not responsible for rocketing prices.

    Oil Policy

  27. Cato has done a decent amount of research over the years on OPEC. Always worth a read for the interested.

  28. "The process is really open," McCain said of his search. "But I know that Governor Crist will continue to serve this country in many respects in the future.

    He's still a very young man."

    Also mentioned as possible McCain running mates are Govs. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, Sarah Palin of Alaska, Jon Huntsman Jr. of Utah, Haley Barbour of Mississippi and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota.

    VP Choice

  29. Other militant groups are also likely to disrupt any attempts to restore calm. Early Thursday, Palestinian militants set off a bomb on the Gaza border, blowing up an Israeli army jeep and killing a soldier.

    Late Thursday, Israel said it shot a group of militants trying to plant a bomb in the same area. Palestinian officials said four militants were wounded in an Israeli ground attack.

    This was the first major attack by Palestinian militants on the Jewish side of Jerusalem in the last four years, although police and the military claimed to have foiled many attempts.

    At Least 10 Killed

  30. Ash's heroic freedom fighter:
    The gunman, who has not yet been identified, was thought to be either a Palestinian or an Israeli Arab living inside Jerusalem. The dead were all thought to be between 20 and 30 years of age.

  31. Ash said...
    The Jewish mom, the black, the white, and the Latino gangbanger are equally covered by the second amendment.
    Brilliant, simply brilliant.
    You are a sad ad for your Professor Dad.

  32. Yoni says all Olmert's possible replacements are all wimps also.
    (He includes Bibi:
    You got an opinion on that, Mat?)

  33. Jamiel Shaw's "18-year plan" for his son was beautifully simple: stay in school, make the grades, stay out of trouble and go off to a college far away from their gang-infested neighborhood.


    Police Chief William Bratton acknowledged the spike in gang crime and said he's responding the same way he did in 2002, the last time there was such violence. He's "putting cops on the dots" — meaning flooding crime hot spots with officers.


    Los Angeles has recorded 74 homicides this year, a 27 percent increase from the same time last year. Still, Bratton said overall crime is down, as are gang-related homicides — from 28 last year to 22 so far this year.

    Young Life Ends in Death

  34. If McCain chooses that Texas Lady, I may choose to be Euthanized.
    Can'teven say her name.
    (Sr moment deserving of euthanization.)

  35. Sam: '80 was a bad year for Republicans?

    Well, okay, my point is that recessions are bad for the party in the white house.

  36. Bratton doesn't mention ex gang member Tony Villar's special order 40 which renders LA a sanctuary city.

    ...also does not repeat his quote to the effect that

    Bratton is a worthless political whore.

  37. I suppose Jamiel Shaw's murder will not be recorded as a hate crime, or gang hate crime, since hispanics and illegals are home free under Tony Villar's rule.
    ...if Hillary is elected, maybe he'll be Veep!

  38. "This was the first major attack by Palestinian militants on the Jewish side of Jerusalem in the last four years, although police and the military claimed to have foiled many attempts"
    Wonder how many there would have been with Chertof/Boeing/Bush virtual fence and Presidente Bush's ROI's?

  39. We need to recover the spiritual and moral direction that should describe our country and ourselves. We see this in Obama, and we see the promise he represents to bring factions together, to achieve again the unity that drives great change and faces difficult, and inconvenient, truths and peril.

    We need to send a message to ourselves and to the world that we truly do stand for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And in electing an African-American, we also profoundly renounce an ugliness and violence in our national character that have been further stoked by our president in these last eight years.

    Like Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama challenges America to rise up, to do what so many of us long to do: to summon "the better angels of our nature."

    New Hope

  40. Doug,

    Limor Livnat. She's got the personal and ideological temperament of Margaret Thatcher. She's also from Haifa, so she understands Arabs.

  41. "As he entered his 80th year, Buckley began to slow down. Every three weeks, he would take the train to Boston, to sit with his old liberal friend and fellow charming egoist, John Kenneth Galbraith, who was slowly wasting away and died in April 2006. Buckley himself suffered from emphysema and diabetes, and was not happy when the doctors told him to stop drinking and smoking. Last April, he was stricken by the death of his beloved Pat. The dinner parties ended; Buckley rarely appeared in public. But he was "not morose," says Chris. "To the end, he had a spring in his step." At times, when the younger Buckley seemed gloomy, his father told him, "Remember, despair is a mortal sin." Buckley prayed every day, "and in that sense," says Clarke Reed, "he was always ready."

    A few days before Buckley died, Bruce Levingston, the concert pianist who had so often played in the Buckleys' living room, called his friend: Levingston had planned a "musical evening" for Buckley. Levingston was getting ready to play Carnegie Hall, and he wanted to try out a program, a piece by Scarlatti, a Baroque composer who also wrote for the harpsichord, at Buckley's home. "That will be splendid, assuming I'm alive!" said Buckley, with a laugh. He lives on."


  42. Does she have a chance at getting elected, Mat?

  43. Doug,

    She's a Likud member. Right now, Bibi heads the Likud Party.

  44. Did somebody else link this before?
    Oklo Natural
    Nuclear Reactors - Fact Sheet

    It came as a great surprise to most, therefore, when, in 1972, French physicist Francis Perrin declared that nature had beaten humans to the punch by creating the world’s first nuclear reactors. Indeed, he argued, nature had a two-billion-year head start.1 Fifteen natural fission reactors have been found in three different ore deposits at the Oklo mine in Gabon, West Africa. These are collectively known as the Oklo Fossil Reactors.2

  45. Something don't sound right about Professor Bill's description of Radioactive Wastes, Albob.
    ...assuming your description was accurate.
    ...didn't he say they would quickly decay?

  46. Whats your opinion of Bibi, Mat?

  47. Doug,

    He had his chance. He pushed some decent economic and educational reforms, but national security is not his forte. He should not be head of Likud.

  48. For over a decade, Moshe Feiglin has been a thorn stuck deeply in the flesh of the Israeli right-wing establishment, especially the Likud. Every time the Likudniks have tried to present themselves as a party of moderate realists, and to explain that their objection to a Palestinian state is based on rational arguments, up jumps Feiglin with his radical interpretation of what the Likud really should be about.

    A former major in the IDF engineering corps, Feiglin, who made a small fortune in the hi-tech boom with a startup company and another office window-cleaning business, entered political life in the early 90s as one of the leaders of Zu Artzeinu (This Is Our Land), a mass movement dedicated to fighting the Oslo Accords.

    Feiglin claimed that the Rabin government had no legitimacy to cede territory to the Palestinians. He espoused non-violent civilian revolt and led road-blockings.

    Banned From Britain

  49. Gave great speeches here, guess that doesn't stop the Palis!

  50. But she needs to keep winning primaries for two reasons. One is that she must stop superdelegates who've endorsed her from stampeding to Obama.

    They won't if she's the hot candidate. The other is that she needs to bolster her case for counting delegates from Florida and Michigan, whose primaries were disqualified by the Democratic party because they took place before February 5.

    If she finishes the primary season with a string of victories, she'll be in a better position to have her case taken seriously.


  51. Revisiting Dr. Bill

    Dr. Bill's Recommended Articles

    Best I can do Doug. We used to have a machine when I was a kid in the old David's Department Store in town, put your foot in there, you could see your bones! Everybody thought, gee-whiz!

  52. After the Bomb - Explosion of a Crude Nuclear Weapon in the USA
    After the Bomb
    By William Perry, Ashton Carter and Michael May
    The New York Times
    June 12, 2007

    The probability of a nuclear weapon one day going off in an American city cannot be calculated, but it is larger than it was five years ago. Potential sources of bombs or the fissile materials to make them have proliferated in North Korea and Iran. Russia’s arsenal remains incompletely secured 15 years after the end of the Soviet Union. And Pakistan’s nuclear technology, already put on the market once by Abdul Qadeer Khan, could go to terrorists if the president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, cannot control radicals in that country.

    In the same period, terrorism has surged into a mass global movement and seems to gather strength daily as extremism spills out of Iraq into the rest of the Middle East, Asia, Europe and even the Americas. More nuclear materials that can be lost or stolen plus more terrorists aspiring to mass destruction equals a greater chance of nuclear terrorism.

    Former Senator Sam Nunn in 2005 framed the need for Washington to do better at changing this math with a provocative question: On the day after a nuclear weapon goes off in an American city, “what would we wish we had done to prevent it?” But in view of the increased risk we now face, it is time to add a second question to Mr. Nunn’s: What will we actually do on the day after? That is, what actions should our government take?

    It turns out that much could be done to save lives and ensure that civilization endures in such terrible circumstances. After all, the underlying equation would remain a few terrorists acting against all the rest of us, and even nuclear weapons need not undermine our strong societies if we prepare to act together sensibly. Sadly, it is time to consider such contingency planning.

    First and foremost, the scale of disaster would quickly overwhelm even the most prepared city and state governments. To avoid repeating the Hurricane Katrina fiasco on a much larger scale, Washington must stop pretending that its role would be to support local responders. State and local governments — though their actions to save lives and avoid panic in the first hours would be essential — must abandon the pretense that they could remain in charge. The federal government, led by the Department of Homeland Security, should plan to quickly step in and take full responsibility and devote all its resources, including those of the Department of Defense, to the crisis.

    Only the federal government could help the country deal rationally with the problem of radiation, which is unique to nuclear terrorism and uniquely frightening to most people. For those within a two-mile-wide circle around a Hiroshima-sized detonation (in Washington, that diameter is the length of the Mall; in New York, three-fourths the length of Central Park; in most cities, the downtown area) or just downwind, little could be done. People in this zone who were not killed by the blast itself, perhaps hundreds of thousands of them, would get radiation sickness, and many would die.

    But most of a city’s residents, being farther away, would have more choices. What should they do as they watch a cloud of radioactive debris rise and float downwind like the dust from the twin towers on 9/11? Those lucky enough to be upwind could remain in their homes if they knew which way the fallout plume was blowing. (The federal government has the ability to determine that and to quickly broadcast the information.) But for those downwind and more than a few miles from ground zero, the best move would be to shelter in a basement for three days or so and only then leave the area.

    This is a hard truth to absorb, since we all would have a strong instinct to flee. But walking toward the suburbs or sitting in long traffic jams would directly expose people to radiation, which would be the most intense on the day after the bomb went off. After that, the amount would drop off day by day (one-third as strong after three days, one-fifth as strong after five days, and so on), because of the natural decay of the radioactive components of the fallout.

    More tough decisions would arise later. People downwind could leave their homes or stay, leave for a while and then come back or leave and come back briefly to retrieve valuables. The choices would be determined by the dose of radiation they were willing to absorb. Except in the hot zone around the blast and a few miles downwind, even unsheltered people would not be exposed to enough radiation to make them die or even become sick. It would be enough only to raise their statistical chance of getting cancer later in life from 20 percent (the average chance we all have) to something greater — 21 percent, 22 percent, up to 30 percent at the maximum survivable exposure.

    Similar choices would face first responders and troops sent to the stricken area: how close to ground zero could they go, and for how long? Few would choose to have their risk of death from cancer go up to 30 percent. But in cases of smaller probabilities — an increase to 20.1 percent, for example — a first responder might be willing to go into the radiation zone, or a resident might want to return to pick up a beloved pet. These questions could be answered only by the individuals themselves, based on information about the explosion.

    Next comes the unpleasant fact that the first nuclear bomb may well not be the last. If terrorists manage to obtain a weapon, or the fissile material to make one (which fits into a small suitcase), who’s to say they wouldn’t have two or three more? And even if they had no more weapons, the terrorists would most likely claim that they did. So people in other cities would want to evacuate on the day after, or at least move their children to the countryside, as happened in England during World War II.

    The United States government, probably convened somewhere outside Washington by the day after, would be urgently trying to trace the source of the bombs. No doubt, the trail would lead back to some government — Russia, Pakistan, North Korea or other countries with nuclear arsenals or advanced nuclear power programs — because even the most sophisticated terrorist groups cannot make plutonium or enrich their own uranium; they would need to get their weapons or fissile materials from a government.

    The temptation would be to retaliate against that government. But that state might not even be aware that its bombs were stolen or sold, let alone have deliberately provided them to terrorists. Retaliating against Russia or Pakistan would therefore be counterproductive. Their cooperation would be needed to find out who got the bombs and how many there were, and to put an end to the campaign of nuclear terrorism. It is important to continue to develop the ability to trace any bomb by analyzing its residues. Any government that did not cooperate in the search should, of course, face possible retaliation.

    Finally, as buildings and lives were destroyed, so would the sense of safety and well-being of survivors, and this in turn could lead to panic. Contingency plans for the day after a nuclear blast should demonstrate to Americans that all three branches of government can work in unison and under the Constitution to respond to the crisis and prevent further destruction.

    A council of, say, the president, the vice president, the speaker of the House and the majority leader of the Senate, with the chief justice of the Supreme Court present as an observer, could consider certain aspects of the government’s response, like increased surveillance. Any emergency measures instituted on the day after should be temporary, to be reviewed and curtailed as soon as the crisis ends.

    Forceful efforts to prevent a nuclear attack — more forceful than we have seen in recent years — may keep the day from coming. But as long as there is no way to be sure it will not, it is important to formulate contingency plans that can save thousands of lives and billions of dollars, prevent panic and promote recovery. They can also help us preserve our constitutional government, something that terrorists, even if armed with nuclear weapons, should never be allowed to take away.

  53. A local news report on the radio is just telling me the morons in the Washington State legislature, mostly democrats, who are working up a green everything bill, won't even consider nuclear power. The few pubs were trying to include it as a possibility in the bill. The dems. They'd rather tilt at windmills.

  54. And they won't call hydropower clean renewable either. So that leaves them--windmills.


  55. Put all those liberals and greens in Seattle to work pulling rickshaws, I say.

  56. Finally! At last! The government is getting serious about illegal aliens--Deports Nun

  57. "The topic tonight is the hippies, an understanding of whom we must, I guess, acquire, or die painfully.
    We certainly should make considerable progress in the next hour because we have with us a professional student of the hippies, as also someone who is said to have started the whole hippie generation business. And finally, a hippie type who can correct us, ever so gently please, if we are wrong."

    -- William F. Buckley, Jr.

  58. "David's Department Store in town, put your foot in there, you could see your bones! Everybody thought, gee-whiz!"
    I wonder why are feet haven't fallen off, or our balls shriveled up?
    (excluding Ashley)

  59. Also funny, I can no longer remember what my bony feet looked like!

  60. (I can picture many things from that time, but I just see myself standing at the machine, not the x-ray itself)

  61. Did you put your head in the machine, Doug? :)

  62. You think that's when my balls should've shriveled up?

  63. I remember it was in the shoe department. Deal was, you were supposed to see how the shoes fit. But all I remember is seeing my bones, not the bones in the shoes. It was there a couple years, before they got informed about the dangers.

    A radiant red-head!

  64. The shoes take me back, I can barely remember now my feet in there.
    You had to step up a bit to stand at the machine, right?

  65. Yeah, step up. I can't remember if you shoved both feet in or just one.

  66. I wonder if it killed the bacteria in your socks, an added benefit. Kinda like a microwave is said to do.

  67. They had them in Ohio too, my wife says, same machine, step up, stick your foot in. Amazing any of us can still walk.

  68. Both feet at once, as I recall.

  69. Lee Jong-suk, a senior fellow at the Sejong Institute, also said in his latest paper that the government estimate of North Korea's defense spending at US$5 billion was inflated by more than two times.

    Lee served as a Unification Minister under the former liberal government of Roh Moo-hyun in 2006.

    In August, the Bank of Korea (BOK) announced that North Korea's nominal gross national income (GNI) amounted to US$25.6 billion in 2005, about 35 times smaller than South Korea's. GNI refers to a nation's gross domestic product plus its trade loss or gain arising from changes in trade.

    Economy Overestimated

  70. The question arises from a list of 39 people Rezko's lawyers said in a court filing he urged Blagojevich to give state jobs.

    Among those on the list were two people who appear to have Obama links and a third who's now an Obama presidential campaign staffer.

    But did the names come from Obama? His campaign staff's short answer: Don't know -- but it's possible.

    Did Rezko Find Jobs?

  71. From cafehayek:

    March 03, 2008
    Ohio and NAFTA

    The Wall Street Journal's superb columnist Mary Anastasia O'Grady says this today about the protectionist pronouncements pouring forth from both the Clinton and Obama camps:

    After watching the Obama-Clinton debate in Cleveland on Tuesday, I came away convinced that both candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination want to run this country like Argentina.

    In that country, Juan Peron-inspired labor syndicates and their bosses dominate the economy and work hand-in-glove with the state. Together they have ensured Argentina's isolation from international commerce and investment, and a slow but steady decline in living standards.

    This is a sharp left turn for the Democratic Party leadership. One of the most significant global trade-liberalization rounds in the 20th century bore the name of John F. Kennedy. Now Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, by threatening to dissolve the North American Free Trade Agreement unless it is converted into a cudgel for Big Labor, want to drag us backward.

    Also, as Rossputin's Ross Kaminsky points out to me in an e-mail, the unemployment rate in Ohio in December 1993 -- the month before NAFTA took effect on January 1, 1994 -- was 6.5 percent. Says Ross: "It has never since touched a level that high again. Why the hell doesn't anyone say that in public? It's so obvious a thing to look at."

    Great point. (Of course, the reason that Clinton and Obama don't speak this truth is because to do so would not help them politically. Remember, they seek office and power rather than truth and understanding. To expect either of them to utter even one politically inconvenient truth is as reasonable as expecting your pet turtle to recite from memory the Magna Carta.)

    Looking at the data on Ohio's unemployment rate from the early 1990s onward is indeed revealing. The unemployment rate in Ohio was declining before NAFTA took effect (it was, for example, 7.0 percent in January of 1993). The rate continued to decline, reaching 3.9 percent as recently as February of 2001. From that date, it began to rise, hitting 6.2 percent for a few months in 2004. From November 2004, Ohio's unemployment began again to fall, settling in to the mid-five-percent range pretty much since then. The most recent reading (for December 2007) is 5.8 percent.

    Also, the most recent month prior to NAFTA going into effect in which Ohio's unemployment rate was as low as 5.8 percent is October 1990.

    Ohio's unemployment rate before and after NAFTA took effect emphatically does not tell a tale of workers in that state being harmed by expanded trade between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

  72. China will favor yuan appreciation against the euro rather than the dollar as policy makers seek to reduce a record trade surplus and calm criticism from European officials, according to Calyon.


    The shift in foreign exchange policy was foreshadowed by former central bank adviser Li Yang, who said last month that China will focus more to managing the yuan's exchange-rate against currencies of its biggest trading partners and not just the dollar.


    China's trade surplus soared to a record $262 billion in 2007, prompting calls from European officials including European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet to reduce trade imbalances. Some U.S. lawmakers also claim China's currency is kept undervalued to make exports competitive.

    Yuan Gains

  73. If a single practical reason for reading The Wealth of Nations had to be given, it could be stated in three words, "global free trade." Or, since there's a particular example of global free trade that alarms us more than any other, one word will suffice: China.

    Thinking about China seems to induce intellectual Chinese fire drills and cause otherwise clear-thinking individuals to fuddle themselves with calculations - harder than Chinese arithmetic - about what this, that, or the other thing has to do with the price of tea in you-know-where. We have been amazed and perplexed by China since The Travels of Marco Polo. It's so big, so populous, so...Chinese. And until the end of the thirteenth century we didn't even realize it was there.

    Of course, we'd been trading with China, whether we knew it or not, since the time of the Roman Empire. But trade with China remains a source of surprise and shock. It seems the Chinese are selling everything to us. And we are selling hardly anything to the Chinese. China is becoming ferociously rich. And what will become of us?

    Panicky articles about the balance of trade clutter the New York Times and other broadsheets. In 2005 I began tearing these items out of the papers and stuffing them into my pockets until I looked like something that was going to be burned if effigy (a fate not always undeserved by amateurs who write about economics).

    The United States imports a great deal more than it exports, due in large part to the China trade. At my house I see a MADE IN CHINA label on everything but the kids and dogs. And I'm not sure about the kids. They have brown eyes and small noses.

    In June 2005 the U.S. quarterly trade deficit reached $195 billion. The New York Times claimed that "the news reignited worries that the economy cannot sustain the growing level of global debt." Importing all of our goods except for golden retrievers means American money must be sent overseas to pay the bills. Money is a promissory note. American IOUs are piling up. The Times article pointed out that "the United States borrows, in essence, $2.1 billion every day to keep the economy afloat."

    Never mind that an "international current account deficit" is not comparable to a private debt. Hu Jintao is not going to show up at my door threatening to repossess my DVD payer because he has a fifty-dollar bill that I owe him.

    This fact did not stop the New York Times from finding panickers to quote. North Carolina Senator Byron Dorgan said that the deficit was reaching "dangerous levels that are hurting this country's future." And Maryland Congressman Benjamin L. Cardin said (using the synonym for "future" that sets off the baloney alert), "The deficit raises serious questions about our ability to control our destiny."


    - P J O'Rourke on The Wealth of Nations

    More to follow. (When she feels like transcribing.)

  74. The word unemployed isn't used much in Idehooo these days. Hovering around 2% and the papers are filled with ads. If you don't have a job here you're not trying.

  75. Nurses always in big demand.

  76. After a cold dreary start, Bryson is settling in for the hike on the Appalachian Trail. No bear run in yet. Sounds like there are a lot of peoples along the trail through, and civilization not far away.

    Shit, they call this hiking back east. A walk in the woods it is. Through the hills.:)

  77. A stroll through a woodland park on a maintained trail.

    With post offices.


  78. "Shit, they call this hiking back east."

    You'll have to forgive us, bob. We're a little challenged that way.

  79. Just kidding, Trish.

    Has Hillary been touched by the Spirit? The folks at the WND poll don't seem to think so---

    Daily Poll


    What's your reaction to Hillary's claim to have felt the 'presence' of the Holy Spirit?

    Every word coming out of her mouth is calculated to manipulate, pander and attract votes – I simply don't believe her 79.53% (136)

    It doesn't change the fact she's one of the most evil people in American public life 5.26% (9)

    It's not for me to judge with whom God communicates 3.51% (6)

    But did she listen? 3.51% (6)

    From my reading of the Bible, I find it hard to believe the Holy Spirit is leading us toward socialism 3.51% (6)

    Right ... and, as first lady, she had a conversation with a long-dead Eleanor Roosevelt 2.34% (4)

    If so, it's inconsistent with her ruthless, ambitious quest for power 1.17% (2)

    I certainly believe she has had some kind of spiritual encounter – she always seems so inspired 0.58% (1)

    Considering how God chose to work through so many flawed characters in the Bible, it's certainly possible 0.58% (1)

    I'm not surprised – she's a devout Methodist and strong believer in the Christian faith 0.00% (0)

  80. In our few private moments, when Mary Ellen went off to tinkle in distant shrubs, Katz and I had formed a secret pact tht we would hike fourteen miles on the morrow to a place called Dicks Creek Gap, where there was a highway to the town of Hiawassee, eleven miles to the north. We would hike to the gap if it killed us, and then try to hitchhike into Hiawassee for dinner and a night in a motel. Plan B was that we would kill Mary Ellen and take her Pop Tarts.

    A Walk in the Woods

  81. "Just kidding, Trish."

    No shit.

    Speaking of the Holy Spirit: I bought a St. Rita figure at the nearby Dollar Mart two weeks ago.

    Can't say as she's not done her job thus far.

  82. Just go ahead and put a moving sidewalk, like in the airports, from Georgia to Maine, with escalators for the little hills, save everybody all that huffing and puffing.

  83. The saint of impossible causes.

  84. She's also said to be the Saint of Bees. Story goes, the white bees flew in and out of her mouth when she was sleeping as a baby, never stinging her. This endears her to me, as I turned up highly allergic to the damned things(used to like them). So maybe I ought to buy one of those little statues too:)

  85. St. Isidore is the Saint of the Farmers.

    Gimme a Rita, and an Isidore, please.

  86. Who's the patron saint of soldiers?

    Of diplomats?

    My mother filled me in before I left.

    Nite, bob.

  87. Barack's Immaculate Deception
    In which Barry Credits the March in Selma '65 with his very existence, his conception.
    Problem is Barry was born August 4, 1961!
    Similar to the Sir Edmund Hillary tale in Chronological Contradiction.
    (you can miss a whole bunch of BS by skipping to 4 minutes into the video)

  88. You know, there's something very similar about the civil rights movement and the war on terror.

    No matter how far we've come, it's never enough.

  89. Just ask Michelle Obama.
    Life in the USA Sucks,
    Unless of Course, I become first lady.

  90. Of course you could not empathize, never having had to make do on $400k/year.

  91. hey! here is the site i was talking about where i made the extra $800 last month, checkit out... the site is here

  92. hey! here is the site i was talking about where i made the extra $800 last month, checkit out... the site is here

  93. hey! here is the site i was talking about where i made the extra $800 last month, checkit out... the site is here

  94. hey! here is the site i was talking about where i made the extra $800 last month, checkit out... the site is here