Friday, May 18, 2007

Banging the lower-corporate-tax-rate drum

Larry Kudlow joins the chorus of those pushing for a corporate tax rate decrease and notes:

We should not bat an eye at reducing the 35 percent federal corporate tax rate.

And, while we’re at it, we should cut the corporate capital gains tax rate as well. Loews CEO James Tisch, who is justifiably concerned about our long-term competitiveness, is pushing this latter proposal. He believes that hundreds of billions of languishing corporate asset dollars would be unlocked and reinvested if this were to occur. He’s right. The result would be an inevitable infusion of new oxygen into the corporate bloodstream. It would create new businesses and greatly expand existing ones. All this would of course create tens of thousands of new jobs for American workers, not to mention a tidal wave of new tax receipts at Treasury.

Right now, the US and Japan are the flag bearers of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. (When one includes state taxes, the US rate is actually higher—40 percent). Yet, the EU average according to Washington policy analyst Dan Clifton is only 27 percent. And virtually every country around the globe is slashing away at their corporate income tax rate. Ireland’s booming economy boasts a corporate tax rate of only 10 percent. Even France comes in lower than the US. It’s quite clear that we have put ourselves at a significant competitive disadvantage in a very palpable, real sense.


Update: From our friends at Cato@Liberty, add yet another country to the list of those lowering corporate tax rates:

Kiwi officials openly admit that these reforms are driven by a need to compete with other nations, further confirming the need to protect and promote fiscal rivalry from the anti-competition schemes of international bureaucracies such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Fred Thompson: First presidential candidate blogger?

Or at least the first one to do it right. Thompson has posted at RedState before. Then after Michael Moore sought a debate with Thompson over criticism for his Cuba trip for his upcoming propaganda documentary film, Sicko, Thompson quickly responded by posting a light-hearted video response while chomping a cigar. And today, Mr. Thompson has a post up at Pajamas Media:

To solve our problems, we have to realize that our country is pretty evenly divided along party lines. With close numbers in the House and the Senate, there will be no real reform without real bipartisanship. Too often, what we are seeing isn’t an effort to find solutions, but rather insults and purely partisan politics. There are many good and responsible people in government who are willing to work together – but the level of bipartisanship needed for real progress can only be achieved when politicians perceive that the American people demand it.

I talked about this a bit a couple of weeks ago out in California. I talked about how I’d recently run across an old clipping of a Thomas Sowell editorial. In it, he pointed out that Wendell Willkie received the largest vote of any Republican for President when he lost to Franklin Roosevelt in 1940. After the election, though, he never let partisanship turn him into an enemy of the administration. Instead of trashing the president, he served as Roosevelt’s emissary to Winston Churchill.

In the same editorial, Sowell also told a story about Churchill. When British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain died, early in the Second World War, Churchill delivered his eulogy. Though Chamberlain had turned a deaf ear, for years, to all of Churchill’s warnings that could have prevented that war, Churchill praised him. “He acted with perfect sincerity,” Churchill said. “However the fates may play, we march always in the ranks of honor when we have done our best.”

Compare that magnanimity to what is going on in Washington and much of the Internet today. Sowell asks us, “In this day and time, can’t we have a responsible adult discussion of issues while the nation’s fate hangs in the balance in its most dangerous hour?”


Whatever one may think about Fred Thompson, he has proven to be very net savvy and is quite the communicator via digital resources.

Update: More on Thompson from Peggy Noonan over at OpinionJournal:

He is running a great campaign. It's just not a declared campaign. It's a guerrilla campaign whose informality is meant to obscure his intent. It has been going on for months and is aimed at the major pleasure zones of the Republican brain. In a series of pointed columns, commentaries and podcasts, Mr. Thompson has been talking about things conservatives actually talk about. Shouldn't homeowners have the right to own a gun? Isn't it bad that colleges don't teach military history? How about that Sarkozy--good news, isn't it? Did you see Tenet on Russert? His book sounds shallow, tell-all-y.

These comments and opinions are being read and forwarded in Internet Nation. They are revealing and interesting, but they're not heavy, not homework. They have an air of "This is the sound of a candidate thinking." That's an unusual sound.

Hat tip to - who else? - PajamasMedia.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Turning the tables on the Associated Press

Ouch. Michelle Malkin effectively skewers AP writer Nancy Benac who published a piece critical of GOP candidates, pointing out their lack of "diversity" in appointing advisers vs. the Democratic candidates. She turns the tables on the AP pointing out that of the 22 individuals on the AP Board of Directors 19 are men, 0 are "women of color", and 1 is a "man of color". She's still looking for info on 2 more members. Plenty of photos over at her site.

Crushing of dissent...

...in Thailand where the new military government has punished a radio station for receiving a call from the former Prime Minister Thaksin and allowing him to speak for 10-15 minutes:

Thaksin calls up a radio station in Bangkok and speaks for about 10-15 minutes. What happens to the radio station? The Nation reports:

[Public Relations] Department director-general Pramote Ratvinij said from the UK that he had just learned about the interview and so ordered his officials to "punish" the station for undermining national security.

COMMENT: Am I a national security threat just for mentioning Thaksin's name?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bernard Lewis: Was Osama right?

Interesting article from Mr. Lewis over at OpinionJournal that asks if the U.S. is truly "...pampered and degenerate..." as Osama and the Islamists have claimed :

During the Cold War, two things came to be known and generally recognized in the Middle East concerning the two rival superpowers. If you did anything to annoy the Russians, punishment would be swift and dire. If you said or did anything against the Americans, not only would there be no punishment; there might even be some possibility of reward, as the usual anxious procession of diplomats and politicians, journalists and scholars and miscellaneous others came with their usual pleading inquiries: "What have we done to offend you? What can we do to put it right?"
------------------------------------
From the writings and the speeches of Osama bin Laden and his colleagues, it is clear that they expected this second task, dealing with America, would be comparatively simple and easy. This perception was certainly encouraged and so it seemed, confirmed by the American response to a whole series of attacks--on the World Trade Center in New York and on U.S. troops in Mogadishu in 1993, on the U.S. military office in Riyadh in 1995, on the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000--all of which evoked only angry words, sometimes accompanied by the dispatch of expensive missiles to remote and uninhabited places.

Stage One of the jihad was to drive the infidels from the lands of Islam; Stage Two--to bring the war into the enemy camp, and the attacks of 9/11 were clearly intended to be the opening salvo of this stage. The response to 9/11, so completely out of accord with previous American practice, came as a shock, and it is noteworthy that there has been no successful attack on American soil since then. The U.S. actions in Afghanistan and in Iraq indicated that there had been a major change in the U.S., and that some revision of their assessment, and of the policies based on that assessment, was necessary.

More recent developments, and notably the public discourse inside the U.S., are persuading increasing numbers of Islamist radicals that their first assessment was correct after all, and that they need only to press a little harder to achieve final victory. It is not yet clear whether they are right or wrong in this view. If they are right, the consequences--both for Islam and for America--will be deep, wide and lasting.

Emphasis mine.

The honest, blunt truth: We just don't care enough.

That's the harsh reality, according to A Second Hand Conjecture, who penned an open letter to Mohammed over at IraqTheModel:

The real reason is we don’t care enough. Why would we value you and your family less? It is a hard thing to say to you, though I have no doubt you know it in your heart. Europe was not only the home of most of our ancestors, the source of the intellectual, philosophical and spiritual traditions which guided us, but it is familiar and comforting to us as well. You, however, are far more culturally, spiritually and historically divorced from us, or at least we believe that to be true. You are the other, Europe is related. I have written of the way we tend to view these things, and it is human nature. Some of us see the gap between our caring for our family, country, and countries we are more familiar with, in descending importance, as smaller than others do. I cannot honestly say I don’t feel to some extent the same way, but the difference isn’t as large as it is for most Americans or Europeans apparently. Iraq was fine when it was thought (foolishly) that it would be quick and easy. Unfortunately Americans are not willing to spend 1/20th of what we would to save Europe in resources, and we are not willing to spend 1/1000th of what we would in casualties, for Iraq. That is the cold hard truth.

I tried to have this conversation with a blogger here in America who is one of the most extreme in her desire for withdrawal. I presented a situation quite analogous to the Middle East, but placed the issue in Europe. In that circumstance she was more than willing to say she would support our involvement. When I pointed out that that was exactly the situation we faced in the Middle East, she abandoned the conversation. She didn’t want to face the implications of it, but we all know it is true.

I don't agree with 100% of this, but it is a detailed, intelligent response well worth the read.

Awesome: Amazon.com to launch DRM-free music store

Over at TechCrunch:

The decision is also another step in bringing down the DRM wall. There may have been a lot of interest and discussion in relation to Apple’s announcement in April, but it’s easily forgotten that as the most popular destination for legal digital music, Apple is also the biggest seller of DRM infected music. Amazon selling only DRM-free music sends a message that a leading retailer is willing to back consumers over big business and that a digital music business can be built and continued using only DRM-free products.


I was a big fan of emusic for this very reason, DRM-free, 100% mine-to-own-music. I pretty much soured on all the other music stores, getting sick and tired of registering my laptop and mobile players with the various music stores or having problems playing or burning CDs. Amazon's announcement is most welcome.

Hat tip to PajamasMedia.

No bias here. Nothing to see. Move along.

What happens when an undercover journalist exposes unethical military recruiting methods? They become recipients of glowing media attention and journalism awards.

What happens when an undercover journalist exposes unethical behavior at Planned Parenthood? They receive zero media attention and are threatened with lawsuits.

"Hamas Kindergarten"

The always excellent Cox and Forkum puts words to pictures:
For more background on "Hamas-Mickey" go here and here.

Multinational forces try to locate missing soldiers - before Al-Qaeda uses them for propaganda

I hadn't commented on the news that Al-Qaeda in Iraq had captured three of our soldiers simply because (1) I've been busy and (2) it's been plastered all over the news and blogosphere by people with far more interesting things to say than me.

However, if you want an honest, on-the-ground update as to what is currently happening in the search for our soldiers, look no further than the excellent Bill Roggio:

The U.S has poured over 4,000 troops into the region, and are back by an unspecified number of Iraqi Army, police and tribal allies throughout eastern Anbar and Karbala. An American military intelligence source informed us the Anbar Salvation Council has devoted assets in the region and are working tribal and insurgent contacts to develop leads in the case. "Every asset has been brought to bear in the hunt for the missing troops," according to a Multinational Forces Iraq press release, "including search dogs, trucks with speakers, unmanned aerial vehicles, law enforcement advisers, and both U.S. and Iraqi troops." Pamphlets have been dropped via air and phone tip lines have been established.


There is an urgency in finding the three soldiers before Al-Qaeda can distribute footage of the soldiers for propaganda purposes:

Al Qaeda in Iraq mocked the U.S. efforts to recover their soldiers, and stated the efforts may in fact endanger their lives. While al Qaeda has claimed it has captured the soldiers, it has yet to release photographs, video or audio to support the claim.

Al Qaeda will want to broadcast footage of the captured soldiers both to demoralize the U.S. public and to reap the rewards of a major propaganda coup. The U.S. will likely have Internet access locked down in the region to prevent the tape from being transmitted digitally, but an individual courier should eventually be able to slip the cordon. If the kidnap cell did not bring its own recording equipment, it will either push to a safe house to make the recording, or a team will press to reach it. Either act can lead to exposing the location of the soldiers. But their chances of survival decreases as soon as the tape is made.

All emphasis mine.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

"I am Saigon-people"

The next day was another fun-filled day visiting factories and navigating our way through poorly
paved roads, when there were paved roads at all. There’s no sense in boring you regarding my factory visits, needless to say it was more of the same, with government controlled or influenced factories performing on a lower level than those running under a free market orientation. My colleagues from our agent’s office were much more comfortable come lunch time so we didn’t need to meander around for an hour looking for a “suitable” place to eat, we simply grabbed some seats at an outdoor restaurant on the banks of the river and enjoyed a nice local meal. My friends invited me to dinner that night to a popular local place that is frequented by both Vietnamese and expat residents. The food was outstanding and it soon became a game to see what else the foreign white dude would eat. I had reminded them several times that I had lived in Asia before and had traveled extensively, having tried all sorts of strange foods and meats, but they continued to order oddly named local foods in the hopes of getting a reaction from me. While I’ll admit to not knowing some of the things I ate, and am quite sure some of them involved organs or other strange meats I had no knowledge of, it was all cooked and presented very fine and I couldn’t find anything that really shocked my palate.

The next day was more factory visits but we were one person short – one of my enthusiastic hosts had gotten ill from the food the night before while the rest of us were just fine. I was grateful I myself was not ill as I had gotten seriously sick on my previous trip to India. Anyways, our work was finally done and that night I went to bed early after a quick bite to eat with my hosts. I was looking forward to the next day, where I had roughly a half-day to myself before having to return to Thailand.

The next morning I got up, had a quick breakfast at the hotel, grabbed my camera, and started out on the walking tour provided to me by an acquaintance I knew who had traveled to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) many times on business. He had sent me an e-mail with detailed instructions starting from my hotel door on which streets to walk down and what I should stop to see. The hotel was located centrally in the downtown area so it was easy to walk around and see the major buildings and sites. Just a few blocks away was the famous Ben Thanh Market, which is a massive indoor/outdoor market selling just about everything under the sun. For any of you who have been to Bangkok, it is very similar to the famous Chatuchak Market, although not quite as big and mostly indoor. They have sections for fabrics, textiles, electronics, preserved snacks, candy, shoes, coffee, seafood, vegetables, and the list goes on. Just about anything you could conceivably think of they had under this one giant roof – with some overflow outside. I originally planned to get something, but as I walked through the market snapping pictures I realized that not only did I not really need anything, most of it was stuff I had seen at just about every major market I had been to in Asia. I was not a coffee drinker; otherwise the impressive selections of coffee beans and ground coffee would have been enticing. There were some interesting snacks and foods, a few of which I grabbed to snack on, but nothing I felt like trying to pack into my tiny carry on. So I just slowly walked around, soaking in the scene and taking pictures. Not quite as crowded or sweaty as Chatuchak in Thailand, yet the merchants were very pushy whenever they saw a white face. Eventually I grew annoyed at the constant badgering and once again was subjected to grabbing, which I don’t particularly like. Its one thing to badger a person verbally to buy something, quite another when you grab their arm. My theory for dealing with it is to simply ignore them, keeping my personal items close and an eye on them at all times, and gently pulling my arm away while never stopping.

Eventually I got back out onto the hot and humid street and kept walking the various streets, snapping pictures as I walked. I was soon badgered again, this time by more of the “bicycle-shaws” where you sit in a cart pulled by bicycle around the city, and also various street vendors selling maps, trinkets, etc. I continued to decline their offers and eventually one of them asked me “You Saigon-people?” My appearance must have prompted the question. I definitely did not look like the typical tourist – dark slacks, black semi-casual/formal shoes, and a loose, solid color, short-sleeve button down shirt. I did have a camera but it was a small digital one that I held easily in one hand.

Sensing a way out of the situation, I immediately answered “yes, I am Saigon-people” Immediately all the vendors and bicycle guides dispersed, leaving me completely alone. Some of the other nearby vendors must have also heard and didn’t even glance my way as I walked by. On the next block I was again accosted by eager street vendors and I decided to test my newfound phrase, stating again “I am Saigon-people” Again, they quietly turned around and went right back to what they were doing. Lesson learned: If you are traveling in Ho Chi Minh City and don’t want to be bothered while walking the main streets or touristy areas, simply tell them you are “Saigon-people” and that you live there and you should be left alone. Hint: this obviously will not work if you don’t at least somewhat look the part. Nobody is going to believe you if you look like the guy I saw walking across the street – fancy designer sunglasses, gaudy un-tucked shirt unbuttoned halfway down to the waist, sun burnt neck and arms, khaki multi-pocketed shorts packed with junk, cheap sandals, a backpack and a big camera. (Note to world: You wouldn’t walk around your hometown dressed like that (hmm…or maybe you do…?) – so what is it about travel that makes you completely comfortable walking out of your hotel room like that?) (Note to SOME older Western int’l businessmen: I would hope you don’t walk around your hometown, day or night, loudly laughing and talking with your colleagues (for all to hear) about the bar you went to the night before and brazenly ogling and talking about girls you see on the street old enough to be your daughter, or in some cases your grand-daughter. What’s unacceptable at home is just as unacceptable when traveling on business – common sense rules of decency, professional behavior, and politeness don’t disappear just because you crossed an international border.)

So provided you are dressed somewhat normally and aren’t carrying bags of souvenirs (sometimes, understandably, this can’t be helped) you can probably get away with the “I am Saigon-people” line and prevent a lot of unwanted attention from tourist vendors. Of course, if you really are a tourist and are interested in taking a bicycle tour of the city or buying some nifty souvenirs off the street, then by all means ignore my advice. I only had a few hours before my flight and wanted to soak in as much of the city as I could before I had to jet, therefore I wasn’t interested in buying any souvenirs – I was exploring.

For lunch, once again I was amazed at the difference between the area around my hotel, downtown proper (surrounded by office buildings) where the prices aren’t much different from back home, and the neighborhoods a good long walk from the main drag. I had an outstanding bowl of pho (Vietnamese rice noodles with your choice of meats, basil leaves, etc.) that cost me less than USD 1.00, and it filled me up. On the way back to the hotel, I was dying in the heat and grabbed a banana shake from a small cafĂ© about a block away – that cost me USD 5.00 and wasn’t even that good, nor was it of a decent size. An original size Jamba Juice in the states costs 4.50 and tastes better.

Eventually it was time for me to leave and my hotel suggested I leave a good 3 hrs before my flight departure, even though the airport was not even 20 miles away. I took their advice and was glad I did, as it took us over an hour just to get through downtown Ho Chi Minh City.

At the airport it was controlled chaos, as the existing structure was never designed to handle so many people. Unlike India, however, there was some organization to the mess and people pretty much stayed relaxed and the lines were moving. Inside I waited nearly 30 minutes in line only to be told I had to pay the airport tax. I had to go to another line, pick up a form and receipt, and then stand in another line to pay. I got up to the front of the line and the government worker said to me “14 dollars” I explained that I didn’t have any dollars – this was Vietnam and I had plenty of Dong but no dollars. “14 dollars – you must pay!” I again tried to explain that I had no dollars and asked her why, since this was Vietnam and the legal tender was Vietnamese Dong, she insisted on dollars (I knew why, of course, everyone wants dollars as the local currency is pretty much worthless, but of course they can’t tell you that). She again repeated “14 dollars!” I opened up my wallet and showed her all the Dong inside – see? No dollars. “I want to help you, but honestly, I don’t have any dollars, only Dong.” I also pointed out, as nicely as possible, that the airport tax receipt also indicated the tax in Dong, not dollars. She quickly calmed down, realizing that I really didn’t have any dollars and understanding that there wasn’t much she could do about it. She nodded politely and took my Dong and stamped my tax receipt.

Then I had to go back in line and check in again. Whereupon the person working the counter had a runner go back up to the airport tax counter with my tax receipt – I guess to verify, despite the official stamp, that it had actually been paid…..? Then wait for the runner to return, and get my boarding pass. Another very long line through security where they must have stared at and handled my airport tax receipt for 5 long minutes before allowing me to proceed (had there been a recent rash of forged airport tax receipts or something……?). Then another long line to go through outbound immigration. As mentioned in my first report, Vietnam seemed to take immigration very seriously. Once again a very young, very serious young man gave my face and passport, and Vietnam visa, multiple, thorough looks before stamping my passport and allowing me to proceed.

It’s barely an hour flight from Bangkok and I was soon on the ground in Bangkok and headed back to my temporary residence there. All in all it was an interesting trip. Vietnam looks to be a promising place to come for both business and tourism. It is a country full of enthusiastic, smart, and hard working youth and massive development is everywhere. Ho Chi Minh City, at least, reminded me of China roughly 10 or so years ago – on the verge of immense growth and hopefully prosperity for its people. However, there still remains much to be done – transportation infrastructure is very poor and there is widespread corruption and disregard for basic law. Traffic is an absolute nightmare and the weather is unbearably hot and humid almost year round. I highly recommend going and hope to return again someday.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Kurdish government being targeted?

Patrick Lasswell of Moderate Risk says a pattern is emerging and that it's very possible that Al-Qaeda is using disaffected Kurds increasingly angry at the corrupt Kurdish government:

In my last visit to Iraqi Kurdistan, people went out of their way to tell me about corruption in the political process there. Although the KRG spokesmen are adamant that the attacks are driven by Al Qaeda, the possibility that dissatisfied Kurds are being exploited to aid attacks is very real. Government officials are seen as being corrupt from the top down in Kurdistan and by Kurds abroad. A higher casualty count could have been achieved at softer targets like the local markets. These two attacks on semi-hardened government facilities in four days strongly suggests that whoever is behind these attacks made a deal with Kurds infuriated by government failures and corruption.
--------------------------------------------------------------
Although some people in the Kurdish Autonomous Region are doing very well, lack of transparency causes suspicion that is rapidly becoming anger, especially among the uneducated. Without a clear indication of how honest people can do well and government indifference to local producers of goods, dissatisfaction is growing in Iraqi Kurdistan. Especially galling to locals is the widespread importation of goods that can be produced in Iraqi Kurdistan including wheat, water, and produce. Although many are benefiting from the inexpensive free market, the society is moving towards being exclusively consumers.

Zimbabwe elected to UN Commission on Sustainable Development

I find it sadly ironic that a starving, dysfunctional, Zimbabwe can be elected to any commission on sustainable development, considering they long ago dismantled any apparatus they had in place for sustaining any kind of development.

Claudia Rosett comments:

Let’s get real. Zimbabwe’s U.N. coup is not some extraordinary aberration, any more than the massive corruption under Oil-for-Food was due simply to some sort of unfortunate administrative fumbling at the top. This is how the U.N. works. This is how the U.N., as a grand collective, was, unfortunately, configured to work. This is how the U.N. — rolling in American money and support, but lacking any reasonable system of checks, balances, and accountability — will continue to work.

There is by now every sign that the endless production of reports, proposals, and strategies for U.N. reform — an output which during the final two years of the Oil-for-Food-beset former Secretary-General Kofi Annan began to stack toward the ceiling — serves chiefly to produce new programs, projects, and initiatives, coupled with fresh U.N. demands for money. That yields fresh U.N. turf which can then be captured by the same corrupt and unaccountable thugocracy.

McCain improves

From Bill Bradley's New West Notes:

With a lead in Nevada, a statistical tie in California, and a spirited performance at the first Republican presidential debate at the Reagan Library outside Los Angeles earlier this month, Arizona Senator John McCain looks like the first comeback candidate of the campaign.


And he thinks Giuliani could be in trouble:

While most have thought that McCain is the candidate in trouble, it is actually Giuliani. He has not developed beyond his strong opening burst in February, and has slid sharply in most national polls since then. Little more than a month ago, he had a clear lead in Nevada. In this latest poll, he is fourth, albeit within a half-dozen points of the leader, McCain. His fundraising in the first quarter was strong, but no stronger than that of the third place Democrat, John Edwards. McCain, who seemed hyper in the begininng, delivered an effective performance at the Reagan Library, but Giuliani tended to fade into the woodwork, impressing only with a remarkably diffident answer on the fate of Roe v. Wade. This led him to refocus his campaign on his historical pro-choice stance, a risky move in the Republican primaries, especially the early ones.

"If you don't have borders, you don't have a nation."

Mark Steyn's latest is a must-read:

Which brings me to the fourth lesson: What fortress? The three Duka brothers were (if you'll forgive the expression) illegal immigrants. They're not meant to be here. Yet they graduated from a New Jersey high school and they operated two roofing companies and a pizzeria. Think of how often you have to produce your driver's license or Social Security number. But, five years after 9/11, this is still one of the easiest countries in the world in which to establish a functioning but fraudulent identity.

Consider, for example, the post-9/11 ritual of airline security. You have to produce government-issued picture ID to the TSA official. Does that make you feel safer? On that Tuesday morning in September, four of the killers got on board by using picture ID they'd acquired through the "undocumented worker" network in Falls Church, Va. Half the jurisdictions in the United States issue picture ID to people who shouldn't even be in the country, and they issue it as a matter of policy. The Fort Dix boys were pulled over for 19 traffic violations, but because they were in "sanctuary cities," any cop who suspected they were illegals was unable to report them to immigration authorities. Again, as a matter of policy.

On one hand, America creates a vast federal security bureaucracy to prevent another 9/11. On the other hand, American politicians and bureaucrats create a parallel system of education and welfare and health care entitlements, main- taining and expanding a vast network of fraudulent identity that cor- rupts the integrity of almost all state databases. And though it played a part in the killing of 3,000 Americans, leaders of both parties insist nothing can be done to stop it. All we can do is give the Duka brothers "a fast track to citizenship."

The Iranians already are operating in South America's Tri-Border area. Is it the nothing-can-be-done crowd's assumption that the fellows who run armies of the "undocumented" from Mexico into America are just kindhearted human smugglers who'd have nothing to do with jihad even if the price was right? If you don't have borders, you won't have a nation -- and you may find "the jobs Americans won't do" covers a multitude of sins.

Chevrolet marketing throws down the gauntlet

By pushing dealers to put a Camry in the showroom right next to the Malibu:

Rick Kranz at Automotive News quoted an unnamed dealer saying Catton is encouraging dealers to do the previously unthinkable "so people can see the difference in styling, the interior, pricing and features." Because Automotive News is subscription-only, I can't provide a link here.

Catton's advice comes as GM prepares for the debut of one of its most important new products. The restyled and redesigned Malibu appears in January as a 2008 model. The current generation has been an also-ran in the mid-size family sedan market for several years. A strong Malibu could be a precedent-setting tool for GM to regain lost market share.


Once again, hat tip to Instapundit who has lots of good stuff today.

Double standards in our Universities: You Don't Say!

While Christian, Jewish, and other faiths are denied any special rights on campus, Universities are all too eager to make exceptions for Muslim student groups:

For example, last year administrators at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College banned a coffee cart operator from playing music “tied to Christmas,” but approved the use of tax dollars to install special basins for Wudu so that Muslims could ritually wash their feet before prayer. College President Phil Davis defended this glaring double standard by absurdly insisting that “the foot-washing facilities are not about religion, they are about customer service and public safety.” At least a dozen other public colleges and universities in the nation have also installed Wudu facilities, including George Mason University in Fairfax.

A GMU spokesman said there were no complaints from other student religious groups when the Muslim Student Association was given permission by administrators to convert a common third-floor meditation room into a makeshift mosque. Would Campus Crusade for Christ be allowed to turn the facility into a makeshift Resurrection scene? The spokesman acknowledged that the other student religious groups have to reserve rooms or meet off campus when they want to pray together. At another state-supported school in Virginia, The College of William & Mary President Gene Nichol recently agreed to return the cross he had removed last year from the college’s historically Christian chapel only after angry alumni threatened to withhold millions in donations.

The paradox strains logic. Church and state remain firmly separated on campuses where the majority of students are Christian, Jewish or of no faith, but administrators toss the principle right out the window to satisfy a minority of Muslim students.


Hat tip to Instapundit.

Want to become a millionaire?

Finance made simple:

Unfortunately most people are looking for a way to get rich quick or to capitalize on the next big thing. It is true that some people have made their wealth through playing the real estate market while others have done so by investing in a few stocks that exploded but this is the exception and not the norm. If the above list seems overly simplistic, good. There are no secrets to becoming a millionaire and almost anyone has the chance to make it happen. The process is simple:

1. Make money
2. Don’t spend all of your money
3. Save some money
4. Invest that money
5. Repeat

Hat tip to Instapundit. I am often struck by how few people seem to understand these basic concepts of what I consider common sense.