Thursday, February 19, 2004

WHAT A PSYCHO!

Stop what you're doing and read this. It won't take long.

What is it?

It's a collection of "stories" about Kim Jong Il, the obviously totally maniacal "leader" of North Korea.

And you thought the Husseins were nutjobs . . .


TWO STORIES, SIMILAR CONCLUSION

Wretchard posts on two stories today, each of which tries to assess the "how the hell did it happen" question relating to Pakistan's blatant marketing of nuke technology. Rather than reading Wretchard's post, read the articles themselves.

I've said it before . . . the most dangerous country in "that" part of the world is Pakistan.


KILL SADDAM!

Michael Totten is an ardent opponent of the death penalty in the US, but his column today is a must-read.

He makes a chilling case for offing Saddam and doing it quickly:

If Saddam Hussein lives he will call to them. If Saddam Hussein lives he will rally them without speaking a word. You can bet your bottom dollar they will demand his release. They could do what a Chechen death squad did in Moscow: take 700 hostages in a theater, wire it tight with explosives, and -- as Christopher Hitchens would put it -- demand the impossible, and demand it at gunpoint.

Saddam Hussein is a danger as long as he breathes.



Wednesday, February 18, 2004

BLOG-CATION

Not sure how much blogging I'll do tomorrow but for ten days after that, I will be out of the country, out of touch, out on a boat somewhere in the British Virgin Islands.

See you in March . . .


DEAN QUITS, AND VOWS TO BACK "THE NOMINEE"

Like I said below, Dean is probably hoping/praying that he can play a role in deciding who the nominee will be and/or the party platform. He did make noises about "continuing the grass roots efforts."


I'M GLAD TO HEAR AL GORE HAS GOTTEN OVER HIS DEFEAT BY THE AMERICAN ELECTORATE

Jeez, it seems like Al has really gone off the deep end.

You've gotta read this article for two reasons:

1) It's a very thoughtful piece about fear and how it is currently affecting us, and;
2) you will get to read about Al Gore exploding like a Howard Dean wind-up doll.

But the money quote is the last sentence: there is nothing to fear but the lack of fear itself.


CAN EDWARDS DERAIL KERRY? MORE IMPORTANTLY, COULD DEAN DERAIL KERRY?

Depending on what you read, the media either :

1) Still like Kerry, or;
2) believe that Edwards has made it a two-man race.

When you look at the polls one day prior to the Wisconsin primary, most showed a Kerry blow-out at almost 50% of the vote, with Edwards and Dean at about 20% each. What I see is Kerry may have permanently lost some of his support due to more light being shed on his "biography" (the only thing he's chosen to run on). I'm guessing (based on limited reporting and intuition) that he lost independent and more conservative Democrats to Edwards, and the "Deaniacs" that are abandoning ship see Edwards as far more attractive than Kerry.

If Wisconsin is a barometer, it could mean super Tuesday is not a done deal for Kerry and, in fact (depending on the splits and whether Dean choses to stay in the race), it's entirely possible the Dems could go to the convention with no candidate having a majority of the delegates in his back pocket.

Which comes to my "tipping point" question -- what if Dean bails and throws his support behind Edwards? Why would he do that? I don't see any motivation for him to do so unless he honestly believes Edwards is a better guy than Kerry. Unlike previous campaigns when candidates who didn't become the presidential nominee were later annointed as the VP nominee, that won't hapen with Dean. People have already made their minds up that having Howie in or near the Oval Office isn't a good thing.

But if Dean doesn't support Edwards, how can he swallow his "independence" and support Kerry, the quintessential Washington insider? If Dean supports Kerry, that should cause every one of his former supporters to vote for Edwards out of spite. The headline would be something like "Dean Sells Out."

Or, just maybe Dean stays in it with the hope that no candidate walks into the convention with a majority. Dean's delegates could be the deciding votes. Dean could become the "kingmaker." Wouldn't that just scare the shit out of the Democrat leadership?

Damn, this is more fun than I thought it was going to be.

UPDATE: Will Saletan has some interesting data that address the attraction of many voters to Edwards.


Tuesday, February 17, 2004

INTERESTING DEMOCRAT PARTY HISTORY LESSON

David Brooks' op-ed piece in the NY Times is a must read.

I believe he nails it on the foreign policy issues the Democrats are fumbling with today. The title of his column says it all: "The Party of Kennedy, or Carter?"


HITCHENS TAKES AIM AT THE "IRAQ'S ANOTHER VIETNAM" CROWD

If people say that it's "reminiscent" of Vietnam, it means they don't remember Vietnam.

(My guess is some of them don't because they aren't old enough. After all, the really messy stuff happened in the Johnson administration and that ended in 1968 -- 36 years ago. )

Much of what Christopher Hitchens writes is worth reading. This column is no exception.

It ends with: There's something creepy about the Democratic decision to hail the heroes of Vietnam, from Kerry to Clark, and to denigrate the extraordinary effort being made to salvage Iraq and to pursue and kill people who really are, unlike the Viet Cong, the common enemies of humanity. It's trying too hard, and it's inauthentic and hypocritical as well as point-missing. It would be as if the Republicans suddenly started talking, as that great veteran Robert Dole once did, about all the conflicts in American history as "Democrat wars." That didn't fly, if you recall, though it would have been a fair description of Vietnam.


OUTSOURCING, PART 3

I've written at least a couple of times on the issue of international outsourcing -- a company's hiring of employees (or contract employees) outside of its home country.

What I neglected to point out is that river flows both ways. My Honda was built in Ohio. My friend's Mercedes was built in Alabama and my ex-boss's BMW was built in South Carolina. That's called insourcing.

Auto manufacturers figured out a long time ago that, so long as trainable labor is available and there are no artificial restrictions, it's usually best to built cars close to where your customers live. US manufacturers have done this for decades.

But that doesn't account for a lot of jobs, does it?

Wrongo. Turns out that about 10 million jobs have been sent overseas, while 6.5 million Americans have been hired by foreign-owned employers here in the US. Read this for a good "other story."

And, surprise, it seems that insourced manufacturing jobs have exceeded the number of outsourced manufacturing jobs.

So why is there a lot of screaming about shipping jobs overseas? (Subliminal hint: politics.) Gee, do you think it might be due to the fact that many of the insourced jobs have been in the South, where the labor unions don't have "user-friendly" laws?


TEXAS, WORLD CAPITAL OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

Texas kills a lot of bad guys. That's the truth, isn't it?

Wait, that's not true?


DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ?

Sort of like saying a fish in the desert, right?

Maybe not. Read this Washington Post article and decide for yourself whether it can work.


Sunday, February 15, 2004

MARK STEYN MAKES A TOUGH, BUT ACCURATE, POINT

The point? The Dems (OK, Kerry) is trying to get elected based on his biography, not his vision for the future.


Friday, February 13, 2004

RUSSIANS TAKE NO PRISONERS

The former President of Chechnya was killed today in Qatar. He was wanted by the Russians, so you have to pesume they did what they do best -- take no prisoners.

Terrorists know better than to screw around with the Russians. I remember a few years ago when Russian officials were kidnapped. The Russians found out who did the kidnapping and started systematically killing the family members of the kidnappers. The Russian captives were quietly released.

My only regret is that the Russians aren't supporting us in Iraq. If they were, my guess is they wouldn't be somewhat more "effective" at rooting out the bad guys.


HEY, A GOOD DYE JOB IN PARIS IS EXPENSIVE!

The French have opened a money-laundering investigation. The target?

Mrs. Arafat, the not-very-Muslim-looking wife of Yassir.

She, of course, blames "the Jews" for the investigation.

After all, she receives (and spends) over $1 million a year from the Palestinian Authority. You wouldn't expect her to live like her husband, would you?


I'M GLAD THEY CLEARED THAT UP

Saddam Hussein will be the new poster boy for the anti-drug campaigns.

According to a "former senior aide", Saddam liked his weed and heroin and it "made him lose his mind."

So, he isn't really a bad guy, just a confused man in need of drug rehab. A story every liberal could embrace.


VICTOR IS UP

Victor Davis Hanson's weekly column is up at NRO. Click here.


BUSH AWOL STORY -- THE FINAL ANSWER?

I don't think you'll hear much from Kerry's crowd on this one since a member of the unit Bush flew in has come forward to trash the "Bush didn't show up for duty" meme.

I spent three years on active duty in the Air Force and three years in the Air National Guard and Reserves. I can honestly tell you that I didn't make every meeting (one weekend a month), sometimes due to business issues. And I rarely spent the entire two week summer session that's part of the "duty". Why? In that timeframe, Guard and Reserve units were massively overstaffed and there just wasn't enough work to occupy an 8-hour day, so many of us were told, just go home. And most of us had spent at least a couple of years on active duty, so we were much more highly trained than the typical "weekend warrior", so we did not have to particpate in much of the training that was supposed to be part of the weekend/summer obligation.

I remember one summer session when we all reported on a Saturday morning and were told half of us would stay the first week of the two-week session, and the other half could go home and come back a week later. Sure, we all got paid for two weeks, but we were only there for one. Was it a waste of taxpayer dollars? Sure.

So I can easily see how Bush did his Air Guard thing and few people remember seeing him. I can't remember the name of one person I served with in the Guard or Reserves, but I remember many I served with on active duty. When you're on active duty, you live with people -- you're "family". In the Guard or Reserves, you just work with them. It's a very different experience.


INTERN DEJA VU -- WAS KERRY BOINKING AN INTERN?

Say what you will about Clinton, if Kerry was doing this (after the Clinton/Lewinsky debacle) then you really have to question his judgment, even more so than you did Clinton's.

Sooner or later, we'll know whether it's true or not. I suspect the impact would be greater on Kerry's campaign than it was on Clinton's presidency. Some are suggesting that it has been known around some circles in Washington for awhile and is the reason that Dean hasn't pulled out of the race -- he was just waiting for Kerry-gate.


Thursday, February 12, 2004

WEST WING . . . LEFT WING . . . CLUELESS

OK, one of my guilty pleasures is watching the West Wing. You know, the fantasy TV show with the liberal Democrat as President. It used to be well-written and quite entertaining if you're a political junkie. It's not as good as it used to be, but I still watch.

Anyway, last night's episode started with an intelligence satellite detecting an atmospheric detonation of a nuclear weapon in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Who did it? North Korea? Pakistan? India? Iran? Everyone thought Iran and the Pres scrambled B-2s to take out Iran's enrichment facilities, until the Vice President remembered that when he was on a junket, a drunken Israeli politician commented that another drunken Israeli politician who was puking over the side of a yacht might be puking on "their submarine".

So they decided that the nuke test was done from an Israeli submarine that nobody knew existed. The President (Martin Sheen) called in the Israeli PM to ream him out. His response was Israel needed a "second strike" capability in case the homeland was attacked. Made sense to me. Their version of M.A.D. (Mutually Assured Destruction, the US - USSR doctrine during the Cold War).

It made for dramatic TV but it was factually bogus.

Israel does have nukes on subs. Really good ones. And it is public knowledge. And the US supplied the goods. And the tests actually occurred in the Indian Ocean in 2000. OK, they didn't pop the cork, but they tested the missles. I'm assuming everyone believes the reliablity of the warheads is such that an actual detonation wasn't necessary.

So, assuming I know this, why did the producers of this show create this silly fiction -- just to try to cast aspersions on Israel? Do you think??


NOT IF . . . BUT WHEN?

Wretchard (Belmont Club) has written a number of scary, but all too real posts about the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Click on his link to the right and just read. It seems very clear to me that everyone's worst nightmare (the "suitcase" or "car" nuke) is completely possible and increasingly probable.

What would the US do if it were attacked with a small nuke? Some have said that, since it would be a 100% certainty any such attack would come from Islamists, we should do the following, and do it now:

1. Publicly announce that any attack using a nuclear device on the US or US interests would be considered as an attack by the countries who directly or indirectly supported the group responsible for the attack.

2. Any such attack would be met with an attack in kind. Translation: if Saudi money financed it, you can kiss Riyadh goodbye.

3. All Muslim countries would be "encouraged" to devote all their resources to uncover al Qaeda cells, training camps and any links from their own nuclear efforts to the terrorists. Otherwise, they would be considered hostile and any attack on the US would be considered an attack by them (see item #2 above).

What else could we do?


MORE KERRY ANTI-WAR INFO

He's tried to paint this sympathetic picture of serving his tour honorably and then coming home to question the continued prosecution of the war.

Now it seems Sen. Kerry wasn't so fond of the war before he went over there. In fact, it sounds reminiscent of Clinton's moves. Kerry didn't dodge military service, though he tried to prolong his student deferment by studying in France (where else?). His draft board said "non".

So Kerry seems to be the ultimate conflicted man. He doesn't believe the war is just, but he enlists, serves his time, kills a few Vietnamese, and returns home to join Jane Fonda in protests against the killing of Vietnamese.

What the hell does he stand for? Is he ever willing to put it on the line for his principles. It doesn't seem so.


BUSH'S VULNERABILITY

This may not play well in the union halls, but it is (my opinion) Bush's single greatest vulnerability. It isn't Iraq (at least not directly). It isn't "the economy" (at least not directly).

It's the budget. The Cato Institute (a/k/a, Libertarian think tank) has some interesting charts & graphs for those who care to investigate.

The only way the Dems have attacked it (so far) is to say the tax reduction was a mistake and should be reversed. For them to say increasing spending is a bad idea would be like Bush coming out for a law promoting gay marriage. But if they choose to make it an issue and develop a well-crafted argument -- something like, "with the increases in spending proposed by the President, we will be faced with two unpleasant alternatives: dramatically increase the federal deficit and risk ruinous inflation, or dramatically increase federal income taxes. You have the opportunity in November to decide which you prefer" -- Bush is vulnerable on this one.


THE RIGHT MISTAKE

The invasion of Iraq was a mistake, but it was a "justified" mistake, according to Jonathan Rauch.

His rationale is simple:

A policeman shoots a robber who has killed in the past and who brandishes what seems to be a gun. The gun turns out to be a cellphone. The policeman expects a thorough investigation (and ought to cooperate). In the end, if he is exonerated, it is not because he made no mistake but because his mistake was justified. Reasonable people, facing uncertainty, would have thought they saw a gun.

The world believed Saddam had "a gun". He'd used it in the past. Reasonable people would assume he'd use it in the future. If it turns out he didn't have the gun anymore, deposing him is still justified, as would be the shooting of the robber by the policeman.

Case closed.


Wednesday, February 11, 2004

THE BUSH DOCTRINE

Tony Blankley reports today about a book, "Surprise, Security, and the American Experience", that will be released in March. The author is John Lewis Gaddis, professor of military and naval history at Yale University.

Quoting Blankley:

The Boston Globe describes Mr. Gaddis as "the dean of Cold War studies and one of the nation's most eminent diplomatic historians." In other words, this is not some put-up job by an obscure right-wing author. This comes from the pinnacle of the liberal Ivy League academic establishment.

If you hate George W. Bush, you will hate this Boston Globe story because it makes a strong case that Mr. Bush stands in a select category with presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and James Monroe (as guided by his secretary of state, John Q. Adams) in implementing one of only three grand strategies of American foreign policy in our two-century history.


Wow. Guess I've got to order a copy.


ADIOS HILLARY?

Susan Estrich opines today that it is over for the junior Senator from New York.

She theorizes that Hillary has blown any chance she will ever have at being President.

Why? Well, Estrich says she should blame John Kerry and John Edwards. I think that's a cop out.

She only has herself to blame.


OUTSOURCING, PART DEUX

I wrote on February 5th about outsourcing.

Nicholas Kristof chimes in today with his two cents worth.

He offers up a solution to the comparative advantage issue which could be a good answer, but will never be seriously debated so long as the teachers' unions have a stranglehold on US public education.


JOHN KERRY -- VIET NAM WAR HERO OR ANTI-WAR RADICAL?

Kerry really gets pissy about his "hero" status, but are you aware of his anti-war activities? Read this. And this. And especially this.


IT LOOKS LIKE KERRY'S WINNING, RIGHT? RIGHT??

Well, depends on who you talk to and how you ask your questions.

Some think that the voting so far is reactive, not issues-based. In other words, people aren't voting for Kerry because they see him as "their" candidate -- someone whom they argree with on the issues. People are voting for Kerry because they think he can beat Bush and "their" candidate may not be able to.

Will Saletan, as usual makes us think outside the box in his Slate column on the subject.

If this is correct, many Democrats will be even more depressed in November than in 2000. Voting for someone they really don't like and seeing him lose.

Then again, if people start voting with their hearts, Kerry might lose all the big delegate states and the nomination.

This actually might be interesting.




Tuesday, February 10, 2004

DAVID BROOKS AS G.W. BUSH

Brooks' op-ed piece in today's NY Times is pretty good. What Brooks tries to do is put words in Bush's mouth and he does it rather well.


THINK IT THROUGH . . . LOGICALLY

Leave it to an economist to provide a cogent answer to the "Iraq WMD" question.

Arnold Kling walks us through the scientific, logical process of assessing the WMD issue.

I've spent most of my adult life assessing risk -- trying to figure out what the "best" option is amongst many options. Not the "right" decision, only the "best" decision, since only time will tell you what the "right" decision was. In business, you never know until the market has spoken.

The same is true for Iraq. The debate should be about whether we chose the best long-term option, not whether it was "right" or "wrong".


IF WE KNEW THEN WHAT WE KNOW NOW

Why didn't I think of this?

Joel Mowbray asks a very simple question and I think gets the answer right.

His question? What if we had hit al Qaeda before 9/11?

A pre-emptive strike? Can you imagine the outrage on the left? The barrage of negative news from the NY Times and BBC and CNN, et. al.?

Yet, how would that have been any different from the many operations that have been carried out over the past year? We have no idea how many other "9/11s" have been prevented due to our actions. We can't prove we prevented them. Just like we couldn't have proved a pre-emptive strike against al Qaeda would have prevented 9/11.

Provocative question. I'd like to hear the remaining Dem pres candidates answer that one.

(Hat tip to Joe S.)


Friday, February 06, 2004

HITLER's WMDs = HUSSEIN's WMDs

Wretchard of Belmont Club fame has a post which I am including in its entirety because it's an important parallel between two men who were perhaps amongst the five most vile tyrants of the 20th century (the others being Stalin, Pol Pot and Idi Amin).


In 1939, Albert Einstein was enjoying a sailing vacation on Long Island when fellow physicist Leo Szilard approached him on what he described as a matter of supreme importance. A large stockpile of uranium ore from Africa was in danger of being transferred to Nazi Germany, a country with which America was then at peace. Although seemingly innocent, it might be the last remaining step necessary to complete what America must prevent. It was absolutely important, Szilard argued, that President Roosevelt be made aware of the danger to the world of the imminent development of weapons of mass destruction, notably an Atomic Bomb, by Adolph Hitler. Einstein wrote a letter to Roosevelt warning of a Nazi nuclear weapon, reproduced here, which eventually helped spur the establishment of the Manhattan Project.

Hitler, too, believed he was building an Atomic Bomb, but was apparently misled by his scientific advisers, many of who understood too well what such a weapon would mean in the hands of a maniac, and quietly slackened their efforts. At the end of the war, for a variety of reasons, including the Allied aerial destruction of Nazi industrial resources, American searchers who had believed they were racing neck-and-neck with Hitler for the development of nuclear weapons found no operational weapons of mass destruction. The Nazis had been far from making an A-Bomb. There had been an intelligence failure.

Reader FG links to a Daily Telegraph article where John Keegan describes some of the numerous intelligence failures of World War 2, including the complete misestimation of the Nazi rocket and pilotless bomb program, of which Churchill was unaware, until shortly before V2s and V1s pummeled London, killing thousands. Keegan uses it to illustrate why the Liberal demand for perfect intelligence was an impossible demand both then and now.

Usually, however, intelligence does not provide unequivocal answers, but only indications, which require imagination to interpret correctly. Interpretation inevitably leads to disagreements among the intelligence officers concerned. Before Midway, the most important naval battle ever fought, the heads of the naval plans and communication departments in Washington were at open war over interpretation. An even more striking example of disagreements, bearing directly on the current Iraq controversy, was over intelligence of German secret weapons. A strange leak, the Oslo report, had warned the British in 1940 that Hitler was developing pilotless aircraft and rockets. It was ignored until, in 1943, reports from inside occupied Europe referred to the subject again.

A committee was set up, chaired by Duncan Sandys, Winston Churchill's son-in-law. Its findings were reviewed by another committee, of which Lord Cherwell, Churchill's scientific adviser, was the most important member. Cherwell absolutely denied the possibility of Germany having a rocket, and produced the scientific evidence to prove it. He persisted in his denial throughout 1943 until June 1944, when remains of a crashed V2 were brought to Britain from neutral Sweden. Shortly afterwards, the first operational V2 landed on London. Churchill was furious. "We've been caught napping," he burst out in Cabinet. Worse than napping. More than 1,500 V2s landed on London, killing thousands, at a time when Hitler was also trying to develop a nuclear warhead. The whole pilotless weapons episode demonstrates that, even under threat of a supreme national crisis, and in the face of copious and convincing warnings, intelligence officers can disagree completely about the facts and some can be 100 per cent wrong.

But it is not the Liberal expectation of war with perfect knowledge, no casualties and no collateral damage that is insidious. Any general would wish as much. It is the requirement not to act until we have achieved it which actually guarantees its reverse: no knowledge, a steady dribble of casualties and the quiet acceptance of genocide; when business as usual with monsters masquerades as peace. Einstein was mistaken; but he was not wrong.



OCCIDENTALISM

Ian Buruma has written a thought-provoking article in an attempt to answer the question "why do they hate us so much they're willing to blow themselves up?"

Victor Davis Hanson wrote on this subject almost two years ago.

CLINTON ON IRAQ'S WMDs

The Weekly Standard has a good piece on Iraqi WMDs, with some good background by Bill Clinton.


LEFT v. RIGHT OR LIBERTARIAN v. COMMUNITARIAN?

Prof. Frederick Turner poses that question and a good one it is. For those having troubled trying to figure out where they stand -- let's say you are a fiscal conservative but a liberal when it comes to human rights, abortion and "gay marraige" and no left/right, liberal/conservative label really applies to you -- maybe he has the answer to your dilemma?


DID YOU MISS MARK STEYN'S PIECE ON KERRY?

If so, click here.


IT AIN'T OVER 'TIL IT'S OVER

Bush is not a slam dunk in November. He can be. He might be. But it isn't a sure thing with Kerry in the picture now. With Dean, it was simply a matter of waiting for Mount Saint Howard to erupt -- he did and it was over early. For Kerry, who waited for Dean to self-destruct, the timing was flawless. For Bush, Dean's meltdown came too early -- the Bush team was drooling at the possibility Dean would be the candidate, but it looks like that possibility is over. After all, Dean's campaign's only platform was "against" -- he wasn't "for" anything, only against everything that Bush was for. The pragmatic Dems saw through that and he got blackballed.

Worse for Bush, his "negatives" in the polls now show him in a statistical dead heat if Kerry's the candidate. And the Bush team needs to be careful. Kerry has many negatives -- a voting record that's a clone of Kennedy's, being on all three sides of most issues (for, against, and "studying the situation"), as charismatically challenged as Gore, and (if you read a number of stories circulating these days) a guy whose influence can be bought.

Having said that, a number of thoughtful conservatives are concerned over Bush's vulnerablities.


THE RATIONAL LIBERAL VIEWPOINT

Michael Kinsley, founder of Slate and perennial liberal has written a very interesting piece about the Dems. It provides a terrific insight into what I think they are going through right now, trying to figure out the answer to the most important question.

What's the question? A hint: it isn't "who's the best Democratic candidate?"

Michael's a nice guy and very astute -- not an idealist at all. I met him a few years ago at a convention. I felt sorry for him. He had the misfortune of following James Carville and Mary Matalin on stage and he looked a little like a deer in the headlights after Mary talked about him like he was a little boy lost in a world of men. He took it good-naturedly -- didn't say a word about her. Like I said, a nice guy, a gentleman.


STILL CONFUSED ABOUT WHAT WE KNEW AND WHEN WE KNEW IT?

And whether WMDs were really all that important a factor in invading Iraq?

Read VDH's take and be confused no more.


Thursday, February 05, 2004

OUTSOURCING IS A GOOD THING

Sounds like a cross between Martha Stewart and Tom Peters, right?

I don't know where the hell everyone's been. For the past 5-6 years, many jobs have been outsourced offshore. In the past, those jobs tended to be manufacturing (assembly) jobs, or very low-skilled administrative jobs (like accounting and compiling all the discount coupons you give to your local grocer -- most of those are "processed" in Jamaica).

A few years ago, however, more and more highly skilled jobs began to be outsourced. Many folks are now very upset that most software companies have offices in Delhi or Mumbai (Bombay), where they pay programmers 1/5 of what they would be paid if they were US employees.

Here's the deal: Many of those Indian employees would otherwise be here in the US, but most would actually rather be "home" than in the San Francisco Bay area. At 1/5 the income, they have a higher standard of living in India than in Los Gatos, and that's the point; because in this example (which seems to be the favorite "horror story" of anyone who thinks about the "massive loss of US jobs") the real reason this has occurred is that Indian programmers living in India have a "comparative advantage" over any programmer living and working in the US. India is very good at training programmers. They would rather stay home than move to the US. Get over it.

They (Indian programmers) should be able to do what they do best (write code) where they want to do it ("home"). At the same time, don't expect any company based in India to become the next Microsoft, Oracle, or Dell. Why? Because the US has a comparative advantage over India in venture capital and innovation.

Read this and then read more on the subject.


THE DEMS WILL HAVE TROUBLE SPINNING THIS ONE

I was shocked when I heard the exit polls from the Democratic primaries said the voters #1 issue was "the economy".

I felt like I was a visitor from another planet. The economy? And then I heard the talking heads saying they were concerned about how bad things were. And then I realized -- the states where the primaries were being held aren't necessarily economic juggernauts and (assuming you're a "traditional" Democrat), you probably do have a few union members in your family that aren't doing as well.

But the name of the game is the country is doing quite well, thank you. Well enough that one of my concerns is that another quarter of solid growth will incent Greenspan to click rates up before summer -- the degree to which they get bumped will be reflective of the growth in money supply. In other words, we're doing so well, inflation might actually start to creep up.

Nonetheless, the good news keeps coming in, the most recent being this article that shows new jobs are being created at all levels in the economy. I don't get overly exercised when I hear that Kodak is laying off thousands. Bad news if you live in Rochester, but the good news is you're more likely to find a job in small business or become self-employed than ever before.

I still say that if the Dems try the "it's the economy, stupid", James Carville cliche, they'll get killed.


IT ISN'T A LOVE FEST

It seems that Senator Kerry isn't universally loved. This article tells some funny and interesting tales about the Senator from Massachusetts. Does this guy really sound like presidential timber?


Monday, February 02, 2004

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

How can I say that, given that it's Monday?

I won't be blogging that much this week, and this is a very strong piece written in response to Teddy Kennedy's speech calling for all university's to disclose demographic data on the students admitted as "legacies" -- you know, the ones who bypassed the normal admissions process, like, well, all the Kennedys who got into Harvard despite their mediocrity.

Anyway, this writer makes the point that we shouldn't stop there. If Yale admits 375 (I'm making this up) rich white kids with average SATs as legacies, he would like for Yale to tell us how many rich African-American kids with average SATs were admitted (based on racial preferences).

That would be fair . . . right???