Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Meanwhile, in Idaho a Republican legislator, Tom Trail, is working on a medical marijuana proposal he plans to introduce in the legislature in January. I spent a fair amount of time in northern Idaho when I was working on my book, "Ambush at Ruby Ridge," and it is very conservative country. For a Republican to make this proposal is encouraging, although it might be a tough sell with Idaho voters.
The Register endorsed this proposal, but I actually have mixed feelings. It would certainly be less inhumane for the state govt. to offer treatment rather than incarceration to drug users, but it reinforces the impression that any use of "illicit" drugs is a problem requiring treatment. Sometimes, especially with (most) marijuana use, it is simply harmless and doesn't require expensive treatment, but the government simply getting out of the way and allowing adults to be treated like adults who can take responsibility for their own actions. I'm inclined to think most meth use is harmful to the person doing it, and cocaine and heroin can cause damage to the user. Whether treatment, especially tax-funded treatment, is the proper approach is not necessarily obvious.
Still, little steps away from criminalization may be the best we can get for now. But total decriminalization is the proper goal.
Well, Main Street wasn't and isn't grateful. Most Americans still don't fully understand the extent to which this mess was made in Washjington, but they have an inkling, and they're a bit sick of having ever more of their money seized to fix messes created by politicians and their friends. Interestingly, Nina Easton at Fortune caught a bit of the anger in her piece.
The expectation is that they'll tweak it a bit and come back with something essentially similar. Instead, they should hit restart and understand that more government intervention is not the solution for a problem caused by too much government. They could start by repealing "fair-value accounting" or mark-to-market, which I discussed earlier. Then cut Fannie and Freddie into bitty pieces and sell them to the private sector in such a way that they get no access -- zero, zilch, nada -- to taxpayers' funds ever again. That's for starters.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Incidentally, I didn't have room for it in this piece, but while I think John McCain was playing irresponsible faux-populist politics in calling for SEC Chairman Chris Cox's head (full disclosure; Chris was Newport Beach's Congressman for years, I've met him many times and like him) as what could only be seen as a symbolic gesture, I thought the SEC's outright ban on short selling was a big mistake
Friday, September 26, 2008
I’ve been working on a piece for Sunday, and the more I look into the financial crisis the more I’m convinced that one of the chief factors behind the crisis is something nobody is talking about, at least in public, though the WSJ has run a couple of articles. It’s called mark-to-market accounting, embodied in Financial Accounting Standard 157, imposed by the government last November, John Berlau of the Competitive Enterprise Institute has been raising the hue and cry, as has former FDIC chairman William Isaac, along with academics from Wharton and Yale. Here’s the gist:
As explained by John Berlau, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the free-market-oriented Competitive Enterprise Institute: “[I]f a troubled bank sells a mortgage-backed security at a fire sale, many solvent banks have to take a paper loss on similar assets. This is the case even if the loans are still performing and even if the banks are holding the loans to maturity and simply collecting the payments instead of selling. In a small market such as those for unique securities, one fire sale can set the ‘market price.’
“If all this required was showing a loss to shareholders in annual reports, this would still be bad accounting, but not that much of a contagion problem. But because mark-to-market has been adopted as part of solvency rules, these ‘losses’ contract banks’ ‘regulatory capital’ on paper and mean they can’t make as many loans without being declared technically ‘insolvent.’ So these financial assets become ‘hot potatoes,’ as banks scramble to get them off their books, driving the asset prices down even further. This explains much of the ‘cascading effect’ that has caused the credit crunch.”
Nobody in Washington has been talking about this. I’m convinced that if this rule isn’t repealed we’ll have continuing credit crunches, no matter how much taxpayer money they pour into the system. John Berlau thinks simply repealing the rule would make a taxpayer bailout unnecessary, though there would be some ongoing problems and some bankruptcies arising from people with too much invested in Fannie and Freddie. Here is CEI’s ongoing Bailout Watch blog.
A few other comments, based on some channel-switching. Chris Matthews was ballistic wanting Obama to be more populist and talk about the misery of people being laid off and all. But Obama isn't a populist type and never will be. For some liberals, it's always the Great Depression. He also went on and on about how McCain didn't look Obama in the eyes. Big deal, phony issue. David Gergen on CNN scored it for Obama. And Frank Luntz's focus group, composed of undecided independents, he assured us, split 17-10 for Obama
Thursday, September 25, 2008
My brother-in-law travels to Texas fairly often and has been to Galveston numerous times. He says, Glen Campbell aside, he can't understand the attraction. Perhaps there's no such thing as a bad beach, but he says Galveston is a long way from being something special in the oceanside department. Yet housing prices are high. Don't know if they would be higher or lower if taxpayers from iowa, Maine and Oregon didn't chip in to rebuiild it from time to time.
I don't think people should be forbidden from living in inherently dangerous places (after all, I live in Southern California, subject to earthquake, fire and even --sometimes -- flood). But people should take responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Incidentally, as much as I think a $700 billion bailout is an extraordinarily bad idea, I'me afraid that we have the makings of a real crisis. The government is likely to make it worse.
Money quote: "For obvious reasons, almost no one in Baghdad seems willing to predict the future anymore. Ask anyone, and you are likely to get to the all-purpose Arabic expression, “Insha’Allah” — “God willing.” Everyone, it seems, is trying to enjoy the calm while it lasts.
"But if people here do not want to talk about the future, they still have to plan for it."
Fisk bemoaned the condition of American journalism, particularly in coverage of the Middle East ("If Tom Friedman is your cutting edge you're in deep trouble"). I can't help but agree. Our paper included, coverage of foreign affairs is generally abysmal. Only a few papers even maintain many foreign correspondents any more. In some ways, that reflects what readers seem to want. Although most Americans can be stirred up reliably to hate the latest foreign dictator our leaders want to demonize this year, few have any real interest in foreign affairs, an interesting situation for a country that has military installations in more than 160 countries. But that's one of the reasons I think the U.S. is ill-suited to be an imperial power, Ah, well.
I took pretty good notes, which I'll use as the basis for this week's Antiwar.com column. A fgew highlights: He thinks the U.S. should disengage militarily from the entire Middle East and South Asia, arguing that our military presence only creates more enemies and people who hate us. He's fascinated that anybody at all was satisfied with the "They hate us for our freedoms" explanation for 9/11. And despite some apparent rumors on the Internet, he's not close to thinking about retirement.
Oh, he has a new book out, "The Age of the Warrior." I have a copy now and will report when I read it.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Those who have never been into classical music as much as a nut like me, or those who are too young to have experienced through various media the force of Leonard Bernstein's personality and musicality might find here some of the reasons that he loomed so large in American musical life. For those who want a more detailed view, written at something of a low point in his life, I found Meryle Secrest's 1994 book "Leonard Bernstein: A Biography" quite engrossing
The trend seems most marked in Atlanta, and although Ehrenhalt cautions that the numbers are still relatively small, he thinks he sees a pattern. Maybe Jane Jacobs' ideal of cities that are really alive and people-friendly will happen eventually, years after her death.
I don't know. Urban patterns seem to happen in cycles as neighborhoods deteriorate and are gentrified and back again. But it would be interesting if cities became more vital at their centers. Even aside from the fact that I probably couldn't afford them, I'm not sure how tempted I would be. Maybe it's age, but a small town works nicely for me so long as I have plenty of bookshelves and access to the Internet.
I suspect, with the state government having just band-aided a state budget that was $15 billion in the hole, that voters won't go for this kind of increase in bonded indebtedness. But the capacity to believe rosy if unrealistic projectioons is common.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Of course with the bailouts of last week and the likely commitment of $700 billion to try to "stabilize" the markets, the U.S. with Republicans at the helm has become more socialist in action than Peter Camejo probably ever dreamed could happen. Well, maybe it will tie the hands of the next president from taking any substantive action, which wouldn't be such a bad thing. Trouble is, as even the linked article acknowledged, state socialism has never been stable for long.
At least there was a semblance of a running game, and the word is that Kahlil Bell will be back soon -- probably not this Saturday but the one after. But Kevin Craft didn't have the second-half swagger he showed against Tennessee, and there were just too many mistakes. I'm just hoping for a modicum of respectability.
The U.S. typically hires contractors who hire sub-contractors and so on, and before you know it the money is eaten up and we're lucky if Pakistan gets ten cents on the dollar in schoolhouses, hospitals or whatever, and the construction usually turns out to be shoddy to boot, sometimes creating resentment rather than gratitude. We can't do much that's effective about al-Qaida in Pakistan with our current approach anyway, so we have to live with the knowledge that they're there and cope with things at the possible-attack end -- and do financial disruption and some real intelligence, which we don't do now.
Of course I would prefer an overall policy of strategic disengagement with the world outside North America -- proper relations, trade, tourism and whatnot unrestricted, but no military aid or meddling in the internal affairs of other countries, no matter how nasty their dictators. Maybe when I finish my book and get it published more people will see it that way.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
The three big mistakes by government? Keeping Fannnie and Freddie in business with their inherently flawed business model, creating the market for subprime mortgages, which it did with the Community Reinvestment Act, and especially allowing Fannir and Freddie to securitize subprimes, and the Federal Reserve keeping interest rates too low from 2002-2005, creating the bubble that rather pridictably has burst.In the private sector, besides those who gamed the system, the various credit rating agencies failed completely, which has not been widely enough acknowledged, and they have not suffered any consequences for their failure.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Jeffrey Goldberg's Atlantic piece on "The Wars of John McCain" is pretty even-handed but offers what to me is a near-frightening insight into his devotion to war. I'm not sure if he sees it as the highest of human endeavors, as some deluded sols do, but he does see it as a likely solution to problems rather than a last resort to be entered into only reluctantly.
And Leon Aron's piece in the New Republic explains how the Putin regime has introduced new history textbooks into Russian schools that essentially whitewash the brutality of the communist era. Scary stuff.
A raid Sept. 9 has been acknowledged, but the Pakistani government has said it will forcibly prevent further foreign fighters from coming into its sovereign territory, and there may even have been a shots-in-the-air confrontation between the Paki and U.S. militaries. Joint Chiefs chief Mike Mullen went over to reassure the Pakis, but an attack occurred anyway. We suggest stopping the attacks, and say the next president will have to do a ground-up reassessment of our relationship with Pakistan, with the option of a strategic withdrawal that would include an end to aid on the table. We're unlikely to neutralize al-Qaida the way we're going anyway. It's very complicated, and I'll expand on it for this weeks Antiwar.com column.
I particularly enjoyed talking to Christine Fair of RAND for this piece. She's a pretty clear-eyed realist. Sovereignty, she scoffed, is a concept used only when it's convenient. Is Hamid Karzai really the sovereign ruler of Pakistan when he wouldn't last five minutes without foreign troops to bolster him? No Pakistani government has had effective control over the laughably named Federally Administered Tribal Areas, so is it really sovereign there? The Durand Line that marks the Afghan-Paki border was drawn by a British colonial official who probably didn't know that it ran right through a Pashtun tribal area. It not only might not deserve to be treated as sacred, it almost certainly creates conflict.
A group that's been named the Kiffian culture lived there from 9,700 to 8,200 years ago when it was the shore of a large, shallow freshwater lake, where they speared fish and hunted gazelles. Then came a thousand years of extreme dryness, then the lake and vegetation returned, and the site was inhabited by smaller, finer-boned people called the Tenerians.
If you want more info, check out the National Geographic Society, which helped to fund the expeditions (and here's a photo gallery), or a scientific paper here.
This, of course, is an extreme example of the fact that climate change is hardly new. About 100 million years ago the area was forested and inhabited by dinosars and crocodiles, and evidence of people living there about 50,000 years ago has been found. The lakes dried up during the Ice Age, then returned about 12,000 years ago.
I'm a mild skeptic on human-caused climate change, but aware that I haven't studied enough to be cocksure in my opinion. I do note that for committed Goreians it's more like a religion than science.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Now the invaluable Alvaro Vargas Llosa has a column with good news, and a sensible analysis of the situation. The British publishing house Gibson Square, has decided to publish the book. I'm glad to see that a publishing house made this decision even in the face of possible threats. It suggests that have a couple. Maybe Hillary lent them hers.
After being badgered by politicians looking for a villain, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission did an in-depth study (link here leads to a link to the PDF of the full-length study), scrutinizing millions of transactions involving billions of dollars, of the role of speculators in the oil and gasoline markets that was released last week. It busts the myth completely -- especially since it contains no explanation for the recent fall in crude oil prices to around $90 a barrel, whereas reduced demand in the U.S. due to economic troubles and high prices does so rather handily. But don't expect to stop hearing it voiced.
The CFTC found that index traders and swap dealers actually reduced their stake in crude oil futures as prices spiked. More traders wewre going short than long, which had at least some impact of hiolding prices down. And commodity index funds have only 13 percent of the oil market, not the 70 percent some conspiracists were estimating.
Al-Qaida, as Rand terrorism expert put it a few years ago, is more like a franchise business than a state or state system. It has a "business" model it likes to teach adherents who can then go out and apply it in their local situation. Even the Rand Corp., hardly a nest of pacifists, issued a recent report saying that police and intelligence work is a better way to approach the terrorism problem than a military approach. Chuck Pena's book, "Winning the Un-War" is the best book-length trreatment of the issue. But to a man with a hammer everything looks like a nail. (Whether we'll have a hammer-like military when the Iraq misadventure is over (if it ever is) is another question.) So our government fell back on what seemed comfortable and familiar rather than really analyzing the problem and devising effective countermeasures -- not to mention that invading Iraq probably created more jihadist sympathizers than we'll ever be able to kill.
By the way, here's a link to my previous week's column. Sometimes Antiwar uses a generic url the first week a column is up and assigns it a more specific url when the next week's column comes it.
Still, despite having stretched, tattered and sometimes shredded, the constitution is still a valuable document and still capable of protecting our liberties. I think this Register editorial expresses the pros and cons rather nicely, if I do say so myself.
That Cato Institute for the last several years has chosen Constitution Day to do its annual Supreme Court review and preview. I was fortunate to be able to attend it last year, and found the interchange (they invite lawyers and professors of various persuasions) informative and intellectually stimulating -- and useful, given that I write most of the Supreme Court editorials at the Register.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I got to know Dick reasonably well when he was at the Register, and liked him instantly. He is genuinely devoted to libertarian ideas -- he has donated a huge library of libertarian books to Chapman University and has been the prime mover behind Freedom School, where publishers and editors and editorial writers go to spend several days "thinking about big ideas," as Jonathan Rauch, one of the speakers at the most recent one, put it. Jonathan told me he knows of no other company that does anything remotely similar.
Dick and Pat have three sons, two of whom are very active with the company and the moving force behind the desire to keep the company in the family and keeping it devoted to libertarian principles.
Anyway, it was a great party, at the Balboa Bay Club, and it was a genuine surprise. Tom Palmer sent a video and David Nott of Reason Foundation came. And Scott Flanders, Terry Horne, Dave Threshie, Tibor Machan, Tom Grochow and about 75 others came. It was a well-deserved tribute and sendoff to one of the really good guys.
Dick won't be completely gone. He told me one of the reasons he's "retiring" is so the company can have his salary for other purposes, but he plans to remain active, especially in organizing the Freedom Schools.
But it's political posturing. Certain conservative Democrats want to be able to vote against restrictive gun laws before the election in November, and since they were a key part of the Dem takeover in 2006, Nancy Pelosi will let them. But the Senate is almost certain not to act, so it won't mean much if anything in terms of actual law.
However, Secretary Henry Paulson at least declined to bail out Lehman Brothers over the weekend, for which this Register editorial praised him. As it further argued, we're in for some rough economic times. Esmael Adibi, director of the Anderson Center for economic forecasting at Chapman University (run by Friedmanite disciples) told me he thinks we are in a recession now, which will be declared by the National Bureau of Economic Research (which officially declares such things) in the six months or so it typically takes them to gather and analyze all the relevant data. There's no painless way out of a recession, but the shortest and least painful is to let those who made bad decisions or hit bad luck take their hits and learn (temporarily) to avoid those excesses for a while.
Robert Samuelson at the WaPo argues that the business model the financial markets -- lots of leverage, exotic investments, derivatives -- have developed over the last 20 or so years has failed, and it's time for a new model, more conservative and reality-based. I suspect he's right. But bailing out those who have followed the model will only delay necessary adjustments to reestablish the economy on a sounder basis.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Hmmmm. I probably have some eligibility left; maybe I should enroll quickly and volunteer to help out. I'm about 30 pounds heavier than when I played Freshman ball, and a good deal meaner. The fact that I'm 47 years older shouldn't matter much from what I saw at Provo.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
On the other hand substitute QB starter Kevin Craft had a terrific second half in the upset win against Tennessee. The offensive line probably still needs work, especially at run-blocking, but it did OK at pass-blocking. And although he'll deny it, UCLA offensive coordinator Norm Chow has an incentive to win. He was offensive coordinator at BYU, developing numerous quarterbacks (McMahon, Detmer) but got passed over when the head coaching job came open.
Guacamole and beer are already in the fridge.
Lemme see. The newspaper business is in serious trouble right now -- no joke -- and it's more than a little unclear how we'll come out of it , but probably with a lot fewer newspapers. Maybe we should get low-interest repayment-optional loans from the government. After all, how can we continue to have an independent voice to serve as a check on government unless we become dependent on government?
If that makes sense to you you're qualified for a government job.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
"Well I listened to the first part of Sarah Palin’s interview with Charlie Gibson, and since it was focused on foreign affairs, she didn’t come across well at all. Early on in the rollout somebody tried to ask her about the Iraq war and she said she just hadn’t thought about it much. That was obvious. I can understand to some extent. She’s been focused on Wasilla and then what she had to do to get elected governor and then what she wanted to do as governor. And despite some missteps, she doesn’t seem to have done too badly there. But it is simply all too obvious that she hasn’t spent much time at all thinking about foreign affairs. She may have absorbed a few neocon talking points since being selected, but that’s about it.
"Charlie Gibson was extraordinarily forbearing, but I thought he was at times simply appalled at what was coming out of her mouth. Several times I yelled at him (my wife hates when I do that) to do a follow-up to try to pin her down. To talk so casually about possibly going to war with Russia over Ukraine, when Ukraine is not in NATO and neither is Georgia, largely because the Europeans dragged their feet, and in the wake of recent events there’s no chance they’ll be in NATO (which may come apart over Afghanistan, but that’s another issue I’m sure she has no clue about either).
"When Charlie asked about the Bush Doctrine she got that deer-in-the-headlights look and acted as if she had no idea what he was talking about, which she probably doesn’t. Finally Charlie got soft and talked about preemptive war, and she babbled a bit. Charlie didn’t even follow up when she talked about “imminent danger” to ask if there was any imminent danger from Saddam’s Iraq.
"You might have thought, when he asked if she was ready to be president, that she would have had the grace to acknowledge that she didn’t know much about national security now but that she would make sure to learn from top experts between now and January and would continue to learn. But no. She seems to have the same kind of unreflective certainty Bush has, which is a weakness rather than a strength.
"Maybe I’ll have more after I listen to “Nightline” tonight."
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
When a played in a community band a few years ago, one of our hornists had decided to try to move beyond the amateur status we all had (at least at that point; some had played professionally at various times, including in the Metroplitan Opera orchestra) and work at his instrument enough to go professional. I lost track of him so I don't know how it turned out, but it struck me that he figured he would have to practice at least four hours a day to get good enough -- and he was already not bad at all.
Apparently at the Mostly Mozart festival this year, the horns in some of the period instrument bands had trouble, and music critic Allan Kozinn felt obliged to call them on it, suggesting that when people in an audience pay money for a ticket they expect to hear good playing, not excuses. In the process he teaches a bit about just how difficult the instrument is, which he fully appreciates. LIsten to the Mozart horn concerti some time if you want to hear the instrument used skillfully.
But what of the team's coach, one Mike Pressler. During the scandal the athletic director demanded his resignation, despite his 16 years building the team into a national championship contender. He got death threats. And he was virtually unemployable. No Division I school would touch him despite his being one of the top coaches in the country.
Finally, as William Anderson, who followed the case assiduously reports, Bryant University, a Division II school in Rhode Island, took a chance on him in late 2006. The school had had only losing seasons, but within a year Bryant had the team winning the league and in two years making the lacrosse "final four." It isn't as prestigious as Duke, but he's appreciated and just got a new contract. Nice to see a decent man reconstitute his life after being treated so shabbily.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Anyway, here's the Register's take on it (at least initially, we'll have more to say on Sunday), recommending that the two be disassembled and sold to the private sector in small chunks. Having the GSEs be so predominant in the secondary mortgage market was never intended, and the result is that financial markets all over the world are at risk because the two have so much debt going sour and lots of institutions holding shares. The notion that only a government agency can handle this chore is a myth. After the recent accounting scandal, Fannie and Freddie's share of the market plunged to 14 percent in 2005 (it's about 42 now) and the mortgage market didn't even notice. Plenty of private companies are performing the same insurance and securitization functions, but more responsibly.
Later the Register's music critic Timothy Mangan (who's quite perceptive and a musician in his own right; we played together in a band for a company event) described it as the worst opera he had ever seen (only later slightly qualifying his comment. He pointed out the "Opera is hard work" and just because you're an accomplished composer doesn't mean you know how to do it.
Anthony Tommasini, the New York Times critic, was only slightly less dismissive, calling it "a ponderous and enervating opera, and the problem is Mr. Shore's music." The AP also panned it.
If all this is true, it's too bad. I have really liked Howard Shore's film music (and Tommasini said there were moments, even though overall it was a failure) but opera is a discipline all its own. As Tim said, if you want to start you write one act for an opera workshop and listen to feedback from singers and other musicians. Of course, some critics panned Beethoven when he was alive, so maybe these judgments are harsh. I trust Matt's taste, however. Looks like an interesting try -- and one hopes it doesn't discourage other composers -- but a failure. Too bad.
Monday, September 08, 2008
For a little more detail specifically on anthrax, here's Stratfor.com's valuable recent piece.
Sunday, September 07, 2008
The country is already overpopulated and more people will degrade the quality of life; more immigration is dangerous to the environment; immigrants take jobs that "belong" to native-born; this wave of immigrants is dangerous to American culture; opposing immigration is a good "wedge issue for Republicans; unrestricted immigration is a danger to national security. All of these arguments, I'm afraid, are poppycock.
Of course, as some of the comments on the OCR Website illustrate, some people seem immune to reasoned argument, rejecting the book's argument without reading it. How sad that so many political positions are the result of emotion rather than reason or anything approaching weighing the evidence -- or even giving it a moment's consideration.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Interestingly, as this article makes clear, Gen. Petraeus, hailed as the genius behind the turnaround, is much more circumspect about claiming that victory is around the corner. And even if the U.S. does find a reasonably graceful way out, that doesn't mean the war was worth starting, if only because the most significant result is to have made Iran stronger as a regional power and given it m0ore incentive to acquire nukes.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Michael Martin, 34, who produced edible items containing marijuana for the use of patients who prefer not to smoke, will be sentenced tomorrow at the Oakland Federal Courthouse (1301 Clay St.). At 2 p.m. his lawyers, Tony Serra and Sara Zalkin, along with Americans for Safe Access attorney Joe Elford, will hold a press conference to highlight the injustice of the situation.
After California passed Prop. 215 in 1996, then-drug “czar” Gen. Barry McCaffrey commissioned the Institute of Medicine to study the medicinal use of marijuana. After the book summarizing the results was published, Gen. McCaffrey ignored the findings documenting numerous medicinal uses and recommending that all forms of marijuana be allowed under a physician’s supervision until better forms of the medications could be developed, and quoted only one line: “The future of medicinal marijuana does not lie in the smoked product.”
Well, Michael Martin tried to provide an alternative to the smoked product, and because federal law still stupidly (and criminally? unconsitutionally?) criminalizes any and all use of marijuana, he faces a stiff federal sentence. Because federal trials do not allow even the whispering of the term “medical” in the courtroom in the presence of a jury, let the jury get the idea that the defendant was doing something perfectly legal under state law and the 70-80 percent of Americans approve, he didn’t go to trial.
Obama has said he will end the practice of sending DEA agents after patients and caregivers in states with medical marijuana laws. Will anybody hold his feet to the fire on this one?
Monday, September 01, 2008
All these, Vargas Llosa contends, were "heir to America's grandest tradition: the right to the pursuit of happiness," and affirmed that "individual sovereignty ... is a space that no collective force should violate."
Alvaro, whom I met some seven years ago in a location I was asked not to reveal, has developed into one of our more valuable individualist writers, spewing good sense at least once a week at The New Republic, which has a weakness for individualists who write really well.
One top-25 team down, five to go.
Of course it was the defense that made it possible -- unless it was me turning my UCLA cap around rally-style at the beginning of the second half -- stymieing what I think will be a good Tennessee offense. And Neuheisel wins his first game as UCLA coach. All in all, a satisfactory bout of couch-potatoing. And we even got some work done around the house before the game started. You won't recognize the place, Frank. Your mother says hi.