Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Don’t Be Fooled Again

Today’s bizarro Libertarian candidate: William Bolen, candidate for Congress in Tennessee’s third district. His website features what would normally be a radio ad (though this one is not for broadcast) with a censor bleeping out a seemingly obscenity-filled rant against state and national politicians. He also makes an interesting observation on comparative government and geography: “I believe what makes America the greatest is our long history of individual liberty and personal responsibility. China has amber waves of grain and Iran has spacious skies, but neither have the freedom we enjoy in America today. What makes us great and sets us apart from other nations is Liberty.” I don’t think I’d ever made that comparison before, but he certainly has a point. Nepal has purple mountain majesties, yet still lacks a good after-hours coffeehouse. Finally, my eyes are starting to open.


Sunday, October 13, 2002

And I Thought People Who Smoked That Much Weed Were Supposed to Be Mellow

Claiming to be homosexual – it’s not just for avoiding the draft anymore. It can now get you protected refugee immigration status in the UK. Two men from Jamaica have recently been granted asylum on the basis of virulent homophobia in their homeland. This comes as a surprise, as the image of Jamaica presented in television ads in the U.S. is one of smiling resort employees cheerfully carrying an American tourist’s golf clubs, or serving him a refreshing tropical drink on a platter. It hardly seems possible that such charming people would kill their local village hairdresser with a machete. The other compelling detail in this story is the anecdotal evidence the two men presented to illustrate how dangerous it is to be that way in Jamaica. Their tales of physical attacks were “reinforced by concern about the lyrics of some of the country's leading music stars.” I had no idea Eminem was a leading music star in the Caribbean.


Tuesday, October 08, 2002

It's the liberals trying to dupe us to believe it's the economy, stupid!

Buried in an article about the longshoremen's strike, and probably peppered throughout all political reporting this week: “polls show a growing number of voters want Bush to spend more time talking about the economy than Iraq.”

No, not poll(s) but a poll by the NYT and CBS that was a total sham; you don’t have to be a trained political scientist to know that. Just ask Dick Morris or David Tell.

Saturday, October 05, 2002

Unfairly Focusing on Likely Suspects

The arrest of three individuals suspected of supporting terrorism in my hometown of Portland, Oregon has produced the expected cries of unfairness from local Islamic community leaders. "It seems like part of the witch hunt from the FBI," said Alaa Abunijem, president of the [Portland] Islamic Center. "The Muslim community in general is being targeted.” Well yes, the Muslim community is being targeted by FBI agents who are trying to find U.S. residents or citizens who are aiding Al Qaeda. How else would law enforcement go about their investigation? Who else would possibly have a motive? Other startling revelations include that only men are targeted in rape investigations and only people people who have been previously convicted of a crime are taken down for parole violations.


Thursday, October 03, 2002

Shades of the Truth

Sometimes the Libertarian Party tends to give its nomination out to some very colorful characters. Given their chance of winning a local, much less state-wide race, state parties will often endorse anyone who signs on to a basic statement of principles (government: bad, capitalism: good) and promises to make some effort at campaigning. Montana’s Libertarian Party has outdone most its fellow chapters, however, by nominating Stan Jones to run for U.S. Senate. The photo on his campaign site doesn’t really do him justice, though, as he now has blue skin as a result of drinking a solution of silver as an alternative to antibiotics. You see, he was concerned that Y2K computer problems would cause so much havoc that basic medical supplies would no longer be available. CNN reports that the condition is now permanent, but if you have any home remedies that might ameliorate the situation, please share them with the candidate. Other interesting Libertarian candidates include Matt Beauchamp, who is running for Illinois Secretary of State on a “15 Minutes or It’s Free” platform – that is, if elected, he’ll guarantee that you get your driver’s license renewed in less than 15 minutes. And his favorite band is The Tragically Hip – what more qualification does a man need?

Thanks to Marc Webster for the Stan Jones link.

Inimicus Curiae

Scenario: Robert Torricelli is losing the race for Senate in New Jersey, so he drops out in favor of former Senator Frank Lautenberg, who both state and national Democratic officials hope will keep the NJ race from tipping the Senate back into Republican hands. Problem: State law says there are to be no ballot substitutions if there are less than 51 days to go before the elections, and the Democrats want a substitution with only 34 days to go. Solution: A state supreme court appointed by one of the nation’s most liberal Republican (former) governors, Christine Todd Whitman, which ignores both the letter and spirit of the law entirely, ruling in favor of the Democrats. As Robert George points out, the Lautenberg substitution is exactly the kind of scenario the law in question was meant to prohibit. Yet the New Jersey Supreme Court is allowing it anyway. The Democrats knew that Torricelli was vulnerable – he has been facing credible accusations of corruption for years. This was not a last minute scandal, or even an unexpected problem. They took a calculated risk, hoping the advantages of incumbency would give them the edge, and they lost. Now they’ve managed to get the NJ Supreme Court to essentially overturn state election law to keep from having to deal with the consequences of backing a loser. See also Mark Levin's close review of the Court’s opinion today.

Compare this situation with a similar one in Hawaii where Representative Patsy Mink died a few days after the ballot substitution deadline. Even in this extreme circumstance, the state is keeping her name on the ballot and will hold a special election if her name “wins” the election.


Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Fighting Diversity in Higher Education

The freedom-loving kids at Bureaucrash have highlighted some interesting facts about political diversity in higher education. It seems that the faculty at elite universities are overwhelmingly leftists. I know, what else is new? But having the voter registration numbers to prove it is an interesting development. The American Enterprise conducted the research, labeling Democrats, Greens, and Working Family party members as on the Left, leaving registered Republicans and Libertarians to represent the Right. Walter Williams recently summarized the results in Insight magazine:

“The results? At Brown University, 5 percent of the faculty were members of the party of the right; at Cornell it was 3 percent; Harvard, 4 percent; Penn State, 17 percent; Stanford, 11 percent; the University of California at Los Angeles, 6 percent; and at the University of California at Santa Barbara, 1 percent. There are other universities in the survey; however, the pattern is the same - the faculty is dominated by leftist ideology. In some departments, such as women's studies, African-American studies, political science, sociology, history and English, the entire faculty is leftist. When it came to the 2000 presidential election, 84 percent of Ivy League faculty voted for Al Gore, 6 percent for Ralph Nader and 9 percent for George Bush. In the general electorate, the vote was split at 48 percent for Gore and Bush, and 3 percent for Nader. Zinsmeister concludes that one would find much greater political diversity at a grocery store or on a city bus.”