Friday, December 30, 2005

Real journalism

News anchors from every major news network were quick to criticize Farris Hassan, the sixteen year old student who travelled from his home in Fort Lauderdale Florida to Iraq to report on what he saw there.

On CNN, talking head Paula Zahn asked, "How can he abandon traditional journalistic practices such as sitting in our news room reporting manufactured polls in favor of novel methods such as actually going to Iraq and discussing what he sees first hand?"

Bob Schieffer on CBS Evening News claimed that Hassan's trip was a stunt: "They ask us to believe that a sixteen year old was able to go to Iraq and report what is really going on there? I am seven times his age, and even I don't actually go there."

On NBC, Brian Williams asked "Don't the people we poll, sitting on their sofa at home, have a better perspective on what is beneficial for Iraq? If people start seeing the reality for themselves and actually thinking rather than blindly accepting our version of the story, they may not reach the desired conclusions."

Farris Hassan gained a very different perspective from his visit to Iraq than you would get from watching the news. He wrote:

Life is not about money, fame, or power. Life is about combating the forces of evil in the world, promoting justice, helping the misfortunate, and improving the welfare of our fellow man. Progress requires that we commit ourselves to such goals. We are not here on Earth to hedonistically pleasure ourselves, but to serve each other and the creator. What deed is greater than sacrificing one's luxuries for the benefit of those less blessed?

If I know what is needed and what is right, but do not act on my moral conscience, I would be a hypocrite. I must do what I say decent individuals should do. I want to live my days so that my nights are not full of regrets. Therefore, I must go.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

What went wrong?

Senate Democrats, while noting that the Iraqi election voter turnout put American voters to shame, are wondering why the turnout was slightly lower than the turnout for Saddam Hussein's landslide victory.

Senator Harry Reid said, "You may say that a seventy percent turnout is a sign that democracy is taking hold in Iraq, but I must remind you that four years ago, Saddam got one hundred percent of the vote with every single Iraqi voting. Is this really progress?"

While some Iraqi voters were kept at home by a total ban on vehicles and the threat of terrorist attacks, it has been pointed out that the transit strike in New York deterred more people than these obstacles.

Democrats, who had partnered with their friends in the insurgency and the New York Times to undermine the elections, were discouraged by the results. Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean said, "We can't let the unfortunate success of these elections give us the impression that we are winning in Iraq, because the results would be disastrous next November."

Senator Hillary Clinton was asked to comment, but an anonymous staffer indicated that they were still taking polls to determine if she would take sides with the 10,000 insurgents and the rest of her party, or with the 25 million Iraqi people.

Senator Ted Kennedy reminded Americans that the Iraqi election is not the only issue. "We can't focus solely on the thirty percent of the Iraqi people who did not vote. We must remember that there are other important questions. What should be done about Saddam being beaten by Americans? Should George Bush be impeached for spying on terrorists? Were Diebold voting machines used in Iraq? The American people deserve answers to these questions."

CNN Reporter Walter Jenkins, currently on assignment in Baghdad, interviewed a number of Iraqi citizens who did not vote, searching for an explanation for the decreasing voter turnout. One Iraqi said, "We knew that the entire world was not behind this election because Richard Gere didn't tell us to vote."

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Golden Globe

The Hollywood elites of the Golden Globe film awards have proven what we suspected for a long time: they are so open minded that their brains leaked out.

Last week the Golden Globe nominees were announced. "Brokeback Mountain", the gay cowboy movie, received seven nominations. This box-office flop was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Screenplay, Best Direction, Best Song, and Best Score. It is clear that politics was the deciding factor here, because the quality of filmmaking couldn't explain the nominations. The film is beyond tacky. It is an assault on the genre of the American Western. Fortunately, the American public demonstrates better taste than the Golden Globe awards. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, based on the amazing book by Christian author C.S. Lewis was released on the same day as Brokeback Mountain, and to date has attracted 32 times the audience.

The other day I watched "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance", a great western starring John Wayne and James Stewart. I shudder to think of what John Wayne would do to Heath Ledger if the two met in Dodge City. This year, instead of watching the Golden Globe awards, rent anything starring John Wayne and enjoy a celebration of what made America great.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

How to get in real trouble

There are two ways to get yourself into a heap of trouble in this "holiday" season.

A music teacher in a Richardson Texas school told her students that there is no Santa Claus. The backlash was so severe that the school district was forced to issue a "pro-Santa" statement from the big man himself.

In Manhasset New York, a Catholic priest who had been asked to give the blessing during the lighting of the town Christmas Tree had the audacity to mention the name of Jesus. A city councilman interrupted him as he was speaking and chastised him for being "inappropriate."

We have Santa Claus, a fictional character based on a myth, and the historical person Jesus Christ, God in human flesh, whose name is the basis of Christmas, whose birth celebrated at Christmas is the central point in history.

The two ways to get into a lot of trouble:

Question the myth or declare the truth

Joy to the World, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare him room
And heaven and nature sing

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Making it right

I learned a few things last night as I listened to Tookie William's lawyer make the case that his brutal gang killer client should not be executed. I learned that guilt or innocence is not the important factor in determining if justice should be carried out. The important factor is that executions should be done in proportion to the demographics of the population at large. For example, more than half the people in the United States are women. Therefore, more than half of the people executed should be women. I have a proposal to make sure that this happens. We need to begin randomly arresting and executing white women. To assure that the system is fair, diverse, and equitable, we must take action now. I call on Senators Hillary Clinton, Barbara Boxer, and Dianne Feinstein to take the lead in this issue by volunteering to be first on the list. We would be eternally grateful to them for helping to end decades of injustice.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Tookie's Last Book

Gang Murderer Tookie Williams will soon be executed, more than 26 years after he brutally killed four people.

Opponents of the death penalty want Tookie's life to be spared because, they say, he is a changed man, and he has done so much good during his twenty years on death row. He has written books encouraging kids to not join gangs. At the same time, he refuses to give law enforcement authorities the information which could help them shut down the lawless gang he founded.

But nothing that a murderer does in prison after being sentenced to death should affect the carrying out of the sentence. For one thing, there is no proof that his reform is genuine. Secondly, writing books does not bring back the people he killed. If Tookie is genuine in his regret for his actions, and if he actually has influenced kids to not join gangs, I extend my thanks to him, as they swab his arm with alcohol before they insert the needle. Got to avoid infection, you know.

For justice to be done, the sentence must be carried out. But if Tookie is really concerned about influencing kids in South Central LA to not join gangs, he has just enough time to write one more short book. In this book he can describe how he founded the Crips, how he killed people, and how he was arrested, tried, and sentenced to death. He can talk about how he wasted his life. He can tell kids who are considering joining a gang what it is like to spend twenty six years sitting on death row. Then he can tell them about the ultimate consequence for what he did: how tonight he will be strapped to a gurney, a needle inserted into his vein, and lethal drugs pumped into his body. Perhaps there will be a few kids who would read that book and see that justice is done in spite of Tookie claim to be reformed, and they will decide not to join a gang.

Tookie's life was wasted, but perhaps his death would not be wasted. What happens tonight is the most powerful anti-gang statement Tookie will ever make.

The Grinch who Stole Target

Employees are Target have been instructed not to mention Christmas. No Christmas signs. No Christmas music. No greeting customers with "Merry Christmas." Instead, they can say "Season's Greetings" or "Happy Holidays." You see, they don't want to offend anybody. They want to be inclusive of all traditions, including those who would rather have a twig of holly stuck in their eye than wish someone "Merry Christmas."

We shop at Target quite often, and we are not going to boycott Target.

Instead we are going to pick up the slack. When I take my little boys to Target, we are going to wish every person we see a "Merry Christmas." Every customer, every employee, the police man by the door, and the checkout clerk. Then we will page the manager so that we can wish him a Merry Christmas, too. We may even sing a few choruses of "Away in a Manger" or "Joy to the World." If the security guard asks us to leave, we'll wish him a Merry Christmas too.

And to all you readers of this blog: MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Why our kids are not in public schools

These days many people delegate the responsibility to educate their kids to the government by putting them in public schools. Not only do they give up the opportunity to instruct their kids with the knowledge and skills needed for life, but they also entrust the state to provide their kids world view and moral foundation in their formative years. Public schools claim to be "tolerant" and non-religious, but they do promote their own political and religious views of liberalism and secular humanism.

We put our oldest child in public school for two years, but changed to a Christian school because of a number of incidents. Here are a few:

On the first day of seventh grade, the social studies teacher conducted an "ethnicity survey". The paper she sent home claimed that they are concerned with "ethnicity" not race. This paper informed us that there are four ethnicities: African American, Hispanic American, Asian American, and European American. An African American is any person with black skin, regardless of where their ancestors are from or where they currently live. A white native South African who is currently an American citizen living in Texas is not an African American. A black man from Jamaica living in France is an African American, even though he is neither African nor American. Likewise, any person with oriental features is of the same ethnicity, whether they are from China, Japan, Thailand, Korea, or Indonesia. Like I said, it is about ethnicity, not race. The most important factor in the quality of education is the "ethnic" makeup of the class. To adequately prepare students to avoid Affirmative Action lawsuits in the corporate world, the practice of using quotas to ensure a diverse classroom is essential. Defining everyone by placing them into one of four categories is critical in recognizing each of our uniqueness and viewing all people based on their character. To conduct the ethnicity survey, they went around the classroom and each student indicated which of the four ethnicities they belong to. When they got to my son, he said, "I am an American." The teacher was a bit confused, as that is not one of the four ethnicities in the world. "Yes, but what is your family background?" He replied, "Well, my biological father is half Hispanic-American and half European-American. My biological mother is European American. My mother is Asian-American. My father is part American Indian. My brothers are half Asian-American and half European-American. I was born in The United States, so you can list me as American or Native American." She looked at him and said, "You are white. You are a European-American." Like I said, it is about ethnicity, not race.

Later that year, the same teacher spent weeks talking about "non-violent social action." The class was supposedly about American history up to the Civil War. However, the teacher couldn't help but interject her own agenda into the class. "Non-violent social action" was held up as the paragon of virtue. The Civil Rights movement, feminism, and the homosexual movement were held up as prime examples of the good which could be accomplished by non-violent social action. The teacher asked for other examples of non-violent social action, and my son mentioned Operation Rescue, a movement of people willing to sacrificially place themselves between the unborn baby and the abortionist who wants to dismember her for money. Although violence has been inflicted on Rescuers, Operation Rescue has never condoned or initiated violence, and takes action to prevent violence on defenseless babies. However, the teacher told the class that Operation Rescue is not an example of non-violent social action because some Operation Rescue members support the death penalty.

Public schools promote tolerance for every idea except for Christianity. They will make accommodations for Muslims to do their prayers during school hours, but one teacher told our son that he could not bring a Bible to school. Separation of Church and State, you know. The First Amendment is a limit on the state, not on citizens, and it protects the citizen's right to practice religion. But public schools are bastions of their own state-sponsored religion, secular humanism, and they preach tolerance, but don't tolerate Christian ideas.

We spent so much time deprogramming our son from the crazy stuff he was taught at school that we came to realize that it is not the responsibility of the government to teach our kids or to guide them as they build a world view and a moral compass. It is a parent's job.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Don't reform the tax code, replace it

A few weeks back, the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform released a report. It includes some good baby steps in the right direction, such as eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax. However, it does not go nearly far enough. It does not address the regressive employment tax, which is the largest tax payed by most workers. The tax code is the primary source of power for politicians, and well-funded lobbyists have worked for years to coerce, bribe, and otherwise manipulate corrupt Congresscritters to shape the tax code into something that benefits them and the people who hire them, but makes no sence for the nation as a whole. Tax considerations cause people to do things in a highly inefficient and unproductive way. The book The Greedy Hand by Amity Shlaes gives countless examples of unintended consequences of the convoluded tax code. Decades of tax code manipulation has resulted in a 17,000 page monster which is beyond reform. We need to throw it out and rebuilt the tax structure from the ground up.

Our current tax system punishes activities which benefit the country, benefit the economy, and benefit individuals: labor, saving, and capital. As a general principle, if you tax an activity, you decrease the activity. We want to increase the motivation for people to work and provide for themselves, to save, and to invest in our economy. Ronald Reagan summed up our current approach to taxation: "If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it." In combination with controlling and reducing government spending, we need to eliminate the tax on income and investment and replace it with a tax on consumption. Repeal the income tax, the employment tax, the capital gains tax, and the death tax, and remove these impediments to employment. Instead, tax consumption thru a national sales tax. Everyone would get an automatic pre-bate on the taxes paid to support a minimal standard of living. The poor would pay no taxes, income or employment. Money not spent on consumption would not be taxed, giving a great incentive to save and invest, driving down interest rates and providing investment capital to grow the economy. This would remove the maze of loopholes and hoops to jump through in our current system of tax deferred savings. All savings would be tax deferred. Small businesses and self-employed people would no longer be burdened with the impossible task of trying to cope with the complexities of the tax system. As interest rates fall, the economy grows, and employment rises, everyone benefits.

So why will Congress not make such a positive change? It would take away from their own power. The primary source of power for a member of Congress is the ability to take away the money that you earn and give it to someone who didn't earn it. Congress is unlikely to give up their own grasp on power, even if it is in the long-term interest of the nation.

The Fair Tax proposal is very similar to what I am proposing. For a great deal of information about how it would work and the benefits it would bring, visit

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Public education

Rebecca Beach, a freshman at Warren Community College in New Jersey, sent an email to the faculty of the college inviting them to a speech by Iraq War veteran Scott Rutter. She got a response from English professor John Daly, in which Daly advocated the murder of American military officers, argued the superiority of communism over capitalism, propagated bizarre lies about the number of children killed in Iraq and in America by lack of medical insurance, and expressed his desire to suppress the expression of Rebecca's opinions. Is this what our colleges have come to these days? I had a few wacky leftist professors when I attended University twelve years ago, but nothing like this. Can this be defended as a free-flow of ideas? I don't believe that advocating that American soldiers killer their commanding officers is a responsible or defensible action. And if Professor Daly was so committed to a free-flow of ideas, he would not attempt to squelch someone else's ideas.

Colleges and Universities have always been breeding grounds for leftist ideologies, as young, idealistic, and impressionable kids lacking experience and a grounding in reality are influenced by tenured professors who are more committed to advancing a political agenda than educating. They say that if you are not a liberal at age 20, you have no heart, and if you are not a conservative at age 30, you have no brain. I guess I was a heartless 20-year-old, but I am not a brainless 30+ year old. Around the world, Communism, Stalinism, and other forms of collectivism are failing and crumbling away, but they are alive and well on the college campuses of the United States.

People such as John Daly denigrate the blood of the people who died to protect the freedom that they trample under their feet as they spew their anti-American garbage.

The writing skills of the people who instruct our kids in English is a topic for another day.

Below is the full unedited text of the email from Professor John Daly to Rebecca Beach.

Dear Rebecca:
I am asking my students to boycott your event. I am also going to ask others to boycott it. Your literature and signs in the entrance lobby look like fascist propaganda and is extremely offensive. Your main poster "Communism killed 100,000,000" is not only untrue, but ignores the fact that CAPITALISM has killed many more and the evidence for that can be seen in the daily news papers. The U.S. government can fly to dominate the people of Iraq in 12 hours, yet it took them five days to assist the people devastated by huricane Katrina. Racism and profits were key to their priorities. Exxon, by the way, made $9 Billion in profits this last quarter--their highest proft margin ever. Thanks to the students of WCCC and other poor and working class people who are recruited to fight and die for EXXON and other corporations who earning megaprofits from their imperialist plunders. If you want to count the number of deaths based on political systems, you can begin with the more than a million children who have died in Iraq from U.S.-imposed sanctions and war. Or the million African American people who died from lack of access to healthcare in the US over the last 10 years.

I will continue to expose your right-wing, anti-people politics until groups like your won't dare show their face on a college campus. Real freedom will come when soldiers in Iraq turn their guns on their superiors and fight for just causes and for people's needs--such freedom fighters can be counted throughout American history and they certainly will be counted again.

Prof. John Daly

Fitz reports

(11-19-2005) Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald dramatically unveiled the source of the leak of the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame in a press conference Saturday. "You know how you play that game in school where the teacher tells the first kid a message, and they pass it around the room, and by the time it is done, the message has changed? Vice President Cheney apparently told Karl Rove that Joe Wilson was involved with a CYA. By the time the message got to Robert Novak, it had changed slightly."

The person who leaked Valarie Plame's covert status to Valarie Plame is still at large.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Urban violence

Today French officials reported that urban violence fell to "normal levels."

Only 98 cars were torched last night.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

By what measure?

Democrats recognize that a successful War on Terror would mean that they would have no chance of gaining power in Congress or the White House. For this reason, they are hell-bent on convincing the public that the war is going badly. By doing this, they are emboldening the enemy and putting our soldiers in greater danger.

I have to ask the question: by what measure is the War on Terror going badly?

In the four years since terrorists crashed airliners into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the Taliban has been removed from power, most of the command structure of al Qaida has been dismantled, with dozens of high-level terrorists captured or killed, Iraq is liberated from an evil dictator and is beginning to establish a working democracy, Saddam Hussein is in prison facing trial and he no longer controls stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons. Five years ago would anyone have believed that in 2005 Iraq would hold a free election to approve a Constitution establishing a democratic government? Even a year ago few people believed that the election would come off smoothly and the Constitution would pass.

The foreign terrorists and Iraqi Baathists who profited under Saddam's rule do continue to fight us, but did anyone really believe that they wouldn't? They think that there is a vacuum to fill, but freedom and democracy has already filled that vacuum, and it is a matter of time until it defeats the Islamofascists. The last thing we should do at this point is abandon the Iraqi majority who want freedom and let the Islamofascist minority impose their will on the majority. The insurgency does provide an opportunity to do significant damage to the forces of terror worldwide, as terrorists from throughout the middle east have converged on one spot, ready for our fine military to wipe them out. While our losses have been high, theirs have been much higher.

When you destroy a hornet's nest, you invariably stir up a bunch of hornets. The fact that they were not stirred up before doesn't mean that they were not there, or that they would not have stung you if you ignored them. Stirring them up is a necessary first step to wiping them out.

So I repeat the question: by what measure is the War on Terror going badly?

Let's talk about casualties. We won World War II, and along the way we lost 295,000 fine American soldiers. Our allies lost millions more. In Vietnam we lost 58,226 American servicemen. In the Civil War, at least 618,000 Americans died. By any historical standard, 2,000 casualties is a small number. Our modern society has had a major shift in expectations regarding the number of casualties we are willing to accept. We expect a Desert Storm style victory every time, when the reality is that a land war involves greater risk and more casualties. Not all objectives can be accomplished by air power alone. Although we never want to see any American soldier killed, it is a fundamentally American principle that freedom is worth fighting for. The winner is not always the side with the fewest casualties. In WWII, many more Allied soldiers died than Axis soldiers. In the Civil War, more Union soldiers died than Confederate soldiers. The key factors which lead to victory are the will to win, and the resources to win. Democrats who try to score political points by calling the war a failure are eroding away the will of the American people to win the War on Terror. Along with the liberal media, they have done more to help the terrorists and endanger our soldiers than you can imagine. CNN, the DNC, and the New York Times are the propaganda branch of al Qaida. We certainly have an advantage in terms of resources, so if we maintain the will to win, we have the opportunity to defeat one of the greatest threats in history and make the world a safer, freer place.

Monday, November 14, 2005

I'm sure its in there somewhere

Judge Alito drew criticism for his lack of knowledge of the Constitution, based on a letter in which he wrote that the Constitution does not guarantee the right to an abortion. Senator Barbara Boxer held the 1985 letter over her head as she railed, "I have based my entire career on the fact that the Constitution was written to guarantee all women an abortion any time they want one! How can this Alito guy claim to be a Constitutional scholar when he doesn't even think that this most sacred right is in there?"

When asked to point out where the provision for abortion was included in the Consitution, Senator Boxer answered, "We're still looking for it. Can I get back to you on that?"

Examination of the letter by Dan Rather's document validation experts is not yet complete, but initial analysis indicates that it was not produced by a laser printer using Office 2000.

Teens decry "stupid" parents

As the manhunt for David Ludwig, accused of killing a couple and abducting their 14-year-old daughter at gunpoint, expanded nationwide, teens everywhere recognized that the problem was that her parents were "just plain stupid."

Neighbors and friends of the family said that the parents often argued with their daughter about her curfew and dating 18-year-old Ludwig, who listed his greatest area of expertise as "getting in trouble" on his internet blog.

Randy Harris of Akron Ohio said, "Clearly these parents were not with the times. They should have listened to their daughter, because she obviously knew a lot more than they did."

Jennifer Lewis of Seattle Washington said, "Mrs. Borden must have had a big 'S' written on her forehead, just like my mom. I hate to say 'I told you so' but hormones are always a more reliable guide than experience and wisdom."

Sarah Westin of Boston said, "It is comforting to know that I am not the only one suffering under the unreasonable restrictions of old-fashioned parents who just don't get it."

Lititz Police chief Willyam Ecaes told reporters, "The lesson in this tragedy is that teens should ignore their clueless parents."

Appeasement is working

French President Jacques Chirac pointed to the decrease in burned out cars as evidence that his appeasement policy is working.

"A week ago, fourteen hundred cars were burned in one night. Last night, only two hundred eighty four vehicles were torched. Clearly this is a benefit of being in bed with Saddam Hussein, united against the violent American aggressor. I extend my hand of friendship to the insurgents who have recognized our partnership by burning fewer cars and schools."

President Chirac was eager to remind the public that Islam is a religion of peace. "Muslims are eager to be at peace in a world where all infidels have been wiped out in name of Allah."

Meanwhile, President Bush held emergency cabinet meetings to determine if America could still get the preferential treatment that France is receiving.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Global warming

Today's issue of Science Magazine has an article reporting that global warming caused a major shift in the foliage of certain regions. In particular, plants from warmer southern areas moved into the Bighorn Basin of Wyoming. More evidence that President Bush not joining the Kyoto Treaty was a big mistake? Perhaps it was caused by evil corporations and Republicans driving Hummers. Before you rush off in your Prius to mail a check to Earth First, read a bit further into the story. "An increase in the planet's temperature 55 million years ago prompted major shifts in plant distribution..." I suppose that if we can blame President Bush for supplying the faulty intelligence which led Bill Clinton to bomb Saddam's nuclear weapons development plant in 1998, we can blame him for causing global warming 55 million years ago. But if global warming happened without any human help millions of years ago, why would we not expect these natural cycles to continue today? If there was evidence that global temperatures are increasing (which there is not) how can we think that man is responsible for it, when it has been happening for millenia?

Grandma defends herself with handgun

Yesterday, a few miles from where I live, a grandma used a 38 caliber revolver to defend herself and her granddaughter from a criminal intruder.

Police tried to stop Christopher Lessner for speeding in a stolen truck, but he fled, abandoned the truck, and broken into the home of 66-year-old Susan Buxton. She heard the breaking glass when he smashed his way into her house, and she went to investigate, with her revolver in hand. Susan's granddaughter used a cell phone to call police. The intruder jumped out of a closet "like a jack in the box" and ignored her commands to get down on the floor. Instead, he lunged for her weapon. Buxton, who is well-trained in the use of her firearm, shot him in the leg. He fled through the front door, but was found by police cowering on the porch of a nearby house. Because Buxton aimed for his leg rather than his torso, this criminal will live to face charges for his actions.

We should give Susan Buxton a medal for being prepared to defend herself and for doing it so effectively. If she lived in New York or Massachusetts, she would be arrested for daring to defend herself and her granddaughter. Fortunately, in Texas we still have a Second Amendment.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Conflict of interest?

Judge Samuel Alito has come under fire recently for ruling in a case involving Vanguard mutual fund company, when he held shares of Vanguard funds. Democrats are trying to make this out as a conflict of interests. The reality is that the performance of a mutual fund is completely unrelated to the profitability of the company which manages it.

A conflict of interest is created for a judge when his personal interests will be affected by a ruling in a case. For example, if a judge owned a million dollars of Microsoft stock, ruling in a case which would significantly affect the profitability of Microsoft would be a conflict of interest. If the judge ruled in favor of Microsoft, the decision could be called into question.

Senators certainly understand the distinction between investing in a company's common stock and investing in a mutual fund managed by a fund family. They are raising this issue because they count on a large percentage of the population not understanding the distinction. Judge Alito did not invest in Vanguard stock. In fact, Vanguard is not publicly held, so there is no Vanguard stock to invest in. Judge Alito invested in mutual funds managed by Vanguard. The money is invested in the stock of hundreds or thousands of companies. The performance of his investment is determined by the performance of all these stocks. His ruling has no impact at all on the value of his investment.

Judge Alito demonstrates great financial savvy by investing in Vanguard funds. My IRA is invested in Vanguard funds because it is one of the best fund families out there, ranking near the top in fiduciary responsibility, low expenses, and breadth of investment options. An investment in the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index is perhaps the investment which is least subject to conflict of interest of any investment. This fund tracks the Wilshire 5000 index, which is essentially the entire domestic stock market. The performance of this fund is tied to the strength of the entire American economy. Because the fund owns shares in several thousand American companies, the impact on the fund of a court ruling involving any one company is negligible. What is best for the country as a whole is what produces the best investment performance. Just as we would hope, the private interests of the judge are aligned with the interests of the nation. Most public officials' investment portfolios are riskier, return less, carry higher expenses, and are more subject to conflict of interest.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Calling in a You-Owe-Me

I have intercepted a letter from beseiged French president Jacques Chirac to Osama Bin Laden in his subterranean office complex. As a service to the reader of this blog, I present the text of his missive.

Mon cher ami,

Je suis tres fromagged off.

Pourquoi et vous bothering les Frogs? Nous sommes votre premier ami, Osama. Remembre vous que je ne attackez vous pas? En Afghanistan et Iraq je suis su votre side. Je dis "Fuckez vous" a cowboy American Presidente Busch. Je seulement sendez votre ami les bucketez du francs pour votre oile. Comment vous repaidez moi? Vous dit "merci" et burnez mon auto? Pourquoi? Vous desire que je surrenderez encore? Je surrendere! Seulement ne burnez mon palace, si vous plait. Je t'aime, mon petite Osama. Nous allons way back, mon ami.

Baisez vous,

Votre Jacques

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Mission Accomplished

When George Bush was sworn in as President of the United States in January 2001, Saddam Hussein was a dangerous tyrant who was violating UN resolutions by having and developing chemical and biological weapons and attempting to gain a nuclear capability. He had used those weapons ten times since 1983, in some cases against his own people. And he would have used them again. He was an international threat, who had attacked his neighboring countries on more than one occasion.

Some will say that these are lies spread by George Bush. However, these claims do not hold up to inspection. First of all, it was well known long before George Bush was President that Saddam Hussein was developing these weapons.

Tell the Kurds who Saddam gassed that Saddam didn't have chemical weapons.

How is it that Bush was lying, but Clinton was telling the truth when he bombed Saddam's nuclear site in 1998 and said "If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program." (Feb 17, 1998) Was Clinton passing on George Bush's lies three years before Bush became president?

How is it that Bush was lying, but Clinton's National Security Advisor Sandy Berger was telling the truth when he said "He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983." (Feb 18, 1998) Was George Bush providing faulty intelligence to mislead Berger?

How is it that Bush was lying, but Democrat Senators Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, and others were telling the truth when they wrote to President Clinton "We urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs." (Oct 9, 1998)

How is it that Bush was lying, but House Democrat Nancy Pelosi was telling the truth when she said "Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process." (Dec 16, 1998)

And how is it that Bush was lying, but Clinton's Secretary of State Madeline Albright was telling the truth when she said "Hussein has ... chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies." (Nov 10, 1999)

How is it that Bush was lying, but former Vice President and failed Presidential candidate Al Gore was telling the truth when he said "We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country" and "Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power." (Sept 23, 2002)

How is it that Bush was lying, but Vietnam War Veteran John Kerry was telling the truth when he voted for the war before he voted against it, saying "I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force -- if necessary -- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security." and "Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction ... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real..."

How is it that Bush was lying, but Senator Hillary Clinton was telling the truth when she said "In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members ... It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons." Does Hillary even recognize that the man whose coattails she rode into the Senate is responsible for the inspectors leaving Iraq in the first place, giving Saddam four years to develop those weapons and hide them?

And finally, how is it that Bush was lying, but Ted Kennedy was telling the truth when he said "We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." (Sept 27, 2002) Uncle Ted debunks the myth that weapons of mass destruction were a myth created by lies of President Bush by saying that we have known about Saddam's weapons development for many years.

Numerous intelligence agencies, including the British, Saudi, and Israeli, had independently verified that Saddam Hussein was developing chemical and biological weapons and was trying to obtain nuclear weapons. To this day, the British government stands behind the statement which Joe Wilson claims to have debunked: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." Joe Wilson spent eight days in Niger "drinking sweet mint tea and meeting dozens of people" as he put it. He did not find proof that Iraq obtained uranium, but he found ample evidence that Iraqi agents had been there and were hoping to obtain uranium, just as Bush said. In 2004 I spent 15 days in Africa and also drank tea and spoke to dozens of people. Given twice the time that Wilson spent, I found no evidence that Joe Wilson was ever there, so Wilson's trip must be a fabrication.

Perhaps the most compelling proof that President George Bush did not lie about the presence of Weapons of Mass Destruction is that it would have been self destructive. My young son tells lies which are easily disproven. He does not stop to think that the truth is bound to become apparent, and his lie will be exposed. This is not a mistake that the President of the United States makes. If he knew that no weapons of mass destruction would be found in Iraq, he would not have based the argument for going to war on those weapons. There are certainly many other reasons for removing Saddam Hussein from power. He was a menace to his own people and to the world. President Bush had absolutely no reason to make a case for the war which he knew would be found faulty.

We know for sure that Saddam Hussein had stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. We know that he was actively working to obtain the materials to create nuclear weapons. We know that as little as two years before the war that he was busy building and storing these weapons. We know that he had used those weapons against his own people and against other countries. We know that he supported terrorist organizations in numerous countries. The only thing we don't know is what he did with those weapons before we liberated the country. He may have hidden them somewhere in Iraq or in Syria. He may have destroyed them. We don't know specifically what he did with them. We do know why he no longer has them. It is because he knew that we were coming. And we also know for sure that he no longer has control of the weapons, because he is sitting in a prison awaiting the justice that he denied his enemies.

Four years ago, Saddam Hussein controlled an arsenal of weapons which could have killed millions of Americans. Today he does not control those weapons, because one American President had the intestinal fortitude to do something about it.

Mission Accomplished.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Prop 2

The pro-homosexual forces are hard at work, trying to defeat Proposition 2. They know that no honest approach to defeating this good proposition is going to succeed, so they are using lies and deception. Thousands of people have been receiving recorded messages claiming to be from a Christian, pro-family group "Save Texas Marriage". This organization does not exist, and the person speaking on these recorded messages is not Attorney General Greg Abbott, as he claims. The calls are actually originating from the office of Glen Maxey, former legislator and homosexual activist who is leading the fight to defeat Proposition 2. These fraudulent calls claim that Proposition 2 will make all marriages illegal in Texas. The reality is that Attorney General Greg Abbott sent a letter last week calling these claims "baseless and frivolous". Anyone has the right to oppose a ballot initiative, but to do it using fraud and deception shows that they have no real arguments to support their cause.

Monday, October 31, 2005

But he's not on Reid's list!

The appointment of the highly qualified jurist, Judge Samuel Alito, does not meet the two primary requirements for a Supreme Court nominee. He is neither a woman nor does his name appear on Harry Reid's list of acceptable nominees, as Harriet Meirs did. President Bush is acting in the height of presumption to suggest that he, rather than Harry Reid, should decide who to nominate to the Supreme Court. We must keep a proper perspective on what is really important here. Judge Alito, graduate of Yale Law School, who has argued a dozen cases before the Supreme Court, edited a prestigious law journal, served as US Attorney, and served 15 years on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, appears to be far too qualified for the job. Both his rich judicial experience and his intellectual credentials are likely to be wasted in a job whose sole purpose is to ignore the Constitution. I demand that Judge Samual Alito step aside and that we bring Harriet back.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Minimum wage

Wal Mart is calling for an increase in minimum wage.

However, they are not leading the way by raising wages for their own employees.

They hope that a higher minimum wage will result in more people spending more money at Wal Mart.

The minimum wage has been set at $5.15 for about 10 years, and Wal Mart backs an increase to $6.25. Personally, I believe that if we are going to have a minimum wage, it should be indexed to inflation, as should breakpoints in the income tax laws. But let's take a look at the economics of the minimum wage and evaluate if it is a good idea to begin with.

The main proponents of minimum wage, and of increases in minimum wage, are labor unions. They argue for increases, saying "$5.15/hour is not a living wage." That is true. Someone working full time at minimum wage will earn about $10,300 in a year. It is not intended to be a living wage. No one is supposed to support a family on minimum wage. High school kids working summer jobs are the only ones who actually are paid minimum wage.

If you have been working for years and have a spouse and kids and are still being paid minimum wage, its time to develop some skills, maybe take a few courses, and get a new job.

Labor unions want increases in minimum wage not because their members earn minimum wage, but because their salaries are tied to minimum wage, either implicitly or explicitly. Some union contracts define the members' salaries as a function of minimum wage. If the contract says that the workers get two and a half times minimum wage, when Congress raises minimum wage by a dollar, the union members get a $2.50 raise. But even if the contracts are not directly tied to minimum wage, the wage compression caused by an increase in minimum wage will drive union salaries higher. This is why unions favor an increase in minimum wage.

What are the unintended side affects of a minimum wage?

First of all, the minimum wage is an artificial barrier to entry-level jobs. If some particular worker will only provide $5.50 of benefit to an employer, and Congress raises minimum wage to $6.25, that worker will not be employable. That person may just need a year or two of experience to become a more productive employee, but the lowest rung of the ladder has been cut off, making it difficult for him to start the climb to better-paying jobs. If the market price for a certain job is below minimum wage, we have essentially told people who would take those jobs that they can not have a job.

Secondly, the minimum wage is inflationary. By increasing the cost of doing business, some companies will be forced out of business, reducing the supply of goods and services. The other companies will roll the extra cost into the price they charge for those goods or services. The result is that a significant part of the increase in wages is eaten up in higher prices, and does not increase the standard of living of the people it is intended to help.

Third, the minimum wage drives the illegal job market. Thousands of illegal immigrants enter the country every year because they can illegally get a job which pays below minimum wage. The fact that this is desirable indicates that the job pays better than what they could get at home. If employers could legally hire legal workers for these jobs at market wages, they would do so rather than risk hiring an illegal worker. We need a better guest worker program to let people legally enter the country to work in these jobs, but we could also address the problem by eliminating the minimum wage.

The minimum wage drives up costs of doing business. These costs are passed along to consumers in higher prices. It increases unemployment and inflation and creates an illegal labor market. Free market pricing of labor is a more efficient method than government regulation, and results in a stronger economy which provides opportunity for everyone to benefit.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Proposition 2

On November 8, Texas will vote on a ballot proposition to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. This seems superfluous, as God has already defined it this way. After all, He made marriage, so he certainly has the right to define it. However, with the concerted effort to redefine marriage, explicitly aligning the law to what marriage really is can never be a bad idea. Typically a ballot proposition in an off-year gets 8 or 9% voter turnout. This means that a small percentage of "gay rights" extremists can make a big difference in the vote count. Texans, we need to get out and vote for this proposition in large numbers. Lets send a clear message to any liberal activist judges or legislators who might want to impose their false definition on the voters.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Powerball mania strikes

Texas used to be a Powerball state, but no longer. We now have MegaMillions, which is an equally good ripoff. They say that the lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math. Apparently people who are bad at math think that spending $1 on a 1 in 146 million shot at what is claimed to be $340 million is a good deal.

Being good at math, let's run the numbers ourselves.

The smaller prizes, ranging from $3 to $200,000 have a total expected value of just under 20 cents. To break even the grand prize must have an expected value of 80 cents. We know that we won't break even, because the whole point of the lottery is to fund the government. The worst odds in privately operated casinos are around 90 cents on the dollar. To match that, the expected value of the Powerball grand prize would have to be 70 cents.

At first glance, the expected value of the grand prize appears to be $340 million / 146 million = $2.33. However, the real value of the grand prize is about half of $340 million. The winner has the option of taking roughly $164 million now, or getting the full $340 million in 30 annual payments. Either way, the present value is less than half of what they advertise. At $164 million, the expected value of a ticket is still in the money: $1.12.

But of course, Uncle Sam will want his cut. By the time he is done with you, a third of the jackpot will be gone. You will be left with $118 million. Now the expected value is $0.81.

This is right at the break even point. And this is as good as the odds ever get. I must point out that for the odds to get this good, 540 million losing tickets were sold over the last 10 weeks. All those people who are bad at math are responsible for the odds being anywhere close to even in this one drawing.

But it is not as good as it looks even now. We have not yet considered that you might have to split that jackpot two or three ways, or more. With 120 million tickets sold for this drawing, the odds are good that there will be multiple winners. If you do happen to win, there is a 56% chance that someone else won too. There is a 31% chance that you will have to split the jackpot 3 ways or more. On average, a winner will get $78 million after taxes. Taking this into account, the expected value of that ticket is just 73 cents, including the 20 cents from the small prizes.

It would be illegal for any private casino to offer odds this bad.

So why does the Lottery Commission tout the $340 million number instead of what it is really worth: $78 million? It's all marketing hype. The bigger number will attract more ticket sales. More ticket sales mean more profit for the Lottery Commission. Every ticket sold, regardless of the results of the drawing, means a 20 cent profit for the Lottery Commission.

Proponents of the lottery say that it helps to fund beneficial government programs, such as education. After all, who could be against better schools? But at what cost? And from whose pocket? The evidence clearly shows that most lottery revenue comes from people who can't afford to play. For many people who are professional wards of the state, dependent on government for their meager existence, the conditioned response is to look to government as the source of all hope. The lottery acts to maintain the cycle of dependency. Similarly, unskilled, uneducated people in low-paying jobs, the same one's who don't have the mathematical ability to know how bad a deal the lottery is, see the lottery as their only chance to escape their paycheck-to-paycheck existence. These are the products of the public education that the lottery provides.

It is true that some people who can afford to play and do recognize that the system is heavily rigged against them still do play for entertainment purposes. It gives the buyer the chance to dream what she would do if she won. An argument can be made that the jackpot is "big enough" even though the expected value is less than the price of the ticket. After all, $118 million split three ways is still enough to change a person's life. However, for most people, the change is not as positive as they imagined. Many squander their money. Most find friends and relatives distancing themselves, or scheming for how to cash in on the sudden wealth. The case of William "Bud" Post is a great example. Bud had been living on a government disability pension. In 1988, Bud won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania Lottery. The government immediately took $5 million. Soon after winning, a former girlfriend sued and won a third of his winnings. Bud's brother was later convicted of hiring a hit man to kill Bud and take a share of the winnings. Post used up what was left on fancy vehicles and high-dollar toys. He gave loans to relatives and lost money in investment scams. He soon was deep in debt, with the future lottery payments as collateral. Post now lives on a $450/month government disability pension. Some dream, huh? If Post had not been so bad at math, he might not have played in the first place, or he might have planned wisely, budgeted, and invested the money for long-term growth. He could have gotten by on a mere quarter-million dollars a year for the rest of his life.

If someone has the extra money they can afford to lose, I don't object if they choose to spend a few dollars on the lottery for entertainment purposes. Personally, I can find plenty of more entertaining ways to waste my money.

Monday, October 17, 2005

New bankruptcy rules

New rules which just went into effect make it harder to declare bankruptcy, and may require people to actually pay back their debts, decry hysterical liberals. So what is wrong with that? Who pays for it when someone borrows money and then declares bankruptcy to avoid paying their debt? We do! The market interest rate includes a risk premium to compensate lenders for the various risks which they entail by making the loan. Default risk is a major part of that risk. If fewer people declare bankruptcy and more people repay their debts, people who do repay their debts will benefit from lower interest rates.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

A better pick

I call on Harriet Miers to withdraw from consideration for Supreme Court Justice. I am sure that Harriet is a very good attorney. However, I see no indication at all that she is qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice, nor do I see any indication that she even HAS a judicial philosophy, let alone, that she has the kind of philosophy that we need on the bench. Why is the President shying away from a fight? This is the perfect chance to let the public see the difference between Republicans and Democrats. Let the Schumers and Kennedies and Reids froth at the mouth and expose their true agenda.

I encourage President Bush to nominate Janice Rogers Brown to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. She is highly qualified, and has a well-documented judicial philosophy, and she could tear up any liberal who challenged her.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Name that Wacko

These days, Senator Ted Kennedy is sounding more than ever like Al Qaeda terrorist Aymen al Zawahiri.

Zawahiri, in a letter to his chief operative in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, wrote:

"Things may develop faster than we imagine. The aftermath of the collapse of American power in Vietnam-and how they ran and left their agents-is noteworthy. Because of that, we must be ready starting now, before events overtake us, and before we are surprised by the conspiracies of the Americans and the United Nations and their plans to fill the void behind them."

Compare this to Ted Kennedy, who said

"The Iraq war has been consistently and grossly mismanaged, ... and our troops are now in a seemingly intractable quagmire."

Kennedy's comments are nothing short of treason. Quagmire is more a state of mind than an actual condition. Many times, America has been in a situation where it would have been easy to throw up our hands, declare ourselves to be in a seemingly intractable quagmire, and cut and run, just as Zarqawi is counting on us doing. Thankfully, in most cases we did not cut and run. Freedom is worth fighting for. Defeating the spreading threat of islamofascism as expressed in the letter from Zawahiri is necessary to maintain the freedom of the world. We should be glad that, as our troops encountered heavy resistance on the beaches of France, they did not decided that they were in an "seemingly intractable quagmire", turn around, and go home. They fought on, freed France from the most evil aggressor in history, and eventually defeated him.

Today, our choice is to allow Al Qaeda to establish their "Islamic State" centered in Iraq and spreading to Iran, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Indonesia, Palestine, Israel, France, Germany, England, and the United States. This is their goal. Read it in their own words, if you wish. Or we can continue to fight, continue to oppose this great threat to the Middle East and the rest of the world. All that we need to do to allow evil to prevail is give up and do nothing.

Condi for President

I officially endorse Condoleezza Rice for President.

In fact, I will withdraw from the race for President if Condi decides to run. I will make myself available as a running mate or a cabinet-level appointment. It would be an honor to serve in the administration of such a great President.

To make it happen, we first need a "Draft Condi" movement to convince her to run. I will be starting a "Condi for President" club in Fort Worth. Similar clubs are springing up from coast to coast. We will work on raising funds, so that she will not start out with a huge disadvantage resulting from her late start.

Can Condi win? You bet! She is already just 3 points behind McCain in several key states with early primaries, and she has not even declared herself to be a candidate. And she may be the best candidate to defeat the great meglomaniac coat-tail rider, Hillary Clinton.

Condoleezza Rice would make an exceptional President. Let's get busy and convince her to run.

For more information, read the book by Dick Morris.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

The Aristocrats

A few weeks back, the movie The Aristocrats was released. Since then, almost no one has gone to see it. It was promoted as being the dirtiest movie ever made. The movie consists of 100 professional comedians telling the same joke, claimed to be the foulest joke ever told. The punch line of this joke is "The Aristocrats". The joke itself is not funny, per se. The alleged comedic value is in the telling. The raunchier and more vile, the better. The movie proudly features every combination of scatology, incest, perversion, bestiality, necrophilia, pedophilia, mutilation, and so forth that you can imagine, and many more that you could not imagine.

Being eternally dedicated to you, the reader of this fine blog, I decided to do a review of this movie. Normally, this would entail actually going to see the movie. However, in this case I found a perfect way to circumvent this requirement. I simulated the experience in a very realistic manner. I stuck my head into a vat of raw sewage for an hour and a half. This was very much like the actual experience of seeing the movie, but higher in comical value, not quite as disgusting, and as an added bonus, it saved me $6.

So why is it that Hollywood produces rot such as this? It certainly is not because of the great demand. This movie was a flop at the box office. Many theaters didn't show it, and those that did saw attendance far below average. My theory is that there are a certain percentage of people in Hollywood who live in a fantasy world where they really believe that there is some merit in a movie such as this. They are convinced that it is somehow liberating. Liberating from what? I don't know. Personally, I don't think that it is important enough to be outraged over. I find it sophomoric, juvenile, dull, and unimaginative. It is the kind of thing that junior high boys do in the locker room. I think that it is time for Hollywood to grow up and give us quality movies with an engaging plot, character development, and a message which elevates the viewer.

Lawrence of Arabia, anyone?


A massive earthquake struck Asia today, killing thousands in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

The only question is: how will the Democrats spin this to claim that it is George Bush's fault?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Gaza civil war

Now that the evil Zionist aggressors have left the Gaza Strip, the Palestinians are faced with a real dilemea: there is no one left to kill. So they have turned to killing one another.

At least three Palestinians were killed in fierce clashes between Palestinian Authority security forces and Hamas gunmen that erupted on Sunday evening in various parts of the Gaza Strip. PA security sources said the three victims, Ali Makkawi, the commander of the PA Police station in Shati refugee camp, a police officer and a 10-year-old girl, who was run down by a police car, were killed when hundreds of Hamas gunmen attacked the station with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons. They said another 30 people, mostly Hamas members and civilians, were wounded in the confrontations. The attackers also set a number of PA police vehicles on fire.

Earlier in the day, Fatah gunmen shot and killed a taxi driver during a protest against the rising cost of gasoline in the Gaza Strip.

In the West Bank, Hamas gunmen shot and killed Hani al-Hilakawi, director of the Al-Fawwar refugee camp west of Hebron.

The Gaza Strip, now solely under Palestinian control, is slipping into civil war. However, the media is not picking up on this "insurgency" at all. Why not? Perhaps it is because it proves that giving in to terrorists doesn't lead to peace. It does not provide an opportunity to bash President Bush, but instead illustrates that a proactive anti-terror approach is necessary. Perhaps appeasement is not such a good policy after all.

Laundering clean clothes

(10-04-2005) Congressman Tom DeLay has started a new business to launder clean clothes. Bring your new shirts or pants to Mr. DeLay's laundry, and you will get them back in exactly the same condition in which you brought them in. An excited customer was asked about the service he had received. "Fresh and clean. Nicely starched. Just like they were when I dropped them off." Laundering clean clothes was once considered a niche market, but has become increasingly popular amongst laundrymats running short on dirty laundry to air.

Yesterday, at the grand opening of the new laundrymat, Mr. Delay said that his new venture was inspired by accusations that he laundered money in a legal transaction. One of his biggest customers is Texas District Attorney Ronnie Earl, who pledged to "bring DeLay down" at a Democrat fundraiser. Calls to Mr. Earl to ask why he launders clean clothes were not returned.

Monday, October 03, 2005

The real question

Harriet Miers has been nominated to be a Justice of the Supreme Court. Now begins the confirmation process, in which Senators, political pundits, and the media will investigate every aspect of the nominee: her past, her views, her qualifications. She will be questioned by friends and foes for days on end. Questions such as "Shouldn't Bush have appointed a stranger rather than someone he knows and trusts?" will be debated endless. She will be examined like a bug under a microscope.

But all of this is really unnecessary. In the end, we know all we need to know in order to form our opinion of Harriet Meirs by asking one person: Richard Gere.

Hollywood actor Richard Gere is qualified to speak for the entire world and determine what we think about any topic because he has appeared in Hollywood movies. Richard Gere is a noted authority on whatever he chooses to talk about. Without the input of Richard Gere, we don't know what to think about Harriet Miers. Senators don't know how to vote on Harriet Miers. Richard Gere, we eagerly await the wisdom which only you can impart to us. Please speak for us. Speak for the whole world. Tell us what our opinion is. Without you we are helpless.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Rodney King arrested...again

Rodney King was arrested yesterday for allegedly threatening his daughter and ex-girlfriend with a toy handgun. Police arrived on the scene after his daughter called 911. Officers reported that when they began arrest procedures, that King said, "Aren't you gonna hit me at least once or twice? My three million is almost gone, and I sure could use some more. What does a guy have to do to get bashed up a bit?"

Video captured by King's current girlfriend verify the officers account of the incident.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Political witch hunts

Travis Country District Attorney Ronald Earle is the prosecutor who obtained the indictment against House Speaker Tom DeLay yesterday.

Two months ago, Ronald Earle spoke and a Democrat Party fundraiser. He got the biggest ovation of the night when he said "I am the man who is going to bring down Tom DeLay."

And back in May, he was the featured speaker in Dallas for the Texas Values in Action Coalition, a Democratic political action committee. The prosecutor talked about his investigation into Republican corporate contributions and mentioned Mr. DeLay. "This case is not just about Tom DeLay," he told the audience. "If it isn't this Tom DeLay, it'll be another one, just like one bully replaces the one before."

Political analysts said Earle's appearance left him open to questions about his motives.

"It may help Tom DeLay establish his case that Ronnie Earle's investigation is a partisan witch hunt," said Richard Murray, a political scientist with the University of Houston.

"It clearly fuels the perception that his investigation is politically motivated. It was probably not a wise move," said Larry Noble, a former Federal Election Commission lawyer who heads the watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics.

Attorneys who have studied the indictment say that there is no claim of any specific criminal act by Tom DeLay. In fact, the financial exchange which is at the center of the alleged conspiracy was completely legal. The indictment is a partisan political attack, intended to let Democrats throw around words like "conspiracy" and "money laundering."

This is not the first time that Ronald Earle has used his position to launch baseless political attacks. Three times he tried to indict Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. Each time he was laughed out of court. And this is Earle's sixth attempt to indict DeLay.

I predict an acquittal and complete exoneration for Tom DeLay.

Danish Air Force compensates Santa

[Reuters, Sept 29, 7:07 AM ET]
The Danish Air Force said Thursday it paid 31,175 kroner ($5,032) in compensation to a part-time Santa Claus whose reindeer died of heart failure when two fighter jets roared over his farm.

The animal, named Rudolf, was grazing peacefully at the central Denmark farm of Olavi Nikkanoff, when the screaming F-16 jets passed overhead at low altitude in February.

The reindeer collapsed and died, leaving Nikkanoff with the prospect of only one animal pulling his sleigh next Christmas.

He complained to the air force, which agreed to compensate him for the cost of the reindeer and veterinary expenses.

"We got a letter from Santa complaining about his reindeer's death and looked into it seriously," said air force spokesman, Capt. Morten Jensen.

The air force checked flight data and veterinary reports and concluded the planes likely caused the animal's death.

"We're more than happy to pay if it means that children around the world will get their presents," Jensen said.

Nikkanoff said he was satisfied with the compensation and would use it to buy a new reindeer before Christmas.

Editorial comment: I understand that Islamofascists feel the same way about our F-16s as this poor reindeer.

A better way to reduce pollution

The other day I wrote about the economics of buying a Prius to save gas.

I wanted to figure out how much it really costs to reduce pollution, if it is done in the most cost effective manner. I am certain that big companies know how to reduce pollution for the smallest possible price. Companies must buy pollution vouchers. A limited number are auctioned off every year, so the price of the vouchers must reflect industries best estimate of what it costs to reduce pollution. If they could do it cheaper, they would not pay that much for the vouchers, and if it cost more to reduce pollution, the auction price would be higher. There is a web site for people who feel guilty about their car emissions. They can pay for some of these vouchers, which reduces pollution from other sources equal to what their car generates. I believe that this reflects the most cost-effective way to reduce total pollution.

As I said in my blog, the Prius sells for $4,400 more than is economically justified. This premium can only be explained as buying the feel-good illusion that you are doing something good for the environment. But how much CO2 production are you preventing, and what is the cost per pound? The terrapass site says that a Prius produces about 6,000 pounds of CO2 a year, and an average car produces 12,000 pounds. The difference is 6,000 pounds per year. If you drive the car for 8 years, you have reduced emissions by 48,000 pounds. The cost per pound is about 9 cents.

But what if I took that $4,400 and bought vouchers? Currently a voucher for a metric ton of CO2 costs $1.91. Instead of 48,000 of CO2 reduction, I could buy vouchers for 1,754,756 pounds of CO2, at a much better price of 0.08 cents per pound. Instead of eliminating half the emissions of one car, I have eliminated the emissions of 11 full-sized SUVs.

However, I have an even better idea. Buy a Camry instead of a Prius. If you are concerned about the environment, buy one TerraPass. Then put the remaining $4,350 in a retirement account invested in an S&P500 index fund. Put your money to work for you in the greatest wealth-generating machine that ever existed. The benefits will last much longer than any car.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Why rebuild New Orleans?

Louisana's Senators are asking for $250 billion in Federal taxpayers money to rebuild in Louisana. Roughly $40 billion of that is to build better levies and floodgates around New Orleans. All told, almost $200 billion of it goes to the New Orleans area. On a per-capita basis, it works out to $650,000 per New Orleans resident.

I have a few questions about the concept here.

First, where does the insurance settlement money figure into this equation? One would hope that most of the people whose homes and businesses were destroyed have insurance which will pay for the damage. Does the $200 billion only cover the property which was not insured? If so, is that a good idea? People should be encouraged to insure their property, and if the taxpayers are going to bail out those who don't insure their property, why should anyone carry insurance? Living in a flood plain on the coast, below sea level, in the most active hurricane region in the world and not carrying flood or hurricane insurance is not the smartest course of action I can imagine, and I am firmly against requiring responsible taxpayers to pay for the stupidity of irresponsible people.

Secondly, who is going to oversee the use of this money? A vast government handout such as this will invariably draw a large amount of fraud, waste, and corruption. I want to see tight accounting on this money, and extensive crosschecks into the validity of every request for funds. The proposed system looks more like a huge pork distribution than a relief effort. The organization which is slated to manage the money does not include any Federal oversite of the Federal money, and it does not appear to have the resources to prevent abuse. This must be resolved before the first dollar goes out. Otherwise, five years from now the taxpayers will be out a quarter of a trillion dollars with nothing to show for it.

Now we get to the real point of this article. Why are taxpayers in Texas, California, New York, Montana, Illinois, and so forth being asked to pay to rebuild New Orleans? Perhaps we should learn from this disaster that building a city below sea level in the path of repeated hurricanes is a bad idea. If someone wants to build there, by all means, go for it. But don't ask those of us with the good sense to build our house above sea level to pay for the predictable rebuilding and re-rebuilding. Certainly, paying $650,000 per person is not reasonable. Why not pay $200,000 per person, with the stipulation that they build elsewhere?

Skeletons in the closet

Everyone has their own skeleton in the closet. You know what I am talking about. Its that dark secret from your past that you hope to take to the grave with you. It is the thing you would never tell even your closest friends, because you are sure they would recoil in disgust and never speak to you again. It is the thing that they dig up when you decide to run for public office to ruin your chances of being elected.

Everyone has one, and right here on this blog, I am going to share mine with you. I am not really sure why I chose to reveal myself in such a public way. Perhaps I hope that the catharsis will purge my soul of the burden of this awful truth. Maybe I just want to defuse the story so that when the media gets ahold of it, it will not ruin my presidential bid. Or could it be that I hope that you will learn from my tale of woe, and change your ways before it is too late for you.

Consider yourself warned. What follows is of a highly offensive and explicit nature. If you are squeamish, read no further. If you don't wish to have your opinion of me shaken, stop now. You have been warned.

And now, without further ado, the skeleton in my closet, the dark undisclosed secret from my past now brought out into the light, the most shameful episode from the hidden recesses of my memory: I went to highschool with two members of the Dixie Chicks.

There. I said it. It is out in the open. If you no longer wish to associate with me, I completely understand. But I feel so much better. They say that confession is good for the soul.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Saving gas

With gas prices well above $2/gallon, many people are understandably looking at ways to use less gas. One result is that hybrid cars such as the Toyota Prius are now selling at well above MSRP. I had to wonder if buying a Prius is cost effective.

Let's compare the cost of buying and operating a Prius to the cost of Toyota's other economy car, the Echo. According to Edmunds, the current selling price for a typically equipped Prius is $24,650, or about $5k over invoice. The EPA says that they get 51 miles per gallon in the city and 60 on the highway. Real results are not quite so good in most cases, but we'll use the EPA numbers to be generous. The Toyota Echo, without the pricy hybrid technology, is much cheaper, selling for $13,861 with typical equipment. The EPA says it gets 33 miles per gallon in the city and 39 on the highway. For our comparision, we will assume a mix of city and highway driving, giving the Prius 55 mpg and the Echo 36 mpg. A very heavy driver who puts twenty-five thousand miles on the car each year will use 454 gallons of gas in the Prius or 694 gallons in the Echo. To be generous, let's say that gas is selling for $3/gallon. The 240 gallons saved by the Prius is worth $721. Edmunds shows that the Echo costs $87 more to insure each year than the Prius, and the Prius costs $258 more to maintain and repair than the Echo.

The important question is: how long does it take the Prius owner to recoup his greater initial expenditure through the better gas mileage? The time value of money is an important consideration. If the Echo driver kept the $11,437 that he didn't spend on the Prius in the bank earning a measly 3% and used it instead to pay for the higher yearly cost of gasoline, how long would it last?

According to my analysis, it would take 32 years for the Prius to become cost effective for someone who drives 25 thousand miles a year. By this time, the car would have 800,000 miles on it. Realistically, it will never last half that long. For an average driver who drives 15 thousand miles a year, it will never be cost effective. The interest cost is greater than the gas savings, and he can never catch up. So how much do you have to drive to make it worthwhile in a reasonable time frame of 5 years? To just break even, the answer is 90,157 miles per year, or more than four hours a day at highway speed. Regardless of how much you drive, most cars will never last enough miles for the Prius to be cost-effective.

One might argue that the Echo is a step down from the Prius in comfort. To make it fair, let's compare the Prius against a car which is a step up from the Prius, a Camry LE. I used the actual price that I paid for my Camry in July, along with the EPA gas mileage figures and Edmunds cost to own. If I drove 25,000 miles a year, which I don't, it would take me 11 years to recoup the extra cost of the Prius. At a more realistic 14,000 miles per year, the Prius never catches up.

With the price of gas on the increase, perhaps the higher future price would make the Prius more cost effective. How high does the price of gas need to rise before a Prius become cost-effective in a reasonable amount of time? The price of a gallon of gas would have to be $9.21 to justify the extra cost of a Prius in eight years.

There is a price at which buying a Prius makes sense. To estimate how much the price would have to come down to reach that point, I looked for the sale price of a Prius at which an average driver who drives 15,000 each year would break even after 8 years, compared to a Toyota Camry selling for $18,000. That break even point is $20,240. The current sale price of the Prius would have to come down by $4,400 before it would be more economical than a Camry over an 8-year lifetime.

So why are people lined up to buy their Prius at a price well above MSRP? Economically it makes no sense. It is a feel-good thing. They are buying the warm fuzzy feeling they get from the illusion that they are helping the environment. The reality is that buying a Prius is one of the most expensive ways to reduce emissions.

Excuses to expand Federal power

Liberal political opportunists are using natural disasters and the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people to expand the authority, power, and budget of the Federal government, even though this level of government is the least effective first response to such disasters.

The first and most obvious reason for the attempt to blame President Bush for Katrina was to deflect criticism from the state and local officials, and to instead inflict political damage on President Bush. New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin has the primary responsibility for the city of New Orleans, but his response to the hurricane in the days before and immediately after was highly ineffective. Similarly, the Governor Blanco was much more concerned about who to blame than about actually doing her job. But it is the local government who can most effectively respond to a crisis in a timely manner. They have access to the resources which are already there, and they are on the scene to coordinate efforts. If done competently, this is sure to be more effective than direction from Washington DC.

The Constitution, that quaint document that we don't pay attention to any more, delimits the authority and responsibilities of the Federal Government. The Federal Government has absolutely no responsibility to act as a first responder to natural disasters, and even if they wanted to, they don't have the authority except at the request of the affected state. There are very good reasons for this limit of power on the Federal government -- reasons which separate our Republic from dictatorships. It is ironic that the same liberals who accuse President Bush of being a dictator now attack him for not acting like one.

Crisis situations serve as a convenient excuse for brushing aside Constitutional protections of our freedom in the name of relief, and expanding the power of the Federal Government. This expansion can be seen in the Federal response to Rita. Eager to avoid the criticism that they received after Katrina, FEMA established operations bases with hundreds of trucks loaded with food, water, and other relief supplies in the Dallas and San Antonio area. Navy ships loaded with supplies followed Rita to shore, ready to deliver these items. Federal agencies were involved in the evacuation effort, and National Guard troops were on the scene before the hurricane arrived. Fortunately, Rita did not strike a heavily populated area in which local authorities had ignored thirty years of warnings that the flood control system was inadequate to handle a major hurricane. But it is clear that Katrina was used to raise the political expectation for the Federal government to fix our problems.

What bothers me is the President Bush seems to be buying into this shift in responsibility from individuals and local authorities to the Federal Government. After writing a check for a quarter of a trillion dollars (That is trillion with a T) for Katrina recovery, not only did he give a speech in which he accepted responsibility for not doing what he had no responsibility or authority to do, but he is now exceeding his authority in preparing for Rita. I am very aware that even being familiar with the contents of the Unite States Constitution is out of style these days. Liberals like to call it "a living document" which is meant to change and adapt to the times. They always say this right before they trample all over the Constitution. It is true that the Constitution can change and adapt. That is why it defines an amendment process, but liberals don't want to go through the ratification with all that pesky voting, when it is more convenient to just ignore the whole bothersome thing. After all, they know better than the rabble what is good for us. So today, a few liberal poltician's attempt to shift blame for their incompetence is resulting in a huge power grab by the Federal government, which will result in a bigger Federal budget and more Federal taxes, the primary source of power for liberal politicians.

Government expansion is always cloaked in compassion and excused by crisis and urgency, but if it is allow to progress unchecked, it leads us away from the principles which made America free, great, and prosperous.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Bush response too slow, again!

Congressional Democrats today voiced outrage at the slow response of the Bush administration to a fire in a bus transporting elderly evacuees from Hurricane Rita. Congresswoman Diane Feinstein (D-CA) said, "People were dying in that bus, and where was President Bush? Where was FEMA? He should have been there carrying people off that bus. Have we learned nothing from Katrina?"

Representative Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said, "If we can't count on our President for leadership in times such as these, perhaps we need another Congressional investigation."

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) said, "If the people on that bus had been white, you can bet that President Bush would have been right there, ready to help them."

Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) raised some tough questions: "How many of the people who survived this explosion were Bush campaign contributors? And how many of those who died were not? We are not getting answers to these critical questions from the White House."

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Sky is Falling!

(09-21-2005) The earth is on the brink of a cataclysm unlike any ever seen before, and humans are the cause of it.

When people walk, jump, or run, they push on the earth.

In the daytime, people tend to walk, jump, and run more than at night. Therefore, there is an imbalance in the force that people exert on the earth. We push more on the side towards the sun than the side away from the sun. Therefore, we are pushing the earth away from the sun. Wealthy capitalist countries contribute 50% more thrust than underdeveloped countries, so America is the leading culprit in this looming crisis.

I have undertaken significant scientific study to verify that human ambulation is indeed pushing the earth into a larger orbit. I created a computer model which simulates the effect. The computer model, running on a very powerful supercomputer, indicates that by the year 2025, the earth will be 120 million miles further from the sun than it is today. Precise measurements of the distance from the earth to the sun found that today the earth is 3 million miles further from the sun than it was six months ago. Extrapolating this finding for 20 years indicates that by 2025, the earth will be 215 million miles from the sun. Increasing the earth's distance from the sun from 98 million miles to 215 million miles will cause the amount of sunlight received by the earth to be reduced by 79%, plunging the earth into a deep ice age from which it will never recover. The surface temperature will drop to fifty degrees below zero Fahrenheit. All water on the surface of the planet will freeze, including the oceans. All plants will die, and animal life including humans will soon either freeze to death or starve.

I propose the following steps be taken to avert disaster. First, because economic activity is behind much of the daytime ambulation, send money to support left-wing anti-capitalist groups and politicians, such as Earth First, The Sierra Club, The New York Times, Save Our Wetlands, CBS, and the DNC. Second, we must immediately create an international treaty which rations daytime walking in capitalist countries so that it equals nighttime walking. Third, Americans must be forbidden from wearing shoes, as the extra springiness in the soles of shoes increases the thrust of walking. Finally, a walking tax must be levied on American companies to pay for the impact of their employees walking.

If we don't immediately act on these recommendations, life as we know it will be obliterated.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

This time they really mean it

Shortly after Bill Clinton became president, evidence was produced to show that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il was secretly violating the terms of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

In typical Bill Clinton style, he proceeded to pretend like the problem didn't exist for two years.

Then in a move of true strength, he put Jimmy Carter in charge of negotiating an arms control agreement with North Korea. Figuring that unilateral concessions were the best way to get results, Carter and Clinton agreed to give North Korea two nuclear reactors and billions of dollars of oil in return for a promise they would be used for power generation, not for weapons. Apparently, Kim Jong-Il didn't mention that he was crossing his fingers when he made that promise. Bill Clinton spent the remaining six years in the White House hoping that he hadn't been played for a sucker. Surely Kim Jong-Il's refusal to admit inspectors was a good sign that he was trustworthy, right?

In 2002 North Korea shocked the world by admitting that they had suckerpunched us all. They now have multiple warheads and missiles to deliver them. How could we have been so gullible?

The jaded skeptic could look at this most recent tentative agreement as a ploy to get more international handouts. Money, oil, maybe another reactor or two? Hey, it worked before. Those of us who are more trusting and believe in the inherent goodness of mankind see it as a significant step towards peace and happiness. Hollywood actor Richard Gere, noted authority on international arms control and diplomacy, said it best: "I am Richard Gere and I am speaking for the entire world when I say how relieved I am to know that we are now safe from the threat of North Korean nuclear weapons which the reckless, tyrannical regime of George Bush might provoke into a justifiable defensive use against my mansion in California."

They fibbed when they signed the Nonproliferation Treaty.
They didn't really mean it when they promised to be good with the reactors Clinton gave them.
They made the exact same promises years ago, and then promptly violated them.
But this time they really, really mean it. Cross their hearts.


Friday, September 16, 2005

Mr. President, what happened to limited government?

Thomas Jefferson said, "That government is best which governs least."

This is the principle on which the Conservative revolution was built. It was the principle which made Ronald Reagan the greatest president of the 20th century. It was this principle that Americans voted for in droves in 1994, to sweep Republicans to a majority in the House and Senate for the first time in a generation. It was the principle which led a handful of freshmen Representatives in the House to reign in runaway spending and balance the budget, in spite of the efforts of a liberal president to expand government.

With liberals controlling the White House and Congress we expected government spending as a solution to every problem. Now we have a "conservative" president and solid Republican majorities in both the House and Senate. So what on earth has happened to the Conservative Revolution? Reduced taxes are only half of the equation. Without reduced spending, the whole thing fails to work. Five years into the Bush presidency, why is spending up sharply in nearly every category? The budget deficit is not caused by Bush's tax cuts. It is caused by Bush's failure to control spending. Nothing fundamental has changed. The government still acts as a nanny state, throwing federal tax money at every problem and subsidizing irresponsible behavior instead of promoting independence, self-reliance, and accountability. Nothing illustrates this better than the response to Hurricane Katrina. People seriously expected that the government would be there to fix everything within 24 hours of the storm. When these expectations were not met, they became angry and disillusioned, and blamed President Bush for failing to meet these unrealistic expectations. This response should be expected from those who have been conditioned to be wards of the State and dependent on government to meet their every need. However, there is no excuse for politicians, up to and including the president, accepting this response as valid, rather than pointing out that throwing huge amounts of federal money at the problem may not be the best solution. In five years, Bush has done nothing to change this mode of thinking. Entitlement spending and the resulting dependency has only grown in those five years.

Conservatives should be enraged that this great opportunity is being wasted. It is time to take action to get the Conservative Revolution back on track and on message. Write letters. Make phone calls. Contact the White House, Congress, and your newspaper editorial board. Let our elected officials know that they need to get spending under control or face the repercussions at the ballot box next year.


In financial terms, risk means uncertainty of outcome. There is risk when I invest in the stock market, because the value of my investment may go up 50% or it may go down 50%. The upside is the kind of risk I don't mind, while the downside risk is the kind I hate. However, to have a chance at the upside risk, I must accept the possibility of the downside risk.

I am looking at my annual Social Security statement, which estimates my future benefits when I reach retirement age in 30 years. With the help of an Excel spreadsheet I determined that, if nothing changes, the effective rate of return I am getting over those 30 years is 1%. In other words, I would do just as well to put the money in the bank earning 1% and withdraw it when I retire. One dollar paid in social security payroll tax today translates into $1.35 in 2036. Assuming that inflation continues at an average rate, that $1 in today's money will buy 42 cents worth of groceries in 2036. This is the upside of social security. For every dollar they take today, I get back 42 cents in todays money thirty years from now. If that is the upside, what could the downside be? They have already told us that they can't keep the current system in place forever. Before I retire they will either have to cut the benefits or increase the tax. Or both. The downside is that Congress may decide, any time in the next thirty years, that 42 cents on the dollar is too much, and they will only give me 30 cents. Or 20. Or nothing at all. This "safe, secure" retirement program is not only subject to purchasing power risk, it is also subject to Congress risk -- the risk that Congress won't be able to keep their hands off of that money. This is a very real risk, because Congress has a very hard time keeping their hands off of any money.

If the upside of social security is a 58% real loss, and the downside is a 100% loss, how does that compare to the "risky" stock market?

The average real return of the stock market over a 130-year period from 1870 to present was 6.3%. At that rate, one dollar invested for 30 years would grow to $6.25 (all figures are in today's dollars). The upside is that in some periods the stock market returned as much as 8.8% over 30 years, meaning that our dollar would be worth $12.57, or double the average amount. The downside is that in other 30 year periods the real return of the stock market was only 4.3%. Our dollar would have only grown to $3.54.

The best case for social security: we lose half
The worst case for the stock market: we triple our money

So the worst case for the stock market is six times better than the best case for social security.

You tell me which one is risky.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Good taste in movies

One of the most important things to come out of the Congressional Grandstanding session officially known as the confirmation hearing of Judge Roberts, is that Roberts has impeccable taste in movies. He mentioned North by Northwest and Doctor Zhivago as his two favorite movies. North by Northwest is an all-time favorite of mine. Personally, I would have put Lawrence of Arabia ahead of Doctor Zhivago. However, a movie about a man leading a bunch of Arabs who today would probably be considered terrorists might not be politically expedient in a confirmation hearing. Double Indemnity would also be a good choice. Given that he is a candidate for the Supreme Court, perhaps a courtroom drama such as A Witness for the Prosecution would be appropriate.

It is interesting that no movies less than 30 years old make the list. Perhaps its because Hollywood has substituted special effects and action sequences in place of plot and character development. What director is there today who can hold a candle to Alfred Hitchcock? And what actor is in the same league as Cary Grant, James Stewart, Humphery Bogart, or Audrey Hepburn? If you are looking for a really good movie, check out anything on this list of my personal favorites:

Lawrence of Arabia
North by Northwest
Dial "M" for Murder
Dr. Strangelove
Shawshank Redemption
The Maltese Falcon
The Sting
Bringing up Baby