horses and saddles sold cheap and other metaphors

Saturday, June 12, 2004

By Thomas E. Ricks at WAPO

The death notices from Iraq come across my computer screen by e-mail and always follow the same format. Each states the name of the dead soldier and his or her rank, age and hometown, as in: "Pfc. Melissa J. Hobart, 22, of Ladson, S.C." It also identifies the unit, and so tells you whether this was an active-duty soldier or a part-time reservist or a National Guard member. Sacrifice In the In-Box

How the East Was Really Won
Enough already. The Cold War was won by Gyula Horn. Who?

...That was the end of the East. It took until 1991 for the Soviet Union to close up shop officially, but it was clear by the fall of 1989 that the Communist era was over. And the end began not on Pennsylvania Avenue, but at the Austria-Hungary border.

Ronald Reagan, 1911–2004
Death of a Salesman
by Tom Carson

Friday, June 11, 2004

Issue: Tort Reform
Debunk the myths, slice their arguments to shreds

In an attempt to hold down insurance costs, many states have instituted caps on jury awards in medical malpractice cases. And what happened? Rates continued to rise.

So what explains the recent explosion in malpractice insurance costs? The insurance companies' fortunes in the stock and bond markets. Simply put, when the insurance companies lost money in the markets, they increased premiums they charge doctors in order to maintain their profits. Rates have skyrocketed in the last few years because low interest rates in the bond market and the stock market's fall in 2001 reduced insurance company profits; they raised their rates in response.

When I asked a conservative to tell me about the great ideas that the Right had for America's future, the first item on his list was tort reform. It's sad for two reasons. One is that is how they see America's problems and their vision of what is really wrong with America. Two, that when asked for a great idea tort reform would be their first priority. If frivilous lawsuits were as bad as they say, it would be a huge hurdle to a healthy economy, but it's not. Doctors and others shouldn't be protesting in front of state capitals they should be protesting in front of insurance companies at their annual broad meetings.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

66 (Unflattering) Things About Ronald Reagan

Grand Canyon Posted by Hello

Grand Canyon in deep trouble
The Colorado is a different river from one explored by the one-armed Civil War veteran John Wesley Powell, who in 1869 led the first expedition through the Grand Canyon. The landscape and biology have been transformed by the Glen Canyon Dam, built upstream in 1963 to generate hydroelectric power and store water.

best of all worlds, that the Grand Canyon be returned as much as possible to the way Powell found it. Grand scale water collection and recycling can alive at least some of the strain that results from water demands on the Colorado. In California especially they need to move to a combination of solutuions; including conservation, desalination, water collection, and reuse.
Some odd facts about Colorado River water:
*Area that could be covered to a depth of 2 feet with water drawn from the Colorado River by the city of Las Vegas, which uses much of that allotment to water its more than 60 golf courses.
*the amount of water used on the average golf course is enough to support the daily needs of 2,000 people and this number rises to 11,000 people in arid courses in California.
*According to the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, on average, golf courses in the United States use 300,000 gallons of water per day. But, this number varies by region, with courses in Texas using under 197,000 gallons per course per day, on average, and courses in Florida using over 375,000 gallons per course per day.

Nothing against golf, in Colorado alone it generates a few hundred million dollars a year in revenue. The figures do indicate that some hard choices will have to be made and priorities set. There may be other businesses that generate as much, if not more jobs, yet have a lower impact on water usage. American do love America. Most people appreciate our natural heritage and would like to preserve it both for esthetic and financial reasons. Those folks need to jump into the fray and not let industries like golf or real estate determine what's best for the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon National Park.

About the Grand Canyon Wilderness Alliance
Scroll to the bottom of the page after clicking link.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Reagan was: The Great Taxer
The contrast with President Bush is obvious. President Reagan, confronted with evidence that his tax cuts were fiscally irresponsible, changed course. President Bush, confronted with similar evidence, has pushed for even more tax cuts.

Pardon me if I fail to mourn Ronald Reagan from Reading A1
Nevertheless, against the grain for just a moment, a few words for those who lived—and died—in the shadows of the Gipper's sunny optimism:

*the tens or hundreds of thousands dead in Central America at the hands of the Reagan Administration's proxy murderers;
*the millions of South Africans whose oppression at the hands of the apartheid regime Ronald Reagan condoned and thus extended;
*the Lebanese and Israeli dead, and the dead American Marines, slaughtered when Reagan fecklessly approved Israel's invasion of Lebanon;
*the tens of thousands in this country dead or needlessly afflicted when the AIDS epidemic raged, and Ronald Reagan did nothing;
*the thousands and tens of thousands of the mentally ill whose lives were shortened, or further blighted, when *Ronald Reagan demolished the mental health care system and condemned them to life on the streets;
*the tens and hundreds of thousands of children who Ronald Reagan condemned to greater poverty and worse hunger when he gutted their housing subsidies and their food programs;
*the workers, millions of them, whose wages and (even more) whose hopes contracted under Ronald Reagan's relentless assault against the right to unionize;
*the poor in their millions, who Ronald Reagan made a career of villifying (in the most genial way possible, of course) and leaving exposed to social violence and decay.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

The Corruption of Ronald Reagan

Reagan was subpoenaed before the grand jury, but he appeared to experience amnesia during his testimony on February 5, 1962, and failed to recall the major decisions that had been made when SAG had granted MCA the exclusive blanket waiver in 1952. Federal prosecutors were so convinced that Reagan had perjured himself repeatedly during his testimony that they subpoenaed his and his wife's income tax returns for the years 1952 to 1955. Nancy Reagan had been a member of SAG's board of directors since 1951.

The Real Reagan Legacy
Debunking Myths About Reagan

by Mike Hersh

Six years into Reagan's presidency, Democrats retook the Senate, and began to reverse some of Reagan's horrendous policies. By that time, Reaganomics had "accomplished" quite a bit: doubled the national debt, caused the S&L crisis, and nearly wrecked the financial system.
Which brings us to myth number two: Jimmy Carter wrecked the economy, and Reagan's bold tax cuts saved it.
This is utterly absurd. Economic growth indices -- GDP, jobs, revenues -- were all positive when Carter left office. All plunged after Reagan policies took effect.
Reagan didn't cure inflation, the main economic problem during the Carter years. Carter's Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker tried when he raised interest rates. That's the opposite of what Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan has done to keep inflation low.
Carter's policies and people fought inflation, but maintained real growth. On the other hand, Reagan's policies helped cause the worst recession since the Great Depression: two bleak years with nearly double-digit unemployment! Reaganomics failed in less than a year, and it took an entire second year for the economy to recover from the failure.
Carter didn't cause the inflation problem, but his tough policies and smart personnel solved it. Unfortunately for Carter, it took too long for the good results to kick in. Not only didn't Reagan help whip inflation, he actually opposed the Volcker policies!
Another major myth: Reagan cut taxes on all Americans, and that led to a great expansion.
Here's the truth: the total federal tax burden increased during the Reagan years, and most Americans paid more in taxes after Reagan than before. The "Reagan Recovery" was unremarkable. It looks great only contrasted against the dismal Reagan Recession -- but it had nothing to do with Supply Side voodoo.
With a red ink explosion -- $300 BILLION deficits looming as far as the eye could see -- GOP Senators, notably including Bob Dole, led the way on tax hikes. The economy enjoyed its recovery only after total tax increases larger than the total tax cuts were implemented. Most importantly, average annual GDP growth during the Reagan 80s was lower than during the Clinton 90s or the JFK-LBJ 60s!
Enough about the economy. Here's the biggest myth of them all: Ronald Reagan won the "Cold War".
In reality, Reagan did nothing to bring down the Soviet Union.
By 1980, the Soviet Union was trying to cut its own defense spending. Reagan made it harder for them to do so. In fact, Reagan increased the possibility of a nuclear war because he was -- frankly, and sadly -- senile. He thought we could actually recall submarine-launched nuclear missiles (talk about a Reagan myth), and bullied the Soviets to highest alert several times.
Critically, Reagan never even tried to bring down the Soviet Union.
Wasteful overspending on defense didn't end the Soviet Union. In fact, it played into the hands of authoritarian "Communist" hard-liners in the Kremlin. Reagan thought the Soviet Union was more powerful than we were. He was trying to close what he called "the window of vulnerability."

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