I took the pledge.
Hugh Hewitt has more information (h/t Michelle).
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s threat to expel U.S. Ambassador William Brownfield over comments about compensation in nationalizations may further discourage foreign investment in the oil-rich country, analysts said.
“The signal it sends is `Don’t invest in Venezuela’,” said Robert Bottome, a political and economic analyst for Caracas-based research group Veneconomia. “It’s very hard to find a sane person willing to invest in Venezuela right now.”
Others are welcome, though:
A delegation of Cuba’s most influential Cabinet members flew to Venezuela this week to sign 16 deals worth more than $1 billion, highlighting the close relations between Caracas and Havana,
but that won’t stop Venezuela’s Lost Human Capital from fleeing:
As Chavez confiscates productive farms, sends red-shirted political rabble to take over apartments, shuts down TV stations, restricts government jobs and services to his friends, abandons the capital to crime, boosts Cuba’s security presence, puts armed troops on every corner, launches neighborhood spying committees and forces Marxist indoctrination into even private schools, more Venezuelans find they can no longer endure it. They’re leaving.
Venezuelan immigration to the U.S. has gone up more than 5,000% since 2000. Canada has seen a similar surge.
Maybe that’s why Hugo’s expropriating airports now.
In any case, Threatened with expulsion from Venezuela, U.S. Ambassador William Brownfield says he will concentrate on trying to improve rocky relations, but acknowledged his bags are packed just in case.
In lighter news, I just realized that Hugo gets manicures – see for yourself:
Buffed nails, trimmed cuticles, fake letters. What a guy.
Aside from the nonstop action, the convoluted plots and the manly men, there are other reasons why I
am addicted love 24.
The first one is the timeframe paradox: While life-and-death national security situations supposedly are resolved within a 24-hr time frame, 24 is the first TV program where everything is not solved in one hour. Tetchy Dr. House cures the most obscure diseases even when he’s delirious from a gunshot wound, the many incarnations of Law & Order solve the crime and get a veredict, and the many locations of CSI collect all the evidence and sometimes the bad guys confess (try that in real life!) while looking mahrvelous – all in less than an hour.
Another thing I like about 24 is the emphasis on the power of the individual. In 24, the larger the group, the greater the bumble. It’s not just that the more terrorists involved in a plot, the worse it’ll work out for them. The government, the largest organization of all, fails time and time again to prevent any of the attacks in spite of having fantastic technology and instant telecommunication links.
In 24, it is the commitment of one individual that makes a difference.
There is another aspect to 24’s appeal: Yesterday’s WSJ had an article on Jack Bauer’s Dilemmas–and Ours: Watching “24” as a primer on moral philosophy
All these episodes help the show to maintain a realistic moral tone. An enemy that rejects everything we hold dear about our civil society will inevitably force us to make compromises between competing principles and loyalties. The most interesting complications that ensue as a season of “24” unfolds are the moral ones. And the show’s great virtue is that it never pretends that these dilemmas are simple or false.
And these dilemmas continue to be relevant.
Moose in the news:
It turns out that the Beeb is a great resource for moose news.
Student felled by moose head sues
An American student is suing her university for negligence after a mounted moose head fell on her from a wall during a biology exam.
Amy Walters was peering through a microscope when the stuffed trophy fell, hitting the side of her head.
She says she has suffered from headaches ever since, and is suing for “loss of enjoyment of life” and “embarrassment and humiliation”.
Because propelling herself into the limelight by suing won’t increase the “embarrassment and humiliation”, won’t it?
More Moose, but of a different kind
Moose the dog, better known as Eddie in US sitcom Frasier, died aged 16 in Los Angeles last year.
Which is why I don’t go camping.
Marc Masferrer has an interview with Aini Martin Valero
US: What is the biggest obstacle that you and other journalists face on a daily basis?
AMV: The independent press faces two obstacles. One is the harassment and persecution from State Security, which threatens us and blocks us many times from going where the news is happening. They jail us, and many times retaliate against our families.
The second obstacle is the lack of resources to do our work. Most Cuban independent journalists cannot count on having a computer, still and video cameras or even a telephone line at their homes. I consider those tools as fundamental to doing quality journalism.
US: How have the changes since July 31 (when Fidel Castro handed over power to his brother Raúl) affected your job as a journalist?
AMV: After July 31, with the news of Fidel Castro’s illness, the monitoring of me and my colleagues by State Security and the paramilitary bands got worse. Every Tuesday, we met at the house of another journalist to share ideas and review our work. Since that date, followers of the government have carried out acts of repudiation at the home of journalist Carlos Manuel Cespedes, and we have had to look for other alternatives.
Read every word.
As I’ve mentioned before, I normally spend twenty minutes or less making dinner. I’m the one making dinner most evenings here at casa de Fausta, but The Husband’s in charge when pressure cookers are involved.
Back when I was in my teens I was sitting at my parents’ kitchen doing homework when the unattended pressure cooker blew up and, even when I was physically unscathed by the explosion, I don’t ever want to handle a pressure cooker.
The Husband’s a lot braver than I. My mother’s a lot braver than I. Anyone who uses a pressure cooker is a lot braver than I.
My mother is a really good cook – so good that she makes it look completely effortless. But even she has a limit: when we were little she decided to make homemade pasteles, and it was so much work she’s purchased them from people who specialize ever since.
While my sister shares my simplified approach to cooking, our brother’s a great cook. He loves to make really good meals, and he actually loves the process of cooking. On special occasions he spends hours slaving at the stove.
I remember one year I asked him how he makes his pork roast, which he was planning to make the next day. He was seasoning with olive oil, oregano and garlic a leg from what once must have been a gigantic pig, so it would marinade overnight. It was getting late at night and I was in the kitchen having a glass of milk before going to bed, so he said he’d explain the next morning, if I could be up by seven AM.
Seven AM is a little early, but I’m an early riser and since we were both on vacation I figured he’d be heading to the beach ahead of the crowds and the hot sun, and after a morning at the beach he’d be working on the roast later in the afternoon.
The next morning the two of us were in the kitchen cleaning up after breakfast while everybody else was still sleeping, and the conversation went like,
(Brother) B: You have to start now so it’ll be ready by 5PM.
(Fausta) F: But it’s seven in the morning. So you mean it’s going to take ten hours of working in the kitchen?
B: Yeah, that’s about right. And it has to sit for half an hour after it’s done.
F: I thought you were just going to give me the recipe, get the pork roasting in the oven, and then go out and have some fun.
B: This is fun.
I carefully tip-toed away from the kitchen, but my brother spent the whole day at it and did a wonderful job. He would feel right at home at ManCamp with Val and Steve. (I can’t wait for Steve’s next cookbook to come out.)
I’m thinking of this because I’m considering trying Darren‘s chili recipe. My quick chili recipe goes like this:
Heat in a medium flame 2 tbs olive oil in a cast-iron skillet
and add 1 lb ground chuck.
Once the beef is almost brown, add 1 pkg Bearitos Chili Seasoning, stir well.
Add 1 can (14.5 oz) Hunt’s diced tomatoes
and 1 15 oz can of Westbrae chili beans. Stir.
Lower the flame to low, and simmer for at least 40 minutes.
Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream.
I serve it over a wild rice/brown rice blend, but Darren’s spaghetti looks good, too.
Darren, like Val and Steve and my brother, likes to cook.
So the question is, will the new recipe be worth it, or will it be too much work? After all, there is no Chipotle in the area.
Update: Cooking for engineers – I like!
The Daily Gut is starting a Hillary fan club. Via Pajamas Media, Hillary Clamps Down. She’s going to need all the fan clubs she can get; Gerard Baker sure isn’t a fan: The vaulting ambition of America’s Lady Macbeth
There are many reasons people think Mrs Clinton will not be elected president. She lacks warmth; she is too polarising a figure; the American people don’t want to relive the psychodrama of the eight years of the Clinton presidency.
But they all miss this essential counterpoint. As you consider her career this past 15 years or so in the public spotlight, it is impossible not to be struck, and even impressed, by the sheer ruthless, unapologetic, unshameable way in which she has pursued this ambition, and confirmed that there is literally nothing she will not do, say, think or feel to achieve it. Here, finally, is someone who has taken the black arts of the politician’s trade, the dissembling, the trimming, the pandering, all the way to their logical conclusion.
If Mr. Baker ever comes to Princeton I’ll buy him a beer.
Which brings me to Francis Porretto’s excellent essay, Broken Premises Part 3: Is It The Words Or The Tune That Matters?
Rare is the politician, on either side of the divide between the parties, who can be relied upon speak clearly and to the point, and always to call things by their right names. Porfessional pols and their staffs might not believe Sapir and Whorf’s conjecture that words have the power to shape reality, but their confidence in the power of words to shape popular convictions appears boundless.
George Orwell’s landmark essay “Politics and the English Language” is replete with piercing observations about the insidiousness of such rhetoric. Among its many powerful points is that we must know what a thing is to argue for or against it:
Stuart Chase and others have come near to claiming that all abstract words are meaningless, and have used this as a pretext for advocating a kind of political quietism. Since you don’t know what Fascism is, how can you struggle against Fascism? One need not swallow such absurdities as this, but one ought to recognize that the present political chaos is connected with the decay of language, and that one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end. If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy. You cannot speak any of the necessary dialects, and when you make a stupid remark its stupidity will be obvious, even to yourself. Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
Orwell’s essay should be required reading for every American who thinks himself qualified to vote, or to hold a political opinion. Much of the damage that has been done to freedom these past eighty years has passed into law under the cover of “terms of art,” periphrases and circumlocutions of the sort it describes.
All the events of last spring are only a foretaste of something much bigger, something still unnamed. And when it ends, those who have managed to escape will ask themselves: Why didn’t we see the handwriting on the wall when there was still time? If Muslim protests against a few harmless cartoons can cause the free world to capitulate in the face of violence, how will this free world react to something that is truly relevant? It is already difficult enough to see that Israel is not merely battling a few militants, but is facing a serious threat to its very existence from Iran. All too often it is ignored that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has already taken the first step by calling for “a world without Zionism” — a call that pro-Israel Europeans only managed to condemn with a mild, “unacceptable.” How would they react if Iran were in a position to back up its threats with nuclear weapons?
Kenneth Stein’s My Problem with Jimmy Carter’s Book (Stein was a Fellow at the Carter Center; h/t Not Exactly Rocket Science) ties in well with Jimmy Carter: Too many Jews on Holocaust council. As Stephen Pollard said,
The problem is that Carter does not provide an alternative view but the view from an alternative universe, with facts which are non-facts, events which are ignored and clear justifications for suicide terrorism.
What a disgrace Jimmy is.
There are three serious things we can do now: Tax gas. Drill in the Arctic. Go nuclear
If Cuban prisoner of conscience Prospero Gainza can sew his mouth shut as a defiant and symbolic gesture of protest, we can all show solidarity by fasting every Friday for our incarcerated brothers and sisters on the island.
Today’s verse is the first line from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Frost at Midnight, in keeping with this morning’s cold weather.
Look at the pink box in the sidebar for each day’s verse.
asks The Wall Street Journal (by subscription; emphasis added)
The idea of financing state services without an income tax is hardly radical. Nine states today – Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennesse, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming – manage well without them. With a few exceptions, the non-income tax states are America’s most prosperous. Meanwhile, the high income states, which tend to be congregated in the North East, keep surrendering jobs, people, and voters to the South and West.
State lawmakers also seem to have learned from two of the most recent states to adopt an income tax: New Jersey and Connecticut. As recently as 1965 New Jersey had neither an income nor sales tax, but managed to balance the budget every year. Now it has both taxes – its income tax is the 5th highest in the nation –
And let’s not even think of the highest property taxes and school taxes, too,
but the state is facing what Stateline.org calls a “staggering budget deficit.” Allied Van Lines reports that the Garden State is one of the leading places for people to flee.
I first started this blog out of frustration with NJ taxes. While my frustration hasn’t diminished, I’ve become so fed up of the subject that I’m posting about it because The Husband asked that I do.
The National Center for Policy Analysis has more on the “ferocious competition to attract jobs and businesses” among the states.
New Jersey is entirely out of the competition.
Update In the comments section, Francis Porretto recommends Robert Higgs’s excellent book, Crisis and Leviathan
I read this book several years ago and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in fiscal policy, economics, or how their hard-earned money is spent by the politicians.