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Monday, January 17, 2005
Off to Mazatlan
No, that isn't a Yiddish toast. That's a city in Mexico, and I'm going there for 4 days for a trade show.
Hey, as I write this, it's zero degrees F in Chicago and the high in Mazatlan's going to be 85 tomorrow. On the other hand, I'll spend all day Tuesday and Saturday in airports. It's about a wash.
I'll be back Saturday night or Sunday morning to Reveal more Truth.
Whittaker Chambers, She Ain't
Amber Frey's book, Witness, is #1 on the NYT Best Sellers List. Ugh. I heard her interviewed and actually felt sorry for her. "Yeah," was her responce of choice to most questions. When a question that couldn't be answered yes or no was asked, Professional Nuisance Gloria Allred stepped in to save her. This is one dumb broad, and I can't imagine she had the slightest hand in writing this book.
More importantly, though, I'd be greatly appreciative is someone could explain the fascination with this story to me.
I'm not one of those scolds that moralizes about the publicity surrounding celebrity trials. I UNDERSTAND that. When an O.J. Simpson or a Robert Blake is involved in something sordid and juicy, I can relate to those who find it intriguing. We WATCHED those people for decades. We felt we knew them on some admittedly superficial level.
But Laci Peterson? Tragic as the story was, I don't think I'm off-base to guess that maybe a hundred women carrying babies were killed in the U.S. last year. Maybe a thousand, who knows. So why does THIS story get all the attention? The participants weren't "beautiful people." There was nothing any more depraved about this killing than hundreds of others. So how does Amber Frey wind up winning the "Other Woman" lottery with a number one bestseller while all the others fall away into anonymity?
That's a serious question. If you have a theory I'd love to hear it.
And while you're at it, mabye you can also explain to me how they get away with using the title "Witness?"
So it Wasn't "Values Voters," After All?
No kidding. My first post upon my return was on this very subject.
I don't know who Lorrie Goldstein is, but she's brilliant. She agrees with ME in this piece in Sunday's Toronto Sun.
She points out research done by the Pew Research Centre and others has shown:
"(a) Bush made relatively bigger gains with non-religious voters than religious ones.
(b) The percentage of voters who identified themselves as evangelicals, at 23%, was exactly the same in 2004 as in 2000.
(c) There was no increase in the percentage of pro-life voters.
(d) Overall, voters in 2004 were slightly less religiously observant than in 2000.
(e) Bush did not do significantly better in 2004 compared to 2000 in the 11 states which held gay marriage referendums.
(f) While Bush did slightly better with evangelicals compared to 2000, only 14% of all Bush supporters said they voted for him primarily because of his religious faith, compared to 29% who cited his leadership and 27% his stand on the issues.
As Chuck Raasch of Gannett News has reported, contrary to the liberal myth about Bible belt evangelicals re-electing Bush, his victory was in fact the result of a broad-based coalition of voters worried about everything from terrorism to taxes. Also, evangelicals have tended to vote Republican for two decades."
Bottom line: as I said two months ago, voters voted for Bush on the issues. And as this follow-up posting argued, there's very good reason to believe that economic issues were front-and-center among the issues driving Bush voters.
Don't fall for the Values Trap.
Deficit Shrinking. Women and Minorities Hardest Hit.
If it were to cover this story, that's doubtless how the New York Times would headline it. Alas, the Great Gray Hag and its Old Media brethren seem intent on ignoring it. So, as usual, we must look to Larry Kudlow for the "Sky Isn't Falling" version of economic events:
"In the first three months of the fiscal year that began last October, cash outlays by the federal government increased by 6.1 percent while tax collections grew by 10.5 percent. When more money comes in than goes out, the deficit shrinks.
At this pace, the 2005 deficit is on track to drop to $355 billion from $413 billion in fiscal year 2004. As a fraction of projected gross domestic product, the new-year deficit will descend to 2.9 percent compared with last year?s deficit share of 3.6 percent".
Less than three percent of GDP. Sounds fairly manageable to me. But the story is actually even better than this. Just as with the Reagan tax cuts, now that the Bush cuts have taken hold, revenues are soaring. The Laffer Curve lives!
"With 50 percent cash-bonus expensing for the purchase of plant and equipment, productivity-driven corporate profits ranging around 20 percent have generated a 45 percent rise in business taxes. At lower income-tax rates, employment gains of roughly 2.5 million are throwing off more than 6 percent in payroll-tax receipts. Personal tax revenues are rising at a near 9 percent pace.
Meanwhile, in the wake of strong stock market advances over the last two years, non-withheld revenues from individuals ? including investor dividends and capital gains that are now taxed at only 15 percent ? have jumped by over 14 percent."
I'm not quite as sanguine as Kudlow, though, on his final point, which is that Bush is ready to really get tough on the budget now. According to Kudlow, the new budget will freeze agriculture, science, and veterans spending and "slash or eliminate dozens of programs."
I'll believe that when I see it. Especially the bit about veterans benefits. Can't you hear the demagoguery already? Hell, I don't think I'd even advise him to try that one.
Anyway, check out the article for a nice counterpoint to the gloom-and-doom of Old Media.