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Friday, April 23, 2004
 
General George Patton: "It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived."
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Others On Tillman

Former Lt., now Citizen Smash has some thoughts.

Peggy Noonan did a great article a few years back on Tillman for the WSJ.

A good, older story on Tillman at NFL.com.

The current story from NFL.com.

Remembering Pat Tillman.

Baldilocks weighs in.

Captain Ed has some nice words.

Hugh Hewitt

A video of the spontaneous memorial being built at ASU is here, including footage of Tillman discussing his reaction to the 9-11 attacks.

MSNBC calls Tillman an American Hero.

The Cardinals have a tribute at their home page.

Even the twits over at the Democratic Underground recognize a hero.

Arizona State University has a tribute to Tillman.
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Tribute to Pat Tillman







Those of you living outside of Arizona cannot imagine what a larger than life person Pat Tillman was before he walked away from the money and the glamour of the NFL to join the Rangers. He played his college ball here at ASU, where he was considered too small. When his coach suggested that he redshirt his freshman year so that he could grow a little, he responded with something like, "Do what you want, but you've only got me for four years. I've got a life to get on with."

By his senior season he was the defensive player of the year in the PAC-10. He played gung-ho, balls to the wall on every play. But he was not a dumb jock. He graduated in 3-1/2 years with a 3.84 GPA with a degree in marketing. Considered too slow for the NFL, he appeared to get a sympathy pick from the Cardinals with their last choice in the draft. Five months later he was a starter on opening day. I was a little cynical about the decision at first, assuming the Cards were trying a little marketing of their own, but he made a believer of everybody.

He had an opportunity to join a much better team after a superb 2000 season, in which he set a team record for tackles. The Rams offered more money, but he signed with the Cardinals out of loyalty. It was that same spirit that led him to walk away from the money to serve his country.

Thanks, Pat. We will long remember your sacrifice.
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Thursday, April 22, 2004
 
Kerrying Arizona?

Both Bush and Kerry are targeting Arizona as a potential battleground state. Personally, I don't buy it, but George Will does. It's not often that I get a chance to fisk someone I respect so much, but here goes:

In 2000 George W. Bush carried Arizona, which then had a Republican governor, with just 51 percent of the vote.

True enough. But Gore got only about 45% of the vote, so Bush's margin here was a little over 6%, making Arizona the state with the 23rd highest margin for Bush.

Indeed, Democrats have won half of the past eight gubernatorial elections.

Again, true, but not as meaningful as it sounds. Republicans had won four straight gubernatorial elections prior to 2002. So turned the other way, Republicans have won 4 of the past five gubernatorial elections.

Yet if liberalism and urbanism still increase in tandem, a salient fact may be that Arizona is heavily and increasingly urban: Almost 80 percent of Arizonans live in or around Phoenix and Tucson. Mesa is a "suburb" contiguous to Phoenix, but its population is larger than that of St. Louis.

And Mesa is probably the most conservative town in the state. The fact that 80% of all Arizonans live in or around Phoenix or Tucson is again not surprising; I'd suspect that ratio has remained constant for about 40 years.

And another fact encouraging to John Kerry is that the state has, Napolitano says, 600,000 veterans, many of whom are Hispanic and Native American voters.

My guess is that's a gross overestimate. That would indicate one in nine Arizonans is a veteran, which seems awfully high. And even if it is true, from whence comes the belief that they will disproportionately vote for Kerry?

Is Arizona less conservative than it was? Yeah. But six of its eight representatives are Republican, as are both of its senators. The fact that AZ went for Clinton in 1996 was a fluke, caused by Steve Forbes' carpet bombing of Bob Dole before the Republican primary that year. The fact that Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, is governor happens to be another fluke. But if John Kerry wins in Arizona this year, that would not be a fluke. It would be an upset of historic proportions.

Ain't gonna happen.

Don't get me wrong. I can understand why Janet Napolitano, the governor who apparently was the source for much of the story, would want to convince George Will that this state is in play. It gets more attention for the state, and is so far bringing in LOTS of ad dollars. And maybe Will is just playing along to get Kerry to waste his attention here.
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Wednesday, April 21, 2004
 
For the Funny Headline File:

Prominent Dutch euthanasia advocate dies at 87; natural causes suspected.
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Non-Survivor Part III



Filibuster Cartoons is a great website!
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Tuesday, April 20, 2004
 
Just One Minute has some comments about Paul Krugman's latest offering in the New York Times.

Is it unfair to ask whether the Earnest Prof now foresees a full recovery? Does he think that investors generally foresee such a recovery? Does he have any guidance for us on whether, or if, normal conditions of supply and demand might return to the bond market?

As usual with Professor Krugman's economic columns, they make me yearn for his comparatively sensible ravings on politics, and vice-versa. Here's what Krugman said:

So you can't claim that interest rates will be far below historical levels because inflation is gone. And on the other side, we need to think about the impact of budget deficits.

That last sentence will send the deficit apologists to battle stations (sorry, I can't avoid politics completely). For many years, advocates of tax cuts have insisted that the normal laws of supply and demand don't apply to the bond market, and that government borrowing--unlike borrowing by families or businesses--doesn't affect interest rates. But there's no argument among serious, nonideological economists. For example, a textbook by Gregory Mankiw, now the president's chief economist, declares--in italics--that "when the government reduces national saving by running a budget deficit, the interest rate rises."


Of course, classical supply and demand theory would indicate that Krugman is right. But we've had a lot of real world experience with interest rates and budget deficits and the theory needs a little revising.

To demonstrate, let's look at the budget deficit when Clinton took office. For the year 1993, the on-budget deficit was about $300 billion. In 2000, seven years later, the on-budget surplus was $86 billion. The amounts for both years come from here.

Now let's take a look at the interest rates for those years. Krugman focuses on the 10-year treasury, which is a good interest rate to use, since it is the basis for many other rates (especially home mortgages). Since the fiscal year runs from 10/1 of one year to 9/30 of the next, I will look at the interest rate halfway through that year--i.e., March 1st (or the nearest date after if March 1st falls on a weekend.

The 10-year treasury as of 3/1/93 was at 5.98%. The 10-year treasury as of 3/1/00 was at 6.26% Both interest rates were obtained from here. So we can see that despite a dramatic change in the budget status--from a $300 billion deficit to an $86 billion surplus, interest rates did not decline, in fact they went up, the exact opposite of what Krugman and Mankiw would predict.

Okay, so going back to the same sites, I checked the deficits and interest rates for every year from 1993-2001. Then I correlated the two using Excel.

Correlation is a measure of how much two different variables appear to be related. For example, suppose we were to take everybody's in a office's height and weight, and correlate the two. We would expect there to be some correlation; that the tall people would weigh more (on average) than the short people. The correlation would not be perfect (there are, after all, short fat people and tall skinny people) but in general tall people do weigh more than short people. This would result in a positive correlation--that on average the taller you were, the more you weighed and the shorter you were, the less you weighed.

We could also look for negative correlations. Let's say we asked 100 people chosen at random how many years of school they attended and how many hours a week they spend working at manual labor. We would expect that the more years of schooling one had, the fewer hours a week they would spend on manual labor, and the fewer years of schooling they had the more hours a week they spend on manual labor. Again, the correlation is not perfect because there are folks with masters' degrees working as auto mechanics and high school dropouts running software companies, but in general the more years of schooling, the fewer hours a week spent doing heavy lifting.

Correlations can run from -1.00 (perfect negative correlation) to +1.00 (perfect positive correlation). A correlation of 0.0 simply means that the two variables have nothing to do with each other. For example, we might expect that correlating years of schooling with weight would result in a correlation close to 0.0 nowadays. Back when most college graduates were men that might have been different, since men weigh more than women.

Okay, so now that we have correlation defined, what is the relationship between budget deficits and interest rates? It's (-.48). That is, there is some correlation between budget deficits and interest rates, but it is not strong and in general it's negative--that higher budget deficits are frequently associated with lower interest rates, and vice-versa.

Now, it is important not to confuse correlation with causation. The classic example of this is if you correlate the number of churches in a town with the number of crimes in a town, you will come up with a fairly strong, and positive correlation. This does not mean that building more churches will result in more crime. Rather, both variables are being influenced by a third variable, in this case, almost certainly, the population of the town. More people mean more churches and more crime.

What is the third variable in our budget deficit and interest rate scenario? As Bill Clinton once said, it's the economy, stupid! A strong economy leads to lower budget deficits, but also to higher interest rates. A weak economy leads to higher budget deficits and lower interest rates.
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No Puns for This One

This is not getting a lot of attention in the US as yet, but police in England have apparently foiled a plot by ten suicide bombers to blow themselves up at a soccer match between Manchester United (the New York Yankees of English football) and Liverpool.

The Islamic fanatics planned to sit all around the ground to cause maximum carnage.

They had already bought the tickets for various positions in the stadium, cops revealed last night.

But armed cops foiled the horrific plot - which could have killed thousands watching Manchester United’s home game against Liverpool on Saturday - in a series of dawn raids yesterday.

Ten people were arrested after a massive surveillance operation involving British anti-terror units and American authorities.

A police source said: “The plot involved several individual bombers in separate parts of the stadium.

“If successful, any such attack would have caused absolute carnage. Thousands of people could have been killed.”

The planned attack would have had an instant global impact as the game is being televised worldwide.


Allah has a little photoshopped joke on it. Note the soccer ball.
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Sunday, April 18, 2004
 
Next Contestant for NonSurvivor?



In order to up the drama of the new reality show, NonSurvivor, producer Mark Brunette and Hamas announced that the next contestant would not be named. However, they apparently forgot to tell this to Israeli Army Radio, which reported that Mahmoud Zahar had been selected.

Zahar has already survived one attempt at being voted off the planet by the Israeli Defense Forces.
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Contact Me: pcurley (at) cdwebs (dot) com

Brainster in the Media

Howard Kurtz's Media Notes: May 27, 2005

Slate Today's Blogs:

March 16, 2005

May 9, 2005

June 3, 2005

Cited for Breaking the Christmas in Cambodia story (at Kerry Haters):

Hugh Hewitt: KerryHaters was on this story a long time ago. How could the elite media not have asked these questions before now?

Ankle-Biting Pundits: Our friends Pat and Kitty at Kerry Haters deserve the blog equivalent of a Pulitzer for their coverage of Kerry's intricate web of lies regarding Vietnam.

The Weekly Standard

Les Kinsolving

Greatest Hits

What If the Rest of the Fantastic Four Were Peaceniks?

Lefty Bloggers on Gay Witchhunt (linked by 16 blogs including Instapundit)

Kitty Myers Breaks Christmas in Cambodia

Brainster Shows Brinkley Says No Christmas in Cambodia

Explanation of the Blog's Name

Power Ratings Explained



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