Thursday, August 04, 2005

Bolton Too Mean, Roberts Too Nice...

This week President Bush used the recess appointment to install John Bolton at the U.N., over complaints that he is intimidating, rude, confrontational, etc. Never mind that in a dysfunctional organization buried in rape and financial scandal might need a firm hand on our end, his alleged poor treatment of subordinates makes him a bad choice.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said it is important that Bolton, who earned a reputation for a confrontational and intimidating style, work with his diplomatic counterparts in "a spirit of give and take."
One assumes Kofi does not mean "give" as the U.N. staff gave in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Congo, or "take" as U.N. staff took money in the Oil for Food scandal.

Now John Roberts is under the scope, and apparently he's so nice it's creepy somehow or it's a reason to distrust him.
I would humbly submit that we should take a closer look at his preternatural niceness. It seems a little too nice to be nice. His behavior raises serious questions about whether he is a sly conservative.
I'm left wondering what the "correct" level of niceness would be, but I also know that it makes no difference. The discussion has nothing to do with intellectual honesty, it is simply a weak attempt to come up with something, anything, to paint these people as weird, or as disguising their true selves. It's about as relevant and honest as Jonathan Chait's criticism of Bush's physical fitness.

More Bad News from Reuters - No Canada Rush

Unfortunately the predicted post-election reverse brain-drain to Canada apparently didn't come to fruition after all. According to Reuters,
Canadians can put away those extra welcome mats -- it seems Americans unhappy about the result of last November's presidential election have decided to stay at home after all.
Well, once again, so much for the big pre-election talk from Democrats. Just like the celebrities they love, they backed off their promises once the election went Bush's way.
Data from the main Canadian processing center in Buffalo, NY shows that in the six months up to the U.S. election there were 16,266 applications from people seeking to live in Canada, a figure that fell to 14,666 for the half year after the vote.
Maybe they never really meant what they were saying, or maybe they've changed their minds about Bush now. Whatever the reason, it might help more in the elections if they promised to stay if a Republican is elected. Get Johnny Depp out there saying he'll move back if a Republican is elected, and the threats might actually net Democrat candidates some votes.

It just takes a little understanding of incentives on behavior.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

"Staff Puke" Madness Over Rush Call

This was an entertaining little excursion into Google today. Apparently (I didn't hear it), Rush referred to Ohio's Paul Hackett as a "staff puke" in response to a caller describing Hackett's position.

So obviously, every lefty site out there is outraged today, as this Google search shows. Roughly 400 results overall, most of the first results from places like Daily Kos, and a bunch of places linking to that post.

By searching for "staff puke" without a reference to Rush, you see a couple of interesting things about the term. First, a lot of people refer to themselves as staff pukes, and if anything it's used in about as derogatory a fashion as "college boy" is on a construction site, for example.

More interesting is how often the sites referring to the comment say Rush called hime "just a staff puke." Well, no he didn't and calling anyone "just" an anything is more derogatory than anything Rush said. There's nothing wrong with Hackett's position in the military, but clueless lefties obviously think there is. Ironically, one site points out all the "staff pukes" that have been killed. That changes nothing about the Rush non-story, because he isn't disrespectful to those people. The only disrespect is thinking that being called that is some kind of put-down.

An argument might be made that Rush, not being in the military, can't use the term. That may be true, but it's not a big deal. He was talk to a military officer, and was using it for clarification, not denegration.