Monthly Archives: May 2007

Wedding

Today is Wednesday. I am getting married on Saturday. So about three days. Approximately 80 hours. Wow.

We’ve been trying to move Carrie’s stuff into my apartment. I’m honestly amazed with how much stuff we’ve been able to squeeze into a 550 square foot apartment. But I’m realizing quickly how much my life is changing. Carrie is over here all the time, but moving in is something different. There are candles and picture frames and decorative lamps. Grocery items that can only be used as ingredients, but not consumed on their own. Girl stuff in the bathroom. Oh, did I mention the candles are the smell good kind? Bachelorhood is definitely over.

Gone are the days where I left a box of pizza out all night and ate it for dinner the next day. Say goodbye to only cleaning the bathroom once a month, washing my sheets never, and leaving baskets of clean laundry out rather than folding and putting them away.

But its all worth it. It really is. I’m gonna be living with my best friend til death parts us. I love Carrie in ways I didn’t know that I could love someone unrelated to me. Even when we’re mad at each other, even when something she’s doing is driving me absolutely up the wall, I still would lay down my life for her. Its a strange feeling. I know its cliche, but this type of love has given me a better understanding of Christ’s love for the Church.

So the next 3 days are gonna be a little stressful. We still haven’t packed for the honeymoon. We still haven’t gotten all our gifts in the apartment (and I imagine more will show up at the wedding). We’ve got a million things to do between now and Saturday, but once 6:30 rolls around at Owen Chapel, its all gonna be worth it to see my bride coming down the aisle in white (well, actually I think its ivory).

On a completely unrelated note, I think if I were to blog on our honeymoon, Carrie might shoot me in the face, so who all would be interested in my good friend Y blogging in my absence next week? He’s a really intelligent guy and will make you think ten times over. Let me know if you’d enjoy that.

Enhanced torture, ahem, Interrogation Techniques

Andrew Sullivan weighs in on the administrations okaying of these brutal techniques.

What happened to the time when we stood against this sort of crap?

The Troops Don’t Defend Our Freedom

Interesting article from LewRockwell.com

Monica Goodling

I honestly feel sorry for this woman. She seems like she realizes she did some unethical things, and feels regret for it, but cannot admit to that. She gets grilled to the max in this clip, and basically admits that they broke the law. The congressman questioning her seemed surprised with her answers… its eery, like something you’d see in a courtroom drama in the movies.

This second video just angers me. I don’t agree with Pat Robertson, who founded Regent University where Goodling went to law school, but I sure as heck think there’s a double standard going on here. Replace Cohen’s comments with a muslim school, or a jewish school, and those faiths, and think about that being said in Congress. How would that go over? Not very well. Here’s Cohen showing his hypocrisy.

I just donated…

to Ron Paul’s campaign. I guess I’m seriously trying to get out of voter retirement.

This guy is just too perfect. And Faux News, and the other media outlets, are completely burying him. I don’t understand.

Ron Paul owns Guliani and Hannity, in the same night

I am so glad there is a rational candidate out there. Guliani knows nothing about foreign policy. Paul has challenged him to a debate and so far he hasn’t agreed.

He won’t. Cause it will be the end of his campaign.

Wall Street Journal Talks About Chavez

I thought I’d add a little to the discussion below. Hat tip to my good friend Y

Credit to the Wall Street Journal

A Circus But No Bread

By Mary Anastasia O’Grady

1090 words

21 May 2007

The Wall Street Journal

A16

English

(Copyright (c) 2007, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.)

“The characteristic feature of the market price is that it tends to equalize supply and demand.”

— Ludwig von Mises, “Human Action,” 1949

The Venezuelan government will seize control of Radio Caracas Television on Sunday, finally making good on a threat to silence one of the country’s most important independent news sources. It is no coincidence that this is happening at a time when Venezuelans are suffering a shortage of key foodstuffs.

Free-speech protections in Venezuela have been steadily eroding for the past eight years, and most other television stations already practice self-censorship. With the expropriation of RCTV, there is only one other independent voice — Globovision — left standing. This assault on free speech has even provoked criticism by the Organization of American States, which has been silent about President Hugo Chavez’s many other offenses against democracy.

Having built his claim to legitimacy on the spurious assertion that he presides over a democracy, you can bet that Mr. Chavez would not have gone after RCTV unless he deemed control of TV news vital to his survival. It may indeed be. The reason is because the economy has been so mismanaged that a crisis now appears unavoidable. How it will end, in rationing and hunger or hyperinflationary madness, is hard to say. But when the whole thing comes a cropper, the last thing the president will want is TV images of popular protests that could be contagious.

From the earliest days of his presidency, Mr. Chavez made it clear that he intended to vastly expand the state’s economic power. In 2000 he started politicizing the state-owned oil company PdVSA and hollowing out its professional engineering and marketing staffs. Shortly thereafter he took to expropriating farms, factories and apartments. When Venezuelan money began to flee, he slapped on capital controls. More recently, he has forced international oil companies to hand over Venezuelan operations and surrender majority control. He has nationalized the largest telephone company and the most important electricity utility. He is now threatening to take over the banks.

As government takings always do, these assaults on property rights have badly damaged output and investment. Yet the harm has been greatly compounded by three other pernicious policies: price controls, profligate government spending and inflation of the national currency, the bolivar.

Here’s how Chavez economics “works.” As petro-dollars pour into state coffers, the government takes them to the central bank to get new bolivars printed, which are then pumped into the economy through government spending. Mr. Chavez has also been regularly increasing wages. The result is a consumption boom. Under free prices, too many bolivars chasing too few goods would produce inflation that would show up at the supermarket checkout counter. But price controls make that impossible. Instead, serious shortages are emerging.

Free prices are to an economy what microchips are to a computer. They carry information. As Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises explained in his legendary treatise 60 years ago, it is free prices that ensure that supply will meet demand. When Mr. Chavez imposed price controls, he destroyed the price mechanism.

And so it is that the Venezuelan egg is now a delicacy, the chicken an endangered species, toilet paper a luxury and meat an extravagance. White cheese, milk, tuna, sardines, sugar, corn oil, sunflower oil, carbonated drinks, beans, flour and rice are also in short supply.

The reason is simple: Producers have no incentive to bring goods to market if they are forced to sell them at unprofitable prices. Ranchers hold back their animals from slaughter, fisherman don’t cast their nets, food processors don’t invest in equipment and farmers don’t plant. Those who do produce find it makes more sense to take their goods across the border to Colombia or to seek out unregulated (black) markets.

Importers also have little incentive to work these days even though the country needs food from abroad. Some things like wheat are not grown in Venezuela. Other products like milk, sugar and potatoes are imported to supplement local supplies. But the Chavez government has made it difficult to buy a dollar at the official exchange rate of 2,150 bolivars and if an importer has to buy dollars at the market rate of 4,000 bolivars it is impossible to make a profit under price controls. Even imports not subject to price controls can be difficult to find since import permits and licenses, as well as dollars, are hard to come by.

This is putting a crimp in more than just the food supply. According to local press reports, some 40% of the country’s air fleet has been affected by delays in getting spare parts and the automotive industry’s supply chain is hampered by a lack of access to dollars. Earlier this year hospitals began complaining that the servicing of medical equipment has been delayed because spare parts are not available. Hospitals are also reporting shortages of medicines for diabetics, antibiotics and hypertension drugs. Price controls on construction materials have damaged the reliability of supply.

To stock the state-owned grocery stores called Mercal, the Chavez government goes shopping abroad with dollar reserves. Of course, Mercal shelves are often bare as well. Moreover, some enterprising government employees seemed to have learned something about market economics: The Venezuelan media is reporting that Mercal supplies are turning up for sale just across the Colombian border, where market prices prevail.

Venezuelan policy makers can’t be this dumb. The intention is not to feed the country but to destroy the private sector and any political power it might still have. In this environment survival independent of good relations with Mr. Chavez is nearly impossible. In the revolutionary handbook, capitalist producers and importers who buy things from the imperialists will be replaced by socialists living on cooperatives that will feed the country. The only trouble is that that effort is not going well, as Jose de Cordoba reported on the Journal’s front page on Thursday. Lack of knowledge, equipment, incentives and organization have left the co-ops “mostly a bust so far.”

To end the shortages all Mr. Chavez would have to do is lift the price controls. But with inflation already running above 20%, he no doubt fears the price jump that would follow. Much safer to seize RCTV and accelerate the consolidation of the military dictatorship. When the crisis comes, the chavistas will be ready.