The Spectacle Blog

Challenger to Burns

By on 3.22.06 | 10:16AM

Sen. Conrad Burns has a primary challenger for his Senate race: state Senate President Bob Keenan. Looks like Conrad's an inviting target for mid-sized fish among his own party. This makes his decision whether to file or not by tomorrow quite interesting.

Cox Rocks

By on 3.22.06 | 8:21AM

The smartest, most principled conservative in office in Washington is at it again, pushing reforms without stringest regulations, promoting the free flow of information to support free markets, and showing that conservatism doesn't rule out creativity. Page C-1 of today's Wall Street Journal tells the tale: former U.S. Rep. Chris Cox, now chairman of the SEC, is pushing several technology initiatives to give companies incentives to disclose financial information, using technology, that would be more understandable and useful for investors. I won't rehash the whole article here, but I do urge everybody to read it, not as much for the content of the specific proposals, all of which seem to be good ideas, but more to see how a creative conservative can promote reforms without red tape and without abandoning conservative principles. Chris Cox is great at the SEC, but he really should be in the Oval Office instead.

Re: To Hell and Back with Them Hawks

By on 3.22.06 | 5:48AM

John: Your piece deserves a more full response, and I will do that in the course of the next couple of days. But three points need to be made today.

First, Rich's piece came not as a result of Derbyshire's Corner post, but because of a column written by Bill Buckley in which he proclaimed the war in Iraq lost and our goals there unachieved. Rich had to put NR back on the right side, and this is his way of doing attempting that.

Second, you say that radical Islam is the problem and that nation-states only exacerbate it. I believe you are dead bang wrong. Radical Islam is the ideology that cannot last without -- and stands in the way of democracy only as long as it gets support from nations. Without support from Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria, radical Islam would not be able to mount significant attacks outside the Middle East. State funding, training and above all sanctuary for the radical imams and their followers is absolutely essential to large terrorist operations. If you shoot the head, the body dies.

Re: The Next (Bad) Dubai Deal

By on 3.21.06 | 6:21PM

Dave: That's what I'm checking on. When you're developing a new weapon system, the technological advantages -- which become top secret -- can be found in the oddest places. Like turbine blades, airfoils and such. Don't know the level of danger in the JSF aspects Doncaster's involved in. May be nothing to worry about, may be crucial. Will report on it soon.

The New Protectionists

By on 3.21.06 | 5:36PM

With all due respect to those here with security concerns about foreign-owned companies, particularly those owned by entities based in less stable or friendly parts of the world, there are those in this debate for whom "foreign-owned" is simply a dirty word.

We should have a name for those Republicans who have have forgotten that their party's ascension was the result, in part, of successful messages of free markets and free trade. And that name?

Dick Gephardt Republicans.

Let's see how long they are willing to stand shoulder to shoulder with him once the label begins to stick. Mugs and t-shirts are on the way....

The Reviews Are In

By on 3.21.06 | 5:36PM

First Rush at the top of his show, now the Republican National Committee is playing up acting CBS anchor Bob Schieffer's reaction to President Bush's performance this morning. In its "What They're Saying About the President's News Conference" release from late this afternoon, the RNC leads with two quotes from Schieffer, including Rush's favorite line, "I must say, this is about as close to the George Bush that one sees off camera as I have ever seen."

I guess it's a great line coming from Schieffer. But what does it really mean? Did Bush really seem any different? After all, he steadfastly refuses to give his administration a facelift!

Spiteful Spitzer

By on 3.21.06 | 4:58PM

Eliot Spitzer, the poster child for anti-business and anti-individual liberty tactics using and abusing the power of his office of Attorney General for the state of New York, has done it again. Angry because H&R Block refused to cede several tens of millions of dollars in settlement with him, Spitzer has sued the tax preparer for $250 million. Why?

Because Block offers IRA savings programs for small and first-time savers. Apparently New York's "Attorney General for the Little Guy" doesn't like the "Little Guy" to have the freedom to invest in small IRAs. (For more, see "Spitzer's Rotten Call" in today's New York Post.)

Re: The Next (Bad) Dubai Deal

By on 3.21.06 | 4:50PM

Jed, for what it's worth from the peanut gallery, I'm not sure that the Doncasters buy is a problem. How will they have a view inside the Joint Strike Fighter program?

The Post's report on it earlier this month explained what Doncasters specializes in:

Doncasters' expertise is in forging, fabrication, machining and alloy production. The company owns a plant that makes aerospace turbine blades and components in Farmington, Conn.; a turbine and generator plant in Rincon, Ga.; a steel foundry in Springfield, Mass.; and a metal-rolling plant in Groton, Conn. The company's Web site says the Georgia and Connecticut plants manufacture "engine ready airfoils," for aircraft, helicopter and tank engines.

I'd really like to learn more about this, because my impression from this article is that Doncasters manufactures and fabricates the steel parts for aircraft engines.

The Next (Bad) Dubai Deal

By on 3.21.06 | 3:50PM

I wasn't happy about the Dubai ports deal, given my lack of confidence in the Department of Homeland Security. But now I'm really upset that the Brit aerospace company - Doncasters - is about to be sold to Dubai.

Doncasters is - according to this FT report -- a supplier to very sensitive programs including the Joint Strike Fighter. I'll check with DoD and other sources. But I'm almost positive that we can't risk security by enabling Dubai interests to get a view inside programs such as that one. We cut the Israelis out of JSF as a penalty for their sales to China. I don't favor letting any nation into JSF or other weapon system programs if we can't be entirely certain of maintaining security. With Dubai, that's just not a good bet.

The Wonder of It All

By on 3.21.06 | 3:33PM

CJ -- Back in high school, we had various nicknames for people lacking various traits, whether physical or character-related: "The XXXX-less Wonder." Some were typically adolescent, but one example that's still repeatable is that we'd call somebody the "spineless wonder." Well, this President Bush is quite clearly the Vetoless Wonder. And that's one reason he has lost so much clout on Capitol Hill: because the solons there have no fear that he'll actually stop them from doing just about anything they darn well please. And from the sorry looks of things, they're right.