Sine Qua Non Pundit

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Saturday, December 07, 2002

Who To Vaccinate?

Reading through all the comments on Daily Pundit's post on a smallpox outbreak, I came across Bill's comment about what he would do as dictator if a smallpox outbreak occured:

Well, first off, I'd move heaven and hell to get everybody vaccinated, starting with the under thirties, and then moving toward the rest of the population.

While I'm in general agreement with the tone of Bill's posts on this, perhaps we should rethink the prioritization of who gets vaccinated. Starting with everyone under 30 creates some very troublesome problems. Aside from the usual concerns of what would happen to society if everyone over 30 died within a year (which are legion), I have a more direct problem with this. Like a lot of families, my children are under 30 (6 and 12 as it happens), while my wife and I are over 30 (both 43 as it happens). Does anyone really think its a good idea to leave 10,000,000 - 20,000,000 orphaned children behind? Admittedly the numbers are a wild guess on my part since I lack the time or resources to analyze the latest census data to come up with a better number, but my guess could be low.

If we are faced with a situation where some people may be effectively chosen to die becuase of prioritization, I think we can do better. One part of me strongly believes that those paying the most in taxes deserve an early line in the queue for a number of reasons I won't go into here. As a practical matter though, the best answer I can come up with is to pick some locations in the US and start radiating outward, vaccinating almost everyone in a growing concentric circle from each spot. Perhaps some people can be excluded for various reasons, say, advanced age, but expect the excluded to get violent and disruptive. What I cannot venture a good guess at is how many locations there should be and where they should be, which would both be dependent on how much vaccine is available and how efficiently it can be distributed.

Sorry I don't have more time now to do more than register concerns. But given all I've heard and read and believe about the importance of families, I strongly think we should give consideration to vaccinating whole families at a time, if someone on that family "qualifies" for vaccination, however we define "qualify."

Friday, December 06, 2002

Yes, Virginia, Republicans Are Bad Too

I guess the inability of the Speaker of the House to raid the federal treasury should be viewed as a good thing:

House Speaker Dennis Hastert on Friday blasted a special government board's rejection this week of a $1.8 billion loan guarantee request by United Airlines

I guess you can be a man of principle so long as you are never challenged on them, eh Denny?


Bush Outs Economics Team

Sorry, that's "Ousts." For a moment, I thought we had something newsworthy in the administration.


Happy Blogday!

To Dr. Frank, who was kind to me in my blogging infancy. Raise your glass and let's sip (to) The Blogs of War.

Do like I did and pick up a copy of The Mr T Experience ...And The Women Who Love Them, Special Addition. I sure hope Dr. Frank's still getting royalties from this one.


I Hope They Left a Decent Will

Ok, some Canadians are off to Baghdad to help prevent the war by being human shields. Let's see how many reasons I can think of why this is a bad idea in the next five minutes.

1. Let's suppose their idea works and President Bush declines to act for fear of killing a few Canadians. I guess that just reinforces the supposition that the lives of the wogs really aren't that valuable after all, now doesn't it? Well, at least not when compared to Canadian lives.

1A. And when Saddam or Robert Mugabe or anybody else gets a little feisty in the near future, can we expect Canadians to place themselves as human shields in front of every tall US building or on every domestic airplane or cruise ship in the future? But I'm not sure how they can help against smallpox, even if they want to.

2. Do they think we are throwing rocks? They must have imagined we would fight like hooded teenage Palestinians. Our smart weapons are good, but they cannot just magically reshape the charges and explode around their bodies becuase their intentions are good.

3. Why are people so bloody anxious to do anything to help Saddam Hussein? Anti-Americanism is one thing, but jumpin' Jim Jeffords, this is ridiculous.

4. Are they taking the place of the UN inspectors? I thought that's why the UN inspectors were there in the first place.

5. Who's going to attend the Arundhati Roy rallies in their absence? Or cause more grief at Concordia University?

My five minutes are up and that's more attention than they merit. Here's to their short, exciting new career as human shields. Darwin would be proud.


Once More Unto the Breach, Dear Friends, Once More

With apologies to William Shakespeare and thanks to the WSJ:

Sunday is the deadline for Iraq to fess up to all of its secret weapons programs, but we already have a suggestion of what that list will be worth. "We have no weapons of mass destruction, absolutely no weapons of mass destruction," said Iraqi Major General Hussam Muhammad Amin this week.


If Iraq asserts this weekend that it has no such weapons, then that will on its face be a material breach of U.N. Security Council resolutions demanding that he disarm. And a material breach means Iraq must be disarmed by force. The U.S. and Britain ought to say so, the U.N. should then bring its inspectors home, and the hour will be at hand to liberate Iraqis and the world from Saddam Hussein's terror threat

Somebody better get Kofi some hand lotion. His poor hands are going to be rubbed raw from all the hand-wringing we are going to see over the next few days.


Nothing To Balance the Ledger

Oh my! The American Acadamy of Arts and Sciences has estimated that the war in Iraq could cost $1.9 trillion!

Researchers concluded in a study released Thursday that war with Iraq could cost the United States from $99 billion to more than $1.9 trillion over a decade.

Of course, they had to make some assumptions:

The lower figure assumes a successful military, diplomatic and nation-building campaign; the higher figure assumes a prolonged war with a disruption of oil markets and a U.S. recession, the authors say in a study by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Both figures assume a U.S. involvement in the country for 10 years.

And similar to global warming projections, there's no point really in using any historical data to validate the estimates:

The 1991 Persian Gulf War cost America an estimated $61 billion, but allies reimbursed all but about $7 billion. By some accounting methods, the United States may have even made a profit.

And we didn't stay 10 years either, though perhaps we should have.

Direct military spending could range from $50 billion in a short campaign to $140 billion in a prolonged war with Iraq, said the study titled, "War With Iraq: Costs, Consequences and Alternatives." The study was done by the academy's Committee on International Security Studies.

And the rest of the costs are...?

Occupation and peacekeeping costs could be $75 billion in the best case to $500 billion in the worst, the study said. Reconstruction and nation-building costs are estimated at $30 billion to $105 billion, and humanitarian aid at $1 billion to $10 billion. Economic ripples of war with Iraq are likely to spread beyond budgetary costs, with the prospect of raising the cost of imported oil, slowing productivity growth and possibly triggering a recession, the report said. A prolonged disruption of world oil markets could cost the U.S. economy up to $778 billion, the researchers estimated.

Mr. Keynes infamous multiplier must be factored in here somehow, though the equally infamous tax divisor never makes it into the discussion. But there is hope!

On the other hand, Iraq's huge oil resources could satisfy U.S. needs for imported oil at current levels for almost a century and otherwise benefit the economy by $40 billion. A short war could actually benefit the United States in terms of its macroeconomic impact, which includes employment, by $17 billion.

Somebody hurry up and provide this to John Kerry for a talking point! Let's have a short war for the economy! And of course, for The Children™.

The report cautioned that aside from the estimates of direct military costs, all the numbers should be "regarded as informed conjecture."

Or, perhaps just self-serving, left-wing, NION-like bullshit. Just curious, but where does the balance sheet tally up the cost of doing nothing or capitulation?


With Or Without You

Dear Mr. President,

I hereby resign my position as Secretary of the Treasury.

It has been a privilege to serve the Nation during these challenging times. I thank you for that opportunity.

I wish you every success as you provide leadership and inspiration for America and for the world.


Paul H. O'Neill

And to think of all the time and energy Bono spent sucking up to him. Wasted.


VDH Goes Medieval On Their Ass

All he left out was Robert Fisk, Marc Herold, John Pilger and the Not In Our Name petition.

Thursday, December 05, 2002

Woo Hoo!

I won again. Well, I tied, again. This weeks honors are shared with Will Vehrs. Will let up on me this week, but Vince picked up the slack.


My Kind of Town

I wonder if this would have seen the light of day if planes had been crashed into the Sears Tower and the John Hancock Center instead of the WTC?

I also wonder if the red state/blue state divide would have been made even worse had it been Chicago instead of New York that had been attacked. Hmm, maybe it was Chicago that was attacked after all. This makes as much sense as writing that the Pentagon was never really attacked on the same day by the same murderous thugs.

Living in a winter wonderland causes me to wonder about a lot of things.



Why should we give a damn about that shirty little country?

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Fool's Gold

The ubiquitious foolishness of "NO BLOOD FOR OIL" keeps popping up from those in whose name no noble deeds may be done. Of course, I concur that we shouldn't trade blood for oil, but this sentiment does not accurately characterize the situation we are in now. This topic has been covered over and over again throughout the blogosphere, so I needn't follow this path any farther.

But, shouldn't we anti-idiotarians adopt the slogan "NO OIL FOR BLOOD" in response to the unelected tyrants who wish to buy indulgences for their abundant sins from us with light crude? When petrodollars fuel the terrorism that takes the lives of our citizens (and Australia's, etc.), perhaps we need to develop an intensely personal anger for those who wish to trade their oil for our blood, whether directly or by proxy. I look forward to the day soon when the brutal dictators, medieval sheiks and accidental kings of the lucky latitude club are no longer able to purchase their own protection with Danegeld made possible by our dollars and troops -- whose blood has been spilt many times on their behalf -- much less, threaten us directly.

It's time. Big time.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Augusta National

Augusta National has approximately 300 members, all of whom are male. Martha (the utter) Burk and some of their friends in high places (though not high enough to ever get them an invitation to join Augusta National as members) at the NY Times have their panties in a bunch because none of these 300 males is a female. Of course, whether these holier-than-thou feminists and their co-dependent intellectual eunuchs would accept the membership roll at Augusta National if 150 of the members were transgendered is an interesting digression, but ultimately beside the point. So, what's this really all about?

To keep this simple, let's suppose that we are really only concerned about US citizens being members at Augusta National. According to the Bureau of Census, in 2000 there were 143,368,343 females in the USA and 138,053,563 males in the USA. Now, 100% of the females in the US are not allowed to enter the grounds of Augusta National freely as members. But 99.999782% of the males in the US are not allowed to enter the grounds of Augusta National freely as members either. So, what we are really talking about is trying to set some sort of precedent for 0.000217% of the women in this country, actually 0.000108% of the women of the US, since we can further assume that the twisted-knicker-challenged set would settle for 50% of the membership roll. I know it's a stretch, but grant me this supposition for now.

So, Martha and the berks at the NY Times want to sacrifice freedom of association for 100% of the country for the benefit of 0.000108% of our population. That can't be right, can it? Would the NY Times really adopt such an elitist position? Normally, only ideas espoused by Al Gore 2004 are this far out of touch with reality. Have the fabled green jackets or the slick greens battered their barely adequate psychic defenses into a state of perpetual envy that can only be assuaged by their destruction? No, I don't think so.

More than anything else, this seems to be a hustle similar to that so frequently performed by the Reverend Jesse Jackson, though on a different stage. Ultimately, it is extortion, plain and simple. Give them what they want or they will lay siege to your institutions and adopt a scorched earth policy that seems predicated on "if I can't have it, then no one can." Notice that there has been no attempt to negotiate and convince. The bullhorn brigades set out immediately in a chastising mode in full throat. But beyond the obvious desire for publicity, and cash -- or cash-like objects that can be traded for cash in a different environment -- there is the naked brandishing and aggrandizement of power. Not just for this cause, but for the next set of battles they choose to fight. If they can roll the entrenched power represented by Augusta National, then who will have the wherewithal to withstand their assaults on any other front?

If Hootie Johnson and the members want to allow women in, fine. If not, fine by me as well. I have read that the membership was well on it's way to doing this without a lot of fanfare until the extortionists stepped in to muddy the waters and declare themselves the sole judges of what will be right and fair. I sincerely hope that the membership of Augusta National does not buckle under the pressure from this group of power hungry vultures who frankly don't give a damn about Augusta National or its members. But if they do ask a woman to join, may I suggest Erika Harold. Miss Harold represents a special class of achievers in our society. Please Ms. Burk, don't hate her because she's beautiful. Giving Miss Harold a platform to talk about teen sexual abstinence would seem to be a fitting poke in the eye to Martha (the utter) Burk for her troubles. And the fact that she was Miss America is icing on the cake, given the mealy-mouthed reactions of so many to the nightmare in Nigeria surrounding the Miss World competition. And she is a fellow Illinois graduate too!



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