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    A superior crystal ball?

    Posted by Andy B on 28th April 2004 (All posts by )

    I’ll be damned if Lex’s Hillary scenario is not looking more likely every day.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments »

    Bitterly Ironic

    Posted by Andy B on 23rd April 2004 (All posts by )

    On the occasional days that I forgo the train and drive into downtown Chicago, I keep my radio dial on a constant, shifting rotation between four stations, news, news/talk, Stern, and NPR. People who think they know me often are surprised that I include NPR, but I like the diversity, and I really try to stay intellectually honest by listening to varied points of view.

    Yesterday, I was listening when they played a piece by one of their commentators, Ben Walker. I listened as he told of B.D., the character from the Doonesbury comic strip, who has recently joined the armed forces and went to Iraq. Mr. Walker went on to say how B.D. was the only “person” that he personally knew in Iraq, and how B.D. had brought the war home for him, making him realize the sacrifices being made by brave, young and old men and women. I felt a little odd as he went on about B.D losing a leg in combat. The whole incident seemed to be greatly affecting Mr. Walker on an emotional level. I was not sure how to react to this, it seemed so superficial, being a cartoon, yet if it was the only way for this man to interpret reality, through the cartoon character, I guess it’s okay, right? As he came to the end of his piece, he said that, upon waking up from his ordeal, B.D. was very angry, and with a definitive tone in his voice, a tone that seemed to dismiss the whole idea of the conflict, Walker said “and I am angry too”. As I thought about what I had heard, I got a little angry as well. I was angry at the thought of a parent who had lost an actual, living, son or daughter, or a wife who had lost her husband, hearing this plaintive cry over a cartoon character. I planned to post on it last night, but it slipped my mind.

    When I heard the news about Pat Tillman being killed today, it re-entered my mind. I am pissed off. I am sick of people like Walker, living their life through a cartoon character while myself and the rest of the country have blood and friends putting themselves on the firing line for us. I know the destructive, corrosive power of hate, but I hate Michael Moore and his ilk, people so selfish and stupid that they will gladly forgo confronting a festering global problem, increasing the odds that my kids will be in some future war in the godforsaken Middle East. And I am sick of losing the best and the brightest, the ones with the most guts and courage, lost in the defense of freedom for a miserable bunch who don’t deserve it. Ben Walker, I am angry too, but for a completely different reason.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 37 Comments »

    If we could only get back into good graces with the French…

    Posted by Andy B on 19th March 2004 (All posts by )

    That great beacon of freedom continues to shine.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

    Our future Euro-Prez?

    Posted by Andy B on 11th March 2004 (All posts by )

    I’m sure you’ve all heard this quote from Kerry, but Tony Blankley has a good piece on it here.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

    Random Musings and Disingenuous Intellectualism

    Posted by Andy B on 3rd March 2004 (All posts by )

    The Journal’s editorial page today has several good letters responding to Karinna Gore Schiff’s diatribe on the candidacy of Ralph Nader. Unfortunately, I can’t link to them, you’ll have to pick up a paper copy, but it’s worth the buck.
    Jesse Jackson once again has made himself prosecutor, judge, and jury. In less than one week, he has apparently been able to ascertain all the facts concerning Haiti and Aristide’s flight, and the Chicago Sun Times has deemed to print them.
    Finally, my friend Andy continues his running summary of the state of the world (as seen through his eyes).

    Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

    Human Ingenuity

    Posted by Andy B on 15th January 2004 (All posts by )

    Today’s Wall Street Journal has an interesting article addressing a problem I have worried over since September 2001; the vulnerability of cargo containers and the intermodal transit system to large scale catastrophic terrorism. Companies such as NaviTag and Savi have been working on “smart” cargo containers, steel boxes equipped with satellite tracking, two-way communication capabilities, and/or sensors to monitor temperature, shock, and radioactivity.

    Within the article, someone who finds fault with the new technology is an official of Maersk, the biggest container company in the world, who says the technology “could send out false alerts, leading to costly shutdowns of terminals”. I wonder what would be more costly, several one-day terminal shutdowns, or the cleanup from a low-tech radioactive dirty bomb shoved into an unsecured container somewhere along the way?

    Posted in Uncategorized | 19 Comments »


    Posted by Andy B on 4th January 2004 (All posts by )

    I watched the preliminary reports of the Mars Rover landing with my 6 month-old and his bottle. My first thought was, considering achievements such as this, where would we be as a species if we did not feel it necessary to devote so many assets to our own intra-species self defense. On the brighter side, I wonder what awesome accomplishments my kids will see unfold while giving their children midnight feedings.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 14 Comments »

    See if Peter Jennings reports this

    Posted by Andy B on 30th December 2003 (All posts by )

    Slowly, reality seems to be sinking in.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »


    Posted by Andy B on 22nd December 2003 (All posts by )

    I received this today, it is a letter authored by a friend of our family. I have deleted names to respect their privacy:

    Dear ******,

    Nope. This is not a Christmas letter. Rather this is the most heartfelt and sincere thank you note I have ever written. This note is to express the love and gratitude ****** and I have for all of you who prayed for us and/or wrote letters or sent packages to my soldiers and I while deployed to Iraq. It is to thank you for supporting ******, my parents, and ****** on the home front. It is to thank you for supporting American troops in your day-to-day lives even if you opposed the war.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

    This is the Loyal Opposition?

    Posted by Andy B on 16th December 2003 (All posts by )

    Apparently, DNC stands for “Do Not Comment”. I visited the Democratic National Committee website, and proceeded to check out their blog page, Kicking Ass . I read a short blurb regarding the Halliburton story, and then I registered on the blog and posted a comment to the effect that Halliburton could use Cheney back at the helm. My posted comment elicited this somewhat unrelated response:

    When Cheney went to work at Halliburton, it is reported they had about 4 off shore accounts. When he left, they had 44. Two, with the joblessness, what are our troops going to do for jobs when they return home. Thirdly, last night we heard the doctors in Iraq are furious because after all these months the hospitals there still don’t have antibiotics.
    Posted by Don and verna withrow :: 12/16/03 04:37 PM

    I posted a second response comment, very lucid, no ranting or profanity. Immediately following my second comment, a new poster who identified himself as a Democrat opined that if the Dems could merely offer up a candidate with a credible National Security agenda, he would happily vote for him/her. As of 8 o’clock this evening, both of my comments have been deleted from the blog and my login has been disabled. They even pulled the comment from the registered Democrat in search of a viable candidate. This is their idea of tolerance, inclusion, The Party of the People. They should be selling some nice brownshirts at the DNC online giftshop.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 103 Comments »

    Too dumb not to be true

    Posted by Andy B on 15th December 2003 (All posts by )

    Time for a little levity. I came across this while perusing today, it’s the DNC’s official Democratic blog page and they call it…….Kicking Ass. I almost fell on the floor in tears, they put a little bucking donkey in the upper left-hand corner, I guess that’s the ass. That title has to be a McAuliffe idea.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

    A response

    Posted by Andy B on 15th December 2003 (All posts by )

    Upon hearing the Hussein story, I started an exchange with a good friend. He sent a message back saying that the capture of Saddam amounted to not much more than “an expensive Christmas present from” George W. to George H.W., and then he continued to ask: Why are we really in Iraq? If it is to stop genocide, why have we ignored the same in so many other instances in history? What is the September 11th connection? This is the reply I offered:

    Because I was not a good enough person to stand up for a just cause yesterday, or last week, or twenty years ago, does this absolve me of responsibility to my fellow man today? The argument that goes “the same or worse occurred at such and such a time, and we stood by and did nothing; why should we take action now?” is morally bankrupt, and I am astounded that it has been used by so many in this instance. It is a complete abandonment of the concept of redemption, and an admission that self-improvement, whether it is for an individual, for a family, or for a nation, is not an option. Hopefully I never reach that point in my life, because if I do, what would be the point of slogging through more days? I had might as well just cash in the chips right now. I harbor no illusions about our world ever being transformed into a state of Nirvana. That is a condition that is not of this world, although when I was a child I believed that it was possible. However, having said this does not change my belief in striving to be the best person that I can be, or my conviction that our country, having been so uniquely blessed with both physical and human capital, bears a sobering responsibility to make attempts at righting wrongs and to defend those who cannot defend themselves.

    I truly felt no smug satisfaction at hearing today’s news. What I did feel was a serene happiness for our soldiers, for those in the world that walked out on a tenuous limb with us in this broader action, and for the entire country of Iraq which may begin to shake off the specter of Hussein.
    Hussein, bin Laden, Pol Pot, Taylor, Amin, Stalin, Hitler, Nidal, and on…they are figureheads. We may catch bin Laden, we may never catch him, he might be dead, or he may die before we can ever get to him. I believe that there is a sublime brilliance in this strategy that started in Afghanistan and then sharply refocused on Iraq. Not only have we made concrete progress in removing brutal, oppressive regimes in two countries, but also we have drawn a concentration of various groups of violent terrorists into a fairly definable geographical area, to be systematically hunted down and destroyed. Ask yourself, Is it just a coincidence that there has not been a single terrorist attack carried out on U.S. soil since September 11th? We were so vulnerable on that day, and yet no group or individual has succeeded in so much as a car bomb attack since then, in the very country where our cultural norms make such an attack possible to carry out. That may very well change, but the chain of events set in motion by our seizing control of our own destiny has surely held further domestic attacks in abeyance. Like flies to garbage, Iraq has sucked resources and people from terror organizations around the world. And while I would willingly go to serve my country if needed, I would rather be in harm’s way on the streets of a foreign country than on LaSalle and Jackson.

    One of the most powerful messages that today’s events carry to the “Great and Fearless Leaders” of despotic regimes is: This could be you. You can bet that the message is being received and pondered by Jong, Khameini, Quaddafi, Arafat, and even Mubarak, the House of Saud, and Musharaff: These hypocritical dirtbags have sold “their people” a royal bill of goods for years. Did we as a nation have dealings with them in the past? Yes, of course we did. Does that fact preclude us from pursuing a more just view of the world which we by default, mind you, are left to lead? I say no. I do not want my three children to be dealing with the same intractable problems we have at present, nor do I want to lose them to some future military conflagration. I think that following our country’s current course of action radically reduces the likelihood of either scenario.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 15 Comments »

    Free Traders

    Posted by Andy B on 24th November 2003 (All posts by )

    A friend in the comodities biz handed me this article by John Mauldin. He does a nice job of pointing out divergence in Bush administration words and policy:

    “President Bush gave one of his most eloquent speeches in London this week. He talked about our heritage of John Locke and Adam Smith. ‘We believe in open societies ordered by moral conviction.’ They ‘turn their hearts and labor to building better lives….. By extending the reach of free trade, we foster prosperity and the habits of liberty.'”

    Followed by:

    “And then, almost on the same day, we had the sorry spectacle of the administration slapping tariffs on Chinese made bras. We go from “fostering prosperity and the habits of liberty” to nit-picking over who is making our ladies support garments.”

    Mauldin couches his observations within a hypothetical letter to his friend Karl Rove.

    I must say that when this “underwear” story broke, I initially thought it would either quickly be swept away by more weighty, newsworthy tidbits (think M. Jackson), or that it was part of a more cunning master plan to throw a monkey wrench into the looming possibility of runaway global price inflation. And I was bemused for a couple of days listening to an officemate launch into his screaming bra & panties tirade with clients; “I can’t believe Bush is going to trash the whole Farm Bill over white cotton panties!!!!”

    But now this tariff business has gotten me a bit more concerned. My worry is not about a Bush second term, I think that is in the cards despite Lex’s belief in a Hillary in ’04 ticket. I am concerned that more protectionist talk could accomplish what the September 11 attacks failed to do, and that is clip the global recovery and put us all into a depression.

    Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Free Traders

    Can Illinois keep it’s head out of it’s collective backside?

    Posted by Andy B on 20th November 2003 (All posts by )

    A link to a George Will piece on Jack Ryan. Not the one of Tom Clancy Novels, but a character of large proportions and Homeric deeds who happens to be running for the Illinois Senate. It will be interesting to see if Illinois voters can cut through the money and noise of Democratic Machine Politics, to elect this man. We’ve managed it once recently with Peter Fitzgerald, a Senator who ran on a set of beliefs and actually stuck with them throughout his term, for better or for worse. I did not consistently agree with Fitz, but I credit him with staying true to his words. If Ryan is defeated, I may finally be forced by my own constitution to seek another state of primary residence.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

    Twisted Tortured Logic

    Posted by Andy B on 10th October 2003 (All posts by )

    I laughed out loud on the train when I read this quote:

    “If you want to live like a Republican, you’ve got to vote for the Democrats…”
    -Dick Gephardt

    Which tiny mind in his campaign came up with that one? Or was it the candidate himself? Who do you vote for if you want to live like a Democrat?

    Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

    Calling All Farmers

    Posted by Andy B on 9th September 2003 (All posts by )

    Thanks to Ralf for calling my attention to this running commentary. The topic hits close to home, and I have forwarded on to my colleagues in the agricultural and trading industries. I hold out the possibility that Howard is a former Carter Administration trade official, but I doubt it.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »


    Posted by Andy B on 22nd August 2003 (All posts by )

    Wanted: New or lightly used high-capacity, high-voltage, scalable national electrical transmission system. Will pay in U.S. government agency bonds. Call 800-BROWNOUT, ask for Spencer.

    August 14, 2003

    August 14, 2003

    Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

    Markets, Politics, etc…

    Posted by Andy B on 22nd July 2003 (All posts by )

    A link to my friend’s daily market-centric blog (also named Andy).

    Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Markets, Politics, etc…

    Vite! Cachez Le Saucisson!

    Posted by Andy B on 18th July 2003 (All posts by )

    Funny story here

    Posted in Uncategorized | 17 Comments »

    Interesting Article

    Posted by Andy B on 10th July 2003 (All posts by )

    Interesting article here with national security and freedom of speech implications. I agree with the statement “Why in the world have we been so stupid as a country to have all this information in the public domain?”, but I fail to see the net benefit from squelching this guy’s work, as it does not seem to be prohibitively difficult to reproduce. Even if it took a year of dedicated effort by a group with nefarious intentions, would these assets be adequately protected by then?

    Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Interesting Article

    Economic Lynchpins

    Posted by Andy B on 23rd June 2003 (All posts by )

    Brian Wesbury hit the nail on the head with his Op-Ed piece in the Wall Street Journal today (Monday June 23). I would provide a link, however the filthy capitalist pigs at the Journal require you to be a subscriber to view. (When the revolution comes, the Journal’s offices will certainly be converted to headquarters for the New Propaganda Daily). The main theme of his editorial is that the problem with this economy lies not in prevailing interest rates, and will not be solved through more cutting of said rates, rather the lack of velocity of money flow is what holds us back. Citing Irving Fisher’s brilliantly simple formula of (M)Money X (V)Velocity = (P)Price X (Q)Quantity , we can see that the Fed gets the most bang for its buck by exerting influence on V. I will let Mr. Wesbury’s piece speak for itself on how to do just that.
    For an alternative viewpoint, visit my friend Andrew Strasmann’s site, which is updated daily with econ-o-pinion as well as hockey commentary.

    Update: Here is the link to Brian Wesbury’s article. Since they obviously allow GKST to republish, I take back what I said about The Journal.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

    Hillary redux

    Posted by Andy B on 11th June 2003 (All posts by )

    Does anyone else see the similarity between H.R.C. and Nixon? Both tainted by scandal, they are also the most polarizing figures from each of their respective parties. The irony is particularly sweet, since H.R.C. revels in her hatred for R.M.N. I think she has a slightly better chance of being elected President than Nixon would have if he were alive today, (and there were no term limits), but not enough of a chance to actually get elected. The intensity of hatred, contempt, and mistrust felt for these two individuals by the body politic is equal at least, and may be skewed higher towards Hillary, with the passage of time having mitigated somewhat the enmity directed at Nixon. Hillary, however, is the true legacy of the Clinton Presidency. Bill Clinton was nothing more than a patsy who achieved his highest goal in life when he ejaculated on a kneeling intern in the hallway of the Oval Office, and a patsy does not merit lasting hatred. All of the baggage of the House of Clinton now falls directly on her head. FWIW, here is my admittedly non-scientific prediction:

    Probability of a 2004 Hillary run—1% She will let fellow Dems cut each other up and will wait for a non-incumbent.
    2008 Hillary run—95%
    2008 Hillary win—5% Have to allow for the Republicans screwing up.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments »

    Hardball freak-out

    Posted by Andy B on 5th June 2003 (All posts by )

    Watched “Hardball” with Chris Matthews other night when he had Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Steven Hayes, and Celia Sandys, granddaughter of Sir Winston Churchill as guests. I was laughing out loud watching Vanden Huevel’s head almost pop off, raving about how George Bush has committed high crimes by lying to the country and dragging the U. S. into war. I encourage you to read the show transcript
    The exchange I refer to is in the lower third of the page. See the fun you miss when you do not watch TV Lex?

    Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Hardball freak-out

    I cannot add anything . . .

    Posted by Andy B on 6th May 2003 (All posts by )

    I cannot add anything to this.

    Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on I cannot add anything . . .

    I truly hope . . .

    Posted by Andy B on 22nd April 2003 (All posts by )

    I truly hope that our Treasury Department is fully involved, hard at work on the lookout for counterfeit U.S. currency in Iraq. Seems as if there is an awful lot of cash just laying around that country, and what better way to make a full scale assault on the world’s most envied power, than to surreptitiously devalue their currency? I guess we should be thankful that those most menacing threats to our way of life are apparently not creative enough to successfully carry out such an attack. Think of this, instead of spending 100 billion to acquire nuclear, chemical, biological, or conventional weapons, spending 50 million to set up a sophisticated counterfeiting operation, complete with foreign banking alliances, to hollow out the dollar. It is beautiful in its relative simplicity, and would have been far easier to do pre- September 11th.

    Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on I truly hope . . .