22 May 2000


Listening to:  "Levelland" and "Fourth of July" by Robert Earl Keen.

Thinking:  I should pitch my television into the closet until the start of football season.


Bush v. the Welfare State


Today was a FUN day in the office!  I put out the paper copy today, and then turned to catching up on about two weeks' worth of work-related reading (newspapers, periodicals, etc).  Quite a bit has been happening in the world while I've been buried with writing.  Mr. Fujimori has created an explosive situation in Peru.   Africa is just a damn mess.  Saudi Arabia can't make up it's mind if it should open up or not, so it's teasing energy majors.  The U.S. can't figure out what to do about Iraq and Libya, which want to open the spigots full blast.  John Keegan has done an interesting article on Churchill. 

Tomorrow will be an even better day at the office, because I will be working from home.

Most interesting today was that Paul Gigot has picked up on something I said months ago: George Bush has united the Republican Party.  And let's remember, months ago all of the idiots like Eleanor Clift were talking about how McCain and Bush had hopelessly fractured the party.  Not true at all!  It couldn't be more united, and Bush of late has picked a beautiful issue to run with:  Partial privatization of Social Security.  The good thing is, I think Bush actually BELIEVES in privatization.   The other good thing is, it's an issue that divides the Democrats like no other, whereas Republicans are united on it.  AND, it plays well with young people, the crowd that abandoned the Republican Party completely after Reagan. 

Now, my libertarian and anarcho-capitalist friends will chide me for supporting the Bush plan, I'm sure, because they will contend it doesn't go far enough.  That's true.  It doesn't.  But radical, revolutionary political change has never happened in the country peacefully, largely for reasons of institutional design.  The complete dismantling of the welfare state as the result of one election -- as my Libertarian friends would have it -- is a pipe dream.  The system is designed so that political change short of violent revolution is incremental (not that we might not reach a pint where people get tired of working for others, and actually revolt -- indeed, once upon a time we called that circumstance slavery and it created a minor secession crisis).  Recall Madison in particular on the design of the constitution being precisely to frustrate factions (minority or majority) while allowing a persistent majority to prevail over time.   Bush's plan is not perfect, and it's certainly a minor step towards incremental change -- but a step in the right direction it is.

* * * *

Rayner's baseball Coogs locked up a top 8 seed in the NCAA tournament.  They are seeded fifth overall, which is the highest seed of any team in Texas.  They host the regional playoffs beginning this weekend.  For some reason, Rice was placed in this regional instead of being forced to travel to Baylor, the other regional in Texas.   It's hard to understand why Rice, a bubble team for the tournament was basically given homefield advantage by being placed at Cougar field.  That's okay, though.   Rayner will just have to stomp them into the infield grass.  

Rayner had a great quote in the Chronicle.  The Coogs had to pull a ninth inning rally in the finals of the C-USA tourney.  The story read: 

Jarrod Bitter - who was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player, as he was 9-for-19 with nine RBIs, and a homer for the week- bunted the two runners over to second and third. It was his first bunt of the year.

"When you bunt like that, it really is tough on the opponent. It drowns
them," said Noble of the bunt that stayed fair along the third-base line.
"When you can push runners over like that without hitting the ball hard, it psychologically wears on them."

It psychologically wears on them!  Rayner-ball rocks.  Maybe all the way to Omaha.  Go Coogs!



Copyright (c) 2000, Kevin L. Whited