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September 09, 2009

Alternate History 1976 - What if Ford had won Ohio?

How would America have been different if Ford had won Ohio (and the presidency) in 1976? It's actually a pretty interesting question and there are enough folks around who would have been on his staff to get serious answers. I will throw out some leading questions under the fold and make my guesses and let respondents come to their own conclusions (and post them).

Would Ford have appointed Paul Volker as Fed Chair, who raised interest rates and stalled the economy in order to stop inflation? Would he have used the power of the office to have whoever was at the Fed to react differently? Someone has to know.

I have no doubt that the Shah would have fallen anyway, however things might have been different with Dick Cheney as Chief of Staff and Henry Kissinger as Secretary of State. The hostages might still have been taken, but the response would have undoubtedly been different.

Would Carter have won the nomination in 1980 against Ted Kennedy? The party establishment would likely have treated Kennedy a bit differently than if he had been running against a sitting President. I think he would have won the nomination and likely the election as well, given that the likely GOP nominee would have been Bob Dole.

Next comes the tricky question, which may be in bad taste, but I will ask it anyway. Would he have survived John Hinkley's attempt to kill the President? Would he have had tighter security that day, entering through a basement? If not, would he been healthy enough to survive the shot Reagan took? If not, who would he have selected for Vice President (someone has to know) and would that person have won in 1984? If Kennedy had avoided a Hinkley attempt or survived it, would he have served two terms? Would he have gotten health care passed in 1981, or would it have passed in his memory then (instead of now).

Would Reagan have won a first election in 1984? (I seriously doubt it - being elected at 73 is much different than at 69). Could George H.W. Bush have beaten Kennedy or his VP that year? Would he have ever been President without being VP first? (Again, I doubt it.) What about Howard Baker? In 1984, what Republican governor could have beaten Reagan? Would Jack Kemp have been Dole's running mate in 1980 without Kemp-Roth and his service as HUD Secretary? I doubt it. The GOP would have been different. I doubt that under anyone else the Reagan tax cuts would have been passed, or even proposed without Reagan. Some cut would have been likely and tax simplification would likely have happened with lower rates, but they would have been revenue neutral to the pre-1981 cuts. My guess is that in 1984 or 1988, Howard Baker would have been President and held office until 1993, or even 1997.

Was Bill Clinton inevitable? (I think so). If Kennedy had been toppled in 84, would he have run in 88 or would Dukakis have still won the nomination? Would Mondale have ever run without being Carter's VP? What about Al Gore? Would he have been Kennedy's VP and would he have held in 84 if Kennedy did not survive John Hinkley? If Kennedy had passed health care reform, would the Republican counter revolution of 1994 have happened? (I doubt it). If Gore were Kennedy's VP, would he have won in his own right? Again, I don't think so. Baker would have beaten him. If he had been President or Vice President, he would not have been Clinton's VP. I wonder who would have been? We could ask Bill, since he would know.

What about after Clinton? Without Bush I, Bush II would never have been Governor of Texas, Karl Rove would not be the boy genius of the GOP and John McCain would have been President in 2000. 9-11 still would have happened, but Iraq would not have. Would John McCain have done two terms, or would the Presidency have killed him by 2004? We can always ask him who is VP would have been in 2000. If he had survived, would that VP have won in 2008? If not, would the VP have won in 2004? Would McCain have run the White House like he ran the campaign in 2008?

Obama would not have been ready for the Presidency in 2004, but would Kerry have been the go-to-guy who could have beaten him? If Kerry had won, would he have won a second term in 2008? My guess is that if McCain had won a second term, Obama would be President now. If Kerry had beaten McCain in 2004, he might have been reelected and would be President today - although given his performance, or lack thereof, against the swift boaters, he might have bungled it. If he had, would Romney have won the nomination in 2008 and the Presidency? (I can't see that either, since he would not have won the south in the primaries, no matter what). My guess is that Huckabee might have won the nomination if not for John McCain. He might have even beaten Kerry and we would be talking about the Fair Tax now instead of Health Care Reform, although he would likely have gotten, and settled for a VAT with a high floor income tax on the wealthy - although none of the Presidents in my scenario would have cut taxes like either Reagan or Bush II. Could Huck get re-elected? Probably not, since voters react to consumption taxes in a negative way, so Obama would win in 2012, since Hillary would have been badly advised by Terry MacAuliffe and would have still avoided the caucusses. Would he select Biden in 2012 if running for the first time? Probably not. If McCain had been President in 2000, immigration reform, with amnesty, would have happened then and all those people on a path to citizenship would have it by 2016, leading Obama to pick Richardson as VP to gain their favor.

Feel free to comment with your own scenarios. To summarize mine: Ford/Dole wins in 76. Kennedy/Gore in 1980. Baker/Bush in 1984 and 1988 (as a backlash against health care reform and with no tax cut). Clinton/whomever in 1992 and 1996. McCain/whomever in 2000. Kerry/Edwards in 2004. Huckabee/Pawlenty in 2008. Obama/Richardson 2012 (beating Huck) and after that, I won't speculate except to say that 2016 would be Obama v. Pawlenty (which may happen in 2012 unless Romney gets a southern strategy for the primaries).

Posted by MichaelBindner at 08:58 AM | Comments (1)

July 02, 2009

It's just not

I was at one of the local pool halls today for lunch. The manager asked me if it was the "best cheeseburger I'd ever had?" while wearing an expectant smile and nodding.

REALLY?!!! Is that a serious question?

No Ma'am, it wasn't. Not even in the top ten. Less than average even for this place.

I can't imagine that she really believed it could have been the greatest burger experience ever. Even the local Fuddrucker's would have outdone it. Didn't even register on the Barley's in Asheville or Ted's Montana Grill Bison Burger scale.

Sort of like Microsoft claiming that Vista is as good as Mac OS X.

It's just not.


Posted by KevinRollins at 06:40 PM | Comments (0)

June 04, 2009

"Free" Government Money w/ Matthew Lesko

Remember the question mark guy who appeared on those late-night commercials pushing all those "'free" government programs that would allow you to get Uncle Sam to pay your tuition or for some money-making scheme? Well, he's come up with a new "commercial" relating to the federal bailouts:

Posted by PaulGessing at 10:52 PM | Comments (0)

January 19, 2009

Our Farcical Future

A funny, if heavy-handed and partisan, video of our not-too-distant future:

Posted by RobertCapozzi at 07:21 AM | Comments (0)

January 07, 2009

Search Me?

CNN passes on a local story about two San Francisco 49 fans who are suing the NFL over pat down searches prior to entering the ball park. The NFL maintains that no one is forced to go to a Niners game (given there record of late, I would not be so sure), so that any requirement is legal. The season ticket holders disagree, claiming the searches are an unreasonable invasion. Note that the pat downs are conducted privately, which makes you wonder if it is the war on terror or the war on Jack Daniels and do it yourself concessions that is the real enemy.

Interesting dichotomy - a libertarian individual right vs. a libertarian commercial right.

I think the answer depends on who owns the stadium. If the event is being held at a public venue, then the NFL has no business searching citizens, since they are using the space at the sufferance of the community (especially the way they play). The community should put its foot down and direct its elected leaders to stop the searches. If the team paid for the stadium - and without the usual corporate welfare associated with such ventures - it can dictate terms, otherwise it must be made to respect the rights of the masses to smuggle in Evian,

Posted by MichaelBindner at 09:44 PM | Comments (0)

October 23, 2008

Catastrophe Training Academy

Doing a bit of early morning research, I stumbled across this site.

Yes, you too can create catastrophes. Of course, it's not training for making catasrophes, but doing insurance adjustments after them.

One could argue that there is a real catastrophe training academy. It's called Congress!


Posted by RobertCapozzi at 06:21 AM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2008

Jeanne Dixon, Russia v. Georgia, China, the CIA and Global Warming

There is a book by Jeannie Dixon where she predicted a Chinese migration into Russia. Given the current demographic reality, with the bulk of the Chinese population concentrated on their coast, this seems nutty.

Given the possibility of global warming and the current conflict between Russia and Georgia, her premonition deserves a second look.

It is hoped that the CIA is looking into what would happen if sea levels rose and the price of gasoline began to rise again. Global warming may be off the table at EPA, it should not be at CIA. Both energy prices and rising sea levels may drive the majority of the Chinese population away from the coast and the Chinese military west in search of oil, which is conveniently located in Siberia. Global warming and changing weather patterns could water the Gobi, or at least force the kind of technological development which makes drinking water more available in the Russian Steppe.

Due to the value of the resources contested in any Sino-Russian conflict, nuclear weapons won't be used - at least not strategic ones. This makes analysis of Russian v. Chinese conventional capabilities over the coming years essential. As we learned in Korea, China has the advantage of numbers, even after the one-child policy has been in effect for a generation. As those pampered pets need gas for their cars they may go west to get it. Picking on the Georgians, or even pushing back against Georgean militants, is one thing. Fighting a surging China, whether in war or in illegal immigration, is another (as we know with our southern border).

Posted by MichaelBindner at 09:48 PM | Comments (3)

July 07, 2008

Rush's Deal

Rush Limbaugh renegotiated his contract, earning some 84 million dollars a year. Assuming a three hour show per day, five days a week, that amounts to about $1000 per hour (or $1500 for a two hour show). Given the fact that his rabid listeners also rabidly support his sponsors, this is a sweet deal for his sponsors.

The left (myself included) bemoans the lack of a competing program. Air America never caught on. Listening to it, this is not a shock - most of it is pretty bad as satire goes - then again, Rush's contribution to the nation's intellectual life is not what I would call extreme either. Having listened on occassion and examined one or two of his books more closely, the thing that strikes me about Rush is that the lack of conent - to wit - in a book called "The Way Things Ought to Be" never really says anything about how things should be. Rush does not seem to have a policy agenda. Then again, given his credentials, I wouldn't expect him to. He is not a wonk - he is a cultural commentator.

The reason liberals don't have a competing show is that their audience does not really go for that media. Liberals blog (as do conservatives). More importantly, the liberal audiance watches television.

The comparision of Rush to Randi Rhodes is therefore invalid. The real comparison is Rush Limbaugh to John Stewart. Liberals, it seems, watch television. Radio, not so much. When talking Liberal TV, of course, the biggest gun to the biggest gun is not Limbaugh to Stewart - but Limbaugh to Oprah.

Oprah could buy Limbaugh. LImbaugh is a court jester. Oprah is queen - and unlike Rush - her candidate in the primaries won - and she can claim some of the credit in bringing her audience to him.

Posted by MichaelBindner at 08:14 AM | Comments (6)

May 27, 2008

Environmentally Friendly Bombs

Finally, we are greening up our military industrial complex! Live Science reports:

TNT, RDX and other explosives commonly used in military and industrial applications often generate toxic gases upon detonation that pollute the environment. Moreover, the explosives themselves are toxic and can find their way into the environment due to incomplete detonation and as unexploded ordnance. They are also extremely dangerous to handle, as they are highly sensitive to physical shock, such as hard impacts and electric sparks.

If we reduce the costs of war, do we engage in more of it? Of course the sorts of governments that try to avoid externalities (or rather "collateral damage") are probably those that would also try to avoid war generally.

Now that we've won a victory for Mother Earth, maybe we could have "justice offsets" that governments could purchase when they kill innocent people.


Posted by KevinRollins at 12:32 PM | Comments (0)

April 28, 2008

Love, A is A style

If you believe that Rachmoninoff and Vermeer were "objectively" the greatest composer and painter ever, and you only wish to date like minded people, there is hope. See here.


Posted by RobertCapozzi at 06:26 AM | Comments (0)

March 25, 2008

Firefly is returning

Firefly, the best (and most libertarian) science-fiction show since The Prisoner is being resurrected as a special, three issue comic book, penned by none other than Joss Whedon, the mastermind behind the Firefly TV series and the show's cinematic follow-up Serenity.

Posted by NormSingleton at 08:29 PM | Comments (0)

Miss Bimbo isn't Shakespeare

Moral outrage of the week: Teenyboppers are playing virtual materialistic, body-obsessed bimbos at

The site advertises a variety of fulfilling activities:

* Find your own cool place to live.
* Find a fun job to pay for your needs and all the clothes a Bimbo could possibly want.
* Shop for the latest fashions and become the trendsetting bimbo in town !
* Become a socialite and skyrocket to the top of fame and popularity.
* Date that famous hottie you've had your eye on and show the Bimbo world the social starlet you are !
* Even resort to meds or plastic surgery. Stop at nothing to become the reigning bimbo !
* Tackle your 104 tasks as quick as possible to become the rising star bimbo !!

Colleen McEdwards of CNN says, "it's vulgar." Apparently, several parents groups are also in a tizzy.

Meanwhile, according to Wired magazine's latest issue, Arden, an online Shakespearean world, has been a total dud. They are releasing a new version with fewer literary references and more killing.


Posted by KevinRollins at 01:58 PM | Comments (1)

January 28, 2008

Hillary the Robot (at SOTU)

She's clapping, but she isn't smiling. Why is she clapping?


Posted by KevinRollins at 09:27 PM | Comments (0)

October 29, 2007

For the Children

Please start smoking, if only for the children...

Posted by PaulGessing at 12:56 AM | Comments (0)

September 03, 2007

Good enough for government work

From the department of things that are not at all surprising, comes news of a man whose unusually tiny brain did not prevent him from having a successful career in the French bureaucracy.

Posted by NormSingleton at 08:02 PM | Comments (0)

August 28, 2007

I Know An Old Lady...

For some reason, lately I've had that children's song "I know an old lady who swallowed a fly" in my head. I do pest control, and I somehow got it in my head when I was at a particular house approximately four months ago, and have gotten it back every single time I've serviced that house. So I've been mulling the lyrics over on a regular basis. The lady, for some inexplicable reason, swallowed a fly, and rather than doing the sensible thing by shrugging her shoulders and saying "Heh, it's just extra protein" and allowing the fly to take its natural course, she goes on to swallow successively larger animals, each in an attempt to deal with the previous animal, until she finally kills herself by swallowing something truly monstrous.

I had the sudden realization that this song could be considered analogously descriptive of how our society often attempts to solve problems. The problem is caused, in the first place, by society "swallowing" something that isn't good for it, adopting some error or injustice that begins to cause problems. However, rather than simply dealing with the injustice (because the injustice is perpetrated by the very people charged with dealing with injustice), a larger error is adopted in an attempt to correct the smaller error. This, of course, causes even larger problems, and it's almost as if people say to themselves "well, two wrongs may have failed to make a right, but hey, third time's a charm, right?"

Errors and problems compound, as at each stage, rather than dealing with the root cause of the problems, an even larger error is adopted to solve the problem. The cycle has been going on for so long we don't even remember how it started; we don' t know "why she swallowed the fly." At this rate, however, we'll swallow our horse, and then we'll be dead, of course!

It's kind of what it means to me to be a Free Liberal. So many people either close their eyes to social problems, or seeing them, agitate for more and more government control. I look and I ask, where could government control be contributing to the problem? How can this social problem be solved with freedom? I don't, upon seeing the gastrointestinal problems caused by the swallowing of a live bird, seek out a cat to send after it. Rather, I wonder if the bird might be removed.

Posted by DarylSawyer at 01:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 15, 2007

Brave New World Update

Nominee for the silliest legislation of the year award: a New Jersey bill restricting the sale or gift of toy guns to anyone under the age of 18. This almost makes the effort to ban "provocative cheerleading" seem reasonable.

Posted by NormSingleton at 04:37 PM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2007

What's in a name?

Monica Goodling's appearance before the House Judiciary Committee last week inspired the blog Political Arithmetic to dig out the figures showing a dramatic drop in the popularity of the name Monica in the late nineties when, as you might recall, another Monica was in the DC spotlight. I wonder if there was a corresponding drop in parents naming their children "Richard" after Watergate, and if the phenomenon extends beyond politics. For example, will recent events cause a drop in the number of girls named Lindsey, Brittney, or Paris?

Posted by NormSingleton at 08:44 PM | Comments (0)

February 05, 2007

Anti-Terror Extortion?

The Mooninite terror saga continues. Turner Broadcasting and the ad company, the aptly named Interference, Inc. which devised the light-box "terror" plot, are paying $2 million to state of Massachussetts to make amends. On its face, this is another example of the government blaming others for the very chaos it brought about. However, Turner may be doing quite well even so.

If we were to add up all the earned media that the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie has received from this "fiasco" it might well sum to greater than $2 million dollars. Moreover, the nature of the coverage will certainly appeal to the kind of sick minds who appreciate the Aqua Teen Hunger Force, such as myself. It was surreal to see a clip of the Mooninites on the very stodgy evening news, explaining their modus operandi:

"We do whatever we want to whomever we want."

A very un-free liberal statement. But, very funny, nonetheless.

-- KDR

Posted by KevinRollins at 12:40 PM | Comments (0)

February 01, 2007

Greatest Prank Ever

What seemed to be a possible national emergency yesterday was apparently just a mean trick played by the Mooninites, who do not share our earthly morality. I refer to the suspicious packages found in Boston.

What is ludicrous is that the “emergency” continued after it must have been obvious to those who “deactivated” the first one that it was just a hoax. However, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley told us of the government’s expert appraisal of the dire situation. From

"It had a very sinister appearance," Coakley told reporters. "It had a battery behind it, and wires."

A photo caption on Yahoo! described the sinister object:

“The device consists of light emitting diodes on a circuit board forming the shape of a gesturing character which is part of a promotion for the TV show 'Aqua Teen Hunger Force,' a surreal series about a talking milkshake, a box of fries and a meatball…”

I look forward to hearing the details of what the Boston P.D. knew and when they knew it, especially since they are looking to pass the cost of the anti-terror actions to the Adult Swim network and its agents.

-- KDR

Posted by KevinRollins at 01:40 AM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2006

The Purity of Being Broke?

Paul Jacob makes a good point in his essay on "idea laundering." Why should he have to apologize because the people who like what he says also are the ones who support him? Those who accuse think tanks and writers of "selling out" because they receive money from a person or organization which ostensibly benefits from the "ideas" of those think tanks or writers are getting the relationship backwards as well as having a fantastical view of how the public policy sector operates.

Wrong Premise 1: Big donors give money to people whom they despise in hopes of "corrupting" the recipient of their largesse.

Why spend money on someone who hates you when you could instead give it someone who is already on your side? For example, how much money would you have to give a Christian to endorse atheism? An environmentalist to embrace oil spills? A libertarian to advocate communism? This seems unlikely and unproductive.

ASIDE: I suppose if you believe that people are perfectly malleable and are willing to give up their deepest values for a little extra spending money, then this is possible, but it seems that people actually have more worth than that! Who would like to live in a society peopled by such unprincipled automatons? Why bother saving it if that is the case?

In contrast, it should not surprise us that those who like the ideas of a writer are willing to support that person financially. If companies are corrupt for supporting pro-capitalist thinkers who defend the company's right to make a profit, then are not teachers' unions corrupt for asking the government to raise their pay? Shouldn't environmentalists stop sending their money to environmental groups for fear that the groups will be "corrupted" by their pro-environment views?

Rather than hating this form of "corruption" is it possible that these critics are simply in fantasy land when it comes to the economics of non-profits?

Wrong Premise 2: Writers and think tanks should somehow operate on no funds at all.

Despite the miraculous continued existence of this publication despite a lack of attention from its editor (me), a persistent lack of funds, and a slow-moving 501(c3) approval process, it should not be assumed that a non-profit can run on bread and water alone. In the case of The Free Liberal, it also requires a sort of bread/water hybrid known as "beer." In seriousness, we survive on the generosity of our staff to donate their time and energy to make it happen, but we could do more if we had some corrupt funding!

To have people who are ready and willing to work full-time on any cause, they need to be independently wealthy, or they must get funding from somewhere. The funding can come in small amounts (from a grassroots network) or in large batches from corporations and wealthy individuals. Other organizations get grants from the government or may be employees of the state (educators, for instance). How many sucessful organizations can you name which don't get funding from somewhere?

If being paid by others who support your work, then practically everyone in the economy is corrupt.

Even the butcher, baker, and candlestick makers are corrupt because they get money from people who want to buy meat, bread, and wax lighting devices!

There is no purity in being broke. There is nothing wrong with being supported by people who appreciate you. Our society depends on the principle that those who represent your values should earn your support.

So, if you like this, please send a donation to The Center for Liberty and Community, PO BOX 325, Woodbridge, VA 22194.

-- Kevin D. Rollins

Posted by KevinRollins at 11:02 AM | Comments (1)

June 06, 2006

Ayn Rand Greeting Cards

I first saw Garry Myers' Ayn Rand Greeting Cards five years ago. Finally, they have been published and Carl Milsted and his wife Suelinda have added some graphics to bring them to life. Check them out at: the Libertarian Reform Caucus website.

-- Kevin D. Rollins

Posted by KevinRollins at 01:19 AM | Comments (0)

May 30, 2006

Achewood on Hating America and Anarchy

Thanks to John Stephens for pointing out these two very silly Achewood comics on Hating America and Anarchy.

-- Kevin D. Rollins

Posted by KevinRollins at 10:33 PM | Comments (0)

Free-for-all (frfr-ôl) -- n. A disorderly fight, argument, or competition in which everyone present participates.