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March, 2007:

He’s my guy… for now

Fred Thompson for President!While I will continue to enjoy the view from the fence, news that Fred Thompson wants to run for president has made my day.

Without getting into too much detail, I agree with Thompson on many issues, and his demeanor might be just right to charm the 30 percent of undecideds that vote.

Many will roll their eyes and say “Great, another Reagan…” To that, I’d respond with a “Great! Another Reagan.” I’d also point out that unlike Reagan, Thompson is a lawyer by trade and an actor by hobby. He’s very good at his hobby, but as a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, he still has his bonafides.

I hope Thompson sits out for a little while longer and lets a groundswell build. Already, I see a couple of “Draft Fred Thompson” sites. But once the summer ends, look for Thompson to be in this race, in a dead heat with McCain and Giuliani.

The winningest Cubs manager to wear No. 41

Here’s to Jim Essian. Brought in from Iowa to replace Don Zimmer and resurrect a sleepwalking Cubs team, Essian guided the Cubs to a 59-63 record the rest of the way. Sure, they only won 8 games in September, but as of late August, the Cubs had the third-best second-half record in the National League! They weren’t able to catch the eventual NL East champion Pirates (or, for that matter, the Cardinals or Phillies), but the Cubs did finish in fourth place, ahead of a scuffling Mets team by a half game and ahead of a rebuilding Expos club by six games.

During that magical 1991 season, Essian picked up a number of admirers.

Award-winning sportswriter Andrew Bagnato, then with the Chicago Tribune:

Cubs beat writer in 1991.

“Some might think the ‘race’ for third place is a joke, but not Essian!”

Late Chicago Tribune columnist Mike Royko, longtime Cubs fan and no stranger to most liquor-licensed establishments in Chicago:

“[Jim Essian] acts like the the master of ceremonies in a strip joint.”obviously an Essian backer.

Hall of Fame baseball writer Jerome Holtzman, now the official historian for Major League Baseball:

Jerome Holtzman approves!“Essian has been critized for his ‘nice-guy approach.’ He also has come under fire because of the way he stands in the dugout and claps his hands in approval of a good play. What’s wrong with that?”

San Diego Padres pitcher, Greg Maddux, then the ace of the 1991 Chicago Cubs:

“It wasn’t Essian’s fault.”




Then-Chicago Tribune columnist Bernie Lincicome.

Essian is nothing if not enthusiastic!“Solitarily enthusiastic.”

With endorsements like these, it’s curious why Jim Hendry won’t pull the plug on this ridiculous Lou Piniella experiment and install Jim Essian as the next manager of the Chicago Cubs. Essian won 59 games while wearing number 41. Only two other Cub managers have worn No. 41: Tom Trebelhorn (49 wins) and Piniella (no wins). It’s obvious that Essian is not only the best choice to manage the club, but that John McDonough should act quickly to set up a “Jim Essian Day” at the ballpark. No other Cubs manager should be able to wear the number 41 ever again.

Fortunately, noted blogger Bad Kermit has taken the initiative. After helping run Dusty Baker out of town, Kermit realized that running a guy out of town without thinking of a good replacement only spelled doom. Lou Piniella was hired, and Kermit set out to get Piniella canned, too. While that job is not yet done, Bad Kermit has turned his attention to something more constructive: bringing in the right manager for the job. Hire Jim Essian is born!

Not only would going to Hire Jim Essian further a very worthy cause, but you’re far more likely to read enjoyable stuff there than you might find here.

I support this cause wholeheartedly.

Look at this idiot!

Did you see this dumbass?

He wants Lou Piniella to get fired!

And look at this: somehow he conned Lou Piniella himself into writing for this blog!

It gets even better:

People think he’s serious!

Spending other people’s money

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates Sr. believe that the estate tax should not be permanently repealed. Right now, the estate tax is declining gradually every year until 2010, when the federal estate tax will be zero. In 2011, the estate tax will return to pre-repeal levels.

The tax is especially hard on family businesses worth more than $2 million. And there are many of them. The family either buys a lot of life insurance to cover what the value of the business might be when the patriarch and matriarch die, or the family sells the company, often at a discount, often endangering the livelihoods of their employees.

(Of course, Warren Buffett has no financial interest in keeping the estate tax. He’s totally unbiased, altruistic, and patriotic. Ignore his pattern of buying family businesses that face large estate tax liabilities.)

At any rate, Bill Gates Jr. (the Bill Gates of Microsoft fame) was before the Senate today talking about education. Socialist Independent Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermonters electing Sanders, Jim Jeffords, Pat Leahy and Howard Dean should be grounds for them to lose stathood) used this as a chance to trumpet the virtues of the estate tax and praise Gates for having a father so outspoken FOR the tax. So Sanders pressed him: are you for the tax as well?

Gates gave a rambling answer saying that, hey, he’s for the tax, but he would rather speak out on other issues.

Sanders and other non-economists who feel hell bent on controlling the national economy (as centralized economies work well in Havana, Caracas and Pyongyang) love this. “See! Even BILL GATES, filthy rich man, is for the estate tax! So is WARREN EFFING BUFFETT!! You can smell money when you say WARREN BUFFETT!! Therefore, we were right all along!”

(Never mind that the estate tax doesn’t hurt the Gates and Buffetts as much as it hurts the upper-middle class entrepreneur.)

Politicians seem to want to speak for Joe Six Pack, but guys like Bernie Sanders want to let these guys dictate the tax rates for all?

I have a modest proposal for the super rich who advocate higher or more taxes. They should overpay their taxes. Greatly. No one will stop them. I dare Bill Gates Sr. and Bill Gates Jr. and Warren Buffett to claim no deductions, overstate their income, sell most of their personal capital assets and send it to the government. Redistribute the wealth. After they have done spending their money, maybe they can crusade to spend others as well. Finally, they should advertise it.

Yeah, Warren Buffett’s giving $37 billion, or some odd cash to Bill Gates’ foundation. But how much of that dough is going overseas? Shouldn’t it go right into the U.S. Treasury for our enlightened leaders in Congress to figure out how to spend it?