Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Hannah and her Sisters"

Usually I like my movies to have a story, to have a plot line, to be *about* something, but "Hannah and her Sisters" is an exception to this general rule. I first saw this film in the theater after if came out 23 years ago. I liked it then, and I like it even more after watching it a second time the other day.

This is Woody Allen at his best. It depicts the ebb and flow of life in an extended family over a period of time between two Thanksgivings. The acclaim Woody has received for writing and directing women so well is exemplified in a great scene in which the three sisters have lunch at a restaurant and talk about their lives.

But the scene I want to highlight is when the two unmarried sisters meet an architect at their first catering job, and he offers to take them home. The dialogue in the car while the three of them are trying to figure out who should be dropped off first is priceless. But then later, one sister tells the other she has been asked out by the architect, and would it bother her sister if she accepted. The other sister says "I'm seeing him." This one three-word sentence, which is not followed up on (because it says it all), illustrates so well how many women tend to live in their imaginations rather than in the real world. The sister had had one date with the architect, and translates that to "I'm seeing him"!

This is reminiscent of the line "He's just not that into you", which became a bestselling book, and now a movie (which I will see in a few days via Netflix). the point being made by this line (and by the authors of the book, who I've seen interviewed), is that if a man really wants to call a woman, he will make time to do this. The idea that "I've been busy" is a legitimate reason for not calling is just plain horseshit. Rather than having a fear of commitment, or being too busy, maybe the man "just isn't that into you". Anyway, Woody captures this sentiment so well with one three-word line.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

On Eliminating the Middleman

One of the blogs I follow is a review a day by Powell's Books, the bookstore in Portland which claims (accurately, I believe) to be the largest independent bookstore in the world. The review for today is of a book about Wal-Mart. It is really more of a summary than a review, which makes it an excellent source for anyone trying to understand what is behind Wal-Mart's success.

Many concepts and practices are already well-known to most of us, but the thing I picked up on was the idea of "eliminating the middleman", as the author puts it. Wal-Mart attempts to do this whenever possible, by buying directly from the manufacturer, usually at a negotiated discount price based on the large quantities being purchased.

There is an application of this concept within the company also. Wal-Mart deliberately minimizes its storage space, so as to force its managers to put items being delivered directly onto the floor of the store. There just isn't room to store much stuff. They know what sells and what doesn't, and they avoid stocking things that are going to sit around for years at a time. (This allows Wal-Mart to avoid having to have "clearance sales".)

Lately I have been thinking of other examples of "eliminating the middleman". Saturday I shopped at two Farmers Markets, one in Bluffton and the other a *huge* one in Ann Arbor. Both were great examples of buying directly from the source with no intervening middleman. There is something inherently satisfying in this type of purchasing.

I am aware of a recent trend in the car industry of arranging to purchase directly from the manufacturers in Detroit, thereby avoiding the unwholesome process of dealing with the car dealers. It occurs to me that perhaps one good thing to come of the recent auto industry crisis is a vast reduction in the number of car dealers in this country. Do we really need these huge numbers of car dealers, and are they good for this society? I think not. Surely there is a better system for getting cars to people who need them.

I think the health care issue currently raging is relevant here also. What the single payer system would do is in a sense eliminate the "middleman", the middleman here being the insurance companies with their endless stream of red tape and regulations which they use to deny coverage whenever possible. (My brother says he has to fight with his insurance company whenever his family has a medical bill to be paid. One study I saw found that in California 21% of all claims are denied.)

With a single payer system, payment would become more automatic, saving lots of "middleman" type of hassle and expense, both for the doctors and for the consumers. The advantages of such automatic payment are tremendous. Think of the Mississippi case in which a public interest lawyer sued a hospital on the basis that his client was being charged *four times* as much for a service as someone with insurance would have been charged for the same service, hence his client was being denied equal protection of the laws. This illustrates well the economics of the health care situation. In billing individuals, payment is problematic; perhaps such bills only get paid one-fourth of the time, justifying the quadruple charges being made. When payment is assured, you can charge much less.

Another example is a private practice lawyer representing indigent defendants. In Kansas the State paid $50.00 an hour, a fraction of what a good defense attorney would charge a client. Yet the system worked, because $50.00 an hour assured is about the same as $150.00 an hour which may or may not be paid. In 1984 the State took things a step further and established Public Defender offices in the largest Counties. The savings were again on the scale as just mentioned. This is demonstrated by the figure used when a defendant is given probation, with a condition being he has to repay the State for his Court-appointed lawyer. The figure used in the run-of-the-mill case was about $100.00. This is a fraction of the $250-750 range formerly paid under the $50.00 an hour system. So, one can see how doing things in volume can mean tremendous savings all around.

I was able to do unemployment compensation hearings for $100.00 each, by doing them in volume with a client involved to make payment and filter and prepare the cases before I got them. Doing them on an individual basis, I had to charge $250-300 for the same thing, just because that was the time and effort involved, compared to the volume system.

With a single payer health care system, the economies for the doctors and hospitals would be tremendous. I don't think people realize how much more efficient and cost-effective this type of system would be.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The State of Baseball Today

As the 2009 season rolls to a close, the lack of excitement in this year's pennant races is noteworthy. There are no real races in any of the six divisions, nor even in the two wild card races. This is the first time since the wild card was introduced in the mid-90's that September baseball was so dreary and uninspiring.

Add to this the fact that the big-market (hence big-money) teams seem to be dominating more than in recent years. The only exceptions are the spectacular failure this year of the Mets, and the not-quite-as-spectacular failure of the Cubs.

A dreary example of the state of baseball today is yesterday's game between the Reds and the Pirates, which drew only 3,00 fans to Pittsburgh's new park. The small-market Pirates are the prime exhibit for the proposition that baseball has more work to do to restore a competetive balance. The Pirates have extended their streak of losing seasons to 17, the longest such current streak among any teams in the four major North American pro leagues. This despite the fact that their brand-new ballpark is considered one of the best, if not the best, park in the country, a sentiment shared by my friend John Pilarowski who has visited almost all of the major league parks.

Tom Usher of The Lima News opines in today's paper that baseball needs the type of revenue-sharing that football has. Football has a huge pile of revenue each year from all of its TV contracts with the networks, and shares this equally among all the teams. Baseball, by contrast, shares the national TV revenues, but unfortunately teams keep their local revenue, which for big-market teams like the Yankees is huge. One wonders if all of those yahoos who keep whining about creeping socialism in our country are criticizing football, which is purely socialistic in the way it is structured financially.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Even More Farkle Odds

A situation came up this morning which left me unsure what to do. I had scored all six dice and was rolling again on the same turn. I rolled a one, so I have a decision of rolling the remaining five dice or quitting. I think I was at 700 or so.

Naturally one has to figure the odds for future situations like this. Rolling four dice the odds of rolling no 1's or 5's is 256 out of 1296. But there are about 52 other ways to score, this being three of a kind. This makes the odds of farkling 204 out of 1296, or about 16%.

Rolling five dice, there are 1024 rolls containing no 1 or 5, but about 360 of those rolls contain at least three of a kind, so odds of farkling with five dice are 664 out of 7776, or about 8.5%.

What you should do depends on your estimate of the expected gain in your score by rolling. In the table below I have estimated an expected gain by rolling for 4, 5, and 6 dice.

# of Dice---- Farkle Odds---- Expected Gain-------- Break-even Point

---6----------- 3.3% -------------200 est.---------------6,060

---5------------8.5%...................150 est........................1,765

---4-----------15.7%-------------113 est..........................720

---3----------- 27.8%-------------86.9--------------------312.6



Sunday, September 20, 2009

More Farkle Odds--On Picking up a Five

Yesterday I had the situation of being at 250 and having to roll a single die. Given a choice one would never choose to do this, but Facebook rules require you roll till you get to 300. This relates to the problem of sitting at 250, but with the option of rolling either one die or two, i.e., you have two dice which scored, so you have the option of picking up a five and rolling it instead of taking the 50 points. I decided to figure the expected result rolling 1, 2 and 3 dice.

The possibilities are few enough that a brute force method is feasible. With one die, you will roll a one 1/6 of the time, for a total of 350, expected score here of 58.3. You will also roll a five 1/6 of the time, expected result here of 50. The rest of the time you farkle and lose the 250 you have, expected result of 0. Your expected score thus is 108.3.

Rolling two dice (when sitting at 200), there are 36 possible rolls. A 1-1 will come up 1/36 of the time, expected score of 400/36 or 11.1. A 5-5 will also come up 1/36 of the time, for expected score of 300/36, or 8.3. Similarly, 1-5 is 1/18, for 19.4, 1-X 8/36 for 66.7, and 5-X means you have to throw again, i.e., you are in the situation with one die. This means that 8/36 of the time you have an expoected result of 108.3, which figures to 24.1.

Add all these up and we get an expected result of 129.6. So, we have conclusively shown that when given a choice, one should pick up a five and roll two dice instead of just one.

When rolling three dice from a score of 200, there are 216 possible rolls. One roll is 1-1-1, for 1200 total points, or ER of 5.6. All 6's is 3.7, all 5's 3.2, 2.8, all 3's 2.3, and all 2'2 1.9.

We continue on: two 1's and a 5 will come up 3 ways, for ER of 3/216 x 450, or 6.2. Two 5's and a 1 is 5.6. Two 1's and an X (2, 3, 4, or 6) are 12 rolls, for ER of 22.2. Two 5's and an X is 16.7. 1-5-X is 24 rolls, for ER of 38.9. 1-X-X is 48 rolls, for ER of 66.7. 5-X-X puts you at 250 and you have to roll again; your result from below is 188.9, which will happen 48/216 of the time, for ER of 42.0.

Total ER for rolling 3 dice from 200 is 217.8.

When you have the choice of rolling 2 or 3 dice, you have to figure the result for rolling two dice at 250, which we haven't done yet. 1-1 has ER of 12.5, 5-5 og 9.7, 5-1 of 22.2, 1-X of 77.8, and 5-X of 66.7. This totals up to 188.9. Since this is less than the 250 you started out with, this means you would pick up the dice and not roll again if the rules allowed this.

Since 217.8 is higher than 188.9, we have shown that it is better to roll 3 dice from 200 than 2 dice from 250, i.e., pick up the five when you can.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Some Farkle Odds

I recently started playing the game of Farkle on Facebook. The basic decision is whether to "pick up your dice" and thereby end your turn, or throw again and continue your turn. If you use all six of your dice to score, you can then roll again (with all six dice) and continue that same turn. It is this decision which has aroused my curiosity; i.e., what are the odds of farkling when rolling all six dice?

First of all, we note there are 6 to the 6th power possible rolls of the 6 dice, or 46,656 possible rolls. We seek to determine how many of these rolls are farkles. The number of rolls in which neither a 1 nor a 5 appears is 4 to the 6th power, or 4,096. This already gets us to less than 10% farkles, but this is not the end of the inquiry, because some of those 4,096 will score in other ways, i.e., 3 of the same number, or 3 pairs.

We are only interested in ways of scoring which don't involve a 1 or a 5, since we have already ruled those rolls out. Let's take 6's, keeping in mind that at the end we will multiply by 4 to cover the other 3 numbers that aren't 1 or 5. There are 20 ways of rolling three 6's (combinations of 6 things taken 3 at a time). Those other 3 dice can be rolled 3 cubed ways, or 27, but then we subtract for the 3 times they will all be the same number, leaving us with 24. So the total rolls for three 6's is 20 x 24, or 480.

For four 6's we have 15 combinations, with the other two dice having 9 possibilites, for a total of 15 x 9, or 135. For five 6's, There are 6 x 3 = 18 ways. And for all six 6's, of course only one way.

Adding these up, we have 634 ways of throwing three or more 6's in a roll, and multiplying by four gives us 2,536. Subtracting this number from the 4096 yields 1,560, which is .033 of the total. Thus, one will farkle about one out of every thirty times rolling six dice.

The actual odds are even less, since I have not taken into account the possibility of rolling three pairs. (Note the straight has already been excluded, since it will have a 1 and a 5 in it.) However, the 1 in 30 should be solid enough to inform our rolling decision.

Say we have a straight, which scores 1,500 points. By rolling our expected loss would be 1/30 of that, as that is how often we will farkle and lose those points. This comes to an expected loss of 50 points. In my experience the average score on a turn is about 300, so the expected gain would be 300, making rolling an easy decision. However, the 300 average score is achieved through much more daring play than one would be willing to make when risking 1,500 points, so I am going to say the expected gain is more like 150-200 instead of 300 in this situation. (Or, to put it another way, you will likely only roll once, instead of continuing to roll as you normally would. So, we are looking at the expected gain from only one roll, and this I estimate at a minimum of 150, this being rolling a 1 and a 5.)

The highest possible score is actually 4,000, achieved when one rolls all 1's (1,000 for the first three, and an extra 1,000 for each of the next three 1's rolled). If my figures are anywhere near right, it would still be correct to roll here, since your expected loss is 1/30 of 4,000, or 133, although that gets close to the expected gain and in reality it would be hard to risk that many points on another roll.

Facebook rules require one to keep rolling until 300 points have been scored. This leads to the interesting question of whether you would ever want to re-roll a 5. This situation does come up fairly often. Say on your last roll you rolled a 5 and another counter (either 1 or 5). Your total is now 250. You can roll two dice with the 250 score, or pick up a 5 and roll three dice with a 200 score. I like the idea of rolling three dice because of the possibility of rolling three of the same number. However, I haven't yet been able to get the odds to come out in favor of re-rolling the 5. Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

On Breaking up America

Interesting column by Pat Buchanan in this morning's paper. Upon returning here from Europe, he reflected on the deep divisions in our country, as manifested in countless ways. He cites our slogan "E pluribus unum", and says he can see the pluribus, but not the unum. He ends by asking "Is America breaking up."

Considering all of the disparate elements which make up this country, the miracle is that we have lasted this long. I doubt that there has ever been a democracy which has flourished with as little cohesiveness as we now have.

What really brought this home to me was a recent analysis of the "birther" movement. Most people in the South doubt the authenticity of Obama's birth; even though one can hold up the contemporary newspaper account of his birth, as Chris Mathews has done, and show it to a birther, they still question it. (As if there was a great conspiracy started back in 1961 to perpetrate a fraud on the people of this country!) The rest of the country (i.c., the "real" United States) overwhelmingly accepts the legitimacy of Obama's birth.

After that awakening, a study of issue after issue shows the South at serious variance with the rest of the country. I say it is time to acknowledge that the South should have been allowed to secede 150 years ago, and that Lincoln made a horrible choice when he waged war on the South instead of allowing it to go in peace. Lincoln conned himself and the people into accepting that the South was "in rebellion" (his favorite phrase), when the fact of the matter was that it was the union which took up arms against the South, not the other way around. Any reasonable definition of the word "rebellion" does not include the South attempting to secede. A rebellion is an armed insurrection, not a peaceful attempt to leave. Yet through his skillful and deceitful use of language, Lincoln managed to wage a horrible and unnecessary war on his own people. Shame!

But of course the past cannot be changed. We can, however, correct the mistakes of the past to the extent possible. The South should be allowed to split off today, as it obviously is hopeless out of touch with the rest of the country. Each of the new countries would then have a chance for the sort of cohesiveness which is necessary to have a viable and thriving democracy.

Think of everything the South could do, were it not shackled to the rest of the country. It could ban gay marriage, it could ban abortions, it could allow everyone to walk around armed, it could use the death penalty more often and more efficiently, it could mandate prayer in the schools and the Ten Commandments posted in each Courthouse, it could fly the Confederate flag from each state capital building, it could ban assisted suicide, it could proudly torture captured prisoners of war, it could make war on any country it doesn't like, it could refuse to enact any health care reform, it could ignore global warming, it could ban the teaching of evolution, and on and on.

As for the rest of us, we could work toward a more tolerant and humane society, one which respects individual differences and respects international law. What an improvement that would be!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The confirmation process--Saying as little as possible.

I am always frustrated by the Senate confirmation process for prospective Supreme Court justices. They seem to be unable to answer the questions we really would like answers to.

Justice Sotomayor stated her judicial philosophy as "Simple: fidelity to the law". This has been the norm ever since the 1987 hearing of Robert Bork, in which a detailed discussion of his judicial philosophy was followed by his rejection. However, this response ignores the fact that the Supreme Court to a large extent makes the law.

In a thoughtful comment in "The New Yorker" of 7/27/09, Jeffrey Toobin pinpoints what is wrong with this approach. In response to Sotomayor's statement that she will adhere to precedent and keep an "open mind", Toobin writes:

"When it comes to interpreting the Constitution, one can scarcely imagine a worse qualification than an open mind. The issues are difficult and profound and require a lifetime of study to master, and one would hope that Justices arrive with heads full of firm ideas about the document they are charged with understanding."

If this be the case, it follows that Senators on the Judiciary Committee should be able to ask questions of nominees about their philosophy or view of the Constitution, and get reasoned answers to those questions. How much more informative and useful the confirmation process would be if this were the case!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


To The Mennonite:

I note the existence of your moratorium on letters and article concerning homosexuality. For the life of me I cannot understand the wisdom of running away from an issue. How are we to be peacemakers in the world, when we don't even know how to be peacemakers within our own denomination?

I suggest that The Mennonite run a series of profiles of persons in our conference who are working to bridge the gap between the two sides of the homosexuality issue. I submit that there are such people in our conference. The Mennonite could play a positive role by profiling these people and describing what they are doing that is working to promote understanding and positive dialogue. This would be much preferable to standing passively on the sidelines, as the Mennonite has chosen to do since 2000.

Letter Regarding Pete Rose

To the Lima News: (Parts in parentheses were edited out by the newspaper before publishing).

Thank you for publishing the commentary by Mike Schmidt on the Pete Rose situation. I applaud Schmidt for having the courage to speak out on this (controversial issue).

While Rose's handling of the situation has not been very good, I ask people to keep in mind that Pete is a baseball player, and not a politician. Bud Selig, on the other hand, *is* a politician, and he has bungled this situation horribly. Under the agreement Pete signed 20 years ago, he has the right to apply for reinstatement. This he has done. And what has been Selig's response? Simply to say it is "under advisement". I think Bud Selig owes a more thoughtful explanation to Pete Rose and his numerous fans; he should issue a detailed statement explaining what his thinking is. (He may say that Pete should never be reinstated; if so, it would still be preferable to the silence he has exhibited so far.)

The Hall of Fame board is equally culpable here. They could rescind their ill-advised decision that nobody on the "banned from baseball" list is eligible for the Hall, and let the voters consider Pete (for admission). What the board is not appreciating is that Pete's betting took place when he was a manager, not a player. Pete would be admitted as a player, not as a manger, and hence it should be his playing career which is looked at in considering whether he should be admitted.

Further kudos are due to Schmidt for having the guts to compare what Rose did to the many players in the past 20 years who have cheated the game by using steroids. These players are still making many millions of dollars each year, far more than Pete made in his career, and have been largely free from any sanctions (due to the head-in-the-sand attitude of the Players Union).

(It is important to distinguish between people of vision and political hacks. Former baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth showed he was one of the former when he reinstated Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays early on in his all-to-brief tenure as commissioner in the 1980's, after Mays and Mantle had been banned by former commissioner Bowie Kuhn for working as greeters at an Atlantic City casino. By contrast, Bud Selig has demonstrated that he is a political hack.)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Why Are People So Ignorant?

Former Mets pitcher Jerry Koosman was sentenced recently for not filing income tax returns. He was quoted as saying that "his research led him to conclude that only federal workers and District of Columbia residents had to pay federal taxes."

We see this type of incredible ignorance all the time. Why can't people think for themselves on at least a minimal level? Is it a failure of the education system?

As I write a town meeting is on the tube, showing th usual morons who yell and scream and dont' let anybody talk. Where are these people coming from? Why can't they understand basic realities, like the fact that our health care costs are running way more than other countries who have government-sponsored health care? Why are they such suckers for the lies that Obama's plan wil lead to death panels which will kill grandpa and grandma?

Afghanistan: Obama's Vietnam?

Lately we have seen more and more people who know what they are talking about writing negatively about our military involvement in Afghanistan. For example, Nicholas D. Kristof writes:

"My own trips to Afghanistan have taught me to never, ever underestimate the savvy of the traditional fighters there. In 2001, when I was covering the war around Kabul, I came across something that stunned me. A group of Afghans had figured out that American war planes were bombing anything they thought were Taliban camps. So these Afghans would build groups of fires off in the hills, away from any village, and then withdraw a half mile. Then the Americans would come along and drop $20 million worth of bombs on the campfires. And the Afghans would come along and load their horses or trucks with the debris from the bombs, which they would sell for a few hundred dollars as scrap metal. They made a tidy profit off us American taxpayers."

The problem for Obama is that during the campaign he chastised Bush for getting us into Iraq, when Afghanistan was where the terrorists were. He liked to use the line that Bush "took his eye off the ball."

I fear that Obama will now feel so committed to this that he will ignore the intelligence reports which an objective person would use as a basis to withdraw our forces. I hope Obama doesn't fall into the liberal trap (liberals being people who think government action can solve problems) of staying way too long with a failed policy, as LBJ did in Vietnam.

Only time will tell if Obama has the statesmanlike qualities needed to make the difficult decision to withdraw. At some point we know we will be withdrawing, as we surely aren't staying there forever! History tells us that the Afghan fighters will persevere and win out; the Soviets found this out during the 1980's; fortunately for them, they had a leader, Gorbachev, who was statesmanlike enough to recognize the need to get out and to do it.

Why Are People So Hateful?

News Item: Madonna gave a concert in Romania recently. She paused during the concert and said "It has been brought to my attention that there is a lot of discrimination against Romanies and Gypsies in Eastern Europe. It made me feel very sad." And the result? The cheers of the audience turned to boos and jeers.

News Item: A disabled woman tries to speak in favor of health care reform at a recent town hall meeting. She was met with boos and hisses from the audience throughout her attempt to speak.

When did people become so hateful toward those who are different than they are? Or has it always been this way? Either way, it depresses me to no end to see this sort of thing still going on in this poor world of ours.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Conservatism or Republicanism?

A few days ago my daughter told me that when I rail against Republicans, I should really be railing against conservatives, because there are many different kinds of Republicans. I have thought about this a lot since, and I have concluded that I must disagree.

I have long enjoyed the writings of George Will and Pat Buchanan, who are conservatives by anyone's measure, and this past week my interest was again aroused by several of their columns. A few days ago Will wrote we should get out of Afghanistan. He quotes de Gaulle as saying that "genius sometimes consists of knowing when to stop." And now today his equally long and thoughtful column advocates the U.S. leaving Iraq.

I submit this is in the true conservative tradition, the tradition which supports self-determination, as I do. It is in the tradition of the great British statesman Edmund Burke, a conservative who opposed going to war with the American colonies, and who pushed for the impeachment of Warren Hastings for misdeeds committed while governing India. He pushed for this even though Hastings was no longer serving as Governor General of India when the impeachment process started. For you see, to a true conservative it is the principle that matters; it was the principle of accountability which Burke worked his butt off to establish, the principle that misdeeds should be brought to light and punished, even if the impeachment process takes nine long years, as it did with Hastings.

That principle of self-determination pops up in a recent column by Pat Buchanan, in which he questions whether the war with Hitler was really necessary. He points out numerous facts about Germany's lack of preparedness for war which establishes that in the 1939-1940 time-frame war could easily have been avoided. But the specific item of interest here is the German-Polish conflict; Germany was trying to re-take the relatively small city of Danzig, which was 95% German and wanted to be part of Germany, but which had been taken from Germany under the Treaty of Versailles, in violation of Wilson's principle of self-determination.

(A side-note here. I recently read the book "The End of Order: Versailles 1919", by Charles L. Mee, Jr. This is a very well-researched and well-written book on the Paris Peace Conference, at which the victorious allies met to decide on the terms of the peace with the defeated Central Powers. The underlings, i.e., the career diplomats who knew what they were doing, in contrast to the leaders, Wilson, Clemenceau and Lloyd George, assumed at the outset that at some point the Central Powers countries would be brought in to negotiate terms of the peace. As time dragged on, it gradually became obvious that the leaders had no such intentions; they simply were going to come up with the terms and present it to Germany on a "take it or leave it" basis. The German viewpoint was that they had surrendered based on an understanding that the peace terms would be based on President Wilson's 14 points. When the Germans got the proposed treaty, they systematically went through and demonstrated how it violated the 14 points on almost every one of its many pages. At the end, Germany was given a deadline and told the war would be continued and Germany would be invaded, if the treaty was not accepted by the deadline. Based on the country's desire not to go back to war, it was accepted. Taking of territory from Germany, not to mention Hungary, was a major part of the treaty terms.)

Buchanan demonstrates that what Hitler was doing in the 1938-1939 time period was trying to undo the injustices of the Treaty of Versailles. He was not trying for world domination.

The writings of Will and Buchanan show how a true conservative approaches these world issues. When George W. Bush went to war in Iraq, he was being a Republican, not a conservative. When Richard Nixon used the CIA, FBI, and IRS to spy on, and harass, the American people on his "enemies list", he was being a Republican, not a conservative. When Richard Nixon had the CIA overthrow the democratically-elected government of Chile, he was being a Republican, not a conservative. When Ronald Reagan funded guerrilla groups in Central America who were terrorizing the people there, he was being a Republican, not a conservative. When Ronald Reagan tripled the national debt, he was being a Republican, not a conservative. No, I have no beefs with conservatives, only with Republicans.