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Friday, August 30, 2002

Intellicast has a great article rebutting a CBS sweeps week special on the warming of Alaska. According to their data, this is all part of a well-defined and well-known cycle of warming and cooling. In fact, you'll find a chart that shows that the mean annual temperature of Fairbank, Alaska was higher in the early 1940s than it's been for the past 8 years. In the interim the temps dropped right in line with what's called the PDO; the "Pacific Decadal Oscillation" which is the large-scale flip-flopping of ocean temperatures. If increase industrialization causes global warming, then one has to wonder why the mean temps fell on average from the 1940s to the 1970s.

The last line of their report says it all:
It has been around half a century since the last PDO warm phase and it is not surprising that most people do not remember the concerns about the declines in arctic ice and warm temperatures then. More people remember the widespread speculation about the impending ice age during the cold and snowy 1960s and 1970s. Now we are led to believe this current warm spell is just a start of what could be a disastrous climate change.

This too will probably pass. Perhaps a lot sooner than most people could imagine.

Certainly sooner than CBS, Al Gore and the UN summiteers in Johannesburg imagine.

Michael Newdow, the plaintiff in the "Under God" Pledge of Allegiance case, is at it again. Now he's trying to sue Congress to end Capitol Hill chaplain posts.

Newdow represents the classic misinterpretation of "separation of church and state". Chaplains have been a part of Congress since 1789 (at least that's when they started getting paid). Those Congressmen were far closer to the writing and debating of the Constitution that we are, and thus knew far better than we what they meant when they said that government shouldn't establish an official religion. Yet Newdow contends that, within a couple years of writing the Establishment Clause, they went about tearing it down and ignoring what so many of they and their fellow countrymen had fought and died for. And somehow that makes sense to him and so many others.

Psst, Mikey. Jefferson said the "wall of separation" between church and state would prevent government from getting involved in religion. Not a word from Thomas on religion being involved in government. Consider that. And consider reading David Barton's "Separation of Church and State" article, fully footnoted, as to what Jefferson really thought about religion and government. (It's one article of a number of his that deal with religion in American government, including one specifically dealing with chaplains.)

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

The Minneapolis Star Tribune has a great article on how bad off governmental accounting is, in spite of all the self-righteous finger-pointing it's been doing at the likes of Enron.

What would happen if government would first do an honest house cleaning itself before looking outward? Well, it won't happen, and it's not all their fault either. Those in the "what's in it for me" constituency, who vote for the folks who'll give them the most government money for whatever purpose, would hold sway with politicians who wouldn't want to rock their boat. Conservative principles in government (in this case, fiscal responsibility) don't get a chance if the voters don't understand the principles. It's more comfortable and much easier to understand (alleged) "free" money, "free" services and throwing cash at every nifty idea that comes along than it is to understand why it's best to restrain government to its constitutional duties.

Of course, politicians that preach "free" money and "free" services aren't helping, and could be considered the root of the problem.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Another blogger (Paul Cella) has posted results from The American Enterprise magazine detailing the incredible lack of diversity in thought at American universities. It's been known for decades that they were liberal, but now, armed with cold, hard numbers, we know how liberal they are. Professors of the liberal persuasion outnumber conservatives by margins of up to 27 to 1 at some universities, and in some departments, there are no conservatives at all.

When liberals talk about promoting diversity, remember they're only looking skin deep.

Rates going through the roof. Billing for work not done. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the hallmarks of government control have now quickly and predictably taken over the airport passenger screening industry. It happens with everything it touches, and we punish it it more things to screw up.

And somehow this makes us feel better.

Monday, August 26, 2002

Gary Larson of the Washington Dispatch points out how liberal "research" is placing the blame for 9/11 squarely on Bush's head thanks to their assumption that everything that could have been done could only have been done after January, 2001. TIME magazine seems to be on a crusade to absolve Clinton.

In today's Federalist newsletter was a quote from Booker T. Washington on the results of slavery on Africans. Food for thought.

"Think about it: We went into slavery pagans; we came out Christians. We went into slavery pieces of property; we came out American citizens. We went into slavery with chains clanking about our wrists; we came out with American ballots in our hands. ... When we rid ourselves of prejudice, or racial feeling, and look the facts in the face, we must acknowledge, notwithstanding the cruelty and moral wrong of slavery, we are in a stronger and more hopeful position, materially, intellectually, morally, and religiously, than is true of an equal number of black people in any other portion of the globe."

The Federalist only make available their Friday Digest on their website (you can only get the Monday Brief by signing up for a free subscription), but I did find the full quote at the University of Illinois Press site, in their section on The Booker T. Washington Papers.

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Georgia politics made big national news in this primary election, but some items that didn't make the news are newsworthy.

Cynthia McKinney lost to Denise Majette 58% to 42%, meaning Republican strategists won't have such an easy target to discredit in the future. (Cynthia managed to do their work for them.) Running against McKinney has been, up until now, no more than a vain political exercise for any challenger. She always won hands down, but this time the tables were turned.

One thing disturbs me, though. At first I thought to myself, "Well finally the Democrats in that district see and understand what the Republicans have known for years." But then I considered that some of the vote for Majette came from Republicans that chose to vote in the Democrat primary. (In Georgia, there is no party affiliation attached to voter registration. When you come in for the primaries, you simply declare then which party ballot you want, and you are free to choose any one regardless of previous choices.) And then I considered that many Democrats reacting against McKinney's support of the Saudi's ("$10 million donation as long as we blame America for 9/11? Sure, Prince, I accept.") and her nonsense about Bush's supposed foreknowledge of 9/11. And then I realized that even considering all that, she still picked up 42% of the vote. Are that many people in that district really in agreement with her nonsense? Majette and McKinney aren't that far apart on the issues, but McKinney has firmly placed herself in the "Blame America First" camp, and she still got 42%! Makes you wonder what those folks in the 4th district with patriotic stickers and flags are thinking. (...or if patriotic symbols are marks of Majette voters.)

McKinney said in her concession speech that Republicans wanted to remove her more than Democrats wanted to keep her. Perhaps, but not by much. Given her unabashedly anti-American stance and willingness to talk trash and use 9/11 to political advantage, and given that the majority of votes cast in that primary were by those considering themselves Democrats, the poll results should be disturbing to everyone. They cast the McKinney Democrats in quite a bad light (even though it's good that some light is coming out of this). Are they as anti-American and distrustful of people solely based on party affiliation as she is? Are they easily led to believe pure drivel as long as it's Democrat drivel? Are ignorance and apathy well-rooted there? The answer is probably some combination of the above

Bob Barr lost to John Linder in the 7th district by about a 2-to-1 margin. If you only listened to the national media, you'd think that the only thing Barr ever did was hold a leading position in the impeachment of President Clinton, because that's the only background they've been giving on him when they mention the defeat. But in spite of the insinuation that he lost because of that, the truth is a bit more involved than the media care to portray it.

Both men's views on the issues are very similar, they just differ in how they would like to implement those views. For example, both agree that China must do better on human rights issues, but disagree on how to use normal trade relations to influence that. Barr thinks that restricting trade would hit them in the pocketbook and would give them impetus to change. Linder thinks that isolating them that way would increase human rights violations because the world wouldn't be looking at them as close as they are now. Same goal, but different tactics, so you can't chalk up the Linder win to ideology.

One of the big reasons for the 2-to-1 margin is that, after state Democrats redrew the districts (i.e. gerrymandered like there was no tommorrow), voters from both mens' districts were in the new 7th, and the ones that had been previously in the Linder district outnubmered the ones previously in the Barr district by a bit more than 2-to-1, with previous combined Barr/Linder constituents numbering 60% of the new district. In a sense, both incumbents won their voters over, it's just that Linder had more voters.

Another reason that I heard that split voters up was over style--how each man approached the job--and the difference there was vast. Barr was unquestionably the more outspoken of the two--sometimes described as a lightening rod or a pit bull--and many voters preferred the more behind-the-scenes approach taken by Linder. Given that, Barr's high-profile presence in the Clinton impeachment group was even more accentuated by his style, and some Republicans (I know of one personally, so there's probably more) thought that we needed him for a time, but that time is past.

Again, these are not ideological differences, so Barr's aims and goals were not repudiated. The news media will not, of course, consider this.

No, the bias will continue on unabated there. Tom Hughes, the morning news guy on WGST in Atlanta noted that in today's New York Times McKinney was labeled merely a "vocal liberal" while Barr was labeled a "strident conservative". None of McKinney's over-the-top antics were mentioned, but of course Mr. Barr's name was followed by the obligatory reference to the 4-year-old Clinton impeachment. Yup, according to the NY Times, you can hurl all manner of awful accusation at a Republican president and not have to worry about it in the future, but if you hold a Democrat president accountable to the law, you'll never hear the end of it. As Mr. Huges said, "...and you thought all the opinions in the NY Times were only on the Editorial pages."

(Interestingly, Jim Hickey of ABC News, subbing for Paul Harvey, noted that incumbents were the losers in Georgia, noting Barr and McKinney. Well, it's not news that, in a 2-incumbent race, an incumbent loses. And McKinney was...well...McKinney. Again, the short take from the media fails to consider the details. Hurry back, Mr. Harvey.)

With the majority win of Republican Saxby Chambliss, Senator Max Cleland (D-GA) now knows who he'll be up against in November, and is in full campaign mode. One line I've heard twice from him in 12 hours was about securing Social Security by not privatizing it. "We don't want to take money from those on Main Street and give it to those on Wall Street", referring to how the Enron / WorldCom / etc. debacles have shaken the stock market. (Funny how Democrats never mention Global Crossing in that list. Must be all the donations they got from GC. Ya think?) So then Max and all the Democrats that have been repeating this mantra are all for keeping the money in the government which has a far worse record on accounting than the worst of the corporations out there. And this is supposed to make us feel good? Frankly, I don't see how giving people control of their own money can be considered a bad thing, especially since, if you control it, and you don't want to take the risk of the stock market, you don't have to put it there. But pro-choice Max won't give you that choice.

Monday, August 19, 2002

Happy Fun Pundit has nailed it right on the head. In Sunday's post, we find HFP exposing more of the problem with big government; namely that pork is ubiquitous because there's so much cash sloshing around. His example is the Fiscal Year 2002 Supplemental spending bill to enhance Homeland Security, which includes such vital security measures as:

  • Funding of the Dog Dealers Task Force

  • Bovine aid (mad cow disease research and cattle genome sequencing)

  • New England fishing industry assistance

  • Contribution to the UN Population Fund

  • Funding of the Smart Start Child Care Center and Expertise School in Las Vegas

Consider that!

Thursday, August 15, 2002

Back on July 23rd, L. Brent Bozell wrote an opinion piece in which he considers Larry Klayman of Judicial Watch "Bias Exhibit A", but he's not accusing Larry of bias. When Klayman was pounding on the Clinton administration, the nation media labelled him conservative, did not taken seriously, dismissed or ignored him, and the merits of his lawsuits were never examined. Now that he's suing Dick Cheney over Haliburton, he's no longer conservative (just a "watchdog"), escorted to the front of the list on the 6 o'clock news (with Peter Jennings only now actually uttering the words "Judicial Watch"), and being covered in-depth like he's never been covered before.

Now please, can anyone look me straight in the eye and say the press isn't biased? Did one lawsuit really transform Klayman from a crackpot legal counsel for the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy to honored and respected vox populi? The answer is, of course, no. Larry didn't change. Anchors Tom, Dan and Peter didn't either. They are biased, and they're showing their true colors in the way they have and are reporting on Judicial Watch.

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

The Cato Insitute put forth a number of good ideas on government reform in light of the Enron/Global Crossing/WorldCom/etc.etc. debacles, and given the reaction of so many congressmen and pundits on boths sides of the aisle. If they're really concerned about pensions, those glass-house-living politicians need to first examine their own state of affairs before throwing rocks (via legislation) at the CEOs of the country. Fact is, right now they're far, far worse off than Ken Lay ever was. The problem is still that government is way too big. All the good intentioned programs out there have served to make it completely unmanagable. More programs and more legislation are not the answer. That's what got us there in the first place.

The Constitutional limitations on federal government are still the best ideas yet. The solution is still smaller government.

Monday, August 05, 2002

One more reason against big government: Coming up with new ways to fund it. Four states are facing shortfalls in their budget, and instead of cutting spending or raising taxes, they're looking at gambling. These states are following the classic path of the addict. They have a habit (throwing money at everything in sight), they can't cut back on their habit or pay for it any longer, so they're adding a new vice to pay for the old vice.

Don't get me started on lotteries. When the issue was being debated on Georgia, I told some friends on a computer bulletin board system at the time that it would become another slush fund for politicians to spend any way they please, and the educational "lockbox" would be raided at will. I was ridiculed for allegedly posessing some sort of crystal ball. It passed, and about a year afterwards when south Georgia was having flooding problems, Gov. Zell Miller said that some of the relief payments would come from "excess lottery money". Excess? I got back on the BBS and announced to all that the educational needs had been fully met now in Georgia. No room was without a computer, no student had to pay for college, and school buildings were finally up to snuff with no trailers outside anymore. I was met, of course, with virtual silence. As honorable as the flood relief usage may have been, how many other non-disclosed uses was the money being put out for? It was a slush fund, plain and simple.

And how honorable is it to pass what amounts to a regressive tax, one that hits the poor the hardest? They're the one studies show buy the most tickets, urged on by TV & magazine ads, hoping to get out of their current condition. Politicians can't claim ignorance on this issue, but they still do because they can't resist the money.

This is where big government leads, among a myriad other places we don't want to go.