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- Clayton Cramer
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Wednesday, March 31, 2004
The Georgia House has voted to put the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages on the November ballot, with 122 votes (just 2 more than required).
[Republican Rep. Bill] Hembree said that even though Georgia already has a law prohibiting gay marriage, “activist judges” could strike down the law in court. He noted that judges in other states, including Massachusetts, have struck down such laws.
Precisely. Judicial activists have raised the bar, and we have to rise to meet that (or get rid of said judges) if the will of the people is to mean anything.
Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates), the only openly gay legislator in the Georgia General Assembly, spoke after Hembree.
...including polygamists, NAMBLA members, etc. etc. Oh, you may not consider those folks to be just like you, but they will be on your coattails, whether you like it (or know it) or not.
Rep. Alisha Thomas-Morgan (D-Austell) gave a fiery speech in which she asked why legislators were spending time discussing the same-sex marriage when people are looking for jobs and deep budget cuts in education and health care are being proposed.
Why bother discussing whether or not laws (on marriage, or education, or health care) are of any use? The same judges overturning state laws may just turn their eyes on your pet issues next. While same-sex marriage is the issue here, there is another, much larger issue at stake; may judges run roughshod over the legislature? I hope, Rep. Thomas-Morgan, you don't think they should. If not, that is very much a topic worth discussing.
In direct contrast to all the evil anti-Semitism and violence that "The Passion of the Christ" was supposed to inspire, it turns out that just the opposite is true. It's inspiring the bad guys to confess for crimes as far back as 10 years ago! There's even a documentary in the works to show what has happened because of the movie.
As we all "know", Clear Channel is nothing but a shill for the Bush administration. Which, of course, is why it's hired Jesse Jackson for a Sunday morning talk show.
The Georgia state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage is set to be voted on this afternoon. Another rally is set, but I won't be able to make it. According to a Republican representative, they've lined up 121 votes, with 120 being required to get the amendment on the November 2nd general election ballot.
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
I found an interesting write-up on the new "Air America Radio" (debuting tomorrow). At the aptly named WLIB in New York, here's some of what's to come.
New York, March 10, 2004 - Air America Radio, a progressive talk radio network, announced today it will hit the airwaves on March 31st.
Note the term "progressive", the euphemism for this political philosophy.
It also mentions that "Comedian, and best selling author Al Franken...is known for fact-based, drug-free satire, will host a weekday show on the network called 'The O'Franken Factor.'" Looks like the satire is already kicking in, given the "drug-free" shot at Limbaugh. But there may be issues with the "fact-based" assertion as well. As Spinsanity said,
For these reasons, Franken's work is much subtler than Coulter's fabrications or Michael Moore's inventions. It's not that he isn't funny (just as, at times, Coulter can be). Rather, it's the way in which Franken's humor sometimes becomes a stand-in for honest argument whenever he wants to make a particularly nasty point about conservatives. Rather than making things up out of whole cloth, Franken leaves them unsaid, hiding behind his humor. The more satirical parts of the book, funny as they may be to those of liberal political convictions, raise questions about their effect on our already polarized political discourse.
This is what I predicted Franken's show will become (see below); a dash of truth in a torrent of satire that will bury the salient points.
Let's take a look at the description of Franken's show:
The O' Franken Factor: 12:00-3:00pm
Consider this: First we have "relentless, pure satire", "three hours of fearless barbs, sketches", "interviews with newsmakers and characters who have lived, up until now, only in Al's fertile imagination". Following all this is that Franken allegedly "is devoting his energy to fighting back against rightwing propaganda with hard evidence and facts." Up until that last word, the whole idea of the real world was nowhere at all in the program's description. As I said, a torrent of satire, a dash of truth, and too much laughing to notice the difference.
Janeane Garofalo will have her own show as well:
The Majority Report: 8:00pm-11:00pm
Given her political persuasion, and that she's looking for "younger voices and opinion", she might be mortified to find that teens (both here and in England as well) are more conservative than their elders. Guess she's on the wrong side of the curve.
What's going to keep this network alive is the infusion of investor money, not so much sponsor money because I don't think that'll be enough to keep it going. What'll happen is that the network's highly partisan sugar daddy AnShell Media is betting it's life on it, and the Democrats donating to the cause will keep the IV going as long as possible. That why, while some of the commentors on Tim Blair's blog may be predicting far less than my 2 year estimate, I think it'll hang in there a while.
But now, go back to the WLIB web page, kick in your browser's Find function, and type in "liberal". Find anything? Nope. In fact, the euphemism "progressive" only appears two times itself. Conservative talk-show hosts are not afraid of their stand, and aren't afraid to honestly tell you what they are before you listen. It appears that liberal talk radio doesn't have the guts yet to do that. In fact, other than the single word "rightwing" in the description of Franken's show, there's not even a mention of what it is this network was created for; to counter conservatives. To read this you'd think that this was all going to be so fair and balanced, when it'll be 100% left-leaning. (Hmm, kinda sounds like the mainstream media. Oh, and look for that phrase, "mainstream media", to find out that one of the shows will supposedly give you "fresh new voices not available in the mainstream media". Well, except that, other than the actual voices themselves, the perspectives will be precisely the same as from the mainstream media.)
Fantasy mixed with a dash of fact, mislabelling, and humor disguised as open and honest debate are what's going to kill this network.
Monday, March 29, 2004
Are Southern Republicans racist by default? Byran Preston at Junkyard Blog points to an article that shows that thought to be a myth. And he encapsulates the whole upside-down notion that Democrats have been historically for minorities:
I have to say, one of the many reasons I'm a Republican is because I believe my party's position and history on racial issues is superior to those of the Democrats. Our party was founded to destroy slavery; the majority of theirs fought a bloody war to preserve slavery even at the expense of destroying the Union. Our party has long fought against the KKK; members of their party founded and nurtured the KKK. Our party had no role in enacting Jim Crow; theirs created, enforced, and defended Jim Crow. The majority of our party voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964; the majority of their party did not. Our party believes in equal opportunity for all regardless of race; theirs believes in income redistribution and equality of outcomes at the expense of individual freedom and achievement. Ultimately, our party seeks to be truly colorblind and wants to create a society on that model; theirs cannot survive the creation of such a society for the simple reason that it depends on a coalition which must believe that government still has massive racial issues to solve into perpetuity. Without that belief, the Democrat coalition would fracture and ultimately dissolve.
Again, a knowledge of history is a dangerous thing for the Democrats.
Wednesday will be the first day for the official liberal talk radio network, "Air America". The anchor for this network is Al Franken's "The O'Franken Factor". I guess that there wasn't any real good way to spoof the title of "The Rush Limbaugh Show", so he went with O'Reilly's. And that sounds to me like he's already set the tone for his show; comedy, parody, attack, and, oh yeah, issues (maybe). As I said over a year ago, this should tell you all you need to know about how this crew is going to go about their business; they'll attack ideas with comedy, where complex ideas are oversimplified and you'll be too busy laughing to notice the errors. Franken himself said, "I think the audience isn't there for a liberal Rush, because I think liberals don't want to hear that kind of demagoguery." This from a guy who wrote a book titled, "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot". Franken's books and comments have been attacks, while Rush and O'Reilly, while they do have their share of taking down the other side, spend most of their time putting forth what they believe are better ideas, not simply pure deconstruction. But even before he's been on the air one minute, Franken can keep from attacking.
And speaking of attacking, don't forget how Franken fights--physically, stifling free speech in the name of promoting free speech. I asked last January that if he was on opposite Rush Limbaugh, would Rush be allowed to jam his signal? (And as it turns out, they will be on opposite each other.) Combine that with Matt Margolis' experience getting beaten up while carrying pro-Bush signs at an anti-Bush rally, and one may have a taste of how this new network will operate.
And consider this: Limbaugh's radio program didn't start with a radio network with a slate of conservative hosts and a big media fanfare. It was just him doing a brand of talk-show that hadn't been done before. I recall when Neal Boortz was just a local Atlanta talk-show guy, and he would occasionally criticize Limbaugh's show for only taking 3 calls in one particular hour. That did go against the format of talk-shows up until that time, but Limbaugh made it work--by himself. Liberal talk radio, after a number of individual failed attempts (anyone remember hearing Mario Cuomo?) is investing heavily into this, in an apparent attempt to start winning the talk-show wars by quantity rather than quality.
That's why I think this will ultimately fail. People did not rush to Rush because of a media blitz or advertising. They came because they finally heard what they couldn't get from the mainstream media. I believe that in large part the American people are generally conservative. Many folks don't like labeling, and I understand that, but if they were to take a political test, I think a good majority would be center to far right. Rush's success in the field came from saying what made sense to these people, and for some it challenged what they were thinking. Rush is no pure intellectual by any stretch of the imagination; he certain does his share of comedy, parody and attack. But most of his program is not that. Given the history of Franken, and the way he's starting out on the wrong foot, I don't think we'll be able to say the same thing about his show.
Considerettes Prediction: Franken's show is gone in 2 years. I'm going on the record with this.
Correction: The first broadcast will be the 31st, not today. Corrected it above.
Friday, March 26, 2004
For your consideration:
Thursday, March 25, 2004
Another strike for Newdow:
Just a day after arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court that the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional, nationally known atheist Michael Newdow has failed in his attempt to stop congressional chaplains from offering prayers on Capitol Hill.
The same Congress that passed the First Amendment instituted chaplains. But Mr. Newdow, oh he knows better.
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Looks like the Supreme Court doesn't have a problem with "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. In their questioning of Michael Newdow, they got in a good one.
``You may disagree that it's 'under God.' You may disagree that it's `liberty and justice for all,''' Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist said, referring to another part of the pledge. ``That doesn't make it a prayer.''
Another day, another round of testimony that shows Bush got it right.
The CIA also had depended too much on Afghan indigenous groups to attack bin Laden and CIA Director George Tenet understood its chances of succeeding were only 10 percent to 20 percent, the federal commission on the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks said in a preliminary report.
Mostly because Democrats didn't want to get their hands dirty actually defeating the terrorists. Rather, they'd like to say they were "doing something" even if it was only 10-20% effective.
If officers at all levels of the agency questioned the effectiveness of the most active strategy that policy-makers were employing to defeat the terrorist enemy, "the commission needs to ask why that strategy remained largely unchanged throughout the period leading up to 9/11," the report said.
Good point. Richard Clarke should be asked that question. And recall that the reason it was still in place during the Bush administration was because it was the de facto policy while they were coming up with a better one, signed on or about 9/10.
Also appearing Wednesday was Richard Clarke, counterterrorism adviser in both administrations. In a newly published book, Clarke accuses President Bush of ignoring the threat posed by al-Qaida until the day of the attacks.
By "ignoring the threat", he means allowing the Clinton / Clarke policies to remain in effect until they improved upon it. To wit:
Clarke's charges were strongly rebutted Tuesday by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell. They said they were going beyond past practices of carrying out retaliatory strikes and had been developing a strategy for defeating al-Qaida.
"Defeating", not merely holding them back.
"President-elect Bush asked whether killing bin Laden would end the problem. Pavitt said he and (Tenet) answered that killing bin Laden would have an impact but not stop the threat," the report said.
If the CIA thought that when Bush was still "President-elect", they knew it during the Clinton administration. The difference was, Clinton / Clarke did precious little to defeat al Qaeda, while the Bush administration actually started working on a plan to do just that.
After intelligence agencies began seeing strong indications in June and July 2001 that a terrorist attack was likely, some CIA officials were frustrated when some policy-makers questioned the intelligence. But Tenet, who was briefing Bush daily, "told us that his sense was that officials at the White House had grasped the sense of urgency he was communicating to them," the report said.
Keep this in mind when Democrats talk about how the White House should have looked at Iraq intelligence skeptically before the war there. They bash Bush for giving it too much credence, while they'll bash him for giving the pre-9/11 intelligence too little credence.
President Clinton had issued several orders for "the CIA to use its proxies to capture or assault bin Laden and his lieutenants in operations in which they might be killed. The instructions, except in one defined contingency, were to capture bin Laden if possible."
Who knows what opportunities were missed because of a failure to communicate in the Clinton administration?
Also, the CIA's reluctance to engage personnel in Afghanistan because of its dangers meant that the agency had to rely on local forces to provide intelligence or mount operations to capture bin Laden.
...which is why we had to send in American troops. The war on terror cannot be fought by proxy; we have to do it ourselves, anti-war protestors notwithstanding. If we don't defend ourselves, no one will do it for us, or at least not nearly as well as we could do it ourselves.
Tuesday's report also said that both the Clinton and Bush administrations engaged in lengthy, ultimately fruitless diplomatic efforts instead of military action to try to get bin Laden before the Sept. 11 attacks.
As I said before, that negotiations with terrorists during both administrations failed is not news
Both Rumsfeld and Powell expressed doubt that the administration, which took office less than eight months before the attacks, could have stopped them through military force.
Because by the time Bush took office, the al Qaeda operatives in the U.S. had already had 4 years of preparation on Clinton's & Clarke's watch. Attacking Afghanistan, while curtailing al Qaeda in general, wouldn't have stopped 9/11, because the operation was being carried out here.
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
The 9/11 commission is pretty much proving that the Bush administration's way of dealing with terrorists beats Clinton's and Europe's methods hands down. Some excerpts from this AP story:
The independent commission reviewing the Sept. 11 attacks said in a preliminary report that the decision to use diplomatic rather than military options against al-Qaida allowed the Sept. 11 terrorists to elude capture years before the attacks.
Negotiating with terrorists doesn't work. This is not news.
The Clinton administration turned to the Saudis for help. Clinton designated CIA Director George Tenet as his representative to work with the Saudis, who agreed to make an "all-out secret effort" to persuade the Taliban to expel bin Laden.
See above. Should we be surprised by this?
The Clinton administration had early indications of terrorist links to Osama bin Laden and future Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as early as 1995, but let years pass as it pursued criminal indictments and diplomatic solutions to subduing them abroad, the commission's report said.
This is the "law enforcement" solution that John Kerry thinks will solve the terrorism issue. It's been tried and it failed. This is, again, not news.
"From the spring of 1997 to September 2001, the U.S. government tried to persuade the Taliban to expel bin Laden to a country where he could face justice," the report said. "The efforts employed inducements, warnings and sanctions. All these efforts failed."
I've said this before (2 years ago) and I'll say it again: If there were failures in the intelligence or the handling of said intelligence leading up to 9/11, you have to lay blame on both administrations, Clinton and Bush. If you're going to blame Bush for not being tough on terror in the 9 months prior to 9/11, then you have to lay it even thicker on Clinton for his 8 year watch, or at least back to the first WTC bombing in 1993. Negotiations didn't work, but consider this: When Bush took his stance against terrorism post-9/11, the world community was still ready to label him a "cowboy". Imagine what they would have said if Bush had adopted the "Bush doctrine" before 9/11! He continued some of the policies of the previous administration, but, as Condi noted yesterday, was asking for plans to defeat al Qaeda, not just keep them in check. That was progress.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told the commission that President Clinton and his team "did everything we could, everything we could think of, based on the knowledge we had, to protect our people and disrupt and defeat al-Qaida."
No, I'm sorry Madam Secretary, but you did not. You don't "defeat" terrorism by negotiation or secret deals or bribery or whatever. You defeat terrorism by, in fact, defeating it.
The preliminary report said the U.S. government had determined bin Laden was a key terrorist financier as early as 1995, but that efforts to expel him from Sudan stalled after Clinton officials determined he couldn't be brought to the United States without an indictment. A year later, bin Laden left Sudan and set up his base in Afghanistan without resistance.
Remind me again; who was in the White House between 1995 and 2001?
The commission's report Tuesday said Clarke pushed for immediate and secret military aid to the Taliban's foe, the Northern Alliance. But Rice and her deputy, Stephen Hadley, proposed a broader review of the al Qaida response that would take more time. The proposal wasn't approved for Bush's review until just weeks before Sept. 11.
Had Clarke suggested that to Clinton, or did he just start the day Dubya was inaugurated? And, given the Cole, and the Khobar Towers, and the WTC, and the African embassies, isn't it reasonable to assume that taking the advice of the guy on who's watch they happened isn't quite the way to prevent more of them?
The more I hear about what's going on at the hearings, the more it shows that Bush had the right idea on dealing with terrorists. That's not partisan, that's just looking at history.
I heard Jim Lileks on the Hugh Hewitt show last night (well, he is, after all, a regular guest) talking about, among other thing, the Richard Clarke kerfuffle. Lileks made a good point; both Richard Clarke and Paul O'Neil got sweet spots on CBS's "60 Minutes" (who's parent company sold both books, though you wouldn't have known that from the lack of disclaimer), while, when Lileks tried to google for any mention of Gary Aldrich on the same show returns no mention at all. Surprise, surprise.
Although what you will find is a mention by the Media Research Center that, at the time, that paragon of journalism Larry Flynt got more press coverage over his attack on Bob Barr that Aldrich could muster, and this article that pointed out how hard the Clinton pushed the media to keep Aldrich off the air. (At the time, George Stephanopoulos boasted that "we killed it". That was then. Today, however, when asked if the Clinton White House had ever mounted a "full court press" against an author like Richard Clarke, George now says "no"--something that Time Graham of National Review called "today's Chex-spew moment".)
This just isn't liberal media further proving the accusations. They're actively involved in trying to be the country's kingmaker.
Monday, March 22, 2004
For perspective, from an interview of Vice President Dick Cheney by Rush Limbaugh, speaking about the Richard Clarke accusations, Limbaugh editorializes:
Despite all of these attacks -- actually I think Mr. Vice President if you'll permit me an editorial comment here, you have the Clinton administration if they defended the country as eagerly and with as much fervor as they are attempting to defend themselves in all this, we might have -- I don't expect you to comment, I just -- we might have escaped some of the attacks that we've had.
Cheney had noted earlier that Clarke was on board since 1993, during which time, during the Clinton administration, the WTC was first hit, the embassies in Africa were hit, and the USS Cole was hit. Bush has done far more combat terror than Clinton ever did. And remember, planning for 9/11 went back at least 5 years, so to put the blame solely on Bush is to be selectively blind.
Via The Command Post, the Israeli Foreign Ministry is putting out some "talking points" to keep in mind as the news media downplays the role Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin had in the terrorism in Israel. One of them is similar to what I said before about him being a "spiritual" leader to terrorists.
Trying to characterize Yassin as a "spiritual leader" is similar to trying to characterize Osama bin Laden in the same vein. Yassin took advantage of his status as a spiritual leader to influence the carrying out of hundreds of murderous attacks, from the Dolphinarium attack in Tel Aviv in 2001 to the Passover eve attack in Netanya in 2002. He personally was responsible for the June 2002 attack on the Number 19 bus in Jerusalem at the Patt Junction, in which 19 people were murdered and 74 wounded.
Remember, Hamas considers that being "spiritual".
Good News Watch:
Students in the largest urban public-school systems showed improvement in reading and math in the first year under the federal No Child Left Behind law, according to a coalition of inner-city schools.
Killing the spiritual head of the terrorist Hamas organization, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, has got the Palestinians hopping mad.
The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a militant group connected to PA Chairman Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction, declared war on Israelis in response to the assassination. "War, war, war on the sons of Zion. An eye for an eye. There will be a response within hours, God willing," the group said in a statement.
Of course, in the Palestinian militant way of thinking, one military target is worth a dozen or so women and children, and somehow those seem equivalent to them.
(And doesn't having a "spiritual" head of a terrorist organization smack of oxymoron?)
In response to the 60 Minutes special covering Richard Clarke's accusations that the Bush administration was "tepid" in its reaction to the al Qaeda threat, Condoleezza Rice sets the record straight in an op-ed today.
The president wanted more than a laundry list of ideas simply to contain al Qaeda or "roll back" the threat. Once in office, we quickly began crafting a comprehensive new strategy to "eliminate" the al Qaeda network. The president wanted more than occasional, retaliatory cruise missile strikes. He told me he was "tired of swatting flies."
Doesn't sound "tepid" to me. Tepid is when you bomb an aspirin factory as your sum total response.
Saturday, March 20, 2004
Predictions about the war, then and now: Mark Steyn points out that, while his predictions were not 100% right, the predictions from the anti-war crowd were nearly 100% wrong. Dean Esmay opines:
I wish those who opposed the war would have the necessary humility and sense of introspection to admit that most of their predictions were wrong, that Iraq is going better than most had reason to expect militarily or otherwise, and that our actions there amount to one of the greatest, most positive, most humanitarian and liberal/progressive actions of the last 100 years of world history.
Mr. Esmay, hold not thy breath. Thing is, most won't even know they're wrong, if all they're listening to is the mainstream media.
(Link via Dean via Mossback's Progress.)
Friday, March 19, 2004
On the radio this morning, the host was asking callers what grade they would give the war in Iraq. As I thought about it, I'd give it a B+. Here's my reasoning:
Given all of this, I give the war in Iraq a B+.
Heads up to a new guy on the blogroll, Clayton Cramer. He has a good set of observations on the issue about gays being discriminated against when giving blood (and he blogrolled me because he liked my take on it, which only proves he's intelligent >grin<). Keep an eye on this guy, he's interesting.
Thursday, March 18, 2004
Well this is heartening:
MADRID (Reuters) - Several thousand protesters have taken to the streets of Madrid to back outgoing Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar and accuse the Socialists of exploiting the train bombings to win power.
Obviously the whole country didn't vote for the Socialists, but there was enough of a crowd wishing to appease the terrorists that gave them the win. I hope this vocal group will continue to be vocal, keeping the pressure on the new government, and steal the victory the terrorists may have won. The Socialists won their victory fair and square, but there's no reason to let the terrorists keep theirs.
More stifling of dissent.
A U.S. district court ruled two employees of Oakland can go forward in their case against city supervisors after they were barred from advertising an informal group that respects "the natural family, marriage and family values."
Where's all this highly-touted "tolerance" liberals keep talking about? Once again, it's a double-standard; you have to tolerate the promotion and normalization of homosexuality, but all contrary views will not be...tolerated.
Fill in the blank:
MONMOUTH, Ore. (AP) - Two student legislators at Western Oregon University have launched a drive to ban Red Cross blood drives on campus, claiming the donor screening process discriminates against _____
If you said "people who have returned from a country with a high incidence of malaria", you'd be wrong. Although they are discriminated against, that's not what the drive is about. This is the nation's blood supply we're talking about, and a few hurt feelings are nothing compared to the potential damage an infected blood supply would mean. So discrimination is good in this case; it is demonstrably for a far greater good.
There are a bunch of reasons that the Red Cross, following FDA regulations, would turn you down when giving blood, and they could all be considered reasonable discrimination. What if you had AIDS or were at a higher risk of getting it based on your behavior? Well yes, that's your clue to the missing word. It's "gays".
The two students are particularly upset about a donor question that reads: "Are you a male who has had sex with another male since 1977, even once?"
No, Ms. Bates, that's not what anyone's saying, and if you wish to continue on in politics I would suggest that you reconsider knee-jerk reactions anytime homosexuality comes up. It is not true that the Red Cross doesn't care about you. If gays need blood, they can get it; there is no lack of compassion there. On the other hand, the Red Cross does care about those who get the blood, and preventing the accidental spread of AIDS is far, far more of a concern than your hurt feelings for those who that screen process excludes.
If the resolution passes with a two-thirds majority vote of the senate's 14 members, no student-funded organization would be allowed to sponsor a blood drive. Current blood drives on campus, though, get their funding from the university's health services department.
Wave "bye-bye" to the baby and the bathwater, if that passes. Hypersensitivity about gays trumps lifesaving? At least not everyone on campus believes that.
Student Molly Underwood said that matters of public health supersede those of discrimination.
Molly, perhaps you need to run for student government. Sound like you have a good head on your shoulders.
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
BAGHDAD — A huge blast ripped through a portion of central Baghdad Wednesday, destroying a downtown hotel and killing as many as 10 people.
I guess at the next election, Iraqis should vote in Ba'athists and kick out the US, eh Spain? I don't mean to belabor the point, but I really do believe that if you take what Spain did and apply it elsewhere, it become more clear that what happened there did, in fact, embolden terrorism.
Dean Esmay is taking the middle position that neither was Spain's action a slap in the face to Bush nor a big win for al Qaeda, but I beg to differ. He said, "one member of the largest military coalition since World War II has had a change of policy and plans to leave Iraq in a few months due to a disagreement over how Iraq should be managed", but that's not what happened. The ruling party, in agreement with how the war on terror was being prosecuted, had the election won but for a terrorist attack in Madrid. That event brought out the anti-Popular-Party vote, and the Socialists, who wanted to remove Spanish troops from Iraq, won. The turn in the tide wasn't over managerial issues in Iraq, it was over an issue of fear. If that's not a win for al Qaeda, what is?
I will agree with Dean that, while democracy may not move quickly, it can and does take corrective action when a mistake is made (although I'm still waiting for reform or elimination of a bunch of big government programs--read: mistakes--here in the U.S. that have been in place for a generation, but that's another story). In the meantime, however, terrorism appears to work on some countries, the EU is running scared, the French are even being threatened, and the bombs in Baghdad continue to go off. A Ba'athist victory at the poll, were there to be an election this weekend in Iraq, would make about as much sense as the Socialist win in Spain, and would be just as deadly for the rest of us.
On "Considerettes Radio", Kim Peterson yesterday had been all over the 'Spain capitulating to terrorists' story, as well as the new threats in France. I thought I'd point out (as I did here) that it's not just that terrorism has won the day in Spain, but that the victory essentially rearmed them, making them more of a danger to the rest of us.
"Considerettes Radio" on The Kim Peterson Show (WGST, Atlanta, GA) 3/16/2004 6:10pm EST (214K)
Does anyone else think this will be a colossal waste of time? The Washington Times' "Inside the Beltway" article for today includes this:
For the first time, the chairmen of the Democratic and Republican parties will engage in a formal debate: Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie will go head-to-head tomorrow night with Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe.
Never mind that McAuliffe lives in a dream land where the election of a Republican governor is supposedly a victory for Democrats, but aren't both of these guys, by definition, just professional cheerleaders? They aren't running for office, and I don't think they have much of an affect, if any, on policy, so what's the point here?
I'm all for a good healthy debate over issues whenever, by whomever. But this being the (extended) presidential election season, obviously this is intended to be viewed in this context, and these two fellows are apparently going to represent their respective candidates. Since neither convention has happened yet, you can't really have a Bush/Kerry debate just yet. But a McAuliffe/Gillespie debate has as much weight as a Carville/Matalin one (though I might enjoy the entertainment value of the latter more than the former). And really, how many people know right now who these guys are? Political junkies aside, extremely few. I have a feeling it'll be a night of hyperbole. I'm on Ed's side in the debate, to be sure, but neither he nor Terry have to back up anything they say with action, so it seems to me, as a presidential debate by proxy, that it'll be useless other than to, perhaps, get folks upset at both parties. We'll see.
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
So much for the "jobless" recovery:
Employers are more bullish on hiring than they've been since the beginning of the recession, Manpower Inc. says in a report being released Tuesday.
Thanks to SmarterCop for bring up this article. It's full of even more rosy job figures.
The emboldening of terrorists is being evidenced in France, just days after Spain capitulated.
Threats made by a Muslim group against France are linked to a controversial law that bans the wearing of headscarves in state schools, the newspaper that received the threatening letter said today.
And just so we're clear on this, France was not one of our allies in Iraq. The Socialist Party in Spain can blame Bush and Blair all they want, but when it comes down to it, terrorists will go after anybody, regardless of political posturing or how "nice" you've been to them.
This continues to put the lie to the idea that the 9/11 attacks could be blamed squarely on the U.S. France sticks up for Hussein in a war, but that's not enough to keep terrorism away; all it takes are headscarves. If there are bombs over this issue, will the "peace" activists claim that France needs to rethink their policies? When the European Commission president says that terrorism is "infinitely more powerful" now than a year ago, that's the sound of people running scared, and hence showing that terrorism works on them.
Has all of Europe been bombed into submission already? I hope not, but the jury is still out, and it's possible that they already have been. Two-bit dictators are no doubt taking note what it takes to get Europe to tow their line. Is this considered a means to ensure the safety of civilians? It doesn't look that way.
Steven Den Beste has his usual well thought-out and detailed look at the Spanish reaction to terror. Excerpting is futile, you must assimilate it.
Monday, March 15, 2004
What member of the Bush administration said this?
"The administration is making it clear that they don't believe that they even need the U.N. Security Council to sign off on a material breach because the finding of material breach was made by Mr. (Richard) Butler. So furthermore, I think the United States has always reserved the right and will reserve the right to act in its best interests. And clearly it is not just our best interests, it is in the best interests of the world to make it clear to Saddam Hussein that he's not going to get away with a breach of the '91 agreement that he's got to live up to, which is allowing inspections and dismantling his weapons and allowing us to know that he has dismantled his weapons. That's the price he pays for invading Kuwait and starting a war."
Sounds like Rumsfeld or Powell, or even Dubya himself. Well, it was a trick question. The answer is John Kerry. Now this was back in 1997 when, as it happens, there was a Democrat in the White House. Coincidence?
There are more quotes from the same interview here. You'd think it really was Bush speaking. What a difference an administration makes.
You'd think that Tim Robbins would want his peace activism to be taken seriously, and who knows, maybe this play he wrote was, in his mind, intended to do that. However, reviews from all across the political spectrum have been panning his play "Embedded".
The play portrays three groups of individuals: U.S. soldiers, embedded journalists, and a cabal of war managers in Washington (who wear funny masks) with giveaway names like Rum Rum, Dick, and Woof. A certain female rescued soldier is called "Private Ryan." Journalists sway to swing music while attending a military press conference and generally go along with the Pentagon line.
Rush Limbaugh once said that for satire to work, there has to be an element of truth in it. Looks like Mr. Robbins needs to learn that lesson. But first, he has to find out what the truth is, I imagine, rather than putting his stereotypes to paper and swing music.
The War on Terror's latest battleground was in Madrid, Spain, but it looks, unfortunately, like the Spanish want to run up the white flag already. What happened last Thursday was most certainly a tragedy, but if it was al Qaeda, and if it was in retaliation for Spain's help in Afghanistan and Iraq, then the ouster of the ruling party makes it look as though the Spanish have fallen for the European fantasy that if we don't anger the terrorists then they won't come after us.
The problem is, the more folks give in to the terror, the more of a threat terrorists pose. Their weapons are not bombs and planes; their weapon is terror itself. And now al Qaeda, and any other terrorist organization, knows that Spain is putty in their hands. Spain will be extremely reluctant to oppose them, and if they dare lift a finger to go after terrorists then a few well-placed bombs will bring them back in line. In casting their votes against a government that aided in the pursuit of the War on Terror, the Spanish have, quite literally, rearmed the terrorists. They have assured al Qaeda that terrorism in their country works to mollify them. In Spain, the terrorists have won, for the moment.
This is precisely what the result would be of the "peace" movement in the U.S. Terrorism thrives in an environment of people who will avoid conflict at any cost, and in the end the cost is paid in freedom. And the freedom lost is not just of those too afraid to respond, but of those under the control of those terrorists, those whom the "peace" activists did not consider worth rescuing. Ask Afghans or Iraqis whether or not they'd rather still be under the Taliban or the Ba'athists? The vast majority, now having freedom only dreamed of before, would certainly tell you they are glad to be more in control of their own lives. These people would still be ruled by fear or in mass graves had the "peace" movement had its way.
I hope it does not take another 9/11-sized disaster to wake up the Spanish. I hope that the election results were simply a result of the wounds being too fresh and the emotions still running high, and that someday they'll take up the fight again. If not, terrorism has won the battle for Spain.
UPDATE: Michele Catalano identifies some other folks who lost in the Spanish election:
Unfortunately, their votes spell certain doom for other countries, other innocent people. It's not hyperbole, it's not some form of right-wing histrionics to cry that the terrorists have won, because they certainly did. They want the Popular Party out and the party that would deal a blow to the Iraq war in. And they won
Essentially, everyone lost, not just those in Spain and in countries currently under the control of terrorist sympathizers. If it worked in Spain, it might work anywhere, and so anyone anywhere opposing terror could now be the victim of the new boldness (and thus rearming) of terrorists.
See also my essay "When Would the Terrorists Win?"
Friday, March 12, 2004
marcland provides a great point-counterpoint on the gay marriage legislation being proposed in Massachusetts. The problem is, the point and the counterpoint are in the same amendment. Take it away, marc...
Joseph Farah, highly conservative/libertarian head of WorldNetDaily, defending MoveOn.org, highly partisan liberal organization. It's happening. As Instapundit would quip, "cats and dogs living together".
Wouldn't it be great if MoveOn would join forces with Farah and company to repeal this bad bit of liberal legislation called campaign finance "reform"? Think MoveOn could put down their partisan hatred for just a bit to do what's best for everyone? Really?
(Oh and please, it's liberal legislation even if McCain has an "R" designating his party affiliation. The man wouldn't rule out being Kerry's VP nominee, for goodness sake.)
Thursday, March 11, 2004
The new blog "Oh, That Liberal Media" is getting results! As I mentioned earlier, one of the many writers on that blog poked the Los Angeles Times about missing a story similar to one they'd covered about a conservative Supreme Court justice. They hit Scalia, but ignored a similar issue dealing with Ginsburg. When Patterico let them know about it, they looked into it and indeed reported it. (See here for the initial post, and here for the follow-up.)
It's good to know that the media can be taught, but I thought the big media was supposed to be much better at news than a Matt Drudge or a blogger. Not necessarily.
Welcome to the blogroll, folks.
Today is Spain's 9/11 equivalent (what some are calling 11-M, for 11th of March). With over 190 dead and over 1200 wounded, Spain is paying a price for being on the right side of the war on terror. It's not always easy to do the right thing, and I dearly hope this doesn't erode their resolve.
From the NY Times report:
The five-page e-mail claim, signed by the shadowy Brigade of Abu Hafs al-Masri, was received at the paper's London offices. It said the brigade's `death squad" had penetrated "one of the pillars of the crusade alliance, Spain."
Apparently al Qaeda hasn't been reading the American media or listening to American Democrats or French Presidents. Don't they know by now that this was a unilateral war? (This is assuming, of course, a very large definition of the word "unilateral", i.e. "less that 70 other countries".)
What's apparent is that al Qaeda, at least, knows that we were far from the only country gunning for them. It's a shame that Spain has had to pay such a high price for their stand against evil, but please continue to guard the gates of freedom with us, Spaniards. We're glad to have you at our side.
Two radio entries in two days! The Kimmer must be getting tired of me. >grin< (Well, he did leave me on hold a while.)
I commented on an earlier post I made about the folks who want to slap an "R" rating on any movie with smoking in it (including movies like "101 Dalmatians"...that darn Cruella). Kim Peterson had talked earlier about Rush Limbaugh's prediction coming true, that after folks finished suing tobacco companies for forcing them to smoke, they'd go after food companies for forcing them to eat fatty foods, so my comments dovetailed with that as well.
"Considerettes Radio" on The Kim Peterson Show (WGST, Atlanta, GA) 3/10/2004 6:15pm EST (134K)
That was then:
"Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice?" -- George Washington's farewell address
This is now
A copy of the Ten Commandments hanging in a North Carolina courtroom has been covered up after the attorneys for an admitted killer on trial claimed the Sixth Commandment, "Thou shalt not kill," might sway jurors against their client.
From a sense of morals comes a sense of justice and law. And the oath taken when someone testifies in court ends with "so help me God", giving a nod to where that morality came from. (George Washington certainly understood that. Those four words are from him, added on his own when he took the oath of office as President.)
But even with all the breaking with the precedents of history aside, this ruling has even farther-reaching potential. Shall we now only have atheists on juries? Are people with any sense of right and wrong now prohibited because they might have a predisposition to think murder isn't such a good idea? Clearly, if simply reading a plaque on the wall is enough to predispose someone to pronounce guilt on a defendant, then any thoughts of transcendant good and evil goes far beyond that. And don't even most atheists think that murder is wrong even if there wasn't a law against it?
This wasn't even a religious issue, as best I can tell from the news article. It was simply the thought that considering murder as wrong was not an idea worth hanging on the wall in a courtroom. This is not a precedent I think needs to be set. Do we really want folks who can't tell right from wrong declaring innocence and guilt?
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
In another "Considerettes Radio" entry, I reply to a previous caller to the Kim Peterson show who suggested that, since Halliburton was doing something he disagreed with in Iraq, it should reflect badly on Bush and Cheney. One has to wonder if Halliburton did something good, would this guy then change his vote for Bush? (Hold not thy breath.) And of course they have been doing a lot of things we can all get behind, as the Kimmer points out,
In this clip, the original call is first, and, after a pause, my call.
"Considerettes Radio" on The Kim Peterson Show (WGST, Atlanta, GA) 3/9/2004 6:00pm EST (290K)
"This movie is rated R for gratuitous smoking." While sexual innuendo finds its way into Dr. Seuss, some folks are really trying to give smoking an "R" rating. Puhleeze.
Movie ads from the future: "This movie rated C for conservative ideas. Viewer discretion strongly advised."
The footage of Bigfoot was a staged with a man in a gorilla suit? Gee, next they'll tell me that Bill Clinton's middle class tax cut was a hoax.
Monday, March 08, 2004
Looks like one my favorite blogs, Junkyard Blog, is going on hiatus for a while. His is a blog stressing quality over quantity, and I've really enjoyed his in-depth looks at certain issues. (The fact that he's linked to me on a number of occasions has nothing to do with my opinion of his blog, though as a person I have the highest regard for him. >grin<) But, everyone needs a vacation now and then, even from hobbies. Here's hoping his blog entry title "I'm Done" really just means "...for a little while".
Finally, with the answer to "What liberal media?", a brand new blog with the wonderful name "Oh, That Liberal Media". (As noted by Instapundit)
He's already breaking big stories in the Los Angeles Times. Well, we've yet to see if the Times considers it worth reporting.
Friday, March 05, 2004
We return with another "Considerettes Radio" entry, this one dealing with the kerfuffle over 9/11 imagery in the recent Bush political ads. I talked with Kim Peterson about the report on Right Wing News (which I mentioned by name, you're welcome John >grin<) that 5 of the 6 folks in an AP report on outrage over the imagery had an axe to grind with Bush, and two of which actually campaigned for Kerry. I added that I'd heard on the WGST morning show with Tom Hughes (whom Peterson refers to as "The King" and plays a trumpet fanfare whenever his name (or title) is mentioned--you'll hear it) that a member of the Firefighters' Union called to say that, Jeff Zack's and Harold Schaitberger's protestations notwithstanding, the union itself has used 9/11 imagery in it's materials.
"Considerettes Radio" on The Kim Peterson Show (WGST, Atlanta, GA) 3/5/2004 6:17pm EST (272K)
James Taranto, of OpinionJournal's Best of the Web Today, has speculated in his column of something he calls "The Roe Effect". In short, his prediction is that the country is becoming more conservative because liberals are more likely to have abortions, and generally children follow in their parents' ideology. Thus there are fewer liberals being born and thus fewer liberal voters now than there would have been. It's just "conjectural in nature", as Taranto says, but he's posted some interesting data that may back him up, comparing state abortion rates with how those states voted in the 2000 election. The results are very surprising. He explains the data, and has some more graphs showing the correlation better, in his column today.
When John Kerry said that Bush "misled" him, what he meant was that Bush did what he said he would do, and Kerry didn't think he would. Don't believe me? Read it from the reporter who heard Kerry say exactly that.
Looks like, for all their talk about wanting an amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage in Georgia, Democrats are being two-faced. Face #1:
State Rep. Jeanette Jamieson (D-Toccoa) introduced a proposal to ban gay marriage, accusing Republicans of authoring legally flawed legislation that would fail court scrutiny.
They say they want it. Now face #2:
Jamieson's proposal, House Resolution 1470, would delete a key provision of the Republican plan, Senate Resolution 595. The provision, "Section B," stipulates that Georgia cannot recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states and stipulates that no gay marriage "shall be recognized by this state as entitled to the benefits of marriage."
Instead, what they really want is a version that will allow for civil unions (marriage in all but name). And getting married would simply require a trip across the border to get married elsewhere before returning to Georgia. If they can't have their way, the people don't get a say in the matter.
Tying this up and perhaps leaving such an amendment for next year also gives time for judges to work their magic as well. The Democrats are certainly fearful of the ballot box.
Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily has summed up my opposition to same-sex marriage very nicely. And it points out that this will open a Pandora's Box, which is acknowledged among some advocates.
On the one hand, when I interviewed Evan Gerstmann, author of "Same Sex Marriage and the Constitution" and perhaps the leading legal scholar promoting the idea, he conceded that we as a society would probably have to get used to the idea of threesomes, foursomes, etc. He acknowledged that it could be seen as "discrimination" if we deny anyone the right to marry the person of their choice. In the case of a man or woman who wanted to marry someone who was already married, that's just what we would be doing if we prohibited such unions.
Of course, there are those that say it won't; that this new line will be inviolate.
On the other hand, the president of the nation's largest homosexual group, Human Rights Campaign President Cheryl Jacques last week expressed moral disapproval of allowing three or more consenting adults who love each other to marry.
Now get this: Asked why the line won't be pushed any farther...
But Jacques was downright puritanical in her opposition to polygamy. And why?
More folks don't approve of same-sex marriage, but that's not stopping mayors and judges from forcing the issue. The double-standard on this issue is astounding.
Another example of judges out of control comes from an editorial in The Oregonian yesterday.
Four Multnomah County commissioners cloaked themselves in self-righteousness Wednesday, as they attempted to justify their secret conspiracy to launch gay weddings.
This new, more flagrant brand of judicial activism has to be stopped, even if you're the most solid of same-sex marriage advocates. This time it may be an issue you agree with, but next time something you disagree with could just as easily be forced on you, and then you'd pine for the days of the rule of law.
(Pointer via OutdoorsPro via One Hand Clapping.)
Thursday, March 04, 2004
Further examples of the slippery slope that same-sex marriage is forcing upon us are documented over at Junkyard Blog. If someone were to ridicule you for connecting gay marriage to loss of First Amendment rights, loss of religious rights, and significantly higher taxes, they'd be wrong. It's already happening. And Bryan says what I've been saying about the requirement for constitutional change:
We're left with one option that will stop the coup, and that's amending the Constitution in such a way that it keeps the courts from forcing gay marriage on the nation against popular sentiment. Such an amendment should leave open the possibility of allowing states to sanction gay marriage, for the simple reason that the people deserve to make that decision.
Although I'd have to disagree with him that some of this should be left to the states. The Full Faith & Credit bit in the Constitution makes this problematic. If one state sanctions gay marriage and another does not, you create a whole legal can of worms that I don't think any of us really appreciate at this point. Up until now, the definition of "marriage" wasn't an issue, and its inclusion in state laws regarding taxes, spousal confidence, and many other areas would create just as much legal havoc. If a crime by a married homosexual is committed in a state that doesn't sanction such marriages, can their spouse be called to testify? Every state would have to reconsider reams of laws that, until now, have been well defined. The cries of "separate but equal" we keep hearing these days comparing marriage to civil unions would just continue then, and then the pro-gay-marriage advocates would take their case to the top. Nothing but a federal constitutional amendment will stem this tide.
Democrats in Georgia are proposing their own same-sex marriage ban amendment. The article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution doesn't really explain the differences in the bills, only that the sponsor, Rep. Jeanette Jamieson (D-Toccoa) "represents a conservative area of east Georgia, and said she doesn't support same-sex marriage. But the lawmaker said she opposed the Republican measure because of 'convoluted' language that would have left the measure tied up in federal court."
Later on in the article, though, some things come to light.
Without the support of at least one-quarter of the 71 Republicans in the 180-member House, the Jamieson resolution would have no chance of obtaining the two-thirds approval necessary.
So the bill would allow Democrats to point fingers; political posturing instead of acting on principle. And, once again, they don't really understand the issue, or don't really want to address it. If the courts are usurping law by finding words in the Constitution that aren't there, then, in order to prevent this, the Constitution must be changed.
Added a new site to the blogroll. Scott's Space has some very good writing, including some very honest thoughts.
When Walter wrote about gay marriage I was concerned. I feared that his libertarian position would result in an article that clashes with my opinion. I thought about just skipping it and playing dumb (I know, not to much of a stretch). But I'm glad I took the plunge.
Oh, and he liked my report on the Georgia Marriage Amendment rally. But that had nothing to do with my decision. >grin<
Wednesday, March 03, 2004
With regards to the proposed amendment to the Georgia Constitution banning same-sex marriages (SR 595), only 3 additional votes from the last time would put it on the November ballot to be voted on by the public. Getting those 3 votes may be a slow process, but it's happening.
The UN has finally come to a brilliant conclusion. After decades, they've suddenly realized that the correlation between a country being rich and the amount of capitalism it embraces isn't just some odd fluke. Capitalism causes a rise in standard of living!
A United Nations Commission has endorsed entrepreneurship as a key to eradicating poverty in developing countries. Secretary-General Kofi Annan formed the commission last July to study how private sector potential might be unleashed to alleviate poverty.
It would have been ridiculed because the UN has been filled with liberal ideas that don't work on cue and haven't worked for decades. The equivalent of big government handouts doesn't rescue, it fosters dependence.
The report, written by a panel of internationally recognized leaders in business, development economics and government from both the industrialized and developing world, says countries mired in poverty are almost always victims of their own bad domestic policies.
...or of the UN's bad economic policies. Oh, and those "bad domestic policies" typically are socialism and communism. Capitalism, the UN is finally figuring out, injects incentive into the mix. They should have figured that out with the fall of incentive-less communism, but better late than never, I suppose.
In unveiling the report, Prime Minister Martin called it an example of fresh thinking on ridding the world of poverty. "Make no mistake, this is a new pillar of development. Unleashing local private enterprise supported by strong indigenous domestic and democratic institutions," he said.
Fresh thinking? They've taken Reaganomics, repackaged it, and now want to take credit for it. Make no mistake, this is a good thing, but please don't think that the UN invented entrepreneurship. Reagan didn't either, but he did what he could to promote it, while Democrats wanted to tax and regulate it to death.
Former Mexican President Zedillo, an economist who is currently director of the Center on Globalization at Yale University, says unless entrepreneurship is allowed to blossom, progress in alleviating poverty will be impossible, even when all other ingredients for economic growth are in place. "In many developing countries, the private sector fails to rise to its potential in creating wealth and defeat[ing] poverty because property rights aren't truly protected, and government regulation of businesses is excessive and of bad quality," he said.
Less regulation, more independence, boosting the private sector...sounds like a conservative manifesto to me. I could quote paragraph after paragraph from this, but I'll leave you with this one more, and you really should read the whole thing.
The panel's conclusions are certain to be controversial. They sparked a barrage of questions from skeptical journalists, many of whom openly disagreed with the findings.
Journalists against conservative ideas? Color me surprised. Or not. Journalists skeptical of the findings of economists and industrialists? First of all, one wonders how many of those journalists had economics double-majors in college. Second of all, said journalists, who should be skeptical as part of their job description, would probably just parrot back the findings to their consumers if they consisted of further liberal policies. What liberal media? That one.
Tuesday, March 02, 2004
The special report "Georgia Marriage Amendment Rally" is now available.
I went downtown to the Georgia State Capitol today to watch the event in support of the bill to codify into the state Constitution the definition of marriage to be between a man and a woman. SR 595 didn't pass the state House but did pass the Senate. The vote today was in the House to reconsider the bill and send it back to committee. The rally was planned by those in favor of its ultimate passage, but there was also a counter-demonstration. I brought my trusty Olympus E-10 digital camera along and played photojournalist for a day. (You can click on most of the images to get a larger version of the picture.) There was reasonable protest from both sides, and unreasonable as well. My intention was to show (or at least relate) both types from both sides even though, if you've read anything at all that I've written, you'd have a safe bet guessing that I was in favor of the amendment.
(UPDATE: Thanks to Junkyard Blog, Marcland, and Scott's Space for the good reviews.)
What liberal media? A great post by Tim Blair notes that, to the media, a 5.6% unemployment rate under Clinton is "low" while under Bush it's "high".
Monday, March 01, 2004
I went downtown to the Georgia State Capitol today to watch the event in support of the bill to codify into the state Constitution the definition of marriage to be between a man and a woman. SR 595 didn't pass the state House but did pass the Senate. The vote today was in the House to reconsider the bill and send it back to committee. Stay tuned for a special "Considerettes" report, complete with pictures.