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Thursday, March 31, 2005

Spring Break means a break from the blog as well. Starting tomorrow through April 10th, this space will be rather quiet. Enjoy the weather, and see you then!

Brian Maloney notes the deflation of Air America:
Air America now lists 51 mostly tiny affiliates, which is not very impressive after a full year of media attention, industry affection and trade publication hype. Many smaller conservative radio networks can boast twice that number and still not be taken very seriously by radio professionals.

There are dozens of syndicated talk program providers for conservative programming, sports and specialty shows. Many hundreds are available for stations to take and you never read about them in newspapers. Yet lots of them are carried on more stations than Air America.

Brian then gives us the hard numbers.
And it isn't too new to measure, especially not in New York City, where WLIB's just-released numbers show, in the broadest audience measurement of adults 12+, that Air America's flagship station has declined to a tiny 1.1 share of the audience. There's a full year of data to look at now and the picture isn't pretty for lib talk.

This is below where the station stood a year ago with its previous Caribbean specialty format and a drop from a 1.2 share last month. In the Fall 2004 Arbitron survey, WLIB had a 1.4 share of the radio listening audience, so it is safe to say it's actually shrinking in popularity.

Liberal talk radio is less popular than Caribbean music. But money just keeps getting pumped into it from liberal big money interests to keep it afloat. If it had to survive on its own, it probably wouldn't still be around.

Here's some other numbers from around the country.
New ratings, just released, show that in Boston, Air America outlet WKOX shows no growth from last month with a tiny 0.6 share of the audience. Its simulcast partner is a no-show.

In San Diego, the much-hyped liberal talk station KLSD continues its ratings collapse, from a 2.3 to a 1.9 to a 1.6 audience share in brand new figures.

In Philadelphia, Air America affiliate WHAT-AM drops from a tiny 0.8 to a miniscule 0.6 overall audience share.

In Detroit, lib talker WTDW-AM is a no-show again. Even Canadian talk radio (Ontario's CKLW-AM) is doing better than Air America in Detroit!

March 31 update: Air America in deep trouble in San Francisco: a flat 1.0 share, tied for 25th place overall, no audience gain from last month and a small fraction of the audience KQKE's predecessor had on the same frequency, playing adult standards.

In Washington, DC: liberal outlet WWRC is not present in the latest figures with any measurable audience.

This data overall paints a very bleak picture of liberal talk radio's future. There wasn't one sign of growth, not a fraction of ratings point in any city and many were down from already anemic levels. It's time to start confronting the liberal talk radio hype machine head-on with the facts. I can't wait to see what their excuses are this time for this miserable performance.

All hype, little results.

This just in...
Harried commuters, file this bombshell away to stun your neighbors: Metro Atlanta's counties have some of the worst commuting times among the nation's major metropolitan areas.

Locally, Gwinnett County leads the pack, with an average one-way commute of nearly 31 minutes, tying with Riverside County, Calif., and Cook County, Ill. Gwinnett ranks 18th out of 233 counties listed.

Read the figures, compiled in 2003 and released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau, and weep. Or perhaps you'd feel better pounding the steering wheel.

According to the bureau's yearly American Community Survey, Americans spend more than 100 hours commuting each year. That's at least 20 hours longer than the average 80 hours of vacation that most working stiffs take annually, the bureau noted.

The survey looked at commuting times in every state, plus every city and county with 250,000 or more residents.

I live this statistic, and yes, it's certainly not news. But perhaps it give me a sick sort of bragging rights.

"Stroll Down Memory Lane" Department - Ted Koppel is leaving Nightline.
NEW YORK - Ted Koppel, who has anchored ABC News' "Nightline" since its inception a quarter-century ago, said Thursday he will leave the network when contract expires at the end of the year.

The precursor to Nightline was the nightly summary of the Iranian embassy hostage situation that occurred during the Carter administration, and Frank Reynolds would host it. "The Iran Crisis: America Held Hostage: Day 187", and each day the number went up and up. When it started, I had just started college, and when I came home on Christmas break, my Dad and I would watch it every night. Five months later, Ted Koppel became the regular anchor and the show was renamed Nightline. I watched it a bit as it got going, but as the reports about the hostage crisis took a back seat, I lost interest in staying up that late.

Anyway, that goes way back, and it's interesting to see it changing. (And interesting to note that he stayed the anchor for so long.)

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Another action by folks at the UN that suggest a cover-up.
KOFI ANNAN faced growing pressure to stand down as UN Secretary-General yesterday when an independent inquiry into the Iraq Oil-for-Food scandal found that UN documents were shredded in a possible cover-up.

The investigation found that Iqbal Riza, Mr Annan’s chief of staff, ordered the shredding the day after the Security Council approved the inquiry last April, and the shredding continued until the week of December 7.

The documents covered the crucial period from 1997 to 1999, when the Swiss company that employed Mr Annan’s son, Kojo, as a consultant was awarded a lucrative UN border-inspection contract in Iraq.

Ten days before the shredding, Mr Riza had sent the heads of nine UN-related agencies a directive asking them to “take all necessary steps to collect, preserve and secure all files, records and documents . . . relating to the Oil-for-Food programme”.

Paul Volcker, who led the inquiry, said: “Whether that material contained any evidence that we did not otherwise get from UN files more generally is, of course, not known.”

And it may be the only reason we can't say for sure Kofi Annan was involved. We simply cannot trust this guy. There's way too much surrounding him to allow him to claim complete innocence. If he comes out of this unscathed, we owe Ken Lay an apology.

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) - The Dutch government, the first to legalize euthanasia for some terminally ill people, will tackle an even thornier ethical dilemma: what to do when doctors say it is best to end the lives of infants, the mentally handicapped or the demented.

Euthanasia opponents view the idea with horror, but The Royal Dutch Medical Association believes guidelines and a panel of experts should be created to vet such cases.

Health Secretary Clemence Ross, who has opposed expanding the current euthanasia rules, will send an opinion to Parliament in three or four weeks, said her spokesman, Richard Lancee.

If Ross approves, doctors acting with the families' permission would not be punished for administering lethal sedatives to "people with no free will," in cases that pass review.

Under current law, euthanasia is restricted to terminal patients suffering unbearable pain with no hope of improvement, and who request to die when they are of sound mind. Each case is reviewed by a panel of medical experts.

The new proposal calls for a similar panel for patients who cannot express themselves, with the addition of a judge or court official, giving a legal veneer to a practice that technically would remain illegal.

For advocates, the issue is one of transparency: Past studies have shown that doctors already carry out a handful of such euthanasia cases each year.

In the best known example, the Groningen Medical Center announced last year it euthanized four severely ill newborns in 2004, under guidelines known as "the Groningen Protocol" - a list of standards for performing and reporting euthanasia of newborns with serious, incurable deformities.

Examples include extremely premature births, where children suffer brain damage from bleeding and convulsions, and diseases where a child could only survive on life support for the rest of its life, such as severe cases of spina bifida.

Euthanasia opponents say formalizing such practice would be another step in the Netherlands' slide down an ethical slope. Bert P. Dorenbos, director of Cry for Life, said the move would be a preliminary step to legalizing involuntary euthanasia.

"This is the most important moment, when we can still fight it," he said.

Each step seems reasonable, until you look back and see how far you've really gone down the slope. "We've already gone this far, nothing wrong with going just a little farther. But we'd never go farther." And yet, we do.

A potential First Amendment issue:
The Secret Service is investigating the claims of three people who say they were removed from President Bush's town hall meeting on Social Security last week because of a bumper sticker on their car that read: "No More Blood for Oil."

The three said they had obtained tickets to the event through the office of Rep. Bob Beauprez, R-Colo., had passed through security and were preparing to take their seats when they were approached by what they thought was a Secret Service agent who asked them to leave.

Alex Young, 25, who was among the three removed, said officials told them the next day they were identified as belonging to the "No Blood for Oil" group.

Lon Garner, the agent in charge of the Secret Service office in Denver, said the Secret Service had nothing to do with the three being asked to leave. Garner declined to release further details, citing an ongoing investigation.

"We are very sensitive to the First Amendment and general assembly rights as protected by the Constitution," Garner said.

Brad Woodhouse, a spokesman for Americans United, called the removal of the three people an egregious violation of their First Amendment rights.

"They're screening the people who are allowed to come and then they're profiling them in the parking lot," he said. "It's quite extraordinary, and disappointing."

If they were "disinvited" because of their views, I'd have to agree that their removal was wrong, if there were no other reasons to suspect a security problem.

They may have been simply foolish. Think about it: If the war was all about oil, why are we paying $2+ a gallon for it now? And do you think the Iraqi people, who will be able to start reaping the benefits of the oil profits in their country, are glad to have the control of it taken away from Hussein? Is blood for security or freedom worth it? Why no bumper stickers that say, "No Blood for Liberation"? I'm glad these folks weren't in America in the late 1700s.

Security risk? Probably not. Foolish? Oh, you bet.

Somebody keep George Felos, Michael Schiavo's attorney, away from Rome.
VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope John Paul II is getting nutrition from a tube in his nose, the Vatican said Wednesday, shortly after the frail pontiff appeared at his window in St. Peter's Square and managed only a rasp when he tried to speak.

Today's Odd "Considerettes" Search Phrase (they're coming in fast and furious lately) - where can i find flatbed trucks in Ga. [#5 in MSN Search]

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Today's Even Odder "Considerettes" Search Phrase - turkeys swallowing humans whole. [#44 on Google]

Today's Odd "Considerettes" Search Phrase - do not disturb signs for napping. [#3 on Yahoo! Search]

Read this:
Kofi Annan, the beleaguered United Nations secretary general, is expected to sacrifice his son's reputation today as he fights to save his own position after a damaging report into a family conflict of interest.

Now make Saddam Hussein the subject, change the dateline to a few years ago, and see how it reads. Sounds like it could've been true, eh?

What a guy. It continues.
The long-awaited report by the commission set up to investigate the scandal-hit oil-for-food programme for Iraq, will criticise the UN leader for a series of management failings.

Such as?
The Wall Street Journal said the report would say that Kojo Annan received nearly $400,000 from Cotecna, more than twice the money previously acknowledged.

It will also focus on four previously undisclosed meetings between Mr Annan and Cotecna starting in 1992, five years before he became secretary general.

Mr Annan has denied any impropriety but his many critics in Washington say that, by failing to disclose the meetings before, he has given the impression of a cover-up.

Liberals in Washington have had less to go on to accuse Cheney & Haliburton with "impropriety" in the past. Let's see how fast they are to connect the dots here.

Liberal Media Alert:
Republican Right-wingers in Congress who are baying for his blood will seize on the report to press home their argument that he is too discredited to keep his job.

"Right-wingers" is capitalized, fer goodness sake! Loaded language combined with what amounts to an official title of "Right-winger", with a dash of colorful, violent metaphor. That's what passes for "objectivity" at the London Telegraph, apparently.

And how far is Kofi going to run from his son?
Mr Annan has said that he was "disappointed and surprised" when he learned that Kojo continued to be paid by Cotecna after 1998 when the firm was awarded a contract to monitor the oil-for-food programme.

But in his response to the report he is expected to go much further in distancing himself from his son. UN officials are privately briefing that he has never had a close relationship with his son and that he is exasperated by his behaviour.

Sound like a conveniently timed family issue. It could actually be the first time he's wanted to mention this in public, but add that to the first time he's wanted to mention those meetings in public and either there's a lot of stuff coming out all of a sudden, creating an impression of impropriety, or it's actual evidence of it. Given his track record, it could very well be evidence.

And speaking of track records, just as a reminder...
The UN is on the back foot over a range of issues, including a sex scandal in its peacekeeping operation in the Congo, and the first Volcker report last month that savaged the record of Benon Sevan, the former head of the oil-for-food programme.

It has since emerged that up to the publication of the first Volker report the funds for Mr Sevan's legal defence came from the remains of the oil-for-food project.

How are we to believe anything coming from the UN?

Surprise, surprise; colleges and universities, allegedly bastions of "tolerance" and "diversity", don't tolerate intellectual diversity all that well.
College faculties, long assumed to be a liberal bastion, lean further to the left than even the most conspiratorial conservatives might have imagined, a new study says.

By their own description, 72 percent of those teaching at American universities and colleges are liberal and 15 percent are conservative, says the study being published this week. The imbalance is almost as striking in partisan terms, with 50 percent of the faculty members surveyed identifying themselves as Democrats and 11 percent as Republicans.

The disparity is even more pronounced at the most elite schools, where, according to the study, 87 percent of faculty are liberal and 13 percent are conservative.

"What's most striking is how few conservatives there are in any field," said Robert Lichter, a professor at George Mason University and a co-author of the study. "There was no field we studied in which there were more conservatives than liberals or more Republicans than Democrats. It's a very homogenous environment, not just in the places you'd expect to be dominated by liberals."

Seems that this huge disparity should prompt some action. Or not.
Rothman sees the findings as evidence of "possible discrimination" against conservatives in hiring and promotion. Even after factoring in levels of achievement, as measured by published work and organization memberships, "the most likely conclusion" is that "being conservative counts against you," he said. "It doesn't surprise me, because I've observed it happening." The study, however, describes this finding as "preliminary."

If this disparity were as big in the gender category, then you'd see some quick action. Or not.
On the gender front, 72 percent of the full-time faculty are male and 28 percent female.

And how do these liberals see themselves?
In contrast with the finding that nearly three-quarters of college faculty are liberal, a Harris Poll of the general public last year found that 33 percent describe themselves as conservative and 18 percent as liberal.

Most likely, they consider themselves "independent", which is to say that they're tone-deaf to their own biases. These birds of a feather think they're the only flock in town.
"In general," says Lichter, who also heads the nonprofit Center for Media and Public Affairs, "even broad-minded people gravitate toward other people like themselves. That's why you need diversity, not just of race and gender but also, maybe especially, of ideas and perspective."

Hopefully, some of those liberals are listening, but hold not thy breath.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Georgia Same-Sex Marriage Amendment Update: A ruling from the State Supreme Court seems imminent.
The state Supreme Court has refused to let lawmakers go to court to defend Georgia's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage _ potentially signaling that a decision in the case challenging it is near.

The court on Friday declined to consider an appeal by former state Sen. Mike Crotts and other lawmakers who wanted to argue in favor of the ban, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman and curbs the legal recognition of same-sex civil unions.

In January, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Constance Russell said she would rule in the case against the state soon after that issue was settled.

"Both sides have presented all their information for her, and we are hopeful that she will issue her ruling very soon," said Jack Senterfitt, attorney for Lambda Legal Defense, a pro-gay rights group.

Senterfitt said he expects a ruling in the next 10 days.

"Striking a Deceased Equine" Department: Dean Esmay notes that the Plame affair has essentially flamed out. As much as the Left and the MSM tried to make this a news story, it's finally come to the point that even the MSM had to admit that a crime was probably not committed. And they only got to that point because they were getting pressure to reveal sources. Without that, it might still be "big news".

Oh fer goodness sake.
A company has developed a product called the ‘Fox Blocker,’ which clips in-line to your cable television service and supposedly filters out just the FOX News network. If you order the $9 unit, the for-profit company promises to send your name in an email to FOX’s advertisers in a show of hatred for the conservative news network.

Conservatives have been watching liberal bias in the news for decades without needing a hardware filter to protect their opinions from challenge. Why not a CBS blocker, instead, to filter out a network with a proven record of "myopic zeal"?

A Gizmodo reader wrote in to say that this device either won't work quite as promised or is an outright scam. Still, its website seems pretty serious about all this, especially being up in arms about conservative bias and linking to sites that believe that, while being tone-deaf to liberal bias.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

So much going on in the blogosphere today. If you've got a blog, do you ever wonder sometimes what you're going to write about, and yet at the same time there are other bloggers who are on their 7th post by noon? That's how I am today. There's the Terri Schiavo news. There's the mysterious memo that supposedly came from Republicans but has only been seen being distributed by Democrats. There's the FEC rulings that are being debated. There's the Minnesota school shooter.

Oh, and Britney Spears might be pregnant. Stop the ever-luvin' presses.

Anyway, I feel a bit of "blogger block" today. Actually, it happens more than occasionally here, and regular readers (both of you) can probably tell when it does. I just thought I'd turn a case of it into a actual blog post and see how it turned out (answer: rather self-indulgent, but with some useful links). Enjoy your day, and your weekend. To those of you celebrating it, Happy Easter (or as my pastor calls it, "Resurrection Sunday"...nice).

WorldNetDaily has a very long & detailed look at the whole Terri Schiavo story here. One of the topics I find interesting in it is the list of things that Michael Schiavo has not done for his wife:
Among the neglect and abuse complaints of the Schindlers is that Michael Schiavo:

  • Has not allowed therapy or rehabilitation since late 1992, despite medical records indicating Terri is responsive.
  • Has prevented swallowing tests or swallowing therapy since 1993, despite medical testimony Terri can be taught to eat.
  • Ordered caretakers not to clean Terri's teeth since 1995, resulting in removal of five teeth in April 2004.
  • Placed Terri in hospice in 2000, despite the fact she is not terminally ill.
  • Refuses to allow Terri to leave her room. She has not been outside since 2000.
  • Has refused to fix her wheelchair since 2000.
  • Refuses to allow Terri to practice her Catholic faith by attending weekly mass.
  • Ordered Terri's shades down at all times.
  • Ordered doctors not to treat Terri when she had a life threatening infection in 1993 and 1995.
  • Removes family pictures from Terri's room, denies flowers from family and friends, denies certain CDs to be played for Terri, and refuses to allow her to listen to music with headphones.
  • Refuses to release medical information to her parents since 1993, despite a court order requiring him to do so.
  • Has limited the visitors list, requiring they must first be approved by him and removes visitors at his own discretion. Schiavo removed the Schindlers from the visitors list a total of eight months between 2001 and 2004.
  • Denies all requests for Terri to attend nursing home functions and refuses to allow therapeutic animals to visit with her, knowing that she is an animal lover.

Say what you want about his rights, does this sound like a care-giver, somebody honestly interested in helping her at all? All the money he promised to devote to her therapy went instead to his legal battles to remove the feeding tube. I'd say he's abdicated his position.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

There's a discussion going on at about (among other things) judges who decide based on the law vs. those who decide based on personal preference (and craft new law while doing so). What I find very interesting here and elsewhere are all the left-of-center folks all so suddenly becoming concerned with the letter-of-the-law, when it was liberal judges who discovered a constitutional right to abortion and same-sex marriages. Yet now they're all for states' rights, keeping Congress out of state business, and have become strict constitutionalists in a similar manner to when Al Gore lost his shot at continuing a recount in Florida in 2000. All this wonderfully conservative rhetoric coming from them is only trotted out when it would serve their purposes, which only shows how empty that rhetoric is.

Now, I'll also admit that "small-government, reduce-spending" Republicans haven't been all that consistent either. And I'm not well versed on all the constitutional issues surrounding the emergency session they held on Terri Schiavo. However, in that case I don't think that this goes against conservative principles. Preserving & protecting the lives of its countrymen is a prime purpose of government, fully constitutional. Whether or not what they did was constitutional is a valid point of debate, but you can't argue that action in this case makes them all somehow "big-government" Republicans.

From the ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals here in Atlanta on the Terry Schiavo case:
In the end, and no matter how much we wish Mrs. Schiavo had never suffered such a horrible accident, we are a nation of laws, and if we are to continue to be so, the pre-existing and well-established federal law governing injunctions as well as Pub. L. No. 109-3 must be applied to her case. While the position of our dissenting colleague has emotional appeal, we as judges must decide this case on the law.

I heartily agree that the judges' actions must be governed by laws, not emotion. Let's hear the emotional dissent now.
I strongly dissent from the majority's decision to deny the request for an injunction pursuant to the All Writs Act and the request for a preliminary injunction. First, Plaintiffs have demonstrated their entitlement to a preliminary injunction. Second, the denial of Plaintiffs' request for an injunction frustrates Congress's intent, which is to maintain the status quo by keeping Theresa Schiavo alive until the federal courts have a new and adequate opportunity to consider the constitutional issues raised by Plaintiffs. The entire purpose for the statute was to give the federal courts an opportunity to consider the merits of Plaintiffs' constitutional claims with a fresh set of eyes. Denial of Plaintiffs' petition cuts sharply against that intent, which is evident to me from the language of the statute, as well as the swift and unprecedented manner of its enactment. Theresa Schiavo's death, which is imminent, effectively ends the litigation without a fair opportunity to fully consider the merits of Plaintiffs' constitutional claims.

We should, at minimum, grant Plaintiffs' All Writs Petition for emergency injunctive relief. First, I note that there is no precedent that prohibits our granting of this petition. Second, mindful of equitable principles, the extraordinary circumstances presented by this appeal require that we grant the petition to preserve federal jurisdiction and permit the opportunity to give Plaintiffs' claims the full and meaningful review they deserve.

Other than the word "strongly", what here is emotional? Noting that time is of the essence isn't emotional, it's practical. The judge here believe the Schiavos have met the legal requirements for a preliminary injunction, and he believes that the obvious intent of the congressional action is being frustrated for no good legal reason.

Yet he's called emotional. This is quite a microcosm of the Schiavo debate.

(The full decision is in PDF form here.)

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Why do Democrats complain about voter fraud, and then do everything in their power to increase it?
A bill proposed by Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., would enable anyone to register to vote on election day and cast a ballot without a photo ID, proof of citizenship or other personal identification.

Clinton calls the Count Every Vote Act of 2005 "critical to restoring America's faith in our voting system," but critics see it as an open door to fraud.

One provision would essentially allow you to vote in as many precincts as you could drive to in a day. Then it would be up to the precincts to deal with all the duplicates, and as we saw in Washington state where more votes were cast in a heavily Democratic district than there were eligible voters in that district, the odds are that some of those duplicates will be counted.

I think it ought to be renamed the "Vote Early And Often Act of 2005". Must be another preparation for her run for the presidency in 2008.

Ah ha! One of the things that Hugh Hewitt mentioned in my call to him yesterday was that he wanted to see the questions in that ABC News poll about what Americans thought about the Terri Schiavo case. Turns out, their questions were deceptive.
An ABC News poll reached the surprising conclusion that a majority of Americans think Terri Schiavo's feeding tube should remain out so she can be starved to death, but the question posed by the news network portrayed her as having "no consciousness" and being on "life support," rather than an awake, responsive patient with a feeding tube.

"Schiavo suffered brain damage and has been on life support for 15 years," the poll informed respondents. "Doctors say she has no consciousness and her condition is irreversible. Her husband and her parents disagree about whether she would have wanted to be kept alive. Florida courts have sided with the husband and her feeding tube was removed on Friday. What's your opinion on this case – do you support or oppose the decision to remove Schiavo's feeding tube?"

In response, reported ABC, "the public, by 63 percent-28 percent, supports the removal of Schiavo's feeding tube, and by a 25-point margin opposes a law mandating federal review of her case. Congress passed such legislation and President Bush signed it early today."

Is this another case of the MSM trying to make the news in their ideological image? It certainly sounds that way. It's pretty plain to anyone who's seen any video of here, even the small snippets, that she's not unconscious. Yet the "objective" folks at ABC News define someone who's awake but with limited responses as having "no consciousness" and someone being fed as being on "life support".

This is not an issue to be on the fence about, as Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds and Eugene Volokh seem to think is OK. I tend to agree with them on many issues, but I have to disagree with the idea that ignorance is somehow an excuse now. The Left has been misrepresenting Terri's situation, and now the MSM proves (yes, yet again) that they're firmly entrenched in liberal "values" to the point of dishonest polling to create "news". Yeah, the denizens of Daily Kos love this sort of "fake but accurate" polling, but that should tell you more about their intellectual honesty that it does about American opinions.

UPDATE: More media bias in this story has been uncovered by
[A] Reuters piece appearing in hundreds of newspapers and on news web sites Monday claimed Terri "will almost certainly never recover from her unconscious condition" and added that "neurologists agree."

The experts included a 10 year-old report on persistent vegetative cases and two doctors who have never seen Terri to evaluate her, but presumed she was in a PVS state and that she, like other PVS patients, has no chance to regain any normal cognitive functions.

The Reuters news story made no mention of the dozens of doctors who signed affidavits in favor of motions submitted by Terri Schiavo's parents to have Terri tested before she was starved to death.

The article also did not feature quotes from any doctors who disagree that Terri is in a PVS state -- such as Dr. William Hammesfahr, a Nobel Prize nominated neurologist who is an internationally recognized expert on cases of brain-injured patients.

"We, and others I know, have treated many patients worse than Terri and have seen them regain independence and dignity," Hammesfahr said earlier this month.

"There are many approaches that would help Terri Schiavo," Dr. Hammesfahr explained. "I know, because I had the opportunity to personally examine her, her medical records, and her X-rays."

The Reuters article also failed to mention that Michael has withheld appropriate medical care or rehabilitative treatment for Terri for years.

"From Los Angeles to Miami to New York, the press, for the most part has become Michael Schiavo's and George Felos' propaganda machine," Rojas concluded.

Somebody get these guys some editors.

[Welcome, Dean's World readers! Thanks for stopping by!]

Monday, March 21, 2005

I hadn't talked to Hugh Hewitt since last November, so I was due for a call. On today's "Considerettes Radio", I called his show to talk about the Terri Schiavo case, and the ABC News poll showing that most Americans supported the removal of her feeding tube and oppose federal intervention. Hugh noted that the more folks knew the details about the case (not brain dead, not on life support), and the more they knew about Michael Schiavo, the more they were inclined to support saving Terri. Let's hope the increased publicity turns the hearts and minds.

I also noted that Michael Schiavo had made this utterly ridiculous statement in an interview on "Nightline": "Terri will not be starved to death. Her nutrition and hydration will be taken away." Well, I guess it depends on your definition of the word "starve".

(I apologize for the quality of the recording. The audio stream came in rather overamplified, so the fuzziness you hear is the sound being clipped.)

"Considerettes Radio" on The Hugh Hewitt Show (WGKA, Atlanta, GA) 3/21/2005 6:35pm EST (269K)

It's almost like the second coming of Terry McAuliffe!
Keep it simple" is the key to the White House, failed Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean told members of his party from around the world last night.

One major reason his party lost the 2004 race to the "brain-dead" Republicans is that it has a "tendency to explain every issue in half an hour of detail," Dean told the semi-annual meeting of Democrats Abroad, which brought about 150 members from Canada and 30 other countries to the Toronto for two days.

The use of the term "brain-dead", while mean-spirited and over-the-top in general, is an especially poor choice of words while the Terry Schiavo case is on the front pages. This is why so many Republicans were hoping for Dean to be chosen to run the DNC; the more extreme he goes, the more the Democrat party is shown for what it is.

500,000 dead. Widespread anti-America protests throughout the Middle East. Taliban on the rebound. That was the Left then. Dan Riehl at Blogger News Network has a number of quotes from them on the Iraq war from 2 years ago. The big question is: Will they learn from their mistakes?

Hold not thy breath.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

From Groningen To Schiavo, Superhawk, editorializing at BNN, draws the map of the recent decline down the slippery slope.

Friday, March 18, 2005

From James Taranto comes a pointer to this article by Jill Porter, who really can't stand it when Christians do something heroic.
The story of Ashley Smith, the Atlanta hostage who soothed a rampaging killer into surrendering without further violence, is a riveting tale of grace and humanity.

Would that it had remained just that.

Instead, it's become a testimonial for an evangelical Christian book and an endorsement of the theology embraced in the book - and that leaves me feeling alienated from what should be an inspiring tale of human transcendence.

Transcending what we are as humans is precisely what the book in question, "The Purpose-Driven Life", and the Christian's spiritual walk in general is supposed to do. "Human transcendence" is an oxymoron akin to lifting oneself up by one's own bootstraps. In order to do better than we thought we could do, we need to trust God, and He lifts us up. Now, I'm not saying that an atheist might not have done something similar, though only because I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt. Without a hope and strength beyond our own humanity, it would be far more difficult.

But Ms. Porter would rather not know why Ashley Smith did what she did, or how she got the courage to do it. Yet that's one of the most important parts of the story. Why isn't knowing her source of strength, and the book she used to find it, not worth knowing about? What an odd way of looking at this.
Smith's composure in the face of life-threatening danger enabled her to persuade Brian Nichols to turn himself in after he allegedly murdered four people earlier in the day in Atlanta.

Where did she get that composure? What strength was she tapping in to?
Afterwards, she said that she'd read to Nichols from "The Purpose-Driven Life," a bestselling book that eschews the self-help ethos so prevalent in pop literature to say that salvation can only be found in God.

I imagine that if Ashley had read from "I'm OK, You're OK", Ms. Porter would be singing it's praises rather than demeaning it.
The author of the book, Rick Warren, pastor of a California church, praised Smith for her actions and said:

"Jesus sometimes calls us in some of the most difficult situations for him and the message he represented while on this Earth."

Suddenly, the near miracle that occurred in Smith's apartment because of her calm and compassion is infused with the rhetoric of Christian evangelism.

Ms. Porter simply cannot allow Ms. Smith to be who she is, and can't bear the thought that there might be something to this whole Jesus thing. She calls it a "near miracle", yet won't allow for who Ms. Smith considers the author of that miracle. If Ms. Smith's Christianity was the major cause of her calmness and composure, how can we not infuse Christian evangelism, especially since, for some of the time, that's precisely what Ashley was trying to do; evangelize Brian Nichols. It's part and parcel of the whole story.

This sounds eerily like the excising from history books of religious motivations on the part of great people in the past; Columbus, Washington, Lincoln, and on and on. Their motives must be obscured or ignored in order not to show what a positive force Christianity played in their lives. Ms. Porter is trying to rewrite history that's barely a week old. Why can't she just accept it the way it presents itself?
And suddenly, those of us who are wary of the increasing influence born-again Christians have on our political and cultural life feel a regrettable discomfort with this wonderful story.

It always winds up being political, doesn't it? In addition, she doesn't want to hear anything good that Christianity might have contributed to our culture. (Any bets on whether she considers herself "tolerant"?)
Perhaps Smith's saint-like serenity was based in her evangelical Christianity. Perhaps her courage was derived from the message in the book.

I'm in awe of her spiritual and emotional resources, whatever their source. And that she used them to spare Atlanta from any more carnage is remarkable.

But I know many profoundly religious people who could never have responded the way Smith did when Brian Nichols put a gun in her side and tied her up.

I also know a few completely irreligious people who might have disarmed Nichols through bravery, poise and calm.

So to summarize: Other people may have reacted differently, so we should ignore Ms. Smith's motivations and source of strength. How in the world does the latter follow from the former? Just because people are different and react differently to the same situation, this doesn't nullify Ashley's motives. This is a complete non-sequitur.
And the truth is that Nichols was receptive to his hostage's spiritual message, saying he thought Smith was "an angel sent from God," she later told reporters.

"And that I was his sister and he was my brother in Christ."

Let's face it, another murderer might have scoffed at her appeals, laughed at her religiosity. Shall we glorify Nichols for his receptiveness?

We should be thankful that God prepared him. This does not require us to glorify what Nichols did.
And if, as some disciples of the book have said, God used Smith to reach Nichols, exactly where was God earlier in the day when he slaughtered four innocent people?

I've covered that angle here. Ashley Smith could've asked the same question when her husband was stabbed to death, but she's been given a glimpse of the bigger picture that we often times don't get to see. Doesn't mean there isn't one.
This kind of story always reminds me that true heroes live among us, unrevealed perhaps even to themselves until chance or fate intervenes and they rise to the occasion in a way that inspires deep admiration.

Ashley Smith has given us a true heroic model to contemplate, while fake cultural "heroes" like Michael Jackson and Mark McGwire decompensate in front of our eyes.

But the universality of Smith's appeal is being compromised by the religious propaganda that seems to infuse the story more and more.

I'm glad to see Ms. Porter knows a true hero when she sees one. Pity she prefer to stifle the hero when asked about her source of strength.
The truth is, there could be any number of reasons why Nichols responded so remarkably to Smith.

Smith's aunt suggested it was because she, too, had lived a troubled life.

"She felt the sadness and she felt the aloneness - she could relate," Smith's aunt told the New York Times.

"I don't think a socialite or a squeaky clean could have done that."

So, no one really knows what alchemy occurred inside Smith's apartment to end Nichols' murderous rampage.

Yes, there were any number of reasons why Nichols responded to Smith, and reasons he might not have responded. Yes, there were any number of people he might have randomly gone after might not have been able to reach him. And yet, a man evidently prepared to listen and a woman with certain life experiences who was prepared to give got paired up, and a rampage that could have continued didn't. Consider them all a mass of coincidences if you will, but don't tell Ashley to shut up when she give you her answer.
If "The Purpose-Driven Life" was part of the dynamic, that's all well and good.

But Ashley Smith ought to remain a hero to us all - and not be reduced to a shill for a book or a symbol of the righteousness of evangelical Christianity.

Because then we might, you know, have to consider it seriously, rather than hand-wave it away as "propaganda". We might have to do some thinking about this. Can't have that.

(Cross-posted at Blogger News Network. Comments welcome.)

Glenn's got it right:
WAR CRITICS want to mark the anniversary of the war -- there will be an "antiwar protest" at my local mall tomorrow and there are all sorts of events planned worldwide -- but a proper way of marking the date would be with a mass apology to the Iraqi people, and to George W. Bush, for taking the wrong side at a crucial moment in history.


That, of course, will never happen. There are those who are opposed to war regardless of the reason (and who thus would make us sitting ducks), and those who are opposed to any war involving a Republican president (blind partisans, especially those who support a war for a Democrat under the same circumstances (Kosovo was not authorized by the UN)).

When dealing with people like this, expecting "appropriate" behavior is simply out of the question. Glenn agrees.
I'm not expecting that. But at least some people are marking the occasion in suitable fashion. It may be premature to gloat, but it's not premature to point out the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the "peace" movement, which has been apparent since the very beginning.

Well, except to them, of course.

From today's edition of the Federalist Patriot, comes a classic "that was then, this is now" moment.
Filibusters are not to be used to prevent judicial nominees advancing out of committee for a full Senate vote. Filibusters are to be used to stop or delay legislation; that rule hasn't been and won't be changed. It's worth noting here that the ultra-liberal New York Times, in a 1 January 1995 editorial, called the filibuster "the tool of the sore loser [and] an archaic rule that frustrates democracy and serves no useful purpose."

In a more recent editorial on the same subject, however, the Times revealed its hypocrisy in near-comical fashion, insisting that "the Democrats' weapon of choice has been the filibuster, a time-honored Senate procedure that prevents a bare majority of senators from running roughshod." The Times further harrumphed that "there is nothing conservative about endangering one of the great institutions of American democracy, the United States Senate, for the sake of an ideological crusade."

The New York Times accuses others of being on an "ideological crusade"?

That liberal media.

(You can subscribe to get the Federalist Patriot for free via E-mail.)

A campaign that is made to look like a grass-roots one, but is in reality financed by a few big-money interests is called "astroturfing" (i.e. fake grass). Over at, it looks like someone who was privy to the astroturfing of Campaign Finance "Reform" has tipped his hand too far. Apparently, this was another Soros & Co. project.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Blogger has noted that they have speed issues and are taking steps to deal with it, for them that's using it.

Doctors and health officials will consider whether more guidance on abortions is needed following the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service not to prosecute two doctors who authorised a late abortion on a foetus with a cleft lip and palate.

Jim England, the chief crown prosecutor for West Mercia, said the doctors believed, in good faith, that there was a substantial risk the child would be seriously handicapped. "In these circumstances, I decided that there was insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that there should be no charges against either of the doctors," he said.

The inquiry began after a legal challenge over a previous decision by police not to charge the doctors involved in the abortion carried out, in 2001, on an unnamed woman from Herefordshire who was more than 24 weeks pregnant.

A late-term abortion for a cleft pallet & lip is no big deal? The slope's getting slipperier, and you've just witnessed real movement down it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

[I tried posting this most of the day today. The Blogger site is not responding very quickly at all today. My hosting service is where the actual blog is, but I use Blogger to manage the posts and create the pages, and while they were slow yesterday, they're positively glacial today.]

Oh please oh please oh please...
Democrats yesterday said they will halt all Senate business except essential operations and national defense if Republicans use the "nuclear option" to unclog President Bush's judicial nominees.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada made the threat in a letter yesterday to Majority Leader Bill Frist, who has said he has the 51 votes needed for a parliamentary procedure that would force the nominees through the Senate on a simple majority vote.

Two reasons I'm all for this:
  • It would solidify the view in the minds of more folks about how the Democrats only know how to obstruct these days. This is the very idea that gave the GOP 4 new seats in the House, one at the expense of Tom Daschle himself. More of the same would be fine with me.
  • In my mind, the less government is doing the better. Reid had this to say about what the government would continue to do:
    "Of course, Democrats would never block legislation vital to our troops or other national security interests, and we will help ensure that critical government services continue to function for the American people," Mr. Reid wrote.

    If this is what it would take to get government back into its constitutional restraints, even for a while, that, too, would be fine with me.

I've said before that I really didn't like the "nuclear" or (more accurately) the "constitutional" option, because it could then be used by the Democrats should they regain the majority in the future. However, since then I've heard the following argument: And what would the Democrats do with that power? Appoint extreme liberal judges that create new laws instead of interpreting existing ones? And that would be different than exactly?

Exactly. Given the state of the current judiciary, I don't see that we'd be much worse off than we are now. Last December, Hugh Hewitt asked Frist to push the nuclear button. Back then I disagreed. However, I'm now inclined to agree with him. Personally I think this is a bluff, but I really hope they go for it.

The United Nations continues to be a convention of contradictions.
While some have questioned the propriety of a totalitarian police state serving as a member of the U.N.'s Human Rights Commission, a Cuban representative serving his first day on the panel said it is the U.S. that should be disqualified for membership.

Speaking on the first day of the 61st Session of the commission, Cuban official Juan Antonio Fernández charged the HRC "is being shipwrecked by the weight of its increasing lack of credibility and prestige." He characterized the commission as a "sinking ship."

Well he's right about the characterization, but he obviously hasn't looked in a mirror recently.
"It is sinking due to its inconsistencies and the impunity enjoyed by a few privileged beneficiaries of the irrational world order in which we live," said the director of multilateral affairs at the Cuban Foreign Ministry.

"Cuba," he said, "comes to promote the noblest causes, and also to throw lies out the window, combat the impunity of the powerful and expose the hypocrisy of their lackeys."

A communist regime built on lies has come to "throw lies out the window'?
He pointed the finger directly at the U.S. government.

Well of course he did. The bullies really hate the guys who stand up to them, and Cuba is no different.
"The membership of a superpower that subjugates human rights and restricts liberties reduces the legitimacy of this commission," said.

So bringing democracy to the Middle East is more restrictive to liberty than, say, the Ba'athists or communists? This is the kind of brilliance that turns people against the UN for good reason. Putting Cuba on the Human Rights Commission just because it's their turn to be there is the worst kind of moral equivalence.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Bryan Preston at JunkYardBlog notes that the NY Times has virtually admitted that Iraq had WMDs.
The New York Times breathlessly reports that "systematic looting" accounts for the transport of centrifuges and other components needed to make nuclear arms from a site in Iraq to destinations unknown. The "looting" took place during and shortly after the Coalition invasion.

He also notes that these weren't just your garden-variety looters.
How many "looters" have access to armies of men to operate and carry heavy equipment, not to mention flatbed trucks and cranes to move it all? And what kind of "looter" operates in a war zone, shortly after the fall of a regime--or at least shortly after that regime's retreat into insurgency mode?

So what was going on? Read the post for details.

Sow appeasement, reap the rewards.
MANILA, March 14, 2005 (STAR) The Philippines Saturday lauded the recent extension granted by Iraqi hostage-takers on the deadline by which they had threatened to kill a Filipino hostage.

The kidnappers of accountant Roberto Tarongoy had earlier said they would kill him by March 11 but a Philippine team in Iraq had reported the kidnappers had given an indefinite extension to the deadline

Because of this, Presidential Spokesperson Ignacio Bunye: declared, " We thank God for this reprieve."

"We call upon the whole nation to continue to pray for Roberto," Bunye said, adding "We will continue to exert utmost effort to bring him home alive."

Likewise, he said, "We must keep our faith that he will survive his ordeal."

The accountant was seized with an American co-worker in November. The fate of the American is unknown.

But wait! I thought the terrorists were going to leave the Phillipines alone. Didn't they give in to their demands earlier?
The small Philippine contingent, serving with the US-led forces in Iraq, was pulled out by Arroyo in July to save the life of Angelo de la Cruz, another Filipino hostage.

See! The terrorists are supposed to be nice to people who give them what they want and then "laud" them when they give us more time to come up with the ransom.


Utterly wrong.

Hat tip to the Belmont Club, where Wretchard ask the question, "How far does one have to retreat from evil to be truly safe?" The answer, of course, is that there is no retreat far enough to be safe. Only confrontation removes evil. Neither understanding the evil, nor appeasing the evil, nor ignoring the evil will make you any more safe or make the evil any less of a threat. You must confront it, in spite of those who are opposed to that confrontation. Wretchard notes the left's nutty priorities in this.
Ivan Karamazov famously asked Alyosha whether he would accept the edifice of Paradise if it were built upon the suffering of a single innocent child; Alyosha replied that he would not. Yet there are any number who would maintain a principled opposition to war, torture or hostage payments at the expense of the suffering of innocents. Did Saddam throw people into woodchippers? Regrettable but better that than violate the principle of collective international action. Are Blacks being massacred in Darfur? Sad, but unilateralism is worse.

And yet some in the United States would wish to be led by those with these kinds of upside-down priorities.

(Cross-posted at Blogger News Network. Comments welcome.)

Karl Spence has a great analysis on Blogger News Network about how the left fiddles & misrepresents statistical data to conform to their point of view. Oh yeah, I know, stats can be a dry subject, but Karl does a good job with explaining the information without sounding like a boring professor. His findings are fully documented and sourced as well, so you can't accuse him of making it all up.

A telling quote from it is this, relating to inflated figures of deaths due to abortion prior to Roe v Wade:
"I confess that I knew the figures were totally false," says NARAL co-founder Bernard Nathanson, the former abortionist who has since joined the pro-life side, "and I suppose the others did too if they stopped to think of it. But in the 'morality' of our revolution, it was a useful figure, widely accepted, so why go out of our way to correct it with honest statistics? The overriding concern was to get the laws [against abortion] eliminated, and anything within reason that had to be done was permissible."

Can't defend the ideas? Funge the numbers. Ends justify the means, dontcha' know?

Tim Blair nails the left for charging the right with inventing stories
Bob Fertik, president of, in the New York Times:
"The way we perceive it,” he said, “is that right-wing bloggers are able to invent stories, get them out on Drudge, get them on Rush Limbaugh, get them on Fox, and pretty soon that spills over into the mainstream media. We, the progressives, we don’t have that kind of network to work with.”

Poor progressives. All they have is Lancet reports, Ayad Allawi killing people, the menace of depleted uranium, plastic turkeys, oil pipelines in Afghanistan, Jewish media conspiracies, another Stalingrad in Baghdad, Bush’s dumbness, harsh Afghan winters, the massive influence of Jeff Gannon, and looted Iraqi museums. They never get to invent any stories at all.

Heh heh... And these made-up stories didn't have to work through Drudge, Limbaugh and Fox first; they hit the mainstream media right from the start. The liberal media gave many of these stories days or even weeks of air time. And let's not forget the "fake but accurate" Bush AWOL charges either. Kitty Kelley got 3 days on the Today show for her gossip book about the Bushes, but when Sinclair Broadcasting wanted to air stories from guys who were in Vietnam with Kerry, they got sued by Democrats.

Sorry, but all this whining about the left not being able to out-dirty-trick the right is just misdirection of the worst kind.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Today on "Considerettes Radio", we tackle the thorny issue of Divine Intervention vs. the problem of evil as it relates to the events involved in the recapture of Brian Nichols. I called Bill Bennett's "Morning in America" to note that it appeared that Ashley Smith may have been the perfect person in Atlanta that Nichols could randomly run into, and she was able to reach him and convince him to stop running and killing. The previous caller to the show also made a point about this, so the beginning of the clip has the tail end of his call. Bill and his staff also discussed this a bit after my call, so I have some of that discussion as well. (Hence, the clip is rather large.)

Bill brings up, briefly, the problem of evil in the world. A legitimate question is that if God does directly intervene in human affairs, what about the seven Christians in Wisconsin that were gunned down yesterday while worshipping? Bill's associate Seth agreed with me that the events between Nichols and Ashley Smith were a case of divine intervention, but when Bill asked him about the Wisconsin Christians, Seth's response is just "Well, we can't question these things." Now, in his defense, Seth was trying to answer a deep, philosophical question at the spur of the moment on live radio, but the quick answer for me is that it's not that we can't question, but that we really can't know the big picture because we see things solely from our own, time-limited perspective.

Consider this event:
"My husband died four years ago, and I told him if he hurt me my little girl wouldn't have a mommy or daddy," Smith said.

Smith's attorney, Josh Archer, said her husband died in her arms after being stabbed.

At that moment in time, how easy would it be to take that event and say, "This is God's divine intervention"? Humanly, it would be nigh well impossible. But as Christians we have this assurance:
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. - Romans 8:28

I like the way the translation "The Message" puts it:
That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. - Romans 8:28

The main thing to note is that there is no guarantee that all things that happen to us will be good; only that God can use everything that happens to us for good, if we let Him (" them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.") Bad things may happen, but God's promise is that it will be a greater good that the good we would have chosen for ourselves.

Ashley Smith had a life experience that prepared her to face Brian Nichols, and to possibly spare the lives of others he might have killed. We don't know what might have happened, and we don't know how God can bring good from the deaths of those Nichols did kill or those who were killed in Wisconsin. However, we've been given a glimpse of the big picture in the life of Ashley Smith. God doesn't promise us all the answers--the big picture--because we're finite and really wouldn't be able to understand it. God just asks us to trust Him, and He gives us these little glimpses into the big picture occasionally so that we can see how things, as tragic as they may be, can and do "work together for good" for those who've given control of their lives to God.

"Considerettes Radio" on Bill Bennett's Morning in America (WGKA, Atlanta, GA) 3/14/05 8:35am EST (512K)

(Cross-posted at Blogger News Network. Comments welcome.)

Is Lebanon about to go out of the frying pan into the fire?
JERUSALEM – As Syria prepares to withdraw some of its troops from positions in Lebanon, Iran has been fortifying Hezbollah bases and positioning itself to become the dominant force on the ground in Lebanon, senior opposition sources say.

"Iran sees the mounting pressure on its partner Syria to withdraw and is using it as an opportunity to become the next power broker in Lebanon," a spokesman for the Druze opposition Progressive Socialist Party told WND. "The world is focused on Syria getting out, but must recognize Iran is poised to take its place."

I don't think, therefore, that Syria should stay there, but I wonder if there's something the US could do to keep this from happening. I have no delusions that making nice in Lebanon and helping them keep their independence will somehow ingratiate us with the hostile regimes there (nothing has so far), but we really don't want a heavy Iranian influence that close to Israel.

Today on "Considerettes Radio", we tackle the thorny issue of Divine Intervention vs. the problem of evil as it relates to the events involved in the recapture of Brian Nichols. I called Bill Bennett's "Morning in America" to note that it appeared that Ashley Smith may have been the perfect person in Atlanta that Nichols could randomly run into, and she was able to reach him and convince him to stop running and killing. The previous caller to the show also made a point about this, so the beginning of the clip has the tail end of his call. Bill and his staff also discussed this a bit after my call, so I have some of that discussion as well. (Hence, the clip is rather large.)

Bill brings up, briefly, the problem of evil in the world. A legitimate question is that if God does directly intervene in human affairs, what about the seven Christians in Wisconsin that were gunned down yesterday while worshipping? Bill's associate Seth agreed with me that the events between Nichols and Ashley Smith were a case of divine intervention, but when Bill asked him about the Wisconsin Christians, Seth's response is just "Well, we can't question these things." Now, in his defense, Seth was trying to answer a deep, philosophical question at the spur of the moment on live radio, but the quick answer for me is that it's not that we can't question, but that we really can't know the big picture because we see things solely from our own, time-limited perspective.

Consider this event:
"My husband died four years ago, and I told him if he hurt me my little girl wouldn't have a mommy or daddy," Smith said.

Smith's attorney, Josh Archer, said her husband died in her arms after being stabbed.

At that moment in time, how easy would it be to take that event and say, "This is God's divine intervention"? Humanly, it would be nigh well impossible. But as Christians we have this assurance:
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. - Romans 8:28

I like the way the translation "The Message" puts it:
That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. - Romans 8:28

The main thing to note is that there is no guarantee that all things that happen to us will be good; only that God can use everything that happens to us for good, if we let Him (" them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.") Bad things may happen, but God's promise is that it will be a greater good that the good we would have chosen for ourselves.

Ashley Smith had a life experience that prepared her to face Brian Nichols, and to possibly spare the lives of others he might have killed. We don't know what might have happened, and we don't know how God can bring good from the deaths of those Nichols did kill or those who were killed in Wisconsin. However, we've been given a glimpse of the big picture in the life of Ashley Smith. God doesn't promise us all the answers--the big picture--because we're finite and really wouldn't be able to understand it. God just asks us to trust Him, and He gives us these little glimpses into the big picture occasionally so that we can see how things, as tragic as they may be, can and do "work together for good" for those who've given control of their lives to God.

"Considerettes Radio" on Bill Bennett's Morning in America (WGKA, Atlanta, GA) 3/14/05 8:35am EST (512K)

Saturday, March 12, 2005

I'm doing some upgrading of my web hosting situation this weekend. Shouldn't cause a disruption, but if it does, you'll know why.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Sleep on it. No, really!
The great mathematician Alfred North Whitehead, collaborator with Bertrand Russell, seemed to be a cheer leader for unconscious mental processing: "It is a profoundly erroneous truism, repeated by all copybooks and by eminent people making speeches, that we should cultivate the habit of thinking about what we're doing. The precise opposite is the case."

Some of the greatest breakthroughs in creativity occur when a problem is consciously ignored for a while – "let's sleep on it", after which the unconscious offers a solution – a process psychologists call incubation.

Now the very latest psychological research confirms that we can all incubate a problem to our own advantage. Ap Dijksterhuis, a psychologist at the University of Amsterdam, has just published a series of experiments where students were presented with complex everyday problems to solve, like choosing the best flat and roommate.

The article goes on to talk about the rather counterintuitive findings that sleep and daydreaming help us work on problems, and the more complex the problem the better it is to use incubation.

So during that next committee meeting, when they catch you napping, you've got an out.

In a story close to home, but is getting national coverage, three people are dead in the Fulton County, Atlanta courthouse as a defendant killed the judge, the court reporter and a sheriff's deputy and escaped. He's currently still at large. Details here.

UPDATE: Backcountry Conservative has details and a link roundup.

Via Dean's World comes a blog post by R. J. Rummel, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, that the idea that America is not a democracy is only true if you still cling to the 18th century definition of the word. He notes that we don't cling to the 200-year-old definition of "liberal" anymore (18th century liberals are today's conservatives or libertarians, based on the ideas expounded), so why should we do so for the word "democracy"?

It's a very good point, and he explains the different kinds of democracies today, as opposed to what we'd now call a "pure democracy", which means now what just "democracy" meant then. His point; the United States is both a democracy and a republic.

(I'm having a "Certs-Two-Mints-In-One" flashback.)

Rummel also has a post on proving that democratization of the world really does reduce warfare, and he's got the charts & graphs to prove it.

There's a good article on the Blogger News Network today regarding global warming. In 2003 I noted this as well; the Sun is a big cause of global warming. How often have you heard that from the mainstream media? If you look at the accompanying graph (and associated web page), you'll see a very close corellation between the temperature of the Sun and our climate temperatures.

Why isn't this reported on more? Well, I know why; it doesn't fit the dogma of the left, and the media aren't inclined to challenge it much.

On the most recent Homespun Bloggers Radio show, I discussed with Bill Bennett my concern about holding China's feet to the fire on human rights issues. Supposedly we can use our trade relationship to influence them, but I wonder if it'll work that way. If we threaten to cut off or curtail trade as a bargaining tool, it'll be American businesses that lobby against that, claiming it'll hurt American jobs. And if China knows this, as I'm sure they would, they'd realize they are in the driver's seat and wouldn't have to change anything.

One thing I mentioned to Dr. Bennett was that there are people on both sides of this issue whose opinions I respect, so it's not entirely answered in my mind. My blogger-in-law Jim Jewell gives a good argument for keeping the trade avenue open, because it's been the open door for Christian evangelism. China is one of the fastest growing mission fields in the world--the people there have been starved spiritually because of communism's official atheist stance--and so having this opened up via trade is a huge benefit to the Chinese people. A good point, and thus a tough choice.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Jim Jewell, my blogger-in-law, who posts at Stones Cry Out, notes that the MSM, while finally covering evangelical points of view, predictably gravitate to the left.
I am in favor of expanding public understanding of the concerns of evangelicals beyond the hot-button issues of abortion and same-sex marriage. Some of Wallis’ cautions are worth considering and I agree that care of God’s creation is a valid Christian concern.

But isn’t it interesting that the most prominent and positive glow surrounding 2005 evangelicals features issues the MSM know and love. As evangelicals reach into the liberal pockets and pick up issues of legitimate concern to them, it is those who lean left that are getting the spotlight.

Oh, that liberal media.

Better late than never.
MADRID (AFX) - Spain's Islamic Commission, which groups the nation's Muslim community, said it was issuing a fatwa against Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden,
'We are going to issue a fatwa (religious decree) against Bin Laden this afternoon,' Mansour Escudero, who leads the Federation of Islamic religious entities (Feeri) and co-secretary general of the Spanish governmenmt-created [sic] Commission told AFP.
The Commission invited Spanish-based imams to condemn terrorism at Friday prayers, when the whole country will be remembering the 191 people who were killed in the train blasts and the 1,900 injured a year ago.
The attacks have been blamed on mainly Moroccan Islamic extremists loyal to Bin Laden.
'We have called on imams to make a formal declaration condemning terrorism and for a special prayer for all the victims of terrorism,' Escudero said.

Why it took this long is beyond me. 3+ years since 9/11 and finally a large group of Muslims is going on the record with a fatwa no less. Again, good to see it, but why didn't it happen in late 2001 or early 2002?

Marc at Hubs & Spokes feels the need to let folks know that he's not a monster. Heh heh...

Looks like the Hezbollah demonstration in Lebanon hit a bullseye on at least one of its targets.
The United Nations must recognize Hezbollah as a force to be reckoned with in implementing the U.N. resolution calling for the withdrawal of all Syrian forces from Lebanon and the disarmament of the country's militias, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Tuesday.

He was responding to a question about the disarmament of Hezbollah, which showed its strength Tuesday at a huge pro-Syrian rally in Beirut attended by hundreds of thousands of people who chanted anti-U.S. slogans. Two huge banners read in English: "Thank you Syria" and "No to foreign interference."

Annan said the world needs to accept that in every society different groups may hold different views.

"Of course, we need to be careful of the forces at work in Lebanese society as we move forward," he said.

Ah yes, just as we were careful and sensitive to those anti-Semitic forces at work in Germany after WWII? After all, they're just folks who hold a different view.

Oh please.

Paging June Cleaver:
They are the generation of women who grew up expecting to have it all. No longer forced to choose between children and a career, they were set to embrace superwomanhood by doing both - while holding down a perfect relationship and keeping a spotless home in their spare time.

But modern woman has taken a reality check. The average 29-year-old now hankers for a return to the lifestyle of a 1950s housewife. The daughters of the "Cosmo" generation of feminists want nothing more than a happy marriage and domestic bliss in the countryside, according to a survey.

Research into the attitudes of 1,500 women with an average age of 29 found that 61 per cent believe "domestic goddess" role models who juggle top jobs with motherhood and jet-set social lives are "unhelpful" and "irritating". More than two-thirds agree that the man should be the main provider in a family, while 70 per cent do not want to work as hard as their mother's generation. On average, the women questioned want to "settle down" with their partner by 30 and have their first child a year later.

Could the promises of modern feminism have been empty? Looks like working outside the home hasn't necessarily been the truly liberating thing for most women. There's nothing wrong with it, of course. I don't believe that all wives, or women in general, should fit into identical roles in all circumstances. But I wonder if the idea of the "domestic goddess" mentioned in the article was made too much of a hard sell by feminists who determined their success by counting the number of women who eschewed traditional roles rather than by counting the number of women who simply exercised their choice of roles, traditional or otherwise. Seemed to me that choosing the traditional role was looked down upon, thus the hard sell. Apparently, buyer's remorse is setting in for some folks, or at least they're seeing how it turned out in the previous generation and don't like the outcome.


Let's play "Spot the Contradiction"!
While hundreds of Americans plan to take part in volunteer patrols of the U.S.-Mexican border next month, they'll apparently have some company from the American Civil Liberties Union.

According to the Tucson Citizen, the Arizona chapter of the ACLU wants to monitor the activities of those on patrol.

The group is looking to recruit "observers" who will trail the Minuteman members searching for illegal aliens along the border in Cochise County, Ariz.

"We will be there to make sure they're not abusing anybody's rights," the ACLU's Ray Ybarra told the paper.

He says a team of attorneys will be ready to file civil cases against project participants should any abuses occur.

Quick, what rights do illegal aliens have by virtue solely of having walked across the border (again, illegally)? Contestants, you have 5 minutes to peruse your copy of the Constitution. Go!

It just gets worse and worse for CBS.
NEW YORK (AP) - A veteran "60 Minutes" staffer sued CBS on Wednesday for alleged age discrimination and defamation, charging that the network used the flawed report on President Bush's National Guard service as an excuse to try to ease her out.

Esther Kartiganer, 67, filed the lawsuit on the last day that Dan Rather, the newsman who presented the Bush report, appeared as anchor of the CBS evening news after 24 years. Rather, 73, will continue as a full-time "60 Minutes" reporter.

Kartiganer said in court papers that her defamation claim is based on a statement by Leslie Moonves, CBS chairman and chief executive officer, on the network's Web site Jan. 10.

In that statement, Moonves said Kartiganer had "abnegated her assigned function" and "CBS News is the worse for it." Moonves made his statement on the same day that an independent panel issued its report on the Bush report.

Kartiganer says in court papers that her role in the story's airing was minimal. She says she was directed on Sept. 7 to read transcripts to make sure excerpts of interviews were not used out of context.

Kartiganer says she had already been demoted when she was removed as senior producer of "60 Minutes" in May 2004 and made senior producer of "60 Minutes Wednesday."

She says she was replaced at "60 Minutes" by a woman 20 years younger, which is part of the basis for her age discrimination claim. She says she was stripped of her senior producer title and her pay was reduced by 20 percent.

Looks more and more like these folks were just scapegoats, and that perhaps the "myopic zeal" was really from higher up. Whaddya think, Mr. Moonves?

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Ward Churchill can lie about his background and call 9/11 victims Nazis, and keep his job, while at the same institution an award-winning teacher and one highly regarded by colleagues (even those who disagree with him) may lose his job.
Professor Phil Mitchell, who has a doctorate in American social history from the university, says he recently was informed his contract would not be renewed after this year because "his teaching was not up to the department standards," according to Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi.

Mitchell, winner in 1998 of the prestigious SOAR Award for teacher of the year, told the columnist he has wondered how long he would last.

"I've had enough. I am clearly being closed out for political or religious reasons," Mitchell says. "I am one of the top-rated professors in the history of the department."

A colleague, William Wei, described by Harsanyi as "hardly a conservative," said, "Phil is a great person, a good teacher and highly regarded by his students."

So what is Prof. Mitchell's firing offense?
Harsanyi said Mitchell, who has taught at the Hallett Diversity Program for 24 straight semesters, upset the head of the department by presenting a diverse opinion.

And heaven knows we can't have that on our college campuses. If you've been paying attention to what's been going on at most US campuses, you already know where on the political spectrum Mitchell stands.
After quoting respected black intellectual Thomas Sowell in a discussion about affirmative action, Mitchell was berated as a racist.

>gasp< Well, it's obvious he's a racist, since he's quoting a (black) conservative.
"That would have come as a surprise to my black children," said Mitchell, who has nine children, two of them adopted African-Americans.

Oh come on! Never mind the facts! Don't look at his actions! Insinuation of conservatism is the clearest indicator of racism, isn't it?

But wait, there's more. Something even more heinous.
Then, says Harsanyi, the professor used a book on liberal Protestantism in the late 19th century.

Harsanyi writes: "So repulsed by the word 'god' was one student, she complained, and the department chair fired him without a meeting."

Good grief! The "G" word? That's obviously way out of line. Out he goes! The university will just have to weather the predictable cries of "censorship" that will come of this.

(Well, except they didn't.)
The columnist points out that unlike Churchill's case, there was no protest by faculty and students.

Mitchell later was reinstated, Harsanyi said, but never was able to teach in the history department again.

All sarcasm aside, welcome to liberal "diversity", which is only skin-deep and which ignores diverse ideas, something that college and university campuses are supposed to be bastions of. Are they controlled by liberals? Mitchell has his own thoughts on that.
"People say liberals run the university. I wish they did," Mitchell told the Denver columnist. "Most liberals understand the need for intellectual diversity. It's the radical left that kills you."

Mitchell may be using "liberal" in this sentence in the sense of those who are truly broad-minded as opposed to those on the left of the political spectrum. And the more I read about this sort of thing, the more I see that the truly liberal people are those on the conservative side of the spectrum.

Consider that.

(Cross-posted at Blogger News Network and Comments welcome.)

Robert Mayer of Publius Pundit has an update on the Moldova elections. It ain't over until a President is selected by Parliament, but that's not as easy as it looks.

A former Lebanese Prime Minister is sharing his opinion that the demonstration in favor of the Syrian occupation of Lebanon had its numbers bolstered by coercion.
The giant Hezbollah rally that drew nearly half a million purported supporters of Syria's occupation of Lebanon actually was a staged hoax with non-Lebanese citizens, Syrian workers, students and municipal employees coerced into joining the protest, former Lebanese Prime Minister Michel Aoun told WorldNetDaily in an exclusive interview this morning.

"Yesterday's huge protest calling for Syria to stay made it look to the world like a large segment of the Lebanese population actually wants to live under Syrian occupation," said Aoun, speaking to WND from Paris. "But the protest wasn't what it appeared to be. It was an elaborately staged affair."


"This was not a Lebanese showing, and many of those who actually were Lebanese were not there because they support Syria. We know that at least three Palestinian camps were present. And there are 700,000 Syrian workers inside Lebanon, many of whom are not even supposed to be there. They were urged by Syria to attend so it looks like many Lebanese are protesting. Plus Syria bused in their own citizens from Syria through the border into Lebanon to join the rally."

The former prime minister also accused Hezbollah and pro-Syrian Lebanese intelligence forces of coercing students and municipal workers to attend.

"They shut down the schools and all the government and public buildings and pressured students and workers to get to the rally," he said.

Hezbollah is afraid of democracy because they know that they wouldn't hold the power they currently have, and they also know that nobody would choose them given a free choice. This could very well be the bulb burning its brightest just before it goes out forever.

This Cox & Forkum cartoon says in pictures what I was saying in words.

The sixth Homespun Bloggers Radio program is on the air! We've got quite an eclectic mix of segments this time around. Here's the list of contributors:
  • ZuDfunck (of ZuDfunck) gives us a 70s hippie flashback to an old, but extremely popular, service called Dial-a-Trip which he hosted. But Zud has fast-forwarded to the 21st century, and he gives us some of his updated advice.
  • Doug Payton (Considerettes) talks to Bill Bennett about his concerns that engaging China in the world economy will keep us from holding them accountable for their human rights record.
  • Andrew Ian Dodge (of Dodgeblogium) discusses a "kerfuffle" going on with the mayor of London, England. It's yet another example of an inappropriate Nazi reference made by someone who just won't apologize for it.

To listen, click here or on the "Homespun Bloggers Radio" button to the left. The current audio feed is a loop of shows #5 & #6. Also, you can click here to download a high-quality version of the show. The 4 previous shows can also be heard by clicking here.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

A fantastic overview of the Iraq war and its repercussions has been posted at Among his many fine points, is this paragraph, that needs to be engrained in the minds of people for future reference.
The question before the left now is how to deal with these things. Does it embrace the process of change and liberation, and that which caused it? It seems improbable: we only need look to the Cold War to know the myths that will evolve to exculpate and deny. Just as the demise of Soviet Communism inevitably became the product of economic determinism and the wisdom of Gorbachev (little to do with the United States, and certainly not Reagan), so too will the hoped-for impending liberalization of the Muslim world, should it come to pass, be purely the work of local visionaries and the impersonal churning of the god of history. In divorcing the effect from the cause, they will save their self-respect at the price of denying credit to those who sacrificed so dearly to bring it about. It is their way, and if there is dishonor in it, so be it. But it is not ours. We can look at the millions shaking off their chains -- liberating themselves from themselves, as it were -- and think of the dead we know who helped make it happen.

The left has not learned from history, and Trevino has thus predicted they'll repeat it. Not a long-shot bet at all. Be listening.

Here's proof that terrorists, and Hezbollah in particular, are afraid of democracy.
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) - Nearly 500,000 pro-Syrian protesters waved flags and chanted anti-American slogans in a central Beirut square Tuesday, answering a nationwide call by the militant Shiite Muslim Hezbollah group for a demonstration to counter weeks of massive rallies demanding Syrian forces leave Lebanon.

Organizers handed out Lebanese flags and directed the men and women to separate sections of Riad Solh Square. Loudspeakers blared militant songs urging resistance to foreign interference. Demonstrators held up pictures of Syrian President Bashar Assad and signs saying, "Syria & Lebanon brothers forever."

Other placards read: "America is the source of terrorism"; "All our disasters are from America"; "No to American-Zionist intervention; Yes to Lebanese-Syrian brotherhood."

One could be overly afraid of the large numbers who attended this demonstration (although it's hard to tell how much of the turnout was coerced, which I bet a lot was). However, the perceived need to demonstrate in this way shows me that these guys are desperate. Think about it; they're protesting against the removal of an occupying force. I wonder how many of these same folks are for the immediate removal of US troops from Iraq?

Here's a hilarious juxtaposition:
Large cranes hoisted two giant red-and-white flags bearing Lebanon's cedar tree. On one, the words, "Thank you Syria," were written in English; on the other, "No to foreign interference."

First of all, having them written in English shows who the intended audience was; not Lebanon or Syria, but the US. And think about it; with one side they thank foreign occupiers while on the other side they call for the removal of foreign occupiers. One sign in the accompanying picture has both "Syria=Yes" and "USA=Out" on it. Go thou and figure.

A cabinet minister spoke at the demonstration, with a similar disconnect.
Cabinet Minister Talal Erslan drew cheers Tuesday when he said the crowd came from all over Lebanon "to affirm our gratitude to Syrian president Bashar Assad."

"We have come here to affirm Lebanon's independence, sovereignty and unity ... and say no to the flagrant foreign interference in our affairs," he said.

Participants stressed that the foreign influence they referred to was from the United States, France and other countries, not Syria, which they welcomed.

Military occupation isn't "flagrant foreign interference" while diplomatic pressure is? That's a convenient redefinition.

A bit of history is in order.
Syria has had troops here since 1976, when they were sent as peacekeepers during Lebanon's 1975-90 civil war. When the war ended, the troops remained and Syria has dominated Lebanon's politics ever since.

So what these demonstrators would have us believe is that Lebanon cannot safely rule itself so it must trust that to it's occupiers to guide them along. If this weren't such a blatant power play by Hezbollah, you'd almost have to chalk this one up to a mass case of Stockholm Syndrome.

Aside from all the schizophrenia going on here, the larger point to be made is that Bush and crew were often derided when they said that the perpetrators of 9/11 attacked us because they hated our way of life, our freedoms. Detractors insisted that the reasons had to do more with our foreign policy and our pro-Israel stance. But as the insurgency in Iraq and these demonstrations by Hezbollah show, it really is democracy that they fear. They'd prefer to be an occupied country than have the will of the people heard. That's why they hate us; because we're free.

Cross-posted at and Blogger News Network. Comments welcome.)

UPDATE: Instalaaaaanch! Welcome, Reynold's readers.

UDPATE PART DEUX: Welcome aboard readers from Junkyard Blog, Dean's World, One Hand Clapping, Gus Van Horn and Liverputty. (Hey, didja notice that Homespun Bloggers Radio show #6 is on the air? >hint<)

I was just made aware of this press release from last Wednesday. This is from the Liberty Council, who presented oral arguments in favor of keeping 10 Commandments displays in public places.

The Ten Commandments Are A Universally Recognized Symbol Of Law Particularly Appropriate To Display In A Courthouse

Washington, D.C. - Today, Mathew D. Staver, President and General Counsel of Liberty Counsel, released the following statement after presenting oral argument at the United States Supreme Court in the Kentucky Ten Commandments case, known as McCreary County v. ACLU of Kentucky. Staver said, "The Ten Commandments are a universally recognized symbol of law. A visitor to the United States Supreme Court cannot enter the very chambers where argument was heard without coming into contact with the Ten Commandments. They are engraved at the main entrance on the double wooden doors, and they also appear on the bronze gates which exit from either side. Inside the Court, the only written inscription of the numerous architectural depictions is the Decalogue in Hebrew text. The Ten Commandments are featured in the central position on this Court's East Pediment. Richmond County, Georgia, has used the symbol of the Ten Commandments on its seal since at least 1872, so that even the illiterate could recognize legal documents stamped with this imprint. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which struck down the Pledge of Allegiance, has had the Ten Commandments in its official court seal for at least 100 years. The Ten Commandments have also influenced our common vernacular, by giving rise to numerous pithy sayings, like 'The Ten Commandments of a Good Golf Swing.'"

Staver continued, "Despite the fact that the Ten Commandments are uniquely embedded in our history and appear in the Kentucky courthouses in a Foundations of Law display, some would have the Court confuse an acknowledgment with an establishment of religion. There is a critical difference between government acknowledgments of religion, which the Constitution permits, versus an establishment of religion, which the Constitution forbids. It is not surprising that in a Nation established by religious refugees, we find references to the divine in our songs, in our mottos, in our architecture and in our documents. To erase our history would eliminate the essence of this country - a Nation founded upon religious freedom, where we can acknowledge God and religion and where freedom of conscience is not trampled. If the Ten Commandments are unconstitutional, and if when government merely acknowledges religion, it thereby establishes it, then the sight of sandblasters will become common, and the rapid fire of merciless jackhammers will disturb our peace. Our Constitution was not intended to foster callous hostility toward religious expression."

Here are loads of examples of public displays of religion, many featuring the Ten Commandments. (Don't forget to click on the "Part II" link at the bottom for even more.) These are all taken from government buildings just in the District of Columbia. Are we to really believe that all these displays, from down through the years, are all unconstitutional? Do we supposedly know better what the Founders meant by the First Amendment than those who lived far closer to it's writing?

Monday, March 07, 2005

This is truly disturbing.
42 percent of people asked by a pollster whether modern Russia needs a politician like Joseph Stalin replied in the affirmative. 52 percent said Russia does not need a “new Stalin”.

The survey, carried out by the All-Russia Center of Public Opinion Study on Jan. 29-30, was dedicated to the upcoming anniversary of Stalin’s death on March 5.

Most of Stalin’s supporters are elderly, with 60 percent of the respondents over 60 thinking Russia needs a “new Stalin”. 31 percent of those polled between the ages of 18 and 24 would support such a politician. The figure was 35 percent for people aged 35-44.

50 percent of the respondents view Stalin’s role in the life of the Soviet Union positively overall. The quantity of people considering his role very positively has risen since last year’s poll from 16 to 20 percent.

I guess it would depend on your definition of the word "positively". However, given what my Russian correspondent said in his analysis of the elections in Ukraine, perhaps it's not all that strange for the Muscovite street. Here's a quote from what he said back then:
Russians idealize Putin to a degree that would be very uncomfortable to Westerners. When it comes to freedom of expression issues he is a tyrant, but in bread and butter issues he is a savior. After the fall of the Soviet Union things got desperate quickly. Hyperinflation turned the life-savings of a whole generation into pennies. No one living today in the West (not even Westerners living in Russia today) will ever appreciate the psychological effect this had on the society. To make matters much worse, those coming into their pension that they had been promised all their back-breaking lives got little more than $20 a month to live on (and it's not much better than that even today). Now that real economic change for the better is being felt almost nationwide, all other issues pale by comparison. No one objects to the lack of freedom of the press; Not a ripple of disturbance anywhere. "Show me da money", is the only relevant mantra.

It appears as if some freedoms are more desired than others, or perhaps that the reason some of those less-desired freedoms are necessary isn't properly understood by the majority just yet. One can only hope that knowledge gets around soon, rather than having to wait a whole generation. Russia may not have that long.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Baja Peppers and Monterey Jack Cheese Turkey & Chicken sausage on the grill, and me...blogging. What's nice about living in the South is that barbeque season gets an early start. I could have started even earlier (and have) but for the 2005 season, grilling at our house started today; early March (at 7pm, no less). It's dark enough that I have a flashlight with me so I can see how done the meat is, but later on in the summer it'll be plenty bright enough.

So I'm sitting here on the back patio, listening to the sizzle as the fat hits the bottom of the grill, and as the wind chimes toll quietly. (It was very breezy earlier today as my son has his first "exhibition" game for little league, but that's all calmed down now.) The wind and the sizzle are all well and good, but there are other sounds, more suburban, as well; a plane passing overhead (not loud, really), someone calling their kid back home, and a slight rumble of the nearby US highway. Nothing disturbing to the senses at all really.

(Pause as I move the sausages up to a higher rack.)

It's a bit cool, so I have my jacket on, but that's not stopping the grilling. Yeah, I could have cooked them on the stove top, but they always taste so much better coming off the grill. Everyone in this house agrees.

Well, don't want to burn 'em, and they're just beginning to burst their casings, so time for supper. My company got me a new laptop recently (had the previous one 5 was time) and it picks up my wireless network a whole lot better than the card I had in my previous one, so I might do more of this backyard blogging in the future. Stay tuned.

(Or "beware", as the case may be.)

Tom Parsons, of DaddyPundit (already on the blogroll), has joined a new group blog, "Two or Three", a Christian-oriented blog. Give them a look.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Wow, an honest-to-goodness blog smear campaign! And you can watch it unfold before your very eyes. "DavidNYC" at the Daily Kos gets the ball rolling.
As you've probably noticed, there have been several Alan Greenspan-related posts on the main page in just the past day or so. In one of those threads, blogswarmer Bob Brigham suggested that we "unleash the blogosphere" on Greenspan. It's a brilliant idea - no one is more worthy of having a halo-ectomy than St. Alan - so let's have at it.

If you're interested in joining this research project, here's my thinking on how it should proceed. (And feel free to chime in with suggestions on the process as well.) We should hunt down anything Greenspan has ever written, said or done that reflects poorly on him. This would include erroneous predictions, older statements which contradict things he's said recently, and anything that's just plain wrong, venal or stupid. The only rules are that it has to be true (of course) and sourced (preferably with a link, but if you're using Lexis, that's cool too - just tell us where it's from).

And for those of you who want to really get down & dirty in the trenches, we can turn this into a one-degree-of-separation venture. That is, if you can find similar material for anyone who is closely linked to Greenspan, that's fair game, too. Good examples would be Greenie's idol, the nutbag "objectivist" Ayn Rand, and Andrea Mitchell, his NBC reporter wife. (An aside: We can debate the merits of this approach all you like, but suffice it to say, there is no question that Republicans do the same crap to us all the time. If you still want to play by the Marquess of Queensberry rules, fine - but I've moved on to brass knuckles.)

So dig up all the dirt you can, show to the world that Alan Greenspan has >gasp< make mistakes in the past (20/20 hindsight is so helpful here) and that'll discredit him.

Oh, but please don't call it a "smear campaign". DavidNYC posts an update:
Update [2005-3-4 13:50:22 by DavidNYC]: A commenter below helps provide a more articulate clarification of our goal here: "We have strong reasons to believe that Greenspan's predictions and words are not credible, and clarify his credibility is critical to the health of the nation. Therefore we are looking for volunteers to join in a deep investigation into Greenspan's thinking and philosophy. We need to look back on all the things he has said and endorsed about economics and economic policy and compare those with the current policies he is advocating today."

And, to make it amply clear, this is emphatically not a call for a "smear" campaign. This is a call to reveal the truth about Alan Greenspan (and his associates).

The truth would be the whole truth. Cherry picking your "truth" is a smear campaign, plain and simple.

And speaking of predictions going bad how about this one, or this one? And if you look at more than just main stories & diaries on dKos, if you check out the commenters as well (search Google for " 'I predict' kerry election") I'm sure we could put together quite a dossier on bad predictions over there. Does that actually mean anything, after the fact? Not really.

(Cross-posted at Comments welcome.)

I'm taking a sick day at work, so the blog won't fare much better. :) Enjoy.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

My first two posts to this blog, almost 3 years ago, dealt with the link between homosexuality and pedophilia. At the time I was talking about how those Catholic priests who were molesting boys, and noting that this combination of pedophilia and homosexuality wasn't being noted by the media much.

That willful ignorance on the part of groups like the American Psychological Association is now reaping its results on children.
A six-year study of sexual abuse committed by foster parents in Illinois found a highly disproportionate percentage of the cases were homosexual in nature.

About one-third were same-sex while estimates are that no more than 3 percent of people in the general population say they engage in homosexual acts.

An article in the March issue of the peer-reviewed publication Psychological Reports presented data analyzed by Dr. Paul Cameron, chairman of the Colorado-based Family Research Institute.

Cameron believes it's likely the Illinois figures reflect the situation among the nation's estimated half-million foster children.

"What's shocking, is that 34 percent of the molestations were homosexual," Cameron told the Illinois Leader.

This really ought not to surprise to anyone willing to look beyond current political correctness. This link has been known for years.
"Professional societies are so taken with gay rights they are ignoring the evidence," said Cameron. "Just last year, the American Psychological Association [APA] declared opposition to 'discrimination against lesbian or gay parents adoption, child custody and visitation, foster care and reproductive health services.'"

Cameron added, "How does the APA answer this new evidence?"

They will ignore it or try to explain it away. They ought to be explaining it to the kids who've been the victims of their tender (though misplaced) sensibilities.
Cameron said Illinois, which has about 60,000 children in 4,300 foster or adoption-subsidized homes, was the first state to disclose details about abuse.

Something tells me we're looking at the tip of an iceberg, but the APA will be too busy rearranging deck chairs to care.

They're flocking to Fox:
The ratings are in for February, and the numbers are not good for CNN which saw steep losses in its viewership, while the Fox News Channel continued its rise.

According to Nielsen Media Research, CNN's ratings fell by 21 percent last month in primetime, and 16 percent overall, reports Variety.

Primetime big-name shows such as "Larry King Live," "Wolf Blitzer Reports," "Lou Dobbs Tonight," "Paula Zahn Now" and "Newsnight With Aaron Brown" all experienced double-digit declines.

Only "Anderson Cooper 360" had a slight increase of 2 percent.

During President Bush's State of the Union Address, CNN was soundly beaten by Fox, and even lost the key 25-54 demographic to third-place MSNBC.

In contrast, Fox News was the only news network on cable to see viewership increases in February, as it outpaced all other cable news companies combined for the sixth straight month.

Emphasis mine. They didn't just beat their nearest competitor, they beat them all, combined for the sixth month in a row.
CNN wasn't the only network to plunge last month. MSNBC dropped 15 percent overall and 14 percent in primetime. CNBC fell 23 percent overall and 42 percent in primetime.

If you believe that Fox News Channel has a conservative slant (and to a degree I would agree), then this further proves that it takes a conservative viewpoint to properly hit the "fair and balanced" objective. Just as the big conservative blogs cover all sides while the big liberal blogs ignore news unfavorable to them, a news organization that is right-of-center is more likely to give you the whole story, as Fox News is doing. And people notice.

A year ago, I said this about Air America (Al Franken's show in particular):
Considerettes Prediction: Franken's show is gone in 2 years. I'm going on the record with this.

Today, one year later, Brian Maloney notes these stats:
Despite a huge effort by radio syndicators and online supporters to make liberal talk radio appear successful, the truth is that it continues to struggle to gain listenership, as measured by the Arbitron ratings service.


[N]ew data released last evening by Arbitron shows again that Air America's flagship New York station is failing to generate any audience growth, both in-city and in outlying areas. The ratings information is for the broadest listener measurement category, persons 12 and older, 6am to midnight daily.

WLIB has now had a full year, a generous amount of time in broadcasting, to build an audience and figures are still flat compared with the previous niche Caribbean format the station featured. Often in radio that would mean imminent cancellation, but backers continue to be so noisy, they have generated enough industry hype to sustain poor performance a tad bit longer.

Brian has more information on stats as well. (The link to from his post is broken, but I'm leaving it in just in case R&R puts the info back.)

I figured that the sheer force of money and PR would keep the network around at least a year (even while some overly exuberant folks predicted it wouldn't last past the election). Apparently, those backing the network realize this, and are trying to buck the normal ratings pressures.

So I'm still standing by my original prediction. It still looks very likely, although I may have to modify the prediction to say that were it any other radio network, subject to the ratings for its survival, it would have died after two years, barring extraordinary life-support measures.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

With freedom breaking out all over, Rooftop Blog summarizes all the places where the dominoes are falling. When Republicans take the bull by the horns, freedom spreads. Think back to Reagan and the Soviet Union. You can say the fall of the Soviet Union was inevitable and it just happened on Reagan's watch, but when this sort of thing happens again under another Republican, it becomes more likely that this is a result of good policy, not luck.

From Wikipedia:
Godwin's law (also Godwin's rule of Nazi analogies) is an adage in Internet culture that was originated by Mike Godwin in 1990. The law states that:

As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.

There is a tradition in many Usenet newsgroups that once such a comparison is made, the thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress.

And now, Sen. Robert Byrd (D-KKK) as noted by Captain Ed:
Many times in our history we have taken up arms to protect a minority against the tyrannical majority in other lands. We, unlike Nazi Germany or Mussolini’s Italy, have never stopped being a nation of laws, not of men.

But witness how men with motives and a majority can manipulate law to cruel and unjust ends. Historian Alan Bullock writes that Hitler’s dictatorship rested on the constitutional foundation of a single law, the Enabling Law. Hitler needed a two-thirds vote to pass that law, and he cajoled his opposition in the Reichstag to support it. Bullock writes that “Hitler was prepared to promise anything to get his bill through, with the appearances of legality preserved intact.” And he succeeded.

etc. Of course, the Bush-haters have been invoking Hitler over and over for years. This is just the latest, and from a Senator no less. Follow the link to Captain's Quarters for more analysis of the speech and the coverage (or lack thereof) from that liberal media.

It looks like more former Communist states are going to go the way of Ukraine.
UKRAINE’S pro-democracy ‘Orange Revolution’ may be about to sweep eastwards as three more former communist states hold elections in the coming days.

Opposition parties in Moldova, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are cloaking themselves in orange, hoping to "do a Ukraine" and remove unpopular governments in parliamentary elections.

Like Ukrainians, opponents in these states complain of living under the yoke of tyrannical governments little changed from the days when they were part of the Soviet Union. They are optimistic that the elections will see the old guard swept from power.

Regarding Moldova in particular, the news is this:
Best placed to see change is Moldova, which goes to the polls on March 6. It is sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania, and controlled by Europe’s last ruling Communist party.

The reason I mention Moldova specifically is that I forwarded this news article to my "Considerettes" Russian Correspondent and got this reply;
I'm not sure what to expect from Moldova. I saw the yellow ribbons there tied to telephone polls. But some folks there said that it was all slogans and no real organization yet. It is a communist government but one that was actually voted into power four years ago. We'll see soon enough on March 6th.

In a separate E-mail (when I noted I thought this would be good info for the blog), I received this:
Just add that the Communist government of Moldova was voted into power in a rather deceptive way. Times were hard for the newly liberated Soviet Republic. The transition to a free market and democratic principles was not without bumps in the road and those bumps were devastating to many.... A Moldovan civil war at that time certainly didn't help things economically either.

When the first elections came the Communists bought out the local bakeries for several days before the elections and passed the bread out free saying, "This is what it will be like if you vote for us." They won.

Since then things have improved somewhat in the capital city of Chisinau (KI-shin-ev). The lack of political unrest and the passage of time itself with entrepreneurs on the loose helped a lot. Also the communism they have now is not nearly the same brand that they had under the Soviets in terms of oppression and the 'bumps' in the road have seemed to become less severe. However, the villages are still very poor. The village I spent a night in had no running water for over a year.

The Communist government has 'stepped in it' several times internationally in their attempt to once again centralize everything. They burned the UN once by absorbing an electricity company and had some major funding cut which hurt. They did something similar with the airlines and now lost some connections with Europe. Typical short-sighted stuff for near-sighted communist priorities.

Yes, folks are getting a bit frustrated, but after spending last week there I saw nothing that leads me to believe they are at the boiling point yet. There has been enough change in terms of economic stability for the common (city) person to hold off a real power struggle for now. But tension is building.

Stay tuned.

(Cross-posted at Comments welcome. Also appears on the Blogger News Network.)

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Regardless of your position on the death penalty for minors, the opinion of the Supreme Court overturning this practice among the states ought to worry you. The AP's quote from Justice Scalia's dissenting opinion only scratches the surface about what's wrong with it.
In a dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia disputed that there is a trend and chastised his colleagues for taking power from the states.

"The court says in so many words that what our people's laws say about the issue does not, in the last analysis, matter: 'In the end our own judgment will be brought to bear on the question of the acceptability of the death penalty,'" he wrote.

"The court thus proclaims itself sole arbiter of our nation's moral standards," Scalia wrote.

Where are states' rights in all this? How far does the Supreme Court get to go when interpreting state laws? The answer, according to the liberal side of the bench, is as far as they want. The distribution of power has served this country well for a couple hundred years or so, but bit by bit it's all coalescing in Washington, D.C.

"When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated." -- Thomas Jefferson to Charles Hammond, 1821.

UPDATE: A good discussion of this is going on over at (A name-calling surface-only "discussion" on this is also going on at the Daily Kos. There may be some who are trying to think this through, but finding them in all the left-wing noise will be difficult. Independents, again, take note.)

Can we finally get beyond the stereotype that the phrase "mean spirited" and the word "Republican" are someone just synonyms?
And concluding [DNC Chairman Howard Dean's] backyard speech with a litany of Democratic values, he added: "This is a struggle of good and evil. And we're the good."

When told of Dean's remarks, Derrick Sontag -- executive director of the Kansas Republican Party -- said he was "shocked."

"My immediate reaction to that whole dialogue is, it's full of hatred," Sontag said. "The Democratic Party has elected a leader that's full of hatred."

Time to deal with this on a case-by-case basis, and to be honest that Howard Dean is a mean-spirited Democrat.