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Conservative commentary served up in bite-sized bits.
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- Clayton Cramer
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Friday, April 29, 2005
"Physician, heal thyself."
Blogging will be light today. In fact, this post may constitute the sum total of my contribution today. The reason is one I'm slightly embarassed to relate.
My laptop died.
Now, there's nothing particularly embarassing about that in and of itself. However, in dying it showed my woeful lack of preparedness for this circumstance. A good backup of one's data, I have told family & friends time and time again, is the best, and often cheapest, insurance you can have. A promise of replacement hardware is good as far as it goes, but it's the data that you really use the computer for. And I...
Well, first of all, in my defense, all the desktop machines in my house do a nightly backup across our home network to another machine. And I was doing semi-regular backups on my old laptop because, frankly, it was old. This machine I've been using was less that 4 months old and yesterday the hard drive just decided to retire. (Nice work if you can get it.)
So I'll admit it: The most recent backup of this machine is from soon after I got it, so I'm going to lose about 3 months worth of E-mail, which is the life blood of most folks these days, especially in business. Most of the actualy software development I do is on other machines, and my laptop is mostly used for connecting to those machines or keeping documents related to said software.
Anyway, I'm really bummed today, and it's mostly my fault. But, the lesson has been learned (again) and I'll assume nothing about how good a hard drive is based solely on its age.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
The stereotype is that Republicans allowed "Jim Crow" laws while Democrats were against them. Perhaps not. The Buzz Blog notes this:
Republican Mike Coan co-sponosored legislation repealing Georgia's Jim Crow laws - something Georgia's Democrats never quite got around to (the 2005 session of the Georgia Legislature is the first time since Reconstruction that the GOP has had a majority in both Houses). Today, Governor Sonny Perdue (R) will sign the bill and Jim Crow will officially be dead.
That's a long time to let those things languish on the law books, and Buzz also mentions that these law in Georgia were enacted and enforced by Democrats. Thanks to Republicans, they're gone.
Could "Ahnold" be in as much trouble as Gray Davis was when the latter was thrown out of office?
What once seemed unthinkable has now become a reality: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's approval ratings have plummeted to Gray Davis levels, and the cornerstone of his ''Year For Reform'' agenda is on shaky ground.
That's a big tumble in a short amount of time, and it suggests either a PR situation (not enough for him or too much against him) or the advancement of a very unpopular policy. The administration seems to think it's a combination of the two.
The numbers suggest that the governor's attempt to get back on offense by jettisoning his contentious pension overhaul plan so he could focus on other proposals has so far failed. Now some Republican strategists are suggesting that Schwarzenegger consider abandoning the special election.
Part of the question has to be how badly do Californians want to have their government operating with fiscal responsibility. Democrats, fond of giving away more and more of your money, have been able to count on the votes of those who get the money. Asking people to do with less from the government is always a hard sell, but Democrats have been especially protective of their own special interest groups rather than the state as a whole.
Heading into his second year as governor, Schwarzenegger had enviable support from two-thirds of Californians, including a majority of independent voters and more than 40 percent of Democrats.
"We like our bankruptcy just fine, thank you." How thoughtful. And here's the PR campaign that could be a big part of the cause of the drop.
The aggressive campaign, complete with millions of dollars in TV commercials attacking Schwarzenegger, has taken its toll. The governor's 20-point slide is more precipitous than Davis' tumble in 2001 when the Democratic governor stumbled through the state energy crisis. At that time, the governor's approval ratings fell from 62 percent to 46 percent over four months.
Bringing in people with "concerns" needs to be backed up with actual proof that these concerns about a bill are founded, or at least with ideas on how to temper it. Instead Democrats use concerned widows for political advantage; to torpedo the whole thing. Why not just argue the merits in the legislature?
At the time, Schwarzenegger aides trumpeted the move as a strategic retreat that would deprive Democratic opponents of their main bludgeon. Instead, it has allowed Schwarzenegger critics to turn their sights on the new centerpiece of his special election package: an initiative that could contain excessive state spending and revamp the formula for funding schools.
And the question returns: How badly do Californians want a fiscally responsible government? When a reform is taken off the table, they're against the next one in line. Part of this could be the battle of the PR campaigns, but people (everywhere, not just in California) need to decide realistically what they want from government and work toward that. Instead, they're saying essentially that they want the budget fixed without raising taxes or cutting spending.
Make your choice and stick with it.
Erick Erickson over at RedState.org notes that Chris Matthews of "Hardball" is going to play the segment he had with Zell Miller at the Republican convention, including the part where Zell challenged him to a duel. He's doing this in response to Zell's new book release, "A Deficit of Decency". Since he's bringing this up again, the publisher's thought that Chris should tell the rest of the story.
The only question is, in Senator Miller's absence tonight will you tell the whole story as to why he was angry with your comments? In chapter 6 (Hardball Huff) of A Deficit of Decency, Zell explains that the reason he challenged you is that before he came on the set you claimed he was an "old time seggy."
Hold not thy breath, but it would be interesting to see.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Why it takes a federal law to allow people to skip scenes in movies is something I just don't understand.
President Bush on Wednesday signed legislation aimed at helping parents keep their children from seeing sex scenes, violence and foul language in movie DVDs.
I've talked about ClearPlay here and here. To me, it's just a complete misapplication of copyright to insist that fast-forwarding past objectionable stuff is somehow illegal. I'm glad this legislation passed, although I wish it wasn't necessary.
Restating the obvious:
The CIA's chief weapons inspector said he cannot rule out the possibility that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were secretly shipped to Syria before the March 2003 invasion, citing "sufficiently credible" evidence that WMDs may have been moved there.
Again, Saddam had WMDs. The only question right now is where they are. If they're in Syria, proving that will be difficult.
But on the question of Syria, Mr. Duelfer did not close the books. "ISG was unable to complete its investigation and is unable to rule out the possibility that WMD was evacuated to Syria before the war," Mr. Duelfer said in a report posted on the CIA's Web site Monday night.
Ending the investigation with a "we don't know, and right now we can't know" shouldn't give Democrats anything to get smug over. Regardless of where they are, stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons simply disappeared. If that's good enough for Democrats, I'd submit that's exactly the reason they can't be trusted with national security.
Air America, probably noting the latest ratings problems, decided to get some free publicity. (Link is on Drudge's site, where nothing is truly a permalink.)
AIR AMERICA RADIO INVESTIGATED AFTER BUSH 'GUNSHOTS'
Bet Rhodes is a hoot at airports when she jokes she has a bomb in her carry-on bag.
The target audience is, of course, the short-attention-span liberal who doesn't remember when Clinton and other Democrats said that Social Security needed saving. But now that it's a Republican doing it, it's a Bad Thing(tm). Welcome to partisanship at its ugliest.
UPDATE: Here's a link to the same story on WorldNetDaily. Just quotes Drudge, but the link will probably hang around a lot longer. Also, Byron York has further information on the decline of Air America's ratings, including putting the lie to the claim by Al Franken that he was beating Rush Limbaugh for a time.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Good news from Lebanon:
MASNAA, Lebanon (AP) - Syria ended its 29-year military domination of Lebanon on Tuesday as soldiers flashing victory signs completed a withdrawal spurred by intense international pressure and massive Lebanese street protests against a force that once reached 40,000.
Without the ousting of dictators in Afghanistan and Iraq, this wouldn't have happened. Instead of inflaming the "Arab street", as most liberals predicted, our actions have furthered democracy and freedom among nations in the Middle East. In some cases, as in this one, no troops were required.
Those on the left will try to plead "historic inevitability" as they did with the fall of the Soviet Union, but that's really dishonest. If we'd followed their policies of appeasement, nothing would have changed. Thanks, Dubya.
Looks like no one in Iraq knew anything about moving WMDs to Syria.
The U.S.-led group that scoured Iraq for weapons of mass destruction has found no evidence Iraq hid such weapons in Syria before the U.S. invasion in March 2003, according to a final report on the investigation.
The new report posted on the CIA Web site said: "Based on evidence available … it is unlikely that an official transfer of WMD material from Iraq to Syria took place. However ISG was unable to rule out unofficial movement of limited WMD-related materials."
The big question has been, since the UN and all these other countries knew they did exist (at least for the reason that Iraq had used them before), where did they go? Hope all these Democrats who've put down the whole WMD issue feel safe with this uncertainty.
While the spotlight is on Tom DeLay, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are scurrying around trying to clean up their own messes.
Members of Congress are rushing to amend their travel and campaign records, fearing that the controversy over House Majority Leader Tom DeLay will trigger an ethics war that will bring greater scrutiny to their own travel and official activities.
It cites examples from Republicans and Democrats (including Pelosi herself) that have had to revisit past trips and how they were paid for to cover their tracks, just in case the DeLay stuff spills over. Ain't this just like Washington?
The solution, of course, is smaller government. If there weren't as much central decision making in this country, lobbyists would have to sway 50 states instead of a handful of Senators. The money wouldn't go as far and we'd have a check on its power.
Today's Odd "Considerettes" Search Phrase - fresh power chewing gum made in germany for animals [#1 on Yahoo! Search]
Monday, April 25, 2005
Byran Preston at Junkyard Blog note a difference in the reaction to two movies:
A year ago Easter, a film debuted that depicted a single killing. It was a violent film to be sure--the individual was tortured and mocked before his execution--but it wasn't the most violent film ever made, or even the most violent film I'd ever seen. It was, in fact, a very moving film that told a true story that should be heard by all.
That describes the first movie. Now the second.
A bazillion people die in this film, most of them after enduring some manner of inhuman treatment. Cops are almost all depicted as evil, hookers are noble (or hot gun-toting samurai, take your pick) and the biggest villians are connected directly to the Catholic church. In fact, the two worst villians are the only people in the entire film that seem to have any sort of belief system at all, and their belief seems to consist of pretending to believe in God while **SPOILER ALERT** eating His children. Yes, you read that right. Not only is Sin City violent beyond words and without a shred of decency, it comes with a side dish of Cardinal cannibalism. Lovely film. Make sure to bring the kids.
The first movie was "The Passion of the Christ". The second one is "Sin City". Now, Bryan points out something missing from the second movie.
But unless I missed something, no one's out there protesting Sin City. It has gotten positive reviews and negative reviews, and has otherwise generated little reaction. No protestors line any street near any theater showing Sin City.
What's the difference?
Why did that film generate so much passion, when a far more pointlessly violent generates none? What was it about The Passion of the Christ that had excitable Andrew comparing it to the worst that the world of hard core can dream up, and had protestor shock troops out to denounce it as evil and racist? And why aren't those allegedly anti-violence protestors out there now to battle Sin City?
This has been another Liberal Double-Standard Alert. We now resume our regularly schedule blog.
I really don't want to hear Democrats talk about "mean-spirited Republicans" ever again, or at least until they get rid of this guy.
Howard Dean may not be running for anything, but his elbows appear to be as sharp as ever.
To borrow a phrase from James Taranto, if he were a Republican, this would be "hate speech".
I tried calling in to "Bill Bennett's Morning in America" radio show this morning, with information about HR 501 aka the "Fairness Doctrine", but was politely rebuffed. When I explained why I was calling, the call screener (Jeff, I think) said that they didn't think it'd get majority support at all. So they didn't take my call (which was understandable; the judicial and Bolton nominations are the big news today).
Anyway, hope they're right. I'll keep an eye on this, in any event.
Friday, April 22, 2005
"Fairness Doctrine" news & views update:
Thursday, April 21, 2005
Looks like the Democrats' bluff has been called.
Democrats yesterday rejected an offer by House Republicans to begin an investigation into ethics accusations against Majority Leader Tom DeLay.
Doesn't look like they're serious. Here's why.
For weeks, Mr. DeLay has openly invited an investigation by the ethics committee, accusing Democrats of stalling to prevent him from clearing his name.
Democrats getting convicted don't lose any stature among Democrats. Republicans merely getting accused (by Democrats), on the other hand, is the worst thing of all in their eyes (and, they hope, the eyes of their short-attention-span constituents). The PR is more important that the ethics.
In an apparently good-mannered debate on Tuesday, Roger Ailes, Al Gore, Jeff Greenfield and Mort Zuckerman talked about the role of the media in a democracy. In light of the revival of the Fairness Doctrine, Ailes had something telling to say.
But as Ailes began saying that Fox News reported not just the Bush administration's claims but also what the United Nations, the Clinton administration and the CIA had been saying, a heckler shouted, "Bulls++t!"
The "Fairness Doctrine" folks are trying to get equal time on radio enforced by law, but are more than willing to keep their majority situation in other media. And thus, with regards to television (and as Limbaugh is wont to say about himself), Fox is equal time. You think Fox has a conservative slant? Fine, if that means that's the only way you'll get this important information.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
A meeting of the vast left-wing conspiracy took place recently, led by (of course) George Soros.
George Soros told a carefully vetted gathering of 70 likeminded millionaires and billionaires last weekend that they must be patient if they want to realize long-term political and ideological yields from an expected massive investment in “startup” progressive think tanks.
Well, at least we know it is an organization (that has been around a while), not just some idea thrown out by Hillary Clinton when the chips were down. Y'know, aren't these the kinds of people liberals are always railing against? The "evil rich"?
Participants were tight-lipped, saying they wanted to keep media expectations low, even suggesting that the Scottsdale gathering was too insignificant to report. Other participants included former White House press secretary Mike McCurry and New Democrat Network president Simon Rosenberg.
Let the coverup begin, in spite of cheap shots to the contrary.
[Sarah] Ingersoll [spokeswoman for Stein’s Democracy Alliance] said funding transparency is a priority, which she said would contrast with some right-wing groups.
Oh, and this is rich.
Ingersoll denied that progressives are merely trying to replicate [the] Heritage [Foundation] and Fox News.
C'mon, can't we be honest here? "Air America" is simply an attempt to replicate Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Unless by "merely" Ingersoll means "not just replicating, but also doing other things", but the context doesn't allow for that. In the rest of the article, it's all about think tanks and such, which Heritage is. To wit:
One source at the DNC with direct knowledge of the agenda said that the Phoenix Group had three specific goals at the outset. It wants to create liberal think tanks, training camps for young progressives and media centers.
Heritage is a conservative think tank, so they do want to replicate it, or at least bolster those that already exist. And what exactly would a "media center" be a foundation for?
But the Phoenix Group is not beholden to the political calendar, and several sources insisted that four-year electoral exigencies were not motivating the project. Indeed, part of the reasoning in keeping D.C. consultants away from Scottsdale was to shield the high-tech donor base from political operatives, who are always eager for quick dollars to buy media points and fund direct mail.
UPDATE: Clayton Cramer has further thoughts. "You would think that the Brookings Institution, the Joyce Foundation, and America's universities weren't already fully funded." The latter would count towards "training camps for young progressives".
Science keeps changing our view of the human body. Think being even a little overweight takes years off your life? Not necessarily so.
Packing on the pounds is not nearly as deadly as the government thought, according to a new calculation from the CDC that found people who are modestly overweight actually have a lower risk of death than those of normal weight.
Granted, part of this is a change in behavior of overweight people. Still, why would someone managing their blood pressure be better off than someone who didn't need to manage it? Aren't folks who are not overweight eating better; is it just overweight people doing that? Behavioral changes don't fully account for this, and that's causing some controversy.
Last year, a CDC study listed the leading causes of preventable death in order as tobacco; poor diet and inactivity, leading to excess weight; alcohol; germs; toxins and pollutants; car crashes; guns; risky sexual behavior; and illicit drugs.
It goes against the grain of current ideas on health, not to mention what we're being told by the government.
In recent years, the government has spent millions of dollars fighting obesity and publicizing the message that two out of three American adults are overweight or obese, and at higher risk for heart disease, arthritis and diabetes.
Time to rethink (and rewrite the commercials).
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
The "Fairness Doctrine" is rearing its ugly head again, this time as House Bill HR501, submitted on February 1st of this year and sponsored by (Democrat) Louise Slaughter and co-sponsored by 12 others (all Democrats). A web site has been put up promoting this as well.
As is typical, these folks decry any medium where they detect a conservative slant, but are utterly tone-deaf to all the liberal onesidedness out there. The petition they're trying to get folks to sign contains this paragraph.
News consumers, particularly those of talk radio, are overwhelmingly exposed to a single point of view. A survey conducted by Democracy Radio this year revealed that 90% of all broadcast hours on talk radio are fairly characterized as conservative. This imbalance results in issues of public importance receiving little or no attention, while others are presented in a manner not conducive to the listeners' receiving the facts and range of opinions necessary to make informed decisions.
I'll grant that talk radio is more conservative than it is liberal, but there's a reason for that. It's not because of some corporate neocons, it's because of demand. I've always thought that, overall, the American public leans somewhat right-of-center, and the popularity of conservative radio programming bears this out. For example, "Air America", a liberal talk-radio network, and "Bill Bennett's Morning in America", one show on the conservative Salem Radio Network, both started at same time, and both recently just turned one year old. While the Air America network has expanded to a bit over 50 markets, Bennett's program is in 124 markets. Further, Air America's ratings have been tanking, unable to, for example, beat the ratings WLIB in New York had when it was a Caribbean music station before it switched to Air America. Comparing "broadcast hours" is misleading because it's a simple matter of responding to the ratings. If fewer people listen to a particular format, there will probably be fewer stations with that format (ignoring the Soros factor for the moment).
So the foundation upon which this idea is built is made of sand right from the start. But beyond that is the audacity these folks have to bring up only talk radio when the mainstream news media has been utterly rife with liberal bias for decades. But when liberals talk about media bias, suddenly the entire media world consists of Fox News Channel, the Washington Times, and Rush Limbaugh. You will not find anything about the "myopic zeal" at CBS News from the Fairness Doctrine folks; they don't mind that kind of nearsightedness at all.
What we have then, in effect, is a backdoor attempt to get more of a market for Air America by forcing stations to maintain some sort of balance in "broadcast hours". Stations will be forced to run Al Franken or someone like him to offset any conservatives on the air. While the introduction of HR501 and the 1st anniversary of Air America and the report of its lousy ratings are probably not connected, it does sound like an interesting time for this doctrine to be rehashed. Perhaps since Soros has a horse in the talk radio race now, some folks in Washington may be hoping to be the recipients of some cash to really push this hard. And Bush's veto record is, well, non-existent. For politicos viewing the media landscape with liberal-blocking polarized lenses, this may be the perfect time for a move like this.
If liberals can't compete in the arena of ideas, they pass laws against the competition. This is desperation.
(Cross-posted at Redstate.org and the Blogger News Network. Comments welcome.)
Wonder if/how this will affect bloggers.
The Associated Press will begin charging newspapers and broadcasters to post its stories, photos and other content online, a pricing shift that reflects the growing power of the Internet to lure audiences and advertisers from more established media.
This was an AP story I found on the South Florida Sun-Sentinel web site. Question now is, will I have to pay to quote a portion of the article at some point in the future? If this ultimately requires bloggers to avoid AP stories, I don't see this as a positive thing for either the Sun-Sentinel or the AP.
Wow, the day went by, and I just about missed it. Well, OK, I completely missed it. I speak, of course, of my 3rd blogging anniversary, which was yesterday. (Guess I was too busy working on the co-fisking, and getting all the colors right.) Since last year I've gone from a "Crawly Amphibian" to a "Large Mammal" in the TTLB Ecosystem, I've started the Homespun Bloggers Radio show, and got another Instalanche. Life is good. >grin<
Sorry I didn't have a chance to do as much for the party this year as I did last (it just snuck up on me), but I do want to thank y'all for stopping by and checking the place out.
Monday, April 18, 2005
My blogger-in-law, Jim Jewell (who blogs at Rooftop Blog and Stones Cry Out), brought to my attention a NY Times editorial over the weekend about Bill Frist speaking to religious folks about the judicial nomination issue. He couldn't believe the amateurish writing from a supposedly tier A media organization, so I read it myself. As we talked about it, it seemed like we had a rebuttal for just about every line in it. I suggested to him we do a co-fisking of the article, and that's what you see below. (Jim posted his at Rooftop Blog and Stones Cry Out.) We wrote our rebuttals separately without seeing the other's first, so what we're writing is only in response to the Times article, not each other's words. Also, you may see some ideas presented by the both of us.
The editorial's words are indented, my words are in red, Jim's are in green.
Right off the bat, the Times frames this as a war of Bill Frist's making. No mention of the way the Democrats are rewriting the Constitution to say that the Senate Judiciary Committee is now the "advice and consent" body rather than the Senate itself. And a "religious war"? We'll see how the Times has redefined that term in a bit.
Right-wing Christian groups and the Republican politicians they bankroll...
Loaded language right from the start, which also gives the false impression that conservative Christians supply the vast majority of the money in Republican coffers. Sorry, don't think so.
...have done much since the last election to impose their particular religious views on all Americans.
Not political views, mind you, but religious views. Yes, according to the NY Times, conservative Christians have imposed their belief in Jesus as the Son of God on the nation, enshrining it in legislation via our bankrolled politicians. No? Oh, then how about other religious views, like legislating the belief that the only God is the one described in the Christian Bible? No? Perhaps they've passed a law that we should only worship that particular God? Nope, not that either. In fact there is no Christian religious view that is in our laws at all, and no one is pushing for it to happen. The Times and the liberals that think like them may like to raise the spectre of a supposed push for a Christian theocracy, but there's no politician in Washington doing anything close to that. It's outright fear-mongering that one would have thought the Grey Lady to be above. Apparently not.
What conservative Christians have tried to do is get legislation passed on social or political or criminal issues that are consistent with their own values. And this just in; everybody does that. That's what government and self-rule is for. But when conservative Christians try to do it, it's somehow an "imposition" of their "religious views". I'm sure there's a number of KKK members who aren't all that thrilled with civil rights legislation, yet technically we've imposed those views on them, and for very good reasons. So the whole idea of decrying the imposing of views is really intellectual dishonesty. The Times, anytime they advocate for any law, does the same thing.
What right-wing Christian group bankroll politicians? Most I know are asking for money from the same funding sources as the Republican politicians. The organization at issue here, Family Research Council, doesn't fund politicians. It's engaged in battle with words, not dollars. Christian groups haven't "imposed" anything on "all Americans." I hope they've made their views known in the public square. The Republican politicians haven't done much of anything since November.
But nothing comes close to the shameful declaration of religious war by Bill Frist, the Senate majority leader, over the selection of judges for federal courts.
Appearing on a telecast sponsored by a 501 C 3 organization with religious and political purposes to lobby for his position on the judicial appointment is a declaration of religious war? Oh please. It's Frist playing to his base, not exactly new in Washington. It is legitimate to ask whether the appointment of conservative judges is clearly important to Christian duty and concerns. Have the actions of liberal judges been un-Christian? Most evangelical Christians believe they have been. I think Frist does, too.
Senator Frist is to appear on a telecast sponsored by the Family Research Council, which styles itself a religious organization but is really just another Washington lobbying concern.
FRC is a lobbying concern run by Christians on behalf of Christian causes. There's no hidden agenda here.
The message is that the Democrats who oppose a tiny handful of President Bush's judicial nominations are conducting an assault "against people of faith."
Tiny? I think its 10 so far. And there will be more if something isn't done. Yes, unfortunately, there is no love lost between the Democrats and many people of faith. I think there is plenty of assaulting on both sides. The art of subtlety and common civility is lost on the ash heap of the last generation.
By that, Senator Frist and his allies do not mean people of all faiths, only those of their faith.
The same faith, by the way, that the Times won't be intellectually honest about. Frist ought to be given some slack, as this kind of double-standard is used against conservative Christians in a lot of areas, and this Times editorial is just the latest example. I'll agree that the term "people of faith" may be an overgeneralization, but there's nothing wrong with trying to point out when people who believe the same things you do are getting a raw deal. The fact that they're being held up because of concern that their religious views might show through is a de facto unconstitutional religious test, and worth bringing up. And even outside any views on any subject, since when do we have ideological litmus tests before confirming judges? (Answer: Since Democrats decided to do it.)
Where in the teachings of any major faith group do you find commendation of abortion on demand and same-sex marriage? Not Christianity, Islam, or Judaism. Maybe in the common faith groups-faith in faith, faith in self, faith in destiny, faith in money, faith in power. Yes, I think liberal judges have sullied people of faith.
It is one thing when private groups foment this kind of intolerance.
Huh? Arguing for conservative judges is fomenting intolerance?
The Times just had to find a way to use the word "intolerance" in a sentence here. And what's odd is that they're accusing Republicans of this, while the Democrats seem pretty intolerant of views they don't agree with, so much so that they're not giving these nominees the chance for an up-or-down vote. Who's intolerant?
It is another thing entirely when it's done by the highest-ranking member of the United States Senate, who swore on the Bible...
Heh heh...the irony is just dripping here. Why exactly did he swear on a Bible? Because our founding fathers were such "intolerant" guys?
...to uphold a Constitution that forbids the imposition of religious views on Americans.
...that, again, no one is trying to do. And remember, the Constitution says that our federal government may not have an established religion and thus not require a religious test for office-holders. Republicans are not trying to do anything like that. (Did anyone at the Times actually read the Constitution before writing that? Editors!) What Democrats are doing is trying to keep out those who hold religious views too seriously for their comfort. Again, that is the imposition.
I love this. The Times is citing the need for constitutional fidelity because of the Bible's use in an oath. How ironic. Of course this constitutional prohibition on imposition of religious views is creative but inaccurate. Pretty wild interpretation of the establishment clause.
Unfortunately, Senator Frist and his allies are willing to break down the rules to push through their agenda - in this case, by creating what the senator knows is a false connection between religion and the debate about judges.
Christians who have many judicial rulings contrary their beliefs see a very real connection.
Whether or not you believe that religion has anything to do with this issue, there are no rules being broken, and the <redundant>Democrats and the Times</redundant> both know that the filibuster rule is in fine health. Apparently, the difference between changing the rules and breaking the rules needs to be understood better by some folks.
Senator Frist and his backers want to take away the sole tool Democrats have for resisting the appointment of unqualified judges: the filibuster.
False, there is another tool: Elections. But, in order for that to work, you have to, you know, win them. Democrats have lost them recently, and this is the spoils of winning; choosing your judges.
And all these judges are "unqualified"? Without qualification, that term is also certainly false, unless the Times is again redefining words. In this case, "unqualified" means "don't agree with us".
Everyone knows this isn't about qualifications; it's about ideology. Nice try. (Another tool is to get a majority in the Senate).
This is not about a majority or even a significant number of Bush nominees; it's about a handful with fringe views or shaky qualifications.
10 nominees who were qualified by too conservative for the Democrats. I love when the liberals talk about the fringe. I guess when Democrats lose the White House, both Houses of Congress, and the majority of state houses, the fringe is really on the left, isn't it?
But Senator Frist is determined to get judges on the federal bench who are loyal to the Republican fringe and, he hopes, would accept a theocratic test on decisions.
The search for strict constructionists has become a theocratic test. Such wild rhetoric.
False. The only folks looking for a theocratic test are Democrats opposing these judges. If they really did expect these guys to give all their decisions a "theocratic test", then they really fouled this up. For example, William Pryor, who was being filibustered prior to his recess appointment, said he agreed that Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was in the right with the 10 Commandments display in the Alabama Supreme Court building. Nevertheless, he followed the law as written and did his constitutional duty by having it removed. Does the Times think Pryor will employ a theocratic test? He's proven quite plainly that he won't. The Times is using an extremely broad brush on these folks, and if they're wrong about Pryor (and they are), chances are they're wrong about the others.
Senator Frist has an even bigger game in mind than the current nominees: the next appointments to the Supreme Court, which the Republican conservatives view as their best chance to outlaw abortion and impose their moral code on the country.
I think Frist is, indeed, thinking about the Supreme Court. Whose moral code is the court imposing on America now? The law is a moral teacher and, if you will, an imposer. It isn't as though only one ideology seeks to transmit its views.
Links? Sources? And what of moral code double-standards? If outlawing abortion would be the imposition of a moral code, then the legalization of abortion was the imposition of another moral code, or at the very least a values-free look at the death of children, which at the very least is an imposition on those children. Once again the Times is basically saying, "I just change the law, you impose your moral code".
We fully understand that a powerful branch of the Republican Party believes that the last election was won on "moral values."
We didn't say that first. The major networks, the pundits, and the polling experts did. They said moral values were a major factor in the election. Yes, we believed it.
Even if that were true, that's a far cry from voting for one religion to dominate the entire country. President Bush owes it to Americans to stand up and say so.
I haven't seen that particular piece of legislation. The Christian Domination of America bill.
Again I say, "Who's voting for a religion?" President Bush isn't asking for that, only for an up-or-down vote on judges. Bill Frist is complaining that the opposition to these nominees is primarily religious and he can actually point to this very editorial and prove his point in spades. This last line comes right out and says so; the Times believes that Democrats should be allowed to use a religious test on judicial nominees. That's unconstitutional, pure and simple, but the Times is all for it. And that's their definition of a "religious war" that they accuse Frist of starting. In reality it was the filibusters of these folks that called them on the carpet because of their religion. If there's a religious war going on here, it's one that the Democrats chose to invent and fight because, as the Times clearly says, they believe that a vote for these nominees is a vote to have one religion "dominate the entire country". This is a pathetic scare tactic. Ultimately, this editorial really has the whole situation upside down and backwards, which is apparently how the Times views the world.
Ultimately, this editorial really has the whole situation upside down and backwards, which is apparently how the Times views the world.
Bob Hayes over at the Blogger News Network (where I do some occasional reporting) is fact-checking the NY Times. Actually, it's not so much fact-checking as it is telling the whole story. Don't those guys have editors?
Lance over at Red State Rant liked what he saw over here and blogrolled me. Well back atcha.
Friday, April 15, 2005
The UN is trying to get some PR via a video game.
The UN food relief agency on Thursday launched its first 'humanitarian' videogame, offering different multimedia mission-games designed to attract children though full-screen video and 3D imagery. 'Food Force's graphics bear a striking resemblance to those of the blockbuster 'Tomb Raider' videogame's - but can be downloaded for free from the Internet, adding to its appeal for parents.
No word about how far the realism goes. For example, do you get the opportunity to cook the books and make off with billions of aid dollars? Does it require you to engage in clandestine & illegal deals with the Ba'ath party in "Sheylan"? I mean, if we're going to simulate UN food programs, we ought to be as complete as possible, shouldn't we?
Maybe in version 2.0
What do you call people who help illegal aliens get into this country? Criminals? Well yeah, but what else?
American Civil Liberties Union activists shadowing the Minuteman Project at the U.S.-Mexican border in Arizona are actively aiding and abetting aliens attempting to enter the country illegally, said a spokesman for the volunteer civilian force.
You call them "radical civil liberties activists", of course! Hey, I'm all for protecting civil liberties, but I think the ACLU expanded way out of that domain long ago.
I've got an article up at Blogger News Network summarizing the DeLay/Sanders issue. Comments are welcome.
Let it never be said that die-hard Republicans can't be critical of their own party. Captain Ed is extremely peeved at the Republicans in the Senate, who aren't doing much of anything with regards to one of the big issues they ran on; judicial nominees. Ed in short:
What has this bunch of Republican milquetoasts done? Nothing.
His action? Withholding funds. No lock-step marching here.
Boy, Democrats really hate it when, while holding the spotlight on someone else, they notice some spotlight on them as well. On Wednesday I noted that a Vermont newspaper covered one of their own paying family members; a Democrat doing what they're castigating Tom DeLay for. Well, looks like Rep. Sanders, in response, would rather take his ball and go home instead of face it. Here's the Bennington Banner's editorial in full.
The congressman doth protest too much
Hope to find the national MSM picking this up, rather than just relying on Drudge for links to something like this. Yet hold not thy breath.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
There's a new group blog of Ph. D.s who will be discussing Intelligent Design. "Intelligent Design the Future" has been added to the blogroll.
A story about how the state of Oregon has reacted to unilateral action on gay marriage further proves the reasoning behind those against it upping the ante to state constitutions and not leaving it with statutes.
SALEM, Ore. (AP) - The Oregon Supreme Court on Thursday nullified nearly 3,000 marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples by Multnomah County a year ago, saying a single county couldn't take such action on its own.
Despite a law against it, the county appealed to the state constitution for their actions. This is why the stakes got higher and it fully legitimizes the push for constitutional amendments. In Georgia, homosexual activists have argued that since we already have a law against it, we didn't need a constitutional amendment. This puts the lie to that line of reasoning.
(Cross-posted at Redstate.org and the Blogger News Network. Comments welcome.)
For perspective, the AP has compiled a list (likely not exhaustive) of lawmakers who have relatives on their payroll. If DeLay is such a pariah in this matter, I would imagine the Democrats would go after everyone on this list of 7 Republicans and 6 Democrats.
Actually the safer bet would be that this is just a partisan witch hunt. Right, Newt?
Today's Odd "Considerettes" Search Phrase - free step by step on how to draw silly cartoon horses [#9 on Yahoo! Search]
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
I wondered if anyone else noticed, and "hubs & spokes" has. Namely that the nifty little Blogging Ecosystem run by N.Z. Bear has been flaky over the past few months. I'd reliably been a "Marauding Marsupial" for quite some time, but at one point I think he made some changes--most notably the addition of graphs of your blog's position--and things started going haywire. (My ecosystem status is here.) What's worse, the graphs themselves pointed this out. Well, the graphs stopped happening. Then I got an Instalanche recently and got promoted to a "Large Mammal" for a little while there (partially for the traffic, partially for folks who'd linked to the Instalanched post). Since then, however, I've been on a de-evolutionary spiral down to "Flappy Bird" as of yesterday. Today, all of a sudden, I went on a meteoric rise back up to "Large Mammal". While I'm pleased, it's wild swings are making the ecosystem less of a gauge worth looking at.
Yeah, it's just an ego booster, and my sister (who gets a kick out of asking me if I'm still a "marauding marsupial") finds it rather silly. She's right, but it's nifty. Hope it gets to feeling better soon.
(Note: The Bear notes some recent issues & their resolution here and here.)
Ah yes, the left is searing with hate these days. On Monday, I mentioned T-shirts suggesting Tom DeLay kill himself. Today, it's shirts suggesting that someone kill the President.
An online store today removed from its site a T-shirt with the words "Kill Bush" and a phony bloodstain.
Remember, according to liberals, it's only conservatives who are capable of mean-spirited hate.
Hmm, ethics problem here?
Rep. Bernard Sanders used campaign donations to pay his wife and stepdaughter more than $150,000 for campaign-related work since 2000, according to records filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Sound vaguely familiar?
The ethics of lawmakers paying their families jumped into the spotlight on Capitol Hill last week, following reports that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas had paid his wife and daughter more than $500,000 for campaign-related work.
Double-standards have a rich history in the Democratic Party.
Now, the question is, is this practice legal? The article covers this topic.
No laws prohibit candidates from paying family members for campaign work. But the appearance that lawmakers use their position to benefit people close to them concerns watchdog groups.
It's something worth keeping tabs on, that's for sure. But unless there's some evidence that DeLay or Sanders were just funnelling money to family members who weren't earning their wages, then, apart from looking into that aspect this shouldn't be nearly the issue the Democrats have made it.
As I said, it's a simple matter of throwing everything they can at someone until something sticks. Right, Newt?
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
The solution to global warming? Stop brushing your hair!
Millions of tons of dandruff are circling the Earth, blocking out sunlight, causing rain and spreading disease, startling new research shows.
Sorry, but I can't read that without a very serious chuckle. Thing is, the article also mentions the contribution of birds and trees to this cruft floating around in the air, and you have to ask, "If it's a natural process, what can we really do about it?"
Consider these events:
Name that President.
If you said "George W. Bush", you could be forgiven, since Democrats and the media have made the who Social Security issue sound like Dubya's been the first guy to try to suggest doing personal accounts, in addition to denying that there's even a problem. But the correct answer is Bill Clinton.
But as budget surplus projections grew on the back of a stock market bubble, Republican leaders wanted the money for across-the-board cuts in income taxes. Clinton promised a veto.
Unfortunately, the Lewinsky matter torpedoed anything else going on at the time, and the proposals died. But just remember this when bloggers and pundits continue to act as though the current proposals are unprecedented and unnecessary.
Looks like some judged in Massachusetts might have their feet held to the constitutional fire.
A measure to oust the four justices who voted for same-sex marriage in Massachusetts will be considered today by the state legislature's Joint Judiciary Committee.
It looks as though judicial activism and media pressure are keeping the legislature in line on this.
The last time Massachusetts lawmakers removed a Supreme Judicial Court justice was 1803. A failed attempt was made in 1922. But Article 8 director Brian Camenker, who launched the campaign in January 2004, has said lawmakers privately say "this was a completely illegal ruling, it has no basis in law at all, and that this is really what needs to happen."
But what's a little ethical law when there are axes to grind?
Monday, April 11, 2005
I've read some of this on other web sites, and here's the latest update on it.
A century after Albert Einstein published his most famous ideas, physicists will today commemorate the occasion by trying to demolish one of them.
Click here and you'll find a host of web pages discussing both sides of this issue. If light is indeed slowing down, this would impact the creation / evolution debate. In that case, light from distant stars would not have been travelling for as long a time, and radioactive decay itself would have been faster in the past (since electrons travel at the speed of light). This would require the estimated age of the universe to be adjusted downward. How much it would change is based on the measurements. However, for "young earth" creationists, it would be some vindication and would keep the door open that further scientific evidence that we may uncover in the future would continue to bolster their position.
An interesting situation.
I'm with Sen. Rick Santorum:
"I think he has to come forward and lay out what he did and why he did it and let the people then judge for themselves," said Santorum, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.
He's talking about Tom DeLay, who's had some ethics charges and suspicions against him recently. He needs to come out with it and either take his lumps or prove them wrong. Either way, silence isn't golden.
"But from everything I've heard, again, from the comments and responding to those, is everything he's done was according to the law," Santorum told ABC's "This Week."
Yes, it's easy to just point the finger elsewhere. But leveling bogus charges, aided and abetted by the media, is nothing new for Democrats (just ask Newt Gingrich).
However, asking him to commit suicide is going a bit too far.
Go away for a week and what happens? The Pope dies and Charles & Camilla get married. One Spring Break I was on vacation when Baghdad fell. During another vacation Princess Diana died.
Sometimes I feel like an international jinx.
In any event, I'm back and blogging will resume. For those of you who have had trouble listening to Homespun Bloggers Radio, I must blame my home network hardware that somehow knew I'd just left. I host the audio stream from a Linux machine at home, and sometimes the network hardware gets itself tied up in a knot. It require a power cycle, but when I'm not there, it just has to wait until I return. It can go for months without doing this, yet within a couple of days of my departure, sure enough it wedged up. It's back now, so you can listen in again. (We didn't get a new show out before I left, but we're working on one.)
On with the pontificating!
Friday, April 01, 2005
A year or so ago, in surfing around the web, I bumped into information about a prophecy made during the 1100s about the popes from that point until the last one. (How I got there, I'll never remembe.) A St. Malachy supposedly had a vision giving him information about all these popes and, according to it, the next pope will be pope as the Tribulation mentioned in the book of Revelation begins, and the pope after that would be extremely evil, fitting in to the end times prophesies as potentially the anti-Christ. Now, there's plenty of questions as to whether these are forgeries or not, and I'm not one to put too much stock in this (and I'm not Catholic), but it is at least interesting, especially given the health of the current pope.
The interpretation of the prophesy about the next pope are, of course open to interpretation. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out, if, in fact, it does.