Friday, August 5, 2005

Amazing Lady

LAGRANGEVILLE, N.Y. - Sixty years later, Tomiko Morimoto West still remembers the low drone of the B-29 that flew over Hiroshima and changed her life forever.

She was just 13. The horrific atomic blast on Aug. 6, 1945, all but wiped out her hometown in an instant. Her widowed mother was killed, and her grandparents would die later in agony.

"They left me all by myself," she said.

All alone, she suffered the effects of radiation sickness, which may have contributed to her inability to have children. But she is not bitter.

West, now 73 and a retired Vassar College lecturer, believes the atomic bomb that robbed her of her family and her innocence saved countless lives - Japanese and American.

"If it was not for the atomic bomb, we [Japanese] were in such a mental state, we would have fought until the last person," said West, who was taught as a little girl how to fight with a sharpened bamboo stick in the event of an invasion.

"I never, never, never hated the Americans," said West, who now lives near Poughkeepsie and is married to a former G.I...

Tuesday, August 2, 2005

I may be...

Wrong on the Roberts confirmation. It now appears that some democrats are attacking Roberts openly. John Edwards for instance, has questioned Roberts' record on civil rights. Still, Edwards may be the exception-- he has no seat to defend or constituency to please, with the exception of the Democrat primary voter. He probably is throwing them some red meat in order to give his left-wing bona fides a boost.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Stop the Disingenuousness!

Democrats' disingenuousness bugs me. Take John Bolton’s confirmation hearing as an example. Why do Democrats bork Bolton? Because they dislike Bush, and they want to serve him up a political defeat. Bolton is merely and extension of this battle.

Instead of making the Bolton confirmation about consequential things, e.g., his approach to diplomacy or his theories on foreign policy, Senators like Joe Biden have made the Bolton confirmation into a inquiry of alleged tantrums in a hotel in Moscow 25 years ago, or, more recently, why Bolton forgot to mention that he had been interviewed by a investigator about the "yellow cake uranium" statement in President Bush’s state of the union address. Could it be because Bolton had nothing to do with those words in The State of The Union speech and understandably forgot? Yes, that seems likely, but such lapses of memory about inconsequential minutia – these are the things of character! That’s right mister "I plagiarized my presidential campaign speeches from a British politician," lecture us about character! Tell us about this administrations lack of character!

But democrats have to do it this way, the strait up Bush-lied-kids-died approach just lost them the 2004 election. You see, this whole last election cycle was a referendum on Bush's neo-Wilsonian foreign policy, and miraculously Bush won. Since their straight-forward approach lost, Democrats have to try something else. They have to be sneaky! Thus They resort to concocting disingenuous arguments against Republicans that, just maybe they can get people to agree with. Sure, it may not be what Democrats actually think-- but if it's effective, who cares?

This whole forgetting-about-some-interview tempest in a teapot is only the Democrats' latest disingenous argument. The old reason for filibustering Bolton was Democrats like Biden didn’t have access to all of Bolton’s papers, memos, etc. You see, Democrats have this crazy theory that Bolton was requesting intelligence intercepts in order to dig up dirt on coworkers within the State department with whom he had had personal conflicts. At least that’s what they said. The administration responded that there were no intercepts that had anything to do with the individuals that Democrats identified as potential victims of Bolton's bullying. Democrats remain undeterred, using the refusal to release those documents as justification for filibustering Bolton. It's a cleaver strategy: Make outrageous and unprecedented demands for classified documents, and then, when the demands are rightly denied, claim the administration is hiding something.

Don't be fooled. Democrats have no idea what they are looking for. This is a fishing expedition, and the Bush administration has correctly decided it will not fold. As a result Democrats continue to filibuster and a recess appointment looks imminent.

Now we're seeing the same thing with Supreme Court nominee, John Roberts. Roberts, by all accounts, is one of the most capable appellate advocates that has ever lived. He graduated first in his class from Harvard Law, and has the respect of both liberal and conservative legal academics alike. He also has the publics support and seems very amiable. This leaves little wriggle room for Democrats who, if they could, would attack him straight on. But, because attacking Roberts would likely cost them politically, instead of being forthright they use legerdemain, pretending that their problem isn't with The Supreme Court shifting to the right, but with accessing Robert's Justice department memos and papers.

This complaint comes just days after The Bush administration released 75,000 documents related to John Roberts service in the Reagan administration (a courtesy not at all required by law). Do you think that Democrats and their staffers have read all 75,000 pages in the last two or three days. Who knew memos and the like could be such page-turners?

Now, one may ask: If there is nothing to hide, why not release all of the documents? The answer is this: In a high profile advisory position, the advisor needs to know his opinions are protected by confidentiality, otherwise he will be reluctant to talk openly and honestly. What if he believes an unpopular position to be correct and wants to advocate it, but, realizing he has no confidentiality, is scared of a potential media firestorm? What if there are major differences of opinion—such as in the Reagan administration—and he believes that what he advocates will be used to paint a picture of political infighting and power grabbing? He is scared to undermine those who have trusted him, but at the same time, those who have trusted him need to hear his honest unreserved judgments and opinions.

There are good reasons for confidentiality, and no doubt Democrats well understand some of them. But they also understand that the why-don't-you-release-those-classified-documents refrain is a more effective and easier argument to make than the less-well-understood arguments for confidentiality. And that is exactly what's so irritating about what they're doing. Democrats aren't making an argument for the principle of transparency -- they are making their current argument out of political expediency. Right now they want to damage Bush and his agenda through Bolton and Roberts. Don't be surprised if when a Democrat becomes president, Democrats suddenly discover the importance of confidentiality (just as they discovered the importance of the filibuster). That's because what they are doing now is disingenuous, it's cheep and --if I haven't already mentioned it-- it bugs me.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Twisted Logic

A random statement from a friend, and a reminder from this article got me to thinking about the way liberals think. They have a way of making arguments that seem fine on the surface, but, upon reflection, don't withstand much scrutiny. Consider the following: A couple of months ago I was with my friend and his sister. We were discussing the Catholic church, because of the Pope's recent death, and my friend's sister sugested (somewhat randomly) that the Catholic Church should change its position on birth control because so many people in Africa are dying of AIDS, and because their life expectancy had, and is, dropping so dramatically.

Now, its true that Africa has an AIDS problem, but just how the Catholic Church is culpable I do not understand. Would condoms help control the problem, and is the Catholic Church against using them? Yes they would help some, and yes Catholic doctrine is against all birth conrol, including condoms. But the real question here is: Has the Catholic prohibition of birth control exacerbated the AIDS epidemic?

To this question we must answer: No -- at least it's not very likely.

How many Catholics are there in Africa? This article says about 17% of Africans are Catholic -- not that many -- and AIDS is certainly not plagueing Africa because only the Catholics are getting AIDS. Rather Catholics teach abstinence and fidelity -- a combination that, if observed, would eliminate AIDS. Even if every person used condoms, due to high failure rates and the continuation of present African promiscuity (the real cause of the spreading of AIDS) there would still be far too many Africans contracting and dying from AIDS.

The only way the Catholic Church's stance on condoms furthers the spread of AIDS is if Catholics disregard Catholic teaching on abstinence and fidelity, but for some inexplicable reason decide they should heed the Church's teaching on birth control. This seems an unlikely senario, inasmuch as one guesses there is a hierarchy of commandments, and fidelity and abstinence presumably rank much higher than birth control. I grew up with many Catholics, some devout married Catholics currently without kids. Ostensibly, they use birth control and don't feel too bad about it.

And who is to say Catholicism is not infact fighting AIDS. Are there more people who have sex without condoms because of Catholic teachings and thus contract AIDS, Or, are there more people who would otherwise have promiscious sex but, because they are Catholic, do not and are spared from AIDS? Who is to say, and have liberals even bothered asking the question?

I guess the latter more likely. A Catholic observing doctrine about the use of birth control, but not observing abstinence and fidelity doctrine is like a man who refuses to speed, yet habitually drives drunk. Such excentric people probably exist, but its unlikely that there are many of them. Likewise, there are unlikely to be many real Catholics who reverance the lesser law but flout the greater law -- and there existence does not mean the lesser law should be changed. Instead, they should stop flouting the greater law, and thus fix the AIDS problem.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

So Little to Do...

So much time. Er, wait, stop -- reverse that. I just have so many hobbies: music, blogging, nose picking, TV, procrastinating, et. al., that I just can't find time for all of them. Lately Music and Law-School-Prep stuff have taken precident over my blogging -- but not anymore! I have renewed my commitment to blogging, and from now on, will try and post something daily. I think this will be a good way to execize my mind and writting muscles.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Dean, the perfect

By now most of us know how Howard Dean insisted upon Osama bin Laden's due process and presumption of innocence, yet Tom Delay --who has yet to indicted for any wrong doing -- should go dirrectly to jail. Set aside the fact that house members who are convicted of ethical violations don't go to jail. What about Delay's due process, and presumption of innocence? Doesn't this double standard tell us something about Dean, and possibly the people who elected him to run the party?

Dem's who are supposed to have so much more nuance and sophistication should be embarrassed by the shallow-thinking Howard Dean, who's ready to give bin Laden the benefit of the doubt, but makes no allowances for Delay. Yes Republicans think Democrats are annoying, and wrong headed. Yes they say stupid things from time to time (for which they almost always apologize immediately). But Dean, who confronted by Russert on Meet the Press, doggedly defended his double standard has officially given up the game. The real threat to America, is not Islamofacism, but Republicans, who are evil, and whom Dean "hates."

It's not the calm President Bush who has divided this country, its the reactionary churlish Howard Dean clones in the Democratic party who insist on hyperventilating every time Bush mispronounces a word.

Monday, May 16, 2005

More Dean Wisdom

From the Beltway Buzz

Dean Unfiltered

05/16 08:45 AM

Speaking to the Massachusetts Democrat's convention over the weekend, DNC Chair Howard Dean said Tom DeLay, “ought to go back to Houston where he can serve his jail sentence,” because of the ethical allegations against him.

Barney Frank, never one to shy away from criticizing DeLay, rebuked Dean’s comment on the convention floor, “That's just wrong. I think Howard Dean was out of line talking about DeLay. The man has not been indicted. I don't like him, I disagree with some of what he does, but I don't think you, in a political speech, talk about a man as a criminal or his jail sentence."

Friday, April 29, 2005

Strange Turn of Events

Recently I read a transcript of A Real Time with Bill Maher program thats got me to thinking about foreign policy. On the program, David Frum makes a good point: Those who are so critical of President Bush's intervention in Iraq, are also critical of his lack of intervention in Sudan. (Specifically Maher in this case.) In other words, Bush is in a strange position, where no matter what he does, its the wrong thing in the eyes of Maher and his ilk.

I find this all especially ironic because George W. Bush in some ways is the most moderate Republican we've had in a long time. He's increased spending significantly, especially on education -- up 40%. He's exacerbated a entitlement problem with his Medicare Drug Benefit plan. And his foreign policy, is Neo-Wilsonian. It seems that Democrats should be embracing Bush as one of the more moderate Republican Presidents. But all the "olive branches" Bush has offered seem only to enrage Democrats more

But specifically I want to dwell on this: The Neo-Wilsonian Bush doctrine that says as Americans we should be spreading Democracy. Isn't this exactly what Democrats used to stand for: doing the right thing to help improve the position of other whether it's in American interests or not?

Thursday, April 28, 2005


From the corner:

WOW -- AND PEOPLE THINK IT'S A SHAME HE'S NOT PRESIDENT [Jonah Goldberg ]Al Gore in his speech to MoveOn:
"This aggressive new strain of right-wing religious zealotry is actually a throwback to the intolerance that led to the creation of America in the first place," Gore said as many in the audience stood and applauded. The speech was sponsored by the liberal group MoveOn's political action committee

The Enviornment Sucks...

or does it?

The Real Problem with Bolton

From Goldberg:

Here is the undeniable, irrefutable truth of the whole controversy over John Bolton's embattled nomination for the job as America's ambassador to the United Nations. If John Bolton had been the nicest, sweetest, let-me-help-you-with-your-groceries, you-can-sleep-on-my-couch, I'll-get-the-thorn-out-of-your-paw teddy bear to everybody he ever worked with or met, not a single Democratic senator on the Foreign Relations Committee would change his vote from "no" to "yes." And, if Bolton were an H. G. Wellsian lover of one-world government who believed that the United Nations was America's last best hope, all those "no" votes would switch to "yes" votes — even if it turned out that Bolton had a Skipper complex that compelled him to swat every wayward staffer in the head with his hat.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

More Liberal Tolerance

From Drudge:

Government officials are reviewing a skit which aired on the network Monday evening -- a skit featuring an apparent gunshot warning to the president!

The announcer: "A spoiled child is telling us our Social Security isn't safe anymore, so he is going to fix it for us. Well, here's your answer, you ungrateful whelp: [audio sound of 4 gunshots being fired.] Just try it, you little bastard. [audio of gun being cocked]."

The audio production at the center of the controversy aired during opening minutes of The Randi Rhodes Show.

"What is with all the killing?" Rhodes said, laughing, after the clip aired.
And this isn't the first Joke by Rhodes about assasination.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Social Security

From the NYTs. I know I've written a lot about this, but here is another person's perspective.

Bolton Update

Bolton's accuser, Townsel, has come forward, in an attempt to preempt her critics, with the revelation that in college she plagiarized multiple articles for her school paper. Another critic, Lynne Finney,who claims Bolton harassed her, is, it turns out, delusional:

What do Nostradamus, "Star Trek" and the Book of Revelation have to do with the Bush administration's nominee for ambassador to the United Nations?

In an attempt to deep-six John Bolton's nomination, Democrats placed stories in The Boston Globe, USA Today and CNN citing a women who claimed Bolton threatened her - the very same woman who published an article on using those sources to predict world peace was at hand.

Those articles also failed to mention the fact that Lynne Finney, the women who claims she was abused by Bolton, has problems with her memory. She believes that she long suppressed and later recovered memories that she was molested by her father - a process which the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association regard as dubious and an unreliable source of testimony.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Read here about American Stingyness.

Judicial Confirmations

Judicial Confirmations
Originally uploaded by RHarris.
This, I think illustrates the problem Bush is having with judicial nominations. via
Name that man caught in hypocrisy.

Which is the Party of the Rich Interest Groups?

From Byron York's new Book "The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy" via a book review:

"People who contributed less than $200 to politicians and parties gave 64 percent of their money to Republicans," writes York, based on 2002 campaign-finance data. "People who gave $1 million or more to politicians or parties gave 92 percent to Democrats."


Originally uploaded by RHarris.
From the Washington Post, via BB:

"Dean has suggested that they are "evil." That they are "corrupt." He called them "brain-dead" during a stop in Toronto and while the Terri Schiavo case was still in the news. He has tagged Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) as a "liar." Last week, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that he mimicked a "drug-snorting Rush Limbaugh" at an event there."

I've tried to cronicle Dean's hysteria on my blog. This is the leader of the Democratic party; Dems need to wake up and realize this kind of nonsense is going to catch up with them. Also note that Rush has not been accused of snorting drugs, only being addicted to painkillers.


From the Beltway Buzz:

The Washington Post takes a look at the Democrats surprising success at obstructing Republican-led initiatives in Congress this year:
They have stymied President Bush's Social Security plan and held fast against judicial nominees they consider unqualified. To protest a GOP rule change, they have kept the House ethics committee from meeting. And they have slowed and possibly derailed Bush's nomination of John R. Bolton to become ambassador to the United Nations.
Of course, what the Post doesn't note is that none of this would be happening without GOP defectors.

My guess is there will be a fallout for both Democrats and Republican defectors if this trend continues. Obstructionism doesn't pay dividends, especially when the obstuctionists aren't proposing any of their own ideas. (e.g., how to fix Social Security.)
here is more on Bolton, here is a good op-ed on Che chic.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Borking Bolton

Originally uploaded by RHarris.
John Bolton is in the Democrats' crosshairs as they salivate at an opportunity undermine the Bush administration. This longtime diplomat has now been confirmed four times by the senate, most recently as a deputy secretary of state. Which makes one wonder: What change has occurred since the last confirmation that justifies making this confirmation hearing a battle instead of a formality?

Not much, though, if confirmed, his new position at the UN will definitely put him front and center before the world. And what are the accusations? Basically, that John Bolton is a bully -- though these accusations seem trumped up, if not outright fabricated.

One accuser, a Mr. Westerman, claims Bolton berated him, and then tried to have him fired. But that's not really true, Bolton only tried to have Westerman removed from his portfolio of intelligence officers -- not fired -- and this requesting was made for good reason: Bolton had submitted a speech for clearance, and Westerman had altered the speech to include some of his own prejudices.

And then there is another accuser, Melody Townsel. She possibly met up with Bolton in a hotel in Moscow, where they were working for the same company, and where, according to her, Bolton one night got angry and chased her down the hallway, throwing things at her. The problem is that no one was there to witness it, and those who were there, or where in the know, say that such and episode was very unlikely to go unnoticed. In addition, Townsel, who complained to her supervisor about trivial things all the time, never mentioned anything about the alleged Bolton explosion.

Townsel it seems has plenty of motivation to hinder the Bolton nomination. While working in Biskek and Moscow, she was under audit for misappropriation of company funds, as well as trying to steal a company contract. Bolton was asked by his supervisor to look into these questions, a reason Townsel may harbor a grudge against him. She also founded the Dallas chapter of Mothers Opposing Bush.

But where was she during the previous nominations? Why is Townsel coming forward with this all too vital information (sarcasm intended) so late in the game? She claims that she was to busy to come forward at earlier hearings; preoccupied with raising here child, who, apparently now, at the age of 4, is raised. But, despite being to busy for earlier confirmation hearings, Townsel was not too busy to work at Ogilvy, a large public relations firm, and, at the same time, work on "Whistleblower" issues for the Androvett Legal Media and Marketing firm, and run her own Townsel Communications firm.

In short, all of this smacks of Anita Hill.

And anyway, what is the relevance of all of the above accusations (though far from proven) even if they are true? There is NONE! Are democrats trying to claim you can't be a great diplomat or public servant if you rub people the wrong way, or worse, are a jerk? Certainly their own leadership doesn't clear this bar (i.e., Howard Dean; Bill Clinton et. al.) The late great Daniel Patrick Moynahan, and Jeanne Kirkpatrick were known to be a bit prickly now and again -- yet are still counted among the greatest diplomats the US has had. Shouldn't we be talking about Bolton's view of the UN, or his approach to diplomacy, (which, by all accounts, are impressive) or something else that has real importance and goes to the heart of Bolton's qualifications to represent us at the UN?

Yes, we should, but such is the case with today's politics, that substance doesn't count for as much as the appearance of impropriety.
Corporate after tax profits per payrole jobs show things in the economy to be good here.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Check the Courts

Judicial Activism -- the usurpation of legislative powers by the judiciary -- is in my opinion one of the biggest problems facing our country. It threatens to undermine democracy be replacing the rule of the people through their elected officials with the rule of judges through judicial fiat. Anyway I've written about this fairly extensively here, here, and here.

The question arises, "what do we do to keep the courts in check?" Lawyers at the corner have had an extensive debate about the practicality of impeaching judges. Glenn Reynolds has also added his own suggestions. Among them are term limits for judges and having a super-majority override of judicial decisions.

I find both of these options lacking.

Term limits may make the politicians more accountable, but to whom? Probably to the political majority. A step like this would only further the main problem we have with the judiciary: its politicization. Courts are supposed to tell the majority to "take a hike" when it is running roughshod over the constitutionally enumerated rights of the minority. Term limits would -- if judges can be reapointed -- only make them more mindful of the political ramifications of their decisions. But judges should mind only the law and constitution.

I have no problem with a super majority override of court decisions, though I don't think It would really change much. We already have a super majority way of checking the courts through amending the constitution, but this is largely impracticable. Any attempt is denounced as "playing politics with the constitution." Perhaps if a supper majority can override the court without changing the constitution, it would help in a PR campaign but I doubt it would provide the strong check need on the judicary. I'm told in Canada the parliament has as super majority override, and that whenever its use is even considered, the media goes wild with accusations of "the parliament infringing upon the independent judiciary" -- even though such a law is, by design, supposed to infringe upon the judiciary.

I think -- though I'm not positive-- that requiring a court to have some sort of super majority for any constitutional ruling may be appropriate. Then, if a ruling is reached that is widely unpopular, and based on statutory law, the legislature can change the ruling by changing the statute with a simple majority. Courts could still make decisions based on the constitution, but there would have to be enough of a consensus to convince 2/3rds or even 3/4ths of the judges. I think this would make constitutional judicial activism very rare. one problem is that standing opinions, which were inapropriately based on the constitution, e.g., Rove v. Wade, would be near imposible to overturn.

I'm not 100% sure this is a foolproof answer, but it seems to me like it may be a good fix.
Are you a South Park conservative?

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Coulter on the food fight here; my previous thoughts here.
Take a virtual tour of a lego church, and genographics here.

Take That Lobsterbacks!

From the corner:

HEY, I LOVE THE BRITISH [Jonah Goldberg]
But this guy doesn't. From a reader:
I think I'll sleep a bit better tonight knowing that al-Qaeda's master poisoner thinks that the best way to kill large numbers of Britons is to target the toothbrushes.
Isn't it possible that this plan was designed to occur simultaneously with 9/11 but nobody in Britain has bought a toothbrush since then?

Laugh Out Loud

There was a bunch of stuff I found interesting and funny in Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus today.
Here are some of my favorites:

You may have missed that Judge Guido Calabresi has been admonished by a judicial panel. Why was he admonished? Last June, he urged the defeat of President Bush. And in the bargain, Calabresi — a former dean of Yale Law School, and a Clinton appointee — compared Bush’s actions in the 2000 election to the machinations of Hitler and Mussolini. You betcha. (A story on the matter is here.) Calabresi was speaking before a left-wing group, cutely named the American Constitution Society. Have a sample of the judge’s thought: “Like Mussolini, [Bush] has exercised extraordinary power. One of the things that is at stake is the assertion by the democracy that when that has happened it is important to put that person out.”

Frankly, I sort of like it when Democrats speak their minds, à la Calabresi. Good for him. Comparisons of Bush to evil dictators are routine in liberal circles, such as the judge inhabits. (In truth, Bush is a bringer-down of evil dictators.) Why keep these beliefs hidden? Why pretend that Calabresi has ever been any other kind of thinker?

Chalk up one more example of liberal lunacy -- and add it to electing Howard Dean head of the DNC, allowing Al Sharpton to speak at the Democratic convention, embracing Michael Moore, etc.

The Washington Post’s Richard Cohen is an honest writer, basically. He wears his hates on his sleeve. In his 4/7 column, he wrote, “. . . I knew that the most alarming case against Saddam Hussein — that he was an imminent threat to the United States — was a lie.”

Please note that word “imminent” — and recall what President Bush said in his State of the Union address, before he went to war against Saddam: “Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations will come too late.”

And more, this last line had me laughing quite heartilly:

Bear in mind that Charles Rangel is not some street-corner ranter. He is a member of the U.S. Congress, and the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee. If his party wins a majority next year, he will be chairman.

Rangel gave a speech about Social Security before black retired workers outside New York’s City Hall. Meghan Clyne of the New York Sun reports:

. . . For black Americans, the congressman added, the struggle against the proposed changes in the entitlement system was “not only a civil-rights fight, but a fight for America.” Mr. Rangel called on African-Americans to continue their “missionary” work against the Social Security proposals and likened the effort to his marching with Martin Luther King Jr. from Selma to Montgomery.

“We have to get rid of the bums that are trying to take it away from us,” Mr. Rangel said of the Social Security system, referring to Republicans in Washington and City Hall — “people who sleep with Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, and the rest of them.”

A member of the City Council from Brooklyn, Charles Barron, joined Mr. Rangel in urging African-Americans to stand against alterations to the system. “It’s bad enough they won’t pay us our reparations,” Mr. Barron, who for a time was seeking the Democratic mayoral nomination, said. “Now they’re trying to take away our Social Security!”

Neither Mr. Barron nor Mr. Rangel detailed at the meeting why the president’s proposals were harmful to the black community. When asked for specifics by The New York Sun after the event, Mr. Rangel said, “The progressive nature of being able to get returns means that lower-income people benefit more than higher-income people” from the Social Security system. Since members of minority groups disproportionately constitute the lower income brackets, the congressman said, they stand to lose the most from Mr. Bush’s efforts — which the congressman labeled “fraud” and an “impeachable offense.”

I’m trying to figure out which is most interesting: that Rangel considers opposition to Social Security reform a civil-rights stance; that he regards reform as an “impeachable offense”; or that he saw fit to invoke the name of Paul Wolfowitz, the former deputy secretary of defense, in a speech demonizing Social Security reform.

Anything to get that name out, I guess — a name that, as Mark Steyn says, begins with a scary animal and ends Jewishly.

You should read the whole thing; well worth it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


The Factcheck write-up on the specious Social Security calculator was actually written the same day as my post, and theirs was probably actually posted early. Drat. I guess now I can only take comfort in the fact that my debunking was more thorough: Including the false notions of a "cap" on how much money could be contributed to private accounts, as well as calling the money diverted from Social Security a loan, instead of what it actually is; an opportunity cost.

It's a Conspiracy I Tell Ya!

Michelle Malkin playfully prods the left and their conspiracy-theory mongering.

Judicial Activism

From (a.k.a. Instapundit):

Judicial activism in the Terri Schiavo case. Here, I think the complaint is just off-base. Congress passed a procedural statute, and was disappointed that it didn't get the substantive result that it wanted.

This I have a hard time understanding. The de novo review passed for Terri was a procedural law, true. But those of us who are upset about what the courts did are arguing that Terri was denied the procedural review afforded her by this law. (we didn't get the results we wanted, but we're not holding the courts responsible for that) Perhaps this complaint goes to the heart of the question: What is a de novo review? On the surface, it seems that the review Judge Greer gave Terri was not in fact the de novo review that congress had in mind.

I'm So Proud...

Of myself! I was all over this bogus Social Security Calculator before everyone else. Now has debunked it as well. Remember your read it here first! I wrote:

the return on the [personal] account [assumed by the Democrats]was only 3 percent -- dismally low compared to the stock market average of about 7 percent (accounting for inflation).

Now Factcheck writes:

One thing we found is that the calculator systematically underestimates the likely returns of investments. It says "The calculator assumes that your investments get a rate of return of 3 percent above inflation ," a figure most financial advisers would find absurdly low. As we've pointed out before , the stock market has averaged 6.8 percent above inflation for the past century.

and in regards to fixing solvency, I wrote:

But there is one other problem -- the Dem's calculation compare the (deeply flawed) "numbers" from "Bush's plan" with today's promised benefits. The problem? How will we pay for those benefits? Raise taxes? Since personal account and cutting benefits are off the table raising taxes is all that's left. And If we do, well have less than three people paying for every retiree! Payroll taxes will have to be very high in order for that to work -- very high indeed.

So once again there are your choices; really high taxes or personal accounts -- take your pick.

And Factcheck writes:

Both the ad and the calculator use benefits promised under current law as their basis for comparison, but they fail to mention that current tax rates can't support those benefit levels beyond 2041. According to the latest projection of the Social Security trustees, benefits would then have to be cut 26 percent at that time, and that reduction would grow every year thereafter. Compared to the actual level of benefits that can be supported by the current system, Bush's supposed "cuts" would be much smaller.

Put another way, maintaining benefit growth at the level assumed by the calculator and the ad would require a tax increase, something not mentioned.

So in short,'s article today finds the same errors, and reaches more of less the same conclusions as my post from yesterday. In other words -- I've scooped fact check!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Calculator Mischief

I put up a link to that Social Security calculator yesterday saying that I suspected something fishy. I then took a look at the assumptions the calculator used, and indeed there was much going on in the way of deception, with a corresponding dirth of transparency.

The assumptions where these: Future benefits would be indexed to wages with four percent personal retirement accounts (fair enough so far), but then, the accounts would have a contribution limit of 1000 dollars per year -- the cap increasing every year by 100 dollars plus an adjustment for inflation. Huh? No such thing has been proposed by the Bush administration so where did this come from? In addition the return on the account was only 3 percent -- dismally low compared to the stock market average of about 7 percent (accounting for inflation).

These assumption produce seriously flawed results. If you make 50,000 dollars annually, Bush's real plan would allow you to invest two thousand of those dollars, twice as much as what this calculator has allowed for. On top of that you would receive a much higher rate of return, probably at least 5% if you're a very conservative investor -- even higher if you're not.

They do have one point; indexing Social Security benefits to inflation will produce lower returns on your money that is still in the old Social Security system. The problem is the that they inappropriately put far to much money into that old system and give much to small of returns on the money in the new personal accounts. That means money that would actually be earning a fairly good return, is, under the Dem's assumptions, earning a negative return -- and that screws things up significantly enough to make a good deal look bad. Nevertheless, the personal accounts -- even under the democrats assumption -- have higher rates of return than the current Social Security system now has. (though they don't point that out)

If you look at the assumption there are other things that tell you something is not right. For instance, personal account are called a "loan" from Social Security to invest. Well that's nonsense. You earned that money not the government; and the money is for your retirement. Its not a loan its what economists call and opportunity cost -- that is the cost to you of choosing one use of your capitol over another. The classic economics example is a person who has two job offers. Job X offers 30,000 a year, job Y 40,000. The opportunity cost for picking job Y is 30,000 dollars. THAT'S NOT A 30,000 DOLLAR LOAN, ITS AN OPPORTUNITY COST! Calling personal accounts a loan shows you how these liberals think. If you keep your own money and invest it (at a rate higher than what Social Security promises you --even they admit that) well you've incurred a debt. Nonsense, what you've done is turn a bad investment in the government into a good investment in the private sector.

But there is one other problem -- the Dem's calculation compare the (deeply flawed) "numbers" from "Bush's plan" with today's promised benefits. The problem? How will we pay for those benefits? Raise taxes? Since personal account and cutting benefits are off the table raising taxes is all that's left. And If we do, we'll have less than three people paying for every retiree! Payroll taxes will have to be very high in order for that to work -- very high indeed.

So once again there are your choices; really high taxes or personal accounts -- take your pick.

P.S. More here by Michael Tanner about mortality rates and annuities, probably not taken into account (the fact that the calculator does not ask for your sex is a dead giveaway). Here is a calculator by Cato that takes mortality rates into account.

Hitchens Debunked

Christopher Hitchens, who I do like, has, unfortunately, jumped on the Ohio conspiracy bandwagon. has, I think, fairly succinctly debunked this conspiracy nonsense.

Monday, April 11, 2005


Doesn't look right to me.. I'll get back to you on this.

Kerry Screws Up Big

John Kerry, reading from a statement reveals the name of the under-cover officer, previously refered to as "Mr. Smith."

Die Bush Die!

No, that's pronounced Dee Bush Dee; it's German. Well, it looks as though Senator Biden may have to come up with such an excuse for -- one presumes inadvertantly -- refering to the pope's funeral as the president's funeral.

Conspiracy Theory

Acording to John Kerry, many voters were kept from the polls by "intimidation" and other dirty (Republican) tricks. The story notes:

Kerry has never disputed the outcome of election, saying voting irregularities did not involve enough votes to change the result. Bush won the pivotal state of Ohio by 118,000 votes, giving him enough electoral votes to win re-election.

Ok, but what exactly is Kerry saying then? That his party's voters are stupid?

"Leaflets are handed out saying Democrats vote on Wednesday, Republicans vote on Tuesday. People are told in telephone calls that if you've ever had a parking ticket, you're not allowed to vote," he said.

If you're not smart enought to know what day to go to the polls, then perhaps you shouldn't be voting.

Ryan Sager

I'm starting to really like this Ryan Sager guy. He has a piece here about what's going on at Columbia University. He also has a blog thats worth checking out here.

Thursday, April 7, 2005

Food Fight

What is it with Liberals and throwing food? David Horowitz, Ann Coulter (more than once), Pat Buchanan, and Bill Kristol have all been victims. And there are others -- like Richard Perle (who had a shoe thrown at him) and Katherine Harris (who someone attempted to run over). Michelle Malkin thinks this is all evidence of the lack of liberal tolerance. I'm incline to agree (though it is problematic to generalize from a few instances. Still, the evidence is mounting).

I thought it was conservatives, and not liberals who were the intolerant one? Take homosexuality as an example. Conservatives are suposed to be bigots and intolerant for not embracing homosexuality. Sure there are those conservatives who do actually hate homosexuals, but these aren't the ones that are ususally denounced. Even conservatives denounce Randall Terry, and are critical of Alan Keys. Some (namely Andrew Sullivan --if he still counts as conservative) are even suspect of Jerry Falwell (I think this is unnecessarily so, because, even though Falwell denounces homosexuality typically on religious grounds, I have seen Falwell say that if his son or daughter came out as a homosexual, he would still say (I paraphrase) "there is your bedroom, I still love you." This, I think, shows tolerance). Thus, we conservatives are willing to purge the the hate-mongers from among us (and besides those mentioned above, I can't think of any really).

But for liberals this is not the case. "Tolerance" is number one on liberals' agenda when tolerance = allowing gay-marriage. But that isn't tolerance at all. It is possible to not like/endorse same-sex marriage and still be tolerant of homosexuals. We conservative, for the most part, just respectfully disagree to the correctness, morality, a benefit to society of same-sex marriage. And we believe that allowing gay-marriage is tantamount to condoning, not tolerating the practice (we already tolerate it).

But for not condoning we are bigots -- and herein lies the conservatives' beef as well the evidence against liberal tolerance. All of the assaulted conservatives, listed above, went to colleges to share ideas -- specifically political ideas. If ever there was something that needed tolerance it is political speech,which is really the one type of speech the first amendment is supposed to protect unconditionally (not kiddy porn -- a suprize to some I'm sure). But apparently liberals can't say to themselves, "Well, I don't like Coulter, or Horowitz, and do not agree with them, but I will -- in the spirit of tolerance -- let them express themselves, and, if needs be, counter with my own opinions and facts in due time."

Instead the message conveyed by throwing fruit is, " Your ideas aren't worth listening to or thinking about, and, in addition, I despise you and your ideas so much you deserve to be punished for even having them!" What other justification can you have for such behavior?

Need more evidence? Larry Summers. Here is a liberal man who expressed the idea the men and women may just have different strengths and aptitudes -- a conclusion based on his economic research. For this he has been criticized relentlessly by feminists, and many have called for his resignation. Liberals, it seems, cannot even tolerate their own when they make a observation -- true or not -- that is at odds with there dogma. And who has come to Summers defense? Conservatives! Sure we agree with Summers on this point that men and women have differences --and because of his liberalism this may be the only point we agree with him on. But, to the feminist this idea is not only wrong, its intolerable.

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Ukranian News

A rundown of President Yushchenko's trip to Washington here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2005


This I just can't believe:
OKLAHOMA CITY — A convicted murderer and a deputy warden's wife who disappeared nearly 11 years ago have been found living together and raising chickens in Texas. The woman said she was held captive the whole time, staying with the killer out of fear her family would be harmed if she fled.

Pelosi hypocrisy

From Powerline:

Where's the outrage?

The Washington Times reports that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi helped secure $3 million last year for a nonprofit organization, WestStart-CALSTART, whose president gave money to her political action committee. The organization also paid for the European trip of one of Pelosi's policy advisers. Republicans are suggesting that nothing distinguishes Pelosi's actions from those of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and other Republican members Pelosi has criticized.

Monday, April 4, 2005

Same-Sex Marriage Cont.

A very long and good blog entry by a Libertarian with no opinion on same-sex marriage. Nevertheless, she undermines this "the thought that someone would decide not to get married because gays are allowed to married is preposterous" argument.

Same-sex Marriage: Not That Popular

From the Corner:

Americans now oppose gay marriage by a margin of 68 percent to 28 percent. Last year, the figures were 58 percent opposed and 42 percent in favor. That’s a 10 percent increase in opposition and a 14 percent drop of those in favor. Support for a Federal Marriage Amendment has also risen sharply. Americans now favor a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a
woman by a margin of 57 percent to 37 percent. Last year the figures were 48 percent in favor and 46 percent opposed. So support for a Federal Marriage Amendment has moved up by nine percent.

Sandy Berger

From the New York Post:

Sandy Berger, the top Clinton national- security official and erstwhile close adviser to Sen. John Kerry, has finally confessed what he spent nearly a year heatedly denying: that he intentionally smuggled classified documents from the National Archives — and deliberately destroyed them.

What Did I Tell You!

Exactly what I was talking about in my post, now reiterated in a Corner post about a Ruth Bader Ginsberg:

Here are excerpts from a speech Ginsburg gave on Friday to the American Society of International Law, as reported by the New York Times:

"Judges in the United States are free to consult all manner of commentary." "The notion that it is improper to look beyond the borders of the United States in grappling with hard questions has a certain kinship to the view that the U.S. Constitution is a document essentially frozen in time as of the date of its ratification."

"Even more so today, the United States is subject to the scrutiny of a candid world. What the United States does, for good or for ill, continues to be watched by the international community, in particular by organizations concerned with the advancement of the rule of law and respect for human dignity."

Ginsburg and her like view themselves as a combination of ambassadors, legislators, and Cabinet members. She simply will not confine herself to the dictates of the Constitution. So, what do we do about judges who brazenly continue to thumb their noses at the rule of law?

Sensible Liberalism

Martin Peretz, the editor of the liberal New Republic, may not have many liberal friends left if he continues to write collumns like "The Politics of Churlishness." (available online here) Here's the opening paragraph:

If George W. Bush were to discover a cure for cancer, his critics would denounce him for having done it unilaterally, without adequate consultation, with a crude disregard for the sensibilities of others. He pursued his goal obstinately, they would say, without filtering his thoughts through the medical research establishment. And he didn't share his research with competing labs and thus caused resentment among other scientists who didn't have the resources or the bold--perhaps even somewhat reckless--instincts to pursue the task as he
did. And he completely ignored the World Health Organization, showing his contempt for international institutions. Anyway, a cure for cancer is all fine and nice, but what about aids?

Sunday, April 3, 2005

New Poll

We've been inundated with pole results that show Americans favoring Terri Shiavo's death -- sometimes by large margins. I always suspected something was not right with those polls. Here is a new Zogby poll with fairly neutral wording, showing that in circumstances such as Terri's, 79 percent of people are against denying a person food and water.

Friday, April 1, 2005

Malkin rips Chris Mathews a new one -- and deservedly so.

Cliff's Notes on International Affairs

Victor Davis Hanson has a very good rundown on a lot of topics in this interview. I recommend reading it.


A new inteligence report is out, and lets just say that Bush haters will be disapointed. Among other things, it says there was no evidence of political pressure to trump up inteligence.

Thursday, March 31, 2005


Some random thoughts:

Remember Brian Nichols -- the guy who shot and killed all those people in Atlanta? I was just remembering how one member of the chattering class said that this tragedy was just all the more reason to outlaw handguns. But the handgun that Nichols used was lifted from a police officer. Do those who want to outlaw handguns suggesting that police should not have handguns either?

Here's some info from a lobby for the consumption tax. I think I'm for it, though this site is admittedly one-sided. Economic wonks (I'm thinking right now of Bruce Bartlet) say that these kind of value added/consumption taxes adversely effect the economy less than our income tax does. This is one instance where Europe may actually have something to teach us Americans.

Should we give parents a financial incentive to become better parents? I thought this post was interesting.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Constitutional Loop Hole

I know I titled a post "last thoughts on Shiavo," and I really did intend to end on that note. There are, however, side issues that are raised by the Shiavo case the I want to comment on.

One of those issues is that of a runaway judiciary. Judges are using there unchecked power to flout the written laws and inject their own personal politics. This really shouldn't be a partisan issue, though it seems its turning out that way.

This politicization of the judiciary is really a fairly new development. Antonin Scalia has pointed out that even though he was known to be a fairly conservative guy, he was approved for the supreme court unanimously. That has all changed, as the current filibuster on judiciary nominations shows. Why has it changed? Because the people have figured out that judges are not disspationate arbiters of the law, but lifetime appointed politicians.

Normally I'm upset with the the liberals on these counts. Substantive due process and the right to privacy are judge-fabricated rights/procedures not found in the constitution. Today, though, I'm upset with conservative judges like Judge Greer (for some reason today is a day of introspection).

Greer as well as other (reportedly conservative) judges have flouted the law passed to give Terri Shiavo standing in federal court and de novo review. The law was clearly constructed to give Terri a new hearing in federal court with a complete review of the evidence. Perhaps the results would have been the same, and this step would merely prolong Terri's life a few more months. Nevertheless, this is what Congress stipulated in the bill, and this is what should have happened.

Essentially, if judges continue on this path, the constitution and rule of law will be destroyed. Finding provisions in the constitution where there are none, and disregarding laws contrary to a judges personal predilections will eventually make laws void. If laws are subject to the whims of judges, then, in effect, there are no laws.

Marketing Social Security

The Bush administration has made a mistake in the marketing of Social Security reform. Early on in the debate, the administration said that personal retirement accounts would not fix the solvency problem. Assuming that these accounts had the same returns as Social Security, that would be true; but everyone knows (based on the Thrifts Savings Plan, and past market performance) personal accounts would actually have a much higher rate of return than Social Security.

In the almost inevitable case that personal accounts have higher returns than Social Security -- the benefits cut due to Social Securities solvency problem (unless we want to drastically raise taxes) would be more than offset by these personal accounts higher returns. Thus the president should say, "we have two options to save Social Security. My plan: personal accounts, which would help fix solvency; or the only other alternative -- a combination of higher taxes and lower benefits." Faced with a choice between taxes hikes/benefit cuts on the one hand, or personal accounts on the other, I believe the electorate will easily choose the latter.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

In Good Shape

Remember how Iraq was supposed to be Bush's Vietnam? Remember how Islam was incompatible with Democracy? Remember how these fundamentalist Islamo-facist insurgents were suposed to be superhuman, everyone of them fighting to the death, and remember how the American military was not going to be able to beat them?

Well, I'm not sure what's going on concidering all of the above, but it appears we the Iraqi insurgency is losing its steam. How is this posible?

Iraqi resistance begins to crack after elections

Jason Burke, chief reporter
Sunday March 27, 2005
The Observer

The Iraqi resistance has peaked and is 'turning in on itself', according to recent intelligence reports from Baghdad received by Middle Eastern intelligence agencies.
The reports are the most optimistic for several months and reflect
analysts' sense that recent elections in Iraq marked a 'quantum shift'. They will boost the government in the run-up to the expected general election in May

Monday, March 28, 2005

Is Congress Overstepping Its Bounds?

Much has been said about congress "overstepping its bounds" in the Shiavo case. I'm not persuaded. Perhaps, as some have argued, it's a bad idea to make laws from specific cases. But as far as overstepping ones bounds, isn't congress supposed to write laws? Isn't this completely within their bounds?

Some have argued that Republicans believe congress should stay out of the American peoples' personal lives, and that in the Shiavo case Republicans are being hypocritical. But that's really more of a Libertarian principle. Republicans have always sided with life; As the President says lets "err on the side of life." (I actually prefer he say "if we are to err, we should err on the side of life." Since I don't think we're erring at all, I think Republicans have it right in this case. I hope that's not too pedantic of me). Still what laws do we have that don't affect our personal lives? Inevitably, laws affect the personal lives of some people. How far those laws go, and what areas of our lives they affect are all questions to be debated. The "stay out of our personal lives" mantra, however, is a meaningless argument.

Others say Republicans have betrayed their federalist principles -- that is, by taking a case that was in state jurisdiction, and giving it standing in federal court they've slighted states' rights. This argument has more merit, though I don't find it particularly persuasive. "Protecting life" is higher than federalism in the conservative principle hierarchy. Certainly the due process (specifically on the federal level) that's afforded a convicted murder should also be afforded an innocent helpless woman.

Probably the most insulting argument is that we conservatives, who supposedly believe in the "sanctity of marriage," are now undermining ourselves as we come out against Michael Shiavo's right to choose for his incapacitated wife. If preventing your wife from getting proper diagnosis, and starving her to death is part of the "sanctity of marriage" (which I don't think it is) then, no I don't believe in it. Is beating your wife ok because of the sanctity of marriage?

Fake Documents, Round Two

Rathergate, it seems, was not embarrassing enough to left leaning media, since it appears they learned nothing from it. Now in the crosshairs of media watchdogs (like Powerline) is ABC news. ABC published the highly suspect "GOP talking points" memo. The problem; no one knows the source of the memo. Here is John Hinderaker's (of Powerline) write-up:

To sum up, then: (1) The memo itself conveys no information about its source. (2) It is very poorly done, containing a number of typographical errors, failing to get the number of the Senate bill correct, and using points cribbed word-for-word from an advocacy group's website. (3) The politically controversial statements are out of place in a talking points memo, and seem, on the contrary, ideally framed to create talking points for the Democrats. (4) Somewhat bizarrely, after the contents of the memo had been reported, someone corrected those typographical errors--but only those errors that had been pointed out by ABC. (5) No one has reported seeing any Republican distributing the suspect memo; the only people confirmed to have passed out the memo were Democratic staffers.

Final Thoughts on Shiavo

I've had a few thoughts on Terri Shiavo since I last posted about her. They're not entirely original, but still worth your time.

For instance, "who benefits from Terri's death?" Her husband says that Terri did not want to be a burden on others, presumably in connection to just such a circumstance, and he says she did not want to be kept alive by machines. Ok, maybe she said that (although Michael Shiavo's interests seem to be at odds with Terri's).

But assuming Terri didn't want to be "a burden." still, as people we don't get that choice. If a quadriplegic man, decided he was a burden (lets face it, in some respect he probably would be) still, we would try and prevent him from committing suicide. What about being kept alive by machines? Some quadriplegics have to have machines to keep them living and breathing. Would we be ok with such a person choosing to turn off his breathing machine if he so desires? I think not.

What seems to be the sticking point for most is this PVS (persistent vegetative state) business. In other words, even though she looks like she's aware of what going on, in fact she isn't. Well of course this diagnosis is, at the very least, questionable.

But lets work from this premise. If Terri has no cognition, then she also has no idea whether of not her wishes are being carried out. Thus it's no inconvenience to Terri that she's being kept alive against her will, particularly because she currently has no will.

The remaining players are Michael Schiavo and The Shindler family (Terri's parents). Terri's family has a deep attachment to Terri and wants her to live. Michael has only expressed that Terri's death is synonymous with Terri's will. But as we just established Terri has no will. Thus there is no objection to allowing Terri to live.

That is unless there is another reason. Michael also has a perceived interest in Terri's death for the sake of his own closure. He's moved on to a new woman, and by her, has two children. But why is he so insistent upon Terri's death? Can't divorce give Michael Shiavo the closure he needs, turning custody to Terri's parents? It seems as thought that would be the best solution. Both Michael's and Terri's parents' needs would be met.

If Terri does have a will, and wants to die, then of course, she shouldn't be allowed to because existence of a will and this PVS sticking point are mutually exclusive.

Friday, March 25, 2005

What Kind of Dog are You?

I'm a Bracco Italiano, -- Italian Setter that is. go here, and click on the "What kind of Dog Are You" link at the right.

Religion and Democrats

Democrats seem to be struggling with religion these days. On one hand, intervention with cases such as Terri Shiavo's, is seen by some leftist as "theocratic." One the other hand Democrats, such as Howard Dean, think they need to reconnect with religious voters, and thus, have started incorporating religion into their rhetoric. The outcome is something awful, forced, and seemingly disingenuous.

But probably most troublesome is that Dems seem insistent in claiming God is on there side. This is ridiculous and insulting -- and I hope it continues. Any sensible voter will soon be offended by the Democrats' pomp and presumptuousness. Consider this quote, reported by Rich Lowry:

Democrats oddly tend to go too far, overadjusting, when they do God talk. In his desperation to invoke religion toward the end of the 2004 campaign, John Kerry compared George Bush to a "false prophet" from the Bible, a harsh charge given that false prophets could be stoned or crucified. Howard Dean said in February, "When you think of the New Testament, [Republicans] get about two of the values, and we get about 27." Dean's bottom line: Democrats are better Christians than Republicans. While it's possible to imagine some televangelist on the conservative side making the opposite claim, no responsible figure in the GOP would ever say such a thing.

and another by author of the book God's Politics.

Wallis reminds us that Jesus wasn't "pro-rich," and extrapolates from that that Christians must support higher taxes. Now, the New Testament obviously enjoins us to care for the poor. But what mix of policies is best suited to do that is a practical question. Conservatives happen to think everyone is best served by a low-tax, high-growth economy and by social policies -- e.g., welfare reform -- that encourage the inner-city poor to work and marry.
Notice a pattern? God is on the Democrats side. But the analysis is very problematic, as Lowry points out. Yes, Jesus said we should care about/take care of the poor. No, He didn't say that we had to do it by raising taxes or with big entitlement giveaways. Thus, Democrats mistakenly think that they are the only ones who care about the ends. In reality both Democrats and Republicans care about the poor -- we just disagree on how to go about helping them (the means, that is).

And that brings me to a more personal note. A few weeks ago someone left some comments, one of which was along these lines, on my blog. One was an accurate observation -- sort of -- though not on the topic were talking about. I feel though, if I'm going to address the weaker of the comments in a second, in fairness I should mention the stronger.

I made an observation on a post that homosexuality, if genetic, would be self-eliminating, under the assumption that homosexuals practiced only homosexuality, and thus never passed on their genes. I then attacked that very assumption that homosexuals only practice homosexuality, showing the argument to be a weak one. My critic noted that if the gene were recessive that the homosexuality would be much more resistant to extinction (at least that's what she implied). Fair enough, I guess I hadn't though of that. However I never offered the statement "homosexuality is not genetic" up as some great axiom. I merely suggested that homosexuality -- as far as survival -- is very disadvantageous, and offered this up as a worthy line of thought. My punishment was to be told that I should : "read up on the subject instead of spouting ignorance."

Let me return the favor. Her other post criticizes a small section of an article I quoted advocating that the Ten Commandment not be taken down -- as the Supreme Court may order to be done in connection with a few of their cases. Her post reads thusly: "You're forgetting the parts that talk about loving the Lord, the only God, with all your heart. That rule has no place in government hallways."

First of all I didn't forget anything -- I quoted a paragraph from an article that had analysis of the Ten Commandments. I was not intended to be exhaustive. Second, the Ten Commandments doesn't say you should " Love the Lord, the only God, with all your heart." What she's probably referring to is what Jesus answered to the lawyer's question on how to inherit eternal life: "And he answering said, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind..."(Luke 10:27) But this is nowhere near Exodus 20, where the Ten commandments are found, which don't really say anything like that. The closest statement in Exodus is "Thou shalt have no other Gods before me." (Exodus 20:3) The funny thing is, this is exactly the part in the Commandment that Larry Kudlow is referring to when he's says, "Is it so bad...To think about a power greater than oneself, about God or some higher deity?" So nor I, nor Mr. Kudlow ignored anything.

I suppose she could still make a reasonable argument that this "no other Gods before me" statement is in violation of the establishment clause (Maybe this is what is meant when she writes, "That rule [referring to the quote she thought was one of the Ten Commandments] has no place in government hallways." I'm not sure what so important about the hallways. Does that mean it's ok in the government rooms? This must be some euphemism I've never heard used before. Whatever it is it doesn't work here). That's not the point though. The point here is that this girl -- who claims that I should "read a book" so that I know what I'm talking about -- in only two posts, has managed to show she doesn't know what she's talking about.

But the irony, hypocrisy and ignorance don't end there. Her own blog, Jesus was not a Republican, tries to claim that Jesus is some sort of left wing Liberal type.

Well of course Jesus was not a Republican, the Republican party she talks about didn't exist 2000 years ago. But that doesn't mean he didn't support the republican/conservative side on many issues. It's pretty clear Jesus was against homosexuality. I don't think Jesus was/would be for abortion (although I suppose this point is debatable). Jesus certainly was against divorce (I guess that Democrats probably wouldn't say they're for divorce, although no fault divorce of the 70's -- which Dems made possible -- clearly make divorce more prevalent). He certainly wasn't for sexual promiscuity, the liberal cause during the sexual revolution.

You think the founding fathers were conservative 200 plus years ago? -- try going back 2000 years. Even the most liberal of liberals from yesteryear would be conservative by today's standards.

But I'm not going to say that Jesus would be a Republican, because, frankly, I don't know. I don't know if Jesus would be for federalism or not. I'm not sure what Jesus's take would be on national defense, or the size of government. I'm not going to put words in his mouth for heavens sake! Jesus was the savior of the world to us Christians! How can anyone reduce him to some political tool. Especial people like Howard Dean -- who didn't know the Book of Job was not in the New Testament, but in the Old Testament -- or people like my critic who claim Jesus was not a Republican -- but can't recognize his own words as they cross her lips (or at least, when she quotes his words, she's off by a few thousand pages). To them I say: stop being arrogant, stop politicizing something that should never be politicized, and "read up on the subject instead of spouting ignorance."

Thursday, March 24, 2005

More Good News


I may have to change my opinion about the French if they continue to do things like this:

Soros French Insider Trading Conviction Upheld (Update3)

Sour Grapes

This from the Wall Street Journal Online.

Jim Jeffords, Republican turned Democrat turned Independent speaks out about Iraq and Bush, and it's not positive. Luckily it's also not intelligent or persuasive:

Jeffords: I think [the war in Iraq] was all done to get--all that's the end result is going to be some oil agreement and the loss of life that we had. And the cost of it, to many was just a re-election move and they're going to try to live off it and probably start another war. Wouldn't be surprised next year, probably in Iran.

The author of the article, James Taranto, then opines:

So let's see if we have this straight: According to Jeffords, the president went to war in Iraq to "control the country's oil supply" and to help his own re-election chances. This doesn't quite jibe with what happened, which is that Bush was re-elected even though Iraq's oil industry, which America doesn't control at any rate, is operating at far from full capacity and U.S. gasoline prices are quite high compared with recent years.

Chink in the Armor

Iraqi war critics just aren't as critical as they used to be -- but that's probably a good thing. The Beltway Buzz has the story:

Democrats See Good News In Iraq

Harry Reid yesterday led a bipartisan delegation of senators to Iraq. Democrats on the trip had asurprisingly positive response to what they saw and heard on the ground.

Harry Reid “all but ensured” passage of the $81 billion funding requests for Iraq/Afghanistan funds, stating, “Everyone understands that reconstruction is an important part of the U.S. mission here.”

Even Barbara Boxer added, “We got a very, very upbeat report,” from U.S. commanders on the ground.

Longtime war critic Dick Durbin said, “One of the people we met with today called Iraq 'an infant democracy,' and we can't leave this infant alone. I believe what we are seeing here is good.”

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Hearts and Minds

We've all heard the blather (well, not complete blather) about how winning the war on terror is really about winning the hearts and minds of the the people. Of course the biggest critics of Iraq have insisted that our presence there has only inspired more America hating. I've tried to link to stories that show the "hearts and minds" battle is is going our way. Here is an inspiring story, though it contains the proper leftist caveats:

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Shopkeepers and residents on one of Baghdad's main streets pulled out their own guns Tuesday and killed three insurgents when hooded men began shooting at passers-by, giving a rare victory to civilians increasingly frustrated by the violence bleeding Iraq.

Slippery Slope

I've long thought that one of the most compelling arguments against same-sex marriage is the "slippery slope argument." Same sex marriage advocates say limiting marriage to a relationship between a man and a woman draws a random "line in the sand", or ever worse, is discriminatory. But at the same time, they claim that redrawing this random "line" so that two people of indiscriminate sex constitute marriage, isn't the least bit random or discriminatory. Why the current "line" that defining marriage is discriminatory, but the new "line" same-sex marriage advocates propose isn't random is a question yet to be answered.

What about polygamy? What about polyamory? Doesn't this new definition of marriage as "two people" "discriminate" against these lifestyles, just as the man-woman definition of marriage "discriminates" against homosexuality?

Yes it does. Thus the argument to redraw that line for homosexuality is either quite disingenuous (That is defining marriage as a man-woman relationship isn't discriminatory) -- or it will lead to the state-sponsorship of almost any kind of relationship you can imagine. Don't believe me? Look at Stanley Kurtz's new article about the movement to mainstream polyamory:

Clearly, Emens [a University of Chicago Law School professor advocating polyamory] is taking her cues from the movement for gay marriage. She suggests "that we view this historical moment, when same-sex couples begin to enter the institution of marriage, as a unique opportunity to question the mandate of compulsory monogamy."

More deeply, Emens lays out a sophisticated case for treating polyamory not just as a practice, but as a disposition, broadly analogous to the disposition toward homosexuality. That, in turn, allows her to call a whole raft of laws into question — from marriage laws to partnership laws, to zoning laws, to custody laws. All these laws, says Emens, place unfair burdens on those with a "poly" disposition

Polyamorists have long treated their inclination toward multi-partner sex as analogous to homosexuality. Polyamorists intentionally use phrases like "in the closet" and "coming out" to link their cause with the fight for gay marriage. What's new here is that a scholar has built this analogy to homosexuality into a systematic and sophisticated case.

Closeted Polyamorists

Up to now, gay-marriage advocates like Andrew Sullivan and Jonathan Rauch have dismissed the analogy between homosexuality and polyamory by arguing that homosexuality is a far more deeply rooted impulse than the superficial, even frivolous, desire for sex with more than one partner. By contrast, Emens offers a "continuum model" inspired by the radical lesbian thinker Adrienne Rich. In
her famous essay, "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence" (which Emens's title deliberately echoes), Rich argues that all women, whether they identify themselves as lesbian or not, are in some respects lesbians. If women can just find the lesbian within, then, even for women who remain heterosexually identified, the prejudice against homosexuality will fall away. That, in turn, will make it possible for many more women to freely choose lesbianism.

Following Rich, Emens argues that everyone has a bit of "poly" inside. If we can just discover, nurture, and accept our inner polyamorist, then even for those who choose to remain monogamous, the prejudice against polyamory will disappear. This will allow everyone to make an unconstrained choice between monogamy and polyamory. So it's possible to see both homosexuality and polyamory as part of a complex continuum of human sexuality, says Emens. And when we begin to look at things this way, we can finally take down the legal, social, and cultural barriers to both homosexuality and polyamory.

But aren't at least some people at one end of the sexual continuum intensely homosexual? Yes, says Emens, but the very same thing is true of polyamory. According to Emens, whether for biological or cultural reasons, some folks simply cannot live happily unless they are allowed multiple, simultaneous sexual partners. And for these people, our current system of marriage and family laws is every bit as unjust as it is for homosexuals. A person with an intensely polyamorous disposition simply cannot be happy, says Emens, outside of a polyamorous family setting. For these people, argues Emens, our social hostility to polyamory imposes a vast range of unjust legal burdens.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

From Iraq

I was just randomly looking through blogs, as i sometimes do, and I came across this one, written by a soldier currently in Iraq. I thought it was worthy of linking to.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Safe for Now?

Congress has intervened on Terri Shiavo's behalf -- well sort of. What they have done is to give Terri's case standing in a Federal Court. The feeding tube has not, however, been reinserted-- its been about 3 days since she's had food or water.

I suppose there are some legal implications for this case, some of which may be bad, i.e. separation of powers issues. I won't pretend to know much about the legal ramifications of the bill the house passed, and President Bush signed yesterday.

I do, however have an opinion on Shiavo's case itself, and it seems clear she should live.

Terri is constantly described as being in a persistent vegetative state. Although this may be accurate, it is far from proven, and at least to most people, misleading. First of all Terri is not in a coma as a layman would infer from the description of her condition. She has suffered brain damage and she will not be returning to the Terri she was before she suffered this damage. But that's not to say her life has no meaning. She is awake and moves around. Her family also says she smiles and responds to stimuli. Apparently some of these responses may be reflexive, but they certainly give indication that Terri may still have cognitive abilities.

What has not been done, but should, is an MRI scan. It is often misreported that an MRI has been done, but what has actually been done is a CT scan. I'm no expert but from what I've read, the CT scan is like a blurry picture, containing much less information an clarity, where as an MRI is like clear picture. Many experts, in this case 30 plus experts, agree that more should be done to make sure there is no cognition, and a full MRI scan would help in this regard.

Why has one not been done? Because Terri Shiavo's husband has fought it every step of the way. It seems that the relatives of a loved one in a predicament such as Terri's, would want to explore every avenue to make sure Terri has no cognitive ability, and that there is no hope of even partial recovery. In this respect Michael Shiavo, Terri's husband, has shown a suspicious lack of curiosity/concern. In fact it has been Michael who at every turn objects to any action that would show Terri can improve, or that would attempt to help here recover.

In addition, Michael has, what appears on the surface, a conflict of interests. Despite the fact that he is still married to Terri, Michael lives with another woman, with whom he has fathered two children. Is it two sinister of me to infer that Michael's coincidental fighting of the good fight for Terri's 'right to die,' coinciding with Michael's own perceived interests for closure etc., is not actually coincidental at all?

At the moment it appears Michael will get what he, and what he represents as Terri's desire -- that is, Terri's death. But lets not deceive ourselves. Terri' "life support" is a feeding tube, in other words, the same thing that supports both your and my life -- food and water. No she can't eat by herself, but neither can any baby. The point being, life support typically is thought of as a machine that helps you breath, or that pumps your blood, something that, without, you die in a few minutes.

Terri's death will not be that quick, for this "mercy killing" will take place over approximately 12 days as Terri slowly starves to death. Just as any normal person would suffer if denied food or water, so too will Terri. Her tongue and lips will crack and her nose will bleed from dehydration. In fact shooting Terri would be much more merciful than what it looks as though Terri will have to go through.

Terri's life may not be worth living, but lets not kid ourselves about what is going on here, someone is being starved to death. If I am ever in a similar situation, please spare me from this kind of "mercy."

More Deanomania

Originally uploaded by RHarris.

I posted on this yesterday, but here is some more context from powerline:

It's deja vu time; the Toronto Star reports that Howard Dean, in Toronto for the semi-annual "Democrats Abroad" conference, explained that the Dems have problems because they are just too smart. The Republicans, Dean, explained, are "brain dead." One might normally expect this to give the Democrats an advantage. But no: the Dems failed in 2004 because they have a "tendency to explain every issue in half an hour of detail." From now on, the Democrats under Dean will learn from their mistakes and "keep it simple."

Howard, I think you're on to something. Please keep promoting this insight wherever you go: Americans are really dumb, and the Democrats' only problem is that they are so extraordinarily brilliant. If the Dems can just pretend to be "brain dead," like the Republicans, they will sweep to victory. That is a great strategy, Howard. Please pursue it. Please.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

A Corner Post

This is a post from The Corner:

[Cliff May]
In Canada, Dr. Howard Dean calls Republicans “brain dead.”

Friday, March 18, 2005

Patti Davis..

At her best here at powerline. Both funny, irreverent, embarrassing, and slightly sad -- if not for Patti, then at least for Regan's legacy.

Broken Boarders

Many have postulated that --seeing as how illegal immigrants can so easily hop across the Mexican-American boarder-- a determined terrorist could just as easily do the same thing. They thus conclude that boarder security is of the utmost importance for national security. If you go here, it looks as though something very close to this theoretical situation has just happened. True, we don't know for sure that these Syrians are terrorists, but there's a good enough chance that we should be alarmed. And even if they're not terrorist, how long will it be till terrorist catch on to one of America's biggest vulnerabilities?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Revenge of the Cat Lovers

If you read Jonah Goldbergs article advocating cat hunting to save song birds (and you defintely should have read it, if only for the humor) then you know that the article was bound to ruffle a few feathers. Jonah has posted a few of the letters he received here. The 14th was the most compelling argument of them all:

re column: kill the cats..
cats are predators that kill off the weakest and sickest of the birds, contributing to the survival of the fittest and evolution of the species. Without cats birds would soon devolve back into dinosaurs that would pick off old women standing in line at the piggly wiggly. We owe it to our elderly citizens that this not be allowed to happen. Only cats can save the lives of millions of medicare recipients.

You May Have Missed...

The following if you only watch the MSM (main stream media that is). These are all from a blog post by Rich Lowry at NRO's The Corner. It originally was written by a leader of the first calvary division, just back from Iraq:

3. He showed a graph of attacks in Sadr City by month. Last Aug-Sep they were getting up to 160 attacks per week. During the last three months, the graph had flatlined at below 5 to zero per week.

6. Said that not tending to a dead body in the Muslim culture never
happens. On election day, after suicide bombers blew themselves up trying to take out polling places, voters would step up to the body lying there, spit on it, and move up in the line to vote.

8. Said bin Laden and Zarqawi made a HUGE mistake when bin laden went public with naming Zarqawi the "prince" of al Qaeda in Iraq. Said that what the Iraqis saw and heard was a Saudi telling a Jordanian that his job was to kill Iraqis. HUGE mistake. It was one of the biggest factors in getting Iraqis who were on the "fence" to jump off on the side of the coalition and the new gov't.

9. Said the MSM was making a big, and wrong, deal out of the religious sects. Said Iraqis are incredibly nationalistic. They are Iraqis first and then say they are Muslim but the Shi'a - Sunni thing is just not that big a deal to them.

Faster Please

Michael Ledeen has a great article at NRO right now. He points out that Bush has inspired these protests in the middle east, and that now we need to keep the ball of freedom/democracy rolling:

In fact, according to Iranians with whom I have spoken, there were monster demonstrations in eleven provinces and 37 cities, and many thousands one source said more than 30,000 people were arrested, some only briefly, others shipped off to the infamous prisons and torture chambers of the regime. The most dramatic events took place in Shiraz, where the demonstrators directed a chant toward Washington: "Bush, you told us to rise up, and so we have. Why don't you act?"
I personally would have been satisfied if only Iraq and Afghanistan turned out to be fairly successful democracies. What were seeing now appears to be a complete sea-change in the middle east. As Ledeen points out this in no time to balk.

The fires of freedom are burning all over Iran, Syria, and Lebanon. Don't stand back and admire the flames. Push the dictators in, and then cheer as free societies emerge.

Faster, confound it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Less Moore is More

Originally uploaded by RHarris.

Note: I started writing this post a few weeks ago, and have just now finished it.

The problem with Moore is he addresses serious issues and problems in a very unserious way. That's not to say he thinks it's all a joke. To the contrary, it seems he takes what he does seriously, and he certainly is addressing serious issues. But the commentary and the arguments aren't serious ones-- that is, the evidence is anecdotal, the assumptions unquestioned, and the implied thesis self-contradicting.

I'm not saying Moore has no talent. The production quality of his movies is always good, and the movies themselves are generally entertaining. Moore tells his story well, and cues the music at all the right times -- the result of which can be a very powerful movie. But there powerful in a way that any well done fictitious is -- and therein lies the problem. Instead of thinking rationally Moore tempts us to react emotionally.

Consider Bowling for Columbine, (which I not long ago saw). The basic thesis of the movie is that Americans are violent, live in fear, and are so in love with guns, that things like the tragedy at columbine are bound to happen. The implied solution is to get rid of guns. Then the would-be victims of gun violence will live and we'll all be much happier.

But the evidence is so underwhelming as to be risible. For instance one segment of the film show as series of countries and how many deaths are caused yearly by guns. America of course leads the pack with 11,000. The others are in the hundreds or in a few occasions under one hundred. However Moore never points out that guns in many of these counties are illegal, such as the UK. And what difference does it matter how people are dying because of gun violence? Do we feel better if people are murdered by knives or bombs? Shouldn't the real question be how many people are being murder and what to do about that? Yes it should, but Moore doesn't bother asking that question. And by the way, doesn't the US have a much larger population than Canada the UK and Australia? Shouldn't the real question be, do we have more murders relative to our population size? Moore doesn't bother with this question either. Actually with our .04 murders per 1000 people. Were about in the middle of the pack. Were still slightly higher than France and Canada with .01 murders per 1000 people, but well under the leaders like Columbia, Russia and South Africa with .63, .19 and .51 respectively.

But there is still a good question. Why is it that America has (albeit slightly) higher homicide rate than these other countries? But Moore can't seem to answer that question without contradicting himself. One moment he says its the guns, that's why. But then there are 7 million guns in Canada and they don't have as many homicides. In that case its the media. But Canadians watch all our same violent movies (here he goes of on this weird tangent implicating the overdone news coverage of violent crimes. as if most fellons even watch the news. As if someone reporting on the tragedy of gun violence encourages the behavior more than a violent movie glorifying and reviling in violence). Then it must be fear. Canadians aren't afraid but Americans are paranoid. He ends on that note but then continues to K-Mart to pressure them into dropping there handgun and assault riffle bullets (so it is the guns after all?).

It doesn't make sense, but then it's not supposed to. Its supposed to tug at your heart strings, so you think "Gosh this just doesn't seem right." And in some cases it may not be. But the tactic is to make you think because in a few cases a crazy guy shouldn't have a gun, then guns have no use and should be ban all together, and that's nonsense.

And if we don't need guns to protect us (Moore pokes fun at the people who claim they need guns to protect themselves, and claims Americans live in an atmosphere of fear) then why was a gun without proper licensing found on one of Moore's body guard in New York City?

P.S. I write about Bowling For Columbine because that is the Moore movie I've seen most recently. For a deconstruction of Fahrenheit 9/11, read Christopher Hitchen's Unfairenheit 9/11 -- there is none better (at least that I've found).