Monday, February 28, 2005

Catch 22

The Left is always mad at Bush for not making nice with those European countries that constantly undermine our (and their own, for that matter) interests. Which is why this article by The New Republic is so shocking to me. Apparently Bush is both not being nice enough, and being too nice simultaneously.
And what's up with Putin's stupidity? I used to like him, but now he undermines democracy, The US, and consolidates power at every turn. Selling Nuclear fuel to Iran seems like his worst idea yet. Does he not remember that he has radical Islamicts within his boarder? Does he think Iran lives in a vacuum? An Iranian-Chechnian cooperation doesn't seem to out of the question to me (course, I'm no expert).

More Fraud

Originally uploaded by RHarris.
Most of us who have been following the Ward Churchill Fiasco already knew he was a fake intellectual and a fake Indian. If you haven't been following let me catch you up. Churchill is tenured professor of Ethnic Studies at Colorado State. He wrote and essay claiming those who died on 9/11 were "Little Eichmanns"(an infamous Nazi). If you look here, it turns out, in addition to being a fake Indian, and fake intellectual, Churchill is a fake artist as well.

At It Again....

Originally uploaded by RHarris.

I think Dean has really captured the essence of us conservatives. Check out the following penetrating observations.

"The issue is not abortion. The issue is whether women can make up their own mind instead of some right-wing pastor, some right-wing politician telling them what to do.
"Moderate Republicans can't stand these people [conservatives], because they're intolerant. They don't think tolerance is a virtue. I'm not going to have these right-wingers throw away our right to be tolerant.

"This is a struggle of good and evil. And we're the good."

Democrats really do have a death wish. I found this at Check out their analysis. It's good.

Here's a real barn-burner of an essay/debate by David Frum (responding to Andrew Sullivan). Same-sex marriage advocates with heart conditions be warned.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Howard Dean

Howard Dean
Originally uploaded by clockwerks.

The Ten Commandments

The Supreme Court will, in the not too distant future, hear two cases about displaying The Ten Commandments in government buildings. Those who argue againts displaying The Commandments contend that they are a religious symbol, and thus violate the establishment clause. Those who argue for leaving the displays say, yes, they are religious, but that they also are a symbol of the rule of law, albeit religious law.
To this, those opposing the displays reply, they do represent law, but in America we believe in a law that arises from the consent of the people, from the ground up. The Ten Commandments however, they say, come from God, from above down, therefore The Commandments do not serve as as a symbol for the laws that rule our country.
Those in favor of displaying the Ten Commandments counter by recalling the founding fathers' belief in "unalienable rights." If all rights arise from the government, then the government can also take those rights away. "Unalienable rights" were, therefore, those rights given from "on high" that could never be taken away.
What do I think? The Commandments should stay. I don't favor the government 'establishing religion,' for instance; I don't think a picture of Jesus would be appropriate in a courthouse. However there are two reasons The Ten Commandments are different. First, they do represent law, and the rule of law. Second, they do not advocate one religion, or church. Muslims, Christians and Jews alike, all have religious ties to the Ten Commandments (albeit with slightly different wording).
Some would say that they do at least advocate a belief in God, or more of a streach, monotheism. But is this what was meant by 'establishing religion'? Since the Supreme Court's own courtroom has a picture of Moses holding the Ten Commandments, it doesn't appear that this is what the founders had in mind.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Deep Thoughts From the New Chairman of the DNC

"You think the Republican National Committee could get this many people of color in a single room? Only if they had the hotel staff in here."

"I hate the Republicans, and everything they stand for."


-Howard Dean

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Bonds Disappoints

Although Jose Canseco is probably not to be taken at his word, still judging from the lack of out right denials it appears that pretty much everyone in baseball who has been any good over the last 10 years has been using steroids.
Most of us are fairly forgiving to celebrities, especially when they show some penitence. I think Giambi admitting that he took steroids, and apologizing (he did apologize right?) was the right approach. He's more or less been forgiven.
Bonds on the other hand seems determined to take the low road. He admits to nothing, although looks as guilty as hell. He is also determined to point to everyone else's shortcomings, as if because some people write lies, or reuse the same stories over and over Bonds is licensed to use drugs. And why does Bonds bring racism into the mix? Canseco, Giambi and McGuire aren't black, and they have hounded about this as much as anyone else.
Bad behavior is disappointing, but even more disappointing in Bonds case is the failure to own up to the bad behavior.

Hierarchy of Rights

There's almost nothing left to say about abortion, it's been around for so long. Nevertheless, I've found myself thinking about abortion lately. As I see it, Abortion is basically the conflict between two legitimate rights -- choice and life. I do believe people have a right to choose when possible. There is however, a hierarchy of rights and when they come in conflict, the higher trumps the lower. Thus, in the case of abortion, life trumps choice.

This should be obvious. You should be able to choose to shoot a gun, for instance, but you shouldn't be able to shoot (or at least there should be consequences for shooting) a gun at a person. Hence life supersedes choice.

I'm sure that the liberal response will be; ok, but in the case of abortion when does life actually begin? I think in biological sense, its clear that life begins at conception. As far as I understand, most any biologist will tell you that. But to encourage dialogue, I will say that I don't think that conception necessarily constitutes the begining of human life. Rather I would say it constitutes potential human life. A sperm and an egg is not a human. It is however a potential human, which deserves our respect. Its also clear to me that long before birth, human life has begun. If a baby can be born two to three month premature, and live and survive independent of the mother are we not to assume if that baby were to remain in the womb durring it would be just as alive? Thus partial-birth is clearly putting an end to a human life.

Liberals would argue that its the mothers body, and she should be able to do what she wants with her body. But that's not entirely true. You can't put illegal drugs into your body. If a Siamese (conjoined for you evangelicals) twin where to kill his attached sibling would we argue that the twin was within his right, because it was after all his body? That would be absurd. There are limits to our legitimate choices, and that's as it should be.

Yes, in abortion choice and life come in conflict, but really it doesn't have to be that way. They only come into conflict after a series of poor choices. With a few exceptions (which are less than one percent of abortions) a woman who finds herself with an unwanted pregnancy she will later abort, has made at least two choices: 1) to have sex; 2) to not use an effective contraceptive. Only then does choice three, abortion, come in conflict with life.

Now for the remaining less than one percent.

When a pregnancy puts the mother's life in jeopardy, then there is a direct life to life conflict, and the mothers life should take precedent over the babies life, primarily because there are others whose lives would be adversely affected by her death. She undoubtedly has family, dependents, friends. Maybe this is sentimentality... I'll think about this more. If however the mother knew the pregnancy would put her life in jeopardy, then there should be some repercussions. Maybe she should have to give birth. Maybe she should be allowed to have an abortion, but then be sterilized. There doesn't seem to be any excuse for someone who knows they will have pregnancy complications, to get pregnant and then choose an abortion.

Rapes presents a somewhat different dilemma. When a woman is raped, she is denied the choice to be impregnated, or to participate in those activities that precipitate pregnancy. Before I started this hierarchy of rights thought experiment I would have no problem with a woman having an abortion if impregnated by rape. Now, however it seems to me this case may be the true 'Choice vs. Life' scenario. In the case of an elective abortion (the other 99 percent of abortions) the woman has already made choices that directly resulted in pregnancy, and by doing so, forfeits and further right to choose in the matter to the baby, or potential human life to live. In rape the mother was denied the choice to conceive, or not to concieve through no fault of her own. Still I think that life should trump choice, and the raped woman should give birth to the child.

Here the distinction between human life and potential human life may come into play. A woman's right to 'choose' may trump potential human life, when the choice was previously denied her because of rape. On the other hand, the right to 'choose' an elective abortion doesn't trump the right of the human life, or even the right of potential human life to exist. between the right of a woman to have a third choice in a matter of pregnancy and the right of a potential human to live, we must choose the latter ever time.

On the whole, if we are to err, we should err on the side of life. Therefore, abortion should be avoided all together if possible. Abortion is allowable in cases of rape or when the mothers life is in jeopardy, but is far from automatic, and in fact, the default even in these cases should be to protect the unborn human.

Latin America in the 80's

Here's the best response I've read to the the critics of US foreign policy in Latin America under Reagan. The article is primarily about Negroponte, however the defense of Negroponte is a good overall defense of our policies at that time.

The Thought Police

I was watching Bill Maher on CNN for a few minutes last night. He started off OK, denouncing political correctness as valuing feelings over the truth. He really got off track however when he attributed PC to the right wing evangelical. Does Bill not know that PC is a invention of the left?
Take the Larry Summers' fiasco as an example (this seems appropriate, since this was the issue that prompted the question) . President Summers suggested the completely obvious idea that men and women are different, and that perhaps this difference is why there are more men in the hard science disciplines. For this thought, Summers has been relentlessly attacked, not by Evangelical Christians per se, but by Ivy League intellectuals, i.e. THE LEFT. Of course that innate differences are what account for more men in the sciences is completely possible, but this thought would contradict the Radical Feminist article of faith that women as a whole can do anything men as a whole can do, and can do whatever activity is in question at least as well as men do it. I suppose that may be, and feminists are welcome to make that argument. But why are people like Larry Summers, a liberal, not allowed to hypothesize otherwise, especially when the facts lead him to an alternative conclusion?
Apparently some thoughts are just off limits. Lucky for us we have the liberal though police to tell us just which thoughts are acceptable and which aren't allowed. What evangelical have to do with this, I still have no idea.