Thursday, June 30, 2005


I'll be on vacation and away from the blog until July 7. Have a fun 4th of July, everyone!

Those Who 'Question Authority' and 'Think For Themselves' Most Gullible

Glen Reynolds quotes an interview in the London Times, and the quote had me thinking, "It's amazing how credulous these 'free-thinking' leftists are. They swallow a transparent and simplistic propaganda line and its associated caricature hook line and sinker." One reason I wholeheartedly reject leftism is that the truth is just plain far more interesting.

Herewith the quote from the interview:

In person Mr Bush is so far removed from the caricature of the dim, war-mongering Texas cowboy of global popular repute that it shakes one’s faith in the reliability of the modern media.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Sound Effects Come Free With The Post!

The Anchoress has posted on a Peggy Noonan column that I read and enjoyed earlier. Well, you'll have to see how she handled it. Quite amusing.

Absolutely, Positively, Not To Be Trusted

When Ann Coulter's book Treason came out last year (a good read, BTW), I thought the title was just a bit over the top. No more. Hugh Hewitt has a nice bit of rhetoric about the complete inability of the Democrats and the MSM to take the defense of this country seriously (is that the problem, or is it that they take the defeat of this country all too seriously?):

This is the core problem: A horrific disfigurement of religious belief into a killing frenzy. It was the motivation behind 9/11, Bali, Madrid, and Beslan, and it is the motivation behind the terror is Iraq today. The only solution --the only solution-- is the creation of societies committed to religious pluralism. It takes a long, long time for such societies to develop, but a beginning has been made in Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan. The president's speech was an argument about why perseverance is not only necessary but in fact indispensable to survival of the West. The cut-and-run caucus led by Ted and MoveOn and Howard et al simply refuses to look the evil in its face and deal with it. Their dodge is to claim that our troops' presence is the cause of the evil. This laughable argument is at its heart a suicide note. When Howard Dean declares that the president's speech is about "the darkness of divisiveness, attempting to garner support for his failed policies by pandering to fear," it signals the fundamental irresponsibility of the party he leads. Quite simply, the Democratic Party cannot be trusted with the national security because it absolutely refuses to recognize the peril of Islamist fanaticism.

The American public --at least a sizeable majority of the American public-- understands that threat, which is why the Dems have had their collective head handed to them in 2002 and 2004, and why the same result will occur in 2006. The reason the media's reputation has in fact fallen off of the floor to even lower depths is because of the refusal to treat the war as a war rather than a political battle. "Growing numbers of people question the news media's patriotism and fairness," Pew's most recent report concluded. "Perceptions of political bias also have risen over the past two years." The public understands we are in a war and wonders why the elite media doesn't seem to get that crucial fact.

Fair And Balanced

Brian Tiemann has a nice, short, and well-written screed on the bias he's hearing on KCBS.


Missing, naturally, is any opinion piece that would make a case in favor of the war, or that would point out that hey, maybe it would be a good thing to have bases in Iraq—better than in Saudi Arabia, yes? Missing is any invocation, however matter-of-fact, of the stated mission in Iraq and its stakes, or an articulation of why it was important to take out Saddam with or without WMDs in his hands, or of positive facts on the ground that might just support what the president has to say on the subject in half an hour. Missing, naturally, are any polls or interviews from soldiers in Iraq, or, heaven forfend, Iraqis. See, by doing any of those things, KCBS would be "touting the Administration line".

And just this morning, as I drove in, the anchor was expressing shock and hurt pride over the revelation that the American people don't trust the new media as far as they could throw it, or that it could possibly be construed as having a slant that's too critical of the Bush administration. Perish the thought.

Hawkins Interviews Steyn

Even in an informal interview via e-mail, Mark Steyn is an outstanding writer. The whole thing is well worth reading. Here's a taste:

John Hawkins: In your opinion, why is it that Europe has become so much more secular than the United States, where Christianity is still strong?

Mark Steyn: The short answer is separation of church and state - and I use that phrase as it was intended to be used: The founders’ distaste for "establishment of religion" simply means that they didn't want President Washington also serving as head of the Church Of America and the Archbishop of Virginia sitting in the Unites States Senate - as to this day the Queen is Supreme Governor of the Church Of England and the Archbishop of York sits in the House Of Lords. Most European countries either had de jure state churches, like England, or de facto ones, like Catholic Italy. One consequence of that is the lack of portability of faith: in America, when the Episcopalians and Congregationalists go all post-Christian and relativist, people find another church; in Britain, when Christians give up on the Church of England, they tend to give up on religion altogether.

So the dynamism of American faith exemplifies the virtues of the broader society: the US has a free market in religion, Europe had cosseted overregulated monopolies and cartels. The other salient point is that obviously Europe does have a religion: radical secularism. The era of the state church has been replaced by an age in which the state itself is the church. European progressives still don't get this: they think the idea of a religion telling you how to live your life is primitive, but the government regulating every aspect of it is somehow advanced and enlightened.

John Hawkins: A lot of people like to play down the differences between America and Europe, but it has become clear that there is a huge cultural & political gap between us on a wide variety of issues. Why do you believe we've grown so far apart or have we also been split like this and just haven't really noticed because our cooperation during the Cold War masked the differences?

Mark Steyn: Well I'd say the Cold War in the end caused many of the irreconcilable differences. By guaranteeing the Continent's security, the US liberated most of Western Europe from the core responsibilities of nationhood. And if you treat grown-ups like children they’ll behave like children. It's essentially the American taxpayer, for example, who pays for European government health care, by assuming the defence costs for Germany, Belgium and so forth.

The utopian welfarism of Europe has so corroded the basic impulses necessary for societal survival - ie, breeding - that I doubt anything can be done. But if the US seriously wanted to help it would accelerate the closure of all Continental bases. Even if that didn’t persuade them to get real, it would still be worth doing, as when the European powder keg goes up America will want to be well clear. On the basic problem of their deathbed demographics, a reader of mine, Jim Ellinthorpe, thinks President Bush should give speeches mocking the virility of European men. I'm all in favor of this, though mainly on entertainment grounds. A Berlin airlift of cheap generic Viagra might also be useful.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

In A Nutshell

Ace of Spades cuts to the chase re: the Rove brouhaha:

[E]ither liberals have to confront the America-haters they are tactically allied with or suffer the political consequences themselves.

Let me put it in terms liberals can understand:

Would you ever in a million years allow conservatives to wink-wink nudge-nudge kinda-sorta ally themselves with racists without noting that fact, and without ripping into them for being sympathetic to racists?

Of course you wouldn't. And you don't. You're real bears on ripping conservatives whenever they use "racist code-words" to signal covert support for racism and to curry political favor from racists (whether those racist code-words are real or largely in your imagination).

So please explain to me why we conservatives should just ignore the fact that you are in a political marriage with those who actively root for American casualties and American defeat.

Goldberg Waxes Sarcastic

As he floridly fisks an absurd NYT column, in which Al Gore literally holds the keys to a Muslim women's restored faith in our bigoted country.

Put This In Your Pipe And Smoke It

An ancient idea that is far, far, too radical for modern people to accept. To their loss.

Here's how the piece starts (lots more good stuff after this):

One major conflict between the Judeo-Christian value system and the various secular ones competing with it revolves around the answers to these questions: Is nature created for man or is man merely a part of nature? Or, to put it in other words, does the natural environment have any significance without man to appreciate it and to use it for his good?

The Judeo-Christian responses are clear: Nature has been created for man's use; and on its own, without man, it has no meaning. Dolphins are adorable because human beings find them adorable. Without people to appreciate them or the role they play in the earth's ecosystem to enable human life, they are no more adorable or meaningful than a rock on Pluto.

That is the point of the Creation story -- everything was made in order to prepare the way for the creation of man (and woman, for those whose college education leads them to confuse the generic "man" with "male"). God declared each day's creation "good," but declared the sixth day's creation of man as "very good."

Critics find three biblical notions about nature unacceptable: that man shall lord over it; that it was created solely for man and therefore has no intrinsic value; and that it is not sacred.

The Future Lies Ahead

Excellent parody from The Onion. They've created an issue from 50 years in the future. WARNING: There is some raunchy textual humor illustrating how much more degraded our culture will be 50 years from now.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

A Liberal Marries A Country Hoping He'll Change

Superb post by Ace Of Spades. A quick read, so go check it out. Here's a teaser:

My post (I'll have to find it) noted that any husband who tells his wife "I kinda-sorta love you, in a way, but I hate almost all of your entire past history, and I despise your current values, but if you change all that, then I will unequivocally declare my love for you" is a guy who's looking to sleep in the garage.

But again and again this is what the left tells us constitutes their "love of country." They show their love by obsessing over the flaws of the supposed object of their affection.

Again-- hey, I'm as annoyed by this country as any liberal. Doesn't mean I have any hesitancy about being a patriot.

I guess the difference between a conservative's and a liberal's love for America is this:

Warts and all, conservatives are smart enough to realize this is the most beautiful wife we'll ever get.

Liberals, on the other hand, still have their eyes fixed firmly on the real object of their true affections-- Europe.

Conservatives may compare America to an unreal idealized version of what a country could be. A bit of harmless, nonthreatening fantasy.

Whereas liberals are always checking out the hot hootchie that lives across the pond called "Sweden."

Friday, June 24, 2005

The Solution Is Quite Simple

Here it is:


From a reader:


The quickest way to reverse Kelo is to find some conservative town in Utah somewhere to shut down an abortion clinic in order to make room for a Wal-Mart. Also, that would be the most fun way to get Kelo reversed.

Posted at 10:09 PM

A Succinct Answer

Here's something from David Horowitz today:

Subject: Dissent v. Treason

I'm sure you are following the Durbin flap and O'Reilly's comment that Democrats have crossed the line between dissent and treason. So in your opinion, what is the proper way for those critical of the war and our handling of detainees to state their case?


My answer:

A Patriot will begin by regcognizing that is we who have been attacked by the Islamic jihad not the other way around. A patriot will begin by recognizing what a great and humane country this is, that we're in a war with an enemy who has shown no human decency towards those they have attacked, who will use any means to destroy all of us, every man woman and child because we do not share his religion. A patriot will begin by understanding that war is hell; that as a nation we behave better in war than any other country with the possible exception of Israel; that atrocities are endemic to wars and unlike Arab and Muslim states we don't celebrate our atrocities but condemn them; that we prosecute those who commit crimes on our side; that we are probably treating our prisoners in Guanatanamo better than they deserve and who, having joined a terrorist force to kill all infidels combatants and non-combatants, women and children alike actually deserve nothing; a Patriot will probably understand that if we weren't fighting these bastards in Iraq we would probably be fighting them in Washington and New York, and that is why we must win and to win we must destroy them. Above all a patriot will modify and shape, and set the tone of his criticisms out of respect for our men and women in harms way and for the men and women whose responsibility they are, out of concern for our safety here at home; a patriot will want to take care not to give ammunition to our enemies or to demoralize our brave young men and women on the front or declare a behind the lines war on their leaders, as Dick Durbin and Nancy Pelosi and Ted Kennedy and Al Gore and Jimmy Carter and John Kerry and the New York Times and 60 Minutes or leftists like Michael Moore and Mark Danner and Michael Ratner have already and unconscionably done. A patriot will make clear that the enemy is the enemy, and not us. Then he or she can make whatever criticism they may, suitably framed by these understandings and loyalties, suitably framed by their commitment to a military victory for our side in this war.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Good, Hard-Hitting Debate

FrontPageMag has a regular segment in which Jamie Glazov interviews a conservative opinion maker. Glazov has more libertarian leanings (perhaps as a result of having lived under Soviet totalitarianism), and definitely is not a "puffball" interviewer. This week he interviews Ben Shapiro, author of "Porn Generation: How Social Liberalism is Corrupting our Future". Quite a good interview, with both guys making strong points. A taste:

FP: Ok Mr. Shapiro, you are obviously quite upset about what you see as the disintegration of moral values in our society, about the normalization of pornography etc. I must say that I am quite liberal on many social issues so I get a bit mystified in terms of not only some of the things you are upset about, but also what it is exactly that you propose to do about it. Do you want the government to get involved? Do you want to ban certain kinds of programming? Do you want to illegalize pornography? Rap music? What happened to free choice and the free market?

What if I like a certain show that you don’t? I grew up in Hip Hop culture for instance and I enjoy rap music. Are you planning to create a society where I will be unable to buy, listen, watch and dance to Jay Z, Fifty Cent and Snoop Dog? And what if I like watching J. Lo and Mariah Carey dancing in their videos on television and showing their beautiful bodies the way they do? Are you working for a society that will illegalize them doing that and me watching it? What if they are caught videotaping a video in a manner you deem "immoral" and what if I am caught with one of these music videos? Will I be punished?

Have you thought through the implication that something has to be done about your moral indignation? Who are going to be the self-appointed arbiters of morality in your proposed solutions? Who will make the rules about punishments?

Mr. Shapiro, I am not saying that I support moral relativism. I agree that there are many unfortunate things happening in our culture. Yes, it is tragic, for instance, that so many young people today have only one theme and value on their minds – which is usually sex. And it's not that I think that sex is necessarily the problem, but that it exists in a vacuum and is not accompanied, let us say, by the love of and yearning for knowledge, or by the aspiration towards something noble, or by the respect for history and literature, or by the indulgence in the spirit of generosity, etc. Of course there have to be some rules and laws, but they have to be established very very carefully, since there are always great costs (sometimes frightening ones) to the effort to legislate moral behavior and values.

Freedom is freedom my friend. It is up to individuals and families to make their decisions. And you can complain, but I get very skeptical (and worried) when someone starts making criticisms on these social and moral issues on the assumption that they have solutions. Sorry, that’s when frightening images of the Taliban and Ayatollah Khomeini start floating though my mind.

Shapiro: I certainly understand your concerns, and I share many of them. However, I believe the government should be involved in many of these areas, particularly the regulation of pornography. The people of each state have the right to place restrictions on obscene or indecent material - surely the founders never sought to protect such material on the federal level, and they never meant to do so on the state level (since the First Amendment did not apply to states). In fact, for the vast majority of our history, such restrictions were in place, and only activism by the Supreme Court stopped such restrictions. And the restrictions that were in place were far heavier than those I propose myself.

I do not believe there is a natural or blanket right for people to view or distribute whatever they please without consequence. The bottom line for me is that the people must be the final arbiters of morality; that is the purpose of representative democracy. Almost all legislation is to some extent shaped by moral concerns; just view statutory rape laws, or euthanasia laws. Even amoralism is state action - it took action by legislatures to wipe many of the old laws off the books, and it takes legislative willpower to keep them off the books. Everyone wants to legislate their morality; the only difference between the libertarian position and the right-wing position is that the libertarian position requires concerted inactivity by the government. I think Rick Perry was logically correct when he recently stated, "One of the great myths of our time is that you can't legislate morality . If you can't legislate morality, then you can neither lock criminals up nor let them go free. If you can't legislate morality, you can neither recognize gay marriage nor prohibit it. If you can't legislate morality, you can neither allow for prayer in school nor prevent it. It is a ridiculous notion to say you can't legislate morality. I say you can't NOT legislate morality."

I agree that regulations must be created very carefully and crafted very specifically to prevent encroachment upon types of activity and speech most of us would endorse - engagement in poetry, art, science, education, etc. But in a republic, we must trust the people to defend their own liberties and their own morality; imposition from above by the Supreme Court, for example, seems to me far more of a threat to the republic than allowing the people to shape their own society. Iran and the Taliban's Afghanistan were both oligarchic, tyrannical regimes, and it is because of their oligarchic nature that they oppressed their own people. Were they republics, it would be very difficult to argue that the people themselves were victims.

In fact, allowing people to vote on these sorts of issues is the very purpose of federalism. Certainly Massachusetts and New York will never pass statutes restricting access to pornography, and in all likelihood, Georgia and Alabama will. That is their right. I merely advocate legislative solutions which some people may support. Certainly the libertarian position on legislation and morality has just as solid a right to be heard in the public debate. And I'm glad there are people out there advocating the libertarian position, because the debate is fascinating and vital. My problem is that those who champion morality have been shut out of the debate in the name of PC "tolerance."

Crying Wolf For No Good Reason

It turns out that nobody is much concerned about the latest "outrage" being fulminated against by the Sedition Party. I don't know how the Traitorous Jackasses can even look at themselves in the mirror any more. Anyway, James Taranto has a nice summation:
Mullah Coddlers

The past few months, the Democrats seem to have been trying to make political hay about claims of "torture" and "abuse" at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, where the U.S. military has been running a prison camp for Taliban and al Qaeda terrorists captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan.

Dick Durbin, of course, famously likened the troops there to Nazis and, as we noted last week, made the case that al Qaeda terrorists are entitled to be treated as civilians under the Geneva Conventions. (In fairness, Durbin was vague on this point; it's not clear if he understood that this was what he was arguing.)

Earlier, Democrats on the Judiciary Committee roughly interrogated Alberto Gonzales about his supposed approval of "torture," and the vast majority of Democrats (36-6, including Jeffords, with three not voting) voted against the confirmation of the first Hispanic attorney general.

Of course it is legitimate to criticize government policies, even in times of war. But the Democratic attacks on Guantanamo are so hysterical and unmoored from reality that they have the feel of gotcha politics. The over-the-top rhetoric and accusations are reminiscent of Democratic attacks on Republican judicial nominees. As Ryan Sager writes:

There's an important debate to be had in this country about just how far we're willing to go in our interrogations. But it's a difficult debate to even get started when one side thinks that we should be extremely concerned with the possibility that someone, somewhere might have desecrated the Korans of the people responsible for the murders of Daniel Pearl, Nick Berg, Fabrizio Quattrocchi, three-thousand Americans and now hundreds upon hundreds of Iraqi civilians.

A Rasmussen poll out yesterday suggests that this is terrible politics. Only 20% of the 1,000 likely voters in the survey "believe prisoners at Guantanamo Bay have been treated unfairly." Thirty-four percent think the treatment of the prisoners is "about right," and 36% think America is treating them "better than they deserve":

The survey also found that just 14% agree with people who say that prisoner treatment at Guantanamo Bay is similar to Nazi tactics. Sixty-nine percent disagree with that comparison. This helps explain why Illinois Senator Dick Durbin apologized for making such a comparison.

Even among Democrats, only 30% think the Guantanamo prisoners are being treated unfairly. In other words, many Democratic elected officials are out of touch not only with Americans in general but with a majority of their own supporters.

What are we to make of all this? The most hopeful interpretation is that the Democrats are politically incompetent--that they are stupidly trying to whip up hysteria over Guantanamo in hope of scoring political points. The other possibility is that one of America's two major political parties is led by people who are genuinely passionate about the "rights" of terrorists and correspondingly blasé about the dangers of terrorism.

In light of all this, Durbin's politically expedient "apology"--even if unsatisfactory as an apology--is a good sign. It suggests that Democrats are playing politics and coming to realize it isn't working.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Who Designed The Designer?

For whatever odd reason, a lot of Darwinists regard the above question as some kind of refutation of Intelligent Design. Jay Richards has produced quite a nice essay explaining why it is no such thing. Worth reading for some clear metaphysical and logical thinking.

An Intense Trio Of Posts

To borrow one of Ace's own pet devices:

The top three signs that Ace of Spades is on f'n fire today: this, this, and this. Some good hard-hitting analysis and rhetoric.

excerpt from first link:
What would happen, were we to depart and the terrorism to continue, would be the famous Iraqi Civil War we've heard so much about.

And the Sunnis -- and their terrorist allies -- would be slaughtered. And viciously slaughtered, ethnic-cleansing sort of slaughtered, and quite frankly, it would be their fault.

Though the Sunnis don't realize it-- we're in Iraq now chiefly to protect them from the well-deserved mass-butchery they would suffer were they to continue to support the murder of those who refuse to knuckle under their nasty form of minority rule.

I don't support a quick withdrawal because I would like to give Iraq -- and the Sunnis, too -- a chance for a peaceful future.

But in any event, Iraq will have a more peaceful future, whether the Sunnis end their support for terrorism or not. That peaceful future will come either after the Sunnis join the political process and accept their new status as a minority population with as much power as a minority usually has, or after the Kurds and Shi'as begin leveling their cities and neighborhoods with indiscriminate mortar-fire.

The war is over. The carnage continues, because we are dealing with a foe who is not concerned with tangible geopolitical results, but merely slaughter for the sake of slaughter. But while the slaughter continues, the war is over.

And it has been for quite some time.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

That Anchoress, She Can Write

Bernard Goldberg is coming out with a new book called "The 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America". Some bloggers are coming up with their own lists of just 20. The Anchoress came up with 13 (mostly categories not individuals). Here is a taste:
12) Hillary Clinton. I hate to be obvious, but the truth is, anyone who is THIS beloved by an adoring, uncritical and unquestioning press should never be trusted or given power. Anyone who “owns” the press the way she does is being handed the keys to tyranny. The presses gulping fascination for this woman is enough to warn any clear-thinking person away from electing her as president. Although, in fairness to Mrs. Clinton, the press demonstrated quite soundly, in the last election, that almost any Democrat candidate, running against a Republican, can anticipate an astounding and uniform lack of curiosity about their past, or their thoughts, ideas or solutions from the Fourth Estate. Mrs. Clinton only frightening because of the extremes to which the press will go to promote and protect her.

13) The Fourth Estate. They remind me of St. Paul’s sad cry, “all that I hate, I am become!” Diverse in everything but thought, they’ve exposed themselves as precisely the things they claim to hate, bigots and purveyors of prejudicial stereotypes. We need a few journalists who have never stepped inside a j-school, and who understand that a “scoop” involves real (not manufactured) evidence that can be proved - that forcing someone else to “prove a negative,” is not reportage, it is slander.

Nicely written! But here's the best part:

1) Whoever decided that Saturday morning cartoons should be used to “educate children” to “be nice” to each other, and that Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, if shown at all, could not be shown being shot, blown-up, erased, squeezed into tiny spaces, sent flying from a cannon, played like violins, dropped into glasses of water, blown to smithereens by Martians, unfeathered unto nakedness, or tricked into playing “Believe Me If All (Those Endearing Young Charms)” correctly on the piano, thus being sent to heaven wherein they wear halos and pluck on tiny harps. They can, however, be shown in drag. Whole generations are growing up being thought of as too delicate to watch cartoon characters being shaped into musical instruments, and they’ve lost exposure to thinking outside the box.

A Nice Post

Ace of Spades delivers a well-written (warning: contains some adeptly deployed four letter words) reflection about Durbin and the MSM.

It didn't occur to him he was about to bring himself and his party into general disrepute.

And so it goes. The liberal media has once again screwed one of their own by not accurately reporting the public temperament and mood. Dick Durbin trusted the liberal media, and is only now finding out that, gee willickers, maybe the American people aren't quite as hopped-up about "abuses" at Gitmo as the left-leaning folks at Amnesty International are.

As Steyn (and everyone else) is remarking: After Clinton finally helped shed the Democrats' long reputation as the party of criminals' rights, a new Confederacy of Dunces is hell-bent on establishing them as the Hug a Terrorist party.

Congratulations-- you just endeared yourself to the NYT's Gail Collins. And alienated the majority of voters in all of the swing states you'll need to win in 2008.

Those Racist Republicans

I am livid. It turns out that one of the highest ranking Republican members of the Senate once said:
"I would never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side. Rather I should die a thousand times, and see old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels."
As is so typical of Republicans , the person in question was once an influential member of the KKK. This is a complete outrage and a disgrace to the party. Oh, there are some serious racist skeletons hidden in the Republican closet. It is time to clear the air and have done with this! Can the Party survive the MSM assault that is surely coming?

Okay. As you may have guessed, the person in question is not a Republican at all, but none other than the Exalted Cyclops and Grand Kleagle of the Democratic Party, Robert Byrd. And there is no MSM assault a-comin'. And there is no disgrace and livid outrage. This is because, as a fundamental fact unneedful of examination (and as was written into the laws of reality at the Big Bang), Democrats love Negroes! Here are some details (from this article):

The United States Senate has passed a resolution, sponsored by Republican George Allen of Virginia and Democrat Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, apologizing as an institution for preventing the passage of anti-lynching legislation.

We are still waiting for the Democratic Party to apologize for its role, which is far greater than that of the whole Senate, inasmuch as all the senators who prevented action to abolish lynching for all those decades, were Democrats.

The old massahs were Democrats, too, and so were the whip-toting overseers who carried out their brutality on what they regarded as sub-human chattel. The sponsors of Jim Crow segregation were all Democrats, and so were the adherents to the Ku Klux Klan, including that organization's surviving representative in the Senate, Robert Byrd of West Virginia.

Byrd is also the only surviving Senator who participated in the filibuster of the 1964 Civil Rights Bill, which was passed because of the support of Republicans, led by Everett Dirksen of Illinois, whose seat is now held by Barack Obama, the only black man the Democrats have ever elected to the Senate.

The only other black Democratic Senator was Carole Moseley Braun, who held the very same seat from 1993 to 1999. That a party which routinely claims the support of ninety percent of the African-American vote has such a dismal record of rewarding that loyalty with Senate seats is a scandal of the first rank.

Democrats, after all, also purport to believe in affirmative action, and since black voters constitute approximately twenty-five percent of all Democrats, there should be ten or eleven black Democratic Senators at any given time. Instead, there have been two, in the whole history of the party.

There have been three Republicans, and that number may well increase to four next year, with the recent announcement that Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele has formed a committee for the purpose of replacing Sen. Paul Sarbanes, who is retiring. The popular Steele is the first African-American ever elected to statewide office in Maryland, a strongly Democratic state where the majority party has never once bothered to nominate a black to their state ticket.

Republicans are racists? Projection, thy name is the Democratic Party.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Train Wrecks Change Everything

A comment to a housing bubble post spoke of some dynamics re: illegal immigration. Nothing whatsoever will be done about it, until push comes to shove. And then the problem will be solved in short order. Notice also the very concise rebuttal of the idea that illegal immigration is a net benefit to us.

Herewith, the comment:
We are on the verge of a MAJOR economic downturn, it is only a matter of time. To compound the issue, we are being forced to absorb an enormous number of low-skilled workers who consume FAR more in social service dollars than tax revenue they generate. As I had stated earlier, if these people were the economic goldmine that we are always being told they are, why are the leaders of these countries encouraging them to break into the U.S.? As another blogger posted it is like sending one of your kids to go live at your neighboors house, having the neighboor pay for food, housing, school, and medical care, and giving your kid an allowance and that kid sending his allowance back to you. You get money without having to provide anything for that child. Sounds like a good deal for the leaders of those Latin American countries, not to sure if it is a good deal for the U.S.

Once the RE market tanks and people are forced to compete for these new LOW wage jobs, thanks to greedy employers who encourage illegal immigration, you'll see just how much of a hot-button issue this really has become. People are mad, but tolerant now because they are flush with money from their home's "appreciation". Once that illusion of wealth is gone, illegal immigration, will become one of the NUMBER ONE issues. Since so many municipalities will suddenly be strapped for cash with the loss of all that property tax revenue, do you really think that Legal immigrants and citizens will really stand for the continuing illegal free ride on the social service gravy train? Schools underfunded with 1/3 of the students being illegal immigrants? Hospitals closing because 80% of the non-paying "clients" illegal immigrants. 90%!!!! of the outstanding warrents in Los Angeles county, illegal immigrants?

Yea, once the RE cash bubble bursts, watch just how big an issue this becomes...

Yup, if we ever end up in very difficult economic times, folks thrown out of work are not going to just sit there in destitution while illegals are still mowing lawns, busing dishes, working in construction, etc. The illegals will be thrown out, PDQ. I'm not advocating this, but it's probably what will happen.

Summed Up In A Picture

This is good:

Image Hosted by

Saturday, June 18, 2005

A Military Father Has Had It With Seditious Jackasses

This is pretty hard hitting.

A Military Father’s Response to Senator Durbin and the Democrat Party

Copyright 2005, Dean W. Sueck –

I am revolted by Senator Durbin’s remarks comparing the detention center in Gitmo with a death camp.

I have a daughter at Ft. Hood Texas with orders to the Middle East within the next 30 days. To boot, her husband ALSO has orders to the ME and my wife and I will be raising their children for the next year, and permanently if something should happen to them while they’re putting their lives on the line to serve this great country, and that’s my pleasure and my honor.

I figure I have a dog in this Senator Durbin fight.

“Facts are stubborn things.” How true Mr. Adams was when he voiced that statement.

I’m here to tell Senator Durbin and his America hating compatriots in the Democrat Party something.


You want to count them up Senator? Let’s:

[impressive list follows]


In the wars Americans get involved in, it’s AMERICAN soldiers, aviators and sailors who are tortured and mistreated, NOT their counterparts.

Care to count them up? Let’s:

[depressing list follows]

How many have I left off this list who have tortured and brutalized American soldiers and civilians?

Does the “esteemed” Senator actually compare our prisoner system and guards to the Islamic monsters that we’re fighting the WAR against?? I hear total silence on the subject of the thousands that they’ve kidnapped, tortured and murdered. What was the “good” senator’s opinion of Margaret Hassan’s body when it was found in Fallujah? It was found decapitated with all arms and legs cut off. She was butchered like a lamb to the slaughter and the Senator said not a word!

Democrats don’t CARE about anybody. They USE people for their own partisan political ends. There’s no lie they won’t tell. It’s what they do. It’s their nature to lie like it’s a dogs’ nature to bark.

The Democrat Party has gotten to the point where they’re led by nothing but foaming at the mouth liberals who hate America with a passion that burns white hot. They are only too happy to be used as propaganda tools by the enemies of America. Senator Durbin’s remarks have been picked up by Al-Jazeera and broadcast around the Arab world over and over and over until it becomes truth, much the same as Newsweek’s flushed Koran story was. I’m sure that like Newsweek, Senator Durbin will issue a useless apology that nobody will pick up on, allowing the damage done to America’s reputation and prestige stand.

This puts the lives of American servicemen at risk, including my daughters’ and son-in-laws’ lives, and gives aid and comfort to the enemies of America.

The Republican Leadership won’t say it, neither will the Republican rank-and-file, but I’ll say it: Senator Durbin and his fellow Democrats are seditious, treasonous SOB’s who give aid and comfort to the enemy. They need psychiatric examinations for the delusions that they live under...

Friday, June 17, 2005

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Scientific Fundamentalism

Eugene Volokh has an interesting piece on the tendency for folks in some quarters to think that science has an ability to decide moral questions. His comments are triggered by a story about an invention called a "consciometer" and how it might impinge on the abortion question. (H/T A Physicist's Perspective, who also has some thoughts on this).

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Epistemology And Ontology. Know The Difference.

Some whack logic quoted here:
"Mortgage bankers say the risks of pulling equity from homes have been lessened by two key factors: the assumption that the value of Hawaii real estate will keep rising and the belief that real estate, at least for now, is far less risky than the sluggish stock market. 'It's not a bad thing to do,' said Gayle Ishima, president of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Hawaii."
Exsqueeze me? Risk is an objective thing. Risks are what they are, even if they are not known accurately. Risks are not changed by "assumptions" and "beliefs". The quote is essentially saying "Risk is lowered because people believe there is less risk." So, I take it, then, that someone driving with their knees, yacking on their cell phone with one hand and trading off between eating a sandwich and applying mascara with the other is a safer driver because they aren't perceiving any risk?

The implied principle goes against all my experience as a pilot. It's when you are not worried that you might be screwing up that you are screwing up.

The Real Estate Bubble: A Capsule Summary

Here it is in a nice quick-to-read nutshell.

Recently, a friend of mine was offered a job in Southern California. The job was interesting, the place was beautiful and the pay was excellent. Or at least it seemed excellent until he learned about house prices. A house that would cost about $200,000 in Indy was going for $1 million or more out there. He said no, but was urged to reconsider by a would-be colleague who told him that he could expect his home to grow in value by 20 percent per year. Buying that million-dollar home would, she maintained, be "the best financial decision you have ever made."

There is, as this story suggests, a housing bubble in America. Not everywhere. Probably not here in Indy. But there is one in California for sure, and by most estimates in parts of at least 22 other states. Many people are investing in real estate in the hope of making a lot of money really fast, borrowing heavily in the belief that the price of real estate will never go down.

But that belief is simply wrong. Yes, prices are rising in many places by 20 percent or more per year, but at some point, probably soon, the market will peak and many investors will lose heavily. And if there is a collapse of housing prices, there could be dire consequences for the U.S. economy.

Of course, many homebuyers are not investing in real estate to make a killing; they are only trying to fulfill the American dream of home ownership. But even these homebuyers assume that it's a good investment and that it's surely better to buy than to rent.

But right now, in a lot of places in the U.S., it isn't a better idea. On both coasts, in parts of the West and Southwest especially, it is cheaper -- often much cheaper -- to rent a home than to buy one, even with all the tax deductions thrown in.

20% a year, eh? A sure thing. That means that in 10 years that $1 million house will be $6 million. Mortgage and property taxes alone would then consume $30,000 a month. Lessee, to carry that you'd need to be grossing on the ol' W2 about $60,000 a month, which is $720,000 a year. And all that for a house that has an "Indianapolis equivalent worth" of $200,000. No problemo, as long as your raise is 26% a year every year for that decade, which is a reasonable assumption if a Big Mac is going to cost $25 in 10 years. So, I say, go for it.

Monday, June 13, 2005

No One Fisks Like Lileks. No One.


Darth Vader's Keyboard

Hunt-and-peck is only for Jedi, not the Sith.

Dangerous Books Must Be Kept Out Of The Schools

Interesting post at Evangelical Outpost.

The conservative weekly Human Events asked a panel of 15 conservative scholars and public policy leaders to compile a list of the Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Each panelist nominated a number of titles and then voted on all of the books nominated. The resulting list of of thirty books has generated a modest amount of buzz in the blogosphere. Many wonder what exactly it means to claim that a book is “harmful.” After pondering that question myself, I've come to the conclusion that the list falls short of its true aim, and misses the most harmful book of all.

[some nice exposition about widely-regarded-as-harmful books]

The list, though, is produced by conservatives, a group that tends to be more tolerant of religion, so the abscence of religious texts should probably be expected. What is surprising, though, is that the list contains no books that most people would consider banning or that would spark outcries if they were included in a school curriculum. As OMFSerge from Imago Dei notes:

It is a bit ironic that each of these books can be read in the public school, where [the Bible] cannot. Which one should be considered more dangerous?

On that point I don’t think there is any question: the Bible is infinitely more dangerous than any book on the list. In fact, I would say that it is the most harmful book in the world.

Before we can determine the level of “harm” produced by a book we must first ask, “harmful to whom?” While a case could be made that each of the thirty books on Human Events list has had an influence that has lead to the harm of certain individuals, groups, or countries, the Bible is in a different category: it is harmful to every person, culture, and civilization that has ever existed.

I don’t mean that the Bible is harmful in the way that some people think the “religious right” is harmful. Non-believers who truly fear Christian influence often are concerned about theonomists, a minority view that would impose “biblical law” in a rigid, moralistic fashion. The secularists are concerned that people who take the Bible seriously want to establish a theocracy. On this concern they need not worry. Like non-believers, the problem with theonomists is that they don’t take the Bible seriously enough.

Anyone who does take the Bible seriously recognizes that it dogmatically refutes every cherished idea we hold about humanity: We think people are “basically good.” The Bible claims that no one is good. We think that corruption and injustice is caused by our situation or environment. The Bible says that it is our nature that is corrupt. We think we are deserving of peace and happiness. The Bible tells us that we are deserving of eternal damnation. We think we are alive. The Bible delivers the disturbing news that we are already dead. (It is hard to imagine what could be more harmful to our sense of identity than to hear that we are as good as dead.)

The Bible talks of a war being waged throughout the universe, with humans being on the wrong side. Not only are we classified as the enemies of God, but we're called to surrender unconditionally. There is not the slightest hint that we have a chance of suceeding in our effort to dethrone our Creator. In fact, the Bible expresses such confidence in God’s ability to reassert his kingdom on earth that it even lays out his plan for the rebels to see. Resistance, it claims, is futile. But even though we are undeserving, we are offered a merciful choice: surrender and live, or continue to rebel and die.

Forget about Lenin, Nietzsche, Foucault, and the rest of the authors on the list. The impact of their works was limited and reversible. The most subversive text ever produced is a compilation of the writings of Moses, Amos, Isaiah, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, et al...

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Outstanding Evolution Essay Part Deux

I linked to a great essay on evolution here. This essay is a very entertaining and lucid piece, and even contains a section addressing what I call the "butterfly conundrum":
[C]onsider caterpillars. A caterpillar has no obvious resemblance to a butterfly. The disparity in engineering is huge. The caterpillar has no legs, properly speaking, certainly no wings, no proboscis. How did a species that did not undergo metamorphosis evolve into one that did? Pupating looks like something you do well or not at all: If you don't turn into something practical at the end, you don't get another chance.

Think about this. The ancestor of a modern caterpillar necessarily was something that could reproduce already. To get to be a butterfly-producing sort of organism, it would have to evolve silk-extruding organs, since they are what you make a cocoon with. OK, maybe it did this to tie leaves together, or maybe the beast resembled a tent-caterpillar. (Again, plausibility over evidence.) Then some mutation caused it to wrap itself experimentally in silk. (What mutation? Are we serious?) It then died, wrapped, because it had no machinery to cause it to undergo the fantastically complex transformation into a butterfly. Death is usually a discouragement to reproduction.

Tell me how the beast can gradually acquire, by accident, the capacity gradually to undergo all the formidably elaborate changes from worm to butterfly, so that each intermediate form is a practical organism that survives. If evolutionists cannot answer such questions, the theory fails.

Here the evolutionist will say, "Fred, caterpillars are soft, squashy things and don't leave good fossils, so it's unreasonable to expect us to find proof." I see the problem. But it is unreasonable to expect me to accept something on the grounds that it can't be proved. Yes, it is possible that an explanation exists and that we just haven't found it. But you can say that of anything whatever. Is it good science to assume that evidence will be forthcoming because we sure would like it to be? I'll gladly give you evidence Wednesday for a theory today?

Note that I am not asking evolutionists to give detailed mechanics for the evolution of everything that lives. If they gave convincing evidence for a few of the hard cases – proof of principle, so to speak – I would be inclined to believe that equally good evidence existed for the others. But they haven't.

Yes. I've been looking for a chance to write a small blurb about butterfly evolution. Now, when the caterpillar encases himself in the cocoon, what does biology tell us about what happens next? What happens next is this (sorry, I don't remember where I first read about all this): the caterpillar literally dissolves into a slurry of undifferentiated cells. Then the butterfly begins its formation from various points that are located toward the outside edge of the slurry, with not much correlation between where particular parts were located on the caterpillar and where the new analogous parts (such as they are; I mean a caterpillar doesn't have legs or wings or antennae) begin to form for the butterfly.

So all this being the case, how would typical Darwinian logic (the stuff we learned in school) be applied? "Well, those caterpillars which happened to emerge as totally different creatures after dissolving into a slurry survived to reproduce, while the ones that didn't didn't." Sure. That explains it. Case closed, I guess.

It is interesting to me that one of the prettiest of all creatures (the butterfly) has a life cycle that shouts out against Darwinism and towards design. It is also interesting to me that this same creature is a powerful symbol of death, entombment, corruption, and resurrection to glorified life.

But, hey, that's just me.

Outstanding Evolution Essay

A good read.

Early on, I noticed three things about evolution that differentiated it from other sciences (or, I could almost say, from science). First, plausibility was accepted as being equivalent to evidence. (And of course the less you know, the greater the number of things that are plausible, because there are fewer facts to get in the way.) Again and again evolutionists assumed that suggesting how something might have happened was equivalent to establishing how it had happened. Asking them for evidence usually aroused annoyance and sometimes, if persisted in, hostility.

As an example, it seems plausible to evolutionists that life arose by chemical misadventure. By this they mean (I think) that they cannot imagine how else it might have come about. (Neither can I. Does one accept a poor explanation because unable to think of a good one?) This accidental-life theory, being somewhat plausible, is therefore accepted without the usual standards of science, such as reproducibility or rigorous demonstration of mathematical feasibility. Putting it otherwise, evolutionists are too attached to their ideas to be able to question them.

Consequently, discussion often turns to vague and murky assertion. Starlings are said to have evolved to be the color of dirt so that hawks can't see them to eat them. This is plausible. But guacamayos and cockatoos are gaudy enough to be seen from low-earth orbit. Is there a contradiction here? No, say evolutionists. Guacamayos are gaudy so they can find each other to mate. Always there is the pat explanation. But starlings seem to mate with great success, though invisible. If you have heard a guacamayo shriek, you can hardly doubt that another one could easily find it. Enthusiasts of evolution then told me that guacamayos were at the top of their food chain, and didn't have predators. Or else that the predators were colorblind. On and on it goes. any of this established?

Second, evolution seemed more a metaphysics or ideology than a science. The sciences, as I knew them, gave clear answers. Evolution involved intense faith in fuzzy principles. You demonstrated chemistry, but believed evolution. If you have ever debated a Marxist, or a serious liberal or conservative, or a feminist or Christian, you will have noticed that, although they can be exceedingly bright and well informed, they display a maddening imprecision. You never get a straight answer if it is one they do not want to give. Nothing is ever firmly established. Crucial assertions do not to tie to observable reality. Invariably the Marxist (or evolutionist) assumes that a detailed knowledge of economic conditions under the reign of Nicholas II or whatever substitutes for being able to answer simple questions, such as why Marxism has never worked: the Fallacy of Irrelevant Knowledge. And of course almost anything can be made believable by considering only favorable evidence and interpreting hard.

Third, evolutionists are obsessed by Christianity and Creationism, with which they imagine themselves to be in mortal combat. This is peculiar to them. Note that other sciences, such as astronomy and geology, even archaeology, are equally threatened by the notion that the world was created in 4004 BC. Astronomers pay not the slightest attention to creationist ideas. Nobody does – except evolutionists. We are dealing with competing religions – overarching explanations of origin and destiny. Thus the fury of their response to skepticism.

I found it pointless to tell them that I wasn't a Creationist. They refused to believe it. If they had, they would have had to answer questions that they would rather avoid. Like any zealots, they cannot recognize their own zealotry. Thus their constant classification of skeptics as enemies (a word they often use) – of truth, of science, of Darwin, of progress.

This tactical demonization is not unique to evolution. "Creationist" is to evolution what "racist" is to politics: A way of preventing discussion of what you do not want to discuss. Evolution is the political correctness of science.

I have been on several lists on the Internet that deal with matters such as evolution, have written on the subject, and have discussed evolution with various of its adherents. These men (almost all of them are) have frequently been very bright indeed, often Ivy League professors, some of them with names you would recognize. They are not amateurs of evolution or high-school principals in Kansas eager to prove their modernity. I asked them the questions in the foregoing (about whether we really know what the primeval seas consisted of, etc.) I knew the answers; I wanted to see how serious proponents of evolutionary biology would respond to awkward questions.

It was like giving a bobcat a prostate exam...

Friday, June 10, 2005

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Will Microsoft Finally Be Put Out Of Our Misery?

Oh, please, oh please, oh please. Robert Cringely has an interesting take on Apple's announcement that it will be switching to Intel processors. Apple has been firing on all cylinders the last couple of years, leaving Microsoft absolutely, positively, in the dust technologically. As an engineer and software architect, I have come to loathe and despise Microsoft. From the standpoint of aesthetics and technology, I would be elated to see Microsoft permanently dethroned.

Here's one point I liked:
Microsoft comes into this because Intel hates Microsoft. It hasn't always been that way, but in recent years Microsoft has abused its relationship with Intel and used AMD as a cudgel against Intel. Even worse, from Intel's standpoint Microsoft doesn't work hard enough to challenge its hardware. For Intel to keep growing, people have to replace their PCs more often and Microsoft's bloatware strategy just isn't making that happen, especially if they keep delaying Longhorn.

Enter Apple. This isn't a story about Intel gaining another three percent market share at the expense of IBM, it is about Intel taking back control of the desktop from Microsoft.

Intel is fed up with Microsoft. Microsoft has no innovation that drives what Intel must have, which is a use for more processing power.

It's got to suck to be Intel and see no use possible for all the innovation you'd like to do, given that your beautiful processors must run the bug-ridden, virus-infested, bland sludge that is Microsoft software. It is high time to put an end to all this ugliness...

Caricatured Argument

A lot of people seem to want to sound off on Intelligent Design without doing their homework. It seems that there is an attitude that Darwinism, is, of course, true, therefore there is no real need to address or learn actual ID arguments, but instead it is sufficient to spew "refutations" that might have held water ten or fifteen years ago, but now just sound ludicrous and ignorant. This Tech Central Station column is a case in point. The author says:
And while religion is at the core of ID, its proponents generate lots of science-y arguments. One of the best known ID-ers is Michael Behe, a professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University and author of Darwin's Black Box. Behe argues that it just isn't possible that random evolution could have produced the flagellum -- the propeller/tail -- on a bacteria. Such an organ, he concludes, is "irreducibly complex," which is to say, only a Master of Complexity could have created it.
Pathetic. The real definition of an irreducibly complex system (as given by Behe) is one in which all components must be present in order for the system to have any function. For example, the engine in my old VW Beetle is irreducibly complex. Take away the push rods, and engine no workee. Take away the camshaft and engine no workee. Take out something so tiny as the breaker points and engine no workee. Darwinism says that complex structures are built up from numerous localized mutations, which have no end goal in mind. If it takes say, 20 closely matched key parts for a system in the cell to function, and thereby add selectable survival value, then it's hard to see how the system is ever going to come about through Darwinian selection. The system missing one of the parts doesn't have 95% function. It has zero function. There is therefore nothing for selection to grab hold of. There is no reason for a partially built system containing just a few of the parts to be held in being, preserved, selected for, regulated, etc, until the next necessary mutations just happen by.

That is the meaning of "irreducible complexity", not this lame-assed, childish, caricatured "Such an organ, he concludes, is 'irreducibly complex,' which is to say, only a Master of Complexity could have created it" definition used in the TCS article. I'd almost go so far as to say that the author of the TCS article is committing a form of slander. Nowhere does Behe state anything remotely like what the author claims.

You might disagree that Behe's actual definition of 'irreducible complexity' has implications against Darwinism, but that's not my point here. My point is to illustrate the flippant ignorance with which Intelligent Design is "refuted". I've been following the debate for a decade and I see this time and time again. How can I not think there is something to Intelligent Design when I keep seeing this kind of foolishness on the other side?

Quagmire! Quagmire!

Glenn Reynolds quoted this item:
More towns in Iraqi's "wild west" are being pacified. The usual drill is not another Fallujah, but a government official meeting with local tribal and religious leaders, where an offer is made. Iraqi and American troops are coming. Neighborhoods that support the government will see little or no fighting as a search is made for weapons, bombs and the like. Neighborhoods that wish to resist will be hit hard. By now, everyone knows how smart bombs work. Increasingly, Sunni Arab leaders are being told, by their followers, that all this violence is not worth it. After Saddam fell, Sunni Arabs continued to believe in fantasies. For the last two years, the collective delusion was that the Americans had no stomach for guerilla war, and the Kurds and Shia Arabs could never get a government together. Today, Sunni Arabs who can get away on a little vacation, go north to the Kurdish north, or south to Shia Basra. In both places you can sit in an outdoor cafe without fear of a suicide bomb going off down the street. The Kurds and Shia have more jobs, more reconstruction and less crime. The Sunni Arabs don't want to live in their own mess any more. They don't want to live in a combat zone, especially while the Kurds and Shia are not.
This isn't rocket science. It's beyond me why the seditious left thinks (and hopes) we will lose. Do they really want to live in a world where the U.S. cannot win something like this, and the rest of the world knows it cannot win something like this? Do they really want the whole world to descend into anarchy, the equivalent of a crack-house-infested ghetto neighborhood complete with drive-by shootings, grafitti, and non-stop violence as the economy grinds to a halt? Wait a minute, don't answer that...

Manners Generally Win The Day

Excellent Noonan column.

President Bush is introduced at a great gathering in Topeka, Kan. It is the evening of June 9, 2005. Ruffles and flourishes, "Hail to the Chief," hearty applause from a packed ballroom. Mr. Bush walks to the podium and delivers the following address.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. I want to speak this evening about how I see the political landscape. Let me jump right in. The struggle between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party is a struggle between good and evil--and we're the good. I hate Democrats. Let's face it, they have never made an honest living in their lives. Who are they, really, but people who are intent on abusing power, destroying the United States Senate and undermining our Constitution? They have no shame.

But why would they? They have never been acquainted with the truth. You ever been to a Democratic fundraiser? They all look the same. They all behave the same. They have a dictatorship, and suffer from zeal so extreme they think they have a direct line to heaven. But what would you expect when you have a far left extremist base? We cannot afford more of their leadership. I call on you to help me defeat them!"

Imagine Mr. Bush saying those things, and the crowd roaring with lusty delight. Imagine John McCain saying them for that matter, or any other likely Republican candidate for president, or Ken Mehlman, the head of the Republican National Committee.

Can you imagine them talking this way? Me neither. Because they wouldn't.

Messrs. Bush, McCain, et al., would find talk like that to be extreme, damaging, desperate. They would understand it would tend to add a new level of hysteria to political discourse, and that's not good for the country. I think they would know such talk is unworthy in a leader, or potential leader, of a great democracy. I think they would understand that talk like that is destructive to the ties that bind--and to the speaker's political prospects.

Why don't Hillary Clinton and Howard Dean know this? And what does it mean that they do not know it?

Update: The Anchoress has an interesting post inspired by Noonan column.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Vatican Has Refused To Allow Apples To Fall Upward

Just ran across this odd news item. The article might as well be talking about square circles. There is no such thing as women priests. Therefore there can be no ordaining of them. Therefore there is nothing being reported on here. But the article seems to think there is:
OTTAWA (AFP) - Nine women, including one Canadian and one American, plan to defy the Vatican and become the first female Roman Catholic priests and deacons ordained in North America during a ceremony on a boat on the St. Lawrence River next month.

The ceremony, which is not sanctioned by the Vatican, is to take place July 25 on the river near Gananoque in eastern Canada following a conference on women as priests at Carleton University in Ottawa.

The location for the ceremony was chosen because organizers considered it to be international waters between the United States and Canada where no diocese has juridiction and thus cannot interfere.

"I only have my faith and my hope and what the global scene says to me that I believe it's time to take this step," said former nun Michele Birch-Conery, 65, who was ordained as a deacon last year in Europe. She will be the first Canadian woman to be ordained as a priest next month.

"It is an immensely wounding part in our Catholic history to block women's ecclesiastical participation in orders. I think people have been closed to a deeper, fuller expression of their faith by having, in the hierarchy and levels of authority and decision-making, a male-only church," she said.

Fourteen women have already been ordained in similar river ceremonies in Europe in recent years and 65 others are planning to join their ranks soon.

The Vatican has refused to allow women becoming priests...
Actually I don't think the Vatican has done any such thing, any more than it has refused to allow me to be Napoleon or the Queen of England. The Vatican has no need to forbid ontological impossibilities...

I Can't Remember What I Was Going To Call This

This came over the e-mail transom today:

Subject: I have been diagnosed with A.A.A.D.D.

Everyone Has It - They Just Won't Admit It!

Recently, I was diagnosed with A. A. A. D. D. - Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder. This is how it manifests:

I decide to wash my car. As I start toward the front door, I notice that there is mail on the end table.

I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.

I lay my car keys down on the table, put the junk mail in the trash can and notice that the trash can is full.

So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the trash first.

But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I take out the trash anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.

I take my checkbook off the table, and see that there is only one check left

My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go to my desk where I find the can of Coke that I had been drinking.

I'm going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Coke aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over.

I see that the Coke is getting warm, and I decide I should put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye--they need to be watered.

I set the Coke down on the counter, and I discover my reading glasses that I've been searching for all morning.

I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers.

I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly I spot the TV remote.

Someone left it on the kitchen table.

I realize that tonight when I go to watch TV, I will be looking for the remote, but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the TV room where it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers.

I splash some water on the flowers, but most of it spills on the floor.

So, I set the remote back down on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill.

Then I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day: the car isn't washed, the bills aren't paid, there is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter, the flowers aren't watered, there is still only one check in my checkbook, I can't find the remote, I can't find my glasses, and I don't remember what I did with the car keys.

Then when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all day long, and I'm really tired.

Don't laugh -- if this isn't you yet, your day is coming!

Dim Incomprehension

An entertaining account of an interview with a NYT reporter.

[This is a somewhat paraphrased and somewhat literal transcription of an interview I did Sunday night with a NY Times reporter named James. This was the follow-up interview to one he did with me a few weeks ago. That first interview started with the following exchange (after intro comments):

James: So, in the last six months, there have been 37 pairings in the Times of the word "Christian" with words like "scary", "frightening", "theocratic" and "intimidating". My question is, what is it about Christians that makes you so scary?

Barb: (loud, snorting and sneering laughter) Are you kidding me?

James: What?

Barb: I finally get interviewed by the New York Times, and you ask me a question like that?! (more snorting and laughing)

James: (sniffs) Are you laughing because you think it's funny that people find Christians frightening?

Barb: No. I'm laughing because you want me to tell you why you and your friends are scared of Christians -- and I think you should ask your therapist!

Anyway, the interview went on from there. Basically, James was working on a story about how the same conservative Christian think-tanks that were behind the ascendancy of the Religious Right are now trying to take over Hollywood.

Barb: Are they?

James: Aren't they?

Idol Worship Kills

A heck of a reflection by The Anchoress.

Monday, June 06, 2005

The Sociology Of Red-State Christianity

The libs don't have much to fear.

Great Quotation

From this Terry Teachout piece:
Henry Luce, the founder and publisher of Time and Life, was once asked why he hired so many liberals to write for his magazines, given that his own political views were unabashedly conservative. "For some goddamn reason," he replied, "Republicans can't write."

The Koran Story: The Flush That Keeps On Flushing

A couple of good posts on the abject foolishness of the MSM's current seditious obsession. First we have Lileks (6-6-05 entry), who has started up a more topical blog on the side. Then we have The Therapist who provides excellent AP-esque satire (or is it Reutersish?).

Excerpt from Lileks:
Stories like these must be told, of course, if only to show what the media finds important, and remind us how good things are going. I can imagine in late 2001 asking a question of myself in 2005:

What’s the main story? The smallpox quarantine? Fallout from the Iranian – Israeli exchange contaminating Indian crops? A series of bombings in heartland malls?

"Well, no – the big story today has to do with soldiers mishandling terrorists' holy texts at a detention center."

Mishandling? How? Like, you mean, they opened it up without first checking to see if it was ticking, and it blew up –

"No, they handled it in a way that disrespected it. Infidels are supposed to use gloves."

Oh. So we lost, then.

Don't get me wrong. I want us to do the right thing. I don't think there should be a policy that permits interrogators to treat the Qur'an like it was, oh, a Bible discovered in the Saudi airport customs line. But when it comes to the revelations of these Gitmo tales, I cannot care as much as they would like me to care. I cannot. Not to say we should treat the Qur’an with casual disrespect. But if an infidel touches the book with the wrong hand and people react like a two-year-old whose peas are touching the mashed potatoes, well, I understand why this matters, but when measured against the sins of headchoppery and carbombs, it pales to an evanescent translucence. Odd how the story isn’t about the rules and the precautions and the spine-cracking efforts to bend over backwards to make sure infidels get out the tongs when approaching the sacred book of the terrori – sorry, the detainees - Sorry, the murderous gynophobic gay-hating fundamentalist theocratic cultural imperialists. No, the story is the infinitesimal number of times in which the rules were breached over the course of years. It’s like doing a story about Wal-Mart’s employment practices, and following a story about forced overtime with an expose on expired non-dairy creamers in the breakroom. By hammering the tale for three weeks the MSM manages to dilute the impact of the beloved Abu Grabass scandal; pyramidal prisoners, wafting pee – all the same, all front page news. Of course, it’s all a seamless whole if your intention is to remind people of the three basic preconceptions of reporting on a war conducted by anyone whose initials aren’t JFK: the Pentagon lies, the troops are dullards and brutes, and Nixon is a criminal.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Caritas Democraticorum

Great column on "Taxation As A Moral Value".

When Kerry was in a tough 1996 race for his U.S. Senate seat, Jeff Jacoby reported, "During the previous six years, it turned out, Kerry had given less than $5,000 to charity — a minuscule seven-tenths of 1 percent of his gross income for the period."

The Democrats' 2000 standard-bearer, Al Gore, proved no better. His 2000 tax return on an adjusted gross income of $197,729 listed charitable donations of $353. When eyebrows were raised, Gore's spokesman explained, "Contributing financially to charitable organizations is certainly noble and should be encouraged and is something that the Gores have done when the resources were there. However, to truly judge a person's commitment to helping others, you need to consider what they have done with their lives and how they have spent their time — and by that standard the Gores are extraordinarily committed."

In other words, merely holding a public office, for which one is well paid, makes one a highly moral person. Provided you are a Democrat, of course.


Liberals, progressives, Democrats (whatever alias they use) think that the taxes you pay amount to their charity. The mere act of voting to steal bread from the mouths of working Americans to fund any one of a zillion government giveaway programs should, they think, be accounted as their good work. Voting to raise your taxes, with some tiny fraction going to the poor, fills Democratic politicians with grace.

Meanwhile, they dismiss private charity, whereby individuals sacrifice freely to help those in need, as of little consequence. To Kerry and too many of his fellow Democrats, "good works" are those done only through government . . . making taxation their highest moral value.

It makes you wonder: Is government their god?

A Plea For Decency

A gay man speaks out against "Gay Day" at Disney World. Very well written. I found this at The Anchoress, who is on a tear today. See this, this, this, and this.

Excerpt from the "Gay Day" post:
“Go get a room”.

That’s exactly what I feel like yelling this time every year as Gay Days descend upon Orlando. I know that during the first week in June, unsuspecting families and otherwise good and reasonable people will, at times, be confronted with images and events they would probably rather not see or experience on their family vacation. These people paid to visit Disney World, but during the first week in June, it looks a lot more like South Beach.

For the record, I’m a 40 year old gay man living in Orlando. I’ve been to Gay Days before, and thought it was a little bit over the top, but always bit my lip – especially here on the site. This year though, it just seems completely out of control, and I wanted to get this off my chest.

I’ve watched over the years as Gay Days has grown in scope and size. What once was a small group of well meaning gay men and lesbians has grown – and in my opinion, deformed – into what is now nothing more than a vile spectacle of self indulgence and indecency.

No matter how prudish that last sentence may sound, trust me – I’m no prude. I have a liberal streak that cuts through me like a hot knife through butter, but I like to think that I was raised with a certain sense of decency and a pretty good sense of right and wrong. There is a time and a place for everything, and Disney World is neither in this instance.

Over the years I have heard about, and have witnessed, what is commonly referred to as PDA (public displays of affection) during gay days, and almost always it’s done in full view of a family, or at least children. I don’t care if you’re straight or gay, there are some things kids don’t need to see – and trust me, two queens frenching outside Cinderella castle is really high on that list.

I can’t help but think of, and feel sorry for – the unsuspecting family who saved for years for a once in a lifetime trip – only to arrive and find that Disney had in fact, been invaded by he-women and shaved down muscle boys. By itself that would not be a problem, but the sheer number of people who seem to go out of their way to rub their sexuality in everyones face during this ‘event’ is nothing short of disgraceful. Is the Magic Kingdom REALLY the place for a 5 year old to ask his father why those two men are kissing? Is it really up to any person to decide for that parent when, or if, they will have that conversation with their child? I’ve always believed the best way we, as gay men and lesbians, could further our cause was to simply live our lives openly, and with dignity. Not hide in shame, and not force our beliefs or lifestyle down anyone elses throat. I don’t like it when I hear pompous windbags telling me I’m going to burn in hell for being gay, and I’m sure most of the free world would appreciate a visit to Disney World that did not include the vision of grown men in go-go shorts, and ads for lubricant prominently displayed throughout the host hotel. Oh, and while we’re on the subject of ‘image’ at the host hotel (the Sheraton World on International Drive)– the line of beer trucks outside the resort was a nice touch, and the liquor kiosks and condom ads every 5 feet will certainly not further the image of us as a bunch of drunken sex fiends.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Ace Serves Up Some Excellent Sociology

Well thought out, well stated.

The medium really is the message here. It's not that bloggers are terribly gifted polemicists. Some are, most aren't. It's just that technology has reduced costs for the dissemination of information and opinion to zero. Which wouldn't be a big deal if the media (in all nations) were diverse. Then you'd just have further, amateurish opinions and news-hypers to choose from.

But because media institutions tend to be monolithically partisan (always tending to the left, though what the "left" is varies country by country), suddenly having a zero-cost-of-entry Shadow Media can actually make a difference.

Not because bloggers are saying things that no one else is, but for the exact opposite reason: because we're saying things that millions of other people are, only those people never get to register their voices in the establishment media. Or at least those opinions are given short shrift.


An elite can rule against the wishes of the majority of the popuation only so long as the majority of the population doesn't realize it's actually the majority.

So long as those who actually represent the true national consensus falsely believe they hold a minority or even "extremist" view -- a belief imposed on them by a monolithically partisan media -- they will not agitate for change nor express their true political wishes, for belief that such an effort would be futile.

And possibly "extremist."

An elite ruling against the wishes of a voting population is an inherently unsustainable situation. At some point --as with the Reagan Revolution of 1980 -- the house of cards must fall. But sometimes it may take quite a while indeed.

Zero-entry-cost media -- blogging -- doesn't allow that false belief to persist as long as it once could. Again, not because bloggers are saying what the public doesn't already know; but because we're saying what the public damn well knows, but just isn't really sure enough other people know too.

A zero-cost amateur blog in France helped fell a five-hundred page document that took millions of pounds/francs/marks and years to produce. Had easy and rapid connections between like-minded people not been possible, the "constitution" might have passed, simply for lack of public belief that they could actually successfully oppose it.

Okay, MSM, Enough About The Koran Already! What's The Matter With You People?

For the press, Gitmo is the new Abu Ghraib. How exciting for them. It's like they're reliving the glory days of 15 months ago. Doesn't sedition ever get tiring for these people? It's so 2004.

Captain Ed has an excellent rant.

Ladies and gentlemen of the blogosphere, dear readers, and friends, I submit to you that this week represents the nadir of responsible thought about the war on terror. We face Islamofascist lunatics who wish to establish Taliban-like tyrannies throughout the Middle East -- and eventually the world -- and who commit real atrocities in their efforts to bring those twisted dreams to fruition. We have seen their videos showing the beheadings of helpless hostages with dull knives, literally sawing off the heads of these victims while alive. They slaughter women and children as indiscriminately as possible. They even blow up Islamic mosques to kill Muslims at prayer.

Now we have had two weeks of debate over whether we have mistreated six hundred or so of these terrorists captured on the battlefield, out of uniform, bearing arms against us. What has been the focus of this controversy? Cattle prods and bullwhips for interrogation? Beatings? Naked pyramids and leashes?

No. It's whether or not we abused a book.

This has been front-page news for two or three weeks now, ever since Newsweek decided to run a poorly-sourced item about Gitmo guards flushing a Qu'ran down a toilet. Now we have the Pentagon report detailing five supposed events where guards mistreated copies of the Muslim scripture, and the media and the blogosphere have reacted like this is another My Lai.

Friday, June 03, 2005

That Mystical Negation Symbol, Again

Paul Nelson finds another instance of magical evolutionary logic. In his short piece he quotes a Washington Post editorial:
While "The Privileged Planet" is an extremely sophisticated religious film, it is a religious film nevertheless. It uses scientific information -- the apparently "perfect" position of Earth in its orbit and in its galaxy, the uniqueness of its atmosphere -- to answer, affirmatively, the philosophical question of whether life on Earth was part of a grand design, and not just the result of chance and chemistry. Neither God nor evolution is mentioned.

There is a clear implication in this quote that it's perfectly resonable and expected to say the world (i.e. life, the universe, and everything) is "just the result of chemistry and chance". Apparently, to look at evidence and say it points to design is religious. To look at the same evidence and say it points to "chance and chemistry" is scientific. In other words, it is not a religious statement to say: "The world is a meaningless accident." And by the same token it is not a scientific statement to say: "This looks like evidence of design." Okay.

BTW, I read the book Privileged Planet last year. Fascinating and well-written. As I've said before, if you really want to understand the Intelligent Design movement, you need to read the original books and not just third hand quotes, strawmen ad hominem attacks against ID'ists, MSM editorials, etc.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

A Simple Thing Called Scriptural Literacy

John Kerry gets it wrong, again:
John Kerry and the Parable of the Talents

Evelyn Wood may owe John Kerry* a refund--or maybe KERRY LIED!!!! when, as we noted yesterday, he made this statement:

I went back and reread the whole New Testament the other day. Nowhere in the three-year ministry of Jesus Christ did I find a suggestion at all, ever, anywhere, in any way whatsoever, that you ought to take the money from the poor, the opportunities from the poor and give them to the rich people.

We've never read the whole New Testament, but many of our readers have, and they called our attention to several passages that contradict Kerry, most notably the Parable of the Talents, which appears in Matthew 25:14-30 (a "talent" was a measure of both weight and money, analogous to the British pound):

"Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.

"After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.'

"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

"The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.'

"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

"Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'

"His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

" 'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' . . ."

There's A Train Wreck a-Comin'

The Real Estate bubble is now generally front page news and is starting to be recognized as a national phenomenon. This bubble dwarfs anything seen even in the 1920's. A year ago the Washington Monthly had an article that examined the situation, and it's only gotten worse -- much worse -- since then. The Dot Com wipeout was an obvious foregone conclusion to anyone paying attention in the late 90's. It's hard for me to see how Real Estate is going to be any different.

Excerpt from the article:
Fortunately, the bad actors responsible for this manic inflation are pretty easy to recognize. They look remarkably like the ones who puffed up the tech bubble in the late 90s. In both cases, the unfettered optimism of the buying public was fueled by a brokerage industry almost wholly concerned with making a sale, independent analysts with an incentive to hype prices, and major accounting fraud.

What drives most appreciation in housing prices is the universal human desire to own a slightly larger and more expensive place than one can really afford; a desire restrained in normal times by the universal desire of those who lend money to get paid back.

Getting a home loan used to be a particularly nerve-wracking and unpleasant process. A stern loan officer behind a big mahogany desk would pore over your income and credit, suspiciously probing your portfolio for weaknesses. And sensibly enough: The bank that lent you the money would have to collect on the mortgage for the next 30 years and had to make sure you were really good for it. It hired independent appraisers to make sure the price was in line. This process was a little stingy, and meant some people on the low end of the income scale couldn't buy a home and many others got less home than they might have wanted, but the system usually kept prices in check.

The one exception to this general process was mortgages sold on the secondary market. In the 1930s, Congress created the Federal National Mortgage Corporation (Fannie Mae) to encourage banks to make loans to low-income Americans by agreeing to purchase those mortgages from the banks. In 1970, Congress created a second agency, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), to do much the same thing. By the late 1980s, these two entities, which belong to the category known as Government Sponsored Entities (GSEs), were buying up and reselling 30 percent of new mortgages and packaging the mortgages to be sold as securities.

Fannie and Freddie's market share was limited by their ability to attract investment capital. But in 1989, Congress instituted some modest-seeming technical changes that made Freddie and Fannie much more attractive to investors, and able to draw much more capital. Under the new rules, for instance, they were allowed to customize securities at different levels of risk and return to meet more precisely the demands of different sectors of the capital market. Then, too, bank regulators let pension funds and mutual funds class Fannie's debt as low-risk. As a consequence, during the 1990s, investors practically threw money at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which became enormously, steadily profitable. The GSEs used the new capital to buy up every mortgage they could, and banks were only too happy to sell off the mortgage paper. The price cap on the mortgages Fannie and Freddie could insure was raised. As a result of all these changes, Fannie and Freddie went from buying mostly mortgages for low-end homes to those of the middle- and upper-middle class. And the share of the nation's conventional mortgage debt which they insure has swelled, to more than 70 percent today, double its share in 1990.

This shift has had two crucial, if under-appreciated, consequences. First, in little more than a decade, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have gone from handling one trillion dollars in mortgages to four trillion, with virtually no changes in oversight. Second, their dominance of the mortgage market has profoundly undermined the discipline that once kept housing prices in check.

Once banks knew they could automatically hand off the mortgages they wrote to Fannie and Freddie with basically no risk, the old incentive system dissolved. "Banks and other mortgage lenders are not watching home prices carefully because they rarely hold onto the mortgage paper they create--they just sell it upstream to mortgage investors," John R. Talbott, a housing researcher at UCLA's Anderson School of Business, has argued. "It is a dangerous situation indeed when neither home buyers nor the institutions that finance them are concerned with the ultimate price being paid for the housing asset."

In most markets, buyers and sellers rely on independent experts to bring sanity to prices. In the stock markets during the 1990s, that role had traditionally been played by stock analysts, whose opinions were famously bought off by the investment banks they worked for. Something similar has happened to appraisers, the independent contractors banks hire to determine the worth of a home for the purposes of a mortgage loan. In a recent survey conducted by the October Research Group, more than half of all appraisers said that they personally felt pressured to overstate loans, and "nearly all" said they knew a colleague who had actually done so. The pressure to inflate, October's publisher Joe Casa said, "is much worse now than it's ever been." Industry analysts have estimated that between 15 and 30 percent of houses nationally are over-valued.

It's not just the discipline of banks that keeps people from buying more than they can afford, but also the buyers' own fear and guilt. But in an environment where home prices continue to spiral up, fear and guilt are replaced by a sense that you're a fool not to buy the most house you can possibly get away with.


What makes the current frenzy especially dangerous is that every relevant institution has an incentive to play along. Who, after all, is likely to say stop? Not the realtors. Not the banks, any longer. Not Fannie and Freddie or the private secondary-mortgage operators, who are turning vast profits on the backs of the bubble. Certainly not the Federal Reserve or the Treasury Department, while the economy depends on a sustained housing boom.

Ah yes, Fannie and Freddie. The government just trying to help. Making homes affordable. Great work, guys.