Saturday, August 23, 2003

I've been trying out the new music download services. I couldn't even get BuyMusic to work. Rhapsody, however, works very well, so far. I haven't tried to burn a cd yet, so this is tentative, but the sound is great and there are tracks on the site I'd forgotten all about. I have a lot of vinyl stashed in my basement, old Peter, Paul & Mary, Kingston Trio, Simon and Garfunkel, Doobie Brothers, etc. It's amazing how poignant hearing these old tracks is. (I can hear Hugh Hewitt giving me the horselaugh, but he's about a decade younger than me, and really missed most of the real folk era. When he came along, it was pretty well spent. Besides, he introduces his show with a cut from the Woodstock soundtrack, recorded when he was, what, twelve?) Some of these take me back to high school, which I have never remembered fondly, but they stir something, maybe those feelings of yearning all young people feel. Now all I feel is older and wiser.

I don't mean this to sound regretful, just tender for that young man I once was, a lot like my son Matthew is now. He's looking at the up slope of life, and gulping, right now. I don't know much more to tell him that he just has to step out and keeping putting one foot before the other, and trusting the Lord to turn things to his blessing. That's his Mormon pioneer heritage, and in most ways it's the secret of life. As Hugh can verify, probably, the only things you get to take out of this life are the love you've given and received, the experiences you've had and the character you've built. It's all a one-way trip, but my belief is that the universe is not so prodigal as to drop all that mankind has thought and felt into nothingness. If there is a law of conservation of energy and eternity of matter, why not one of spirit? Music is one of the proofs.

Al Franken has defeated Fox News in their suit against him. It was predictable that he would, but if I were Fox's attorney I'd say that the suit had accomplished its purpose of defending its trademark claim. If they hadn't, it might be harder to defend it later on. It's a silly quirk in trademark law, and results in a lot of unnecessary litigation, but it's the law. "Fair and balanced" is a common phrase, and Franken was using it in a way that I would say was fair use, to parody or criticize Fox News. Of course, Franken's book is a hit with the Michael Moore crowd, but having purchased his last book heckling Rush Limbaugh, I won't get fooled again. (Oops! I hope The Who don't see this.)

Friday, August 22, 2003

Oh, please! Howard Kurtz is on the Hugh Hewitt show arguing that reporters are obligated to give more coverage to Cruz Bustamonte and Tom McClintock instead of gaggling around Arnold. Since when have reporters be obligated to do anything? They can even get the facts straight a lot of the time. They writhe in agony over the likes of Jayson Blair and shrug off the overstating of the looting of the Iraqi National Museum by about 170,000%. Yet Kurtz is able to work up real (apparently) indignation that reporters are paying too much attention to the movie star instead his bland opponents. Journalistic ethics is a lot like atheist ethics, it changes with every breeze from the coasts. When has the media ever had any real ethical standard? It is, after all, a business, and generally still obeys the market, except when it obeys the pretentions of a liberal elite by allowing only the likeminded to advance in the business. That's why so many lefties are incensed at the success of Roger Ailes, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News Channel and others in the same mold. They have lost power in Congress and the presidency and they see their lock on control of the commentariat weakening. so naturally their resort is to . . . ethics?

Actually, yes, because in the liberal universe, ethics are not the unchanging standards most of us them them to be. They're whatever the New York Times and the WaPo's editorial pages say they are, and that means that the interests of the Democrat Party come first.

James Lileks is subbing for Hugh Hewitt today on his radio show. James sounds like he spent last evening screaming at a football game. Maybe it's the mike or the internet link, but you wouldn't think he would sound better over the phone, but he does.

Salem radio is broadcasting live from the Minnesota State Fair to promote its Minneapolis affiliate. The only state fairs worthy of the name are in the Midwest. Every other state has them, but they are really agricultural events, celebrating farming. California has farms, but I picture them as corporate outfits who produce peachs bread to break your teeth and tomatoes that make wax fruit sound sweet and juicy. I'm probably incorrect, but I used to live in Iowa, and then Illinois, and I can't imagine any state outside the Midwest even having a real fair, which is an event where the main events are cattle judging and all the stuff that the 4-H Clubs and Future Farmers sponsor, the vegetable shows and bake-offs, the best preserves and pies.

Lileks picked all the bumper music, and I must say I'm surprised at his tastes. I expected esotericism and eclecticism, but rockabilly? Brian Setzer? I guess I've missed more of life than I thought.

Senator Hatch is involved in a scandal. He's in no danger in Utah, but this could stir up a feeding frenzy inside the beltway. There are a lot of reporters and editors who would love to nail him.

I have never thought he was too bright, but he's better than the liberal Democrat who preceded him. Nevertheless, he's been there too long. Maybe there's nothing in this story, but I almost hope there is enough to persuade him to retire.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

OK, Roy Moore has made his point, and has lost his appeal. What should he do now? I believe in honoring, obeying and sustaining the law, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't challenge laws I believe are wrong.

A number of my ancestors were polygamists, which was a commandment of God to them, I believe, as part of re-establishing his true church on the earth. He has now withdrawn that commandment and any member of the LDS church who enters into polygamy will be excommunicated forthwith. The church practiced polygamy for about 50 years, and was persecuted for it. The federal government passed laws which would disenfranchise members of the church, dissolve it and confiscate its property. Still, its members felt that it was more important to obey the revelations of God than to submit to laws against practicing their religion. Lest anyone think this was some kind of imposition on women, it should be remembered that no polygamous marriage was forced on any woman. I personally believe that it provided more people who were raised up to be devoted to God and Jesus Christ, and laid a foundation for the vibrant growth of the church in our present day. No more than 2% of the men in the church practiced polygamy, and they provided for their families, unlike the modern apostates who practice polygamy through welfare fraud.

God does not always explain his commandments or justify them in mortal eyes. The Bible seems to countenance slavery, for example. God commanded Abraham to offer his only son up as a human sacrifice. Even though he prevented Abraham from doing so, he didn't apologize. I think he didn't have to. Similarly, God commanded the LDS prophets to do some things that seemed appalling, sometimes, it seems, just to strengthen the faith of his people, and revoked those commandments when they had sacrificed their all to obey them.

Utah was not allowed statehood until it adopted laws against polygamy.

Well, it seems the French have found something that's making them criticize their government.

Instapundit calls this story "another victory for anti-idiotarianism." I view it as extreme idiotarianism when people with serious jobs waste their time attacking another person's expression of his faith. This obsession with the Tend Commandments has become a wtich hunt. Recently the ACLU in Utah posted a request on its website asking its supporters to help it hunt down the last of 9 such monuments which had been donated by the Eagles 30 or 40 years ago. The first eight have been removed from public property, but just knowing that there's another out there is apparently annoying the heck out of them.

This resembles McCarthyism far more than protecting civil liberties. To me, civil liberties refers to things people are allowed to do, not what is prohibited. The idea that celebrating a historical statement of law which is sacred to three major world religions must be prevented smacks of oppression, not freedom. I could imagine these people defending the judge who wants the monument, on the basis of religious freedom and free speech, but the idea that civil liberties would be used to promote intolerance turns that concept on its head. It is said that such monuments constitute an an endorsement, and therefore an establishment, of religion, but that is a casuistic and quibbling argument. You have to look at the excesses of state churchs that were familiar to the framers to understand the meaning of the establishment clause. They were thinking of religious tests and oaths and the granting of state powers to ecclesiastical officials, such as the inquistion. They were seeking to establish and guarantee tolerance, not this kind of judicial rule by fiat. We are in far more danger today from judges attempting to purify the country from religious faith, that from any number of stone monuments. This is part and parcel of the fear that has come over our society, fear of using the wrong words, expressing the wrong opinion, of offending the wrong people, or exercising the wrong right. That is idiocy, not anti-idiotarianism, and it disappoints me that a person as intelligent and educated as Professor Reynolds seems to think it's a victory for the Bill of Rights. It smacks of a '60s-like view that government is the enemy and that anarchy is desirable, and a failure to realize that well-funded groups who have appointed themselves as the arbiters of our rights are more dangerous to those rights than anyone in government. There are ways to deal with excesses of government officials, but who will protect us from the ACLU?

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Normally, I'd have emailed Instapundit in response to his post about the sobig.f worm that's swamping the internet. Something snide about the "right" to anonymity that seems to keep us from implementing measures that could put a stop to this nonsense. Someday, our children will look back on this civil liberties fetish and wonder how we got to be such morons. I saw a segment on C-Span2 about Mr. Justice William O. "Wild Bill" Douglas, whose lying and sexual appetites make Bill Clinton look like a monk. He was basically a politician who wanted "Supreme Court Justice" on his resume as a stepping stone to a presidential campaign. FDR foiled the plan by staying in office as long as a SCOTUS justice, but Douglas used his power to steer the country to the left and his influence will take far longer to undo, if it ever is.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Congrats to my alma mater, BYU on being voted "the nation's No. 1 stone-cold-sober college for a fifth consecutive year, a run unmatched by any school on any of the lists compiled annually by the Princeton Review."

Frank Gaffney has a sobering commentary about the vulnerability of our power grid to an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) weapon. They work on the fundamental principle that a magnetic field moving past a stationary wire (or more commonly a wire moving through a fixed magnetic field) induces a current. It is believed that a surge in the solar wind has caused this effect and the surge caused a blackout similar to that just experienced in the Northeast. EMPs are emitted by nuclear weapons, and the reason they are serious is that inducing a current in electronic equipment like everything in use today can burn out chips and transistors which are designed to run on low current and voltages. Of course, the technology developed to protect military equipment is top secret, but it is going to have to be declassified to the extent possible to protect our power grid.

When I hear politicians like Hillary! pass the buck and groups like the ACLU and Sierra Club denounce efforts to protect us and provide the energy we need, I think we deserve to be attacked. We have known that we were vulnerable to OPEC since 1974 and we've had enough blackouts and power shortages that you'd think we'd learn, but as soon as the power is back on, it's business as usual. I hope you've all got your food and water storage up to date.

Monday, August 18, 2003

Glenn, this is an, er, infelicitous choice of words. Somehow, factchecking someone's synedoche carries a difference suggestiveness when the object is a woman, especially one who has traded on her looks as much as Arianna has. The point is well-taken, nevertheless. She's a really more pure celebrity than Arnold is, and hasn't seemed to finish trying on political views quite yet.