Friday, May 13, 2005

Who's proselytizing?

The refusal of the chief chaplain of the Air Force to support a program promoting political correctness at the Academy is being held up as a violation of the separation of church and state (which IMHO is not a true Constitutional doctrine). The problem is that the producer of the program is essentially proselyting Christians for the view that they're the only ones who are intolerant, and should ignore Christ's commandments that they should declare his message. Others might not like it, but if it is done without rancor or demeaning of other beliefs, as a testimony and not an argument, it should be protected speech under the Constitution.

Maureen Dowd should be flattered

In an homage to Ms. Dowd's practice in attacking Republicans CBS correspondent Gloria Borger has quoted Ken Starr out of context, making his comments sound like an endorsement of the Democrats' use of the filibuster, when he was really talking about the obnoxious practices requiring a litmus test for judicial nominees, . (It used to be off-limits to ask a nominee how he/she would rule on a specific issue, because it should turn on the facts of the case. That was how it used to be, before the courts made themselves political by using judicial review to sweep away policies made by the policy-making branches of government.)

He's right about the current practice of requiring a nominee to promise he/she will vote a certain way on certain issues, but the solution is not to scold the Senate. It's the Supreme Court's problem and if I were a nominee all I'd say is that the courts should be more careful about allowing themselves to be used to obtain political goals. Almost any law can be targeted as a violation of someone's rights.

Always late to the party

I know I'm not much of a blogger, linking to stuff already linked by others and usually a few days late, but since I can't contain my urge to yell at the TV, I'll probably keep going until I can't type anymore.

Sissy Willis claims that the right has been honed for battle while the left has gotten intellectually fat and soft because it never has to defend itself the favor from the media.

I didn't know what Marcusian meant. I think it is explained here. Funny how if you give stupidity another name someone will adopt it and try to enforce it. Trust the French to produce a philosopher who proclaims that "Liberating tolerance would consist of intolerance against movements from the Right, and toleration of movements from the Left." When you have made up your mind, in other words, you ought to force anybody who has another point of view to shut up, and promote your own with all means available.

Then there's this masterpiece by Jim Geraghty on George Lucas' hypocrisy'. Highly quotable. It begs the question of what the final trilogy would be like. Luke S. as a the new emperor, maybe?--after he realizes that there really isn't a dark side at all, just business, and becomes the adopted son of Jabba the Hutt.

There won't be any Episode 7, 8 or 9. Maybe that's for the best.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Passive Republicans

Robert Novak says the attacks on John Bolton are driven by the left's desire to normalize relations with Cuba and his strong opposition to doing so. While they are savaging Bolton and anybody who dares defend him, Novak writes, "Uncomprehending Republicans are passive."

If this is how Republicans handle power, why bother to vote for them? For a Republican Senator to worry about comity above all and to fall for the phoney "tradition" argument for the filibuster after the years upon years of judicial overreaching is unconscionable. This isn't about the Senate's traditions, it's about redressing the balance between the executive and legislative branches and the states with the Courts. Courts should be far more reluctant than they have been lately to throw out democratically enacted laws and replace them with policies fashioned by unelected judges.

Some Majority!

According to Power Line:
The Prince of Cleveland, Senator George Voinovich, has finally finished his to-be-or-not-to-be act and stated that he would vote to send the President's nomination of John Bolton as U.N. ambassador to the Senate floor without a recommendation. Keeping his fences mended on both sides, Voinovich added that Bolton is "the poster child of what someone in the diplomatic corps should not be," and said that he would vote against the nomination and hopes it will be defeated.
Has Voinivich been paying attention to the news on the Oil-for-Food program?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

There's a "whiff" all right,

but it's not right-wing "extremism." Chuck Schumer needs an editor for lines like There is a whiff of extremism in the air the likes of which we haven't seen in decades. There exists a small group of people who have no tolerance for those whose views are different from theirs and they seek to intimidate everyone else.

I haven't seen any whiffs either lately, but I sure smell the one Schumer's putting out. I've been around farms before. That "small group of people" he's talking about won the last several elections, and are now a majority in the Senate, a fact he seems to think should be unconstitutional. To me and about 70% of other voters, gay marriage imposed by courts is extremism, as is using threats to shut down the Senate if you don't get your way. I'm fully aware that Republicans blocked a lot of Clinton's judges, but that was in an effort to protect against more powergrabbing by federal courts.

If I were neutral on this, I would say that the Constitution gives every nominee a right to a floor vote, but that leads to some untenable situations, like Abe Fortas becoming Chief Justice. A cloture vote on that failed because it got out that Fortas was LBJ's gofer, not an independent jurist, and both Democrats and Republicans voted against the motion. When the delay held and the facts about Fortas' conduct as a justice came out, LBJ withdrew his nomination.

It's not much of a secret that the reason Dems don't want Bush's nominees to come to a floor vote is because they know they'd be approved (which means they're not all that radical), and because they fear they might be nominated to the Supreme Court in the future and might turn back decisions like Roe v. Wade. That's what makes them "extremists" in the minds of people like Schumer. That's part of a strategy which calls judges who would be more hesitant than to intervene in legislative matters as "activists." They want us to believe that the radical decisions of the past 40 years are normal, and that filibusters are part of our "sacred constitutional tradition," their use to block civil rights legislation notwithstanding. This train of "logic" is pretty thin to justify preventing well-qualified nominees from even getting a vote.

So I don't care that Republicans blocked Clinton's nominees. They were probably right to do so. But you'll note that Clinton got to name two Supreme Court Justices. Nobody filibustered them. One can guess what the Democrats' response would have been if they had. The tradition of the Senate is that you don't filibuster presidential nominees. It's time that Republicans got a backbone and stood up for real Senate tradition and the obvious intent of the Constitution..

The hypocrisy of senators like Schumer, Kennedy, Kerry and Boxer on this issue is enough to persuade me that they deserve to be beaten on that ground alone. Their "arguments" are an insult to the Senate and the voters.

Monday, May 09, 2005


Crichton's book has this conversation that I've been longing to hear in real life:
"Sequoias are sentinels and guardians of the planet? They have a message for us?

"Well, they do--"

"They're trees, Ted. Big trees. They have about as much of a message for mankind as an eggplant.
I've been saying that environmentalism is a religion for a long time--it even uses the vocabulary of religion. It's fine for the government to spend on charities, but not if they're faith-based. Yet, we have a cabinet secretary for the environment.

It made sense once, when rivers were catching fire and you couldn't eat fish from Lake Erie. But now environmentalism is a bigtime business built around fundraising and preaching that human beings are a plague on the planet. And they're never satisfied. They have to keep feeding the crisis myth so that they can keep donations pouring in to keep the ball rolling. With media backing, they have us convinced that we need to undo the industrial revolution, that we can meet all our energy needs using hydrogen, wind and solar panels, with never a breath about the effects on nature these technologies might have.

If you hate smokestacks, you'll love having every skyline in the country lined with giant wind turbines, complete with service roads and power lines. They oppose every proven technology and want to sell us science fiction, without any kind of realistic analysis of what it will take to make it happen. All those off-the-grid houses are really neat, but they take a lot of lead-acid battery storage. Nobody talks about the amount of surface area that would have to be devoted to wind and solar in order to even maintain our current economy. Speaking of that, the people who are sold on this stuff are in decline, due to their belief that we're overpopulating the planet.

It takes real devotees to hold so many contradictory beliefs without noticing.

What Journalists Can Teach Us

Molly Bingham's report on her 10 months in Iraq, "understanding who the people are who are fighting, why they fight, what their fundamental beliefs are, when they started, what kinds of backgrounds they come from, what education, jobs they have." And so forth.

Lesson 1: Journalists are inculcated with moral relativism, as is illustrated by the following quotation:
And many American journalists often refer to those attacking Americans or Iraqi troops and policemen as "terrorists." Some are indeed using terrorist tactics, but calling them "terrorists" simply shuts down any sense of need or interest to look beyond that word, to understand why indeed human beings might be willing to die in a violent struggle to achieve their goal. Pushing them off as simply "insane, wild Arabs" or "extremist Muslims" does them no service, but even more, it does the U.S. no service. If we as Americans fail to understand who attacks us and why, we will simply continue on this same path, and continue watching from afar as a war we don't understand boils over.
Lesson 2: The only skepticism they have is toward America. Some of them are perfectly willing to set aside any loyalties they may have developed growing up in this country in order to gain the confidence of our enemies, i.e. terrorists who wouldn't hesitate to murder them on videotape at the slightest suspicion.

Lesson 3: Journalists, like terrorists, are sanctimonious, drawing huge satisfaction from behavior that most people would consider suicidal, pointless or treasonous, such as gaining the trust of a gang of Muslim radicals in order to get "the story" which few, if any, of their readers really care to know, or couldn't read on terrorist websites.

Lesson 4: Certain reporters would risk their lives rather than take our military's word for anything.

Lesson 5: Such journalists would refuse to advise our military of information they might acquire which could save the lives of American troops and Iraqi non-combatants in order to get "the story," and would take umbrage if anyone were to question this behavior.

Lesson 6: The same journalists consider themselves heroic for behaving this way, and view their audience, the American people, as jingoistic and arrogant for not being more curious about "the resistance" in Iraq, that is, those who set IEDs beside roads, send suicide bombers and truck bombs into areas crowded with religious worshippers and volunteers for national service and take non-Arabs hostage and murdering them on camera.

Lesson 7: Reporters such as this view dictatorship by religious radicals or madmen like Saddam as legitimate forms of government that are equally valid to democracy and American ideas of freedom and human rights. The only exception is that nothing trumps Freedom of the Press. If they presented themselves as hostages to "the resistance," they would be scandalized if America failed to submit to the demands of their captors.

Lesson 8: "The story" such journalists return with frequently has little or no news value, since it usually serves to dramatize the dedication of the reporter, while telling the rest of us little that we didn't already know or couldn't surmise about "the resistance."

What I don't like about the Real ID act

Apparently, it's another unfunded mandate for the states. I've always thought that a national ID was a good idea, but it would depend on how bulletproof the ID was. Now I have to add that it has to be funded by the feds, not the states.

What I don't like about the Real ID act

Apparently, it's another unfunded mandate for the states. I've always thought that a national ID was a good idea, but it would depend on how bulletproof the ID was. Now I have to add that it has to be funded by the feds, not the states.

What I don't like about the Real ID act

Apparently, it's another unfunded mandate for the states. I've always thought that a national ID was a good idea, but it would depend on how bulletproof the ID was. Now I have to add that it has to be funded by the feds, not the states.

What I don't like about the Real ID act

Apparently, it's another unfunded mandate for the states. I've always thought that a national ID was a good idea, but it would depend on how bulletproof the ID was. Now I have to add that it has to be funded by the feds, not the states.

Arianna's New Site

Hollywood's version of Air America on talk radio. It should be called "The Huffington Puff," but it's trying to be a Real Clear Politics or The Drudge Report without any real reporting. Something tells me that the Huffington Post will just be another echo chamber, like The Daily Kos.

Drudge and Hugh Hewitt are pointing to this savaging by Nikki Finke. I don't know anything about Finke, but her piece makes her sound like a pit bull. I doubt that any conservative blogger could equal this fisking.

Huffington's biggest obstacle will probably be the same as Air America's, the liberal side of the media is overpopulated already. She's competing with a lot of established blogs and sites like and Democrat Underground, and I doubt that people are going to be interested in Hollywood's own spin on issues, which we already get in spades from TV, music and movies. She's apparently got financial backing, though. So we'll see if money can make a blog and a profit.

This is the Answer?

The New York Times has released the report of an "internal committee":
In order to build readers' confidence, an internal committee at The New York Times has recommended taking a variety of steps, including having senior editors write more regularly about the workings of the paper, tracking errors in a systematic way and responding more assertively to the paper's critics. [Italics added]

It sounds as though they're trying to learn something from the blogosphere by making "reporters and editors more easily available through e-mail," "Us[ing] the Web to provide readers with complete documents used in stories as well as transcripts of interviews," and possibly creating a "Times blog" to promote interaction with readers.

The recommendations also aim at avoiding erroneous reports and plagiarism correcting them faster. These are all good things, but some of them ("Increase coverage of middle America, rural areas and religion.") seem rather condescending and patronizing. It sounds a lot like the Democrats' postmortems to the election, "We have to reach out to the religious." The problem with that is that it's pretty tough to fake sincerity about such things.

These ideas are pretty good as far as they go, but that "responding more assertively to the paper's critics" sounds a little like a bunker mentality. They won't work unless the paper adopts an affirmative policy of building political diversity in the newsroom and the editorial boards. If they just tell their liberal writers and editors to act more "balanced," this effort will fall on its face; it'll be just another CYA project. I don't know how to completely eliminate spin, but one way to neutralize it is with counterspin, and I doubt that there are many conservative reporters being turned out by the J-schools. That's where it will have to start.

Protecting the Goose-stepping Hordes?

One man took action and he's being punished.