Sunday, July 31, 2005

What's Wrong With Us?

This story really got to me.

A mother is upset after a 14-year-old babysitter engaged in sexual conduct with her eight-year-old boy, and the eight-year-old was charged with lewd conduct.

Prosecutors have since dropped the charges against the boy, but his mother is still concerned.

Thank goodness the charges were dropped, I mean, abuse is one thing, but we wouldn't want to stain this kids record or anything like that.

Prosecutors say that, while the babysitter initiated the contact, the young boy was a willing participant.

There are two issues at play here. First, the sexual conduct itself. Fourteen-year-olds should not be engaging in any kind of sexual conduct, least of all with eight-year-olds. Here I could make a call to a return to better days of yore. I realize of course that the good 'ol days weren't all good. Still, I wager this kind of thing happened less frequently. At least in this particular aspect, things have gotten worse. It's sickening quite frankly.

The other issue is the prosecution treating this boy as if he were an adult. In one sense, it is a bit tricky since there is no adult involved, but clearly an eight-year-old is not capable of making the same sort of decisions an adult is.

The lines have blurred between childhood and adultdom. This is not a good thing. Kids are kids, and should deal with things of a like nature. Our eight-year-olds do not need to deal with sexual matters. Part of this is my pining for a childhood of my own that sits better in my memory than it actually was, but the point is still valid.

We have more knowledge about sex at an earlier time in life than our ancestors ever did. Usually, knowledge is a good thing, but everything has a time and a place. As more knowlege gets into younger and younger minds, we will begin to see more of the above consequences.

No, this is not reflective of where we as a society are now. It is a sign of the darker days ahead. I hope I'm wrong, but if trends continue, these kind of stories are going to become commoner and commoner until they warrant only a shrug, and then fade from the news altogether.

Let's reverse course, shall we?

Carter Should Go Away

Readers might remember an ex-president named Jimmy Carter. He was ushered in as an insider and ushered out as a failure. While honest men and women admit that the man was an incompetent president, some still claim he was a good man. This may have been true at some point, but it certainly is no longer.

Mr. Carter is over in Britain for a Bible conference of sorts and meanwhile he's taking the time to remind us why citizens voted for Reagan.

"I think what's going on in Guantanamo Bay and other places is a disgrace to the U.S.A.," he told a news conference at the Baptist World Alliance's centenary conference in Birmingham, England. "I wouldn't say it's the cause of terrorism, but it has given impetus and excuses to potential terrorists to lash out at our country and justify their despicable acts."

Wrong. This is actually quite despicable. He is saying that because we have a couple of enemy combatants locked up, the terrorists now have justification for their acts of decadence. The terrorists do not need justification, but Carter gives it to them anyway.

Carter also criticized the U.S.-led war in Iraq as "unnecessary and unjust."

I also think the Iraq war is misguided to be sure. But to say that locking up a couple of crooks is going to cause further terrorism is a non-sequiter. Terrorists are going to hit us again, regardless of what we do, and no, it's not because "they hate our freedom". It's because they want us out of their lives completely. They are sick of our troops in their homeland and the vitriol we call culture pervading their society. If we wish to keep spreading our secluar values and dealing with the Middle East, we're going to get more of the same. Guantanamo changes nothing.

"What has happened at Guantanamo Bay ... does not represent the will of the American people," Carter said Saturday. "I'm embarrassed about it, I think its wrong. I think it does give terrorists an unwarranted excuse to use the despicable means to hurt innocent people."

Only in your eyes Carter. The left loves to bend over backwards in an effort to understand these people. There can be some understanding gained, but to rationalize the irrational is the act of an insane person. Much of the left suffers from insanity it would seem.

Carter, who won the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, has been an outspoken critic of the Iraq war.

This whole thing is almost too much nonsense to handle. I am not sure on what grounds Carter deserved a peace prize. Reagan ended the cold war and he lacks a peace prize. The Nobel Peace Prize is political and it means little, especially in application to Carter. Remember the Iranian hostages? Enough said.

The reason any of this is pertinent is because it illustrates both the cluelessness of the left as well as lact of class in Carter, and by extension his followers. Telling Bush--implicitly--how not to run the war on terror is akin to Hoover telling FDR how to run the economy.

If Carter were a good man, he would remain mute about this whole affair. He forfeited the right to criticize when he proved he couldn't do the job himself. It would be best if, instead of speaking, he grabbed his Bible and fell to his knees. It would not only be more effective, it would also be the prudent and good thing to do. For such an action--which he probably does do--he deserves respect. For talking he doesn't deserve the light of day. His remarks, like his presidency, should fade forever.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Stem Cell Funding

The issue of stem cell funding has been wrongly framed. This is not a moral issue per se. Certainly it bothers me that embryonic stem cells are being destroyed, but to classify this matter as a religious issue is missing the greater point.

The crux of the argument is summed up by Jefferson nicely. "To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."

It is in this vein that I am greatly disappointed at the prospect of Bill Frist breaking with Bush--who has the right idea for once, albeit for the wrong reasons. Conservatives should not be about the business of funding stem cell research in the least. Ignore the moral issues, and ask: Should the government fund research, or is it best to leave it to the private sector?

If the research is a good idea, that is, it provides with it an economic incentive, corporations will engage in it on their own. If not, then subsidizing is the epitome of foolishness. The issue that we should be dealing with is whether or not stem cell experimentation is moral. The Congress decided that they should deal with funding issues instead. On funding such a practice, the answer should be a resounding no.

We'll see what happens. Very few Jeffersonian Republicans in Washington these days.


Rarely do I disagree with the economic stance of the Libertartian Party. Yet when it comes to "free trade", I couldn't disagree more. Free trade is an outright scam, and the Republican Party should be embarrased to have this stain on their record. In his latest column, Pat Buchanan blasts CAFTA in particular and free trade in general.

Today's trade agreements are about reshaping the world to conform to the demands of transnational corporations that have shed their national identities and loyalties and want to shed their U.S. workers. Tired of contributing to Medicare and Social Security and having to deal with Americans who need health-care and pension benefits, they want to dump them all and hire Asians who will work for $2 an hour.

Trade treaties have become enabling acts by which global companies desert their home countries. CAFTA will enable U.S. firms to shut down factories here, lay off their labor force, and hire Dominicans and Costa Ricans, but retain free access to the U.S. market. They get to fire their American workers – and keep their American consumers. What a deal.

Under Bush, 3 million manufacturing jobs have disappeared, one in every six.

Corporations are not intrinsically evil. Most do provide an economic good or service to the local communityl. On the other hand, corporations that exploit cheap labor at the expense of the country they call their own are immoral by any sense of the word. Call me a patriotic xenophobe, but as an American I put American interests first and would like to see our "representatives" do the same.

What good does it do to let other countries take U.S. jobs? Wal-mart can't employ everyone, nor should it. Factory jobs are one of the few places someone without a degree can make a reasonable wage, certainly more so than any menial service job.

Further, it's not just blue-collar jobs anymore. Ask any software engineer what he or she thinks about out-sourcing and the vitriol will surely spew forth like the lies over free trade. Free trade is good for corporations, but it is no way good for the American people.

The political landscape is ready for a candidate to dismantle this free trade nonsense. I am sick and tired of being told that American unemployment is good for this country. It is utter rubbish. American jobs are good for Americans. If a corporation cannot make a profit paying Americans decent wages then good riddance to them.

Thank you Republicans for selling us out to corporate greed. Passing CAFTA has given conservatives everywhere a bad name. I have grown to expect this out of the Bush White House. The congressmen and women should know better.

It is high time we reinstate the policy of protectionism that ushered in the first industrial revolution and made this great country the economic superpower we will soon cease to be.

"We're being led like sheep to the slaughter," as the Beakers once said. Enough of the bloodshed. Someone right this sinking ship.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Much Ado About Roberts/Nothing

So far, the complaining about Roberts has been kept to a minimum and designated to the fringe. There is the chance that this could all change though. Some of Roberts writings are now being reported in the press. Stay tuned for fallout.

As a young lawyer in the Justice Department at the beginning of Ronald Reagan's presidency, John G. Roberts advocated judicial restraint on the issues of the day, many of which are still topical, documents released Tuesday by the National Archives show.

He defended, for instance, the constitutionality of proposed legislation to restrict the ability of federal courts to order busing to desegregate schools.

On other civil rights issues, he encouraged a cautious approach by courts and federal agencies in enforcing laws against discrimination.

Not exactly a badge of honor, but from a constitutional perspective, not indefensible.

Judge Roberts, now on the federal court of appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, also argued that Congress had the constitutional power "to divest the lower federal courts of jurisdiction over school prayer cases."

In another memorandum, he maintained that the Supreme Court, to which he is now nominated, overreached when it denied states the authority to impose residency requirements for welfare recipients.

This was an example, he wrote, of the court's tendency to find fundamental rights, like the right to travel between states, for which there was no explicit basis in the Constitution. "It's that very attitude which we are trying to resist," he wrote.

Could it be that Roberts is a--drum roll please--strict constructionist. Say it ain't so.

In one handwritten memorandum, Judge Roberts suggested his view of how the Constitution should be interpreted, saying, "real courage would be to read the Constitution as it should be read," without attention to what outside commentators were writing.

It certainly looks that way. This could explain why there has been little havoc coming from the left, at least by those in power.

When it comes down to it, a strict constructionist is not one to be feared. Let the people and the states decide is the default position of a truly conservative judge. This is not only the correct position--not just my humble opinion, but the law of the founders--but it is inoffensive.

If Roberts is truly a strict constructionist, no one has the right to complain. Praise the Lord and pass the federalist papers if we've got ourselves a truly conservative judge. If not, or if he steps out of line, please rip him to shreds liberals.

Until then, it's good to see Hillary and others giving Roberts, and constitutional juriprudence at least a chance.

Here's to a peaceful confirmation.

Monday, July 25, 2005

iPod Porn

Add this to the list of things I do not understand. The Howard Stern phenomena has never really resonated with me. I can see the allure of his television show...sort of ("wow, look at those pixels, that's pretty hot"). But Stern is a radio host. "She's naked!" Wow Howard, thank goodness we have you to be able to help all of us use our imagination to fantasize about naked women. Since, that "skill" is desparately lacking in males today. I digress.

If Howard Stern was confusing, this next story is downright impossible to get my head wrapped around. Pod-casting is pretty new and, if the people who determine these things are to be believed, it is hip. On the top of the hip list appears "pod porn". I am not making this up, though I wish I was.

"No matter what the technology is," says Andrew Leyden, founder of, "sex finds a way to get involved."

I'm getting the picture.

At, the No. 2 most-searched-for term (right between BBC and NPR) is porn. At Leyden's site, six of the top 20 shows are adult-oriented. And at Apple's behemoth iTunes store, "Open Source Sex" is No. 11 and climbing. From the breathy erotica of "Pod Porn" to the subdued interviews of "SexGeeks," mature programming for the iPod can be titillating, educational or sometimes both, and it is spreading fast.

We have gone mad. Absolutely mad. Can someone please free me from the sexual revolution?

From a rational standpoint, porn makes sense. Morals aside, there is an attraction to looking unseemly things up on the internet. I guess I'm missing the utility of passionate moans in my headphones on my way to class.

At the very least, this should make us all a little bit more frightened of public transportation. That isn't the latest Bruce Springsteen that old guy on the subway is listening to. Sure it's crass, but we're not really sure anymore are we?

Rack up one point for the folks who wish sex were back in the bedroom, or at least, not on the bus. There are some places and some things that should not meet. I would hope we could all agree on that, but the perverts with their iPod's apparently disagree with me. Perhaps there's some sense in the rest of us, but the market has spoken.

Time to sigh and wait for the apocalypse, as per usual.

JLo and Other Trivialities

"The record industry discovered some time ago that there aren't that many people who actually like music. For a lot of people, music's annoying, or at the very least, they don't need it. They discovered if they could sell music to a lot of those people, they could sell a lot more records." - T-Bone Burnett

I am not in a mood to talk about politics. I will instead dwell on something that is less meaningful but hopefully more interesting, if only for the change of pace it brings. The story involves Sony music and their attempt to tell all of us--the silly uneducated masses I suppose--who to listen to.

"Please be advised that in this week's Jennifer Lopez Top 40 Spin Increase of 236 we bought 63 spins at a cost of $3,600."

"Please be advised that in this week's Good Charlotte Top 40 Spin Increase of 61 we bought approximately 250 spins at a cost of $17K …"

Ironically, it didn't help, as the memo notes that the company actually lost spins — or plays of the record — even though they laid out money for them.

Man I dislike Good Charlotte. I'm just glad they're losing money on this venture. Not very Christian of me to hope that they fail I know. Still, if they would play something good, maybe people would listen.

More memos. This one from Feb. 13, 2004: "Gave a jessica trip to wkse to secure Jessica spins and switchfoot." That would be Jessica Simpson, for whom Sony laid on big bucks in the last couple of years to turn her into something she's clearly not: a star.

What? You mean... that would make her... a pawn of the media conglomerates? I don't believe it. She clearly has talent. It's obviously genetic as evidenced by her younger sister who is just as talented. Well, almost. Ashlee doesn't have the illustrious acting career yet. Yep, looks like Jessica Simpson can play a ditzy blond. I hear there's a shortage in fluff in Hollywood these days. It's not as if I have a clue; I generally prefer substance.

Franz Ferdinand, Jessica Simpson, J-Lo, Good Charlotte, etc. Not exactly The Who, Carly Simon, Aretha Franklin or The Kinks. The "classic" is certainly gone from rock.

So it would seem. There is still good music out there, somewhere, if one is willing to look hard enough for it. This is usually the place where I plug college radio, but I'll not engage in shameless self-promotion. That would clearly be beneath me.

I loathe marketing. To me, the mind-nummingly practical modern man, a product should be practical above all else, if not entirely. Good products should sell of their own volition. Running the KIA ads doesn't increase the value of a KIA any more than playing Franz makes his music good. Good music finds away to do as well as it needs to.

Perhaps I am again showing blind faith in the market. Equally possible is the fact that I am glad to have a share in a small victory over "the man" behind the music industry. I've never been all that worried about media takeovers. If the product is a good one, more people should have access to it. If the product is JLo-esqu, it should fail miserably no matter how hard "the man" tries to prop it up.

This is about as close as I'm going to get to quote a punk rocker in one of my posts so here goes. "I don't listen to the radio, 'cause I got taste," as One Man Army would say.

Except for college radio. Where else can you hope to hear the Dead Kennedys? Sony sure isn't propping them up. Kind of makes one wonder if there isn't some kind of dreadful conspiracy afoot.

I can almost here it now.

"We just heard those rebels from Good Charlotte and next is the Dead Kennedys with 'Kill the Poor' here on your Clear Channel affiliate."

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Clandestine Washington Politics (Not as Usual)

Okay, something is definitely up in Washington. According to Drudge, Hillary Clinton is planning on voting for Roberts confirmation. While this does fit with my earlier comments on how we will once again have a Clinton in the white house in '08, the lack of credible opposition to Roberts is a bit confusing.

Senator Hillary Clinton has confided to associates that she intends to vote FOR Bush Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

Unless some unforeseen development occurs around Roberts, Clinton will throw her support behind confirmation, says a top source.

"Look, we're not thrilled President Bush is in office and gets to make these choices," said a top Hillary source, "but we have to make the best of the situation until the next election!"

With her support of Roberts, Clinton ignores pressure from the reactionary-activist wing of the Democrat party.

"She is simply doing what is right for the country, not MOVEON.ORG," the Clinton insider explained.

That burn on is especially delicious. I am sure somewhere, George Soros is weeping profoundly.

Either there is some dastardly conspiracy afoot, or one of two more realistic things have occured. First, Roberts could be a moderate and Hillary and company know it. Secondly, the democrats are being practical. They cannot defeat Roberts without hurting themselves in the upcoming election.

Of course, the democrats could be just playing nice for once. Somehow I doubt it.

This nomination process could be considerably less partisan than I predicted. If Roberts is as conservative as I've been led to believe and he'll sail through the senate... wow. It would be the best news bar-none for conservatives since this administration began.

As a member of the extreme right, I am used to not getting what I want. What scares me ironically is when my schemes are actually implemented by those who represent me. It might just be my relentless pessimism, but I smell foul.

Something tells me that Hillary has a trick up her sleeve. This nomination process could get really interesting if something were to come out about Roberts for instance.

Then again, I could be completely wrong and this could all go off without a hitch. I've been wrong before.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Windows' Fault

I just wrote a brilliant post--I swear it's true--about the bag searches in New York. Then my computer decided to restart. I'm blaming Bill Gates on this one. So, now I will try to come up with something similar. Here goes:

"It doesn't bother me," said Davon Campbell, 24, a security worker who waited about four minutes while an officer rifled through his rolling suitcase and two shoulder bags at a station in the Bronx. "I can understand why they're doing it. It's important."

Ron Freeman, 25, a stockbroker whose backpack was searched, said, "They should have done this a long time ago, ever since 9/11."

And Amy Wilson, 28, said the officers' work "makes me feel safer. I like knowing they're here."

Alright class, for your pop quiz, tell me who is the biggest moron? Is it, A) Davon, B) Ron, C) Amy, or D) all of the above? On a personal note, I think Amy is the biggest cretin for using the "safety" buzzword. There are no wrong answers children, just like in my senior relgion class. Anyway, I'll explain why they I feel they are clueless in a bit--if it's not already obvious that is.

Police had promised there would be no racial profiling, and when a woman in what looked like Muslim dress was selected by Officer Richard Dixon, he said he was simply picking "every fifth person with a bag." The woman wouldn't comment.

It's certainly okay to disagree with this whole practice of searches. It certainly seems unconstitutional to me--even if the constitution wasn't supposed to be applied to the states... alright I'll drop it--and the ACLU agrees. But an honest person has to admit that this policy is going to analogous to a screendoor on a submarine without profiling, unequivocally useless. Every fifth person? Are they kidding? I'm not sure which is the bigger surprise, that one can read this from an AP story or that the city of New York actually thinks this is a good idea.

Besides being another illustration of why invasive government is bad--this preposterous idea shouldn't have ever seen the light of day, and it wouldn't if the government ran like a business, that is to say, well--it proves why modern "liberalism" is so bankrupt. Now, we should all be able to agree that killing all the Muslims--as some nutjobs might suggest--is an abhorrent idea. Yet it is also a bad idea to not profile. It is stupid not to profile.

To continue our quiz: how many non-Muslims have committed terror in this country? How many non-Middle-Easterners have committed terror in this country? None. That is interesting. But that would mean... we shouldn't stop old white ladies and should go after Middle-Easterners and Muslims? That's not very tolerant. Hmmm.

If one is going to search bags one must profile. This every fifth person nonsense is so absurd it doesn't need further mention. Now, it is okay not to support the policy of searches at all. In a city that big, it's just not going to work. If we want to keep liberty, we're going to be hit by terrorists again, end of story. We'll probably be hit regardless.

Anyway, the point is, liberal fears of offending Muslims--interesting that they don't seem to mind offending conservative Christians though, just a thought--have rendered us incapable of instituting a credible search system. Thank you policital correctness.

We are going to lose this "war on terror". It's simple really. The public is concerned with safety above all. "To hell with liberty, give us our soma," could very well be the battle cry of many Americans. Further, liberals lack of tolerance for an intelligent anti-terrorism policy will mean every plan we try to come up with takes away liberty and does nothing to make us safer at all.

Put troops on the border. That's about the only thing that might help. Oh yeah, and how about giving up this empire fetish. Isolationism may save us yet. Once again, I am not hopeful.

If this post didn't strike you as brilliant, remember Windows is a really bad operating sytem. Run Linux. There, I'm done.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Preemtive Jubilation?

Perhaps yesteday night's joy over Bush's appointee to the Supreme Court was unfounded , or at least too much too early. So says darling of the right Ann Coulter.

I was mildly estatic that Bush appointed a conservative instead of a moderate. I thought NARAL's condemnation was enough to mean that Roberts was to the right of center. Miss Coulter begs to differ.

Stealth nominees have never turned out to be a pleasant surprise for conservatives. Never. Not ever.

Does he trust democracy? Or will he make all the important decisions for us and call them “constitutional rights.”

It means absolutely nothing that NARAL and Planned Parenthood attack him: They also attacked Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthony Kennedy and David Hackett Souter.

Finally, lets ponder the fact that Roberts has gone through 50 years on this planet without ever saying anything controversial. That’s just unnatural.

And Bush responds by nominating a candidate who will allow Democrats to avoid fighting on their weakest ground – substance. He has given us a Supreme Court nomination that will placate no liberals and should please no conservatives.

Maybe Roberts will contravene the sordid history of “stealth nominees” and be the Scalia or Thomas Bush promised us when he was asking for our votes. Or maybe he won’t. The Supreme Court shouldn't be a game of Russian roulette.

Her points have been taken to heart. I certainly posted early on this one. I hope and pray that Coulter is wrong and that Roberts is truly a conservative who will legislate in such a way to make the founders proud.

If Coulter is right, you can be sure that I will be mad at both Bush and Roberts. Still, it is early in the game and Coulter has certainly been wrong before. For once, I'm rooting against the old gal.

The larger point is this: if Roberts is not a conservative will the democrats still try to bring him down? And if such, what does that tell us about the tolerance of the minority party?

I'm keeping my eyes and ears peeled on this one. Let the ruckus begin.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A Conservative Nominee

Now the left can embark on another venture. Rove was worth going after, but with the impending court nomination coming up, he will slowly fade from the public's memory. It is almost trivial to post a link on this one, but here it is.

President Bush named federal appeals court judge John G. Roberts Jr. to a seat on the Supreme Court Tuesday, delighting Republicans while unsettling some Democrats with the selection of a young jurist with impeccable conservative credentials.

So far so good.

Initial reaction from Republicans was strongly in favor of Roberts. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama called him a "fabulous nominee" and predicted that if confirmed, he would "bring a nonpolitical approach to judging."

Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., a leading conservative, called him "brilliant.

So far so better.

Democratic reaction was more measured, but initially at least, offered no hint of a filibuster. "The president has chosen someone with suitable legal credentials, but that is not the end of our inquiry," said Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada. Referring to planned hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Reid said, "I will not prejudge this nomination. I look forward to learning more about Judge Roberts."

"Who knows about this guy?" said Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

The abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America immediately announced its opposition to Roberts.

So far so best.

Let me get this straight, Bush appointed a conservative who is disliked by NARAL. At the risk of sounding childish, hooray. It remains to be seen whether or not the democrats and moderate republicans will waffle and let Roberts get the axe. Earlier I have mentioned that I would be very surprised if Bush gets a conservative through. The story is still young, and the fight ahead could be long.

I see no reason to bring up my usual pessism to damper what may be the best move Bush has made in memory. Three cheers for conservative justices and one cheer for Bush who has, at least this once, not disappointed me.

Hooray, hooray, hooray, hooray.

Rove: a Follow-Up

I touched on this already, but the point is so important it believes further clarification. Although it may seem otherwise, I do not try to stereotype too often here at Thoughts and Ideas. Sure, they are easy, and to an extent true, but for the most part it's a subersive way of condemning an--often ambiguous--group different from oneself. Thus I apologize if my metaphorical axe comes down to harshly on someone for whom indictment is unwarranted.

Liberals have a different standard of morality than conservatives do. Although many of my fellow conservative Christians were quick to point fingers at Dean for claiming that the party many of us belong to is--and I'm paraphrasing--primarily "white Christians", there is a rather large grain of truth in the matter. The republican party is home to many Christians.

There are quite a few reasons for this. The most fundamental difference between "liberals" and "conservatives" is the value placed on human life. From abortion to stem cells to Schiavo and excluding a slightly hypocritical stance by some republicans on the death penalty, the right is more likely to go to bat if life is on the line.

Now I am not implying that liberals like to kill babies as some say--Ann Coulter comes to mind. I am saying that the left does not, by and large prescribe to Judeo-Christian values. This is fine, except that the left often allows the right to be judged by a different standard than they would judge themselved by.

This is becoming abundantly clear in the Rove case. The whole thing is far from over, and in all honesty I am not sure which side is lying. The right claims that because Plume was not covert at the time and therefore Rove should get off scott free. The left is going into high alert seeing a way to sink the Bush ship. In fact, I think many of the liberals wouldn't have a problem with locking up Bush for complacency. The truth is lost somewhere in this mess, and hopefully it will surface at some point.

The issue though, is not whether Rove is legally guilty. For to the left, he is morally culpable even if he has violated no law. This is as reprehensible as it is childish. Liberals are changing the rules of the game. Many liberals do not have a coherent moral code, except a personal one. It is certainly possible to think that the Judeo-Christian ideal is bunk, but the left has offered no replacement in its stead. Relativism is the order of the day, but it's a particularily fetid relativism. It is a moral standard in which there is no standard at all--for that is what relativism purports--except for those who see relativism as farcical.

Democrats do not stand to any particular moral code. Often, they obey the law, but that is about all. Now surely there are many moral liberals, but it considered a sort of icing on the cake. There is nothing that would forcibly compel liberals to behave in a way that is above and beyond the law. This lack of incenticve does not prevent them from calling republicans out when they fall short of their own high moral standard.

When one flips this all around, it immediately becomes obvious how absurd it is. No one would tell someone who does not believe in absolute moral truth to adhere to a personal view on morality. Yet, the democrats are calling Rove out on his lack of morality. If he is found guilty of the law, Bush has promised to fire him, but that will not placate the vehemence the liberals in this country have for Rove. They want Bush to fire Rove for violating an unwritten moral code.
This is blatantly unfair. If Rove is a moral man, he will do the right thing. If he is not and he is violation of no law, God's judgment may be on him, but man't judgment has rendered him innocent.

This is also a telling point into the relativist's mind. As a purely political move it makes sense that the dems would try to call Rove on that, but the passionate rhetoric leads me to believe that there is more than meets the eye. There is a disgust among some who feel that Rove has behaved immorally and are angered that the law may not punish him. They appeal to a higher standard of morality because they realize the ineffectiveness of human law. Rove has done something wrong, and he must be punished. Yet if the law says he is innocent, the law is not the final arbiter of moral goodness and there must be a standard, a more lofty one, from which we all derive our moral laws.

That law is the Judeo-Christian code which has served humanity quite well throughout these years. Conservatives and liberals alike would be wise to follow such a wholesome--and true--set of values. This world just might be a better place and we may just have less finger pointing and more justice.

I'd be surprised if the republican party started to espouse these values in a real way. I would be even more surprised if the democratic party did so. In truth, I'd be surprised if I ever followed them as well as I should. Therein lies the rub. The right standard is to a large degree impossible. Count on relativists of both liberal and conservative persuasions to remind those humans who dare to try just how imperfect they are.

Monday, July 18, 2005


The folks over at the Huffington Post--among others--have been whipped up into a craze at the possibility that Bush advisor Karl Rove may be in trouble. Make no bones about it, liberals smell blood here and can't wait to try to hurt the Bush presidency in any way possible. I am certainly no Bush fan, and I am in no way pro-Rove as I dislike the neo-con wing of the republican party. That being said, this time at least, Bush is not behaving abhorrently.

President Bush said Monday that if anyone in his administration committed a crime in connection with the public leak of the identity of an undercover CIA operative, that person will "no longer work in my administration." At the same time, Bush again sidestepped a question on the role of his top political adviser, Karl Rove, in the matter.

"We have a serious ongoing investigation here and it's being played out in the press," Bush said at an East Room news conference.

Pretty standard background political fare. Still, I think he should get credit for promising to toss Rove out if he gets caught. I realize that this isn't the highest moral standard, but we're talking about a politician. Bush goes on to clarify his stance further.

Asked at a June 10, 2004, news conference if he stood by his pledge to fire anyone found to have leaked Plame's name, Bush answered, "Yes. And that's up to the U.S. attorney to find the facts."

"It's best people wait until the investigation is complete before you jump to conclusions. I don't know all the facts. I want to know all the facts," Bush said Monday. "I would like this to end as quickly as possible. If someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration."

This seems like an entirely reasonable statement. While I dislike the man's policies, I do, for the most part, trust him. Is it too much to believe that he knows just as much as the rest of the country does? Apparently it is, which I find strange since I was told Bush is an idiot.

It was the second time that Bush, when asked specifically about Rove's involvement in the matter, passed up an opportunity to come to his adviser's defense.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Bush shouldn't wait for charges to be filed to take action.

"The standard for holding a high position in the White House should not simply be that you didn't break the law," he said. "It should be a lot higher and if Mr. Rove or anyone else aided and abetted the leaking of the name of an agent, even if they don't meet the narrow criminal standard, the president should ask for their resignation."

To say this reaks of hypocrisy is an insult to hypocrites everywhere. Mr Schumer, may I remind you that your boy Bill Clinton was clearly guilty of lying under oath and obstructing justice. Do you hold yourself to the same code of ethics you expect Bush to adhere to, one that is above and beyond "the narrow criminal standard"? Doesn't matter, because Schumer voted nay on whether or not Clinton should have gotten the boot, just like the rest of his democratic comrades.

No one really likes being lectured to. It is especially annoying when the lecturer is bedfellows with folks like Ted Kennedy, Gary Condit and the Daly family. Clearly there are crooks in the republican party as well--Richard Nixon comes to mind quite quickly--but that is not the point. Let us have the facts. If Rove is guilty and Bush does not let him go, then one can let loose the dogs of war. Until then, it would behoove liberals to have some patience. Desperation is a sick thing.

I can only hope that the democrats expend all their energy trying to get Rove that they haven't the energy to filibuster a conservative Bush supreme court nominee. That's almost as funny as the folks over at the Huffington Post. Settle down Arianna, it's just a presidential advisor. I would hate to see what would happen if Bush's head was on the chopping block.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Hip Jesus

As a Christian, it makes me a bit angry when my fellow Christians contort Jesus' message. It's inevitable I know--original sin and all--but still disappointing. One of my least favorite contortions is when people try to make religion "cool".

The NBC network, eager for new hits to reverse a ratings slump, said on Friday it has given a mid-season 2005-06 commitment to a new drama titled "The Book of Daniel," depicting Christ as a contemporary confidant to a pill-popping priest.

I sense trouble and not just because the ratings whores over at the networks are involved.

"Daniel," however, is a far cry from "Passion" or the conventional Easter-season TV specials that portray Christ in a biblical context. According to NBC promotional materials, the Jesus character on "Daniel" is depicted as a "contemporary, cool" figure who appears only to the minister.

I may be mistaken, but I thought Jesus was already "cool". According to Christian belief, He died for our sins giving us eternal life with Him in heaven. Seems pretty cool to me.

There are a couple of reasons I dislike the marketing of religion. First, it's a cowardly and weak maneuver. Products are marketed if they cannot sell on their own. A good product does not need to be marketed. Christianity is a "good product", or so I thought. Those who try to make Jesus "hip" either do not understand this simple principle or feel that Jesus is not "cool" enough to sell Himself as He is. In other words, He was good enough to be the Saviour of the world, but without human modification He will be resigned to the dustbin of history. The absurdity is self-evident.

Secondly, as previously mentioned, Jesus is intrinsically "cool". Even more than that, Christianity is practical and, in my humble estimation, true. We should not adopt a religion just because it offers us neat things. We should cling to a religion if we believe it to be true. Truth is something that should not need marketing as discussed above.

Lastly, I believe that marketing Jesus results in watering down Christianity, which is clearly bad policy, if not heretical. Jesus is not simply a great moral teacher--although that He was. He was also the Son of God. Further, He said some things that were hard to swallow. By His own admission, He came to cause division. "Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division." (Luke 12:51)

If one is looking for a neat guy who can get the whole world to live at peace, Jesus is not the answer. Sorry. If one is looking for truth that is cooler than any contemporary on the television, I suggest giving Christianity a shot. As a Christian, I think I'm qualified to speak. No I'm not happy all the time, and sometimes I'm downright depressed. Still, I wouldn't trade my faith for anything in the world.

Even if it Christianity isn't cool, I'm keeping it.

GTA and Liberals

If I hear one more person tell me that liberals stand for liberty, I just may scream. The truth is, both parties are doing whatever they can to increase the size of government and to make sure that every area of our lives are their business. The "right to privacy" is novel in that it allows for abortion and Schiavo's execution--I'm still trying to figure that one out--but when it comes to other matters, that darn penumbra seems to vanish and we're left with Uncle Sam's filthy paws wrist deep in our private lives.

The latest example is, admittedly, mundane. This is precisely why it is a good example. Senators Joe Lieberman and Hillary Clinton--quick refresher, which party do they belong to--are bad at Grand Theft Auto. GTA has been a favorite target for those anti-violent video game types, but this time, it's not the violence, it's the sex.

Two high-profile U.S. senators, Joseph Lieberman and Hillary Rodham Clinton, are incensed over pornographic content "hidden" in the popular video game "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas," and are demanding action from either the government or the game's maker.

The content can be unlocked by using the "Hot Coffee" code modification widely available on the Internet. By installing the modification, gamers can have their drivers find different girlfriends in the game who will have a "cup of hot coffee" -- a euphemism for sex -- with them.

Scandalous. Now, my view on sex is certainly conservative. Clearly, kids should not be playing this game.

Clinton (D-N.Y.), meanwhile, said she will introduce legislation to help keep inappropriate video games out of the hands of children, and has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the "Grand Theft Auto" game.

Her legislative proposal would institute a financial penalty for retailers who fail to enforce the video manufacturers voluntary ratings system rules. It would prohibit the sale of violent and sexually explicit video games to minors and put in place a $5,000 penalty for those who violate the law.

It amazes me to no end how predicatable liberals are. People want something that we don't want them to have, let's make a law. If that law doesn't work, we can make a new one. It worked for gun control, so... oh wait, it didn't work for gun control. Maybe if we try harder. Keep trying Hillary.

The reality is, no responsible adult wants kids to be playing games. We already have laws in effect that prevent children from renting or purchasing these games, at least in theory. However, since we live in a free society--relatively speaking--one is never going to be able to keep things out of the wrong hands. The criminals will always have guns and the kids will always have violent and sexually explicit.

Unless the parents step in. Therein lies the rub. Repsonsible parents don't need laws. Irresponsible parents will not obey laws. Mrs. "it takes a village" Clinton would love for the government to take over the role of parenting. Those of us who believe in the traditional family as the best way to raise children and who harbor a general mistrust of government will politely disagree. I like my liberty thank you very much.

This story won't go anywhere. Yet when the day comes when serious liberties are revoked, we will look back gleefully to the time of game censorship and the comparitavely docile Patriot Act. We will look back and go, how did this happen? When did we give the government the right to be invasive? "Evil will flourish when good men and women stand by and do nothing," as Edmunde Burke wisely said.

The example is, as was mentioned, absurd on purpose. No one is really going to get up in arms over GTA. Yet the point is still valid. Why is the federal government even worried about video games at all? Next thing you know, they'll be worried about steroids in baseball.

There seems to be no shortage of legislators willing to try to save us from ourselves. There seems to be no shortage of complacent citizens who will give up liberty for the illusion of safety.
There is a shortage of people who seem to care that the government no longer the republic the founders set up for us.

As T.S. Elliot said, "This is how the world win end... not with a bang but a whimper."

Saturday, July 16, 2005

More Democratic Brilliance

Howard Dean had better watch his back. Dean is often criticized for saying things that are, shall we say, less than tactful. Ex-Clinton aide Paul Begala is trying to do Dean one better.

Begala's presence on the panel created a stir when he declared that Republicans had "done a p***-poor job of defending" the U.S.

Republicans, he said, "want to kill us.

As someone who recieves the GOP talking points, I can confirm that killing democrats was nowhere on the list. At this point in the article I'm th
inking to myself, "I wonder if he's going to explain what the Democrats would do better in the war on terror." This was immediatley followed by, "of course not." Let's see if I was right, shall we?

"They want to kill me and my children if they can. But if they just kill me and not my children, they want my children to be comforted -- that while they didn't protect me because they cut my taxes, my children won't have to pay any money on the money they inherit," Begala said. "That is bulls*** national defense, and we should say that."

Actually I would say it's "bulls***" economics, but then again I'm probably inventing a bogus correlation between between economic policy and, well, economics. Oh, and for the record, while the Republicans have cut taxes, they have continued to pay for national defense. Actually, now that I read through it a third time, it seems even more cryptic than before. I think, though, that Mr. Begala has not had a political conversion since his Clinton days.

The Clinton administration's national security efforts involved the right blend of "experience" and "strength," Begala said, an assertion with which the 9/11 Commission apparently disagreed.

In other words, your boy Bill wasn't too hot on national defense either. I'm still waiting for the Democratic plan in all this. Unless that plan is to invade Kosovo. I think the neo-cons would hop on board with that.

Begala also included Republican domestic policies in his sweeping criticism. The GOP, he said, "ain't had a new idea since they opposed Social Security, and guess what, they still do. ... They are beginning to figure out that there is no Soviet Union, but they still want Star Wars to stop it," Begala said.

As a member of the party that is slightly lacking in ideas in the "new" department, Begala is more than qualified to speak. After all, what do school choice, welfare reform, flat taxes, and a missile defense system have in common? They are all relatively new ideas opposed by democrats. The new ideas coming out of the Democratic party in recent years: Bush is dumb, Dick Cheney is evil, and well, I think that about covers it. Let me know if I missed something Mr. Begala.

"Franklin Roosevelt got us in World War II. They dragged the Republicans kicking and screaming. They didn't want to get in that war. They didn't have any problem with Hitler. I won't go so far as to say they thought Hitler rocked. But there were people in America who did, and they didn't want us to get in that war. Democrats have always been just as tough as Republicans once they're in office," Frank said.

Here I must offer my heartfelt congratualtions to Mr. Begala for making a coherent and correct statement. Well done. Don't worry, this is short-lived.

Frank defended his point, however, claiming that Republicans didn't see Hitler as a threat to America until Pearl Harbor.

He repeated the Democratic criticism of America's invasion of Iraq. Saddam Hussein "was a horrible (sic), a dictator, a butcher, a tyrant, a mass murderer -- as evil as they come," Frank said, but he added: "I don't think he was a threat to the U.S. at the time."

I find it ironic however, that FDR was good for getting us involved in WWII, but Bush is bad for getting us involved in Iraq. Isolationism then, bad, isolationism now, good. Now obviously there is a huge difference between WWII and operation Iraqi Freedom. That being said, Hitler was not a threat to America either before or after Pearl Harbor. That makes him similar to Saddam--though the scale is largely different. Thus, I think a reasonable case can be made that we should not have fought in WWII.

Consider: we freed Eastern Europe from Nazism to allow them to suffer under Stalinism. It is true that Hitler killed 6 million Jews, but estimates run as high as 20 million on the casualties of Stalin's regime. Back then, a "gulag" was a gulag and in them people died.

My point is not to come down either way on WWII, merely to show that the war in Iraq is similar in some respects. Is pre-emtive war ever necessary? Begala, like the democratic party, is sending mixed messages on this one. This is not surprising, but it is still disappointing. It is also further proof that until the democrats come up with a coherent foreign policy, the fate of elections will depend on whether or not Americans like what the neo-cons are putting forth.

There are times when ignorant red-necks make me slightly embarrased to be a conservative. Now is not one of those times. Thank you Begala for showing me how brilliant the educated democrats can really be. I'm telling you, you almost sold me on voting for Hillary in '08. Almost.

Friday, July 15, 2005

One Female Hispanic Please

USA Today has conducted a poll of Americans concerning the prospective nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.

The latest USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll, taken July 7-10, showed overwhelming support for putting another woman on the court. Three of four favored appointing a woman to replace Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman to serve on the high court.

Two-thirds of those surveyed liked the idea of naming the first Hispanic to the Supreme Court, too.

This is demonstrative of severl things. First, America is not a racist or sexist country. It just isn't. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson can bemoan the plight of African Americans, but by and large Americans are tolerant people when it comes to issues of sex and race. This is clearly the good news.

The bad news, is that I do not think Americans realize what is at stake here. Politically active members of society understand that this appointment could change the comlexion of the high court. Bush should appoint someone who accurately interprets the constitution. End of story. Nominating a woman for women's sake or a Hispanic to play to the Hispanic vote is a disgusting political move. If a female, Hispanic, or even a female Hispanic is the best candidate for the job then rightfully appoint him or her. If the best man for the job is another WASP, so be it. This decision is too important for a childish voter outreach.

There are perils for Bush underscored in the poll. By 68%-29%, those surveyed opposed overturning Roe v. Wade. But evangelical leaders including James Dobson of Focus on the Family and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council — representing Christian conservatives who played an important role in re-electing the president last year — are demanding a nominee who will do just that.

That's bad news to an extent, but it shouldn't change Bush's mind in all of this. The reality is that most Americans are not constitutional experts. Further, though I myself am not one, it is obvious to me that Roe needs to be overturned because it is an asinine decision.

The time has come to lead Mr. President. Nominate a judge that espouses the values that got you elected. Giving the position to someone for politcal reasons will only hurt you. Nominating Clarence Thomas didn't sway the black vote, and Thomas was a good nomination. Appoint Gonzales and you will neither win the Hispanic vote nor avoid losing the conservatives in the party.

Pretend you're not a politician for once sir, and do the right thing.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

President Hillary

Prediction: Hillary Clinton will be the first woman president in 2008. That means we get to have Bill back in the White House too.

It brings me no joy to say this. Still, it is the best kind of prediction because I will be much happier if I am wrong. Unfortunately, I do not think I will be wrong, which is the reason for this whole post.

There are several reasons why Hillary will make an electable president. First, the democratic party is in--to use the parlance of the anti-military wing--a quagmire. True, Howard Dean is firing up the all important base and raising money left and right, but the republicans are beating the dems two to one in the all important money game. The more important issue is that the party is leaderless. The leftist wing of the party may keep a special place for Dean in their hearts, but he is utterly unelectable. Charismatic he is, credible he is not.

Hillary on the other hand is both charismatic and credible. The charisma is obvious, but some of my conservative compatriots may cringe at my use of the word credible. She is certainly liberal, perhaps even more so than Dean, but image is everything, and Mrs. Clinton is doing her best to make sure that she is seen as a moderate.

Her most important move has been to support this war. The liberals are going to forgive her on this one, and she knows it. After eight years of Bush, liberals would ressurect Mondale for another trial if he could win. Remember too, we've still got almost three years of the Bush presidency and the disgust isn't going to go away. It will grow and in will step Hillary to save the day.

The democrats then, are quite sick of losing. They've lost the house and now the senate and have even lost to an idiot--by their estimation--not once, but twice. The Clintons have a proven track record for winning, and that may be the most important aspect in canidate consideration. If Hillary wants the nomination, she'll get it. The republicans turned on Buchanan in 1996, but the democrats will be loyal if they learn anything from history.

Hillary's stance on the Iraq War is important because it shows her to be bipartisan. To right-wing nuts like myself, bipartisan is a loathsome term, but to the moderates who can't seem to make up their minds on where they stand, it is a most lovely slogan. Moderates adore cooperation and if Hillary is seen as a compromiser, you can bet some of them are going to hop on the Hillary bandwagon.

Another reason Hillary is going to win is fatigue with the Bush administration. We like a Christian--I cannot see this country electing an atheist at this point--and Bush is one. But Christianity runs only so deep here, and heavy-handed "good vs. evil" rhetoric causes tepid souls to balk. Once gung-ho for the war, most Americans are about ready to just claim victory and bring the troops home. Bush will bring most, if not all of the soldiers home before the end of his presidency--he has to--but the longer he waits, the more tired we will become with having out men and women die for an increasing ambiguous goal. When they do come home, the Middle East is not going to be a democratic panacea, and the fingers will begin to point back at Bush. In short, the countr will be ready for change; the republicans were okay, but perhaps a democratic banner will be more pleasant.

The last reason that Hillary will win is the potential for fracture in the republican party. There are two very angry groups within the broad republican campsite. The true conservatives are upset with a republican who does not govern like Jefferson or even Reagan would. The most unforgivable sin that Bush has committed has been his negligence concerning border security. The other group is the religious right. Bush has one confirmation coming up and another seeming all the more likely as Rhenquist's health is suspect. If Bush does not place two strong pro-life justices on the high court, there could be proverbial hell to pay. Even a small deflection by either group could cost the republican heir a chance at the throne.

Thus I have laid out my case for why I think Hillary will be president in 2008. For once I wish I was wrong. I know it's early for postulating, but this is how I see it as of now. A lot can change between now and then, and I pray it does. Still, when it happens, don't say I didn't tell you so. And don't worry, with Hillary in charge I'll stay humble.

Some victories are bitter indeed.

My Political Journey

Libertarianism is a fascinating philosophy. I consider myself a "small-l" libertarian, but this was not always the case. I don't really remember how I got into politics exactly, but I know by high school I was listening to Rush and reading his books. Fortunately that didn't last very long.

I began to delve more deeply into the realms of conservatism. I began listening to Savage and Hannity, but grew disatisfied with them, too. It seemed there was no one out there who was a true conservative and was yet honest and tactful. Yes, that's a burn on Savage.

Then I picked up the "libertarian blockbuster" Ten Things You Can't Say In America. To that point, I had heard of libertarians--they called into one of the local radio shows from time to time--but I knew nothing about their philosophy. Larry Elder cleared all of that up for me. This was the beginning of the end of my love affair with the Republican party.

Suddenly I became aware that Republicans weren't really all that conservative at all. Still, Bush had just gotten elected, so maybe it would take a while for him to govern conservatively. It's safe to say I'm still waiting, and because of my disgust, I did not vote for the Republican candidate in the first presidential election I was allowed to vote in. Rush would be so proud of what he started.

Libertatrianism is unique amongst politcal philosophies because it is so completely unsexy. Socialim gives us the illusion that government can do good for us if we guide it so. Both the Republicans and the Democrats have prescribed in part to this notion. They believe that with their wisdom, the monolithic beast known as government will help solve our problems. Through human wisdom, socialists--of varying degrees--hope to found a sort of utopia right here on earth. Libertarianism is anything but a utopian way of thinking.

It is instead, the avantgarde of politcal movements. All other political thought tries to determine the correct amount of government which will help people live better. The libertarian is equally determined to give the government as little power as possible while not allowing society to collapse into complete anarchy.

The libertarian is not trying to build a utopia, because he is a realist who sees through such nonsense. He is content to building the best possible society, as determined with the members of society itself. Government is inherently corruptable because of human nature. The libertarian tries to limit the scope of government before it grows unchecked and kills us all.

There is nothing sexy about it. It is hardly an ideal for which high praises must be sung. It is instead the most practical philosophy concerning how a goverment should be run. Most importantly though, it is a woefully pessimistic way of thinking. Libertarianism is a way of throwing up one's hands at the inability to make government work well and realizing that the best thing is to make it not work at all.

Its practicality is what makes it right, but unless it becomes attractive to simpler and more idealistic minds, it will never take off. Its a shame of course, but the libertarian is not surprised. It is just like humans to go off and ruin a good thing anyway.

After all, that's why I consider myself one.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Celebrity Obsession

I get a lot of my news from Drudge. There are several reasons for this. Drudge is thorough. Occasionally, he'll get a hot scoop before everyone else, but most times his site contains links to other sites, primarily newspapers and the like. In short, it's a good place to stop to get my news if I'm starved for time.

The other reason that I like Drudge, is that his site is simple. The stories are linked in black--sometimes the big stories are linked in red--against a white background. He might have a picture or two up, but for the most part it is significantly less sensationalized than say, Fox News or even CNN. Which is why I have been so disappointed with some of the stories he's been carrying lately.

Slightly more than a week ago, he had a story about Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Underneath was a story about Jennifer Aniston. Today, he has another story about Brad Pitt--he's in the hospital I think--and another one about Mariah Carey. Apparently Miss Carey's dress fell off during a performance. How news worthy.

Ever since I started paying attention to the news, I have noticed a disheartening trend. With ratings on the line, the important stories get bumped in place of celebrity fluff pieces. News organizations should take the repsonsibility that their name would apply and report the news. This goes way beyond the left/right bias in different media. Can we agree that no one should care all that much about Jen and Brad?

It just seems to be getting worse, too. Now, I don't exactly have any proof of this, but when Drudge is picking up on this drivel I'm a bit worried.

We've gotten to the point where we simply want to be entertained all the time. We idolize the wrong people. Jen and Brad may be good actors, but so what? The ability to hide behind a facade should not be a trait we wish to emulate.

For goodness sake, Ronald Reagan was voted the greatest American. I like Ronny, don't get me wrong, but come on. Greatest American? Was Thomas Paine even on the list? Michael Jackson, Madonna and and Tom Cruise were.

I don't have an answer here. Many of us seem to be quite content in wallowing in ignorance and ignoring the real news in exchange for feel-good stories. Education is a start, but the people in this land are free, and one cannot make people choose good over mediocrity.

And maybe that's all there is to it. News has become a part of pop culture, and pop culture is predominantly bad. Misguided people choose to care for things that don't matter. I'll climb down off of my soapbox long enough to admit that I am certainly part of the problem. We all are really. That's the problem, too: how does one fight back against this nonsense?

If I had the answer I wouldn't be wasting my time writing this.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Core Values? Still Deciding

Quick question, which Democrat is most likely to make a liberal gush with pride?

Five will get you ten, someone says Barack Obama. Now, I don't have an opinion on the fellow. I dislike his politics--of course--but I didn't see that phenomenal speech he made. It was during the Democratic Convention, if memory serves me correctly, and by then I was thoroughly bored with the whole thing and did not watch.

Mr. Obama was in Eatonville campaigning for U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, D-FL. He's up against Katherine Harris. The crowds came out in force and were enthusiastic to see this up-and-comer.

There is a point in all this which I am finally getting to. Obama and Nelson took some questions during their appearance.

The most provocative question was the first.

"I see a Democratic Party afraid to say they're Democrats, who voted for the war in Iraq and voted for tax cuts for the wealthy," said Glenn Anderson of Orlando. "Why should I remain a Democrat?"

That is a good question, Glenn, and I will address it, but first, I'll let Mr. Obama have a stab at it.

"The Democrats at times have lost their way," conceded Obama. "We are trying to decide what our core values are."

The criterion for judging the party isn't whether it's to the left or right, "but are we true to our core values," he said. Nobody defined core values.

Good try Mr. Obama. You very cleverly eluded a potentially damaging question. You are a smart man though, if what I hear is at all correct. Surely you have some core values. You are a Senator from Illinois for goodness sake. I thought values were a pre-requisite.

Now the real reason that the Democrats cannot decide what their values are is that they are caught in a difficult position. The party is overwhelmingly anti-Iraq war. Yet even with all his seemingly contradictory statements, John Kerry lost the election largely because voters didn't think he was serious on security. Don't take it from me though. Here is former President Clinton with some valuable insight.

Dissecting John Kerry's loss to President Bush last year, Clinton blamed the Democratic candidate's soft stand on security and the party's inability to reach out to rural, white America.

According to Clinton, in the final days of campaigning on Kerry's behalf, it was clear even Kerry's supporters weren't clear on the candidate's position on national security.

"I think, in the end, he lost in a close race because of the security issue," he said.

The reality is, the Democrats cannot yet win running on an anti-taxes anti-war platform. This could change, but remember what happened to McGovern? He lost. Yet Bill Clinton won running on a campaign largely centered on tax cuts for the middle classes. Moderate Demorats can win, liberal ones can't. History spells that out quite clearly.

The Democrats need to find some values soon, before people like Glenn leave and take the liberal base with him. I've said numerous times that the elections at this point in history revolve around the Republican party and its conception of "core values".

It's nice to be vindicated. It's twice as nice when the all-star of the Democratic party is the one doing the vindicating. Thanks Obama.

Sunday, July 10, 2005


This one concerns sex and what I view as an unhealthy attitute toward sex in society today. The text I quote will come from C.S. Lewis and his book, Mere Christianity.

Chastity is the most unpopular of the Christian virtues.

And how.

There is no getting away from it: the Christian rule is, "Either marriage, with complete faithfulness to your partner, or else total abstinence." Now this is so difficult and contrary to our instincts, that obviously either Christianity is wrong or our sexual instinct, as it now is, has gone wrong.

Lewis--and I--feel our sexual instinct has gone wrong.

You can get a large audience together for a strip-tease act, that is, to watch a girl undress on the stage. Now suppose you came to a country where you could fill a theater by bringing a covered plate onto the stage and then slowly lifting the cover so as to let everyone see, just before the lights went out, that it contained a mutton chop or a bit of bacon, would you not think that in that country something had gone wrong with the appetite for food?

Of course, but I'm sure some would feel that this is an unfair comparison. A social revolution was won by those who wanted to "make love, not war". The question is, has the sexual revolution really freed us from anything, save moral living?

One doesn't need to take the Catholic position on sex to realize something has gone terribly, terribly wrong. I laughed the first time I read this because Mr. Lewis had to define strip-tease. I don't think you could find a twelve year old in America who doesn't know what that is today. And I don't think that's a good thing.

I understand that it's ineffective and foolish to say that sex is evil. This has nothing to do with the morality involved in pre-marital sex, and everything to do with the fact that when something is taboo, it immediately becomes interesting. Sex is, in and of itself, quite interesting already. You do the math.

So then, what must be done? The relgious right would glady outlaw abortion. I would have no problems with that, but there is something better we can do. If we are to do away with rampant promiscuity, which leads to abortion, it would be best to try to demonstrate that abstinence is a good thing. This is easier said than done.

For instance, I could say that abstinence is working just fine for me. That is true, but it is certainly a difficult thing to do and our society has had just enough of difficult things thank you. I have no idea how we go about righting this Titanic.

It certainly is a problem of titanic proportions. It should be self-evident: from low birth rates to higher instances of rape and sexual abuse, to the gradual mainstreaming of pornography and the escalating instances of divorce, from children having children to the explosion in single parent families, something needs to be done.

It is impossibe to tell me that our sexual appetite is not a problem, and a big one at that. Man is a sexual being, but he is more than that. Until we realize that, we're going to continue to have problems.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Betrand Russell

I headed on over to the newly renovated Tech library to pick up some more to fill my cranium. I remembered that my friend Adam told me I should pick up "Why I am not a Christian" by Bertand Russell. My friend Evan, who is also an atheist had recommended it in the past, so I decided to finally quit procrastinating.

I haven't made it very far as of yet, but thus far it is certainly interesting. He seems to be quite bitter, but maybe that's just me. I think it's a terrible pity that he never got to meet Mother Teresa. If he had, he may have been able to add one more thing to the list that religion has done for the world. He mentions the calendar and Egyptians ability to chart and predict eclipses. I think religion has done a bit more for this world than he would admit.

My biggest complaint with him--so far--is his basic misunderstanding of human nature. In short, his belief in the possibility of utopia, a sort of heaven on earth. This belief is tragically misguided and not at all consistent with humans behaviours for the past several thousand years. Mr. Russell would claim that this is because we've always had religion. Until we set up an atheistic society, we may never know, although I am still quite sure that he is wrong.

If Christianity is wrong, this is at least one point is has gotten completely right. Plato's construction of a just society was a very noble concept, perhaps the noblest, but even if it was prefect, we cannot enact it. The Christian may be wrong that there is a heaven, but I've not seen a lick of evidence that there can be one on this earth.

First, to quote Mr. Russell:

"The second and more fundamental objection to the utilization of fear and hatred practised by the church is that these emotions can now be almost wholly eliminated from human nature by educational, economic, and political reforms. "

He then goes on to list various things that will need to be done, or rather not done.

"To save a child from hatred is a somewhat more elaborate business. Situations arousing jealousy must be very carefully avoided by means of scrupulous and exact justice as between different children. A child must feel himself the object of warm affection on the part of some at least of the adults with whom he has to do, and he must not be thwarted in his natural activities and curiosities except when danger to life or health is concerned. In particular, there must be no taboo on sex knowledge, or on conversation about matters which conventional people consider improper. If these simple precepts are observed from the start, the child will be fearless and friendly."

Ignoring the naivite which Mr. Russell brings to the issue, he is also quite guilty of hypocrisy. In order not to "arouse jealousy" and to "exact justice" is he not acting as a religious figure? How does he determine which moral code to use? How does one impose a moral standard, a religious doctrine if you will, without being relgious? And how will this result in a utopia?

As a Christian, injustice in this world is unpleasant and should be minimized if at all possible, but it is an intrinsic part of this world. I look to another world--perhaps foolishly--for a time when justice will reign. Maybe there is no other world, I certainly cannot prove my beliefs conclusively.

Mr. Russell is woefully pessimistic when it comes to religion and seemingly optimistic of the fate of mankind without religion. I shall continue reading because he has some answering to do. For an intellectually honest bright gentlemen, he surprising me for his lack of faith in a being greater than himself and his unreasonable faith in people just like himself.

Faith in God is reasonable. It may be wrong if there is no God, but it is only reasonable to believe in something bigger than oneself. Faith in man is absurd. Perhaps Mr. Russell's hatred and fear of Christians is causing him to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

In short, don't blame God for His lousy followers

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Two Retirements Means Bigger Fight

The happenings of London are important, but the talking heads are doing their usual job of squeezing this story for every ratings point. Thus, I'll talk about something else.

First, Sandra Day O'Conner has already stepped down, and now Rhenquist may retire as well. Poor Bush is in a dreadful pickle.

"Adding to the tension is word from court sources that ailing Chief Justice William Rehnquist also will announce his retirement before the week is over. "

The Republican base, at least the religious right, will not settle for anything less than two anti-abortion justices. The Democrats will never allow this if they can help it. Even Lincoln would have a tough time navigating this mess. It goes without saying that in regards to Bush, Abraham Lincoln he ain't.

Drudge is reporting that the often over-looked Democratic senator from New York is ready to play hardball.

"Senate Judiciary Committee member Chuck Schumer got busy plotting away on the cellphone aboard a Washington, DC-New York Amtrak -- plotting Democrat strategy for the upcoming Supreme Court battle.

Schumer promised a fight over whoever the President’s nominee was: “It's not about an individual judge… It's about how it affects the overall makeup of the court.”

The chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee was overheard on a long cellphone conversation with an unknown political ally, and the DRUDGE REPORT was there!"

I don't know where Matt Drudge gets his sources, and it doesn't really matter to me. I'm buying this one because it fits. Schumer knows allowing Bush to nominate two conservative justices will not help the liberals legislate from the bench.

From what I'm hearing, Bush is set on Gonzales. Personally, I'm lukewarm to the fellow. I'd rather see a Scalia clone, but whether or not that's going to happen is another story.

Will the Democrats protest a Gonzales nomination? That remains to be seen. It would behoove Chuck and company to led Gonzales slide although, although my instinct tells me they won't.

That would enable Bush to play this game: Name one justice no less conservative than Rehnquist, and name Gonzales, whose past record suggests he would replicate retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on abortion and possibly other social issues. Thus, the present ideological orientation of the court would be unchanged, which would suit the left just fine."

That's one theory anyway. Make no bones about it, the Democrats are going to run about Henny Penny like no matter who gets nominated. They smell fear in the Republican members of the so-called "gang of fourteen". Bush has to remember that no matter who he nominates, the left will start screaming, Dean-like, that the sky is falling.

Only a plactated base will help Bush at all. He needs to get the most conservative justices through that he can. The religious right doesn't always understand the politics of Washington and see compromise as weakness, which, it often is. If Bush nominates even one pro-choice judge as his father did, the religious base will not forgive this unpardonable sin.

This one is going to get old really fast. Bush will probably nominate Gonzales and a conservative in the Thomas/Scalia tradition and no one will be happy with him. This is not the first and it won't be the last time I do not envy him.

And we wonder why no one with intelligence and credibility wants to be president. Good luck Bush. You're going to need all the help you can get.

Orange Alerts and Other Ineffectual Measures

I suppose everyone now knows about the tradgey in London.

I'm not going to go into detail about this one, because we all have our own sources and unless one has been in a hole for the last day or so, knows what happened.

Briefly, "At least 37 people have been killed and 700 injured in a series of terror attacks on London."

I glanced at this story this morning when I awoke making a mental note to check into it more thoroughly later. I came back from my morning classes and grabbed a bowl of cereal and parked myself in front of the television. I usually avoid television like the plague, but it proved to be informative.

I caught the beginning of some fellow from the Department of Homeland Security telling everyone what we knew he would. He raised the terror alert on trains and such to orange. I don't have the exact quote because I frankly don't care what color the alert is. Partially, it's because I live in Houghton, but it's also because we are so bad at trying to fight terrorism.

First, if the terrorists were going to hit us, they're not going to give us time to raise our alert. I see all these bumber stickers that tell me never to forget. Forget what? That by the time we knew what happened it was too late? I remember that. I keep forgetting though what colors have to do with fighting terrorism.

Second, if the terrorists are going to hit us several hours or days later--which they won't but if they did--they wouldn't hit the thing that we're watching. Bush and company are caught in a game of capture the flag where we keep guarding where our flag used to be. The terrorists may be fools and cowards, but it wouldn't take much more than the IQ of a food processor to out-think our national defense team. No offense to the intelligent people involved, but could you try a little harder maybe?

We will get hit again by terrorist. Iraq will not change this in the least. The nature of our enemey is such that they will use terrorism again and the nature of our society is such that we will again fail to prevent it.

Many people, such as myself, offer criticisms about our war and terror, especially liberals. For those who have problems with what we are doing, what would you do better? Prove that Republican rhetoric on this point is shallow, and give me some ideas.

The way I see it, we can do one of two things. First, we could allow Bush to become a tyrant. Eliminating civil liberities may actually save us from terrorism. Still, I just don't think it's worth the cost.

Secondly, we could return to an isolationist foreign policy. We could wrap things up in Iraq and then start to bring troops home from around the globe. One reason that the terroists hate us--no it's not our freedom--is that we do stick our nose into other people's business quite often. Pulling out of the Middle East isn't going to get Osama to sing our praises, but it might assuage just a little bit of the animosity they have towards us.

This is the policy I support. In addition, the troops we have recalled can be placed at our borders and at our nations ports. This will not eliminate illegal immigration, but it will curtail it. Furthermore, I would like to see an Operation Wetback II. The first one undertaken by Eisenhower and we are in much need of another one. We don't need to toss our every illegal, but the ones with felonies can find a new place to live I think. Furthermore, we can either give amnesty and citizenship to the productive ones, making them full members of society with all the priveledges that entails, or find alternative residences for those who only leech off the system.

Then we can have a debate about our nation's immigration policy and try to allow in as many immigrants as our economy will support. Also, we should be able to scrap that dreaded Patriot Act. This plan is not perfect of course, but I see that it has more benefits than drawbacks. We may get hit again, but we can try to prepare without taking away civil liberties and resorting to different color schemes that are completetely ineffectual.

Don't like my idea? Fine. Let's hear yours. I'll be waiting.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Theological Suicide

The United Church of Christ has just approved a resolution giving the stamp of approval to gay unions. They revised the resolution and, as far as I understand it, it is not yet law. Although even that is a slippery term.

"UCC churches are autonomous, meaning the leadership does not create policy for its more than 5,700 congregations."

Forgive a simple Catholic but I don't get it. So basically it's a P.R. move? What's the point of a resolution if it's not enforced? The UCC must be taking a page from the U.N. playbook.

"Still, members of the committee acknowledged Sunday that some congregations could leave the church entirely if the resolution is approved as written."

You mean that Christians want their churches to follow His teacings? What a novel idea.

"The wording was revised Sunday, however, to include the "recognition that this resolution may not reflect the views or current understanding of all bodies within the gathered church.""

Again, then why have a resolution at all. A resolution, by definition takes resolve, something that is obviously lacking here. The UCC may as well resolve that the sky is blue. That would be much more correct, and just as ineffective.

"Some argued the same-sex resolution contradicts Biblical instructions.

"Throughout the Scriptures, marriage is always defined as being between one man and one woman," said the Rev. Brett Becker, pastor of St. Paul United Church of Christ in Cibolo, Texas."

Brett gets it. Religion is supposed to be something that makes us better, not something that lowers standards to the political winds of the day. This move is obviously done, not for doctrinal reasons, but to pacify the homosexual lobby. This is not only immoral, but ineffective.

I have discussed at length the Biblical reasons that homosexuality is immoral, so I will not delve back into it. However, is it effective from a theological perspective to toss aside Christ's doctrine?

It is my contention that it is not. Many may disagree with the Catholic Church's dogma and that is fine, but one must admire her consistent stand for truth. In short, her dogma may be wrong, but she has a dogma. The UCC appears to have no dogma and therefore isn't even trying to get at truth.

Obviously this is going to raise objections. To my detractors I have but one question: does the biblical tradition of Christianity support homosexuality?

I say no. The UCC is making a grave mistake. If one does not like Christ's message, toss Him aside if you will. There are other religions to follow if one is so inclined. Don't water down His teachings to conform to your viewpoints.

Moral cowardice is a poor way to win converts.

Monday, July 04, 2005


Hollywood just doesn't get it. Despite The War of the Worlds, Hollywood is in the midst of a nineteen week slump. There are reasons for this, which I will now lay out.

First, ticket prices are outrageous. It costs me $8.50 to go see a mediocre movie with bad acting, poor dialogue, and no originality. Prices are higher in some markets, lower in others, but the point is, Americans have decided--at least for the past five months--that it's just not worth it anymore.

And don't even get me started on concessions. I haven't bought something at a movie in so long, the high prices have almost escaped me. For the not-so-tight-fisted-American, blowing fifteen bucks on a movie and some munchies has become a bad bargain.

Second, as pointed to earlier, the quality in Hollywood is just plain lacking. I went to see two movies of my own volition this summer. I allowed myself to be dragged to another one because it cost a buck, and even I'm not so cheap that I could say no. I went and saw and Revenge of the Sith and Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy. No other movie honestly interested me.

Revenge was absolutely dull. Lucas cannot write a script. I can quote huge fragments of the origianl trilogy, but if I ever have to sit through any of the new ones again, I think I'll scream. Hitchiker's was pretty good, but one decent flick in two months is not going to cut it.

I realize I may be complaining unneccesarily. I am but one soul, and in truth, I've never liked to go to the movies. The older flicks are simply much better. Still, the numbers don't lie, and America, may, for once, agree with me.

Tell a good story and people will come. Sex and special effects get old oh so fast.

Lastly, Hollywood's elites need to shut up, to put it nicely. Yes, a majority of Americans no longer support this war, but bashing it at every turn is last Tuesday. Actors are entertainers, and they should act--and be treated--as such. Baseball and football are not watched by armchair presidents trying to to get commentary on U.S. foreign policy, they are watched by armchair quarterbacks who want to out in their two cents on what the team should have called on third and short. The masses wish to be entertained.

I can handle an anti-war message from Anti-Flag; they're a pop punk band who has made anti imperialist policy a staple. Likewise, Michael Moore's message may bother me, but I can handle one of his propoganda films telling we where we've gone wrong. Part of the entertainment of both ententies is their politics. I get this.

What I don't get is why some actor or actress's opinion is worth two farlings. If they wish to make a statement, make a movie. That's what Moore does. If Bruce Springsteen doesn't think we should be in this war, he can write a song about it. I can live with that.

The American people is, hopefully, sick of being lectured to by entertainers. If they could actually do their job in the first place, we might give them the benefit of the doubt. Until they learn to keep quiet and just deliver, Americans may just stay at home.That's what I plan on doing.

Happy 4th of July to all my fellow Americans, movie-going and otherwise.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Judicial Review: a Rock and a Hard Place

I have just finished reading Chief Justice John Marshall's landmark decision in Marbury vs. Madison setting the precedent for judicial review. In the America of today, it is almost unbelievable to think that the Supreme Court is not the highest law in the land, yet it was not always so.

I don't believe I've come down on one side or the other of judicial review, at least explicitly. I have certainly been aprehensive of the growing power of the court, but in truth, I do not know what to do about judicial review.

Marshall wrote, "The constitution is either a superior, paramount law, unchangeable by ordinary means, or it is on a level with ordinary legislative acts, and like other acts, is alterable when the legislature shall please to alter it."

And this seems to be the whole crux of the issue. It would be great if the legislature simply followed the constitution. If they did that, we would not have need for the supreme court at all, or as Madison puts it in Federalist no. 51, " If men were angels, no government would be necessary."

So then, someone must keep Congress and the President in line. Without judicial review, there is nothing to stop the government from treading the constitution under foot. Yet has judicial review helped to preserve our constitution? It seems to me the contrary is true. The Patriot Act has yet to be over-turned, we still interned the Japanese, and the court has used an implied a "right to privacy" to render the 10th amendment all but useless.

I have no answer here, and this bothers me. It seems the problem is in mankind. And for that we have no fix. We are set with two six-sided dice and told to roll a thirteen. We cannot get more dice and we cannot get new ones with more sides. Still we roll.

Even if we could, scrapping judicial review probably wouldn't do anything. Instead of having the Supreme Court ruin everything, we'd have the Congress or the President do so. It makes no difference, republics are untenable at least in the long run.

Now I'm not saying it's all going down right now, only that it will. Nominating a strict constructionist in the place of O'Connor may slow down the impending tide, but the waves will crash into this wonderful human experiment.

What lessons can we learn to provide to the next people who try to run a republic? Can we embue them with some of our wisdom--the little we have--in the hope that they can last just a little bit longer?

It seems we shouldn't ask "who guards the guards?" but rather, who can possibly do so?