Thursday, June 30, 2005


I'm a Bunning Fan, But...

The Cincinnati Post - Bunning wants pro athletes tested for steroids: "U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning has filed a bill to impose harsh penalties on professional athletes caught using illegal steroids."

Oh my, in a time of war, he doesn't have anything better to do? In my opinion, and I think quite a few other's as well, this does not rise to the level of Congressional oversight. It is a problem perhaps, but not one that should be dealt with by legislators in Washington. Injecting themselves into this fight only shows how much free time they have.


An Important Point - Wanted: A Constructive Opposition: "On these and other points, the Democrats could contribute to a victory in Iraq. But that isn't going to happen until more of them, or even some of them, switch from the Pottery Barn to the Home Depot rule: You Can Do It, We Can Help. Pace the New York Times on Lincoln, what's needed is not a policy. It's a constructive opposition."

This op-ed in the WSJ speaks ill of the Democrats for not having a plan. His point was to be partisan, but I think there are moderates, like myself, who want them to come up with alternatives so that we can have a real discussion on how to do this better. With one party so drunk with power as the Republicans seem to be and an ineffectual opposition with no ideas, the country is stuck with whatever this leadership comes up with. The great power of this system of free speech and checks and balances is that the other party has the capacity to make change. So far, we haven't seen them give it their best shot. Merely saying that it is going wrong may be a good political strategy, but it is a poor strategy if we really want to influence the way the war is progressing. We need two effective parties, and the Democrats are not holding up their end.

Monday, June 27, 2005


The Right to Offend...CB's Appreciate This Right

The Right to Offend: "The other effect would be to water down one of the most profound principles that the Constitution articulates: that Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech. The great power of this principle is that it admits no exception: not for the most odious racism or Holocaust denial, not for the most insulting criticisms of those in high office, not for cone-shaped white hoods or hammers and sickles, and not for burning or otherwise defiling the Stars and Stripes."

The fact that we are even having this discussion in a time of war, etc. gives me ever decreasing faith in Washington. Does this really constitute a priority? Does the 114 incidents (give or take) in the past five or ten years really rise to the level of a Constitutional Amendment? Hasn't this expression served as a way for viewers of these idiots to see them as pure idiots? For me, I know when I see someone burn the flag that what they have to say no longer interests me. The free market of ideas renders flag-burners useless. Most Americans see them burn the flag and tune out any ideas they may have been trying to broadcast. It offends us, but it is covered by our Constitution. It should be. Any change in the Constitution should rise to a much higher level. We should be letting Washington know that we do not share their priorities!

Thursday, June 23, 2005


Shame, Shame, SCOTUS

Kudlow's Money Politic$: "In a 5 to 4 decision the Supreme Court issued a terrible ruling that allows local governments to seize people's homes and businesses against their will. A terrible decision that undermines economic freedom. "

I believe that this issue is much bigger than what Kudlow said on the matter. When we talk about patriotism, we use words and phrases like baseball, apple pie, freedom, picket fences, ownership, entrepreneurship, limited government, etc. We have the freedom to purchase and then own land that we put picket fences around. We start our own businesses to pay for that house and that fence. We bake in that house and toss the ball in the yard that we own. Anything that is ruled to limit the value of ownership or in any way denies that to people is at some (maybe small) level anti-American. Eminent Domain laws have not been my favorite before, but to strengthen them any is to devalue the American desire to own property. While the other argument is that it is only used in a small number of cases does not seem to help the people in Connecticut who were the subjects of this case. If the city wanted to clean up this area, they could have provided grants or low-interest loans to the families who live this is slightly run-down area. They could have also offered more than the property was worth on the open market, instead of less than half. To displace people from their homes just because you have the power does not sound very American to me.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


Let's Face It. Not All Justice Systems Are Equal

Pakistan gang-rape victim free to go abroad - Yahoo! News: "The original trial before an anti-terrorism court in 2002 found that Mai was gang-raped on the orders of a village council after her brother -- who was 12 at the time -- was judged to have offended the honor of a powerful clan by befriending a woman from their tribe."

Her brother did something the court saw as wrong, and this innocent girl was ordered to be gang-raped as punishment for the brother. Not only does it show an obvious lack of common sense, but it is a brutal reminder of how women are actually viewed in these cultures. They try to say that they have women dress super conservatively to protect them, but yet subject them to punishments like this for crimes of a male family member. The contradiction proves that they merely see women as sub-human, not as a protected class. While I feel we should look to other societies for what they seem to do right, and as a means to learn how we could better our own system, we should also admit in that quest that some of these systems are not morally equal to our own. There are many out there that say we should not fault other societies for being different, but it seems we should be allowed to fault them for being wrong. This case, and the many sadly similar, should be called as we see them, sick, disgusting, and wrong.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005



'Freedom' a Taboo Word on Chinese Internet - Yahoo! News: "Users of the MSN Spaces section of Microsoft Corp.'s new China-based Web portal get a scolding message each time they input words deemed taboo by the communist authorities � such as democracy, freedom and human rights."

Another reminder of just how good we have it.

Monday, June 13, 2005


Ahh, But a Very Good Point

Dr. Dean Speaks, for Better or Worse (5 Letters) - New York Times: "To the Editor:
I think it is hilarious that the Democratic Party can appoint Howard Dean as party chairman and then oppose John R. Bolton's selection as ambassador to the United Nations because they think he lacks subtlety.
Margaret McGirr
Greenwich, Conn., June 10, 2005"

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Uh, What?

The Cincinnati Post - Feds: Rev. Davis stole from his church: "Rev. Larry Davis intends to continue as pastor of First Baptist Church of Cold Spring despite being accused in an indictment of stealing $792,000 from the church and not reporting $845,000 of income on his tax returns.
"He's going to continue and he has the support of church members to do that," said David Bray of Cold Spring, a church trustee. "I'm here to support him 100 percent, as I have through the whole mix-up. I support him because he's been a part of my life and my family life for the past 16 years. He is a good person."
Bray said he doubted the validity of the charges.
"I don't see any guilt he has done," he said. "If he is found guilty, I will still support him."
Church member Linda Alford of Alexandria said Davis is "absolutely innocent" and she and other church members will keep on defending him.
"We support Rev. Davis 100 percent," she said. "We pray for him. It's business as usual at the church. Everybody is fine at the church. We're doing God's work. Leave us alone."

First, who knew being a Church leader was so lucrative? Second, they are saying that even if he is found guilty by a judge or jury of his peers that they will support him after he stole from them and other parishioners. This is an amazing story. We should all be watching to see how it turns out.


Germans Getting Their Money's Worth

TV show depicts 9/11 as Bush plot - The Washington Times: World - June 09, 2005: "Sunday night's episode of 'Tatort,' a popular murder mystery that has been running on state-run ARD-German television for 35 years, revolved around a German woman and a man who was killed in her apartment.
According to the plot, which was seen by approximately 7 million Germans, the dead man had been trained to be one of the September 11 pilots but was left behind, only to be tracked down and killed by CIA or FBI assassins.
The woman, who says in the program that the September 11 attacks were instigated by the Bush family for oil and power, then is targeted, presumably to silence her. The drama concludes with the German detectives accepting the truth of her story as she eludes the U.S. government hit men and escapes to safety in an unnamed Arab country.
As ludicrous as it may sound to most Americans, the tale has resonance in Germany, where fantastic conspiracy theories often are taken as fact."

I, of course, give the German people the benefit of the doubt, but this is pretty far out there. The story line is one thing, but it was aired on State television. Their tax dollars paid for this. I am at a loss for words.


Sowell Puts Our Actions Into Historical Perspective

Looking back - The Washington Times: Commentary - June 09, 2005: "During World War II, German soldiers who were captured not wearing the uniform of their own army were simply lined up against a wall and shot dead by American troops.
This was not a scandal. Far from being covered up by the military, movies were taken of the executions and have since been shown on the History Channel. ... If American troops kill 100 terrorists in battle and lose 10 of their own men doing so, the only headline will be: "Ten more Americans killed in Iraq today."

Sowell does a good job showing us how we have progressed. That was not his intent, but it reminds me how much more civilized we are because of the public conversations that have resulted in better treatment of our enemy. Once again, I repeat, we need both sides.
He also says that we need to expect and demand of our media that they cover both the dead as well as the heroes that save lives in these wars. I would prefer it as well, but we have a very free media that can pick and choose how it portrays things. What we really want is not for them to change how they cover the wars, etc., but, rather for the market to shun the media that does not represent their interests. We are starting to see that. Circulation numbers are sliding for print journalism. TV ratings are sliding for both morning and evening news. If we continue to point out where certain parts of the media have gotten it wrong, right or left, we can be relatively assured that those outlets will pay the price.
Thank goodness we won't see how future generations see our petty back and forth. What we can be proud of, however, is that we know they will see the open discourse and brave leadership that freed millions of people. I am proud of that.

Saturday, June 04, 2005


Kudos to the LA Times for Covering this Story so Far Away

Diocese to Pay Largest Abuse Settlement Yet: "Clohessy, of SNAP, said it was notable that a comparatively small diocese would agree to so large a settlement.

'That... should remind Catholics that bishops have more insurance coverage, resources and cash than they claim,' he said. 'Obviously, it's also a reminder that when victims come forward and hang tough and turn to the courts, that sometimes justice can be achieved.'

The $120-million settlement is in addition to $4.86 million that the Covington diocese paid out from 1989 through February 2004 in payouts, legal fees and counseling for alleged victims. Another $9.4 million was paid by insurance companies between 1993 and February 2004, Fitzgerald said.

The diocese estimated two years ago that since 1950, there had been at least 158 credible allegations of sexual abuse involving 30 priests. One priest was connected with 67 allegations. Most of the abuse occurred from 1960 to 1979, the diocese said.

The Covington Diocese serves an estimated 90,000 Catholics at 53 parishes, 34 elementary and secondary schools and a college. There are 95 diocesan priests, about half of them retired or ill, and 24 deacons.

Covington would be the second diocese in Kentucky to reach a multimillion-dollar settlement with alleged victims of clergy abuse. In 2003, the Archdiocese of Louisville agreed to pay $25.7 million to settle lawsuits brought by 243 plaintiffs, who accused 34 priests and six other church workers of molesting them when they were minors."

There are two points of note here. First, we should see that the abuse was in no way isolated. Tons of victims from all parts of the country. Second, we should see that the amount of money floating through these churches is immeasurable comparable to what we would have suspected without these settlements. I asked a close Catholic friend of mine a while back whether he still tithed the Church. He said that he did, but only to the fund that kept the lights on. He didn't see that as supporting the Church, but rather as merely supporting the parishioners that needed the Church or merely needed religion. I was disappointed in him, because he is a bright guy. He should know that to give to the Church, in any capacity, is to support them in their time of need. We don't donate to child molester charities saying that we think that they need to keep the lights on. From these numbers, we can see that they do not need the money. Anyway, would it be so bad to practice your religion in a small Catholic Church where the electric bills would be cheaper or is it imperative to have huge buildings in which to pray? These huge buildings, the amounts of tithes, and the devoted showing up on Sunday and Wednesday may have led to the feeling of absolute power that these men felt as they molested all of these children all of those years. Taking them down a peg or ten may do us all some good.


Ponder This Matt Miller Column

Is Persuasion Dead? - New York Times: "Is persuasion dead? And if so, does it matter?
The significance of this query goes beyond the feelings of futility I'll suffer if it turns out I've wasted my life on work that is useless. This is bigger than one writer's insecurities. Is it possible in America today to convince anyone of anything he doesn't already believe? If so, are there enough places where this mingling of minds occurs to sustain a democracy?
The signs are not good. Ninety percent of political conversation amounts to dueling 'talking points.' Best-selling books reinforce what folks thought when they bought them. Talk radio and opinion journals preach to the converted. Let's face it: the purpose of most political speech is not to persuade but to win, be it power, ratings, celebrity or even cash.
By contrast, marshaling a case to persuade those who start from a different position is a lost art. Honoring what's right in the other side's argument seems a superfluous thing that can only cause trouble, like an appendix. Politicos huddle with like-minded souls in opinion cocoons that seem impervious to facts."

It is not normal for me to want to read a Matt Miller column, much less enjoy it, but this is a powerful and important set of questions. It seems to me that the real problem lies in the desire to have opinions, strong ones, on things that we could not possibly know enough about to have reasoned passion on. Take Social Security, for example. I admit that personal accounts make a great deal of sense in theory, and root this argument on, often passionately. The reality is, though, that I do not have the government or market numbers to back up the passion I feel for it. What makes me different, in this respect, is that I am keenly aware of what I do not know. That hole in in the foundation for my gut will keep me from marching in favor of it in the local town square. It is also what allows me to hear what the opponents say and give their line of argument credence. I still often think that they are wrong, but I can listen, ponder, and make myself somewhat open to what they have to say. If I was ignorant to my own ignorance and just blocked out any other line of thinking, persuasion, for me, would be impossible. There are plenty of people like that. I don't suggest that the press or the Administration treat people like idiots, but doing the research to allow for real thought on the matters would be more helpful than writing about the politics of the topics at hand. I admit, I like the political discussion, but the public needs to know something of which they passionately speak.
I still think that we need the vocal extremes of both sides to get the conversations started, but a healthy population of moderates are necessary too. Its not that people shouldn't get passionate either. It is just that people should know their own intellectual limits, at least so much as to have reasoned conversation with those that disagree. So, while I agree, in theory, with personal accounts, I can have discussions about what its true effect or even slippery slope might be. Matt is asking for, without realizing it, a larger quatity of moderates. Be careful what you wish for.

Friday, June 03, 2005


Movie Review: Faith of our Fathers

I just finished watching a great movie. First, there were a couple of themes that rang true to me. His father, John McCain's, instilled the necessity of honor. I wasn't really taught using that term. In my family, it was distilled to right and wrong. I wasn't really introduced to the familial honor notion until I met my friend from Jordan in my freshman year in college. Over coffee right after we met, she explained that her family and their values ran around that central belief. In fact, she noted that it was always in the back of her mind as she made decisions. In the movie, Admiral McCain drills this concept into Senator McCain to the point that it rings in his ears as he is in the Hanoi Hilton. Of all of the experiences in anyone's life where it would be understandable to behave with less honor, that would be it. This movie reminds us that he made his father proud.
Another theme that struck me was torture. We have had a very contentious debate about what is and is not torture. Is it torture to put a barking dog near a naked prisoner? In this two hour movie, we get only a very short, sanitized view of the kind of behavior that no one needs question whether it falls within the definition of torture. It is a real reminder of what it really is and strangely made me question how close to torture we really want to get. This movie was not meant to make us think. They make very clear who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. In our everyday, however, we need to be thinking and debating how we keep our status as the good guys. If it was so clear who the bad guys were by their treatment of our American hero, then should we be so content with borderline torturous treatment of our prisoners? I am not sure how I feel about the topic as I realize that this may be as a result of seeing a re-enactment of torture of a man that I have come to really respect. I am glad, however, that seeing this has caused me to want to think through this question more clearly.
What is evident as the movie closes is that this man is stronger in heart, in will, and in integrity than I could ever dream to be. The others there that showed similar strength in character who are not famous need to be. When you consider that I was a bit nervous about watching a two hour re-enactment of this sadistic endurance test, but that they had to live it for those years, I got a sense that I have lived a lovely existence. I am grateful for my own good sense to take the time to see what real heroes do in the worst of circumstances. Thank God for men like him.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


Don't Villify the Messenger. That Was Their Job.

'Deep Throat,' Out in the Open: "The Post is also guilty by abetting in the violation of an oath and trust."

This is also a dopey statement by a letter-writer to WaPo this morning. I would, however, like to see the oath that he took to see how far from it he strayed. It may help put hero or villain in perspective.


Did DeepThroat Owe Woodstein the Outing Story? - Deep Throat's Legacy: "Congratulations to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, for getting scooped this week on the story about their own Watergate source. Rather than betray the man who became known as Deep Throat, they managed to keep one of the great secrets in media history for 30 years, until the source first outed himself to another reporter. "

Did he, at the very least, owe them a heads up? He had been working with Vanity Fair for two years, but never a call just to let them know it was coming. Is that, in and of itself, dishonorable? I'll need more time to ponder it, but I certainly want to hear a genuine response from the writers themselves to that question.


Let's Be Real, Shall We?

'Deep Throat,' a Mystery No More (8 Letters) - New York Times: "One wonders how Mr. Buchanan would characterize President Nixon's actions leading up to and during the Watergate affair: spying on the Democrats, covering up a scandal of his own making, undermining our constitutional democracy and creating an imperial presidency."

This NYT's Letter to the Editor by Dan Woog of Westport, Connecticut misses an obvious point. Spying on opponents in politics and other competitive forums is common. How many precinct offices (of both the Republicans and Democrats) were broken into during the run-up to the last election? Weren't computers stolen? Of course, it could have been an ordinary thief, but it also could have been the opponent trying to get dirt to further themselves. I am unsure how holier-than-thou I feel about it, but I don't mistake its commonality.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Roger Mahoney with a Platform He Does Not Deserve

A Nation That Should Know Better: "But the church also does not condone a broken immigration system in the U.S., one that too easily can lead to the exploitation, abuse and even death of immigrants."

Interesting that Mahoney should use the terms "exploitation and abuse". Does this man deserve to be heard on anything anymore? I am not saying that he doesn't raise any good points, but just wish we didn't give him platforms after what we have seen from him. He's probably calling Michael Jackson with words of solace before the verdict, right?



Undermining police work - The Washington Times: Commentary - June 01, 2005: "She warns police forces should respect the reality that male and female officers are not interchangeable, adding the real-world effects of pretending otherwise are ugly. "

I agree, in principle, that men and women are different and should be treated as such. I also would say that we should not judge the ability of a wanna-be police officer or service person on gender, an arbitrary definition. Let's develop a set of standards that are realistic for the job using size, intellect, ethics, and the like, and allow those that fit into these positions, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. It seems there would still be women who are strong enough for the positions as well as homosexuals who could hold their own. After seeing a story about a purple heart recipient who was discharged under the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy, we can all see the mistake we make in using these unreasonable criteria to define who are and are not fit to serve. If the purple heart is anything, it is a strong indicator of a person's ability to serve this country. Valor and strength cannot be judged on gender and orientation. They must be judged on other criteria in order to get the best people, not the one's that the Christian right see fit.


The Right Giving a High Five to the Frenchies - Marianne Unfaithful: "The French, the Dutch, and other Europeans have lost patience with political systems that seem increasingly remote and political elites that seem increasingly disdainful of the interests and values of the people they claim to represent. If the French voted 'non,' because they sensed that the EU Constitution would aggravate those problems, then they voted very shrewdly. Indeed, only a political system as seemingly remote and disdainful as the EU has become could have produced a document like the EU Constitution: interminably long, confusingly organized, obscure in its effects, and in many crucial spots almost deceptive in its purposes. It seems almost too heavy-handedly symbolic that while the U.S. Constitution opens with the resounding words, 'We the People of the United States,' the first words of the EU Constitution are: 'His Majesty the King of the Belgians . . .'"

The very conservative talking heads that have had so much fun at the Frenchies expense seem to now admit their intelligence. Sour 'Kraut said a similar bit yesterday on Brit Hume's show. While they are anti-American, they also seem to be anti-outright socialist. They might like some socialism in their societies, but putting all of the power of Europe in the hands of Schroeder and Chirac seemed more than they could bear. It is also interesting, as Krauthammer noted yesterday, that the English did not have to be the cold water on the EU, but rather it was the French and will likely also be the Dutch today. By the time the vote comes around to the English sometime next year, the verdict will long be understood. I don't know enough about any of this to have an opinion to espouse here now, but I find nearly all of it interesting.


The New York Times Says it the Way I Wish I Could Have

Introducing Deep Throat - New York Times: "It's a little like discovering that Superman's secret identity was, well - Clark Kent."

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?