July 31, 2004

Kerry Uses Marines As Prop

John Kerry forced himself upon a party of dining Marines at the Wendy's in Newburgh, N.Y., on Friday. As the foursome were dining, the candidate decided to use them as a photo-op prop, peppering them with questions which the Marines answered in curt fashion. Upon his departure (and to his credit, he did thank them for their service to the nation), the Marines were more than willing to express their true opinions.
"He imposed on us and I disagree with him coming over here shaking our hands," one Marine said, adding, "I'm 100 percent against [him]."

A sergeant with 10 years of service under his belt said, "I speak for all of us. We think that we are doing the right thing in Iraq," before saying he is to be deployed there in a few weeks and is "eager" to go and serve.

The Marines — all of whom serve at nearby Stewart Air Force Base — wouldn't give their names.

Well, I guess that shows where the men in uniform stand on the "war hero" candidate.

|| Greg, 02:55 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 30, 2004

Outrage -- Marine's Murderer Paroled

Marine Lance Cpl. Tarron Dixon survived his tour of duty in the Middle East during the Persian Gulf War. At age 23, he had served 5 years in the Marine Corps. He came home to his family in Houston on June 4, 1991.

And was murdered by a group of teenage white supremacist scum on June 6, 1991.

Now one of the killers is being released on parole, having served only 13 years of his life sentence. What is worse, Dixon's parents were denied the opportunity to speak at the parole hearing. Because nobody bothered to notify them that there was to be a parole hearing for Donald Riley.

Riley, 19 at the time of the shooting, had three drug-related convictions and was on parole when he and other Brazoria County teens came to Houston to, as Riley told police in 1991, "(expletive) with some niggers."

Riley, John Carrillo and Jorey Thomas were each convicted of murder and given life sentences. Carillo and Thomas will not become eligible for parole until 2009.

A fourth defendant, Robert Jason Folks, was convicted on a lesser charge.

But the Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed the deadly weapon finding that was part of Riley's conviction, meaning he had to serve only a quarter of his sentence — life sentences are called 60 years for parole purposes — before becoming eligible.

A quarter would have been 15 years, and Riley has served 13. "Good time," credit for good behavior in prison, made up the extra two years.

It shocks me that this has happened. It's time to contact Governor Rick Perry and flood him with calls over this miscarriage of justice. His online contact form is here. His telephone number is (512) 463-2000. He may be contacte by fax at (512) 463-1849. And his address is Governor Rick Perry, Office of the Governor, P.O. Box 12428, Austin, Texas 78711-2428.

Why am I making this an issue? Because this killer should have never seen the streets again. Because Cpl. Dixon's parents should have been able to fight this travesty of justice.

And because Tarron Dixon's daughter will turn thirteen before too long, and will never be paroled from the sentence of life without knowing her father.

UPDATE: According to the Houston Chronicle, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles will meet with Cpl. Dixon's family this week and reconsider their decision. This is in accordance with state law that mandates the board meet with victims and their families at any time before a parolee is released. It is to be hoped that they will change their decision. You can contact the board here.

Also, this little tidbit appears at the end of the story

Meanwhile, a hearing is set for Oct. 14 on a writ of habeas corpus filed by Riley's attorneys seeking to overturn his conviction based on newly discovered evidence they said indicates he did not commit the crime.

A substantial portion of that evidence was presented to the parole board before its vote, said attorney Bill Habern.

I'm betting the evidence is a fraud, and hoping he doesn't get a new tial. In the mean time, I'll hope for a revocation of the earlier parole decision.

|| Greg, 05:26 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Moore Farenheit 911 Lies

Fictumentary maker Micheal Moore is a (big fat) liar. Or at least that is the claim of the fine folks at the Pantagraph, the daily newspaper in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois.

Moore uses the paper's front page from December 19, 2001, as proof that George W. Bush lost the 2000 presidential election (he didn't, not according to the Constitution, the Supreme Court, and every recount of Florida). The paper Moore uses has the headline "Latest Florida recount shows Gore won election". Guess what -- no such story appeared in the paper that day, much less on the front page.

So the paper did some research and found that the headline had run some two weeks before -- over a letter to the editor. Rather than headline news, it was the sentiment of one reader, and represented only that reader. And far from being the lead story, it was tucked inside the paper with the rest of the letters. Moore didn't even use the right typeface in his fake front page.


|| Greg, 12:07 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 28, 2004

Hey, Michael -- Just Drive North!

Michael Moore thinks Canada and Canadians are better than the United States. So much so that he was even willing to invoke the name of the divine before a crowd of leftists.
"Thank God for the Canadians," Hollywood Mickey told a cheering crowd, including many Americans.

"They're just like us — only better!" said the filmmaker, who's been known to call his own countrymen, folks who made him megarich, "stupid."

"They like us," the puffy pontificator continued about his dear Canadians. "They just wish we would read a little more."

Michael, if you think that Canada and Candadians are so much superior to us mere Americans, might I suggest that you transfer your bank accounts to Montreal, and then pack up and move. I bet you could even get Canadian citizenship.

But that was not, of course, the only thing he had to say. It seems that those of us who disagree with him on the issues are "hate-triots" who "believe in the politics of hate-triotism".

"Most Americans, in their heart, are liberal and progressive. It's just a small minority of people who hate, they hate, they exist in the politics of hate, they don't believe two consenting adults should have the right to be in love and share their lives together and be legally protected by the state," Moore said to applause.

"They are not patriots; they are hate-triots, and they believe in the politics of hate-triotism. Hate-triotism is where they stand, and patriotism is where real Americans stand. And that is the truth and that needs to be reported," Moore added.

Actually, Michael, the majority of Americans do not support homosexual marriage, and polls are mixed on whether or not a majority supports civil unions. Most of us are willing to tolerate homosexuals, but not to grant marriage rights and the associated benefits.

He continued

"I don't know what it is with right-wingers and Republicans. They seem to have hijacked over the years the word patriotism and the American flag -- these things -- and it's an odd thing because the true patriots are those that believe the important thing is to ask questions," Moore said.

I believe that folks like you called us a "vast right wing conspiracy" and "right-wing nut jobs out to overturn the results of an election" when we asked questions during the Clinton Adminsitration. Apparently only liberal questions qualify as patriotism in Moore's eyes.

It got better.

"The right wing -- that is not where America is at -- the majority of Americans are liberal and progressive when it comes to the issues," he said.

"Every poll shows that the majority of America believe in women's rights, the majority of Americans want stronger environmental law, the majority of Americans want gun control laws, the majority of Americans are pro labor," he added.

Yes, but you want gun ban and confiscation laws, not gun control laws. You want environmental regulations that value finger-long fish over people, and birds over workers. And we are pro-worker -- but fundamentally differ on what that means, since we believe it means letting workers keep more of their money and to decide whether or not to belong to a union, two things you and your liberal buddies oppose.

Interestingly enough, he notes that he has received no death threats following the release of his recent fictumentary, Farenheit 911. This stands in contrast to the treatment that the Left gives conservatives.

I could go on and offer more analysis of Moore, but why bother. Let me sum it up by saying that a guy who says that Canadians are better than Americans, a guy with a history of calling Americans stupid, ends up by calling those who disagree with him "anti-American." Seems to me that the word better applies to him.

UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt posts the text of Moore's ravings here. Bring a (hot) air-sickness bag.

|| Greg, 10:18 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 27, 2004

No Secret Ballot For YOU!

John Kerry and John Edwards have come out against the secret ballot, that fundamental electoral element that ensures each voter can vote his or her conscience without fear of intimidation or retaliation. Well, not in presidential elections -- in union representation elections. They prefer that workers be subjected to coercive "card check" programs in which union and management conspire to force acceptance of union representation.

This situation is particularly common in the Big Three automobile companies and their suppliers, where management waives the secret ballot election and then turns over personal information on all employees to the union. What follows is a series of letters, phone calls and home visits -- and often acts of vandalism and violence -- designed to "persuade" resistant workers to join. Once fifty percent of the employees have signed union cards, the union becomes the official representative of all workers, and automatically receives dues from the paychecks of unwilling workers.

Congressional supporter of the secret ballot, Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-Ga.), puts it very well when he says

"Hard-working folks deserve the right to a fair and secret
election, not the threats, arm-twisting, and shakedown tactics that come
with 'card check' campaigns."

Seems to me that if the unions were really out to REPRESENT the workers instead of shaking them down for dues, they would support the secret ballot. The fact that they do not support it speaks volumes.

Some 80% of newly unionized workers in the AFL-CIO are organized through the card check rather than the secret ballot. One wonders if the number of newly unionized workers would be so high if all had the opportunity for the secret ballot. More to the point, one has to ask how many of those workers would refuse to unionize under a national Right-to Work Law, defending the First Amendment right of every worker not to be forced into involuntary association with a union.

UPDATE: While perusing this morning, I came across this piece that does a good job of explaining union abuses of the card check system from the inside.

|| Greg, 11:14 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 26, 2004

Heinz Kerry to Reporter -- "Shove It!"

Teresa Heinz Kerry, the foreign-born billionaire wife of presumptive Democrat nominee John Kerry, addressed the Pennsylvania delegation to the Democrat Convention last night. In it, she decried the loss of civility in American politics.
"We need to turn back some of the creeping, un-Pennsylvanian and sometimes un-American traits that are coming into some of our politics," she told her fellow Pennsylvanians at a Sunday night reception at the Massachusetts Statehouse.
A few minutes later Colin McNickle, editor of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, inquired about which "un-American activities" she was referring to. That was the point at which the fireworks began. According to USA Today,
Minutes later, Colin McNickle, the editorial page editor of the conservative Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, questioned her on what she meant by the term "un-American," according to a tape of the encounter recorded by Pittsburgh television station WTAE.

Heinz Kerry said, "I didn't say that" several times to McNickle. She then turned to confer with Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and others. When she faced McNickle again a short time later, he continued to question her, and she replied: "You said something I didn't say. Now shove it."

Now to be fair, Heinz Kerry did say "traits" rather than "activities", so there was a misquote. But McNickle did quote her in a substantively correct manner, and she refused to respond to that question. Some reports also indicated that she screamed for McNickle to "Shut up!" during the outburst. Apparently that is the attitude of Heinz Kerry towards the free press, something that didn't exist in the Third World hellhole where she and her European family helped exploit the black majority and where it still does not exist .

But what is interesting is the response of issued on her behalf.

A spokeswoman for Heinz Kerry later said, "This was sheer frustration aimed at a right-wing rag that has consistently and purposely misrepresented the facts in reporting on Mrs. Kerry and her family."

Interestingly enough, the spokeswoman couldn't be troubled to give one example of a misrepresented fact, or a response to the legitimate question asked of the Mozambique-born wife of the soon-to-be anointed Democrat candidate for President of the United States. And it is an important question, as it cuts to the heart of the attitude of the Democrats towards First Amendment protected political speech and freedom of the press.

Also interesting is the response of the presumptive 2008 candidate.

Asked about the exchange on CNN's American Morning, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday, "A lot of Americans are going to say, 'Good for you, you go, girl,' and that's certainly how I feel about it."

Apparently the Hildebeast (who will address the convention tonight, along with her husband, Billzebubba) has no respect for the media, most of which acts as lapdogs to the liberal Left. Independent voices are to be shouted down. I hope that she is wrong in her assessment, and that the American people have more respect for freedom of the press and the presence of diverse voices in the marketplace of ideas than the Democrats do.

I am particularly interested in a couple of points. First, no one seems concerned that the Foreigner cannot even remember what she said in a speech minutes before. Is this a sign of mental illness, drug or alcohol abuse, or dishonesty, or the arrogant belief that the "little people" have no right to question her?

Second, Democrats were particularly outraged when Dick Cheney directed an expletive towards Pat Leahy in what everyone admits was a private conversation. Where is their expression of outrage at the Alien's abuse of a member of the media at a public event -- and her return for a second round after the initial outburst. It appears calculated to me.

Third, no less than the NY Times expressed serious concern at Jenna Bush's act of silliness when she stuck her tongue out at reporters and photograhers while riding in the presidential limousine. There was discussion in grave tones of the negative manner in which this reflected on her father and his campaign. If such a normal act by a 22 year old is such a source for concern, will this apparently hysterical attack by a "woman of mature years" who has decades of political experience behind her be treated in a similar manner by the media?

By the way, Colin McNickle will be blogging at the Democrat Convention this week.

UPDATE: A tip of the hat to the fine folks at Southern Appeal for Joel's entry on this little affair. It links to Pittsburgh television station WTAE-TV's story on the incident. It contain's two items of note.

The first is a part of her speech to the Pennsylvania delegates.

"I remember a time when people in political parties in Pennsylvania talked to one another and actually got things done," said Heinz Kerry, whose first husband, Republican Sen. John Heinz of Pennsylvania, was killed in a plane crash in 1991. "We have to go back to those days when we can do things properly, for the people need it."

"My prayers for you, for me, for the country, for the world, are that we keep this at a high level, with dignity, with respect and with a great idealism and courage that took our forefathers to build this great nation," she said.

We see how long the dignity lasted on her part.

The second is the response of her husband, the presumptive nominee.

Kerry, speaking in Orlando, Fla., where he was to hold a town hall meeting Monday, told reporters, "I think my wife speaks her mind appropriately."

So apparently Kerry thinks that lying about the content of a just-completed speech and verbal abuse of a reporter for seeking a clarification of remarks is appropriate. How very telling.

It also contains the very classy statement issued by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

"Colin McNickle did just what any good reporter does -- he asked questions. And the question he posed in this instance was legitimate," said the statement by Editor Frank Craig. "The tape of Teresa Heinz Kerry's speech shows she used the word 'un-American,' even though she denied it. It is unfortunate that she ruined what was an otherwise good message by resorting to exactly the type of tactics she was criticizing."

Yep, that just about covers it.

|| Greg, 10:50 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Silencing of Dissent in Boston Leads to Lawsuits Against Ridge and Secret Service

The Christian Defense Coalition had the permits in hand for Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday nights. Their plans were to march to the site of their prayer vigil, bringing their pro-life message to the very door of Senator John F. Kerry. But the Secret Service stepped in and closed the public sidewalks of Boston to the group on Sunday, despite the city permits. The result is a lawsuit against Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge and the Secret Service, demanding that the First Amendment rights of the protesters be respected and their previously authorized protests be allowed to proceed.

These actions seem to be a part of a pattern which has developed in Boston, especially as it regards the diverse coalition of pro-lifers. Dissent is not allowed -- or at least not where it might embarrass the Democrats or make them uncomfortable. Protesters are limited to a fenced-off "free-speech zone", out of sight or hearing of delegates, the media, or the public.

Funny, I thought all of America was a free speech zone.

|| Greg, 10:30 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

National Certification? I Think Not!

I just thought I'd take a look at the "right-wig rag" that Teresa Heinz Kerry attacked. I found this article on national teacher certification, and thought I'd examine it for right-wing bias or attacks on the Heinz and Kerry families. I didn't find any. But I did find some interesting stuff.

Frankly, the article is something of a puff-piece for the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, which has developed and administers the program. Now on the one hand, I like this. Getting the government out of certification has the potential to improve matters. But I do not know that this is the right method -- especially since the hwole thing was developed though the use of a lot of federal grant money.

First, the process requires that a teacher already be experienced and working in the classroom. That means that they are already certified by the state (or more than one state, as I am). When you consider, for example, that my Texas certificate will never run out (I was grandfathered under the lifetime certification law before it was replaced -- I'm going to let the Illinois certificate lapse since I don't plan on returning), there really isn't an incentive for me to seek additional certification. And since I will STILL have to meet the requirements of any other state I might choose to move to, there seems to be no particular incentive there, either. The whole thing is redundant.

Second, there is the time involved. It takes THREE YEARS to complete the process. Good God! That tells you right there that the requirements are cumbersome, time-consuming, and more effort than most reasonable people are willing to deal with. I teach school during the day and my night class, plus do my day -to-day stuff around the house and try to maintain a good and loving marriage to a wife with health problems. Where, exactly, am I supposed to find the time to do this? It does not exist for most of us. And then you get to start all over again, since the certification is good for only 10 years.

Third is the cost, $2300. Even if you consider that grant money is out there, it will likely cost the average teacher over $1000 to get this certification. Given the level of teacher salaries in many states, that is impractical. And the return on the investment is minimal, as most districts do not offer much of a salary increase (if any) for those who do get the national certification.

Fourth, I've looked at the standards for my own field. Oh, and that link is to the summary, not the 84-page PDF document of the standards for the certificate. I love the little things like this

II. Valuing Diversity

Accomplished teachers understand that each student brings diverse perspectives to any experience. These teachers encourage all students to know and value themselves and others.

Sounds like more PC liberal gobbledygook to me, which I confirmed by reading the full explanation in the manual, written in typical Educational Bureaucratese.

No, I won't be seeking this certification -- even though I already do 90% of what the standards say I should. I'm more interested in teaching my students well than in getting another piece of paper to hang on my wall. And I will keep hoping for a better, more practical alternative to come down the road, one which will meet the needs of both students and teachers, in both the public and preivate sectors of education.

|| Greg, 10:26 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 25, 2004

Bias in Academia Leads to Ignorance in Classroom in Pittsburgh

A lot of newspapers participate in "Newspaper in Education" programs. The Houston Chronicle does locally. In Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review offers newspapers to schools for academic use.

That is where Community College of Allegheny County English instructors Vicki Doerr and Margaret S. McDermott enter the picture. The pair have strongly objected to the school accepting copies of the Tribune-Review because of its "bias" and "yellow-journalism". The paper would corrupt the minds of students, and cause significant long-term harm to the students.

Consider this gem from Doerr to a colleague who opposed her move to keep "right-wing views" from the classroom:

I agree with you fully that considering various points of view is most important. Unfortunately, the Tribune-Review is one-sided, and that is my complaint. A conscientious teacher would have to supplement it with another publication, and if conservatism is what one seeks, surely The Washington Post, Commentary, or The Economist, even National Review (magazine) would have better samples.

The Washington Post a bastion of conservatism??????????????? Talk about being out of contact with reality!

Will the school be using the paper in classes? It is hard to tell. But I hope that anyone who finds themselves in a class taught by one of these ladies flees to the Registrar's Office to request a schedule change. Staying in the class would jeopardize your educational balance.

|| Greg, 06:18 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Liberals Can't Blame Islam For Anything

Much talk has gone on in the last few days regarding the Sudanese genocide currently underway.

Waht I find interesting is the inability of the media to properly state what is happening. Muslim Arabs from the north are raping, torturing, and killing blacks from the southern part of the country -- Christian blacks -- with the full support and cooperation of the govenrnment. So, too, does Ted Byfield of the Calgary Sun.

This omission is not an oversight. It's a matter of deliberate policy. If terrorists murder several hundred people in a nightclub, or an office tower, or a theatre, and loudly proclaim, as they always do, that they're doing this for Allah, the news services will not describe them as "Muslim terrorists."

"We have to remember," says one liberal editor, "that one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist." More-over, to identify them as Muslims would reflect badly on the millions of law-abiding people in the western world who are Muslims and are not terrorists.

More to the point, Byfield continues,

The policy itself creates a journalistic fraud, and a dangerous one. It's not just that the reader is being inadequately informed. The reader is being misinformed.

What's going on in Sudan is a religious war. Yet it's being presented as a nationalistic one.

The Christians are identified as "rebels," the Muslims as "the government" or "the militia."

So the Guardian's policy automatically biases the story. Christian communities throughout the world are far more likely to sympathize and send help to their fellow- Christians than they are to a movement of "rebels," otherwise unidentified.

Spot on commentary. Good job!

|| Greg, 06:09 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Former Malaysian PM Declares Grad Students Property of the State

Well, here is one more way we are superior to every other country -- in the USA, we belong to ourselves (at least until the DNC gets its way). The former dictator of malaysia has a different way of viewing things.
Malaysian students abroad should be regarded as national intellectual property and countries that want to keep them should be made to pay compensation, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.

“It costs the Government a lot of money to send our students overseas. The foreign countries choose the best among our overseas graduates to work in their land.

"They should pay us for having taken away our graduates to work, since by right, their training and knowledge should be called intellectual property and we had paid for it,” said the former prime minister at Multimedia University's fifth convocation here Sunday.

|| Greg, 06:05 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Liberal Vandal Caught

Houston has been plagued by a liberal vandal for these last few weeks, armed with a stencil and a spray paint can. He has been tagging downtown and the University of Houston with his anti-Bush message for a couple of weeks now. The suspect, Jeffery Paul Cummings, is accused of doing $3000 worth of damage to buildings and walks at the UH main campus -- and is suspected of more damage to streets and buildings downtown.

This leads me to ask -- what is it with liberals and paint that leads them to do something so stupidly destructive? This guy. Anarchist taggers. The College Democrats back when I was at Illinois State University, who used exterior housepaint for their "Shadows of Nuclear War" demonstration because "since it is water-based it should wash right off with a hose." Do they truly believe that their right to free speech extends to destroying property that they do not own?

|| Greg, 05:38 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Democrat Convention Schedule -- Day 1

With thanks and acknowledgements to David H. Roberson and the fine folks at The Libertarian Enterprise.


Noon: Welcome and Call to Order—Terry McAuliffe

12:10 p.m.: Invocation—The Rev. Al Sharpton

12:15 p.m.: Luncheon Speech—"The Key to True Democracy: Fighting the Influence of Special Interests," by Sen. Ted Kennedy. (Special thanks to our luncheon sponsors, the AFL-CIO and the United Auto Workers.)

12:35 p.m.: Two Minutes Hate (Please watch the front telescreen in the convention hall.)

12:37 p.m.: Domestic Policy Address—"The Bush/Cheney Plan to Sell Us All as Slaves to Big Corporations," by Al Gore, rightful President of the United States

1 p.m.: Concurrent Educational Sessions—"Understanding the Constitution"

Conference Room A—"The Bill of Rights," by Sen. Charles Schumer. (Why the phrase "the people" means "the people" everywhere except in the Second Amendment, where "the people" means "the National Guard.")

Conference Room B—"Women's Rights," by Sen. Hillary Clinton. (Why "a woman's right to choose" applies only to abortion, and does not mean that a woman can choose what school her child attends, or how her government-mandated retirement funds are invested.)

Conference Room C—"The Right to Vote," by Rep. Rahm Emanuel. (With special focus on understanding the 2000 elections in Florida, where problems with a ballot approved by a Democratic election official in Florida's richest county prove decisively that Republicans stole the election by disenfranchising the poor, especially voters of color.)

2 p.m.: Two Minutes Hate

2:02 p.m.: International Affairs Address—"The Kerry/Edwards Team: Restoring World Respect to America," by Sen. Tom Daschle. (This exciting session will feature an endorsement of the Democratic candidates by Fidel Castro, via satellite from Havana; Jacques Chirac, via satellite from Paris; Kim Jong-il, via satellite from Pyongyang; and Osama bin Laden, via videotape from an undisclosed location.)

2:30 p.m.: Special Celebration of American Art and Culture (Courtney Love, 50 Cent, Michael Moore, and Howard Stern present a thrilling and inspiring performance exemplifying the very best America has to offer.)

3 p.m.: Foreign Policy Session—"War, Terrorism, and the Democratic Commitment to Protect America," introduced by Rep. Charles Rangel

3:05 p.m.—Roll Call of Democratic Military Heroes Throughout History, read by former General Wesley Clark

3:06 p.m.—"How to Stand Up Against Islamic Militants," by former President Jimmy Carter

3:30 p.m.—"A Multinational Approach to Fighting Terrorism: Following the Example of Spain and the Philippines," by Sen. Tom Daschle

4 p.m.: Two Minutes Hate

4:02 p.m.: Democratic Party Values Address: "Bush and the Religious Right: Apostles of Bigotry and Intolerance," by the Rev. Jesse Jackson

4:30 p.m.: Special Entertainment—"Death to Bush, the Imperialist Warmonger," original music performed by Sheryl Crow and the Dixie Chicks

4:35 p.m.: Afternoon Plenary—"Honoring Diversity: Acknowledging and Respecting the Variety of Views Within the Democratic Party," introduced by Sen. John Edwards

4:40 p.m.: "NAFTA, the Patriot Act, and the Iraq War: How They Threaten the Principles Valued by All Americans," by Sen. John Kerry

5:20 p.m.: "NAFTA, the Patriot Act, and the Iraq War: Why I Voted to Support These Important Efforts," by Sen. John Kerry

6:00 p.m.: Dinner Recess (Delegates may attend buffets in Conference Room A, B, or C. Special thanks to our dinner sponsors: Greenpeace, PETA, and the People's Republic of China.)

|| Greg, 10:02 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 24, 2004

Libs Don't Understand Free Speech

The First Amendment prohibits government censorship of speech. That is pretty clear to anyone that can read. Apparently that category does not include liberals, who seem to believe that speech may never carry a personal cost, and that refusal to subsidize speech with which one disagrees is censorship. I could point to Whoopi, Ronstadt, or the Dixie Chicks as examples of this phenomenon. Government did not act against them. The offended merely snapped shut their wallets and refused to use their dollars to support folks whose message they opposed.

Which leads us to Silver City, New Mexico. Matt Runnels of KNFT radio decided to run a one hour program called "Radio Free Silver". Runnels saw it as balance for the conservative shows he broadcast, shows featuring Limbaugh, Savage, and O'Reilly. For what it is worth, I think it might have even been a good idea.

Station listener Jason Dobrinski didn't like the show. When he learned that the station placed ads in any show, regardless of the political objections of the advertiser, he spoke out. Even though there was no organized boycott, 20 to 25 advertisers threatened to pull their advertising from the station if the show remained on the station. They objected to the fact that their ads might run in a show that did not reflect their views and might offend potential customers. Faced with the loss of $10,000 in advertising dollars each month and unable to find new advertisers, Runnels fired host Kyle Johnson and cancelled the show.

The reaction of those involved is interesting. Runnels says:

"It wasn't like [the show] was preaching anarchy," Runnels said. "If you don't like what you hear, push the button. There's a lot of programming out there."

Johnson, the fired host and communications director for the Interhemispheric Resource Center, is even more incensed:

Johnson said the opponents' point was "not to debate, not to dispute, not to assert their point of view," but rather to silence those who didn't agree. "That indicates the intolerance and their lack of any ability to understand another viewpoint or to respect anyone else's right."

Dobrinski, on the other hand, paints it as the triumph of individual freedom:

"What has really occurred is that many people, acting independently, have exercised their rights to free speech in voicing their dislike of the program," he wrote.

I'll side with Dobrinski on this one. What Runnels and Johnson both miss is that it is legitimate to oppose a point of view that one disagrees with. It is proper to withhold one's support from an entity with which one disagrees. Therefore none of these businesses is required to advertise on KNFT, especially given their policy of placing ads of unsuspecting advertisers in the offensive show. The station owner has to make the best economic decision at that point. Does he limp along hemorrhaging money, or does he get rid of the cause of that injury? If he wants to stay in business, he had better dump the problem and give the people what they want to hear. ANd if he is as bothered by Rush Limbaugh as he claims to be, he is more than free to replace him in that slot -- much to his economic peril.

Given the whining of Runnels and Johnson, I hope that the advertisers still drop KNFT. The attack on these Americans for choosing not to be associated with speech they object to is a much bigger offense against free speech than their threat to withhold their business from the station.

|| Greg, 11:49 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Clinton Edits In Brit Bio Imply a Lie

We all know about Bill Clinton's political fantasy, My Life, which has had brisk sales in the US. The British edition is now out, and the way it has been subtly edited is quite telling. What does it tell? That Bill Clinton lied about Ken Starr in the American edition of the book.

What sort of things have been done?

Most of the changes center on what Mr. Clinton portrays as Mr. Starr's attempts to persuade potential witnesses to lie about the activities of the former president and his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, now the junior senator from New York.

For example, in the United States edition, published by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House Inc., Mr. Clinton speaks of Mr. Starr's "continuing efforts to coerce people into making false charges against Hillary and me, and to prosecute those who refused to lie for him."

In the British edition, published by Hutchinson, also part of Random House Inc. and its German parent, Bertelsmann, the word false was deleted and the final clause was changed to "and to prosecute those who refused to tell him what he wanted to hear."

Why, you may ask, has the post-presidential prevaricator made these changes? Is the meaning of "is" different in England? Do the British define "sex" in some other manner than does the average American? The answer is simple -- British libel law. Clinton doesn't want to face a suit in which he must testify and which he will certainly lose.

Our British brethren have strikingly different libel laws. Not only does the Sullivan test not apply (public figures required to prove actual malice to win a libel case) like it does in the US, in England the burden is on the author to prove that the published information is true. Clinton knows that he cannot meet that burden because his statements are untrue. Therefore he has removed his accusations against Ken Starr.

In short, the fear of facing Ken Starr in open court has again cause Bill Clinton to admit that he is a liar. Perhaps we need a class action suit to bring justice to all those who believed they were buying a non-fiction book when they purchased the American edition of My Life. Paging John Edwards!

|| Greg, 12:34 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dems Close Down Businesses, First Amendment Rights In Boston

Mark F. Pasquale owns Halftime Pizza, just across from the Fleet Center in Boston. He had hoped to make some money off the Democrat Convention -- but discovered that delegates will be fed by special interest groups during the convention, effectively cutting out the small business owners in the neighborhood from any share of the convention dollar. More infuriating to this Republican, restrictions on pedestrian and vehicle traffic will make it impossible to conduct his regular business. That means that the economic impact of the convention will be red ink for one of the closest businesses to the convention venue, since he is being forced to close.

His response in the best tradition of the First Amendment, is a protest banner -- 24 feet long and 4 feet high. It reads "Say DNC Thanks for Nothing! Go Bush." Now the city of Boston has cited him for hanging an unlicensed banner and covering a door that is always locked and gated. Pasquale is one of a dozen businessmen so cited in the neighborhood.

It strikes me that we have a classic violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution here. This is not commercial speech, subject to government regulation. It is political speech, directed at the activities and actions of one of the major political parties as it nominates its presidential candidate. As such, the citation appears invalid on its face.

The Massachusetts GOP has expressed support for Pasquale, who indicates the sign will stay up and he will fight the citations. Are there any Boston lawyers out there who are interested in fighting for the little guy?

|| Greg, 11:52 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

NYTimes -- Exercise of Constitutional Power Undermines Constitution!

The House of Representatives has passed legislation removing cases involving gay marriage from the jurisdiction of the federal courts. This, opines the editorial staff of the New York Times, is "an outrage," and threatens the rights of every member of any minority group. They also go to great lengths to associate the action with racist Democrats during the civil rights era (though they do not, to be sure, note that the opponents of civil rights were Democrats).

What they do not say is that the move is unconstitutional. It is not. The relevant case is Ex Parte McCardle, 74 US (7 Wall.) 506 (1869). In it, the Supreme Court explicitly acknowledged the ability of the Congress to limit the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court (and of the complete jurisdiction of the lower federal courts). For a substantive analysis of the case and the validity of such an exclusion, consider this article by William W. Van Alstyne in the Arizona Law Review (15 Ariz. L. Rev. 229 (1973)).

What would be the outcome? Each state court system could decide on the matter of the constitutionality of the federal DOMA and the legality of homosexual marriage (and validity of those performed in another state) within its borders, but there would be no national precedent. This would provide what advocates of homosexual marriage claim they support: that no state will be forced to accept homosexual marriages in defiance of its own laws. Why, then, are advocates for homosexual marriage so outraged that Congress is acting to guarantee what they have said they support? Could it be that this reveals their real agenda -- forced recognition of homosexual marriage everywhere via the decision of a handful of unelected judges, despite the opposition of the majority of Americans?

|| Greg, 10:49 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 23, 2004

Clinton Administration Official Arrested

No, not Sandy Berger, though he probably outght to be sent to Guantanamo Bay for his theft of documents.

This time it is Hazel O'Leary, former Energy Secretary who was recently named president of Fisk University.

Seems Hazel's plane was diverted due to bad weather, and then delayed on the tarmac. Her response? Cause a scene on the plane and attempt to enter the cockpit to demand that she be allowed off of the plane.

What I love is the difference in viewpoints between Hazel and the flight crew.


"I regret the unfortunate misunderstanding that occurred," she said in a statement. "The situation was resolved. At no time was I rude or disrespectful to anyone."

Flight Crew:

The United Airlines crew told police that O'Leary was "getting loud and abusive" after the flight was diverted to Richmond, Va., because of storms Thursday night, said Cpl. Frank Donkle of the Richmond International Airport Police.
A flight attendant restrained O'Leary when she tried to get into the cockpit, Donkle said, and she was escorted off the Nashville-to-Washington flight and questioned by the FBI.

The sad thing is that no charges seem to have been filed, despite the fact that the FBI had to intervene to remove her from the plane and question her. We would be rotting in a hole somewhere.

|| Greg, 11:45 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 22, 2004

I Have NO IDEA What To Make Of This

The Houston Chronicle reports
Five teenage boys are under investigation in the shooting of two other boys with a pellet gun at a vacation Bible school, Montgomery County Sheriff's deputies said Wednesday.

Neither victim was seriously injured in the July 15 attack.

Deputies said four of the boys are accused of blocking doors at The Fellowship of The Woodlands while the fifth fired the air gun at the victims while quoting Bible verses

Really, I have no idea.

|| Greg, 11:51 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Challenge of National Myths, Part II

Spain, as most educated folks know, spent some eight centuries occupied (in whole or in part) by the Moors, Muslim invaders from North Africa. Since 844, the patron saint of Spain has been St. James the Moor Slayer (not to be confused with Buffy the Vampire Slayer), who is said to have appeared during a battle to spur n the Spanish troops. Many Spanish churches have statues of St. James, surrounded by dead Muslims to commeorate the event -- not exactly the most ecumenical move. Terrorist fears following the 3/11 bombing in Madrid led church officials at the the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela to decide to remove the statue from the premises. Public outrage has caused the decision to be reversed. Apparently the Spanish are not prepared to surrender their faith as quickly as they surrendered their governemnt following the attacks.

|| Greg, 11:34 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Challenge of National Myths, Part I

I love The King and I. I have ever since I was a teenager, when I was blessed to see Yul Brenner in the a revival of the play during the late 1970s. I became fascinated with that fascinating figure, King Mongkut/Rama IV. As a prince, he is credited with the discovery of the three-foot tall stone obelisk known as "Inscription One". It allegedly dates to the reign of King Ramkhamkaeng. Now a British scholar, Michael Wright seeks to debunk that claim, alleging that the monument is, in fact, a forgery made at the command of Mongkut. This has caused an uproar in Thailand, and there is talk of criminal charges being filed. Wright and Thai colleague Piriya Krairiksh, the director of the Centre for Thai Literary Studies at Thammasat University, have also been ritually cursed
Residents of Sukhothai gathered to protest at a statue of King Ramkhamkaeng amid the ruins of his capital. In imitation of a ceremony described in the inscription, they rang a bell to attract the king's attention and told him of their grievances. They then carried out a cursing ritual, burning chillies and salt and the names of the two men written on scraps of paper.

All-in-all, I would find that preferable to a Katie Couric interview.

|| Greg, 10:08 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 21, 2004

Stop enforcement of non-existent laws!

Photographers around the country are being harassed by police and Homeland Security officials for violating the law against photographing government buildings and facilities. One slight problem -- there is no such law. This isn't about national security -- it is more a sign of paranoia on the part of a few law enforcement folks. Frankly, there are lots of places open to the public which provide a wide-open view of sensitive facilities. I live less than two miles from a sensitive industrial area, and cross the Houston Ship Channel daily. I could be to Johnson Space Center in less than fifteen minutes -- under ten if I just slip on my sandals and catch every traffic signal. All these places can be observed from public streets and parks, and easily photographed. What's more, there isn't anything particularly suspicious about doing so, absent some other thing to flag the activity. To harass people for taking pictures in public places is absurd.

|| Greg, 09:36 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 18, 2004

OK -- Here's the Trial Details

We finished up the case Friday, after about two weeks of testimony and arguments. And there was much rejoicing. At least among us jurors, and perhaps by the defendant, his family, and his lawyer. The plaintiff, needless t say, was somewhat less pleased by the outcome. Oh -- you want to know what the case was about. Try here, then here. Upon reflection, there are a number of things I could say about the case. First, I believe Barbara Markham got screwed when she was fired by the Chambers County Narcotics Task Force. I believe that her boss, later fired for his own wrong-doing and eventually jailed for still more, wanted to clear her out because she "knew where the bodies were buried." That said, I didn't see either of her underlying claims of sex discrimination or whistle blower retaliation as particularly valid. The evidence arguably suggested that she committed the act for which she was fired (perhaps accidentally), trivial though it was. That act (reloading computer games on task force computers) probably doesn't justify firing, but does provide cover for firing an employee in Texas, which is an "employment at will" state. That said, I understood Blair Brininger's strategy of following a path that would lead to mediation. He didn't have a lot to work with, so he made an attempt to get his client what he could. He saw mediation as the best way to get his client the best result. He also planned on a "trial by ambush" strategy if they did get into court, taking only one deposition (despite client suggestions) and holding all witness testimony until the time of trial, so that he might be able to surprise the lawyer for Chambers County with evidence she could not rebut. Both elements are acceptable strategy in the legal community. Still, I think he should have taken depositions from every single cop Barbara suggested as a witness. After all, cops regularly die in the line of duty (Blair looked like that thought had never crossed his mind before when I mentioned that to him after the trial was over). Did Barbara hear a threat of criminal prosecution during the first mediation session? I think she probably did, but that this was subjective interpretation on her part and not what an objective observer would have heard. That said, she eventually signed a settlement after negotiating some changes and waited nearly four weeks to even begin to raise the issue. It makes it hard to believe that she was really all that intimidated -- she is one tough cookie. I understand Blair's refusal to raise the issue with the Court, though I disagree with it. And since he still had a contract permitting him to direct legal strategy and decide how to proceed, I understand his decision. Had I been Barbara Markham, I would have fired Blair Brininger at this point. Correction. I would have fired him when he didn't take the depositions the previous fall. But for all her talk with other lawyers and voluminous email correspondence with Blair, she didn't do so. She gave him her documents and authorized sending them in exchange for the settlement check. He sent them, shortly before she changed her mind again. And so he completed the process by accepting a settlement check his client no longer wanted and followed bar association rules by depositing it in a trust account (where the money still sits today, five years later). Barbara finally fired Blair two weeks later. Quite bluntly, I came to the conclusion that there were multiple "right ways" to handle this case, and that Blair Brininger used one of them. He got a sure result, but not the best outcome available. And I believe he and Barbara Markham were never on the same page as to what would be accomplished by a "file purge" of the charges against her. The result was an unhappy client who never embraced the settlement, never fully followed its terms, and who was certain to be unhappy when she didn't feel she had gotten justice (probably the thing she values most highly in this world). That has led to a couple of additional suits involving Chambers County, a renegotiated settlement agreement on better terms (with a different attorney) and this suit. But in the end I just couldn't find it to be malpractice, though I was one of those who began the deliberations siding with Barbara and against Blair. My impression of the parties? I think Barbara Markham has what it takes to be a good cop, and I hope she can get back into the field. I think Blair Brininger is not the guy I would want to litigate for me in most matters, with the exception of the ERISA cases that are his specialty. I'd hire either of their attorneys, but won't tell you which I'd call first. And as for our judge, Tad Halbach, I'll definitely support his reelection, and also any pursuit of higher judicial office. I was very impressed. But I'm glad it is over.

|| Greg, 02:14 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 11, 2004

He May Have The Name, But He Lacks The Principles

Less than two months after the death of the most popular GOP president since. . . well, ever, Ron Reagan will tarnish his father's memory by addressing the Democrat Convention in Boston. The younger Reagan will call for the resumption of fetal stem-cell research.
"The conservative right has a rather simplistic way of characterizing it as baby killing. We're not talking about fingers and toes and brains. This is a mass of a couple hundred undifferentiated cells."

He also indicated he will support Kerry or "any viable candidate who can defeat Bush."

From a journalistic standpoint, there are two items of note in the last sentence. The first is the identification of Michael Reagan, the late president's oldest son, as an evangelical despite the fact that Ron Reagan's religious leanings are nowhere mentioned in the article. The second is a bald-faced lie about Michael Reagan's position on stem-cell research. As he points out in his article, "I'm With My Dad on Stem Cell Research," Michael Reagan supports research on adult stem-cells, based upon the best available scientific research on both types of research. And he also quotes his father on the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception:

"My administration is dedicated to the preservation of America as a free land and there is no cause more important for preserving that freedom than affirming the transcendent right to life of all human beings, the right without which no other rights have any meaning."

Perhaps Ron should honor his father by heeding his words.

|| Greg, 11:23 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

ICJ Declaration: No Right To Defend Against Terror!

One detail little noted in the uproar over the ICJ's decision on the Israeli self-defense fence -- the decision limits a nation's right to defend itself to attacks by other nations. Response to attacks by non-state actors across international borders are forbidden without the express permission of the UN Security Council. In doing so, the ICJ has rewritten Article 51 of the UN Charter.

Thus, even the US pursuit of Osama bin Laden is suspect under the ICJ's bizarre revision of Article 51, which authorizes response "if an armed attack occurs".

Sounds like one more reason to end our membership, cut our funds, and boot the UN right out of the US.

|| Greg, 11:15 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Bush DIDN'T Lie -- Wilson & Plame Did

We've all heard the denunciations of President Bush as a liar by former Ambassador and Clinton appointee Joseph Wilson. He has repeatedly claimed that his report on Iraqi attempts to buy "yellowcake" uranium from Niger disproved the story, and that the administration knew -- or should have known -- that the British report that Bush relied upon in the 2003 State of the Union address was wrong.

The only problem is that Wilson's charges are false. Not only that, but his report to the CIA bolstered the case for most intelligence analysts.

More damning still is the obvious falsehood of his statements that his wife, CIA employee Veronica Plame, had nothing to do with the decision to send him to investigate. According to the Washington Post,

The report states that a CIA official told the Senate committee that Plame "offered up" Wilson's name for the Niger trip, then on Feb. 12, 2002, sent a memo to a deputy chief in the CIA's Directorate of Operations saying her husband "has good relations with both the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity." The next day, the operations official cabled an overseas officer seeking concurrence with the idea of sending Wilson, the report said.

Wilson also claimed that during his investigation, which mostly consisted of sipping mint tea on verandas with VIPs and government officials from Niger, convinced him that the names and dates were wrong on certain documents later determined to be forgeries. One small problem -- the documents were not in US hands until eight months after the Niger trip, and Wilson had never seen them or been briefed on them.

I guess that just goes to show who the liars are when it comes to national security.

|| Greg, 03:55 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dead Chihuahua Trumps Presidential Candidate

Now I haven't made much attempt to hide my intention to vote for George W. Bush this November. After all, I am a Republican Precinct Chair here in Harris County, Texas, and I prefer him to the crew that would slither in along with John Kerry. That said, I wouldn't mind another viable choice, and I find Libertarian Party candidate Michael Badnarik to be an interesting fellow.

And he certainly deserves more coverage than a drowned chihuahua.

And thanks to the blog at

|| Greg, 02:35 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

President reinvited to NAACP

NAACP president Crazy N'Fuming has reinvited President Bush to speak at the NAACP convention in Baltimore.
"I'm hoping the president will change his mind," Mfume said. "We think democracy is enhanced by having both candidates here."

The NAACP head also pointed out that Bush was warmly received at the 2000 convention.

I still think the President should boycott the proceedings. Why? because despite Kweisi Mfume's call to "get over" the strained relations with the group, it is hard to forget some minor details like
1) NAACP "voter education" ads featuring James Byrd's daughter which denigrated the candidate for refusing to sign a hate crimes bill -- while the sounds of a truck dragging shains was heard in the background. It left out the fact that two of Byrd's killers received the death penalty, while the third (who testified against the others) received a life sentence.

2) NAACP propagation of false accusations of disenfranchising blacks against the president and his brother following the 2000 election.

3) Regular outbursts by NAACP officials against the president, defaming him in the most scurrilous of terms, such as NAACP Chairman Julian Bond's statements that the president had "appeased the wretched appetites of the extreme right wing, and he picked Cabinet officials whose devotion to the Confederacy is nearly canine in its uncritical affection."

Besides, on what legitimate basis should he appear before an organization that claims to represent an ethnic group that gave him a mere 9% of the vote in the 2000 election? That ethnic group is "out of play", and will continue to be as long as leaders insist that a president who has placed more blacks in senior positions than any in history is unconcerned about including blacks in the political process.

UPDATE: Bond was at it again in his speech this year

"They preach racial neutrality and practice racial division," Bond said Sunday night in the 95th annual convention's keynote address. "They've tried to patch the leaky economy and every other domestic problem with duct tape and plastic sheets. They write a new constitution of Iraq and they ignore the Constitution here at home."

And they wonder why Bush had no interest in speaking. Maybe it is time for the NAACP to put Julian Bond behind it.

|| Greg, 02:19 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 10, 2004

Vets to Dorgan: Apologize!

Senator Byron Dorgan willingly acted as a useful idiot in Michael "Jabba the Hutt" Moore's movie, Farenheit 9/11. Now two constituents who served the United States in Iraq want an apology for his service to Saddam and Osama.

Dorgan appeared in the film asking questions about who authorized the departure of bin Laden family members and other Saudis in the days following the terrorist attack on our country.

"Not only will I not apologize for asking these questions, I intend to continue to ask them at every opportunity," Dorgan said in a statement. "The American people deserve to know."

Bin Laden praised the attacks, and 15 of the 19 people who took part were Saudis. Dorgan said he wants to know who gave permission for the flights to depart.

"I'm not alleging any kind of conspiracy," Dorgan said. "I think this is an example of gross incompetence by some in our government, and I want to know who's accountable."

Unfotunately for Dorgan, the answer has already come out. Richard Clarke, a Bush critic and Moore hero, admits that he authorized the departures after the FBI interviewed those leaving and gave each individual clearance to depart. The filmmaker neglected to put that acknowledgement of responsibility in his film, despite its availability during the period when the film was being made.

|| Greg, 06:30 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 09, 2004

MIA -- Jury Duty

You folks may have noticed that I haven't been around this week. No, I'm not secretly John Edwards bloging as a conservative -- I got picked for jury duty for a two week long (we hope) civil trial. And with just a pinch of irony, it is in the 333rd State District Court. I'll tell you more next week, after the case is over.

And yes, I have time-stamped this so it is on top.

|| Greg, 11:59 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Congressman Threatens Archbishop!

I think the time has come for formal excommunications. Bell book and candle, the whole nine yards. I say this after reading a news report indicating that Congressman William Lacy Clay (D-MO) stated in an interview that:
I think Archbishop Burke has gone too far; he is now delving into politics. Perhaps the Catholic Church should surrender their 501-C status.

So there we have it. Attempting to enforce the moral teachings among members of a church is going too far, and grounds for lifting tax-exempt status. All Archbishop Burke has said is that the protection of human life is so crucial to Catholic teaching that failure to uphold that teaching is a serious sin that merits the denial of the Church's sacraments. That is his obligation as a bishop, and any attempt by the government to interfere with that is a violation of the First Amendment.

But Clay doesn't care. He says he intends to block the communion line if a priest has the audacity to refuse communion to him, a congressman, on the dirction of a mere archbishop. He claims that the Church is out of step. Unfortunately, that view means that Clay is out of step with the Church.

Clay's implicit threat is clear. The archbishop should start the excommunications with him.

|| Greg, 08:18 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Ditka for Senate!

The leftists in the media did-in the GOP's Senate candidate with a no-sex scandal, but they may have gotten more than they expected in return. A grassroots movement has begun to promote the candidacy of Mike Ditka, former player and coach for the Chicago Bears. He has name recognition and the affection of folks in all parts of the state. And more to the point, he has been active in GOP politics for a number of years. He was already being touted as a candidate for state GOP chair, but the current situation may have made it critical for him to step into a larger role, one that only "Iron Mike" can fill at this critical time in the Land of Lincoln.

For more info:

|| Greg, 07:38 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Leftists Degrade Wounded Vet in Parade -- Organizer Justifies It

Baby killer!


Those were the words that greeted Jason Gilson as he marched in the Fourth of July parade on Washington State's Bainbridge Island carrying a sign that read "Veterans for Bush." He was booed and insulted by the crowd, and verbally degraded by the parade announcer.

The response of the parade organizer?

I'm sure it wasn't so much directed at the kid as it was the president. A soldier with a sign represents that.

I'll be staying far away from Washington, as it represents the nadir of Kerry's America.

And since the leftists find such stuff acceptable, I'll be making up my "Kerry is a War Criminal" sign

UPDATE: I love it when a little light shed on the situation gets apologies from the wrong-doers.

|| Greg, 07:18 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Welcome to John Kerry's America!

The Kerry/Edwards ticket raised itself and the DNC over $7 million in cash last night at a star-studded fundraiser. It was also profanity-laced, as the candidates and their wives laughed it up when Whoppi Goldberg launched into an act in which she made repeated reference to President Bush and female genitalia. Others accused the president of hostility to Hispanics and treason for his tax cuts. At the end of the event, Kerry stated that
"every performer tonight ... conveyed to you the heart and soul of our country."
I don't know about you, but those are not the heart and soul of MY America!

UPDATE: Neither the candidates nor their campaign have found it necessary to apologize for the slime-fest. The campaign also refuses to release a tape of the event to the media, despite repeated requests to do so. But in an another amazing flip-flop (a Kerry trait), spokeswoman Marry Beth Cahill has said

"It is not what Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards would say and they don't approve of some of the comments that have been made."

|| Greg, 06:54 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Six Conservative Principles

The House Republican leaders have issued members a wallet-size card containing six principles of conservatism that should guide them in considering legislation. They emphasize that these points undergird the philosophy of the "Goldwater-Reagan" wing of the party that has prevailed over the last four decades. All legislation should be evaluated based upon whether it would
• Tend to reduce government regulations, size of government, eliminate entitlements, or unnecessary programs. • Promote individual responsibility in spending, or reduce taxes or fees. •Encourage responsible behavior by individuals and families and encourage them to provide for their own health, safety, education, moral fortitude, or general welfare. •Increase opportunities for individuals or families to decide, without hindrance or coercion from government, how to conduct their own lives and make personal choices. •Enhance the traditional American family and its power to rear children without excessive interference from the government. •Enhance American security without unduly burdening civil liberty.

Would that they would follow these principles.

|| Greg, 03:40 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Kerry/Edwards -- A ticket that looks like ultra-liberal America

In a move that surprised few, billionaire white giggolo John Kerry picked multi-millionaire white trial lawyer John Edwards to be his running mate for the fall election.

No blacks, women, Asians, women, or individuals with disabilities were considered for the position and the only Hispanic under consideration bowed out of the running early (perhaps because he knew he was not a factor).

And yet we keep being told that the Democrats are the party of inclusion.

|| Greg, 03:14 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 05, 2004

Defense of Marriage Act? What Defense of Marriage Act?

I almost skipped over this story when I saw the headline. After all, we all knew that some homosexual couple would file suit to force the recognition of their Massachusetts marriage outside the borders of that state. That is how liberals operate -- if the voters and the legislature won't give it to them, they bypass the democratic process and go to court to obtain the heretofore unobtainable. That has been what happened every step of the way in this battle, and a large part of why the movement for gay marriage has no legitimacy.

But then I saw this little gem, part way down the page:

Katy, an FBI agent, said she has already used her marriage license to obtain medical benefits for Kristin under her health plan at work. With the dangerous nature of her work, Katy, 40, also rushed to have Kristin, 38, listed as her beneficiary on her life insurance and pension.


Don't we have the Defense of Marriage Act? Isn't it federal law and federal policy that marriage is a heterosexual thing only? How on earth has this woman been able to obtain her putative spouse benefits through her job as an FBI agent? What action has been taken to deal with this situation in which an FBI agent appears to be flouting the law by obtaining benefits for someone not legally entitled to them?

I guess this is one more reason for passing the Federal Marriage Amendment -- to keep folks in fraudulent marriages from fraudulently obtaining benefits for their significant other.

|| Greg, 07:02 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Post-Dispatch: Abortion trumps religious mission, academic freedom

A couple of weeks back, I blogged here and here about the decision of Catholic University of America to deny recognition to a campus chapter of the NAACP due in part to the parent organization's support for abortion. Well, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has decided to weigh in on the decision in an editorial.

I'll give you one guess as to which side they favor.

And that's fine, since there are certainly good arguments out there for recognizing the group, even though I think the better ones are on the side of refusing recognition. But as the editorial points out,

A university is supposed to be a place where students are exposed to and are allowed to explore ideas, including unpopular ones that might be at variance with the values of the university itself.

I can agree with this. Students should explore those ideas, and decide for themselves whether or not to embrace them. And no doubt they are explored in the classrooms of Catholic University. That is a hallmark of academic freedom, something that Catholic University has long been noted for protecting. It may be the only educational institution officially sponsored by the Catholic hierarchy in this country, but that does not make it parochial in the sense of being narrowly focused.

The editorial goes on to say that

Catholic universities have every right to weigh moral issues in the context of church teachings.

Gee, that's right neighborly of them to concede that the same First Amendment that permits them to publish this piece of trash on their editorial page alows Catholics and their institutions the right to exercise religious freedom in the context of discussions of morality.

But the very next sentence is where they whipsaw us with this gem:

But that shouldn't mean making abortion a litmus test for deciding which student organizations and speakers will gain approval from school officials.

In other words, say what you want, but don't you dare act like you mean it. The writer argues it is mandatory that school money and resources be used to bring in speakers and sponsor organizations which contradict the mission of the univerity. In short, Catholic University shouldn't behave like it is Catholic!

Of course, the conclusion of the editorial makes it clear that the liberal Sacrament of Abortion trumps all else, pontificating that

Women should and do have the right to safe abortions. That's the law. It's a right that no university or church can take away or should be afraid to debate within its walls.

The Post-Dispatch has spoken ex cathedra. All must give assent.

|| Greg, 12:04 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A bad idea whose time is past

So they want to try for a flag burning amendment. Bad idea. It's not that I am not sympathetic to the sentiments expressed by the supporters of the amendment, but I think they miss some key points.

First, most flags are private property. As such, an owner has a virtually unfettered right to modify his or her flag in any way he or she desires, or to destroy it outright. The amendment strikes at the heart of the ownership interest of every flag-owner. The courts have already held that one can punish someone for burning a stolen flag, both for theft and vandalism.

More importantly, the flag is hardly the thing folks fought and died for. Soldiers swear to defend the Constitution, not the flag. It is the Constitution that is at the heart of what it means to be an American, not the flag. Similarly, the Declaration ofIndependence more truly represents what America is. But I see no great uproar to protect either of those.

Flag burning is a trivial problem. Just ignore the folks who do it and we'll be fine.

|| Greg, 11:43 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 04, 2004

A Quick Note

I'm making sure this post goes at the top of the page because I never thought to do what I will do today. I'm about to blog several stories out of one paper, and no place else. And no, it isn't my local paper, the Houston Chronicle. Nor is it a "national" paper like the New York Times, Washington Post, or LA Times. It is the St. Louis Post-Dispatch


It is just that some days there are so many stories in one paper that strike my fancy on the topics that concern me. They are all about one of my driving passions. And all (with one exception -- I'll note it) are in today's paper, linked from either the front page or the op-ed page. More to the point, they are all GOOD articles to write about.

So here goes!

|| Greg, 04:37 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Right result, faulty reasoning -- on the part of the editorialist

The concluding paragraph got it right when it praised Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia:
What is reassuring, though, is that in the term just completed, the justices were able to put principle ahead of politics as they charted a course through turbulent times.

Unfortunately, that was the only thing the editorialist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch got right in this editorial.

After all, the editorial takes a slap at the 7-2 decision in Bush v. Gore that held that the Florida recount ordered by the Supreme Court of Florida (SCOFLA) was too constitutionally flawed to continue. Apparently the editorialist prefers a recount in which the standard for counting a vote varies from county to county within the state and from table to table within the counting room.

And there is also the labeling of abortion as a "basic right" despite the fact that it took nearly two centuries for it to be discovered by the Supreme Court. Even then the justices who decided Roe v. Wade couldn't agree on why abortion was a fundamental right and where it was found in the constitution, much less how it could have been consistently overlooked from the time of the Founders until January 22, 1973. The decision in the case is generally conceded to be among the worst in the history of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).

What the editorialist does not understand is that the two justices praised are possibly the two most consistently principled SCOTUS justices today. While Scalia's "originalist" views and Thomas' "textualism" may put these justices outside the mainstream of the editorial committees of the left-wing media, they are both judicial philosophies which hold as their bright-shining principle that the Constitution means what it says. It is the more liberal wing of SCOTUS that flies far afield, unmoored to any fixed principle upon which it can rely.

But since the editorialist only likes Scalia and Thomas (and, one would presume, Chief Justice Rehnquist) when their decisions are in accord with the ACLU view of the world, I'm inclined to believe that the editorialist cared not a whit for principle.

|| Greg, 03:31 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Who runs the schools, if not the board?

This article about the schools in Dupo, Illinois caught my eye, since it is also from my old neck of the woods. Now I don't really have a dog in this fight, because I'm a long way away and am ambivalent about out-sourcing support services.

Then why am I writing about it? Well, it is because of two little nuggets, packed right together in the middle of the article:

School Board President Brian Thompson confirmed that the board had gone out for a bid, but he was not allowed to provide any more details on the subject. He also stated that seeking a bid was not the board's wish, but he would not comment on where that decision came from.

Really, Mr. Thompson? The elected board of the district didn't want to seek bids, but they are being sought anyway? Whose idea was it? Who authorized it? Why didn't the board stop it if seeking such bids is not in line with the wishes of the board? And why can't you provide any further details? You are the elected president of the board -- one of the people who is responsible for running the district! Who is running the show in the district ifnot you and your fellow board members?

"Everything's in negotiations and there is a media blackout on negotiations. When everything has been negotiated then everyone will get to vote, including them, on a settlement," said Superintendent Michael Koebel, as he motioned toward the protesting crowd.

Hold on. A media blackout? By whose orders? And what exactly is being negotiated? I thought you were only seeking bids. Sounds to me like you are already setting up a contract, and that a decision has already been made to let the contract. Is that the case? If so, who made that decision? And what kind of settlement are we talking about here? With whom? We've gone from bids to negotiations to settlements. And by the way -- since when do the voters of the district get to vote on contracts let by the district. Last time I checked, they only got to vote on bond issues, not day-to-day operational decisions.

Sounds to me like there is a fast one being pulled on the people of the Dupo School District. I hope they keep up the good work, and hold these folks accountable.

|| Greg, 02:59 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Schools try to stop perverts, but some just "pass the trash"

I've talked about child abuse and other sex-related misbehavior on this site before. When I commented on the Shakestaff study last week, I expressed my concern about it giving rise to a hysteria akin to what we have seen with regard to priests. Carolyn Bower's article doesn't reassure me. It includes examples in which teachers are simply allowed to resign to move to another district, and districts not checking up on the employment history of newly hired teachers. And it includes this little nugget:
The practice of allowing a school district employee accused of sexual misconduct to resign to take a job in another district is known among school officials as "passing the trash." The practice can perpetuate sexual harassment or abuse in schools.

The article then goes on to quote a lawyer for several districts, who claims that schools don't do this -- anymore. At least not in the last 10 years. We're then told that there are procedures in case to revoke teacher certification without a conviction, or even the filing of criminal charges.

I guess I still feel concerned. Both for victimized students, and for fellow teachers falsely accused.

|| Greg, 02:33 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Closed schools left to vandals; books, equipment, and student records abandoned

Some days you want to scream at the stupidity, waste, and irresponsibility of school district administrators. This story from St. Louis certainly provokes such a reaction from me.

The description of Lowell Elementary School makes the incompetence of those responsible for the mothballing of the school quite obvious:

Though the entire school is in disarray, the epicenter of the destruction at Lowell seems to be the art room. There, vandals found jugs of paint and splattered the contents around the building. The windows in one classroom have been painted black. Another room has a message on the chalkboard, "Save our Schools." Next to it is the date "July 15, 2003," the day the School Board voted to close Lowell.

A soda machine in the teachers lounge lies on its side. "They worked really hard at that one," Sirna says, eyeing the hacked machine. "Pepsi probably wants their machine back."

The closed schools were supposed to be cleaned out before they were locked up. It's clear the process stopped. Hundreds of books - encyclopedias, science texts, a collection of the Oedipus plays - lie abandoned.

Sirna says the bags of trash in the hallways are the work of district custodians who collected the garbage but never took it out of the building.

Perhaps most startling of what remains are file cabinets full of student records, some of which have been dumped on the floor of the former school office. One form is part of a student's special education learning plan. It shows he is "mildly mentally retarded," and has his Social Security number, phone number and mother's home address.

So let's look at the problems.

1. Confidential student records -- required by law to be stored in a place both secure and accessible to the students' current schools -- were left abandoned and unsecured. Right there you have several thousand violations of laws related to special education, student health, and other issues, all in one school.

2. School supplies were not removed. Why weren't books and other supplies taken to the nearest appropriate school, or even to a central supply warehouse, so that they could be used rather than destroyed? How many hundreds of thousands of dollars were left behind to rot?

3. Why weren't bags of trash taken out? It sounds to me like there was no supervision of the process of closing each school down.

4. The schools were given alarms, but those were quickly bypassed. According to the article, the schools were largely ignored from July to November. Why were they not better monitored? What is being done to liquidate this real estate? How much value was lost by allowing the deterioration of these properties?

5. When the problem was discovered, why did no one take sufficient action to deal with the above problems?

The Board just closed down five more schools in St. Louis, and vows to do a more thorough job. But what about Lowell and the other schools closed with it last summer?

|| Greg, 02:09 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Priests support Archbishop Burke, face challenge

We've heard a lot about Archbishop Raymond Burke in recent weeks. After all, he is the archbishop who explicitly denied John Kerry communion in his archdiocese. He has also indicated that those who vote for pro-abortion politicians would sin by doing so.

Liberals, of course, have been outraged. But many of his priests are supportive, though faced with pastoral challenges. The folks in the pews are concerned -- especially since the president's position on allowing abortion in cases of rape and incest is not completely pure from a Catholic perspective. Some wonder if they can vote for any presidential candidate without sinning. Seems to me that the priests of the diocese have their work cut out of them between now and the election -- and beyond. It is a matter of suplying good moral formation.

I was very nearly ordainded for the diocese just across the river from St. Louis. I actually looked at studying for the Archdiocese, so I have thought about this a lot. If I were one of these priests, the issue would an easy one. Some political positions are so far outside the bounds of moral acceptability that a vote for a candidate who takes sucha position is objectively sinful. One could never morally vote for a candidate who supported a return to slavery. One could never legitimately back a candidate who one knew favored genocide without sinning gravely, regardless of how good the rest of his positions were. Support for the status quo on abortion falls into the same category -- it is a sin to knowingly vote for a candidate who supports it if there is another option available. That is even more true if one embraces that candidate (even in part) because of that support for the abortion status quo.

But what about the situation in which there is no completely pro-life candidate? The answer, then is equally simple. One must cast the vote that is most likely to reduce the number of abortions. One has an obligation to try to stop evil in its tracks, and in such a clear-cut case there could be little moral doubt on how to vote.

|| Greg, 01:47 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 03, 2004

A plea to vote Democrat

I found this posted at Chasing the Wind and thought I would share. Seems to be the most effecive case I have seen made for a Kerry vote.
Dear Voters:

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak my mind. I lost my job this past year.

When Clinton was president, I worked in a prosperous enterprise. But in the last year, we had to close our operations.

Far worse, I lost two of my sons in Bush’s evil war in Iraq. They gave their lives for their country, and for what? My pain of losing my sons is indescribable.

While it is trivial next to the loss of my sons, I regret to say that I also lost my homes. I simply have nothing left.

I am a senior citizen with various medical problems. I’m not in a position to begin a new career. I was reduced to the point of homelessness… all because of President Bush.

And when the authorities found me, did they have any compassion for my misfortune and ailments? No, I was arrested and even my family and friends were wrongly kept from seeing me for many days. I am still waiting for my trial.

If I had any money left, I would donate most of it to the Democratic party. If Al Gore had been elected in 2000, I would still have a job, a home, and most importantly, my sons.

We need to get out the vote this year. Vote Kerry!


Saddam Hussein

|| Greg, 11:05 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

And you wonder why I don't join the NEA

Once again proving that NEA membership should be grounds for termination from any position in education, the NEA is about to award the "2004 Virginia Uribe Award for Creative Leadership in Human Rights" to Kevin Jennings of GLSEN, a group dedicated to "incorporating homosexual concepts into all curriculum."

There is a loud objection from two NEA specialty caucuses within the NEA, calling for the award to be canceled. Members of the NEA Republican Educators Caucus object to the award because Jennings has admitted in one of his books that he failed to make a report of child sexual abuse as mandated by law. And the head of the NEA Ex-Gay Educators Caucus points out that Jennings advocates the ruthless suppression of speech in school that supports the position that a homosexual can change his or her sexual orientation.

I find a couple of interesting points in all of this. First, the NEA seems to have defined "Human Rights" to mean "Gay Rights." The award itself is named for a gay educator who specialized in creating programs on behalf of gay students. This would seem to leave out some 95-98% of the human race.

Second, that Jennings does not face the same type of moral condemnation and scorn heaped on Cardinal Law despite his failure to act to stop the sexual exploitation of a student is indicative of the double standard that exists in our society. Homosexuals are generally allowed to prey on young people in a manner that heterosexual pedophiles are not, because of the fear that acting to protect a child will be labeled "homophobic." I recall, for example, that police even returned Jeffrey Dahmer's last victim, a drugged underage boy running down the street in his underwear, to the cannibal killer because they had been instructed not to make a big fuss about the issue of gay men and underage boys out of "sensitivity" for the "gay community."

Third, Jennings is not tolerant, nor is he willing to allow for an open exchange of ideas in an academic setting. He wants to shut down debate and punish dissent. Such a position is the antithesis of academic freedom, and should be condemned by real educators.

Lastly, how does one incorporate homosexual concepts into all subjects? I'm all to aware of the attempts to classify historical figures as homosexual at a distance of several centuries based upon scanty evidence. I've seen the textbooks with "gay and lesbian literature" of dubious quality that teachers are "encouraged" to teach to be "inclusive." But how do you teach "Queer Chemistry" or "Transexual Typing"? And I don't even want to know about word problem in GLSEN-inspired math classes.

That's not to imply hostility to gay and lesbian students in my classroom. Quite the opposite. I demand that students show and be shown fundamental respect. I clamp down on anti-gay slurs in my room with an unambiguous ferocity. But what I refuse to do is suppress the beliefs of my students either way. Because of this my gay students know they have an advocate who respects them, while those on the other side of the issue know that they and their beliefs are respected. The result is that my students in both categories learn who to live and work together cooperatively without being marginalized or homogenized. THAT is what education should be about.

|| Greg, 12:53 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Bad taste? Or illegal threat?

New book centers on murder of President George W. Bush

One of my memories as a high school kid was the resignation of Jackie Kennedy Onassis from her job as a book editor at Viking because of her disgust over the company's plans to publish Shall We Tell the President?, by Jeffrey Archer. In it, he posited an assassination plot against President Teddy Kennedy. She found it unacceptable to make him the target given family history and acted to call attention to something very wrong. To this day it remains one of the things I most admired about her.

Fast forward to 2004. Author Nicholson Baker has written Checkpoint, all about an attempt to murder President George W. Bush. It is to be published in August by Knopf. I've got a problem with that, every bit as big as I did with the Archer plot to kill Teddy (a man I despise). Responsible people do not write about, plan about, the murder of the sitting president, whoever he may be.

here's hoping that Knopf gets a serious case of responsibility and pulps this piece of trash, or at least is responsible enough to wait until Mr. Bush is out of office, whether we are talking January 2005 or January 2009.

|| Greg, 12:28 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 02, 2004

Presumption of Innocence/Presumption of Guilt

Dan Abrams has an interesting piece on Jewish World Review today. In it, He talks about the legal concept of presumption of innocence. His point -- it does not and should not exist outside the courtroom.

Think about it. For to us presume someone innocent is for to us presume the authorities got it wrong whenever they arrest someone. I'm not willing to assume that unless I'm a juror. It's a legal fiction that was designed for the courtroom. Since the authorities have the power to take away someone's freedom, we force them to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt and give the defendant the presumption of innocence.

Now that will be important for me next Tuesday, because I'll be headed downtown to the Jury Assembly room, and may get picked to sit on a case. I've got to give the defendant the benefit of the doubt. But that does not meant that I have to assume that the Harris County sheriff or Precinct 8 Constables are a bunch of screw-ups incompetent to investigate even the source of the mess in a baby's diaper. I instead need to require that the prosecution show me sufficient evidence to convince me that their judgment is correct.

What that does not mean is that I cannot make judgments on every other case in the world besides the one I sit on. If I have concluded Michael Jackson to be a marauding pedophile and Scott Peterson to be a philandering sociopath, I've done nothing wrong. I am not required to believe that Kobe's accuser is a lying slut after money just because there is not yet a conviction (though that may be his defense). The fate of those men is not in my hands.

I'm pleased that I don't know of any big cases coming up here in Houston at this time. I'm glad I dodged the Clara Harris (4 miles away) and Andrea Yates (7 miles away) cases. I got picked last time for a capital murder case and caused a mistrial -- how could I know during voir dire that on the first day I would look out, see one of my former students in the midst of the victim's family, and realize that she was the victim's little sister? The fact that I had held her in my arms outside my classroom a few days after the murder while she wept her way through an explanation of why she wasn't ready for my test made me incapable of presuming innocence.

So here's looking to Tuesday. I hope I get excused.

|| Greg, 11:52 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 01, 2004

Liberal outrage as Bush encourages white churches to politic like black churches!

It is no secret that religious conservatives are a core constituency of the Bush campaign, and of the GOP as a whole. So it should be no surprise that the Bush campaign is seeking to activate conservative Christian voters. These efforts have produced much heavy breathing among liberals, who find the notion of white churches doing for Republicans what black churches traditionally do for Democrats to be both illegal and immoral.

The Bush campaign has been encouraging religious supporters to campaign within their congregations. A checklist has been sent to members of churches identified as Republican friendly, asking them to send copies of church directories and urging them to ask their pastors to hold a "Citizenship Sunday", complete with a voter registration drive and a reminder of the duty of Christians to vote. These supporters, who are usually individual parishioners rather than church staff members, are also encouraged to recruit volunteers, speak to church organizations, and distribute issue guides.

In other words, what is being sought is individual participation, not church endorsements. Such things have been customary in the black community for generations. And the Bush appeal falls far short of the pulpit endorsements that we have seen black pastors make over the years, anointing the Democrat candidate with the mantle of "God's candidate" and (here in Texas where we have early voting) loading up charter buses to take folks to the polling station immediately after the sermon.

Perhaps most amusing is this paragraph:

"I think it is sinful of them to encourage pastors and churches to engage in partisan political activity and run the risk of losing their tax-exempt status," said Steve Rosenthal, chief executive officer of America Coming Together, a group working to defeat Bush.

Sinful? Really? Well who are you to attempt to impose your morality on anyone. And since when is political action by individuals, even religious individuals, grounds for punishment by the government. Almost every request is for the individuals to act, not the churches. Those things that a church might do are expressly permitted under the law, or have been in the past when black churches did them. Why are you afraid of white Christian participation?

|| Greg, 08:00 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Eliminate the border with Mexico?

Better idea -- let's just invade and push the US border south to Guatemala. Half of Mexico is already here anyway.

The new Mexican official in charge of border affairs wants to eliminate the border between the US and Mexico. Arturo Gonzalez Cruz has as an immediate goal making border crossing easier for purposes of trade and immigration, but has said the eventual goal is to eliminate it.

From an American perspective, this is a bad idea. We have too many illegal aliens in this country already. These folks have too great an influence on our government as it is, aided and abetted by the Mexican government. What we need to do is make it harder to cross, even at the risk of decreasing trade.

Either that, or rev up the tanks and forcibly annex Mexico down to the Guatemalan border.

|| Greg, 07:52 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Heresy Trial for Kerry?

In a that is as bold as it is stunning, a canon lawyer from Los Angeles has filed a complaint with the ecclesiastical court of the Archdiocese of Boston accusing Senator John Kerry with heresy. The filing, which could result in the excommunication of Kerry from the Catholic Church, has been undertaken by Marc Balestrieri, an official with the ecclesiastical court of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and member of the conservative Catholic organization "DeFide". A copy of the filing is on the organization's website, as is a link enabling the public to add their names to the complaint.

In the complaint, Kerry is accused of publicly adhering to the "Right to Murder heresy" for his pro-abortion speeches and votes during his Senate career. By doing so, Kerry is alleged to have placed himself outside the Catholic Church and to have done harm to it by representing his position as authentically and acceptably Catholic. According to Balestrieri, his action comes because of the failure of bishops to act on the matter of pro-abortion Catholic politicians in the 31 years since Roe v. Wade was decided by the Supreme Court.

Canon law experts cited in the article note that the Archdiocese of Boston may choose to take no action. In that event, Balestrieri has the option of appealing to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, headed by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.

|| Greg, 07:37 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

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NAME: Greg
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