October 31, 2004

John Kerry's Daddy

No, not George W. Bush, who is going to kick Kerry's butt on Tuesday.

John Kerry's REAL daddy.

Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Vin Suprynowicz writes about the life and philosophy of Richard Kerry, whose membership in the Achesonian pro-appeasement wing of the State Department was well known as far back as the days of Harry Truman. He became involved in the internationalist movement in the 1950s, wrote a book opposing the Vietnam War as early as 1965, and was still criticizing the anti-Communist ideology of the Dulles brothers (and every administration between Eisenhower and Bush 41) in a book published in 1990, the year AFTER the Berlin Wall fell.

A lot of folks have moaned that the current presidential campaign has us "re-fighting the war in Vietnam." It goes deeper than that. This campaign, in many ways, is a replay of the isolationist debate of the 1930s, as revived in the "Better Red Than Dead" leftism of the 1950s.

President Bush believes the way to defeat Islamic terrorism is pretty much the way we defeated first Hitler and Tojo -- and then Russian communism. Use a full-court press; take the war to them on their own turf.

But John Kerry doesn't see the need to fight a war at all. That's what all this "nuance" business is about. It's all a misunderstanding, you see, based on American "ethnocentrism" -- on the notion that America is somehow "exceptional," that we can or should set some kind of shining example of freedom to the other cultures in the world.

That's all wrong, apparently. It represents an oversimplified "either/or" dualism, when what we need to do instead is embrace "a more sophisticated relativism."

Whether it be the communists murdering millions in pursuit of the lunatic collectivist vision of a couple of German crackpots, or Islamic mullahs beating women who go out in public with their arms uncovered and executing college professors who theorize that Mohammed might once have shaved his armpits -- and clownishly blowing up our occasional skyscraper -- we have to get over this "us vs. them" nonsense. The answer is to consult, to negotiate, to reach a compromise.

With Joe Stalin. With Mao Tse-Tung. With Pol Pot. With Osama bin Laden.

Branding these people "communists" or "terrorists" or "mass murderers" is "just name-calling," see. No one culture is superior to any other. And these guys are reasonable; they'll compromise. Maybe if we just offer them Czechoslovakia. ...

Yep -- that's the choice we face on Tuesday. The will for victory over our enemies, or the repudiation of American foreign policy since WWII and its replacement with a policy of negotiation in the face of murderous evil.

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

October 30, 2004

Farewell To A NASA Legend

Friday marked the last flight of NASA's KC-135 aircraft used to induce temporary weightlessness. Often referred to as "the vomit comet," the plane had been in service for nine years.

As a Texan who has spent the last seven years living near Ellington Field in Houston, where the plane has been based, I've seen this aircraft come and go a lot of times. It's a beauty to watch in flight -- though a bit disconcerting to have come in for a landing (at 500 feet) over your right shoulder from behind when you are on your way to the supermarket.

The Houston Chronicle provides an interesting note.

But test director John Yaniac proudly told those who attended a post-flight briefing that over the years, the plane's crew had cleaned up at least 285 gallons of vomit.

"It's been a pleasure flying on this aircraft," he said.

Yeah. I guess you aren't the guy with the hose, the bucket, or the mop.

|| Greg, 07:50 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 28, 2004

"Article Of Faith" -- A Liberal Term Of Derision

Dr. Francis J. Beckwith, Associate Director of the J. M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies and Associate Professor of Church-State Studies at Baylor University, has a piece up over at Southern Appeal. In it he notes that the new liberal term of derision for religious belief is to call it an "article of faith."
For those of us who maintain that marriage between a man and a woman is normative and that human beings are intrinsically valuable from the moment they come into existence, Kerry?s position is condescending and insulting. By calling our views ?articles of faith,? not only does Kerry reveal a deep ignorance of what is an ?article of faith,? he implies that these views are held by many of his fellow citizens for no reason. This is because in the circles that Kerry runs ?articles of faith? are those beliefs that you are required to believe because ?that?s your religion? and not because you actually may have thought about them. That is, Kerry doesn?t seem to think that there are rational believers, individuals who have actually evaluated the competing arguments over the issues people are deeply divided and have concluded that the socially conservative positions on abortion and marriage have good support and thus are in fact true. But not just "true for me" or "true for you," but actually true for everyone.

In the end, the position espoused by Kerry presumes that religious belief is inherently irrational, and that religiously based beliefs are therefore not a fit basis for seeking a political end. Such a position betrays the entire heritage of the American political tradition. Consider the civil rights movement. Martin Luther king's position was undergirded by religious belief. It was an "article of faith" that all men could live together in brotherhood and good will, treated as equals. His message bristled with religious metaphor. Does this make the cause of civil rights unworthy, and a matter upon which there should be no legislation lest someone else's "article of faith" be disrespected? Hardly! Why, then, should the beliefs of religious Americans on abortion, homosexual marriage, or fetal stem cells be treated any differently?

|| Greg, 07:31 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Red Sox Win!

They cap the most magnificent baseball comeback of all time by sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals. Congratulations, boys!

And may it be the only win for Boston for the next week.

|| Greg, 05:16 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Lone Star Times Debuts

It is finally here. KSEV radio's successor to Chronically Biased is here. It's called The Lone Star Times, and it came online yesterday around 5:15 pm. Go take a look, and find out more about the ambitious project.

|| Greg, 05:10 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 27, 2004

Farewell, Cowgirls!

RodeoHouston has eliminated the nightly "opening act," the Catalena Cowgirls.

My wife and I have season tickets. Hopefully we will get the Cowgirls back next year, assuming public outcry doesn't get Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo between now and this spring.

|| Greg, 05:31 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Sometimes A Headline Says It All!

From today's Houston Chronicle:

Heinz Kerry's problem? She's a spoiled, rich brat

And I love the wrap-up.

Not to worry — there's not much to hear. Her story, stripped of hyperbole, comes to this: She was the child of privilege, and now she is the adult of privilege. Her doctor father was rich and so was her first, late husband. All her money is inherited.

After her marriage in 1966 to John Heinz, heir to the ketchup fortune, she quit her job as a translator and settled into the pampered world of the super-rich.

So she hasn't had a real job for 40 years.

Oh, yes, she does give away Heinz money. She calls herself a philanthropist.

Not exactly a job ordinary Americans can relate to. Or a first lady.

Yep -- that sums it up nicely.

|| Greg, 05:22 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 26, 2004

Riots? "Not If We Win."

Apparently the Democrats are planning to violently take to the streets if they lose. Elizabeth Edwards, whose mouth is almost as deadly to the campaign as Teresa's, was involved in the following exchange.
Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Democratic vice-presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards, said the election would not result in riots if it ended in a victory for Sen. John Kerry. Mrs. Edwards' assertion was in response to a supporter at an event in Pennsylvania who expressed fears that the election result will produce riots.

"Uh ... well ... not if we win," Mrs. Edwards said in an exchange aired on C-SPAN.

In the same article, we find out that the Leadership Council on Civil Rights doesn't care about vote fraud or voter intimidation -- at least not if those who are hurt are white.

LCCR also reiterated its concerns about the need to protect the voting rights of blacks, Hispanics, American Indians, Asians and other minorities, urging Mr. Ashcroft to "reach out to election officials across the country to ensure they are doing all they can to combat efforts to intimidate minority voters."

Which tells us all we need to know about the state of Martin Luther King's Dream in the modern "civil rights" movement.

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

Archbishop Speaks on Faith, Morals, and Democracy

Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput makes an excellent point in his commetary in the Chroinicle.
Lawmaking inevitably involves some group imposing its beliefs on the rest of us. That's the nature of the democratic process. If we say that we "ought" to do something, we are making a moral judgment. When our legislators turn that judgment into law, somebody's "ought" becomes a "must" for the whole of society. This is not inherently dangerous; it's how pluralism works.

Law and morality usually (should, in fact) go hand-in-hand. It is not a violation of the Constitution to enact a moral precept into law. Indeed, it is the responsibility of people of every faith to seek to enact laws that deal with fundamental moral issues.  That is, in the end, the obligation of each believer -- to work to enact that which they believe makes for a more just, more moral society.

Words are cheap. Actions matter. If we believe in the sanctity of life from conception to natural death, we need to prove that by our actions, including our political choices. Anything less leads to the corruption of our integrity. Patriotism, which is a virtue for people of all faiths, requires that we fight, ethically and nonviolently, for what we believe. Claiming that "we don't want to impose our beliefs on society" is not merely politically convenient; it is morally incoherent and irresponsible.

As James 2:17 reminds us, in a passage quoted in the final presidential debate, "Faith without works is dead." It is a valid point. People should act on what they claim to believe. Otherwise they are violating their own conscience, and lying to themselves and the rest of us.

Salt and Light!

|| Greg, 11:04 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Persecution in Communist Vietnam

"Unauthorized" religions are still persecuted in Vietnam. Even an inoffensive pacifist group like the Mennonites can’t be allowed to exist unmolested, because they acknowledge a power higher than the state.
In the September 24 attack, government officials confiscated [Pastor Nguyen Cong] Chinh's property and farm animals, set fire to the house and chapel, and then used two bulldozers to flatten the remains. Chinh was out on a pastoral visit at the time, but his wife and children were arrested by officials and detained at Vinh Quang district headquarters from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm that day. Mrs. Chinh, who is seven months pregnant, reported being hit in the stomach and stepped on while in custody. Chinh reportedly went into hiding after returning to the scene briefly after the destruction was complete.
Vietnam has been designated a "Country of Particular Concern" by the US Department of State because of its persecution of religious believers.

|| Greg, 11:01 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Smart Lawyers, Dumb Columnist

You know that you will automatically get bias when you read a Rick Casey column. The man’s job is, of course, to offer opinion without a smidgin of objectivity or honesty. Since coming to the Chronicle, he has become the “designated hitter,” writing on issues that the Chronicle news pages won’t touch at all for fear of being seen as too partisan. That comes through in the opening paragraphs of this column.
District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal's response to my offer to pay the way for up to 12 felony prosecutors to see The Exonerated at the Alley Theatre was a single sentence: "I'll go if you sit through a capital murder trial." I told him I was asking for two hours. He was asking for at least two weeks.
Well why SHOULDN’T he ask for two weeks? That’s how long a real trial takes, not the two hours of cherry-picked material that Jessica Blank put in her play. Casey’s goal was to get an emotional response to a play as a means of changing policy. Rosenthal was trying to get Casey to change his opinion based upon exposure to the real work of prosecutors and judges. Those are two very different things. But when three prosecutors did take him up on the offer, that wasn’t sufficient. They actually watched the play with a critical eye, knowing it to be a piece of propaganda. Even if they accepted at face value every bit of evidence about the innocence of the play’s subjects that the playwright includes, that should not lead to the automatic conclusion that the system is broken, capital punishment should be abolished, and the prosecutors who handled the cases did something wrong. And as professionals, these prosecutors know that. Casey is most displeased by their failure to adopt his (and Blank’s) position on the criminal justice system.
I think most audiences understand that. And most in the audiences for this play were open to the emotional impact of the personal injustice of being wrongfully convicted. The prosecutors weren't. The lesson I learned, with apologies to Hamlet, is that the play's not the thing wherein we'll catch the conscience of a prosecutor.
Yeah, Rick, that’s right. Trained in logic and law, experts in the workings of the criminal justice system, a prosecutor is not going to suspend his or her disbelief ESPECIALLY when the playwright admits her piece is a work with an agenda. They are smarter than that. Too bad you are not.

|| Greg, 10:57 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Do These People Understand The System?

Well, Nick Lampson is going after Ted Poe something fierce in the Texas 9th Congressional District. It seems that probation officers haven’t been enforcing some of the sentences that Poe imposed as a judge, sentences which included restitution and child support for killers who got probation from juries. And as far as the families are concerned, it is all Ted Poe’s fault.
"If he can't keep promises to me, I don't know how he can keep promises to millions of people," said Sherri King, whose 6-year-old son was killed in a wreck caused by a drunken driver in 1999.
But the judge isn’t the one who oversees probationers, Ms. King. Have you been in touch with the probation officer? With the prosecutor’s office? After all, they have the responsibility to enforce the terms of the probation and violate the offender. Is it just that the judge is easier to blame? Or that you are a partisan who doesn’t mind using your family tragedy for political ends? Lampson, of course, is more than willing to politicize the issue.
"Ted Poe's entire campaign is based on the premise that he's a victim's advocate," Lampson said. "There is a clear pattern of failing to consider the needs of the victims' families and follow through on Poe's terms of sentencing."
I wonder, did the congressman or one of his staffers try making a phone call to see if the situations could be rectified? I doubt it, otherwise he would be trumpeting it. Besides, if the situation got resolved there would be no issue to use for the campaign.

|| Greg, 10:53 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Hunting v. Killing

Did John Kerry REALLY go hunting the other day?

Outdoor writer Larry Moore doesn't think so.

John Kerry did no homework for his hunting trip -- no landowner contacts, no scouting trips, no dog training. He probably did not even buy his own camouflage jacket. He probably could not recite the laws governing his hunt -- which means he did not read his Ohio Hunting Guide or the federal migratory bird rules. John Kerry is a poster boy for the Humane Society of the United States and PETA - groups that object to hunters just walking out into the fields and shooting things. What John Kerry did is not hunting -- it was killing.


|| Greg, 10:35 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 24, 2004

Leftist Brit Rag Publishes Call For Bush Assassination!

Blogs for Bush is a great source of information on the election. Today they link to this piece from The Guardian.

After a mouth-foaming rant against the president ("lying, sniggering, drink-driving, selfish, reckless, ignorant, dangerous, backward, drooling, twitching, blinking, mouse-faced little cheat"), columnist Charlie Brooker concludes with the following (I've added the bold-faced type):

On November 2, the entire civilised world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod's law dictates he'll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed, with no benevolent deity to watch over and save us. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that we need you?

Let's hope the British government acts against Brooker for this threat. If not, a Special Forces team should be dispatched to take Mr. Brooker for an extended vacation at Guantanamo Bay.

|| Greg, 10:37 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 23, 2004

Voter Intimidation By Democrats In Florida!

A glitch in the Florida early voting law leaves voters without the protection of a "buffer zone" and freedom from intimidation at polling places.

And the Democrats are taking full advantage of it, in an attempt to disenfranchise as many GOP voters as possible.

Examples include
* blocked doors;
* anti-Bush rallies next to line outside the polling place;
* physical assault of voters;
* verbal abuse of suspected Republicans;
* terroristic threats against suspected Republicans("Where's my shotgun?");
* electioneering next to voting booths by individuals wearing Kerry stickers.

Republicans have signed affidavits about the intimidation, and have complained to both the Florida Secretary of State and the Florida Democrat Party.

The response of the Democrats?

"We have had incidents as well," said Christine Anderson, spokeswoman for the Kerry campaign. "We've had quite a few."

She said the party hasn't taken affidavits from voters and found it shocking the Republicans were so focused on the issue rather than working to make sure people can vote.

Ms. Anderson, Republicans ARE trying to make sure people can vote. Apparently for you, though, that means "working to make sure people can only vote Democrat."

|| Greg, 01:43 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

And The Verdict Is...

Sinclair was reasonably balanced in its news special last night. Unless, of course, you are a political hack directly associated with the Kerry campaign.
After the program, Kerry spokesman Chad Clanton called it "a premeditated smear" that obscured "the plain truth -- John Kerry was a war hero who was decorated for bravery." Referring to Sinclair's top executives, he said: "It's not surprising that these guys who have given all this money to the Bush campaign did what they did."

But spokesmen for several liberal and public policy groups said in a conference call that the program was far better than they had been led to expect and that they saw no reason to support earlier Democratic demands for equal time. "In general, it appears Sinclair listened to the American people," said Gene Kimmelman, Washington director of Consumers Union. "Sinclair certainly was acting like a broadcaster should tonight."

I didn't get to see the broadcast, since I don't live in one of the markets where Sinclair broadcasts. But media reports indicate it was fair and balanced -- or at least as fair and balanced as CBS News or ABC News reports are. And I still wish that Sinclair would have broadcast the entire Sherwood documentary. It would have been equal time to all the biased "Kerry was a war hero and Bush was AWOL" nonsense put out by the mainstream media. Stolen Honor (SEE IT HERE)wouldn't have needed equal time -- it would have BEEN equal time.

I sent the following to both the FCC and the FEC this morning.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press....

Dear Commissioners,

I open my letter with the above as a reminder of the Constitutional imperative at stake in the Sinclair Broadcasting Group controversy. Congress (and by extension its creations, such as the FCC and FEC) have no business restricting political or journalistic speech. In light of this clear directive of one of our founding documents, I urge you to reject any and all complaints leveled against Sinclair Broadcasting Group.

Let us examine the content of Sinclair's special, broadcast in each of their markets yesterday. It contained approximately 5 minutes of Stolen Honor, an anti-Kerry documentary made independently of the Bush campaign. But that was balanced by slightly less than 5 minutes of Going Upriver, a pro-Kerry documentary made by individuals associated with the Kerry campaign. Portions of the broadcast discussed journalistic ethics and disparate coverage of the Vietnam-era records of the two candidates. Sinclair offered the Kerry camp the opportunity to be represented by either the candidate or a surrogate, but that offer was declined. By any standard, SInclair met standards of objectivity -- even though the tradition of American journalism dating back to the founding of the Republic is for the press to be a partisan force (hence newspapers around the country named for various political parties -- Federalist, Whig, Democrat, Republican). What was broadcast by Sinclair was clearly a news program, and therefore beyond the reach of the FCC under the First Amendment.

Yet let us presume for a moment that the special fell outside the boundaries of news, and that it was actually an unpaid political speech requiring equal time. Such an analysis is equally flawed in a Constitutional sense. Americans are not required to give equal time to speech antithetical to their own beliefs. And in light of the continuing media attacks upon the President's Vietnam-era service record, and the focus on John Kerry's alleged "war hero" status, it can be reasonably argued that the Sinclair broadcast constituted "equal time" to balance off the conventional wisdom as propagated by the media. Even a broadcast of Stolen Honor in its unedited entirety would not have outweighed the last several months (or years, in the case of attacks on George Bush's service record) of coverage slanted to give advantage to the Democrats. There is no need to give equal time (as the Kerry campaign requests), as the Sinclair special IS equal time.

In closing, this American urges you to do your duty as government official, and to act to uphold the supreme law of the land -- the US Constitution. Any law, rule, regulation, administrative decision, or court opinion to the contrary is null and void if it is in conflict with the clear meaning of that charter which authorized and frames the federal government. Abide by the terms of your oaths of office, and reject each and every attempt to punish Sinclair Broadcasting Group and its stations for engaging in what the Founding Fathers would have unambiguously viewed as speech protected by the First Amendment.

|| Greg, 10:21 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

No Respect For Our Troops

Michelle Malkin brings us a transcript of Kerry surogate Larry O'Donnell's recent McLaughlin Group appearance. Notice the great respect he demonstrates for our men and omen in the field. Given Kerry's betrayal of an earlier generation of fighting American soldiers, I can't help but believe that the comments represent the candidate's views as well.
MR. O'DONNELL: Look, it's not our job to lie about war to make troops feel good. And I don't care what they feel.

MR. BLANKLEY: I don't --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me finish.

MR. O'DONNELL: I don't care what they feel about the truth of this war. If John Kerry thinks this war is a mistake and if the United States of America elects him president, the troops are going to have to live with that. And they know better than anyone else whether it was a mistake or not.

MR. BUCHANAN: The commander-in-chief should not undermine the troops --

MR. O'DONNELL: He's not undermining anything.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to make a point here?

MR. BUCHANAN: He'd demoralize them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, the human --

MR. O'DONNELL: I don't care if they're demoralized. They have to go to war and be prepared --

MR. BUCHANAN: The commander-in-chief does care.

MR. O'DONNELL: -- to live with the debate that goes on in the United States about whether it's right or wrong.

MR. BUCHANAN: But if you're going to be commander-in-chief, you cannot be demoralizing the troops in wartime, even if you think the war is a mistake.

See why we need more courageous folks like Sinclair Broadcasting to show even a little bit of Stolen Honor?

|| Greg, 10:04 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Religious Question Unasked

Peter Steinfels of the New York Times approvingly cites a recent E. J. Dionne Jr. piece in his column.
By demonstrating political relevance, religion has finally gained a little respect. "Thus may some good come out of this often rancid campaign," the inveterately optimistic E. J. Dionne Jr. wrote this week in his syndicated Washington Post column. Noting the bumper sticker announcing that "God is NOT a Republican ... or a Democrat," Mr. Dionne welcomed the recognition that "religious people are not monolithic in their views." Likewise, "the myth that religion lives only on the political right is being exploded."

They are, of course, partially correct. As my old professor, Dr. Thomas Droleskey, once shouted at me in an exasperated voice, "Salvation comes through Christ and His Church, not the Republican Party." God isn't a member of any political organization, and we end up with abominations like Hezbollah (The Party of God) when people start thinking that He is.

But what Steinfels and Dionne really need to deal with is the answer to the unasked question -- Is GOD monolithic in HIS views?

And if God is monolithic in His views, doesn't that mean that (at least) one party is so wrong on the issues that no true Christian can cast a vote for its candidates?

|| Greg, 09:40 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 20, 2004

Teresa Insults Laura -- And All Teachers

"Well, you know, I don't know Laura Bush. But she seems to be calm, and she has a sparkle in her eye, which is good," Heinz Kerry said. "But I don't know that she's ever had a real job — I mean, since she's been grown up. So her experience and her validation comes from important things, but different things."

Really? She taught school and worked as a school librarian for nine years, from the time she finished college in 1968 until she married the president in 1977. I'm a teacher, and I'll tell you right now that it is real work -- and sometimes very difficult work. That Heinz Kerry has so little respect for us and what we do is pretty disgusting. And we won't get into the question of whether or not being a full-time stay-at-home mom constitutes work.

I'm not aware of Teresa Heinz Kerry ever being employed. She grew up a child of colonialist privilege in Mozambique (where blacks were brutally suppressed by the Portuguese colonists -- such as her family). And I can't find any information about her ever having a job, "real" or otherwise. Her marriage to the heir to a billion dollar fortune and his subsequent death put her in the position to be a "philanthropist". And tax lawyers put her in a position to pay only 12.3% of her income in taxes, which is less than the percentage paid by most Americans who make significantly less. I guess rich liberals really ARE different.

Please be aware that AP has changed the story from when it was originally posted. It originally was headlined Heinz Kerry Separates Self From Mrs. Bush. The current headline is Heinz Kerry Sorry for Laura Bush Comment. The article contains an apology and an admission that she "forgot" about Laura Bush having worked in education for nine years. And Teresa claims to have been "full-time in workforce," but somehow the AP leaves out what she supposedly did full time. Must be signing grant papers, because I can't imagine her working full time while married to John Heinz.

|| Greg, 08:13 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

What's Up With Chronically Biased?

Dan Patrick and the folks with KSEV-AM radio in Houston started Chronically Biased several months ago an antidote to the bias found in the Houston Chronicle.

Posting has been decreasing recently, and now there is a graphic announcing that "life as we know it" will be altered in six days.

Check it out -- and be sure to check it out in six days. Something big must be in the works.

|| Greg, 07:03 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 17, 2004

How Many Bills?

Bush says Kerry has passed five. Kerry says the number is 56. What is the correct answer? According to The answer lies somewhere in the middle.

There are eleven Kerry authored laws, if you include a couple that don't bear his name but came out of a House-Senate conference committee in a form substantively similar to the original Kerry bill passed by the Senate. Five are cited by the Bush campaign.

* S.791: Authorizes $53 million over four years to provide grants to woman-owned small businesses. (1999)
* S.1206: Names a federal building in Waltham, Massachusetts after Frederick C. Murphy, who was killed in action during World War II and awarded (posthumously) the Medal of Honor. (1994)
* S.1636: A save-the-dolphins measure aiming “to improve the program to reduce the incidental taking of marine mammals during the course of commercial fishing operations.” (1994)
* S.1563: Funding the National Sea Grant College Program, which supports university-based research, public education, and other projects “to promote better understanding, conservation and use of America’s coastal resources.” (1991)
* S.423: Granting a visa and admission to the U.S. as a permanent resident to Kil Joon Yu Callahan. (1987)

The Kerry camp offers two more.

* H.R.1900 (S.300): Awarded a congressional gold medal to Jackie Robinson (posthumously), and called for a national day of recognition. (2003)
* H.R.1860 (S.856): Increased the maximum research grants for small businesses from $500,000 to $750,000 under the Small Business Technology Transfer Program. (2001)

The Associated Press and find these as well, which while not technically bills have the force of law.

* S.J.Res.158: To make the week of Oct. 22 – Oct. 28, 1989 “World Population Awareness Week.” (1989)
* S.J.Res.160: To renew “World Population Awareness Week” for 1991. (1991)
* S.J.Res.318: To make Nov. 13, 1992 “Vietnam Veterans Memorial 10th Anniversary Day.” (1992)
* S.J.Res.337: To make Sept. 18, 1992 “National POW/MIA Recognition Day." (1992)

Nothing very substantive in that, is there? And that still only gets us up to eleven, which is far short of the 56 Kerry cited.

How does Kerry reach the higher number? Go look at the things he uses to pad his claim. There may be a total of 56 measures passed (less than three a year since he entered the Senate), but most do not even qualify as law. After all, does anyone really consider S.Res.123: To change the name of the Committee on Small Business to the "Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship." (2001)to be a significant legislative accomplishment?

Hat Tip to Blogs for Bush.

|| Greg, 01:32 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Scorching Sinclair Censors

Any writer who trusts in the literacy of his readers sufficiently to cite Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange is likely to get a mention here. And in this case it is clear that such a citation is exactly why Thomas Mitchell of the Las Vegas Review-Journal excoriates those on the Left who want to censor Sinclair Broadcasting's upcoming news special on John Kerry.
Even though the Sinclair officials have invited Kerry to appear and discuss the film, Sen. Reid and his fellow government censors dismissed that out of hand as a ruse and mewled: "Equal time rules exist for a purpose -- to prevent the airing of one-sided political content without equal response time given to the opposing view or candidate. In this case, it is impossible to imagine how the equal time rules would be satisfied if this plan is allowed to go forward."

That is called prior restraint, senator, and has generally been much frowned upon by the courts. How does anyone know whether the broadcast will be unfair or one-sided until after it has taken place? Never mind that many of the 24 percent of the nation's households that can even access one of Sinclair's stations probably receive it via cable or satellite and not over the people's public airwaves.

That does raise an interesting question -- for those ho receive the signal via cable rather than the airwaves, how does this differ from the Sundance Channel's stream of anti-Bush propaganda. I don't hear any of the would-be censors of Sinclair calling for a stop to the broadcast of Uncovered: The Whole Truth About The Iraq War that is set for tonight, nor of any of the other items in their October anti-Bush film festival. Why does the Sinclair broadcast rankle so, but not the ongoing partisan pap from the left?

Mitchell goes on, making it clear how little faith these political commisars have in the American people.

[T]o listen to the apoplectic Democrats, you'd think every voter in America, like Burgess' Alex, was going to be doped up, strapped down, with eyelids clipped open and forced to watch "Stolen Honor" until they are so brainwashed that the very sight of John Kerry would induce physical revulsion. This does considerable damage to the First Amendment guarantees of free speech and press, while ignoring the concomitant concept that the informed voter is perfectly capable of sifting through the chaff of lies and distortions to find a grain of truth.

As I've pointed out elsewhere, no one will be forced to watch this broadcast. Granted there will be preemption of some regularly scheduled features, but that is a matter between Sinclair and the viewers of its various stations , and the networks with which they are affiliated. Unless, of course, these worth office holders think that Americans are too lazy to change the channel, too ignorant to know the difference between truth and falsehood, and too stupid to be allowed to govern themselves without guidance from their ideological "betters".

Check out his conclusion as well. If you stop and think about it, that might stop the censors in their tracks.

|| Greg, 01:12 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Protect Detroit Voting Rights!

We keep hearing that Republicans are out to disenfranchise black voters this year. Observers are being dispatched to protect African-Americans from nefarious GOP vote suppression plots.

Detroit News columnist Nolan Finley suggests that maybe someone needs to go observe in Detroit. But despite the foot-in-mouth comments by one GOP official, it isn't the Republicans who need watching.

Michigan runs clean, efficient elections; there's no recent history of voter disenfranchisement in the state.

Except in Detroit. Under City Clerk Jackie Curry, Detroit elections are always an adventure. The city has more spoiled ballots, longer lines at precincts, far more misdirected voters than any other state community.

Curry, a black Democrat, has disenfranchised more African-American voters than the worst of the Jim Crow poll thugs.

If state Democrats truly wanted to protect the voting rights of blacks, they'd dispatch their entire poll-watching army to spend Election Day patrolling Curry's office.

|| Greg, 09:53 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 14, 2004

What Kerry DIDN'T Call Her

Did anyone else notice what is significant by its absence in the following Kerry quote?
And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as.
Do you give up?

It is the name of the Cheney daughter, Mary Cheney, who is (and has been for years) an "out" lesbian. Kerry was so intent upon using her for her own nefarious political purposes that he was unwilling to call her by name. To have done so would have required him (and the audience) to focus on her as a human being, not as a sexual orientation. It is therefore clear that the comment had nothing to do with a desire to make life better for Mary (a staffer on the Bush/Cheney campaign, by the way), but was instead simply a tool. He gave no respect, and in response deserves only contempt.

Imagine if the question had instead been about the War on Drugs, and Kerry had said this instead.

And I think if you were to talk to your brother Jeb's daughter, who is a drug addict, she would tell you that . . . .

We all know there would have been hell to pay. It would have been cold, heartless and manipulative to air someone's family laundry. And to refuse to show the basic respect implicit in using her name would be seen as outrageous.

I won't even get into Elizabeth Edwards' reprehensible attack on Lynne Cheney. I guess it is true that bad breeding will show at awkward moments. I'll be voting to take out the trash on November 2.

UPDATE: A friend emailed me regarding the initial reference to Mary Cheney's sexual orientation during the Vice Presidential Debate. He said that he didn't think Edwards mentioned her name, either. Sure enough, when I checked out the transcript here's what I found.

Now, as to this question, let me say first that I think the vice president and his wife love their daughter. I think they love her very much. And you can't have anything but respect for the fact that they're willing to talk about the fact that they have a gay daughter, the fact that they embrace her.

So that makes twice that Kerry and Edwards have indecently used Mary Cheney's sexual orientation for campaign purposes without even having the decency to use her name.

|| Greg, 11:04 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 13, 2004

Kerry Contradiction

Did anyone notice the following two statements by Kerry on religion during the debate. They came only a few seconds apart, but completely contradict each other.

First he chanted the traditional liberal mantra about not imposing his faith on others.

I believe that I can't legislate or transfer to another American citizen my article of faith. What is an article of faith for me is not something that I can legislate on somebody who doesn't share that article of faith.

But then he came back a few sentences later with this.

My faith affects everything that I do, in truth. There's a great passage of the Bible that says, "What does it mean, my brother, to say you have faith if there are no deeds? Faith without works is dead."

And I think that everything you do in public life has to be guided by your faith, affected by your faith, but without transferring it in any official way to other people.

That's why I fight against poverty. That's why I fight to clean up the environment and protect this earth.

That's why I fight for equality and justice. All of those things come out of that fundamental teaching and belief of faith.

Now hold on. He won't impose any "article of faith" on others, but he fights against poverty and for equality, justice and the environment out of the fundamental teaching and belief of his faith. But doesn't that mean he is seeking to impose those things on Americans who disagree with his approach to and definition of equality (such as on homosexual marriage or affirmative action), justice (ditto), and the right of man to have dominion over the earth in order to subdue it? Doesn't that mean he is seeking to impose his religion-based belief on those he wants to tax at higher levels in order to fund programs for the poor?

The two positions are contradictory -- and can be reconciled only if you accept that he doesn't really have a religious objection to abortion, and therefore has no problem with imposing his beliefs upon the rest of us.

I also liked the brief moment of Kerry candor and honesty when he referred to abortion as "some other right that's given under our courts today". After all, it isn't in the Constitution.

But my favorite moment of the night came when President Bush started to attack Kerry's use of "two leading national news networks" as experts on the intricacies of his Medicare proposal --

In all due respect, I'm not so sure it's credible to quote leading news organizations about — oh, never mind.

|| Greg, 10:45 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 11, 2004

GOP Requests End To Liberal Terrorism

The following was sent to AFL-CIO President John Sweeney by Gov. Marc Racicot, Bush-Cheney '04 Campaign Chairman.
Mr. John Sweeney President AFL-CIO 815 16th Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20006 October 11, 2004

Dear Mr. Sweeney:

Over the past several weeks, acts of violence and vandalism have occurred at Republican and Bush-Cheney campaign headquarters across the country. In addition to the injuries, property damage and disruption associated with these acts, these events have created a threatening and intimidating atmosphere abhorrent to our democratic process.

On October 5th, according to news reports, witnesses, police reports and admissions of your members, the AFL-CIO, as part of a national strategy, protested at more than a dozen of our campaign and party headquarters across the country. In many locations, the protestors attempted to enter, or entered, campaign or party facilities. As one protestor said, "Actually, we're storming into an office." In Orlando, Florida, injuries and damage were sustained. Protestors forced their way into the facility, fracturing the arm of one staffer, and vandalized the office. In Michigan, protestors entered a headquarters and engaged in activities apparently intended to disrupt volunteers trying to make phone calls.

Protests by your organization come on the heels of several other incidents at Bush-Cheney '04 offices around the country, including a break-in at our Seattle office where laptop computers were stolen from the Washington State Bush-Cheney ’04 executive director and the state Republican Party 72-hour director. Just last night in Canton, Ohio, a Bush-Cheney '04 staffer was forced to lock herself in an office while another break-in was in progress. The facility was seriously damaged and property was stolen. Additionally, gun shots have been fired into Bush-Cheney '04 offices in West Virginia, Florida and Tennessee, windows broken in West Virginia and campaign staffers threatened. In Wisconsin, a supporter of the President had a swastika burned into his front yard simply because he had a Bush-Cheney '04 lawn sign. We urge your support in helping us ensure the safety of all individuals working on our campaign and others as we are making every effort to secure the safety of all participants in the political process.

I hope you will put an end to protest activities that have led to injuries, property damage, vandalism and voter intimidation. We will hold you and your organization accountable for the actions of your members and urge you to immediately discontinue any coordinated protest efforts that result in damage to our facilities, or injury to people who may hold different political views than your members, but who share an equal right to be involved in the political process without suffering violence, intimidation and threats.


Gov. Marc Racicot, Bush-Cheney '04 Campaign Chairman

We must act to stop these acts of terrorism. We must be prepared to defend ourselves against those who would violate our civil right (make that HUMAN RIGHT) to participate in the electoral process in this country. And if attacked, we must be prepared to do so by any means necessary -- including the use of deadly force. Sadly, I fear we live in a time during which a small number of Democrats and their supporters have made the full exercise of our rights under the Second Amendment a political imperative if we are to preserve our nation.

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

Libertarian Debate Case Advances

Last week I commented on a Libertarian Party suit to stop the third presidential debate if their candidate is not included. Well, guess what. They've actually gotten a court hearing and a court order compelling Arizona State University and the Commission on Presidential Debates to respond to the suit in court tomorrow, October 12. Given that the university still has not raised private funds to cover the debate expenses makes it hard to argue that the debate will not be conducted using public funds.

I think the Libertarians have a point about the heavy-handed actions of the Commission. Get these quotes from the article.

An attorney for the university accepted service, but security guards at the commission's headquarters in Washington ordered process-servers to leave the building, Mr. Euchner said.
Indeed, Mr. Badnarik and the Green Party nominee, David Cobb, were arrested Friday night after they crossed a police line at the presidential debate in St. Louis. Mr. Badnarik said he was trying to serve the lawsuit on a representative of the debate commission. The two candidates were released after being given tickets for trespassing and refusing a reasonable order from a policeman.
In August, a federal judge in Washington sharply criticized the Federal Election Commission for ignoring evidence of bias on the part of the debate commission. Judge Henry Kennedy Jr. noted that in 2000 the debate commission gave security guards "facebooks" with pictures of third-party candidates and instructed the guards to prevent those in the photos from entering the debate venues, even with valid audience tickets. "The exclusion policy appears partisan on its face," Judge Kennedy wrote.

Seems to me that the debate commission operates in a pretty heavy-handed way. Here's hoping they get slapped down hard.

|| Greg, 11:30 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Anti-Catholic Kerry Campaign?

The folks over at Blogs for Bush wrote on this item last night. Talk about an outrage!

For the entire story arc, you need to go to The Meandering Mind of a Seminarian to see how a group of Catholic seminarians (in Roman collar) and supporters were treated when they attempted to enter the Americas Center in St. Louis for a Kerry event for which they had tickets. Even when they offered to leave thei signs with security, they were still denied entry -- perhaps because of their religion(?). And so many liberals claim that the Kerry campaign doesn't screen their events.

From part one of the report. Notice that a letter from the ACLU, which is supposed to be like Scripture to a liberal, has no effect on Kerry campaign staff.

After a longer wait a young lady claiming to be a staff member of the Kerry/Edwards campaign approached. She asked to see the signs, so we showed them to her. As soon as she realized that the signs said things such as "You CANT be Catholic and pro-choice. She said that we would be unable to enter with the signs. I produced a document from the ACLU that said otherwise. At this point we began to be accosted by various Kerry supporters. They were right up in my face, screaming and yelling. With their arms flailing they informed me that I was not welcome there. Others screamed "Who are you to tell me that my daughter who was raped cannot have an abortion." We remained calm and prayerful.

From part two detailing what happened outside including when the tolerant, pro-gay Kerry supporters exited. COuld you imagine the uproar if conservatives hurled such epithets at a group -- the homosexual lobby would be in an uproar.

We split up to cover both entrances to the building, and we commenced our pro-life witness. As people entered the building they hurled insults at us, and one person tore up one of our signs and proclaimed that we were nothing but a bunch of “pedophile hookers.” She was a great representative for the Kerry/Edwards supporters; she showed us what “tolerance” – a supposed virtue of Kerry supporters – is all about.


When the event was over Kerry supporters poured out of the building just as fast as the obscenities and ridicule poured out of their drunken mouths (yes, many of them were rather intoxicated). We were hailed as pedophile hypocrites who needed to clean our own house before we tell them what to do. We were accused of being the scum of the Catholic Church and homosexuals. We were accused of harboring criminals and being oppressive of women and African Americans. We had some “homosexuals for Kerry” stand in front of us and make out…that was a great photo-op for many of the Kerry supporters. Needless to say it was a very ugly scene, but during it all we remained calm and prayerful – which infuriated them all the more.

The blog owner also supplies a way to contact the Kerry campaign about the incident. Tell them what you think!

If you would like to voice a complaint about what I wrote about below the person to contact is:

Mr. Rick Siger

901 15th St. NW

Washington DC 20005

(202) 682-3500

Good job, folks!

|| Greg, 06:36 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 09, 2004

Support Sinclair Broadcast Group!

Sinclair Broadcast Group is planning to broadcast Carlton Sherwood's documentary Stolen Honor during prime time sometime during the period of October 21-24. The documentary, which documents the effects of John Kerry's anti-war activism and statements upon the men held as POWs by the North Vietnamese. Sinclair, which owns 62 television stations in 39 markets, will potentially reach nearly one quarter of the viewing public with the broadcast, including major markets such as Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Sacramento and Las Vegas. The company also has stations in the swing states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Wisconsin. The broadcast may also qualify as news, exempting it from equal time and fairness rules, although the company plans to invite Kerry or a representative to appear as part of a panel discussion following the broadcast.

The Left, needless to say, is apoplectic!

"It's not the American way for powerful corporations to strong-arm local broadcasters to air lies promoting a political agenda," said David Wade, a spokesman for the Democratic nominee's campaign. "It's beyond yellow journalism; it's a smear bankrolled by Republican money, and I don't think Americans will stand for it."

Hold on, David -- Sinclair IS the local broadcaster in this case. It owns the stations!

Similarly, liberal blogger John Aravosis is frothing over at The publisher of liberal attack sites such as and wants to see a campaign organized to "take those stations down."

We need to know which of our local stations is in bed with the president and this right-wing zealot and we need to destroy them. I'm talking get every single advertiser to leave those stations. Publish the advertisers email and phone and contact them, demanding that they stop funneling their money to partisan un-American TV zealots who are trying to throw our election.

In other words, a vocal segment of the Left is going after Sinclair. They have succeeded before in their attempt to muzzle speech with which they disagree.


We must contact Sinclair and let them know we support their public service. Here's how.

Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.
10706 Beaver Dam Road
Hunt Valley, Maryland 21030
410-568-1500 (Main Telephone)
410-568-1533 (Main Fax)

David D. Smith
Sinclair CEO

M. William Butler
VP of Programming and Promotions

Mike O'Malley
Corporate Webmaster

And their stations -- contact as many as you can in support of the broadcast.

* WTTA - Tampa
* KMWB - Minneapolis
* WPGH & WCWB - Pittsburgh
* KOVR - Sacramento
* KDNL - St. Louis
* WBFF & WNUV - Baltimore
* WTTV & WTTK - Indianapolis
* WLFL & WRDC - Raleigh - Durham, NC
* WZTV & WUXP - Nashville
* WCGV & WVTV - Milwaukee
* WSTR - Cincinnati
* KSMO - Kansas City, MO
* WTTE & WSYX - Columbus, OH
* WFBC & WLOS - Asheville, NC
* KABB & KRRT - San Antonio
* WTTO & WABM & WDBB - Birmingham, AL
* WTVZ - Norfolk, VA
* WUTV - Buffalo, NY
* KOCB & KOKH - Oklahoma City
* WXLV & WUPN - Greensboro, NC
* WKEF & WRGT - Dayton, OH
* KVWB & KFBT - Las Vegas
* WCHS & WVAH - Charleston, WV
* WRLH - Richmond, VA
* WEAR & WFGX - Mobile, AL
* WSMH - Flint, MI
* WDKY - Lexington, KY
* KDSM - Des Moines
* WSYT & WNYS - Syracuse
* KBSI & WDKA - Paducah, KY
* WUHF - Rochester, NY
* WGME - Portland, ME
* WMSN - Madison, WI
* WEMT - Tri-Cities, TN
* WGGB - Springfield, MA
* WYZZ - Peoria, IL
* WTWC - Tallahassee, FL
* WMMP & WTAT - Charleston, SC
* WICS & WICD — Springfield, IL
* KGAN — Cedar Rapids, IA

The major media has ignored this part of Kerry's background long enough -- it must be exposed now, before it is too late. This is not an attack upon his military service, but rather an examination of his words and actions AFTER he returned from Vietnam.

UPDATE: Apparently the boycott sites are already being set up. Supposedly they are and

UPDATE 2: Apparently there is another boycott site, and they even have a great database of network advertisers to contact and support. Show some class and tell them to stand firm with Sinclair for the sake of America's future. You will certainly out-do the liberals, who have already been cautioned by the site's owner not to be abusive towards advertisers like a number of folks on their side have.

|| Greg, 11:55 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Missed You Guys, But Needed Some Time And Space

It's been a busy time. Teaching during the day. Teaching at night. Trying to spend quality time with my beloved spouse and the four-legged furry person who calls us Mom & Dad. My posting frequency may decrease just a bit as I work to add a little balance to my life.

I've also had to stand back and look at what I've been writing. A lot of it is good. And a lot of it says what I feel very well. But from time to time I paint with a broad brush, and I sound like I think every liberal is the enemy. I don't believe that. Most are decent people -- our friends, neighbors, family members -- who have reached a different conclusion. Those are the people we need to try to reach, not attack. And to the degree we can engage in constructive dialogue with them, that is good for America and good for our own souls. Remember, the greatest of God's gifts is love.

Does that mean that there are not those whose words and actions make them a malign influence? No, it doesn't. Does that mean we shouldn't go on the offensive when necessary? Hardly. But it does mean that we have to remember that the political conflict we fight is one which is brother against brother, parent against child, and husband against wife. It doesn't profit us to win the policy battle if we destroy the people and relationships which should be central to our lives.

Ann Coulter has a new book out -- How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must). In it she offers suggestions that conservatives need to make sure we aren't defensive, always outrage the enemy, and never apologize to, compliment, or show graciousness to a Democrat. That is bullshit. She seeks to remake conservatives into political jihadis who are the mirror image of the folks she claims to despise on the Left (and I doubt she even believes this crap, given her long relationship with Bill Maher). In other words, we must become what we hate to win. That is fundamentally wrong.

So to my Conservative readers, know that I'm not backing off on my principle if I try to dial back the rhetoric a notch or two. And to those on the Left, know that a more civil tone does not equate to weakness. What I am seeking to do hear is preserve the bonds that hold us together as a nation, as one people, and encouraging all to do the same.

|| Greg, 11:25 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 03, 2004

Anti-Catholicism Lives

Some folks don't understand the concept of a religious mission. Ellen Goodman is one of those, as she again proves in her latest column. Or maybe she does -- but would rather take another opportunity to engage in a bit of Catholic-bashing, since Catholicism isn't in line with her fuzzy-wuzzy feel-good belief-system.
When I was a kid I just assumed the separation of church and hospital. It's not that I didn't believe in the power of prayer, but when my appendix burst I wanted a guy in a white coat, not a white collar.

Yeah, Ellen, but did you ever stop to think about why the local hospital was St. Anne's, Lutheran, or Beth Israel Hospital? Or why there were so many nuns at some of them? Could it be that there was a union between religion and the hospital?

The first time I realized how different things were in the Bush era was when W. David Hager was appointed to an advisory board of the Food and Drug Administration. Hager was an ob-gyn who prescribed Corinthians and Romans for PMS. After that we saw the government take contraceptive information off one Web site and put phony links between abortion and breast cancer on another. That was just the beginning.

Really? If that were so , Hager would have long ago lost his license rather than gotten a high level appointment. Could it be that he dispensed some good-old spiritually based words of wisdom to his patients? And if he did, is that a problem? Or would you like to impose a gag-order on physicians, inserting the yourself and/or the government into the relationship between a woman and her doctor? I seem to recall your having objections to that in another context. And as for the link between abortion and breast cancer, there were a number of peer-reviewed studies that showed a link between the two, and the verdict on the connection is still out.

Welcome to the era of faith-based medicine.

The administration has just announced that, for the first time ever, federal employees will be offered a Catholic health plan. Starting in November, workers in 31 Illinois counties can enroll in a plan created explicitly according to Catholic tenets and marketed as "faith-based."

This plan is noted most for the things that it doesn't provide: Abortion, of course, even in the case of rape. Contraception, including emergency contraception. Sterilization. Artificial insemination and most other fertility treatments.

We don't know yet what the faith-based health plan will do about paying for other treatments that might challenge Catholic teachings. Will end-of-life care be determined by the patient or the latest directive from Rome?

Gee, Ellen, what's wrong with giving folks the option to not fund activities that violate their religious beliefs and to reject coverage for themselves and their families. And I'm reasonably sure that the policy spells out the end-of-life issues. Based upon only four years of graduate level theological training in a Catholic seminary, I believe the only difference from what you might see in any other hospital setting would be that you cannot cut off nutrition or hydration unless doing so would prevent harm to the patient (such as cutting off hydration when a patient's kidneys have shut down). That would be your first appeal to anti-Catholicism -- the concern about Rome controlling anything in America.

This plan is defended as a "choice." If you don't want it, don't choose it. But if this is an opening wedge, choice may not be so simple, especially in the 100 counties across the country where Catholic hospitals are the sole providers.

What? You raving secularists haven't put your money here your mouth in regard to compassion for the poor and destitute and those in need of medical treatment by opening hospitals in those 100 counties? Not, I would guess, that many of those counties are all that far from other counties with a non-Catholic hospital. But that is anti-Catholic shot number two -- a concern that non-Catholics will be controlled by Catholics since Catholics control the hospitals.

It's no surprise that the first faith-based plan is Catholic since 11 percent of all hospitals are run by Catholics. Many provide the exact same services as their secular counterparts, but the church has long led the fight against abortion and also against state laws that mandate contraceptive coverage. At last count, only 28 percent of their 600 emergency rooms offered emergency contraception to rape victims.

Ah, here we go. Back to your focus on crotch-related issues. You know, Ellen, you really need to seek psychological help for that problem. It seems like a good chunk of your columns end up coming back to the genitals and what folks do with them. Sounds a bit obsessive-compulsive to me.

Oh, my, anti-Catholic attack number three -- Catholics using the legislative process to impose their agenda, never mind that Catholics are American citizens too, and have every right to do so. Yes, Ellen, the Catholic Church is against abortion and artificial contraception. Yes, FAITHFUL Catholics (unlike FAITHLESS Massachusetts legislators whose names begin with K) seek to influence public policy to that end. And that 28% is about 28% too many, and I would guess they are predominantly in states that REQUIRE hospitals to provide such services, regardless of the fact that such services are contrary to the religious mission of the hospitals in question.

But this health care "first" is only a piece of the growing story of faith-based medicine. Another piece is in the "conscience clauses" being pushed to let health care workers and whole institutions opt out of providing health care, especially reproductive care, on religious grounds.

Just this month, the House of Representatives passed a provision that protects employees and hospitals from laws requiring them to provide abortions or even abortion referrals. Last July, Mississippi joined Arkansas and South Dakota in giving health care workers and institutions the right to refuse performing any medical service on moral or religious grounds. Meanwhile we have pharmacists lobbying to refuse handing over emergency contraceptives as if the drugstore were their personal chapel.

Well, I have no problem with a "conscience clause" for an individual. No health care worker should perform a medical procedure against his beliefs. How would you like a doctor who opposes sterilization performing your vasectomy?

Imagine that -- having a "pro-choice" policy regarding abortion and birth control, one that allows those who dissent from YOUR orthodoxy to refuse to participate. I realize that promiscuous sex, contraception and abortion are all sacraments in your mind, but others dare to believe differently. How kind of you to agree that there is something reasonable about such conscience clauses -- or to at least pretend that you do, with your condescending jab about "personal chapels", which implies that you believe that anyone who would take advantage of such a provision is somehow a religious fanatic who shouldn't be in the medical field.

But how do you define an institution's conscience? Is it the collective belief of the doctors, the employees, the patients? Or is it an edict of the bishops?

It's really quite simple, Ellen, and is probably spelled out in the incorporation papers, charter, and mission statement of the institution. If it was founded by a religious group as part of the religious mission of that group, and if it remains affiliated with that group, then the standard theological tenets of the faith should apply. And if that means that bishops have a say in the matter regarding a Catholic hospital, then so be it. Quit appealing to anti-Catholic bigotry -- this is number four.

And while we are talking about faith-based medicine, since when is a hospital or a health care plan a religion? This year the California Supreme Court ruled that Catholic Charities of Sacramento had to provide its employees with birth control coverage because the charity didn't just serve or employ Catholics. Well, neither does a hospital.

Actually, yes a hospital or health-care plan is part of a religion if it is founded by a religious community with a religious mission. The California Supreme Court blew it in the decision it made. By that logic, the parish school down at St. Miscellaneous is also not a religiously based institution, because Bob the janitor is a Baptist and the school takes any family that can come up with tuition, regardless of religion. Do you really think that such a result is reasonable? According to the logic of the decision, the absence of discrimination based upon religion is evidence that an organization is not religious -- and the very discrimination needed to remain a religious organization is illegal under other statutes.

As Frances Kissling of Catholics for a Free Choice says, "All health care institutions receive most of their money from the government. If they want to be truly private, they wouldn't take Medicare or Medicaid. Then they could be run like a Christian Science Reading Room."

Anti-Catholic attack number five -- the Catholic Church getting government money! And attack number seven in the same paragraph, because anytime Frances Kissling is quoted an author is presumed to be engaging in an anti-Catholic attack. After all, the group she heads has no membership and is fully funded by liberal foundation grants.

We used to talk about doctors playing God. Now religion is playing doctor. What happens when the church defines medicine and the government gives it a religious seal of approval?

Another anti-Catholic attack. That makes eight. The Catholic Church will control medicine.

Will there be a sign on the emergency room door warning that this hospital does not remove feeding tubes? Will a young woman even be told that she can have her eggs harvested before chemo for later use? Will an AIDS patient be advised about condoms?

Well, since there is nothing to prevent the transfer of a patient to another hospital, the feeding tube rule is not that big a deal. And based upon my conversations with at least two Catholic medical ethicists, yes the young woman will be advised about the possibility of egg harvesting -- and its unavailability at the hospital. As far as the AIDS patient goes, the more responsible option is to advise him or her to STOP HAVING SEX, so as not to risk spreading the disease. Only those who believe that sexual activity is the highest purpose in life would think otherwise.

"Can you imagine if Jehovah's Witnesses opened a hospital, got funding, and then said oh, by the way, we don't do transfusions?" asks Susan Berke Fogel, who co-chairs the American Bar Association's ethics committee. What if a Jewish hospital insisted on circumcising all boys, she adds provocatively. Would that too be approved as faith-based medicine?

At some point doesn't religious practice become medical malpractice? We can only pray.

Ah, the logical fallacy presented by the parade of horribles. She's gone from folks being up-front about the ethical limits imposed by their faith to a group hiding its beliefs until it has its hands in the public till. She's gone from refusing to perform certain procedures to forcing people to receive them. Those are hardly the same thing -- but Ellen doesn't care. And she gets in her final, implicit attack -- that being faithful to Catholic medical ethics makes a physician guilty of malpractice. And then she ties it all up with a blashemous bow.

It's a pity you have no faith Ellen. Why must you tear down and attack those who do?

|| Greg, 09:18 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Was This REALLY Necessary?

I can't understand why the following made its way into Randy Cohen's column on ethics in the Houston Chronicle -- which comes from the New York Times. After all, the question was about the ethics of releasing a pet gerbil into the wild (a truly worthy use of Chronicle editorial space, don't you think?).
"Gerbils are Mongolian desert rats," Dr. Rebecca Campbell, a veterinarian in Manhattan, told me. Unless you plan not only to re-educate your pet but fly to Mongolia to release it, you may not set it free. (Incidentally, if there's a prize for pet marketing, I'd like to nominate whoever changed "Mongolian desert rat" to "gerbil." That's even better than "compassionate conservative.")

Excuse me! Where did that come from? What purpose does it serve in the discussion of the topic at hand? Why didn't some editor strike it out as irrelevant and inflammatory? Would a statement such as, for example, "That's even better than calling racial discrimination "affirmative action," have made it into the column?

If Cohen wants to write political commentary, so be it. But let him label it as such -- not slip it into columns surreptitiously.

UPDATE: Randy Cohen Responds

Thanks for the note, but I believe you’ve misread me. It wasn’t conservatives but deceptive nomenclature that I was denigrating. In my view, the terms I compared were devised in pursuit of advertising and promotion, not accuracy and clarity, an unfortunate use of language regardless of one’s politics.

But it does seem that you take a narrower view of these things than I
do, prescribing sort of "free speach zones" where particular topics may
be addressed. I think it entirely apt in a column on ethics, or most
anything else, to refer to the great events of the day.


I have to admire Randy Cohen for responding. It would have been easy for him to ignore one more email from a disgruntled reader.

I'll accept at face value what his statement of what his goal was. I still, however, think that what he did was drop a little piece of political bias into the middle of an otherwise unrelated column.

And no, I don't think that I am prescribing "free speech zones" for politics. I again agree that there should be more reference to the great events of the day. More political discussion is better. But a "drive-by shooting" like this doesn't really qualify, does it? In context, the reference still seems gratuitous and out of place. Do you really mena to tell me that, of all the marketting references you could have made, the best one (or only one you could think of) was the term used to describe the president in his first election campaign -- especially when we are only a month from election day?

|| Greg, 07:15 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 02, 2004

Killers for Kerry

On September 9, an unidentified man interrupted a question and answer session following a screening of the film Stolen Honor, which honors POWs and notes John Kerry's role in making their imprisonment longer and subject to more pressure to betray their country like he did. He disputed the film and praised Senator Kerry

The man has now been identified.

He is Kerry campaign and Democratic National Committee staffer Wayne F. Smith, the Kerry campaign’s veterans outreach operation.

Old media accounts and "Stolen Valor," a 1998 book by Vietnam veteran B.G. Burkett, show that Smith, a Vietnam War medic, was sentenced to hard labor for being AWOL before his 1972 drug-related manslaughter conviction. Smith later obtained a college education and became executive director of the Justice Project, which attempts to use DNA evidence to exonerate unjustly convicted felons.

I think that says it all about Kerry's attitude towards veterans -- his outreach director is an AWOL convicted druggie and killer.

And yet there are still people out there who think Kerry has the judgement necessary to be president.

|| Greg, 02:38 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

United States Race-Baiting Commission

Shriveled up old race ho' Mary Frances Berry has again shown why her agency should be zeroed-out in the next budget cycle. In a move intentionally timed to come before the election, the US Civil Rights Commission will release a rreport on President Bush's record on civil rights. Past practice has been to hold these reports until after the election, as was done with the 2000 report on the Clinton record on civil rights.

But that isn't all. The report was completed by Berry and her staff without seeking or permitting any input by Republican members of the commission, and was presented to them in its final form on Wednesday. Agencies cited in the report have not been permitted to review, correct, or rebut report assertions, despite the fact that "affected agency review" is standard practice in Washington to ensure the accuracy of reports before they are released.

Among the points of indictment by the biased report are the No Child Left Behind Act's testing and accountability standards being applied to poor and minority children, support for school vouchers, and the reduction of rental subsidies (never mind the fact that minority home ownership is at its highest level in history). But this is the most shocking.

And, oh yes, the President is accused of being soft on civil rights for nominating a Hispanic (Miguel Estrada) and an African-American (Janice Rogers Brown) to the appellate bench. Never mind their ethnicity, these conservatives have a judicial philosophy that the report says will lead to the "eventual weakening of civil rights laws." So Mr. Bush is insensitive to civil rights if he doesn't appoint minorities but he's also insensitive if he does. That's about all you need to know about the objectivity of this political exercise.

Like I said, zero-out the agency in the next budget. It no longer serves a useful purpose.

|| Greg, 01:45 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Oil-For-Palaces Enablers

Guess which three nations kept the UN's Oil-for-Food program from being effectively monitored. France, Russia, and China.
In a briefing paper given yesterday to members of the House subcommittee investigating the program, the investigators said their review of the minutes of a United Nations Security Council subcommittee meeting showed that the three nations "continually refused to support the U.S. and U.K. efforts to maintain the integrity" of the program.

What's more, the UN wasn't even willing to really look too closely at what happened to the money from oil sales permitted under the program.

The paper also accuses the United Nations office charged with overseeing the program of having "pressed" contractors not to rigorously inspect Iraqi oil being sold and the foreign goods being bought. The program office, headed by Benan Sevan, who is also under investigation by a committee appointed by the United Nations, turned a blind eye to corruption charges, the paper says, because it apparently saw oil-for-food "strictly as a humanitarian program."

The program operated in such a way as to make it a perfect breeding ground for corruption -- and the extent of the problem is not fully known due to US stonewalling of investigations.

The paper concludes that the program's greatest weakness was a lack of transparency. "Most transactions involving the program were done behind closed doors or sometimes illicitly," it states. The lists of oil purchasers and aid providers were not known. The United Nations internal audits continue to be withheld from United Nations members and the public.

Maybe rather than having US military and foreign policy "pass the global test" like John Kerry wants, the United States should insist that all UN actions pass the United States' test! Yet one more reason to support the president's reelection.

|| Greg, 01:30 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Libertarians Seek To Stop Non-Inclusive Debate

Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik is on the ballot in 48 states and the District of Columbia, and failed to make the cut in New Hampshire and Oklahoma only because of technical errors in submitting petitions, not a failure to obtain sufficient signatures. Despite the fact that this places him on more than enough ballots to potentially win the electoral college, Badnarik is not included in the presidential debates because the Commission on Presidential Debates requires that included candidates have 15% support in polls by five different polling groups.

So the Arizona Libertarian Party has taken action. Arguing that the requirements make the debates nothing more than a contribution to the two major parties, they want the October 13 debate at Arizona State university cancelled, and have filed suit in state court to make sure that happens.

Party Treasurer Warren Severin said Thursday that the cost of the debate - estimated at more than $2 million - amounts to an unconstitutional gift of taxpayer funds for the two major parties. Severin, one of the plaintiffs in the legal action, wants a Maricopa County Superior Court judge to block the use of any public funds, a move designed to kill the event.

ASU publicist Carolyne Kennedy said there are no tax dollars involved. She said the out-of-pocket expenses are going to be borne by local individuals and businesses.

Severin said he's not convinced that ASU has, in fact, received sufficient donations to cover those costs. But even if it has, he said the university continues to devote staff time to putting the Oct. 13 event together.

All-in-all, not an unreasonable position to take. After all, if a candidate is clearly national in the scope of his campaign, why shouldn't he be included in a debate?

Besides, I'd like to see Michael Badnarik up there. I have a certain admiration for the Libertarians, and would love to see them grow as a political national force. They certainly don't fit the stereotype of "all politicians are the same." And since more political speech, debates, and ideas are healthier than fewer, his inclusion (along with nadir) would be a good thing for America.

|| Greg, 01:13 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Jerry Rubin -- Leftist Wuss Makes Faux Protest

Liberal activist Jerry Rubin is going on an anti-Nader hunger strike -- sort of. He is seeking to persuade the independent candidate Ralph Nader to drop out of the presidential race.
"I know Ralph Nader and I don't think he's doing the right thing," Rubin said Saturday, adding the consumer advocate's campaign is dividing the progressive political movement.

"Greens, progressives and Democrats are more divided how than they were in 2000 because of him," Rubin said.

And I was all prepared to offer some admiring words about Rubin's commitment, his willingness to "put his money where his mouth is", so to speak, until I came across the following sentence.

He said he plans to consume only herbal tea and juice until Oct. 9 and, after that, only water until Nov. 2 if Nader doesn't take a meeting with hi

What a wuss! What a wimp! Why aren't you going all the way, Jerry -- no food, no liquids, nothing at all -- until Nader drops out? Why don't you make it clear that you are serious about this by saying "Hey, Ralph! Your failure to drop out will result in your murder of Jerry Rubin?" Could it be that you now that Nader IS a serious candidate, with a serious message, and that you realize that by dropping out he would be selling out, just like you have, to the Democrat Party plutocratic elite?

Until you are willing to do a Bobby Sands hunger strike, stop trying to get face-time in the media!

|| Greg, 10:46 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Two New Additions

I've added two new listings over on the sidebar.

The first is for a great blog I just encountered -- UNCoRRELATED. The author seems like someone I would like to sit down with over a beer or three and talk politics.

The other is the great new listing site, BlogExplosion. It brings exposure for surfing listed blogs -- sort of "pay to play." You get a hit for evry two member sites you visit. Sounds like a deal to me. I've already found a couple I'll be revisiting.

|| Greg, 09:47 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 01, 2004

A Sad, Sad, Sad Story -- Please Pray For All Touched By This

High school kids and cars. They make me crazy sometimes, since I teach 10th graders. This morning was another reminder of how terrible that combination can be. This isn't my school (it's a good 30 miles away), but seeing the pictures on the news tonight of one car ripped in half did the same to my heart. They weren't my kids -- but they could have been.

Four young lives -- and the other driver -- gonein a flash. May God have mercy on their souls.

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

Put Up Or Shut Up, Nancy!

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi today claimed that the 2003 redistricting of Texas was illegal. This despite the redistricting being upheld by state and federal courts and the US Department of Justice. Her target, of course, is House Majority Tom DeLay, who saw several associates indicted by political hack Ronnie Earle as part of a political witchhunt

That said, I have a challenge for the Wicked Witch of the West Coast. If you can find a single statute or provision of the US or Texas constitutions violated by the redistricting itself, I will take you out for lunch at Seabrook's finest dining establishment, Tookie's, and let you order anything off the menu. I'd recommend the Squealer.

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

More Florida Vote Problems -- Courtesy Of Leftists

Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood is reporting that tens of thousands of would-be voters who think they registered during independent voter registration drives may not be.

Some groups failed to complete sections of the registration forms that dealt with citizenship, mental competence, or felony convictions, rendering the applications void. Other groups are under investigation for committing fraud or trying to change party registration for some voters without informing them.

One leftist group is crying foul over Hood's directive that incomplete forms not be turned back over to groups to complete.

A group seeking copies of the incomplete applications in an effort to help people complete them said some counties turned over thousands of forms until Hood's office informed supervisors state law prohibits them from handing out copies of voter records except to specified groups, such as political committees and parties. Now the Washington-based Advancement Project isn't receiving any of the forms and fears thousands of people won't be able to vote.

"Clearly, way over the number that could determine the election," said Judith Browne, a lawyer with the group, which promotes multiracial participation in the democratic process. She was referring to President Bush's disputed 537-vote victory in Florida that gave him the presidency in 2000.

That group, America's Families United, has even sued (so far unsuccessfully) over the issue.

"It seems like every time that we try to take steps to help voters to make sure they get on the rolls and to make sure they are protected, the state and the counties put obstacles in the way," said Browne.

Yeah -- little things like THE LAW.

Of course, the leftists ignore the actions of Florida officials to remedy the problem.

Acting Duval elections supervisor Richard Carlberg said his office is trying to call the 1,441 applicants to let them know they won't be able to vote unless the forms are completed, but said many of the phone numbers on the forms aren't working numbers.

Hood said her office is only trying to help elections supervisors follow the law and that incomplete forms must be rejected.

Hood recommended that people who were registered by a group instead of at their county elections office check to make sure they were actually registered. She also said anyone registering to vote outside a county office should double check to make sure all information is accurate, forms are completely filled out and that the group plans to turn the applications in before midnight Monday.

Individuals taking responsibility and initiative to ensure that they are properly registered -- what a concept. The very notion of personal responsibility reeks of opposition to the Democrat Platform and must surely, somehow, discriminate against and disenfranchise minorities and octogenarian transplants from New York.

|| Greg, 11:29 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Will They Punish Us With Nude Pictures Of Leonard Nimoy?

A Canadian Judge has banned United Federation of Planets representative Reni Sentana-Ries, Grand World Councillor, Lion of Judah and Guardian of the Arab Prophetess Uthrania Seila, has been banned from using the Internet. The Starfleet emissary, more mundanely known as Reinhard Mueller of Edmonton, is accused of violating hate speech laws by promoting racial hatred of Jews.

Here's where the case gets interesting.

While Mueller has denied the charges, Judge David McNab made it a condition of his bail which forbids him from using the Internet.

Mueller objected saying access to the Internet is a right of all citizens of earth and said he needs it to research his defence. McNab said there were other avenues available for him to do legal research.

Mueller’s defence is original. According to court documents Mueller will claim that there was no problem with his site until he demanded the removal of the monetary system and insisted people comply with the universal order of stellar economics.

In another excerpt, Mueller warns that if the new economic world order isn't implemented will earn judgment from the Starfleet Commanders on your leadership heads!

Let's stipulate that this guy is a real nutjob. That said, I'm much more concerned about judges restricting access to the fastest growing technology and the threat to free speech than I am about some whacked out guy spouting insane "prophecies" on his website. My concern is that these "hate speech" prohibitions are going to work their way into American law, especially if we allow folks on the left to regain political power. After all, they would likely classify most of Christian teaching as "hate speech" and shut down most conservative talk radio under the same rubric.

So I'm going to hope that Mueller manages to "live long and prosper," because in this case "the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many". . . even if that seems illogical.

|| Greg, 10:45 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

I've Missed You Guys!

It's been quite a week.


An unexpected late meeting.

Work to prep for my classes.

A minor family illness that necessitated TLC.

And a desire to spend more time with the Loyal Opposition rather than in front of a computer.

I'll try to be more regular.

|| Greg, 08:31 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

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NAME: Greg
AGE: 50-ish
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