Friday, July 28, 2006

The Orange and Blue

So as to not use up space on this blog that should be devoted to the meaty issues of the day, I've set up a separate space for my musings on the Mets and their inevitable MLB dynasty. All my devoted readers (yes honey, this means you) can check it out over at Shea Hey Kids.

Take My Profits, Please

I was listening a debate to the news on CBS this morning. The topic was a proposed bill that would enstate a 100% tax on "excess" profits of oil companies. The Congressman sponsoring the bill quoted oil company profit figures such as thirty billion dollars a year and 1300 dollars per minute. Mostly he just invoked the pain of the people paying peak prices at the pump (nice alliteration, eh?). The expert on the other side of the table stated that the profits are at an 8% level - around the industrial average. He also reminded us that this happened in the early 80s and the result was increased gas prices because of production cuts. Of course our frien(D) replied by repeating himself instead of addressing the points made by his opponent. He went a step further by saying we should invest the revenue gained by the 100% execss profit tax in more government programs. Now I'm feeling the pain at the pump with my 15 mile per gallon pickup, but making average profits doesn't sound Sean Penn corporation evil. Our frien(D)s always remind us to learn from history, so why would we repeat this mistake? How does it help us to have the government take legimately earned, average profits to make an already swollen federal government bigger? What do you think?

An Eye Opener

Thanks to fredo, I've been doing more reading lately. I found some great articles on the effects of radical feminism. The site is titled "The New Totalitarians." This refers to the author's assertion that America is being taken over by radical feminists. This sounds outlandish, but read this article by Dr. Atkinson and you might change your thinking a bit.

P.S. I've decided to grow a beard. Why should I surpress my male characteristics?

I am honored and humbled

Thank you to fredo for his generous offer to join the most daring and influential blog going today.
I can only hope that my "dark and commenty" thoughts can meet the standards of excellence that have been set here.
Thursday, July 27, 2006

Boo-hoo

Well, the vigil is over, and the sun just won't come up. A month after I allowed myself to get duped by all the excitement over at ConfirmThem, I must admit it now seems hopeless. No Supreme Court vacancy this term.

Congrats to the 22% of respondents who had the pessimism or predictive power to see this one coming.

Guess I'll be waiting till next year. There is a silver lining though. One year closer to AMSOL grads being ready to take back the judiciary.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006

OccObs round table turns Taft-ian

And I love every minute of it.

Nigel Tufnel writes:

Follow the Powell doctrine in any military conflict and we should be fine: always have a clear purpose, always have a clear exit strategy, and use overwhelming disproportionate force when you attack.

Looking back, Iraq had #1 (remove Saddam, look for WMD), fell short on #2 (fuzzy goal of exit when they had democratic gov't and could police themselves), and half had #3 (we had overwhelming force for the invasion which was a resounding success, but could have used more troops per Army/Pentagon requests to lock things down and secure the peace).

The problem right now is that Europe and Asia are content to sit on the sidelines, contribute no soldiers or funding to any effort, and let the US fight all the battles for them. I think a more isolationist policy, which would force European and Asian countries to choose sides in these coming battles and put up or shut up to defend themselves, would be in our best interest. If we couple that with strong funding for intelligence and military, we then have the ability to overwhelmingly strike anywhere at anytime.


Here's my only question. Nigel writes, "a more isolationist policy...would force European and Asian countries to choose sides in these coming battles and put up or shut up to defend themselves."

But what if Old Europe is content to continue being assimilated into the Muslim Borg? France is well down the road and based on the below-replacement level population growth in old Europe's native cultures, that trend will accelerate. Will aging European nations forfeit cushy socialist pensions, funded on the backs of immigrant Muslim workers, to fight a wrenching political war at home and bloody war(s) abroad? Could we do anything about Old Europe committing suicide even if we were willing to?

Moving on to part two of Nigel's comments. I particularly like this part, b/c it shows that the use of military force is not exclusive to Nigel's definition of "isolationism." If we hold foreign regimes accountable for maintaining lawfulness (read: arresting terrorists) within their own lands, we are, in effect, using a carrot and stick approach. We will stay out of their way so long as they stay out of ours, saving us lives, money, and international reputation. If, however, we believe a government is complicit in working with terrorists, we don't try to aid the citizenry of that state (nation-building, etc.). We simply punish them, and don't waste energy dividing state from nation. Therefore, we avoid the "asymmetic warfare" you mention below.

Not to mention, the terrorists have created this so-called asymmetric warfare, where a nation (U.S.) now has to fight non-nations ("rogue" individuals).

Well, especially in the case of Syria and N. Korea where the state is clearly complicit in these activities, we too can change the battlefield and fight symmetric battles. Instead of exposing ground troops, we can simply lob bombs and missiles, taking them out without suffering any losses (at least in the initial stages). Keep that up for months or years and see whether they still have the will to threaten and attack us. Then send in the Marines to mop up whatever's still standing, with a quick "get in, get out" approach, which is what our military is really built for. Not hanging around for years afterwards as glorified UN peacekeepers, being picked off by psycho suicide terrorists, while the international media effectively handcuffs our soldiers from using sufficient force to defend themselves.

OccObs foreign policy round table (Con't)

The Dark Commenteer has weighed in, as Darkly and Commenty as usual:

The biggest problem in this country is a fundamental one: the rampant run of liberalism and following pussificaton of the United States has crippled our strength and status. It's like a national case of AIDS that we are wasting away from.

You can see these principles on the domestic level as well as international. Basic law enforcement policy is that when planning an arrest you bring an overwhelming number of officers, as heavily armed as possible. If you are going after one perp, bring 8 men. Going after 5? Bring 50, all with shotguns and rifles. However, we frequently see civil rights groups whining that this is a violation of the criminal's rights because he had no choice but to surrender in the face of such odds. As if we're supposed to get into one-on-one shootouts to give the a fighting chance. These mass arrests are "terrifying to the victim" and are traumatic experiences that scar them.

This ridiculous argument is the same reason that we face problems in international conflicts. The whole point of working your way up to superpower status is so that you can do things your way. Instead, we are forced (in part by pressure from our own citizenry) to fight a "fair fight" against these savages around the world.

What will happen if we actually end up at war with China, the only other legitimate superpower in the world? Are we to assume that they will fight fair? Or do we just roll over when they bring the hurt?

We want to be seen as the "good guys" in the world forum so we cave to everyone else's rules and demands. However, we are still hated by basically everyone, and in addition no one respects us anymore. And why should they? How can you have any respect for someone who will not stand up for themselves. I would rather be feared and openly disliked if I am respected, as opposed to being the laughing stock and having people pretend to get along with me but despising me and not taking anything I say seriously.


So I take it you don't have a problem with the "disproportionate" use of force in Lebanon? Can't believe "pussification" made it through spell check. I usually try to go with language that's a bit more formal, but hey, sometimes you've just got to make your point, eh, D.C.?

Bullseye for ManBeast

ManBeast writes:

...Pakistan is one of the scarier problems out there. The countries with which we are friendly, but who are on the brink of militant islamist control are worse than those that are clearly enemies. We will tip-toe around to try to keep them friendly and look the other way more than we should. As much as Pakistan scares me, India and Pakistan will probably nuke each other before anything else.

China really scares me. Taiwan is the Israel of the far east. Taiwan claims sovereignty, that we want to recognize, while China states that Taiwan is and always has been part of China. China is slowing building up it's economy and military. They're testing the waters using their main toady, North Korea. And we're funding it all. Unlike the some of other worrysome countries, China has plenty of diplomatic capital. When they are ready, they can escalate tensions very easily using Taiwan as a flash point. We won't get such a quick and decisive victory in any conflict with China.


Taiwan is the Israel of the far east. Hopefully that cold war stays cold while we're confronting Islamofascism. But if anyone's read Sun Tzu, it's the Chinese.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Conservatives need to support Sec. Blackwell

Ohio is an essential state for a GOP presidential victory, and retaining that statehouse is of the utmost importance to the future of a Republican majority. Below are my reasons why I'd like to see conservatives do all they can to get Secretary Blackwell elected as Governor Blackwell.

1) A good man, a real conservative

Not only is he right on the issues, but he's willing to be outspoken on social issues that some Republicans equivocate on. He's front and center about how liberalism is tearing at the fabric of society. The New Yorker posted a story about Sec. Blackwell today (no doubt to show how 'dangerous' he is to their readers), and had this example:

At an Ohio Restoration Project rally in a church outside Columbus, in March, he gave what amounted to a sermon about the obligation of Christians to "serve and engage." There are, he said, "social, cultural, and political forces that have tried to run God, faith, and religion out of the public square."

2) He appeals to every GOP camp

He would unite the broad spectrum of Republican ideologies: he's a social conservative, a tax reformer, and a balanced-budget advocate. Consider how the same story summarized his ideology, and ask yourself if this sounds like a candidate that you would support:

Blackwell, a six-foot-four African-American former college football star, is a thoroughgoing conservative. He's a supply-sider who for years has advocated a flat tax and a constitutional limit on state spending. His views on abortion, gay marriage, school vouchers, and stem-cell research coincide with those of the religious right, and his position on concealed weapons with that of the N.R.A.

That pretty much rattles off everything I like to know about a candidate. If you're a conservative Republican like me, chances are you agree with most of Blackwell's positions, too.

3) He is a strong campaigner and has the mentality of a leader

He has an aggressive, confident demeanor that is well suited to leadership and converting voters to the conservative cause. And he is a personality that energizes people. From the article:

Blackwell can be a mesmerizing speaker...

His big, deep voice filled the sanctuary, and, speaking without notes, he cited chapter and verse of the Bible. His delivery had members of the audience, which was almost entirely white, shouting out "Amen!" and interrupting his performance with bursts of applause.

And again,

The night of the primary, he said, "Message to Brother Strickland: You can run but you can't hide. We're coming right atcha. We represent change, we represent the future, and there is no retreat in our bones."


Not mealy-mouthed. Patton-esque, as a leader should be.

4) His success could impact more than just Ohio


He would be a potent figure on the national scene, potentially an '08 VP or '12 or '16 Presidential nominee. And there is at least a chance, a chance well worth taking, that an articulate black conservative like Sec. Blackwell could help change the very landscape of race affiliation in American politics. It's certainly hard to break through decades of old habits, but after the clear failure of the Democratic party to deliver to their African-American constituency, there is at least an opportunity for Blackwell (or, to a lesser extent, any Republican) to break through the Dem stranglehold.

I've seen the most recent polls. I know he's down big right now. But don't forget three things: (1) he's not tied to the problems of the OH GOP establishment other than simply being a Republican; (2)he's appealing to the same set of evangelical and values voters that pollsters missed in OH heading into 2004 (Rove's 'increase the turnout' strategy that left Dems happy in the afternoon and miserable in the evening); and (3) as the candidates start to go head-to-head, he's going to generate a lot of forward momentum, as his vibrancy is juxtaposed with Ted Strickland's staleness.

Let's not give up on Sec. Blackwell. I'm making my contribution to his campaign. I hope you all would consider doing so as well.


Cross-posted at RedState.com
Sunday, July 16, 2006

Deep thoughts on War

By the Dark Commenteer:

As far as restraining ourselves from crushing our enemies into a fine powder, I say [B.S.]! The whole point is to kill enough of your enemy to make them stop doing what made you want to kill them in the first place.

Well said, D.C. Well said.
Saturday, July 15, 2006

George Allen: Not the pro-lifer you're looking for

Despite being labled the "true conservative" GOP Presidential contender in 2008, Sen. Allen is not the anti-Roe candidate many seem to assume he is. In a recent post by SlimJim on RedState, he points to several oddities with Allen's "pro-life" credentials. Here were some of the more interesting points:

1) Roanoke.com's Ed Lynch points out that as recently as his last election, Allen refused to endorse the restriction of first term abortions:

During his run for the Senate in 2000, I twice heard Allen attempt to explain his stand on this issue. Neither attempt was very successful. Allen said that he would not restrict abortion during the first trimester, since at that early point in the pregnancy, it is not certain that there is another person involved.

2) Allen's official responses to a Vote Smart questionnaire during his 2000 Senate run. He chooses "abortion should be outlawed when the fetus is viable" instead of "abortion should be outlawed in all cases."

BTW, for those who say there should be exceptions to an abortion ban for cases of rape, incest, and life of the mother, an abortion ban with such exceptions would be much closer to the 'in all cases' choice (which Sen Allen did not choose) than the 'fetus is not viable' exception that Sen. Allen did choose. After all, the majority of abortions, as first term abortions, arguably fall into the "fetus is not viable" exception, while a very small percentage of abortions (I've seen numbers below 5%) fall into the rape/incest/life of mother exceptions.

3) This 2006 article by Fred Barnes discussing a conversation / interview he had with Sen. Allen:

George F. Allen is staring at me. The normally loquacious Virginia senator is not saying anything and neither am I. Silence hangs in the air for a few seconds.

The impasse, like so many other things in American politics, was owing to Roe v. Wade. Mr. Allen's position is carefully demarcated: He would like to see the decision "reinterpreted" to allow states to decide the legal status of abortion. Does that mean he would like to see it overturned? He won't say. So I suggest that Mr. Allen's "reinterpretation" would produce precisely the same result as overturning the ruling: States would decide the fate of abortion. I pause for a response. Nothing. I get more direct. "Why won't you say you want Roe reversed?"

Again, Mr. Allen is mum, and eventually I give up
.

"Al-Associated Press" at it again

Still skewing coverage of the news, this time the Mexican elections. What follows is their article, written by Traci Carl, and how an objective reporter might have approached the same material (or at least how I would have written it).

Disputed election leaves Mexico adrift

MEXICO CITY - The stock market is dropping. Protesters are marching on the capital. Citizens are lighting candles in hopes of divine intervention.

The stock market was surging. Jubilant supporters of the President-elect were celebrating publicly. Citizens were expressing their hopes that better times lie ahead. But that was two weeks ago.

Two weeks after a still-undecided Presidential election, the suspense is testing Mexico's young democracy. The highly respected Federal Electoral Institute is charged with making sure that the tug of war doesn't reverse democratic gains made since President Vicente Fox' stunning victory six years ago ended 71 years of one-party rule.

Despite the initial vote count and the subsequent official tally, both of which confirmed that PAN candidate Felipe Calderon had won the Mexican Presidency, political suspense continued to test Mexico's young democracy. Supporters of leftist candidate Manuel Lopez Obrador were creating a political tug of war that threatened to reverse democratic gains made since President Vicente Fox' stunning victory six years ago ended 71 years of one-party rule.

Mexican stocks have given up nearly all of the huge gains made after the July 2 vote, and the peso, which initially rallied on news of conservative Felipe Calderon's apparent victory, has stalled amid confusion over who won.

Mexican stocks, which had surged after Calderon's victory, have stalled and reversed course as political uncertainty has increased. Mexican business leaders say they are concerned by the possibility that Obrador is placing his own interests, and those of his political party, ahead of national stability. Additionally, they fear that his supporters, if successful in overturning the election, would institute policies hostile to economic growth.

Leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who refuses to concede, has given Mexico's electoral court what he says is evidence of fraud. He calls Calderon a fascist, and is demanding a nationwide, vote-by-vote recount.

Obrador, who refuses to concede despite losing both vote counts, has given Mexico's electoral court what he says is evidence of fraud. He has also ratcheted up his rhetoric in recent days, going as far as to call Calderon a "fascist" while demanding a third vote count. To this point, Al-A.P. has not obtained objective analysis of whether the videotapes — the alleged evidence supporting Obrador's fraud claims — are authentic or not (if we had been able to confirm fraud by Calderon's supporters, it would have been the headline).

Lopez Obrador will lead hundreds of thousands — perhaps millions — in a Mexico City march to demand that electoral officials review all 42 million ballots cast, something those officials say they can't do. Thousands of his supporters have converged on Mexico City in caravans after scattered nationwide protests.

Lopez Obrador will lead hundreds of thousands — perhaps millions — in a Mexico City march to demand that electoral officials review all 42 million ballots cast, something those officials say they can't do. Thousands of his supporters have converged on Mexico City in caravans after scattered nationwide protests. Conservatives have alleged that corrupt politicians in left-leaning provinces are using bribes and other illegal incentives to lure citizens into attending Obrador's rallies. Whether there is any truth to these allegations is completely unclear, but since we report the left's allegations verbatim we are required to do the same for conservatives.

The story drones on from there, but you get the idea.

"Al-A.P." hat tip to Rush
Tuesday, July 11, 2006

ConfirmThem Posters who want to continue discussion

Doesn’t the Catholic church teach that the Pope is infallible?

No, it doesn’t. It teaches that under certain circumstances, the Pope can teach infallibly. In practice, the Pope has only claimed to be teaching infallibly 2 times since Vatican I (1870? IIRC). You should explore what the Church claims, becuase it makes a compelling case for itself. This is especially true if you hold the Bible as the sole source of authoritative teaching about God, since it is through the Church that the Bible was received, understood, and carried forth to the world.

How, then, is it possible that rulings that come from the Vatican change over time?

When teaching on matters of faith and doctrine, where Catholic Christians believe the Church (not the Pope) is infallible, there have not been changes in doctrine of the type you seem to feel there has. There has been growth in teachings, where later teachings expand upon earlier teachings, but never contradiction. Examples would be teaching on the nature of the Eucharist, which was rooted as early as the first apostles and their followers, but which were not formalized and expanded upon until much later (St. Thomas Aquinas). Using our rational capacity to gain a greater understanding of the mystical truths that God has revealed to us is, it would seem to me, a good thing. Applying these received truths in an ever changing and modernizing world requires both a teaching authority and the use of our rational capacity to expand upon earlier teachings in a way that is consistent with earlier teachings.

BTW, originalists would be proud of this growth, as it is grounded in earlier texts and not an attempt to throw previous texts under the bus in order to meet “fashionable thinking.” Oh, how pleased the liberals and MSM would be if the Church went the way of some other denominations in saying that contraception is morally neutral and abortion between a woman and her doctor (for example, “This church recognizes that there can be sound reasons for ending a pregnancy through induced abortion.”).
Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Olbermann has a new job?

Apparently he's taken his slanderous and biased news-ish act to the MSNBC web page as a headline writer, where this link was presented as a headline:

Leftist candidate takes lead in Mexico vote review

Wow! I knew it all along. The leftist is pulling ahead now that the vote count is getting closer scrutiny. Those conservatives are always messing with the ballot box.

Then, upon actually reading the story, you are informed that only a partial count has been completed during a legally mandated review of the ballots.

By Wednesday afternoon, they had dealt with 35 percent of the tally sheets, and said 37 percent of those votes had gone to Lopez Obrador, compared with 34 percent for Calderon.

Not surprisingly, no mention was made of whether these results were any different than the original vote count. For all we knew, Obrador has actually lost ground from the original vote count in the 35 percent of tally sheets that have been rechecked. I have no way of knowing that, but neither, apparently, does MSNBC have anyway of knowing that Obrador's gained ground to back up their claim that he has taken a lead. Using MSNBC's standard of "taking a lead," Walter Mondale could have "taken a lead" on Ronald Reagan if they only reviewed Minnesota's votes first.

They didn't even take the obvious step of pointing out what they didn't know, e.g., if the districts that have been counted were conservative or leftist districts to start with. Of course, I'm probably being too kind. The new 'results' probably don't help Obrador at all, or else MSNBC would have mentioned in the story that "Obrador has made up considerable ground in his X vote deficit in the tallies re-counted so far." The fact that no such statement exists leaves little doubt in my mind that Calderon's in great shape.


UPDATE: 7/06/06 1031 Hrs

So if you click on the link I included above, the headline has now been changed to:

Leftist to challenge Mexico presidential results
Conservative candidate took lead after overnight recount


Funny that when the liberal is leading, the headline starts with "Leftist is leading..." When the conservative is leading, the headline starts with "Leftist to challenge..." I guess to Olbermann, Calderon and his supporters, while the majority, are relatively uninteresting players in the left's own noble drama.


Returning to the real world, I guess my prediction yesterday turned out: MSNBC's headline was a puff of hot air, and Calderon had the lead all along.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Supreme Court Retirement Vigil

With the end of the Court's term last Thursday, we are now in the midst of a two week period pregnant with possibilities. Will JPS, Souter, or even Scalia (please no) retire? We will soon see. For now, keep your head down and enjoy the renewal that could await our government's 3rd branch.

Fun facts about bourbon

From Jim Beam's website:

  • In 1964 Congress declared bourbon a "distinctive product of the United States" and it was recognized as "America's native spirit."
  • For a spirit to be called "bourbon," it must be made from a mash mixture of at least 51 percent corn and must be aged in new, charred oak barrels.
  • Bourbon has been the preferred drink of presidents (Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson), famous writers (Mark Twain) and countless other politicians, performers and notable citizens.
  • As whiskey ages, a portion evaporates over time. It is this portion that the late Master Distiller, Booker Noe, referred to as the "Angels' Share"— the portion the angels' would enjoy for themselves.
  • Jim Beam Bourbon was around when George Washington — a distiller himself — was alive. At the time, the Constitution was only 19 years old. Since then, the Constitution has been amended 27 times, but the formula for making Jim Beam bourbon remains the same. [Note: I think they meant to say that the Declaration of Independence was 19 years old, as the Constitution was only 8 in 1795]
  • As we approach Independence Day, I hope you all perform your patriotic duty to consume bourbon.

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