Thursday, March 31, 2005

R.I.P., Terri Schiavo

If there are any Florida Republicans willing to challenge some state senators in a primary, please feel free to ask me for a contribution.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Eric Clapton Turns 60 and Prepares for Cream Reunion

Cream's version of "Crossroads" is absolutely one of my all-time favorite rock songs. Along with Sweet Child o' Mine, it has one of the best guitar solos in rock history.

Clapton may be the best guitarist of all-time. Happy birthday. I once asked my father who the best guitarist was. Not one to convey too much nuance to a kid my age, he simply said "Eric Clapton." I like Slash and Jimmy Page more. Jimi Hendrix was probably better. But once you reach a certain level, you are just dealing with preferences.

But given the length and depth of his career, Clapton deserves to be recognized as the best guitarist ever. He, at least live, can convey more with one perfect chord than some guitarists can ever dream of doing in an entire lifetime.

For my money, his best album is "From the Cradle". It is probably the best blues record I've ever run across as well.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Interview With Jim Koch (of Sam Adams)
I think what we need to do as brewers is first make high quality beer. Second, there is a challenge that the craft beer industry needs to step up to. There is still a lot of stale beer being offered to consumers. The majority of craft brewers to this day do not have consumer-legible freshness coding. With most craft beers, you can't tell if you're getting a stale, bad beer. Craft brewers have to take responsibility for their beer all the way to the consumer.

Thought on the Judiciary

If judges can misread the law and their decisions have the force of law, why don't we just "misread" their decisions?

Paul Krugman, NY Times Columnist, Declared Insane
amed New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, shouting “I’m just as sane as any other liberal,” was dragged off to Bellevue Mental Hospital this morning after it became clear he had gone stark, raving mad.

“If you want my professional opinion, he’s as loony as a June bug,” declared Dr. Ishmael Ahab, Director of Clinical Psychiatry at the famed institution. “Right now, he’s resting comfortably in our deluxe ‘rubber room’ where he’ll stay until his symptoms moderate.

Dr. Ahab said those symptoms included paranoid delusions, frothing at the mouth, excessive talking, and according to sources “barking like a sick puppy at the moon.”

Daniel Okrent, readers representative for the Times said that Krugman’s current column entitled “What’s Going On” in which Krugman posits the theory that Christian conservatives are going to start assassinating liberals will not be pulled from later editions.

“Just because he’s nuts doesn’t mean he’s wrong,” said Okrent. “We run stuff from loons all the time. Look at Maureen Dowd”

Okrent is referring to another well-known Times columnist who, while not declared officially insane, is reportedly under 24 hour suicide watch due to a lack of sex and a hatred of men.

Krugman’s column, which appears in newspapers nationwide, gives several clues as to how the famed liberal’s mind slowly degenerated into what Dr. Ahab calls “a persistent moonbat state or PMS.”

The Doctor points to these excerpts as classic symptoms of PMS:

One thing that’s going on is a climate of fear for those who try to enforce laws that religious extremists oppose. Randall Terry, a spokesman for Terri Schiavo’s parents, hasn’t killed anyone, but one of his former close associates in the anti-abortion movement is serving time for murdering a doctor. George Greer, the judge in the Schiavo case, needs armed bodyguards.

Another thing that’s going on is the rise of politicians willing to violate the spirit of the law, if not yet the letter, to cater to the religious right…

And the future seems all too likely to bring more intimidation in the name of God and more political intervention that undermines the rule of law.

The religious right is already having a big impact on education: 31 percent of teachers surveyed by the National Science Teachers Association feel pressured to present creationism-related material in the classroom.

But medical care is the cutting edge of extremism….

“Classic case of PMS,” said the Doctor. “Notice the wild charges made with no evidence to back them up. Also, note the distortions, the fantasies, and the general tone of danger in the disconnected and rather insipid prose.”

Ahab also pointed to this excerpt that shows where the columnist truly “went around the bend,” and “screwed the pooch:”

America isn’t yet a place where liberal politicians, and even conservatives who aren’t sufficiently hard-line, fear assassination. But unless moderates take a stand against the growing power of domestic extremists, it can happen here.

John Fund Compares Schiavo and Elian Gonzales Cases

Just to jog your memory, Janet Reno ignored state and federal court rulings.

Atheist Psychiatrist Says Gays Can Change

Monday, March 28, 2005

Kofi Annan Preparing to Throw Son Under the Bus

Warms the heart, even if true.

Secret Life of Your Teen

An alternative title is "It's Tough Being a Parent Today."

I don't want to quote the article regarding a certain Bill Clinton-related activity. But it's prevalent. So much so, it's pretty crazy.

But the article gets to the heart of the problem:
Now, if you have been paying attention to the world for the past three or four decades, you'll note a couple of ironies here, starting with the fact that this generation of parents caused its own parental units -- a pause here, please, in loving memory of the Coneheads -- more than a fair share of headaches. More to the point, this was the generation that was so earnest about parenting its kids. (Indeed, they were the first to figure out "parent" could be used as a verb.) They waited until they were "financially ready" to conceive, pumped pre-birth Mozart into their wombs, and never let their new arrivals touch toys that weren't educational. More than anything, they made sure that the lines of communication were always open, so that their children would make "healthy choices."

But lately, at least one Main Line mother wonders if that was always the best thing. "In a lot of ways, I think we've caused the problem," she says. "We've given these kids so much."

As it turns out, the generation that took the parenting plunge a couple of decades back really did have a fundamentally different approach to child-rearing from its parents. Partly out of necessity (two-career couples, increasingly hectic schedules) and partly by design (the notion that everything in a kid's life should be enriching), boomer parents more or less flip-flopped the way childhood had always been done. To oversimplify a bit: Things that were once left free and up to the kids -- play, sports, spare time -- became tightly structured and highly supervised, while adult things that previously involved at least some semblance of parental or cultural rules -- dress, sex, spending money -- became far looser. Mommy and Daddy honor your desire to dress like a $20 hooker, dear; just don't let it interfere with your Italian lessons or SAT prep course -- you only get one shot at fourth grade.

Now, this is only going to get harder for parents. "All my friends dress like hookers dad!" You may be consigning your child to social outcast status if you are sane. But that's no substitute for doing the right thing.

The article notes that girls are rarely on the receiving end of the Bill Clinton-related act. So Philadelphia Magazine has some feminist concerns. If so, they should realize that the rampant sexualization unleashed by previous generations will turn women into mere objects. Slavery, not liberation, has been unleashed.
So where are the parents in all this? Actually, that's what some of their fellow parents would like to know. One of their biggest complaints is about grown-ups who, because they're either blissfully ignorant or too caught up in their own lives, simply don't give enough supervision to their offspring.

Then more wisdom:
Allison, for example, has a rule: If Ethan is invited to another kid's house, she calls to make sure a parent will be around.

Allison strikes a blow for common sense.
Of equal concern are parents who seem to have ceded power to their children. You see this manifested in two ways, starting with adults who have the "They're gonna do it anyway" philosophy. They let kids drink beer in their basement, so at least they'll be able to make sure they're not driving. They're free with contraceptives, so at least no one will end up pregnant. The intention is fine -- "What we really want is for kids' decisions not to be life-altering," says Steve Piltch, head of the Shipley School in Bryn Mawr -- but the effect may not be. What signals are kids getting of what is and isn't okay to do? One of the hallmarks of this generation of parents -- and educators -- is that it tends to describe behavior as healthy or not healthy, appropriate or inappropriate, risky or not risky. Rarely is any action labeled simply, well, wrong.

"As a parent, the line you draw is often arbitrary and ridiculous, but you have to draw the line," says Bucks County psychologist Michael J. Bradley, author of the acclaimed parenting book Yes, Your Teen Is Crazy! "It's like the speed limit. We know people are going to exceed it by 10 or 15 miles an hour, but that doesn't mean we don't have one."

Letting the inmates run the assylum is never a good idea.
Which brings us to John, another lawyer living on the Main Line, who has two sons. The oldest, a 17-year-old senior, is a bright kid (1300 on his SATs) who has driven his parents mad. He drinks, smokes pot, stole prescription pills, does whippits, and has had several drinking-related run-ins with the police. "He's very blatant about it," John says of his son's behavior. "He leaves the beer bottles all over his room."

To deal with the situation, John and his wife, who has a background in social work, have tried a variety of tactics, including a series of psychologists, and drugs for the son's diagnosed ADD. None of it seems to have made any difference. "When he goes to a counselor," John says, "he becomes a Boy Scout and insists this is the norm -- everybody in high school is doing this." John also notes that while he and his wife have struggled with the issue of letting their son suffer the legal consequences of being arrested, in the end they've gone out of their way to get him off.

Now, I am in no position to judge John's abilities as a parent; for all I know, he and his wife have prevented something even worse from happening with their son. But as we talked, I couldn't help thinking about the wrath I would have felt from my own parents had I left beer bottles in my bedroom as a 17-year-old. One parent of a teen told me that she and her husband have come up with a standing rule: If it's illegal, you can't do it. How novel! It strikes me that many parents of this generation, a generation so uncomfortable with authority, have struck a deal with their children: You act a little more like adults, we'll act a little more like kids, and we can all meet happily in the middle somewhere, free from the traditional generational tension. Only that doesn't always work so well.

"To see your kid in a jail cell, screaming and cursing like he's a common drunk … " John says when I ask what it was like the night his son was arrested. He gets quiet, searching for the right words. "Well, it's embarrassing, to say the least." I got a feeling it was a lot more than that.

No wonder John and his wife are raising their 12-year-old differently: "With him, we're trying to squelch it before it starts. Whenever he starts with any talking back or attitude, we tell him, 'We're not taking it from you.' In a way, it's unfair. We're coming down hard on a kid who's a good kid."

It will be worth it, though, if all that's piling up in his bedroom is laundry and Dr. Pepper cans.

I think I'll say a prayer for parents tonight.

Roger L. Simon Has New Information Detailing the Closeness of Koffi Annan with the Oil-For-Food Scandal

Scoop for a blogger. Pretty cool.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

D. James Kennedy Writes Syndicate Article About Facts of the Resurrection

Very nice introductory article. With limited space he doesn't try to knock down arguments which try to interpret those facts without a miracle. If you are interested in that you can read my article here. But the crib note versions would be the following: competing theories can account for some but not all of the facts.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

How Terri's Parents Lost

Michael Schiavo used the money he won in a medical malpractice award to hire good lawyers. Once that was done, the lower-court trial established legal facts which couldn't be undone by appeal.

Which was the reason for the law asking for a de novo review.

Iraqi Insurgents Are Looking For An Exit Strategy

They seem to be in a bit of a quagmire.

Friday, March 25, 2005

William Kristol Takes a Look at our Robed Masters

Last week, federal judges chose to dismiss, out of hand, extraordinary legislation passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by the president, which asked the federal courts to take a fresh look at the case. The federal judges chose not to explain why "evolving standards of decency" might not allow Terri Schiavo to be kept alive until the case was argued in federal court. The judges assumed nothing new or meaningful would be learned from such an argument, or that the federal legislation might be found unconstitutional. The federal judges chose not to bother to explain why either might be the case.

So our judges deserve some criticism. But we should not be too harsh. For example, it would be wrong to suggest, as some conservatives have, that our judicial elite is systematically biased against "life." After all, they have saved the life of Christopher Simmons. It would be wrong to argue, as some critics have, that our judges systematically give too much weight to the husband's wishes in situations like Terri Schiavo's. After all, our judges have for three decades given husbands (or fathers) no standing at all to participate in the decision whether to kill their unborn children. It would be wrong to claim that our judges don't take seriously legislation passed by the elected representatives of the people. After all, our judges are committed to upholding the "rule of law"--though not, perhaps, the rule of actual laws passed by actual lawmakers. And it would be wrong to accuse our judges of being heartless. After all, Judges Carnes and Hull of the 11th U.S. Circuit told us, "We all have our own family, our own loved ones, and our own children."

Kristol end with these very thoughtful comments:
And the president and Congress should lead a serious national debate on the distinction between judicial independence and judicial arrogance, and on the difference between judicial review and judicial supremacy. After all, we are a "maturing society," as the Supreme Court has told us. Perhaps it is time, in mature reaction to this latest installment of what Hugh Hewitt has called a "robed charade," to rise up against our robed masters, and choose to govern ourselves. Call it Terri's revolution.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Progress in Iraq
Say theword mujahid- or holy warrior - these days and many inhabitants of Baghdad are likely to snigger.

An appellation once worn as a badge of pride by anti-American insurgents has now become street slang for homosexuals, after men claiming to be captured Islamist guerrillas confessed that they were holding gay orgies in the popular Iraqi TV programme Terror in the Hands of Justice.

Notice the following closely:
One long-bearded preacher known as Abu Tabarek recently confessed that guerrillas had usually held orgies in his mosques, secure in the knowledge that their status as holy warriors would win them forgiveness of their sins.

Someone once told me that the 9-11 hijackers weren't devout Muslims because they were drinking prior to their heinous acts. No. They are unregenerate sinners who believe they have a "get into heaven free" card. What do unregenerate sinners do with no fear? Whatever they want.

A Constitutional Republic No More

Can we be honest? America jumped the shark yesterday. Oh, we're not done yet. And maybe there is hope for the future. But the recent Schiavo case has shown that we are no longer a constitutional republic. I am completely serious.

And it has nothing to do with the facts of the Schiavo case. I believe it is morally and ethically wrong to kill her. However, I am not referring to that. You can disagree about Congress getting involved. I am not referring to that, although those who invoke states rights (see previous post) disturb me.

I am referring to the fact that the judiciary rules by an unchecked fiat. So much so, that judges, not laws, are the highest authority. There have always been poor rulings. And since Marbury vs. Madison, we've generally recognized the right of the judiciary to knock down unconstitutional laws. But it has now gotten to a dangerous point.

Congress passed a law within their Constitutional rights to require a de novo by the federal courts of the Schiavo case. (Remember, just because you may disagree about the Schiavo case, don't miss my larger point about the judiciary. Replace "Schiavo case" with "Taco Bell lawsuit" if it works for you.) The federal courts have ignored it. The law required a new trial. The original language of the bill had language about putting the feeding tube back in. According to Sen. Santorum, they thought the language was superfluous. Why? Common freaking sense. A new trial requires her to be alive.

Someone on the radio said it best. This is a stunning act of arrogance.

This case has seen state courts ignore and overturn Florida laws.

So I ask: are we still a nation ruled by laws? Do we have a balance of power?

There are historic reasons for this, and I am in no mood to pull punches. The governmental strategy of the left is "by any means necessary." If you can legislate, fine. If you can't, referendum. If you can't do that, use the courts. Ignore the Constitution.

That's why liberals are afraid of conservative judges. They view judges as policy makers. We view them as interpreters of law. Many on the left assume we want to put right-wing counterparts to liberal judges. No. No more judicial fiat decisions. I could care less if the judge is a socialist if they would simply interpret the law as it was meant to be interpreted.

Hugh Hewitt details how the Schiavo case is a constitutional travesty.

Ann Coulter says pretty much the same thing with more sarcasm, although she has a great idea. Make judges wear green leisure suits instead of black robes.

Bill Bennet and Brian Kennedy argue that Jeb Bush should send in the National Guard. Why? In 2003 (I think) Florida passed a law saving Terri which was summarily overturned by the judiciary citing separation of powers. In other words, we'll legislate just fine thanks.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

They Didn't Serve Grape Juice at the First Communion

Lutheran clearly articulates that we should be drinking wine during communion, not grape juice.

Thoughts on the Legal Stuff in the Schiavo Case

Ok, first off the bat I need to tackle the federalism argument liberals and some conservatives are raising. The Constitutional order does indeed give leeway to the states to make their own rules which the federal government often overruns. And conservatives have been hypocritical sometimes about this issue, medical marijuana being the issue that tops my mind. However, the Congress in allowing the federal courts to review the case de novo isn't a breach of state's rights. Under the 14th amendment, states must protect the rights of citizens. Under Article 3 Congress can set the jurisdictions of federal courts.

And let's speak of state's rights. Florida's legislature passed a law protecting Terri which the judicial branch simply overturned by invoking separation of powers. If you would like a good analysis of that topic, go here.

Lastly, I do not understand why the federal courts have refused to reinsert the feeding tube until there is further review. That was the freaking intent of the law. I'm no lawyer, but on the face of things, it seems like judicial activism.

Update: I'm listening to Sen. Sanatorum right now. Congress did authorize a new trial and courts are simply ignoring the law. Now, you can ignore whether it should have been passed. But the issue of judges come full circle. Are we still a republic? Honestly. These judges are out of control. And this has nothing to do with this case. Frankly, to ignore a law about anything drives me up a wall.

Saw The Best Post Regarding Smoking In Bars
"But when something another person does negatively affects my health and the health of society as a whole, something needs to be done."

Using this argument we should also ban the internal combustion engine, coal furnaces and asphalt. This argument, by the way, is the very same argument that "progressives" used to effectively outlaw the sale, manufacture and consumption of alcohol, including beer.

Now, either you support my right to own and operate an establishment where people walk in to knowingly poison themselves, or you don't. Either I have a right to private property, or I don't. You seem to be at odds with your own lifestyle.

Barry Bonds Continues to Amaze

With his complete audacity. From his interview with the press yesterday:
"I'm tired of my kids crying. You wanted me to jump off a bridge, I finally did," Bonds told reporters Tuesday, shortly after returning to training camp. "You finally brought me and my family down. ... So now go pick a different person."


Maybe your kids are crying because they found out that daddy had a woman on the side and he may go to jail for tax evasion and trafficing steroids.

It's the media's fault. Darn them!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Trustfunder Left
Examining the political map of America, as I am obliged to do as I write the chapters of "The Almanac of American Politics 2006," reveals a previously unidentified segment of the American electorate, one which has been growing for some years now but has reached a critical mass and become a major force in one of our two great political parties: the trustfunder left.

Who are the trustfunders? People with enough money not to have to work for a living, or not to have to work very hard. People who can live more or less wherever they want. The "nomadic affluent," as demographic analyst Joel Kotkin calls them.

These people tend to be very liberal politically. Aware that they have done nothing to earn their money, they feel a certain sense of guilt.

Monday, March 21, 2005

One Reason You Should Believe in the Resurrection Accounts

They make the early Christian leaders look bad.
And so begins the story of Christianity—with confusion, not with clarity; with mystery, not with certainty. According to Luke's Gospel, the disciples at first treated the women's report of the empty tomb as "an idle tale, and ... did not believe them"; the Gospel of John says that Jesus' followers "as yet ... did not know ... that he must rise from the dead."

If you were making something up, why would you make your leaders look bad?

Scalia on Constitutional Originalism

Hat tip, again, from John Rabe. From his blog entry:

In the speech, Scalia makes an essential point. Originalism (which is what Scalia calls his own interpretive philosophy and means "what did it mean when it was enacted?") is really the only theory of interpretation there is. The others are not even philosophies in any real sense:
What is the criterion that governs the Living Constitutional judge? What can you possibly use, besides original meaning? Think about that....[t]here really is nothing else. You either tell your judges, “Look, this is a law, like all laws, give it the meaning it had when it was adopted.” Or, you tell your judges, “Govern us. You tell us whether people under 18, who committed their crimes when they were under 18, should be executed. You tell us whether there ought to be an unlimited right to abortion or a partial right to abortion. You make these decisions for us.” I have put this question — you know I speak at law schools with some frequency just to make trouble — and I put this question to the faculty all the time, or incite the students to ask their Living Constitutional professors: “Okay professor, you are not an originalist, what is your criterion?” There is none other.

...What is a moderate interpretation of the text? Halfway between what it really means and what you’d like it to mean? There is no such thing as a moderate interpretation of the text. Would you ask a lawyer, “Draw me a moderate contract?” The only way the word has any meaning is if you are looking for someone to write a law, to write a constitution, rather than to interpret one. The moderate judge is the one who will devise the new constitution that most people would approve of.

Schiavo Case Shows Us Who Liberals Think Our True Overlords Should Be: Judges

I firmly believe, given a confusing amount of information which go in different directions, that reasonable people will disagree about this issue. But this post from John Rabe shows a big problem for liberals. Legislatures have the audacity to try to reign in the judiciary. That's the real crime.

Mark Levin says something similar.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Images of Unborn Babies Don't Aren't Intented To But Continue To Hurt Pro-Choicers

Extraordinary pictures of a 12-week-old unborn baby wriggling his legs in the "stepping" motion characteristic of newborns triggered a debate on the ethics of abortion which no one predicted would take centre stage at a general election.

Prof Stuart Campbell, the ultrasound pioneer who captured the images, said yesterday he was "truly staggered" by their impact.

Why yes. It is truly staggering to see that there are still a large number of people whose consciences can still be reached by the truth of the pictures they are seeing.
"I just wanted to educate couples about the development of a baby," he told The Daily Telegraph. The images were compiled for his book "Watch Me Grow!" for would-be parents. "It never entered my head that these pictures would have this effect, engendering a national debate on abortion, but seeing an 11-week-old foetus doing quite sophisticated things opened my own eyes to the fact that we did not know how rapidly the foetus developed," he said.

But the good doctor is not quite there yet.
Prof Campbell, former head of obstetrics at King's College Hospital who now works at a private practice, Create Health, in Harley Street, said the pictures had altered his views of abortion but it was important to separate those who had abortions because their baby was very severely deformed from those who chose a termination for so-called ''social'' reasons.

"My own viewpoint is that the foetus is its own advocate and we should reduce the time limit for 'social' abortions from the present 24 weeks to 18. Maybe 12 in the future," he said. Women wanting abortions before 12 weeks should have much easier access to them, without the need for two signatures from a doctor, he said.

"But we should have a different time limit where an abortion is considered because the baby has a severe abnormality, because sometimes that abnormality is not diagnosed until the baby is 20 weeks old. If you have a deadline very soon after 20 weeks you might be rushing doctors to reach a conclusion and more mistakes would be made.

"I would probably keep the limit in these cases at 24, maybe reduce it to 23."

Oh, he's wrestling with his conscience. Trying to do enough to assuage his guilt while still staying pro-choice.

Oddly enough, you never hear any viability arguments anymore, do you? At least in Britain, this pro-choicer has enough of a clue to realize that the baby should be protected at an earlier date in the womb.

Press Conference of American Thinker's Dreams
REPORTER: Mr. President, you say you're making progress in the Social Security debate. Yet private accounts, as the centerpiece of that plan, something you first campaigned on five years ago and laid before the American people, remains, according to every measure we have, poll after poll, unpopular with a majority of Americans. So the question is, do you feel that this is a point in the debate where it's incumbent upon you, and nobody else, to lay out a plan to the American people for how you actually keep Social Security solvent for the long-term?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Let me ask you a question. The Washington Post just released a poll that asked Americans “Would you support or oppose a plan in which people who chose to could invest some of their Social Security contributions in the stock market?” 56 percent said they would support such a plan, three percent had no opinion leaving 41 percent in opposition. In light of this, is your problem that you stop reading news after you hear what you want to believe, or is your education so substandard that you don’t know that 56 percent constitutes a majority?

REPORTER: Uh, Mr. President I…

PRESIDENT BUSH: Sit down. Next.

Easter Week

So it's that time of year again. Let me suggest reading my case for the historical reality of the Resurrection. I've read a lot about this and tried to assemble the best arguments into a coherent whole with some of my own thoughts thrown in. I establish some facts and then go to the best arguments against the Resurrection. None of which can account for all the facts. Read for yourself.

Try reading St. Anselm's Cur Deus Homo or "Why the God Man," which clearly articulates the biblical truth of Christ dying to satisfy the wrath of God the Father. A true landmark in theology.

What Liberal Media?: an Examination of Language

MSNBC had an article today regarding the Terri Schaivo case. Here is the language I want to examine.
The development was the latest in a contentious right-to-die battle between Schiavo’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, and her husband, Michael Schiavo, over whether she should be permitted to die or kept alive by the feeding tube.

"Right-to-die battle" or a "husband wants to kill his wife battle"? Devil is in the details and over the facts.

"Permitted to die or kept alive". Are they using "kept alive" in the same way we "keep alive" 3-month old babies who lack the ability to feed themselves? And what if Terri didn't/doesn't want to die? Again, let's rework the phrase. "...whether it is permissible to kill her or to keep feeding her."

Bestseller Regarding Judiciary Not Read By Academic Experts

Mark Levin's book can be easily summed up. The judiciary is out of control and threatening the republic. We need to do something about it.

A Great Insight on Tax Increases
But many other GOP leaders oppose any tax increase of any kind at any time, for one reason. It was stated for me this week by Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who was deputy to Daniels in the Reagan White House. ''Raising taxes,'' said Barbour, ''is the enemy of controlled spending.'' More revenue inevitably generates more government. Barbour has fought all tax increases and intends to veto an increased tax on cigarettes if it passes the Legislature.

However, tax decreases, in my not so humble opinion, do create more revenue in the long-term. But the general point holds. More revenue creates more government. Government has little ability to control spending.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

From Peggy Noonan
But in the end, it comes down to this: Why kill her? What is gained? What is good about it? Ronald Reagan used to say, in the early days of the abortion debate, when people would argue that the fetus may not really be a person, he'd say, "Well, if you come across a paper bag in the gutter and it seems something's in it and you don't know if it's alive, you don't kick it, do you?" No, you don't.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Thoughts on Terri Schaivo

Now, her husband and people in favor of killing her tell us that she is a vegetable. So if she is unaware of anything that is going on around her, why don't you just give her to her parents? It won't matter to Terri. She has people willing to take care of her. To that, Mr. Schaivo's lawyer says "let her die in peace." So she's not in peace?

Mr. Schaivo lives with another woman, and he has two kids with her. So if he is OK with adultry, divorcing a vegetable shouldn't be a big deal.

Now, why is everyone in such a hurry to kill her? Save us from this present evil age.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Dumbing Down of Guinness

From one of the founders of
Rumblings that Guinness Draught (a so-called light Irish Dry Stout at 4.2% abv) has changed have been brought to our attention from beer drinkers across the US over the past month. To investigate we sent a crack tasting team to hit The Druid, The Burren, and The Sligo Pub – popular watering holes in the Cambridge/Somerville, MA area.

The team, comprised of myself, Todd Alström (, and Dann Paquette (celebrity brewer), had our first pint of Guinness at The Druid. At first glance, the pint looked familiar, with its creamy nitro-poured head. However, a closer look revealed a very bright dark ruby color – unlike previous pints of Guinness, which were opaque, near black – allowing no light penetration. The aroma was a bit floral and sweet, as was the flavor. Where was the trademark dry and roasty character? Where was the trademark black opaque body that Guinness has always prided themselves on? Has Guinness Draught been dumbed down even further?

Then, I learned something about Guinness "essence," which isn't a perfume.
It’s also been noted that the Guinness brewery at St. James Gate in Dublin, Ireland creates what they call a Guinness “essence,” which is shipped to contract brewers throughout the world. Sources claim this essence is then blended with a clear beer base (like the Smirnoff Ice base perhaps?) and packaged. And though Guinness is adamant that the Guinness Draught kegs coming into the US are from Ireland, the thought of shipping hundreds of thousands of kegs to the US each year is ridiculous. To boot, keg labels merely state “product of Ireland” vs. “brewed in Ireland” – a result of the essence being manufactured in Ireland, and the rest put together elsewhere?

For the past two years has tried to contact Diageo, the massive parent company behind Guinness, to confirm or deny all of this, but all of our efforts have gone unanswered. We’ve been forwarded emails from angry Guinness reps in the US, but they’ve been merely robotic denials with no substance and overly defensive tones – as if we struck a truth nerve or something.

If Diageo / Guinness would like to go the record about the production of Guinness, we’d be open to conducting an interview with an actual brewer from St. James Gate. Until that time … we’ll be drinking real Stouts.

Happy St. Patrick's Day

You can celebrate by reading St. Patrick's autobiography, which is relatively short.

Here is the shield of St. Patrick.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me;
Christ to comfort and restore me;
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

Philadelphia Vote on Smoking Ban

Philadelphia votes on the smoking ban today and passage is uncertain.

I got to ask the main backer of the bill last night on a talk show. Here were his initial arguments:
1) It's bad for you.
2) Workers get sick, and since they aren't upper-income workers, we have to pay for them.
3) We already regulate health concerns like temperature of meat storage.

I argued the following to those points:
1) People know the situation going in.
3) I, as a customer, have no idea what's going on in the kitchen. I know there will be smoking.

I didn't address the second point, but I would have said: So government restricts our freedom by forcing us into supporting other people. That creates a bad situation which requires further restrictions of my freedom?

How did the councilman respond? Well, he pretty much said that government restricts our freedom already, so it's OK to restrict our freedom further. How wonderful. Two or 10,000 wrongs apparently make a right. He accidently used the word "unwittingly" in reference to situations workers find themselves in and had to correct himself. That was amusing.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Philadelphia's Solution to the Recent High Levels of Violence: Restrict Legal Owners of Guns

I would propose the following: more legal and responsible owners of guns would reduce the levels of violence in Philadelphia. Bad people will get guns. Maybe they'll steal them from legal owners. Maybe they'll buy them on the black market. But they will get them. And I would rather have a bad guy wondering if I'm packing rather than assuming I don't.

I heard Mayor Street said that Philadelphia has no hunters so their are no need for guns. I can think of a valid reason. To kill or thwart bad guys who may try to kill you. Unless Mayor Street will assign a cop to escort me.

Good MSNBC Article on Beer for St. Patrick's Day

Please! Don't dye your beer green.
Though plenty of unfortunate things happen when Americans show our love for the Irish, one offense truly stands out.

“The worst thing we've done about St. Patty's Day is to put green food coloring in bad beer,” laments Thomas Dalldorf, editor and publisher of Celebrator Beer News. “The Irish think we're absolutely foolish for doing that.”

Also, from the article:
If we're lauding a country with such great beer, why do so many of us drink gallons of swill come March 17?

The prevailing theory is that the day might, just might, have something more to do with getting plastered than with the originally religious overtones of honoring the Emerald Isle's patron saint. I'd prefer to think maybe it's just because we don't know better.

Then, the writer gets funny:
It's hard to find much of an economic or cultural link between tepid mass-market monsters like Budweiser and Coors and Irish culture — though Guinness, perhaps in a mark of its own falling star, has been licensed to brew Bud in a Kilkenny facility since 1986, and Coors does manufacture George Killian's Irish Red. That hasn't stopped beer's biggest names from trying to latch onto a wee bit of Irish glory.

Then, the author goes into good beer alternatives to Guinness (not that Guinness is bad). And, if you are from Guinness and you are reading this, please bring your Foreign Extra Stout into the U.S.
There's nothing wrong with toasting the day with an American beer, though; domestic microbrew stouts are aplenty. Adam Tolsma, beer director of Green's Beverages in Atlanta, suggests Sierra Nevada's stout as an easy-to-find option, along with Victory Storm King Imperial Stout from Downingtown, Pa., Great Divide's Yeti stout from Denver and the “insanely strong” Dogfish Head WorldWide Stout from Rehoboth Beach, Del.

Storm King checks in at around 9% ABV, which is typical for an Imperial Stout. WorldWide Stout is around 18%. Storm King is excellent. I haven't tried WWS, but I doubt the casual beer driner will either. Imperial stouts are not just stronger versions of stouts. Usually they have more complex flavor profiles.

The traditional Irish ale is red and has just a bit of sweetness. Few authentic Irish selections appear on the market, but plenty of domestic facsimiles can be found. We were partial to Dick's Irish Style Ale from Centralia, Wash., which was malty and rich, with some cocoa and coffee in the mix. It also goes great with the corned beef and cabbage you're likely to encounter on your Celtic binge.

You might also try your hand with a cream ale, though one of the most popular “Irish” cream ales, Wexford (Thames America, Sebastopol, Calif.), is actually brewed in England.

Under no circumstances should you toast St. Patrick's Day with British beer, unless you're looking for trouble. Anyway, we thought the Wexford had a Guinness mouthfeel (it uses nitrogen, too) but not much taste.

As someone who has both Irish and British blood, I say British beer is fine. St. Patrick was from Wales. Just make sure you toast him if you go that route.

Can Papers End the Free Ride Online?

Very interesting article about how people are loathe to pay for access to news sites online. There are many reasons for this. One, I get my news from several different sources. Someone on Slashdot mentioned, there is no micropayment system. I can't view an article for just a cent or two. Two, you can't contain the news. It comes from all over the place. Most newspapers don't offer enough unique or valuable content to warrant payment.

I subscribe to the Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer for simply one reason. Coupons. The paper pays for itself. I can get the news from anywhere, except for the local news. But anything truly important locally will be covered by local radio talk shows. I feel the editorialists add nothing of value. Not because they skew liberal and I'm conservative. They just don't add any good insights. One columnist is constantly complaining about idealogues on both sides every freaking week. The others just put you to sleep. The guest columnists are the only ones worth reading.

Now, why would I pay for this online?

Why Isn't This a Major Story

Apparently, after the initial invasion of the Iraq War, there was systematic and organized looting which took equipment which could be used for a variety of things, including the manufacture of nuclear weapons.

Typically, the media would report on this for three reasons. 1) It's newsworthy. 2) It raises questions that deserve answers. 3) It has the potential to make Bush look bad.

Unfortunately, this hasn't been picked up on by other media outlets. I would assume they are uncomfortable with the fact that it disagrees with the typical "Bush lied about WMDs" pablum. That's unfortunate. But they probably didn't want to preface their newscasts with information that would make their watchers question what they've been consuming for the last year or two.

That's why I'm crazy like a Fox News viewer.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Venezuela's Socialist President Signs Bilatteral Agreements With Iran

Besides deserving to be assigned to the ash heap of history, why are socialists and radical Muslims so inextricably linked?

David Horowitz actually wrote a book about this phenomenon: Unholy Alliance.

Part of the reason why America is so hated in the Middle East is because of the Soviet-era propaganda they constantly spewed. So this isn't a new thing.

A Terrifying Envoy for the UN to Handle: He Tells the Truth

Oh no! Not the truth!
Bolton’s real sin is to see the UN for what it is: an assembly of representatives of all world governments — some of which are democratic, some autocratic, and some of which are outright kleptomaniac, genocidal dictators.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Critique of Warren Buffet's Dollar Analysis
Buffett was right about the dollar but he was right for the wrong reasons. As we’ve shown in the above chart on trade deficits and dollar valuation, the two simply do not relate. The dollar is falling because dollars are worth less than they were before. Dollars are worth less than they were before because our central bank is printing too many of them. Supply-side economics explains the dollar decline perfectly.

In some ways Warren Buffet’s pronouncements on economics are similar to his pronouncements on abortion and other areas of social policy. They are just the opinion of one man. But Warren Buffett is not a highly-successful investor because of his knowledge of economics. As Burton Malkiel, the author of the classic book A Random Walk Down Wall Street, once said, Buffett is an extremely talented business manager. He doesn’t spot the big economic trends; instead he spots the best companies, buys majority shares, takes control, and streamlines them.

What the author is saying is that if the government prints too many dollars relative to economic activity, the dollar will be devalued.

Hennepin On-Draft Starting Tomorrow

Probably the best American-made Saison is Ommegang's Hennepin. Absoultely wonderful.

Well, it's going to be on-tap now. This is interesting, because in my general experience, Belgian and Belgian-style beers are better from the bottle than on-tap. There is something about aging a beer in a bottle with living yeast which tends to add complexity and depth to a beer.

The brewer for Ommegang pretty much said as much at a talk at BeerAdvocate's Belgian Beer Fest. But it seems that will be keg-conditioning the beer. I assume that is similar to bottle-conditioning beer.

Whatever the case, I'm going to try the beer on-tap.

Iranian Equates Iranian Revolutionaries with Pro-Lifers

After a long history, we get this:
Why visit this history now? Because 26 years later, as women, Iranian and American, we stand again at the threshold of March 8, 1979. At nearly middle age, having spent two equal parts of my life in Iran and the United States, I see the rising tide of religiosity in my adopted homeland bearing faint hints of the one I left behind. Back then, Millett seemed to represent only Millett. In hindsight she begins to represent a common plight.

Her presence was a foreshadowing of how the lives of two sets of women, American and Iranian, would be entwined one day.

The spread of religious sentiments in both countries has affected women in similar ways.

Choice hangs in the balance: the right to choose a dress code or to bear a child. What oceans do to separate Iranian from American women, the looming threat to choice erases.

Do we really want to go here? Do you really want to equate pro-lifers, who honestly believe abortion is murder, and Muslims who repress women?

And do we want to equate burkas with abortions? There may be a slight difference.

Jim Wallis Argues Christianity Not Compatible With Political Conservatism

Ok, I'll bite. Let's play.
The politics of Jesus is a problem for the religious right.

In Matthew’s 25th chapter, Jesus speaks of the hungry, the homeless, the stranger, prisoners, and the sick and promises he will challenge all his followers on the judgment day with these words, “As you have done to the least of these, you have done to me.” James Forbes, the pastor of Riverside Church in New York City, concludes from that text that, “Nobody gets to heaven without a letter of reference from the poor!” How many of America’s most famous television preachers could produce the letter?

While I have some major theological disagreements with Pat Robertson, to use him as an example, he does a lot through Operation Blessing to help the poor. Can he site some examples or is he just spreading pablum? And please don't give me Benny Hinn and other Word of Faith preachers.
The hardest saying of Jesus and perhaps the most controversial in our post–Sept. 11 world must be: “Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you.” Let’s be honest: How many churches in the United States have heard sermons preached from either of these Jesus texts in the years since America was viciously attacked on that world-changing September morning in 2001? Shouldn’t we at least have a debate about what the words of Jesus mean in the new world of terrorist threats and pre-emptive wars?

This paragraph illustrates a major source of error and confusion. Commands meant for individuals do not necessarily pertain to governments. If you can't understand this point, you will have many problems interpreting the Bible. For example, Paul in Romans mentions that government holds the sword. The sword. You cannot have a government without force and the threat of force.
Any serious reading of the Bible points toward poverty as a religious issue, and candidates should always be asked by Christian voters how they will treat “the least of these.” Stewardship of God’s earth is clearly a question of Christian ethics. Truth telling is also a religious issue that should be applied to a candidate’s rationales for war, tax cuts, or any other policy, as is humility in avoiding the language of “righteous empire,” which too easily confuses the roles of God, church, and nation.

Yes, but the responsibility for the "least of these" is on us individually. As someone who doesn't give nearly enough to charity, I cannot agree with his unstated premise. His premise is that our responsibility has to be manifested through the government. I see no biblical command to take other people's money by force in order to help the poor. God wants you to give your own money.

And as we have seen confusing the roles of church and nation is not just a problem on the right.

Most Ridiculous Airport Security Screening, Ever

Quadruplets, wrapped in gauze and coming out of ICU, had to be examined by the screeners.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Most Expensive Album Ever Made

The "Guns n' Roses" album that has been in production since 1994 or so. And by "Guns n' Roses" I mean Axl Rose, not the band I fondly remember from my youth.

The following quote is just priceless:
But Mr. Rose's renewed energies were not being directed toward the finish line. He had the crew send him CD's almost daily, sometimes with 16 or more takes of a musician performing his part of a single song. He accompanied Buckethead on a jaunt to Disneyland when the guitarist was drifting toward quitting, several people involved recalled; then Buckethead announced he would be more comfortable working inside a chicken coop, so one was built for him in the studio, from wood planks and chicken wire.

L.A. Times Columnist: Made-in-America Wahhabism

The author, William Thatcher Dowell, is talking about the Christian right (cue scary music).
In Saudi Arabia, what drives the Wahhabis is a deep sense of grievance and an underlying conviction that a return to spiritual purity will restore the lost power they believe once belonged to their forefathers. A belief system that calls for stoning a woman for adultery or severing the hand of a vagrant accused of stealing depends on extreme interpretations of texts that are at best ambiguous. What is at stake is not so much service to God as the conviction that it is still possible to enforce discipline in a world that seems increasingly chaotic.

The Christian right is equally prone to selective interpretations of Scripture. In its concern for a fetus, for example, the fate of the child who emerges from an unwanted pregnancy gets lost. Some fundamentalists are even ready to kill those who do not agree with them, or at least destroy their careers. They seem to delight in the death penalty, despite the fact that the Bible prohibits killing and Christ advised his followers to leave vengeance to God.

Where to begin with this guy? All the Christians I know hate little children. How did the author figure us out?

And we just love executing murderers. It's a bloodlust, I tell you.

This is why you shouldn't let liberal columnists inform you about what your theology is. Genesis 9 mandates the death penalty. Leaving vengeance to God is correct. It also applies to the individual. God applies different directives to states and individuals. Things completely inappropriate for individuals could be completely appropriate for governments.

But this nuance about the conceptions of church and state (or as Augistine would say the City of God and the City of Man) and how that pertains to certain prescriptions in the Bible is lost on the author.
Just as in the Middle East, the core of U.S. puritanism stems from a nostalgia for an imaginary past — in our case, a made-up United States peopled mostly by Northern Europeans alike in the God they worshiped and in their understanding of what he stood for. The founding fathers, of course, preferred the ideas of the secular Enlightenment, which, instead of anointing one religious interpretation, provided the space and security for each person to seek God in his or her own way.

Oh yes, we hate people of color too. I forgot about that one. And we want to convert people by the sword.
Perhaps the strongest rationale for separating religious values from politics is that politics inevitably involves compromise, while religion involves a spiritual ideal that can be harmed by compromise. No less a fundamentalist than Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini once stated that if forced to choose between Islamic law and Islamic rule, he would choose Islamic rule. Yet the effect of that decision has been to betray Islam, as genuine Islamic scholars in Iran have found themselves under continual pressure to change their interpretation of God and God's will in order to conform to political realities.

There is some semblance of a good point here, but, alas...Dowell's poor understanding of Islam and religion in general. A fundamental tenet of Islam is that it must be enforced by law. There is no separation of church and state conceptionally in Islam. Christianity doesn't have conceptually that problem. And it has run into problems when church and state were tied. It's first three centuries were persecuted. But do you want a government completely devoid of religious input? That has been tried to not so good results in the past.

You have to thank Dowell though. He's truly concerned about the health of my religion. How nice.
Religion, when incorporated into a political structure, is almost invariably diluted and deformed and ultimately loses its most essential power. Worse, as we have seen recently in the Islamic world (as in the Spanish Inquisition and the Salem witch trials in the Christian world), a fanatical passion for one's own interpretation of justice under God often leads to horror.

Given the amount of years these 10 commandments have been up in places like the Supreme Court itself, how many people have died in a state-sponsored Inquisition?

Should Smoking Be Banned in Bars?

New Jersey and Philadelphia are considering smoking bans in public places. While the ban makes some sense, the libertarian in me absolutely despises this type of legislation.

I'm not a fan of "we can tell you how to run your place because you open it up to the public." I don't think property rights should be violated because you as an owner don't put restrictions on your clientelle.

The main argument, however, is that smoke is harmful to non-smoking clientelle and the people working there. As a non-smoker, I would have the following advice: You knew going in that there would be smoking. Quit your whining. Start your own bar, find a bar that is smoke-free, or stay home. If you don't want to work in a smoking environment, get another job.

If you go in knowing the situation, I don't see the need for legislation.

But it is a health issue. But you knew going in! Save me from myself?!? Spare me.

But they regulate the kitchen for health concerns. I, as a customer, lack the ability to go into the kitchen. Nor is the proprietor of an unhealthy kitchen upfront about the condition of the kitchen.

This legislation will pass because people care little about the property rights of owners. People are also comfortable with the nanny state making decisions for them about what is good for them. But I for one would like to make some of these decisions on my own. And I don't like smoking.

Phillies Owner on Local Sports Radio Tonight

If I could talk to him this is what I would say: You've provided your GM with more than enough money. You seem to be too loyal to your baseball people and have put up with mediocre results. You need to get tough and pull in some good baseball people from the outside.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Phillies GM Prevented Schilling's Return

At least according to Schilling. The town despises this GM. This will not go over well.

Hat tip: Chris.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Consumption Tax Would Be Less Taxing

What would happen if we simplify the tax system? We wouldn't waste so much energy trying to avoid taxes and would make better economic decisions (detailed in article). Another benefit is we wouldn't spend so much wasted resources just to prepare our taxes.

Well worth the read. The author tends to be middle-of-the-road politically.

New Gangster Rap War

The Game was kicked out of G-Unit by 50 Cent. I remember when I was kicked out of G-Unit. I was quite upset myself.

Michael Jackson on American Beer

The British beer journalist, not the pop singer.
This year, Jackson's tasting will focus on gold medal beers - award winners at the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Championships. It's a sign of Philadelphia's increasing thirst for quality beer that he had no problem finding a healthy variety of local award-winners to match against out-of-towners. Among them: Triumph Keller from New Hope, Iron Hill Russian Imperial Stout from Newark, Del., and Nodding Head Grog from Center City.

"The original proposal for the tasting was to include some gold-medal beers from Europe," Jackson said. "But I didn't feel the winners from European contests stood up to the Americans. The European competitions are so boring. The brewers are very conservative. They tend to look for beers that are, quote-unquote, well-balanced. They give awards to very neutral, boring beers...

"Frankly, it's hard to get Americans to believe that the most interesting selection of beers right now is in the United States."

As U.S. breweries improved over these 15 years, Jackson observed, so have drinkers' tastes.

"There's been a development of a real - well, I hate to use the word - beer geek," Jackson said. "They want more and more authentic, more and more extreme, more and more hoppy beers. There's ever more connoisseurship, ever more zealotry...

"And they very quickly have started to reject things that they thought were good just a few years ago."

Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Economic Ineptitude of Venezuela

As readers of this blog know, socialism will fail. The real question is why people still try to implement socialist policies.

What Does a NY Times Reporter Consider "Operation Rescue Propaganda"?
Full-frontal images of a vagina are available on cable Sunday night, but they come at a price. You have to watch a bloody, hairy baby burst through that vagina, and before that you have to watch the little creature in utero, growing in all its Operation Rescue propaganda detail, in the National Geographic Channel's latest unveiling of the hideous miracle of life. "In the Womb" is actually a cool, beautiful movie, a celebration of computer imaging and the 4-D ultrasound. It exhibits a minimum of politics, probably because it appears to have been made in England, where the acknowledgement that humans in the womb are complex, dreaming, pain-experiencing, memory-having, walk-practicing, music-enjoying entities does not instantly put you in the same camp as doctor assassins and purveyors of "The Silent Scream."

Ok. What happened here?

I saw the ad for this show. The pictures have incredible detail. So much so, abortion doesn't have to be mentioned. If you see the pictures, you will realize that abortion is murder.

What you are reading in the Times is not so much someone working on political bias. You are seeing someone struggle with their conscience in print. It's sad. And the author should be pittied.

What Should Have Been Said Regarding Personal Accounts
Russert badgered McConnell a bit on how personal accounts address the solvency problem of Social Security. He should have said something like, “Whatever we do to address the solvency problem--whether raise taxes or restrain benefits--makes Social Security an even worse deal for young workers. Personal accounts, with their higher rate of return, are a way to sweeten whatever deal we make for young people.”

New Book: Unfree Speech: the Folly of Campaign Finance Reform

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Analysis of Scalia's Thought

The other jurist must hate this guy, since he makes them look so foolish. He readily points out their contradictions.
The American Psychological Association (APA), for example—long notorious for its vigorous efforts to transform homosexuality’s status from mental disorder into civil right—claimed in Roper that scientific evidence shows persons under 18 lack the ability to take moral responsibility for their decisions. The APA, however, “has previously taken precisely the opposite position before this very Court.” In a 1990 brief, the APA found “a ‘rich body of research’ showing that juveniles are mature enough to decide whether to obtain an abortion without parental involvement.” It also argued that by age 14-15 they develop abilities similar to adults in reasoning about moral dilemmas, understanding social rules and laws, and reasoning about interpersonal relationships and problems. Pleading for just a little consistency, Scalia points out to the apparently-oblivious majority that

“Whether to obtain an abortion is surely a much more complex decision for a young person than whether to kill an innocent person in cold blood.”

Analysis of Boston Drivers

Jon Stewart Starting to Understand Bush's Plan in Middle East is Working
As a microcosm of the Democrats' dilemma, the interview proved enlightening. One such moment came when Mrs. Soderberg said, "[A]s a Democrat, you don't want anything nice to happen to the Republicans, and you don't want them to have progress. But as an American, you hope good things would happen." To which Mr. Stewart replied, "Do you think that the people of Lebanon would have had the courage of their conviction, having not seen -- not only the invasion but the election which followed [in Iraq]? It's almost as though that the Iraqi election has emboldened this crazy -- something's going on over there. I'm smelling something."
Mr. Stewart should be applauded for his intellectual honesty, as well as his obvious pride in America's accomplishments.

I concur. Jon Stewart should be commended. However, Mrs. Soderberg, author of the Superpower Myth, shows how deeply her partisanship runs.
Mrs. Soderberg, however, couldn't be deterred from her rank partisanship. Here's one of her more odious comments: "Well, there's still Iran and North Korea, don't forget. There's still hope for the rest of us ... There's always hope that this might not work." Mr. Stewart is funny -- it's his job. Mrs. Soderberg is not, which is why there's no other way to parse this other than as a desire to see America defeated for political gain -- and perhaps book sales.

When you find yourself routing for Iran and North Korea, you need to take a long, hard look in the mirror.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Bergen Record Has Nice Article on Beer and Food Tasting

They have nice pairing tips towards the end of the article.

Phillies Held Hostage, Year 24

I think we need to start a campaign for new ownership.

Remember All Those NY Times al-Qaqaa Stories

Number of stories before the election: 16

Number of stories after the election: 0

UK Columnist: What Has America Ever Done For Us?
One of my favourite cinematic moments is the scene in Monty Python’s Life of Brian when Reg, aka John Cleese, the leader of the People’s Front of Judea, is trying to whip up anti-Roman sentiment among his team of slightly hesitant commandos.

“What have the Romans ever done for us?” he asks.

“Well, there’s the aqueduct,” somebody says, thoughtfully. “The sanitation,” says another. “Public order,” offers a third. Reg reluctantly acknowledges that there may have been a couple of benefits. But then steadily, and with increasing enthusiasm, his men reel off a litany of the good things the Romans have wrought with their occupation of the Holy Land.

By the time they’re finished they’re not so sure about the whole insurgency idea after all and an exasperated Reg tries to rally them: “All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?”

I can’t help but think of that scene as I watch the contortions of the anti-American hordes in Britain, Europe and even in the US itself in response to the remarkable events that are unfolding in the real Middle East today.

Bali Bomber Gets 30 Months in Jail for Killing 202 People

Let's just say that Australia is not very amused.

Political and Economic Freedom Go Hand In Hand

So Philadelphia is on the verge of becoming a dictatorship?

Europe As Grumpy Teenager

Los Angeles Times, Without Shame

LA Times shills for North Korea. Sad.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


The Inevitable Scalia Verbal Beatdown
The Court thus proclaims itself sole arbiter of our Nation's moral standards--and in the course of discharging that awesome responsibility purports to take guidance from the views of foreign courts and legislatures. Because I do not believe that the meaning of our Eighth Amendment, any more than the meaning of other provisions of our Constitution, should be determined by the subjective views of five Members of this Court and like-minded foreigners, I dissent.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Supreme Court Boggles My Mind

The Supreme Court today outlawed the executions of minors. I say "outlawed" instead of "banned" because there is nothing in the Constitution to warrant this decision. It is based on the opinion of what the justices believe things ought to be. Their decision actually cited unratified international treaties. We already saw how Justice Scalia thoroughly dismantled this method in his debate with Breyer at Harvard.

At this point, I have to stop and mention something. Just because you agree with the outcome of the decision doesn't mean you should support the decision. Just because you support abortion doesn't mean Roe v. Wade was a good or proper legal decision.

Ok...back to the decision.

I thought to ban a law it had to be cruel AND unusual. Just being cruel doesn't satisfy both sides of the conjunction. I would argue that executing a 17 year old serial killer isn't cruel. Even if it was, it isn't unusual. I guess I have to go to law school to learn the magic that turns "and" into "or."

And then we form the content of "cruel" by scouring the earth for a (any) legal precedent in the entire world (Western Europe and Canada). Now, the rest of the world could slay 17 year olds without any cause and the Supreme Court would conveniently overlook this fact.

This should properly be decided by state legislatures. But the Supreme Court has decided to make themselves our unconstitutional overlords.

If I were president, I would sign a proclamation declaring judicial review is nowhere to be found in the Constitution. Guess what? It's isn't.

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