Thursday, April 28, 2005

Vietnamese Refugee Explodes the Myths of the Vietnam War

I cannot stress too strongly how good an article this is. I wish I could reprint the entire article. Even to this day, we labor under these myths.
MANY myths and half-truths about the Vietnam War whipped up by the communist propaganda machine have been allowed to persist unchecked in discourse about Iraq. Today, on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, perhaps some lessons can be learned from this painful chapter in history.

A point of view held by the anti-Vietnam War movement in the 1960s and still taken as fact by some people today is that the Vietnam War was a civil war, not one fomented or directed by the communist north, which, in turn, was being instructed by China.

With that belief, the anti-Vietnam War movement denounced US involvement in Vietnam as an act of interference. The Vietnamese Communist Party's official biography on leader Ho Chi Minh and the Chinese Communist Party confirms that the communists in the north received instruction from China and were supported by the rest of the communist bloc with aid to foment the war and to spread Marxist-Leninist ideology.

The Vietnam War should thus be seen, rightly, as a fight to preserve freedom and democracy by the people of South Vietnam against communist invasion.

The anti-war movement supported the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (the Vietcong) portrayed by communist sympathisers in the West as independent from Hanoi. Party documents now reveal it was a product of the north.

As such, members of the anti-Vietnam War movement let themselves be deceived by the communists. Some influential people in the West, wittingly or not, abetted the communists in their deception.
Following their victory in 1975, the communists, hailed as liberators by their sympathisers, put more than 1million people in concentration camps, appropriated property, nationalised all means of production, evicted people from their homes and stripped people of their savings. Before the end of the war, South Vietnam was at par with other developing countries in the region. Now, after 30 years of "liberation", Vietnam ranks with the poorest and most corrupt countries in the world.

After 30 years of peace, intellectuals, artists, Buddhist monks, Catholic priests, tribal people, even communist war heroes, are subject to arrest, torture, harassment and imprisonment for peacefully demanding freedom and democracy.

What is occurring in Vietnam sparks protests from human rights organisations around the world. Amid all of these voices of protest, the deadening silence from the anti-war camp is telling. Those who supported the communists still refuse to see the stark evidence.

It was the pressure from the anti-war elite that forced the US administration to pull troops out of Vietnam. The hasty US retreat made South Vietnam prey to a ruthless enemy still fat with Soviet largesse and left behind it a trail of indescribable human suffering culminating in the boat people tragedy.

I would like to mention at this point that Congress in 1973, with the support of Ted Kennedy, made it law to back away from our promises of support to South Vietnam. This ultimately led to millions of deaths in the region.

To this day you will not hear Jane Fonda, John Kerry, or any other anti-war activist apologize for the carnage they helped wreak on mankind. Hindsight is 20/20. Which makes the lack of apologies all the more enraging.

Darth Vader's Blog

Oddly enough...stylistically it reminds me a lot of Hwang's blog, at least when he blogs about work.

Why I Love the Media

I'm listening to a portion of the "Justice Sunday" rally which was held in a church and received much media attention. So many commentators commented that they are saying that those who disagree with them aren't people of faith. I just heard the host explicitly say the direct opposite.

I wonder how many who are actually critiquing this event actually watched it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Jayson Stark Examines the Enigma Which Are the Phillies

And I guarantee you the following will enrage every Philadelphia fan:
Had last year's team staggered through three different three-game losing streaks this early, "there would have been a lot of grouchy faces," Lieberthal said. But Manuel is a man who doesn't believe in "worrying about the day-to-day wins and losses." He preaches relaxation, happiness, confidence.

His predecessor's idea of fun was 162-0. Manuel, on the other hand, says: "Playing the game right means enjoying the game, being happy. ... When you put that 'you-have-to' on a player, they fail."

"The biggest thing I've noticed," Lieberthal said, "is in the dugout, when things go wrong – say, if you have a bad at-bat – there's still always somebody there to pick you up. Or even if I just did nothing more [behind the plate] than catch five pitches for three outs, I'll come back and hear, 'Attaway, Lieby,' from all the coaches."

Manuel and Dubee have given Lieberthal and the pitchers more freedom than they had under Bowa and Kerrigan – so "there's really been no second-guessing," Lieberthal said. "I'm able to go to the mound more, where before, I was reluctant. I'd just wait for the pitching coach. Now I can enjoy the game a lot more when I'm behind the plate."

We're oh so glad you are happy. That's what's really important. Win games or shut up about being happy.

Chicago Tribune Articles on Smoked Beers

Some food recipes are at the end of the article. Smoked beer is one of the more interesting beer styles. The smoke flavor can remind you of other smoked products, like bacon, even though it has no bacon in it. Those who can't get past that association will not enjoy smoked beers. But to those of us who can, it is indeed wonderful.

I recommend Stone Smoked Porter. The smoke flavor is in the background and does not overwhelm.

From what I hear, smoked beer also can make for a great ingredient in a recipe.

Clarence Thomas Situation of Long Ago Shows Dem Fillibuster Arguments to be Silly

Bob Dole shreds Democratic arguments using institutional history. I've always maintained that the Democrats rely on historical amnesia.
But let's be honest: By creating a new threshold for the confirmation of judicial nominees, the Democratic minority has abandoned the tradition of mutual self-restraint that has long allowed the Senate to function as an institution.

This tradition has a bipartisan pedigree. When I was the Senate Republican leader, President Bill Clinton nominated two judges to the federal bench - H. Lee Sarokin and Rosemary Barkett - whose records, especially in criminal law, were particularly troubling to me and my Republican colleagues. Despite my misgivings, both received an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor and were confirmed. In fact, joined by 32 other Republicans, I voted to end debate on the nomination of Judge Sarokin. Then, in the very next roll call, I exercised my constitutional duty to offer "advice and consent" by voting against his nomination.

When I was a leader in the Senate, a judicial filibuster was not part of my procedural playbook. Asking a senator to filibuster a judicial nomination was considered an abrogation of some 200 years of Senate tradition.

To be fair, the Democrats have previously refrained from resorting to the filibuster even when confronted with controversial judicial nominees like Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas. Although these men were treated poorly, they were at least given the courtesy of an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. At the time, filibustering their nominations was not considered a legitimate option by my Democratic colleagues - if it had been, Justice Thomas might not be on the Supreme Court today, since his nomination was approved with only 52 votes, eight short of the 60 votes needed to close debate.

That's why the current obstruction effort of the Democratic leadership is so extraordinary.

Harvard President Gets in More Trouble By Angering P.C. Crowd With Facts

This time he mentioned that more Native Americans died because of disease brought over by Europeans unintenionally than by direct European action.

Michael Lewis, Moneyball Author, Has Long Article in NY Times About Steroids

Probably the Most Balanced Article on Wal-Mart You Will Ever Find

Moneyball Author Answers Questions

Most interesting:
Q. 4. In your article for The Times Magazine, you cited Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, and Mark McGuire as three of the four players who have had the most dramatic mid-career power increase. Who's the fourth?
- Dan Kaminski, New York, N.Y.

A. Sammy Sosa.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Could Pitching Problems Around the League Be Due to Steroid Testing?

7-Year-Old Joke Leads to Slaying

This is f'ed up.

Pro-Castro Senator Leading Charge Against Bolton
The grim outlook for Bolton constitutes a major victory for the adversarial style practiced by Senate Democrats, with Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut taking the lead. Bolton's undeniable conservative ideology has antagonized the State Department's liberal cadre and its senatorial defenders. His hard line on Fidel Castro has alienated Dodd, whose long-term goal has been normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations. Yet, Dodd on Tuesday made the astounding statement that his opposition to Bolton "has nothing to do with substantive disagreements," only his personal characteristics.

Dodd, in demanding a postponement of a vote on Bolton, claimed during Tuesday's session that Bolton's management performance "ought to be indictable." He claimed it was "rare indeed for me to express objection to a nominee."

In truth, Dodd has been a serial objector to Republican nominees over the years. He has voted against Martin Feldstein (Council of Economic Advisers), James Watt (interior secretary), James Edwards (energy secretary), Raymond Donovan (labor secretary), William Clark (deputy secretary of state and interior secretary), Rex Lee (solicitor general), C. Everett Koop (surgeon general), Kenneth Adelman (arms control director), Edwin Meese (attorney general), Robert Gates (CIA director), Ted Olson (solicitor general), Porter Goss (CIA director), Alberto Gonzales (attorney general), and Supreme Court nominees William Rehnquist, Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas. He also opposed Bolton for his current under secretary of state position and kept the nomination of anti-Castroite Otto Reich as assistant secretary of state from even reaching the Senate floor.

I think there is also a sizeable segment on the left whose foreign policy can best be described as "be a wimp and roll over for bad people." And they wonder why they keep losing elections.

Blog Changes

I will be changing the template for this blog in the near future. The links on the right don't look right when you click on an individual blog entry.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Colorado Senator Getting Into Theology
In March of 2000, Dr. Mohler said, 'I believe that the Roman church is a false church and it teaches a false gospel. And indeed, I believe that the pope himself holds a false and unbiblical office.'"

Salazar called on Dobson to "repudiate" Mohler's comments and to distance himself from those who "serve to divide the world's Christian churches against one another." At a news conference Salazar also called Focus on the Family's tactics "un-Christian." Focus has run advertisements pressuring senators -- including Salazar -- to stop filibustering nominees.

And of course there are good reasons for those comments, but let's let Rev. Mohler speak for himself.
"It certainly shouldn’t come as a surprise that Protestants and Catholics have significant theological differences that date back to the Reformation," Dobson said. "However, it should also be clear that Focus has expressed deep appreciation to the Catholic church for its unwavering defense of the sanctity of human life, the institution of traditional marriage, and other fundamental moral issues, and that we will continue to do so. That hardly qualifies us as 'an un-Christian movement' that would 'defend immorality,' as you alleged in your news conference."

In a statement April 22 Mohler said his views mirror the facts of church history. Mohler serves as president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

"My statements reflect nothing more than classic evangelical theology," Mohler said. "Anyone who is shocked that evangelical Christians and Roman Catholics disagree on fundamental theological doctrines is simply unaware of four centuries-plus of church history. I can’t really believe that Senator Salazar is completely ignorant of the fact that evangelicals and Roman Catholics hold such disagreements.

"Not only do evangelicals hold concerns about the Roman Catholic Church, but the Roman Catholic Church, even in writings by the newly elected Pope Benedict XVI, make the same point clear from the other side."

Mohler added that he and millions of other evangelicals agree with the Catholic Church on issues such as abortion, euthanasia and the integrity of marriage.

The Borking of Bolton

Saturday, April 23, 2005

BeerAdvocate Article Explaining "Real Ale" or "Cask-Conditioned" Beer

Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Evangelical Debt To Anselm

The British bishop clearly articulated the doctrine of substitutionary atonement. In other words, Jesus, who was fully God and fully man, had to die in order to appease the just wrath of God the Father in order to bring about reconciliation between God and man.

As Paul said in God could be both just and the justifier of those who believe in Jesus.

Democratic Misinformation on Fillibuster Takes Toll

Socialism Causing Europe To Be Left In The Dust
Alternatively, the study found, if the E.U. was treated as a single American state, it would rank fifth from the bottom, topping only Arkansas, Montana, West Virginia and Mississippi. In short, while Scandinavians are constantly told how much better they have it than Americans, Timbro's statistics suggest otherwise. So did a paper by a Swedish economics writer, Johan Norberg. Contrasting "the American dream" with "the European daydream," Mr. Norberg described the difference: "Economic growth in the last 25 years has been 3 percent per annum in the U.S., compared to 2.2 percent in the E.U. That means that the American economy has almost doubled, whereas the E.U. economy has grown by slightly more than half. The purchasing power in the U.S. is $36,100 per capita, and in the E.U. $26,000 - and the gap is constantly widening." The one detail in Timbro's study that didn't feel right to me was the placement of Scandinavian countries near the top of the list and Spain near the bottom. My own sense of things is that Spaniards live far better than Scandinavians.
In late March, another study, this one from KPMG, the international accounting and consulting firm, cast light on this paradox. It indicated that when disposable income was adjusted for cost of living, Scandinavians were the poorest people in Western Europe. Danes had the lowest adjusted income, Norwegians the second lowest, Swedes the third. Spain and Portugal, with two of Europe's least regulated economies, led the list.

New England Real Ale Festival

Some of my favorite British beers will be on-cask at the New England festival. If you are in the area, I beg you to go to this. I would love to try these beers on-cask. Alas, it is not to be this year.

For those who don't know, cask beer is still alive and fermenting in the container in which it is shipped. It has a higher temperature and lower carbonation than you are probably used to, but it is oh so good.

Are Lower NFL Draft Picks More Valuable?

John Brown vs. Eric Rudolph

Eric Rudolph bombed abortion clinics, as well as the Atlanta Olympics.

John Brown was anti-slavery and murdered some pro-slavery people.

Notice in the interview with the author, while disapproving of the murders, is sympathetic. Slavery is recognized for the evil it was and it casts its shaddow on John Brown.

But those same people won't be sympathetic to Eric Rudolph, because they fail to see that unborn babies are ... babies.

Both Eric Rudolph and John Brown are/were unstable individuals. Both did horrible things in relation to a true evil.


Why do drug dealers live with their mothers?
How does a kid's name affect his future?
What do Chicago schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Lower Death Risk for the Overweight

Diet, exercise, and die sooner.

John Lehman, of the 9/11 Commission, Describes Our Friends in the Mexican Government

Work, today, sponsored an amazing talk by John Lehman, of the 9/11 commission. Much of what he said was scary. He also spoke about Michael Smerconish's pet peeve. An airline will be fined if it pulls out of line more than two people of any one ethnicity.

He also spoke about how Al Queda wants to use Mexico to get into the United States. Apparently, many big cities out on the West Coasts are havens for illegal immigrants. Cops aren't allowed to detain them or allow them to be deported.

Someone took John Lehman's photograph off the Internet, went to the Mexican consulate, and gave him his own Mexican consulate ID. Juan Lemon. Funny, but said.

Thank you Mexico!

John Lehman thinks that it is almost impossible to secure the borders. But a system to catch illegals once they are in the country is doable. I think I agree with his assessment.

Unfortunately, there is opposition on the left and the right. Some elements on the right want cheap labor. Some on the left are so concerned about the poor they are unwilling to do anything about illegal immigrants trying to better their life. I can understand that, but they are taking away opportunities from law-abiding immigrants. Also, and John Lehman mentioned this, many on the left want illegal immigrants in because they allow them to vote.

Reports of Craft Beer's Death Were Greatly Exaggerated

A case study on how the media, this case business media, goes with impressions and group-think over serious reporting.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

School Budgeting Part 2

Ok, knowing there was a school budget election today, I decided to go on all pertinent Haddon Heights websites and try to find out where/when to go vote. Nothing. I was on for about 5-10 minutes and all I found was a mention (not big) that elections are today.

I called up town hall and got the pertinent information.

After thinking it over, I have an answer to the question "how should they notify you?"

Newspapers are fine. Website work too. Mailing a notice 2-3 weeks in advance to all registered voters/households of the election with instruction of where to go/what's being voted on I think would be the appropriate and best way to do it. They do this for all other major elections. I think they should do this for school budget votes, etc.

Unfortunately, I'm in late for work. So I may not vote today (and who even knows how late voting is). Let me get back to work.


Cardinals Break Democratic Fillibuster; Elect Pope

Current pope has "extremist" views on abortion. Believes in "God."

Monday, April 18, 2005

I'm Tired of the Da Vinci Code

Never has something with so little historical merit ever gotten so much attention from the media and the public. Unfortunately, with so little knowledge of history, and church history in particular, the general public has no ability to separate fact from fiction in this book. I just hope the media actually asks someone with the ability to debunk this stuff to do an interview every once in a while.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

It's Time to Kill Nightline

Back in the day, I loved to watch Nightline. Prior to the inundation of 24-hour news cycles, Internet news and blog commentary at your finger tips, Nightline provided thoughtful analysis at the end of the day.

Drudge is reporting that ABC is testing replacement shows and I could care less. Now, Nightline is just rehashing what has already been done to death by 8:00.

Plus, those hostages have been released for 24 years now.

The Best Explanation of Compasionate Conservatism

You may learn something about economics as well.
Implicit in compassionate conservatism was an epochal paradigm shift that is now all but explicit. Taken together, compassionate conservatism’s elements added up to a sweeping rejection of liberal orthodoxy about how to help the poor, which a half-century’s worth of experience had discredited. If you want to help the poor, compassionate conservatives argued, liberate them from dependency through welfare reform, free their communities from criminal anarchy through activist policing, give them the education they need to succeed in a modern economy by holding their schools accountable, and let them enjoy the rewards of work by taxing their modest wages lightly or not at all. For the worst off—those hampered by addiction or alcohol or faulty socialization—let the government pay private organizations, especially religious ones, to help. Such people need a change of heart to solve their problems, the president himself deeply believed; and while a clergyman or a therapist might help them, a bureaucrat couldn’t.

In fact, a welfare-department worker might do harm even beyond providing money to fuel self-destructive behavior. Rather than understanding that an inner transformation is what such a person needs, the welfare worker might well try to convince him that his plight stems from an unjust economy, which provides him insufficient opportunity, or even purposely keeps a fraction of the population unemployed, so as to hold down the wages of those who are working. His problem thus is the result of vast, impersonal forces of which he is the victim (and doubly the victim if he is black in supposedly racist America). In other words—and this is the theory that undergirded the War on Poverty and has persisted to this day on the political Left, from Barbara Ehrenreich to John Edwards—capitalism is inherently defective and unjust, and therefore we need a welfare state to mitigate its harshness.

Victory Brewing Recreates a Pre-Prohibition Industrial Lager

They used Schmidt's yeast. I had this. Light, higher alcohol, very drinkable, tasty.

Very interesting.

Map of Good Beer Bars in Philly

Saturday, April 16, 2005

The Major School Bond Vote I Never Heard Of

So I stop into the local brewer today to pick up a couple free papers, say hi, etc.

One of the guys there used to live near the high school. "I'm moving away b/c they are expanding the high school." Really? What are they doing to the high school? "Adding a couple of floors. They passed a bond?"


"There was a vote on a bond issue. Your taxes should be going up about $500."


"They called up people they knew would say yes."

Now, I have no problem with borrowing money for the school if they need it. But this "let's hide the vote from the populace in order to get our way" thing was not the most pleasant thing to learn.

Philadelphia Inquirer Article Regarding Brewers' Conference

Gives a general overview of the health of the industry and how media-reported obituaries in the late 90's were overdone. The media is very susceptible to group-think, which isn't apparent until they write about something you know about.

McCain Upsetting Conservatives Over Judges
"Look, we won't always be in the majority," Mr. McCain told MSNBC's "Hardball" host Chris Matthews Thursday night. "I say to my conservative friends, someday there will be a liberal Democrat president and a liberal Democrat Congress. Why? Because history shows it goes back and forth. I don't know if it's a hundred years from now, but it will happen. And do we want a bunch of liberal judges approved by the Senate of the United States with 51 votes if the Democrats are in the majority?"

Actually, if they had 51 votes I wouldn't want judges to be fillerbustered. I would want them to be voted down because they lack the ability to understand the Constitution. But if they got passed, I wouldn't worry. You understand what kind of judges you are going to get when you elect the President.

Personally, I wouldn't want ideology considered at all. If the person is decent and the President nominated the person, I would vote to approve.

Friday, April 15, 2005

My Hero For Tax Day: Phil Valentine

He led a revolt against higher taxes in Tennessee. By looking at a proposed budget, he found over a billion dollars in wasteful spending. But they need to raise taxes to close a 400 million dollar deficit.

I should do this for my hometown.

The Amazing New Historical Fillibuster

Fillibusters have never been used to block judges until Democrats have decided to do so in this administration. I know politics tends towards being cynical, but recent Democratic claims that Republicans are trying to take away this ancient practice are either funny or sad.

I firmly believe that liberals rely on lack of historical short-term memory when they go before the public with this and other topics.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

National Review Editors on Judges
So it is time to assert some distinctions. Senator Cornyn’s speculation strikes us, first, as simply untrue: We do not believe that the assorted maniacs and criminals who have assaulted judges (and their families) are motivated in any part by a concern that judges have claimed powers that properly belong to legislatures. If it were true, it would be irrelevant to the questions of what powers judges should exercise and what other governmental actors should do when they exceed those powers: The resolution of these questions should not be swayed by violent intimidation. We’re sure Senator Cornyn sincerely regrets his passing remark.

Congressman DeLay’s view that impeaching activist judges is desirable, on the other hand, is longstanding. An interesting academic debate could be had about whether there are circumstances in which a judge could rightly be impeached for making lawless rulings. But impeachment makes no sense as a remedy for the defects of the modern judiciary. If we had only a few bad apples in a generally sound judiciary — and a legal culture that regarded them as such — then it would perhaps be possible and salutary to impeach the miscreants. Instead we have a legal culture that celebrates freewheeling judicial activism. Either DeLay can try impeaching five or six members of the Supreme Court, or he can go after a few judges who have made decisions that particularly offend him. The first course would be mad. The second would change the character of the conservative campaign against judicial overreach from an attempt to rebalance the structure of American government to a vindictive crusade against specific people. Alas, the tenor of his remarks suggests that he does not appreciate the difference.
But the existence of these disagreements does not alter our conclusion that it is profoundly unhealthy for the republic to have a judiciary that effectively defines the limits of its own power and a political class that regards the rule of judges as the rule of law. On that underlying contention, Congressman DeLay and Senator Cornyn are correct. And we are for all intelligent, deliberate, and constitutional exertions to rectify the situation. Political leaders cannot subscribe to a definition of judicial “independence” that allows for no meaningful political checks on judicial power. The result of that view is, almost as a matter of necessity, judicial independence from the Constitution.

Jonah Goldberg Tries to Put Some Brakes on Conservative Rhetoric About Judges, While Giving Historical Perspective

I heard the James Dobson quote he mentions in context. Dr. Dobson was making an analogy with some hyperbole. He was not drawing an exact parallel.
For good or ill — and I certainly think for ill — the days of decorum are over for the foreseeable future. Judges are unilateral legislators, unchecked by democratic accountability. Liberal judges have held sway for so long that any conservative judge who tries to undo what has been done will inevitably look "activist" in his own right. And let's be honest, some conservative judges are perfectly happy with an imperial judiciary, so long as it's a right-wing imperial judiciary.

Good News on the Judges Front

An appellate court tells lower court judge he doesn't have legislative powers.

Edward Whelan Discusses How the New Yorker Doesn't Understand Constitutional Originalism
As the battle over the judiciary escalates, the media continue to describe Supreme Court rulings in the binary liberal-versus-conservative lexicon of American politics — i.e., as victories or losses for liberals or conservatives. But this results-oriented political lexicon obscures the deeper question of American political philosophy at stake: whether the unconstrained role that the Supreme Court has defined for itself in creating new constitutional rights can be reconciled with the core tenets of our constitutional republic. This is, of course, a question that the Left, as the overwhelming beneficiary of the Supreme Court's rights-invention, is not eager to highlight. Evidently acting on the premise that the best defense is a good offense, legal academics and their allies in the media have instead attacked and caricatured "originalism" — the traditional, common-sense understanding that the current meaning of the Constitution and of other laws is to be determined in accordance with their meaning at the time that they were promulgated.

Conservatives promote originalism because of our beliefs. Not because we want to judges to be the conservative mirror to liberal judicial activists.
"Although proponents of originalism claim that it is a politically neutral method, in Scalia's hands it usually leads to conservative results — at least on social issues like abortion, capital punishment, and gay rights."

What Talbot evidently does not comprehend is that on each of these "social issues" Justice Scalia's understanding of the Constitution binds him as a jurist to defer to whatever laws the people might adopt — including, for example, fully funded abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, the abolition of capital punishment, and the redefinition of marriage to encompass same-sex couples.

Stated somewhat differently, if Justice Scalia were in fact to read into the Constitution his own (presumed) substantive views on abortion, he would conclude that permissive abortion laws were themselves unconstitutional. Likewise, he would conclude that legislators could not abolish capital punishment and could not create same-sex marriage. His clear rejection of these positions demonstrates that on these issues Justice Scalia's originalism is in fact politically neutral. In other words, originalism will lead to "conservative results" on these issues only if, and to the extent that, elected legislators enact conservative positions into law. Conversely, originalism will lead to liberal results when elected legislators enact liberal laws. And, of course, the free play that originalism gives to the political process on these issues will allow the electorate the flexibility to change its collective position over time.

NJ Lottery Supports Las Vegas

Buy a NJ Lottery ticket and you may win a trip to Las Vegas. That's a great thing. Heard the ad today.

But maybe it is just me, but the state of NJ shouldn't be supporting competitors to Atlantic City. Yes, let's lower tax revenue by sending people out of state.

Thoughts on the U.N. Ambassador

The main problem people have with John Bolton, the proposed U.N. ambassador, is that he is blunt and undimplomatic.

The United Nations has shown itself to be one of the most corrupt institutions in the world. It coddles dictators. It has enganged in one of the biggest single instances of corruption in human history recently.

And for that, people feel some "one-world let's love each other and have a Coke" delusional desire to respect and promote the United Nations.

The United Nations needs someone with a prophetic voice who will stand up and say "this place is a cesspool." Diplomacy be damned.

And that is why I support John Bolton for U.N. ambassador.

Monday, April 11, 2005

White Horse Inn Radio Broadcast Tackles Anthony Flew's Conversion From and Problems with Atheism

One of the more intersting comments had to do with reactions to the mounting scientific evidence for design in the universe. I've read this reaction in MSNBC last year as well as a November issue of Time. Basicly, the universe is so fine-tuned for life, atheists most conjecture about multiple universes based on absolutely no evidence but the presumption that we happened by chance.

You have to respect the blind faith of atheists.

The Origins of Yelling 'Freebird' at Concerts

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Brave New World in Flanders Region of Belgium: Half of All Infant Deaths From Euthenasia

Friday, April 08, 2005

Granddaughter Pulls Grandma's Feeding Tube--Against the Living Will

More information as this is further vetted at

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Frum's Analysis About Delay's Current Troubles
Seems to me that this morning's front-page attack on Tom DeLay by the Washington Post isn't a story about Tom DeLay at all. The story makes clear that DeLay did nothing wrong. In 1997, he took a trip to Russia paid for (as far as he had any reason to be aware) by the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington D.C. The Center's president, Amy Ridenour, even came along for the trip.

The Post describes DeLay's activities on the trip thus: "During his six days in Moscow, he played golf, met with Russian church leaders and talked to Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin ...." As if DeLay flew to Moscow in order to hit the links. In fact, the United States had some heavy decisions to make about aid to Russia in 1997 and 1998, and it's not surprising that the then number-three man in the House of Representatives would want to see the situation for himself.

It now turns out that the Center defrayed the cost with some doubtful donations from lobbyists, including Jack Abramoff, now the central figure in a major federal investigation of corruption and influence-peddling. Abramoff was representing Russian oil and gas interests with a special interest in influencing US policy toward Russia. Abramoff also joined DeLay and Ridenour on the mission.
But while we're on the topic of doubtful practices, can we notice this, please? The Times story is sourced to - and is packed full of quotations from - a series of groups whistled up by George Soros for almost the exclusive purpose of attacking DeLay. (You can read some of the details here.) Maybe the Times should be alerting its readers to the true identity of those sources of these shocked-and-appalled quotations? Or even balancing this bought-and-paid-for expertise with comments from some genuinely disinterested and impartial observers?

I know you've been inundated with stories about how Hillary Clinton's finance campaign person is in serious legal trouble and that Chuck Schumer just paid the largest FEC fine ever. So much so you probably didn't notice the Delay story. Wait a second...there wasn't a single story on any of that.

Monday, April 04, 2005

A Book Report Like No Other

Probably the most interesting "To Kill a Mockingbird" book report I've come across.

On Feminists and Chauvinists and Trinitarian Doctrine

From reading various articles about the pope's death, it is readily apparent that many in the secular press cannot stand the fact that the late pontiff would not allow women to be ordained as priests. This position is not unique ot the Roman Catholic Church. Many churches in the Protestant world only allow men to be pastors. Only in the last 40 years or so have mainline Protestant denominations started to allow women pastors or priests.

Chauvinists and feminists (I think that is the right noun here) both share an error. Chauvinists believe women are inferior, so they shouldn't be holding leadership positions. Feminists understand that women aren't inferior to men, so they see no reason women cannot be in positions of leadership. The fault assumption in both is that inferiority is associated with being precluded from leadership or other positions. Granted, true chauvinists would take this far beyond roles in church leadership.

This assumption would do horrible violence to the doctrine of the Trinity. The So of God serves the Father and does whatever the Father tells Him. So is the second person of the Trinity inferior to the Father? Or do they just have different roles? Both persons are equally God. Neither is inferior to the other.

Our natural mind cannot understand all this. If you are serving someone, you must be their inferior. Superiority in position does not necessarily mean superiority in being.

Woman Brestfeading Tiger Cubs

Words fail me.

Constitutional Issues From the 11th Circuit Decision

Judge Birch ruled against the appeal from Terri Schiavo's parents, declaring the legislation giving them the right to appeal was unconstitutional. Judge Birch said it violated the separation of powers. I disagree, but I thought I would present portions of Judge Birch's decision followed by Judge Tjoflat. The decisions can be found here.

From Judge Birch's decision:
A popular epithet directed by some members of society, including some
members of Congress, toward the judiciary involves the denunciation of “activist
judges.” Generally, the definition of an “activist judge” is one who decides the
outcome of a controversy before him according to personal conviction, even one
sincerely held, as opposed to the dictates of the law as constrained by legal
precedent and, ultimately, our Constitution. In resolving the Schiavo controversy
it is my judgment that, despite sincere and altruistic motivation, the legislative and executive branches of our government have acted in a manner demonstrably at
odds with our Founding Fathers’ blueprint for the governance of a free people —
our Constitution. Since I have sworn, as have they, to uphold and defend that
The court is duty-bound to question at anytime in a proceeding the bona fides of its jurisdiction. Ortiz v. Fibreboard Corp., 527 U.S. 815, 831, 119 S.Ct. 2295, 2307 (1999); National Solid Wastes Mgmt. Ass’n v. Alabama Dep’t of Env’t Mgmt., 924 F.2d 1001, 1002 (11th Cir. 1991). Given the rapid developments and sensitivities in this case, the need for deliberative study necessitated the delay in my questioning our jurisdiction.

Under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, federal district and circuit courts lack jurisdiction to review the final judgments of state courts. The doctrine applies where “(1) the party in federal court is the same as the party in state
court; (2) the prior state court ruling was a final or conclusive judgment on the merits; (3) the party seeking relief in federal court had a reasonable opportunity to raise its federal claims in the state court proceeding; and (4) the issue before the federal court was either adjudicated by the state court or was inextricably intertwined with the state court’s judgment.” Amos v. Glynn
County Bd. of Tax Assessors, 347 F.3d 1249, 1265 n.11 (11th Cir. 2003) (internal citations omitted).

We are mindful that there exists an exception to Rooker-Feldman when a federal
Covenant, I must respectfully concur in the denial of the request for rehearing en
banc. I conclude that Pub. L.109-3 (“the Act”) is unconstitutional and, therefore,
this court and the district court are without jurisdiction in this case under that 1
special Act and should refuse to exercise any jurisdiction that we may otherwise
have in this case.
Against these most elementary of constitutional principles, Section 1 of Pub.
L. 109-3—which states that the United States District Court for the Middle
District of Florida shall have jurisdiction to hear a suit regarding alleged violations of rights held by Mrs. Schiavo “under the Constitution or laws of the United States”—is not facially unconstitutional. If the Act only provided for jurisdiction consistent with Article III and 28 U.S.C. § 1331, the Act would not be in violation of the principles of separation of powers. The Act, however, goes further. Section 2 of the Act provides that the district court: (1) shall engage in “de novo” review of Mrs. Schiavo’s constitutional and federal claims; (2) shall not consider whether these claims were previously “raised, considered, or decided in State court proceedings”; (3) shall not engage in “abstention in favor of State court
proceedings”; and (4) shall not decide the case on the basis of “whether remedies
available in the State courts have been exhausted.” Pub. L. 109-3, § 2. Because
these provisions constitute legislative dictation of how a federal court should
exercise its judicial functions (known as a “rule of decision”), the Act invades the
province of the judiciary and violates the separation of powers principle. An act of Congress violates separation of powers if it requires federal courts to exercise their Article III power “in a manner repugnant to the text, structure, and traditions of Article III.”

From the portion of the dissent which rebuts this argument:
Judge Birch now argues that this court lacks jurisdiction to entertain this case due to constitutional infirmities in the legislation enabling federal review of this case. In particular, he identifies four provisions of the act that “constitute legislative dictation of how a federal court should exercise its judicial functions.” I believe that it is fully within Congress’s power to dictate standards of review and to waive in specific cases nonconstitutional abstention doctrines.
Indeed, if Congress cannot do so, the fate of hundreds of federal statutes would be called into serious question. (itallics mine) I wish to dispel any questions about our jurisdiction in this case.

Under Article III, Congress has the power both to establish federal courts
and, except as to the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, to make
exceptions and regulations as to their jurisdiction. U.S. Const. art. III. The
Supreme Court has recognized, at least in some contexts, that Congress also has
the power to require federal courts to entertain causes of action they would not
otherwise have entertained for prudential reasons. Cf. Raines v. Byrd, 521 U.S.
811, 820 n.3 (1997) (“It is settled that Congress cannot erase Article III’s standing
requirements by statutorily granting the right to sue to a plaintiff who would not
otherwise have standing. . . . We acknowledge, though, that Congress’ decision to
grant a particular plaintiff the right to challenge an Act’s constitutionality . . .
eliminates any prudential standing limitations and significantly lessens the risk of
unwanted conflict with the Legislative Branch when that plaintiff brings suit.”
(citation omitted)).

This is not a case, to use separation-of-powers parlance, of Congress
“arrogating” power to itself, nor is it a case in which one branch of government
has “impair[ed] another in the performance of its constitutional duties.” Loving v.
United States, 517 U.S. 748, 757 (1996) (emphasis added). Instead, Congress has
prescribed a particular approach to a particular problem in the general domain of
federal jurisdiction, without presuming to dictate—in any respect—our
performance of a court’s essential function: “to say what the law is.” Marbury v.
Madison, 5 U.S. (1 Cranch) 137 (1803) (Marshall, C.J.). It is in this domain that
the Supreme Court has jealously guarded our power against intrusion by Congress.
See, e.g., Dickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428, 432 (2000) (“We hold that
Miranda, being a constitutional decision of this Court, may not be in effect
overruled by an Act of Congress, and we decline to overrule Miranda ourselves.
We therefore hold that Miranda and its progeny in this Court govern the admissibility of statements made during custodial interrogation in both state and
federal courts.”).

Here, Congress has attempted only what has long been established to be
within its power to dictate: our standard of review, the effect of a prior state court judgment on that review, the application of prudential abstention doctrines, and the effect of exhaustion requirements. I know of no case barring Congress from
so dictating, and Judge Birch does not cite any. Indeed, quite to the contrary,
Judge Birch cites cases establishing that both our abstention and exhaustion
doctrines are prudential. If none of these dictates by itself goes beyond Congress’s power to determine the jurisdiction of federal courts, I know of no doctrine that could convert their aggregation into a separation-of-powers violation.

You've read this far congratulations. I omitted some legal footnotes, so if you are a real legal-eagle, you may want to follow the link to the original decision above. Judge Tjoflat did a fine job in his dissent and explaining this Constitutional issue.

The Pope John Paul-Ronald Reagan Team

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Baseball Is Upon Us

Baseball means spring is here. Or does spring mean baseball is here? A perfectly designed game. We don't need no stinking clock.

And enough about steroids. Like we didn't know there was steroids prior to this off-season.

Experts Surprised to Find That Al Qaeda Recruits Are Generally Wealthy

Their assumptions were wrong. The worldview of the experts was wrong. Everything is poverty, poverty, poverty. Well, it turns out that poverty isn't everything.

Avodat Yisrael Loses PC(USA) Funding, Ends Relationship With Denomination As Well

News report can be found here from the official Presbyterian news service as well.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. Avodat Yisrael and it's leader, Andrew Sparks, aren't sure whether Jews need to believe in Jesus and they aren't doing any evangelism.

However, their opponents on the theological liberal end of the spectrum just assume that if you are Messianic Jewish, you support preaching the gospel to other Jewish people. In my reporting about Avodat Yisrael, I showed that this can no longer be assumed to be the case.

So when they pull the funding many are voting against the gospel and for peace and quiet. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
The Rev. Tom Wray, pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Kensington, said he voted in favor, both because he "trusts the committee process" and is "ambivalent about evangelizing Jews to save them."

Well, Rev. Tom Wray. I am ambivelent about you and your faith.

But, in the final analysis, it is good Avodat Yisrael does not get funded, because they won't preach and won't believe the gospel. It is also a shame that many like Cynthia Jarvis and others oppose Avodat Yisrael because they oppose the gospel going to Jewish people. They also feel it is deceptive for Jewish people to believe in the Jewish Messiah and maintian a Jewish identity. You can read more about that phenomenon in the PC(USA) here.

May God have mercy on anyone who would oppose the spread of the gospel.

"Need Some Quote From Supporter"

This is hilarious. The New York Times writes entire article on the pope, but leave one key piece unwritten.

Did You Hear About the Minuteman Project?

These volunteers will be monitoring the border with Mexico, which has upset President Bush and President Fox of Mexico. They are calling them vigilantes. I heard the best quote about that.

Don't think of them as vigilantes. Call them "undocumented border agents."

Did the Pope Damage Evangelism to Lost Jewish Souls?
From the Anti-Defamation League:
Most importantly, the Pope rejected the destructive concept of supersessionism and has recognized the special relationship between Christianity and the Jewish people, while sharing his understanding of Judaism as a living heritage, of the permanent validity of God's covenant with the Jewish people. He was a man of God in every sense and a true friend whose visionary leadership will be sorely missed.

As much as I liked this pope, I love the Jewish people and the gospel more.

Good Illustration to Show the Need for Spiritual Renewal
The cold hard reality is that our carnal man wants to take hold of God as much as Ted Nugent wants to soul kiss Janet Reno. As believers, we naturally will go from bad to worse. And as the church goes, there goes the culture. Therefore, it’s incumbent for the believer to be busting his hump to make certain his love toward God, man and that which is holy, just and good never, ever, becomes tepid and tame.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Papa John's Pulls Off Major Advertising Coup During Donald Trump's Apprenctice
Mama mia! Talk about a case of mixed messages. Although Domino's was the sponsor and taskmaster on Thursday's "The Apprentice," in which both the Net Worth and Magna teams created and sold meatball-topped pizzas, it was a meticulous and well-timed ad for a Spicy Meatball Pizza from competitors Papa John's that caught the attention of viewers in several markets.

"When we learned about Domino's being featured, we thought it would be a fun opportunity to tell our `better ingredient, better pizza' story while the nation was focused on pizza," Papa John's Vice President Chris Sternberg told The Associated Press Friday. "In a cluttered marketplace, we always look for unique ways to get the consumer's attention."

After reading a press release about Domino's involvement with the NBC reality show last week, Kentucky-based Papa John's quickly launched their Spicy Meatball Pizza on Monday and filmed an ad featuring founder and chairman John Schnatter in a boardroom setting asking, "Why eat a pizza made by apprentices when you can call the pros at Papa John's?"

Sandy Berger Admits to Stealing, Destroying Classified Documents Pertaining to How the Clinton Admistration Dealt With Terrorism

Doesn't this make you a tad bit curious as to what was in them?

How Liberals Will Protect the Out of Control Judiciary

Liberals feel the need to defend the suprmemecy of the judiciary over the other branches of government. They will twist any criticism or any suggestion that checks and balances be placed on the judiciary as inciting violence against them. Here is New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg's letter to Tom Delay. You can also go here.

What is truly sick about this is that Senator Lautenberg was placed on the ballot by the New Jersey Supreme Court, in direct contradiction to state election laws. The previous senator was going down to defeat because of ethics violations. The Democrats forced Torricelli to step down. Former-senator Lautenberg agreed to run. In a sick twisting of the law, state Democrats and the state supreme court got Lautenberg on the ballot and he was elected.

Here is a more detailed analysis of that historical event.

I've already sent an email to Senator Lautenberg. He has given a text-book example of chutzpah. He is a symbol of an out-of-control judiciary. Delay complains about an out-of-control judiciary. Lautenberg accuses him of threatening violence against judges.


More Thoughts on the Intelligence Report
The commission studying the intelligence failures that produced disastrously flawed estimates of Iraq's weapons-of-mass-destruction capabilities has finally produced its report, and it's devastating. Not just for U.S. intelligence, which is portrayed as hapless and bungling, but for Bush critics who have vested so much in the argument that Bush officials pressured intelligence agencies to support the case for war.

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd is the epitome of this school of thought. The very morning the report was released she wrote that "political pressure was the father of conveniently botched intelligence," and fingered Dick Cheney as the lead culprit. Cut to Page 50 of the WMD report: "The Commission found no evidence of political pressure to influence the Intelligence Community's prewar assessments of Iraq's weapons programs."
In its recommendations, the WMD commission makes some nods toward decentralization. This after Congress rushed to "reform" intelligence last year by centralizing it. If we undo that reform and pass another, will intelligence be doubly effective because it will have been "reformed" twice? Bureaucratic shuffling is beside the point. What is most important — and the WMD report usefully emphasizes this — is that we get more agents on the ground and that the people running U.S. intelligence be more imaginative and risk-taking.

What does new management always do? Decentralize what is centralize. Centralize what is decentralized.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Why Did Intelligence Overestimate Iraq's Capabilities?

Tiger Hawk put its finger on something. Intelligence estimates had a history of underestimation, which led them to err on the side of overestimation. There was a history of that with Iraq as well. Thank God (literally) that Israel took out Iraq's nuclear reactors when the did.

Nice WSJ Article on Aged Beer
The concept of "aged" beer itself flies in the face of conventional wisdom that beer is meant to be drunk within a few weeks of its production (and almost all beer is). But aged beers -- many of them brewed with lots of hops and high-alcohol levels, both acting as preservatives -- have become a staple of what might be called the high-end beer market.

The author quotes several prices that are much higher than you should expect to see, except in a bar.
To understand how we got to $25 beer in the first place, some background on the '80s microbrew revolution is in order. Back then, a clutch of brewers, weary that virtually all beer made in the U.S. was cold-fermented lager of a style popularized by Budweiser, began bringing back beers fermented at warm temperature -- called ales -- that were like the beers they'd sampled on trips, notably to the ale capitals of England and Belgium. Ale, with its earthy flavors and aromas and sometimes cloudy appearance, was in fact America's founding beer. But by the late 1800s, ale had lost out in the mass-taste test to the clean, crisp flavor of cold lager.

This is where I think the author goes astray. While it is true that ales generally have more flavors than lagers, lagers can be quite complex. The lagers we associate with Bud/Miller/Coors are purposely dumbed-down taste-wise. "Lager" does not mean "tasteless."

Problem With the Papacy

Look, I know this is a poor time to bring this up but the papacy will be in the news. What is wrong with the papacy? Excerpts from here.
The Reformers viewed the pope as an anti-Christ, because he took authority that properly belonged to Christ alone. (using the more common meaning of anti-Christ) Before you get too shocked at the statement, I would read "Pope" Gregory I's comments below. I would like to submit for your consideration that the papacy is one of the main causes of disunity. Furthermore, the papacy was not present in the primitive church.

Now, when the word "anti-Christ" is used don't think some demonic being. I like the current (as of this writing) pope. He helped bring down the Soviet Union. He seemed genuinely nice. But the pope claims authority over the entire church which belongs to Jesus alone.
Cyprian (200-258): Neither does any of us set himself up as a bishop of bishops, nor by tyrannical terror does any compel his colleague to the necessity of obedience; since every bishop, according to the allowance of his liberty and power, has his own proper right of judgment, and can no more be judged by another than he himslef can judge another. (Seventh Council of Carthage, paragraph 1)

Gregory I, bishop of Rome (540-604): None of my predecssors ever wished to use this profane word. For clearly if one patriarch is called "universal," then the name "patriarch" is taken away from the rest....To consent to this wicked word is nothing less than to destroy the faith....It is one thing that we should preserve unity of faith; another, that we ought to repress self-exaltation. But I say it confidently, because whoever calls himself "universal bishop," or wishes to be so called, is in his self-exaltation Antichrist's precursor, for in his swaggering he sets himself before the rest. (Epistle 18, emphasis mine)

The word "catholic" means "universal."

From Francis Schaeffer
There is a "thinkable" and an "unthinkable" in every era. One era is quite certain intellectually and emotionally about what is acceptable. Yet another era decides that these "certainties" are unacceptable and puts another set of values into practice. On a humanistic base, people drift along from generation to generation, and the morally unthinkable becomes the thinkable as the years move on.

In Honor of April Fool's Day, I Bring You Improv Everywhere

These pranksters are great. Read the Chekov one. The prank that was delisted has to do with putting a bathroom attendant into a McDonald's bathroom in Times Square. Apparently, McDonald's is suing. No sense of humor.

More Forests in New England Now Than Since the Civil War

Commentary Against Daylight Savings

Personally, I still think it is a good idea. Why waste sunlight at 4 in the morning?

Tom Delay Hits Nerve With Truth

Too much for some Democrats to handle.
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on Thursday blamed Terri Schiavo's death on what he contended was a failed legal system and he raised the possibility of trying to impeach some of the federal judges in the case.

"The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior," said DeLay, R-Texas.

But a leading Democratic senator said DeLay's comments were "irresponsible and reprehensible." Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., said DeLay should make sure that people know he is not advocating violence against judges.
DeLay said he would make sure that the GOP-controlled House "will look at an arrogant and out of control judiciary that thumbs its nose at Congress and the president."

If Ted Kennedy thinks that Delay may be talking about violence against judges, liberal attacks against judges who attempt to interpret the law would have led to a slaughter not seen this side of the Sudan.

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