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Friday, May 20, 2005

Two former La. senators: Vitter's challenge to Landrieu 'bad form'
In an unusual move, freshman U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., used his floor speech to call on senior colleague Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., to support Bush nominations and end filibusters blocking seven judges.
Former U.S. Sen. John Breaux, D-La., was watching the proceedings and said he was shocked by the move.

"I have never seen anything like that in my 32 years of Congress," Breaux said. "I think it was unprecedented and in bad taste."
Like filibustering judicial nominees?
Former U.S. Sen. J. Bennett Johnston, D-La., served in the Senate for 25 years ending in 1997. He also watched the speech.

"That is just not done," Johnston said.
Like filibustering judicial nominees?

Thomas Sowell: Big-time bigotry
Schools and colleges that bombard students with propaganda in favor of homosexuality often stifle any contrary views with rules against "hate speech" that prevent any criticism of either homosexuality itself or the policies advocated by gay activists.

Environmentalists who are against development think their views on this subject are a sufficient reason for unelected zoning boards and planning commissions to prevent other people from building homes or offices, even though there would not be any issue unless other people thought otherwise.

Indeed, the left in general has increasingly favored unelected institutions which impose their views, whether the federal courts, environmental agencies, or such national bureaucracies as the National Park Service or international agencies like the United Nations or the International Court of Justice at the Hague.

The left has for decades condoned or "understood" riots and violence that fit the vision of the left and even condemned police action to restore order and the rights of other people to go about their business unmolested. The New York Times published a sympathetic account of one of our domestic left-wing terrorists on the very day when international terrorists attacked the World Trade Center. Violence is of course the ultimate in imposing your views on others by forcibly over-riding their views.

Archbishop Chaput at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast
Today's national discussion about religion and politics is sometimes so very strange. If God is the center of our lives, then of course that fact will influence our behavior, including our political decisions. That's natural and healthy. What's unnatural and unhealthy is the kind of public square where religious faith is seen as unwelcome and dangerous. But that seems to be exactly what some people want: a public square stripped of God and stripped of religious faith.

Our duty, if we're serious about being Catholics, is to not let that happen. But our work as citizens doesn't end there. Our bigger task is to help renew American public life by committing ourselves ever more deeply to our Catholic faith -- and acting like we really mean it.
Americans re-elected President Bush because most voters saw him, and see him, as a man of dedication and a leader deserving of our respect -- but he is not "Lord." Our political parties -whether Democratic or Republican -- are not "Lord." Congress is not "Lord." The Supreme Court is not "Lord." And neither are we "Lord"; nor our spouse or friends or possessions or talents. None of these people or things is Lord. Only God is God, and only Jesus Christ is Lord. And Christ's relationship with each of us as individuals, and all of us as the believing Catholic community, should be the driving force of our personal lives and for all of our public witness - including our political witness.

"God" need not be on our lips every minute of every day. But He should be in our hearts from the moment we wake, to the moment we sleep. Only Jesus is Lord. The Church belongs to Him; not to us, but to Him. And there's no way -- no way -- that we should ever allow ourselves to be driven from the public square by those who want someone else, or something else, to be Lord.

Telegraph | News | Europe unites in hatred of French
Language, history, cooking and support for rival football teams still divide Europe. But when everything else fails, one glue binds the continent together: hatred of the French.

Typically, the French refuse to accept what arrogant, overbearing monsters they are.
Ah, French-bashing, how I've missed you!

Link via The Corner.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

CNN.com - Fox keeps 'Development,' axes 'Stick' - May 19, 2005
There was some question whether Fox would even renew the Emmy-winning comedy "Arrested Development," given that few viewers have made it a habit. Not only did Fox bring it back, it moved the show to Monday, alongside two new series.
Well, looks like I now have Must-See TV on Monday night. It was nice having only two nights of can't miss viewing. (Fox's comedies on Sunday and "Lost" on Wednesday.) At least I don't have any tough choices to make due to scheduling conflicts.

Arizona rednecks win a round against the ACLU
These border residents are routinely snickered at and called racist vigilantes. But most are decent folks caught up in the daily invasion of illegals who tramp across their land. Ranchers in hard-hit areas spend the first hours of every day repairing damage done the night before. They find fences knocked down and water spigots left on, draining thousands of precious gallons. And then there's the trash: pill bottles, syringes, used needles, and pile after pile of human feces.

Sometimes illegals hammer on residents' windows in the middle of the night, demanding to use the phone. Some even walk right into the ranch house and refuse to leave until the rancher pulls a gun and forces the issue. One rancher told me about illegals who rustled one of her newborn calves. The intruders beat the 12-hour-old animal to death with a fence post, then barbecued it on the spot.
How bad is it? In the Tucson Sector alone in January 2005, the Border Patrol arrested 35,704 people, seized 34,864 pounds of marijuana, and impounded 557 smuggling vehicles. In one month. High-speed chases and accidents on our back-roads are now common. Residents know to stay off certain roads at night because the smugglers--of people and drugs--own them, and if you're not careful they'll come around a bend at 100 mph and run you into a ditch or worse.

In some hilltop spots near Douglas, you can unfold a lawn chair, crack open a Schlitz and watch the invasion happen. As dusk falls, they come, hundreds of headlights from Mexican cabs streaming north, each filled to the windows with soon-to-be illegals. Are they good folks? Are they carrying biological agents? We have no idea. They could be the worst terrorists and thugs. If that sounds alarmist, consider that some ranchers have found Muslim prayer rugs and Arabic dictionaries on their property. And the feds confirm that the ultraviolent Mara Salvatrucha street gang is using Arizona as a gateway into this country.

Typology Test
I came up as an Enterpriser, even though I'd describe myself as a social conservative, mostly because of the lack of social issues question, but partly because of extreme distaste for large government. I don't like big corporations, but I'm not willing to give the government the power to do anything about it. Corporations are at least held in check by the free market, but government will always retain power given it. I only "agree"d with "Homosexuality is a way of life that should be discouraged by society" because while it should be discouraged by society, I wasn't sure if society included the government. (Government should turn a blind eye to homosexuality, not actively discourage or promote it.)

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

CNN.com - Closing the circle of 'Star Wars' - May 18, 2005
How beautiful is Natalie Portman?

So beautiful, she even looks good bald.

"The Newsweek magazine story falsely reporting desecration of the Koran by American military interrogators in Guantanamo, Cuba, where terror suspects are being held, is the fourth major false report printed or aired by a highly respected arm of the Anglo-American journalistic establishment in the past year... But when the same reporter who wrote the current story filed the first disclosure of the Monica Lewinsky affair with his editors at Newsweek, the magazine piously refused to run the story. In fact, in all the years of the Clinton presidency, I cannot recall a single instance of a similarly inaccurate high-profile story attacking the Democratic president... But when a Republican president is waging a war of which the left does not approve, a different journalistic standard appears to apply" -- former Clinton aide Dick Morris, writing in The Hill.

"A fondness for power is implanted, in most men, and it is natural to abuse it, when acquired." --Alexander Hamilton

"They defend their errors as if they were defending their inheritance." --Edmund Burke

"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." --Barry Goldwater

"Should people be paid according to what they 'need' instead of according to what their work is worth? Should they decide how big a family they want and then put the cost of paying to support that family on somebody else? If their work is not worth enough to pay for what they want, is it up to others to make up the difference, rather than up to them to upgrade their skills in order to earn what they want?" --Thomas Sowell

"Democrats have not had a very good run recently in the popularly elected branches. Since choosing the wrong side of the counterculture wars of the 1960s, they have won only three of the last 10 presidential elections. A decade ago they lost control of the House for the first time in 40 years, and now have lost all the elected branches. They are in a panic that they will lose their one remaining ability to legislate -- through the courts." --Charles Krauthammer

"[Democrats], arguing on [the] basis that the Senate can provide advice and consent without voting, even at the committee level, is a rather 'strict' interpretation of the Constitution -- one that might even be called 'extreme.' How, one wonders, do these hyper-strict literalists find a constitutional right to abortion?" --Brandon Crocker

"The thought of American toilet superiority being vanquished by Cuba's weighed heavily on my mind. So, I conducted an experiment. I took a magazine. For the purposes of my experiment I chose a Newsweek magazine. I then tried to flush the Newsweek magazine down my American-made toilet. That was a mistake!" --Frank Salvato

"As with most things governmental, failure does not mean having to try something else. It means spending more money on even more expensive equipment." --Cal Thomas

Jay Leno.... In an unlikely pairing, Hillary Clinton made an appearance this week with Newt Gingrich to push a health care measure. The press is making a big deal out of this thing with Newt, but hey, if anyone knows how to appear in public with a man she can't stand it's Hillary Clinton.

ESPN.com - MLB - Box Score - Cardinals at Phillies - Phillies 7, Cards 5
A few thoughts on last night's game:

When Abreu hit his homer, my first thought was, "Thank you, Bobby's ex-fiancee."

I hate David Bell. They need to bench him.

Howard's home run was a shot a couple rows deep to the opposite field. They should help the Phillies get a broken-down, old middle reliever.

This game would have been a lot closer if Eckstein hadn't pulled his golve up early. I don't have my notes from last night with me, but I think that led to four runs. Of course, if the Phils had a third baseman, the Cards might have only scored two runs last night.

Pujols's double looked to me, and most of the people around me (2nd deck, foul territory near the left field corner) like it left the park.

It seems like every time I see Billy Wanger in person, he gives up a home run.

Pretty quick getting out of the park last night, but I think the actual attendance was much less then the announced 32,103. (The difference is those who paid, but didn't show up.)

The guy who played Pedro in Napolean Dynamite sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game". People went nuts when he came out. I need to see that movie.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Not only do I have Phillies tickets, but it's Dollar Dog Night! Can life get better than baseball and $1 hot dogs? Maybe with $1 beers.

Mmmmm..... Beer.....

Monday, May 16, 2005

Bolton's sin is telling truth about system

Very true. Sen. George Voinovich, one of those "maverick Republicans" the press goes goo-goo over, seems to believe, as Cliff May puts it, "that the problem is more American 'unilateralism' than U.N. corruption, immorality, anti-Americanism and ineptitude."

On the face of it, this shouldn't be a difficult choice, even for as uncurious a squish as Voinovich. Whatever one feels about it, the United States manages to function. The U.N. apparatus doesn't. Indeed, the United States does the U.N.'s job better than the U.N. does. The part of the tsunami aid operation that worked was the first few days, when America, Australia and a handful of other nations improvised instant and effective emergency relief operations that did things like, you know, save lives, rescue people, restore water supply, etc. Then the poseurs of the transnational bureaucracy took over, held press conferences demanding that stingy Westerners needed to give more and more and more, and the usual incompetence and corruption followed.

But none of that matters. As the grotesque charade Voinovich and his Democrat chums have inflicted on us demonstrates, all that the so-called "multilateralists" require is that we be polite and deferential to the transnational establishment regardless of how useless it is. What matters in global diplomacy is that you pledge support rather than give any. Thus, Bolton would have no problem getting nominated as U.N. ambassador if he were more like Paul Martin.

Who? Well, he's prime minister of Canada. And in January, after the tsunami hit, he flew into Sri Lanka to pledge millions and millions and millions in aid. Not like that heartless George W. Bush back at the ranch in Texas. Why, Prime Minister Martin walked along the ravaged coast of Kalumnai and was, reported Canada's CTV network, "visibly shaken." President Bush might well have been shaken, but he wasn't visible, and in the international compassion league, that's what counts. So Martin boldly committed Canada to giving $425 million to tsunami relief. "Mr. Paul Martin Has Set A Great Example For The Rest Of The World Leaders!" raved the LankaWeb news service.

You know how much of that $425 million has been spent so far? Fifty thousand dollars -- Canadian. That's about 40 grand in U.S. dollars. The rest isn't tied up in Indonesian bureaucracy, it's back in Ottawa. But, unlike horrible "unilateralist" America, Canada enjoys a reputation as the perfect global citizen, renowned for its commitment to the U.N. and multilateralism. And on the beaches of Sri Lanka, that and a buck'll get you a strawberry daiquiri. Canada's contribution to tsunami relief is objectively useless and rhetorically fraudulent.

This is the way the transnational jet-set works when the entire world is in complete agreement and acting in perfect harmony. Unlike more "controversial" issues like the mass slaughter in Sudan, no Security Council member is pro-tsunami. And yet even when the entire planet is on the same side, the 24/7 lavishly funded U.N. humanitarian infrastructure can't get its act together.

When rent-a-quote senators claim to be pro-U.N. or multilateralist, the tsunami operation is what they have in mind -- that when something bad happens the United States should commit to working through the approved transnational bureaucracies and throw even more "resources" at them, even though nothing will happen (Sri Lanka), millions will be stolen (Oil for Food), children will get raped (U.N. peacekeeping operations) and hundreds of thousands will die (Sudan).

John Bolton's sin is to have spoken the truth about the international system rather than the myths to which photo-oppers like the Canadian prime minister defer. As a consequence, he's being treated like a container of Western aid being processed by Indonesian customs. Customs Inspector Joe Biden and Junior Clerk Voinovich spent two months trying to come up with reasons why Bolton's paperwork is inadequate and demanding to know why he hasn't filled out his RU1-2. An RU1-2 is the official international bureaucrat's form reassuring the global community that he'll continue to peddle all the polite fictions, no matter how self-evidently risible they are. John Bolton isn't one, too. That's why we need him.Very good article. I really need to read Mark Steyn more often.

Link via The Corner.

"Today's battle over filibustering judicial nominations is just plain old politics. Democrats lost control of the Senate in the 2002 elections. They did even worse in 2004. Unable to control the Senate, they are now trying to reinterpret Senate rules to expand the advise-and-consent power far beyond its historical meaning. And to what effect?... The real battle, of course, is about the Supreme Court, but even here Democrats are overplaying their hand. The most likely opening is the seat of the ailing Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Replacing him with another conservative won't change things much. Democrats would be very wise to restrain their fixation with filibustering judges until they really have something to filibuster about" -- California political consultant Tony Quinn, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle.

"[N]atural liberty is a gift of the beneficent Creator to the whole human race, and...civil liberty is founded in that; and cannot be wrested from any people, without the most manifest violation of justice." --Alexander Hamilton

"Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: quality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude." --Alexis de Tocqueville

"Non-Christians seem to think that the Incarnation implies some particular merit or excellence in humanity. But of course it implies just the reverse: a particular demerit and depravity. No creature that deserved Redemption would need to be redeemed. They that are whole need not the physician. Christ died for men precisely because men are not worth dying for; to make them worth it." --C. S. Lewis

"But bearing what we cannot change and going on with what God has given us, confident there is a destiny, somehow seems to bring a reward we wouldn't exchange for any other. It takes a lot of fire and heat to make a piece of steel." --Ronald Reagan

"When we see Democrats speaking and living like normal folks -- expressing worry that the United States must return to basic education and values to ensure its shaky preeminence in a cutthroat world, talking of one multiracial society united by a rare exceptional culture of the West rather than a salad bowl of competing races and tribes, and apprising the world that we are principled abroad in our support of democratic nations and quite dangerous when attacked -- they will be competitive again. Since they will not do that, they will keep losing -- no matter how much the economy worries, the war frightens, and the elite media scares the American people." --Victor Davis Hanson

The Flawed Fast-Food Tax
But in this case, it is worth asking which is more gluttonous, the fast-food consumers who order combo meals, or the governments, which constantly seek new ways to feed their own insatiable appetites? It’s a shame that those who so often lament governmental attempts to “legislate morality” don’t find anything wrong with the arbitrary taxation of certain legitimate industries and commodities.

In addition, the state’s interest in promoting healthy behavior quickly becomes contradictory when sin taxes are introduced. If such activities really are so harmful, government should not have an economic stake in the continuance of such activities. Indeed, government budgets, in seeking the short-term crutch of sin taxes, can quickly become dependent on them for long-term viability.

And the fast-food industry is really too easy a target for the government. Besieged by the media and public opinion (consider the popularity of the film Super Size Me), quick-service restaurants have gotten the reputation for being extremely unhealthy.

But the truth of the matter is more complex. The National Restaurant Association reports that two-thirds of quick-service restaurants have added low-carb options to their menus. As usual, the service industry responds quickly and efficiently to customer demands.

Burger King CEO Greg Brenneman recently said in a Wall Street Journal interview that he feels no pressure to respond to critics of the fast-food industry. “You should be able to come to Burger King and get a healthy, low-calorie, low-fat meal. You can. Beyond that, I don’t think it’s my job to tell Americans what they should eat. We might as well go back to communism.” Have it your way, indeed.

Liberal Fundamentalism - Who are the intolerant extremists?
American liberalism has traditionally derived much of its energy from a volatile mixture of emotion and moral superiority. The liberal belief that one's policies would on balance accomplish something indisputably good generally made opposing arguments about shortcomings, costs or unintended consequences unpersuasive. Nonetheless, politics during the presidencies of Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower was waged mainly as politics and not as a kind of religious political crusade. Somehow that changed during the Kennedy presidency.
Not surprisingly, this evangelical liberalism produced a response. Conservative groups--both secular and religious--were created, and they quite obviously make the political success of their adversaries more difficult. Liberals don't like that. So now, suddenly, we find all these politicians and columnists who are afraid someone might want to impose a particular point of view on them. "There is a long and unhappy history of intolerance which still flourishes at the extremist fringe of American politics," says Ted Kennedy, a fundamentalist liberal preacher from eastern Massachusetts. Indeed there is. It greeted U.S. soldiers returning to California from Vietnam with spit. It has characterized people who work in the auto, drug and nuclear-power businesses as criminally amoral. It turned the investigations of Anne Gorsuch, Les Lenkowsky and Ed Meese into inquisitions.

If some liberals are now afraid that certain Christian fundamentalists will reintroduce new forms of intolerance and excessive religious zeal into American political life, perhaps we should concede the possibility that they know what they're talking about. But they might also meditate on the current election and why there has been an apparent rightward shift in political sentiment in the U.S. It could be that a great many voters have taken a good look at the fundamentalists on the religious right and the fundamentalists on the political left and made up their own minds about which pose the greater threat to their own private and public values.
Originally written in 1984. The liberals still need to "MoveOn".

Why Republicans can't let the judicial filibuster succeed
They are going to such bitter lengths, we suspect, precisely because they view the courts as their last hold on federal power. As liberals lost their majority status over the past 30 years, they have turned increasingly to the courts to implement their political program. If Democrats succeed in blocking these nominees, they will feel vindicated in their view that judicial activism pays. They will also conclude that Senate obstructionism works, and so will dig in for more of it.

We know some conservatives worry about undermining a process that protects minority rights. But the filibuster is a Senate rule that has been changed frequently over the years, while the right of a President to nominate judges is written into the Constitution. Only one judicial nominee--Fortas for Chief Justice--has ever arguably been filibustered and that was for the purpose of taking a straw vote on his prospects, not to deny him an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. Democrats who point to other judicial filibusters are deliberately confusing the distinction between a filibuster and a vote for "cloture," or to end debate.
...This is at its core a political fight, and elections ought to mean something. Republicans have gained Senate seats in two consecutive elections in which judicial nominations were among the most important issues, including against the Senate Minority Leader. The one Democrat from a red state who won last year, Ken Salazar of Colorado, did so by promising to oppose judicial filibusters; he now seems to have changed his mind after sipping the Beltway's partisan punch.

Family Guy
Another good episode last night, even taking into account the completely uncalled for shot at the alleged unattractiveness of Renee Zellweger. (There is nothing wrong with her. End of conversation.)

And I loved the Star Wars scene at the end. I wonder if they looked at the calendar and realized this episode would be shown right before the release of Episode III and couldn't help themselves.

Oh, but why the ad for "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" which looks to be a complete chick flick? Horrible choice by whoever put that ad there. Most of the females I mention the show aren't impressed by my knowledge of it and the ability to repeat entire scenes from memory. I would think this show's demographics skews heavily male.

open book: Liveblogging the Simpsons...
Amy Welborn and her guests discuss last night's episode of the Simpsons where Bart goes to Catholic school. One of the best episodes in a long time.

My two favorite parts:

Bart: "Catholics rock!"

And remember: Jesus was in Catholic Heaven!

Overall, one of the best episodes they've had in a long time. They took a few shots at the Church, but nothing unfair. I loved it.

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