Paul Smith Jr has a new home for his blog: www.gazizza.net. Click to go there now!
Friday, June 17, 2005
Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus on National Review Online
I heard from the Great One, Rush Limbaugh, who said he’d had a lefty caller making the same point — Schultz’s point. “You guys accept those other things that Amnesty says. Why don’t you accept this?” Rush parried with, “Well, I think the burden’s on you.” (I’m paraphrasing.) “If you believe Amnesty on Gitmo, why don’t you and your pals on the left believe it about Saddam Hussein? His Iraq was no kite-flying paradise, you know.” (Recall the Michael Moore image.)
A very good point. Rush went on to say that Amnesty’s America bashing might relate to fundraising: They need to satisfy big donors — the Soroses — who want ideological bang for their buck.
I’m still a little uneasy about citing Amnesty, ever, simply because of its political nonsense. It seems to want credit for “evenhandedness,” and this means grouping the United States with genuine human-rights violators. It’s far wiser to rely on Freedom House, which actually knows the difference between Guantanamo Bay and the Gulag.
One night, Reagan was holding a press conference, and someone asked him about school prayer. He did what he usually did: He cited opinion polls, saying an overwhelming majority favored the restoration of school prayer. But this particular reporter was ready for him: She countered with, “But polls say that people favor legal abortion, too, and you oppose that.”
She had him there. An important lesson: Don’t cite opinion polls, unless you want them cited against you. Reagan could only swallow, flounder, and move on. (He was not always the Great Communicator, you remember.)
[This goes for citing Amnesty International, even when they're right. It'll only come back to haunt you when they call Guantanamo a "gulag," which is an insult to anyone who ever was in an actual gulag.]
[Mark Steyn] in The Spectator: “During the 1990s [the Republicans] had weak candidates — Bob Dole — but strong ideas. And it was the strong ideas that won them the House and Senate and state legislatures and governors’ mansions . . . The Dems kept destroying the party’s leaders — Newt Gingrich, and the fellow who briefly succeeded him — and it made no difference. Conservative values are the real star. It’s like Cats: sure, it’s a nice plus if you’ve got Elaine Paige or Bonnie Langford, but it’ll still run for 20 years even if no one’s heard of anyone in it.”
Could any other human being on the planet have written that?
...Wanted to be sure you knew about Condi and guns. If she were to run for the GOP presidential nomination — she’d have no problem on that score.
In a recent interview — described here — she spoke of what gun rights meant to blacks in the pre-civil-rights South. And she said, “I also don’t think we get to pick and choose from the Constitution. The Second Amendment is as important as the First Amendment.”
Thursday, June 16, 2005
JIMMY AKIN.ORG: This Is Why God Created Photoshop
Thomas Sowell: The polio fallacy
In the words of Larry the Cable Guy, "I don't care who you are, that's funny right there."
Bad News - Good news
After the devastating disease of polio was finally conquered by vaccines, back in the 1960s, the number of people afflicted declined almost to the vanishing point. Some people then began to see no need to take the vaccine, since apparently no one was getting polio any more, so who was there to catch it from?
The result was a needless resurgence of crippling and death from this terrible disease.
The latest version of the polio fallacy is the demonizing of the Patriot Act. Some people are yelling louder than ever that they have been silenced, that we have had our freedom destroyed, all as a result of the Patriot Act.
My Current Reading
The Bad News: An anti-poor piece of legislation passed the State Senate yesteday.
The Good News: It likely won't come to a vote in the House.
What's the legislation?
A bill that would increase Delaware's minimum wage from $6.15 an hour to $7.15 an hour by 2007 passed the Senate on Wednesday.
It's simple economics: make some more expensive and people will buy less of it. If McDonald's doubles the price of their Big Macs, fewer Big Macs will be sold. Similarly, if labor becomes more expensive, fewer people will have jobs. I really don't get why this is hard to grasp.
The only thing I can really think of is that Democrats know the poor vote Democratic, so they want to make sure they stay that way.
I Feel Sorry For PBS
D-Day: The Invasion of Europe from the American heritage Junior Library
Yeah, it's written for early teenagers at best, but it's still interesting and informative. It's about 150 pages with lots of pictures, so I'll be done it quickly. I didn't start it until after 9 PM last night, and I'm already on page 64, even with talking to my neighbors and dealing with some Italian Festival-related issues. (The crowd was unsually drunk last night.)
I did finish How Capitalism Saved America. It was an enjoyable read. I did learn a lot, but I don't think it would convince anyone who wasn't already leaning that way. I'd recommend if you're interested in that topic.
SCIENTIFIC POLITICS MEETS POLITICAL SCIENCE IN THE STATE SENATE
No, I don't, but that's the title of the article I'm linking to. Which I link mainly for this point:
I was just on my local NPR member station’s Web site and noticed the NPR demographics they proudly touted. If there were ever a case for not subsidizing NPR they just made it:
Seventy-three percent have household incomes over $50,000. Forty-nine percent have household incomes over $75,000.
Do we really need to subsidize this group? Couldn’t those 73 percent support the other 26 percent?
Exactly. PBS is nothing more than the rich taking money from the middle class and poor so they don't have to pay for it themselves. I agree and disagree with liberals on one point, though. I do agree we shouldn't reduce PBS funding. I disagree because I think we should end the funding.
Here's something I don't get:
The prime sponsor was Sen. Robert L. Venables, [gratuitous slap at conservatives cut]
Even Venables himself was dreadfully conflicted
Why would you sponsor a bill you're not even sure should pass? If you find it to be such a moral quandary, I can see debating whether or not to vote for it, but sponsoring a bill you're not sure is morally justifiable? I don't think he really was "conflicted," especially given that:
The Senate, however, found Venables made the more persuasive case, which he fortified with scientific experts like David S. Weir, the director of the Delaware Biotechnology Institute at the University of Delaware.
Even more tellingly, Venables brought in as witnesses people whom the senators knew, making it uncomfortable to look them in the eye and vote against their pleas in favor of the research.
He's conflicted about the bill, but decides to sponsor and works to bring in plenty of people to testify in favor of it? It doesn't add up. It seems to me he supports the bill, but is trying to tug at the heartstrings of pro-lifers so they don't abandon him for his support of this anti-life legislation.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
"In the minds of many liberal Democrats, Hispanics and African Americans must seem to come in only two varieties: deferential or defective... [T]his is the Democrats' dilemma. How are they supposed to market themselves to minorities as the one-and-only party of opportunity when Bush is putting nonwhite faces in high places? Better to try to paint the Republican Party as a restricted club, as Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean did recently when he described the GOP as 'pretty much a white Christian party.' And minority Republicans as aberrations" -- Seattle Times columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr.
"Each State, in ratifying the Constitution, is considered as a sovereign body, independent of all others, and only to be bound by its own voluntary act. In this relation, then, the new Constitution will, if established, be a FEDERAL, and not a NATIONAL constitution." --James Madison, Federalist No. 39
"As Republicans, we will always point out where the other party is misguided and mistaken, but we will never embrace their hateful rhetoric. [Democrat leaders hope] their loud talk and angry rhetoric will hide the fact that they have nothing to say and nothing to offer." --RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman
"In 1788, [author of our Constitution, James Madison] noted pointedly the 'powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are FEW and DEFINED.' Those of the states, by contrast, 'are numerous and indefinite.' Last week, addressing the same question, the Supreme Court said, 'James who?' ... The court's decision to uphold the federal ban on medical marijuana is a victory for those who think the federal government should be free to poke its snout anywhere it wants." --Steve Chapman
"The purpose of the Constitution was to create a limited federal government with few defined powers. It was not supposed to be an exhaustive list of the people's rights, but of Washington's lawful claims." --W. James Antle III
Jay Leno: Legal experts say the key was that the defense really didn’t play the race card. Well duh. They didn’t know which race to play. ... After the trial last night, Michael finally got a chance to relax. He went out and had a little Mexican. I believe it was a 14-year-old named Ramón.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
open book: Guilty!
Catholic World News : WCC seeks action, not words, on ecumenism
In the discussion of the Michael Jackson verdict, a commenter on Amy Welborn's blog makes a comment I hadn't thought of:
This acquittal greatly bolsters the attitude of people who emphasize the anti-Catholic element in our priest-scandals. If Michael Jackson were Fr. X, I wonder what the verdict would have been. Admitting to sleeping in the same bed with boys, stashes of gay pornography found in the room, presence of alcohol in contact with minors -- Fr. X would be convicted before he was tried and the Church penalized another million or two.
I think that's a very good point.
Ned Rice on Amnesty International on National Review Online
Shortly after his arrival in Rome, Rev. Kobia told the I Media news agency that the time has come for ecumenical initiatives that go beyond discussions and statements, and "begin to see what concrete steps we can take together."
The WCC leader said that his meeting with the Pope will be an opportunity to become acquainted. He said that he was pleased with Pope Benedict's statements of commitment to ecumenical progress, but added: "I am waiting to see how the words are transformed into concrete actions."
You want action? How about requiring the membership of the World Council of Churches No One Goes to Any More (hat tip: Mark Shea
) to recognize the right to life of all humans from the moment of conception and recognize the true definition of marriage as one man and one woman? Sounds like good places to start.
Flag day In America
Amnesty International is at it again. But don't panic: It's not time for another Sting benefit concert. No, I refer here to their recent pronouncement that the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo prisons have become "the gulag of our time," which is the sort of hyperbole that only the historically illiterate are capable of.
they truly cared about the mistreatment of the incarcerated they would have demanded the liberation of Iraq long ago. And Afghanistan, and Cuba, and, if I understand the facts of the case, the Neverland Ranch. These Bush haters aren't even focusing on the genuine outrage of the few cases in which detainees were genuinely tortured and even killed. No, most of their ire is over the embarrassment of few dozen prisoners by a handful of sick people at an understaffed military prison called Abu Ghraib. The same prison where Saddam's surgeons practiced punitive amputations. Where men and children watched their wives and sisters and daughters being gang raped. Where tens of thousands were murdered, and then dumped into unmarked trenches. And on, and on, and on.
No, the real goal of these Bush haters is to delegitimize this war and this scandal is just another weapon in their feeble arsenal. They would have you believe that it was morally wrong-impeachable, even — to liberate Afghanistan and Iraq and perhaps trigger the democratization of an entire subcontinent because some terrorist prisoners may have been improperly (and unjustly — don't get me wrong) treated during the chaos of a shooting war. Which is a bit like saying the United States was on the wrong side of World War II simply because Allied soldiers sometimes roughed up German POWs during questioning, or shot Japanese troops deep behind enemy lines because they had no means of securely detaining them (both of which happened). With this new report and its gratuitous use of the term "gulag," Amnesty International has joined that shameful chorus who would reflexively condemn any initiative, even one to liberate an entire region of the world, rather than give George W. Bush credit for doing something good. As anyone familiar with history and warfare knows, Amnesty International's characterization of the U.S. prisons as being a "the gulag of our time" are more than just obscene. They are, as President Bush recently noted, absurd.
Catholic doctor weighs the scientific background of stem cell research
Today's Flag Day! Fly them high and proud!
Lots of interesting information on the linked site above.
Link via The Corner
Jackson Won't Share Bed With Kids Again
I've ripped Al Mascitti a number of times on this blog and in other forums, but today's column was excellent. I thought he did a very good job of presenting the medical arguments against embryonic stem cell research.
"There are definite advantages to using adult cells, because they come from your own body, so there are no tissue-rejection issues," [Dr. Thomas Neef of Milltown] says.
"A lot of private funding is going into adult stem cells because they realize that's where the progress is."
This last point can actually be taken even farther. Private money is always "smarter" than publicv money, so the fact that embryonic stem cell research supporters have to go to the government tells you that their research is floundering. If there was money to be made in it, private investors would be willing to Meanwhile, we've been using adult stem cell for cures for decades. Bone marrow transplants? The reason they work are the adult stem cells contained in the marrow. We didn't know it until recently, but we've been using the stem cells there for a long time.
Adult stem cells have been proven to work for decades, present no issues with potential rejection, present no ethical dilemmas, and have plenty of people lining up to support it. I think there's been (at most) one success with embryonic stem cells, recipients of embryonic stem cells will have to take anti-rejection medication for the rest of their lives, involves the destruction of human life and the experts in the field aren't investing in it. That should tell us all we need to know.
...Michael Jackson's lawyer said Tuesday the singer will no longer share his bed with young boys.
"He's not going to do that anymore," attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. told NBC's 'Today.''He's not going to make himself vulnerable to this anymore."
Shouldn't he have started doing a long time ago? After the previous settlements and trials? From my cursory awareness of this trial, I thought the defense had created reasonable doubt, but where there's smoke there's fire. Common sense dictates that after you've been tried and been forced to pay hush money, for lack of a better term, to another alleged victim, you should stop putting yourself in a position to be accused of these crimes. And yet, he kept doing so. It really leaves no conclusion other than he's up to no good.
I think the police should adopt a policy of unofficial harassment of Jackson at this point. Go as far as they can without breaking the law. Interview every young boy the see entering or leaving Neverland Ranch and make sure they account for every minute of their time. Get word out that parents who let their children spend the night with Jackson could face arrest for endangering their child. Make sure no one wants to let their children spend the night. If we can't convict him and get him away from society, let's at least dry up his supply of young boys to prevent future abuse.
Free Katie Holmes!
Link via The Corner.
Monday, June 13, 2005
My Current Reading
How Capitalism Saved America : The Untold History of Our Country, from the Pilgrims to the Present
This book hopefully will serve as an antidote to common misperceptions about our nation's economic history: FDR's New Deal ended the Great Depression, for example.
Hopefully, I'll finish this book kind of quickly. With the Italian Festival going on half a block from my front steps, I'll be outside making sure the crowd keeps moving, rather than using my street as a urinal. Should give me plenty of time to read.
I can imagine this book forcing me to restrain myself from singing one of my favorite carols:God bless free enterprise,
Stand beside her,
Don't deride her,
Just so long as the profits are mine!
For the Mellons,
And the duPonts
And the magnates
One and All!
God made free enterprise
So we'd rule all!
God made free enterprise
So we'd rule all!!!
"No one proposes teaching the Bible as a sacred text or to promote religious faith in public schools. With three kinds of Jews, a dozen varieties of Methodists and countless flavors of Baptists, just for starters, we could never agree on what, exactly, should be taught as doctrine even if that's what we set out to do. But in a less-than-perfect world there can be no harm, and a lot of good, in well-informed surveys of the Bible as literature, showing how the Bible has shaped history, philosophy, the law, art and other subjects, inspiring our earliest settlers, Founding Fathers and presidents unto the modern day." --Suzanne Fields
"[O]ur forefathers were motivated by something bigger than themselves. From the harsh winter of Valley Forge to the blazing night above Fort McHenry, those patriot soldiers were sustained by the ideal of human freedom. Through the hardships and the setbacks, they kept their eyes on that ideal and that purpose, just as through the smoke of battle they kept a lookout for the flag. But with the birth of our nation, the cause of human freedom had become forever tied to that flag and its survival. ... And let us never forget that in honoring our flag, we honor the American men and women who have courageously fought and died for it over the last 200 years -- patriots who set an ideal above any consideration of self and who suffered for it the greatest hardships. Our flag flies free today because of their sacrifice." --Ronald Reagan
"The frivolous demands made on our military -- that they protect museums while fighting for their lives, that they tiptoe around mosques from which people are shooting at them -- betray an irresponsibility made worse by ingratitude toward men who have put their lives on the line to protect us. It is impossible to fight a war without heroism. Yet can you name a single American military hero acclaimed by the media for an act of courage in combat? Such courage is systematically ignored by most of the media. If American troops kill a hundred terrorists in battle and lose ten of their own men doing it, the only headline will be: 'Ten More Americans Killed in Iraq Today.' Those in the media who have carped at the military for years, and have repeatedly opposed military spending, are now claiming to be 'honoring' our military by making a big production out of publishing the names of all those killed in Iraq. Will future generations see through this hypocrisy -- and wonder why we did not?" --Thomas Sowell
Thomas Sowell: Liberals and class: part III
"Access to a waiting list is not access to health care," wrote Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin for the 4-3 Court last week. Canadians wait an average of 17.9 weeks for surgery and other therapeutic treatments, according the Vancouver-based Fraser Institute. The waits would be even longer if Canadians didn't have access to the U.S. as a medical-care safety valve. Or, in the case of fortunate elites such as Prime Minister Paul Martin, if they didn't have access to a small private market in some non-core medical services. Mr. Martin's use of a private clinic for his annual checkup set off a political firestorm last year.
The ruling stops short of declaring the national health-care system unconstitutional; only three of the seven judges wanted to go all the way.
But it does say in effect: Deliver better care or permit the development of a private system. "The prohibition on obtaining private health insurance might be constitutional in circumstances where health-care services are reasonable as to both quality and timeliness," the ruling reads, but it "is not constitutional where the public system fails to deliver reasonable services."
The Canadian ruling ought to be an eye-opener for the U.S., where "single-payer," government-run health care is still a holy grail on the political left and even for some in business (such as the automakers). This month the California Senate passed a bill that would create a state-run system of single-payer universal health care. The Assembly is expected to follow suit. Someone should make sure the Canadian Supreme Court's ruling is on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's reading list before he makes a veto decision.
Robert Novak: Blair vs. Bush
Think about it: Why do employers pay people to do "menial" work? Because the work has to be done. What useful purpose is served by stigmatizing work that someone is going to have to do anyway?
Is emptying bed pans in a hospital menial work? What would happen if bed pans didn't get emptied? Let people stop emptying bed pans for a month and there would be bigger problems than if sociologists stopped working for a year.
Many low-level jobs are called "dead-end jobs" by liberal intellectuals because these jobs have no promotions ladder. But it is superficial beyond words to say that this means that people in such jobs have no prospect of rising economically.
Many people at all levels of society, including the richest, have at some point or other worked at jobs that had no promotions ladder, so-called "dead-end jobs." The founder of the NBC network began work as a teenager hawking newspapers on the streets. Billionaire Ross Perot began with a paper route.
You don't get promoted from such jobs. You use the experience, initiative, and discipline that you develop in such work to move on to something else that may be wholly different. People who start out flipping hamburgers at McDonald's seldom stay there for a full year, much less for life.
The real chumps are those who refuse to start at the bottom for "chump change." Liberals who encourage such attitudes may think of themselves as friends of the poor but they do more harm than enemies.
www.delawareonline.com | The News Journal | Phillies, Rollins agree on five-year extension
"In reality, Kyoto was never about environmental policy," a White House aide told me. "It was designed as an elaborate, predatory trade strategy to level the American and European economies." The problem for Europeans has been that Bush refused to go along, ruining the desired leveling effect. The EU's industries have been devastated, while the U.S. has prospered.
2006 $4.0 million
2007 $7.0 million
2008 $7.0 million
2009 $7.5 million
2010 $7.5 million
I have mixed feelings about this signing. He's a good fielder, but his career on-base percentage is only .323, below average, and he usually bats leadoff, where you need a good OBP. If he can get on base like he did last year (.348 OBP), I like the deal, but I'm not optimistic about that happening. Over the span of his career, last season looks like an outlier rather a performance spike. And it's my hunch that the salary level makes him untradeable down the line. I'm not too thrilled with this. The only plus-side is that I don't think the Phils have much in the minor leagues at short.
U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper placed in the top 10 in presidential support among Senate Democrats. U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle scored in a different sort of top 10 -- as one of the House Republicans who broke most often with their party's president.
Evidence of what I've said many times: Carper is more of a Republican than Castle is.