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Friday, June 24, 2005

More Evangelium Vitae
I've done some more reading, and was again struck by how much of an emphasis John Paul II puts on abortion and euthanasia, while failing to even mention the death penalty.
Precisely for this reason, civil law must ensure that all members of society enjoy respect for certain fundamental rights which innately belong to the person, rights which every positive law must recognize and guarantee. First and fundamental among these is the inviolable right to life of every innocent human being. ... The legal toleration of abortion or of euthanasia can in no way claim to be based on respect for the conscience of others...
Consequently, laws which legitimize the direct killing of innocent human beings through abortion or euthanasia are in complete opposition to the inviolable right to life proper to every individual; they thus deny the equality of everyone before the law. ... Laws which authorize and promote abortion and euthanasia are therefore radically opposed not only to the good of the individual but also to the common good; as such they are completely lacking in authentic juridical validity.
Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize.
In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to "take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law, or vote for it".
I've read just a few paragraphs more, but there are many mentions of abortion and euthanasia, with no mentions (so far) of the death penalty. Arguments that the death penalty is as grave an issue as either of those just won't fly.

The right beer for the right occasion
Cross-references by what you're eating and by what beer you have.

The Supreme Court's reverse Robin Hoods
The city has carefully formulated a development plan that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including, but not limited to, new jobs and increased tax revenue," Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the majority. Justice Kennedy wrote in concurrence that this could be considered public use because the development plan was "comprehensive" and "meant to address a serious city-wide depression." In other words, local governments can do what they want as long as they can plausibly argue that any kind of public interest will be served.
In his clarifying dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas exposes this logic for the government land grab that it is. He accuses the majority of replacing the Fifth Amendment's "Public Use Clause" with a very different "public purpose" test: "This deferential shift in phraseology enables the Court to hold, against all common sense, that a costly urban-renewal project whose stated purpose is a vague promise of new jobs and increased tax revenue, but which is also suspiciously agreeable to the Pfizer Corporation, is for a 'public use.'"

And in a separate dissent, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor suggested that the use of this power in a reverse Robin Hood fashion--take from the poor, give to the rich--would become the norm, not the exception: "Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms."

That prospect helps explain the unusual coalition supporting the property owners in the case, ranging from the libertarian Institute for Justice (the lead lawyers) to the NAACP, AARP and the late Martin Luther King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The latter three groups signed an amicus brief arguing that eminent domain has often been used against politically weak communities with high concentrations of minorities and elderly. Justice Thomas's opinion cites a wealth of data to that effect.

And it's not just the "public use" requirement of the Fifth Amendment that's undermined by Kelo. So too is the guarantee of "just compensation." Why? Because there is no need to invoke eminent domain if developers are willing to pay what owners themselves consider just compensation.

Just compensation may differ substantially from so-called fair market value given the sentimental and other values many of us attach to our homes and other property. Even eager sellers will be hurt by Kelo, since developers will have every incentive to lowball their bids now that they can freely threaten to invoke eminent domain.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

CNN.com - Democrats: Rove should apologize or resign - Jun 23, 2005
Democrats said Thursday that White House adviser Karl Rove should either apologize or resign for accusing liberals of wanting "therapy and understanding" for the September 11 attackers, escalating partisan rancor that threatens to consume Washington.
However, Senator Durbin was apparently quite right to compare our armed forces to the Nazis.

Thomas More Studies
Following up on yesterday's feast, Amy Welborn links to the above site.

Also, Cheeky Lawyer makes an interesting point in the comments:
The conjunction is actually different from what we so often hear. In the Center's materials you will see that a contemporary Paris newspaper reported that More actually said, “I die the King’s Good Servant and God’s first.” Perhaps it is quibbling, but call it part of the lawyer's vocation. But the difference does point to something important. More saw the advice he gave the king and his ultimate opposition to the King Henry’s actions to be true service the King—precisely because he was following God’s will and trying to show the King and the whole realm the truth of the great matter. In other words, he died both the King's good servant and God's good servant.
which echoes the points in my comments yesterday.

The Corner on National Review Online
Ramesh raises a point I had failed to consider on the Kelo v. New London case:
it's not obvious to me that the Supreme Court was ever meant to enforce the Takings Clause against local governments.
Not that the majority in this case used that logic, by all accounts. But it is a legitimate argument in support of the decision to allow the takings.

This does, once again, show the schizophrenic logic of applying the 14th Amendment: the 14th Amendment means states can't outlaw abortion, even though it's never mentioned in the Constitution (even in the "penumbras"). It does not, however, allegedly, mean the state are forbidden from restricting the right to bear arms, which is specifically mentioned in the 2nd Amendment. The only realy consistent thread about what is and is not limited is the pet causes of liberals. If the liberals want it banned, it is. If not, the states can do nothing.

Not all of the words spoken Wednesday in Legislative Hall about embryonic stem cell research had as much effect as a shattered glass desktop.
This was the intense atmosphere charging the committee hearing and the hundred or so people in attendance. Out of nowhere, it suddenly became even more intense.

Without any known cause, one of the standard-issue glass tops on a front-row desk cracked like ice on a lake, exploding into a shower of jagged pieces that covered the desk and cascaded to the floor.

Everyone was startled. No one was hurt. No one had any idea why it happened.
To quote Brian from "The Family Guy": "You want an explanation? GOD. IS. PISSED!"

Robert Novak: Biden playing politics
The connection was obvious to senators of both parties, though nobody said so publicly. Four days before Sen. Joseph Biden declared he would seek the Democratic presidential nomination if he could find the financing, he held hostage an important, non-controversial Bush diplomatic appointee. His intent: to force President Bush to reappoint a billionaire backer of Biden to a government oversight board.
When Pattiz was sworn in for his second BBG term at Washington's Hay-Adams Hotel on Sept. 10, 2002, Biden made the cross-town journey from Capitol Hill to deliver a lengthy panegyric for his political benefactor. In 1992, Pattiz's Westwood One was fined $75,000 for offering to illegally reimburse employees who contributed to Biden's aborted 1988 presidential campaign.

CNN.com - High court OKs personal property seizures - Jun 23, 2005
"The city has carefully formulated an economic development that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including -- but by no means limited to -- new jobs and increased tax revenue," Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the majority.
Susette Kelo and several other homeowners in a working-class neighborhood in New London, Connecticut, filed suit after city officials announced plans to raze their homes for a riverfront hotel, health club and offices.
Essentially, New London told the residents of this neighborhood, "Sorry, you don't pay us enough in property taxes, so we're going to bulldoze your homes and build homes for someone who can pay more." And the Supreme Court approved of this.

This decision should put the lie to the claim that liberals look out for the little person. It's the little people (not Munchkins) who are getting thrown out of their homes in the name of civic greed, and it's the liberals on the Supreme Court who consented to it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

House Approves Flag-Burning Amendment - Yahoo! News
Whoo-hoo! May the Senate do the right things and send this to states for ratification.

Link via The Corner.

CNN.com - List: AFI's top 100 movie quotes - Jun 22, 2005
I think I said this on an earlier post that I can't find right now, now this whole thing is a crock since "Yippie-ki-yay, mother****er!" didn't win.

"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue
it steadily." --George Washington

"Money with [Congress] is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it." --Davy Crockett

"The smallest good deed is better than the grandest good intention." --Duguet

"Unionism seldom, if ever, uses such power as it has to insure better work; almost always it devotes a large part of that power to safeguarding bad work." --H.L. Mencken

"It is not what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice tell me I ought to do." --Edmund Burke

"Those who wrote the Constitution clearly understood that power is dangerous and needs to be limited by being separated -- separated not only into the three branches of the national government but also separated as between the whole national government, on the one hand, and the states and the people on the other." --Thomas Sowell

"If Terri Schiavo had been dehydrated to death at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, Dick Durbin would be reading her autopsy report from the Senate floor. ... Instead, Democrats -- even as they spent part of the week crassly celebrating, with news of Schiavo's autopsy report in hand, the human rights abuse of euthanasia against the disabled -- are in a moral lather over the paucity of air conditioning terrorists receive at Guantanamo Bay." --George Neumayr

"I am not questioning Sen. Dick Durbin's patriotism, at least not for the first couple of paragraphs. Instead, I'll begin by questioning his sanity. ... Spot the odd one out: (1) mass starvation, (2) gas chambers, (3) mountains of skulls, (4) lousy infidel pop music at full volume. One of these is not the same as the others, and Mr. Durbin doesn't have the excuse of being some airhead celeb or an Ivy League professor. He's the Senate Judiciary Committee's second-ranking Democrat. Don't they have an insanity clause?" --Mark Steyn

"Bill Clinton said Sunday it's time to shut down Guantanamo prison or clean it up. He said it's an embarrassment to the United States. His voice carries a lot of weight, because who knows more about embarrassing the United States than Bill Clinton." --Argus Hamilton

Jay Leno.... Well the big story, the Los Angeles Police Department announced they will no longer arrest famous people who break the law. What's the point? .... Here's an interesting statistic -- according to "Cosmo", over 30% of men between the ages of 18 and 34 still live with their parents. These men are known as "Star Wars" fans. .... A top Taliban member said today that Osama bin Laden is alive and well, which is great because that means we can still kill him.

Today's the feast of Saint Thomas More, who gave his life rather than acquiesce to Henry VIII's false claim of religious supremacy in England.

An easier-to-read information page on More. He's the patron saint of lawyers and politicians, among many other causes. The world would be in better shape if more politicians and lawyers followed his example of loyalty to the Truth, rather than to personal or political advantage.

Two of his most famous quotes:
Pray for me, as I will for thee, that we may merrily meet in heaven.
And his last words: "I die the king's good servant, but God's first."

Those are words we should all live our life by. By serving God first, we can truly serve our "king" best.

Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus on National Review Online
Speaking of the Left: In my Impromptus yesterday, I wrote of James Weinstein, the founder of In These Times, who died over the weekend. I remarked on his running for Congress on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, in 1966.

I heard from Ron Radosh — the great historian of the Left, and other matters — who wrote, “At that time, as you may know, I was still a man of the Left. I was a good friend of Jim Weinstein, too, and an active participant in his congressional campaign. What the [New York Times] obit does not mention is that Jim was running against a liberal Democrat, as a left-wing socialist, on behalf of his own newly created political party. In a nutshell, that is why he did not win. Towards the end of his life, in his last book (which came out a year ago), he argued that socialists like him should only work within the Democratic party. As we know, they seem to have taken his advice.”

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The left-wing website DailyKos has been conducting a straw poll to find its readers' favorites in the 2008 Democratic presidential race. A total of 13,389 reader responded, and the winner is...retired general Wesley Clark, the newly-signed commentator for the Fox News Channel, with 3,496 votes, or 26 percent of the total.
That Fox News is so right-wing.

Unless the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy has taken over The DailyKos!

World's shortest Fairy Tale
Once upon a time a guy asked a girl, "Will you marry me?"

She said "No."

And he lived happily ever after.

Church can never accept abortion - Pope's book
Pope Benedict, in his first book published since his election, says the Catholic Church can never accept laws allowing abortion because there is no such thing as "small murders."
Right on the heels of writing the post below, I saw this article on Drudge.
In one section of the book, the Pope asks rhetorically why the Church should not accept that abortion is legal in many countries.

"Why don't we resign ourselves to the fact that we lost that battle and dedicate our energies instead to projects where we can find greater social consensus?" he writes.

Because this, he says, would be a superficial and hypocritical solution.

"Recognizing the sacred nature of human life and its inviolability without any exceptions is not a small problem or something that can be considered part of the pluralism of opinions in modern society," he writes.

"There is no such thing as 'small murders'. Respect for every single life is an essential condition for anything worthy of being called social life."

My Current Reading
I've got it in book form, but I'm reading John Paul II's Evangelium Vitae (Gospel of Life) right now. I can see why it's considered such a pro-life classic.

It was especially interesting to read this in light of the election controversy over the proper role of abortion in the voting decision. I've heard those wishing to vote Democrat state that the Republican candidate's stand in favor of the death penalty "offsets" his advantage on the abortion issue. (It's been my experience though, that those making this argument aren't so much trying to discern the proper way to vote as much as justify a decision already made.) In Evangelium Vitae, however John Paul II devotes one "section" to the death penalty and actually upholds the right of the state to inflict capital punishment, while arguing that it should not be used in today's world. Quoting the Catechism, he writes:
It is clear that, for these purposes to be achieved, the nature and extent of the punishment must be carefully evaluated and decided upon, and ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. Today however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent.

In any event, the principle set forth in the new Catechism of the Catholic Church remains valid: "If bloodless means are sufficient to defend human lives against an aggressor and to protect public order and the safety of persons, public authority must limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person".
[section 56]In contrast, he devotes 5 paragraphs to the evil of abortion and uses his authority as Pope to state that it always sinful.
Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, in communion with the Bishops-who on various occasions have condemned abortion and who in the aforementioned consultation, albeit dispersed throughout the world, have shown unanimous agreement concerning this doctrine-I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. This doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written Word of God, is transmitted by the Church's Tradition and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium.
[Emphasis not in linked document, but it is in my book version of the Encyclical.][section 62]Earlier, he placed responsibility for abortion, not just on the person directly involved (the woman and the abortionist), but on the many indirectly involved. In section 59, he wrote
As well as the mother, there are often other people too who decide upon the death of the child in the womb. In the first place, the father of the child may be to blame, not only when he di- rectly pressures the woman to have an abortion, but also when he indirectly encourages such a decision on her part by leaving her alone to face the problems of pregnancy: in this way the family is thus mortally wounded and profaned in its nature as a community of love and in its vocation to be the "sanctuary of life". Nor can one overlook the pressures which sometimes come from the wider family circle and from friends. Sometimes the woman is subjected to such strong pressure that she feels psychologically forced to have an abortion: certainly in this case moral responsibility lies particularly with those who have directly or indirectly obliged her to have an abortion. Doctors and nurses are also responsible, when they place at the service of death skills which were acquired for promoting life.

But responsibility likewise falls on the legislators who have promoted and approved abortion laws, and, to the extent that they have a say in the matter, on the administrators of the health-care centres where abortions are performed. A general and no less serious responsibility lies with those who have encouraged the spread of an attitude of sexual permissiveness and a lack of esteem for motherhood, and with those who should have ensured-but did not-effective family and social policies in support of families, especially larger families and those with particular financial and educational needs. Finally, one cannot overlook the network of complicity which reaches out to include international institutions, foundations and associations which systematically campaign for the legalization and spread of abortion in the world. In this sense abortion goes beyond the responsibility of individuals and beyond the harm done to them, and takes on a distinctly social dimension. It is a most serious wound inflicted on society and its culture by the very people who ought to be society's promoters and defenders. As I wrote in my Letter to Families, "we are facing an immense threat to life: not only to the life of individuals but also to that of civilization itself".56 We are facing what can be called a "structure of sin" which opposes human life not yet born.
[emphasis added]They are declared as having responsibility for these abortions, and we're supposed to vote for them?

He deals with euthanasia in much the same terms as he does abortion, but I won't bother quoting that.

It should be clear: Catholics cannot in good conscience vote for pro-abortion candidates, unless their opponent has some equally horrific stance on an issue. But before using that as a loophole, you have to ask what is equivalent to support of a law that allows the murder of 1.3 million innocents a year? Not much.

Terri Schiavo's Remains Buried in Clearwater - from TBO.com
Michael Schiavo angered his late wife's family Monday by not notifying them about the burial beforehand and by inscribing on her bronze grave marker the words "I kept my promise."

Michael Schiavo - who said he promised his wife he would not keep her alive artificially - also listed Feb. 25, 1990, as the date his wife "Departed this Earth."
What an ass.

Link via Open Book.

Cheer Up, Conservatives!
Last November, the Democrats threw everything they had at George Bush, from the pent-up fury of a "stolen election" to the millions of George Soros. Liberals outspent and out-ranted conservatives, and pushed up Democratic turnout by 12%. But the Republicans increased their turnout by a fifth.

Crucially, George Bush won as a conservative: He did not "triangulate" or hide behind a fuzzy "Morning in America" message. Against the background of an unpopular war and an arguably dodgy economy, he positioned himself to the right, betting that conservative America was bigger than liberal America. And it was: The exit polls showed both Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry won 85% of their base, but self-described "conservatives" accounted for nearly a third of the electorate while liberals were only a fifth. Mr. Bush could afford to lose "moderates" to Mr. Kerry by nine points--and still end up with 51% of the vote, more than any Democrat has got since 1964.
Indeed, the left has reached the same level of fury that the right reached in the 1960s--but with none of the intellectual inventiveness. On everything from Social Security to foreign policy to economic policy, it is reduced merely to opposing conservative ideas. This strategy may have punctured the Bush reforms on Social Security, but it has also bared a deeper weakness for the left. In the 1960s, the conservative movement coalesced around several simple propositions--lower taxes, more religion, an America-first foreign policy--that eventually revolutionized politics. The modern left is split on all these issues, between New Democrats and back-to-basics liberals.
I'm not as sanguine as the authors of this article are, but they raise some valid points.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Family Guy
Peter: "Everybody I've got bad news. We've been cancelled."
Lois: "Oh no Peter! How could they do that?"
Peter: "Well unfortuantely Lois, there's just no more room on the schedule. We just gotta accept the fact that FOX has to make room for terrific shows like Dark Angel, Titus, Undeclared, Action, That 80's Show, Wonder Falls, Fast Lane, Andy Richter Controls The Universe, Skin, Girl's Club, Cracking Up, The Pitts, Firefly, Get Real, Freaky Links, Wanda At Large, Costello, The Lone Gunman, A Minute with Stan Hooper, Normal Ohio, Pasadena, Harsh Realm, Keen Eddy, The Street, American Embassy, Cedric The Entertainer, The Tick, Louie, And Greg The Bunny...."
Lois: "Is there no hope?"
Peter: "Well I suppose if ALL those shows go down the tubes we might have a shot."

I just discovered a great site: Family Guy Quotes Guess what the site has on it, I dare you!

�We Were the Ones Who Created Europe�: The Catholic Church and Western Civilization
“Giving in to desire, to sex, to consumption: that is the Europeanism that some supporters of our entry into Europe think we should accept,” John Paul told the faithful. “But we mustn’t become part of that Europe. We were the ones who created Europe….”

We were the ones who created Europe.

That stunning remark doubtless ruffled some feathers. Yet never were truer words said. In recent weeks Pope Benedict XVI has spoken of “the decisive contribution of Christianity” in the creation of European civilization. At a time when the media and other opponents of the Church are gleefully exploiting her present discomfiture, this is a truth all Catholics, and indeed all of Western civilization, would do well to revisit.

That’s why I wrote my new book, How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization....
The article goes on to discuss Catholic contributions to charity for the poor, science and the legal system. I've got his book on order. Should be an interesting read, even though it covers what is manifestly true.

An Atrophy of Compassion
Terri did not die from atrophy of the brain. She died from an atrophy of compassion. Too many people, starting with Michael, were unwilling to accept the fact that profoundly injured people require profound compassion and care. Even if this autopsy report showed that Terri was ten times more damaged than she was, our moral obligation to respect and protect her life would not change at all. We don't have to pass a test to qualify for our human rights. An autopsy is a measure of physical damage, not of human rights.

www.delawareonline.com | The News Journal | Biden tests 2008 run for presidency
"I may not be what the party's looking for," Biden said. "I may be too 'muscular' on foreign policy. I may not be 'pure' enough about abortion rights. I may not have been 'energetic' enough about gay marriage."
It says something about the sad state of the Democratic Party in America when Joe Biden might be too conservative to win their nomination.

But any run for Biden can't help but be good news for Delaware. It would raise our profile and just make us look better, especially if he pulled off the upset and won the nomination. The best possible outcome: Biden wins the Democratic nomination, but loses the general election. Biden winning the election might be good for Delaware, but it would be bad for the country.

Good Question
"[R]esolutions of censure have typically been reserved for ethics violations, not for meretricious statements... When Sen. Trent Lott made a far less damaging, but still deplorable, statement two and a half years ago, his fellow Republicans insisted he step down as their leader. Shouldn't Democrats insist that Sen. Durbin [who last week compared the actions of U.S. service personnel to Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot] step down as their whip, the number two man in their leadership? Shouldn't conservatives (and liberals) legitimately ask Democrats to hold their leader to account, especially given the precedent of Lott?" -- William Kristol, writing in the Weekly Standard.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." --Thomas Jefferson

"We have a strange illusion that mere time cancels sin. I have heard others, and I have heard myself, recounting cruelties and falsehoods committed in boyhood as if they were not concern of the present speaker's, and even with laughter. But mere time does nothing either to the fact or to the guilt of a sin. The guilt is washed out not by time but by repentance and the blood of Christ." --C. S. Lewis

"We need true tax reform that will at least make a start toward restoring for our children the American dream that wealth is denied to no one, that each individual has the right to fly as high as his strength and ability will take him." --Ronald Reagan

"According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, some 15 million to 30 million prisoners died in the Soviet gulags. By comparison, Guantanamo at its peak held 750 prisoners; currently, there are 520; none have died in captivity, and, as I wrote 3-1/2 years ago, it has the distinction of being 'a camp where the medical staff outnumber the prisoners.' You'll get swifter, cleaner and more efficient treatment than most Canadians do under socialized health care. It's the only gulag in history where the detainees leave in better health and weighing more than when they arrive. This means they're in much better shape when they get back to their hectic schedule of killing infidels: Of the more than 200 who've been released, around 5 percent -- that's to say, 12 -- have since been recaptured on the battlefield." --Mark Steyn

Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week
With all due respect to Hube, I think the true winner of the "Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week" last week was the letter entitled "If every cell is sacred, then we'd better regulate sex" by Jim Lewis of Wilmington.
The problem with Katherin Rogers' Delaware Voice opinion that embryonic cells have the same value as human adults is that she has taken a basic science statement to its farthest illogical conclusion. If one is to believe Rogers, we are surely an evil life form. It would mean that every woman of childbearing age is a factory for the mass murder of humans. Just think of all those embryonic cells that don't successfully implant in the womb, are flushed out and die. Oh, the horror.
Apprently Mr Lewis also would argue that I am as morally culpable for the death of someone from old age as I would be if I held a trigger to their head and shot them. It's a similar analogy to the one he's forcing above. One is a natural process which we can't control (A "spontaneous abortion" and natural death.) The other is the willful termination of a human life (destruction of embryos and shooting someone in the head.)
The radical anti-abortion movement is not just against abortion but against anything sexual.
I can';t wait for his follow-up litter where he accuses pro-lifers of being too into sex. After all, look at the number of kids they have!

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