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Friday, October 21, 2005

I'm apparently a blogging expert!
Delaware Press Association Meeting

"The Blog Advantage"

Al Mascitti, News Journal columnist / WDEL talk show host

Dana Garrett, Delaware Watch blogger

Paul Smith, Jr., computer programmer and local blogger

Klondike Kate's Restaurant
158 E. Main Street
Newark, Delaware
Wednesday, November 9, 2005
Networking and light fare 6:00 p.m.
Panel discussion 7:00 p.m.
Cost: Members $10; Non-members $12

The power and influence of blogging in media today is undeniable, yet the reasons are misunderstood. This panel discussion will demystify what blogs are, what advantages
they offer, and how to leverage the power of this new medium.

Al Mascitti has written for The News Journal since 1981. His column appears three times a week in the Local section. He's on the air at 1150 WDEL-AM weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to noon. On his blog at delawareonline.com/blogs/mascitti.html, as with his column, Mascitti offers his take on news, politics and life in Delaware.

Dana Garrett of Wilmington has been blogging on his Delaware Watch blog at delawarewatch.blogspot.com on a daily basis since March. According to the website, Delaware Watch is committed to an alternative "progressive" analysis of Delaware's politics, history, culture, environment and economy.

Paul Smith, Jr., works as a computer programmer for a local information technology consulting firm. He shares his view on politics, religion and other current events on his blog paulsmithjr.blogspot.com/.

After their discussion, the panelists will answer questions.

Cost: $10 for DPA members and $12 for non-members. No need to send a check.

Free parking is available.

To make a reservation, RSVP to Katherine Ward at DelawarePress@aol.com with your name, the names of any guests, and a phone number where you may be reached. Questions? Call Katherine at 302-655-2175.
Don't let the fact I'll be there stop you from attending. I'm sure the other speakers will be good.

Straight Talk About 'Happy Talk' - Is there such a thing as a "good divorce"?
The conventional wisdom on divorce is that while a breakup is hard on children, parents can minimize a lot of the damage with a "good divorce." Or can they? A new book out this month presents compelling evidence that even a relatively amicable divorce cannot spare children from psychological trauma that affects their self-image and shapes their personalities into adulthood.

"Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce" by Elizabeth Marquardt (Crown), will not come as welcome news to parents who may be seeking a split on the theory that there is nothing worse for children than growing up amid marital discord or unhappiness. The book establishes that the separation of parents bifurcates children's inner lives, forcing them to become navigators, conciliators and emotional caregivers at an early age, all of which leaves them with a sense of tentativeness and isolation even as adults. Most startling of all are the findings suggesting that children whose parents remain in somewhat unhappy, low-conflict marriages (more common than high-conflict unions involving physical fights or other abuse) fare better in certain crucial spheres than do children of divorce.
Many of the comparisons are stunning. Even after a "good" divorce, 52% of respondents say that family life was stressful (compared with 6% from happy marriages and 35% from unhappy but low-conflict marriages). Half report that even as children they "always felt like an adult" (compared with 36% and 39% in the intact-family groups).

According to the study, children of divorce feel less protected by their parents, less emotionally secure and less safe at home than do other children. Children of divorce are less likely to look to their parents for comfort and more likely to feel obliged to protect their parents emotionally. They tend to see their parents as polar opposites long after marital conflict ends. Twice as many children of divorce agreed that, while growing up, "I felt like a different person with each of my parents."

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Miers Support Team: Gloomy and Demoralized - Now they’re discussing stopping her visits to the Senate.
The strategists discuss issues on a twice-weekly conference call led by Leonard Leo, the executive vice president of the Federalist Society who has taken leave to help the White House shepherd the nomination through the Senate. A number of people who have taken part in the calls described the conversations to National Review Online. None wanted to be identified, because they do not want to openly oppose the White House or defy loyalists like Leo who are trying hard to defend Miers. Nevertheless, they paint a grim portrait of morale among those close to the nomination.

"The number of participants is declining," says one knowledgeable source. "With Roberts, these calls occurred five or six or seven times a week. Pretty early on, the calls on Miers were scaled back to twice a week. That says something in and of itself."

"It's been a gradual descent into almost silence," says a second source of the calls. "The meetings with the senators are going terribly. On a scale of one to 100, they are in negative territory. The thought now is that they have to end....Obviously the smart thing to do would be to withdraw the nomination and have a do-over as soon as possible. But the White House is so irrational that who knows? As of this morning, there is a sort of pig-headed resolve to press forward, cancel the meetings with senators if necessary, and bone up for the hearings."
"Demoralization and pessimism?" the source continues. "That's been a constant. We're in the various stages of grief."

Townhall.com :: Columns :: The vulnerable nominee by Robert Novak
George W. Bush's agents have convinced conservative Republican senators who were heartsick over his nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court that they must support her to save his presidency. But that does not guarantee her confirmation. Ahead are hearings of unspeakable ugliness that can be prevented only if Democratic senators exercise unaccustomed restraint.

Will the Judiciary Committee Democrats insist on putting under oath two Texas judges who are alleged to have guaranteed during a conference call of Christian conservatives that Miers would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade? Will the Democrats dig into Miers's alleged interference nine years ago as Texas Lottery Commission chairman intended to save then Gov. Bush from political embarrassment?

Officials charged with winning Miers's confirmation told me neither of these issues is troublesome, but in fact they suggest incompetence and neglect by the White House. To permit a conference call with scores of participants hearing close associates of the nominee predict her vote on abortion is incompetent. To nominate somebody implicated in a state lottery dispute in the past without carefully considering the consequences goes beyond incompetence to arrogant neglect.

How Bush Can Save Bush - His midlife crisis holds lessons for his midpresidential one.
Once again there's a family in crisis, and it's conservatism. He can let it break up, or let it wither under his watch. Or he can change. Just as he learned at 40 that to keep his family he had to become part of something larger than himself, he should realize as he approaches 60 that he has to become part of something larger if he is to save his administration. And that "something larger" is a movement that has been building for half a century, since before Barry Goldwater. The president would be well advised to look at the stakes, see what's in the balance, judge the strengths and weaknesses of his own leadership, and get back to the basics of conservatism. Which again would take humility.

Fiscal conservatism makes a comeback
It's only taken a decade or so, but suddenly there's momentum in Congress for spending restraint. We'll be watching the fine print, but you can tell Republicans are worried about complaints from conservative voters because for a change they're trying to act, well, like Republicans.
Government is fully capable of rooting out waste if it is forced to. In 1987, when the Gramm Rudman deficit-reduction law was enforced, President Reagan ordered a 4.3% sequester of all domestic and defense spending. A funny thing happened: Agencies found ways to save money. Social Security checks got sent out; the air traffic control system still operated; and the Washington Monument wasn't closed down.

Some conservatives want to exempt homeland security and Pentagon spending from the budget scalpel. That's a bad idea. The defense budget is up 64% in four years, or to about 4% of GDP after it had fallen to 3% from 5% during the Clinton era. (A dirty little secret of the 1990s is that nearly all of the reduction in federal spending came from defense.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

National Review's 100 Best Non-Fiction Books Of The Century
The Corner linked to this list today. Looks like I've got some reading to do. I really should re-read The Road to Serfdom for example, since I'm apparently confused in believing there is a difference between dictatorships of the right and of the left. I just can't remember if it's that book or Capitalism and Freedom that got ruined when I left it out in the rain. If it is Serfdom, I'll need to purchase it again.

But a lot those books definitely need to be read.

"Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without constraint." —Alexander Hamilton

"We may be tossed upon an ocean where we can see no land—nor, perhaps, the sun or stars. But there is a chart and a compass for us to study, to consult, and to obey. That chart is the Constitution." —Daniel Webster

"The shallow consider liberty a release from all law, from every constraint. The wise see in it, on the contrary, the potent Law of Laws." —Walt Whitman

"I am certain that nothing has done so much to destroy the juridical safeguards of individual freedom as the striving after this mirage of social justice." —Fredrich August von Hayek

"The income tax is not an example of a good idea gone bad. It was bad from the beginning, and it just keeps getting worse." —Chris Edwards

"The solution to poverty...doesn't lie in a collective movement. It lies in the will and discipline of individual people who dedicate themselves to living moral lives, striving to improve their circumstances, and providing greater opportunities for their children." —Mark Goldblatt

"I owe it to my readers and the people who attend my speeches to give the principal reason for my political conversion [from Democrat to Republican]. And here it is: Republican women are simply more attractive than Democratic women."—Mike Adams

"[I]n fact, Iraq is a great American success story. You know, free Iraq... it's done. Free Afghanistan... it's done. Democrats have been driving around with free Tibet stickers for fifty years, and it's no nearer than it was when they stuck them on their 1962 Volvos."—Mark Steyn

Jay Leno... The FBI now says they are considering relaxing their drug policy on new applicants who want to join the FBI. If you've smoked marijuana it's ok. So much for the war on drugs. I guess the new slogan is "if you can't beat, join them!" ... The Bush administration announced that they have captured al-Qa'ida's top barber. Well, who says we're not winning the War on Terror? Osama's cable guy—you're next!

Fractions and Free Men - The Founding Fathers didn't solve the slavery problem. Could they have done better?
On June 30, 1787, when the Constitutional Convention had reached an apparent impasse, James Madison realized, before anyone else, that several concerns that split the delegates that summer in Philadelphia were in fact one. The Virginia slaveholder noted that the states "were divided into different interests not by their difference of size," as everyone seemed to believe, "but principally from the effects of their having or not having slaves."

This claim may have been obvious a few years later, and it certainly seems so today. But it was not obvious at the time, and Lawrence Goldstone in "Dark Bargain" credits Madison for not only making this critical observation but also forcing the 38 other delegates to address its troubling reality, even if they only pretended to reconcile themselves to it. By doing so they could finally move forward, which they did, signing the completed Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787.
The greatest irony of all is that, if the northern delegates had had their way and kept southern representation to a minimum, blacks would never have been counted at all. Such a possibility--rarely mentioned by those eager to condemn the compromise, including Mr. Goldstone--might well be even more shaming today than the three-fifths clause has proved to be. Say what you will about the southern slaveholders, their insistence that slaves count for something saved us from greater ignominy. The lesson here, for moralists and everyone else, is that history isn't neat.
It's very easy to say, many years after the fact, that the Constitution should have freed slaves and recognized their freedom. Unfortunately for those having to make the decision at the time, the question wasn't just slavery or no slavery, it was also America or no America. They did the best they could under the circumstances. It may not have been the right result, but change takes time and rooting our deeply held prejudices and beliefs can take even longer.

Slouching Towards Miers
With a single stroke--the nomination of Harriet Miers--the president has damaged the prospects for reform of a left-leaning and imperialistic Supreme Court, taken the heart out of a rising generation of constitutional scholars, and widened the fissures within the conservative movement. That's not a bad day's work--for liberals.
The administration's defense of the nomination is pathetic: Ms. Miers was a bar association president (a nonqualification for anyone familiar with the bureaucratic service that leads to such presidencies); she shares Mr. Bush's judicial philosophy (which seems to consist of bromides about "strict construction" and the like); and she is, as an evangelical Christian, deeply religious. That last, along with her contributions to pro-life causes, is designed to suggest that she does not like Roe v. Wade, though it certainly does not necessarily mean that she would vote to overturn that constitutional travesty.

There is a great deal more to constitutional law than hostility to Roe. Ms. Miers is reported to have endorsed affirmative action. That position, or its opposite, can be reconciled with Christian belief. Issues we cannot now identify or even imagine will come before the court in the next 20 years. Reliance upon religious faith tells us nothing about how a Justice Miers would rule. Only a commitment to originalism provides a solid foundation for constitutional adjudication. There is no sign that she has thought about, much less adopted, that philosophy of judging.
Finally, this nomination has split the fragile conservative coalition on social issues into those appalled by the administration's cynicism and those still anxious, for a variety of reasons, to support or at least placate the president. Anger is growing between the two groups. The supporters should rethink. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq aside, George W. Bush has not governed as a conservative (amnesty for illegal immigrants, reckless spending that will ultimately undo his tax cuts, signing a campaign finance bill even while maintaining its unconstitutionality). This George Bush, like his father, is showing himself to be indifferent, if not actively hostile, to conservative values. He appears embittered by conservative opposition to his nomination, which raises the possibility that if Ms. Miers is not confirmed, the next nominee will be even less acceptable to those asking for a restrained court. That, ironically, is the best argument for her confirmation. But it is not good enough.

It is said that at La Scala an exhausted tenor, after responding to repeated cries of "Encore," said he could not go on. A man rose in the audience to say, "You'll keep singing until you get it right." That man should be our model.
The more I read stuff by Bork, the more I like him, and the more I feel the country got shafted when his nomination to the Supreme Court was rejected for partisan reasons.

Slaying The Percentages
ST. LOUIS Baseball is different. Sometimes it's hard to put your finger on the distinction between the feelings that baseball provides and the experience of other sports. But sometimes, such as Monday in Houston, when Albert Pujols hit his mammoth, season-saving home run for St. Louis, it's definitely not.
We think we know what's coming. Which means, odds on, we don't.
Boswell wrote another good one.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Quote of the Day
"From now on, this administration will find it difficult to muster support on the right without explaining why it should be forthcoming. The days of the blank check have ended because no thinking conservative really wants to be part of a team that requires marching in lock step without question or thought, even if it is headed by the president of the United States" -- David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union and a former adviser to President George H. W. Bush, writing in The Hill newspaper on conservative disillusionment with the current Bush administration

CNN.com - Chertoff promises changes to illegal aliens policy - Oct 18, 2005
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff promised Tuesday to end the "catch and release" policy that has allowed tens of thousands of non-Mexican illegal aliens to disappear within the United States.
Wow. Let's hope he means it, as long as there's some provision for true refugees.

Iraqis are much more optimistic about their country than American opinion makers
According to an Aug. 16, 2002, commentary in the Guardian--a British newspaper that often opposes U.S. foreign policy--one in six Iraqis had fled their country under Saddam. Millions left because of war, dictatorship and sanctions. Today, several hundred thousand have returned; only the Christians still leave. If Iraq were as chaotic as the media implies, it would export refugees, not resettle them.

Other indicators suggest Iraqis have confidence in their future. The Iraqi dinar, freely traded in international currency markets, is stable.

When people fear for their future, they invest in gold; jewelry and coins can be sewn into clothes and smuggled out of the country. When people feel confident about the future, they buy real estate. Property prices have skyrocketed across Iraq. Decrepit houses in Sadr City, a Shiite slum on the outskirts of Baghdad, can easily cost $45,000. Houses in upper-middle-class districts of Mansour and Karrada can cost more than 20 times that. Restaurant owners spend $50,000 on top-of-the-line generators to keep open despite the frequent blackouts. In September 2005, there were 40 buildings nine stories or higher under construction in the Kurdish city of Sulaymani. Five years ago, there were none. Iraqis would not spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on real estate if they weren't confident that the law would protect their investment.

Iraqis now see the fruit of foreign investment. A year ago in Baghdad, Iraqis drank water and soft drinks imported from neighboring countries. Now they drink water bottled in plants scattered across Iraq. When I visited a Baghdad computer shop last spring, my hosts handed me a can of Pepsi. An Arabic banner across the can announced, "The only soft drink manufactured in Iraq." In August, a Coca-Cola executive in Istanbul told me their Baghdad operation is not far behind. Turkish investors in partnership with local Iraqis have built modern hotels in Basra.
Things are looking up in Iraq.

Townhall.com :: Columns :: Random Thoughts by Thomas Sowell
I usually read the Wall Street Journal before breakfast. I can't take the New York Times on an empty stomach.

Homeschooling is not new. John Stuart Mill was homeschooled two centuries ago and never spent a day in a school or college.

People who think that they don't owe anything to anybody should read David McCullough's outstanding new book "1776," to see what hell other people went through to create the freedom that we enjoy and abuse today.

Senator Dianne Feinstein asked Judge John Roberts whether his being Catholic would interfere with carrying out his duties on the Supreme Court but she would undoubtedly have felt insulted if anyone had asked her whether being Jewish would interfere with her carrying out her duties as a Senator.

One of the reasons for the poverty in the United States that is seldom mentioned by the left is that many poor people are coming here, both legally and illegally, from other countries.

I don't know anything about Judge Consuelo Callahan but I love the name. Possibly she could be related to the economist Pedro Schwartz.

Economist Steven Levitt's best-selling book "Freakonomics" is not really about economics. It is about applying systematic reasoning to all sorts of social problems. Systematic reasoning is needed even more than economics.

The controversies surrounding Bill Cosby should force more black leaders to decide whether their top priority is protecting the image of blacks or promoting the future of blacks, especially the younger generation.

If a word means everything, then it means nothing. Stretching words like "marriage" and "family" to include all sorts of things that they never meant before is reducing these words -- and the institutions they represent -- to nothing.
I know that's a lot to pull from there, but they're all good, and I did cut some out, so go read the whole thing.

Is Laffey the Best Medicine? - Meet the Pat Toomey of 2006
Earlier this year, before Laffey was a declared candidate for the Senate, national Republicans encouraged him not to run against Chafee. GOP chairman Ken Mehlman called. So did one of Karl Rove’s operatives. “They claimed that they weren’t interested in defending Lincoln Chafee,” says Laffey. “But they talked about party building and suggested that I run for lieutenant governor. In Rhode Island, the job of lieutenant governor is to ride a bicycle around the state and wait for the governor to die. I wasn’t persuaded. And now these ‘party builders’ are spending thousands to defeat me, a Republican.”
Remember: Republicans are Republicans first; what's best for the country comes second. That's why conservatives need to take the party for themselves. (The same is true of Democrats, of course. We should take that as well and have two conservative parties! If only...)

Monday, October 17, 2005

Changes to Layout
I've updated the blogroll on the left, moved the archives to the right. (Apparently some people missed them when they were on the right.) I also added a link to the Church's daily readings and some meditations.(This actually prompted the modifications. The readings were too wide to fit on the left.)

Laffey US Senate
I just decided to contribute some money to Steve Laffey, who's running for US Senate from Rhode Island. Why? Because his opponent is RINO Lincoln Chafee, who in no way belongs in the Republican party. To Top it off, the GOP Senatorial is apparently spending more money to attack him than they are to attack any Democratic candidate. Funny how the "moderates" cry 11th commandments when conservatives criticize them, but they seem to have no problem with this.

This will be my first political contribution of the cycle, but it won't be my last. Rick Santorum will be getting some also.

"The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained." —George Washington

"To live in the presence of great truths and eternal laws, to be led by permanent ideals—that is what keeps a man patient when the world ignores him, and calm and unspoiled when the world praises him." —Honore De Balzac

"Do poor blacks really need to hear 'millions more' excuses why black men can't be faithful to one woman and be responsible for the children they bear? Or why they can't get an education because white people hate us? Do poor blacks really need another venue for hip-hop multimillionaires to explain, in four-letter epithets, that blacks suffer because George W. Bush doesn't care about them? This while these moguls get richer by the day peddling black booty on BET, inspiring black kids to live the life that guarantees to keep them poor? Despite [Louis] Farrakhan's supposed objective to 'empower' poor folks, he should understand, as more and more blacks are beginning to understand, that he, and other long-standing traditional black leaders, really promote quite the opposite. Poor blacks do not need to be 'mobilized' to turn even more responsibility for their lives over to others. They need to go to school and take care of their families. The place where this needs to take place is within a couple-mile radius of where they live. It certainly won't take place on the National Mall in Washington... The work that blacks need to do in Washington today is to reduce government interference with black individual lives, families and communities to solve our own problems... Black problems today are in individual hearts, minds and homes. This is where they need to be solved." —Star Parker

"[W]e are told we've been following a wrong track, we should turn back and pay heed to those of the 19th century who stressed collective humanity, minimizing the individual... We are faced with a choice; either we go back to this collective 'we' as the supreme power with the 'state' it's agent...or we continue on the high road accepting man as a unique individual, a creature of the spirit... The time has come to reclaim our inalienable rights to human dignity, self respect, self reliance to once again be the kind of people who once made this nation great." —Ronald Reagan

"Perhaps you've heard the one about the 700 firefighters from various states who volunteered to do rescue work following Hurricane Katrina? They sat in a hotel room in Atlanta for days getting sexual harassment training from Federal Emergency Management Agency officials. No joke. Note to Republicans eager to shovel new money at federal agencies: This is how government works." —Mona Charen

CNN.com - Long Island principal cancels prom - Oct 16, 2005
"It is not primarily the sex/booze/drugs that surround this event, as problematic as they might be; it is rather the flaunting of affluence, assuming exaggerated expenses, a pursuit of vanity for vanity's sake -- in a word, financial decadence," Hoagland said, fed up with what he called the "bacchanalian aspects."

"Each year it gets worse -- becomes more exaggerated, more expensive, more emotionally traumatic," he said.

"We are withdrawing from the battle and allowing the parents full responsibility. [Kellenberg] is willing to sponsor a prom, but not an orgy."
Good for him. Hopefully, with time, prom can return to what it should be, rather than the current bacchanalia.

Hube's Back!
You can find an updated link for Hube on the left hand side. He's currently writing at The Colossus of Rhodey.

I'm old
I just found out this morning that my cousin Tiffany has started high school. She was born when I was a junior in high school.

USC win streak intact after wild fourth-quarter finish
You think God's Mother sent him to bed without dinner for letting her college lose like this?

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