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Friday, November 11, 2005

Revolt of the Moderates
In the Senate, the revolt involved Maine Republican Olympia Snowe's refusal to agree to even a one-year extension of President Bush's tax cuts on capital gains and dividends, both of which have helped fuel the current strong economic growth. Her reluctance to vote a tax bill out of the Senate Finance Committee forced Chairman Chuck Grassley to delay a committee vote. He was said to have groused to colleagues that Republicans had allowed themselves to turn over control of the Senate agenda to one member -- referring to Ms. Snowe.

Meanwhile, House Republican leaders were caught in a crossfire in which their decision to strip oil drilling in Alaska from their $50 billion spending reduction bill failed to convince enough House moderates to vote for the overall bill. With the decision of House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi to force every Democrat to vote against the budget, House Republicans could not convince some two-dozen of their own members to go along with budget cuts that represent less than one-tenth of one percent of future federal spending. Rep. Michael Castle, a leader of the moderates, told reporters that removal of the oil drilling provisions was just "the starting point" for the moderates' negotiations with leadership. Faced with a revolt from conservatives if they abandoned too many budget cuts, GOP leaders had to pull the budget from a scheduled floor vote.

Yesterday's failure to keep control of the Congressional agenda should serve as a real wake-up call for the GOP. A similar failure in 1994, when House Democrats lost a crime bill vote on the floor, presaged a disastrous election later that year in which the party lost control of the House. If Republicans can't get their act together, you can bet their failure will keep many of their voters home in next year's elections. Just as in last Tuesday's elections, Democrats will be the beneficiaries of the failure of Republicans to implement their governing principles.
So who exactly are Snowe and Castle helping?

Not their party as they make Republicans look weak and ineffective.

Not their nation as they work to prevent legislation that will help the economy and create jobs.

Only themselves as they kiss up to the media and other denizens of the Left.

The Republicans need to take a stand and tell these RINOs (Republicans-In-Name-Only) to get with the program or join their true party.

Quoted from OpinionJournal.com's Political Diary.

Robert George to Speak st the University of Delaware Monday November 14th
The Intercollegiate Studies Institute is sponsoring a lecture at 7pm on Monday (Nov 14) at the University of Delaware with Professor Robert George. Details of the event.

Professor George, of Princeton, is one of the most highly esteemed professors in the nation. He authored the ISI Books title, "The Clash of Orthodoxes: Law, Religion, and Morality in Crisis." He also serves on the President's Council for Bio-Ethics.

On Monday, he will be speaking at 7pm in 115 Purnell Hall on the topic, "Humane Alternatives to Destructive Embryonic Research".

Veterans Day
Happy Veteran's Day and a deep Thank You to all who served!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

A peppery peep at the postelection players
I have been thinking lately, by the way, of this: When they ran against each other for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000, George W. Bush was the conservative and McCain the moderate maverick. Now, five years later, who looks more conservative? McCain, who worries about spending, regulation and immigration, or Bush? Funny how things change.
In a study of post-election players, this is an excellent point by Ms. Noonan.

Mackubin Thomas Owens on the Marine Corps on National Review Online
The Marine Corps has the reputation of being one of the finest fighting organizations in history. In his wonderful book First to Fight, Lt. Gen. Victor H. "Brute" Krulak recounts a discussion he had early in his distinguished career with a senior Marine NCO. To Krulak's query about how the Marines had come by their reputation, the old Gunny replied, "Well, lieutenant, they started right out telling everybody how great they were. Pretty soon they got to believing it themselves. And they have been busy ever since proving they were right."

They were proving it in Fallujah at this very time last year. And they are proving it again now in Al Anbar province. As Marine general Jim Mattis says, "The Marines: no better friend, no worse enemy."
As I always do, I'll be attending the Marine Corps Birthday Ball this year. It's one of the great social events of the year here in Newport, and there will be Marines as old as 90 and as young as 18. What do they have in common? That old and young alike are members of a remarkable martial fraternity — the United States Marine Corps. That those who have gone before have set a high standard. That those who can meet that standard ought to be very proud of themselves.
A former Marine writes on their birthday.

Happy Birthday Marines!

Here's to another 230 years of defending America and keeping us free!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

"The real measure of your wealth is how much you'd be worth if you lost all your money." —Bernard Meltzer

"I [have] learned to have faith in you, the people, and I envision a leadership as president taking government off your backs and turning you loose to do what I know you can do best." —Ronald Reagan, prior to his election 25 years ago

"The continued success and viability of our democratic Republic depends on our fidelity to, and the faithful exposition and interpretation of, this Constitution." —Edwin Meese III

"The northeast Republicans are often called moderates. They are in fact Democrats, if not in name, certainly in substance." —Robert Bork

"We do Muslims no favors by excusing attitudes or practices that ought always to be deemed inexcusable." —Jeff Jacoby

"[T]he Democrats cannot even admit they made a mistake supporting the war—except in that they believed Bush's 'lies.' But how could Bush have lied? How was he to know the intelligence was wrong? Without knowing that, he could not have lied. But the Democrats will not allow for the possibility that the very same intelligence that prompted Clinton to bomb Iraq also informed Bush's decision to topple Saddam." —Jonah Goldberg

"Civil rights cannot include everything that is done by government which benefits particular groups, individually or collectively. The whole case for civil rights is that every American is entitled to them. Civil rights are not about doing special things for special groups." —Thomas Sowell

"Massachusetts politicians last week rose to new heights of holier-than-thou arrogance. House members on Thursday—just three days after the 80-page bill was introduced—voted overwhelmingly to tax businesses that do not provide health insurance for their employees, and to require all residents who can afford it to buy health insurance... No doubt, buying health insurance is a good idea. But so is buying a car with a five-star safety rating, brushing after meals and not running with scissors. And yet government lets people decide whether to do these things... If the state can order people to buy health insurance, then where does that authority stop? Why can't it order people to exercise a half-hour a day, quit smoking, and floss regularly?" —New Hampshire Union-Leader

"Supreme Court nominee Sam Alito's confirmation, it was reported Tuesday, would give the court its fifth Catholic justice alongside two Jewish justices. That's such progress. Who would have thought as recently as twenty years ago that an Anglo-Saxon Protestant would be a diversity pick?" —Argus Hamilton

"Because as I look around the state of this nation and see all of the weak little pampered candy-@$$es that are whining about this or protesting that, I'd be afraid to leave the fate of this nation entirely up to them." —First Lt. Bruce Bishop explaining why he's re-enlisting in the Utah National Guard

Jay Leno... What did Scooter Libby say when he bumped into President Bush at the White House? "Pardon me." ... Just when you thought things couldn't get uglier at the White House—yesterday, Prince Charles and Camilla showed up. ... Well, a poll in USA Today says 59 percent of Americans are not at all interested that Prince Charles is here visiting. Why should we be interested? Another foreigner without a job coming to America.

My Current Reading
Well, not so current. I finially finished it on Sunday. It's a very good read, although it didn't deal as much with Church teaching as I thought, except to (correctly) state that economic teachings of the Church cannot be taken infallibly if they fly in the face of the laws of economics. Just as we could rightfully disagree with the Pope if he said gravity no longer existed, we could disagree with him if he claimed increasing the minimum wage would increase employment. Economic law states the opposite, all else being held constant. This ended up being an economics book, but a very good one.

So, I've moved on to a new book. Eats, Shoots and Leaves. I know it came out a while agao, but I've never been accused of being with the times. So far, it's enjoyable, but there were some examples of punctuation that she criticized that I thought were right. There are two posible explanations and I don't know which one is true (although they both could be):

1) I'm not great at punctuation myself
2) the introduction does say they kept the British style of punctuation and that it does differ from the American style

So it's possible she's basing her criticism on British punctuation and therefore in America what she's mocking could be correct. Or I'm just bad at it.

John Podhoretz: EMPTY TEA LEAVES
To sum up: Incumbent party victories in two states and one city. A Republican state rejected Democratic initiatives. A Democratic state rejected Republican initiatives.
I think this is the best summary of what happened yesterday. Nothing reall changed. The status quo was the winner.

Link via The Corner.

delawareonline | The News Journal | Brady confirmed to Superior Court
Let the games begin! Who will be appointed to succeed her. As I argued over on DelaVoice, Minner would be smarter not to appoint Joe Biden's son to the position. He'll already face criticism that he appointed because of his father more than any real ability of his own, when he runs for election, this could upset enough voters to tip the scales against him in the vote. Why take the chance?

Fortunately for them, the Democrats seem to understand this, as Ron Williams stated today that Carl Schnee will be selected as the interim attorney general. Everything I've heard about him is that he's a good man, so this seems to be a good choice.
In this case, he said, the committee broke with tradition and sent Minner two lists of three names as a form of protest. He also told the Senate, again citing unnamed sources, that the Delaware Bar Association voted 17-0 to not recommend Brady as qualified, but opted not to go public with its opposition.
I really fail to see how Jane is unqualified. What does Superior Court do that she hasn't been involved with in her decade-plus as Attorney General, and before in her Deputy Attorney General experience? (That's not just rhetorical; is there something? I'm no legal expert.)

But seeing as how this is a done deal, I wish Jane the best in her new position.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

National Constitution Center: Vermont Raises Historic Question of Whether States Can Legally Secede
My opinion: yes. A nation that was born by declaring a separation from another nation clearly should allow for parts of itself to go independent. Now, the Civil War might have changed the calculus of that a little </sarcasm>, but I think the point remains valid.
Furthermore, Lincoln felt secession was based on an erroneous claim about the nation's founding. In the secession view, expounded by South Carolina Sen. John Calhoun in the 1840s and echoed by SVR's Naylor today, the Union was a voluntary compact among sovereign states, which can be broken.

"The other view is no, the Constitution is not a pact among states; it is a contract among all people in the nation - it's an irreversible commitment," says Stephen Presser, a legal historian at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.
This is a tough question to answer. We're kind of in a hybrid situation in America. Our states make up the Senate, but the people make up the House of Representatives. Meanwhile, the President is elected by the States in the Electoral College. So we're kind of both a contract among the people and a pact among the states. As mentioned above, I think states do have the right to secede, so perhaps the solution would be that a state could secede, but the people of that state have the free right to move to a state that did not secede, even if not done immediately; they would keep their US citizenship forever, and wouldn't have to go through the immigration process if they decided to "come back to America" in the future.

The most important question, though, is this: on the small chance this actually succeeded, would I really have to get a passport to visit Grandma?

How Charles Carroll Influenced U.S. Founding Fathers
Charles Carroll was the only Catholic present at the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This two part interview examines the influence he had on the Declaration and the political thought of our Founding Fathers.

Part 1
Part 2

This is an interesting topic to me because America's founding principles are so clearly in tune with Catholic thought: rights come from God and can not be abrogated by the state. What makes it especiually intriguing is that while largely Protestant America was getting it right, Catholic France was getting it wrong. The Declaration of the Rights of Man, a document much admired by Jefferson, reads as a recipe for dictatorship, with its underlying argument that the state is the source of rights and belief in the general good. (Anything can be justified as being in keeping with the general good.)

Why did Catholic France get it wrong? In my opinion, (not an expert by any means) France got it wrong because the tempest of the revolution was so anti-clerical. They couldn't recognize rights as coming from God, since in France that meant rights were entangled with the Catholic Church. Therefore, rights had to come from the state. (Atheism hadn't kicked in yet, so we didn't have the concept of human rights by genetics, etc. Rights came from the state or God.)

America, with its diversity of churches, could recognize rights as coming from God without creating a religious state, since no church would let another predominate. They could settle for a form of "mere Christianity" that could never occur in a state with the religious of France, and since the French revolutionaries couldn't have a religious state, they ended up with a despotism.

Which, actually, proves true throughout world history: government which are officially atheist end up as dictatorships. If rights don't exist without the state's permission, the state will take them away. It's important we in America remember what our Founding Fathers knew as we debate the role of religion in society and government. If we deny religious liberty, we will eventually lose all liberty.

Terrorism Aside, Peace Is Making Progress
The report found that:

-- The number of armed conflicts has declined by more than 40% since 1992. The deadliest conflicts (those with 1,000 or more battle-deaths) dropped by a dramatic 80%.

-- The number of international crises, often harbingers of war, fell by more than 70% between 1981 and 2001.

-- The number of military coups and attempted coups has declined by some 60% since 1963. In 1963, there were 25 coups or attempted coups; in 2004, there were 10, and all failed.

-- Most armed conflicts now take place in the poorest countries. But as incomes rise, the risk of war declines.

-- The period since World War II is the longest interval without wars between the major powers, in centuries.

-- The United Kingdom and France, followed by the United States and Russia/Soviet Union, have fought most international wars since 1946.

-- The average number of people reported killed per conflict per year in 1950 was 38,000; in 2002 it was just 600.

-- Most of the world's conflicts are now concentrated in Africa. By the end of the 1990s, more people were being killed in sub-Saharan Africa's wars than the rest of the world put together.

-- The biggest death tolls do not come from the actual fighting, but from war-exacerbated disease and malnutrition. These "indirect" deaths can account for as much as 90% of the total war-related death toll. For example, the overwhelming majority of the 3.3 million deaths in Congo's 1998-2002 civil war were from malnutrition and disease.

Monday, November 07, 2005

"Just as it would be madness to settle on medical treatment for the body of a person by taking an opinion poll of the neighbors, so it is irrational to prescribe for the body politic by polling the opinions of the people at large." —Plato

"Many of our people, without knowing it, are Christian heathen, and demand as much missionary effort as the heathen of foreign lands." —Booker T. Washington

"In Los Angeles today, bus stop posters read 'No shame. No blame. No names.' The posters explain that in California, as in more than 40 states, a mother can terminate all parental responsibility by returning the baby to the hospital within a few days or weeks of birth, with no repercussions (and no consultation with the father). Yet if the mother decides that she wants to keep the child, she can demand 18 years of child support from the father, and he has no choice in the matter. Feminists base their support for Roe v. Wade in large part on the idea of 'My Body, My Choice.' Yet men also help create children. Why should they have no say?" —Glenn Sacks

"Why...must government be neutral about religion? Because, we are told, the First Amendment demands it by forbidding any 'establishment of religion.' But this is nonsense. The First Amendment says nothing of the sort, and I wish atheists would read it as literally as they think most Christians read the Bible. 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof' means something very different from 'Government must be neutral about religion.' It bars the Congress of the United States from legislation that either establishes a religion or prohibits its free exercise. This left the states free to do both, and for a long time they did. Several states had official religions as late as the 1830s. You may deplore this, but don't say the Constitution bans it, because it plainly doesn't. Now we are told that the Constitution forbids everything from a moment of silence in the classroom to the phrase under God in the Pledge of Allegiance!" —Joseph Sobran

"Supreme Court Justices take an oath not to stare decisis but to the Constitution. If stare decisis becomes a more fundamental doctrine than the Constitution itself, then we've lost it for good. The senators' interest in stare decisis as the trumping principle of constitutional interpretation is transparently dishonest. If they take preserving precedent so seriously, why do they routinely call on judges to disregard antique laws and rulings? Indeed, their antiquity—that these laws preceded our new age of enlightenment—is treated by these politicians as an argument-ending proof against them. Even more basically, if precedent is so sacred, why isn't the original meaning of the Constitution a precedent worthy of respect? Stare decisis has become a euphemism for the expectation that justices will bow before those great moments in liberal jurisprudence when the court rejected stare decisis to invent a new right or declare settled laws unconstitutional according to 'evolving standards' of indecency. Under this willful construction of stare decisis, a liberal judge who disregards a precedent he dislikes is not in violation of 'the doctrine'; only conservative judges who reject precedents of liberal courts can be... Rule by stare decisis is not rule by law but rule by judges." —George Neumayr

"If the Republican majority in the Senate cannot bring themselves to act like a majority, they may no longer be a majority if their base of support stops supporting them at the ballot box. The brutal fact is that Senate Republicans have not had the stomach for a fight, either during this administration or during the Democrat administration under Clinton... Democrats understand that they were elected to do what those who elected them wanted. But Republicans seem to think they were elected to make deals with Democrats and gain media applause for doing so. Senate Democrats are a united minority, while Senate Republicans are a divided majority, with prima donnas and opportunists ready to leave their fellow Republicans in the lurch when a showdown comes—even if that means risking the whole party's loss of support among voters who feel betrayed." —Thomas Sowell

"When a multiple indictment was handed down against Clinton's Agriculture Secretary, Mike Espy (he was later acquitted on all 30 charges), most of the broadcast networks relayed the news in a sentence or two. It was the same with HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, who was indicted on multiple counts for misleading the FBI about payoffs he made to a mistress. Cisneros later plea bargained to a single misdemeanor charge of lying to the FBI. The Media Research Center noted at the time that the Cisneros indictment generated 18 seconds on ABC's 'World News Tonight,' while the CBS 'Evening News' didn't get around to it until the following day, then allocated just nine seconds to the story, choosing to focus, instead, on a two-minute report about how El Nino was impacting butterflies. Only NBC bothered with a full report the day of the indictment... By contrast, the Libby indictment story was treated as 'Breaking News' and a 'News Alert,' the same designations given to terrorist threats." —Cal Thomas

Reminder: Delaware Press Association Meeting
Please join us on Wednesday, November 9, at Klondike Kate's, 158 E. Main Street, Newark, for networking and an informative panel discussion on weblogs. Come early to grab a drink, have a bite to eat and network with your DPA friends beginning at 6:00 p.m. The program will start at 7:00 p.m. Be sure to bring a friend!

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.

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