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Friday, February 10, 2006

Judy Johnson | National Baseball Hall of Fame
Wilmington's own "Judy" Johnson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame this day in 1975.

His Hall of Fame plaque.

Very few statistics of the Negro Leagues survive, but he's reported to have had a .344 career batting average.

delawareonline | The News Journal | Census says Del. tax burden fifth-highest in U.S.
Only Wyoming, Connecticut, Minnesota and Hawaii are higher in state tax collections per person than Delaware, which hauls in $2,862 per capita. Hawaii leads the pack with $3,050 per person.

South Dakota, Colorado, New Hampshire, Alabama and Texas are listed as the bottom five, with the Lone Star State having the lightest bite at $1,368 per person, according to the Census Bureau.

That's hogwash, Delaware officials say, mainly because it implies that the First State reaches more deeply into the pockets of its residents than most states.

For years, state officials have gone to great lengths to severely nick anyone passing through the state -- or touching down to charter a corporation -- and limit taxing residents.

They even have a technical name for it -- "exporting taxes" -- meaning they try to "export" the state burden to residents of other states who come to Delaware to gamble, drive on I-95 or incorporate.

"Their numbers are nonsensical," said state Treasurer Jack Markell. "We're always looking for ways to export even more taxes to lighten the tax burden for our citizens even more."
But the point is how much we're spending per capita. It was only in 1992 (I think) that we first started spending $1 billion a year. Now we're at $3 billion per year. Are we really getting triple (or with inflation, more than two times) the service? Not with DELDOT apparently way in debt and all the other needs that aren't being met.

Also, our tax revenue is huge on a per capita basis is what the Census Bureau's reportis telling us. What are we spending it on and what are we getting for it? Given that amount of revenue, shouldn't the burden on our citizens be even lower than it is?

Delaware's government needs to reassess all that they spend their money on and focus on what's truly important. Once they do that, they may be able to reduce the tax burden on their citizens ever further and make Delaware an even more attractive state to live in.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

CBS News | Reid Aided Abramoff Clients, Records Show
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid wrote at least four letters helpful to Indian tribes represented by Jack Abramoff, and the senator's staff regularly had contact with the disgraced lobbyist's team about legislation affecting other clients.

The activities _ detailed in billing records and correspondence obtained by The Associated Press _ are far more extensive than previously disclosed. They occurred over three years as Reid collected nearly $68,000 in donations from Abramoff's firm, lobbying partners and clients.
It's not a Republican scandal. I would hope Democrats stop spreading that untruth. It's a scandal of a government large and powerful enough for bribing to a good investment.

CNN.com - Who has the No. 1 album? Barry Manilow - Feb 9, 2006
The Apocalypse is nigh.

Voting Early--and Often
Democratic legislators then passed three election-related bills and again mustered the necessary three-fifths votes to overturn his vetoes. Together the election laws would so weaken safeguards against voter fraud as to make Maryland the nation's prime example of Election Day irresponsibility.
The most troublesome bill undermines the concept of local polling places by allowing all voters to vote anywhere in Maryland using a provisional ballot. Gilles Burger, chairman of the state's Board of Elections, flatly says the bill invites fraud. His testimony prompted the Beall commission to warn that it would mean "a provisional ballot could be cast successfully in multiple counties and not be detected until after the votes were certified."

Another bill would allow any voter to cast an absentee ballot for any reason. The state's League of Women Voters noted that the bill undermines Election Day as the foundational day when votes are by law supposed to be cast. The league points out that absentee voting increases risks to "privacy, accuracy, security" and creates opportunities for "intimidation." Evidence also shows that absentee ballots are the most susceptible to fraud--and do not increase voter turnout.

A third bill imposes an unfunded mandate requiring all of Maryland's counties to let voters cast ballots during the five days before Election Day. Linda Lamore, the state's election administrator, warned legislators of her concerns about ballot security as well as her doubts the counties could comply by November.
A fair election is too important to the stability of our nation to allow uncertainty about fraud. Election rules should be written to minimize the potential for fraud. These laws do the exact opposite. It's hard to avoid the conclusion that it's intentional.

Blogroll Updates
I just added Rae Stabosz's blog Confessions of a Cooperator. Rae works at the University of Delaware and is a devout Catholic. (And a "Buffy" fan, I just learned!)

I also added Enjoying Freedom Every Day by Francisco Gonzalez. He doesn't update as much as I'd like, but he's a good guy anyway. He works for the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, one of my favorite organizations.

I also removed a Delaware blog from the list. Formerly an enjoyable blog, despite its very left leanings, he's taken a turn for the deranged lately and I've ceased enjoying it so much. The final straw was a post accusing Bush of abolishing a program to aid seniors because cutting the program was cheaper than shooting them. I don't need to send traffic his way and don't wish to even indirectly publicize that sort of talk. (I haven't been back, but apparently my calls for showing respect for the other side were responded to quite derisively. Or so I'm told.) So he's gone.

Court: Discrimination against Christianity is OK
A federal appeals court panel has upheld a city policy on holiday displays for its schools that allows Santa Claus, reindeer, Christmas trees and symbols of Jewish and Islamic holidays but prohibits Nativity scenes.
"No reasonable objective observer would perceive from the totality of the circumstances in this case that the purpose of the challenged display policy was, in fact, to communicate to city schoolchildren any official endorsement of Judaism and Islam or any dismissal of Christianity," the court wrote.
No reasonable person would perceive that excluding Christian symbols while including Jewish, Islamic and secular was a discrimination against Christianity? No reasonable person could conclude anything else!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

delawareonline - The News Journal - Slaying suspect says she cared for ex-boyfriend
In March 2004, Malinovskaya called Bondar to tell him he had given her a sexually transmitted disease and that she was pregnant. "He didn't even ask me," she said. "He told me, 'You are going to get an abortion.' "
This highlights one of the relatively unspoken truths about abortion: it's not so much a liberation for women, but a chance for men to escape responsibility for their actions. Studies have shown (one example is here) that a significant number of women who had abortions would not have had them had the men in their lives been supportive of their desire to keep their child.

What's portrayed as a boon for women really just leads to them being hurt. You couldn't come up with a more anti-woman proposal if you tried. Feminists should be outraged; instead, they support this tool of male dominance.

Why there can be no peace with militant Islam
An Iranian court has sentenced a teenage rape victim to death by hanging after she weepingly confessed that she had unintentionally killed a man who had tried to rape both her and her niece.
How sick are these people?

Link via The Corner.

"The circumstances that endanger the safety of nations are infinite, and for this reason no constitutional shackles can wisely be imposed on the power to which the care of it is committed." —Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 23

"A man's liberties are none the less aggressed upon because those who coerce him do so in the belief that he will be benefited." —Herbert Spencer

"Government cannot achieve the efficiencies of a business. Trying to get government to be as efficient as business is as hopeless as trying to teach cats to bark and dogs to meow." —Walter Williams

"Washington is the only place where people break the law and then call for changing the law." —Senator Norm Coleman

"[M]embers of the United States Senate take their title, 'Senator,' very seriously. If they thought they could get away with it, they would wear togas." —Rich Galen

Jay Leno: Judge Samuel Alito was confirmed to the Supreme Court. President Bush said that Sam has the intellect necessary to bring a lot of class to the Court. Like the rest of the judges are sitting around in their underpants eating Cheetos. ... In Washington news the Pentagon announced plans to build a new long range weapons as a deterrent to China. Unfortunately, we don't have any factories left in this country so the weapons will be built in China. ... This week in 1933, Adolph Hitler was named Chancellor of Germany, thus creating the History Channel.

The growing role of bloggers-Editorials/Op-Ed�-�The Washington Times, America's Newspaper
In the Miers case, it could be argued that bloggers on the right saved the president from making a critical mistake, and nudged him onto the path that ultimately led to a enormously significant part of his presidential legacy. But bloggers on the left are pushing their party into a difficult wilderness. The angry "net-roots" denounce any Democrat for deviating from their agenda, without a moment's thought of trying to run for re-election with a liberal record in West Virginia, North Dakota or Nebraska.

Republicans can find strength and success by listening to their like-minded bloggers; Democrats can find strength and success by ignoring theirs.
Interesting analysis of the role bloggers play for each political party with a special focus on the Harriet Miers and Samuel Alito nominations.

Two Delaware Mentions on the Corner a few hours apart
This time "A Rose and a Prayer", the successful campaign to block SB 80, which would have promoted embryonic stem cell research in Delaware. Whoo-hoo! Delaware rocks!

Congratulations to Delaware's own MarkLevinFan!
For his mention on The Corner today.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Quote of the Day
"It's sad to consider that huge numbers of Americans believe their freedoms hinge on any one individual, Supreme Court justice or not. Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided, but not because the Supreme Court presumed to legalize abortion rather than ban it. Roe was wrongly decided because abortion simply is not a constitutional issue. There is not a word in the text of that document, nor in any of its amendments, that conceivably addresses abortion.... Under the 9th and 10 amendments, all authority over matters not specifically addressed in the Constitution remains with state legislatures... So while Roe v. Wade is invalid, a federal law banning abortion across all 50 states would be equally invalid" -- Rep. Ron Paul of Texas in his weekly newspaper column

Pornography's Corrosive Growth
The hospital's child-at-risk assessment unit documented a dramatic increase in the number of children engaged in "sexually abusive behavior." In the mid-1990s the unit saw two or three cases a year. By 2000, that had risen to 28, and by late 2003 the unit had more than 70 cases. The hospital's unit manager Annabel Wyndham commented, "We think this is a new thing of the modern world, because of access to the Net and -- to be truthful -- combined with some pretty terrible parenting."

Stock also noted that in March 2004 police uncovered cases of sexual assault perpetrated by children on other children in the Hamilton, Ontario, area. All of the victims were under the age of 12 and the oldest perpetrator was 13. In all the cases, the aggressors stated they were imitating behavior they had seen portrayed on pornographic cable television channels and on the Internet.

The report also cited a number of diverse studies and commentaries by experts in which it is shown that exposure to pornography, especially of an extreme or violent nature, tends to reinforce aggressive behavior and leads spectators to imitate what they have watched.

The research demonstrates that "there is a modest to strong correlation between exposure to pornography and deviant activity by individuals," Stock noted.
Studies published in research journals indicates pornography consumption is associated with these six trends, among others:

-- Increased marital distress, and risk of separation and divorce;
-- Decreased marital intimacy and sexual satisfaction;
-- Infidelity;
-- Increased appetite for more graphic types of pornography and sexual activity associated with abusive, illegal or unsafe practices;
-- Devaluation of monogamy, marriage and child rearing;
-- An increasing number of people struggling with compulsive and addictive sexual behavior.

Although Internet pornography is commonly consumed by one household member in a solitary fashion, Manning argued, the impact of sexually explicit material is felt by the entire family, and the community in general.

Survey data collected at the November 2002 meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in Chicago looked at the impact of Internet usage on marriages. At this meeting, 62% of the 350 attendees said the Internet had been a significant factor in divorces they had handled during the previous year.

They also observed that 68% of the divorce cases involved one party meeting a new love interest over the Internet. And 56% of the divorce cases involved one party having an obsessive interest in pornographic Web sites.
I'm coming closer and closer to deciding we really need to ban pornography. Not just limit kid's access to it, but ban it completely. As the statistics above suggest, there's no safe age at which to view it.

United Press International - NewsTrack - Scientist predicts 'mini Ice Age'
As if it weren't already expensive enough to heat our homes in winter....

And yet another reason overreacting to "global warming" might be counter-productive.

Link via Drudge Report.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Post Super Bowl Analysis
OK game. The "right" team won. But the quality of play by both teams left something to be desired. They just seemed sloppy. The commercials were pretty good, though.

Now that all this football nonsense is over with we can focus on truly important things: Spring Training camps open next week! Baseball's almost back!

Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library
Ronald Reagan would have been 95 years old today. His presidency ended 18 years this past month, and we still haven't had a better President than him. Looking backwards, it was a long time before that we had anyone of the same caliber. He may be a truly once-in-a-lifetime great.

Happy Birthday, Mr. President! Thanks in large part to you, it's still "Morning in America!"

This One's For Hube!
Canada will inaugurate its first Conservative prime minister in 13 years today as Stephen Harper takes the oath of office.

An economist and policy wonk from Alberta, Mr. Harper was a bit of a tough sell in the charisma department. Hostile reporters traveling with him even christened him "Data" after the android in the Star Trek series that seeks to learn human emotions.

Faced with an image problem, some in the Harper camp decided to turn his cool, rational personality into a plus by courting what it called "the nerd vote" through Internet blogs. Rondi Adamson, a contributor to the conservative Western Standard magazine, let it be known that Mr. Harper was indeed a devoted Star Trek fan -- "like, huge, and it has to be the classic series, from the 1960s -- none of that Next Generation, Deep Space Nine crap,'' Ms. Adamson wrote. A source close to the Tory leader was quoted on the Standard's blog as saying Mr. Harper is such a Trekkie that "he has seen every episode several times and even quotes from them."

The revelation set off a contentious debate in the blogosphere, with liberals arguing Mr. Harper should be more attracted to the Star Wars movies rather than the benevolent one-galaxy government of Star Trek's Federation. "Star Wars at its essence is about the triumph of the rugged individual over tremendous repression imposed by an evil big government," wrote one blogger. "It has Jedi Harper written all over it."

But blogger Jeffrey Simpson had the last word when he seconded Ms. Adamson by noting "the original Star Trek was much less focused on the Federation and Star Fleet as a whole. Kirk and the like didn't become good public servants until the movies and even then they were court-martialed" for being too independent.

Now that Mr. Harper is safely installed as prime minister, I doubt there will be much more to the debate over his TV viewing preferences. Still, I'm told no one should be completely surprised if in private meetings Mr. Harper sometimes refers to his Liberal opponents as the Romulans and his socialist New Democratic opposition as the Klingons, both stock villains of the original Star Trek series.

Quote-a-palooza - Reagan's Birthday Edition
"Our enemies may be irrational, even outright insane, driven by nationalism, religion, ethnicity or ideology. They do not fear the United States for its diplomatic skills or the number of automobiles and software programs it produces. They respect only the firepower of our tanks, planes and helicopter gunships." —Ronald Reagan

"The churches of America do not exist by the grace of the state; the churches of America are not mere citizens of the state. The churches of America exist apart; they have their own vantage point, their own authority. Religion is its own realm; it makes its own claims. We establish no religion in this country, nor will we ever. We command no worship. We mandate no belief. But we poison our society when we remove its theological underpinnings. We court corruption when we leave it bereft of belief." —Ronald Reagan

"Families must continue to be the foundation of our nation. Families—not government programs—are the best way to make sure our children are properly nurtured, our elderly are cared for, our cultural and spiritual heritages are perpetuated, our laws are observed and our values are preserved. Thus it is imperative that our government's programs, actions, officials and social welfare institutions never be allowed to jeopardize the family. We fear the government may be powerful enough to destroy our families; we know that it is not powerful enough to replace them. The New Republican Party must be committed to working always in the interest of the American family." —Ronald Reagan

"[W]e've got to teach history based not on what's in fashion but what's important—why the Pilgrims came here, who Jimmy Doolittle was, and what those 30 seconds over Tokyo meant. You know...on the 40th anniversary of D-day, I read a letter from a young woman writing to her late father, who'd fought on Omaha Beach. Her name was Lisa Zanatta Henn, and she said, 'we will always remember, we will never forget what the boys of Normandy did.' Well, let's help her keep her word. If we forget what we did, we won't know who we are. I'm warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit. Let's start with some basics: more attention to American history and a greater emphasis on civic ritual. And let me offer lesson number one about America: All great change in America begins at the dinner table. So, tomorrow night in the kitchen I hope the talking begins. And children, if your parents haven't been teaching you what it means to be an American, let 'em know and nail 'em on it. That would be a very American thing to do." —Ronald Reagan

"We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we may always be free." —Ronald Reagan, 6 June 1984, Omaha Beach, Normandy, France

"And I hope that someday your children and grandchildren will tell of the time that a certain president came to town at the end of a long journey and asked their parents and grandparents to join him in setting America on the course to the new millennium—and that a century of peace, prosperity, opportunity, and hope followed. So, if I could ask you just one last time: Tomorrow, when mountains greet the dawn, would you go out there and win one for the Gipper?" —Ronald Reagan

"The character that takes command in moments of crucial choices has already been determined by a thousand other choices made earlier in seemingly unimportant moments. It has been determined by all the 'little' choices of years past—by all those times when the voice of conscience was at war with the voice of temptation, [which was] whispering the lie that 'it really doesn't matter.' It has been determined by all the day-to-day decisions made when life seemed easy and crises seemed far away—the decision that, piece by piece, bit by bit, developed habits of discipline or of laziness; habits of self-sacrifice or self-indulgence; habits of duty and honor and integrity—or dishonor and shame." —Ronald Reagan

"America was born in the midst of a great revolution sparked by oppressive taxation. There was something about the American character—open, hard-working, and honest—that rebelled at the very thought of taxes that were not only heavy but unfair. Today the proud American character remains unchanged. But slowly and subtly, surrendering first to this political pressure and then to that, our system of taxation has turned into something completely foreign to our nature—something complicated, unfair, and, in a fundamental sense, un-American. Well, my friends, the time has come for a second American revolution." —Ronald Reagan

"Ronald Reagan was the antidote to the nihilism of the Sixties... The ancient creed—the massive fact of the American idea—seemed to be teetering. Ronald Reagan was the political antidote to this shrunken view of America. He reminded us that we stood for something great, that we were made of sterner stuff than the nay-sayers implied. He not only made the right arguments and proposed sound policies, but his very person, his character, was such as to make it entirely believable. This was an entirely American man. It is almost impossible to disagree with a man who is full of hope, who looks you in the eye and tells you that you are capable of both self-government and greatness, while joking and laughing all the while. The insensate Liberals mocked him for his cowboy boots and hat, for his clear and straightforward talk, for his eternal hopefulness. By doing this they revealed for the first time in American politics that they were no longer the party of the people: They had come to mistrust the ordinary and decent. Reagan could be for the people because he truly was of the people. Reagan trusted the people and their capacity for self-government. Everyone but the elites sensed this. The Liberal elites underestimated him just the way they underestimated the American people." —Peter Schramm

"Republicans may like to brag that they are the party of Ronald Reagan and are dedicated to the policies and principles for which my dad stood, but they are acting more like members of the party of Lyndon Johnson. Panicked by the potential of the growing Abramoff scandal which threatens to ensnare a multitude of members of Congress, Republicans are running around scattering contributions from the lobbyist and his clients in all directions in an effort to show how much they abhor even the appearance of having taken from them what now may be tainted funds. They simply cannot understand that the problem is not with Abramoff and other lobbyists having bought access with their clients' money, but with themselves because of their shameful lack of integrity. They talk about reforming the system when if they really want true reform they will start by reforming themselves. If they want to be like Ronald Reagan they need to start acting like Ronald Reagan." —Michael Reagan

"Despite the alleged moral darkness, and easy epithets like Bill Clinton's calling the 1980's the 'decade of greed,' the people knew better. They knew that the kindly gentleman in the White House was both competent and trustworthy. They didn't want the 1988 election to happen because it raised the possibility that the next president would take things back to the way they were before: he might be incompetent like Carter, or untrustworthy, like Nixon. And so they mourned the political passing of the Reagan presidency, wishing it didn't have to happen... Draw a straight line from 1979 to the present, and try to imagine what America would look like now without Reagan in between. You know what I think? I think it would look like France: a debilitated economy, a first-monkey foreign policy that can see no evil, the squandering of a heritage of greatness and leadership. We were headed that way. But Ronald Reagan changed the direction of the arrow. He never told us the road would be easy, but he did tell us our best days were ahead of us... The challenge for us today is to arise tomorrow from today's mourning, and be the heroes he told us we are." —Jay Bryant

"The past few days when I've been at that window upstairs, I've thought a bit of the 'shining city upon a hill.' The phrase comes from John Winthrop, who wrote it to describe the America he imagined. What he imagined was important because he was an early Pilgrim, an early freedom man. He journeyed here on what today we'd call a little wooden boat; and like the other Pilgrims, he was looking for a home that would be free. I've spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don't know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it, and see it still. And how stands the city on this winter night? More prosperous, more secure and happier than it was eight years ago. But more than that: After two hundred years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm. And she's still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness toward home. We've done our part. And as I walk off into the city streets, a final word to the men and women of the Reagan revolution, the men and women across America who for eight years did the work that brought America back. My friends: We did it. We weren't just marking time. We made a difference. We made the city stronger, we made the city freer, and we left her in good hands. All in all, not bad, not bad at all." —Ronald Reagan, Farewell Address, 1989

Latin's just cool!
Today's the feast of St Blase, and the traditional day to bless throats with a pair of candles through his intercession. In the afternoon, we went to bless the throats of the school kids, room by room. I decided to do an experiment. In each class I visited, I explained a bit about the blessing and the feast, then asked them, 'I'll let you choose. Do you want your blessings in English or in Latin?' In every room, they roared back, 'In LATIN!!!!' One of the teachers, a nice older lady, was one of the only three people who preferred English. Just thought it was interesting.
It's not a traditionalist leaning on my part. I just think Latin's cool. I think the fact it's a different language makes it seem much more reverent and holy. To my mind, it's why The Passion of the Christ is so powerful. Using Aramaic or Latin (depending on the speaker) takes us out of our normal world and really draws us in the what's going on. It think the same is true when praying or attending Mass.

I'm not saying that Mass should be solely in Latin, a healthy dose of the vernacular is a good thing. (I've been to one Latin Mass. Wow, was I lost. I'll stick with English.) But some of the responses, like the "Lamb of God" or the Kyrie (I know it's Greek) could be done in Latin. And you can't tell me Down in Adoration Falling" is anyway near as cool as "Tantum Ergo." You just can't. (See both here.)

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