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Saturday, May 27, 2006

CNN.com - Political dispute over FBI raid nears showdown - May 27, 2006
Top officials at the Justice Department and the FBI threatened to resign this week if President Bush ordered them to return materials seized in last week's raid of Rep. William Jefferson's office, senior administration officials said.
Good for them. There is absolutely no reason that these documents should be returned. Congressional privilege and separation of powers should not extend to allowing the coverup of corruption. They apparently have Congressman Jefferson redhanded, taking the money and finding it in his freezer. Separation of powers cannot apply to coverup of illegal activities, outside the legitimate political and policy functions fo the branches. If this sort of activity can be covered up merely by housing the incriminating documents in his office, what can't we cover up? By the same logic, nurder somebody and keep the body in Congressional offices and it can't be examined because of separation of powers. Un-freaking-believable.

Hell, I'd be partial to charging Hastert with obstruction of justice for trying to prevent these documents from being obtained in violation of a court-ordered subpeona. That would be sweet.

Hints From Heloise
I read Hint from Heloise because it provides useful tips for around the house and yard. Here's the first paragraph of a letter today:
A number of years ago, our basset hound had to have surgery on his LONG, LONG EARS. The vet told us to keep his ears secured on the top of his head to allow for the blood flow to aid in healing. We tried numerous ways to secure his long, heavy ears in place, but to no avail.
As a guy, my first thought: "Need to hold something in place? Duct tape!"

The first sentence of the next paragraph:
Finally, good old duct tape to the rescue!
Duct tape can do anything.

Friday, May 26, 2006

"Gunfire" in the Capital
Jokes based off this news.
* Nothing to worry about, just Frist and Hastert shooting themselves in the foot again.
* Does anyone know where Dick Cheney is?

This History Channel's page on the history of Memorial Day. It's more than just the unofficial start of summer and a three-day weekend. Find some time Monday to honor and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedom.

The 50 greatest conservative rock songs
In a surprise to me: the Beatles ahve two of the top seven. The Rolling Stones (who I have heard are economically libertarian, Mick Jagger apparently reads Austrian Economics) are on the list twice also.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

ABC.com: Full Episode Streaming
If you're like me and need to see last night's LOST again, it's available at the link above. I'll be watching this one again.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Mark Levin Fan » Blog Archive » President Ronald W. Reagan - A montage.
MarkLevinFan shares a great montage of some quotes from publis addresses by the Gipper. It was nice remembering the days when America had a real President.

One thing that struck me while listening to it was how clearly Reagan drew the line: America is on the side of Good, while Communism was a force of evil. He used that word frequently throughout his Presidency. And I think Bush's use of it during the mis-named War on Terror is part of what kept conservatives at bay. At least on that one issue, he got it. This is a conflict between good and evil as surely as the Cold War was. On the one side, we have our flawed democracy who at least acknowledges the common good and the need to help the less fortunate, although we do have many failings. Radical Islam, however, seems to see the less fortunate as pawns in a battle and legitimate targets of random acts of violence, denying their humanity. We are in a battle with evil and for all his (many) flaws, at least Bush gets that. And for that we owe him a debt.

"Today, we need a nation of Minutemen, citizens who are not only prepared to take arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as the basic purpose of their daily life." —John F. Kennedy

"Getting and spending are not the chief aims of human existence." —Russell Kirk

"The federal government currently requires some counties to print ballots and other election materials in foreign languages—a mandate which is, to say the least, a little curious. If someone must learn English to be a citizen, and only citizens can vote, why is there a need for bilingual ballots? Such is the level of dishonesty in today's immigration debate." —Newt Gingrich

"Thoughtful people who recoil from many repugnant aspects of contemporary politics should squarely face the fact that big government begets bad politics." —George Will

"The Democratic economic policy is higher taxes, more spending and bigger government. Republicans aren't much better. Their policy is lower taxes, more spending and bigger government. That's an echo, not a choice." —Cal Thomas

"The Senate voted to make English the national language of the United States. The vote drew protests from several immigrant groups and one governor of California." —Conan O'Brien

Jay Leno: The Pentagon announced that Iraq's border is now 90% under control, which is pretty impressive when you realize that San Diego's border is only 20% under control. ... The Senate voted 63-34 to make English the official language of the United States. They say it's a largely symbolic amendment with no real effect. You know like the congressional ethics bill. ... When asked if they approve of the resolution, 75% of the people in Los Angeles said, "Si."

Quote of the Day
"Perhaps the ugliest side of professors is the conviction that specialized knowledge about a few narrow subjects confers intellectual and moral authority on matters about which one knows almost nothing. How is it possible, we wonder, that students who do not share our fascination with the English Civil War and Marxism can somehow also be intelligent and ethical people? How is it that we are not consulted in matters of grave national importance? If the world will not come to us for wisdom, then we will stand aloof and make a world for ourselves where we can torment each other, like Milton's vision of hell, while the rest of the world goes about the business of living, unconcerned with the petty disputes that cost many of us any possibility of happiness. It is not possible to write about the sins of one's profession without suggesting that one is somehow superior to others and therefore guilty of pride, among other vices. Ultimately, however, I am writing this column for myself. I am making a confession and an apology, which might be representative of other professors' experiences, and which may, perhaps, become as helpful to others as it has been for me" -- Thomas H. Benton, the pseudonym for a professor of English writing a "confession" in The Chronicle of Higher Education

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Bush's Base Betrayal
Once he took office, conservatives were willing to grant this Bush a honeymoon. We were happy when he proposed tax cuts (small, but tax cuts nonetheless) and when he pushed for a missile defense system. Then came the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and conservatives came to see support for the president as an act of patriotism.

Conservatives tolerated the No Child Left Behind Act, an extensive intrusion into state and local education, and the budget-busting Medicare prescription drug benefit. They tolerated the greatest increase in spending since Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society. They tolerated Bush's failure to veto a single bill, and his refusal to enforce immigration laws. They even tolerated his signing of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance overhaul, even though Bush's opposition to that measure was a key reason they backed him over Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) in the 2000 primaries.

In 2004, Republican leaders pleaded with conservatives -- particularly religious conservatives -- to register people to vote and help them turn out on Election Day. Those efforts strengthened Republicans in Congress and probably saved the Bush presidency. We were told: Just wait till the second term. Then, the president, freed of concern over reelection and backed by a Republican Congress, would take off the gloves and fight for the conservative agenda. Just wait.

We're still waiting.
But conservatives don't blame the current mess just on Bush. They recognize the problem today is also at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

For years, congressional Republicans have sold themselves to conservatives as the continuation of the Reagan revolution. We were told that they would take on the Washington special interests -- that they would, in essence, tear down K Street and sow the earth with salt to make sure nothing ever grew there again.

But over time, most of them turned into the sort of unprincipled power brokers they had ousted in 1994. They lost interest in furthering conservative ideas, and they turned their attention to getting their share of the pork. Conservatives did not spend decades going door to door, staffing phone banks and compiling lists of like-minded voters so Republican congressmen could have highways named after them and so there could be an affirmative-action program for Republican lobbyists.

White House and congressional Republicans seem to have adopted a one-word strategy: bribery. Buy off seniors with a prescription drug benefit. Buy off the steel industry with tariffs. Buy off agribusiness with subsidies. The cost of illegal bribery (see the case of former congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham) pales next to that of legal bribery such as congressional earmarks.

In today's Washington, where are the serious efforts by Republicans to protect unborn children from abortion? Where is the campaign for a constitutional amendment to prevent liberal judges from allowing same-sex marriage?
But unhappy conservatives should be taken seriously. When conservatives are unhappy, bad things happen to the Republican Party.
If conservatives accept the idea that we must support Republicans no matter what they do, we give up our bargaining position and any chance at getting things done. We're like a union that agrees never to strike, no matter how badly its members are treated. Sometimes it is better to stand on principle and suffer a temporary defeat. If Ford had won in 1976, it's unlikely Reagan ever would have been president. If the elder Bush had won in 1992, it's unlikely the Republicans would have taken control of Congress in 1994.

At the very least, conservatives must stop funding the Republican National Committee and other party groups. (Let Big Business take care of that!) Instead, conservatives should dedicate their money and volunteer efforts toward conservative groups and conservative candidates. They should redirect their anger into building a third force -- not a third party, but a movement independent of any party. They should lay the groundwork for a rebirth of the conservative movement and for the 2008 campaign, when, perhaps, a new generation of conservative leaders will step forward.
Conservative disaffection for George W Bush is nothing new. It started even before he was the GOP nominee for President in 2000. His use of the phrase "compassionate conservative" was taken as a sign that he was actually trying to separate himself from those horrible, mean conservatives who don't care about the less fortunate. (That's untrue and an unfair characterization.) It's similar to his father's use of the phrase "kindler, gentler nation," which could only be taken as a slap at Ronald Reagan.

I went through many of the reasons I dislike Bush in this posting written before the 2004 election, so I'm not going to bother to repeat them here. Suffice it say, they're mostly all still true and have only gotten more egregious. And this is before his problems with cronyism really came to light following the Katrina debacle.

So what's the path forward for conservatives? Here's a few ideas:

We must cut Bush off immediately. No more lame defenses of him. We don't need to keep him popular any more to keep a Democrat out of the White House. He won't the the next Republican nominee for President; we can let him sink.

This will have a few advantages. First, it will create a separation in voters' mind between conservatives and Bush. We won't be seen as "hired shills" for the GOP and we won't be as likely to be blamed for the failure of many of his policies. It will give us greater standing in the GOP as it will show our loyalty isn't guaranteed, it must be earned.

Next, let's stop working to elect all the Republicans we can. There's a (very) few acceptable Democrats out there, Let's find them; get them into office. The conservative movement was originally built with the help of Democrats; let's do it again. Don't be afraid to work for Democrats who we can work with if the GOP candidate is unacceptable. We shouldn't work to elect someone just because they have an "R" after their name on the ballot. Make then earn our vote and our efforts. No more making nice-nice with the Mike Castles of the political world. If they're close to the edge in an election, let them slip off it if they don't agree to certain policies we should expect of people we support.

I did this years ago: stop giving to party committees. Only give directly to candidates. Dallars speak in politics; make sure they speak loud and clear: conservatives will get our money. Moderates and liberals won't.

I'm torn as to whether or not we should physically leave the Republican Party. On the one hand, it's the ultimate statement of disgust, but on the other hand, it abandons the party who at least pays us lip service to those in the party who don't even want to do that. The GOP, like it or not, is the best foothold we have right now. I think an analogy to D-Day may be appropriate. We had to keep storming Omaha Beach because failure was the only other choice. Conservatives aren't a strong enough force to take the Democratic Party over, or even to create a credible 3rd party (and that would only hand domination to the Democrats), so we have no choice to keep storming Omaha Beach in order to ultimately push our way to Berlin.

While I'm not going to go as far as DelaThought and claim to have lost my religion on Bush, I'm definitely sympathetic to his arguments. The reason I'm holding off on any definitive judgment on his Presidency is that Iraq still may be a success. If it is, and it does start a transformation in the Middle East, then Bush will go down as a great President for changing to world. (It will be at least a generation or so before we'll be able to say it succeeded, but if it fails, we'll know before then.) If the Iraq experiment fails, he'll be below-average at best, depending on the long-term effects of his economic policies, which I'm not sure are looking so good right now. There's too much history yet to be written to adequately sum up the George W. Bush presidency at this.

My comments above are based of what's good for the conservative movement, not necessarily what's good for the GOP. We are larger than the Republican Party, and we must stay that way if our vision for America is to be successful. We can't allow ourselves to absorbed as another special interest group in the GOP, the way Democrats have done with blacks. (They know they have black votes, so they don't worry about meeting their needs.) We can't allow the GOP to do the same to us conservatives.

So, go out there, defeat a few "moderate" Republicans, even if it puts a more liberal Democrat in office. Teach 'em a lesson and maybe they'll learn for the future.

Birthday Quote
Which person celebrating a birthday today said the following:
The less the better. As far as your personal goals are and what you actually want to do with your life, it should never have to do with the government. You should never depend on the government for your retirement, your financial security, for anything. If you do, you're screwed.
Hint: People tell me I look a lot like him.

Answer in link above.

No. No. No.
Bad idea; Michael McDonald recording an album of 60s Motown songs.
Worse idea: Using them in commercials.
Worst idea: Playing them during (what seems like) every commercial break during Sportscenter.

They get stuck in your head and won't go away.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Delaware 2006: The Delaware GOP's 2006 Comeback
DelaThought posts a great analysis of the various open and hotly contested seats around the state in this year's election. Check it out.

The New Yorker: PRINTABLES
IOntersting article on a statsitical analysis of basketball players that argues that Allan Iverson is incredibly overrated. Bill James' influence is clearly spreading beyond baseball.

"Patriotism is as much a virtue as justice, and is as necessary for the support of societies as natural affection is for the support of families." —Benjamin Rush

"The reason this country continues its drift toward socialism and big nanny government is because too many people vote in the expectation of getting something for nothing, not because they have a concern for what is good for the country... If children were forced to learn about the Constitution, about how government works, about how this nation came into being, about taxes and about how government forever threatens the cause of liberty perhaps we wouldn't see so many foolish ideas coming out of the mouths of silly old men." —Lyn Nofziger

"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of thing Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." —C.S. Lewis

"Morale is slipping in Iraq. Fighters are growing doubtful of success. A comprehensive strategy for winning the conflict is nonexistent. Is this an assessment of the U.S. military? No, it is an assessment about the insurgents who oppose the elected Iraqi government. While U.S. opinion polls show a growing number of Americans are pessimistic about the prosecution of the war, documents authored by an al-Qa'ida operative and seized by U.S. soldiers...offer hope to the American side that success may be closer than we think... From comments made by al-Qa'ida leader Osama bin Laden and others, we know the terrorists believe America will give up as it did in Vietnam, Lebanon and Mogadishu when a majority ceases to support an operation. This is the main strategy of the terrorists. The documents not only underscore that strategy, they reveal the terrorists' frustration in their inability to make it work beyond an occasional car bombing, attack on a police station or civilian gathering... These documents ought to encourage not only the U.S. government, but also American public opinion, that the virtues of patience and commitment are likely to achieve the stated objectives of freedom and a self-sustaining Iraqi government." —Cal Thomas

"The freedom of thought and action we Americans enjoy today seems as natural as the air we breathe. But there is a danger we may take this freedom for granted. We must never forget it was bought for us at a great price. The brave and resourceful Americans whose sacrifices gained our Independence and preserved it for more than 200 years against formidable foes have set an example of unflinching loyalty to the ideal of liberty and justice for all." —Ronald Reagan

"Another area where people tend to ignore threshold effects is immigration. A certain amount is absolutely necessary to our economic health. There are many foreigners with skills Americans don't have, and we would all be poorer if we had no immigration at all. Even illegal immigration is benign up to a point... But once a certain threshold is passed, the cost of immigrants starts to rise above their benefits. In a worst-case scenario, they no longer assimilate and become a cancer within the body politic, the way Quebec is in Canada, where the francophone population is deeply alienated from the rest of the country. It would be very bad for the United States if the Spanish-speaking population were to develop in a similar way, isolated from the rest of society, but demanding special privileges and concessions from the English-speaking majority. Thus the question of whether immigration is good or bad for the country depends crucially on its amount. Like salt, a certain amount is necessary, a little more is benign but too much can be cancerous, culturally and politically. Keep the question of thresholds in mind whenever someone declares a policy to be absolutely good or absolutely bad. Whatever their position, such extreme statements are probably wrong." —Bruce Bartlett

Menstruation Is Fast Becoming Optional - Yahoo! News
For young women with a world of choices, even that monthly curse, the menstrual period, is optional.
Using the pill or other contraceptives to block periods is becoming more popular, particularly among young women and those entering menopause, doctors say.
I'm no doctor, but this seems risky to me. If you body's designed to do something as a matter of course, it seems to me you should let it. Who knows what the consequences could be.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

BREITBART.COM - Filing: Tape Shows Lawmaker Taking Money
You think this will get anywhere near as much coverage as those photos showing that Jack Abramoff was one of 100 people in the same room as Bush did?

Neither do I.

Townhall.com :: Columns :: A liberal looks to history for hope by George Will - May 21, 2006
[Peter Beinart, editor at large of the liberal New Republic magazine]'s project of curing liberalism's amnesia begins by revisiting Jan. 4, 1947, when liberal anti-totalitarians convened at the Willard to found Americans for Democratic Action. It became their instrument for rescuing the Democratic Party from Henry Wallace and his fellow-traveling followers who, locating the cause of the Cold War in American faults, were precursors of Michael Moore and his ilk among today's "progressives."
Liberalism's civil war seemed won after Henry Wallace's Progressive Party candidacy failed to prevent President Truman's 1948 election. But the war broke out again in the Democratic Party's crack-up over Vietnam in 1968. Then, Beinart says, a "new liberalism" emerged that "questioned whether America had much to offer the world." Four years later the party nominated George McGovern, who had been a delegate to the 1948 Progressive Party convention that nominated Wallace. McGovern's trumpet sounded retreat: "Come home, America."

Since then, Beinart argues, liberals have lacked a narrative of national greatness that links America's missions at home and abroad. It has been said that whereas the right-wing isolationists in the 1930s believed that America was too good for the world, left-wing isolationists in the 1960s believed that the world was too good for America. After Vietnam, Beinart says, liberal foreign policy was "defined more by fear of American imperialism than fear of totalitarianism."
But while excoriating the Bush administration for perhaps ``creating exactly the condition the conservatives have long feared: An America without the will to fight,'' Beinart's most important contribution is to confront the doughface liberals who rejoice about the weakening of that will. Reading liberals who seem to think they ``have no enemies more threatening, or more illiberal, than George W. Bush,'' Beinart worries that Deaniac liberals are taking over the Democratic Party much as McGovernite liberals did after 1968.
Beinart is correct in attempting to rescue liberalism from the excesses of the Leftist notion that America is the problem in the world, rather than part of the solution. I think his history is a little off though; I'm not sure that the Democratic Party ever has escaped the grasp of the people who took control of it with the nomination of McGovern in 1972. Their excesses are what drove many into the arms of the Republican Party through the 70s and 80s. (It was in 1984 that Jeane Kirkpatrick gave her famous "Blame America First" speech at the GOP National Convention. Like many former Democrats, Kirkpatrick left due to a sense of the feeling of anti-Americanism present in the Democratic party leadership.

Has the Democratic Party really changed? While these views don't reflect the views of many, or even most Democrats, I think those with the most influence certainly feel this way. Look at their treatment of Joe Liberman: he votes for the Iraq War and they think he's some sort of arch-conservative. He is, of course, no such thing. It's a sign of the intellectual vapdiity of the modern liberal (or "progressive", to use Beinart's preferred phrasing) movement that they are so insistent on ideoligical unity. Those who are unsure of themselves are the most likely to demand people agree with them on everything.

Let's take a look at the closing section of Kirkpatrick's speech:
They said that saving Grenada from terror and totalitarianism was the wrong thing to do - they didn't blame Cuba or the communists for threatening American students and murdering Grenadians - they blamed the United States instead.

But then, somehow, they always blame America first.

When our Marines, sent to Lebanon on a multinational peacekeeping mission with the consent of the United States Congress, were murdered in their sleep, the "blame America first crowd" didn't blame the terrorists who murdered the Marines, they blamed the United States.

But then, they always blame America first.

When the Soviet Union walked out of arms control negotiations, and refused even to discuss the issues, the San Francisco Democrats didn't blame Soviet intransigence. They blamed the United States.

But then, they always blame America first.

When Marxist dictators shoot their way to power in Central America, the San Francisco Democrats don't blame the guerrillas and their Soviet allies, they blame United States policies of 100 years ago.

But then, they always blame America first.
A very similar speech could be given today. Replace Grenada with the World Trade Center, and you have progressives (and Pat Buchanan) blaming our support of Israel for the Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.

Replace Lebanon with Iraq and terrorists killing our soldiers, and progressives blame Bush rather than the actual murderers.

You don't have to replace Marxist dictators in Central America. Look at how the progressives love Castro and now his buddy Hugo Chavez. If you're against America, the progressives will love you, regardless of how you treat your people or how many you kill.

Beinart is right that this both bad for the country and bad for the liberal movement. Americans acknowledge our country has flaws and has made mistakes. They don't think we should deny that; but they also don't think we should blame all the world's problems on America or believe the answer to all of the problems are restraining American power or influence. In fact, they are more likely to believe that American influence can be a positive force in the world abroad.

As long as the Democrats are identified (rightly, in my opinion) with those who wish tor estraing and tie down American power, they will continue to lose elections. beinart is working to prevent that; are there enough people in his party rational enough to listen amy more? That I'm less sure of.

UPDATE: Mynym shares similar thoughts.

Yeah, as I feared, it can be slightly addictive. At least most of my purchases were towards a worthy goal: the CD of patriotic music I've been wanting for years. So, I purchased the following songs:
Stars and Stripes Forever
God Bless the USA
Semper Fidelis
My Country 'Tis of Thee
Ballad of the Green berets (Been playing that one like crazy)
The Star Spangled Banner
The Washington Post March
When Johnny Comes Marching Home
You're a Grand Old Flag
God Bless America
America the Beautiful (Elvis' version; they didn't have THE Ray Charles version)
The Marine Corps Hymn
The Battle Hymn of the Republic
America (Neil Diamond)
I've been beating this stuff to death since I downloaded them. May God continue to bless the United States of America!

Happy Catholic: Weekend Joke
A newly discovered chapter in the Book of Genesis has provided the answer to "Where do pets come from?"

Adam said, "Lord, when I was in the garden, you walked with me every day. Now I do not see you anymore. I am lonesome here and it is difficult for me to remember how much you love me."

And God said, "No problem! I will create a companion for you that will be with you forever and who will be a reflection of my love for you, so that you will love me even when you cannot see me. Regardless of how selfish or childish or unlovable you may be, this new companion will accept you as you are and will love you as I do, in spite of yourself."

And God created a new animal to be a companion for Adam. And it was a good animal.

And God was pleased. And the new animal was pleased to be with Adam and he wagged his tail.

And Adam said, "Lord, I have already named all the animals in the Kingdom and I cannot think of a name for this new animal." And God said, "No problem. Because I have created this new animal to be a reflection of my love for you, his name will be a reflection of my own name, and you will call him DOG."

And Dog lived with Adam and was a companion to him and loved him.

And Adam was comforted.

And God was pleased.

And Dog was content and wagged his tail.

After a while, it came to pass that Adam's guardian angel came to the Lord and said, "Lord, Adam has become filled with pride. He struts and preens like a peacock and he believes he is worthy of adoration. Dog has indeed taught him that he is loved, but perhaps too well."

And God said, "No problem! I will create for him a companion who will be with him forever and who will see him as he is. The companion will remind him of his limitations, so he will know that he is not always worthy of adoration."

And God created CAT to be a companion to Adam.

And Cat would not obey Adam.

And when Adam gazed into Cat's eyes, he was reminded that he was not the supreme being.

And Adam learned humility.

And God was pleased.

And Adam was greatly improved.

And Dog was happy.

And the cat didn't give a shit one way or the other.
It's funny, 'cause it's probably true.

Hat Tip: The Cafeteria is Closed

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