Monday, April 30, 2007

The Left's New Argument for Abortion: It's Patronizing Not to Allow It Without Restrictions

I've seen this argument quite a bit from the left following the Gonzales v. Carhart decision.

Over at a bird and a bottle, the author is using this "it's patronizing" complaint against William Salatan, who has written that laws requiring ultrasounds before abortions may be patronizing but also may be helpful.

Today Saletan takes on the ultrasound, and, more specifically, the rash of laws forcing abortion providers to offer women an ultrasound of their fetus prior to an abortion. These laws, which have no doubt been enabled by the recent Gonzales v. Carhart decision, are an extension of the “women are stupid” rhetoric that was on full display in Kennedy’s opinion in that case. Women are stupid and don’t think through decisions so we should take away a medical option. Women are stupid and don’t think through their decisions - even about abortion - and so we should shove an image of their fetus in their faces. That’s pretty much what these laws are saying.

That's not at all what these laws are saying, of course. What they are saying is that they take seriously the third prong of the Planned Parenthood v. Casey test: that the State has legitimate interests from the outset of the pregnancy in protecting the health of the woman and the life of the fetus that may become a child.

As Simon Dodd at Stubborn Facts points out, this prong of the Casey test has been sorely overlooked, but Kennedy made clear in his decision that the Gonzales case correctly applies Casey in a way that the earlier Stenberg case (in which Kennedy dissented) did not.

Frankly, I find this "you can't regulate or impede abortion because it is saying women are stupid" argument to be tiresome and disingenuous. The people who propose it don't mind throwing up every possible type of regulation in the way businesses are run or the way education is presented. There's no protests against compulsory education, for example. When was the last time these same people argued that health department regulations of restaurants is saying that "diners are stupid"?

I understand why pro-abortion types use this argument. They like the idea of individual autonomy where abortion is concerned, even when they protest parental autonomy where school matters are concerned. Unfortunately for them, requiring women to go through certain restrictions before killing their offspring is perfectly within the rights of the states. They might hate it, but caring for the children doesn't mean "women are stupid" (although women screaming "my body! my body!" might be saying something else about women).

Prior Restraint

A couple of weeks ago in this post, I discussed the idea proposed by certain lefties that there should be a government Ministry of Truth. That is, they wanted the government to regulate MSM by requiring them to report "the whole story" or "the complete truth."

Of course, when asked to define "the whole truth" or what "complete" and "accurate" mean, they couldn't do it and typically went off into incoherent rants. Once it was clear they were unable to define these words, I would then come back with the simple, constitutional argument: such regulations of the content of speech are unconstitutional. In other words, the First Amendment isn't actually designed to require speakers to tell "the truth;" it is designed to allow the free flow of ideas so that listeners can make up their own minds about what "the truth" is.

This isn't to say that the First Amendment is a free pass for lying. There are laws against libel and slander, after all. And even celebrities can win libel suits, provided the offense is egregious enough.

But while the courts frown on prior restraint (the idea that the government can prevent a person from publishing certain ideas), there are times when it is necessary. has this story about a California case where prior restraint was the proper course of action.

Last week, the Supreme Court of California decided a case that presented the question whether the same principles that preclude courts from enjoining libelous speech in the first instance should continue to preclude courts from enjoining the repetition of those remarks even after they have been adjudged libelous following a full trial on the merits.

The beautiful locale of Newport Beach, Calif., provided the setting for the dispute giving rise to the case. Anne Lemen, who lives across an alley from the Balboa Island Village Inn, has complained repeatedly to authorities about excess noise coming from the inn and the conduct of seemingly inebriated customers leaving the inn.

After Lemen began telling people that the inn serves tainted food, sells alcohol to minors, distributes illegal drugs, has Mafia connections, is involved in making child pornography, participates in acts of prostitution, serves as a whorehouse, produces sex videos, encourages lesbian activities and stays open until 6 a.m., the inn sued Lemen for defamation.

Following trial, a California state trial court found that Lemen had made those statements and that they were defamatory. At the inn's request, the trial court entered a permanent injunction that prohibited Lemen from continuing to make the specific defamatory statements that she was found to have previously made.

The defendant argued that monetary compensation for the defamatory statements was enough, but the court ruled that defendant was barred from repeating those statements again. It makes sense; if not for the injunction, defendant could continue making the defamatory statements and money would not have fully compensated the plaintiff.

This is a much different situation from the liberals who want a truth squad. Mainly, they are irritated that their particular axes don't get ground enough in the MSM (9/11 was an inside job, for instance, or the 2000 election was stolen, or George Bush lied about intelligence to go to war in Iraq). And while there is some percentage of people whacked out enough to believe each of these theories, it would be a real offense to the First Amendment were the government to compel MSM to publish them. If liberals want these theories espoused, they can form their own media companies and publish them.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Bugs of Feminism 3.0

Ace of Spades has an absolutely dead-on analysis of what he calls "Feminism 3.0," which is the Amanda Marcotte version. That version is dedicated to the idea of non-procreational sex as a right and also as a way of sticking it to The Patriarchy.

Of course, the idea of women determined not to hold men responsible for pregnancy, and not expecting men to want marriage and children to get sex, is virtually every frat boy's dream, isn't it? I mean, wasn't that one of the arguments feminists used to use, that men saw women simply as "objects" and that women wanted men to "take responsibility"?

I guess I missed the point where feminism became a parody of itself. Just read virtually any Amanda Marcotte post (start with this one, which, I suppose, Amanda thinks is a terrific comeback! to Ace's post) and you will see the argument: (1) Men think women are dirty, (2) Sex is fun, (3) Have sex with men but then abort any babies, thus sticking it to Teh Man.

Of course, this illogic doesn't take into account how many women actually become invested very early in pregnancy, or how many women actually think sex means something and isn't just a biological function we fulfill like monkeys. In fact, Amanda's favorite comeback, if you happen to cross her, is something along the lines of, "I'll be sure to think of that while I'm screwing my boyfriend."

Well, no offense, but, as I wrote in the comments of a Marcotte post, I don't think about her when I'm having sex. And the assumption that non-procreational sex is some great putdown to men just reminds me of Lucy and Ethel trying to put one over on the boys.

One for the 9/11 Truthers

Darleen has a terrific post that someone should send to Rosie O'Donnell. This story must have come from some 9/11 insider. I'm sure the YouTube video contradicting this with some former FBI official stating that it was made up.

OAKLAND, Calif. - A stretch of highway near the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge collapsed Sunday after a gasoline tanker crashed and burst into flames, a loss that officials said could leave freeways leading to one of the nation's busiest spans in near paralysis at rush hour. Officials said traffic will be disrupted for weeks, if not months.

Flames shot 200 feet in the air and the heat was intense enough to melt part of the freeway and cause the collapse, but the truck's driver walked away from the scene with second-degree burns. No other injuries were reported in the 3:45 a.m. crash, which officials said could have been deadly had it occurred at a busier time. [...]

The tanker carrying 8,600 gallons of gasoline ignited after crashing into a pylon on the interchange, which connects westbound lanes of Interstate 80 to southbound I-880, on the edge of downtown Oakland about half a mile from the Bay Bridge's toll plaza. [...]

Witnesses reported flames rising up to 200 feet into the air. Heat exceeded 2,750 degrees and caused the steel beams holding up the interchange from eastbound I-80 to eastbound Interstate 580 above to buckle and bolts holding the structure together to melt, leading to the collapse, California Department of Transportation director Will Kempton said.

The charred section of collapsed freeway was draped at a sharp angle onto the highway beneath, exposing a web of twisted metal beneath the concrete. Officials said that altogether a 250-yard portion of the upper roadway was damaged.

Fire damaged steel?! Say it ain't so!

Why Women Earn Less

April 24 was Equal Pay Day, a day feminists go nuts telling us how women are discriminated against in the workforce.

Women still make about 77 cents for every dollar that men do, and this is the number feminists like to use when they discuss pay equity. Echidne has a three-part series trying to argue that women virtually always earn less than men because of discrimination.

Unfortunately for her (and other moonbats), that's just not true.

In his column, Steve Chapman points out that very little of the wage gap can be attributed to discrimination.

But read more, and you learn things that don't get much notice on Equal Pay Day. As the report acknowledges, women with college degrees tend to go into fields like education, psychology and the humanities, which typically pay less than the sectors preferred by men, such as engineering, math and business. They are also more likely than men to work for nonprofit groups and local governments, which do not offer salaries that Alex Rodriguez would envy.

As they get older, many women elect to work less so they can spend time with their children. A decade after graduation, 39 percent of women are out of the work force or working part time -- compared with only 3 percent of men. When these mothers return to full-time jobs, they naturally earn less than they would have if they had never left.

Even before they have kids, men and women often do different things that may affect earnings. A year out of college, notes AAUW, women in full-time jobs work an average of 42 hours a week, compared to 45 for men. Men are also far more likely to work more than 50 hours a week.

Buried in the report is a startling admission: "After accounting for all factors known to affect wages, about one-quarter of the gap remains unexplained and may be attributed to discrimination" (my emphasis). Another way to put it is that three-quarters of the gap clearly has innocent causes -- and that we actually don't know whether discrimination accounts for the rest.

I asked Harvard economist Claudia Goldin if there is sufficient evidence to conclude that women experience systematic pay discrimination. "No," she replied. There are certainly instances of discrimination, she says, but most of the gap is the result of different choices. Other hard-to-measure factors, Goldin thinks, largely account for the remaining gap -- "probably not all, but most of it."

Does discrimination still exist? Yes, it does. Some of that discrimination doesn't work the way feminists tell us it does, though. For example, some women internalize their victim status to a point where they find discrimination where none may exist. In other words, you may think the boss frowned at your curly hair worn down but he might have been frowning because you were late again or for some completely unrelated reason.

I've worked in a variety of offices where women were rare. There were a lot of unwelcomed remarks made about my femaleness (and some very questionable behavior, as well), but I would not have called most of it discrimination, and I was never made to feel as though my femaleness was costing me advancement in the company. What I did find quite a bit, is that particular choices of my own changed my opportunities within the company; when I worked a lot of hours and spent a lot of time trying to improve things for my boss (and, by extension, the company), I was rewarded with promotions and raises. When I just clocked in my hours and left as soon as possible, I didn't get those things.

I'm certain I could have been a high-flying lawyer had I chosen to spend the time and effort on that career. The same could be said of journalism. If I'd been willing to sacrifice family and home, I probably could have had a much more illustrious career in the field. But, like most women, I chose not to do those things because my family, my children, my parents were more important. Consequently, I've taken jobs that have allowed me to do those things. Or I took no job at all.

Feminists don't like to address the fact that women do make different choices where their careers are concerned. Women do pursue work for non-profits and charities more often than men. I don't know if it makes us better people that we are motivated more by the quality of our efforts than the money we make, but I know that I am happier doing things that help people rather than just things that make a lot of money.

It's difficult to account for the pay gap entirely. Yes, there is still some discrimination against women because of their sex. But the vast majority of the difference in pay between men and women is because of the choices we make as individuals.

Only News that Fits the Template Need Apply

Jules Crittenden has a wonderful post today on good news and bad news. It is so chock-full of wonderful links that you must go to his site to read the whole thing. It's terrific!

What Constitutes a Scandal?

Power Line has an excellent post on the non-scandal "scandals" of the Bush administration.

The catalyst for the post is Eleanor Clift's "column" (she's such a hack these days it's impossible to put her writing in the same category with regular columnists), in which she says:

With an unpopular war, scandals consuming the White House and a two-party system paralyzed by partisanship, voters are looking for an outsider, somebody who’s not tainted by politics as usual.

But as John points out, there are scandals and "scandals," and virtually everything liberals think are scandals are actually "scandals."

The only thing in the Bush administration that has come close to being a real scandal was the Scooter Libby trial, and even that is questionable, given that no law was broken. Everything else falls into the "scandal" category, which really means mud-slinging by Democrats that they hope will stick.
--Firing eight--eight!--presidential appointments! How mind-boggling!

--The lionizing of Jessica Lynch: It turns out that this isn't so much a White House scandal as a media scandal. Transforming Lynch into Rambo was more the fault of the Congressional delegation of West Virginia (completely Democrat but for one) than some sort of sham from the president.

--Pat Tillman: The initial report from the ground stated Tillman was killed by an enemy combatant, but, as has been stated in many places, initial reports are notoriously unreliable. The mistake was corrected and the family informed of the truth in a month. That's not a coverup. That's about as fast as any mistake gets corrected.

John goes on to explain that these "scandals" are designed to do nothing but sully the Bush reputation.
These "scandals" obviously have no legs, but that isn't the point. Waxman has already moved on to a new one, issuing subpoenas to Condoleezza Rice and George Tenet to testify about Saddam's efforts to obtain uranium. And so it goes. Waxman hasn't even gotten to 2005 yet; he can keep this going through the rest of the Bush administration, and his committee is only one of many.

The purpose of these faux "investigations" of faux "scandals" is to further sully the image of President Bush, and to allow liberal reporters and pundits like Eleanor Clift to write that the White House is "consumed by scandals." The fact that there isn't a genuine scandal in the bunch goes unremarked.

Why point out the truth if you are a liberal? The truth doesn't help you.

Tenet Tries to Point the Finger at Someone Else...and the Left Buys It

George Tenet has a new book out and it can be wrapped up in this sentence: "It wasn't my fault."

I can understand Tenet's position. Who wants to take full credit for 9/11? Certainly not the Clinton administration, which used its lackeys to condemn a docudrama, The Path to 9/11, just to ensure that enough lefties screamed how it was all George Bush's fault!

Certainly not the Bush administration, which had been in power all of eight months when the tragedy occurred. If it weren't for the lefty spin machine, normal people wouldn't think an administration in power for eight months had more culpability than an administration in power for eight years. But, hey, if you're a liberal, you will believe just about anything, especially if it makes George Bush look evil, stupid, or incompetent (depending on the situation).

So, now George Tenet, the guy who told us WMDs were a "slam dunk" is trying to say that it isn't his fault. Riiiiight.

Michael F. Scheuer has this interesting column at telling us not to buy Tenet's story.

At the CIA, Tenet will be remembered for some badly needed morale-building. But he will also be recalled for fudging the central role he played in the decline of America's clandestine service -- the brave field officers who run covert missions that make us all safer. The decline began in the late 1980s, when the impending end of the Cold War meant smaller budgets and fewer hires, and it continued through Sept. 11, 2001. When Tenet and his bungling operations chief, James Pavitt, described this slow-motion disaster in testimony after the terrorist attacks, they tried to blame the clandestine service's weaknesses on congressional cuts. But Tenet had helped preside over every step of the service's decline during three consecutive administrations -- Bush, Clinton, Bush -- in a series of key intelligence jobs for the Senate, the National Security Council and the CIA. Only 9/11, it seems, convinced Tenet of the importance of a large, aggressive clandestine service to U.S. security.

Like self-serving earlier leaks seemingly from Tenet's circle to such reporters as Ron Suskind and Bob Woodward, "At the Center of the Storm" is similarly disingenuous about Tenet's record on al-Qaeda. In "State of Denial," Woodward paints a heroic portrait of the CIA chief warning national security adviser Condoleezza Rice of pending al-Qaeda strikes during the summer of 2001, only to have his warnings ignored. Tenet was indeed worried during the so-called summer of threat, but one wonders why he did not summon the political courage earlier to accuse Rice of negligence, most notably during his testimony under oath before the 9/11 commission.

Scheuer describes Tenet as the sort of lightweight who goes whichever way the prevailing winds call upon him to go. Tenet gave comfort to his underlings and was the quintissential "yes man" for three administrations--administrations of both parties. It's not hard at all to see why Tenet didn't blame Rice during his Congressional testimony. He would have been laughed off the dias.

Why does Tenet bring this up now? As Scheuer says,
But as with Rice and the warnings in the summer of 2001: Now he tells us. At this late date, the Bush-bashing that Tenet's book will inevitably stir up seems designed to rehabilitate Tenet in his first home, the Democratic Party. He seems to blame the war on everyone but Bush (who gave Tenet the Medal of Freedom) and former secretary of state Colin L. Powell (who remains the Democrats' ideal Republican). Tenet's attacks focus instead on the walking dead, politically speaking: the glowering and unpopular Cheney; the hapless Rice; the band of irretrievably discredited bumblers who used to run the Pentagon, Donald H. Rumsfeld, Paul D. Wolfowitz and Douglas J. Feith; their neoconservative acolytes such as Richard Perle; and the die-hard geopolitical fantasists at the Weekly Standard and National Review.

They're all culpable, of course. But Tenet's attempts to shift the blame won't wash. At day's end, his exercise in finger-pointing is designed to disguise the central, tragic fact of his book. Tenet in effect is saying that he knew all too well why the United States should not invade Iraq, that he told his political masters and that he was ignored. But above all, he's saying that he lacked the moral courage to resign and speak out publicly to try to stop our country from striding into what he knew would be an abyss.

Mostly, the image we get is that Tenet told his masters what they wanted. That's a huge disservice to America.

Captain Ed points out that Tenet's cowardly self-service continues in that he's now giving left-leaning America what it wants.

UPDATE: Larry Johnson has a letter from a group of former intelligence officers to Tenet's publisher.

UPDATE x2: William Kristol at the Weekly Standard points out untruths in Tenet's book.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Thoughts on Six Flags and Other Amusement Parks

We took the kids to Six Flags yesterday, and that trip spawned several random thoughts for me.

--There should be age limits for roller coasters (i.e, "No one over 40 may ride"). Given that I was the only over 40 person riding the Batman ride with my oldest daughter yesterday, I think most adults have more sense!

--Big splashy rides should be ridden during the day when it is 85 degrees and not at night when it is 70 degrees.

--Teenage boys are just larger versions of eight-year-old boys: hyper, loud, and annoying. The teenage boys behind us in line for Batman were whacking each other (and everyone around them) wth slap bracelets the entire wait.

--Never go to Six Flags when the front gate sign says, "Welcome Class of '07" (or whatever year). Too many teenagers!

--Little kids will ride the same ride five times in a row but rarely six.

--Even after nearly 12 years of marriage and with three kids in the front, connected boat, it's still fun to neck with your husband in The Cave. :)

--Never use two-year-old sunscreen. Buy new stuff every year!

--Two words: Valet parking.

Democrats Repay Their Bosses

Kimberley A. Strassel has
this nice piece at OpinionJournal about how Democrats are repaying their biggest donors with bought-and-paid-for legislation and more.

Most Republicans viewed Barney Frank's recent hearing on subprime mortgages as nothing more than typical Democratic corporation-bashing--and nobody is happier about that than Barney Frank. The House Financial Services chief is surely grinning that so few picked up on his bigger purpose: bestowing a big, wet smooch on the trial bar.

Democrats devoted their first months in the majority to paying back unions for their electoral support. Now it's time for the other huge campaign bankrollers. And don't think the trial bar, beat down by years of GOP tort reform, isn't expecting to feel the love. Since 1994, law firms and lawyers have thrown a half-billion dollars at getting lawsuit-friendly Democrats back in the majority. They've also taken care to get their own to Washington. Of the 30 House seats Dems won in 2006, 14 were claimed by former attorneys.

Don't expect anything so brazen as the House bill to eliminate secret ballots in union elections or the Senate drive to organize airport screeners. The Democratic majority might be willing to nakedly use their power to help Big Labor, but are wary of doing the same for a billionaire industry that these days would lose a popularity contest with the Mob. Even the tort bar understands how deeply loathed it is by the American public. The Association of Trial Lawyers of America didn't last year change its name to the bland "American Association for Justice" for nothing.

Strassel says the Dems will use two tried and true techniques to get their donors what they want: hearings and sobpoena power. Democrats have already demonstrated that hearings are nothing more than showboating and grandstanding. The subpoena of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, for instance, was designed, not to gain new information, but to embarrass and harass both Rice and the president.

Remember: this is what you voted for last November.

Their "Smoking Gun" of Partisanship

U.S. Attorneygate has reached a new--and hilarious--low. Now they are concerned that--gasp!--political appointees vetted prospective attorneys and recommended hiring lawyers who might forward conservative goals.

At what point did it become illegal to actually argue for conservative ideals? If Bill Clinton's Justice Department hired political appointees who recommended attorneys who forwarded Clinton's goals, this would have been a non-issue. But George Bush's Justice Department does the same thing--what conservatives expect it to do--and this is the scandal?

The Washington Post unveils this mindbending discovery in this article. Obviously, "career lawyers" were concerned their buddies weren't getting the top picks. What, exactly, was wrong about the new hires?

Complaints about the program emerged again this month after Senate and House investigators received a letter from the unidentified Justice employees, who alleged that hiring at the department was "consistently and methodically being eroded by partisan politics." The letter singled out the honors and intern programs, alleging that senior political appointees appeared to reject applicants who "had interned for a Hill Democrat, clerked for a Democratic judge, worked for a 'liberal' cause, or otherwise appeared to have 'liberal' leanings."

Yes, I suppose if you are a Democrat, you assume you get all the positions in a Republican administration. After all, that's the argument Democrats made when Republicans were in control of the Senate. It is unsurprising, therefore, that Democrats would think a conservative administration is duty-bound to hire liberal lawyers. Are these people really that dumb?

Worse, according to the career attorneys,
According to a former deputy chief in the civil rights division, one honors hire was a University of Mississippi law school graduate who had been a clerk for U.S. District Judge Charles W. Pickering Sr. about the time the judge's nomination by President Bush to a federal appeals court provoked opposition by congressional Democrats, who contended that Pickering was hostile to civil rights.

So, now the fact that someone clerked with a judge that Democrats "contended" was hostile to civil rights is enough to disqualify that person? Would the same be said if the person had clerked for Stephen Reinhardt?

The career lawyers also complained that many hires had "strong conservative or Republican ties." I'm shocked! Shocked! That Republicans would hire Republicans!

Todd Zywicki at The Volokh Conspiracy pointed out how lame this argumentation is. (Emphasis mine)
Gracious, a civil rights lawyer who clerked for Charles Pickering--who "congressional Democrats ... contended" was hostile to civil rights (apparently since some congressional Democrats "contended it," all of his clerks are disqualified from working in the office).

The other example cited in the article seems odd as well--why is it supposed to be a problem that a graduate of Regent Law School might be interested in working on "some religious liberties" cases. Would we be similarly shocked if a minority graduate of Southern Law School, for example, expressed a particular interest in working on Voting Rights cases, or a former intern at a pro-choice organization was interested in reproductive rights cases?

The unintentional irony of this is that these examples are provided as examples of the "nonideological" bona fides of the career lawyers who offered them as examples. The career lawyer who is cited (as well as the authors of the article) seems confident that any right-minded person would shocked and outraged that a lawyer was a member of the Federalist Society and had a bust of James Madison in his office or that one of Judge Pickering's clerks worked in the civil rights division.

This is not to say one way or the other whether the new policy is a good one. Or that there may be real examples that actually prove the reporters' point. Or that there were improper ideological pressures in this case that were fundamentally different from Democratic administrations, or that political favoritism is somehow different or more pernicious than all of the other sorts of preferences and favoritism that also play into hiring processes. I don't know the answer to these questions, but it seems obvious that merit alone has never the sole criterion for securing these positions, and that a variety of other personal, geographic, and demographic factors have always played into these decisions.

But if these are the "smoking gun" examples that are the best ones that career attorneys can offer as conservative ideology run amuck at the DOJ, then it seems to me that this says more about the real biases of the supposedly "nonpolitical" attitudes of DOJs career attorneys and the ideological parochialism of the Washington Post than about some sort of hiring "scandal" at DOJ. If these are the sorts of trivialities that career DOJ attorneys consider to be evidence of an extreme ideological shift to the right at the DOJ, then forgive me for being skeptical that the end result of giving career lawyers a monopoly on hiring for these positions is going to eliminate ideology from the hiring process.

Moreover, it is naive to think that putting these career lawyers in charge of hiring will certainly not remove ideology from the hiring process (not to mention the thinly-veiled elite snobbery in the otherwise-irrelevant references to University of Mississippi and University of Kentucky Law Schools in the article). It seems evident that a Federalist Society member or Pickering clerk would have those credentials held against him or her by at least this particular career lawyer. If so, is that different from the concern expressed by congressional investigators that senior political appointees appeared to reject applicants who "had interned for a Hill Democrat, clerked for a Democratic judge, worked for a 'liberal' cause, or otherwise appeared to have 'liberal' leanings?"

Yes, the problem with the examples given is that there is nothing wrong with clerking with Charles Pickering or graduating from the University of Mississippi Law School. What is wrong is the narrow-minded snobbery evidenced by "career lawyers" who think lawyers from any school but Harvard and Yale are inferior. But I wonder if these same career lawyers condemned the nomination of Samuel Alito (Yale class of '75) and Clarence Thomas (Yale class of '74).

Senate Democrats Write Letter to the Editor

Moonbats are in full attack mode over David Broder's column comparing Harry Reid with Alberto Gonzales. The column stated that Reid's repeated gaffes were embarrassing to the Democratic leadership.

Well, I guess he was wrong because Senate Democrats wrote a letter to the editor rebutting Broder's column.

How lame.

Democrats can dislike criticism, just as Republicans can. I've never seen the Republicans--as a body--rebut individual columnists.

Michelle Malkin is right; they are unhinged.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Too Much Info

Back when I was a kid, there were a number of subjects one didn't discuss in polite company. Those subjects included but were not limited to:


--Abuse (spousal or child, physical or verbal)




--Affairs (either one's own or others)

--Sex (either gender or intercourse)

You could wrap most of those topics under the heading "gossip," and the taboo on gossip served a purpose; that is, it spared the listener from having to stop a person from blabbering about things one knew one shouldn't discuss. That people did, in fact, discuss these topics and others didn't make the rule less civil. That simply shows that people don't like to use self-restraint and would rather say whatever they think and feelings of the listener be damned.

That's the way I felt when I read about the sportswriter who is switching from being a man to being a woman.

I'm not going to discuss the rightness or wrongness of this situation (although I find it interesting that we don't know if Penner's "spouse" is a man or a woman, and if there are children involved). Such discussions aren't germaine to what I'm really thinking, which is why burden the rest of us with your secret?

I understand Penner telling his spouse, his employer, his minister, his friends. But why publish this information? Couldn't the L.A. Times just put a shirttail on the end of his column that says:
Times sports writer Christine Daniels used to be Mike Penner. Her column appears Mondays and Thursdays.

Would there be readers curious about this? Sure. But it wouldn't inflict his decision on the rest of the known universe because, frankly, it's nobody else's business.

One of the problems with the Jerry Springer-ization of the U.S. is that there is no longer anything private anymore. All information about a person is up for grabs, regardless of the effects such publication will have on that person and others. It's one thing to tell your employer you are getting divorced and that you might be a little stressed out for a while; it's another to write a column discussing the intimate details of your life. Especially when you aren't writing a personal column but rather, a sports column.

So, good luck, Mike/Christine in your new life. But please, keep it to yourself.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Man and a Woman's Right to Choose

A Woman's Right to Choose is a semi-regular feature of Gold-Plated Witch on Wheels.

Echidne of the Snakes has a link to this interesting post by a guy who's wife was endangered by her pregnancy.

It's a touching story, to be sure, and the baby was very much wanted by the couple. Unfortunately, there were serious complications that involved lots of bleeding, and finally, the ultimate decision: save the baby or the mother?

He saved his wife's life, like every man I've known would. But at that point, his narrative gets weirdly political.

Mainly, then, I start to think about the abortion debate. About pro-lifers, in particular. I think about all those meddling politicians that would want to interject themselves into everything that just happened to me, interject themselves between me, my wife, and her doctors. And then I had a strong, visceral reaction. I wanted the mutherfuckers to die. I wanted to rip off their heads and tear out their hearts, because how DARE they play politics with my wife's life? The baby was fine until the end. I wondered if that would have meant they'd force us to let my wife bleed until almost death before they'd let us abort, because well, if she's not near death, then it is just a 'health' exception, and we can't have that! Fuck them. Fuck them all. They can fucking die, as far as I'm concerned. This was what went through my mind as I sat there, waiting to see if, after my baby died, my wife had died as well. I still feel that visceral reaction when I think about it, though not quite as strong - right then and there, if someone pro-life walked in and started talking about it to me, I very well might have physically attacked them. And I'm about as non-violent as one gets...

Obviously, I'm still pro-choice. And I do still say that I'll personally never have an abortion. But if anyone tells me politicians should meddle in what should be between one's doctor and one's self, I'll tell them, politely, to go fuck themselves, and then explain why.

In the weeks after this happened, I reflected on some other things as well. While I was upset at losing the little one that I saw on those ultrasounds, it did not feel even 1/100th of how I'd have felt if we'd lost my then 17 month old daughter. Not even close. We did not have a funeral. We did mourn, in a way, but nothing like you'd do with a baby who has been born. In short, just instinctively, we knew it was nothing like that. It was a seed of a person, but it really wasn't a person yet, not in our awareness. Nobody really treats a 9 week old fetus like that. Not even pro-lifers. More food for thought.

It sounds to me like this man needs grief counseling. Maybe he believes nobody treats a nine-week-old fetus "like that" (I guess he means being attached to him/her), but that doesn't mean he can project his experience on everyone else in the world. And pregnancy is a different experience for a man than it is for a woman. A man may feel invested in his wife's pregnancy, but until there are lots of outward signs (her expanding middle, seeing the baby move, etc.), it can't feel "real" in the sense it does to a woman. There's a difference between seeing a baby on an ultrasound picture and knowing that that baby is inside you.

This isn't to take away from this man's grief at all. I just find it bizarre that his first thought is how much he hates pro-lifers.

In this post, he doesn't discuss what his wife felt about the events. He does, however, say in a later comment
I've talked about it some with my wife, of course, but really I think we try not to talk about it or think about it - I don't think she wants to think about it. I know I have trouble with it. Then it is so recent.

I would say that the problem with "thinking about it" is that one has to confront the enormity of the dilemma. Having to choose between your wife and your baby may seem like a no-brainer, but there is still the feeling that even a nine-week-old fetus is more than a tumor.

So, this man is pro-choice and thinks that all pro-lifers would have made his wife die. If that's his idea of what pro-lifers are like, then he's pretty delusional. Yes, there are pro-lifers who don't believe in abortion at any stage of pregnancy, but virtually all pro-lifers believe that the life of the mother takes priority.

So, the question comes back. Why attack the pro-lifers because your baby died?

Supreme Court Revisits Campaign Finance Law

According to this article, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the latest campaign finance case and they may be willing to flush the abominable McCain-Feingold law.

The Supreme Court's three-year embrace of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law seemed to loosen Wednesday, as justices debated a First Amendment challenge to the law's provision that bars certain types of issue advertisements in the run-up to elections.

A majority of justices questioned one or another aspect of the provision during hourlong arguments in Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life. The case is an "as-applied" challenge to the ban on "electioneering communications" directly funded by corporations and unions 30 days before primary and 60 days before general elections. The Court, with now-retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in the majority, upheld the law on its face more than three years ago in McConnell v. FEC, but the justices left the door open to challenges once the law took effect.

I sincerely hope they overturn this terrible restriction on free speech. Patterico hopes so, too.

With O'Connor gone from the Court, free speech might have a chance this time.

David Broder Joins the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy

One thing you gotta love about the nutroots: they can't tolerate criticism. It is a fatal flaw of Republicans that we will actually criticize our own, including the administration, when they are wrong.

But not the nutroots. Nope, they are loyal to a fault. That's why so many of them are circling the wagons around "The War Is Lost" Harry Reid, who is now claiming that he didn't really mean the war is lost but that it's just going through a difficult time and he was misquoted and don't you dare question his patriotism!!!!

Now, well-known liberal commenter David Broder is in the cross-hairs for having the audacity to say Harry Reid is an embarrassment.

It looks as if David Broder's column tomorrow may be making the rather creative case that Harry Reid is as inept as...Alberto Gonzales.

How do I know this? Over at the Dallas Morning News, which prints Broder's column from time to time, they've done a teaser on the paper's blog previewing the Op-ed columns the paper is running tomorrow.

Insert image of The Scream here.

Yes, it's a truly horrible thing when a liberal points out the stupidity of a leading liberal Democrat leader. As Michelle Malkin points out, the comments to the BLOGSWARM ALERT!!!!!! are telling. They don't bother attacking whether or not the comparison to Gonzales is accurate. Nope, they just go for the ad hominem attack.

It makes me happy I don't have to answer the phones from nutty subscribers for any newspaper anymore. I don't think I could do it without telling them they are...unhinged.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Five Delusions of Harry Reid

Captain Ed has another great post dissecting the lies, er, mistaken impressions of Harry Reid about General Petraeus. Well worth the read.

Spaghetti-Spined in Subpoenaville

Captain Ed has a good, albeit depressing, analysis of the on-going smear campaign over the U.S. Attorneys.

Democrats took control of Congress on the promise to launch investigations into the Bush administration, and they are fulfilling that pledge. The subpoenas themselves do not surprise much, although the one to Comdoleezza Rice might run into some legal wrangling depending on the subject matter. Everyone widely expected the investgations to take the widest possible viewpoint and get conducted in the most confrontational style possible.

The fact that the Democratic majorities got so much Republican support in each instance may come as a shock to the White House, though. Goodling's immunity only got opposed by six Republicans on the committee, where 17 GOP Representatives serve. Seventeen Republicans sit on Henry Waxman's Oversight Committee, and only 10 opposed the Rice subpoena. We have no word on the Senate Judiciary Committee vote on teh Sara Taylor subpoena, but given the hostility of the Republicans during and after the Alberto Gonzales testimony, it's doubtful that it passed on a 10-9 vote.

This does not bode well for the White House. The President's insistence on keeping Gonzales in place has apparently angered his GOP allies on the Hill. It also has provided no barrier to other investigations, and it appears the Democrats have no problem staying aggressive regardless of whether Gonzales stays or goes.

Practically speaking, though, these subpoenas will have little effect. Rice will go before Congress and tell them -- again -- that they saw the intelligence prior to the Iraq invasion, and that it was basically the same as it was during the Clinton administration. No one faked anything, and the one piece that people use to claim Bush lied (a) was based on Joe Wilson's misrepresentation of his findings in Niger, and (b) still backed by British intelligence, where it originated. Goodling may say something damning, or all they may have bought with immunity is a confirmation that the entire mess was nothing more malevolent than incompetence.

But get used to this. We have two years to live in Subpoenaville.

Ed's right, of course. The Democrats are showing that they are clearly not interested (and unable) to pass legislation, so they are going to use the next two years to bludgeon the Bush administration, hoping it will lead to landslide victories for them in '08. I'm not convinced that will happen, but we will see.

Ed links to this interesting piece explaining why no Republicans are defending Gonzales.
Throughout her tumultuous tenure as attorney general, Janet Reno could always rely on Democrats and liberals to circle the wagons when critics ripped her judgment, competence, and forthrightness. They’d close ranks when the opposition claimed her Justice Department elevated political considerations over legal ones. By contrast, in Alberto Gonzales’s present hour of need, his only enthusiastic supporter appears to be the president. Why?
Because of politics. Not politicization, as in partisan obstruction of particular investigations. Rather, good, old-fashioned politics in the best sense of the word: namely, an administration’s accountability to its supporters and its fealty to the policies that induced their support.

The Reno Justice Department, whatever else you may think about it, cared passionately about signal “progressive” causes and backed them to the hilt, regardless of criticism. To the contrary, the Gonzales Justice Department and, indeed, the president, often turn spaghetti-spined when the priorities of their base are at stake. How surprising, then, that when friends are most sorely needed there are none to be found.

In my opinion, this is the reason Republicans lost the 2006 elections. It wasn't the war. It was the overspending by Congress, the pro-illegal alien stance of the White House, the incompetent nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, the president's tin ear with concern to Republican interests. If Rove has been misusing the White House for Republican political manipulations, he has done a poor job of delivering the very sorts of items that would have made such manipulations unnecessary. In short, the president has lost the base because he never took the base seriously.

Religion Is Good for Kids

More bad news for the atheist nuts at Pandagon. Now there's a study showing religion is good for kids.

Kids with religious parents are better behaved and adjusted than other children, according to a new study that is the first to look at the effects of religion on young child development.

The conflict that arises when parents regularly argue over their faith at home, however, has the opposite effect.

John Bartkowski, a Mississippi State University sociologist and his colleagues asked the parents and teachers of more than 16,000 kids, most of them first-graders, to rate how much self control they believed the kids had, how often they exhibited poor or unhappy behavior and how well they respected and worked with their peers.

The researchers compared these scores to how frequently the children’s parents said they attended worship services, talked about religion with their child and argued abut religion in the home.

The kids whose parents regularly attended religious services—especially when both parents did so frequently—and talked with their kids about religion were rated by both parents and teachers as having better self-control, social skills and approaches to learning than kids with non-religious parents.

Why so good?
Bartkowski thinks religion can be good for kids for three reasons. First, religious networks provide social support to parents, he said, and this can improve their parenting skills. Children who are brought into such networks and hear parental messages reinforced by other adults may also "take more to heart the messages that they get in the home," he said.

Secondly, the types of values and norms that circulate in religious congregations tend to be self-sacrificing and pro-family, Bartkowski told LiveScience. These "could be very, very important in shaping how parents relate to their kids, and then how children develop in response," he said.

Finally, religious organizations imbue parenting with sacred meaning and significance, he said.

He left out a fourth significant fact. These kids can grow up, become Supreme Court justices, and write decisions that drive lefties nuts.

Cross-posted at Common Sense Political Thought.

Florence Shapiro and the Imam

I don't know how I managed to miss this one, but apparently, Texas state senator Florence Shapiro invited a radical imam to perform the opening prayer for the Texas Senate April 4.

Here's the buzz from the Dallas Morning News' website:

The DFW chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations sends along this item:

Imam Yusuf Kavakci to open TX State Senate with prayer, April 4

Don't miss the next milestone event for the Texas Muslim community! On April 4, 2007, the first Muslim Imam will open the Texas Senate with an Islamic prayer to be broadcast live over the State Legislature's website! The Chair of the Texas Education Committee, Senator Florence Shapiro along with Texas's Lt Governor Dewhurst will welcome Imam Yusuf Kavakci and the Texas Muslim community on this monumental occasion.

Imam Dr. Yusuf Kavakci has been serving the Dallas-Ft. Worth Muslim community for nearly 20 years. With the help of the Texas Muslim community and our coalition partner CAIR-Texas, the Freedom and Justice Foundation (F&J) would like to show our support and gratitude to Imam Kavakci by bringing the largest group of Muslims to ever congregate in the Senate Gallery at the State Capitol!

Who is Dr. Yusuf Kavakci? Well, the Jawa Report quoted the DMN as saying this about Kavakci:
According to [a Freedom House report] (available at, investigators gathered literature that teaches contempt for Jews, Christians and tolerant Muslims, as well as hatred for America. Material found in a Houston mosque even commands the faithful to establish a revolutionary fifth column.

Some of these documents came from the Dallas Central Mosque in Richardson. Unfortunately, this kind of thing is not altogether alien to this mosque. Last spring, it hosted a youth quiz competition, sponsored by two national organizations closely tied to the worldwide Islamist movement. Kids were tested on the work of premier jihad ideologist Sayyid Qutb.

The mosque’s imam, Dr. Yusuf Kavakci, has publicly praised two of the world’s foremost radical Islamists, Yusuf Qaradawi and Hasan al-Turabi, as exemplary leaders. Dr. Kavakci also sits on the board of the Saudi-backed Islamic Society of North America, described in congressional testimony as a major conduit of Wahhabist teaching. Yet Dr. Kavakci tells The Dallas Morning News he rejects Wahhabist teaching. Something doesn’t add up.

I would have linked back to the original story, but the DMN has pulled it, apparently.

So, what's this guy doing saying a prayer at the Texas Senate? And worse yet, he said this prayer:
In the name of god, Allah, the beneficent, the merciful. All praise is for Allah, our lord, the lord of the worlds, the compassionate, the merciful, master of the day of judgments. Oh, god, Allah, you alone we worship, and you alone we call on for help. Oh, Allah, guide us to the straight path, the path of those whom you have favored, not of those who have earned your wrath or of those who have lost the way. Our lord, have mercy on us from yourself and guide us in our efforts, strivings, and works."

That doesn't sound so bad on the face of it, although it's not nearly as non-denominational as most Christian prayers are supposed to be in public. But World Net Daily pointed out that
Islam, of course, teaches that Jews and Christians both have earned the wrath of Allah by failing to follow Islam, and also have lost the way by following the teachings of the Torah for the Jews or the Bible for Christians.

So, this could be construed as an anti-Jewish, anti-Christian prayer.

Needless to say, a lot of people got upset about this.
"Imagine the outcry if a Christian or Jew had offered a prayer that excluded all other religions to open the state Senate!" said S. Newman. "This state and nation were established and have been sustained on a foundation of Biblical principles and practices. The only reason to attack the foundation of any structure is to initiate the process which leads to ultimate destruction"...

"I believe that an explanation is due the citizens of our great state … as to why you invite an imam who offers a prayer to open the state Senate that excluded both Christians and Jews," Newman wrote.

Initially, Shapiro responded with a non-answer.

"To Whom It May Concern: Thank you for sending me your thoughts and opinions. I appreciate hearing from my constituents on issues of importance to you and your families. Due to the large number of e-mails my office receives, we are only able to respond by US post mail to those who provide a complete and current mailing address. If you did not include a mailing address, please resend your correspondence with a complete mailing address, so that we can respond to your concerns in a timely manner. Thank you, Florence Shapiro."

Unsatisfactory, said Newman.

"I don't believe a single word in your 'Out of office' auto reply. This is just a way to dampen the reaction to your questionable actions. Yes, I will be looking forward to your US Postal letter reply…," he wrote.

The state senator then followed up with a letter, apologizing if her actions offended anyone.

"Thank you for your correspondence regarding Imam Dr. Yusuf Kavaci (sic). I appreciate your perspective. I want to make it clear that my intentions were never to offend anyone. If I did so, I apologize," she wrote.

"The Freedom and Justice Foundation contacted me with the request for Dr. Kavakci to follow the protocol set two years ago during their legislative day, when Imam Moujahed Bakhach of the Islamic Association of Tarrant County opened the Texas House with a blessing. Having worked with Dr. Kavakci on legislation, and seeing his resume and extensive inter-faith experience, I honored his request."

It's apparent to me that Shapiro didn't do any research on who this imam was, but thought that she would be showing tolerance to the Religion of Peace by letting him perform this prayer. And while that's embarrassing to Shapiro, it's worse that she tried to duck her constituents and doesn't want to answer questions about the situation.

And then there's this snarky post at the DMN religion site:
If you go to and scroll down to the entry titled, "Senate invocation video," you can watch the opening prayer delivered before the Texas Senate yesterday by Imam Yusuf Kavakci.

One footnote: When the imam prays to Allah, he is not, as some of you have commented, praying to some false god who is not the real God -- you know, not your God. According to No god but God, a history of Islam by Reza Aslan, "Allah" is simply a contraction of the Arabic word al-ilah, which means "the god."

After the prayer, Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano -- who invited Imam Kavakci to give the invocation -- shared with her fellow senators a bit of his background. He has a law degree, used to teach at Istanbul University, is involved in numerous interfaith activities, and advises Dallas-area school districts on issues involving religion.

Sen. Shapiro then pointedly noted that "28 of my colleagues on the Senate floor" joined her in welcoming the imam.

There are 31 members of the Texas Senate, so she has 30 colleagues.

One has been excused from the session while he recovers from surgery.

The other absence? Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, a radio talk show host, chose to pander to his right-wing audience by boycotting the prayer.

So, one senator exercises his right to protest a radical imam's prayer at the Texas Senate and he's "pandering to his right-wing audience" but Florence Shapiro isn't "pandering" to the muslims by inviting a man who has praised radical Islamists?

Seems to me Bruce Tomaso should spend a little less time being a smartass and a little more just covering events.

Free Exercise of Religion...Unless You Are Catholic

I'm not Catholic. Never have been. I don't even know that much about the Catholic Church, other than, as a born-and-bred Protestant, I have a lot of theological differences with them.

But that's ok in my book, because we are both protected by the First Amendment's free exercise clause.

Well, evidently there are religious (are they religious?) kooks with an anti-Catholic bias who are so bigoted as to believe the Supreme Court decided Gonzales v. Carhart on the basis of their Catholicism, not on the Constitution.

A coalition of religious leaders took on the Catholic Church, the U.S. Supreme Court and the Bush administration on Tuesday with a plea to take religion out of health care in the United States.

They said last week's Supreme Court decision outlawing a certain type of abortion demonstrated that religious belief was interfering with personal rights and the U.S. health care system in general.

The group, calling itself the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, said it planned to submit its proposals to other church groups and lobby Congress and state legislators.

"With the April 18 Supreme Court decision banning specific abortion procedures, concerns are being raised in religious communities about the ethics of denying these services," the group said in a statement.

"They are imposing their points of view," Barbara Kavadias, director of field services for the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, told reporters in a telephone briefing.

Do these misfits ever actually read the Constitution? Do they have any idea what judges do in this country?

I suppose one could always argue that judges are "imposing their points of view" on the rest of us when they hand down sentences. If what these numbnuts say is true, then the SCOTUS has been "imposing their points of view" on the American people since the founding of it. Did these people object to the court "imposing its point of view" on us when it gave us Roe in the first place? What about Lawrence? Was Kennedy, who is supposedly all scary Catholic, "imposing his point of view" then?

I really hate stupidity, and the nonsense the Left has been spewing about "the five Catholics" is particularly bad. Is it really that hard to believe that five justices could look at this case and make this decision based on the Constitution? I mean, given that these five justices didn't have to make stuff up like the justices in Roe did. And wasn't Harry Blackmun, who wrote the Roe decision, a Catholic? Or was he some secret branch of Catholic that these people approve of?

There's more stupidity from this story.
(Kavadias) noted that the five Supreme Court justices on the majority in the 5-4 decision were all Catholic men -- Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Anthony Kennedy, Justice Samuel Alito, Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Antonin Scalia.

All were appointed by conservative Republican presidents who oppose abortion, including President George W. Bush.

The group also complained about Catholic-owned hospitals that refuse to sterilize women who ask for it, refuse to let doctors perform abortions and do not provide contraception.

"Doctors, pharmacists and nurses are also increasingly exercising a so-called 'religious or moral objection,' refusing to provide essential services and often leaving patients without other options," the group said in a statement.

"And now, to make it worse, the government is codifying these refusals, first through legislation and now with the recent Supreme Court decision, where five Catholic men decided that they could better determine what was moral and good than the physicians, women and families facing difficult, personal choices in problem pregnancies," it added.

The group includes ordained Protestant ministers, a Jewish activist, an expert on women's reproductive rights and several physicians.

"The threat comes from a few, but powerful, religions and a few ... powerful religious leaders who pretend to speak for all religions," said Larry Greenfield, executive minister of the American Baptist Churches of Metro Chicago.

"Health care decisions ought to be made freely, based on medical expertise and individual conscience," he added.

Ah, yes. Do these people support "choice" when it is a young woman wanting a tubal ligation? Many doctors don't perform tubals on women under 30 because they think the woman may regret it later. Why don't these people who are all for "choice" spend more time complaining about physicians making this "choice" for women.

I always enjoy the argument about "individual conscience" from a group that supports euthanasia and abortion. Basically, they are for "individual conscience" as long as the choice ends up looking like death for someone. And don't let that word "conscience" fool you. When someone wants to argue for partial birth abortion, it's hard to believe they have a conscience.

It's always interesting to hear arguments based on the idea that freedom of religion means going to church on Sunday morning, not living one's life like religion matters daily. This is what the Left means when it talks about Christians imposing a "theocracy." It's fine, in their opinion, if you want to spend an hour in church Sunday mornings, but don't let that actually affect the way you live your life the rest of the week. No, make sure that your religion has no influence on one's moral, philosophical, or ethical outlook. And you certainly shouldn't allow your religion to stop you from aiding in the killing of babies.
Marie Hilliard of the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia said she had grave concerns about the report.

"There is no recognition of the true meaning of the separation of church and state, which mandates that the free exercise of religion, including that of the provider, be respected," she said.

"What we have tried to avoid is to be coercive ourselves," Greenfield said. "We have tried to allow for the freedom of conscience of every participant in the health care system."

I understand that there are people who have a hard time dealing with freedom of conscience. But if you are going to respect a clerk's right not to scan your bacon, then you need to accept that some people are going to refuse to dispense abortifacients on demand, either.

The idea that the majority in Gonzales decided the case based on their religion is the height of religious well as appallingly stupid.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Harry Reid Plans to Stick His Fingers in His Ears and Sing, "La La La La La" When General Petraeus Comes to the Hill

OK, Reid didn't put it quite that way, but it's hard to believe anything else when Reid says he won't believe General Petraeus if he tells Congress there's progress being made in Iraq.

What can we say? Reid needs a defeat in Iraq, just as all the Democrats do. As Rush says all the time, they are invested in defeat. Can we call them traitors yet?

Allahpundit at Hot Air has analysis and the video.

He’s willing to compromise. Unlike some Democrats, he’ll hear Petraeus out; he’ll just simply refuse to believe anything he says that doesn’t fit the left’s narrative. If that “reasoning” sounds familiar, that’s because it’s exactly what Eric Boehlert and various nutroots morons accused the right of doing during the Jamil Hussein episode. Allegedly we couldn’t accept that conditions in Iraq were dire so we concocted a sourcing scandal to explain away a dubious AP report about Shiites lighting Sunnis on fire, which, once discredited, would call into question the totality of reporting from the country. Sheer, unadulterated horseshinola, but that’s What Warbloggers Believe according to non-warbloggers Boehlert et al. Now here’s the Senate majority leader doing precisely the opposite, willfully turning a blind eye to any signs of progress, however “modest,” to protect his own quasi-religious conviction that nothing but nothing good has ever come from the war and nothing ever will. Wouldn’t be the first time the left has done that, either.

I included a bit at the beginning of the clip to show how absurd are the Clintonian semantics he’s resorted to in order to spin his recent declaration of defeat. Petraeus doesn’t believe, as Reid apparently does, that “the war is lost”; he believes that military force alone can’t win it at this point. Reid says he doesn’t grasp the distinction, but of course he does — he’s just worried about losing some of those extra Senate seats he expects to pick up from an American defeat. All other consequences be damned.

I'm not sure how rats like Reid sleep at night.

UPDATE: Confederate Yankee points out that it would be difficult for Democrats to know about how we are doing in Iraq since they skip the briefings.

The New York Post says Reid should "put a cork in it. Today." Gotta agree there.

Jeff Goldstein at Protein Wisdom points out that Reid's loudmouth behavior is based on politics, not principle.
I’ve written it a thousand times, but it bears repeating: it’s not that Democrats like Reid are enamored over “losing.” Instead, it’s that they think of “winning” as a partisan exercise, with power as its own reward.

Similarly, any political angle that can weaken the US military, prevent a muscular foreign policy, and erode bourgeois concepts such as sovereignty and self-determination, will aid in the transformation of the US into a member nation of a global nanny government—a welcomed change, for the perpetually guilt-ridden, from its current status as hegemonic hyperpower. And—to riff off a well-known bromide—when all you have is paper, the whole world begins to look like a treaty.

It is telling that Reid’s fellow Democrats are reacting quickly to his gaffe, not because they don’t wish to see us lose the war— after all, many of them have staked their political future on just that—but rather, because they desperately don’t want to be seen as wishing us to lose. So they are forced to straddle the issue, agitating for legislation that will hamstring the military, offering propaganda victories to our enemies, and providing constant “dissent” that weakens troop morale and emboldens terrorism by giving the impression that the tactic is useful should its practitioners hope to divide a population—all while pretending to care about the troops and wring their hands over the possibility of a loss that they are working actively to help bring about.

Reid’s sin, from the Democratic Party’s perspective, is that he gave voice to the very kind of surrender rhetoric that has long cost Democrats the trust of the American people on issues of national security. Or, to put it another way, Reid’s blunder was one of candor—when what the Democratic party is about these days is keeping up appearances.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Calling You Uncivil Is a Compliment

Via Brothers Judd blog comes this terrific column by Andrew Klavan.

The thing I like best about being a conservative is that I don’t have to lie. I don’t have to pretend that men and women are the same. I don’t have to declare that failed or oppressive cultures are as good as mine. I don’t have to say that everyone’s special or that the rich cause poverty or that all religions are a path to God. I don’t have to claim that a bad writer like Alice Walker is a good one or that a good writer like Toni Morrison is a great one. I don’t have to pretend that Islam means peace.

Of course, like everything, this candor has its price. A politics that depends on honesty will be, by nature, often impolite. Good manners and hypocrisy are intimately intertwined, and so conservatives, with their gimlet-eyed view of the world, are always susceptible to charges of incivility. It’s not really nice, you know, to describe things as they are.

This is leftism’s great strength: it’s all white lies. That’s its only advantage, as far as I can tell. None of its programs actually works, after all. From statism and income redistribution to liberalized criminal laws and multiculturalism, from its assault on religion to its redefinition of family, leftist policies have made the common life worse wherever they’re installed. But because it depends on—indeed is defined by—describing the human condition inaccurately, leftism is nothing if not polite. With its tortuous attempts to rename unpleasant facts out of existence—he’s not crippled, dear, he’s handicapped; it’s not a slum, it’s an inner city; it’s not surrender, it’s redeployment—leftism has outlived its own failure by hiding itself within the most labyrinthine construct of social delicacy since Victoria was queen.

Typically, when I go to a lefty site, I start out trying to be polite but make points that undercut their arguments and/or assumptions about conservatives, Christians, Republicans, etc. It usually doesn't take more than a couple of comments before the rudest language imaginable is used at me and then someone attacks me as being "rude" for bringing up the truth. This hasn't been an isolated incident at, say, Echidne of the Snakes. It happens on most lefty blogs.

But as Klavan says, I don't feel the need to lie. It's a refreshing thing about being a conservative that I don't feel compelled to put pretty faces on unpleasantness. Therefore, I call Indians Indians, not Native Americans (since I'm a native American, as well). I call a swamp a swamp, not a "wetland." I call black people black, since that's the term I was brought up with, not "African American" which seemed singularly snotty and exclusive (what about the black woman from Panama I knew? She was neither African nor American and resented that classification). I call bums bums, not "homeless." I call handicapped people handicapped, not "differently abled." I call normal people normal, not "non-disabled."

Why do this? Because it is paternalistic to change the names of things in an attempt to find a less offensive term, rather than dealing with whatever is the problem in the first place. Maybe "Indian" isn't an accurate description, but "Native American" excludes all of us born in this country who aren't of Indian descent. Calling handicapped people handicapped isn't putting them down; calling them "differently abled," as if such silliness changes anything important about their lives, is demeaning. And calling a swamp a wetland doesn't make it less a mushy, bug-infested, nasty place just because you changed the name.

The problem, as Klavan points out, is that conservatives still tend to want to be liked and will therefore back down after stating an unpleasant truth. That's why you see Republicans apologize frequently for the most minor of offenses but never see Democrats do this. Democrats know the rules of engagement and how to use and abuse them. They don't mind breaking the rules if it suits their aim. It's time for conservatives to stop apologizing for telling the truth. The truth hurts sometimes and adults should be able to take it.

I Can't Decide If Somebody Should Tell Sheryl Crow to Shut Up or Just Let Her Keep Making a Fool of Herself

I wasn't going to touch the buffoonery that was Sheryl Crow and Laurie David being obnoxious loons at the Washington Correspondents' Dinner. I kinda hoped Rove would have accidentally stuck David with his fork as he reached for his dinner, giving her some encouragement to take her politics back to her own table. But, alas, nothing so forth right happened (there's a reason why I'm not a Washington politician).

I've despised Crow since the day four years or so ago when she appeared on Good Morning America (I think) wearing an anti-war T-shirt to hock her latest song. If I'd been the cameraman, I would have kept her in close-up form throughout the song so the shirt wouldn't show, but that's just me (there's also a reason I'm not in television).

After that fiasco, Crow followed up with the one square of toilet paper stupidity.

I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting. Now, I don't want to rob any law-abiding American of his or her God-given rights, but I think we are an industrious enough people that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where 2 to 3 could be required. When presenting this idea to my younger brother, who's judgment I trust implicitly, he proposed taking it one step further. I believe his quote was, "how bout just washing the one square out."

I'd hate for Crow to see how much toilet paper my crew goes through in any given week. And I'd love for Crow to try to explain to my younger kids why just one square of toilet paper will do.

But Crow followed up that hilarious moment with this suggestion: (Via Michelle Malkin)
I also like the idea of not using paper napkins, which happen to be made from virgin wood and represent the height of wastefulness. I have designed a clothing line that has what's called a "dining sleeve." The sleeve is detachable and can be replaced with another "dining sleeve," after usage. The design will offer the "diner" the convenience of wiping his mouth on his sleeve rather than throwing out yet another barely used paper product. I think this idea could also translate quite well to those suffering with an annoying head cold.

Has Crow never heard about royalty placing buttons on sleeves to prevent the wearer from wiping his nose on it? The whole purpose of napkins was to stop the disgusting habit of using sleeves as mouth-wipers. As Malkin says:
Uh, Sheryl. Have you taken into account the extra water and energy that would be expended to launder all of these dirty "dining sleeves?" Perhaps there are messy eater offsets for sale to take care of these added environmental impacts...

Malkin wonders if this is all a joke. I would love to believe it was, but considering the other boorish behavior shown by Crow, I think she is deadly serious.

UPDATE: Allahpundit at HotAir has video from The View with Rosie O'Donnell discussing the one square of toilet paper suggestion. It's rare for me to agree with Rosie (certainly not politically), but she was on target with this one.

Delegitimizing Debate

The recent Gonzalez v. Carhart decision upholding the federal ban on partial birth abortion has created some interesting arguments.

Among the silliest is the notion that the majority voted the way they did because they are Catholics, not because they think the law is constitutional. Dana had a post discussing the anti-Catholic bent of liberal dissent from the decision.

Now there is this nice post at Prawfsblawg discussing this acceptable Catholic bashing.

My point here is not to vent about the "last acceptable prejudice" . What's irritating, to me, as a lawyer, about the cartoon is the claim that it is as Catholics -- i.e., because they are Catholics, and not because they think, as intelligent and engaged lawyers, that the Constitution does not disable legislatures entirely from regulating what most people (not just Catholics, fideists, and sexists) regard as a particularly gruesome abortion procedure -- that the five Justices who voted to uphold the ban.

Not only that . . .

More striking, and sad, for me, is what the cartoon suggests, and reveals, about the state and future of debate about moral questions. Look at the faces of the dissenting Justices -- quizzical, sad, bewildered, as if to say, "what are these guys talking about?" -- while the majority are smug and complacent. And why shouldn't they be? They didn't have to think or reason; only to put on their mitres!

It is, increasingly, thought to be enough to discredit an argument or position -- any argument or position -- merely to note that the person who makes it is a religious believer, and to write off any moral argument with which one disagrees as "religious." (This practice, of course, does not run both ways: arguments against torture, the death penalty, race discrimination, and income inequality are "secular"; arguments against partial-birth abortion or the creation of embryos for research are "religious.") It appears, increasingly, that arguments whose trajectory is not in line with the standard liberal / autonomy / choice line are not only rejected, but declared not to be permissible arguments.

And now, apparently, even words whose use suggests the embrace of certain premises are out of bounds. In Justice Ginsburg's dissent, she took the time to complain that there was something improper, and threatening, about the majority's use of words like "abortion doctor" and "unborn child"; but, of course, the use of these words represents an argument. To rule out the words is to rule out, as illegitimate, the argument they reflect.

I have long understood that many (most, probably) of my friends -- decent, intelligent, thoughtful people -- disagree with me about abortion (and constitutional law). This is true, I understand, of many of my co-bloggers and Prawfsblawg readers. I don't think, though -- at least, I try hard not to think -- that their disagreement is merely a product of their funny-hat choice.

You see quite a bit of this semantic argumentation on lefty blogs. Virtually every one I visited whined that "partial birth abortion" isn't the medically accurate term for the procedure, and that calling the doctor an "abortion doctor" is inflammatory rhetoric.

But as one commenter pointed out at a blog, if I tell you I have strep throat, you know what that is. Just because one doesn't use the medical term for the condition doesn't mean it isn't describing the same thing, only in layman's terms. The same can be said about partial birth abortion. If we use "intact dilation and extraction," there are plenty of people who wouldn't know what you were talking about. Whereas, if you call it what it is--partial birth for the purpose of abortion--people know exactly what you're talking about.

The fact that one's constitutional philosophy could be guided by one's moral principles shouldn't preclude the philosophy. Somehow, our friends on the left believe that moral principles are only acceptable if they are sufficiently tied to secular ideas rather than religious ones.

UPDATE: Mollie at GetReligion has an excellent post about the semantics used by reporters in covering this Supreme Court decision.
Most reporters chose to portray the ruling in the language you might hear from those who advocate for abortion, rather than more neutral language or the language you might hear from those who oppose abortion. By that I mean that we were told the ruling was a loss of rights for women or abortionists rather than an expansion of protections for unborn children or the mothers who carry them. The write-ups also followed the lead of those who oppose abortion in shying away from the use of the term “partial-birth abortion” — although the very law the court upheld used the term.

I’m not arguing that the medical term isn’t “intact dilation and extraction” (so called because the child is removed from the womb via the cervix and then killed). Such bias against the language and rhetoric of abortion opponents is so expected these days that it’s almost become the norm, but we should remain diligent. The issue won’t stop being contentious, so reporters should redouble their efforts at neutrality.

Mollie also points out that some press reports simply lie about when the procedure is used--that it is only used "when the fetus poses a danger to the mother's health"-- and that Linda Greenhouse, who definitely not objective where abortion is concerned, wrote the New York Times' article on the decision.

Mollie also points out that none of the news coverage of this case discussed the fact that the vast majority of Americans favor a ban on this procedure, and that a majority of Americans want more restrictions on abortion. I realize it drives the moonbat fringe crazy to hear that, but shouldn't reporters mention when most Americans agree with the Supreme Court?

Analyzing Kennedy has this interesting analysis of Anthony Kennedy's new role as swing vote.

Most interestingly, the piece points out that the same sort of moral philosophy (called "paternalistic" by liberals) that guided him to vote to uphold the Partial Birt Abortion Act caused him to write the majority opinion in Lawrence v. Texas.

(I)n the years since Stenberg, Kennedy has staked out some decidedly liberal positions in cases that also seemed to touch on fundamental moral issues. In Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, he embraced gay rights, and in Roper v. Simmons two years later, he said juveniles under 18 should not be executed.

But some don't see any inconsistency coming from a justice who has strong moral views, positions he announces grandiloquently.

"It's pure 'Preacher Tony,' " says University of Cambridge professor David Garrow. "The Anthony Kennedy who is telling unreflective women what's ethically best for them here is, for better or worse, the same Anthony Kennedy who preached to us in Casey about the meaning of life and in Lawrence about the moral necessity of gay equality. There's no doubt that he thinks he's being absolutely consistent."

Liberals didn't question Kennedy's "paternalistic" attitude in those opinions. I guess when the decision goes your way, you aren't insulted by paternalism.

Why I Love Country Music

I'm not a big fan of awards shows, but I do love Jeff Foxworthy's description of country music at the 2007 CMT awards. (Via Hot Air).

I like country music because in between the beer-drinkin', cheatin', heart-achin' songs, they have plenty of music that celebrates marriage, having kids, working hard, and enjoying the fruits of one's labors. It is unabashedly pro-America and pro-God, and those are things I don't hear much in rock & roll (although I do listen to rock sometimes).

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Exorcising Communism

Much to the chagrin of Russia, former Soviet satellites are erasing the vestiges of communism from their street names, parks, and monuments.

The life-size statue of a Red Army soldier stands at a crossroads in this Baltic capital, fist clenched and head bowed, marking the spot where Soviet war dead are buried.

But the statue is engulfed in bitter debate over the Soviet army's place in European history, which could come to a head this week if the Estonian government goes ahead with plans to dig up the tomb and move the statue to a park outside Tallinn.

Russians are appalled, and the Kremlin has warned of "irreversible consequences" for relations with Estonia.

Estonia is not alone. These days, throughout formerly Soviet-controlled eastern Europe, a battle of symbols and memories is being waged — over statues, street names, the hammer and sickle, even Auschwitz. Now firmly entrenched in the West through NATO and European Union membership, many countries are showing renewed eagerness to erase the more visible vestiges of communism.

The dispute underscores the opposing views of the Soviet legacy in Russia and its former satellites. Russia's resurgent patriotism under President Vladimir Putin has only widened the gap as countries from the Baltics to the Balkans seek to shed the last vestiges of communism.

Russia views the Soviet troops as heroes who rescued the three Baltic states from a racist Nazi regime. Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians say the Soviet regime that held sway over them for 45 years after World War II was even more repressive.

"This is not a monument to the victors of the war but a monument to the destruction of the Estonian Republic," said lawmaker Mart Laar.

The problem, says Eugeniusz Smolar, head of the Center for International Relations, a Polish think tank, is that "Russia has never come to terms with its history." Russians continue to see themselves only as victims of World War II, he said, and ignore the dictatorial systems they imposed on the countries they liberated from the Germans.

It isn't just the Russians who haven't come to grips with the tyranny of communism. Many liberals in this country still describe fondly the ideals of communism. And if you've ever read Noam Chomsky, you know that there are idiots out there who think the U.S. is worse for the world than the Soviet Union was.

Of course, we didn't kill and enslave millions of our own people, but you can't blame lefties for the inconvenient truth, can you?

"It's all about the thumbwork"

So says Eli Tirosh, the U.S. Text Messaging champion.

Contestants had to stand with their hands behind their backs until a bell sounded and a message appeared on an overhead screen. The winner was judged on whoever's message -- checked for exact punctuation -- reached the judges first.

The text tests ranged from "faster than a speeding bullet..." and "what we do in life echoes in eternity" to the less poetic "OMG, nd 2 talk asap," which for those over 30 means "Oh my God, need to talk as soon as possible."

The 250 competitors were quickly whittled down to eight semi finalists, one of whom, Anne Finn, 24, of Allegany, New York, said the pressure was too much.

"It was so nerve wracking. My hands started to shake. I couldn't get my apostrophe," she said.

In the end, 13-year-old Morgan Pozgar faced off against Michael "Cheeser" Nguyen in the east coast final, with Pozgar slipping past her challenger to face west coast champion Tirosh, a law student from Los Angeles.

"I just wasn't fast enough," said Nguyen, a 23-year-old engineer from Pennsylvania. Asked how it felt to take second place, he was clearly disappointed: "I just got beaten by a teenage girl, but you know."

You just can't make this stuff up.

It's easy to scoff at a text messaging championship until you discover that the purse for such an event is 25,000 smackers.

I surprised my 15-year-old on Easter Sunday when she texted "Happy Easter" to me & I texted her back. As my husband points out, I may have a law degree, but I'm still technologically-challenged, dumb ol' Mom to a teenager. Now that I know there's a potential college fund source in text messaging, I might not be so hard on her for spending all night using it.

Hog-Tying Freedom of the Press

I frequently criticize the MSM for its obsession with trivial matters (such as the father of Anna Nicole Smith's baby) and its tendency to sensationalize even the most mundane of events.

But I had to laugh at the recent musings of certain lefties when it comes to "fixing" the media.

This train of thought started with this silly comment thread at Common Sense Political Thought, and continued with the subject of this post by Dana at the same site.

The author of the post that is the subject of Dana's post is Rob Kall, at a deliciously moonbatty site called

The complaints by the left boil down to this: MSM doesn't cover stuff we think is important and spends way too much time on stuff we don't think is important.

Their solution? Put the government in charge of it!

I'm having a really hard time squaring this government regulation of the press with the First Amendment. But leave that aside for a moment. Who would get to decide what sort of news should be reported, how much, and why? Are we really prepared to create a Ministry of Truth to make these determinations and what would that ministry look like (if not 1984)?

I find it particularly interesting that the moonbats who believe the most incredible crap are the ones who want the government to decide what sorts of news are fit to print or air. These same people believe the government was responsible for 9/11, yet they trust the government to produce the truth? These same people think the government routinely lies, breaks the law, imprisons innocents, and performs other despicable (not to mention unconstitutional) things, yet they honestly believe a Ministry of Truth would solve Leftist problems with the news?

Look, I know it is irritating that 24-hour cable news networks don't produce more news than they do. The truth is, though, that producing news costs money. If you want lots of fresh news 24 hours a day, you would have to hire a huge number of reporters and editors, and they don't come cheap. It's much cheaper to repeat a story every hour for six hours than to produce six stories in the same period.

I know this sounds cynical, but it is the way it is. Many all news formats have been tried and most of them have failed. The reason is that producing 24 hours of news can be expensive.

Can We Be So Lucky as to See Al Gore Run?

According to this article in the Telegraph,

Friends of Al Gore have secretly started assembling a campaign team in preparation for the former American vice-president to make a fresh bid for the White House.

Two members of Mr Gore's staff from his unsuccessful attempt in 2000 say they have been approached to see if they would be available to work with him again.

As Moe Lane at RedState said, have I really been this good a girl to deserve such a gift?
Not to contradict Captain Ed on this, but even if it's true it's not going to particularly worry Senator Clinton. The person that it needs to worry is former Senator Edwards, who is probably counting on Gore not running to eventually boost his ranking. Gore has to knock out first him, then Senator Obama if he wants to go after Clinton - and a nice three-way knife fight is precisely what the junior Senator from NY would like to see happen in the primaries, especially since she won't be in it.

Ed thinks that Gore can wipe the floor with Edwards and Obama: frankly, I doubt it. The former will have the fundraising edge and the latter's simply more engaging on his worst days than Gore is on his best. For that matter, both candidates know that if they don't get the nomination now they'll be at a disadvantage in 2012, should a Democrat win. In 2012 Barack Obama will probably be a second-term Senator accumulating legislative baggage and John Edwards will just be a guy with a truly ugly country home. They'll go down swinging; and it's not like Gore is the sort to suffer in silence, so they probably have a good idea where to hit.

So run, Al. Run, and amuse me greatly.

I just can't believe I deserve this big a gift!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Where Was God at Virginia Tech?

I've been reading Dinesh D'Souza's posts about atheism and the massacre at Virginia Tech with some interest. I'm not a big fan of D'Souza's, but sometimes he says things that mirror my own thoughts.

When I first heard about the prayer vigil at Virginia Tech following the murders, it occurred to me that atheists really don't have any similar sort of bonding experience after tragedies the way religious persons do. Typically, people of faith--regardless of what that faith is--reflect on the incident, mourn the loss, and turn to their God for meaning and inspiration. I'm not sure how this works if you don't believe there's anything higher than yourself.

Amanda takes after D'Souza with a vengeance, but doesn't really land a glove on him, even for all her ad hominem attacks.

Tbogg references the almost irresistible cheap potshot counter to that, which is the even more devastating question of where is your god when this massacre was going down? Off picking his nose? Yes, it’s rude to bring up the problem of evil in the equation, but how a supposedly good god allows so much evil on his watch is only a rude question because it’s basically a philosophical dead end. Either god is capricious and allows evil for the hell of it or he doesn’t exist. I’d go even further and suggest that the rush to starting talking god after some evil thing has happened is the way that religion manages to quell the inevitable doubts about what kind of god would let something like this happen. Start singing holy holy and don’t ask any questions, dammit.

Interesting train of thought, but sadly my first thought was how many other people who don’t do or believe something didn’t have some sort of organized presence. For instance, people who don’t believe in unicorns didn’t show up in an organized fashion to give condolences to those affected by the massacre. Does this mean that unicorns exist? I don’t think the Club of People Who Refuse To Watch “Friends” had an official comment on the issue, which hardly means that “Friends” is now a good show in retrospect. Meanwhile, Dinesh D’Souza could fall all over himself offering condolences and even mean some of them, but he’s still a prick.

There are surely philosophical questions about why God let this "bad thing" happen. Christianity Today has some articles (see here and here for starters). This is a typical trap atheists try to set, that a loving God wouldn't let bad things happen to people. But while there are times God intervenes in life, there are other times that His nonintervention is equally reasonable, as
an acknowledgement of our free will, as an opportunity for us to mature, and as a way to show His grace.

I don't expect atheists to understand this. Their worldview precludes the idea that tragedy and sorrow can lead to a personal and spiritual growth that would be impossible without such terrible events. This isn't to say atheists cannot grow and mature, but when you compare Christian beliefs with believing in unicorns, there really isn't much room for discussion.