Monday, March 30, 2009
Earlier this month, Obama reversed a federal ban on embryonic stem-cell research. Many scientists say the research could lead to advances in treating conditions like Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, while some abortion opponents believe destroying embryos in the research amounts to ending a human life.
The problem with the paragraph is it's not true.
But the infrequently voiced reality, stem cell experts confess, is that, of all the diseases that may someday be cured by embryonic stem cell treatments, Alzheimer's is among the least likely to benefit...
But given the lack of any serious suggestion that stem cells themselves have practical potential to treat Alzheimer's, the Reagan-inspired tidal wave of enthusiasm stands as an example of how easily a modest line of scientific inquiry can grow in the public mind to mythological proportions.
It is a distortion that some admit is not being aggressively corrected by scientists.
"To start with, people need a fairy tale," said Ronald D.G. McKay, a stem cell researcher at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. "Maybe that's unfair, but they need a story line that's relatively simple to understand."
The ends justify the means, I guess.
This brings up some very disturbing questions to me. First, we are constantly told by those on the Left that scientists are, essentially, the ultimate objective arbiters of truth. They don't lie. They don't distort. They simply discover truths. Yet here we have scientists admitting that they willingly lie about the usefulness of stem cell research for diseases like Alzheimer's. And this is acceptable?
The second question stems (no pun intended) from the first. If it's acceptable to lie about ESCR and Alzheimer's, why is it such a stretch to believe that scientists might lie about other hot button issues like global warming?
Sunday, March 29, 2009
President Obama has promised to change the way the government does business, but in at least one respect he is taking a page from the Bush playbook, stocking his town hall Thursday with supporters whose soft -- though far from planted -- questions provided openings to discuss his preferred message of the day.
Obama has said, "I think it's important to engage your critics ... because not only will you occasionally change their mind but, more importantly, sometimes they will change your mind," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs recounted to The Post's Lois Romano in an interview Wednesday.
But while the online question portion of the White House town hall was open to any member of the public with an Internet connection, the five fully identified questioners called on randomly by the president in the East Room were anything but a diverse lot. They included: a member of the pro-Obama Service Employees International Union, a member of the Democratic National Committee who campaigned for Obama among Hispanics during the primary; a former Democratic candidate for Virginia state delegate who endorsed Obama last fall in an op-ed in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star; and a Virginia businessman who was a donor to Obama's campaign in 2008.
Seems like I remember Democrats being upset that certain discredited people asked softball questions of George W. Bush, and that Bush 43 invited conservative talk radio hosts to the White House in order to give them their marching orders.
Keep in mind that Obama only answered 13 questions at his presser, and that five of those came from true believers. Probably the only unstaged question was the one about marijuana.
H/T: Common Sense Political Thought, Protein Wisdom, and Glenn Reynolds.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Did Natasha Richardson have to die? Maybe not.
For the two or three Americans who haven’t read the details, Natasha’s death was the result of a head injury while skiing -- not a high speed Sonny Bono-type wipe out, but apparently a fairly innocent fall during a lesson. She developed an intracranial bleed, and by the time she was able to receive the necessary level of care in Canada, her intracranial pressure was excessive and ultimately fatal...
As reported by the Associated Press, Montreal’s top trauma neurosurgeon cited the lack of emergency helicopters as a contributing factor in the death. “Our system isn’t set up for traumas and doesn’t match what’s available in other Canadian cities, let alone in the States,” said Tarek Razek, director of trauma services for the McGill University Health Centre.
Secondly, even after arriving in Montreal, the patient had to be transported by land to yet another facility where a neurosurgeon was available. Now, this is not some podunk little community hospital area -- this is a major metropolitan center without air medevac, and apparently without adequate neurosurgical capability, or at least a system of trauma triage.
We want this system?
Friday, March 27, 2009
Harry Reid took a stupid shot at Chief Justice John Roberts, slandering him because Reid doesn't understand what justices do:
“Roberts didn’t tell us the truth. At least Alito told us who he was,” Reid said, referring to Samuel Alito, the second Supreme Court justice nominated by President George W. Bush. “But we’re stuck with those two young men, and we’ll try to change by having some moderates in the federal courts system as time goes on — I think that will happen.”
One must assume that the moderates Reid is talking about are in the Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Paul Stevens mode. And as Ann Althouse notes, without transcripts to back up this claim, the only liar around these parts is Harry Reid.
But more important than moronic personal attacks by this dimwit is the fact that Reid thinks judicial filibusters are bad, but using budget reconciliation to ram through changes to the health care system is permissible. Somehow, my guess is that this is a IOKIYAD situation.
The latest example of how bad laws can have bad consequences.
Girl Faces Child Porn Charges for Posting Nude Photos of Herself on MySpace
A 14-year-old New Jersey girl has been accused of child pornography after posting nearly 30 explicit nude pictures of herself on MySpace.com -- charges that could force her to register as a sex offender if convicted.
The case comes as prosecutors nationwide pursue child pornography cases resulting from kids sending nude photos to one another over cell phones and e-mail. Legal experts, though, could not recall another case of a child porn charge resulting from a teen's posting to a social networking site.
MySpace would not comment on the New Jersey investigation, but the company has a team that reviews its network for inappropriate images. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children tipped off a state task force, which alerted the Passaic County Sheriff's Office.
The office investigated and discovered the Clifton resident had posted the "very explicit" photos of herself, sheriff's spokesman Bill Maer said Thursday.
"We consider this case a wake-up call to parents," Maer said. The girl posted the photos because "she wanted her boyfriend to see them," he said.
Investigators are looking at individuals who "knowingly" committed a crime, he said, declining to comment further because the case is still being investigated.
The teen, whose name has not been released because of her age, was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography. She was released to her mother's custody.
If convicted of the distribution charge, she would be forced to register with the state as a sex offender under Megan's Law, said state Attorney General Anne Milgram. She also could face up to 17 years in jail, though such a stiff sentence is unlikely.
The original idea behind Megan's Law was to prevent creepy adults from having unfettered access to children. We wanted to prevent molestation.
Unfortunately, lots of things constitute a "sexual offense" these days, from actual molestation to horseplay to hugging. Even consensual sex between, say, an 18-year-old and a 15-year-old can result in a lifetime branding as a sexual offender, complete with all the restrictions that label requires.
I'm not championing the cause of people who rape and molest children. But being branded a sex offender is worse than being a murderer. At least, when the murderer completes his sentence, that's it.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Great post at Flopping Aces--complete with charts--showing how the Democrats are responsible for the current financial mess.
You can't be in charge of the purse strings (all spending bills originate in the House) and still blame the president for your bad decisions.
That's the argument Barney Frank made to call Justice Antonin Scalia a homophobe.
The Democratic lawmaker, who is gay, was discussing gay marriage and his expectation that the high court would some day be called upon to decide whether the Constitution allows the federal government to deny recognition to same-sex marriages.
"I wouldn't want it to go to the United States Supreme Court now because that homophobe Antonin Scalia has too many votes on this current Court," said Frank...
Scalia dissented from the Court's ruling in 2003 that struck down state laws banning consensual sodomy. He has complained about judges, rather than elected officials, deciding questions of morality about which the Constitution is silent.
Controversial topics like gay rights and abortion should not be in the hands of judges, he has said, calling on people to persuade their legislatures or amend the Constitution.
Like a lot of liberals, Frank is happy when five justices make decisions he agrees with, but unhappy when five justices do not. The Founding Fathers created the constitutional amendment system to ensure that changes to our government were acceptable to most people. Unlike those who agree with judicial fiat, strict constructionists understand that altering law at whim hurts all Americans.
UPDATE: Ann Althouse takes apart Frank's "analysis."
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Allahpundit has a post up about the Facebook page devoted to those who think the government stimulus should include forgiveness of student loans.
I seem to remember joking about this at the height of the stimulus debate. I have about $70k (yes, that's a small mortgage) that could use some Obama lovin'.
President Barack Obama just finished speaking at a White House roundtable on clean energy efficiency attended by Neal Verfuerth, Orion president and chief executive. Obama saluted Orion...
All terrific press for Orion, except that Obama kept pronouncing the company’s name wrong, calling it OAR-ee-on.
H/T: PowerLine, which included this video:
Posted by sharon at 3:24 PM
Interesting article on attempts to move conservative ideas beyond conservative circles.
(Conor) Friedersdorf had a different idea in mind. "I’m not sure another Buckley’s what we really need," he wrote. "Instead, I’d prefer another Tom Wolfe, or better yet a dozen. As his generation’s conservative commentators railed against The Great Society, insisting its urban anti-poverty programs encouraged radicalism, bred dependence on the welfare state, and ignored the root causes of unemployment, Mr. Wolfe did something different: reporting." Wolfe had gone to the conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein’s cocktail party, watched Park Avenue’s finest flatter themselves by sharing hors d’oeurves with Black Panthers, and wrote about it in scathing detail, first in New York magazine—the cover featured three white socialites in glittery cocktail dresses with raised fists—and later in Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers. In doing so, Friedersdorf believed, Wolfe had made a far stronger case for conservatism than the collected works of L. Brent Bozell. And Wolfe hadn’t had any need to work within the confines of a conservative shadow institution; writing in New York and Esquire, he had reached and potentially persuaded an audience that didn’t subscribe to Buckley’s National Review. In sum, Friedersdorf wrote, "the right must conclude that we’re better off joining the journalistic project than trying to discredit it."
Friedersdorf is neither the first nor only person to advocate for conservatives to leave the safe havens of conservative publications and think tanks to the outside world, but the idea is still true. Conservatives rail about liberal reporters, but they eschew jobs at newspapers and television stations for other careers.
The fact is, journalism will probably never be a bastion of conservativism, no matter how many moonbats argue about corporate ownership and manufactured consent. The sort of people who want to work in the news business approach life from a different viewpoint than, say, a Brent Bozell or Charles Krauthammer. But there are enough conservatives to write news in such a way that conservative views get a fair hearing.
I'm not proposing that conservatives suddenly start slanting news reporting to the right, but simply to ensure that both the successes of conservatism and the failures of liberalism get more airplay. Yes, it's very difficult to argue against housing subsidies when the other side constantly portrays all homeless as hapless victims unable to help themselves. But it's more effective to show how housing subsidies create generational governmental dependence and stifle freedom by showing those escaping those situations, as well as the liberals eager to keep people dependent because they are "helping the poor."
These are stories that need to be published in mainstream organizations, where independents and those in the mushy middle will have a chance to have their minds changed.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Leave it to idiots like Jesse Taylor to bash Ann Althouse for having the temerity to defend herself against leftwing slanders.
The tempest in a nutshell: Ezra Klein not-so-subtely accused Althouse commenters (and, by extension Ann herself) of anti-semitism because approximately commenter on her blog said something that could be interpreted as anti-semitic (my first reaction was that the commenter was being snarky, but perhaps I'm not *sensitive* enough). Althouse jumped on him with both feet, and that brought in sleezeballs like Jesse Taylor to Klein's defense.
I would never argue that the sort of blog you write tends to attract certain like-minded people. But the larger your audience, the greater the diversity of your readership. Pick a blog like Instapundit or Patterico and you will find as many differing opinions as there are commenters (of course, Pandagon long ago abandoned the idea that diverse opinions make for better informed readers by banning anyone not a mind-numbed robot and by requiring registration--and probably a blood sample and thumbprint--to comment there). The point of having comments on a blog is to stir debate and give viewpoints a chance to stand or fail on their own merits.
Nonetheless, a blog owner doesn't endorse every comment made any more than a political candidate endorses the views of every person who votes for him or her. That's why I tend to distinguish between posters and commenters when I discuss other people's blogs. And, to be fair, Klein didn't say that Althouse was an anti-semite. But by stating that "a lot" of her commenters were anti-semites, you get the impression that she must be saying something they agree with and that she approves of their comments.
That's not the case, as Legal Insurrection notes. And let's face it. We all get crank commenters and different blogs deal with those cases differently. Personally, I don't care if someone disagrees with me; just don't lie about my opinions, particularly when I've spent post after post articulating them.
But of course, it would require intellectual honesty on Jesse Taylor's part to actually note that commenters' opinions don't belong to the blog owner, and that sunlight is the best disinfectant. But intellectual honesty is something in very short supply at Pandagon.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
60 Minutes Ask’s Obama - “Are You Punch Drunk?”
We tried to tell them that Obama was woefully inexperienced and unprepared for the presidency, but they were all caught up in HopeNChange.
Here is a Hot Air post about Obama getting lost in his teleprompter.
Interesting post at Echidne of the Snakes titled The Insoluble Problem of The Rights of People With The Most Severe Mental Illness.
I would bet that almost every family in America has some experience with mental illness, either personally (oneself) or with family members. Currently, our system extends the same right to choose to every adult, including the mentally ill. The problem comes in when the mentally ill can't (or won't) make the best choices.
It's tough for family members to accept that the right to choose includes the right to make bad or irrational choices. These situations are painful, and not always in the best interest of the persons involved.
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez said on Sunday his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama was at best an "ignoramus" for saying the socialist leader exported terrorism and obstructed progress in Latin America.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I'm starting a new category: "Can you imagine what the Left would say if George W. Bush had said this?"
This story fits the new category.
The first appearance by a sitting president on "The Tonight Show" may well end up being the last.
President Obama, in his taping with Jay Leno Thursday afternoon, attempted to yuk it up with the funnyman, and ended up insulting the disabled.
Towards the end of his approximately 40-minute appearance, the president talked about how he's gotten better at bowling and has been practicing in the White House bowling alley.
He bowled a 129, the president said.
"That's very good, Mr. President," Leno said sarcastically.
It's "like the Special Olympics or something," the president said.
Look, this really isn't a terrible gaffe. Not like giving the British PM a bunch of DVDs that won't work on his player. But let's face it: sites like Dumbaware Liberal would have the video up and running if George W. Bush had said this. Me? I just look at it as a stupid thing said by a human being...even if he has been treated like the Obamessiah.
Posted by sharon at 9:56 PM
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Obama Received a $101,332 Bonus from AIG
The two biggest recipients? Democrats Chris Dodd and Barack Obama.
Any wonder the White House is downplaying the AIG mess as "a distraction"? Or that POTUS is calling Republicans hypocrites for noting who received money from AIG? Seems like "hypocrite" does apply to someone...but not Republicans.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Having an abortion was easier than giving the baby up for adoption.
Duh. Doing the right thing is frequently more difficult.
I've known several women who have given babies up for adoption. It's extremely painful, and it's a pain that doesn't go away in a few weeks or months. That's because, unlike after an abortion, you can't tell yourself that "it" wasn't a baby, that "it" was just a clump of cells. Once you've spent nine months with someone, you stay kinda attached to him or her.
The only good point made in the linked post is that there needs to be more comprehensive help for birth mothers. I agree with that. The birth mothers I know dealt with their adoptions in a variety of ways, mostly constructive (it doesn't sound like the woman linked has done that very well). Some are religious, others are not. But regardless, we need to help women more and longer after adoptions than what is currently done. The fact is, adoption is a much harder choice to make than having a "20-minute procedure." We should treat it with more compassion and understanding than we currently do.
For the past two years, several hundred left-leaning bloggers, political reporters, magazine writers, policy wonks and academics have talked stories and compared notes in an off-the-record online meeting space called JournoList.
Proof of a vast liberal media conspiracy?
Not at all, says Ezra Klein, the 24-year-old American Prospect blogging wunderkind who formed JournoList in February 2007. “Basically,” he says, “it’s just a list where journalists and policy wonks can discuss issues freely.”
Those participating use the online conversations for research for their own pieces.
“It’s sort of a chance to float ideas and kind of toss them around, back and forth, and determine if they have any value,” said New Republic associate editor Eve Fairbanks, “and get people’s input on them before you put them on a blog.”
Indeed, the advantage of JList, members say, is that it provides a unique forum for getting in touch with historians and policy people who provide journalists with a knowledge base for articles and blog posts.
Yglesias, who writes an eponymous blog hosted by the Center for American Progress, noted that “the combined membership has tentacles of knowledge that reach everywhere,” adding that “you can toss out a question about Japan or whatever and get some different points of view.”
Alterman said it’s important that there are “people with genuine expertise” on the list.
“For me, it’s enormously useful because I don’t like to spend my time reading blogs and reading up-to-the-minute political minutia,” he said. “This list allows me to make sure I’m not missing anything important.”
In other words, the listserv is used to chew the fat, get supporting information and bounce ideas off other (receptive) professionals. Honestly, there's nothing wrong with any of this. People do this professionally all the time, usually over a mug of beer at the local dive.
What is a bit disturbing is the private, secretive way this is set up. Conservatives don't have anything nearly so organized (frankly, there doesn't seem to be much that conservatives have got well organized), but clearly they need to. Still, the fact that JournoList exists provides more proof that the "leftwing conspiracy," for better or worse, does exist. It also explains why certain memes seem to circulate so quickly through the leftosphere.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) on Monday night floated the idea of taxing American International Group (AIG: 0.95, 0.1699, 21.78%) bonus recipients so the government could recoup some or all of the $450 million the company is paying to employees in its financial products unit. Within hours, the idea spread to both houses of Congress, with lawmakers proposing an AIG bonus tax.
While the Senate was constructing the $787 billion stimulus last month, Dodd added an executive-compensation restriction to the bill. The provision, now called “the Dodd Amendment” by the Obama Administration provides an “exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009” -- which exempts the very AIG bonuses Dodd and others are now seeking to tax...
Separately, Sen. Dodd was AIG’s largest single recipient of campaign donations during the 2008 election cycle with $103,100, according to opensecrets.org. Also, one of AIG Financial Products’ largest offices is based in Connecticut.
Maybe someone should have read the bill before voting for it.
Monday, March 16, 2009
The buzz among journalists is that President Obama will not attend the annual Gridiron dinner, making him the first president not to attend since Grover Cleveland.
Apparently, the Obamas will be at Camp David for the children's spring break. And we all know how nothing interferes with spring break.
The official line from the Gridiron Club — a society of Washington reporters, columnists, and bureau chiefs — is, “We understand.”
But some Gridiron veterans make clear they don’t understand. Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page said, “People feel uncommonly saddened, miffed and burned.
“I don’t think he understands the implications of not coming to the club in the first year. It’s not your ordinary state dinner. I think it would be helpful for him and his relations with the Washington establishment to come to the club.”
One can only hope this will be an eye-opening event for the press.
After nine years, the National Association of Rocketry has won its lawsuit against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, which had attempted to classify rocket motor propellant as an explosive.
This case is one of those niche areas that affects a relatively small number of people (model rocket enthusiasts), but is exemplary of the gross abuse of power the federal government often displays. The BATF was attempting to regulate ammonium perchlorate composite propellant ("APCP"), the primary ingredient of model rocket motors, as an explosive. Such a move effectively shut down the hobby, since acquiring the appropriate waivers was difficult and time consuming.
The fact is that APCP is not an explosive, certainly not in the same way that, say, gasoline is. This is a victory not just for hobbyists, but for everyone who opposes abusive government over regulation.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Some blogs provide so much fodder for other bloggers that it's nearly too easy to lampoon them. Such is the site Delaware Liberal. At one time I actually found them to be interesting, but that was before one of their regular bloggers suggested rounding up and shooting Republicans.
Since then, I've become increasingly skeptical of their claims to either thought or sanity. Take this post by the usually delusional Pandora. Pandora is scared--really, really scared--because lots of people (almost half!) didn't want Barack Obama to be president, and a large segment of that population isn't rolling over and allowing Teh One to wreck the country without a fight. In short, she's really, really scared because there are critics of the Obama administration, and she's sure that some of them want to kill the president.
What I’m dismissing is this groups (sic) attempt to wrap themselves in the cloak of these rights and liberties and claim validation for an agenda whose sole purpose is ridding the country of Obama.
What terrorist organization is Pandora referring to? Why, that well-known terrorist group known as Glenn Beck supporters. What, you never heard of this terrorist group? That must be a real oversight, because they advocate certain shocking and horrific ideas:
1. America is good.
2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.
3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.
4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.
5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.
6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.
7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.
8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.
9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.
I know. I know! These are truly horrible and stunning things to admit in the open that you might believe. Worse yet, these people actually think they have a right to protest the direction that Barack Obama and the Democrats might take us! Can you imagine? What awful things to advocate! Everyone knows that dissent is unpatriotic. Particularly when it is against a Democratic administration.
The Dumbaware Libs are obsessed with Glenn Beck and his We Surround Them campaign. In fact,the only thing that, seemingly, frightens them more than Glenn Beck and people who disagree with Teh One are gun owners (because the only gun owners they recognize are the ones who make newspaper headlines, not the millions of people who don't go on shooting rampages).
Keep in mind that these same people dismissed the assassination fantasies of the Left over the last eight years. They shrug at the film that muses on the death of President Bush. In their eyes, it's perfectly reasonable for such creative protests to be made.
But Barack Obama? That's a different story. We weren't supposed to take it seriously when liberal talk radio hosts joke about killing a Republican president. But let Rush Limbaugh say he "wants Obama to fail," and there are talks of treason.
The Dumbaware Liberal crowd has argued conservatives have no right to complain about spiralling deficits and fiscal irresponsibility by Democrats, since the GOP blew money over the last eight years. If that argument is permissible, then I think liberals should be enjoined from being "concerned" about dissent and protest against Teh One, since they weren't the least bit worried over the excesses shown by the Left over the last eight years.
Once upon a time, columnist Kathleen Parker was a conservative. I say "was" because about the time John McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running mate, Parker turned into a latte-sipping blue blood who preferred subjecting Americans to four years of Barack Obama to listening to Palin's folksy accent.
Now, it seems, Parker is taking up the cause of the liberal media, by telling us that everyone who isn't a card-carrying member of the press is ignorant and shouldn't criticize the MSM.
The biggest challenge facing America's struggling newspaper industry may not be the high cost of newsprint or lost ad revenue, but ignorance stoked by drive-by punditry.
Yes, Dittoheads, you heard it right.
Drive-by pundits, to spin off of Rush Limbaugh's "drive-by media," are non-journalists who have been demonizing the media for the past 20 years or so and who blame the current news crisis on bias.
There is surely room for media criticism, and a few bad actors in recent years have badly frayed public trust. And, yes, some newspapers are more liberal than their readership and do a lousy job of concealing it.
But the greater truth is that newspaper reporters, editors and institutions are responsible for the boots-on-the-ground grub work that produces the news stories and performs the government watchdog role so crucial to a democratic republic.
Unfortunately, the chorus of media bashing from certain quarters has succeeded in convincing many Americans that they don't need newspapers. The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press recently found that fewer than half of Americans -- 43 percent -- say that losing their local newspaper would hurt civic life in their community "a lot." Only 33 percent say they would miss the local paper if it were no longer available.
In Parker's view, it's not that newspapers have become irrelevant to most people or insulting to their readers. It's that "ignorant" people pointed out these inconvenient facts.
Look. I understand that Parker is probably bitter about the fast-approaching demise of large newspapers. Like journalists and the ones they love everywhere, Parker has probably seen more than a few colleagues take buyouts or get laid off. At my own beloved Fort Worth Star-Telegram, about 10% of the workforce was just laid off, with more cuts to follow.
But Parker is wrong to blame the messengers for the demise of newspapers and the lousy reputation journalists enjoy among the general population. The blame rests not with Rush Limbaugh, the Media Research Center, or bloggers. It rests with publishers who made bad business decisions. It rests with editors and reporters who were not responsive to the needs and complains of readers. And it rests with technological changes that have altered the way we get news.
Back when I entered journalism in the 1980s, there were plenty of news outlets and student journalists wanted to be more than mere reporters of news. They saw themselves as shapers of public opinion. This attitude led to all sorts of discussions about framing issues and events in ways that were designed to change the way people saw and felt about events. This is why newspapers frequently printed lousy pictures of Ronald Reagan or reported ad nauseam about Dan Quayles gaffes. It's why acid rain and (now) global warming were reported as facts when scientists were still questioning the data. And it's why, for instance, when journalists distorted stories, they often ended up being the stories themselves.
This isn't even bringing up "journalists" like Janet Cooke and Jayson Blair, who damaged the reputations of journalists everywhere by lying and falsifying information in their stories--sometimes making it all up.
And even when journalists did important reporting, such as the Pulitzer Prize-winning stories by Star-Telegram reporter Mark Thompson on problems with Bell helicopters, the insensitivity to readers and their concerns (and sometimes their livelihoods) causes readers to look elsewhere for their information.
I've said previously that I don't think newspapers will go away entirely. There will always be a need for local coverage of school board meetings and zoning changes. But much of what passes for journalism today does not qualify as either necessary or important for most folks in their busy lives. That's not Rush Limbaugh's fault. It's not Brent Bozell's fault. And it isn't my fault. That's just the way it is.
Chuck sent this excellent article on the corruption of relativism on society.
Once people accept that there is no absolute truth, anything is possible, from the Constitution to the the Final Solution. If we don't believe that there are immutable truths, then we can't argue that certain things are wrong simply because they are.
Friday, March 13, 2009
I'm really sick and tired of smug feminists declaring how they just knew Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston wouldn't get married and that it was those mean ol' Republicans using Bristol as a campaign tactic that forced the issue in the first place.
Um, let's go for a reality check.
The reason anyone knew that Bristol Palin was pregnant in the first place was because leftwingers went nuts trying to find dirt on Sarah Palin. The best they could come up with was the luny theory that Bristol was actually the mother of Palin's (then) five-month-old son. Foolishly, the Palins thought that if they admitted Bristol was currently pregnant, the idiotic rumors regarding Trig would go away. Now, whether that was the smartest strategy is debatable, but let's not kid ourselves about why Bristol Palin's pregnancy was a big deal.
Left unmentioned: The fact that Cramer was an Obama supporter. Oh, and the fact that Stewart’s chief criticism of CNBC, that it could have spared the public an economic catastrophe by investigating and exposing Wall Street’s reckless hyperleveraging, applies to 99.99% of the Obama-adoring media. Cramer’s taking the brunt of it here not for his shady admissions about how to game the market — that’s ancient history — but because, like Treacher says, he had the gall to turn on The One publicly.
At least Cramer hasn't had his legal records rifled through yet...
No, Amanda isn't getting married. Why would anyone want to marry her? Since she considers every norm of adult life to be another plot of Teh Patriarchy, I can't believe that there's more than a couple of winos in Austin who would be interested in standing up in front of a transgendered priest with her.
No, this is about the upcoming nuptials of Jessica "Let's take a look at those breasts" Valenti. Valenti became famous for being one of the women bloggers willing to take a photo with the Groper-in-Chief Bill Clinton (and stand in front of him, no less). I got into a discussion of this at Echidne's site, way back when, and was fascinated to find that to the Valenti defenders, giving blowjobs to the president and ignoring sexual harassment were perfectly acceptable as long as the POTUS promised to keep abortion available to every menstruating third grader. That they saw no hypocrisy in this position made it even more astonishing.
Now, Valenti has succumbed to patriarchal oppression and decided to get married. To a man. But not without having a lot of angst about...the fact that same sex couples can't be oppressed by Teh Patriarchy as well.
Andrew and I discussed not getting married until everyone could, and we think that's an understandable choice. Instead, we're trying use our impending marriage as a pro-active way to talk about same sex marriage among our friends and family, and being mindful of the inequity in every step our process. (For example, in our engagement announcement we asked anyone considering getting us a gift to instead donate to an organization fighting for same sex marriage rights; we're planning on saying something about it as part of our ceremony; and we've taken the advice of several commenters and will have cards indicating we've made a donation to said orgs instead of favors.)
Because a wedding should be a political statement, after all. It's too bad Valenti isn't printing up cards and asking for donations for, say, Juanita Broaddrick or, perhaps, a women's shelter for rape victims. Maybe she could ask for donations for a self-help group for those oppressed by men and tight sweaters. Or something.
But having lived through the "It's only a pattern on a shirt" kerfuffle, I'm not the least bit surprised that pucker-faced feminists like Amanda are now, well, pucker-faced that others are having a good laugh at Valenti's starry-eyed embrace of Teh Patriarchy. It's hard watching feminists who regularly excoriate marriage as oppression and slavery argue in favor of the institution without a double gin and tonic in one hand. How does Amanda even write things like this?
But this is an interesting double bind---there’s a lot of pressure on women to get married, but as soon as you start to live up to that cultural expectation, you are shamed for thinking that you deserve the honor of getting married, and now it seems that showing even the slightest bit of interest in your own nuptials makes you a Bridezilla. But showing no interest at all would make you a heartless feminazi. Femininity is the overarching double bind. If you reject some requirement of it, you are a transgressor of gender norms, and that incurs people’s wrath. But if you live up to any kind of standard of femininity, then you’re a target for mockery and shaming, as well, because caring about feminine things makes you a shallow bimbo.
Um, no. The mocking is for people who have derided marriage as slavery and then decided that they, too, would like to be slaves. But don't you dare shame them for it!
Amanda gets particularly incensed at Ace of Spades for having the temerity to point out Valenti's hypocrisy. From Ace:
Everyone who believes that she was seriously considering delaying marriage until “everyone could,” and believes she’s looking at her wedding as a “pro-active way to talk about same sex marriage among our friends and family,” rather than as Princess’ Special Day, please raise your hand.
And Amanda's completely twisted take on that sentence:
Ace of Spades comes right out and pretty much states that women, by definition, are shallow pieces of shit who don’t care about anything but showing off. Or that’s the conclusion I get from this. His only reason to believe that Jessica must be lying about her intentions is that she’s a woman, and all women want the same thing, and that’s to have Princess’ Special Day. I fail to see how this isn’t pure misogyny. All women are shallow bimbos who want to be tantrum-throwing Bridezillas, and women who don’t want that are just lying. I thought I was a cynic, but I have nothing on this sort of bleak view of humanity.
Of course, the reason Ace thinks Valenti is lying about her intention to turn her own wedding into a political statement about same sex marriage is that a person would be batshit crazy and completely tasteless to do such a thing, subjecting 200 of your closest friends and family to two hours of liberal whinging and then expecting a nice
It's often funny watching the lemon-sucking feminists argue about how horrible men are (both Amanda and her commenters make this statement in the comments thread to the post), then race to find one who will marry them. It's not that wanting to get married is a rotten thing. What's rotten is the hypocritical and self-righteous way Valenti and others behave as though their weddings--complete with smug lectures on favorite causes--are somehow morally superior to the Wedding Industry events they revile. Maybe if these "nonjudgmental" types were a little less, er, judgmental, they wouldn't get mocked so badly.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
More than one out of every five dollars of the $126 million Massachusetts is receiving in earmarks from a $410 billion federal spending package is going to help preserve the legacy of the Kennedys.
Pandagon Watch: With Democrats Running the Government, Why Are Pandagon's Panty Sniffers Obsessed with Michael Steele?
It's no secret that Pandagon hates all things Republican, but particularly black Republicans. That's why you could see the blood shooting out of Jesse Taylor's eyes when Michael Steele was named chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Like most liberals, Taylor's idea of a good put-down is to essentially call Steele a house negro (like we've never heard that one before), because everybody knows that no real black man would be
independent enough to be a Republican. With so much creativity at work, why doesn't Taylor just call Steele an Oreo and get it overwith?
I mean, what's up with all the posts on Michael Steele (and that's just today)? Can the Pandagon "writers" not find another topic to cover (well, Michael Steele and The Watchmen). I mean, surely there's some news about those in charge of the government worth discussing.
Now, come on. Surely even Taylor or Amanda Marcotte could find something about Obama's foibles to write about. Maybe it could be his flip-flopping on earmarks? Or the fact that he's spending too much time marketing Teh One to run the government (and other people are noticing)? Perhaps they could take time out of Michael Steele Watch to discuss Obama's appointment problems. But, then again, that would probably take away from the time these bozos spend locking down their site ("Registration is now required!"). I'd say the behavior was disappointing if it weren't so typical.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
If you can't win the election, post the other guy's donor credit card numbers on the internet.
That's the only explanation I have for the convenient amnesia on display by whackjobs on the Left. Ok, maybe it's only Delaware that's filled with idiots and jackasses who say things like:
Pandora: The 2000 election was a very sore spot, Sharon, but hardly comparable. But allow me to point out that liberals didn’t form cells or promote secession.
I’ll also point out that everyone came together over 9/11.
Really? They weren't calling for secession? Well, I guess this is ok with Pandora:
But did they want President Bush to succeed? Well, not exactly.
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, just minutes before learning of the terrorist attacks on America, Democratic strategist James Carville was hoping for President Bush to fail, telling a group of Washington reporters: "I certainly hope he doesn't succeed."
Hmm. That certainly sounds like failure. And on the morning of September 11, 2001, too. Of course, Carville is pissed that the story is out now, and has been quick to argue that he retracted his statement...after the airplanes crashed into the WTC.
Now, that was pretty amazing, don't you think? I mean, all it took was a terrorist attack for liberals--yes, Delaware Dem, high profile Democrats--to decide they didn't want President Bush to fail. But don't worry. It didn't take long for liberals to start wanting President Bush to fail again. Old habits die hard.
I was floored that there was a human being stupid enough to claim, as Pandora and the other Dumbaware Liberals claimed, that they were all highly supportive of President Bush when he was
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
The vast new left-wing conspiracy sets its tone every morning at 8:45 a.m., when officials from more than 20 labor, environmental and other Democratic-leaning groups dial into a private conference call hosted by two left-leaning Washington organizations.
The “8:45 A.M. call,” as it’s referred to by members, began three weeks ago, and it marks a new level in coordination by the White House’s allies at a time when the conservative opposition is struggling for a toe-hold and major agenda items like health care reform appear closer than ever to passage.
The call has helped attempts to link the Republican Party to radio host Rush Limbaugh, and has served as the launching ground for attacks on critics of Obama’s policy proposals. It springs from a recognition of what was lacking in the Clinton years, said Jennifer Palmieri, the senior vice president for communications at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, one of the groups hosting the call.
We've heard the Left gritch and moan for 20 years about the vast rightwing conspiracy. Now we have an actual coordinated effort from the Left to ensure their talking points are repeated. And repeated. And repeated.
Of course, this really is unsurprising, given our Teleprompter president, who uses a technological cheatsheet to stay on point and not actually answer legitimate questions. And, quite frankly, it makes sense for a president to employ as many "friends" as possible to reinforce his message. Especially when you're killing more jobs.
Allahpundit has more.
"If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions."
--James Madison, letter to Edmund Pendleton, 21 January 1792
Someone needs to tell the president and Congress.
Sunday, March 08, 2009
That neither Rush Limbaugh nor David Frum speak for me as a conservative.
I know that must come as a shock to guys like Mike G., who thinks anyone who supports conservative principles must genuflect at the Rush altar. But, believe it or not, I've disagreed with Rush about things and I've agreed with him on others. And David Frum is the same way.
I've actually agreed with Frum that conservatism needs a makeover, complete with new ideas and ways of approaching voters, such as Latinos, who have lots of values in common with us but who see the GOP as anti-Hispanic. But when Frum lobs childish sneers at Rush and downplays the seriousness of Bill Clinton's impeachment, then I have to declare that he doesn't speak for me.
Patterico notes that Frum's Newsweek piece says,
With his private plane and his cigars, his history of drug dependency and his personal bulk, not to mention his tangled marital history, Rush is a walking stereotype of self-indulgence—exactly the image that Barack Obama most wants to affix to our philosophy and our party.
Limbaugh's personal life and problems are not the issue. No party that supported Mr. Blow Jobs in the Oval Office and Mr. "I used a little blow" has room to complain about another man being fat, divorced, or having drug addiction problems. But when supposed conservatives elevate these ridiculous taunts to the same level as policy debates, it gives a legitimacy to those sneers that they don't deserve.
What liberals hate about Rush Limbaugh isn't that he's fat, had multiple divorces, or was addicted to Oxycontin. What they hate about Limbaugh is that he is effective. This is why when a conservative makes an argument that Limbaugh has made, that person is called a "dittohead" (as a perjorative), whether that person actually heard Limbaugh say the same thing or not. I listen to Rush on a regular basis, but I also listen to lots of other shows, many of which disagree with Limbaugh on a variety of issues. None of them speaks for me 100%.
But it's hard to back any of Frum's argument when he calls Bill Clinton's impeachment an event that makes him feel "silly" for supporting it. What is silly about supporting impeachment for a man who lied under oath, obstructed justice, abused his power and tried to punish those with whom he disagreed? For the liberals who argue that George W. Bush deserved impeachment, one can at least counter that his behavior was driven by national security. Clinton's were driven by his own ego and libido.
When Rush Limbaugh makes points with which I agree, I can say so. And the same goes for David Frum. But the Democrat tactic of elevating Limbaugh to GOP spokesman offends more than just uninformed moderates and independents. It offends me, as well.
Saturday, March 07, 2009
Friday, March 06, 2009
You’ve heard all about earmarks. They’re Really Bad Things that congresscritters do.
Actually, they’re the reason they get elected and re-elected. Earmarks, or pork, or whatever you want to call it is nothing more than what our elected representatives have done for decades. In fact, it’s pretty much the reason we send ‘em to Washington: to bring back stuff for their districts and states. Go to any Rotary Club meeting, or Chamber of Commerce where the legislators are in attendance and you’ll hear all about what s/he has brought home. That’s how they grade ‘em — by how much federal money they directed to the home boys.
I don't know what goes on at the Rotary Club meetings, but I'm pretty sure that the Constitution doesn't say anything at all about your right to swipe some other taxpayer's money for your pet project. But the real point of this
UPDATE: Here is another example of whackjobbery from the same source:
Wanna know what I think? I think that 1) the so-called experts have no fucking idea what they’re talking about and 2) the investors are a buncha kids who are playing high-stakes games of chicken with money.
That’s a pretty ugly thing to do, really. It messes with people’s livelihoods. You and I, and the managers of most of our retirement funds, generally take pretty good care of our money. But when greedy sons of bitches are playing chicken with the money, it screws it up for everybody. You can’t be conservative enough in the stock market to stay ahead of the assholes who are out to make millions at the expense of everybody else.
Ah, the all important "they." The "Other." The greedy people who mess up the system for "the rest of us." Nevermind that most people have 401(k)s and/or mutual funds, making us all some of "they," because we, too, have a stake in the system. That would be too confusing to admit.
The problem? Well, it's capitalism, of course!
That’s the problem with unfettered capitalism. I have no problem with capitalism. Kinda like it, really. I have what I need, and a fair amount of what I want, even a few things I only think I want. Contrary to the depiction of liberals put out by the Supreme Leader of the GOP lately, I am not in favor of socialism, nor am I an unhappy liberal. I’m quite content.
Well, not really content.
The Ayatollah Limbaugh, for example, has god knows how many cars, because “I like nice cars,” along with five houses. He’s not married, he has no children. Just a cat. And a $35 million contract.
Far be it for me to say that he’s a greedy son of a bitch, but come on. Who needs all that?
Ok, so she's not a socialist. She's a communist.
But seriously. Why does Rush Limbaugh's pay depend upon what he needs? Why isn't it based on his abilities (which, actually, it is)? Does the "newswriter" rail against Hollywood actors or basketball players who make millions per year, as well?
Here's a tip for "Newswriter": the reason Rush Limbaugh makes millions while you're stuck answering the phones for 12 bucks an hour is that somebody thinks his talent is worth it. In other words, he brings in advertising rates (makes money!) for those stations that carry his program. And "Newswriter"? Not so much.
It's always amusing when someone wants to argue that Rush--or any other person making over $250k per year--doesn't "need" the money he earns, because these same people would be aghast at someone telling them to take a 50% pay cut because they don't "need" what they earn. The fact that Rush's talent is more valuable just shows that anyone with intelligence and ingenuity can succeed. But those who don't have it just sit back and whine.
Everybody knows that it really does matter where you went to college. If you have an Ivy League education, you will probably have more doors opened to you than if you went to an ag college.
This isn't to say you can't get a fine education at an ag college. But it's not an Ivy League school. Well, unless you're Keith Olbermann slamming Monica Goodling as a graduate of "Religious Lunatic University." Then, you get the Ann Coulter treatment.
And Ann squashes Keith flat. How do we know that? Because Olbermann drags out the whole we have the same degree crap when he's caught being an elitist, pompous jerk.
Well, truth be told, I, too, went to a satellite school of the University of Texas because it was cheaper and I paid for it myself. And here's Dirty Secret Number Two: I even went to a junior college for two years before transferring in to a U.T. school. And guess what, Keith? If I pull out my undergraduate degree (you know, the only one you've got), it says "University of Texas" on it, just like every U.T. alumnus. I don't have a qualifier on mine showing I didn't get it in Austin or anything like that.
But unlike you, Keith, I understand that, yes, there really is a difference in getting your degree from the University of Texas and getting it from UTEP, and so I never misrepresent my degree as being from U.T. Which, I suppose, is a step up from you, who, seemingly, can't differentiate between a degree that cost tens of thousands of dollars and one that cost a few thousand.
And even beyond this, as Ace points out, just because the other people don't laugh at you to your face doesn't mean they don't snicker about you behind your back.
Olbermann claims he's never heard other Cornell alums differentiate between the different colleges, and that they all believed themselves "equal."
No offense, Keith. You thought that because you were at the weaker, less-selective school. And you didn't hear it because people were just being nice.
Trust me, I heard a lot of this, and I didn't even go to a great school. But yeah, the people at the more-selective college did get annoyed when those from the less-selective colleges would claim to have come from our college. Like deliberately misstating which college they actually attended in the yearbook.
Petty, yes, but people are petty.
Again, I'm sure you, at the state ag school, thought you were all equals. The kids at the pricey, tony, more-selective Ivy private college didn't.
People who went to junior college, then transferred to Cornell would get the same degree, too, Keith, assuming that option is available. But I'm sure you wouldn't want those people telling everyone that their degrees were as good as yours, right? Because it really does matter--to you, at least--where people go to school.
Thursday, March 05, 2009
I really hate regifting as tacky and rude, but you have to wonder if that's what President Obama did when he gave British Prime Minister Gordon Brown 25 DVDs as a "thoughtful gift" exemplifying the "special relationship" between the United States and Great Britain.
For despite being leader of the world's most bountiful nation, President Obama handed over nothing more thought-provoking than 25 classic American films on DVD.
It was the equivalent of receiving a pair of socks from an unfamiliar aunt at Christmas - and a less-than-glowing affirmation of the UK-US bond.
Despite being a 'special collector's box set', any film buff could have picked up the movies from their local video store for just £250.
It is not clear what the Prime Minister - not believed to a great fan of cinema - thought about receiving the films.
Remember how outraged the Left was at what a clod George W. Bush was? How he lacked manners and was an embarrassment? Remember how the world will respect us because Teh One is so sophisticated?
Well, maybe the Muslim world likes Obama (or not), but the Anglosphere probably isn't impressed. But then, I'm sure Brown is too classy to complain about the uncouth behavior of Teh One.
Ok, I have no reason to believe that Teh One did something as cheap and tacky as regift a set of DVDs to the British Prime Minister, but given that so many on the Left argued about how electing Obama would improve our standing in the world, you have to wonder what possessed them to do something this vulgar.
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
No, I'm not making this up. Via Feministe:
Check out SWOP-USA for more information on events taking place today, namely a potluck dinner in NYC.
Because, you know, a potluck dinner is the perfect way to celebrate prostitution.
I can't help but compare this with Echidne's latest complaint about the Quiverfull Movement (the post is titled Today's Unfortunate Thought):
I'm not at all happy with the dogma of the Quiverfull movement. It explicitly denies women's equality and women's rights to their own bodies (which are seen as just on loan from god who wants women to have children) and it also ignores the population pressures on this planet. Why are all fundamentalists always about the total control of women?
Presumably, she'd have no problem whatsoever if the same women were selling their bodies to celebrate their, er, natural abilities. Or something.
Monday, March 02, 2009
From Victor Davis Hanson's latest column:
The cost of health care is spiraling out of control, and not just because the proverbial evil “they” (fill in the blank: pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, medical corporations, trial lawyers, etc.) charge too much. Such profit-mongering entities may well gouge us, owing to a lack of competition, fear of lawsuits, or government mandates and interference. Yet the larger culprit is, of course, we the people. The cost of our health care is soaring because, to be frank, that health care is usually very good, and it does things routinely that almost no one else in the world contemplates — such as providing 83-year-olds with heart-valve replacements, 78-year-olds with hip and knee replacements, and those who drink, smoke, and are chronically obese with drugs and weekly doctor visits...
If we wish to get health-care costs under control, then we should at least be honest with the American people and admit that we are all paying a collective fortune largely for three reasons: (1) to keep functioning into their 60s those who drank, smoked, and ate too much and in a past era would have passed on at 60; (2) to give us all an extra three to five years of mobility and functionality after we reach 75; (3) to fit us up with IVs, feeding tubes, and respirators so that in our last six months of life we can die in a rest home or among machines and specialists in a hospital rather than in our own home with a few morphine tablets for pain and a bowl of soup with a straw on the nightstand...
Again, health care is expensive because Americans, with some good reason, have decided that the ancient tragic view — we all age and break down, and pay for the sins of our 20s and 30s in our 50s and 60s — can at last be replaced by the therapeutic promise of vigor and health into our 80s.
Health care costs will be controlled under socialized medicine because that's the only way care can be provided for everyone. More money is spent on prenatal care, babies and children than on adults, because it is more cost-effective.
To put it another way, my father had a double bypass at 75, a move which gave him an extra six years of life. Under socialized medicine, it is unlikely he would have been given this life-saving procedure because he was "too old." Like my grandfather in England, he probably would have been told to go home and play with his grandchildren until he keeled over because he had lived long enough.
I don't think Americans will accept limitations on their care based on costs. Americans expect that if a medication or procedure is available, they can (and should be able to) get it. This sense of entitlement will leave Americans sorely disappointed when they are given a cane instead of a knee replacement at 60.
A 63-year-old attorney based in Lafayette, La., who asked not to be named, told ABCNews.com that she plans to cut back on her business to get her annual income under the quarter million mark should the Obama tax plan be passed by Congress and become law.
How dare they cut back their productivity!
Ron Kirk, nominated as U.S. Trade Representative in the Obama administration, owes an estimated $10,000 in back taxes from earlier in the decade and has agreed to make his payments, the Senate Finance Committee said Monday.
Democrats don't worry about raising taxes since they don't pay them.
Thanks to Chuck Serio, we learn that Indiana law professor Dawn Johnsen, President Obama's nominee to head the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, is "shocked" at her own words: that "involuntary pregnancy" is slavery.
During questioning by Sen. Arlen Specter, the professor professed to be “shocked” by my contention that she had once analogized pregnancy to involuntary servitude, a violation of the Thirteenth Amendment’s prohibition of slavery. I made this contention in a profile of Johnsen for the current (March 9) issue of National Review, which was posted on NRO on Monday.
I think the shock is on the other foot, for two reasons. First, Johnsen did make this jaw-dropping argument to the Supreme Court. And second, in her hearing testimony, she nevertheless flatly denied making a Thirteenth Amendment argument: “This is a brief that I filed arguing that the right to privacy protects, um, the right of women and their families to make these choices and that Roe v. Wade should be upheld, which is in 1989. I made no Thirteenth Amendment argument.”
But, as is usual for Democrats, Johnsen lied. She did, in fact, make a Thirteenth Amendment argument that actually giving birth to one's children constitutes slavery if one did not want to be pregnant but couldn't kill the baby before birth.
We've seen this argument all over the blogosphere (most notably, this nutjob, who makes exactly this argument longly and loudly wherever it goes). What's new here, of course, is that we haven't seen someone nominated for a high position make it.
Before getting to that, though, let’s set the stage. Here is what Johnsen argued in footnote 23 of the amicus brief she filed (as the head of the National Abortion Rights Action League) in the Supreme Court’s 1989 case Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, 492 U.S. 490 (1989) (No. 88-605):Statutes that curtail [a woman’s] abortion choice are disturbingly suggestive of involuntary servitude, prohibited by the Thirteenth Amendment, in that forced pregnancy requires a woman to provide continuous physical service to the fetus in order to further the state’s asserted interest.
This line of argument was not an aberration. It is consistent with a major theme of the brief, to wit, that abortion restrictions result in “forced pregnancy” and government “conscription” of the woman’s body for its own purposes. Thus, for example, Johnsen wrote elsewhere in the brief: “[The woman] is constantly aware for nine months that her body is not wholly her own: the state has conscripted her body for its own ends.” Consequently, she concluded, abortion restrictions “reduce pregnant women to no more than fetal containers.
Needless to say, this line of horse hockey has been difficult for Johnsen to defend, thus her assertion that she didn't make this argument. Unfortunately for her, no amount of "um"-ing makes up for the fact that she has, in fact, argued that constraints on abortion--any constraints, mind you--are comparable with slavery. And liberals wonder why we think they are extremists?
Sunday, March 01, 2009
Here's a chart I stole from Flopping Aces:
The markets have lost nearly 400 points just this week, for a total of 2,124.37 since Election Day. Of course, liberals are still blaming George W. Bush, but it's pretty hard to blame the former president when the markets dip dramatically every time Teh One opens his mouth.
Why are the markets so unhappy with Obama's proposals for "fixing" the recession? It's basic economics.
Back in high school, we learned that governments tax behaviors they want less of and give credits for behaviors they want to encourage. That's why there are rather heavy taxes on cigarettes and alcohol and tax deductions for mortgage interest, charitable giving and business research and development. That doesn't mean that there won't be people who smoke, drink, or speed (speeding tickets are municipal penalties for bad behavior), but these are voluntary taxes, easily avoided.
But now, Obama wants to eliminate home mortgage deductions for high-end earners and charitable deductions, moves that will punish not merely "the rich," but nonprofits (specifically churches) who depend on charitable giving.
It's no accident that Obama wants to cap the tax deductions for charitable giving. The only way to grow government is to increase dependence upon it. If he can starve churches and religious charities, dependence on government can grow. More importantly, limiting deductions will have unexpected results, just as Bill Clinton's luxury tax on yachts did, which actually hurt yacht builders.
Capping or eliminating upper income deductions are sure to harm not "the rich," but those who make their living selling to the rich. And capping charitable deductions will affect more than churches--although they would be hardest hit--but arts organizations and other nonprofits liberals love and think are worth government help.