Thursday, April 30, 2009

Misdemeanor Courts: A Waste of Taxpayer Money?


Swine Flu: Overreaction?

The reaction and overreaction to the swine flu is creating more panic and problems for Americans.

I'm all for sensible precautions--washing your hands, covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough, staying home if you are sick--but some responses are bordering on hysteria.

Closing Mayfest? Because Texas has 26 cases of swine flu? What's next? Mandatory surgical masks for everyone?

We're not talking the Great Influenza here. Instead, we're releasing thousands of students from school, who will invariably end up circulating in malls, libraries, movie theaters, and other public venues, spreading whatever germs--including swine flu--they may have. Is this really the best way to handle germs? I think not.

Political correctness seems to be affecting some of the reporting on swine flu. To call the child who died at a Houston hospital "a Texas toddler" would be like calling me a "West Virginia child" whenever I went to visit my grandparents. The child was Mexican. That's not a pejorative. It's a fact.

If I were a paranoid freak, I'd be concerned that President Obama will use the flu to round up all us right wing extremists just like another Democrat president/hero did. But I'm not paranoid.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Why Earlier Marriage Is Better

This post is simply so delightful that you must read it all. I'm speechless.


It's TAKS week here in Texas, so, here's the TAKS rap:

Thanks to Lone Star Times.

The Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills is our very own standardized test (gasp!) designed to figure out what the hell teachers are pouring into the minds of our children. Most years, there's a panic among the faculty when the students have to take the test. I suppose if you've been watching films for three weeks and doing word searches for a month, you might be concerned about how your students will do on a test.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Waterboarded 183 Times? Not Quite

Here's the truth.

A U.S. official with knowledge of the interrogation program told FOX News that the much-cited figure represents the number of times water was poured onto Mohammed's face -- not the number of times the CIA applied the simulated-drowning technique on the terror suspect. According to a 2007 Red Cross report, he was subjected a total of "five sessions of ill-treatment."

But 183 sounds so much more dramatic.

11th Circuit: Doctors Don't Trump State on Medicaid Care for Children With Disabilities


A federal appeals panel has declared that treating doctors don't have the final say in how much nursing care the state must provide children with disabilities under Medicaid.

Friday's ruling by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district judge's decision that had said the state must provide the amount of nursing care that a North Georgia girl's doctor said she needs.

The opinion is very short, but it does present an interesting argument vis a vis doctors and government health care. I expect we will see far more litigation in this arena in the future.

Arlen Specter: The Biggest Flip-Flopper of All

On Dana's excellent post at Common Sense Political Thought on Arlen Specter's defection to the Democratic Party, I wrote this:

I think Arlen Specter could give Barack Obama flip-flop lessons. He was a Democrat before he decided to run as a Republican in 1965. He won election for District Attorney in Philadelphia (I think) as a Republican, back when being a Republican actually meant not quite as much government as Democrats want. In other words, I think Specter is a Republican in the Richard Nixon sense of the term.

Specter has a lifetime rating of 44.47 from the American Conservative Union, and has a 60% rating from the ACLU, so, I think that's enough evidence that Specter isn't a conservative, and hasn't ever really been. He was fortunate to ride Ronald Reagan's coattails into the Senate, but has never been a consistent vote for anything, really. He's pro-choice, he voted for the war, for school vouchers, voted for the Porkapalooza, voted against oil and gas exploration incentives, and on and on.

I don't know if Specter can win as a Democrat in Pennsylvania. He's not far enough to the Left for many Democrats. His votes for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will hurt him there, and many might be quite skeptical of him. And I wouldn't be surprised to see a far left candidate run against him. Toomey might have a good chance in the general election under current circumstances.

Hot Air also has excellent coverage here, with the bottom line for Specter's decision being--what else?--self preservation.
He’d have happily run for re-election as a Republican if not for Toomey getting into the race and quickly jumping out to a 21-point lead. Specter tried to make it an open primary so that the left might rescue him but couldn’t, and Pennsylvania’s election laws prevented him from doing what Lieberman did to Lamont three years ago: In PA, if you compete in a primary and lose, you’re done. No independent candidacy. So his choice, essentially, was either to switch to an independent now and skip the primary or go the whole nine yards by becoming a Democrat, giving the left a presumptive filibuster-proof majority (once Franken is seated), and extracting whatever concessions he could from them in return, e.g. committee chairmanships, DNC fundraising, etc.

From Specter's perspective, it's a smart move. But, as I said in my comment, I'm not convinced Democrats are gonna embrace Specter. His votes are all over the map, so he isn't going to be a consistent "yes" vote for them. I'm sure there are those who will embrace him because he does have seniority, which counts in the bringing-home-the-pork category.

Some blame conservatives for Specter's defection, but the fact that conservatives expect Republicans not to cave on important issues is not trivial. If Specter is the sort of Republican we need to be a majority, I'm happy to be in the minority. Yes, I'd rather be right than popular.

There's also a part of me that wants the American electorate to experience the full Obama/Democrat Monty. Given that "change" was the order of the day in November, I'm anxious for those who wanted it to get a whole heapin' helpin'.

Monday, April 27, 2009

What Happens When There Are No More Doctors?

The New York Times is concerned that there aren't enough doctors for Obama's nationalized medicine plan.

To cope with the growing shortage, federal officials are considering several proposals. One would increase enrollment in medical schools and residency training programs. Another would encourage greater use of nurse practitioners and physician assistants. A third would expand the National Health Service Corps, which deploys doctors and nurses in rural areas and poor neighborhoods.

Here's a novel idea: make the medical profession more attractive through less red tape.

I've been to three different doctors this year for different things, but the conversations I've had with them all included concern for Obama's nationalized health care program. One doctor is thinking about cutting back his practice. Another is looking at retiring in the next couple of years. And the third said, simply, "By the time we're 80, health care is gonna suck. Hopefully, it won't be before then."

What is driving this concern? Terms like best practice, which can limit the options doctors have for treating illnesses. Best practice is just another term for "cheap," preventing doctors from exploring a variety of treatments. It means you could end up with an old drug because it's cost effective, as opposed to a new drug that treats your ailment better. You could have a cane instead of a knee replacement. Or a wheelchair instead of a hip replacement.

Americans expect more from their health care than this, which is why it is so expensive. But Obama's plans will limit what you can get. And what will happen when fewer and fewer people are interested in becoming doctors? Can you say "rationing"?

Swine Flu

It's the Republicans' fault. Even though Democrats have been in charge of spending for the last two years and they currently run the entire federal government.

When House Appropriations Committee chairman David Obey, the Wisconsin Democrat who has long championed investment in pandemic preparation, included roughly $900 million for that purpose in this year's emergency stimulus bill, he was ridiculed by conservative operatives and congressional Republicans.

Obey and other advocates for the spending argued, correctly, that a pandemic hitting in the midst of an economic downturn could turn a recession into something far worse -- with workers ordered to remain in their homes, workplaces shuttered to avoid the spread of disease, transportation systems grinding to a halt and demand for emergency services and public health interventions skyrocketing. Indeed, they suggested, pandemic preparation was essential to any responsible plan for renewing the U.S. economy.

But former White House political czar Karl Rove and key congressional Republicans -- led by Maine Senator Susan Collins -- aggressively attacked the notion that there was a connection between pandemic preparation and economic recovery.

Of course, the reality is different from propaganda like this piece. If pandemic preparation were so important to Democrats, they could have cut $900 million in pork projects to cover the costs. Maybe even a project or two that benefit Obey's son.

On top of this, there's little evidence money from the stimulus bill would have been spent soon enough to prevent the dozen deaths in the U.S. reported so far (btw, that would be $75,000,000 per life saved). And, as Don Surber notes, Democrats could put through an emergency appropriation to cover the swine flu emergencie.
An emergency appropriation could be made after the fact — as we do every disaster be it hurricanes, tornadoes or blizzards. Is he saying by not appropriating money for these certain disasters that Democrats favor hurricanes, tornadoes and blizzards?

Of course not.

This is just the plan of the Democrats running every branch of the federal government to shirk their responsibility and blame Republicans. Every problem, national emergency, natural disaster or downturn is going to be blamed on Republicans, even though they aren't in charge of anything. This White House has already proven that, when faced with difficulties, it is unwilling to solve problems. The main goal is to score political points.

UPDATE: Maybe if Obama had a Secretary of Health and Human Services, he wouldn't need to blame people who aren't in power.

UPDATE: Chuck Schumer opposed flu pandemic funding, too. And one person at Daily KOS is sane. Miracles abound!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Paul Begala Says We Executed Japanese for Waterboarding

Right here.

Problem is, we didn't.

This post is primarily to earmark the rebuttal, since I feel certain PITOR will be trying to use this in a waterboarding discussion elsewhere.

See Patterico, as well.

Witch Hunt

Apparently, our Flip-Flopper in Chief has flip-flopped again on the idea of a truth committee aimed at possible prosecution of Bush administration lawyers who offered analysis of interrogation methods.

As I said here, I believe that Barack Obama released these memos, and these particular memos, for political purposes. And it looks like I was right.

Sadly, the debate within the White House over releasing classified documents had little to do with national security. Instead, the argument rested solely on what political advantage could be gained.

A source familiar with White House views said Obama's advisers are further convinced that letting the public know exactly what the past administration sanctioned will undermine what they see as former vice president Richard B. Cheney's effort to "box Obama in" by claiming that the executive order heightened the risk of a terrorist attack.

The President was more concerned with winning a political debate with a former vice president than whether such information would compromise national security. In fact, as this story shows, the entire White House was more concerned with political fallout than they were with how our enemies might view such disclosures.

The problem with all this is that Obama's strategy backfired. Many people have asserted that the interrogation techniques yielded valuable information, and that other techniques had been tried and failed. And others noted that Congress members knew of the techniques and either approved or did not object to them. There were calls to have memos confirming this information released. And as the controversy built, the White House has looked increasingly out of control, thin-skinned and childish.

The White House also misread the public when it comes to the memos and interrogation of terrorists. Most Americans considered the release of these memos to endanger national security. And more Americans think the court system is too concerned with individual rights versus national security. If Obama thought releasing these memos would create more enthusiasm for his weakening of our security, he guessed wrong.

In certain respects, it isn't surprising that Obama seems to be stepping in the manure with each new day. Obama's inexperience at running any organization for a significant length of time means he is less prepared to anticipate problems and react with restraint. Worse, Obama's hubris makes him thin-skinned and unwilling to accept criticism or work with political opponents. Remember "I won," and his ridiculous attacks on Rush Limbaugh? Couple these with the recent report on the rise of right wing extremists (despite concerns about the report) and the childish but no less dangerous threat regarding health care and budget reconciliation, and you've got the makings not of a president but an immature and spoiled brat. What an embarrassment to American citizens.

More Democrat Civility and Bipartisanship, Part 3: Budget Reconciliation

As Allahpundit notes, Democrat civility and bipartisanship has a deadline: October 15.

It's been in the works for a while and now, according to senior Captiol Hill staffers, it's a done deal: The final budget resolution will include a "reconciliation instruction" for health care. That means the Democrats can pass health care reform with just fifty votes, instead of the sixty it takes to break a filibuster.

The deal was hatched late afternoon and last night, in a five-hour negotiating session at the office of Senate Majoriy Leader Harry Reid. A trio of White House officials were there: Rahm Emanuel, Peter Orszag, and Phil Schiliro. Also present, along with Reid, were House Budget Chairman John Spratt and Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad.

The reonciliation instruction specifies a date. That date, according to one congressional staffer, is October 15. (The original House reconciliation instruction had a late September deadline.)

We're nationalizing a huge portion of the American economy and you'd better like it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Supreme Court Decision We Can All Agree On

I agree wholeheartedly with the Supreme Court in its Arizona v. Gant decision, in which the SCOTUS says that

Police may search the passenger compartment of a vehicle incident to a recent occupant’s arrest only if it is reasonable to believethat the arrestee might access the vehicle at the time of the search or that the vehicle contains evidence of the offense of arrest.

There's simply no reason for police officers to search the compartment of a car just because a citizen is under arrest.

Most interestingly, the majority consisted of Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Paul Stevens and David Souter. So much for the idea that the justices on right and left can't agree on anything.

Interesting side note from Lone Star Times:
Interesting. The Surpeme Court says even if one is arrested, police cannot willy-nilly search his car. Meanwhile, the Texas State Senate wants to give police the right to randomly stop and harass law-abiding motorists under the rubric of “sobriety checkpoints” and wants to make it a crime to refuse to disclose your identity to a police officer even if you are not under arrest (”papers, please”).

Maybe the Supreme Court will someday rein in the Texas Senate.

Sounds like the Texas State Senate needs to read the Supreme Court's decision.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Quote of the Day

"To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it."

--Thomas Jefferson, letter to Joseph Milligan, 6 April 1816

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Not Right Wing Extremist Added to FBI Most Wanted List

We hear so much about right wing extremists--abortion doctor murderers, church shooters, etc.--but I wonder if we'll be hearing much about this.

A fugitive animal rights activist believed to be hiding outside the United States has become the first domestic terror suspect named to the FBI's list of "Most Wanted" terrorists.

Daniel Andreas San Diego, a 31-year-old computer specialist from Berkeley, Calif., is wanted for the 2003 bombings of two corporate offices in California.

At least it wasn't an abortion clinic. Then it would be a big deal.

Janeane Garofalo Supports Dissent...Sometimes

Thanks to Chuck!

Miss USA and Gay Marriage

Who knew the Miss USA pageant was actually a liberal pop quiz? And if you give the wrong answer, you lose.

Here's an interview:

Perez Hilton is a hateful moron. And Carrie Prejean was correct to answer the question as opposed to kissing Hilton's ass.

Which City Would You Sacrifice?

With the release of the Office of Legal Counsel memos on interrogation techniques, the Left have renewed their cry for war crimes trials (see here). Since the Position Expiration Date has passed, President Obama, too, seems eager to prosecute someone--anyone--for the "war crimes" of keeping America safe. But as Ed Morrissey wonders, who would he prosecute?

Obama can open the door to prosecutions, but who will he prosecute? He’ll find it difficult to go after the interrogators, who relied on some strange opinions from the normally-binding Office of Legal Counsel. The prosecution can try undermining that by claiming it as a Nuremberg defense, but this wasn’t Nazi Germany and the OLC exists to give this kind of legal direction. Interrogators relied on those interpretations in good faith.

That leaves George Tenet and the OLC attorneys, but they didn’t conduct the torture, and the OLC didn’t order the interrogations, either. They responded to a request from the CIA to opine on the legality of the procedures. Holder can prosecute Tenet, but then he’d also have to file charges against several members of Congress who were briefed on the procedures and never objected — including current Speaker Nancy Pelosi. If Tenet would get prosecuted for ordering the interrogation techniques, then Pelosi and others would have to get prosecuted for being accessories in not taking action to stop them.

Obama had it right in the first place. He made the decision to ban those procedures, and he should just keep looking forward. If those interpretations were flawed, and I’d agree that at least some of them were, they’ve been withdrawn.

The term "three ring circus" comes to mind here. If it weren't so disgusting, I'd support these war crimes trials just to watch Nancy Pelosi and other Congress people roasted on the spit.

There should be no prosecutions because there was no crime, which is precisely what the OLC was supposed to be about (i.e., providing analysis of U.S. statutes). But now, on a bright, sunny, safe day in April 2009, we can look back and convince ourselves that these techniques don't work. Except they did.
Consider the Justice Department memo of May 30, 2005. It notes that "the CIA believes 'the intelligence acquired from these interrogations has been a key reason why al Qaeda has failed to launch a spectacular attack in the West since 11 September 2001.' . . . In particular, the CIA believes that it would have been unable to obtain critical information from numerous detainees, including [Khalid Sheik Mohammed] and Abu Zubaydah, without these enhanced techniques." The memo continues: "Before the CIA used enhanced techniques . . . KSM resisted giving any answers to questions about future attacks, simply noting, 'Soon you will find out.' " Once the techniques were applied, "interrogations have led to specific, actionable intelligence, as well as a general increase in the amount of intelligence regarding al Qaeda and its affiliates."

Specifically, interrogation with enhanced techniques "led to the discovery of a KSM plot, the 'Second Wave,' 'to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into' a building in Los Angeles." KSM later acknowledged before a military commission at Guantanamo Bay that the target was the Library Tower, the tallest building on the West Coast. The memo explains that "information obtained from KSM also led to the capture of Riduan bin Isomuddin, better known as Hambali, and the discovery of the Guraba Cell, a 17-member Jemmah Islamiyah cell tasked with executing the 'Second Wave.' " In other words, without enhanced interrogations, there could be a hole in the ground in Los Angeles to match the one in New York.

The memo notes that "[i]nterrogations of [Abu] Zubaydah -- again, once enhanced techniques were employed -- furnished detailed information regarding al Qaeda's 'organizational structure, key operatives, and modus operandi' and identified KSM as the mastermind of the September 11 attacks." This information helped the intelligence community plan the operation that captured KSM. It went on: "Zubaydah and KSM also supplied important information about al-Zarqawi and his network" in Iraq, which helped our operations against al-Qaeda in that country.

In the thread here, one person argues repeatedly,
Torture is evil. Those who attempt to justify it, those who attempt to rationalise it, and especially those who attempt to celebrate it (like Sharon) are also evil.

183 times in a month. That is the sort of thing the Gestapo or the KGB did.

The only conclusion is that it's more acceptable for millions of Americans to die than for one terrorist to be belly-slapped. Or subjected to loud music (or caterpillars). Or waterboarded.

Vice President Dick Cheney is calling for the release of more of these memos so that Americans will have a better idea of the arguments. I'm all for complete release of information, including the information that President Obama won't want released because it supports these interrogation techniques.

UPDATE: WLS at Patterico's Pontifications asks what the charges should be for those prosecuted for "torture."

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Woman's Right to Choose: Abortion Pill Dispersal Under Investigation

Via, we have a story out of San Antonio about illegal dispensing of the abortion pill. Seems that Planned Parenthood is up to its old shenanigans.

Four Planned Parenthood Clinics in San Antonio are accused of prescribing abortion pills without a license. Now some Texas lawmakers are outraged and want to cut state funding for Planned Parenthood.
Some of the members of the Texas House met on Tuesday in Austin and are demanding an investigation into Planned Parenthood.

They never saw an abortion they didn't like.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

If You Don't Want God, Go to Starbucks

Bigots, zealots, haters, killers don't want to call themselves religious because everybody would recognize them. That's why they use faith or people of faith, according to Amanda Marcotte.

This really is a kind of fascinating bitch, when you stop and think of it. Faith is a major component of religious thought, and covers both the intellectual aspects of religion and the active physical manifestations. One typically doesn't spend a lot of time working in the church's soup kitchen if you don't have faith.

But this is the sort of problem that secularists have, because, to them, faith is really only another entry in the thesaurus for "steadfast, loyal, true, etc." The real reason "people of faith" has become part of the nomenclature is its inclusive nature, the way it can be used for Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddists, New Agers, Unitarians, rock worshippers, star gazers and others who use spiritualism to guide their everyday lives.

But, of course, to the "inclusive" being inclusive isn't good enough because by using "people of faith," the people in charge aren't including secularists who don't have "faith" the same way Christians or Unitarians might. Which makes them feel bad. Or something.

Amanda goes through a list of things she thinks people gain from religious belief and how you can really substitute some secular ideal and not feel a hollow, emptiness at all.

Spirituality. I hear this a lot, and I think the needs that get defined as spiritual do exist. But I tend to think those needs can largely be met by having interesting, meaningful work (and if you can’t get that as paid employment, many hobbies offer it), love in your life, and an appreciation for the vastness and complexity of the world. Though many people get spiritual needs met through church, the fact that you can get them met elsewhere means that a lot of people who have these needs are going elsewhere.

Because you can really love, say, model rocketry, with the same fervor as God, and get the same meaning out of it. Or staring at the stars and contemplating the pure coincidence of it will give you the same spiritual meaning as remembering,
"The heavens declare the glory of God"--Psalms 19:1

I'm sure you can find as much spirituality in your involvement with Lost or playing video games, since spirituality is really about filling your time.

Fellowship/community. This is a biggie, because our modern lifestyle doesn’t give us enough opportunities to find community, and churches make themselves very easy to find. That said, this is still a need that most people can find a way to meet elsewhere, so as a draw, this is just the second largest, and pales in comparison to the largest.

So, if you don't want to go to church because of all those icky churchgoers, go to Starbucks, instead. Or maybe Barnes and Noble. It's all the same thing.

Identity. This probably keeps more people attached to a church than any other reason, because it’s tradition and it grounds them in their family and tribal identity. But let’s face it---you get this need met through holidays and the occasional big ritual like a wedding. That level of commitment isn’t the sort of thing that gives a person a reason to declare himself a “person of faith” and demand that the government abandon its constitutional duty to be secular in order to accommodate him. It also doesn’t give the churches enough financial backing to keep their doors open, and if it was left at this, religion would slowly fade away to be replaced by other markers of tradition and identity, such as the completely secularized Christmas that many Americans already celebrate.

Translation: I don't see faith as something practiced on a daily basis. It's really only a couple of days a year and doesn't have any meaning whatsoever outside of the commercial aspects.
You have a bunch of cherished and probably odious beliefs that have no basis in the material world that can be verified by science, and so you need a god to say that you’re right and everyone else is wrong neener neener. Sexism would be a good example of the kind of irrational belief that needs some sort of supernatural justification. “Godidit” works a lot better than trying to concoct even the most hackneyed evo psych theory of why women should be barefoot-n-pregnant. Since other needs are easily met elsewhere without giving up your ties to the rational world, this justification for religion is taking over the “faith” community at a pretty decent clip.

This comes from someone who knows nothing about religous thought other than what some leftwing secularist site tells her.

So, as you can see, there are so many intelligent reasons to not be religious or tolerant of religion and its place in society. This must be about the time Amanda hits the Thunderbird.

H/T to Chuck for finding this gem.


Here it is.

Texas Secession

Here's some good video:

Leftwingers took Texas Governor Rick Perry's words out of context in an attempt to blacken the eye of Tax Day Tea Party goers. Of course, we fought a war over whether states had the right to leave the Union, and the Union won. Despite what the Federalist Papers imply about the subject (which is that the Union is and should be voluntary), secession is what the Civil War was about.

What Chris Matthews and others seem unwilling to discuss about Rick Perry's comments is that there is frustration that the "representatives" in Washington are not actually listening to their constituencies when it comes to taxes and spending. There were thousands of telephone calls during the Porkapalooza debate from people who didn't want it, yet Democrats--and a handful of sorta Republicans--decided that they weren't going to listen to the People and vote for it anyway. If that arrogance isn't enough to get the secession talk going, I don't know what is.

And remember,

When Bush Was President, Secession Talk Was Cool.

H/T: Lone Star Times.

If Liberals Are So Against "Torture"...

Why don't they mind Predator drones? And, more importantly, why don't any of the stories on "torture" note that Democrats both approved the methods used--making them legal--and never voted to change that, even once they were in charge of Congress?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tea Party Questions and Answers


Not Very Good at the Undercover Stuff

Newsbusters has the story of the Washington D.C. NBC affiliate running a leftwing spoof of the Tax Day Tea Parties as real video.

I say "spoof video," but it's really worse than that: It's a video shot by leftists of other leftists who, after trying and failing to infiltrate the D.C. Tea Party, moved elsewhere, chanting slogans like "tax work, not wealth" in an effort to falsely make Tea Party attendees look rich, callous and out-of-touch. It's not a spoof meant in fun, but a spoof meant to slander. And NBC either fell for it or is complicit.

The video has been taken down from the D.C. NBC affilliate website, but you can see it here.

The funny part is that (a) the journalists fell for it and (b) that the "protesters" couldn't even come up with slogans that are close to actual Tea Party slogans.

On the Lighter Side

Fortunately, This Won't Happen Again Soon

Income gap hits record in 2006.

The moonbats will be happy that the rich have lost more money in this economy, thereby reducing the income gap. Pity the rest of us will suffer because of it.

Opposing Profligate Spending = Racism

According to idiot Janeane Garafalo, everyone who went to the Tax Day Tea Parties is racist.

"Let's be very honest about what this is about. This is not about bashing Democrats. It's not about taxes. They have no idea what the Boston Tea party was about. They don't know their history at all. It's about hating a black man in the White House," she said on MSNBC's "The Countdown" with Keith Olbermann Thursday evening. "This is racism straight up and is nothing but a bunch of teabagging rednecks. There is no way around that."

Video here.

It's enough to make a person stop watching 24.

Jeff at Protein Wisdom has the transcript. ;)

President Obama Releases Interrogation Memos

President Barack Obama released memos detailing interrogation techniques used during the (now lapsed) War on Terror.

I'm not sure I agree with those who say we are now hamstrung in our efforts to get information from unwilling guests, but I guess we won't know until there's some monumental failure and/or until the next president decides (for political purposes) to release information largely as a way to smear this president.

Because, I suppose, I'm a cynical little GPWOW, who thinks these things (like these things) don't happen on accident. I'm one of those paranoid freaks who doesn't consider it a coincidence that a shoddily prepared paper on right wing extremism appeared two days before a (largely) conservative protest was to take place. And I don't believe that Teh One released memos on interrogation techniques simply because the public "has a right to know."

More directly, I think the release of these memos was designed to smear, once again, the Bush administration and its intelligence agencies. Why do I think that? Because the memos were so lightly redacted as to allow virtually anyone to know essentially everything we did. And from there, it's not unpredictable that the moonbatosphere would become, well, unhinged at the prospect that our law enforcement personnel were collaring suspected terrorists or covering them with caterpillars (Correction: we only contemplated putting wiggly things in with suspected terrorists. We just couldn't cross the caterpillar line, I suppose).

But President Obama, bless him, isn't planning to prosecute any of the torture doers because he's so magnanimous there was no crime. It's really hard to prosecute people when their behavior is legal, but I'm not sure Democrats wouldn't try, anyway. After all, it's far better to grandstand than, say, read the laws that they wrote. But I'm sure we'll be treated all summer to hearings that allow high-minded Democrats to harrumph loudly about "torture," even after they themselves voted to allow everything detailed in the law.

Joke of the Day

Sent to me by a friend. Humorous, but true:

I recently asked my friend's little girl what she wanted to be when she grows up.

She said she wanted to be President some day.

Both of her parents, liberal Democrats, were standing there, so I asked her,’ If you were President, what would be the first thing you would do?'

She replied, 'I'd give food and houses to all the homeless people.'

Her parents beamed.

'Wow! What a worthy goal.' I told her, 'But you don't have to wait until you're President to do that.

You can come over to my house and mow the lawn, pull weeds, and sweep my yard, and I'll pay you $50.

Then I'll take you over to the grocery store where the homeless guy hangs out, and you can give him the $50 to use toward food and a new house.

She thought that over for a few seconds, then she looked me straight in the eye and asked 'Why doesn't the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50?'

I said, 'Welcome to the Republican Party.'

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Just a Slight Underreporting

Sebelius revises donations.

Calling it an “inadvertent omission,” Health and Human Services nominee Kathleen Sebelius told senators Tuesday that her campaign and political action committee received almost $40,000 connected to a late-term abortion doctor — not $12,450 as she originally disclosed.

Nothing to see here. Move along...

H/T: Brothers Judd blog.

More on CNN's "Objectivity"

Video and more at Hot Air.
They teach that arrogance in J-school in Snobbery 101.

What Liberal Media?

This one.

For thousands of Americans, Tax Day was a moment to protest what they see as bloated budgets and a pile of debt being passed on to their children.

For CNN, MSNBC and other media outlets, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to use the word "teabagging" in a sentence.

Teabagging, for those who don't live in a frat house, refers to a sexual act involving part of the male genitalia and a second person's face or mouth.

So when the anti-tax "tea party" protests were held Wednesday across the country, cable anchors and guests -- who for weeks had all but ignored the story -- covered the protests by cracking a litany of barely concealed sexual references.

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper interspersed "teabagging" references with analyst David Gergen's more staid commentary on how Republicans are still "searching for their voice."

Nope, no contempt for average Americans there.

Did Congress Define Waterboarding as Torture?


As the commentators show their feathers to each other, see if any of them cite a single vote by the Senate or the House to define waterboarding as torture throughout the years when the Congress was fully aware of the practice. The DOJ legal analysis was the best effort of front-line lawyers in the aftermath of a massive attack on the United States. Their Congressional critics of today who did not demand a defining vote on what constituted torture are the worst sort of hypocrites. They are the lawmakers, and chose --even when House and Senate were controlled by Democrats from January 2007 to the present-- to avoid passing a law bringing clarity to the very gray areas of the law of interrogation.

They like it as both an issue and a technique.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Happy Tea Party Day!

Perhaps you can attend a tea party near you.

And remember:

"An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation."

--John Marshall, McCullough v. Maryland, 1819

A field guide to the Tea Party movement.

Karl, on Patterico's site points out the strange notion that so many liberals know nothing about the Tax Day Tea Parties.

Allahpundit has video.

Jane Hamsher is still whinging.

I wish CNN showed this type of objectivity when it covered leftwing protests.

Dan Collins smacks down the pucker-faced naysayers.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Birth Mothers Speak Out

In contrast to this viewpoint of adoption, there's this view.

You Might Be a Right Wing Extremist If...

-- You are pro-life.

-- You believe in the Second Amendment.

-- You believe in federalism.

-- You believe immigration laws should be enforced.

-- You are a veteran.

-- You are interested in/believe in end times prophecy.

That's all according to a nine-page report from the Department of Homeland Security, warning of "a rise in rightwing activity." Without, of course, citing any actual rise in rightwing activity.

I promised Aphrael that I wouldn't compare Barack Obama to Josef Stalin, so here's a poster of Lenin, instead.

I can't help but think that those who were so concerned about the exploitation of "the threat of terrorism and engaged in rank fear-mongering in order to expressly claim the power to act without any checks or limits at all" should be speaking out against calling people a national threat because they think the federal government should be limited in scope and power.

But are the left-leaning blogs covering this outrage? Only to the extent that they agree with it (see here) or gloat about it (see here).

Of course, we can't expect those on the Left to distinguish between political opposition to bad policies and terrorism. That's too nuanced. But you would think they would consider the hypocrisy of desiring the persecution of political enemies. Then again, maybe not.

CORRECTION: I previously included a reference to "third party bumper stickers" as a sign that you are a right wing extremist. This came, not from the DHS report of today, but from a Missouri Information Analysis Center report, which warned law enforcement officials,
to watch for suspicious individuals who may have bumper stickers for third-party political candidates such as Ron Paul, Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin.

It further warned law enforcement to watch out for individuals with "radical" ideologies based on Christian views, such as opposing illegal immigration, abortion and federal taxes.

UPDATE: Janet Napolitano responds.

McQ at Right Wing News makes a point I made repeatedly in the comments of this cross-posted item at CSPT: the report is so vague and overly broad that half of America qualify as "right wing extremists." We should be careful about such language, particularly in today's hysterical political climate.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Peace-Lovin' Left...

Is oddly gleeful at the loss of terrorists' freedom fighters' lives. At least, when it's a Democrat giving the order.

Jules Crittenden notes the newfound bloodthirstiness, but that this, in no way, equals a military campaign. I'm still giggling at the sudden support for military aggressiveness.

The Lighter Side of Socialism,0,3979437.htmlstory

And For Something Lighter...

Tax Cuts for the Rich?

Ari Fleischer explains why everyone should pay income taxes.

The economic and moral problem is that when 50% of the country gets benefits without paying for them and an increasingly smaller number of taxpayers foot the bill, the spinning triangle will no longer be able to support itself. Eventually, it will spin so slowly that it falls down, especially when the economy is contracting and the number of wealthy taxpayers is in sharp decline.

I often ask the question: what is enough taxation? You'll never find the answer here or here or here. They'll change the subject, call you names, and blame George W. Bush for every problem of mankind, but they will not tell you how much taxation is enough and who should be paying it. That's because they can't.

But despite the disinformation campaigns Democrats spread through their 8:45 a.m. meetings, JournoList, and other memos, the tax cuts of 2001 did not help only "the rich"...unless you define "rich" as "everybody."
Contrary to the myth that Mr. Bush cut taxes only for the wealthy, the 2001 tax cut reduced taxes for every income-tax payer in the country. He reduced the bottom tax rate to 10% from 15% and increased the refundable child tax credit to $1,000 from $500 per child, both cuts that President Barack Obama says we should keep. In so doing, millions of lower income taxpayers were removed from the tax rolls, shifting the remaining burden to those at the top, even after their taxes were cut.

Even with payroll taxes, which hit lower income earners harder, the bottom half of American taxpayers pay only 16.3% of all taxes. It gets harder and harder to argue that tax cuts only help "the rich." Tax cuts help everybody.

And who are "the rich"? Not the guys making $250k like the Obamabots keep telling you.
A very small number of taxpayers -- the 10% of the country that makes more than $92,400 a year -- pay 72.4% of the nation's income taxes.

Does $92k sound rich to you? I bet you know people who make that much or close to it. All you need are a couple of school teachers. Or maybe an air traffic controller. Or a computer programmer. You don't have to be an investment banker to have a household income in the top 10%, but you will be mocked by liberals and called "selfish" for thinking that you should get to keep the money you earn and that the government should be holding a bake sale to support itself.

But don't look to liberal sites to explain why a plumber, a small business owner, a railroad dispatcher or a mid-level manager is "rich" and needs to support half of all Americans. At that point, they'll probably tell you that you are just "lucky" to be making what you earn.

No wonder there are so many tea parties.

Quebec Dad Sued by Daughter

For disciplining her.

Quebec Superior Court rejected the Gatineau father's appeal of a lower court ruling that said his punishment was too severe for the wrongs he said his daughter committed.

The father is "flabbergasted," his lawyer Kim Beaudoin told CBC News.

In its ruling, issued Monday, the province's court of appeal declared the girl was caught up in a "very rare" set of circumstances, and her father didn't have sufficient grounds to contest the court's earlier decision.

The family's legal wrangling started with a dispute over the girl's internet use.

'Either way, he doesn't have authority over this child anymore. She sued him because she doesn't respect his rules. It's very hard to raise a child who is the boss.'

— Kim Beaudoin, the father's lawyerShe had been living with her father after her parents split up when he grounded her in 2008 for defying his order to stay off the internet. The father caught her chatting on websites he had blocked, and alleged his daughter was posting "inappropriate pictures" of herself online.

Her punishment: she was banned from her Grade 6 graduation trip to Quebec City in June 2008, for which her mother had already granted permission.

The father — who had custody — withheld his written permission for the trip, prompting the school to refuse to let the girl go with her classmates.

That's when the girl asked for help from the lawyer who represented her in her parents' separation, and petitioned the court to intervene in her case.

"Going to court was a last resort," said Lucie Fortin, a legal aid attorney who represented the girl. "The question was that there was a problem between the father and the mother, and the child asked the court to intervene because it was important to her.

"The trip was very important to her."

This doesn't appear to be a matter for the courts, IMO, but why shouldn't children have the same rights to outrageous lawsuits that their parents enjoy?


Only 53% Prefer Capitalism

That's according to a Rasmussen report that asked Americans which economic system was better.

I'll admit that capitalism has been taking a beating these last few months, but it's striking the age gap and experience gap highlighted in this study.

Adults under 30 are essentially evenly divided: 37% prefer capitalism, 33% socialism, and 30% are undecided. Thirty-somethings are a bit more supportive of the free-enterprise approach with 49% for capitalism and 26% for socialism. Adults over 40 strongly favor capitalism, and just 13% of those older Americans believe socialism is better.

Investors by a 5-to-1 margin choose capitalism. As for those who do not invest, 40% say capitalism is better while 25% prefer socialism.

So, those who actually start businesses and create wealth prefer capitalism. Those who either don't work or work for somebody else, aren't so sure. That makes sense, doesn't it? If you are using the system to create your own business and opportunity, you probably like the system better. And if you aren't creating your own business, you probably think it's only marginally better than government running businesses.

Lone Star Times points out that the party split is staggering.
Republicans - by an 11-to-1 margin - favor capitalism. Democrats are much more closely divided: Just 39% say capitalism is better while 30% prefer socialism. As for those not affiliated with either major political party, 48% say capitalism is best, and 21% opt for socialism.

No wonder those tea parties seem to be attracting more Republicans than Democrats!

Of course, Jesse Taylor knows why capitalism is taking such a bashing. Who else would be responsible but Republicans.
The real secret is that the Berlin Wall fell, which paved the way for conservatives to call everything Democrats have proposed in the interim socialism (this isn’t to say that they weren’t doing that before, but it became much easier for them to say it without the Giant Socialist Enemy Beast forcing us to duck and cover under our desks every day). I came up in a world where “socialism” was defined in popular parlance as “liberalism”. Bill Clinton, effectively a liberal Republican, was a socialist. Barack Obama, a moderate Democrat, is a socialist. There’s an actual socialist in the Senate, and yet all the Democrats in the Senate (except Ben Nelson and Evan Bayh)? Socialists.
The main people responsible for the embrace of “socialism” are the pro-capitalist conservatives who’ve so diluted its meaning that it’s okay to embrace socialism, because the majority party in the country and our tremendously popular president are socialists.

Translation: When Democrats propose socialist legislation and you call it that, then you must be wrong.

Oddly enough, Jesse's partly right; those pups in their 20's don't have the contact with in-your-face communism that older folks have. They probably didn't watch the films of the Berlin Wall being built or what it meant to most of the inhabitants of the earth.

We were taught that socialism was an economic structure, not a poltical one. But we knew that communism didn't work where capitalism flourished, and that socialism was the younger brother of communism. That many Europeans accept socialism doesn't mean that Americans--who began as a ragged band of people unwilling to settle for European ways--should.

Young people, who don't have as much experience in the world as their elders, may only marginally favor capitalism, but the biggest gap is between Democrats, who blindly assume that government does a better job with the economy than private enterprise, and Republicans, who know that freedom is real choice, which includes the choice to be successful or fail.

Why Did Obama Withdraw Funding for Adult Stem Cell Research?

Because it doesn't destroy life, that's why.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Going Green Is Not Optional

If these guys have their way.

Tea Party Temper Tantrums

Liberals are having a cow over the Tax Day Tea Parties, and are trying to discredit them as political operations of Fox News.

Specifically, Fox News has in dozens of instances provided attendance and organizing information for future protests, such as protest dates, locations, and website URLs. Fox News websites have also posted information and publicity material for protests. Fox News hosts have repeatedly encouraged viewers to join them at several protests that they are attending and covering. Tea-party organizers have used the planned attendance of the Fox News hosts to promote their protests. Fox News has also aired numerous interviews with protest organizers. Moreover, Fox News contributors are listed as "Tea Party Sponsor[s]" on

Wow! Who knew that news broadcasts would contain actual information about upcoming events. I mean, newspapers never publish such information. Neither do television stations. Or radio. And you'd never see leftwing blogs promoting events, right?

Secondly, Fox News carries many political commentary shows. These aren't news shows in the way the CBS Evening News is supposed to be a news program. They are shows around personalities who do interviews, give their opinions and offer endorsements of candidates and philosophies. To argue that "Fox News hots promote their protests" is ludicrous. But then, so is Media Matters.

As Dan Riehl notes, the reason the Left is working so hard to tar the tea parties as Fox News events is because they are deeply concerned that so many people aren't buying into the Obama plan to tax us into prosperity. Shame on real people for thinking their voices should be heard! Maybe it's time for liberals to create a new hate law against tax protests, too.

And via Michelle Malkin, the Tax and Spend Rap for the Tax Day Tea Parties:

More at Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion.

Robert S. McCain points out the hypocrisy of leftwingers complaining of corporate sponsorship of protests. We have a word for liberal hypocrisy here: Democrisy.

UPDATE: Here's video of the Liberal Tea Party that didn't work so well:

When You Allow Hate Speech Laws...

The Free World Bars Free Speech By Jonathan Turley, Washington Post

For years, the Western world has listened aghast to stories out of Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern nations of citizens being imprisoned or executed for questioning or offending Islam...

But now an equally troubling trend is developing in the West. Ever since 2006, when Muslims worldwide rioted over newspaper cartoons picturing the prophet Muhammad, Western countries, too, have been prosecuting more individuals for criticizing religion. The "Free World," it appears, may be losing faith in free speech.

...should anyone be surprised that free speech is supressed?

Free speech is a messy and angering thing, allowing for all sorts of hateful and hurtful ideas to be expressed. We've seen what happens when speech is banned--that's what communist countries do--and, supposedly, we are supposed to be better than that.

But once we allowed the Left to start telling us which speech should be permissible, through the advent of hate speech laws and college campus speech codes, it was inevitable that some group would start using those codes against the rest of us. Rather than fighting ideas with better ideas, we are now in the position where expression yourself in an offensive manner can get you fined or jailed. Soon, such ideas will be literally unthinkable.

On another note, it's no wonder the Left seemingly hates free speech, if they can't control it, they resort to smears.

Happy Easter!

I hope everyone enjoys this wonderful Easter with family and friends.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

There's No Decent Pizza in Washington?

That's the conclusion you must come to when the POTUS flies in a chef to make him a pizza.

When you're the president of the United States, only the best pizza will do - even if that means flying a chef 860 miles.
Chris Sommers, 33, jetted into Washington from St Louis, Missouri, on Thursday with a suitcase of dough, cheese and pans to to prepare food for the Obamas and their staff.
He had apparently been handpicked after the President had tasted his pizzas on the campaign trail last autumn.

Via Brothers Judd.

Just Put Out the "We Reserve the Right Not to Serve Anyone" Sign

Faith Groups Increasingly Lose Gay Rights Fights by Jacqueline L. Salmon Washington Post

Faith organizations and individuals who view homosexuality as sinful and refuse to provide services to gay people are losing a growing number of legal battles that they say are costing them their religious freedom.

The lawsuits have resulted from states and communities that have banned discrimination based on sexual orientation. Those laws have created a clash between the right to be free from discrimination and the right to freedom of religion, religious groups said, with faith losing.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Quote of the Day

"It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage and such only as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent, both in order of time and in degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society."

--James Madison, Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, 1785

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Just Words, Just Speeches

President Obama, like the Ministry of Truth, likes to change words and the meaning of words. From Jonah Goldberg:

Give the man points for consistency. He has put rhetorical innovation on an equal footing with policy innovation. Exhibit A: "Overseas contingency operations." That's the Obama administration's term of choice to replace "the long war" or "the global war on terror." No doubt they were inspired by the famous Leo Tolstoy novel, Overseas Contingency Operations and Cessation of Overseas Contingency Operations, later dumbed-down by the publisher to War and Peace.

Janet Napolitano, head of Obama's Department of Homeland Security — primarily created to deal with terrorist attacks in the wake of 9/11 — has decided "terrorist attack" is too hard-edged. It's "man-caused disasters" now. "That is perhaps only a nuance," Napolitano explained to a German newsmagazine, "but it demonstrates that we want to move away from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur."

Meanwhile, the White House has announced that prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will no longer be called "enemy combatants." No word yet on what the new term will be. No doubt the poetic euphony of "man-caused disasters" and "overseas contingency operations" sets a very high bar for Obama's Office of Euphemism Generation. But surely "Men Prone to Disaster Causation" or "Overseas Counter-Contingency Operators" are the most obvious choices. My friend Mark Steyn, however, suggests going another way: "Future Facebook Friends."

One of the things that Nineteen Eighty-Four teaches is that totalitarians like to control language. Of course, so do public relations hacks and White House press secretaries. But for all the euphemisms, Obama still couldn't get the Europeans to sign on to greater responsibility in the War on Terror Overseas Contingency Operations. Just words, just speeches, indeed.

Should Anyone Be Surprised...

3 Strikes at the Vatican by James Morrison, Washington Times.

The Vatican has quietly rejected at least three of President Obama's candidates to serve as U.S. ambassador to the Holy See because they support abortion, and the White House might be running out of time to find an acceptable envoy before Mr. Obama travels to Rome in July, when he hopes to meet Pope Benedict XVI.

Italian journalist Massimo Franco, who broke the story about the White House attempts to find a suitable ambassador to the Vatican, said papal advisers told Mr. Obama's aides privately that the candidates failed to meet the Vatican's most basic qualification on the abortion issue.

"The informal dismissal of the first names whispered in the Obama inner circle is a signal," Mr. Franco, a columnist with Corriere della Sera (Evening Courier), told Embassy Row in e-mail.

He said the Vatican recognized that a foreign nation is free to appoint the ambassador of its choice but that the pope is free to reject a proposed envoy if he believes the candidate would "fail to improve relations" with the Catholic city-state...

Since the United States established formal diplomatic relations with the Vatican in 1984, the ambassadorial position has been held by political supporters and pro-life Catholics under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

...That the candidate who condoned abortion after birth can't find any pro-life ambassadors to send to the Vatican?

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Unhinged Liberal of the Day

So many nutjobs, so little time. This time,though we have Markos Moulitsas, who blamed Glenn Beck for the shooting of three Pittsburgh police officers (but, conveniently, forgets the shooting of four Oakland police officers killed near his own home) arguing that conservatives want to shoot cops rather than win elections.

You have to be a special brand of stupid to say things like that.

This Is Retarded

Via ifeminists:
Bill Would Ban Certain Words from Statutes

A bill in the Texas Legislature would ban the words "retarded," "disabled" and "handicapped" from all state statutes and resolutions -- past and present.

Senate Bill 1395, by Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo), would require what it calls more "person first respectful" language.

The ARC of Texas, an advocacy group representing people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, supports the bill because it says words like "retarded" are now used as slurs.

"The use of it has become so derogatory that it's turned the term into something that's hurtful and disrespectful," said Chris Rodriguez, director of chapter services.

The ARC itself has eliminated the word "retarded" from its name. For many years, the group called itself the Association for Retarded Citizens, but now calls itself the ARC...

The bill would ban the use of eight terms in all state statutes and resolutions. They are: disabled, developmentally disabled, mentally disabled, mentally ill, mentally retarded, handicapped, cripple and crippled.

It would replace those terms with these: persons with disabilities, persons with developmental disabilities, persons with mental illness and persons with intellectual disabilities.

Since the Lege has ceded the argument that "retarded" is a derogatory term, we are free to use it as such.

Woman Listed as Sex Offender for Five Years Because of Data Processing Error

Luckily for her, DPS says it's sorry.

The Texas Department of Public Safety apologized Friday and accepted blame for mistakenly posting a Dallas woman's name and photo on the state's sex offender Web site for nearly five years.

"After investigating the facts in this case, it is clear that a data entry error at DPS led to this mistake," said DPS spokesman Tom Vinger. "DPS deeply regrets the error and apologizes for any inconvenience."

The woman, Rachel Marquez, 20, of Dallas, said she's glad DPS admitted its mistake...

Marquez learned she was on the list when she tried to move into a new apartment. Managers denied her application and informed her she was a registered sex offender.

Marquez logged on to the Web site to see for herself.

"My heart just dropped," she said. "How could this be me?"

The problem apparently stemmed from a minor trespassing arrest in 2003 when she was 13 years old. A data entry operator at DPS mistakenly checked the "sex offender" box on her entry, automatically publishing her information on the sex offender registry, Vinger said.

"Just someone clicked the wrong thing and it happened," she said. "That's crazy, that I had to be the one, you know?"

Given the severe consequences for being branded a sex offender, including restrictions on residence and employment, Marquez should sue the state for everything it can get.

This is just another example of the abusive nature--and inaccuracy--of the sex offender registry. One error can scar a person for life.

UPDATE: Excellent article on the case against adolescence. Teenagers may not have the same judgment as adults, but they need experience to teach them how to be adults.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Where I've Been

I'm feeling chatty tonight, which is why there are so many little posts.

Looking at my blog page, I realized that my posts have been fewer and farther between than usual. There are many reasons for this (of course there are! Aren't there always?).

One reason is family. The kids are doing the spring soccer season this year, which means multiple practices and games every week. Three kids times 2 weekly practices plus Saturday games equals one busy and worn out mom. On top of this, spring seems to be the time for standardized testing, school programs, church activities and more. And all those things do come first.

The second reason for less blogging is that I've been spending less time on the computer because I've been reading several nonfiction books by Joe McGinniss. First was Fatal Vision, a fascinating recitation of the drama surrounding the 1970 slayings of Colette, Kimberly and Kristin MacDonald by their husband and father Jeffrey MacDonald, M.D. The case, in and of itself, is creepy and riveting enough, but the fact that there is a website proclaiming MacDonald's innocence gives the whole situation a surreal feel.

Next, I read Blind Faith, which concerned the murder for hire case of Robert O. Marshall. The case was much more obvious than the MacDonald case, but still fascinating.

Currently, I'm reading Cruel Doubt, which concerns yet another murder with family members as the primary suspects.

Anyway, that's where I've been. I'm hoping to post more in the future.

Things I Like

I like going back to visit sites I haven't been to in a long time. This has been happening since I got a laptop that doesn't have all my links from my other computer.

That desktop computer now is typically used by my son, but tonight, my oldest daughter was using my laptop to write her term theme. So, I returned to the desktop for a bit.

But while it's fun to visit sites I haven't been to in a while, I was saddened by the number of sites I used to frequent that no longer exist.

An Afternoon on the JournoList

This is sort of insider baseball, but very funny.

Eastern Michigan University Ousts Student for Not Affirming Homosexual Behavior

This story isn't really about whether one agrees with, approves of, or affirms homosexuality, but rather whether an institution can compel certain speech.

Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund Center for Academic Freedom filed a lawsuit against Eastern Michigan University Thursday after school officials dismissed a student from the school’s counseling program for not affirming homosexual behavior as morally acceptable. The school dismissed Julea Ward from the program because she would not agree prior to a counseling session to affirm a client’s homosexual behavior and would not retract her stance in subsequent disciplinary proceedings...

EMU requires students in its program to affirm or validate homosexual behavior within the context of a counseling relationship and prohibits students from advising clients that they can change their homosexual behavior. Ward has never addressed homosexual behavior in any form during counseling sessions with clients.

EMU initiated its disciplinary process against Ward and informed her that the only way she could stay in the graduate school counseling program would be if she agreed to undergo a "remediation" program. Its purpose would be to help Ward "see the error of her ways" and change her "belief system" as it relates to counseling about homosexual relationships, conforming her beliefs to be consistent with the university’s views. When Ward did not agree with the conditions, she was given the options of either voluntarily leaving the program or asking for a formal review hearing.

Ward chose the hearing, during which EMU faculty denigrated her Christian views and asked several inappropriate and intrusive questions about her religious beliefs. The hearing committee dismissed her from the counseling program on March 12. Ward appealed the decision to the dean of the College of Education, who upheld the dismissal on March 26.

In the real world, when counselors have problems with clients or potential clients, they refer them to other counselors. The idea that a counselor should be forced to affirm a practice that is contrary to her religious beliefs is constitutionally unsound.

This appears to be yet another step down the road towards forced universal acceptance of homosexuality as equal in all respects to heterosexual behavior, and superior to religious belief or expression, even though freedom of religion is a Constitutional right. As the Iowa Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual marriage illustrates, the argument used is that homosexuality is a suspect class, along with fundamental rights and racial classifications. This also vaults sexual orientation over gender into the Promised Land of constitutional analysis. Once an area is classified as suspect, nearly any law will be found to be unconstitutional. Should women be angry? You bet. We've now been told that being discriminated against because you are female is more permissible than being discriminated against because you are a lesbian.

There are all sorts of counselors. Demanding that students should be forced to mouth statements they don't believe should be an insult to any person seeking counseling.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Our Great New Foreign Policy

We were gonna be respected around the world, remember? Elect Barack Obama, the world will love us.

The Europeans love us so much that they're not sending more troops to Afghanistan.

Maybe Obama just needs to practice his curtsy. He has his bow down perfectly.

More at Powerline.

Do They Get Paid for This?

I love Stop the Press! because it is so far off the rails that it's funny. Take this post on how the GOP is in trouble regardless of whether Jim Tedisco wins the race for the New York U.S. House seat or not.

Scott Murphy has a 65-vote lead of state Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, and there are 10,000 absentee ballots yet to count. Murphy may yet lose, but it doesn’t matter anymore. If what you hear on Fox “News” and all the radio talkers, not to mention what comes out of the mouths of the GOP senators and representatives, was true, Tedisco shoulda claimed victory seconds after the polls closed.

But instead, the race is too close to call.

You get that spin? If Tedisco loses, it just shows that the GOP will be in the wilderness for years to come. And if Tedisco wins, it's still bad news because his win wasn't bigger.

The flip side of this argument, of course, is that, after Obama's historic win and the Democrats sweep during the November elections, any Democrat should be able to win any open seat easily. But don't expect Democrat shills to point this out.

The main reason I point out this sort of silliness is that "Newswriter" supposedly works in the MSM, and I'm sure she constantly tells friends and family how objective sheand her coworkers are. That there's no bias--certainly not liberal bias--in the media. And I'm sure s/he thinks that the above referenced story is just the truth, not a Democrat talking point.

I don't know how one should read the New York race, but I can recognize that there are reasonable interpretations either way. My guess is that Obama's goodwill has about six months, during which time elections are essentially meaningless. Once the full effects of the Porkapalooza, the tax hikes, continued, spiraling unemployment and cratering economic outlook are felt, these sorts of elections won't even be close.

Your Coming Tax Hike

I don't think there are that many people who stupidly believed Barack Obama when he said he would only raise taxes on those making $250,000 or more. Just visit your local gas station. Notice any hike in gasoline prices? That's because of new taxes from the Porkapalooza.

And that's not all. Other energy taxes will go into effect if the spendoholics of the Democratic party have their way. And I'm not even including cap-and-trade, which will cripple the economy.

An interesting piece in the Wall Street Journal today notes that income taxes will rise on people much below $250k to pay for Obama's outrageous spending spree.

But it also turns out that Mr. Obama's massive additional debt implies a tax hike, if paid today, of well over $100,000 for people with incomes of $150,000, far below Mr. Obama's tax-hike cut-off of $250,000 (over $130,000 in ten years and over $16,000 a year if paid annually over the following ten years). In other words, a middle-aged two-career couple in New York or California could get a future tax bill as big as their mortgage.

I'm sure Democrats will try to mask their tax hikes. Maybe they'll just peel off certain people making between $100,000 and $250,000. After all, that's the way Democrat "fairness" works: it's ok to burden some greatly if (a) there are only a few to complain and (b) they make a lot of money. As Amanda Marcotte shows, liberals don't accept that government doesn't create wealth or jobs; the private sector does. But your tax hikes are coming, whether it's on your 1040 or not.