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Bully Pulpit

The term "bully pulpit" stems from President Theodore Roosevelt's reference to the White House as a "bully pulpit," meaning a terrific platform from which to persuasively advocate an agenda. Roosevelt often used the word "bully" as an adjective meaning superb/wonderful. The Bully Pulpit features news, reasoned discourse, opinion and some humor.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

RE: RE: Ann Coulter causes stir at KU

Steve Brenneis responds to Behethland B. Clark:

I was going to let this one slide, but I can't...

Why is it that when liberals heckle a speaker it is considered expression of a differing opinion, but when conservatives do it, it is considered brown-shirt thuggery?

Just wondering.

RE: Goldman sees oil price 'super spike' to $105 a barrel

Steve Brenneis opines:

"...enough to meaningfully reduce energy consumption..."
Now there's an understatement for you. That would put pump prices somewhere around $5.00 per gallon. A $75 fillup would definitely make me reduce consumption. On the upside, I'll bet the gas tax would get reduced in a hurry. Or not.

Goldman sees oil price 'super spike' to $105 a barrel

Oil prices have entered the early stages of trading that could lead to a 'super spike' with the potential to move prices to $105 per barrel, enough to meaningfully reduce energy consumption, according to a Goldman Sachs analysis.

Former Sen. Howell Heflin of Alabama, R.I.P.

Rush Limbaugh writes:

Howell Heflin, senator from Alabama passed away. He was a good guy, on some occasions. He made some wrong choices on others, Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas, but big old bear of a man, big, big old guy, and I have a story about Howell Heflin that's a true, true story. I've told this countless times. I used to warm up the audience at the TV show with this story but it's true.

A flat tax for the U.S.?

The Center for Freedom and Prosperity writes:

For over a decade, tax collectors from the European Union (EU) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have carried out a campaign of threats and intimidation against low-tax jurisdictions to force them to abolish bank secrecy and enforce the fiscal laws of high-tax nations.

That campaign now lies in tatters. Andrew Quinlan, head of the Center for Freedom and Prosperity (CF&P), explains why high-tax governments haven't been able to stamp out tax competition, and what's ahead in the way of lower taxes and simpler, less coercive tax collection.

Woman Sues Over 'Deceiving' Cereal Labels

I'm thinking of starting my own class action lawsuit against Mrs. Hardee for polluting the gene pool. Sadly, she has already reproduced.

RE: RE: Ann Coulter causes stir at KU

Steve Brenneis responds to Behethland B. Clark:

And of course she is unique in that. We all know Al Franken, Susan Estrich, Maureen Dowd, and James Carville are scions of tolerance for differing views.

RE: Ann Coulter causes stir at KU

Behethland B. Clark writes:

This woman has no tolerance for anyone whose opinion differs from her own.

RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Energy policy, wherefore art thou?

Behethland B. Clark responds to Steve Brenneis:

Hey, I didn't say that my feelings were necessarily rational. I thought we were talking about emotions here.

Just because I don't like war doesn't mean that I don't see the necessity in certain cases. But the fact that it scares me and the fact that I see it as the ultimate cruelty to our fellow man would cause me to avoid it if there be any other way. We all know now that this was an unnecessary loss of lives and money. Afghanistan was a different story. We HAD to do something. That doesn't mean I like it. Do you see the difference?

I have the same conflict when it comes to the death penalty. In my heart I know that it is morally wrong. Yet I believe it is appropriate in certain circumstances and I'm sure I would be for it if someone in my family were murdered.

I would hope that you would never discourage someone to voice their heart-felt opinion simply because it wasn't the popular one. Of course I am not advocating that we act strictly on emotion. I'm just stating that it is ok to have strong emotions about issues and that they help form political beliefs. Even if they contradict.

A national sales tax

George Will writes:

The power to tax involves, as Chief Justice John Marshall said, the power to destroy.

RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Energy policy, wherefore art thou?

Steve Brenneis responds to Behethland B. Clark:

You said:

"And I tend to embrace the opinions of those who agree with me."
Agreement does not equal accuracy. The truth is not established by democracy. As Edward W. Demming always said it, the only thing you can be sure of when the majority agrees is that now a lot of people are likely to be wrong.

You also said:

"For one thing, I don't believe in war."
Too bad. It sure believes in you.

Are you telling me that even if we had incontrovertible evidence that Saddam Hussein was materially involved in 9/11 or that there was an imminent threat of his forces successfully breaching our borders you would still not go to war? Even if Congress was convinced enough to declare it?

If that is what you believe, then I have to ask you, would you call the police if someone was breaking down your door?

All human beings have a right to defend themselves. Every society or nation has a right to defend itself. War is the only way in which a society can successfully and finally defend itself against active incursion.

I hope you don't believe that just expressing a disbelief in war will make the bad guys go away. That is rather like a small child closing her eyes and insisting no one can see her.

RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Energy policy, wherefore art thou?

Behethland B. Clark responds to Steve Brenneis:

I tend to make my decisions and form my own opinions about things based on gut instinct. Then I do the research. I don't let other's opinions influence me. And I tend to embrace the opinions of those who agree with me. I think that's just human nature. A person who has no opinion one way or the other is scary and too easily influenced.

Of course there are tons of examples I could give about why I felt the war was a sham from day one. For one thing, I don't believe in war. For another, it was obvious to me that Iraq had nothing to do 9-11, therefore the reasons being fed to us for going were entirely bogus. Of course, that is evident now.

Terri Schiavo, R.I.P.

Terri Schiavo has died.

The emperor's new robes

Ann Coulter writes:

On the bright side, after two weeks of TV coverage of the Terri Schiavo case, I think we have almost all liberals in America on record saying we can pull the plug on them.

RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Energy policy, wherefore art thou?

Steve Brenneis responds to Behethland B. Clark:

I guess that's why I'm not a liberal. My opinions usually have to be based on evidence, even if somewhat circumstantial. I'm not comfortable with forming opinions in a vacuum based on my feelings. They don't generally stand up to scrutiny very well.

If a puppet government is what we're after, this has to be one of the most hilariously inept attempts at such in the history of the world. Let's see. We held free elections in which our man was ousted. We put no restrictions on candidates, knowing full well that the Shiites and Kurds would loggerhead. By the way, the answer to why there is no government is right there. If you got your news from somewhere besides ABCCBSNBCCNNNYTWAP, you would know that the Shiites and the Kurds are at a temporary impasse, something eerily familiar to anyone who observes the US Senate, by the way. They have adopted a Parliamentary form of government, one which will be largely resistant to outside intervention given the triumvirate of factions. Yep, if I wanted to write a treatise on how to fail at setting up a puppet government, those are some of the steps I would include.

With regard to Clinton's nation-building attempts, have you ever heard of Somalia? As well, nation-building is exactly what he was after in Serbo-Croatia. Just because he failed miserably doesn't mean he didn't make the attempt. In fact, no attempt at nation-building undertaken by us has ever been completely successful and most are dismal failures. Be aware as well that the most disastrous of our nation-building forays were all but one initiated by Democrats. This is what makes Bush's foray into Iraq so hypocritical: during the 2000 election he took Clinton to task repeatedly for his use of US troops in nation-building efforts, specifically with regard to Somalia. He said using troops for humanitarian efforts was fine (which is wrong, by the way), but using them for nation-building was something he didn't approve of.

We don't really agree. We are both opposed to the war, but my opposition is based on the fact that it is a violation of the constitutional separation of powers, that it is undertaken for nation-building, and that it was unnecessary. In my opinion, if we had evidence that Hussein was a serious threat, we should have bombed Iraq into the stone age and taken whatever means necessary to separate his molecules from one another permanently. We should have let the power vacuum fill as it would and if there was a further threat, deal with it similarly. We should have, at the same time, done the same thing with North Korea. Failing our ability to produce sound evidence that Hussein was an immediate or near future threat to us, we should have left him alone or removed him using clandestine means. That doesn't mean we needed to convince the Washington Post or the New York Times, they can burn to the ground for all I care. That means we needed enough evidence to convince the Congress that a declaration of War was necessary. After that, the executive would have carte blanche to conduct the war as necessary.

RE: RE: RE: RE: Energy policy, wherefore art thou?

Behethland B. Clark responds to Steve Brenneis:

No, I don't have evidence. As I said, this is all my opinion and it didn't come from anyone else. These were my initial thoughts from day one.

A puppet government is exactly what we're after. Haven't you heard? The Iraqis are starting to question why their govt. hasn't been established yet. They're asking what this "election" was all about. Where are the results? We'll see to it that the new administration sees eye to eye with America.

This war was about nation-building, pride and power. So we agree! But tell me, what nation-building did President Clinton do? Maybe you should ask my Croatian office mate for her opinion on the matter.

Missing Jesse Helms

The Washington Prowler writes:

Forget trying to clear out the deadwood and the lefty-leaning careerists at the State Department. But how about the Bush Administration and Republicans doing something about the Senate Foreign Relations Committee? Better yet, bring back Jesse Helms for a couple of days and let him sort things out.

Doubts Raised On Schiavo Memo

Laura Ingraham writes:

Howie Kurtz writes a great piece about the bloggers and their reaction to the "talking points memo" controversy that's been brewing in the media's coverage of the Schiavo case.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Who Is Alan Greenspan?

Speaking of "Atlas Shrugged" and conspiracy theories...

1981 attack on Pope planned by Soviets

From HindustanTimes.com:

New documents found in the files of the former East German intelligence services confirm the 1981 assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II was ordered by the Soviet KGB and assigned to Bulgarian agents, an Italian daily said on Wednesday.

Excerpts from "Atlas Shrugged"

Definitely worth reading. A few tasty tidbits:

"So you think that money is the root of all evil?" said Francisco d'Anconia. "Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?


"Let me give you a tip on a clue to men's characters: the man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it.

"Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper's bell of an approaching looter. So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another—their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun.


"When you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good. Do not expect them to stay moral and lose their lives for the purpose of becoming the fodder of the immoral. Do not expect them to produce, when production is punished and looting rewarded. Do not ask, 'Who is destroying the world? You are.

Dandy stuff. Click the link, read the excerpts then read the whole book. It will change your life.

RE: RE: RE: Energy policy, wherefore art thou?

Steve Brenneis responds to Behethland B. Clark:

Do you have any evidence to support the theory that Bush's "big business oil-cronies" had this in mind, or are you just going on the paranoid rantings of people like Ralph Nader and Dennis Kucinich? And who are these big business oil-cronies? Do they have names, or are they just the same "someones" who seem to form the basis of every conspiracy theory?

Let me point out just a couple of the concrete facts that make most of that theory go up in a puff of smoke. In order for an American business to get control of those oil fields, one of two things would be necessary. Either we would have to colonize Iraq and make it part of US soil or we would have to impose some kind of puppet government to turn a blind eye to the presence of an American corporation operating with impunity on their sovereign soil. Obviously, we have not annexed Iraq, so the first possibility is out. I hardly think holding free elections, especially when the outcome was completely in doubt, is the best way to go about installing a puppet government. Once again, I think the Bush political team is a little smarter than that. On top of all this is the fact that the Administration knew going in that Hussein's people would destroy the oil fields right off the bat. Part of the infrastructure repair estimates made before Iraq was even invaded included three to eight years of work to restore the oil fields. The overall plan had Iraq regaining its sovereignty well before that ever happened. Finally, proponents of this somewhat crackpot theory also neglect to account for the fact that if we took direct control of the Iraqi oil fields, the entire rest of OPEC would quit selling us oil immediately. Given that we obtain less oil in a month from Iraq than we burn in a day, the economies of the theory just don't hold water.

You say it was all about the money. What money? The $180 billion we had to spend in the endeavor? The same $180 billion expenditure that has Bush's current approval ratings in the crapper? That seems to be a favorite saying of leftists, but the sayer never quite makes it clear what money it is all about. I'm not really sure what you folks from the left find so evil about money that you would make it a motive for everything with which you disagree, but I guess that's for another thread.

As for assuring a GOP victory in 2004, two entities can claim nearly complete credit for that: Al Qaida and the Democrat Party. After 9/11, if Bush had done nothing more than some Clinton-esque posturing, maybe bomb a baby food factory in Afghanistan, a GOP victory in 2004 was almost assured. Americans will not change the CinC when our security is threatened. The fact that the Democrats selected John Kerry to run was just icing on the cake. Whatever possessed the Democrats to run a pompous, condescending, hypocritical political chameleon at a time when people were looking for a modicum of honesty and integrity it beyond me. John Kerry was a caricature of himself. Throw in Hollyweird, the lunatics from MoveOn.org, Michael Moore, and Dan Rather and I'm surprised Kerry did as well as he did. The only thing they could have done to seal their fate more permanently was to nominate Howard Dean. Of course they seem to be on the verge of rectifying that oversight any day. As a matter of fact, one of the worst moves Bush could have made politically was to march into the swamp that was Iraq. I suspect the only reason Bush didn't top Reagan's landslide was the war in Iraq. Sorry, the line of thinking that the Iraq war was for political gain is nearly as silly as the theory that it was to make a profit on oil.

Of all the things the invasion of Iraq was about, money and oil are not among them. Now if you had said it was about nation-building, pride, and power and that it was hypocritical, I would have agreed. Of course we would have had to apply those brush strokes to Bush's predecessor so I doubt you would go there. If you had opposed it on the grounds that it was a rank violation of constitutional federalism, I would have agreed as well, but I doubt you'll be going there.

RE: RE: RE: Energy policy, wherefore art thou?

Behethland B. Clark responds to Steve Brenneis:

Point is, cheaper gas prices for the average American was not what was on Dubya's mind when he decided to invade Iraq. I believe there were many, many ulterior motives but those are all strictly my opinion.

Things haven't worked out as planned in Iraq. I truly believe the administration thought they could go in there and gain control of these oil fields and some big business oil-cronies would be rolling in the dough.

It was all about the money. And assuring a Republican victory in 2004. Up until 9-11, Bush hadn't done a thing. This was his chance to act and someone advised him that it would be far easier to oust Saddam and "free Iraq" than to find Bin Laden. AND they could claim Iraq had something to do with 9-11. Yeah! That's the ticket!

And no, I don't think he's any smarter than that.


Poor Bill...

RE: RE: Energy policy, wherefore art thou?

Steve Brenneis responds to Behethland B. Clark:

So we invaded Iraq so that oil would be more expensive?

Let's see. Expensive oil is likely to sink whichever political party is in power, especially so with the occupant of the White House.

Also, expensive oil tends to suppress consumption, something the left has wanted to happen for quite some time.

So, the left is unhappy about Iraq because it will probably end up removing the Republicans from power and because it will accomplish something the left has been trying to do for years. Furthermore, it is the contention of the left that Bush/Rove did this on purpose. What am I missing here? I'm no fan of George Bush, but I suspect he and Karl Rove are just a wee bit smarter than that.

Quote of the day...

"When you pull the tube, the feeding tube, and someone survives 12 days without food and water....that is more life energy than was originally anticipated."

-- Jesse Jackson

John Danforth to the GOP: Abandon the Principles of Lincoln

Hugh Hewitt's reply today to John Danforth's piece in the New York Times...

Transcript: John Edwards Talks to Alan Colmes

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," Mar. 29, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

Ann Coulter causes stir at KU

Conservative columnist and author Ann Coulter was greeted with a mixture of standing ovations and heckling after she took center stage Tuesday night at Kansas University's Lied Center.

The Minimum Wage: A Real-Life Case Study

The Heritage Foundation writes:

So who loses out when the minimum wage goes up? Less-productive employees--often seniors and teenagers; business owners; customers, who enjoy less customer service; and low-income folks, who end up having to pay more for everything.

Law, legal fictions and lawlessness

Marc A. Jones, an adjunct professor at Concord University School of Law, writes:

At the heart of the controversy surrounding the court-enforced death of Terri Schiavo is a legal issue that the courts and the media have failed to address. Does a person have a legal right to consent to a crime? To understand why this is a central issue, a brief review of American common law is in order.


The Wall Street Journal Editorial Staff writes:

What Mr. Volcker's report reveals is an "adverse finding" against the Secretary General: That is, patterns of willful neglect, conflict of interest and incompetence that would have any business CEO out on his ear.

In the Name of Politics

Jim Geraghty of National Review Online opines:

Another "state of my party" piece on the New York Times op-ed page today, this one from Republican John Danforth — former senator from Missouri, former ambassador to the United Nations and Episcopal minister. And he's not happy with the amount of religion in the GOP...

RE: Energy policy, wherefore art thou?

Behethland B. Clark responds to Steve Brenneis:

We never said it was about CHEAP oil.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

RE: Half-Baked Alaska

Steve Brenneis writes:

Welcome to the new face of the GOP: John McCain. They have found someone the media seems to love and the Democrats don't attack. Doesn't anyone else see the problem with that?

I already have a change of voter registration form on my desk. I fully expect the Congress will pass this and Bush will sign it, thereby forcing me to use the form.

Half-Baked Alaska

Patrick J. Michaels writes:

The inexorable drumbeat of climate disaster stories goes on, but no one seems interested in checking the facts. The most recent assault on common sense comes from Alaska. There, Republican senators Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski are said to be favoring onerous climate change legislation sponsored by Arizona's John McCain.

Leaders Defiantly Defend the Indefensible

John Hood writes:

In the past couple of weeks, leaders of the North Carolina legislature have faced severe criticism from fellow lawmakers, think tankers, and the news media for their questionable handling of so-called “discretionary funds” within state government. For the most part, the leaders’ response has been surprisingly – and often quite disastrously – defiant.

RE: Energy policy, wherefore art thou?

Steve Brenneis writes:

So much for the left's contention that invading Iraq was all about cheap oil.


Laura Ingraham writes:

Everyone in the media was up in arms last week about the supposed "talking points memo" that was circulated among Republican senators claiming the Terri Schiavo case was a great political and moral issue for Republicans to trounce the Dems with. But we've now learned that the memo was bogus!

Digging for an ACORN

Carolina Journal Online states:

A new left-wing activist group has set up shop in North Carolina's most populous city. It's already had an effect on local politics, and hopes to have an effect on policy.

Energy policy, wherefore art thou?

Noel Sheppard writes:

In case you missed it, oil and wholesale gas prices hit all-time highs recently, with unleaded gas futures closing at roughly $1.58/gallon. As one can typically double this number to approximate what it might translate into at the retail level, this figure suggests that, some time soon we are going to be paying $3.00 at the pump.

Bible slays killer's death sentence

Our judicial system becomes more degenerate every day. We already live under a virtual oligarchy of judges. I expect this monster will eventually find his way back into society so that another innocent can be sacrificed to the gods of jurisprudence.

American Death Sentence

The preferred new method is slow starvation and dehydration.

Terri's tragedy

Nat Hentoff of the Washington Times writes:

Despite some bitter and grossly uninformed Democratic opposition -- with the especially notable exception of Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, among other Democrats -- the congressional Republican leadership has, as of this writing, given Terri Schiavo, who has committed no crime, a chance to escape execution after having been again sentenced to death by Florida Circuit Court Judge George Greer, who steadfastly jettisoned due process in her case.

Monday, March 28, 2005

The Gipper

"Unfortunately, in the last two decades we've experience an onslaught of such twisted logic that if Alice were visiting America, she might think she'd never left Wonderland. We're told that it somehow violates the rights of others to permit students in school who desire to pray to do so. ... We can and must respect the rights of those who are non-believers, but we must not cut ourselves off from this indispensable source of strength and guidance."

-- Ronald Reagan

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Affidavit of Carla Iyer, nurse who cared for Terri Schiavo from April 1995 to July 1996

Laura Ingraham writes:

This hasn't really been highlighted by anyone, but you'll be outraged when you read this chilling sworn statement about Michael Schiavo's hospital visits to Terri, by Carla Iyer, nurse for Terri Schiavo from 1995-1996. Read about the REAL Michael Schiavo...

Senate Recruiting

From Bob Novak's Saturday column:

Republican insiders say their fears have been realized that Sen. Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina would not be sufficiently aggressive as Senate Republican campaign chairman in recruiting candidates for 2006.

Rep. Candice Miller, the strongest Republican to challenge Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow in Michigan, has ruled out making the race. No strong candidate has been found to challenge Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson in overwhelmingly Republican Nebraska. Sen. Hillary Clinton appears uncontested in New York. The Republicans face potentially messy primary races in Florida and Tennessee, without a winner in sight.

Dole's Democratic counterpart, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, has guaranteed a virtually uncontested primary in Pennsylvania for the strongest Democratic candidate, State Treasurer Bob Casey Jr., against Senate Republican Conference Chairman Rick Santorum.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Successful System

A co-worker & friend of mine, Bob Webber, wrote this to the Winston-Salem Journal... It appeared in the March 24, 2005 edition of the paper:

On March 3, state Reps. John Blust and John Rhodes filed house bill 492, which would amend the state Constitution so that spending would be capped and tax increases would be limited. This system has been used successfully in Colorado and is much needed here. Colorado has avoided the "boom and bust" cycles (mostly "bust") that North Carolina has seen over the last decade.

The need for this amendment was highlighted by a story the same day ("Ex-Rep. Decker joins Easley administration,") which reported that former Rep. Michael Decker was given a job that appeared to have been "made for" him. This job, with an annual salary of $48,000, seemed to be a reward by the governor for Decker's switching of parties a couple of years ago and usurping the will of the voters in the previous election. It is obvious that most politicians of both parties have neither the fiscal discipline nor the respect for the taxpayer to restrain him or herself from spending other people's money.

I would urge all to contact our state representatives and urge them to vote for this bill.


Friday, March 25, 2005

Taxpayers' Bill of Rights Spreads

From The Heritage Foundation's press room:

The Taxpayers' Bill of Rights is an approach to limit a state's spending. Too often, states let spending soar when times are good and then raise taxes--to maintain this newly essential spending--when the economy dips. The result: ever-growing government and too-high taxes.

The Taxpayers' Bill of Rights changes all this. Implemented as a constitutional amendment in Colorado, it limits the growth in state spending to the rate of population growth plus inflation. Any excess revenue collected above that amount is returned to taxpayers.

Answering the Myths about Social Security

Dr. Thomas R. Saving writes:

Social Security reform is at the top of President Bush’s second term agenda — and for good reason. In the next decade, two monumental shifts will occur: 1) the first of the 77 million baby boomers will start drawing benefits and stop paying payroll taxes, and 2) funds available to pay Social Security and Medicare benefits will fall increasingly short of promises we have made.

A great deal of misinformation is being spread in the debate over the need to reform our elderly entitlements programs. The record needs to be set straight.

Killing Terri Schiavo: Part II

Thomas Sowell writes:

Liberals have repeatedly used the talking point of how many judges have heard the case of Terri Schiavo. But that is as misleading as most of the rest of what they and the mainstream media have been saying.

RE: RE: RE: The Right to Life

Steve Brenneis responds to yours truly:

That's just the problem: "under the law."

As the chief of the executive branch, Bush not only has the authority, but the obligation to ignore a ruling by the judiciary that he finds in error. As pointed out in the Bennett and Krauthammer articles, if that is wrong then he faces impeachment by the legislative branch. In this case, because the legislature has already supported him once in the effort, a successful impeachment is unlikely.

Bush is pandering to politics. No more, no less.

RE: RE: The Right to Life

In defense of Jeb Bush, what more can he do??? Everything he does, some judge throws it out. Should he go and kidnap her??? Personally, I believe Gov. Bush has done all he can do under the law.

Just my opinion, but I won't charge... -- Andy :-)

Killing Terri Schiavo

Thomas Sowell writes:

People who say that the government has no business interfering in a private decision like removing Terri Schiavo's feeding tube somehow have no problem with a squad of policemen preventing her parents (or anyone else) from giving their daughter food or water.

Because She's Earned It

I agree with most of Boortz' points in this, except that I think he ascribes too much good intention to Michael Schiavo. I have said and will always maintain that he is an inhuman beast of monstrous proportions. I also disagree with Boortz' somewhat glib assertions that we really do know what Terri's wishes are and that her life is irreparably gone. For that reason, while his talking points are reasonable, his thesis is not. You're still wrong on this Neil.

RE: The Right to Life

Steve Brenneis writes:

Bush was on Fox News this morning saying that he would not exercise powers he felt to be outside his scope. In other words, he is afraid. Yet another member of the Bush family bows to political pressure and proves he is no bigger than the institution.

He can still do the right thing. He can still act. If he chooses not to, then we can only hope this decade will see the end of the prominence of the Bush family in American politics.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Right to Life

William J. Bennett & Brian T. Kennedy write:

Terry Schiavo is near death. If actions are to be taken to save her life, they must be taken now.

RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Home Schooling Alert

Behethland B. Clark responds to Steve Brenneis:

You may have a point. There are certainly some administrative issues that have tied educators hands. And a lot of this "no child left behind" stuff has done nothing but force teachers to teach a test to their class instead of being creative. There are some real problems and there is no doubt that these problems along with the low pay have scared away some really talented folks. I wanted to be a teacher, and my mom begged me not to do it!

But I do believe there has to be a state standard and there has to be some way to measure a child's progress. Is it fair to other students who have followed the state curriculum to allow home schooled students admission to state universities without the same course-load? Without some state intervention, how can we be sure that the home-schooled child has followed a similar curriculum? Am I missing something?

And thanks for your comments about my mom.

RE: RE: RE: RE: Home Schooling Alert

Steve Brenneis responds to Behethland B. Clark:

Well first, I know how good your Mom is because she taught two of my children. And second, I think she has an appreciation for home-schooling because of her work with home-bound kids.

The point is, though, does the state have the right to tell you how to educate your children? Even further, does the state have the right to tell you whether you must educate your children? I say no. I know home-school parents who have no business teaching anyone anything, but what right does the state have to stick its nose into that relationship?

Finally, I think what you see with regard to respect comes from the fact that people like your Mom are the exception rather than the rule in public education. Public education has reduced teaching to its lowest common denominator. She is a victim of guilt by association. If all education was private, teachers would be paid much more handsomely and would be held in much higher esteem. If you don't believe that, take a look at eighteenth century Europe and America for an example. It is the public education system that has reduced members of the teaching profession to little more than babysitters and janitors.

RE: RE: RE: Home Schooling Alert

Behethland B. Clark responds to Steve Brenneis:

I know several home schooled kids who are extremely advanced and have gone on to do very well at the college level. But their parents are very smart. That's the key.

My mom has always said that she doesn't have a problem with home schooling at all as long as the parents are well-adjusted and intelligent.

There are lots of situations where that isn't the case. And if a parent doesn't do his or her research as to the proper curriculum, the child will be behind.

But I will venture to say that I would have excelled as a home schooled student because both my mother and my grandmother were educators who knew how to "instruct". My grandmother taught both me and my brother how to read, write and do basic math before we even entered kindergarten. (And I'm not bragging on myself here, I'm bragging on my grandma!)

It just bothers me that teachers are so under-valued as to think that the average person could do just as good a job. Would you try practicing medicine at home, too?

I guess I'm just sensitive to this because I've seen how hard my mom works and how dedicated she is to her profession, yet her salary is pitiful and she receives so little respect from other "professionals".

Swiss Want to Wrap Glaciers in Tin Foil

Rush Limbaugh writes:

These wackos just get more and more ridiculous...

The Anti-Chomsky Reader

Self-loathing seems to be a particular trait of radical leftists. I'm not usually much of a Horowitz fan, but I might have to pick this one up.

RE: RE: Home Schooling Alert

Steve Brenneis responds to Behethland B. Clark:

While what you say might be subjectively true, objective results disagree.

Home schoolers consistently score higher in all testing categories than their public schooled counterparts. Home schoolers are also known to adjust to college life more quickly and have fewer incidents of college discipline problems.

Home schoolers who don't go to college also find jobs faster and the jobs they find are generally better. According to employers, home schoolers also have an easier time integrating into the workforce because they have a better respect for discipline and a better understanding of teamwork.

The whole socially retarded, underprepared image of home schoolers is mythology, mostly created by the teacher's unions.

RE: Speaking of Alternative Energy Resources...

Behethland B. Clark writes:

Nuclear energy is at least clean. It just isn't biodegradable.

RE: Home Schooling Alert

Behethland B. Clark writes:

It is one's own business if they want to home school their children, but I do believe they are doing their child a disservice if they do. First of all, the child misses out on the social interaction with other children and with adults other than their parents, which is essential for proper development.

Secondly, teachers are professionals trained to do a job. Teaching is a talent and everyone isn't good at it. I don't care how smart a person is or how educated, they aren't necessarily going to be a good instructor.

RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: The Threat of Oil Drilling

Steve Brenneis responds to Behethland B. Clark:

The tricky thing about oil production is that it isn't really about any particular field's total capacity. As I mentioned in my post on the CSM article, the important numbers are daily production. The USGS estimates daily oil consumption at 19.6 million barrels per day, with about 2/3 of that being imported. ANWR, as reported by Oil Analytics, will produced between 1 million and 2 million barrels per day for about thirty years. As I said, that is more oil than we import from Saudi Arabia. If you want to see some Arabs pucker up, tell Saudi Arabia we won't be buying any oil from them for the next thirty years. I guarantee you that it would be open season on jihadists in the Arabian peninsula.

Speaking of Alternative Energy Resources...

This is interesting. Cold fusion still seems to be in the realm of junk science, but it looks like USDOE is trying to give it a facelift.

Home Schooling Alert

This is from the North Carolinians for Home Education:

Should N.C. homeschoolers report to public school authorities?

They will soon, under a plan announced today to a joint appropriations committee – if the committee approves.

Secretary of Administration Gwynn Swinson today presented Governor Easley's latest budget proposal, which would move the Division of Non-Public Education (DNPE) under the authority of the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), ending twenty-five years of independence for non-public education in North Carolina.

Secretary Swinson explained this as a cost saving benefit and a way to "deal with the proliferation of homeschoolers" in the state. Some committee members expressed interest in increasing oversight of homeschoolers."


• DNPE was separated from DPI in 1979 in order to protect the independence of private education from the public school bureaucracy.

• Homeschooling has never been under the control of the public school system in North Carolina.

• Numerous studies in North Carolina and other states have shown homeschooling to be an effective means of preparing children for adult responsibilities -- without government control, direction, intervention, or funding.

Non-public education saves the state $980 million annually in student appropriations, according to Secretary Swinson. The independence and freedom we enjoy under North Carolina law has promoted this growth. Why change a system which upholds personal choice and yields such benefits for all North Carolina taxpayers?

RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: The Threat of Oil Drilling

Behethland B. Clark responds to Steve Brenneis:

I suppose it all depends on how you play with the numbers, but if the USGS estimates that we'll get 7.7 BBO from ANWR and the US currently uses over 6.5 BBO in one year, how long do you really think that resource will last?! If the point in all this is to get away from Foreign Oil, then this ain't the fix.

I swear to you, that if drilling in ANWR would really give us enough oil to end our dependence on foreign oil, I would be for it. I believe it would be worth it to avoid another Iraq. But it isn't the long-term answer that we're looking for and isn't worth the environmental damage that COULD be done for just a few years worth of oil.

RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: The Threat of Oil Drilling

Steve Brenneis responds to Behethland B. Clark:

I didn't take the CSM article as offered gospel. I just figured you were offering it as evidence. The USGS article confirms the figures I had read previously. As you can see from all the sources, ANWR is by no means a lightweight resource.

By the way, one thing that hasn't been mentioned in all this debate is the fact that the drilling will take place in a tiny corridor of the reserve. The reserve itself is over 19 million acres. The area set aside for drilling comprises 1.5 million acres, but the recently passed bill limits the actual area for drilling to 2000 acres, a tiny fraction of the total area of the reserve. Granted, the bill plays some fishy games with how that area is calculated, but even at the worst, the drilling area is nearly inconsequential with regard to the total area of the reserve.

In Love With Death

Peggy Noonan writes:

God made the world or he didn't. God made you or he didn't. If he did, your little human life is, and has been, touched by the divine. If this is true, it would be true of all humans, not only some. And so--again, if it is true--each human life is precious, of infinite value, worthy of great respect.

RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: The Threat of Oil Drilling


I didn't actually mean to use the CSM article for statistical data. Andy actually added that comment to preface my post. I posted that simply for interest. It has a little argument from both sides, but plays up some of the local opinion which I think becomes overlooked in all the "politics". Maybe this isn't the point of the Pulpit, but I just wanted to find an article that didn't take sides. I didn't think the fact that it was from 2001 made any difference in that regard, since this has been an on-going debate for years.

As for the USGS article, this was the most up-to-date research available. The article itself is current.

RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: The Threat of Oil Drilling

Steve Brenneis responds to Behethland B. Clark:

Did you really mean to quote a four-year-old article?

Aside from the dearth of actual facts in the article, there is some hysterical nonsense from the queen of hysterical nonsense, Barbara Boxer about saving the same amount of oil by forcing auto makers to meet the same fuel efficiency standards in SUVs that they do in cars. In a moment, you will see why Senator Airhead is as full of dung as a Christmas goose. It was a nice try though: cut off drilling in ANWR and force automakers to quit producing those vile SUVs.

Please note the mention in the article of the 700,000 barrels per day from Iraq. Obviously an old figure, but still useful. The article quotes a total amount of oil available based on an economic feasibility factor. This isn't aprticularly useful since the availability of oil on a day-to-day basis is more of an economic factor. Oil Analytics, an oil watchdog organization, says that the ANWR oilfields will produce around one million barrels per day in about eight years, then it will produce around two million barrels per day for about twenty two years. After that, production will decline for the next eight years, averaging around one million barrels per day during the period. The economic feasibility figures given in your article are based on a market price of $24 per barrel and a production cost of (minimally) $13 per barrel. They quote the capacity of the oilfields at a little over 5 billion barrels. Oil Analytics estimates that at a market price of $40 per barrel, ANWR could produce as much as 19 billion barrels. Oil is currently at about $54 per barrel.

Drilling in ANWR will produce more oil than we used to get from Iraq and Libya combined for thirty years. It will produce more oil than we currently get from Saudi Arabia. By any objective criteria, that amounts to reducing dependency on foreign oil.

With regard to the jobs reference, keep in mind that the 750,000 job number was actually produced by the Teamsters as a way to corral Democrat Senators into voting for the bill. The issue is not jobs, the issue is oil.

Finally, a tribe of Eskimos who live in the reserve are strongly in favor of drilling. They live in abject poverty, melting snow to drink and bathe. They will become quite wealthy when they are able to lease drilling rights.

Oh, and as for Senator Dipstick: Light trucks (SUVs, small pickups, minivans) account for a little under 3 million barrels per day of US oil consumption. The average (EPA mandated) fuel efficiency of these vehicles is 18 miles per gallon. The average fuel efficiency (EPA mandated) of cars is 22 miles per gallon. SUVs account for less than 25% of all sales in the light truck category. Forcing auto makers to increase the fuel economy of SUVs to 22 miles per gallon would result in a net savings of about 200,000 barrels per day. I realize the good Senator is a victim of California public schools, but any sixth grader should be able to figure out that 200,000 is only ten percent of 2 million, the low-end figure from Oil Analytics. Even if you count the entire light truck category, you only save 750,000 barrels per day, nowhere near the output of the ANWR fields.

RE: USGS stats

Behethland B. Clark writes:

Keep in mind that oil is NOT a renewable resource. Once it's gone, it's gone.

USGS stats

And here’s how much the USGC says is actually “usuable":

The total quantity of technically recoverable oil within the entire assessment area is estimated to be between 5.7 and 16.0 billion barrels (95-percent and 5-percent probability range), with a mean value of 10.4 billion barrels. Technically recoverable oil within the ANWR 1002 area (excluding State and Native areas) is estimated to be between 4.3 and 11.8 billion barrels (95- and 5-percent probability range), with a mean value of 7.7 billion barrels (table 1).

In anticipation of the need for scientific support for policy decisions and in light of the decade-old perspective of a previous assessment, the USGS has completed a reassessment of the petroleum potential of the ANWR 1002 area. This was a comprehensive study by a team of USGS scientists in collaboration on technical issues (but not the assessment) with colleagues in other agencies and universities. The study incorporated all available public data and included new field and analytic work as well as the reevaluation of all previous work.

Using a methodology similar to that used in previous USGS assessments in the ANWR and the National Petroleum Reserve—Alaska, this study estimates that the total quantity of technically recoverable oil in the 1002 area is 7.7 BBO (mean value), which is distributed among 10 plays. Most of the oil is estimated to occur in the western, undeformed part of the ANWR 1002 area, which is closest to existing infrastructure. Furthermore, the oil is expected to occur in a number of accumulations rather than a single large accumulation.

So we use 6.6 billion per year, and ANWR might give us 7.7 billion in a year. Think that's enough?

It's not about the money

Steve Feinstein, a contributor to The American Thinker, writes:

Whenever you hear the phrase, “It’s not about the money,” one thing is absolutely certain: it’s about the money. Of all the complicated, convoluted, and heart-wrenching aspects of the Terri Schiavo case, one thing that proponents on both sides of the issue have been very quick to point out is that their position has nothing to do with politics. The respective stands taken by the opposing factions are based strictly on the highest principles, they insist. Deference to the rule of law. Reverence for the sanctity of life. But certainly, not politics.

Oil Consumption in North America

Currently, the United States consumes 19.6 million barrels per day, of oil, which is more than 25% of the world's total.. As a result, the U.S produces one fourth of the world's carbon emissions. Despite predictions that the U.S. will exhaust it's supply of oil in as little as forty years, the demand is on the increase, and is predicted to continue increasing, because of the ever increasing population. Increase in resource consumption is caused by three factors: population growth, new uses found for a resource, and increase in demand for a resource to increase living standards. The rate of consumption for oil is increasing at a rate of about 2% yearly.

Dirty Democrat Pool

The Washington Prowler writes:

It's Rathergate all over again, as media fall for another hoax designed to embarrass Republicans.

RE: Starved for justice

Steve Brenneis writes:

Jeb Bush is the person who needs to stop this. The whole country is watching him. If he has the courage to do this, he will go down in American history as a hero. If not, he will join his brother and father as principle-free politicians who run and hide in the face of political pressure.

Starved for justice

Ann Coulter writes:

So how about a Republican governor sending in the National Guard to stop an innocent American woman from being starved to death in Florida?

RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: The Threat of Oil Drilling

Behethland B. Clark offers some more statistics...

Grants helped Stokes center

The Hope Pregnancy Care Center in the Stokes County town of King doesn't take state or federal money because its director doesn't want the government directing its Christian-centered services.

But the center gladly accepted when a lawmaker offered $82,000 in taxpayer money to pay off the nonprofit's mortgage on a former Baptist church building. The $82,000 is more than double what the center receives each year in private donations and rent.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Nature Boy's 2 cents worth... (Thoughts on Terri Schiavo)

I hear everybody saying that if they were Terri Schiavo, they would want the feeding tube removed so they could die. Personally, if I were Terri Schiavo, I would want to live. The reason: Why would I want my "so called" spouse - who's been shacking up with another woman for years, in which they have 2 children together - make a life-&-death decision on my behalf??? If he wants to move on with his life, then fine, but divorce her... Let's face it, he hasn't been a devoted husband... Matter of fact, he's been an (_!_) hole. Why would I want an (_!_) hole making the decision on whether to starve me to death or not???

I know one thing, I recommend to everybody who reads this that they should get a living will... Just make sure in your will that you state that your spouse must not be sleeping around and having babies with other people when it's time to make the decision to "pull the plug"... I seriously doubt one's spouse will have one's best interests at heart.

Just my 2 cents worth, but I won't charge... -- Andy :-)

RE: RE: RE: RE: The Threat of Oil Drilling

Steve Brenneis responds to Behethland B. Clark:

Another liberal dichotomy! You want us to believe in Darwin, but you don't want us to let him work! Seriously though, that is yet another conservative semantic for Robert. If tourists wander around in some dangerous environment and end up doing an impersonation of a matchstick, then conservatives are heartbroken, but not really interested in changing the world to prevent it from happening again. We like to believe there is merit in learning from our own mistakes as well as the mistakes of others. Therefore, if you just put up a sign that says, "This place is dangerous and you are flammable. Watch it!" most conservatives will be fine with that. It's the child safety seat thing on a different scale. But I digress...

I'm having a little trouble with the whole bulldozers and oilspills thing. How are they different than glaciers and tar pits? I know good and well the EPA never levies fines on them or requires environmental impact statements from them. Yet they are functionally identical in the environmental change department.

I would be interested in any sources that claim ANWR is a low-yield oil field. All my reading says differently.

Solar energy is promising, but untenable. At the current time, it costs more, in both money and natural resources, to produce solar energy elements than they save as an alternative. The only thing you can say about solar energy is that it is not fossil fuel. Whether or not that is a good thing is (obviously) debatable.

Ethanol is not a workable fuel when used by itself. The conversion factors from kinetic energy to heat are not high enough to warrant it as a complete replacement for fossil fuels. Furthermore, long-term use of ethanol in blends higher than are currently sold is mechanically harmful to internal combustion engines. The balance of what is not used in fossil fuels is overcome by the need to repair engines and produce new ones more often. Ethanol is a reasonable interim solution, but it doesn't solve the fossil fuel dependency problem and it isn't as non-polluting as it marketers would have you believe. It still produces a substantial amount of waste in the form of unburned hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide. I believe its ozone byproduct is also higher than gasoline.

As for a few others: biodiesel is economically attractive, but the mixture rates are so small (2%) that it has little impact on fossil fuel dependency or pollution. Hydrogen cells are insanely dangerous. Ever heard of the Hindenburg? Hydrogen fusion is actually safer than hydrogen combustion. Even us daredevil conservatives are wary of that source. Wind power is reasonable, efficient, and economical in places where (obviously) the wind blows. It is not any better than a supplement though since blackouts during doldrums wouldn't be generally acceptable. Hydrostatic power is a great alternative (though not necessarily in your car). The trouble is, environmentalists won't let us build dams for fear we will drown some weed or bug we never heard of.

Nuclear energy is clean, efficient, and safe, even if we limit it to fission reactions. Unfortunately, a fission reactor for your car would put the severe willies in those people who feel like the entire universe is out to get them. Fusion yields the highest ratio of energy to size. Once again unfortunately, no research can be done on developing a usable small fusion system because said shrinking violets above and the anti-nuke nut-popsicles I mentioned before have managed to convince our spineless Congress-critters to pass a ban on all fusion research.

The sandals reference was for visual effect. I don't wear them because they make my feet feel funky, but I guess they're okay for some folks.

RE: RE: RE: The Threat of Oil Drilling

Behethland B. Clark responds to Steve Brenneis:

Tourists aren't allowed to go anywhere in the Hawaiian volcanic region because it's dangerous! It's a volatile environment. Same as with much of Yellowstone National Park. You can't allow people to just stroll willy-nilly through geysers and fumeroles. But you can still see them from a walk-way or over a short fence.

On the topic of man changing his environment; yes, of course we do. But nature allows for a certain amount of that change. We breathe and create carbon dioxide which is toxic to us, but essential to trees and other plants. The environment isn't designed to repair itself from bulldozers and oilspills. And I know that some things must be change in order to progress. But the Alaskan Refuge isn't a high oil-yield area and it isn't just the Sierra Club that says so, either.

What about solar energy and ethanol as automobile fuel? The reason these two sources aren't embraced is that there's no corporate entity backing them, thus no big-bucks incentive.

It just seems to me that everything comes down to money with conservatives and that is why it's so hard to swallow.

And what's wrong with sandals?!

RE: RE: RE: The Threat of Oil Drilling

Steve Brenneis responds to Behethland B. Clark:

The Sierra Club is an organization well respected by environmentalists. With everyone else, not so much. They are marginally better than their more radical brethren like Earth First, but only marginally. They, like any other organization dedicated to political action, have never been above embellishing reality to serve their cause.

Man has been changing his environment since he could stand upright and move about. I have never been able to figure out what it is about this that environmentalists seem to find so disturbing. Changing one's environment in more or less permanent ways is a fact of existence. You can't even avoid it by standing very still and closing your eyes. Every breath you take alters the chemistry of your environment. Every beat of your heart causes molecules to be altered, created, and destroyed. Forever.

Indeed we are not the only creatures on Earth, but we are the only ones who seem to care about preserving some abstract concept of beauty. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a we shouldn't care because nothing else cares argument, but preservation of beauty for the benefit of creatures with no concept of beauty seems a somewhat pointless exercise, don't you think? And remember, we haven't established that the totality of this wildlife refuge will be esthetically destroyed or even adversely affected by this activity. So far, we only have the Sierra Club's arguable word for it.

You asked, "You wouldn't let tourists in Hawaii be free to go anywhere in the volcanic region, would you?" Why yes, yes I would. Why not? As long as they are not trespassing on private property, what reason is there to suspect that they have malicious intent?

As to the cost of prehistoric events on a population. In all likelihood, the population would have been wiped out. The best evidence we have for the extinction of the dinosaurs is that some cataclysmic cosmic event occurred that resulted in the sun being occulted. Most likely a comet or asteroid hit the Earth and the resulting dust cloud changed the climate permanently. While I would accept this as the natural order of things, environmentalists would weep and moan that there had been no sandal-clad Sierra Club member extant to provide facts, figures, statistics, and social justice lectures to the asteroid on why it shouldn't have hit the Earth.

I was considering letting your comment about drilling being of no help pass, but it is so over the top, I can't do it. That is an utterly preposterous statement. It ranks right up there with environmentalists telling us in 1970 that the Earth's fossil fuels would be exhausted by the year 2000. Yep, they did. I was there. I remember it. Of course drilling in the refuge will help us. There is estimated to be more crude oil and natural gas in Alaska than in all of Saudi Arabia. I, for one, prefer not to be beholden to some Arab nutjob jihadist or some tinpot South American dictator for my next fill-up.

Finally, I agree wholeheartedly about finding alternatives to fossil fuels. So how about you and I figure out a way to get the environmentalist nut-popsicles to quit obstructing progress on nuclear energy? That way, we don't have so far to look.

Crude Behavior: The oil industry's influence over America's energy policy

The Sierra Club writes:

Once more, oil prices are rising because OPEC-- a cartel of oil producing countries-- is manipulating supply to increase profits. Once more, we find ourselves vulnerable and victimized by our dependence on foreign oil. And once more, Americans, tired of being jerked around by the cartel, look to their leaders for real solutions.

RE: RE: The Threat of Oil Drilling

Behethland B. Clark responds to Steve Brenneis:

And you don't think the other side is also biased?

The Sierra Club is a very well-respected organization. They do not have political affiliation and promote candidates from both parties based on their environmental records. We aren't talking about natural, evolutionary earth changes here. We're talking about man-made changes that can forever change our landscape.

What good is the beauty of the land if we cannot enjoy it? We aren't the only creatures on this earth, for one. I'm not really sure what you are referring to. There are certainly areas that are too volatile for vehicles and ATV traffic but can sustain foot traffic as long as it is in a designated area that is safe and not trampling over endangered plants or disturbing certain habitats. You wouldn't let tourists in Hawaii be free to go anywhere in the volcanic region, would you?

The earth is a very young planet in comparison to many others in our galaxy. And much of it's life has been without human occupation. The earth has certainly recovered from cataclysmic events in the past, but what would the effect have been had the planet have been populated?

The fact is that drilling in the Refuge isn't going to help us out much, so why do it? It's time to look at other sources of fuel!!

RE: The Threat of Oil Drilling

Steve Brenneis writes:

And, of course, the Sierra Club is a completely objective and unbiased source for this information.

Whether or not the facts and figures they quote are correct, and with the Sierra Club that is highly suspect, that pristine and lovely wilderness isn't worth anything if the toll for foreign oil dependence is world war and ruined economies. One of the signal ironies of American radical environmentalists is that they want these huge tracts of land to be left completely undisturbed, even including all human visitation (except, of course, for the elite members of the Sierra Club). What good is the beauty of this land if we cannot enjoy it? What good are the remote reaches of Alaska if the energy required to get there is so cost prohibitive that no one can go there?

Environmentalists always seem to concentrate minutiae of environmental change. I expect the eons of vulcanism, the vast tug-of-war between monsoon and drought, and the onslaught of glaciers that preceded human history would have brought them to the verge of apoplexy.

The Threat of Oil Drilling

Behethland B. Clark offers a view point on why oil drilling in ANWR is a bad idea...

Opening ANWR: Long Overdue

Ben Lieberman writes:

Congress now has the best—and possibly the last—opportunity to open up a portion of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil exploration and drilling. ... Doing so would help boost domestic oil supplies and send an important signal that the United States is serious about addressing its future energy needs.

An' Up Thru the Ground Came a Bubblin' Crude

The John Locke Foundation writes:

It appears that drilling for oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge may become a reality. Whatever your reason for taking a stand on this exploration, it is clear that the effort would provide some needed competition with OPEC, making American petroleum markets that much less susceptible to manipulation.

RE: RE: Conservative litmus test

Behethland B. Clark responds to Steve Brenneis:

Thanks for your comments. I hate the pigeon-holing too, because I don't believe most of us actually fall into one category or another. And yes, his belief system is more complex than what we've discussed.

I was just curious as to where you would put him since he seems to have some conflicting beliefs. And he isn't the only Republican friend I have who is pro-choice and a member of an environmental group.

RE: The law is failing Terri

Steve Brenneis writes:

Charles is brilliant, as always.

Here is the nail hit right on the head:

"For Congress and the president to then step in and try to override that by shifting the venue to a federal court was a legal travesty, a flagrant violation of federalism and the separation of powers. The federal judge who refused to reverse the Florida court was certainly true to the law."

The law is failing Terri

Charles Krauthammer writes:

That is why this is a terrible case. The general rule of spousal supremacy leads you here to a thoroughly repulsive conclusion.

Quote of the day

"To evolve, you don't need a Constitution. All you need is a legislature and a ballot box...things will evolve as much as you want. They can create a right to abortion, they can abolish the death penalty. All of these changes can come about democratically; you don't need a Constitution to do that and it's not the function of a Constitution to do that."

-- Justice Antonin Scalia

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

RE: Conservative litmus test

Steve Brenneis responds to Behethland B. Clark:

I actually hate all this cubby-holing, but it seems to be such a natural human tendency. So I'll play a little longer.

The folks who identify as fiscal conservatives and social liberals, in my opinion, fall in a separate category altogether: confused. I know that is really generalizing, but there you have it.

Most social liberals approve of redistributionism and deep government regulation of one sort or another. You can't have it both ways. You can't enforce conservative fiscal policy when the government is spending on all sorts of things it shouldn't be. More on that later.

On the other hand, some people who identify as social liberals are really just modern libertarians. They name themselves fiscally conservative because they don't approve of the government spending our money on a lot of what it does, but they also don't approve of the government trying to regulate morality. They aren't actually fiscal conservatives because they don't really believe in what passes for conservative fiscal policy these days: monetarism, limiting government to non-individual excise taxes, limited regulation of financial markets, etc. Modern libertarians take laissez-faire to the brink of anarchy. While the Democrats have their share of socially liberal whack-jobs (fruits-and-nuts, koolaid-drinkers, pick your favorite epithet), the Libertarians are host to an entire wing of anarchists, nihilists, and left-over hippies.

On the third hand, your husband sounds to me like a poster child for the confused since environmentalism and fiscal conservatism equals oxymoron. There is simply no way to implement any government environmental policy without spending a lot of money. It is axiomatic that government never solves a problem, it simply stomps around the problem making a lot of noise. In the process, it usually makes the problem worse and ends up having to spend more money in order to continue making the problem worse. Nixon through Carter and Bush through Bush should be plenty of evidence for that argument. You didn't mention public education, but I suspect he is probably a strong supporter of that as well (or else Myra wouldn't let him in the house). Once again, public education, like environmentalism, is a money pit. The more you feed it, the hungrier it gets.

In the end, I suspect your husband's belief system is far more complex than all this. Taken issue by issue, it is my experience that large numbers of those who self identify as conservative, either socially, fiscally, or politically, but not all three, usually find out they are solidly moderate when they dive into the details. After all, seven out of ten people picked at random off the street are political and social moderates.

New contributor to the board...

We have a new contributor to the BP... Please welcome Behethland Bullins Clark to the board.

RE: Conservative litmus test

Behethland B. Clark writes:

I have yet another category for you that I believe is separate from any yet named: the fiscal conservative.

My husband is socially very liberal, but votes Republican because he is fiscally conservative. That doesn't really mean that he is politically conservative, either. He isn't exactly pro-military and is member of every environmental group imaginable. He is also pro-choice. As far as the gay marriage issue is concerned, the two of us agree that it's none of our business what two consenting adults do, so why should we oppose a marriage between them? If it doesn't affect our lives, then stay out of other people's business.

Where would you stick him?

'Cruel and unusual'

Thomas Sowell writes:

If the tragic case of Terri Schiavo shows nothing else, it shows how easily "the right to die" can become the right to kill.

Conservative Semantics for Robert

The definition of a conservative is going to be just as difficult to nail down as I imagine the definition of a liberal might be. As I said before, they are such transitory terms, their meaning can shift in a day or a year with equal facility. And I don't really know if there is any such thing as "the conservative square."

Today's self-identified conservatives likely come in two broad flavors: social and political. That's not absolute, but it will serve as a working model. Social conservatives are generally opposed to abortion, opposed to government interference in families, opposed to special rights for homosexuals (or anyone else for that matter), in favor of morality legislation, and usually somewhat nationalistic. Most social conservatives are also religious conservatives but not always. This is the major blunder committed by the left and their spokesmen, the mainstream media. The spectrum of beliefs that encompass the so-called "religious right" are held by a number of people who aren't even remotely religious and even some who are self-proclaimed atheists. For example, there are a number of conservatives opposed to the homosexual rights agenda who are not religious at all. They oppose the agenda because it is unhealthy for our society and antithetical to conservative and/or libertarian ideals. Their opposition has nothing to do with homosexuality itself, but more to do with granting special rights to any group of people. Then there are those of us who abhor homosexuality as deviant but oppose their political agenda purely on the grounds stated above. That is one good example of how complex and difficult it is to try to herd conservatives into some categorical hierarchy. Social conservatives tend to be less libertarian because they favor government regulation of so-called moral issues (e.g. pornography, broadcast media, etc.).

Political conservatives represent an even broader spectrum of beliefs. There are some who have no problem with Liddy Dole's third brakelight but cannot abide the depth of government regulation of business and the onerous tax burden under which we suffer. There are others who want to militarize our borders but who want to decriminalize drugs and end the war on them. Finding a pure political conservative who adheres across the board to any defined notion of conservative ideals is probably nigh impossible. The Terri Schiavo case is a good example. There are large numbers of conservatives (self-defined) who applaud the action of Congress on Sunday night and have no problem with government intervention in favor of a conservative principle (i.e. right to life). There are equally large numbers who abhor what is happening in Florida, but who are just as aghast at the ease in which the GOP joins the Democrats in urinating all over the Constitution for political gain.

As I said before, I am mostly libertarian, but a better description would be that I am a hard-line Constitutional constructionist. I believe the US Constitution, with the addition of the Bill of Rights and the thirteenth and nineteenth amendments, is a nearly perfect document and should be followed as originally intended. I believe the fourteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth amendments are destructive and should be repealed. I believe Congress should be strictly limited to the powers enumerated in Article 1, Section 8. I believe that our rights are granted by our creator and protected by the Constitution. I believe that abortion and euthanasia are murder and, therefore, violations of our God-given right to life as protected by the Constitution. I believe that government induced redistributionism is antithetical to humanity and to Americanism, and that it is forbidden by our Constitution and must be stopped. I believe the government has no right to direct my private life at the point of a gun when the course of that life does not brook the rights of any other human being. I believe it is a proper function of government to protect us from one another but not from ourselves. And finally, I believe in John Galt's oath: "I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine." From that I think you can probably guess that I do not ever find myself adopting un-conservative principles for expediency's sake. Of course that should be obvious given the outcome of the 2000 Stokes County Commissioner's race. Furthermore, I find myself at ideological odds with the GOP on an ever increasing basis. I strongly doubt I will be a registered Republican by the end of this year. As I tell my other Democrat associates, I am a conservative before I am a Republican.

I, unlike our mutual acquaintance, Mr. Holloway, do not doubt the sincerity of your position on abortion, Robert. However, a pro-life stance does not a conservative make. Granted, it is an important fundamental position. I will go as far as saying anyone who is not anti-abortion could not reasonably call themselves conservative. I happen to know that you favor a number of government activities that can easily be placed in the domain of redistributionism. That alone disqualifies you as a bona fide conservative.

Feel free to use any and all of this. The law of unintended consequences is in effect here. Who knows? You may even spawn a fledgling conservative.

Monday, March 21, 2005

RE: Conservative litmus test

Robert W. Mitchell, Jr. responds to Steve Brenneis:

Excellent explanation of conservatism. Yet I have other GOP friends who
believe it as passionately as you, but spell it quite differently.

In Civics, we're beginning our study of political parties and political
philosophies. With your permission, I'd like to use some of your ideas of
conservatism to better teach this concept - a concept that is perhaps
taught differently from classroom to classroom.

Moreover, I must begin to be "intellectually honest" and should
probably back away from calling myself conservative. Even though I take many
positions that are consistent with yours, I am not ideologically driven
across the board. My views are inconsistent and vary in accordance with
the topic - which I think is fine and not a sign of weakness or of
being "unprincipled."

I would be curious if you can identify beliefs that you embrace that do not fit within the conservative ideology square. Do you take positions that may feel unnatural to you just so that it fits your idea of conservatism with the ideology?

Conservative litmus test

Steve Brenneis responds to Robert W. Mitchell, Jr.:

Ironically enough, the only true litmus test for conservatives is that no litmus test applies to them.

Those of us who are self-defined conservatives favor individualism above all other factors. Today's left wants individualism to vanish. Today's left wants everyone treated identically. As Ayn Rand once said, today's left, supposedly the defenders of minorities, ignore the rights of the smallest minority in the world: the individual.

George Bush's supporters and detractors alike call him a conservative. He is no more a conservative than Bill Clinton was. He is a big-government liberal who happens to have a hawkish world view. There are plenty of those around. Conservatives are dedicated to the principles of limited government. Bush has grown the government bigger, farther, faster than any President in American history. Conservatives are dedicated to the destruction of the redistributionist state. Bush has firmly ensconced redistributionism in the political landscape for as far as the eye can see. Conservatives are dedicated to restoring Constitutional government as envisioned by the founders. Bush has strayed farther afield and pushed the limits of Federalism further than any of his predecessors, Republican or Democrat.

Liberal and conservative are deceitful and transitory terms anyway. I am about 90% libertarian. In eighteenth century parlance that makes me a classic liberal. In twenty-first century parlance it makes me a raging right-wing kook.

Where's the litmus test in that?

Too Vigorously Assisted Suicide

From the editors of National Review Online...

Will on Filibusters

Good column by Mark R. Levin in today's National Review Online...

The Gipper

"We Republicans have not been entrusted with the White House and the Senate to make easy decisions but because the American people want us to wean our nation away from decades of growing dependency and political quick fixes. Together we can make the GOP the true majority party, the centerpiece for decades to come of a governing coalition based on liberty, limited government, and economic growth. To do so, however, this spring we must prove to the country that we can produce a sound and responsible budget, one that cuts the deficit and fosters continued economic vitality. So let us not shrink from this task or be seen to approach it with doubts and hesitations. Let us, instead, unite and rise to the challenge with vigor."

-- Ronald Reagan

RE: More of the Terri Schiavo Discussion...

Steve Brenneis responds to Behethland B. Clark:

You'll probably be amazed at this, but on the topic of this family matter being dragged through the political process and the media, I agree wholeheartedly. It is a shame.

And the circus being created by the Congressional Republicans is nothing short of shameful. This needs to be handled within the confines of the laws of the state of Florida. If Jeb Bush actually had a spine, he would have used his executive powers to finish this. Now the GOP in Congress has opened the door once again to the complete destruction of Federalism. If the Supreme Court doesn't find this unconstitutional, we might as well shut down all the state governments and courts and replace them with US Government functionaries.

'PLAYGIRL' editor fired after outing self as Republican

I guess my appearance on the June cover issue has now been cancelled... :-(

Liberals for death and oppression!

Here's an interesting take comparing Terri Schiavo and Elian Gonzales...

RE: More of the Terri Schiavo discussion...

Behethland B. Clark responds to Steve Brenneis:

I'm sure I don't know all the details of this case. I don't think anyone other than the family really knows what's going on here. I didn't presume that there were any ulterior motives on the part of the husband. I don't believe we should judge someone without knowing all the facts.

I suppose I am imposing my own emotions and experiences on this case and I shouldn't. Every situation is different.

I just find it very sad that a family's tragedy has become the top news story and the topic for idle gossip. Decisions like this are made everyday by average people who are trying to do what is best for their loved one. Unless you've been through this situation on a personal level, you shouldn't be so hard on those making the decision.

DOJ’s losing case against Big Tobacco

Joel Mowbray writes:

When the defense started presenting its case recently in the civil RICO case against Big Tobacco, it was the federal government that was on the defensive.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

RE: Liberal Liddy Dole Is At It Again

Robert W. Mitchell, Jr. responds to Steve Brenneis:

Perhaps Steve has found the best litmus test for conservatives: child safety seats. I'd like Andy to conduct a poll among self-proclaimed conservatives and see if this might be the defining issue that sets apart RINOs from the true right. Fascinating insight - and I am being serious.

RE: The filibuster

Steve Brenneis said:

George Will, as always, makes many cogent points. The strongest point he makes is against the hypocrisy of using questionable Constitutional tactics to populate the bench with constitutional constructionists. I may have changed my mind on the use of the "nuclear" option.

The filibuster

George Will writes:

With Republicans inclined to change Senate rules to make filibusters of judicial nominees impossible, Democrats have recklessly given Republicans an additional incentive to do so.

GOP disaster warning

From Bob Novak's Saturday column at TownHall.com:

Analysts at the Republican National Committee (RNC) have sent this warning to the House of Representatives: the party is in danger of losing 25 seats in the 2006 election and, therefore, of losing control of the House for the first time since the 1994 election.

Although some Republicans on Capitol Hill believe the RNC is just trying to frighten them, concern about keeping the present 232 to 202 edge pervades GOP ranks. The second mid-term election of an eight-year presidency often produces heavy congressional losses for the party in power.

Friday, March 18, 2005

More of the Terri Schiavo discussion...

Steve Brenneis responds to Behethland B. Clark:

I think you need to go back and review the real facts in this case.

First, whether or not Terri is in a truly vegetative state is a matter of much debate. There are an equal number of physicians who disagree with that diagnosis. In fact, Michael Schiavo had the diagnosis made in order to facilitate the medical malpractice lawsuit he won. Unfortunately, through bad legal advice, Terri's parents agreed not to fight the diagnosis, even though they didn't agree with it at the time. Terri responds to external stimulus and there are strong indications that she does indeed feel pain. Orderlies reported that during the six days previously when her feeding tube was removed she was seen to be crying when the early stages of starvation and dehydration had begun. As much as many people would like to believe this will be painless and easy for Terri in order to assuage their conscience, most objective observers note that such is not the case. She will die an agonizing and painful death.

Second, a substantial body of evidence exists to suggest that Michael Schiavo may have battered Terri. Hospital personnel at the time of her admittance noted extensive bruising and x-rays showed broken ribs, past and current which one x-ray technician noted were consistent with cases of long-term abuse. Michael Schiavo has every reason to hope Terri never recovers. During the medical malpractice suit, Michael Schiavo asserted that the money he was seeking was so he could care for Terri. He strongly asserted that caring for Terri, for the rest of his life, if necessary, was something he wanted to do. This guy is a walking, talking piece of filth.

Finally, we only have Michael Schiavo's word that this is Terri's wish. She had never indicated to anyone else that she would not want her life sustained. Furthermore, Terri was a devout Catholic. According to canon law, if she knowingly caused her life to be terminated, it would be considered suicide, something no one who knew Terri says she would have countenanced. One of the most horrible aspects of this whole sorry situation is that because of the nature of the court order to murder Terri, she will not be permitted to receive extreme unction (last rites). The priest will not be allowed to place the tiny bit of the Eucharist and the drop of communion wine on her tongue.

You cannot spin this in any way to be humane. No matter how you couch it, it is a terrible thing for any human to do to another human.

One final point:

It has been revealed that doctors have begun giving Terri massive doses of morphine. I would say that effectively puts lie to any notion that his will be painless or that Terri will die unaware.


RE: RE: RE: RE: Torturing Terri Schiavo

Behethland B. Clark responds to Steve Brenneis:

I think you mistook my statement.

I'm not equating pet and human euthanasia. I'm simply stating that we put more thought into how our pet's life will end their our own life or the life of a loved one. My asking of why is of course, a rhetorical question. We don't think about our own mortality because it is scary and disturbing. If we don't talk about it, it won't happen mentality. I'm simply trying to state that we seem to lose our berrings when it comes to death and become irrational.

This isn't playing God. This is removing an artifical life-support system. A feeding tube is most certainly life support.

(See my response to Andy)

RE: Terri Schiavo

Behethland B. Clark responds to Andy W. Rogers:

But a feeding tube is still artifically extending her life. I sometimes think that modern medicine has made things harder for us.

Removing the feeding tube won't be painful. She won't be aware that she's starving to death. Morphine can be given to ease any discomfort she might have. The same decision was made for Uncle Bill. He was suffering from Alzheimers and his bodily functions were shutting down. He hadn't recognized his family in 3 years and had been put on a feeding tube because he no longer knew how to eat. After a few weeks with no improvement, the family made the decision to remove the feeding tube. Nanny's life could have been extended indefinitely had we agreed to a feeding tube. Instead, she stopped eating on her own and died peacefully within the week.

I don't think it is fair to fault her husband for remarrying and going on with his life. The woman he married no longer existed. At least he still cares enough to try and honor her wishes.

The point is that it is a very personal decision. I feel this woman is being exploited by bringing her into court. Her parents are selfish in wanting to keep her alive, and I don't mean that to sound cruel. None of us want to lose our loved ones, but when their lives become so full of pain that they don't enjoy living, it is selfish for us (the family) to want them to stick around. We will miss them and don't want them to go. We forget about what they might want.

RE: RE: RE: Torturing Terri Schiavo

Steve Brenneis responds to Behethland B. Clark:

Where to begin?

First, the comparison of the plight of Terri Schiavo to the decision to put down a sick pet is laughable at best, frighteningly inhuman at worst. This is a human being we're talking about. I think no one denies that putting down a beloved pet is sad and maybe even painful, but it does not even belong in the same discussion with human euthanasia. As much as the left would like us to believe otherwise, human beings are not simply animals.

Second, as Andy points out, this is not a matter of removing critical life support such that the patient dies immediately. It will take her six to ten days to die. She will die a horrible and painful death of starvation and dehydration. There is absolutely no way to paint this as humane under any circumstance.

Finally, Michael Schiavo deserves no sympathy and he couldn't care less about his loss. He has moved on with his life and now desires an end to his responsibility for Terri. His motivation has nothing to do with humanity and his assertions of her desires are doubtful at best. Furthermore, there is creditable evidence to suggest he bears direct responsibility for Terri's current condition. His motivations now are based on gaining his 15 minutes of fame and then being rid of his albatross.

However, you are absolutely right about the living will. As the level of humanity in our society decreases, the importance of such things increases.

Terri Schiavo

Personally, I don't consider starving somebody to death very humane... As I said in an earlier post, we treat our pets better. They might as well just shoot her in bed instead of letting her go without food & water until she dies. She's not on a breathing tube, so she's not going to have an instant death.... She'll just lay there in bed while her parents sit by and watch while she starves to death.

With regard to her husband: He's lives with the mother of his two kids, so it's not like he's a devoted husband.

Just my opinion...

RE: RE: Torturing Terri Schiavo

Behethland B. Clark responds to Steve Brenneis:

I'm afraid I don't understand the fuss over the Terri Schiavo issue.

Why is it that we can humanely end our pets lives when their suffering has become too great to bear, but we have such a hard time doing it for our fellow man? I have two very close friends (who shall remain nameless) who had to make this same decision regarding their own parents. They chose to humanely remove all feeding and breathing tubes and let their loved ones suffering end. Both friends later told me that they will forever be haunted, but wanted to see their mother/father finally at peace. Of course, both families had discussed the issue at length and had their desires written down.

Yes, it is a hard decision but Mr. Schiavo has already mourned the death of his wife. She has been gone for years now.

Life lesson: have a living will!! Death is unfortunately, a part of life.


Here's more under the heading of "How Low Will the Left Sink?" The poster-child for all this, John McCain, seems to be the up-and-coming darling of the new, kinder, gentler GOP.

RE: Reflecting on the System

Steve Brenneis responds to Robert W. Mitchell, Jr.:

Robert, I've never known you to be so maudlin. Having a bad day?

You guys on the left just never seem to get it when it comes to Reagan. Here's a hint: He wasn't called the great communicator for no reason. Reagan didn't invent these ideas. He didn't even represent them in a completely purist manner. What Reagan did was to remind us that there was another, better idea some 200 years ago. He gave us a break during the long, inevitable slide into Socialism and the equally inevitable collapse of our society as a result. He gave the libertarian-conservatives among us a reminder that ideas are stronger than politics, sometimes.
As I repeatedly remind people, a statesman is someone who is able to lead, not just those who applaud him, but those who disagree with him as well. Reagan was a statesman of the first order, right up there with Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Lincoln and yes, even Roosevelt.

When someone like Andy quotes Reagan, the words that come out are not built around principles Reagan invented. The words are elucidations of fundamental principles of the great American experiment. That is what so enrages the left about Reagan and his memory. After forty years of progressive movement toward the totalitarian socialist ideal, nearly without opposition, Reagan appeared and very simply demolished the left's house of cards using nothing more than language. Too bad we couldn't have kept him around for a few more years. He might have finished the job.

As for Rush Limbaugh and others behind him, I say no, they are not Reagan's heirs. Limbaugh is simply a mouthpiece for the right-hand half of the GOP. Many, many others follow that suit in more and less self-aggrandizing fashion. Reagan's heirs are the people like Charles Krauthammer who learned that the left cannot stand exposure and that a rational argument trumps the emotion and fluff handed out by the left every time. Reagan's heirs are people like Andy who keep his words alive so they can be used again, just like Reagan used them, to remind people that there was and could be again, a better way.

RE: Torturing Terri Schiavo

Steve Brenneis writes:

Here is where I get on my soap box again:

All of you pro-choice types out there are directly responsible for this dose of misery. Feel ashamed, if you have any humanity left in you.

The point at which our society decided it was acceptable to snuff out a life for the sake of convenience was the point at which we began to lose our humanity and sanction indignities like this. This woman has left no express direction regarding her life and our society is moving based on the assertions of her erstwhile husband, an impeachable source at best. The culture of death created by the pro-abortion crowd has made acceptable a discussion of whether we will not only allow this woman to die, but actually cause her to die in a slow, painful, and gruesome fashion. No less gruesome, mind you than the violence in which an unborn child dies in the womb during an abortion and certainly no less gruesome than the manner in which a living, breathing human being is mutilated to death during a partial birth abortion. All for the sake of convenience. All for the sake of the mental and physical comfort of some other human who is so self-centered and self-absorbed that they cannot be troubled with the anguish of the loss of a human life. Yes I'm talking about abortion and yes I'm talking about Terri Schiavo.

The pro-abortion crowd has cheapened life in our world to the point that it matters little more than solving the problem of conflicting appointments or where to dine on a Friday evening.

It becomes ever more difficult for me to imagine that human society is even worth salvaging.

Reflecting on the System

Robert W. Mitchell, Jr. shares his thoughts:

There are few principled elected officials and political leaders these
days - if any at all. Most are just opportunists. Perhaps the most pressing
practical political problem (like the use of consonance there?) is that
good people don't run for office anymore. But then, I shall destroy my
argument and suggest they never have. There are no good people - just
reactionaries, opportunists, and rosy-eyed idealists. Looking back at
the political mistakes I have made in the past has made me keenly aware that I did not run for the right reasons. But who does? Moreover, simply because one
is "idealistic" or even "principled" in his beliefs does not mean a whole
lot and doesn't mean he will be good at governance.
The truth is that what we have is fragile - it always has been and it
always will be. It's still "bread and circuses". Our government relies on
docile leadership with our only hope that whoever is at the helm is not a total ideologue or mad man. Our leaders are merely holding back the dam with budget disputes, phony rhetoric, and apple pie. Why do we expect so much from our political leaders? Why should we not expect them to line their pockets, favor their cronies, tell us what we want to hear and pursue their own interests. It is human nature to do so.
I believe that many Reagan conservatives saw some type of decency
in the man and his beliefs that have perhaps been unrivaled in recent
American political history. But is it fair to say that his way was "righteous"
and somehow the antidote for an ailing America? Or have the Reaganites merely
committed the easy act of reminiscing and recalling the good ole days
through selective memory and post-presidency revisionism. Every time I
read a Reagan quote or see a photo-op with red, white, and blue oozing
Americana and eagles soaring, and bayonets shining, I can't help but to
believe that some Reaganites are committing political idolatry in the way
they brandish these poetic words and theatrical images. Even worse, to
hear Rush Limbaugh chant the mantra of idol worship is laughable. Look at
who he is. Surely he isn't the heir to the American zeitgeist supposedly
invented by Reagan - or his followers. But I do understand the need to
create images of comfort and self-righteousness and I would never
underestimate the value and strength of symbols. For in may ways, symbols
have become the substance of American politics.
Yet, the more I study politics, the less I believe in the system, but that is ok. Belief is to be invested in God, not in political systems. Anyone who loses faith in politics has done himself a favor.

Torturing Terri Schiavo

I can't believe the courts want to starve a woman to death... We treat our pets better than that.


Good article by Charles Krauthammer...