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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, November 30, 2006

RE: Liberal Christians Going Head-to-Head with Conservative Christians

The Institute for Progressive Christianity describes itself as a "think tank comprising mainstream liberal Christians."

If the demographic evidence is any indicator, the institute may soon constitute the bulk of "mainstream liberal Christians." With the memberships of every liberal church as well as every liberal Christian organization declining precipitously, one is left wonder who these folks intend to represent.

As well, I find the characterization of Dobson as a "conservative" Christian to be somewhat amusing. I think "moderate" is about as far to the right as you can push him with regard to his stated opinions and the doctrines he embraces. As with the political spectrum, the median has been pushed far to the left.

In many, if not most cases, "liberal" Christianity is indistinguishable from humanism and is even occasionally agnostic from a theistic stance. It is nothing more than a cover for Marxism and would discard its trappings of faith the moment its collectivist agenda appeared to be satisfied.

Liberal Christians Going Head-to-Head with Conservative Christians

By Susan Jones

(CNSNews.com) -
"Progressive" (liberal) Christian groups, attempting to dilute the political influence of their conservative brethren, are speaking up when conservative Christian leaders speak out.

The most recent example came on Wednesday, a week after Dr. James Dobson, the founder and chairman of Focus on the Family, discussed faith, sexuality and liberalism on CNN's Larry King Live.

The Institute for Progressive Christianity -- a new group -- accused Dobson of making "highly inaccurate statements" and "crackpot assertions" during his conversation with Larry King.

In a lengthy news release on Wednesday, the IPC rebutted Dobson's comments one by one. But it's not so much what the liberal Christians are saying -- it's that they're saying it at all.

Until now, conservative Christian leaders have been largely ignored by liberal groups and the mainstream media, except in cases where their controversial statements are held up for condemnation and ridicule.

Already Too Busy for Civility

By George F. Will
Washington Post

That was certainly swift. Washington has a way of quickly acculturating people, especially those who are most susceptible to derangement by the derivative dignity of office. But Jim Webb, Democratic senator-elect from Virginia, has become a pompous poseur and an abuser of the English language before actually becoming a senator.

RE: On Shopping, Generosity, and Christmas

I think you've missed the point with regard to the concern from the Right over the continued attacks by the Left on Wal-Mart, Strother. While Wal-Mart may or may not make its financial goals during the Christmas season, the continuing dialog on Wal-Mart has little or nothing to do with that. The concern regarding the attacks is not new-found simply for the holidays.

The concern from the Right is over the knee-jerk reaction many politicans will have over the continuous whining from the Left about "fairness" with regard to Wal-Mart's hiring and compensation policies. The legislation in Maryland and other pending items in legislatures around the country are nothing but rank socialism. This, and not whether Wal-Mart is going to be able to keep its shareholders happy is what concerns people on the Right.

Then again, it would be in the Left's interest to reduce the argument to a self-serving concern over Wal-Mart's profits. Does that mean you are performing a useful function for the Left in furthering that position?

Will they share their blessings with those other than immediate family members and will give both the material and the non-material for reasons greater than obligation and guilt? Will they actually help someone in their efforts to give? Maybe. But it’s already clear that many of us will simply argue our defenses about whatever we do up until, during, and after Christmas. And as usual, these defenses will effectively help no one.

I think the discussion of generosity of the Left versus that of the Right has already answered your questions. Those with "conservative" tendencies will continue to be generous, those with "liberal" tendencies will continue to ignore the needy and hypocritically attack the right for being hard-hearted. Further, those on the Right will continue to apply charity and generosity directly to the places where it is most effective while those on the Left will continue to demand that government confiscate resources by force so that the majority of those resources can be inefficiently squandered in maintaining the bureaucracy and redistributed in an arbitrary fashion.

With regard to the Peanuts clip, I remember seeing that when I was a kid. Isn't it ironic that broadcasting something like that today generates all sorts of protests and even the odd lawsuit or two?

Do you have what it takes to become a citizen?

When immigrants want to become Americans, they must take a civics test as part of their naturalization interview before a Citizenship and Immigration Services officer. The questions are usually selected from a list of 100 sample questions (see at http://www.uscis.gov/graphics/services/natz/English.pdf ) that prospective citizens can look at ahead of the interview (though the examiner is not limited to those questions). Some are easy, some are not. We have picked some of the more difficult ones.

Should you be welcomed immediately to the Land of the Free or sent home for some more homework? Find out! (PLEASE NOTE: These questions are as asked on the official United States Immigration and Naturalization Services Web site. Candidates are not given multiple choices in the naturalization interview, which is conducted orally.)

I got 75% correct.

On Shopping, Generosity, and Christmas

As I spent a week or so on a Thanksgiving-timed holiday and away from direct contact with all things digital (well, other than a music-only iPod), I haven’t had a chance to post in a while. In order to avoid posting a “RE:” for every BP item I found worth commenting on upon my return, I’ll just touch on a few thoughts here for a chance to catch up (and, more than likely, digress).

From the overarching themes of the BP as of late — ‘Wal-Mart shopping,’ ‘conservatives are more generous than liberals,’ and lastly (but not stated as directly), ‘things are bad for the Republican Party’ — I see that our ‘conservative’ journalists and news outlets are, as usual, entering the holiday season in a rather defensive manner. This is really unnecessary. After all, even if retail outlets such as Wal-Mart aren’t having The Holiday Season they had hoped for, shareholders will survive. Why people in Q4 of 06 aren’t loading up superstore shopping carts quite as high as expected could be for a number of reasons, including the following: Maybe Americans increasingly realize that big ticket items, disposable low-quality merch, and nearly-immediately obsolete technology-based gifts alongside stuff, stuff, and even more stuff doesn’t really make you or anyone else happy, and it is truly the genuine, heartfelt thought that counts. Maybe Americans have finally run out of home equity to dip into and/or credit cards to 'max out' and can’t finance the Christmas shopping spree that retailers would prefer. (I figure that my second theory is closer to the truth.)

But whatever; the better question is this: If people are spending less, will they be more generous in other ways? Will they share their blessings with those other than immediate family members and will give both the material and the non-material for reasons greater than obligation and guilt? Will they actually help someone in their efforts to give? Maybe. But it’s already clear that many of us will simply argue our defenses about whatever we do up until, during, and after Christmas. And as usual, these defenses will effectively help no one.

And finally, to digress as predicted. This week, in the midst of post-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas, and general life-based excitement, I had the experience of seeing just a snippet of something I nearly missed (again for the third year in a row) but know nearly by heart. Sitting on a tour bus with a close friend of mine, a musician/band member who just happened to be hitting W/S for a show, we caught the end of ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ on the biggest HDTV that could be stuffed in the small corridor that serves as a mobile ‘family’ room. And it was cool; I could tell that everyone, even without saying, was temporarily sucked out of the environment and into that feeling, that story, and that great animation that cosmetically defies the aesthetic perfection of the high-resolution screen it appeared on… a unique reminder of “what Christmas is all about,” to borrow a quote from Linus Van Pelt.

Be Fair to Israel

Fox News

Secretary-General Kofi Annan— is calling on the UN's human rights council to be impartial — when dealing with Israel. Annan notes— the six-month-old council has passed six resolutions criticizing Israel— including two this week— and no resolutions critical of any other country.

Annan said, "There are other crisis situations, like Sudan, where they have not been able to say a word."

"Medically Fragile Population"

Fox News

If you live in Fairfax County, Virginia — you can no longer make a home-cooked meal for the homeless — or even fix one in your church — unless the kitchen has been government-certified. The Washington Post reports — a county official says the crackdown is aimed at preventing food poisoning — for what he calls "a medically fragile population."

But charity groups say— government standards require a commercial grade refrigerator— a three-compartment sink— and other expensive equipment. As the head of one charity explains— "We're very aware that a number of homeless people eat out of dumpsters — and mom's pot roast has got to be healthier than that."

Apology Requested

Fox News

The head of the American Legion is calling on New York Congressman Charles Rangel to apologize for saying troops in Iraq are there because they had no better career opportunities.

Rangel made the comments to me on "FOX News Sunday" last weekend, saying "if a young fellow has an option of having a decent career or joining the Army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq."

But American Legion National Commander Paul Morin says— Rangel's view of the troops "couldn't be further from the truth — and is possibly skewed by his political opposition to the war in Iraq."

Generosity in America

By Bill O'Reilly
Fox News

A new book called "Who Really Cares?" by Arthur Brooks says conservative Americans give 30 percent more money to charity than liberal Americans. Also, religious people give up four times more money to charity than secular people.

In this season of giving, that is an interesting information equation, but the key question is: why? Why are traditional Americans more generous than secular progressives?

Democrats Reject Key 9/11 Panel Suggestion

Neither Party Has an Appetite for Overhauling Congressional Oversight of Intelligence

By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post

It was a solemn pledge, repeated by Democratic leaders and candidates over and over: If elected to the majority in Congress, Democrats would implement all of the recommendations of the bipartisan commission that examined the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

But with control of Congress now secured, Democratic leaders have decided for now against implementing the one measure that would affect them most directly: a wholesale reorganization of Congress to improve oversight and funding of the nation's intelligence agencies. Instead, Democratic leaders may create a panel to look at the issue and produce recommendations, according to congressional aides and lawmakers.

Because plans for implementing the commission's recommendations are still fluid, Democratic officials would not speak for the record. But aides on the House and Senate appropriations, armed services and intelligence committees confirmed this week that a reorganization of Congress would not be part of the package of homeland-security changes up for passage in the "first 100 hours" of the Democratic Congress.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Can We Talk?

Well, we can, but we shouldn’t.

By Andrew C. McCarthy
National Review Online

This is a war of will. If we lose it, the historians will marvel at how mulishly we resisted understanding the one thing we needed to understand in order to win. The enemy.

In Iraq, we’ve tried to fight the most civilized “light footprint” war of all time. We made sure everyone knew our beef was only with Saddam Hussein, as if he were a one-man militia — no Sunni Baathists supporting him, no Arab terrorists colluding, and no Shiite jihadists hating us just on principle.

No, our war was only with the regime. No need to fight the Iraqis. They, after all, were noble. They would flock to democracy if only they had the chance. And, once they hailed us as conquering heroes, their oil wealth would pay for the whole thing … just 400 billion American dollars ago.

This may be the biggest disconnect of all time between the American people and a war government.

In Following His Own Script, Webb May Test Senate's Limits

By Michael D. Shear
Washington Post

At a recent White House reception for freshman members of Congress, Virginia's newest senator tried to avoid President Bush. Democrat James Webb declined to stand in a presidential receiving line or to have his picture taken with the man he had often criticized on the stump this fall. But it wasn't long before Bush found him.

"How's your boy?" Bush asked, referring to Webb's son, a Marine serving in Iraq.

"I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President," Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.

"That's not what I asked you," Bush said. "How's your boy?"

"That's between me and my boy, Mr. President," Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.

Webb was narrowly elected to the U.S. Senate this month with a brash, unpolished style that helped win over independent voters in Virginia and earned him support from national party leaders. Now, his Democratic colleagues in the Senate are getting a close-up view of the former boxer, military officer and Republican who is joining their ranks.

If the exchange with Bush two weeks ago is any indication, Webb won't be a wallflower, especially when it comes to the war in Iraq. And he won't stick to a script drafted by top Democrats.

Schumer: Reaganism Is Dead

The Daily Politics

"We're in better shape than [Republicans] are, because they don't realize that Reaganomics is dead, that the Reagan philosophy is dead," (Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)) said.

Republican Frist says he will not seek White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican U.S. Senate Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee said on Wednesday he would not run for the White House in 2008 and will return to his medical practice after he leaves the U.S. Congress in January.

Wednesday Funnies :-)

David Letterman: “Top Signs Your Family Is Nuts Presented By Dr. Phil”: You’re 42, but your dad still makes you watch the parade on his shoulders; All of mom’s recipes involve 1 part gin and 3 parts tonic; Breaking the wishbone usually involves a trip to the hospital; The Shi’ites next door ask you to keep the fighting down; Have to eat your dinner without utensils because everyone’s on suicide watch; So-called turkey is wearing a dog collar; Instead of spouses, each member brings an attorney.

Jay Leno: Are you like me and you really didn’t give thanks until the relatives went home? ... President Bush spent Thanksgiving weekend at Camp David with a small group of friends and family. He would have spent it with a large group but there are no Republicans left in Washington. ... Have you heard about the tur-duck-en? Very popular. A chicken inside a duck inside a turkey. They now have Tum-alka-pepto after you eat a tur-duc-ken. It’s a Tums stuck to an Alka-Seltzer covered in Pepto Bismal. ... A popular item this year is gift cards. There’s nothing like saying, “I don’t care, I don’t know what you want, but take this and you’ll find something you like at this store.” ... In an interview with FOX News Sunday, John Kerry said his botched joke about Iraq will not hurt his chances for a presidential run in ‘08. Now see that was funny! That was a good joke. ... According to a new study by National Geographic, 11 percent of Americans between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four could not find the United States on a map of the world. You know the only place where everyone could find the United States on a map? Mexico. ... Texas A&M University is doing research on making cotton edible. Making food from cotton. If it goes over well they should put it on a stick and start selling it at county fairs across the country.

Mystery illness hits former Russian PM

Yegor Gaidar, Russia’s former prime minister and the architect of the country’s market reforms, last week suffered a sudden, unexplained and violent illness on a visit to Ireland, a day after Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB spy, died in London from an apparent radiation poisoning.

Financial Times

It appears Russia is going back to its Stalinist ways.

Judge: Make Bills Recognizable to Blind

The government discriminates against blind people by printing money that all looks and feels the same, a federal judge said Tuesday in a ruling that could change the face of American currency.

Associated Press

The rumor-mongering media

By Michelle Malkin

You will not read one of the most significant stories of the week out of Iraq on the front page of The New York Times. CNN will not make it headline news. The Associated Press has yet to touch it.

That's because the story exposes the media's own widespread malfeasance in reporting on the war on terror -- and its refusal to be held accountable when challenged by "amateur" bloggers investigating fishy sources and claims recycled recklessly by "professional" journalists.

Sectarian violence

Are Americans Cheap?

By John Stossel
Real Clear Politics

The New York Times and Washington Post editorialize about America's "stinginess." Former President Jimmy Carter says when it comes to helping others, "The rich states don't give a damn." Standing outside the White House, the singer Bono told the press that America doesn't do enough to help the needy:

"It's the crumbs off our tables that we offer these countries."

It seems obvious to Bono and President Carter that America offers "crumbs" because the governments of most other wealthy countries distribute a larger percentage of their nations' wealth in foreign aid. Yes, the U.S. government gave out $20 billion last year, much more than other countries give, but that's only because we are so stupendously wealthy. If you calculate foreign aid as a percentage of our wealth, the United States gives much less than others.

Actress Angelina Jolie calls that "really disgusting" in my new TV special, titled "Cheap in America." "ABC News" will broadcast it tonight (Wednesday, Nov. 29 at 10 p.m. -- sorry -- I know some of you are reading this column after that). Jolie goes on to say, "I think most American people, you know, really do think we give more. And I know that they would if they could understand how little they give and how much more we can afford to give, absolutely, without even noticing."

But wait a second ... when talking aid, why do Jolie and the others talk just about what the government gives? Why conflate America with our government? America is the people.

Wal-Mart, GOP forsake God, groups say

The Hill Newspaper

Some Christian conservative groups say both Wal-Mart and the Republican Party have “forsaken God.” And just as the GOP took a hit in the elections earlier this month, the groups say the retail giant’s lower-than-expected November sales figures are the wages of that sin.

Why are sales below estimates? “It is for the same reason things went south for the Republican Party this past election cycle,” read a statement by the Rev. Flip Benham and Pat McEwan, with Operation Save America and Operation Save Wal-Mart. “Wal-Mart has forsaken God and it has forsaken the people who love Him.”

The groups led protesters on Nov. 24 to picket the “gates of hell” — that is, Wal-Mart stores around the country. They say Wal-Mart, like the GOP, has strayed from its founding principles, set by founder Sam Walton, citing Wal-Mart’s dispensing of “Plan B” contraception and the fact that the retailer is a corporate member of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Bucking White House, NBC says Iraq in 'civil war'

Usage increasing in news media

By Bryan Bender
Boston Globe

NBC's "Today Show" host Matt Lauer yesterday told millions of American television viewers, many sitting at their breakfast tables, that the network would buck the White House and from now on describe the Iraq war as a "civil war."

The new policy, which NBC News said would cover all its news shows, could become a benchmark in public opinion about the war, according to media specialists.

Pelosi rejects Hastings bid to head committee

Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida, impeached as a federal judge in 1989 on corruption charges, dropped his bid under pressure on Tuesday to chair a congressional panel designed to help protect America's security, a party aide said.

Hastings took the action after being told by Rep. Nancy Pelosi, in line to head the U.S. House of Representatives when the new Congress convenes in January, that she would not give him the coveted job, the aide said.

I wonder if this means Nancy can be trained? It seems the smackdown she got in the Murtha episode taught her the limits of her new empire.

RE: Who Really Cares?

One of the fundamental attributes of American Liberals is their inability to recognize and evaluate evidence. Liberals operate on good intentions and positive feelings. When the empirical evidence contradicts the subjective basis of Liberals' view of any subject, they attack the presenter of the evidence or impugn the character or motives of the gatherer of it instead of rationally rebutting it.

So, in spite of the overwhelming evidence that liberal policies in government don't work, it is the good intention to which liberals cling. No matter how many times it is demonstrated that welfare creates slaves, liberals will clamor for more of it. No matter how many times it is shown that increasing the minimum wage causes unemployment, liberals will clamor for the increase. No matter how many times it is demonstrated that cutting taxes creates prosperity across every level of an economy, liberals will insist that trickle-down is a fairy tale and that tax cuts only benefit the wealthy.

This instance will be no different. It is demonstrable that liberals are no more compassionate toward their fellowman than are conservatives. However, we can expect no abatement in the drone from the Left that insists conservatives are cold, calculating, and hard-hearted and that liberals are warm, fuzzy, and lovable.

Dial Joe-4-Chávez

Massachusetts Democrats love Venezuela's strongman.

Wall Street Journal

Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chávez is an ally of the Iranian mullahs, a supporter of North Korea, a close friend of Fidel Castro and a good customer for Vladimir Putin's weapon factories. Now he's also a business partner of Joseph P. Kennedy II.

The former Democratic Congressman describes the deal he's cooked up with Mr. Chávez as charity for low-income consumers of heating oil. But it's worth asking what the price of this largesse is to Venezuelans and to U.S. security interests.

The arrangement is this: Mr. Chávez's Citgo--a Houston-based oil company owned by the Venezuelan government--is supplying home heating oil to Mr. Kennedy's Citizens Energy Corporation at a 40% discount. Citizens, a nonprofit outfit, says it passes the savings onto the poor, aiming to help 400,000 homes in 16 states that would otherwise have trouble heating their homes. In the process, Mr. Kennedy happens to get a high-profile publicity plug. If you think you qualify, says the television ad that drew our attention to this partnership, just dial 1-877-Joe-4-Oil.

New Speaker, Old Virtues

By George F. Will

Dec. 4, 2006 issue -
There has been an admirable absence of chivalry in assessments of Nancy Pelosi's stumbling steps toward the speakership. She dismayed colleagues by saying that in order for her to be an effective leader she needed John Murtha as majority leader. Try to imagine Speaker Sam Rayburn confessing such dependency. And a columnist in The Economist says that "often she talks drivel" (the speaker's gavel "is in the hands of special interests, and now it will be in the hands of America's children") couched in "clumsy alliteration" (Democrats have "idealism, intellect and integrity.") Says the columnist, "It's like listening to a cross between a Stepford wife and Jesse Jackson." Or like listening to Rumpelstiltskin discuss economics: Pelosi sees increased taxes on oil companies as part of a program of "energy independence."

Who Really Cares?

By Thomas Sowell
Real Clear Politics

More frightening than any particular beliefs or policies is an utter lack of any sense of a need to test those beliefs and policies against hard evidence. Mistakes can be corrected by those who pay attention to facts but dogmatism will not be corrected by those who are wedded to a vision.

One of the most pervasive political visions of our time is the vision of liberals as compassionate and conservatives as less caring. It is liberals who advocate "forgiveness" of loans to Third World countries, a "living wage" for the poor and a "safety net" for all.

But these are all government policies -- not individual acts of compassion -- and the actual empirical consequences of such policies are of remarkably little interest to those who advocate them. Depending on what those consequences are, there may be good reasons to oppose them, so being for or against these policies may tell us nothing about who is compassionate or caring and who is not.

A new book, titled "Who Really Cares" by Arthur C. Brooks examines the actual behavior of liberals and conservatives when it comes to donating their own time, money, or blood for the benefit of others. It is remarkable that beliefs on this subject should have become conventional, if not set in concrete, for decades before anyone bothered to check these beliefs against facts.

What are those facts?

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Silky Pony Stumbles Again

"Wal-Mart makes plenty of money. They need to pay their people well," Edwards said at a Pittsburgh anti-Wal-Mart rally in August.

Who says they're not, Johnny-boy? You? Who defines what constitutes being paid well? You? What if I decide you have too much money and that you should give it all to my poorer relatives, Johnny-boy? Will you immediately give everything you have to the poor and live in a mud hut?

For now, most of us still have more faith in the constancy of the laws of supply and demand and the free marketplace than in the subjective and arbitrary pronouncements of socialist panderers like Edwards. Apparently Wal-Mart pays well enough since they have no dearth of employees. And that's where their "social responsibility" ends.

Which is too bad for his anti-low-wages campaign, because in Manchester Wal-Mart pays hourly employees more than Barnes & Noble does.

The ineptitude of the Silky Pony's public meanderings is becoming the stuff of political legend. I think we can safely assume it would be a harbinger of things to come. An Edwards presidency would probably make Smilin' Jimmy Carter's tenure seem positively utopian.

Remembering the Gipper...

“Live each day to the fullest. Live each day with enthusiasm, optimism and hope. If you do, I am convinced that your contribution to this wonderful experiment we call America will be profound.”

Ronald Reagan

Better Late Than Never

Two Republicans take a stand against profligate spending.

By John Fund
Wall Street Journal

It's been years since federal agencies have screamed this loudly about fiscal discipline being imposed on them. GOP Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Jim DeMint of South Carolina have decided to take a stand against overspending by objecting to the nearly 10,000 earmarks, or member-sponsored pork projects, larded throughout the spending bills Congress is currently considering.

John Edwards' folly: A book signing gone wrong

Union Leader

Former Sen. John Edwards is to spend an hour at the Manchester Barnes & Noble tonight promoting his new book. We find his choice of venue very interesting.

In Manchester, the local Wal-Mart store sits right behind the Barnes & Noble. It has more floor space, a parking lot several times the size of Barnes & Noble's, and is easier to access by car or public transportation.

But Edwards would not be caught dead inside a Wal-Mart. Saying that the company pays its employees too little, Edwards has embarked on an anti-Wal-Mart crusade. He instructs his staff members and all Americans not to shop at Wal-Mart.

"Wal-Mart makes plenty of money. They need to pay their people well," Edwards said at a Pittsburgh anti-Wal-Mart rally in August.

So naturally Edwards is holding his book signing at Barnes & Noble instead of Wal-Mart. Which is too bad for his anti-low-wages campaign, because in Manchester Wal-Mart pays hourly employees more than Barnes & Noble does.

The Barnes & Noble where Edwards will hawk his book pays $7 an hour to start. The Wal-Mart that sits just yards away pays $7.50 an hour.

Oh, the humanity!

UK scientists invent male 'pill' that can be taken hours before sex

UK Daily Mail

British scientists have developed a revolutionary pill that men could take as a one-off contraceptive just before a date.

The tablet would prevent a man from being able to impregnate a woman, but within a few hours his fertility would return to normal.

The clowns of reason, III

Seventy-four years ago, the great inventor Nikola Tesla accused scientists of practicing metaphysics rather than science, of engaging in ontological speculation rather than empirical experimentation. Apparently science is rather hard work, since despite Tesla's very public accusations in his letter to the New York Times, many so-called scientists today continue to demonstrate a tendency to assiduously avoid doing anything that can be legitimately described as science.

But not even Tesla could accuse Daniel Dennett of shirking his scientific responsibilities, for he is simply a professor of philosophy despite the scientific trappings that surround his books and his reputation. Still, it is interesting to note that of the three New Atheists lauded as champions of Science, only one is an actual scientist, the other two hailing from a modern discipline now better known for copious bong usage than anything intellectual.

Vox Day

I think the uncomfortable truth for those who worship at the altar of science-without-God is that most actual scientists have firm foundations in faith. In my experience, at least on the technical side of science, atheists are a very small minority. Most of the actual scientists I know or am aware of are practicing Jews or Christians. An acquaintance of mine who is also a physicist once told me that anyone who studies the universe on a mechanichal level and who does not believe in God is simply not paying attention.

True Blue? Business not as usual

By Paul O'Connor
Winston-Salem Journal

Democrats are getting ready to take control of the U.S. Congress, and business lobbyists are running scared.

In Raleigh, Democrats just strengthened their control of the General Assembly, and business lobbyists are breathing a sigh of relief.

When it comes to red and blue politics, North Carolina is a contradiction. A conservative state that elects Republicans to federal offices, North Carolina also persists in electing Democrats to state offices.

How is that so? The answer is business. A state with a roaring economy has a business community that is more comfortable overall with Democrats in state office than Republicans.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

10 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Experts say portion control is key when the temptations are endless.

By Sherry Rauh

It's that time of year when extra calories lurk around every corner -- frosted cookies at the office, eggnog at your neighbor's, jelly doughnuts for Hanukkah or chocolates in your stocking. All these extras add up, and if you're like most Americans, you'll put on a pound or two by New Year's Day.

So what's the harm in a little holiday weight gain, especially if it's just a pound? According to researchers at the National Institutes of Health, most Americans never lose the weight they gain during the winter holidays. The pounds add up year after year, making holiday weight gain an important factor in adult obesity.

But you don't have to fall into this trap. It is possible to enjoy holiday goodies without putting on a single pound. "Portion control is the key," says Susan Finn, PhD, RD. Finn serves as chairwoman of the American Council for Fitness and Nutrition. "I don't believe you can't eat food that you like -- even indulgences -- but it is the amount you eat," she tells WebMD.

Of course, it's not easy to go on portion patrol when the temptations are endless. That's why WebMD compiled these tips to help you avoid overindulging.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Traces of Radioactive Material Found in Sushi Restaurant, Home of Dead Spy

Fox News

Traces of the same rare, highly radioactive material that killed a former KGB agent were found Friday in the sushi restaurant and hotel he had visited, and in his home, setting off a frantic investigation to see if anyone else may have been contaminated by the "tiny nuclear bomb."

Milton Friedman Was Right

"Corporate social responsibility" is bunk.

Milton Friedman famously declared that the sole business of the managers of a publicly held corporation was to maximize the value of its outstanding shares. Any effort to use corporate resources for purely altruistic purposes he equated to socialism. He proposed that corporation law should prevent managers from straying off the reservation to join the altruists, a power now almost universally granted them by state legislation.

At a conference 34 years ago, celebrating Friedman's 60th birthday, I presented a paper questioning that dictum by noting that the vast part of apparently nonprofit-oriented behavior by corporate managers was really--and necessarily--a profit-maximizing response to business, social or political pressures dressed up to look like something else. For such a strategy to be successful, the behavior had to appear to be nonprofit maximizing, and, of course, had to be called something like "social responsibility."

Since it was difficult or impossible to distinguish a profit motive from a charitable motive in any particular corporate action, a strong rule against corporate altruism, as Friedman was advocating, would invite judges to examine the propriety of a significant set of managerial decisions. I argued that American corporation law had traditionally had a strong "business judgment" rule whose principle aim was to prevent judges from even engaging in that kind of examination, which they were perhaps more likely to get wrong than to get right. Thus, if any plausible basis existed for a bona fide managerial decision, no matter how charitable it looked, I argued, we did not want a stronger rule that would invite judges to second guess managers.

Henry G. Manne

For all you Wal-Mart and oil company critics. This cannot be repeated often enough:

...the sole business of the managers of a publicly held corporation was to maximize the value of its outstanding shares.

'Inspector Borat' looking for Jew hatred in all the wrong places

"Borat" is many things: a sidesplitting triumph of slapstick and scatology, a runaway moneymaker and budding franchise, the worst thing to happen to Kazakhstan since the Mongol hordes, and, as columnist David Brooks astutely points out, a supreme display of elite snobbery reveling in the humiliation of the hoaxed hillbilly.

But it is one thing more, something Brooks alluded to in passing but that requires at least one elaboration: an unintentionally revealing demonstration of the unfortunate attitude many have toward working-class American Christians, especially evangelicals.

You know the shtick. Borat goes around America making anti-Semitic remarks in order to elicit a nodding anti-Semitic response. And with enough liquor and cajoling, he succeeds. In the most notorious such scene (on "Da Ali G Show," where the character was born), Borat sings "Throw the Jew Down the Well" in an Arizona bar as the local rubes join in.

Charles Krauthammer

Charles wonders:

...is the American heartland really the locus of anti-Semitism? Is this the one place to go to find it?

Well, no it probably isn't, Charles, but don't completely count America out when it comes to anti-Semitism.

Jew-hatred and societal self-loathing are ever partners. The American Left imposed a framework of self-loathing and guilt on us beginning in the 1960s and it has become an integral part of our national and societal dialog ever since. Nothing appears to be more fun when deep in the throes of a liberal guilt-fest than a little Jew-baiting.

Krauthammer is right when he says Cohen is looking in the wrong place for anti-Semitism, but he's wrong when he excuses the United States altogether. Leftists in America are some of the most vocal anti-Semites in the world. What makes them dangerous is that there is a ruling political faction that panders to their every utterance. Charles seems to forget the fickle nature of American politics. He would do well to remember that his President has mouthed soothing platitudes with regard to Jews and Israel, but has all but completely abandoned them to extinction by diplomacy.

Bush, as part of the political establishment pandering to the American Left, might furrow his brow at a bar full of hicks singing, "Throw the Jew Down the Well," but he has gladly joined in holding them by their ankles over the geo-political abyss.

Crossed what line?

Even more bizarre than the prospect of O.J. Simpson "confessing" to the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman in a book and TV show and getting a few million for it (proving crime can pay) was the cancellation of both by Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corporation. The most often heard indictment of this project was that the deal had "crossed the line."

Given what passes for entertainment on TV these days, I am relieved to know some people believe there is a line to cross. I just wish they would tell me where it is and what happens when it's violated. Some thought the line was crossed in that fraction of a second that Janet Jackson's breast was exposed during a Super Bowl halftime show. The Federal Communications Commission did and slapped CBS with a big fine.

Certain words are supposed to cross the line, but apparently only if they begin with the letter "F" (and we're not talking "Sesame Street" here). Words that begin with "B" apparently do not cross the line. One rhymes with "custard" and the other rhymes with "witch." One frequently hears those words on network TV.

Cal Thomas

If we choose to tear our society to little bits by turning unbridled lust and mayhem into a spectator sport, there is little any of the cultural brownshirts can do about it. That won't stop them from trying, of course, but they never seem to understand that the end result would be the same.

What concerns me most about the cultural landfill that telelvision has become is the numbing effect it has on the populace. While Joe and Jane Sixpack sit in front of the tube, slackjawed and ever more jaded, totalitarian and socialist forces are left free to snap up those freedoms they have left unattended. And since we play at democracy, the majority will pick their leaders from the group that can say the most soothing things on the teevee. Joe and Jane care less and less that their freedom is disappearing, so long as their leaders leave them free to rot in the glow of the little screen.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Icebergs now near Timaru

Two fishing boats - the Nidaro and the Amber Wave - have reported seeing icebergs heading north.

Nidaro skipper Blendon Laurie did more than report sightings of icebergs - he got up close enough to take a piece home to show the kids.

An iceberg appeared on the horizon while the boat was about 60 kilometres out from the Timaru coast.

"We saw it on the horizon, and weren't sure what it was, but then we saw it was an iceberg."

Mr Laurie estimated the iceberg was about 30 to 45 metres high and a good 45m across.

"It's not something you'd like to hit."

Quick, somebody call Algore. Oh, wait...was it too many icebergs that are caused by global warming or too few? I get so confused. I'm sure the Global Warming ® Industry will have a reasonable explanation for this. I'll just wait here, still not holding my breath.

NCAA set to eliminate I-A, I-AA labels

By Tommy Bowman
Winston-Salem Journal

Appalachian State will go down in history as the last team to win an NCAA Division I-AA championship, technically speaking.

The NCAA is ending the use of the designations I-A and I-AA for Division I football teams. The move was approved last August by the NCAA's board of directors but won't officially go into effect until Dec. 15, although the new and supposedly improved labels are now being used in conjunction with the start of the I-AA playoffs.

The NCAA is renaming Division I-A the Football Bowl Subdivision and renaming I-AA the Football Championship Subdivision. The NCAA will now call the I-AA playoffs the NCAA Division I Football Championship.

Cut & Run

Bush's Daughter Robbed in Argentina

(AP)U.S. and Argentine media reported that one of President Bush's 24- year-old twin daughters had her purse stolen while being guarded by the Secret Service during a visit here.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


NY Times

She had only token opposition, but Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton still spent more on her re-election — upward of $30 million — than any other candidate for Senate this year. So where did all the money go?

RE: RE: 'Seinfeld' Star Michael Richards Apologizes on 'Letterman' for Racial Slurs

Steve -> "I'd love to hear a rational explanation of why this is important enough to merit national attention."

In the scheme of things, it doesn't merit national attention. But since Mel Gibson got raked over the coals for what he said, Michael Richards deserves the same ridicule. At least Gibson can say he was drunk when he said what he said, Richards can't.

RE: 'Seinfeld' Star Michael Richards Apologizes on 'Letterman' for Racial Slurs

Great. So with everything else that is going on in the world, I suppose we're going to be inundated with media babble about this non-event for the next two weeks or so.

I'd love to hear a rational explanation of why this is important enough to merit national attention.

Cooperation :-)

Clinton Pardoned Hastings’s Co-Conspirator

The convicted felon who went to jail rather than testify against Alcee Hastings.

By Byron York
National Review Online

William Borders was a prominent Washington, D.C. lawyer when, in 1981, he was charged with conspiring with his good friend, federal judge Alcee Hastings, to solicit bribes from defendants seeking lenient treatment in Hastings’s courtroom. Hastings was charged, too, though the men were tried separately. When it was all over, Borders was convicted, disbarred, and sentenced to five years in jail. Hastings was acquitted, but later impeached and removed from office.

'Seinfeld' Star Michael Richards Apologizes on 'Letterman' for Racial Slurs

Fox News

"Seinfeld" star Michael Richards has taped an interview to be shown on "Late Show With David Letterman" in which he offers a brief explanation and an apology for the racial epithet-laced tirade he unleashed during a stand-up comedy routine over the weekend, WCBS-TV reported.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Remembering the Gipper...

“The dustbin of history is littered with remains of those countries that relied on diplomacy to secure their freedom. We must never forget... in the final analysis... that it is our military, industrial and economic strength that offers the best guarantee of peace for America in times of danger.”

Ronald Reagan

US Support of Global Tax Group Is 'Ridiculous,' Senator Says

(CNSNews.com) - An international organization that proposes a global taxation system and is critical of the U.S. tax structure receives nearly one-fourth of its $400 million budget from the American taxpayer, a situation one Republican senator hopes to end.

Top House Democrats to bar military draft plan

By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
A reinstatement of the military draft, being pushed by a senior Democrat, will not be slated for consideration in the House of Representatives, the chamber's newly elected top leaders said on Monday.

Webb and Tester Good News for Dems

Real Clear Politics

Jim Webb and Jon Tester's extremely narrow wins in Virginia and Montana two weeks ago were obviously huge for the Democrats in that they delivered them the six seats they needed to win control of the Senate. Maybe more important in the long-run than control in the Senate these next two years (which may turn out to me more of a nightmare than a blessing) is Webb and Tester put a new and attractive face on the Democratic party.

Bush Goes AWOL in Vietnam :-)

Pays Emergency Visit to Alabama

The Borowitz Report

President George W. Bush raised eyebrows in diplomatic circles over the weekend when he inexplicably went AWOL during his historic first visit to Vietnam.

The president had been expected to discuss such pressing issues as trade and security with Vietnamese leaders, making his mysterious disappearance all the more controversial.

But according to reporters traveling with Mr. Bush on Air Force One, the summit was ill-fated from the start, as the president was overheard muttering, "How the heck can I get out of going to Vietnam?"

Shortly after his arrival in Hanoi, Mr. Bush craftily eluded his Secret Service escorts, escaping through the window of his hotel room via a makeshift rope of bed sheets.

When the president was a no-show at a state dinner later that evening, it fell to White House spokesman Tony Snow to report to the gathering of dignitaries and reporters, "I'm afraid the president has flown the coop."

According to Mr. Snow, Mr. Bush left behind a scrawled note on hotel stationery indicating that he had to attend to an "emergency" in Alabama.

The mystery deepened, however, when Alabama authorities issued a statement indicating that there was no evidence that the president had shown up in their state at all.

Within minutes of Mr. Bush's disappearance from Hanoi, the Vietnamese government invited Vice President Dick Cheney to take his place, but Mr. Cheney deferred accepting that invitation five times.

"I have other priorities," the vice president explained.

Elsewhere, in a meeting of two of Britain's most famous fictitious characters, the premiere of the new James Bond film was attended by Queen Elizabeth II.

Mass. governor wants gay wedding vote

Gov. Mitt Romney said Sunday he would ask the state's highest court to order an anti-gay marriage amendment question onto the ballot if legislators fail to vote on the matter when they reconvene in January.

Romney said he would file a legal action this week asking a justice of the Supreme Judicial Court to direct the secretary of state to place the question on the ballot if lawmakers don't vote directly on the question Jan. 2, the final day of the session.

Romney, an opponent of gay marriage who decided not to seek re-election as he considers running for president, made his announcement to the cheers of hundreds of gay marriage opponents at a rally on the Statehouse steps.

David Weber

Romney appears to have begun the serious pandering for his 2008 run at the White House. He had previously been stumping on his newly discovered pro-life stance. Now he seems to be selling himself as a viable alternative to Giuliani with this posturing.

"A decision not to vote is a decision to usurp the Constitution, to abandon democracy and substitute a form of what this nation's founders called tyranny, that is, the imposition of the will of those in power, on the people," Romney said earlier. "The issue now before us is not whether same-sex couples should marry. The issue before us today is whether 109 legislators will follow the Constitution."

Romney demonstrates that he is as ignorant of Republican principles as he is of foundational principles of the Constitution. This pandering to direct democracy just shows that he's associated with the wrong party.

News Corp. Cancels O.J. Simpson Book and TV Special

NEW YORK — News Corp., the parent company of book publisher HarperCollins and the FOX network, has canceled publication of the O.J. Simpson book and television special "If I Did It."

Fox News

'Happy Feet' on top but 007 in hot pursuit

(The Hollywood Reporter) It looks as if the animated penguins beat out James Bond for first place at the North American boxoffice on the weekend before Thanksgiving. But with the two movies so close, it could be that this afternoon's final numbers will be the true determinant of who wins the frame.
As it stood Sunday, estimates reported by each of the studios indicated that Warner Bros. Pictures' "Happy Feet" is the winner by a $1.7 million margin. The PG-rated CG-animated film earned an estimated $42.3 million compared with Sony Pictures' "Casino Royale," a Columbia Pictures/MGM co-production, which grossed $40.6 million.
...Considering that Pierce (Brosnan) began opening 'Bond' in the $20 million range and worked his way up to $40 million, the strength of Craig's terrific new Bond is evident," Sony distribution president Rory Bruer said. "We couldn't be happier with the Bond (producers) Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli chose in Craig. People who are not only die-hard Bond fans are embracing him, and we think this film will create more Bond fans."

According to the early reports on Daniel Craig, I'd have to say that Bruer isn't just spinning, he's probably right. I can't wait to see Casino Royale. The trailers look pretty awesome in a retro/Connery sort of way. It better be good.

I found this funny:

The other new wide release, Universal Pictures' "Let's Go to Prison," bowed at a dismal $2.1 million, good for 12th place overall.

Is anyone surprised? Who wants to go see a movie called Let's Go To Prison? Bad, ill-advised title.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

In ‘88, Pelosi Voted to Impeach Hastings — Will She Support Him Now?

Pelosi, Hoyer, Conyers, Rangel, Frank, Waxman — they all voted to impeach.

By Byron York
National Review Online

On August 3, 1988, the House of Representatives voted on a resolution, co-sponsored by Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers, to impeach Alcee Hastings, the federal judge in Florida accused of conspiring to take a bribe. On that day 18 years ago, some of the Democrats who are today preparing to take power in the House were relatively new to the job; others were, even then, veterans who had served in Congress for years. For both, the vote was a rarity; Hastings was just the 10th judge in U.S. history to face impeachment.

Rep. Rangel Will Seek to Reinstate Draft

The Associated Press

Americans would have to sign up for a new military draft after turning 18 if the incoming chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee has his way.

Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., said Sunday he sees his idea as a way to deter politicians from launching wars and to bolster U.S. troop levels insufficient to cover potential future action in Iran, North Korea and Iraq.

Embittered Insiders Turn Against Bush

By Peter Baker
Washington Post

The weekend after the statue of Saddam Hussein fell, Kenneth Adelman and a couple of other promoters of the Iraq war gathered at Vice President Cheney's residence to celebrate. The invasion had been the "cakewalk" Adelman predicted. Cheney and his guests raised their glasses, toasting President Bush and victory. "It was a euphoric moment," Adelman recalled.

Forty-three months later, the cakewalk looks more like a death march, and Adelman has broken with the Bush team. He had an angry falling-out with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld this fall. He and Cheney are no longer on speaking terms. And he believes that "the president is ultimately responsible" for what Adelman now calls "the debacle that was Iraq."

Universal Music Sues MySpace.com

AP Business Writer

Universal Music Group on Friday sued MySpace.com, claiming the online social-networking hub illegally encourages its users to share music and music videos on the site without permission.

TV station fires weatherman over naked MYSPACE photo...

By Lindsey Nair

A heroin addiction, a federal drug case and a frenzy of negative publicity were not enough to pull popular WSLS (Channel 10) meteorologist Jamey Singleton from the air.

Factor in a mean MySpace prank, though, and the forecast got much gloomier.

After a former friend posted a nude picture of Singleton, 28, on the Internet this week, Channel 10 management called in the weatherman at 1 p.m. Thursday and fired him.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Pelosi, Hastings and the Future of House Democrats

By Marc Sheppard
Real Clear Politics

Should Thursday's 149-86 message be ignored by the now official first Mistress of the House, and Hastings be appointed, they'll be hell to pay for sure. And, while the many investigations promised by the new party-in-power are unlikely to extend beyond the opposition, they'll also be several questions demanding answers.

Without a doubt, the specter of the liberal Speaker-to-be crashing and burning before her tenure even gets off the ground is quite tantalizing. Then again, who can possibly celebrate the prospect of the person who'll be 2 steps away from executive command being unprecedentedly incompetent, corrupt, or otherwise compromised?

Who indeed?

Friday, November 17, 2006

The bloody consequences of open borders

By Michelle Malkin

On election day, I was in New York City. You know what a lot of New Yorkers were buzzing about that day?

Not the election.

They were buzzing about a tragic story that has disappeared under the national MSM radar screen--even though folks who live in the city (including journalists) are still talking about it around the water cooler and the local tabloids have covered it wall-to-wall.

Philanthropy Expert: Conservatives Are More Generous

Syracuse University professor Arthur C. Brooks is about to become the darling of the religious right in America -- and it's making him nervous.

The child of academics, raised in a liberal household and educated in the liberal arts, Brooks has written a book that concludes religious conservatives donate far more money than secular liberals to all sorts of charitable activities, irrespective of income.

In the book, he cites extensive data analysis to demonstrate that values advocated by conservatives -- from church attendance and two-parent families to the Protestant work ethic and a distaste for government-funded social services -- make conservatives more generous than liberals.

The book, titled "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism" (Basic Books, $26), is due for release Nov. 24.

When it comes to helping the needy, Brooks writes: "For too long, liberals have been claiming they are the most virtuous members of American society. Although they usually give less to charity, they have nevertheless lambasted conservatives for their callousness in the face of social injustice."

Frank Brieaddy

One might be tempted to highlight the corollary to this finding, which is that the likely reason liberals support forced government redistributionism is to help assuage their consciences. I certainly see no logical problems with that idea.

Full credit: Vox Popoli

Wal-Mart & the Breck Girl...

Strother opines: "How could've Edwards lied here? Some volunteer staff member decided to call Wal-Mart about a Playstation for John's kid. Sounds believable. And not that I think you'd ever stretch the truth regarding a Democratic presidential contender, Steve, but do you care to name the last bald-faced lie from which Mr. Edwards skated off scot-free? I forget..."

Personally, I believe he's lying with this statement:

In the call, he repeated a story about his son Jack disapproving of a classmate buying sneakers at Wal-Mart. "If a 6-year-old can figure it out, America can definitely figure this out," Edwards said.

I have a hard time believing that his 6-year-old son was aware that a classmate was wearing sneakers from Wal-Mart. I sincerely doubt that any 6-year-old knows or cares where their shoes come from. If I was in the media, that statement would be the one I would focus on because it's not believable.

The Two John Edwards

How the '08 hopeful's PlayStation misstep undermines his "Two Americas" meme.

By Jeff Taylor
Reason Magazine

Everyone loves a good hypocrite; they make us feel superior just for being consistent, if not competent. Accordingly the Internets are getting a good snort out of Wal-Mart basher John Edwards getting caught looking for Wal-Mart to hook him up with a Playstation 3.

Edwards explains that an overzealous campaign staffer – is there ever any other kind? – took his family's longings for a Playstation 3 a little too seriously. A call was placed to Wal-Mart to see if the Edwards clan could somehow jump to the front of the line for season's hottest gotta' have gift. Aside from the staffer's positively insane decision to reach out to a Raleigh Wal-Mart given all of Edwards' repeated slams of the company, nothing too surprising here. Just garden variety American ruling class behavior.

Why Trent Lott?

Casting Lott for the wrong position.

By Jonah Goldberg
National Review Online

Who says the Republicans are the Stupid party?

Huge numbers of voters told exit pollsters that they were disgusted with the nigh-upon Roman excesses of the GOP; the self-dealing, the pork-barrel spending, the aloofness — it was all just too much. Meanwhile, strategists warned that the Republican party was becoming too white, too male and too exclusively Southern. Ken Mehlman, the outgoing head of the Republican National Committee, declared just days after the GOP’s recent thumpin’, “We rely too much on white guys for our vote.”

So what did the GOP senators do when they needed to pick their No. 2 man in the Senate? They shouted, “This is a job for Trent Lott!”

Recall, if you will, that Lott, the Mississippi Republican, was Senate majority leader in 2002 until he proclaimed that America would be better off if only Strom Thurmond — the Dixiecrat segregationist candidate in 1948 — had been elected president.

The gale-force winds of the subsequent political maelstrom were not only enough to blow Lott from his perch as majority leader, but some witnesses actually swear they saw his hair move.

Milton Friedman, R.I.P.

Wall Street Journal

On the death of Ronald Reagan, whom he advised, Mr. Friedman wrote on these pages that “few people in human history have contributed more to the achievement of human freedom.” The same can and long will be said of Milton Friedman.

Wal-Mart and the Silky Pony.

And best of all, no one has to go to Wal-Mart!

Clearly, all this smacks of PR department propaganda. C'mon guys - I know you want to, but don't fall for this BS from Wal-Mart spin-doctors.

Careful, Strother. Your liberal Democrat tendencies are showing.

How could've Edwards lied here?

Ummm, he's an ambulance-chaser turned politician. How could he not lie? It's in his DNA. Besides, if you re-read what I actually wrote, you'll see that there was no accusation there.

Some volunteer staff member decided to call Wal-Mart about a Playstation for John's kid.

Uh huh. Have you ever noticed that nothing is ever Johnnie-boy's fault? Getting some volunteer staffer to fall on his sword seems always to be the way with these guys. I'll bet said staffer is still working there and probably sitting pretty just now.

Sounds believable.

Maybe to someone predisposed to believe, but not so much for the rest of us.

And not that I think you'd ever stretch the truth regarding a Democratic presidential contender, Steve, but do you care to name the last bald-faced lie from which Mr. Edwards skated off scot-free? I forget...

Well, let's see. First there were the repeated lies about his grilling Alan Greenspan in a Senate sub-committee hearing. Sadly for Johnnie, the hearings were televised and someone finally called him on it. Of course none of that ever came up during the presidential primaries. Seems the press was willing to give him a pass on that one. Then there were the "misdirections" about his vote on the partial-birth abortion ban. Seems his vote kind of got fuzzy depending on who he was talking to. The press never called him on that one either. Finally, I seem to recall he got caught embellishing his own biography with some crap about a parent working in a mill or something. Nope, no big deal as far as the press was concerned. Then again, he is a Democrat, isn't he?

Meet the New Boss...

Real Clear Politics

I'm not sensing much enthusiasm from conservatives over the re-election of John Boehner and Roy Blunt to the top two GOP leadership posts.

Barbara Boxer's agenda

Edwards Acknowledges Wal-Mart Gaffe

AP Business Writer

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Thursday that a staff member for former Sen. John Edwards _ a vocal critic of the retailer _ asked his local Wal- Mart store for help in getting the potential 2008 presidential candidate a Sony PlayStation 3. Edwards said a volunteer did so by mistake.

Edwards told The Associated Press that the volunteer "feels terrible" about seeking the game unit at Wal-Mart a day after his boss criticized the company, saying it doesn't treat its employees fairly.

Wal-mart Blacklisted

Fox News

The people who run Norway's global state investment fund are blacklisting Wal-Mart — because they say the world's largest retailer discourages labor unions. The fund has an ethics policy prohibiting investments in companies that make weapons and do other things the Norwegians don't approve of. The leader of the fund's ethics council says the policy exists "so the Norwegian people can sleep better at night."

But the U.S. ambassador to Norway calls the policy hypocritical — pointing out the fund does invest in countries where there are no private labor unions at all.

Ambassador Benson Whitney says the inconsistent approach actually "encourages unethical companies and discourages ethical ones."

"Bonnie and Clyde"

Fox News

Al Gore — who's in Australia to promote his global warming movie — is calling the U.S. and Australia the "Bonnie and Clyde" of the climate crisis for failing to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard calls Gore a "peeved politician" and says global warming "is not going to overwhelm us tomorrow. We are not going to drown in the sea in a couple of weeks time."

Dirty Movies

Fox News

A new study about pollution in Los Angeles is pointing a finger directly at — Hollywood. A report from the UCLA Institute of the Environment says the film and TV industry emits up to 140 tons of ozone and diesel particulate emissions each year from such things as trucks and generators, special effects explosions and the destruction of sets with dynamite.

This makes Hollywood the second largest polluter in the region — trailing only the petroleum industry. In fact, the makers of the global-warming film "The Day After Tomorrow" belched out 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions during production.

The movie made $543 million worldwide. Producers contributed $200,000 dollars to plant trees and take other steps to offset the pollution they created.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Attention Wal-Mart Shoppers!

Funny, silly story! "A John Edwards volunteer staffer calls about a Playstation 3 at Wal-Mart... and doesn't buy it!" Is this what conservative blogs are left with these days? Man, things are really bad for the pubbies! Hey, John — order all your disposable technology from Amazon: there's no tax and shipping is free for purchases over $25! And best of all, no one has to go to Wal-Mart!

From the article: From Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., company spokesman David Tovar said the Edwards staff member left a voicemail at the Raleigh store and identified himself as an Edwards staff member... Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar wouldn't name the person who purportedly called on Edwards' behalf. A company statement accused Edwards of not wanting to wait his turn. "While the rest of America's working families are waiting patiently in line, Sen. Edwards wants to cut to the front," the Wal-Mart statement said. After Wal-Mart this summer hired Edelman executive Leslie Dach as its public relations director and put him on the company's executive team, analysts said the retailer would likely become more aggressive toward its critics.

Ha, exactly. Clearly, all this smacks of PR department propaganda. C'mon guys — I know you want to, but don't fall for this BS from Wal-Mart spin-doctors.

Steve: It wouldn't be the first time Teflon Johnnie got caught in a bald-faced lie and skated off scot-free, though.

How could've Edwards lied here? Some volunteer staff member decided to call Wal-Mart about a Playstation for John's kid. Sounds believable. And not that I think you'd ever stretch the truth regarding a Democratic presidential contender, Steve, but do you care to name the last bald-faced lie from which Mr. Edwards skated off scot-free? I forget...

Andy: Not everybody can afford a $150 pair of sneakers, John & Jack...

An aside: isn't it sad that even $150 sneakers are most likely made in China alongside the Wal-Mart cheapies? Look it up. American manufacturers hardly make any shoes. Let's hope we never have to provide our own basic material needs again since we're shutting down manufacturing at a head-spinning clip.

By the way, is there any way to know the quarterly (or yearly) number of Chinese goods that China-Mart sells to Americans who lost manufacturing jobs to Chinese outsourcing?

RE: WAL-MART says critic Sen. John Edwards sought PlayStation 3 -- at WAL-MART!

...a claim the potential 2008 presidential candidate denied.

I wonder if Wal-Mart has some proof. It wouldn't be the first time Teflon Johnnie got caught in a bald-faced lie and skated off scot-free, though.

In the call, he repeated a story about his son Jack disapproving of a classmate buying sneakers at Wal-Mart.

In other news, the 6 year old son of ambulance-chaser and lying scum-bucket John Edwards had the tar beaten out of him on the playground at recess. Said young Jack Edwards' playmate, "I had to beat the crap out the insufferable little prig. It was a matter of principle."

WAL-MART says critic Sen. John Edwards sought PlayStation 3 -- at WAL-MART!

AP Business Writer

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. claimed Thursday that a prominent critic, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, asked his local Wal-Mart store for help in getting a hot new Sony PlayStation 3 - a claim the potential 2008 presidential candidate denied.

Here's my favorite line in the article:

Edwards, the Democrats' vice-presidential candidate in 2004, spoke Wednesday to supporters of union-backed WakeUpWalMart.com on a conference call launching the group's holiday season campaign to pressure Wal-Mart for better labor standards.

In the call, he repeated a story about his son Jack disapproving of a classmate buying sneakers at Wal-Mart. "If a 6-year-old can figure it out, America can definitely figure this out," Edwards said.

Not everybody can afford a $150 pair of sneakers, John & Jack...

RE: Hoyer Defeats Murtha in Bid for House Majority Leader

Steve: "This is actually kind of disappointing."

Of course it is.

"And Pelosi's faux piety is pretty disgusting. I imagine we'll have to get used to that in the same way we did video of the Clintons going to and coming from church."

Isn't faux piety, regardless of source or setting, pretty disgusting? From what I observe, it's well represented on both sides of the aisle in Washington...

Scientists: Pollution could combat global warming

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -- Air pollution may be just the thing to fight global warming, some scientists say.

Prominent scientists, among them a Nobel laureate, said a layer of pollution deliberately spewed into the atmosphere could act as a "shade" from the sun's rays and help cool the planet.

The Right Coalition

Which bipartisanship will Bush choose?

By Newt Gingrich
Wall Street Journal

The election results pose two enormous strategic choices for America. First, the obvious outcome of a Democratic-controlled Congress and a Republican White House is the need for bipartisan cooperation in order to get anything done. The key question is: Which kind of bipartisanship will emerge? Will there be a Ronald Reagan approach to bipartisanship which appeals to the conservative majority of the House? Or will there be an establishment bipartisanship which cuts deals between liberals and the White House? Second: Will the departure of Donald Rumsfeld and his replacement by Robert Gates lead to a tactical effort to minimize the difficulties of Iraq, or to a fundamental rethinking of the larger threats to American safety?

Darth Ahmadinejad

Back to the Basics

We betrayed our principles.

By Congressman Jim Ryun

If one thing became clear on Nov. 7, it was that the Republican party lost its brand. Once the party of Reagan that believed in limited government and conservative values, those of us who lost became the poster children for what is wrong in Washington, D.C. We became tagged as the party of corruption. With the shameful activities of some of my former colleagues, we more than opened the door to those accusations. This was not a matter of perception becoming reality. It was reality. Republicans gained the majority in the House of Representatives in 1994 after Democrats were viewed as unethical. This year, we lost the majority for much the same reason.

Hoyer Defeats Murtha in Bid for House Majority Leader

From CNSNews.com:

In a 149-86 vote, House Democrats Thursday elected Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland as House majority leader, delivering a defeat to Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania and a snub to new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had supported the losing candidate. Before introducing Hoyer at a press conference following the vote, Pelosi thanked Murtha for his "magnificent contributions" to the debate on Iraq. She said she supported his candidacy for House majority leader because she thought having him as the top Democrat in the House "would be the best way to bring an end to the war in Iraq." Pelosi then introduced Hoyer, who ran against her in the past, and congratulated him. "We've had our debates, we've had our differences," Pelosi said of Hoyer. "As we say in church: Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with us. Let the healing begin."

This is actually kind of disappointing. Murtha and Pelosi working as a team would have inspired the wrath of voters in much the same way the Republicans just did. It would have been interesting to see how they dealt with the problem of, "now what do we do?"

And Pelosi's faux piety is pretty disgusting. I imagine we'll have to get used to that in the same way we did video of the Clintons going to and coming from church.

Milton Friedman, RIP

Milton Friedman, one of the great minds of libertarian economics has died. We have lost a national treasure.

Friedman espoused the principles of the Austrian school of laissez-faire capitalism along the lines of those espoused by Von Mises and Hayek. He, along with Hayek, revived interest in the economic world in using the money supply as a means to regulate the business cycle. He was probably instrumental in Reagan's appointment of Alan Greenspan, another monetarist, to the Federal Reserve. It has been said that Friedman was also a follower of Ayn Rand (as was Alan Greenspan), but I've never seen that definitively acknowledged.

I don't expect that Friedman ever realistically expected to see the vision of a society based completely on competetive economics become a reality. However, it is unfortunate that he passed away while most of the world was hurtling headlong in the opposite direction.

Go with God, Mr. Friedman.

Voodoo Practitioner Tries to Jinx Bush

A renowned black magic practitioner performed a voodoo ritual Thursday to jinx President George W. Bush and his entourage while he was on a brief visit to Indonesia.

Tornado Kills At Least 5 In Columbus County

RALEIGH, N.C. -- A tornado hit a mobile home park in Columbus County in southeastern North Carolina Thursday morning, killing at least five people, authorities said.

The tornado hit the Riegelwood community in the southeastern part of the county at about 6:30 a.m., damaging at least three homes and causing an unknown number of injuries, said Lt. Everett Clendenin of the state Highway Patrol. N.C. Highway 87 was blocked by debris, he said, and authorities had blocked off other roads in the area to assist storm victims.


Desperate Congresswomen of Hysteria Lane

In the past week, there are 476 documents on Nexis heralding the magnificent achievement of Nancy Pelosi becoming the FIRST WOMAN speaker of the House.

I thought we had moved beyond such multicultural milestones.

Ann Coulter

RE: O.J. Simpson Interview

Fox News has been headed downhill for several years. People should remember that Rupert Murdoch is and always has been about profits. Anyone looking for altruism from him is chasing shadows. It should also be noted that Murdoch leans very decidedly to the political left. The regular Fox programming channel is a wasteland of sleaze. When actual porn does show up on mainstream television one of these days, my money is on Fox to be the groundbreaker (with ABC a very close second).

Murdoch saw a fairly large gap in the television news market. The three-letter networks had begun to openly pander to the extreme left all during the 1980s. When Fox News started, they really were "fair and balanced." That highly irritated elements on the far left since it meant that they no longer had a lock on the information market.

Fox has always had its share of fluff, Neil Cavuto and Fox & Friends, but in the last five years or so, the fluff has overtaken the serious content. Bill O'Reilly and Greta Van Sustern broadcast unabashed tabloid sleaze. Even the actual news segments spend a substantial amount of time on sensationalist garbage.

As well, the serious news segments have lost their balance, for the most part. Fox has become an unapologetic echo chamber for the neocons. Brit Hume's excellent news segment (which Brit hardly ever seems to host any more) has degraded into a Bush Administration propaganda arm.

Real, objective news doesn't sell, folks, and agenda is everything these days. Get used to it.

Pelosi in 'Lose-Lose Situation' Over Murtha

By Randy Hall

(CNSNews.com) -
By actively supporting Rep. John Murtha's (D-Pa.) bid to become the new majority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has put herself in a "lose-lose situation," according to political analysts.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

O.J. Simpson Interview

From a friend:

"Two weeks before the book, "If I Did It," goes on sale, scorn was already being heaped Wednesday on Simpson, the publisher and Fox, which plans to air the Simpson interview in two parts November 27 and 29."..(Quote from CNN Website 11/15/06)

I have always like Fox Primetime shows and it's been a favorite channel of mine for years. I will however find MANY other channels and shows to watch that aren't on Fox if this interview is shown. I'll also be encouraging everyone I know to do the same.

I'm shocked and frankly, SICK, that the Fox network would take part of and show such a sickening interview. I hope the losses to Fox are large enough that the executives feel the brunt of making such a monumentally stupid choice.

There is no need to watch the interview or read the book, the public and the victims families are completely aware of how the murder was carried out. Shame on Fox for giving platform to this gross insanity.

Please note that I have emailed this directly to the Fox Network and everyone I know. Please feel free to forward this email to your friends and to askfox@foxinc.com if you are opposed to televising the OJ Simpson interview on how he would have murdered Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman.

Jennifer Mehaffey

Winston-Salem, NC

Abramoff Reports to Prison; Officials Focus on Reid, Others

From ABC News The Blotter:

As convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff reported to federal prison today, a source close to the investigation surrounding his activities told ABC News that Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was one of the members of Congress Abramoff had allegedly implicated in his cooperation with federal prosecutors.


By Ralph Peters
NY Post

Any code of ethics that squanders the lives of tens of thousands and the future of millions so we can "claim the moral high ground" is hypocrisy worthy of the Europeans who made excuses for the Holocaust.

If we want to give Iraq's silent - and terrified - majority a last chance, we would have to accept the world's condemnation for killing the killers. If we are unwilling to do that, Iraq's finished.

Wednesday Funnies :-)

David Letterman: “Top Signs George W. Bush Is Depressed”: Speaks wistfully of the days when his approval rating was 33%; Barely musters a smile when catching Cheney torture detainees; Barely laughs anymore during “Happy Days” reruns; No longer pretends he quit drinking; Sits in the Oval Office listening to Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” over and over; At lunch with Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi, he hardly touched his fish sticks.

Jay Leno: I have some good news about the health of Fidel Castro—it got worse! ... John Kerry came out of the closet today. Literally he came out. He’s not gay, the Democrats just let him out of the closet. ... “Borat” is the number one movie in the country. It’s a tall bumbling guy who can’t speak English. He travels around the country annoying people and is often confused. Oh wait, that’s John Kerry. ... Turns out the two biggest things that hurt Republicans in the election were sex and money scandals. After all these years of attacking Hollywood it turns out they are Hollywood! ... I’m so glad the election is done. Now the only annoying political speech you’ll hear is at a Barbra Streisand concert. ... An amendment to legalize marijuana in Nevada was voted down. It probably would have passed but all the people already on marijuana didn’t show up to the polls until today. ... Did you see Nancy Pelosi and President Bush during their lunch meeting last week? And you thought you saw more fake smiles when the Clinton’s were together. ... John McCain is forming an exploratory committee to run for president. Not to be outdone, Hillary Clinton is also forming an exploratory committee just to try and keep track of Bill. ... Wal-Mart will allow employees to say “Merry Christmas” this year. This year they can do that. They finally learned how to speak English.

Reality Bites :-)

Scientists Demote Bush Presidency to Dwarf Status :-)

White House Joins Pluto in New Classification

The Borowitz Report

An international group of scientists who demoted the planet Pluto to dwarf status three months ago met in Oslo, Norway today and reclassified the Bush White House as a dwarf presidency.

In the aftermath of the midterm elections, in which the president's party lost control of both the House and the Senate, the scientists called an emergency meeting in Oslo to determine if the Bush administration in fact still qualified as a presidency.

But with the president's approval rating in a free fall, it became clear even before the scientists convened that some sort of reclassification along the lines of the Pluto demotion was in order.

"When the president's approval rating fell below Kevin Federline's, that was the last nail in the coffin," said Dr. Hiroshi Kyosuke of the University of Tokyo.

According to Dr. Kyosuke, one of the seventy scientists who gathered in Oslo to reassess the Bush presidency, dwarf status means that Mr. Bush is "less than a president, but more than a mayor."

In another troubling sign that Mr. Bush may be a has-been, White House spokesman Tony Snow revealed today that the president had signed on to make an appearance on the ABC series "Dancing with the Stars."

ABC spokesperson Carol Foyler confirmed that the president was slated to appear, but added that Mr. Bush was far from the network's first choice.

"We wanted Nancy Pelosi, but she said she was too busy," Ms. Foyler said.

Elsewhere, after a new study showed that the human body produces a painkiller several times more potent than morphine, supermodel Kate Moss attempted to inhale herself.

White Guilt Doesn't Help Blacks

Complaints about racism dominate the media discussion of the disparity between black and white success in America. Comedian Chris Rock captures the prevailing sentiment between both races when he tells white audiences, "None of ya would change places with me and I'm rich! That's how good it is to be white!"

A white author, Tim Wise, gets applause from students on American campuses for talking about "white privilege." Wise's message is in huge demand -- he does 80 speaking engagements a year. When we taped an appearance at Skidmore College, students of all races praised him as "eloquent," "phenomenal," and "so on point."

But among some black intellectuals a new perspective has emerged, one that puts racism and "white privilege" low on the list of problems plaguing black Americans. Shelby Steele's latest book, "White Guilt", argues that whites do blacks no favors wringing their hands about white privilege.

"I grew up in segregation," Steele said during my interview with him. "So I really know what racism is. I went to segregated school. I bow to no one in my knowledge of racism, which is one of the reasons why I say white privilege is not a problem."

John Stossel

Mecklenburg Says 446 Ballots In Black Race Shouldn't Have Counted

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The close election between House Speaker Jim Black and GOP challenger Hal Jordan has taken an unexpected turn.

Election officials said nearly 450 ballots should not have counted in the race because voters outside Black's district cast them.

That could mean a new election, depending on what the State Board of Elections decides should happen. The board meets Nov. 28.

Unofficial results showed the four-term Democratic speaker leading Jordan by seven votes in the Nov. 7 election. But more than 130 provisional ballots still need to be counted.

Elections officials said some voters living in a certain Mecklenburg County precinct should have received ballots for a different House race.


Unfit for Majority Leader

The videotape is grainy, dark and devastating. The congressman and the FBI undercover agents -- the congressman thinks they represent an Arab sheik willing to pay $50,000 to get immigration papers -- are talking business in the living room of a secretly wired Washington townhouse.

Two other congressmen in on the deal "do expect to be taken care of," the lawmaker says. But for the time being -- and he says repeatedly that he might change his mind and take money down the road -- he'd rather trade his help for investment in his district, maybe a hefty deposit in the bank of a political supporter who's done him favors.

"I'm not interested -- at this point," he says of the dangled bribe. "You know, we do business for a while, maybe I'll be interested, maybe I won't, you know." Indeed, he acknowledges, even though he needs to be careful -- "I expect to be in the [expletive] leadership of the House," he notes -- the money's awfully tempting. "It's hard for me to say, just the hell with it."

Ruth Marcus

This is interesting. I guess even WaPo understands that electing a flaming nutjob as your majority leader is a losing strategy. I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for them to start accusing the Democrats of "a culture of corruption," though.

O.J. Simpson to Tell FOX How He Would Have Killed Slain Wife Nicole

LOS ANGELES — FOX plans to broadcast an interview with O.J. Simpson in which the former football star discusses "how he would have committed" the slayings of his ex-wife and her friend, for which he was acquitted in a widely-watched trial, the network said.

The Today Show

Okay, okay; I know: the Today Show isn't even clever. It's the Baywatch of “news” programs. But hey, before a long day of thinking, it's a useful distraction to stare at while waking up and sipping coffee.

Anyway, risking the "hey, you're the one watching the Today show" accusations, I must officially go on the record to say Meredith Vieira — the new co-anchor alongside Matt Lauer — really, really sucks.

Silly can get annoying, yes, and things at Today often got silly with Katie Couric in an anchor chair. But with this new lady, it's like she doesn't even care what anyone is saying or what is going on. Meredith Vieira's features star Meredith Vieira and are often aloof embarrassments. If Meredith can dance a little bit, well, she’ll show up on stage with the Radio City Rockettes. If she can’t cook, she’ll crack distracting, not-funny “I can’t cook” jokes through an entire skit with Martha Stewart.

Increasingly, the American majority seems unable to recognize the difference between talent and personality. Why? Look no further than Today.

House GOP scrambles for leader

By Charles Hurt

House Republicans in search of someone to lead them out of the minority wilderness are growing increasingly frustrated with their choices in the leadership elections as Senate Democrats yesterday swiftly approved a slate of top leaders.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Remembering the Gipper...

“It’s time we asked ourselves if we still know the freedoms intended for us by the Founding Fathers. James Madison said, ‘We base all our experiments on the capacity of mankind for self-government.’ This idea that government was beholden to the people, that it had no other source of power, is still the newest, most unique idea in all the long history of man’s relation to man. This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”

Ronald Reagan

Rubin's Tax Gambit

Raising taxes in a housing slump isn't the smartest policy.

The Wall Street Journal

That was fast. A mere two days after Democrats capture Congress claiming they wouldn't raise taxes, former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin tells them they should do so anyway.

Dem Congress may scrap border fence

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- The incoming U.S. Congress will review the law mandating 700 miles of fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, and may seek to scrap the plan altogether.

Not so hot air

From the Hot Air blog:

The Republican minority that helped defeat Hillarycare in ‘93 was hungry for power and committed to conservative principles, as the Contract With America would shortly prove. The Republican minority of ‘06 is exhausted, compromised, and all too comfortable with government bloat. If they’re the last line of defense against socialized medicine, then I dare say we should prepare ourselves for a heavy blow.

The video of Michelle Malkin on O'Reilly is amusing as well. She gets bleeped for saying the Democrats are ball-less.

To spank or not to spank

I'm certainly not a "child expert," so I'd never give another parent my opinion on how they should discipline their child (and, if they begged me, I'd share only with great reluctance); if there's one thing parents generally don't appreciate, it's unsolicited advice on how to raise their kids.

And in that, Strother, you have wisdom beyond your years.

If a child can be effectively disciplined without being hit, then I would imagine that most reasonable parents would prefer to do so. Reasonable people do not value physical force over mental force.

I agree for the most part. Reasonable people do not preclude the use of physical force in favor of mental force where necessary, though. Attempting to "reason" with a three-year-old in the middle of a tantrum is a fool's errand.

Further, if you must constantly spank your child... well, it isn't really working, is it?

True enough, but the problem isn't the spankings. In general, my observation of people who must constantly use corporal punishment is that they lack consistency in their overall application of discipline, corporal or not. You mentioned that you figured out what would get you a spanking. You were able to do that because your parents consistently applied spankings across a set of predictable behaviors. The poor kid who gets spanked for one behavior on Tuesday and ignored for the same behavior on Wednesday has no frame for learning. As well, I see so many parents who threaten and threaten, but who never carry through and fall back on bribery and cajolery. And then they wonder why they have a discipline problem. Their discipline problem is a complete lack of discipline. Their kids have learned that the limits of their behavior are defined by some completely random set of circumstances. The only way to know is to test it empirically and even then, it must constantly be re-tested.

And to the original point, if so many parents can't get it right, imagine the insanity of getting the government to do it at all.

RE: N.C. court approves child spanking

I'm certainly not a “child expert,” so I'd never give another parent my opinion on how they should discipline their child (and, if they begged me, I’d share only with great reluctance); if there's one thing parents generally don't appreciate, it's unsolicited advice on how to raise their kids.

But since I am a parent, in the spirit of "sharing" here on the ol' BP, I feel comfortable saying that there are many ways to discipline a child responsibly, effectively, and - yes - lovingly. And sure, corporal punishment can be administered within that realm. As a child, I remember getting only a few "real" spankings, and those I received served as a constant reminder of why I should avoid future ones. I never remember the spankings being especially painful; they mostly just hurt my pride and my feelings and, in the build-up to the "moment," I used my little kid brain to think pretty hard about what it was that I did to deserve a spanking. And, as a result, the measure of discipline worked as intended.

If a child can be effectively disciplined without being hit, then I would imagine that most reasonable parents would prefer to do so. Reasonable people do not value physical force over mental force.

Further, if you must constantly spank your child... well, it isn't really working, is it? Not only are they not learning to behave from the threat of being hit, but they may even be tolerating the experience simply for the attention. And that can open a whole 'nother can of dysfunction.

Eight years after Clinton left Washington, D.C. :)

RE: Giuliani tests presidency waters

It will be interesting to watch what the GOP rank-and-file do with this.

The current front-runners for the nomination are Giuliani, Romney, and McCain. Giuliani and Romney are dyed-in-the-wool leftists and McCain is a certifiable monomaniac. I wonder if the pubbies will have learned anything from last week's rout. I doubt it, they are a hard-headed bunch.

Voters rejected their "compassionate conservatism," which is nothing more than cover for a "do anything, say anything, tolerate anything" strategy to stay in power. However, history tells us that they will not heed the message and instead will think they need to look even more like the Democrats to win. They will have learned nothing from 1994 either. In every case of the 1994 elections, the Democrats who pretended to be Republicans lost. When faced with the choice between the real thing and a pretender, voters seem to be able to reject the faux versions. Last week, bona-fide Republicans like Coburn, Pence, and Paul all stayed put, while pretenders and party hacks like Santorum and Chafee were sent packing.

Some people think that a couple of election cycles out of power will teach the GOP to mend its ways. I disagree. I think they're headed for the dust pile of history where they can commiserate with the Whigs. In recent polling, more people agreed than disagreed that a viable third party was needed in American Politics. That's the first time ever that such a result was obtained from asking the question. The Libertarians had a relatively great year. I wouldn't be surprised to see them on the ascendancy. A migration of libertarian-minded Republicans to the LP would probably tend to pull them back from the brink of anarchy and turn them into a viable third party.

It will be interesting to watch.