WWW Opinion Times

Monday, January 31, 2005

A Symposium On Blogger Ethics & The Future Of Blogging

Interesting discussion on the ethics of reporting and blogging.

Here at Right Wing News

comparevideo: The Iraqi Elections

Excellent! Picture clips of the Iraqi elections with Aaron Copeland's "Fanfare for the Common Man" covering the presentation.

Hat tip: Michelle Malkin.

Democratic Middle East

Mark A. Kilmer has got it right:
Going into this, President Bush envisaged a Democratic Middle East with which the United States could deal individually and as a group. Democracy, if it takes hold in Iraq and is nurtured by other democratic nations, could spread. The question then would be: Do we allow France, Russia, Germany, the Kingdom of Belgium, or Nelson Mandela to participate in sustaining the new democracies? It would be an abomination. Only four countries saw the necessity of risking their by far most valuable commodity for the future.

“Going into this, President Bush envisaged a Democratic Middle East…” It’s a wide image, not the narrowly focused WMD about which today’s anti-Bush crowd feebly harps. This entire operation was too grand for their imaginations.

Amnesty Insanity

Michelle Malkin reports on Rush Limbaugh's criticism of President Bush's amnesty program for illegal Mexcan aliens. John Fund piked up on it too and emphasized the point that many in the Republican Party are disturbed by the Bush Administration's tone-deafness on the immigration issue:
Rush has 20 million listeners a week, so if he decides to attack President Bush's plan to regularize immigration flows through a guest-worker program, he could help kill the idea. The president told reporters last week that he plans to make a guest worker plan a "priority," so last Friday he was peppered with questions about it at a private retreat for GOP congressmen at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia. "Family values do not end at the Rio Grande river," Mr. Bush told the lawmakers, while assuring them his plan was not a backdoor amnesty program. He promised them more details in his State of the Union address on Wednesday.
From this vantage point, it seems clear that the President has a mis-perception of the extent of his political capital. Frankly, he probably does not see this as an issue of capital expenditure but rather an advantage of beginning a lame-duck term.

This President has performed much better than his father when it comes to working the politics of issues in which he believes strongly. That is to his credit. But 20 million Rush listeners, and Republicans in general, are independent thinking enough to stand on principle themselves.

When it comes to getting things done in this country, ultimately the true power belongs to the people, not the best politician. The independent nature of the American people is the heritage we bring to freedom around the world. It is likely to be exercised with flawless precision in regards to immigration reform to the chagrin of those who believe we owe a debt to "Mexican family-values."

The Evil Side of the Iraq Elections

Just as we suspected, Karl Rove and Dick Cheney have conspired to undermine the Iraqi people.

Hat-tip: IowaHawk

UPDATE: IowaHawk has Ted Kennedy's comments on the situation in Iraq. What an amazing scoop.

"Religion is the only solid Base of morals and that Morals are the only possible Support of free governments."

--Gouverneur Morris
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Sunday, January 30, 2005

Emerging Adulthood

Social Scientists are pointing to a disturbing trend in post-adolescent years. Young people are living for longer periods at home and are marrying later. In the United States, the average male marries at 28 years old compared to about 21 years only 10 or 15 years ago. The result: it's taking longer for young people to obtain a college degree; they're opting out of making a commitment to a career switching jobs up to a dozen times on average and moving back at home. They are not abstaining from sex either. They typically have several sexual encounters. They are refusing to allow the shock of adult responsibility to hit them.
Crosswalk.com - The Generation That Won't Grow Up: "Social scientists debate the significance of this new phenomenon. Some see this trend towards delayed adulthood as a good thing. Advocates for the trend suggest that these young Americans are simply enjoying the benefits won by advocates of social liberation. Furthermore, they have grown up in a culture of affluence that has afforded them unprecedented options, creature comforts, and security. They simply do not want to enter the more insecure world of adult responsibility.

Jeffrey Arnett, who sees what he calls 'emerging adulthood' as a positive trend, teaches developmental psychology at the University of Maryland. These unsettled young Americans are simply taking their time to focus on adult responsibility. 'This is the one time of their lives when they're not responsible for anyone else or to anyone else,' he argues. 'So they have this wonderful freedom to really focus on their own lives and work on becoming the kind of person they want to be.'

In other words, Arnett sees delayed adulthood as a new social phenomenon that allows self-centered Americans even more time to focus on themselves while 'not responsible for anyone else or to anyone else.' Of course, what Arnett celebrates, others see as the very heart of the problem."
This trend is not merely a result of the choices of young people in the emerging generation. It's also the result of parenting practices which emerged out of the false teaching of Dr. Spock. This trend will only change with a revival of parenthood. It can only lead if it continues to the downfall of American society.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Whitman Bashes Conservatives

Patrick Ruffini analyzes Christine Todd Whitman's claim that the Republican Party is loosing support because of its "social fundamentalist" wing.

Reading the transcript of Lou Dobbs' interview with her last night, one leaves with a sense that the MSM wants Whitman to succeed in diffusing the influence of Christian conservatives in the party.

Ok, no surprise here. But the logic behind her arguments is amazingly bereft of historical perspective.
DOBBS: . . . there was once a liberal and conservative and moderate wing in the GOP party, the Republican party, the fact is today one scratches their heads wondering what happened to fiscal discipline. Republicans were styled as much in their rejection of imprudent fiscal management, trade deficits at record heights. Where is the Republican party in your judgment headed? Where should it be going?

WHITMAN: I think it's headed frankly in the wrong direction, which is why I wrote the book to [. . .] remind people of what the Republican party stood for and how it moved forward from the days of Eisenhower forward when I first became sort of cognizant of what was going on, and to try to get it back on that track, to understand that it's our party, it has room for a lot of different opinions, but there are certain basic beliefs that distinguish the Republicans from the Democrats, and we need to get back to those.
Let me clear this up first: fiscal discipline has gone out the window in the last four years under the Bush administration. No conservative can argue against that. Conservatives bit their lips on the issue during the election last year knowing that by comparison, Democrats are much less fiscally responsible.

That having been said, there are two significant numbers she should remember: 40 and 63 million; years the Republicans were out of power and number of people who voted for a social fundamentalist influenced administration.

If Christine Todd Whitman wishes to see the Republican Party revert back to having three wings--as Dobbs suggests--she clearly doesn't understand how that fractured approach destroyed any hopes of electoral success in the 60's and 70's. And what in the world did the Republican Party do right in the 50's under Eisenhower's leadership other than elect a President? If she truly believes these are the ideal circumstances under which the Party should operate, someone needs to ask her if she inhaled.

But she doesn't believe this, and thus we come to the true reason for her concern. It's the same pretention under which Democrats operate: self-aggrandizement. It's a desire to consolidate power within a small inner circle of the initiated. No organization can have success under such pretentious leadership. To be precise, Christine Todd Whitman truly seeks to re-establish the prominence of the Rockefeller Wing of the Party while George Bush (largely) is solidifying the Reagan.

I'll take the latter, thank you.

And Now There's A Third

Michelle Malkin notes a Salon article which notes that now a third conservative columnist, Michael McManus, was hired by the Bush administration and did not make full disclosure in his columns. Salon is right: "three makes a trend."

It's frankly unacceptable for even the appearance of impropriety in any administration. And, sadly, President Bush, and HHS Secretary Dr. Wade Horn for that matter, must be held to account for their poor judgment. Now the reproach must come.

Here's Michelle Malkin's take:
"I wonder if McManus will say he 'forgot' about the $10,000 payment, too. That line seems to be working pretty well now among some of my fellow conservatives. [. . . L]et me just say that if I accepted $10,000 or $20,000 or $40,000 in taxpayer funds for my writing, I wouldn't forget it in one year or 5 years or 10 years. And I'd make damn sure I disclosed it in relevant columns, books, or media appearances, even if it invited condescension from the 'don't be such a holier-than-thou-goody-two-shoes-must-you-disclose-everything?' crowd."

It was not wrong for the Bush administration to hire these columnists. It was not wrong for these columnists to work with the government either. The problem was that neither the administration nor the columnists took the time to evaluate the ethical implications of doing so. This amounts to a costly affront to public confidence in this administration.

If we conservatives neglect to point out the impropriety of these financial arrangements and subsequent lack of ethical disclosure, we will encourage this problem to fester into something much worse.

LaShawn Barber
has more.

"He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."

--Thomas Paine

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Start A Revolution

Brain Terminal has a new video straight from the inauguration protests. It's a must see.

The good news: the liberals hope there won't be "blood in the streets."

How comforting. . . .

See it here.

Bush Says Social Security Shortchanges Black Seniors

Just when I get myself all in a tizzy over Hillary's attempt to turn abortion politics on it's head, here comes George Bush showing he can play the same game. Yet in his case, he's got it right:
Buffalo News: Race became a significant factor in the debate over Social Security on Tuesday when President Bush told black leaders that the government retirement program shortchanged blacks, whose relatively shorter life span meant they paid more in payroll taxes than they eventually received in benefits.

. . . The conversation demonstrated the White House's determination to build on outreach efforts to blacks that proved effective in battleground states last year, adding Social Security to a list of moral issues - such as opposition to same-sex marriage and support for faith-based social programs - that Republicans see as providing common ground with black conservatives.
The President is absolutely correct to frame this issue in this manner. And Social Security is not the only area where Democrats have built discrimination into public policy. Inner city education is another place where Democrats implicitly effect a racist agenda. Most large cities are Democrat voting pockets and have been run by Democrats since at least the late 1950's. Public education policy there continues to keep academic achievement at its worst and binds minorities into low "self-esteem" and poverty.

But I digress. . . .

The President now needs to take Larry Kudlow's advice and shift the argument away from the difficult transition to private Social Security accounts and rather give the vision for changing the Social Security system to make it work for generations to come.


"Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle."

--Thomas Jefferson
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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Could Texts Lost for Millennia Be In Our Grasp?

This would be the most amazing find since the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Sunday Times: Even in our age of hyperbole it would be hard to exaggerate the significance of what is at stake here: nothing less than the lost intellectual inheritance of western civilisation. We have, for example, a mere seven plays by Sophocles, yet we know that he wrote 120; Euripides wrote 90 plays, of which only 19 survive; Aeschylus wrote between 70 and 90, of which we have just seven.

We also know that at the time when Philodemus was teaching Virgil on the Bay of Naples, the lost dialogues of Aristotle were circulating in Rome (Cicero called them “a golden river”: the essence of ancient Greek philosophy); they, too, have vanished.

. . .When the great library at Alexandria caught fire 1,600 years ago, more than half a million scrolls were destroyed: the greatest intellectual catastrophe in history. But the tightly rolled papyri caught in the eruption of AD79 — not only in Herculaneum but also in Pompeii — were first carbonised and then, when the pumice and ash moulded around them, effectively sealed in airtight stone vaults.
This bibliophile salivates at the possibilities for understanding better the underpinnings of Western philosophy through its Greek roots.

Hat tip to Confessions of a Political Junkie.

Insurgency Disruption Tactics

Captain's Quarters has translated instructions given to the Iraq insurgency on how to disrupt an eleciton.

As the Captain says, this comes as no surprise. But note the reliance they place on the media to report the bad news as a way to delegitimize the election process. Note also that they published the instrucitons because, "since they have not witnessed the elections process before, here is a plan which will lead to the failure of these elections, or at least their disruption."

2008 Alert: Hillary to the Red States--Part I

I wonder if Hillary is running for President. Let's take a peek:
NY Times: Mrs. Clinton, in a speech to about 1,000 abortion rights supporters at the state Capitol, firmly restated her support for the Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion nationwide, Roe v. Wade. But then she quickly shifted gears, offering warm words to opponents of abortion - particularly members of religious groups - asserting that there was "common ground" to be found after three decades of emotional and political warfare over abortion.

In addition to her description of abortion as a "tragic choice" for many," Mrs. Clinton said that faith and organized religion were the "primary" reasons that teenagers abstain from sexual relations, and reminded the audience that during the 1990's, she promoted "teen celibacy" as a way to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies.

"The fact is, the best way to reduce the number of abortions is to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies in the first place," Mrs. Clinton said.
Shrewd move. It won't fly with conservative activists, but if she is able to come across sincerely, it could neutralize those millions of extra votes which showed up for President Bush while allowing her to keep her base in the Democrat left. She and Bill know how to seem conservative "enough."

This emphasizes the fact that conservatives cannot sit down after the great gains in 2004. Without continued, large-scale information campaigns, Democrat prevarication could cause the Bush base to crumble.

She'll get the nomination I predict (unless she gets into legal trouble). And unless a strong, conservative Republican candidate emerges (no, I don't mean Giuliani or McCain), she could eek out the Presidency. We'd better be on the top of our game.

Thank God for the blogsphere!

UPDATE: Not only is Hillary trying to triangulate conservative politicians, voters and herself on the issue of abortion as described above, The Guardian reports that she is blaming George Bush's family planning policy for increases in abortion
She said there could be a link between a decline in so-called "comprehensive" sexual education and an increased number of terminations.

Speaking to a conference of family abortion rights supporters in New York, Mrs Clinton said that during her husband's administration, family planning funding was a priority and "we saw the rate of abortion consistently fall."

"The abortion rate fell by one quarter between 1990 and 1995, the steepest decline since Roe was decided in 1973," Mrs Clinton said, referring to the Roe v Wade decision which legalised abortion.

"The rate fell another 11 percent between 1994 and 2000."
And then the Bush administration, sadly, responded weakly after a good rally speech this past weekend. The administration responded thus:
White House spokesman Ken Lasaius said the president believed in co-operation on the abortion front.

"He's made it very clear that whether we agree or disagree on the issue of abortion, that we can all work together to take practical steps to reduce the number of abortions that occur," Mr Lasaius said.
What kind of a response is this? Cooperation will accomplish nothing in this battle for life. The President should be de-legitimizing Hillary's pro-death policies. Instead, he is responding in kind to her statements. This is the same trap that former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich fell into when countering the statemens of then President Bill Clinton--by his own admission. If the President takes this approach, he will fare no better than Newt in the battle of ideas.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Time for an afternoon M&M break!

Dear Abby

Dear Abby:

My husband is a liar and a cheat. He has cheated on me from the beginning, and when I confront him, he denies everything. What's worse, everyone knows he cheats on me. It is so humiliating. Also, since he lost his job three years ago he hasn't even looked for a new one. All he does is buy cigars and cruise around chitchatting with his pals, while I have to work to pay the bills. Since our daughter went away to college he doesn't even pretend to like me and hints that I am a lesbian. What should I do?

Signed, Clueless

Dear Clueless:

Grow up and dump him. For Pete's sake, you don't need him anymore -- you're a United States Senator from New York, now act like it.

Robert Byrd Puts on His Sheet

Sen. Robert Byrd, D-WV, plans to lead the effort to block the nomination of Condoleezza Rice for Secretary of State.

This move by Sen. Byrd is merely an expression of latent racist tendencies which have been suppressed of necessity. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was successful at changing the hearts and minds of Americans. But the leaders of the segregationists like Byrd (a former KKK recruiter) merely went into hiding under the force of a dramatic change of heart in this country.

Let's be honest Sen. Byrd: to block the nomination of Condoleezza Rice under cover of general Democrat disagreements against the war makes your racist tendencies no less transparent to us who know she will be a brilliant and capable leader of our foreign service corps.

Individual Rights

"The whole of that Bill [of Rights] is a declaration of the right of the people at large or considered as individuals. ... [I]t establishes some rights of the individual as unalienable and which consequently, no majority has a right to deprive them of."

--Albert Gallatin
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Thursday, January 20, 2005

A Red State Voters' Speech

Erick at Confessions of a Political Junkie blogs at MSNBC about the speech. Great comments!

Protests at the Inaugural

If you listened to the Presidents inauguration speech today, you know that near the end, some protesters could be heard in the crowd. It turns out to be a blue state action by some "pinkos."
Guardian Unlimited: "CodePink member Jodie Evans said she and other protesters got tickets to the ceremony from members of Congress representing New York and California. "
Certainly Sen. Barbara Boxer is behind this. Is Hillary as well?

As angry as all of us were at Bill Clinton's inauguration ceremonies, I do not recall any Republican Senators or Congressmen planting protesters in the crowd. Our system of government benefits from a peaceful transfer of power and respect for the positions established. These actions on the part of the representatives from California and New York is reprehensible.

Firefox The IE Killer

WebProNews.com is predicting the death if Internet Explorer in its report, Firefox The IE Killer.

It would be a difficult task to take on Microsoft. But I am a believer. I use Firefox as my preferred browser because it's just better. I recommend you give it a shot and see how tabbed browsing is so much superior to IE browsing.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


JibJab has their new parody available. It's called Second Term. Check it out.

Wictory Wednesday

Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) has been one of the most steadfast members of the Senate Republican leadership. But he’s facing a tough re-election battle in 2006 against State Treasurer Bob Casey, Jr., who’s polling ahead of Santorum right now. We must keep this seat. You can help by contributing to Santorum’s campaign online.

Today is Wictory Wednesday. Every Wednesday, hundreds of bloggers ask their readers to donate to an important Republican campaign.

If you’re a blogger, you can join Wictory Wednesdays by e-mailing me at wictory@blogsforbush.com. I’ll add you to the Wictory Wednesday blogroll. I’ll also send you a reminder e-mail every Wednesday, explaining which candidate to support that day.

Duty of Self-Government: Devotion to Divine Truth

"It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage, and such only, as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent both in order of time and degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society. Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe."

--James Madison
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Monday, January 10, 2005

How Reliable "Democracy"?

This is a wise quote. Republics are the best guarantors of liberty.

"The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness which the ambitious call, and ignorant believe to be liberty."

--Fisher Ames
I talked in a previous article about John Locke's argument as to the origin of government authority. Here's what I said there:
Thus Locke starts by laying rights into individuals in their natural state who consequently adjust their individual liberty into "Conjugal Society" through marriage. Then, as dictated by necessity, man and woman cede some of their authority in the family to Civil Society through representatives appointed by them who make laws and administer justice on their behalf.
Government is designed to mitigate harm done to members of a community through just laws which do not abrogate individual rights. Government is sustained by individuals who give it authority to adjudicate disputes. It was never intended to grant the "freedom" to do what one wishes at the expense of others.

The Founders of this country wanted to be delivered from the state taking rights away from the individual. The individual was called upon to exercise self-government thus reducing as far as possible the need for the state to interfere with individual rights to protect the body politick.

We now find ourselves in a situation where the state seeks to give individuals the right to do harm to the community by sanctioning licentious behavior (through abortion and a redifinition of marriage for example). This is why Ames' quote is so profound in my opinion.

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Sunday, January 09, 2005

42 and 43 Becoming Buddies

It seems like President Bush and former President Bill Clinton are becoming fast friends:
MSNBC: "For two men at opposite ends of the political spectrum, the relationship between the 43rd and 42nd presidents has grown surprisingly warm and personal over the last six months. Clinton endorsed Bush's approach to the tsunami catastrophe, defending him against criticism about his initial response as well as raising cash alongside the president's father. Friends and aides say the two men enjoy each other's company and, as fellow pros, respect each other's political talents."
As much as I like President Bush and his political and moral skills in office, this has shades of his misplaced admiration of Vladimir Putin.

Don't misunderstand. I truly believe Clinton was sincere in his support of the President's efforts to coordinate tsunami relief. Despite my suspicions that the former President has grander designs on shoring up a dying U.N. organization and possibly positioning for the Secretary General position, I never once saw a time where I thought "Slick Willie" was graspable like I did when watching his statement from the White House last week. But for George Bush to bring Bill Clinton in to confidence is a big mistake. Newt Gingrich once fawned over the Clinton's personal skills, and it cost him the Speakership (and now he wants to run for President see below).

Clinton is no Putin--that's for sure. But he will abandon support for a "friend", as Putin did, when political machinations dictate a different course.

Gingrich in 2008?

FOXNews reports that Newt may be considering a run in 2008 for President. Hat tip to Confessions of a Political Junkie. Erick rightly notes that this is not the best way to start:
"Newt Gingrich is taking steps toward a potential presidential bid in 2008 with a book criticizing President Bush's policies on Iraq and a tour of early campaign states." [bold mine]
I like Newt's capability to consolidate the issues of the day into a useful historical context. I frankly would like to see him in the mix. It would make the debates interesting, and I think other candidates would be less likely to preen for the camera. They'd have to actually answer some tough questions.

The jury is out on his ability to make a run of it. Even Newt knows this:
I don't think it's very likely. On the other hand, if I have an impact on public policy and do it in a way that is exciting and positive, why wouldn't I want to do that?"
I say go for it!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Erick Takes the Floor of the Senate

Erick Erickson outlines his speech on the floor of the Senate regarding his objection to the move to invalidate the Presidential Election.

Well stated! A true statesman's appeal to truth!

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Out In the Blogsphere

World Relief Day: Don't forget to participate in Captain's Quarters' "World Relief Day" on January 12.

Breyer for Duty: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer showed up for jury duty, according to California Yankee, glad for the show of support for the jury process. Maybe he could enhance this with more support for the Constitution. As he said in a "James Madison Lecture" at the NYU School of Law in 2001:
[My] approach to constitutional interpretation . . . places considerable weight upon consequences - consequences valued in terms of basic constitutional purposes. It disavows a contrary constitutional approach, a more "legalistic" approach that places too much weight upon language, history, tradition, and precedent alone while understating the importance of consequences. If the discussion helps to convince you that the more "consequential" approach has virtue, so much the better.
Better for adjusting the law to fit your ends you mean. In the case of maintaining the liberties given to us, I'll take a little more legalism.

Social Security as Reparation: LaShawn Barber--you go girl!

Gonzales the Torturer? The Belmont Club handles this subject masterfully!

Alias: Erick reminds us: it's back! I comment there. He also has some more headlines.

Journalistic Hubris: Powerline hits the nail on the head with this piece. Long live the blogsphere*!

Carnival of Vanities: Hat tip to Commonwealth Conservative for the review.

Newton Sought God. Should We Ban Both of Them?: Back of the Envelope shows us an interesting article by Imago Dei which reveals that Newton actually sought Divine help when developing his theories. God forbid (pun intended) that one of history's great minds might actually seek the advice of the one who made it all. I guess Newton will no longer be taught in public schools to avoid conflict with the Constitutional Principle of Separation of Church and State. Oh wait, that was just some statement he made in a letter. But leave it to the secularists who continually muddy the waters of the debate over the 1st Amendment. I heard a preacher once say, "You can't get to know God in Seminary. They have you read books this thick (3 inches) which tell you why a verse this small (1 inch) doesn't mean what is says." This is how secularists/humanists approach the First Amendment and any evidence of Divine influence over the affairs of men.

Krauthammer on U.S. Aid: N.E. Republican gives us a wonderful quote by Charles Krauthammer on the significance of U.S. aid around the world. What an appropriate slap in the face on debunkers like Jacques Chirac.

The French: Thanks Hoosier Review.

Democracy or Republic: Hat tip as well to N.E. Republican for this article.

John Conyers: Defender of the Poor: Instapundit tells us how U.S. Rep. John Conyers office redistributed turkeys for the poor to his cronies. It's just like his support of redistributing our wealth!

Blog Recommendation: I regularly read the blog Physicist's Perspective. You should too.

Blog Recommendation

You've gotta love a blog which describes itself thus:
"It's like Dennis Miller, only without the obscure Crimean War references."
Check it out.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Tutu is Koo Koo

Eick Erickson has well stated the true intentions of the "esteemed" Bishop Desmond Tutu.

It is outrageous how people like Tutu wrap their statements of concern in seemingly religious garments. But as Erick rightly points out:
He wants to say that God is neutral in the divide between the liberal and conservative church views. So, he phrases his argument by picking out the most extreme argument and smearing the conservatives with it — gay bashing. We can presume he is, in bashing the conservatives, also bashing the Pope, who sees homosexuality as a sin, but has called for treating gays with tolerance and compassion.

The Bishop only condemns capitalists, so how can he accept a God that would condemn Sodom or a Christ that would say “Neither the drunkard nor the homosexual” will enter the gates of heaven.
Right on the money, Erick.

109th Congress, Gonzales Hearings May Be Brutal

It looks like Congress will open shortly with the same partisan deadlock which has hampered progress for the last four years. If the Republican leadership keeps its head through the battle, the end result could solidify their hold on the national agenda for another 20 years or so.

Though the Democrats would like to say otherwise, the partisanship is largely their fault. As they continue to whine about recent election setbacks, they have no compunction about dragging Republicans into the mud with them. And if cooler heads don't prevail, partisan bickering will become as objectionable and inappropriate to the American public as female mud wrestling. And both Democrats and Republicans will suffer. The difficulty for Republicans is that Democrats will gladly roll in the mud.

Of primary concern is the threat by Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and Ted Kennedy (D-MA) to make prison abuse at Abu Ghraib a centerpiece of their attack against the nomination of Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales. Matt Drudge reports:
Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the videos [still under government seal which show graphic abuse of the prisoners] should be made public and that they proved to him that there was an organized policy of abusing prisoners to get information -- approved by the White House. . . .

Top Hill insiders explain Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) has not ruled out exploring the abuse at Abu Ghraib with Gonzales in open session. But a well-placed Kennedy source said the Attorney General's confirmation hearings will not be turned into a showdown with the military.
Levin and Kennedy "suspect" that Gonzales, in his position as a legal advisor to the Bush Administration, gave the go-ahead to such abuse. Once again "the seriousness of the charges" [in this instance fabricated] will drive the agenda of the hearings much as they did when Clarence Thomas was in "lynched" in front of the same committee Gonzales is about to face. Knowing that to attack Gonzales as a Conservative and pro-lifer will not fly in the shadow of their recent election defeats, they mistakenly believe that to tag Gonzales to abuse at Abu Ghraib will be the high ground from which they can prosecute their battle plan. If Republican leadership falters, the plan could work and destroy much of the "political capital" the President believes he obtained through the election.

Republicans need to treat this battlefield as the Gettysburg of the incoming Congress. If they do not see properly how the battlefield is taking shape and take decisive, thoughtful action, they will be on the defensive leading into the 2006 election season. This could mean all the gains made since 1994 could be washed away just as easily for them as for the Democrats in that fateful year.

Republican statesmanship and true leadership from Speaker Dennis Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist could win the day. But it will take great courage in the face of potential disaster to do so. Patience and prudence on their part will allow the Democrats to tie their own noose.

It will be necessary for Frist (especially) and Hastert to roll up their sleeves and show they are working. If they want to be successful and allow the President to use his electoral strength to make true change, they must operate above the frey and let the Dems spin in the wind.
UPDATE: Democrats have seized upon the Administrations reversal of prisoner treatment policy and will likely use it to bash Gonzales and the administration during the hearings.

Reason Dictates It . . . .

"Can it be, that Providence has not connected the permanent
felicity of a Nation with its virtue? The experiment, at
least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human

--George Washington
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