WWW Opinion Times

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Whacky Arizona Border Policy

For some reason, Congressmen Jeff Flake and Jim Kolbe of Arizona continue to propose a bizzare border policy lacking in enforcement provisions. In the case of this article from WashingtonTimes.com, Cong. Kolbe refuses to support permanent checkpoints in the Tucson sector.
In helping to draft legislation blocking the creation of permanent checkpoints in the Tucson sector, which he represents, Mr. Kolbe has said taxpayer funds could better be used 'towards additional vehicles, night-vision gear, sensors, lights, fencing or other needed equipment.'
While Mr. Kolbe has endorsed the use of 'tactical mobile checkpoints that move from place to place,' Border Patrol Chief David V. Aguilar, who formerly headed the Tucson sector, told a Senate subcommittee last month that permanent checkpoints south of Tucson would help agents apprehend more illegal aliens trying to sneak into the United States.
Mr. Aguilar testified before a Senate Homeland Security subcommittee that agents 'cannot control our borders by merely enforcing the line,' adding that the Border Patrol strategy 'incorporates a defense-in-depth component' to include permanent checkpoints away from the border.
Why not do both? Develop a system of permanent and mobile checkpoints. It seems reasonable.

This has all the signs of a government operation.

Friday, May 27, 2005

WWII Japanese Soldiers Found On Island. Vietnam Veteran McCain Found in Congress.

Some Japanese World War II soldiers were recently found on the island Mindanao sixty years after Japan surrendered.

There is apparently no connection to Vietnam Veteran John McCain who didn't know that the Democrats lost the 2004 elections.

Thune Threatens Bush

Despite strong support for the President because of Bush's help defeating Tom Daschle, Sen. John Thune is not feeling the love as the Defense Department has called for the closure of Ellsworth AFB. Retaliation may be forthcoming.

Christian Activists in Canada

In a country where pastors can be arrested for calling homosexuality a sin, this is encouraging news.

Reid slams GOP

Is it just me, or does something not ring true when Harry Reid says:
Washington Times: . . . [Y]esterday in a speech laying out Democrats' agenda [Ried] accused Republican leaders of being so consumed with partisan political 'sniping' that they've neglected a troubled economy and a weak national defense. 'Democrats are the party of national security,' Mr. Reid said at the National Press Club. 'And we have an agenda to defend America from danger.' "
I guess he's been watching too many episodes of X-Files.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

"Mr. Narcissus Goes to Washington"

Just when Peggy Noonan wows you, she ups the ante. Her current column at Opinion Journal, Mr. Narcissus Goes to Washington, is a total hoot!

It requires no analysis from me. But some teasers are warranted:
. . . [M]y favorite was Lindsey Graham, who said, "I know there will be folks 'back home' who will be angry, but that's only because they're not as sophisticated and high-minded as I am. Actually they're rather stupid, which is why they're not in the Senate and I am. But I have 3 1/2 years to charm them out of their narrow-minded resentments, and watch me, baby."

Oh, excuse me, that's not what he said. That's only what he meant. It was the invisible scroll as he spoke. The CNN identifier that popped up beneath his head as he chattered, however, did say, "Conceited Nitwit Who Affects 'Back Home' Accent to Confuse the Boobs."

Oh wait, that's not what it said. It said, "R-South Carolina." My bad.
And then there's this one:
All this self-lauding has become strange. Public figures use the press to laud themselves with no embarrassment, no sense of what is important, and no sense of modesty. . . . Every announcement of news in America has become an Academy Awards show. And every speaker has become a variation on Sally Fields: "I like me, I really like me!"
Go read it here and enjoy!

States' Rights Out the Window

The recent 8th Circuit Court decision striking down the Nebraska Marriage Amendment is another less publicized example of judicial tyranny.

Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family Action makes the point forcefully and well.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

What Kind of Leader Are You?

Find out by reading theMonday Morning Insight Weblog

With the Compromise Now In, the 2008 Race Shapes Up

An article in the Des Moines Register recently discussed the consequences for Senators who go soft on the filibuster who may be seeking the Presidential nomination in Iowa in 2008 (e.g. Hagel and McCain). It's happened, and our field of softies has emerged. Based on this analysis, Sen. John McCain-AZ should be greatly damaged in Iowa over his support and leadership of yesterday's compromise. It should make him vulnerable in South Carolina as well especially in light of his alliance with Sen. Lindsay Graham-SC one of the most surprising of softies.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee has also been damaged for 2008. His lackluster approach to the filibuster problem of allowing this to drag on for four and a half months since the start of the session overshadows his recent strong statements in support of removing the filibuster for judicial nominees. Now that John McCain is the de facto Majority Leader, Frist has shown a major weakness in his leadership; not a good thing for a Presidential candidate.

Interestingly, Sen. Chuck Hegel-NE did not follow McCain into filibuster compromise. But as the "Republican" compromise darling in the Senate, he's already damaged goods.

Look for Sen. George Allen-VA and Sen. Sam Brownback-KS to benefit greatly by their consistently strong public statements for up or down votes. Sen. Rick Santorum-PA, on the other hand, should have benefited from his solid stand as well, but his support of fellow Pennsylvania and Democratically liberal Republican Senator Arlen Specter over primary challenger Pat Toomey in 2004 has already taken him out of contention for the nomination.

There are others who are insulated from Senate politics who could benefit from angst in the Republican grassroots against the Senate and rise to the nomination. Chief among them is Gov. Jeb Bush-FL. If he were to rescind his promise not to run for President, he would be a serious candidate from outside the beltway. There are two longshots who might find the momentum because of all this: Gov. Bill Owens-CO and Gov. Mike Huckabee-AR. Both have considered a run, and both would connect with the conservative grassroots. And in Owens' case, he is articulate and shows well on TV.

A reader of this column sent me a comment on a post I wrote about the possibility that Cong. Mike Pence-IN will run for President. Though Pence is a big-time longshot, the sentiments of the reader are relevant: "Mike Pence in 2008! He is the only hope we have for a conservative nominee!" Though a guy like Mike Pence is likely not a possibility in 2008, there is likely someone who can satisfy the desires of the conservative grassroots in the Republican party. If not, January 20, 2009 will welcome President-elect Hillary Rodham Clinton to the podium.
FROM THE "'LEST WE FORGET" FILE: This might be a good time to revisit David Limbaugh's A Credo for Acquitting Senators.

UPDATE: Mike Huckabee's people have picked up on the comments in this post.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Star Wars Episode III

Here is some excellent commentary on the new Star Wars movie. I will see it this weekend, and my anticipation has increased after reading it.

Hat Tip to Erick Erickson

Monday, May 16, 2005

Filibusters: A History

Amy Ridenour from the National Center for Public Policy Research shares the following from the Senate Republican Conference.

Great Stuff!

Dates Democrats Want to Forget

The year the U.S. Constitution was ratified without the filibuster as part of it

The year the Senate was originally constituted with rules that permitted a majority vote to end debate

The year that the filibuster became theoretically possible through an inadvertent rules change

The year that a filibuster was used for the first time to block legislation

The year that a "cloture" rule was adopted to control legislative filibusters

The year that the Senate rules were changed to extend cloture to all debatable matters, including nominations

The first time a bipartisan filibuster was used to deny a judicial nominee an up-or-down vote. But the nominee, Abe Fortas to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, did not have majority support, and was opposed by one-third of his own party. He withdrew his nomination shortly after the failed cloture vote. In contrast, every one of the filibustered judicial nominees in 2003 and 2004 had majority support.

1977, 1979, 1980, 1987
The years in which then Senate Majority-Leader Robert Byrd employed the constitutional option in order to limit minority and individual Senators' rights

2003, 2004
The years in which partisan filibusters were used for the first time to deny confirmation to a judicial nominee with majority support. Ten nominees were blocked from getting up-or-down votes due to the filibuster

The year the Senate will restore the 214-year tradition of up-or-down votes on every judicial nominee with majority support


As you can see, I am reading through my LifeNews.com daily email to highlight posts there. Please go to their website and sign up for their daily or weekly updates.

Case Similar to Terri Schiavo's

LifeNews.com also reports on a case similar to Terri Schiavo's. A Florida woman want's to remove the gastric tube feeding her disabled husband.
A case similar to that of Terri Schiavo has a Florida woman holding her husband's fate in her hands. Schiavo's family is calling on Jacksonville resident Eliza Thomas to allow her husband to live.

Scott Thomas suffered brain injury in September of 2004 and has since been incapacitated and dependent on others. As with Terri, Scott's wife is seeking to move him to a hospice and remove the gastric tube that provides him with food and water. Scott's mother, Pamela Patton, has petitioned the courts for guardianship of the disabled man and was awarded a temporary guardianship. . . .

Despite Eliza's desire to end her husband's life, Patton says her son speaks a limited vocabulary, answers yes or no questions with hand signals, and can tell basic factual information about himself such as his former school and hometown.
It's time to stop the madness. Can we not get it right [legally] on this one at least and make Terri Schiavo's fate work a miracle for this man?

Abortion Increases Risk of Premature Birth

LifeNews.com reports that a French study shows that premature birth increases by 70% for women who have had abortions.

Just another in a litany of reasons to have objections to abortion from a medical perspective, not just a moral one.
UPDATE: Another sad bit of information about the medical effects of abortion is reported by The Drudge Report. According to Drudge, one in three women in Great Britain who have abortions have had more than one in their lifetime including one woman who had six in the last 12 months. And women 20 to 24 have taken over teenagers as the largest group of women seeking abortions.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

"Scrappy Local Newspaper Struggles For Survival "

Iowa Hawk waxes nostalgic on the glory days of the New York Times.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Abortion as a Factor in Judicial Nominees

The Gallup Organization has an interesting poll out showing who is paying attention to the fight over judicial nominees in the Senate.

It turns out that 45% of people said it was very important "to them, personally, that future U.S. Supreme Court nominees share their views on abortion." Of these, 53% said they are pro-life. Though Americans polled by Gallup break 48% pro-choice and 44% pro-life, the "very important" number should be of major concern to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. This is the constituency which is watching his every move on this. And if they become a depressed vote in 2006, it could mean disaster for Republicans.

It is important to note as you read through the Gallup survey that pro-life voters are much more active overall than pro-choice voters. The pro-choice agenda is not one that inspires action in those who claim they are pro-choice or those who take no firm position at all. Whereas pro-lifers are generally very motivated to work on behalf of candidates they support.

Liberal Bias at Google

RightMarch.com documents liberal bias of which it has been the victim in ads it attempted to place with search engine Google.com.

It turns out that Democrat groups which are advertising in opposition to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay are allowed to run their ads, but with RightMarch.com attempted to run ads in opposition to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, they were denied because, "Google policy does not permit ad text that advocates against an individual, group or organization."

This is all well documented here. Fascinating example of liberal control of some parts of the internet (and Google is no small player). One need only see the ads that show up at the top of this blog.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Air Force Academy Christians Under Fire

Now this is the shock of the century: there are christians at the Air Force Academy (some in influential positions), and they are actually encouraging cadets to follow Christ.
New York Times: "A chaplain at the Air Force Academy has described a 'systemic and pervasive' problem of religious proselytizing at the academy and says a religious tolerance program she helped create to deal with the problem was watered down after it was shown to officers, including the major general who is the Air Force's chief chaplain.

The academy chaplain, Capt. MeLinda Morton, 48, spoke publicly for the first time as an Air Force task force arrived at the academy in Colorado Springs on Tuesday to investigate accusations that officers, staff members and senior cadets inappropriately used their positions to push their evangelical Christian beliefs on Air Force cadets."
When rumors of this horrible atrocity began to surface, a major survey was taken throughout the Academy.
The survey found that more than half of the cadets said they had heard derogatory religious comments or jokes at the academy.
I am sure that derogatory comments weren't made about christians as well. Actually, the program was designed to portray christians as mean spirited and incapable of normal human relations.
Maj. Gen. Charles C. Baldwin, the chief of chaplains for the entire Air Force, screened the R.S.V.P. program in October, Captain Morton said, and afterward asked her, "Why is it that the Christians never win?" in response to some of the program's dramatizations of interactions between cadets of different religions.

She said: "It was obvious to us that he had missed the point of the entire presentation here. It wasn't about winning or losing, some kind of cosmic battle, it was about helping our folks at the Air Force Academy understand the wonders of the whole range of religious experiences."

In an interview on Wednesday, General Baldwin acknowledged making that comment and said he had objected because too many scenes in the original program had portrayed Christians at fault for excessive efforts at evangelizing.

"In every scenario, where cadet met cadet in the hall," he said, "every time it was the Christian who had to apologize and say, 'I'm sorry, I wasn't sensitive to your needs.' I said, that's not balanced, and the Christians will turn you off if every time they were the ones who made the mistake."

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has spearheaded a complaint against the Academy, and the Air Force has dispatched a committee to review the situation. They are apparently taking the complaint seriously as testimony begins this week.

This is nothing more than an attack upon religious people and not an attempt to find balance.

Interesting Prospect for 2008

According to NewsMax.com, Cong. Mike Pence--a Republican representing Indiana's 6th District--is a potential candidate for President in 2008.

Pence is Chairman of the influential Republican Study Committee in only his second term in Congress. He is also an assistant Majority Whip. He's risen very quickly in Congress to key positions of Republican leadership, and is well respected by his Republican peers in the house.

So why is his name surfacing? It could be for many reasons. Many in Indiana want Pence to seek statewide office like Governor or Senate. As a former statewide talk show host and having a congressional district which touches the Indianapolis media market, Pence is truly a statewide commodity there.

Rumors like this spread for many reasons. Many Republicans are fishing to find a person who will convey the conservative message clearly as moderate candidate hopefuls like John McCain and Rudy Giuliani are currently at the forefront of the nomination race.

With so few years in Congress, it is unlikely Pence could build a national following, but he is an interesting candidate for the future.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Top Anti-Pornography Activist to Meet with AG Gonzales

Phil Burress, President of the Ohio based Citizens for Community Values and one of the most successful anti-pornography activsts in the country will be meeting with U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to develop strategies to go after "White Collar Pornographers."
“White collar pornographers” is the term Burress uses to describe corporations which profit through the distribution of hard core pornography. Included in the designation are satellite and cable companies such as DirecTV, Comcast and Time Warner as well as companies such as LodgeNet and On Command, which deliver pornographic movies to some of the nation’s largest hotels, including Marriott and Hilton, for resale through their pay-per-view services.
The distribution of pornography must be greatly curtailed in this country. It is a plague upon families where men who have serious addictions are disconnected to their family and much worse. If this meeting brings about effective action against the excesses of the pornography industry, our country will be greatly benefited.

This Man Wants to be President

. . . OK. I know he isn't being quite that crass about it, but Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-TN, seems poised to make a bold move to break the tide Democrat filibusters against the President's judicial appointments. If he is successful, he'll quickly endear himself to the Republican base. . . . But enough of presidential politics.

The Washington Times reports that Frist will use the nomination of California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown as the trigger for the "nuclear option" requiring an up or down vote for nominees. (The Washington Times requires a free, one-time registration to view the article)

Frankly it would be a bold and savvy move once again highlighting the implicit racism of liberal Democrats who refuse to accept the diverse nature of Bush's Presidency--maybe the most diverse in history.

Let's hope it plays out this way. Hope springs eternal when we consider the strong statements Frist made at the Justice Sunday event on April 24, 2005.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Pro-Abortion UNICEF Director of Ten Years to Step Down

LifeNews.com reports that Carol Bellamy, the head of the United Nations Childrens' Education Fund (UNICEF), will step down. Bellamy promoted making abortions widely available to young women a major emphasis durning her tenure of UNICEF Director.

Bellamy will be replaced by outgoing U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman who was nominated by the Bush Administration. LifeNews.com reports:
Veneman said at a press conference that she wants UNICEF to champion "an agenda of helping children, particularly in the areas of education and health and to address the issues of hunger and malnutrition." Asked by a reporter about "reproductive health" issues, she responded: "I don't believe that these issues are relevant to the missions of UNICEF."
If Veneman turns UNICEF back to its primary mission helping promote efforts to alleviate poverty and malnutrition among children, it would be a welcome addition to similar private and corporate efforts worldwide.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Microsoft Will Lobby for "Anti-Discrimination" Policies as a Part of Its Legislative Agenda

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO sent an email clarifying the company's principles for public policy engagement in response to a flood of email from it's employees criticizing the neutral stance taken when an employee anti-discrimination (read pro-homosexual rights) bill was before the Washington State Legislature. It was defeated by one vote.

Ballmer has determined that lobbying for these laws on the Federal and State level are in the interest of his company,
said in my April 22 email that we were wrestling with the question of how and when the company should engage on issues that go beyond the software industry. After thinking about this for the past two weeks, I want to share my decision with you and lay out the principles that will guide us going forward.

First and foremost, we will continue to focus our public policy activities on issues that most directly affect our business, such as Internet safety, intellectual property rights, free trade, digital inclusion and a healthy business climate.

After looking at the question from all sides, I’ve concluded that diversity in the workplace is such an important issue for our business that it should be included in our legislative agenda. . . . I’m proud of Microsoft’s commitment to non-discrimination in our internal policies and benefits, but our policies can’t cover the range of housing, education, financial and similar services that our people and their partners and families need. Therefore, it’s appropriate for the company to support legislation that will promote and protect diversity in the workplace.
That last bit of language is convoluted political speak for, "we have a large number of homosexual employees, so I want to avert civil war in the ranks."

Not that Ballmer or Founder Bill Gates were particularly enamored Judeo-Christian values--so-called--to begin with. But as incredibly talented and savvy businessmen, they have remained as neutral as possible when it comes to social policy. Not any longer.

This is an important time in the company's history. They have taken a road which will be hard to leave. And the logical conclusion of this new legislative agenda (exhibited in the strained reasoning for not extending the practice to "housing, education, financial and similar [government] services") is to expand toward a more active policy toward political action outside of business issues.

UPDATE: CitizenLink has the story on who influenced the recent vote and Microsoft's role (or lack thereof) in the legislative outcome in Washington State.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Feds Stepping Up Obscenity Prosecutions

The Alberto Gonzalez Justice Department is stepping up obscenity prosecutions nationwide.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Quote of the Day

I am very doubtful whether history shows us one example of a man who, having stepped outside traditional morality and attained power, has used that power benevolently.

--C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

Monday, May 02, 2005

Political Quote of the Day

Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule - and both commonly succeed, and are right.

--H.L. Mencken

"Well They Did It Too!"

Matt Drudge reports that Democrat Congressman Norm Dicks, WA, has violated House ethics rules by having a lobbyist pay for an overseas trip. This revelation is an attempt to refute charges that House Majority Leader Tom Delay has violated the same rules. This is not the best way to make a defense of Delay. It only serves to widen the morass into which the Democrats have drug the House Republican Leader.

The benefit of such revelations is to bring out in to the open an problem which has existed in Congress for some time. The reflexive nature of the House ethics rules invites scandal more than reduces it. And it provides an opportunity for hidden abuse rather than encouraging openness and disclosure.

The real story here is proven violations of law by Democrats--specifically Nancy Pelosi and Harry Ried. These happened outside of House or Senate Ethics Committees' perview. And they are receiving very little attention.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Hillary in Trouble in MI

New England Republican reports that Hillary may have trouble in Michigan.

These numbers are important and interesting. But unions can get the vote out there. And judging from the fact that Kerry won Michigan concomitant with the strong passage of a Marriage Amendment to the Michigan State Constitution, I don't think Hillary is very concerned. But these numbers to show an opportunity for the right Republican candidate.