Tuesday, November 30, 2004

No religion is 2nd in Canada

Those who prefer "no god" over any religion in Canada can take pride that they are the country's second largest group, with 16.5 percent.

According to the Toronto online
Globe & Mail, an outfit called the Vanier Institute of the Family reports 2001 population statistics that show the "no religion" group outranks every one of the Protestant denominations in Canada although collectively Protestants are at about 29 percent.

Roman Catholics are at 43.6 percent. Muslims are reported with an increase of 129% from 1991-2001, but are counted with several non-Christian sects in the 10.7% "other" category.

Our recommendation to the "no religion" group: Enjoy the moment. Eat, drink and be merry. Just remember, life is short and then you die. It would sure be a shame if you are wrong, wouldn't it?

Made in USA, RIP?

If this report doesn't trouble you at least a little, nothing much will.

Remember when old Sam Walton, God rest his soul, once took a stand against selling merchandise not made in the USA? A red-blooded American patriot could spend his or her paycheck at Wal Mart with pride in those days.

Times change, economies change, and so do marketing strategies.

China Business Weekly is reporting that Wal Mart has $18 billion of imported Chinese merchandise either on its shelves, in the warehouse, or already sold this year, a 20% increase from 2003. (HT: Drudge) That's $18 billion in U.S. dollars going overseas, not to American suppliers with American jobs.

Xu Jun, Wal-Mart China's director of external affairs, said, "If Wal-Mart were an individual economy, it would rank as China's eighth-biggest trading partner, ahead of Russia, Australia and Canada." Another tidbit from the article:
So far, more than 70 per cent of the commodities sold in Wal-Mart are made in China.
The only non-troubling piece of information in the article was the name of the enthusiastic writer: Jiang Jingjing. It resonates with the sound of cash registers in hyper drive, an apt mental picture of what's happening for the People's Republic, and for Wal Mart. Only when we think about the expected $150 billion balance-of-trade deficit with China, suddenly even the jing-jing jiangle of appropriate bylines sounds a mite discordant.

Certain peculiarities

Ray Richmond, writing for HollywoodReporter.com seemed like he wanted to write a puff-piece lauding Dan Rather's career. That's not what emerges as Richmond details "certain peculiarities to exit Rather's lips" during an interview last year.

Peculiarities such as?

Describing his love of CBS and CBS News, Rather observed in the interview last year: "In my mind and the minds of the people I work with, this is a magical, mystical kingdom -- our version of Camelot. And we feel we are working at a kind of roundtable of King Arthur proportions. Now, it may be that this kingdom exists only in our minds. But that makes it no less real for those of us who live it every day."

And then there was this: "Ed Murrow's ghost is here. I've seen him and talked to him on the third floor of this building many times late at night. And I can tell you that he's watching over us."

Richmond concedes that Rather may have spent "too much time of late yakking with the ghost of Murrow and too little confirming the veracity of his sources ..."

Dr. Venkman concludes, "I'd say that's a big 'yes'."

Sloping to Nether lands?

Confirming the worst fears of those who said there would be no stopping the culture of death once it gets a good toe-hold, The Associated Press today reports that medical officials in the Netherlands are developing guidelines for the killing of ailing newborn infants. Included in the story is a horrifying revelation:

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) - A hospital in the Netherlands - the first nation to permit euthanasia - recently proposed guidelines for mercy killings of terminally ill newborns, and then made a startling revelation: It has already begun carrying out such procedures, which include administering a lethal dose of sedatives.


Three years ago, the Dutch parliament made it legal for doctors to inject a sedative and a lethal dose of muscle relaxant at the request of adult patients suffering great pain with no hope of relief.

The Groningen Protocol, as the hospital's guidelines have come to be known, would create a legal framework for permitting doctors to actively end the life of newborns deemed to be in similar pain from incurable disease or extreme deformities.

The guideline says euthanasia is acceptable when the child's medical team and independent doctors agree the pain cannot be eased and there is no prospect for improvement, and when parents think it's best.

"When parents think it's best"?

Roman Catholic organizations and the Vatican have reacted with outrage to the announcement, and U.S. euthanasia opponents contend the proposal shows the Dutch have lost their moral compass.

"The slippery slope in the Netherlands has descended already into a vertical cliff," said Wesley J. Smith, a prominent California-based critic, in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

Dutch apologists for the budding infanticide industry claim that it will mean only about ten deaths a year, and that these deaths are already taking place illegally but are undocumented, even in the United States. Their contention is that by asking for permission under Dutch law, they are the good guys. This way they won't have to tell lies about it any more.

This is depravity, and there is a price to be paid for it, spiritually speaking. A nation this depraved is going to have a difficult time asking for God's mercy when the sky begins to crumble (metaphorically speaking). What constitutes a sky crumbling event? How about an imploding demographic of Christians and a rising Islamic presence?

NOTE -- We are speaking from a Christian viewpoint today, not an American one. The U.S., with its own public policy sins, has much to account for as well.

What's so hard to understand, Tom?

Tom Brokaw is reported to have a hard time understanding why the White House is being less than kind to reporters from the New York Times. (For instance, Vice President Dick Cheney has banned a New York Times reporter from traveling with him.)
"I think they have been too tough. The idea that this White House has not given Tom Friedman a long, in-depth interview is astonishing to me. I have had a very good relationship with them, I have gotten to interview the President a lot. I have had access on the phone and other areas and I have been very vigorous in my discussions with them. But no reporter that I know covering national politics and the international policies that are of such great concern today know as much about them as Tom Friedman does and they have completely shut out the New York Times.

Perhaps, Tom, the answer to your question lies in your answer. If Tom Friedman knows everything about "the international policies that are of such great concern today" then he ought to run for president, or at least U.S. senator. Don't you think the folks at the White House are just a little bit weary of the NYT claiming to be some vast repository of wisdom on every conceivable subject? The same NYT that tries relentlessly to oppose the administration's foreign and domestic policies? The same NYT that bent over backward to give John Kerry a pass in the last campaign and at the very least appeared to be in collusion with several groups to spring a last-minute surprise on the American people in hopes to sway the election to Kerry?

Maybe Brokaw is awed by the NYT and its people but a lot of others in this country, including President Bush and his staff, are not. Most of us are beyond fed up with the Times. We'd be happy to see the paper hijacked by space aliens.

The nation's "paper of record" tries to inflict harm on conservative governance on a daily basis and no longer permits facts to get in its way. Conservatives know this, and liberals depend upon it.

If Tom Brokaw finds this situation "astonishing," it only shows that even he is out of touch with the facts on the ground.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Giving thanks to whom?

On the eve of Thanksgiving we pause to give thanks to ... gee, who are we supposed to thank?

Traditionally, Americans have always thanked Almighty God at Thanksgiving. Whether Jewish, Protestant or Catholic, it has been a day in which collectively we have agreed to recognize our blessings as a nation, blessings that flow from a mutually agreed upon Divine Wellspring, an Author, Creator and Father. When we failed to agree upon little else about the nature of the Godhead and worship of Same, we were able to join in Thanksgiving. (If there were those who didn't care for the idea, well they gratefully took their extra day off from school or work and perhaps quietly gave thanks to the religious nuts of America.)

But Thanksgiving is being killed off as a religious observance. Coldly and efficiently throughout the land. For that matter so is God-centered patriotism. The headlines today tell the tale.

Conservative columnist
Linda Chavez , in her Townhall.com offering today, notes that
now some school districts want to rob Thanksgiving of its historical roots.

Apparently some school officials worry that the religious overtones of Thanksgiving might represent a chink in the wall secularists insist separates church and state, so they proscribe any mention of Who it is the nation thanks on this day. In Maryland, the Capital News Service recently reported, "students are free to thank anyone they want while learning about the 17th-century celebration of Thanksgiving -- as long as it isn't God."
It goes as far as not teaching students that the Pilgrims were colonists who sought freedom from religious persecution in England. Or as our friendly LlamaButchers remarked, "Why did they come to Massachusetts? For the hiking?" What motivations are teachers ascribing to the Puritans?

Several presidents, including our current president, have issued Thanksgiving declarations that cannot be read to students in many schools. Chavez says:
George Washington had no such qualms when he proclaimed the first day of thanksgiving in 1789: "It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor." In 1863, Abraham Lincoln declared a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens." In the midst of civil war, President Lincoln thought the day should be used to "fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union." And even President George W. Bush soberly reminded guests who came to the White House last week to witness the mock pardoning of the "First Turkey" that "in this nation of many faiths, we ask that the Almighty God continue to bless us and to watch over us."

So far as we can tell, no president has yet to encourage the American people to give thanks to Mother Earth for her bounty. But in some textbooks used in many classrooms around the country that is just what is recommended. Chavez continues:
Apparently it is permissible to teach about the Indians' belief in a Divine Being, just not a Judeo-Christian one. In one online teachers' guide, I found references to Kiehtan, the Wampanoag name for the Creator, as well as lesson plans that encouraged students to thank "Mother Earth" for her bounty. Indeed, many of the study guides and teachers' resources available online placed greater emphasis on the role Indians played in the first Thanksgiving than that of the Pilgrims.

(But don't you see? The Indians had it right. They built no temples or cathedrals. They kept their worship simple and out of their politics, just like good little liberals.)

Sadly enough there is more news today on a school in a San Francisco suburb forbidding one of its teachers to use "source documents" like the Declaration of Independence in teaching history if those documents include religious references.

From the
A California teacher who teaches his fifth-grade students with the aid of primary source documents like the Declaration of Independence has been ordered by school administrators to stop using such artifacts of American history because the material contains references to God. In the below federal discrimination lawsuit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court, Steven Williams contends that brass at Cupertino's Stevens Creek School have recently rejected his use of "curriculum-related handouts" like the Declaration, various state constitutions, George Washington's journal, John Adams's diary, and writings by William Penn. Williams alleges that the San Francisco-area school's principal, Patricia Vidmar, banned the use of these handouts because "many original source documents from the founding era contain references to God and Christianity."

Williams alleges that Vidmar cracked down on his lesson plans in May, shortly after he distributed an example of a presidential proclamation. The document he chose was one issued by President George W. Bush dealing with a National Day of Prayer. Williams, who describes himself as an "orthodox Christian," states in his complaint that he "understands and admits that he is not permitted to 'proselytize' or seek to convert his students to Christian beliefs during instructional time."
A Reuters News Article on the same topic quoted Williams' attorney:
"It's a fact of American history that our founders were religious men, and to hide this fact from young fifth-graders in the name of political correctness is outrageous and shameful,' said Williams' attorney, Terry Thompson. 'Williams wants to teach his students the true history of our country,' he said. 'There is nothing in the Establishment Clause (of the U.S. Constitution) that prohibits a teacher from showing students the Declaration of Independence."
The 2004 election results notwithstanding, there is a sense among many that we are losing this country, our culture and traditions. Not to outsiders bringing foreign cultures from elsewhere, but through the systematic and deliberate castration of our history from its spiritual life force as it is taught to our children. This perversion of the learning process -- ostensibly to remove God from our national vocabulary -- is a not new thing. During the last century in Soviet Russia atheism was imposed by a totalitarian regime. The results were not pretty.

Perhaps this year we should give thanks to God that there is still time to stop the slide.

UN irresolute as Sudan burns

Is the United Nations good for anything?

Captain's Quarters points out today that no less than American's UN ambassador John Danforth appears ready to throw in the towel. Quoting from the New York Times Danforth laments the decision to avoid voting on a resolution denouncing human rights violations in Sudan, and says:

"One wonders about the utility of the General Assembly on days like this," he said. "One wonders if there can't be a clear and direct statement on matters of basic principle, why have this building? What is it all about?"

Mr. Danforth's blunt-spoken exasperation was prompted by a ruling earlier Tuesday in the General Assembly's committee on social, humanitarian and cultural affairs to take no action on a measure citing human rights violations in Sudan, which the United States has called genocide.

To which Captain Ed responds:
The purpose of the UN had originally been, in part, to ensure that no further genocides occurred after the Nazi Holocaust. In that mission the UN has been singularly unsuccessful. They have stood by and watched as genocide has erupted under various names -- "ethnic cleansing" being the most antiseptic -- around the globe in places like Cambodia, China, Rwanda, the Balkans, Iraq, and now in the Sudan. The UN in most of those cases couldn't even bring themselves to recognize the slaughter as it occurred, saving its crocodile tears for after the carnage.

If anyone can name a single genocide in which the UN took any action outside the rhetorical to stop, please be sure to let us know. In this case, as before, they couldn't even bring themselves to oppose it even with rhetoric.
Sorry, Captain, we are frightened beyond the capacity for rational thought. We are grateful, however, for your contribution to our evolving thought process on the United Nations. We were among those who would like to see the U.S. pull out of the organization and kick its HQ out of the country. But the captain makes a good point:
Withdrawal puts us at too much of a political disadvantage, as the veto power we hold in the UNSC keeps much of their mischief from fruition. However, I see no reason to continue one cent of funding for this corrupt and venal congress of dictators, kleptocrats, and hypocritical clowns. Hit the UN where it hurts: its pocketbook.

Hear! Hear!

Another reason for tort reform

Powerline points to a "troubling" David Frum article on the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR), and it's worth your time to click and read, with these thoughts in mind:

Frum and the American Enterprise Institute have been served "notice" that CAIR may file a libel suit against them for alleging in print that the institute encourages terrorist activities. Apparently this is now the tactic of choice and is being used against a half dozen or so publications and writers in the U.S. and Canada.

In the U.S. truth has historically been considered a sure defense against libel actions. If what is said against you is true, while it may hurt feelings, damage reputations and incomes, a libel action is not a remedy open to you. This concept has eroded somewhat in recent years because, with the sheer flood of litigation produced by our society, there is always the risk of bad decisions watering down First Amendment protections.

In the case of CAIR it is less likely they would actually go to court. Instead they hope to chill the pens/laptops of those who would research and write about certain Islamic activities, thus enabling these activities to fly under the radar of the news and opinion journals. The logic is simple: the cost of successfully defending a lawsuit often results in a pyrrhic victory. You win but you're broke and you won't light-heartedly make the mistake again of writing anything controversial even if it true.

We could use some tort reform to stop this sort of nonsense. A simple "loser pays attorney fees" rule would help.

A couple of excerpts from the Frum article to whip you into a reading frenzy:
CAIR was founded in 1994 by alumni of an older group, the Islamic Association for Palestine. The IAP, founded by senior Hamas figure Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook, calls for the destruction of Israel and the creation of an Islamic state under Islamic law in Israel's place. (In 1996, CAIR would condemn the U.S. government's decision to deport Marzook as an "anti-Islamic" act.)
CAIR's founding chairman, Omar Ahmed, also an IAP alumnus, is said to have declared at a public event in California in July, 1998: "Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran . . . should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth." Ahmed has since disputed the accuracy of the quote--five years after it was reported by a California newspaper.

Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Get behind me, Sauronic Eye

More CBS News highlights:

Media Research Center reports that 60 Minutes contributor Andy Rooney, speaking at Tufts University, confirms that Bush hatred motivated the Rather-gate story:

CBS's Andy Rooney attributed the motivation behind CBS's hit on President Bush based on forged documents to the political agenda of CBS News staffers. "There's no question they wanted to run it because it was negative towards Bush ..."
Well, that's no big surprise but it's nice to know the confirmation is out there. The next quote, however, is even more telling and important:
"Rooney also attributed voters' reliance on religion in the recent election to ignorance" and "said Christian fundamentalism is a result of 'a lack of education. They haven't been exposed to what the world has to offer.'"
That's the problem with us Christians. We just haven't had enough exposure to what the world has to offer us. Maybe if CBS would just take us to the top of a tall mountain, or temple, and offer us power, riches and sensual delight, we might give up this unreasoning belief in and reliance upon God.

Jesus had a similar moment. Scripture says Satan (an Andy Rooney precursor?) offered Him power over all nations of the world. He said, "Get away from me, Satan. It is written: The Lord your God shall you worship. Him alone shall you serve."

We're not ignorant Mr. Rooney. We've seen your world. We reject it in the name of the One who saves us.

Dan's grand retirement parade

Lots of CBS news today with Dan Rather declaring his early retirement as Anchor-Icon. Is it a victory? Well, less of Dan Rather is a good thing, so the short answer is yes. A more in-depth analysis gives one pause, however, as events in the Rather-gate aftermath have not run their course.

There is an old saying that if you are about to be run out of town on a rail, get out in front of the crowd and pretend it's a parade. From here it would appear that Rather's retirement in March '05, instead of March '06, is Rather's attempt to be the grand marshal of his own departure (to deny his "enemies" on the right, particularly in the blogosphere, a measure of satisfaction). Since the "investigation" is not complete ("weeks rather than months" being another CBS lie) we do not yet know how hard the axe will fall on the other deserving collaborators of the Texas Air National Guard documents fakery.

Our suggestion is that we demand Rather exit as well from 60 Minutes II, and continue to press for the firing of the news director and producer Mary Mapes. Let's not be placid until justice is delivered, however long that may take. Remember, this was an attempt to influence the outcome of a presidential election through the use of fraudulent military records. It may or may not have been a crime in fact, but it ought to have been. In a just world CBS would be forced to divest itself of its news assets for violations of law not permitted even under the broad scope of the 1st Amendment.

Yeah, that will never happen, but that's the mental standard from which we should carry on the fight for journalistic ethics. This fight isn't about scoring points for the Pajamahadeen. The successful fight to reveal the truth is generating the legitimacy of the new media. We do not need a head trophy to prove our worth, and we should not be satisfied with mere tokenism. The MSM will only be reformed when it is truly broken from its old habits of massaging the message. Right now that's the substance of the Rather semi-retirement: a token move meant to silence the critics.

Monday, November 22, 2004

President Bush rescues a Secret Service agent from hostile Chilean citizens and security forces Saturday night. Some say it was a heroic effort, others say over-reaction. The MSM mostly say nothing. We say that whatever else can be said, Dubya does not lack for courage.

When the markets are wrong

Before we begin, let's set the record straight:

Business is a good thing, but it is not God.

Earlier today we were virtual visitors to a forum site where we used to post somewhat, and got caught up in a thread where some were bewailing the fact that many businesses are advertising that they will be open on Thanksgiving Day. Our first reaction? Where have you people been? This is nothing new. It's worse, of course, in 2004, but the trend to turn Thanksgiving into a shopping event started many years ago with an inevitable destination: this holiday is doomed except for a privileged few in the middle class and a small upper crust. It is why you hear of so many families having their Thanksgiving on the Saturday or Sunday before or after the actual event.

It's part of the Law of Unintended Consequences, Kiddos (or LUCK). Once a major retailer determines that they will remain open in order to "help out" those poor souls who "must" be able to purchase a belt sander, or a case of oil, or a DVD of Shrek2 "now," or (better yet) provide a social place for the holiday-challenged to feel as if they are part of something (anything) instead of Lonely at Home, then sooner rather than later other businesses must follow suit. Staying open on Thanksgiving is a competitive advantage. You gotta beat that competition.

As LUCK would have it, this is the history of Sundays. In the lifetime of the Oklahomilist -- and he is not yet ancient, though sometimes he feels that way -- businesses did not stay open on Sundays. By common agreement in the age of automobiles there were a mere handful of stations that would sell you gasoline, cigarettes, ice and soft drinks. The staples of life on Sunday. Prudent people made sure they had already done their shopping. Some businesses shut their doors at 1 p.m. to give their employees a chance at a family weekend.

Then came Wal Mart. (You may substitute the retailer of your choice for Wal Mart if you wish. We merely report our own observations.) Everything changed. At first WM merely opened earlier and stayed open later than everyone else, but shut down on Sundays. That was competitive pressure, and morally acceptable (from a Christian perspective). Then WM raised the bar, opening on Sunday afternoons and evenings. Other retailers, large and small, really had no choice. Match hours or face loss of business. With smart pricing and advertising, WM already had a sizeable competitive advantage. There is nothing wrong with intense competition, and we admire and respect the WM business model as a truly American phenomenon.

But businesses cannot stay open on Sundays and holidays without employees to staff them. Employees, in case any of us have forgotten, are people. Individuals who have families and lives that should extend beyond their employment. With each business that opted to match the expanded hours, more individuals were called to duty. Many of these people once believed in the commandment to keep the Lord's Day holy. WM and others told them that there was a greater law that must be kept: the law of economic survival. Thus the choice: a job or a conscience. Team players should work the occasional Sunday (as often as possible). Non-team players face the possibility of job loss, demotion or dead-end. It is not a fair fight: WM's payoff is immediate. God's payoff is somewhere down the road. Most have chosen to work Sundays.

Wouldn't you know that it is just our LUCK, as Americans, to have witnessed the decline of Christian civilization occur while simultaneously watching the rise of the 24/7 retailing and entertainment shibboleth. Family life is not what it once was. Latch-key children are common, family dinners are rare, church attendance in many parts of the country is static or declining. While most Americans still consider themselves religious, or even Christian, it often is a different kind of religious, one that makes allowances for social pressures.

There aren't many preachers or priests making a lot of noise about how fitfully the Sabbath commandment is kept. A pity, actually. A confrontation between God and Mammon, even if only through surrogates, would give people the opportunity to think about what it is they are giving up when they sacrifice their sabbath for shopping.

For we must understand that it is not only those business that stay open who are to blame for the loss of the sacred sabbath and the honored holiday. If only a few purchased goods on Sunday, or on Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or Easter, the stores would decide not to stay open. The goal is not to undermine society. (That is just the bad LUCK.) The goal is profits.

When we decide to go buy that pair of shoes on Sunday -- even if we already have been to worship -- we justify that store's decision to stay open. When we put off our grocery shopping until Sunday evening, after the last touchdown has been scored, we tell God that we appreciate His bounty but the sale prices at the local food mart are only good until midnight, and we justify that store staying open, and we demand by our presence that all those who work there give up their rights to a sacred sabbath.

A few more points:

It is not the place for government involvement to regulate Sunday and holiday business. (Let's not make a bad thing worse.)

We believe that if businesses were to close on Sundays and holidays, they would discover that they would still do the same dollar volume, with lower overhead. Demand would be reallocated over six days. Businesses would benefit with happier employees.

Employees would benefit from time to spend with families and with God. You cannot put a price tag on spiritual benefits, but that does not mean they do not exist or do not have value.

Discussing the Sunday sabbath violation (of American culture) over the weekend, we were challenged by a skeptical 15-year-old student who said, "You don't seriously expect America to go back to the way things were? Everyone in our society would have to agree, and that's not going to happen." Maybe not, we answered, but society is made of individuals, and individuals have free will. If enough individuals freely chose to honor the sabbath and stay away from businesses, maybe society could change. Slowly perhaps, but we didn't get to where we are overnight either.

We have lost much more than we have gained. If you are over 50, you might remember and agree. If you are under 50, you'll just have to take our word for it.

Business is good, but it is not God.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

'Understanding' is a two-way street

The British-based news service Reuters has no doubt about why three staff members have been killed in Iraq: it's the fault of the U.S. military

."All of them were killed by the American army," Reuters chief David Schlesinger told reporters on the sidelines of a media conference in the southern Portuguese resort of Vilamoura, Portuguese national news agency Lusa reported.

"There is no understanding on the part of the US military regarding the the exercise of journalism."

Newsflash to Mr. Schlesinger: "Dateline Planet Earth -- There is no understanding on the part of Reuters regarding the exercise of war."

War reporting is dangerous work, always has been. In the past people like Ed Murrow and Ernie Pyle won public accolades (and respect from military men) because they reported the facts from the thick of things. Brave men and women who did not complain, at least not publicly. They sought access to danger, not guarantee of safe passage. Despite technological advances in war-making, chaos is still no stranger to the field of battle. Sensors fail, mistakes occur, positions can still be misidentified or reported, and the enemy in Iraq has a nasty habit of hiding behind or among civilians. There is no hesitation about taking the adjacent hotel room to set up a sniper nest. If the Americans hesitate to fire back because of the reporters next door, good. If the Americans return fire and kill the western reporters next door, even better. The propaganda value is a military consideration for an outgunned and morally challenged enemy.

American soldiers have more important tasks than to wet-nurse journalists, no matter what country they represent, and most journalists can figure this out. This leads us to suspect that Reuters is more interested in their own psychological spin against the war, evidenced in most of their reporting since it began.

But if they really are unable to stand the heat of the battle, then they should get the hell out of the war zone. The Islamo-terrorists might be sad but it's a cinch the American military will not miss them.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Church no sanctuary from Truth

An Andover, Mass., priest has courage, and one of his parishioners has gall.

A Catholic priest at St. Augustine Parish in Andover has asked state Representative Barbara A. L'Italien to step down as cantor and leader of the children's choir because of the legislator's support for abortion rights and gay marriage.

''He said because of my views, he did not want to have me on the altar at church anymore," L'Italien said yesterday, adding that she had refused the request from the Rev. William M. Cleary nearly two weeks ago. L'Italien has been attending Wednesday night children's choir practices and plans to act as cantor again during the holidays, unless she receives a written order from Cleary, she said.

Forget for a moment that she is already disobeying the direct request of a priest -- a very un-Catholic breach of conduct in and of itself -- and consider her next statement:
''I'm trying to be a good Catholic," L'Italien said. ''But this should be a separate issue. Church should be a sanctuary for me and my faith and not have anything to do with my work."
Sanctuary? The Church is no sanctuary for those seeking to hide from the truth. Perhaps Rep. L'Italien should consider the state capitol of Massachusetts her sanctuary since obviously she gives greater weight to her political views than she does the clear moral teaching of the Catholic faith.

Now is the time for Catholic bishops and priests to step forward to draw firm lines against disobedient laity, at least those who are role models because of their public profiles, who want to disobey and yet be considered members in good standing. With the elections no longer an issue with which to whack the church, this is the moment where discipline can and should be administered. Those who agree (and comply) with church teaching should firmly provide backup for the priests and bishops who are willing to make a stand.

That includes the Archdiocese of Boston, which as yet has made no statement on this case. What has been said is not reassuring:
A spokeswoman for the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston said the church would not comment on the Andover priest's actions. ''The archdiocese is gathering facts, and so it would be premature to make any comment," spokeswoman Ann Carter said.
Father Cleary is keeping a low profile.

A man who answered the phone at St. Augustine's rectory said Cleary would not comment on the matter, which was first reported in The Eagle-Tribune of Lawrence. Cleary was quoted yesterday as saying that he has no objection to L'Italien receiving communion or working with children ''behind the scenes."

''In this particular case, we're dealing with a person who is against the church's position" on abortion, The Eagle-Tribune quoted Cleary as saying. ''I can't allow her to be in a public posture, to be standing up at the pulpit singing or directing singing."

It could be argued that his is a lenient position given that many in the Church are now taking a much tougher stance on dissident politicians and holy communion. Of course Rep. L'Italien doesn't seem to view it that way. She's even employing an old familiar tactic: offer half a loaf.
''I tried to point out that I am against the death penalty, that I've worked with the poor," said L'Italien.

Just not the death penalty for the inconvenient and unwanted unborn.

The Unbroken Nest Egg

That grinding sound you hear is either the Democrats' collective teeth, or the knives sharpening for the in-fighting almost sure to come. It seems John Kerry turned into a fiscal conservative late in the presidential race.

Contact the team over at Football Fans for Truth. Kerry violated the most fundamental rule of contact sports (and politics is most assuredly a contact sport): Leave it all on the field of play. Kerry finished the race with somewhere between $15 million and $17 million, plus maybe another $7 million in "legal expense" money.

Some Dems are outraged. And they want the money.

"'Democrats are questioning why he sat on so much money that could have helped him defeat George Bush or helped down-ballot races, many of which could have gone our way with a few more million dollars,' said Donna Brazile, campaign manager for Al Gore's 2000 presidential race.
Brazile is a member of the 400-plus member Democratic National Committee, which meets early next year to pick a new party chairman. One high-ranking member of the DNC, speaking on condition of anonymity, said word of Kerry's nest egg has stirred anger on the committee and could hurt his chances of putting an ally in the chairmanship."
It's doubtful that anyone seriously expects that Kerry cares about what happened in the down-ballot races. Good luck shaming the patrician senator into parting with his cash. A man who will marry a fortune (twice) and live like he earned it all himself will not shame easily. That won't stop them from trying.
While Kerry has likely given more money to state committees than any other nominee, no other Democrat has raised as much as he did. And second-guessing Democrats said Wednesday they couldn't recall a candidate leaving so much money on the table after a campaign.

"He's going to have to give some of it up for 2005 and beyond," Brazile said. "The party will demand it."

Well, good luck.

What's probably going on is a behind-the-scenes political ploy by the Clintons to create an excuse not to give Kerry any say-so in who gets to be DNC chairman. It's still fun to watch.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

What rule of law?

According to Human Events online, some people wouldn't admit to the rule of law if it bit 'em on the behind.

'Lighten Up, Francis' Dept.

Rush Limbaugh is under fire from members of the American Health Association for offering "free therapy" via his listener call lines for those afflicted with Post Election Selection Trauma (PEST).

He loves the extra attention, of course.

For those unaware of either PEST or the Limbaugh Treatment Option (meaning you probably just got back from that post-election trip to Mars), that certain practicioners of psychological counseling are reporting a new pathology afflicting Americans who backed John Kerry on November 2.

Yeah, they're serious. They even have "proof." A man identified as "Paul" wrote to AHA:

“I too was very depressed, and I knew a lot people who felt the same way. You have to understand that to many of us, this was the key election about the future of our country, and with a Bush win that future is pretty much destroyed. Naturally, there’s going to be some significant grief.”
Always on the cutting edge of compassionate conservatism, Limbaugh rushed to offer on-the-air therapy at no charge. AHA is not amused.

“Rush Limbaugh has a way of back-handedly slamming people,” said Sheila Cooperman, a licensed clinician with the American Health Association (AHA) who listened Friday as Limbaugh offered to personally treat her patients. “He’s trying to ridicule the emotional state this presidential election produced in many of us here in Palm Beach County. Who is he to offer therapy?”
A talk radio host, my dear Mrs. Cooperman, a talk radio host.

“Rush Limbaugh has no clinical qualifications to counsel anyone,” Cooperman said. “He’s not only minimizing PEST, but he’s bastardizing the entire psychological field and our clinical expertise.”
Bastardizing? Does that mean this field of expertise has uncertain parentage?

Douglas Schooler, the Boca Raton trauma specialist who treated 20 people with hypnotherapy following Kerry’s loss, said he believes many people suffering from election-related symptoms are still afraid to step forward. “The Republicans want Kerry voters to shut up and pretend they’re not feeling anything,” Schooler said. “But many people have serious emotional pain over this election and it’s unhealthy to stuff it down inside of you. Therapy is the best way.”
Well, if you really think it's necessary ...

“Most of the calls I’m getting are from Republicans making fun of the whole thing,” Schooler said. “One guy wrote me a letter saying I should tell people to vote Republican and save themselves the stress. Republicans want to minimize the whole story of election fraud and voter anger.” Schooler said he did not expect the Republican gloating to stop anytime soon.
Hmmm ... gloating, eh? Sounds like the therapist needs a little counseling too. BTW, if this therapy involves discussion of election fraud, are these AHA counselors qualified to discuss it? Did they moonlight as poll watchers on Nov. 2? At the risk of being "insensitive" we would posit that they may run a significant risk of malpractice if they are citing election fraud statistics as part of their therapy. And finally, accused of taking the PEST therapy story and "rubbing it in the faces of Democrats," Limbaugh responds:“

Now, my friends, I didn’t do that. I reached out. I offered a hand of friendship. I offered my own counseling services.”

AHA officials, listening to the taped broadcasts, described Limbaugh’s tone of voice as sarcastic.

Limbaugh sarcastic? We detected no bitterness. How about Limbaugh facetious. We did detect lots of amusement. There is a difference.

Or in the words of beloved Sgt. Hulka: "Lighten up, Francis."

Monday, November 15, 2004

Another war on civilization

British Prime Minister Tony Blair might want to hang around Washington a bit longer. A new war on civilization has begun in Great Britain with "junk food" advertisements banned from certain hours on TV.

And of course it's to
protect the children:
A ban during children's TV had been widely expected when the Government produces its health White Paper next week. But Health Secretary Dr John Reid is set to go further after Ofcom figures showed 70% of viewing by children aged four to 15 takes place between 6pm and 9pm.

Dr Reid will threaten food manufacturers and advertisers with legislation if they fail to agree a voluntary code. (Emphasis ours)

A new food labelling system, possibly using "traffic light" warnings, will also be proposed. Products high in fat, salt or sugar are the subject of the TV crackdown. That would affect far more than the burgers, chocolate, crisps and sugary drinks commonly seen as the culprits. Salty soup, breakfast cereal and even fish fingers could be caught up in the ban.

"We believe there's a strong evidence-based cased for action to restrict the advertising and promotion to children of food and drink that are high in fat, salt and sugar," a government source told one paper. "To have maximum effect, broadcasting limits need to be complemented by restrictions on advertising at the point of sale, on labels and packaging."
The ideological struggle between those who cherish freedom -- including the freedom to eat unhealthy foods -- and those who would use government to strangle individual choice in the name of the public good, is never-ending. We stand in solidarity with those in Great Britain who will fight against this evil, and as we watch we study what happens and make preparations for our own defense.

So go already ...

These self-described atheists say the election returns have them ready to flee to Canada.

These self-described atheists, "many of them scientists and engineers". say the European Union will become the world leader in science because of the "religious" triumph of Nov. 2.

These self-described intellectual atheists (so smart that America will become second-rate in their absence) don't even know the proper definition of atheist. Yet they claim the future of civilization is at stake in their planned flight.

Our advice: if you must go to Canada or Europe, do it now. We're calling your bluff. Do it before you get cold feet. Do it before reality smacks you in the face and you realize what idiots you are. You are clueless waifs wandering willy-nilly on the spiritual battlefield that is planet Earth, and you think God is your enemy?

The report from SignOn San Diego:

"Local atheists interviewed, many of them scientists and engineers, expressed the fear that a born-again president believing he has a mandate will strongly assert religious beliefs, like pushing for the teaching of creationism along with evolution in schools. 'The administration we have now has no respect whatsoever for science, and because of that, they have no respect for the truth, and that can be fatal,' said Hall, who was raised a Methodist. 'I think unless the country gets a belly-full of this over the next four years and this turns around, the future of civilization will shift to Europe or elsewhere and not be led by the U.S. administration.'

Categorizing nonbelievers as atheists, agnostics, humanists, etc., gets tricky. 'It's important to emphasize there are many different kinds of atheists; we are not a lock-step group,' said Heather Campbell, of the San Diego Atheist Coalition. And it's difficult to know just how many nonbelievers there are. "

It certainly is tricky to categorize agnostics as atheists. An agnostic is one who simply says he does not know the ultimate truth, or holds that since he has not (or cannot) experience spiritual realities, he will make no value judgment. That is not the same thing as an atheist, one who is openly dismissive of the existence of God. As for a humanist, this person can actually believe in a God but strongly believes in the pursuit of human studies and human potential.

But we suppose we are nitpicking. The big issue here is that the people quoted in this article seriously believe that they are the crown of creation, and all America will suffer now that their point of view is not shared by a majority of the electorate. Consider this quote:
It is undeniable, as Bush and John Kerry, a Roman Catholic, demonstrated in repeated professions of their faith, that a nonbelieving candidate in 2004 would have about as much of a chance of becoming president as Ralph Nader. Pollster John Zogby found during the 2000 election year that when voters are given a hypothetical list of Jewish, black, female, Arab-American, gay or atheist vice-presidential candidates, they were least likely to support the atheist.

Golly, they have identified the problem with democracy. The masses simply don't know what's good for them. Maybe the system needs to be tweaked to rid itself of Christian influence?

If atheists have a political mission, it is to reinforce the wall between government and religion, which they believe is crumbling under Bush and his constituents in the Religious Right. For that reason, Susi Reed, of the Humanist Fellowship of San Diego, said she considers Bush's re-election "a tragedy." "I'm scared to death about what may happen," Reed said. "I abhor any power that religion has in government. They shouldn't be there, and Bush is inviting them in."

Andy Pavelchek, of the San Diego Atheist Coalition, said: "I am worried that as things go wrong, as the wheels come off in Iraq and the economy, liberals, gays, atheists, feminists and people who believe in the rule of law will be scapegoated."

What a brilliant idea. We'll convene a big trial and declare them all witches.

But seriously folks, there is a simple reason why most people do not trust atheists. It is because there is no such thing as the person who has no god. You may not worship Yahweh or Allah. You might say you don't believe in any of the greater pantheon of gods of human history. But you will worship someone or something.

You won't call it a god, of course. It will be Money, or Power, or Science. It might be Pleasure, or Drugs, or even Pro Football. And where your worship is centered, there also will be your money, your attention and your heart.

We do not trust atheists because they lie to themselves about their religion. If you lie to yourself, you'll lie to anyone.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Nuke option a go for Osama?

When the U.S. dropped the Bomb on two cities in Japan at the end of World War II, the decision was made by President Harry "The Buck Stops Here" Truman, who knew that succeed or fail the responsibility and the consequences would be his. Truman has been mostly praised and occasionally vilified over the years for this decision, but virtually all have agreed that as the political leader of the United States the decision was rightfully his to make. (We realize that some might argue that no one has the right to make that decision, but we'll defer that discussion for another day.)

What if President Truman (a Baptist) had called the president of the Southern Baptist Convention for spiritual approval to nuke Hiroshima, and announced in advance that the Rev. John Doe had studied the plans with a council of deacons, prayed over them, and given written permission?

Unthinkable, isn't it. We might pray for God's assistance in our war prosecutions but Americans generally agree with Abe Lincoln, another war-time commander-in-chief, who said the important thing was not whether God was on our side but whether we were on His. Wars and armed conflict cause a great deal of soul-searching for Christians in and out of government, and more so for those who provide Christian leadership.

So how are we supposed to react to this: Drudge is reporting that Michael Scheuer will tell 60 Minutes on Sunday that Osama bin Laden has sought and received permission from Islamic religious authorities to use a nuclear weapon to kill millions of Americans.

Even if bin Laden had a nuclear weapon, he probably wouldn't have used it for a lack of proper religious authority - authority he has now. "[Bin Laden] secured from a Saudi sheik ... a rather long treatise on the possibility of using nuclear weapons against the Americans," says Scheuer. "[The treatise] found that he was perfectly within his rights to use them. Muslims argue that the United States is responsible for millions of dead Muslims around the world, so reciprocity would mean you could kill millions of Americans," Scheuer tells (Steve) Kroft (of 60 Minutes).

Scheuer says bin Laden was criticized by some Muslims for the 9/11 attack because he killed so many people without enough warning and before offering to help convert them to Islam. But now bin Laden has addressed the American people and given fair warning.

"Their intention is to end the war as soon as they can and to ratchet up the pain for the Americans until we get out of their region....If they acquire the weapon, they will use it, whether it's chemical, biological or some sort of nuclear weapon," says Scheuer.
... And the threat posed by bin Laden is also underestimated, says Scheuer. "I think our leaders over the last decade have done the American people a disservice...continuing to characterize Osama bin Laden as a thug, as a gangster," he says. "Until we respect him, sir, we are going to die in numbers that are probably unnecessary, yes. He's a very, very talented man and a very worthy opponent," he tells Kroft.

We would dispute the part about "worthy opponent." Worf would say that "this man has no honor." We would amend that to include all those who call themselves Muslims who believe that there are no limits to responsible jihad, including nuclear, chemical or biological war. This is not a brand of religion with which we can agree to disagree. Toleration is no option. It is not some weird novelty cult that we can laugh away or ignore, for even as we do the other side is going about the business of winning the fight.

Thus we become the Apollo Creed to Osama's Rocky Balboa, with a voice shouting at us that "this chump doesn't know it's just a show. He thinks he can win."

Know thy enemy and gird thy loins accordingly.

Guilty of TMI in the 1st Degree

It's official: at 1 p.m. PST (3 p.m. in God's country) a jury of twelve peers, including two reserves who came in off the bench as the deliberations went into overtime, has concluded that America is now free to obsess about something else besides Scott and Laci Peterson. We could of sworn we heard church bells pealing across the fruited plain.

Incidentally, they declared Scott guilty. Is anyone surprised? (Well, after the O.J. fiasco a decade ago, you can never really know for sure.)

Does the verdict change any one aspect of your life? Will time alter its course? Will you feel better about yourself or the American system of jurisprudence because the MSM insisted you must know every solitary detail of this murder trial, including what the defendant wore each day and had for breakfast? Will stocks rise or fall on Monday after investors have the weekend to absorb the verdict's impact? Will the war against Islamo-terrorists be disrupted or strengthened by the news?

[Oddly enough Don Henley's "Dirty Laundry" is playing in my headphones, proving once again that God sometimes has a strange choice of "messengers" for truth.]

[Damn. Now it's Frampton. Totally uncool. Must. Remove. 'Phones ...]

Some transparency in the court system is a good thing. Totally transparency in randomly chosen celebrity trials do not serve the cause of justice, encourage greater public cynicism of the judicial process (if that is possible), and irritate some of us beyond description. Don't think they do much for public confidence in news networks either.

Listen CNN, MS-NBC and yes, you too Fox: we don't care what your ratings experts and surveys are telling you. Enough with the show trials. Give Court TV its niche and get back to reporting on the stuff we might need to hear, not just the dirty laundry you're interested in.

That is all.

Mars heats up!

Mars needs air conditioning!

Well, not yet, but scientists are reporting (as are a good number of Pajamahadeen) that the fourth planet's polar caps are melting more than they should be.

The Speculist is speculating (naturally) that since Mars is experiencing global warming and Earth is experiencing global warming ... hmmm:

if two planets so close to each other are both experiencing a rise in surface temperature, isn't it just possible that it might have to do with that nearby star they both orbit? I'm just asking is all. I mean, what if...

What if.

And I'm just asking. But what if global warming is real, but it isn't our fault and there is nothing we can do about it?

Others are wondering if Mars' failure to sign the Kyoto Protocol is coming back to haunt the Red Planet. Does the dry-ice melt mean that we'd better not send a manned mission to "rove about" heating up the joint?

Or is Halliburton to blame?

Seriously, folks, if the answer to global warming on both planets is a hotter sun, shouldn't the nations of the world rethink the entire Kyoto issue? A century from now history may not judge us kindly. Not that it will matter much to us.

Of course, the Kyoto enthusiasts continue to insist that humans are responsible for global warming, or at least most of it. The
NewScientist.com folks recently featured an article latching on to a White House report that assigns the blame to humanity. But this was before new reports surfaced that point the finger at Mr. Sun. In the UK Telegraph:

Global warming has finally been explained: the Earth is getting hotter because the Sun is burning more brightly than at any time during the past 1,000 years, according to new research.

A study by Swiss and German scientists suggests that increasing radiation from the sun is responsible for recent global climate changes.

Dr Sami Solanki, the director of the renowned Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Gottingen, Germany, who led the research, said: "The Sun has been at its strongest over the past 60 years and may now be affecting global temperatures.

"The Sun is in a changed state. It is brighter than it was a few hundred years ago and this brightening started relatively recently - in the last 100 to 150 years."

Dr Solanki said that the brighter Sun and higher levels of "greenhouse gases", such as carbon dioxide, both contributed to the change in the Earth's temperature but it was impossible to say which had the greater impact.

A Columbia University researcher believes the solar warmup has been underway for over a century:

In what could be the simplest explanation for one component of global warming, a new study shows the Sun's radiation has increased by .05 percent per decade since the late 1970s. The increase would only be significant to Earth's climate if it has been going on for a century or more, said study leader Richard Willson, a Columbia University researcher also affiliated with NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

The Sun's increasing output has only been monitored with precision since satellite technology allowed necessary observations. Willson is not sure if the trend extends further back in time, but other studies suggest it does.

"This trend is important because, if sustained over many decades, it could cause significant climate change," Willson said.

In a NASA-funded study recently published in Geophysical Research Letters, Willson and his colleagues speculate on the possible history of the trend based on data collected in the pre-satellite era. "Solar activity has apparently been going upward for a century or more," Willson told SPACE.com today

Finally, this report piles on more fusion fuel:

by John Carlisle

Those looking for the culprit responsible for global warming have missed the obvious choice - the sun. While it may come as a newsflash to some, scientific evidence conclusively shows that the sun plays a far more important role in causing global warming and global cooling than any other factor, natural or man-made.


So important is the sun in climate change that half of the 1.5° F temperature increase since 1850 is directly attributable to changes in the sun.According to NASA scientists David Lind and Judith Lean, only one-quarter of a degree can be ascribed to other causes, such as greenhouse gases, through which human activities can theoretically exert some influence.

Here at Oklahomily we believe in your Ben Franklin-style science (practical and sometimes risky), but after a bad bout with heatstroke and blurred vision we'll leave the sun-gazing to the experts. Still, it seems like there are enough contradictory voices emerging to challenge man-made global warming theory, and perhaps to challenge us to find a solution to what's really happening.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

U.S. oil production at 54-year low

The writing is on the wall. Does anyone remember how to read?

Oil Production in the United States has dropped below five million barrels a day for the first time since April 1950. Hurricane Ivan played a role in disrupting drilling and pumping operations in the Gulf of Mexico, but the decline has been slowly but surely coming anyway. The hurricane is credited with helping spike oil prices at a record $50-plus per barrel.

Most Americans are unaware that oil imports today include a great deal of refined product (the most expensive way to purchase foreign fuel). Domestic refining capacity has declined precipitously in the last decade. No new refining plants are planned.

We remember the drilling boom that took place in Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado and other western states 20 years ago, thanks to high demand and good prices for crude. It was a time of high employment, great tax revenues for the various states (and the feds), and good economies. (Good times, good times!) That boom, as they always do, went bust. We've heard many people today question why a similar drilling boom has not taken place with demand AND prices at an all-time high. The sad truth: even if you can afford to run the regulatory guantlet on a drilling permit (and remember that drilling still isn't a sure thing) you have to have a buyer, and with refining capacity constrained, it just isn't that easy to market domestic crude.

People who do not live in the traditional "oil patch" of America have no idea how environmentally friendly the industry has become. They also do not seem to understand that we are just one interdiction away from a serious fuel emergency in this nation. It would not take much to disrupt our gas supply, our economy and our security.

This is stupid. It is intolerable. It ought to be criminal but we'd have to indict about half the citizens of the U.S. for their passive involvement.

Perhaps an alternative fuel source will be developed someday. Hydrogen cars sound good, but are still years from being practical. In the meantime, we are at risk.

But don't take our word for it. Do some serious research that goes beyond the silly Luddite reactions of groups like the Sierra Club. Assure yourself that the danger is real. Then contact your congressmen and senators and tell them to get the hell on the ball now for a common-sense national energy policy that unleashes our smaller, independent oil producers. Let's quit "out-sourcing" our energy production to other countries that most assuredly do not have our best interests at heart.

Now get moving.

A 'fight for another day'?

The New York Times opines today in A Burial at Ramallah that the agreement between the Palestininian Authority and the Nation of Israel on a burial plot for Yassir Arafat is a small start toward peace. Which leads us to wonder, for the umpteenth time, who hires these writers at the NYT?

Yassir's remains will rest in Ramallah not as the compromise triumph of diplomats but because Israel said no to Jerusalem (and also because PA can't keep Arafat on ice forever). If the late chairman wanted a Jerusalem burial plot, he should have been courageous enough to claim a peace deal when he had the opportunity and rejected terrorism as a tactic. He did neither.

Lest we forget on whose side the NYT remains, consider this:
"Yesterday, bulldozers were clearing the way for the Ramallah burial site, which Palestinian leaders said would be temporary, until Palestinians got East Jerusalem back. That is undoubtedly a fight for another day. Right now, the Palestinians will be able to bury their leader with dignity and respect. It's a start ..."

"A fight for another day"?

Undoubtedly. The Times mirrors the failure of world leadership on the Israeli-Palestinian issue by insisting that terrorists are really freedom fighters and that only Israel is required to make concessions (appeasements). Further, Israel's security needs are irrelevant in any "final solution" to the conflict.

At best this is simple-minded arrogance. At worst, hateful deceit. That's pretty much a good way to sum up Yassir's impact on the Middle East equation lo these last 48 years. That's about as much of a eulogy as we feel he deserves.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Focus: Fallujah

Just got through reading today's update at The Belmont Club that takes all of one's MSM-driven preconceptions about "what's going down" in Iraq and shoots them full of laser-guided holes. This blog stays on top of real reporting from the battlefield, plus it has sources that flesh out the truth behind our military's mission in Saddam's sandy old stomping grounds.

You want to know what's really happening over there? Don't listen to Dan Blather and the other Sons of Surrender on the news-nets. Now that the election's over they aren't all that interested in Iraq anyway. (And whatever happened to those breathless stories about kilotons of missing explosives? Same thing that happened with those fake Guard documents. Truly the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls, or something like that.)

Bottom line is that we're kicking hind quarters so effectively we don't even have the time to take down the names. If you need some reassurance that our President and our fighting men and women are on the right track, read and be glad. Our mission is sound and our muscle is good, scary good.

Dog House distractions

We've been a little off our game for the past few days, partly the pre-design of post-election scheduling -- what a relief to have that behind us for a little while -- and partly because we've been bonding with the next generation by building a dog house.

Building it. Not assigned to it. Yet.

However, we've built the dog house large enough so that it could accomodate Buddha, our massive Great Pyrenees-Black Lab-Chou (or is it Chow? or Zhou?) and guests. Young Dave has been getting his reps with the electric drill, construction site math, and general contractor theory, but has let none of that dampen his enthusiasm for the project.

Perhaps when we're finished we'll post the result.

Why no Atheist Mercy Hospital?

This was too good not to steal.

gentleman writes to Jonah Goldberg of National Review of his observations about who in this world is responsible for the good things we find. But read on:
"Let's see, we have scores of Baptist Hospitals, Method Hospitals, Jewish Hospitals, Catholic Hospitals, etc., etc.. Each of these have 'outreach' programs both here and in the most dismal places on earth, staffed with dedicated medical doctors and nurses. Where oh where are the Atheist's
hospitals, or soup kitchens? I, perhaps somewhat leaning to your ideology, am not so religious... but I am married to one of the most delightful, beautiful and dedicated Catholics on this earth. I delight in her absolute faith, her praying, her laughter, her zest for life, her acceptance of those of lesser faith (like me), her tolerance. All which seems so absent from the liberal atheist."
An entire homily in one paragraph. Beyond cool.

The conversation was sparked by an outstanding article by Jonah entitled
"The Sore Loser Party" , focused on the litany of whines and moans from the left over last Tuesday. A good portion of the article, however, dealt with the way modern Democrats disdain religion as an influence for good in political life. Among some of Jonah's comments:
But what offends them so much about religion is that it is a source of authority outside — and prior to — politics. What has offended the Left since Marx, and American liberalism since Dewey, is the notion that moral authority should be derived from anyplace other than the state or "the people" (conveniently defined as citizens who vote liberal). Voting on values not sanctified by secular priests is how they define "ignorance." This was the real goal of Hillary Clinton's "politics of meaning" — to replace traditional religion with a secular one that derived its authority not from ancient texts and "superstitions" but from the good intentions of an activist state and its anointed priests. Shortly before the election, Howell Raines fretted that the worst outcome of a Bush
victory would be the resurgence of "theologically based cultural norms" — without even acknowledging the fact that "theologically based cultural norms" gave us everything from the printing press and the newspaper to the First Amendment he claims to be such a defender of.
And ...
But such is the extent of their solipsism and narcissism that they not only reject the existence of God but go so far as to mock those who do not, simply because they don't feel Him themselves. And, alas, in elite America, feelings are the only recognized foundation of metaphysics.
Jonah says he isn't particularly religious, but his writing betrays a Jewish soul who, as Jesus might say, "is not far from the Kingdom of God." At any rate it's one of his best columns.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Standing up against choice?

We can't understand why Gloria Feldt of Planned Parenthood Federation of America is throwing a hissy fit over the fact that some federation workers in Illinois are being given choice of health care plans.

After all, isn't Planned Parenthood all about choice?

Oh, we forgot. Not when the choice fails to include killing the unborn.

Seems 27 counties now offer as one alternative a Catholic-based health plan that does not cover contraceptives, abortion or fertility treatment. It's part of the new "faith-based initiative" program coming out of Washington, D.C. This health program, called OSF HealthPlans is run by the Franciscan Sisters of the Third Order. (Oh dear, that's probably another little problem for the apparently misnamed Miss Gloria!)

According to a release today from the CATHOLIC LEAGUE for Religious and Civil Rights, Miss Gloria said the plan was an “inappropriate” use of federal funds, one that “is blatantly designed to foster one religion’s point of view.”

TRANSLATION: "Our abortion clinics won't make one thin dime under this plan."

William Donohue, president of the Catholic League, had this point of view:
“The taxpayers are forced to fork over a quarter-billion dollars of federal funds each year to support Planned Parenthood’s agenda. But all of a sudden the officials at the so-called pro-choice organization feel threatened by some Catholic nuns and want to deny federal workers freedom of choice. So much for truth in advertising.
“Planned Parenthood is afraid the OSF HealthPlans initiative might catch on, which is why they’d like to kill it now. Having just lost to President Bush—Planned Parenthood Action Fund supported Senator Kerry—the abortion-friendly group fears the country is turning against them. It is. This is one ‘Sister Act’ all Catholics can savor.”
Maybe there's hope for this country yet.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Wish we'd said it first ...

Bishop Rene Henry Gracida of Corpus Christi, Texas, in an e-mail appeal to conservative Americans, explaining why Senator Arlen Specter should not be the next chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, reached back into his old high school typing manual and pulled out this stalwart:

"Now is the time for all good men and all good women to come to the aid of their country."

Okay, it used to just say "good men" but we've got no problem adding good woman to the cause.

Quoted at
LifeSite.net, the bishop also said
:"Specter voted against the confirmation of Judge Bork and the impeachment of President Clinton. He is supported by NARAL. He must not become the next Chairman. Before January Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist will pick the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Specter has the seniority that would normally entitle him to be named the Chairman. But, Senator Bill Frist has the
power the waive the Senate Rules and appoint someone else as Chairman. Arlen Specter MUST NOT become the Chairman and be in a position to negate all that has been accomplished in the election of President Bush. Now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of their Country."
Another group, the Conservative Women of America, are also quoted:"
Sen. Specter has dismissed as 'unlikely' the notion that he would allow a nominee who does not support the manifestly unconstitutional Roe v. Wade decision to be confirmed to the Supreme Court. Sen. Specter has signaled in advance that he does not intend to conduct the Judiciary Committee in a fair and impartial manner. Therefore, he has disqualified himself from consideration for that position."

The article also provides this handy reference to calling Senator Frist. They provide a sample letter, but we would strongly advise you to put your opposition to Specter in your own sincere words (otherwise it's just another form of spam), please refrain from profanity (inappropriate and defeats the purpose). Truth and simplicity are powerful tools. Here are the references:

Send a message to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist:
Telephone -- (202-22-3344)
Email --
FAX --(202-228-1264)

Another big loser Tuesday

This reminded us of another big loser on Tuesday:

Pro-life group says federal funding for Planned Parenthood should be cut

Planned Parenthood's electoral losses were truly stunning. Not only did they back John Francois for president, the first election they've been openly brazen enough to formally endorse, but they opposed all 11 marriage protection amendments in the various states (including Oklahoma), and they wound up on the losing end of an effort to stop a parental notification law from passing in Florida.

There's hope for this country yet.

Friday, November 05, 2004

'Fear & Loathing' indeed

The great thing about being a conservative three days after a decisive national election is that there is really no need to gloat. Just sit back, sip on the beverage of your choice (in our case, unsweetened ice tea) and watch the brain cells of the left melt down from Synaptic Incongruence Overload (SIO). (Of course it's a real disease. You can look it up if you want.)

But never let it be said that we are not compassionate conservatives. We are here to give a SIO relief.


Actually things are back to normal and it didn't take long. The left has determined that 24 hours was quite enough time for any kind of conciliatory talk. Now the finger-pointing, the wild accusations and the recriminations begin in earnest.

Exhiliarating, isn't it? (Think of the Dems own "genesis effect" in full reversal.)

Michael Moore has published "17 Reasons not to slit your wrists," including a prediction that President Bush will be impeached for as yet uncommitted crimes against the Constitution. We're sure the Fat One already has footage in preparation for the multi-media exhibit before the House.

The online magazine
Slate published a screed by authoress Jane Smiley on "The Unteachable Ignorance of the Red States." It's a must read. Do it with somone you love so that you can be revived if you get choked up with laughter. It's a scream.

Various pundits are clamoring for the victorious Republicans to "grasp this opportunity" to water down their conservatism as a show of good faith in "unity" and "inclusion." (Only a like-minded liberal could explain the illogic of that request. Or perhaps the best way to explain it would be in the words of Ulysses Everett McGill, "Only a fool looks for logic in the recesses of the human heart.")

Hunter S. Thompson, the aging gonzo journalist who gave us "Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail" back in 1972, was a Kerry supporter who watched the election returns from his Pitkin County home near Aspen. His take:

"I feel like somebody's died," Thompson lamented as the sun was preparing to rise early Wednesday morning. "I'm just not sure who it was."
Perhaps America was not too sure who John Kerry was either. Thompson deemed the election "another failure of the youth vote."

"Yeah, we rocked the vote all right. Those little bastards betrayed us again."
Kerry Won! No really, this article has it down in black-and-white. Minority voters aren't smart enough to mark their ballots properly, thus they are declared spoiled. The Dem Party isn't macho enough to make an issue of it. And so John Kerry, the heir apparent and rightful president, goes down in flames. (By the way, the author of this article on the liberal site "Thomas Paine: Common Sense" used to write for the UK Guardian. 'Nuff said?)

Related story, breaking news Friday afternoon: Bush's New Mexico win still a hot issue:
Santa Fe, NM, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Republicans are charging Gov. Bill Richardson is still trying to find more votes for Democratic Sen. John Kerry in New Mexico. Greg Graves, executive director of the New Mexico Republican Party, said (Gov. Bill) Richardson is conspiring to steal electoral votes from President Bush, who won the state's five votes, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported Friday. Graves said he was concerned the Democratic county clerk in Las Cruces initially refused to allow observers to watch her staff verify provisional ballots. These voters' qualifications must be verified
before the votes are counted
Careful Mr. Bill. Karl Rove might decide to build a Florida-like Get Out the Vote machine in New Mexico for 2008..

The "He wouldn't have voted for Dubya anyway" Dept.:

Phil Pullman, described as a "child's fantasy author" and whose books have been condemned by church groups "for attacking organized religion" says that George Bush would make a good movie villain

."Bush has this baying certainty and has imposed this fervent zealotry," said Pullman whose books have been condemned by church groups for attacking organized religion.

"The Christian right in America is the mirror image of the Islamic fundamentalists," he added.

Less funny -- pathetic really -- was the reaction of Little Sid Blumenthal, writing in the UK Guardian (yeah, the same outfit that engendered the Clarke County letter-writing campaign backlash). Sidney's response embodies every lefty paranoic's fantasy:
Using the White House as a machine of centripetal force, Rove spread fear and fused its elements. Fear of the besieging terrorist, appearing in Bush TV ads as the shifty eyes of a swarthy man or a pack of wolves, was joined with fear of the besieging queer. Bush's support for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage was underscored by referendums against it in 11 states - all of which won.

"Fear of the besieging queer"?You gotta be kidding.
The evangelical churches became instruments of political organisation. Ideology was enforced as theology, turning nonconformity into sin, and the faithful, following voter guides with biblical literalism, were shepherded to the polls as though to the rapture.

Sidney displays a common ignorance of shepherds. They do not drive sheep, they walk ahead and the sheep follow, because a good shepherd is worthy of trust. But nevermind ...
Brought along with Bush is a gallery of grotesques in the Senate: more than one new senator advocates capital punishment for abortion; another urges that all gay teachers be fired; yet another is suffering from obvious symptoms of Alzheimer's.

First, which new senator advocates capital punishment for abortion? C'mon Sidney, give us the name, the exact quote, the date and time. Second, which new senator suffers from Alzheimers? (And assuming one did, would it be fair to discriminate against him on the basis of a physical handicap? We thought you liberals were against such practices.)

And we feared there might be nothing to write about after the election.