September 30, 2004
After a deluge of campaign speeches and hostile television ads, President Bush and challenger John Kerry got their chance to face each other directly Thursday night before an audience of tens of millions of voters in a high-stakes debate about terrorism, the Iraq war and the bloody aftermath.
The 90-minute encounter was particularly crucial for Kerry, trailing slightly in the polls and struggling for momentum less than five weeks before the election. The Democratic candidate faced the challenge of presenting himself as a credible commander in chief after a torrent of Republican criticism that he was prone to changing his positions.
UPDATE: Well, that didn't last long. The article has been retracted, so the above link no longer works. All is not lost, though! The entire article has been preserved here.
September 29, 2004
The [Los Angeles Times] said the dogs foresee the president will beat Democratic challenger John Kerry by 15 percent.
Jackie Stallone said her animals also predict California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will take advantage of a future constitutional amendment allowing foreign-born U.S. citizens to serve as president, and take on Kerry's running mate, John Edwards, in the presidential campaign of 2008. However, the dogs can't tell yet who will win that race.
Jackie Stallone has said her dogs channel messages from the spirit world and send them to her telepathically.
Most of the dozen property owners interviewed last week said they are reluctant to sell their holdings but think they are somewhat helpless and resigned to having to do so if Washington gets a baseball team. They said they would try to negotiate the best price for their land, aware that the District has limited resources and is prepared to use the right of eminent domain to force a sale.
UPDATE: The Expos' move to DC appears to be a done deal.
CBS's Late Show with David Letterman on Monday and Tuesday night featured mocking promos for the CBS Evening News, complete with a real CBS Evening News on screen graphic and a realistic-sounding announcer.
Monday's: "Tonight on the CBS Evening News: The latest on the presidential campaign, based on stuff we heard from a guy at the Steak n' Shake. Only on the CBS Evening News."
Tuesday's, over matching photos: "Tonight on the CBS Evening News: What do Saddam Hussein, Ralph Nader, Britney Spears and these chickens have in common? We don't know, but we'll make something up by air time. That's tonight, only on the CBS Evening News."
Not exactly a vote of confidence for the staff of CBS News when one of the shows on your own network finds you a ripe target for ridicule.
The white-dominated city council, observing this trend with alarm, has endorsed a proposal to create a special business district reserved exclusively for white business owners. The proposal also sets up a government-backed loan program exclusively for whites.
Predictably, leaders of the various minority communities are up in arms. "We are opposed to any government action that distributes public money based on race," said an Asian-Pacific-American representative. Other minority groups have chimed in as well, insisting that the hard economic times are affecting everyone, and that if there is a government program, it should benefit everyone.
Okay, time to 'fess up. Everything I related above is true, with one exception. The city, Detroit, is over 80% black. The Free Press reports that the proposal sets up a business district exclusively for black businesses. The loan fund would be reserved for blacks.
The reaction of the immigrant communities was as related above, but what I didn't mention was that the report in which the proposal is given refers to the immigrant communities in what appears to be a deliberately insulting manner:
The report refers to Dearborn as Arabtown, and says Hispanics, Asians and Arabs are classified as whites so they enjoy benefits denied blacks.
Detroit's Latino activists said they were galled by one reference that read: "Even though legal and illegal Hispanics constitute only 3 percent of Detroit's population and 90 percent have been in the country less than 25 years, Hispanics aggressively demand inclusion in local affirmative action programs and in elected positions ... Rather than either distinguishing the situation of blacks and Hispanics, or pointing out that blacks are the majority population and therefore can elect who they wish, local political forces have instead acceded to these demands."
At least one member of the city council recognized the obvious fact that the proposal could not legally be implemented, and so voted against it. On the other hand we have the Council President Pro Tem, who ignored the legal issues because of the perceived positive social impact for the black community, and so voted for the proposal.
I suppose that there are many observations to draw from this story, but there are two that I wish to highlight. First: whenever a society becomes accustomed to the idea of preferences for minority groups, it becomes inevitable that racial favors will be distributed unequally -- in proportion to the political power of each group. If one of the favored groups attains an absolute majority of power, that now-majority group will eventually attempt to manipulate the preference system so that their former fellow-victims are left out in the cold.
Second: In the name of benefiting a favored ethnic group, the clear intent of established law is often ignored. Although it's outside the scope of this particular story, it is also often true that anybody who raises this point is branded a racist. As I probably will be because of the fact that I've reported on this in a disapproving manner.
(Credit: Roger Clegg, NRO)
September 28, 2004
THIS IS A NONPARTISAN JOKE THAT CAN BE ENJOYED BY BOTH PARTIES!
While walking down the street one day a US senator is tragically hit by a truck and dies.
His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.
"Welcome to heaven," says St. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you."
"No problem, just let me in," says the man.
"Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity."
"Really, I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven," says the senator. "I'm sorry but we have our rules."
And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.
Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at expense of the people.
They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne.
Also present is the devil, which really is a very friendly guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go.
Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises...
The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him. "Now it's time to visit heaven."
So, 24 hours pass with the head of state joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.
"Well, then, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity."
The senator reflects for a minute, then the senator answers "Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell."
So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.
Now the doors of the elevator open and he's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage.
He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above.
The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder.
"I don't understand," stammers the senator. "Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now all there is a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?"
The devil looks at him, smiles and says, "Yesterday we were campaigning...... Today you voted.
(Credit: Thanks, Dad!)
The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to decide when governments may seize people's homes and businesses for economic development projects, a key question as cash-strapped cities seek ways to generate tax revenue.
At issue is the scope of the Fifth Amendment, which allows governments to take private property through eminent domain, provided the owner is given "just compensation" and the land is for "public use."
This is the New London, Connecticut case -- one of the most egregious land-seizure cases currently in the legal system. Look at how New London justifies its intentions:
New London contends the condemnations are proper because the development plans serving a "public purpose" - such as boosting economic growth - are valid "public use" projects that outweigh the property rights of the homeowners.
This logic essentially destroys all barriers to land seizures -- land owners occupy their property at the pleasure of the local government. Even worse, the Connecticut Supremes endorsed the city's claim (emphasis added):
The Connecticut Supreme Court agreed with New London, ruling 4-3 in March that the mere promise of additional tax revenue justified the condemnation.
Here's to hoping that the U.S. Supremes restore some sanity to the fifth amendment by smacking the defendants silly.
September 24, 2004
California air regulators on Friday unanimously approved the world's most ambitious rules to reduce the car emissions that contribute to global warming, a move that could bring sweeping changes to how the rest of the nation fights vehicle pollution.
Heat-trapping greenhouse gases are believed by many scientists to contribute to global warming.
Relatives of Zeinab Abu Salem had little time to absorb the shock after the 18-year-old blew herself up in a suicide attack in Jerusalem.
They rushed instead to empty the family home in the Palestinian refugee camp of Askar near the West Bank city of Nablus, expecting Israeli bulldozers to soon come to demolish it.
Reading the entire article, one would conclude that the woman came from a poverty-stricken family (thus supporting the myth that poverty breeds terror). However, as it turns out, Zeinab Abu Salem's family is quite wealthy: she was the hostess of a children's program at a TV station owned by her family.
You'd never know that by reading Reuters dispatches, though. And, as Best of the Web observes, Reuters can't spare any sympathy for the families of the two murdered men.
September 22, 2004
An allergy specialist at Eastern Maine Medical Center says such allergies are on the rise because of an increasingly nut-rich American diet.
September 21, 2004
In fact, since it lacks the self-control apparatus that is a major part of religion, the Left passes more and more laws to control people. That is why there is a direct link between the decline in Judeo-Christian religion and the increase in governmental laws controlling human behavior.
I've been away from the blog for a few days due to some traveling and to an otherwise hectic schedule. This past weekend I took my wife and son to visit family in the Texas Hill Country. While there, I took this picture of the Guadalupe River at Ingram (about 5 miles from Kerrville). Click on the picture to see more detail. (Hi-res here)
The photo just oozes serenity, so much so that I've made it my desktop wallpaper as an antidote to the many stresses of the day. May it be so for you as well.
September 15, 2004
September 14, 2004
Though Mr. Abagnale has not personally seen the documents or copies of the documents, from what he has seen on television he believes the documents are forgeries. He feels this should be evident to anyone of any knowledge of forged documents.
I can tell you that he sent an e-mail to Neil Cavuto of Your World on Fox News Network (he knows him personally) that stated: "If my forgeries looked as bad as the CBS documents, it would have been "Catch Me In Two Days".
September 13, 2004
A lot has been said about my angry demeanor. I've made enough speeches to know that you're supposed to connect with the audience by telling a joke or a humorous anecdote or some amusing tale. It's a tried-and-true formula that I've used for most of my life. But this was not a normal speech in a normal time.
Today, we are at the most serious moment of history that we may ever know, and I wanted to connect with the seriousness of this moment, not the audience.
Although Miller continues to share many of the values of the Democratic Party, he understands the times better than any other prominent Democrat...and he's man enough to say so, regardless of the political consequences. For that reason, he has my admiration.
September 10, 2004
Direct popular election would also vastly increase the risk of corruption and electoral disputes. With every vote competing directly against every other vote, dishonest politicians everywhere would have an incentive to engage in fraud on behalf of their parties. And a close race would make the 2000 Florida brouhaha look like a kerfuffle. Every one of the nation's 3,066 counties could expect to be overrun by lawyers demanding recounts.
The effort to institute direct popular election of the President is also likely to go nowhere. That's because the Electoral College benefits two groups of states--sparsely populated ones, whose representation in the College is disproportionately high relative to their populations, and closely divided "swing" states like Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, where both parties have a decent shot at winning.
Based on 2000 Census data and election results, only 11 states are both populous and politically monolithic enough that their influence would grow with popular election of the President: California, Texas, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Massachusetts, Indiana and Maryland. Amending the Constitution to abolish the Electoral College would require the assent of 38 state legislatures, so at least 27 of them would have to vote against the interests of their own states.
September 8, 2004
Hundreds of children dead. Hundreds missing. Children bayoneted for requesting a drink. Children shot in the back as they fled. Does the word "evildoers" still seem so laughably simplistic?
Do the terms guerrilla and "militant" and "gunmen" and every other wire-service euphemisms for Islamist terrorists rise to the challenge of describing the depravities of Beslan?
Even the word "terrorist" seems inadequate nowadays, drained of its dread through overuse. "Monsters" or "devils" would be more apt, but it's wrong to dehumanize the men and women who committed this barbarity. Even dogs know other dogs are dogs. These people don't see others as people at all, but animate meat in thrall to the wrong god. Better off dead, really. And you get gold stars in Paradise for pulling the trigger. How do you vanquish such people?
September 7, 2004
[A] wise and frugal government...shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum ofgood government.
September 6, 2004
September 4, 2004
Conservative leader Phyllis Schlafly responded to a conciliatory gesture by Sen. Bill Frist by gently suggesting that he should be as tough in his day job as Senate majority leader as he was in chairing the platform committee at the Republican National Convention.Schlafly had grumbled that Frist acted like an old-fashioned Soviet Communist in blocking her efforts to modify the immigration and stem-cell research planks. After the platform was wrapped up, Frist approached her to make some friendly remarks. Schlafly responded, with a smile: "I have only one question. Why can't you run the Senate this way?" Frist has been criticized for not being more effective as majority leader.
- New York governor George Pataki
- Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani
- Virginia Senator George Allen
- Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel
- Tennessee Senator and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist
- Massachussetts Governor Mitt Romney
- Colorado Governor Bill Owens
- Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum
- Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge
- NATO Supreme Commander Gen. James Jones (who??).
September 3, 2004
September 2, 2004
If a pregnant woman chooses tomorrow to have an abortion, the result in 2021 [18 years after the article was written] will be one fewer eligible voter--and that's a statement of fact, not a moral judgment. If tens of millions of women have abortions over decades, as they have, it will eventually have a significant effect on the voting-age population.Not all women, after all, are equally likely to have abortions. It's almost a truism that women who have abortions are more pro-choice than those who carry their pregnancies to term, and it stands to reason that they generally have more-liberal attitudes about sex and religion. It also seems reasonable to assume that parents have some influence on their children, so that if liberal women are having abortions, the next generation will be more conservative than it otherwise would be.
September 1, 2004
What's your plan for parenting & educating all the unwanted children you people want to bring into the world? Who will pay for policing our streets & maintaining the prisons needed to contain them when you, their parents & the system fail them? Oh, sorry. All that money has been earmarked to pay off the Bush deficit. Give me a frigging break, will you?