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July 30, 2004

In ten or twenty years, we'll be entrusting the fate of our nation to the likes of these

Oh, where to start with this one?  Let's begin with the basic facts of the case, which to nobody's surprise involves two lifeguards, a pet rabbit named Lucky, and, of course, California:
Nick Sigmon, 18, and Paul Collins, 20, are accused of taping an illegal M-1000 -- a large firecracker equivalent to a quarter stick of dynamite -- to the rabbit and throwing her into Lake Don Castro.
When the M-1000 failed to explode, Sigmon -- remember, he's a lifeguard -- rushed into the water and saved Lucky from drowning.
There is an organization whose sole reason for existing is to watch out for the welfare of pet rabbits.  When the House Rabbit Society caught wind of the incident, they hopped, as it were, into action.
"Lucky is recovering at a foster owner's home," according to the Associated Press article.  A foster owner's home.
What about the malefactors, Sigmon and Collins?
"I think that a lot of people are judging us without knowing us at all," Sigmon said. Asked why he fitted Lucky with the explosive, he said, "Um, that's a real tough question to answer."

NYT: We voted against the minimum wage before we voted for it

For sixty years the New York Times was a staunch opponent of increases in the minimum wage, correctly arguing that such actions price many poor, unskilled workers out of the labor market.  Bruce Bartlett has been following the Times' editorial stance on the issue since the 1970s, and was taken aback five years ago to see the paper do a sudden, complete reversal on the issue.  Without explanation, since 1999 they have been promoting higher minimum wages just as aggressively as they had been opposing it previously.
Gone are all the old arguments that higher minimum wages cost jobs, are mainly promoted by unions to stifle competition, that most of the benefits go to the children of the well-to-do rather than the poor and that legislating higher wage costs would be inflationary. Now the Times accepts the justification for a higher minimum wage as given and doesn't even try to marshal any facts or analyses in favor of its new position. It simply says the minimum wage should be raised, as if its opinion on the matter is all that anyone needs to know.
We may never know what happened in the summer of 1999 to cause this about-face, but one thing for sure is that the Times can no longer be accused of harboring opinions that are out of step with the left's orthodoxy.

July 28, 2004

John Kerry goes for the crucial votes

John Kerry was treated to a special tour of one of the space shuttles at the Kennedy Space Center this week.  Rush Limbaugh couldn't help but notice the similarities between a photo of Kerry emerging from the shuttle and a scene from a Woody Allen movie:

My theory is that Sen. Kerry discovered an untapped voting bloc, and he's going for their votes:

Within the week we'll likely see CNN featuring an Oompa Loompa spokesman praising Kerry's Vietnam service.

July 26, 2004

NYT: OF COURSE we're liberal (not that there's anything wrong with that)

New York Times "public editor" Daniel Okrent has an intriguing article in which he matter-of-factly admits the paper's liberal bias -- although he prefers boss Sulzberger's description of the paper's viewpoint as "urban".

One significant example he examines is the Times coverage of the homosexual marriage debate.  After giving references to a variety of front-page articles showing every sunshine-and-roses aspect of homosexual marriage that the paper can imagine, Okrent notes that the paper has published almost nothing on what he calls the "potentially nettlesome effects of gay marriage".  He offers this as explanation:

On a topic that has produced one of the defining debates of our time, Times editors have failed to provide the three-dimensional perspective balanced journalism requires. This has not occurred because of management fiat, but because getting outside one's own value system takes a great deal of self-questioning.

This is most likely true.  Whatever the management believes, the worker bees of the major media are for the most part cheerful accomplices in the dissemination of liberalism.  They offer no other perspective, because they know no other perspective.

Planned Parenthood jumps on the "I'm so proud I killed my baby" bandwagon

Planned Parenthood, possibly taking a cue from the New York Times' abortion pride campaign (previous posts here and here), has introduced a new "social fashion" line of clothing.  Its newest addition:  a blood-red shirt reading simply: I had an abortion.

July 24, 2004

Perhaps next we'll find Jimmy Hoffa there

Scott Ott, my favorite political satirist, has news of yet another shocking discovery:
The Pentagon announced today that the newly-released payroll records from President Bush's 1972 National Guard service were discovered in the socks of Clinton-era national security advisor Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger.

July 22, 2004

NYT continues its kill-your-baby-and-be-proud campaign

The New York Times, after causing a stir with Amy Richards' heartwarming account of how she aborted two of the triplets she was carrying, has struck again.  Today, Barbara Ehrenreich is lambasting women who think that some reasons for abortion are morally more acceptable than others.  Ehrenreich, of course, believes that any reason whatsoever will do, and that the "mother" should spare no time for second thoughts.

The prejudice is widespread that a termination for medical reasons is somehow on a higher moral plane than a run-of-the-mill abortion. In a 1999 survey of Floridians, for example, 82 percent supported legal abortion in the case of birth defects, compared with about 40 percent in situations where the woman simply could not afford to raise another child.

But what makes it morally more congenial to kill a particular "defective" fetus than to kill whatever fetus happens to come along, on an equal opportunity basis? Medically informed "terminations" are already catching heat from disability rights groups, and, indeed, some of the conditions for which people are currently choosing abortion, like deafness or dwarfism, seem a little sketchy to me. I'll still defend the right to choose abortion in these cases, even if it isn't the choice I'd make for myself.

Like Amy Richards did, Ehrenreich ends with a reassurance that she's not a bad person:

Honesty begins at home, so I should acknowledge that I had two abortions during my all-too-fertile years. You can call me a bad woman, but not a bad mother. I was a dollar-a-word freelancer and my husband a warehouse worker, so it was all we could do to support the existing children at a grubby lower-middle-class level. And when it comes to my children - the actual extrauterine ones, that is - I was, and remain, a lioness.

In making the appalling "extrauterine" distinction, she is implicitly admitting that the ones she killed were also her children.  This is no gotcha, though.  To the feminists, abortion has always been about the "mother", not the child, so whatever one happens to call that uterine mass is a matter of one's personal preference.

July 20, 2004

New frontiers in outsourcing

File this under "things Tim would never have thought of in a million years":
PULL off Interstate 55 near Cape Girardeau, Mo., and into the drive-through lane of a McDonald's next to the highway and you'll get fast, friendly service, even though the person taking your order is not in the restaurant - or even in Missouri.

The order taker is in a call center in Colorado Springs, more than 900 miles away, connected to the customer and to the workers preparing the food by high-speed data lines. Even some restaurant jobs, it seems, are not immune to outsourcing.

The man who owns the Cape Girardeau restaurant, Shannon Y. Davis, has linked it and 3 other of his 12 McDonald's franchises to the Colorado call center, which is run by another McDonald's franchisee, Steven T. Bigari. And he did it for the same reasons that other business owners have embraced call centers: lower costs, greater speed and fewer mistakes.

Given that the customers don't realize what is going on, and that the quality of service has actually improved, this appears to be a good business decision.

(Credit: LibertyBlog and Outside The Beltway)

Proposed 65-10 rule: No more private property in King County, WA?

According to a July 10 Fox News article:
Residents of King County, Wash., will only be able to build on 10 percent of their land, according to a new law being considered by the county government, which, if enacted, will be the most restrictive land use law in the nation.
Known as the 65-10 Rule, it calls for landowners to set aside 65 percent of their property and keep it in its natural, vegetative state. According to the rule, nothing can be built on this land, and if a tree is cut down, for example, it must be replanted. Building anything is out of the question.
If this is enacted, it will essentially mean the end of private property in rural King County.  To be sure, people will still retain title to tracts of land, but in reality they will be reduced to caretakers, with the government graciously allowing them to build a house on a corner of the land (undoubtedly subject to additional restrictions).
Environmentalist groups pushing for this rule would love to see the area return to wilderness in its entirety, so I expect that they wouldn't mind at all if current landowners just picked up and left.
The King County government's summary of the proposed rule can be found here.  Read it, and then imagine yourself owning a tract of undeveloped land there.

U.S. to blame for increased sunspot activity?

A Swiss study has found a strong correlation between the sun's brightest output in over 1000 years and the existence of the United States.  America's culpability in this increased output, which appears to be a major contributor to global warming, will likely be addressed at the next international climate conference.

July 19, 2004

Tony Blair: 1960s attitudes to blame for modern social ills

Tell me again: which party does the UK PM represent?  The rhetoric in this speech sounds suspiciously conservative:

Tony Blair today launched an extraordinary attack on the decline of the traditional family and the rise of "different lifestyles".

In a speech which risked a backlash from single parents' groups and Labour MPs, the Prime Minister said the culture of the "Swinging Sixties" was partly to blame for crime and social breakdown.

"A society of different lifestyles spawned a group of young people who were brought up without parental discipline, without proper role models and without any sense of responsibility to others," said Mr Blair. "All of this was then multiplied in effect by the economic and social changes that altered the established pattern of community life in cities, towns and villages."

He added: "Today, people have had enough of this part of the 1960s consensus. People do not want a return to old prejudices and ugly discrimination. But they do want rules, order and proper behaviour. They want a community where the decent lawabiding majority are in charge."

July 18, 2004

The babies are dead, and everything's fine

Amy Richards, a 34 year old urban professional living in Manhattan with her boyfriend, recently found that she was pregnant with triplets.  She made the horrifyingly casual decision to kill two of the babies in the womb through a procedure known as "selective reduction".  In this case it meant injecting potassium chloride into the healthy hearts of two children whose only crime was to exist at an inconvenient time in their mother's life.
After the "procedure", she thought it appropriate to tell the whole world about her experience and to reassure us that "everything's fine."
So glad to hear you're okay, Miss Richards. 
Michelle Malkin remarks: "I can only imagine how her surviving son will feel when he grows up and learns about the fate of his siblings."
Will you be the one to tell him, Miss Richards, or will he stumble across it one day in the New York Times archives, or will he hear it from some total stranger?  As he struggles to understand what happened, the realization will slowly dawn on him that he could just as easily have been one of the two, and that even if he had been selected, his mother still would have said that "everything's fine."

July 17, 2004

'Intentional Fallacy' follies, cont'd.

Here is another example of how the rejection of Original Intent reduces the clearly understandable to the level of meaninglessness:
A federal judge yesterday [July 15] struck down Washington state's ban on selling violent video games to minors, calling it an unconstitutional violation of free speech.
The "free speech" clause of the First Amendment, which was intended to protect the expression of political opinions that the federal government didn't like, has become a guarantee that video game manufacturers can sell to whomever they wish.
I think that a case can be made against government regulation of this business, but I don't think that the First Amendment should be a part of that case.
As a side note, I should mention that the rejection of Original Intent has also led to the misconception that the U.S. Constitution (which is the founding charter of the federal government) is equally binding on all levels of government (and even on non-government entities).  This is yet another reason why the invocation of the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment to strike down a state law was illegitimate.

'Intentional Fallacy' follies

Bob Wenz has an intriguing take on two seemingly unrelated events that occurred last fall: the emergence of a de facto supermajority requirement for presidential nominations to the federal court bench, and the decision by the Episcopal Church to elevate a practicing homosexual to the office of bishop.
In the first case, Senate Democrats, knowing that they couldn't stop the confirmation of President Bush's nominees by way of a simple majority vote, took the unprecedented step of filibustering the nominations.  Breaking a filibuster requires a supermajority of 60 votes, a tally the Republicans has no hope of achieving on issues the Democrats unite in opposing.  In the second case, the Episcopal Church promoted Gene Robinson despite the clear teachings of Scripture against homosexual conduct and against the promotion of the unrepentant to positions of leadership in the church.
While the filibuster strategy was problematic in itself, the Democrats' reason for resorting to this strategy was even more so: they insisted that the nominees (otherwise considered highly qualified) were "out of the judicial mainstream" because their judicial philosophy strays dangerously in the direction of strict constructionism and original intent -- philosophies that the Democrats view as extremist.
At their foundation these events do in fact share something in common -- the notion that an author's intent does not necessarily have relevance to the way a reader should interpret what he is reading.  Consistently applied, this notion (called the "Intentional Fallacy") allows documents like the Constitution and the Bible to mean whatever the reader wants them to mean -- and often leads to doctrines and principles that are in complete opposition to the plain meaning of the words.
Most certainly, the logical end of this philosophy vis-à-vis the Bible and the Constitution is that no meaningful constraint may be placed on any conduct in which one (as an individual or as a government) wishes to engage. After all, who's to say that your interpretation is superior to mine? 
Come to think of it, this may have been the original intent of those who cling to this philosophy.

July 16, 2004

Correction of the week

From OpinionJournal.com's Best of the Web, July 16:
An item yesterday (since correceted [sic]) misquoted an article in the Times of London. The quote should have read, "Finding water, shelter and food are the three keys to survival on a desert island, according to experts," not, "I grafted you into the tree of my chosen Israel and you turned on them with persecution and mass murder. I made you joint heirs with them of my covenants, but you made them scapegoats for your own guilt."

July 15, 2004

Medicare may collapse under the weight of HHS' new obesity designation

Medicare is discarding its policy that obesity is not a disease, potentially throwing open the door for millions of overweight Americans to make medical claims for treatments such as stomach surgery and diet programs.

Census 'long form' lives on

Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution directs that a census be taken every ten years to get an exact count of all citizens for the purpose of apportioning representatives and direct taxes (back in the days before the progressive income tax) among the states.  The census is supposed to be a headcount.  Period.
The 2000 Census showed how far the "headcount" has strayed from its mandate.  Then, many people were treated to the indignity of the outrageously nosy "long form", which contained page after page of intrusive questions -- 53 in all -- on subjects the federal government has no constitutional business collecting data on, as this excerpt from a CNN report illustrates:
Among the long-form questions drawing ire is question 17, which asks about the respondent's physical, mental or emotional conditions. And question 39 asks whether the respondent has complete plumbing facilities: hot and cold water? A flush toilet? A bathtub or shower?
Now, according to U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), the Census Bureau is sending out the equivalent of the long form every year.  Those unfortunate enough to receive what is now called the "American Community Survey" face the prospect of thousands of dollars in fines ($1000 per question) if they decline to participate.
Rep. Paul tried to strip funding for the survey but, like most of his constitutionalist initiatives, his attempt went nowhere.  Political Washington is comfortable with the way things are now; no sense letting something like the Constitution get in the way.

July 12, 2004

From someone who knows propaganda when he hears it

"We were used to such messages in the communist days. Everybody has open eyes and can understand that this is propaganda. It was a weak film that tells us nothing new."

-- VACLAV KLAUS, president of the Czech Republic, after watching the MICHAEL MOORE documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11."

(Via Yahoo/Reuters)

July 9, 2004


Most of you are reading this because you were searching for pictures of President Bush. You can find them here.

While you're here, why don't you stay and visit for a while?

C-Pol looks at current events and trends from an American constitutionalist and conservative perspective. You can find the latest posts here, or you can click the "HOME" link to the right. Thanks!

Carnival of the vulgarities

The Kerry/Edwards campaign raked in $7.5 million last night at a fundraiser that surely must have set new lows for moral degeneracy (at least in an official event for the nominee of one of the major parties).  The event was littered with entertainer after entertainer firing off insults and vulgarities in President Bush's direction.  The lowlight of the evening was Whoopi Goldberg who, according to the New York Post, "delivered an X-rated rant full of sexual innuendoes" against the president.  Can you feel the hate in this place?
So did this shameful display cause Kerry and Edwards to squirm even a little?  The Post says that "Kerry could be seen laughing uproariously during part of Goldberg's tirade - and neither he nor Edwards voiced a single objection to its tone when they spoke to the crowd."  At the end of the evening, Kerry praised the entertainers, saying that "every performer tonight ... conveyed to you the heart and soul of our country."  The heart and soul of "blue" America, maybe.
Even the New York Times appears to see the conflict between the values that Kerry/Edwards claim to represent and the values they actually embraced at last night's fundraiser.  Here is an excerpt from their account of the event:

But unlike one of Mr. Kerry's vanquished primary rivals, Howard Dean, who denounced racial humor and profanity at one of his own fundraisers in New York, Mr. Edwards and Mr. Kerry hardly veered from their script when they mounted the stage at the end of the extravaganza, looking more subdued than they had all week.

"This campaign will be a celebration of real American values," Mr. Edwards promised, saying that voters "deserve a president who knows the difference between what is right and what is wrong."

Indeed, voters "deserve a president who knows the difference between what is right and what is wrong."  Kerry demonstrated last night that he is not such a man.


UPDATE: Reader 'chocolate' writes:
The day after this fiasco, Sean Hannity had his 2nd annual "Freedom Concert" with 12,000 people attending. It was as opposite an event as you could imagine in both message and content. This event raised $2,000,000 for college scholarships for the children of slain soldiers in the War on Terror. I'm sure the event and it's significance will be ignored.

When was the last time you heard of any Democrat group or person, political or private that raised any money for such a worthwhile cause? All they seem to do is to get together, raise money for Kerry's campaign and bash the administration. But, they care about the hurting. They really do.

Senators opposed to or undecided on the Federal Marriage Amendment

Robert Bennett (R.-Utah), Lincoln Chafee (R.-R.I.), Susan Collins (R.-Maine), Mike DeWine (R.-Ohio), Judd Gregg (R.-N.H.), Richard Lugar (R.-Ind.), John McCain (R.-Ariz.), Lisa Murkowski (R.-Alaska), Don Nickles (R.-Okla.), Gordon Smith (R.-Ore.), Olympia Snowe (R.-Maine), Arlen Specter (R.-Pa.), Pat Roberts (R.-Kan.), John Sununu, R.-N.H., Craig Thomas (R.-Wyo.), George Voinovich (R.-Ohio), John Warner (R.-Va.)

Daniel Akaka (D.-Hawaii), Max Baucus (D.-Mont.), Evan Bayh (D.-Ind.), Joseph Biden (D.-Del.), Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Barbara Boxer (D.-Calif.), John Breaux (D.-La.), Robert Byrd (D.-W.Va.), Maria Cantwell (D.-Wash.), Thomas Carper (D.-Del.), Hillary Clinton (D.-N.Y.), Kent Conrad (D.-N.D.), Jon Corzine (D.-N.J.), Thomas Daschle (D.-S.D.), Mark Dayton (D.-Minn.), , Christopher Dodd (D.-Conn.), Byron Dorgan (D.-N.D.), Richard Durbin (D.-Ill.), John Edwards (D.-N.C.), Russell Feingold (D.-Wis.), Dianne Feinstein (D.-Calif.), Bob Graham (D.-Fla.), , Chuck Hagel (R.-Neb.), Tom Harkin (D.-Iowa), Ernest Hollings (D.-S.C.), Daniel Inouye (D.-Hawaii), James Jeffords (I-Vt.), Tim Johnson (D.-S.D.), Edward Kennedy (D.-Mass.), John Kerry (D.-Mass.), Herb Kohl (D.-Wis.), Mary Landrieu (D.-La.), Frank Lautenberg (D.-N.J.), Patrick Leahy (D.-Vt.), Carl Levin (D.-Mich.), Joseph Lieberman (D.-Conn.), Blanche Lincoln (D.-Ark.), , Barbara Mikulski (D.-Md.), , Patty Murray (D.-Wash.), Bill Nelson (D.-Fla.), Ben Nelson (D.-Neb.), , Mark Pryor (D.-Ark.), Jack Reed (D.-R.I.), Harry Reid (D.-Nev.), John Rockefeller (D.-W.Va.), Paul Sarbanes (D.-Md.), Charles Schumer (D.-N.Y.), Debbie Stabenow (D.-Mich.), Ron Wyden (D.-Ore.).

A cacophony of lonely voices

The Washington Post, in its sycophantic front-page defense of John Edwards' foreign policy credentials, reveals that in the summer of 2001, the senator was gravely concerned about the growing terrorist threat, and gravely distressed that nobody would pay any attention to his concerns.
Is it just my imagination, or has just about every political figure in Washington revealed that he or she alone had a deep sense of foreboding about terrorism in the months leading up to 9/11?

July 8, 2004

Why limit government?

In June, Lawrence W. Reed of the Mackinac Center gave a speech to the Heritage Foundation on why conservatives seek to limit the size and scope of government (okay, some conservatives).  He dances around the constitutionalist arguments, but doesn't really dwell long in that territory.  His arguments focus mostly on common sense arguments, such as: except for "certain minimal, but critical functions", there's very little that government can do better than individuals, businesses and private organizations acting in voluntary association.  And, you don't really want the government you think you want:
With regard to government, at the "core" of our core principles are these unassailable truths: Government has nothing to give anybody except what it first takes from somebody, and a government that is big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you've got.
The entire speech is well worth the read.

Just saying No to airline bailouts

Larry Elder makes a persuasive case that the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath did not harm the airline industry to the point where a taxpayer bailout was needed.  Cost-conscious airlines like Southwest, Jet Blue and AirTran not only rode out the economic downturn, but actually expanded their fleets and their service.  Corporate giants like United, however, believe their economic woes are due to external circumstances beyond their control and not due to flawed business models, and thus, like homeless people, line up at the FedGov soup kitchen looking for a handout.
The Bush administration, to its credit, turned down United's latest bailout request.  Much as I'd like to believe that the administration suddenly got religion regarding constitutional limits of power, a far more plausible explanation is that either (a) they saw it as too financially risky, or (b) they were looking to avoid some election-year bad PR (i.e., those eeeevil Republicans and their corporate welfare).  I tend toward explanation (a), since this administration does appear to make a lot of its spending decisions based on cost/benefit analyses, but I'm not willing to rule out explanation (b) completely.

Many Dems hate what Edwards represents, but they don't know it...yet

Jim Pinkerton opines that VP candidate John Edwards is the embodiment of the Democrats' decades-long transition from being the party of the "sons of toil" (i.e. blue-collar workers) to being the party of the "sophists of tort" (i.e. trial lawyers).  The business community understands what Edwards represents, and his inclusion on the Dem ticket may galvanize that community against Kerry, but there is no indication that blue-collar Democrats understand that Edwards and his ilk enrich themselves at the expense of the "little guys" they purport to champion.
If the GOP is wise, they will seize this opportunity for a massive campaign to erode the blue-collar support the Dems usually take for granted.

July 7, 2004

Good advice from a celebrity

Stand-up comic Dave Chappelle, in the midst of a rant against his fans at a June 15 concert in Sacramento, gave the audience this gem of good advice:

Chappelle's harshest words were addressed to those audience members who worship entertainers and athletes.

"Stop listening to celebrities," he said. "They do what they do for money - that's all. I don't even know why you're listening to me. I've done commercials for both Coke and Pepsi. Truth is, I can't even taste the difference, but Pepsi paid me last, so there it is."

(Credit: Federalist Digest, 04-27 Chronicle)

Happy 58th Birthday, Mr. President!

(Better late than never!)





July 2, 2004

You may be sure that your sin will find you out (Num. 32:23)

Article excerpt:

A red light camera in Southern California caught one woman in the act -- of cheating.

Hawthorne Officer Mark Escalante said a local resident is challenging his $341 red-light violation ticket.

The ticket was mailed to the registered owner of the car. But the car owner says the camera's automatic videotape shows he wasn't driving -- it was his wife's lover behind the wheel. The jilted husband is getting a divorce.

What Jefferson REALLY meant by 'wall of separation'

I consider the government of the U.S. as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises.
-- Thomas Jefferson
(Courtesy of The Federalist's "Founders Quote Daily")

July 1, 2004

P.T. Barnum lives on in Michael Moore

Back in November of 2003, Michael Moore, likely anticipating the enthusiastic reception for his latest dreckumentary, Fahrenheit 9/11, confided to a fawning Daily Mirror reporter that the American people "are possibly the dumbest people on the planet".
Of course, I'm taking the quote out of context (he really meant that far too many Americans disagree with him), but hey, turnabout's fair play.