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January 29, 2009

Reports of Narnia's demise are exaggerated: Dawn Treader is back!

The LA Times' Entertainment News & Buzz blog brings us the good news that 20th Century Fox has rescued the third Narnia movie, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, from potential oblivion:
Twentieth Century Fox has agreed to co-finance the third movie in the “Chronicles of Narnia” series, pending approval of the final script and shooting budget. If all goes as planned, Fox and Walden Media, which controls the movie rights to C.S. Lewis’ classic children's books, hope to be begin production on "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" by late summer so it will be ready for holiday 2010 release.

First, however, Fox and Walden have to hire a screenwriter to do another pass on the script that was last rewritten by Richard LaGravenese, whose credits include "Freedom Writers" and "The Horse Whisperer." The movie companies are looking to make the film for about $140 million. Michael Apted, who made "Amazing Grace" and the 1999 Bond flick "The World Is Not Enough," is on board to direct.

Fox is taking a financial gamble that Disney was unwilling to wage despite helping bankroll the first two films in the "Narnia" family franchise. Walden, owned by entrepreneur Phil Anschutz, was forced to seek a new financial partner on “Dawn Treader” after Disney balked at the cost and opted out.

Fox was the most likely partner because the studio already markets and distributes Walden movies under its Fox Walden label.
NarniaFans.com's Paul Martin adds that "[t]he goal is to get back to the magical aspects present in the first “Narnia” pic but mostly absent from “Prince Caspian.”"

Lucy and Edmund's real-world counterparts are growing quickly, so here's to hoping that there are no further delays.

For those unfamiliar with the story, the book opens with this wonderful line:
There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.
I'm looking forward to seeing how they portray Eustace in the movie version.

(Image credit: HarperCollins)

We can dream, can't we? 'Rangel Rule' would eliminate IRS late fees and interest

I know that Rep. Carter is doing this with tongue in cheek, but I think this is a far more effective way to highlight hypocrisy in Congress than simply issuing press releases would be.

Fox News, January 28:

Americans may be able to rest a little easier this April if Congressman John Carter, R-Texas gets his way.

Rep. Carter introduced a bill Wednesday to eliminate all IRS penalties and interest for paying taxes past due.

The legislation calls for the creation of what he calls the, "Rangel Rule," -- drawing attention to the recent legal issues of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., enabling citizens who fail to pay taxes on time to do so later with no additional fees.

Rangel, who writes the country's tax policies, acknowledged last fall that he failed to pay thousands in real estate taxes for rental income he earned from a property in the Dominican Republic.

As of September 2008 the Harlem Democrat reportedly paid back more than $10,000 in taxes but that did not include any IRS penalties.

"Your citizens back home should have the same rights and benefits that come to you as a member of congress. You shouldn't be treated any differently under the law than your citizens back home," Carter said.

He added that citizens should receive the "same courtesy" that the IRS is allegedly granting Rangel and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who also recently acknowledged a failure to pay taxes.

(Photo credit: NYT, 9/10/2008)

January 27, 2009

Property taxes and pain tolerance

Forbes has published a Tax Foundation table ranking 788 U.S. counties according to how much is paid in property taxes as a percentage of household income. The rankings are based on data from the 2007 U.S. Census American Community Survey.

New York and New Jersey take top honors in the quest to consume the largest portion of the citizens' hard-earned money: 22 of the 25 highest counties! And yet, people still consent to live there, and -- most likely -- keep voting for the folks who imposed the levies on them in the first place. Why?

#1, Passaic County in New Jersey, taxes away 8.5% of its citizens' median income. The rate for my county is less than half of that, and it is is apparently below the pain threshold of the majority of the voters. I sometimes complain about my property tax bill, but I expect that I would squeal like a stuck pig if I was presented with a bill like the ones that the citizens of New York and New Jersey routinely pay.

If you are a property owner in one of the top-ranked counties, I would love to hear your thoughts about your property taxes, and about the general attitude of your fellow citizens there.

January 24, 2009

Conservatives can make their case without resorting to propaganda, can't they?

Newsmax (January 22) brings us an interesting factoid about the Obama inauguration:

Obama Inaugural Ratings Fall Short of Reagan’s

Although the number of viewers watching the presidential inauguration coverage of Barack Obama was impressive, they fall short of those who saw Ronald Reagan take the oath of office for his first term in 1981.

According to Nielsen Media Research, 37.8 million television viewers tuned in Tuesday to watch the swearing-in ceremony, which was the largest inaugural audience in 28 years. Reagan's first inauguration in 1981 drew a whopping 41.8 million.

Yaaaay! Reagan beats Obama! Take that, liberals!

Four paragraphs later we get this oh-by-the-way:
The ratings do not, however, include the huge online viewing audience, with CNN.com, FoxNews.com and MSNBC.com all reporting record-breaking streaming video traffic. Google reports that searches were down during the event.
The online audience was enormous (I was one of the countless folks trying to access CNN's live stream), making the article's focus on the Nielsen ratings meaningless.

If this article had focused on the declining influence of television as a news source, that would be fine. Instead, Newsmax engages in propaganda by exaggerating the importance a small part of the information with the intent of leading the reader to a false conclusion.

Yeah, yeah, the liberal media do that all the time.... so does that mean we must measure ourselves by their standard?

Conservatives have plenty of pure, unvarnished truth to wield against the leftwing government that just took power.

We can make our case without resorting to propaganda techniques, can't we? If we can't, aren't we just admitting the weakness of our case?

January 23, 2009

What media bias?

New York Magazine's Gabriel Sherman reports that attendees at the New York Times' inauguration party Tuesday night were instructed to wear a pin bearing the image shown here.

The Times attempted to rationalize the celebration. It surely seems to be splitting hairs to wave off all objections by saying, "Hey, this was organized by the marketing department, not the newsroom."

Sherman comes up with a few rationalizations of his own, including the suggestion that the Times is celebrating because Obama will be good for the economy, and a good economy will be better for the Times' circulation numbers. See? It's nothing political. Obama's just good for business.


The public will look at this image and see in it a confirmation of what they've always known to be true about the Times. Their man is in office now, and it's time to celebrate.

Via: Power Line

Mac is back, alas and alack

John McCain didn't take long to remind us of why he would have lost the election by an even greater margin if Sarah Palin hadn't been on the ticket. Washington Post, January 23:

A joke made its way around the Capitol yesterday: How do you know the 2008 election is really over? Because John McCain is causing trouble for Republicans again.

Two and a half months removed from his defeat in the race for the presidency, colleagues say, McCain bears more resemblance to the unpredictable and frequently bipartisan lawmaker they have served with for decades than the man who ran an often scathing campaign against Barack Obama. In some instances, he's even carrying water for his former rival.

"Mac is back!" one of his devoted friends in the Senate declared as McCain walked into the chamber Wednesday to deliver his first speech of the 111th Congress: a blunt admonishment of Republicans delaying Hillary Rodham Clinton's confirmation as secretary of state.

"I remind all my colleagues: We had an election," McCain noted. "I think the message the American people are sending us now is they want us to work together, and get to work."

Ah, that's the maverick we all know and love: the one who spends more time publicly criticizing members of his own party than he does the people and policies of the other party.

Jim Geraghty at NRO remarks:
Mac is back—back to his moral preening about how bipartisan he is, back to his reflexive demonization of his own party, back to his refusal to recognize any legitimate concerns raised by those who disagree with him. If we're going to have Democratic agenda enacted, better it be by a Democrat than a Republican obsessed with avoiding the "partisan" label in the White House.
Back in the primaries, McCain benefited from the fact that the conservative vote was divided among several candidates. I could come up with pros and cons for each of the GOP candidates... except McCain. I decided that there was no way I could in good conscience vote for him. By the time the Texas primary rolled around, McCain already had the nomination secured, so my vote for Fred Thompson (who had already withdrawn) was purely symbolic (albeit sincere).

In the summer of 2008 I got one of those window stickers that helped me to express my wholehearted support for the party's nominee:
If I have to...
I guess...

I was actually going to vote for him in November, but only because the Democrats' choice made him look good. I never got around to putting the sticker in my car window, because in late August McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate. I still didn't trust him, but I gave him credit for a little bit of sense. A little. Choosing Palin did nothing to change who he is at his core.

This "real McCain" has finally reemerged, and conservatives have gone back to wondering out loud: Why does he continue to call himself Republican?

Not that "conservative" and "Republican" are synonymous, but still...

January 22, 2009

If we're nice to the bully, maybe he'll be nicer to us

So. If we go easy on the enemy combatants currently residing at Gitmo, their brethren planning their next operation against Americans will let up on the carnage a little bit? Did I understand that correctly?

Fox News, January 22:
The closing of Guantanamo Bay detention center and using the Army Field Manual as the basis for all interrogation is aimed at protecting Americans, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday.

In his first press conference since President Obama was inaugurated, Gibbs said the orders "made America safer, made America stronger."

"The president believes that there's no more important job that he has than to keep the American people safe," Gibbs said at the White House press briefing room.

"The president believes that what he did today will enhance the security of the American people, that it lives up to our values as Americans, and that it will protect the men and women that we have in uniform," he said.

Senate committee approves incompetent Treasury nominee

The Senate Finance Committee has decided 18-5 that Timothy Geithner's incompetence regarding the reporting of his own income is no impediment to his overseeing the agency with the power to punish our incompetence in this area.

Democrat Kent Conrad justified his vote for confirmation:

One committee member, Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., a former tax commissioner, said in normal times, Geithner's failure to pay his taxes would have led Conrad to oppose the nomination.

"But these are not normal times," Conrad said. He said the economy's not "out of the woods" and touted Geithner's extensive experience at a time when the country needs a treasury secretary imminently.

In other words, we're in a hurry, and Obama wants him in there. Good enough for me.

You see, it was actually TurboTax's fault, even though the only way it will report a false result is if you don't honestly answer the questions it asks.

January 21, 2009

The cultural landmines of international diplomacy

I spend a lot of volunteer time helping international graduate students improve their English skills. Over the years, I have gained an appreciation for the fact that genuine communication is much more than just words.

This is especially true when we engage in cross-cultural communication. The words we hear from our international acquaintances may seem familiar and unambiguous, but the words (and the way they are delivered) come wrapped a cultural context that must be understood in order for true communication to occur.

I was reminded of this as I read Genesis 23 in the Bible this morning. The chapter deals with Abraham as he makes preparations to bury his wife Sarah, who has just passed away. He is interested in a particular burial place -- one that happens to be on land owned by someone else.

The conversation he has with the owner of the land was a bit terrifying to me, once I discovered that I had completely misunderstood what was going on until the very end. Here is the passage (taken from the New International Version):
1 Sarah lived to be a hundred and twenty-seven years old. 2 She died at Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went to mourn for Sarah and to weep over her.

3 Then Abraham rose from beside his dead wife and spoke to the Hittites. He said, 4 "I am an alien and a stranger among you. Sell me some property for a burial site here so I can bury my dead."

5 The Hittites replied to Abraham, 6 "Sir, listen to us. You are a mighty prince among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our tombs. None of us will refuse you his tomb for burying your dead."

7 Then Abraham rose and bowed down before the people of the land, the Hittites. 8 He said to them, "If you are willing to let me bury my dead, then listen to me and intercede with Ephron son of Zohar on my behalf 9 so he will sell me the cave of Machpelah, which belongs to him and is at the end of his field. Ask him to sell it to me for the full price as a burial site among you."

10 Ephron the Hittite was sitting among his people and he replied to Abraham in the hearing of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of his city. 11 "No, my lord," he said. "Listen to me; I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. I give it to you in the presence of my people. Bury your dead."

12 Again Abraham bowed down before the people of the land 13 and he said to Ephron in their hearing, "Listen to me, if you will. I will pay the price of the field. Accept it from me so I can bury my dead there."

14 Ephron answered Abraham, 15 "Listen to me, my lord; the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver, but what is that between me and you? Bury your dead."

16 Abraham agreed to Ephron's terms and weighed out for him the price he had named in the hearing of the Hittites: four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weight current among the merchants.

17 So Ephron's field in Machpelah near Mamre—both the field and the cave in it, and all the trees within the borders of the field—was deeded 18 to Abraham as his property in the presence of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of the city. 19 Afterward Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave in the field of Machpelah near Mamre (which is at Hebron) in the land of Canaan. 20 So the field and the cave in it were deeded to Abraham by the Hittites as a burial site.
It wasn't until verse 15 that I began to suspect that Abraham and Ephron were negotiating a sale. Ephron kept insisting that Abraham accept the land as a gift. Why didn't Abraham graciously take him at his word (like the typical American would)? Because he understood the Hittite culture, and knew that Ephron would eventually get around to stating his price (all the while insisting that he wouldn't accept the money).

This is very sobering to me, because I am often foolish enough to think that, upon meeting an international for the first time, I can quickly establish a rapport and engage in meaningful conversation without knowing anything significant about that person's culture.

Okay, this is a blog about politics, culture and religion. I've mentioned culture and religion already in this post, so let's round it out with a political-moral-of-the-story.

Today, Hillary Clinton was confirmed as Secretary of State. On the individual level -- say, between me and one of my international friends -- cross-cultural miscommunications can lead to hard feelings and confusion. On the international level, the consequences of miscommunication can be much worse.

Here's to hoping that Mrs. Clinton will take her job seriously, with a full appreciation for the hazards inherent in her job. It's a dangerous world out there.

Gracious winners, all of them

The Hill's Blog Briefing Room, January 20:
Bush Mocked As He Arrives on Inauguration Dais
@ 11:52 am by Hill Staff

The crowd packed on the west side of the Capitol grounds serenaded President Bush in mocking fashion when he took to the inaugural stage alongside Vice President Dick Cheney.

"Nah nah nah nah, hey hey, good-bye," a section of the crowd chanted.

The crowd packed immediately below the podium received Bush in stony silence when he took his seat on the stage surrounding the podium where Barack Obama was scheduled to take the oath office to become the 44th president of the United States.

The jeers are among the final public feedback Bush will receive as president.
Another first in the history of presidential inaugurations?

These folks have a long, hard road ahead of them. How will their Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS) find an outlet now that the object of their obsession has left public life?

January 17, 2009

Obama: Like FDR in all ways but one

Let's see now: Financial crisis? Check. Republican president to blame it on? Check. Subservient Congress willing to empty the country's treasury (such as it is) into countless projects of dubious economic (but considerable political) value? Check.

Only one thing he lacks.

On January 6, New York Democrat Rep. José Serrano introduced House Joint Resolution 5, which is designed to remove a technical barrier to Barack Obama being declared President For Life by his adoring, grateful citizens:
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as President.
Serrano hasn't found any cosponsors yet, so maybe there's still enough congressfolks leery of transforming the Oval Office into a throne room. Here's to hoping.

UPDATE, 01/18: Tony V. informs me that Serrano has proposed the repeal at the beginning of each of the past five sessions of Congress, so that seems to indicate that the congressman's objection to the 22nd amendment is based on principle. Given that the previous four attempts were during President Bush's administration, it's no surprise that the measure went nowhere then. But why can't Serrano find any cosponsors now? Perhaps it's because Rep. Pelosi is busy consolidating her own power, and isn't interested in ceding any of that power to a charismatic executive.

January 16, 2009

Will Obama administration support automakers' call to "stabilize" gasoline prices?

Automakers are looking to suck up even more losses as low gasoline prices wipe out most of the potential demand for soon-to-be-unveiled electric cars, as the Associated Press reports January 13:
Deep inside the research centers of General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC, the companies are spending billions to develop plug-in electric cars at a time when gasoline has dropped below $2 per gallon.
If their fears come true, gas prices will be so low when they start rolling out the cars next year that people won’t buy them and all the high-priced research will have gone to waste.
At GM and Chrysler, which have nearly run out of cash and are surviving on government loans, the companies can’t afford to make mistakes in spending limited research and development dollars, but they can’t predict the future, either.
What can be done to protect automakers from the ups and downs of a free economy? Prop up gasoline prices -- through taxes or price floors -- to guarantee demand for alternatives!

Detroit would love for Washington policymakers to take their inspiration from Europe.
Jim Queen, GM’s global engineering head, said the Obama administration may be open to gas taxes or policies imposed by many European countries that reduce oil consumption and make it easier for manufacturers to match their products to demand.
“My personal opinion is we’d be better served in the U.S. if we could somehow establish a comparable floor that you see in Europe,” Queen said. “And I think with the new administration we may have a shot under the umbrella of an energy policy to start talking about these things.”
In case you're wondering if the incoming Obama administration would look on such proposals favorably, consider that at least one of Obama's two top energy-related appointees think absurdly-high gasoline prices would be wonderful -- not for Detroit's sake, but for ideological reasons, as the Ben Lieberman of The Heritage Foundation writes January 6:
Earlier in the year, then-candidate Obama and leading Democrats in Congress had opposed this expansion of domestic oil drilling. However, both relented in the face of the summer’s public outrage over $4-a-gallon gas, as well as polls showing 2-to-1 support for more drilling. But, as they say, that was then. Since the election, both the incoming administration and Congress have signaled that they might reverse position and undo this policy. And two key Obama appointments might want to go further.
Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., Obama’s nominee for secretary of the interior, was on record as opposing lifting the offshore moratorium even if gasoline were to reach $10 a gallon. The Department of the Interior runs the federal energy-leasing programs. As secretary, Salazar would have the power to slow such leasing to a crawl, with or without the help of Congress.
In fairness, Salazar strongly opposed offshore drilling but never said he actually wanted the price of gas to skyrocket. The same cannot be said of secretary of energy nominee Steven Chu.
Last September, he told The Wall Street Journal that "somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe."
European gas taxes are much higher than in the United States and are designed to force people to drive less or not at all. At the time of Chu’s comment, the "levels in Europe" were above $8 a gallon.
The ideologues in Washington win. The executives in Detroit win. We lose.

January 15, 2009

Dem power grab seeks to make GOP irrelevant in Congress

You know that House Democrats have gone too far when the Washington Post (editorial, January 12) criticizes them and accuses them of hypocrisy:
"BILLS SHOULD generally come to the floor under a procedure that allows open, full and fair debate consisting of a full amendment process that grants the minority the right to offer its alternatives, including a substitute." So promised Nancy Pelosi, now House speaker, before her party regained control of Congress two years ago. That fairness, it turned out, was easier to preach than practice.

When they took over in 2007, Democrats set aside their pledge in order to muscle through their agenda during the first 100 hours; their promises continued to prove hollow in the ensuing months.

[...]A first-day-of-session skirmish over new House rules suggests that the situation in the 111th Congress may not be much better. The dispute involved a particularly arcane aspect of the rules: whether a "motion to recommit," essentially the minority's right to offer an alternative, must include the word "forthwith," in which case the alternative is immediately adopted if approved, or whether it can use the word "promptly," in which case the measure is sent back to committee and effectively killed for the time being. Democrats tightened the rules to end the latter practice, which had become a popular tool in the previous Congress. They argued that Republicans had repeatedly abused these motions, wording them to put vulnerable members in a bind by having to choose between killing a bill or taking a politically unpalatable vote destined to turn up in a 30-second attack ad.
We see here the real offense: Republicans were using the rule (which, by the way, had been in place for a century) to force the Democrats to go on record on controversial issues.

Can someone tell me why this is a bad thing? The Democrats certainly think it's bad enough that they have taken away one of the only means the minority has to prevent the majority from pushing legislation through too quickly.

Speaker Pelosi also made it abundantly clear in the last session that the minority would not be allowed to hamper the Democrat agenda by being permitted to offer amendments to legislation. According to the Post, "Democrats brought more measures to the House floor under closed rules -- permitting no amendments -- than any of the six previous Republican-controlled congresses."

Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid will not be denied in their quest to remake the country in their own image.

January 12, 2009

Universal healthcare's biggest "GOTCHA"

Writing for ABC News, Paul Hsieh states what should be blindingly obvious about the logical result of universal healthcare:
Any government that attempts to guarantee healthcare must also control its costs. The inevitable next step will be to seek to control citizens' health and their behavior.
Hsieh cites numerous examples of countries from Europe to Japan to New Zealand where this is happening already.

The horror stories coming out of countries with universal healthcare should be more than sufficient to give Congress pause, but instead the momentum seems to be building rather than declining.

"24", Dave Barry style

I really enjoy the show "24" but Dave Barry's liveblogging of the show is far more entertaining.

His post on last night's season premiere is here.

A couple of my favorite one-liners there:
UPDATE: OK, basically, wherever Jack goes, terrorism occurs. LA finally got rid of him, now he's in DC, and bingo. The solution is: send jack to iran.
UPDATE: The federal government should definitely stop using Vista.
Warning: the linked post is chock-full-o-spoilers, so if you haven't watched the show yet, don't go there.

You can read all of his 24-related posts (including his liveblogging of previous seasons) here.

January 9, 2009

Our country can't afford another FDR

To deal with the current financial unpleasantness, president-elect Obama seems determined to take his inspiration from Franklin Roosevelt, whose basic philosophy was that the government could suck massive amounts of money out of the economy and then spend our country out of the Great Depression.

On Thursday, Obama insisted that
only government can provide the short-term boost necessary to lift us from a recession this deep and severe. Only government can break the vicious cycles that are crippling our economy...
Five years ago, UCLA researchers concluded that FDR's policies actually prolonged the Depression by as much as seven years.

As Pat Buchanan noted today, even FDR's Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau admitted in 1939 the near complete failure of the president's attempts to revive the economy:
We are spending more money than we have ever spent before, and it does not work. ... I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises. ... I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started ... and an enormous debt, to boot.
Honestly... can our country survive the second coming of Franklin Roosevelt?

January 6, 2009

Breitbart takes on the leftist culture of Hollywood

Andrew Breitbart, whose internet credits include the Drudge Report and the Breitbart.com news service, launched a new group blog today called Big Hollywood. Here's how he introduced it in a January 5 Washington Times column (highlighting added):
A million stories to tell

On Tuesday, I launch Big Hollywood (bighollywood.breitbart.com), a big group blog that will feature hundreds of the big minds from the fields of politics, journalism, entertainment and culture.

Big Hollywood is not a "celebrity" gabfest or a gossip outpost - it is a continuous politics and culture posting board for those who think something has gone drastically wrong and that Hollywood should return to its patriotic roots.

Big Hollywood's modest objective: to change the entertainment industry. To make Hollywood something we can believe in - again. In order to give millions of Americans hope.

Until conservatives, libertarians and Republicans - who will be the lion's share of Big Hollywood's contributors - recognize that (pop) culture is the big prize and that politics is secondary, there will be no victory in this important battle.

Hollywood is no longer an American industry. And it took a prolonged war in which the studios and most of the stars didn't show up to fight for America to draw attention to this hard truth.

Hope and change we can believe in!

Breitbart makes an intriguing argument, and I think he's got a good point: once conservatives lost the culture, it became harder and harder to win elections. What do we expect, when today's youth have lived their entire lives hearing pop icons malign so much of what conservatives believe?

Conservatives need to win back the culture, and the best place to start is at the heart of the evil empire: Big Hollywood.

(Thanks to: Weekly Standard and NRO)

January 5, 2009

Why should Democrats change the playbook, when the current one works so well?

Florida in 2000. Washington state in 2004. Minnesota in 2008. Keep recounting until the Democrat has a decent lead, then shut down the process.

The Wall Street Journal, January 4:
Strange things keep happening in Minnesota, where the disputed recount in the Senate race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken may be nearing a dubious outcome. Thanks to the machinations of Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and a meek state Canvassing Board, Mr. Franken may emerge as an illegitimate victor.

Mr. Franken started the recount 215 votes behind Senator Coleman, but he now claims a 225-vote lead and suddenly the man who was insisting on "counting every vote" wants to shut the process down. He's getting help from Mr. Ritchie and his four fellow Canvassing Board members, who have delivered inconsistent rulings and are ignoring glaring problems with the tallies.


Minnesotans like to think that their state isn't like New Jersey or Louisiana, and typically it isn't. But we can't recall a similar recount involving optical scanning machines that has changed so many votes, and in which nearly every crucial decision worked to the advantage of the same candidate. The Coleman campaign clearly misjudged the politics here, and the apparent willingness of a partisan like Mr. Ritchie to help his preferred candidate, Mr. Franken. If the Canvassing Board certifies Mr. Franken as the winner based on the current count, it will be anointing a tainted and undeserving Senator.

January 2, 2009

We are here! (Promoting a Culture of Life)

A few days ago I finally got around to seeing the 2008 version of Horton Hears a Who! with my ten-year-old son. The theme of the story ("A person's a person, no matter how small") fits in quite well with the Culture of Life. I have created a little poster to remind us that all life -- even when we can't see it yet -- is precious.

Click to view full-sized image