Saturday, April 28, 2007 have GOT to be kidding me.

I do not like Hillary Rodham Clinton. Never have, never will. I will vote for her when Hell holds Mass, and not a second sooner. So it doesn't greatly impact me that she has stuck her foot in her mouth...again:

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) - Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday she sees her sometimes Southern accent as a virtue.

"I think America is ready for a multilingual president," Clinton said during a campaign stop at a charter school in Greenville, S.C.

(HT: Radiant Times)

Stop and think about that for a moment.

In the world of Hillary Rodham Clinton, you don't need to be able to speak, say, Spanish (*cough*likeBush*cough*) or French or Japanese (as I've been studying for the past five years) or Russian or Chinese or the like to be multilingual. You just need to be able to switch accents.

Let's pause again for a moment to let the stupidity fully sink in.

As I said at the top, this doesn't have all that great an impact on me (aside from wondering just why I've spent the past half-decade learning to read and write kanji, anyway).

I do have to wonder, though--just how long can DEMOCRATS continue to take this woman seriously?


Friday, April 27, 2007

Surprise, surprise

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel weighs in in favor of McCain-Feingold's blackout on third parties (editorial board writers excepted, of course) influencing the public during the period just before an election.

In other breaking news: The sky is blue, the sun rises in the east, and Pepsi tastes better than Coke.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Tongue-tied Democrats

Kevin Drum of The Washington Monthly bemoans the weak Democratic response to Rudy Giuliani's claim that America would be safer with a Republican in general--and him in particular--in the White House after '08:

So I was curious: how would the Dem candidates respond? With the usual whining? Or with something smart? Greg Sargent has today's responses from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton over at his site and the verdict is in: more whining. Obama: "Rudy Giuliani today has taken the politics of fear to a new low blah blah blah." Clinton: "One of the great tragedies of this Administration is that the President failed to keep this country unified after 9/11 yada yada yada."

Unbelievable. Neither one of them took the chance to do what Rudy did: explain in a few short sentences why the country would be safer with a Democrat in the Oval Office. Is it really that hard?

Short answer: YES.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The fundamental and permanent difference

Tony Blankley has a great column today on the basic clash of paradigms underlying much of the debate over what Democrats and Europeans no longer want to call the War on Terror:
It would appear that the great divide in both public opinion and between politicians is not Republican-Democrat, liberal-conservative, pro or anti-Bush, or even pro or anti-war (or, in Europe: pro-or anti-American). Rather, the great divide is between those, such as me, who believe that the rise of radical Islam poses an existential threat to Western Civilization; and those who believe it is a nuisance, if, episodically, a very dangerous nuisance.

For those in the latter category, the great thrust of modern history exemplified in Francis Fukuyama's concept of "The End of History" continues onward. The great secular triumph of (more or less) free markets, a world economy, democracy, individual rights, socialized economic security, and their management by merit-based technocrats will be an inevitable continuity in human affairs. The episodic terrorist violence, so far killing far less people than die in car crashes or from lung cancer each year, does not justify re-ordering our social priorities. It does not justify any significant intrusions into civil liberties. It does not justify a major shift of tax revenues from social spending to war and homeland security programs. It certainly does not justify fighting wars on the other side of the world that kill and grievously wound painful numbers of American and European soldiers -- and even greater numbers of local residents in the war zones.

For the people holding that view, George Bush and Tony Blair (and their supporters) are not only seen as wrong, nor merely incompetently wrong -- but are seen as cynically exploiting an obvious lie to crassly enhance their political power and enrich their corrupt friends. Conceptual opposition has evolved into personal contempt for the antagonist (as it often does in fights over big issues -- e.g. the fight between capital and labor of the late Nineteenth and first half of the Twentieth Centuries).

For those of us who support the great struggle against radical Islam, the world reality could not be plainer. The threat of radical Islam is not merely a few thousand terrorists using small explosives to kill a few dozen people at a time -- usually in the faraway Middle East. Rather, it is an historic recrudescence of a violent, conquering old tradition of Islam that almost overwhelmed the world from the Seventh Century until as recently as the 17th century. It is radicalizing the minds of increasing numbers of the world's 1.4 billion Muslims to be very aggressive culturally, as well as violent -- from Africa to Indonesia, to Cairo to Ankara, to Paris, to Rotterdam to London to Falls Church, Va.

Funded by Saudi petro-dollars, it is capable of acting on a worldwide scale and will eventually get its hands on biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. While it probably will not be able to find sufficient unity to form a caliphate, it clearly has the capacity and intent to create violent chaos, to wreak digital havoc on our computer-based world economy and to intimidate western governments to give up the very values and methods that have made our civilization so vibrant and free. Free speech in Europe is already being curtailed to protect radical Islam from even verbal criticism. The flying Imams' lawsuit attempts to intimidate American citizens from even reporting possible terrorist activity to the authorities. Iran's nuclear ambitions are being appeased. How dare the media call it "Bush's War on Terror"? It's our war -- and it was started by the radical Islamists -- not by us. Where will it all stop?

To us, no fair and objective assessment of the state of radical Islam can deny these implications. One must not see the denouement of the Iraq War outside that context. To those who disagree with our view of reality, we are quite ready to impute anything from ignorance, to willful ignorance, to moral cowardice to treason. Those who disagree with us find our alarmism as noxious as we find their willful blindness to reality.

Blankley believes that there is no way for either side to convince the other in the near future, and that it will be up to history to settle the debate when it sorts the bodies.

I'm not even that optimistic. The fact of the matter is that it is the very success of those who believe radical Islam is a threat that fuels the justifications of those who do not. The better George W. Bush et al do their jobs, the less reason those already disinclined to take Islamofascism seriously have to give their position on the matter a second thought--and historians, as a rule, are already disinclined to take seriously any threat that was thwarted short of open warfare.

Our leaders may or may not succeed in saving western civilization, but there is probably nothing that can save them from being portrayed in the history books as modern-day Chicken Littles.

Given that the likely alternative would for them to be portrayed as modern-day Cassandras--in history books written in Arabic--I suspect that's something we'll have to live with.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A candidate who Gets It

The only one of the "Big 3" GOP candidates--Giuliani, McCain, Romney--I could see myself voting for in the Republican primary is John McCain. He's by far the most comfortable of the three on abortion, and his recent speech on energy policy indicates that he clearly understands the only real alternative course of action to Al Gore et al's suicidal vision of wrecking the global economy (not to mention the only feasible course of action, period):

There's no doubt it's an enormous challenge. But is it too big a challenge for America to tackle; this great country that has never before confronted a problem it couldn't solve? No, it is not. No people have ever been better innovators and problem solvers than Americans. It is in our national DNA to see challenges as opportunities; to conquer problems beyond the expectation of an admiring world. America, relying as always on the industry and imagination of a free people, and the power and innovation of free markets, is capable of overcoming any challenge from within and without our borders. Our enemies believe we're too weak to overcome our dependence on foreign oil. Even some of our allies think we're no longer the world's most visionary, most capable country or committed to the advancement of mankind. I think we know better than that. I think we know who we are and what we can do. Now, let's remind the world.


The strategy I propose won't be another grab bag of handouts to this or that industry and a full employment act for lobbyists. It will promote the diversification and conservation of our energy sources that will in sufficient time break the dominance of oil in our transportation sector just as we diversified away from oil use in electric power generation thirty years ago; and substantially reduce the impact of our energy consumption on the planet. It will rely on the genius and technological prowess of American industry and science. Government must set achievable goals, but the markets should be free to produce the means. And those means are within our reach.

Read the whole thing.

I'm not wholly sold on McCain--his trampling of the First Amendment alongside Feingold, in particular, is a major stumbling block--but he's a far better choice than Giuliani or Romney will ever be.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Pro-life progress

Call this a hybrid post--part a reaction to the Supreme Court's upholding of the partial-birth abortion ban, and part a follow-up to my post a couple of days ago on faux pro-life "progress."

First, let's make it clear what today's decision is not. It is not a keystone towards overturning Roe v. Wade. It is not a first step down the "slippery slope" to banning all abortions based on this precedent. Unless you're Peter Singer, the boundary line it sets up--exit from the womb, or birth--is wholly in line with the limits the pro-choice movement itself sets up, if only by default.

It does not even make sense in the larger picture of the abortion debate. There is one, and only one, good justification for any kind of restriction on abortion of any kind--and it is exactly the same as that for banning abortion of any kind.

That is not, however, to say that the ban is wholly without worth. The editors of National Review Online spell out the necessity of a partial-birth abortion ban in their reaction to today's decision:

Partial-birth abortions are not really worse than other methods of late-term abortion. There is indeed something irrational about concluding that a method of killing a seven-month-old fetus should depend on the location of his foot. But just who is responsible for making a fetish of location in the first place? It is the Supreme Court itself that has declared — with no support in the Constitution — that what distinguishes a fetus with no claim to legal protection from an infant with such a claim is whether it is in the womb. The child’s stage of development does not really matter in this jurisprudence: A premature baby has more legal protections than a full-term fetus. In an earlier abortion case, Justice Stevens himself has suggested that a “9-month-gestated, fully sentient fetus on the eve of birth” is not “a human being.”

Legislators seeking to ban partial-birth abortion are, therefore, trying to work around the irrational policy the Supreme Court, with the blessing of these dissenters, has created. They are trying to mark an outer limit to that policy: If children within the womb are not going to be protected, then at least children partway outside it should be.

This may be the furthest progress the pro-life movement has managed in the 30-some years since Roe, but it is hardly a momentous or a landmark victory.

It is nothing more than damage control. Necessary damage control, yes, and perhaps even an essential first step--but damage control, nonetheless.

What needs to be pointed out, though, is that at this point, it may not be reasonable to expect to accomplish any more than damage control.

It may be hard to remember with how deeply entrenched its advantage is today, but the pro-choice movement did not spring up overnight. It first emerged near the turn of the 20th century--and even given the setback created by its early affiliation with the eugenics movement (which was then discredited by its affiliation with the Nazis) it still took the better part of three generations to accomplish its major goals.

Given that the pro-life movement, unlike the pro-choice movement, is arguing for forcing women to forgo an action that, though oppression of the worst kind, is still an action with no discernible effects on anyone other than those same women--if only because the victims can't speak for themselves--it will likely take two or three times that long to reverse the trend...and we are barely halfway into the second generation since Roe.

As long as the pro-life movement does not give up, there will be an end to legal abortion, eventually...but I, at age 28, do not expect to see it in my lifetime.

But again, this should hardly be a surprise. Christians, especially, should have been expecting this, because history and the Bible alike tell us this is how God works: One person tills...another sows...another tends...and still another reaps. Only God is present through the whole process.

We have barely begun to till. It is essential work, and more importantly, it is our work--but we are not the reapers.

And we should not expect to be.


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Abortion "progress"--but in what direction?

Patrick McIlerhan's column in today's Journal Sentinel is given over to a celebration of Wisconsin's falling abortion rates--"a real success story," according to WRTL's Barbara Lyons.

Forgive me if I'm not as eager to dance in the streets.

Certainly, fewer abortions is not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination. However, it's important to keep in mind that in the phrase "legal abortion," it's the legal part that's critical.

It's the legal part that enables those whose most sacred duty is to preserve life to instead violently strip it from the most helpless among us--with the full blessing and approval of our government.

If abortion is murder, then legal abortion is government-sanctioned murder. I shouldn't have to say which is worse.

While a lower abortion rate is a positive social development, in terms of the abortion debate it is an insidious trap for the pro-life movement. If we allow ourselves to be diverted into making the abortion issue simply a question of reducing the number of abortions (rather than the nature of abortion itself) we are forced almost by default into conceding the intolerable core of the pro-choice argument--that abortion, the killing of the unborn, should remain legal.

By all means, work to reduce the number of abortions, and take pride in the results thus attained. But this aspect of the abortion issue must be kept in proper perspective. If the pro-life movement allows itself to be distracted from the key issue--securing legal protection for the lives of the unborn--then we are doing nothing more than playing into the pro-choice movement's hands.

We can ill afford such a blunder.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Those eco-villainous Americans!

Those pigs refused to sign the Kyoto Treaty! They don't care about the planet! Why can't they follow the lead of those enlightened Europeans, who...


It isn’t just that Europe is failing to meet its Kyoto obligations, having increased emissions since 1993. It’s much better than that.

The fact is that, in the years after we elected George W. Bush — a man who would presumably knock his own grandmother into a vat of toxic sludge if it allowed him to contaminate another pristine wilderness area — we have soundly beaten the European Union in curbing emissions growth. This despite our having much more population growth and a much stronger economy.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that U.S. carbon-equivalent emissions rose by 1.3 percent between 2000 and 2004. During the same period, the U.S. population grew by 4 percent, and our economy grew by 19.5 percent.

In the 25 European nations reporting under the Kyoto Protocol, carbon equivalent emissions rose by 2.2 percent during the same period (and by 2.4 percent in the 15 Western European nations). The EU-25 population, meanwhile, grew by 1.6 percent and their collective economy grew by just under 7 percent.

Between 2000 and 2004, America had more than twice the population and economic growth of Europe and a little more than half of Europe’s growth in carbon emissions.

(David Freddoso, NRO)

...well, Americans still can't match Europe's mimes!


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

"Too positive" for the BBC

From the Telegraph, via Power Line:

Amid the deaths and the grim daily struggle bravely borne by Britain's forces in southern Iraq, one tale of heroism stands out.

Private Johnson Beharry's courage in rescuing an ambushed foot patrol then, in a second act, saving his vehicle's crew despite his own terrible injuries earned him a Victoria Cross.

For the BBC, however, his story is "too positive" about the conflict.

The corporation has cancelled the commission for a 90-minute drama about Britain's youngest surviving Victoria Cross hero because it feared it would alienate members of the audience opposed to the war in Iraq.

Setting aside the temptation to use this as a springboard for yet another round of "Bash the Biased BBC"--the move makes a great deal of sense, when you think about it. After all, they've already alienated everyone in the audience who supports the war; if they alienate the war opponents, who will they have left to broadcast to?


Sunday, April 01, 2007

Down time

Computer problems.

Back in a week or so.