Sunday, December 20, 2009

The problem with Friedman's "Earth Race"

My position on global warming (assuming it exists, as I will for the rest of this post) is no secret: Agreements to reduce carbon emissions are worthless; the only solution that holds any hope at all is new technology.

So you might think that I am in agreement with Thomas Friedman, whose column in today's New York Times calls for an "Earth Race":

[T]he goal of Earth Racers is to focus on getting the U.S. Senate to pass an energy bill, with a long-term price on carbon that will really stimulate America to become the world leader in clean-tech. If we lead by example, more people will follow us by emulation than by compulsion of some U.N. treaty.

In the cold war, we had the space race: who could be the first to put a man on the moon. Only two countries competed, and there could be only one winner. Today, we need the Earth Race: who can be the first to invent the most clean technologies so men and women can live safely here on Earth.

Maybe the best thing President Obama could have done here in Copenhagen was to make clear that America intends to win that race. All he needed to do in his speech was to look China’s prime minister in the eye and say: “I am going to get our Senate to pass an energy bill with a price on carbon so we can clean your clock in clean-tech. This is my moon shot. Game on.”

Because once we get America racing China, China racing Europe, Europe racing Japan, Japan racing Brazil, we can quickly move down the innovation-manufacturing curve and shrink the cost of electric cars, batteries, solar and wind so these are no longer luxury products for the wealthy nations but commodity items the third world can use and even produce.

And you would be wrong.

The first problem is with the comparison of the "Earth Race" to the space race. In the space race, the two nations competing against one another--the US and the USSR--were already competing against one another, with the world more or less divided between them. Because of that, the technological benefits offered were almost meaningless: the real benefit sought was the prestige that came with trumping their only rival.

There's nothing like that in the "Earth Race." There's no one for the US to seek to trump, because for the last 20 years, we've been alone on top of the world. (Even now, the closest thing we have to a "rival" is Al Qaeda, which isn't a nation at all.)

So, with that in mind, we come to the second problem: Just what are we racing for? Friedman helpfully pointed it out before:

Because once we get America racing China, China racing Europe, Europe racing Japan, Japan racing Brazil, we can quickly move down the innovation-manufacturing curve and shrink the cost of electric cars, batteries, solar and wind so these are no longer luxury products for the wealthy nations but commodity items the third world can use and even produce.
That's the prize--the chance to make our potential customers in this regard self-sufficient, and thus render our own economic role in the process obsolete.

And Friedman really thinks China and Europe and Japan are going to kick down the doors to get in on this?

But even that's not the biggest problem with the concept of the "Earth Race." That honor goes to Friedman's proposal for getting the ball rolling: "a long-term price on carbon," clearly operating on the concept of necessity being the mother of invention.

Where do we even start with this? To begin with, it's unilateral, so its most likely effect will be to cripple those very US businesses that need to invest in R&D (unless equivalent tariffs are also which case, we're dealing with a full-blown trade war, instead).

But it's also a function of the erroneous belief that all that's needed to solve the problem is a little bit of willpower and a lot of money. The hard truth is this: The technology needed to solve the global warming problem does not yet exist. It's not just a matter of improving existing technologies. It's simply not economically feasible for developing countries to use them--not when the alternative is coal, available in abundant supply, at $.03/kWh.

When it comes to finding that new technology, some scientist or researcher still has to come up with the brilliant idea, or make the key breakthrough--and throwing money at them won't make them make the breakthrough any sooner. It takes time.

Friedman's "Earth Race" isn't a race against other countries. It's a race against time.

It's jumping off a cliff, and then racing to see if you'll manage to sprout wings before you hit the bottom.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

People: Problem vs. Solution, Hope vs. Despair

RealClearPolitics was unusually astute in pairing off two op-eds on the Copenhagen summit. Both address the issue of global warming (both from the point of view of a believer). Both further focus on the nature of humanity, as it relates to what both regard as a crisis.

The conclusions the two reach, though, could not be more different.

First, writing in the Guardian, George Monbiot:

The meeting at Copenhagen confronts us with our primal tragedy. We are the universal ape, equipped with the ingenuity and aggression to bring down prey much larger than itself, break into new lands, roar its defiance of natural constraints. Now we find ourselves hedged in by the consequences of our nature, living meekly on this crowded planet for fear of provoking or damaging others. We have the hearts of lions and live the lives of clerks.

The summit's premise is that the age of heroism is over. We have entered the age of accommodation. No longer may we live without restraint. No longer may we swing our fists regardless of whose nose might be in the way. In everything we do we must now be mindful of the lives of others, cautious, constrained, meticulous. We may no longer live in the moment, as if there were no tomorrow.


Humanity is no longer split between conservatives and liberals, reactionaries and progressives, though both sides are informed by the older politics. Today the battle lines are drawn between expanders and restrainers; those who believe that there should be no impediments and those who believe that we must live within limits.

Monbiot, it's easy to see, is on the side of the "restrainers." (Later in the essay, in fact, he goes on to advocate a complete moratorium on prospecting for new reserves of fossil fuels, which is essentially a call for complete economic suicide.)

Anne Applebaum, on the other hand, is most emphatically not:

The assumption behind this calculation is profoundly negative: that human beings are nothing more than machines for the production of carbon dioxide. And if we take that assumption seriously, a whole lot of other things look different, too. Weapons of mass destruction should perhaps be reconsidered, along with the flu virus: By reducing the population, they might also reduce emissions. Perhaps they should be encouraged?

Coupling all that with a firm conviction that the end of the world is nigh, you can see how homework is rendered pointless. As for hopes for the future and faith in humanity -- forget about it. But while we're at it, we might as well forget about reinventing our energy sources, too.

For while it's true that humans are often greedy, stupid and destructive, it's also true that we got to where we are at least partly thanks to human creativity, ingenuity and talent. Electricity is a miracle, an invention that has brought light and life to millions. Modern communication and transportation systems are no less extraordinary, helping to create economic growth in places where poverty and misery were the norm for centuries.

All of them depend on fossil fuels, but they don't have to: A profound change in the nature of human energy consumption is possible -- thanks to the entrepreneurship that created the Internet, the compassion that lies behind the advances in modern medicine and the scientific reasoning that sent men into space. As for nihilism and hatred of humankind, it teaches us nothing, except to give up. And we shouldn't be passing that on to our children either.

I have long argued that the only possible way out of this problem--if it is indeed a problem--is to go forward. It's good to see that at least a few people are following the only sane approach to combating global warming, rather than heeding China's calls for a global suicide pact.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rep. Kennedy's bishop calls him on the carpet

I wish that the bishops for a previous generation of Kennedies had done the same:

But let’s get down to a more practical question; let’s approach it this way: What does it mean, really, to be a Catholic? After all, being a Catholic has to mean something, right?

Well, in simple terms – and here I refer only to those more visible, structural elements of Church membership – being a Catholic means that you’re part of a faith community that possesses a clearly defined authority and doctrine, obligations and expectations. It means that you believe and accept the teachings of the Church, especially on essential matters of faith and morals; that you belong to a local Catholic community, a parish; that you attend Mass on Sundays and receive the sacraments regularly; that you support the Church, personally, publicly, spiritually and financially.

Congressman, I’m not sure whether or not you fulfill the basic requirements of being a Catholic, so let me ask: Do you accept the teachings of the Church on essential matters of faith and morals, including our stance on abortion? Do you belong to a local Catholic community, a parish? Do you attend Mass on Sundays and receive the sacraments regularly? Do you support the Church, personally, publicly, spiritually and financially?

In your letter you say that you “embrace your faith.” Terrific. But if you don’t fulfill the basic requirements of membership, what is it exactly that makes you a Catholic? Your baptism as an infant? Your family ties? Your cultural heritage?

Your letter also says that your faith “acknowledges the existence of an imperfect humanity.” Absolutely true. But in confronting your rejection of the Church’s teaching, we’re not dealing just with “an imperfect humanity” – as we do when we wrestle with sins such as anger, pride, greed, impurity or dishonesty. We all struggle with those things, and often fail.

Your rejection of the Church’s teaching on abortion falls into a different category – it’s a deliberate and obstinate act of the will; a conscious decision that you’ve re-affirmed on many occasions. Sorry, you can’t chalk it up to an “imperfect humanity.” Your position is unacceptable to the Church and scandalous to many of our members. It absolutely diminishes your communion with the Church.

This is exactly what the bishops should have been saying to the pro-choice Catholics in this country for the last thirty years.

It's probably too late to really make a difference, but still--I'm glad someone's finally doing it.


(HT: InsideCatholic)

Friday, October 09, 2009

One more thought on the Nobel Prize

This one from Peter Beinart:

The Nobel Prize Committee should be in the business of conferring celebrity on unknown human-rights and peace activists toiling in the most god-forsaken parts of the world; the people who really need the attention (and even the money). It should be in the business of angering powerful tyrants by giving their victims a moment in the sun. Choosing Barack Obama, who practically orbits the sun already, accomplishes the exact opposite of that.


A brief thought...

...on brand-new Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama, and the thought process of the committee that gave him the award:

"They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, 'Peace, peace,' when there is no peace."
-Jeremiah 6:14


Sunday, October 04, 2009

War on Terror-(Insert suffix here)

Thomas Friedman's column in today's New York Times is primarily about Friedman's belated recognition of the one worthwhile contribution Rudy Giuliani made to the last presidential campaign: that Bush's widely-derided "War on Terror" was, in fact, "the Terrorists' War on Us."

The end, though, takes a look at what really is the only long-term workable solution to the issue...assuming there is a solution:

[I]n the short run, winning this war requires effective police/intelligence action, to kill or capture the jihadists. I call that “the war on terrorists.” In the long run, though, winning requires partnering with Arab and Muslim societies to help them build thriving countries, integrated with the world economy, where young people don’t grow up in a soil poisoned by religious extremists and choked by petro-dictators so they can never realize their aspirations. I call this “the war on terrorism.” It takes a long time.

Our operation in Afghanistan after 9/11 was, for me, only about “the war on terrorists.” It was about getting bin Laden. Iraq was “the war on terrorism” — trying to build a decent, pluralistic, consensual government in the heart of the Arab-Muslim world. Despite all we’ve paid, the outcome in Iraq remains uncertain. But it was at least encouraging to see last week’s decision by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to run in the next election with a nonsectarian, multireligious coalition — a rare thing in the Arab world.

So, what President Obama is actually considering in Afghanistan is shifting from a “war on terrorists” there to a “war on terrorism,” including nation-building. I still have serious doubts that we have a real Afghan government partner for that. But if Mr. Obama decides to send more troops, the most important thing is not the number. It is his commitment to see it through. If he seems ambivalent, no one there will stand with us and we’ll have no chance. If he seems committed, maybe — maybe — we’ll find enough allies. Remember, the bad guys are totally committed — and they are not tired.
I say "assuming there is a solution" because I have my doubts about the passage I put in bold in the first paragraph. It's an open question how much of the "religious extremists" are, in fact, mainstream Islam; the answer you get seems to depend on who you ask--not on the basis of any actual evidence, but on the basis of what they've already decided the "right thing to do" should be. Commentators, right and left, pick whatever interpretation of Islam best fits their predetermined world view.

If mainstream Islam is moderate Islam, then this course of action has a chance. If not, then the Middle East will see this course of action--correctly--as the United States seeking to undermine and sabotage its religion.

That will almost certainly lead to war...but in that case, war is inevitable, no matter what the US does.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

A thought on protests

Something that's occurred to me recently, in thinking about the recent posturing by supporters of Obamacare--things like Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer calling protests against the plan(s) "Un-American," or the even more ridiculous spectacle of one Congressman calling another's opposition to the plan(s) "an act of treason"--is how similar all this is to what took place during the Bush administration.

We had the fierce protests--if anything, even more over-the-top than what we have now. We had the President's supporters firing back, accusing the protesters of all kinds of nefarious political motives...and yes, we had some supporters throwing around words like "Un-American" and "treason."

However, it seems to me that there is one very big difference.

The Bush policies that so enraged the left were matters of foreign policy. They were matters where, quite apart from the debate over how these matters should be conducted (or whether they should be conducted at all) the shrillness of public protests, once past a certain level, had the effect of undermining and sabotaging the United States on the global stage--in arenas where our soldiers were in harm's way.

The Obama policies that have sent the right over the edge, by contrast, are matters of domestic policy. There is no worry about undermining or sabotaging the United States here, because no matter how over-the-top the protests become, there is no foreign enemy to be aided and comforted by the lack of a unified front.

The Obamacare protests, far from "Un-American," are precisely what the framers of the First Amendment had in mind--citizens non-violently gathering to petition the government for a redress of grievances, in matters directly affecting them.

It is American democracy in its purest form.


Monday, August 10, 2009

On the "right" to health care

Terrific summation of the fundamental philosophical problem behind the drive to Obamacare--about the most succinct I've seen anywhere--can be found in the comments section of this essay. The eighth comment down:

As people in the software business often say, there's a difference between free speech and free beer. No one is being denied freedom to health care in the free speech sense: I try to use my own resources to get health care and someone blocks me. But health care, unlike speech (or the rights to worship or assemble) is like free beer: someone else has to provide it. So it's really saying we have a right to other people's money to pay for our health care.

In two centuries, I don't think anyone has ever claimed that the right to free speech means I have the right to take even 50 cents from my neighbor to buy a stamp and an envelope to send a letter to the editor. If I can't afford to write a letter, I'll just have to live with preaching on the street corner, while the Murdocks and Turners of the world project their free speech to millions. And that's been fine. Throwing around the word "right" in this case without addressing the fact that we're talking about a very different kind of right seems dishonest.

Nothing more to say.


Thursday, August 06, 2009


Even with the massive brouhaha over health care the past several weeks, I haven't had much inclination to blog on the issue.

My take on health care is simple and utterly pessimistic: No matter which side prevails here, the system is irreparably broken. Either the premiums I pay for my health insurance will go through the roof, or the taxes I pay for premiums for government health insurance--both for my own, if I enroll, and for others', regardless--will go through the roof (or the deficit will go through the roof...though that will happen, regardless).

Whether it's the insurance companies or the government in charge, if they want to have any hope of solvency they'll have no choice but to ration care and, in the case of those who most desperately need insurance (read: pre-existing conditions) deny or drop coverage altogether.

(Well, solvency's not something the government is particularly concerned about, which is a problem in and of itself...but let's set that aside for the moment.)

For me, the equation goes something like this: If we have government health care, we will have taxpayer-funded abortions. It's inevitable, as admits without actually admitting:

While Planned Parenthood would appear to be a qualified health clinic providing certain health services to women, there is nothing in the amendment’s wording to indicate that abortion would be a covered procedure. That would be up to the HHS Secretary.

(That would be HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, for those keeping score at home.)

So, I'm opposed to any and all incarnations of Obamacare...for what little that's worth.

Public opposition means nothing. As I've said before, Obama will almost certainly be a one-term president...but in that one term, he will set the stage for a permanent Democratic majority. This will get done--the numbers game on Capitol Hill guarantees it--and once it does, it doesn't matter if Republicans get back into power. They will no more be able to repeal the programs Obama sets in motion than they were able to repeal LBJ's Great Society.

In watching this train wreck, though, there are the occasionally amusing moments, like the one at the now-infamous town hall meeting between Sebelius and Sen. Arlen Specter (D R D) on one side, and an angry crowd on the other (which may or may not have been a case of "astroturfing"--in either case, it's irrelevant to the point of this post).

Cal Thomas highlights:

In a joint appearance with Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Democrat, Mrs. Sebelius responded to shouts and catcalls from a skeptical audience at the Constitution Center in heavily Democratic Philadelphia. She said Mr. Specter shouldn't be criticized because the Senate's version of the bill has not yet been written. This takes hubris to a new level. It is one thing for a member of Congress to vote on legislation he hasn't read; it is quite another for government officials to ask for support of a bill that has not been written, at least in the Senate.

What can I say? It's a stunning display of gall and carelessness--and it's perfectly in keeping with the character of the Obama administration.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Doing the pro-choice movement a favor

I'm not going to hold the newly-disclosed views of Richard Nixon against the pro-choice movement as a whole:

Nixon worried that greater access to abortions would foster “permissiveness,” and said that “it breaks the family.” But he also saw a need for abortion in some cases — like interracial pregnancies, he said.

“There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white,” he told an aide, before adding, “Or a rape.”

Nixon was just a politician, after all, and a Republican, at that--it's not like he was the founder of Planned Parenthood, or anything.


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Brief pro-life thoughts on the Tiller murder

From a moral perspective, it was an outrage.

From a public relations perspective, it was a disaster.

From a movement perspective, it was counterproductive, at best.

From a historical perspective, John Brown wasn't all that successful, either.

From any perspective, it was a travesty.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Pro-life = "Torture"

C-FAM reports:

The United Nations (UN) committee charged with monitoring compliance with the Convention Against Torture has declared that Nicaragua’s full protection of fetal life violates the country's obligations under the Convention. This is the first time this committee has reviewed Nicaragua since that government outlawed abortion for any reason three years ago.

Do I really need to say anything else here?


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Priorities and consequences

Over at What's Wrong with the World, Lydia McGrew ponders:

It is often said by conservatives, and rightly, that ideology is a great danger. The ideologue gets hold of one truth and makes it into the only truth, the only thing that matters. He sacrifices all else to that one thing. That one ideal might be equality, beauty, health, or love, but when one makes second things first, the second things always turn vicious, and horrors follow.

But there is another point, compatible with that point, that must be made too: When second things are made first, they destroy themselves. The ideologue does not even know what is best for the ideal he professes.

Take love, for instance...

It's been said times without number that the sexual revolution wasn't really about love. But there were people who thought it was. If you had told them that the revolution they were founding would ultimately destroy love, even romantic love, even sexual love, they would not have listened. They would not have believed. Yet it was true, as numerous broken-hearted, broken-bodied men and women, men and women who have tried sex without honor can attest.

And now, in this our day, health is another god, another second thing made first. In the name of health we harvest the dead, we destroy embryos, our scientists promise us cures of all diseases if only we will dispense with ethical limitations on research. They are wrong, of course, and much of the promise is hype. But beyond that, we are in the process of losing all sense of what actually constitutes health. Doctors are under pressure to cooperate in the destruction of unborn infants as part of their profession. How is that serving health? Suicide on demand, for any reason whatsoever, assisted by doctors, is all the rage. What does that have to do with the medical profession's job of helping people to be healthy? Yet restless people whose relatives have had trouble finding people to cooperate in their suicide would actually like writing suicide prescriptions to be mandatory upon doctors. Bodily mutilation of healthy limbs is being considered as a "treatment." This is not serving bodily health and integrity.

In other words, the utilitarian attempt to elevate health as a good above innocent human life and above all ethical restraints has turned out to be profoundly anti-human and, consequently, is undermining the medical profession and the very notion of health itself.

The same thing is happening in the environmentalist movement.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Playing politics with religion... the view of some, at least.

Hilaria Neveus reports:

MEDIOLANUM, May 20, 390 (Ille Curator) - The Catholic bishop of Mediolanum has been accused of "political grandstanding" by some bishops and representatives of other Christian denominations, after he expelled the Western Emperor, Theodosius, from his cathedral on Friday - apparently a response to the recent alleged killing of 7,000 in Thessalonica.

Eunomius of Cyzicus, a leader in the Arian school of Christianity, and bishop Palladius of Ratiaria have distanced themselves from Archbishop Ambrose, saying he has engaged in an unnecessary public clash at the cathedral that was ill-befitting his position as a Church leader. Palladius said that refusing to allow the Emperor to enter except as a barefoot penitent was an "extreme and unpastoral" approach, that it had been "hasty" and was tantamount to "using the Holy Eucharist as a political weapon."

Bishop Palladius said, "If the emperor had come to my cathedral, I would have greeted him with compassion, not condemnation. I would consider it my duty to dialogue with him first before making any dramatic public confrontations.

"I feel it is our business as bishops to teach and I do not believe that the Holy Eucharist should be wielded as a political weapon."

Archbishop Burke must be so proud.

(For those who didn't get the joke, here's another account of the incident.)


(H/T: What Does The Prayer Really Say?)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

From the clueless wing of the Court

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg offers up to the New York Times this stirring, albeit disastrously flawed, defense of citing foreign case law:

Justice Ginsburg said the controversy was based on the misunderstanding that citing a foreign precedent means the court considers itself bound by foreign law as opposed to merely being influenced by such power as its reasoning holds.

“Why shouldn’t we look to the wisdom of a judge from abroad with at least as much ease as we would read a law review article written by a professor?” she asked.

You mean aside from the fact that the judge, unlike the professor writing the law review article, is working from and issuing opinions based on a different country's constitution and statutes?

Ginsburg goes on:

She added that the failure to engage foreign decisions had resulted in diminished influence for the United States Supreme Court.

The Canadian Supreme Court, she said, is “probably cited more widely abroad than the U.S. Supreme Court.” There is one reason for that, she said: “You will not be listened to if you don’t listen to others.”

Uh-huh. And the US Supreme Court should have influence abroad...why, exactly?

Its job is to interpret the Constitution and laws of the United States. Any foreign influence should be coming from the laws the Court is interpreting, not the Court itself.

Last, but certainly not least, there was this little gem:

American hostility to the consideration of foreign law, she said, “is a passing phase.” She predicted that “we will go back to where we were in the early 19th century when there was no question that it was appropriate to refer to decisions of other courts.”

She cannot be serious. Please tell me Ginsburg is not serious, here.

In the early 19th century--in the early 1800s--the "decisions of other courts" she's talking about were English common law. These were the legal codes of the United States' direct predecessor, adopted as the building blocks of American law.

If Ginsburg can't see the difference between citing English common law back then and citing the rulings of foreign judges in interpreting the Constitution today, then the Court is in even sorrier shape than I could have imagined.

And just think--on the liberal spectrum, Ginsburg is considered a moderate.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Thomas Woods, Jr., author of Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse, spoke recently with InsideCatholic's Brian Saint-Paul.

The whole interview is well worth the read, but I found this bit particularly interesting:

So you're saying that the "breakneck deregulation" we've heard so much about is largely a myth?

Most of the alleged deregulation people complain about is completely phony. Suppose you have a government monopoly like the post office and say, "Ok, we're going to deregulate the Post Office. From now on, the Post Office can charge $100 for a stamp." That's not really deregulation. Full deregulation would say, "We're going to deregulate the mail business so that no-one is prevented from entering it by regulatory barriers." Now that would be real deregulation. Try selling $100 stamps in that arrangement and see how that goes for you.

What we've had in recent years is phony deregulation. Banks are allowed to engage in riskier behavior than they were before, but the government will continue to guarantee their deposits with deposit insurance. How is that deregulation? In effect, you can do riskier things but the public is still on the hook for your errors. Real deregulation would say that you can do risky things, but you're on your own. We haven't had that. We've had the worst of all possible worlds.

It's been my experience in looking at issues like abortion and global warming that you're on the right track when your reasoning leads to conclusions that neither side is particularly happy about--and based on this interview, I'm getting a feeling that Woods is on the right track. (The "phony deregulation" he describes above is, by and large, a product of the Bush administration--and elsewhere in the interview, he systematically dismembers the popular right-wing claim that the Community Reinvestment Act is primarily to blame for the collapse.)

I wasn't aware of Woods' book before, but it's definitely on my reading list now.


Thursday, March 05, 2009


I haven't posted much here recently.

There have been things that I think should be said, but other people have already done a pretty good job of saying those things (see my blogroll for a few of them).

More than that, though, I'm just tired--especially when it comes to the actions of the Obama administration.

The people who didn't vote for him are appalled. They see that his actions are leading to disaster.

The people who DID vote for him are thrilled--they think that his actions are just what the country needs, and it's quite clear that nothing anyone says will convince them otherwise.

So the ballooning deficit is going to happen. The economically crippling carbon cap-and-trade is going to happen. FOCA is going to happen (if not all at once, then piecemeal, under the radar--the same way the Fairness Doctrine is going to happen). A re-empowering of the unions--whose achievement of the "middle class lifestyle" in the '50s and '60s owed a heck of a lot more to the rest of the world being in ruins from WW II, leaving the American economy predominant, than to anything they did--and subsequent hamstringing of US businesses in the global market is going to happen. Double-digit inflation is going to happen. And much, much more.

It's all going to happen, and the naive fools who voted for Barack Obama are not going to be convinced we're headed for a disaster until that disaster has already come to pass.

Given that, when I see something I might comment on, my first impulse is to ask why I should bother playing Cassandra.

It's going to be a long four years.


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

That "pro-choice" electorate

You take your silver linings where you find them.

President Obama, as widely expected, rescinded the Mexico City policy, which had cut off federal funding for overseas groups providing abortions. Pro-life groups, as widely expected, strongly denounced the move.

Gallup notes something that wasn't as widely expected, though.

Pollsters found that, of seven early actions by the Obama administration, the ending of the Mexico City policy was by far the least popular. It garnered an overall approval rating of only 35%--59% among Democrats, 8% among Republicans, and 33% among independents.

Only one-third of the swing vote approved of what is, without question, one of the mildest pro-choice steps our new President could possibly take.

The pro-life movement faces an uphill battle in the wake of the '08 elections, without question.

However, the hill may not be quite as steep as some (myself included) had feared.


(H/T: Drudge)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Clarity is important

This little news brief has spurred quite a bit of conversation here and there:

As special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell heads off to the region to begin work on negotiating a cease fire between Israel and the Palestinians, President Obama has sat for his first formal TV interview with the Arabic cable TV network Al-Arabiya, ABC News has learned.

Now, I'm not being deliberately obtuse here, but I've read the thing about fifty times, and I'm still not clear--is the driving point that this is President Obama's first formal interview with Al-Arabiya, or that this is Obama's first formal interview as President?

Given the state of things in the Middle East, either would be newsworthy...which makes me wish Mr. Tapper had taken a bit more care with his words.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Imagine the potential


I originally posted this last year on this date. Given the severity of the issue--and, especially, the nature of the new administration in Washington--I think posting this (with minor revisions to reflect the passing of time) will be an annual tradition on this blog.


Today marks the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The 36th anniversary of the Supreme Court's determination that a right to privacy trumps a right to life through the first three months of pregnancy.

It is also the 36th anniversary of Doe v. Bolton, Roe's companion case. The 36th anniversary of the Supreme Court's determination that even after the first three months--indeed, all the way up to the very end of the pregnancy--an unborn child may be slaughtered under the most utterly flimsy of pretenses: the widest possible definition of the mother's "health," as determined by the only doctor who need be involved in the decision...the abortionist.

I am vehemently pro-life. It is, in my eyes, the most important domestic issue--the most important human rights issue--facing this country today. I have long been involved in the fight against abortion on various levels.

I am also a man.

And, as such--as I have been told repeatedly, vehemently, often in terms I would prefer not to use on this blog--I have no right to have any say on this issue. I am not a woman; I cannot get pregnant; I can't even claim the prerogative of a father (even though that prerogative is itself routinely denigrated and denied).

Therefore, I am told, it is none of my business.

I beg to differ.

There's a link to the right of this post. It reads, "My Axe." Clicking on that link will take you to a site called Death Roe Survivors. It is a site by and for the lucky ones.

The ones born after 1973.

The ones who could have been snuffed out in the womb without any legal repercussions--but were not.

The ones who are here only by the grace of their mothers, who chose to carry them to term.

I am one of the lucky ones.

I was born in 1979.

According to the CDC, there were 1,251,921 abortions in the United States that year.

1,251,921 unlucky ones.

1,251,921 of my immediate peers.

I repeat: 1,251,921 OF MY IMMEDIATE PEERS.

Taken together with live birth statistics, a little over 26% of pregnancies that year (excluding those that ended in miscarriage) ended in abortion.

My generation has been decimated. A little more than one in four of MY OWN PEOPLE were sacrificed in the bloody name of "Choice," their very HUMANITY denied. Had my mother decided differently, I would have been one of them.

None of my business? No right to interfere?

I have EVERY right to interfere. A wrong has been done to me and mine that can never be fully repaid, that continues to be visited on each succeeding generation after us.

All I can do is see that it comes to an end. That it MUST come to an end. I owe it to all those who weren't as fortunate as I was.

On this 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, I have 1,251,921 reminders of why I continue to fight.