Sunday, December 30, 2007
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Yep, this woman's guidance on parenting is just what our country needs. What next, marriage advice from Bill Clinton?
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
This video came from IMAO, a newly-added link to the Sites We're Into section on the sidebar. They also feature regular fun facts about Thompson, such as:
When Fred Thompson says, "Have a merry Christmas," that's not a meaningless platitude -- it's a command -- so you better have a Christmas so merry blood is shooting out your eyes because Fred Thompson is coming to town.
On Christmas Eve, Fred Thompson leaves milk and cookies out. Santa dares not touch them, because he knows how much Fred Thompson loves his milk and cookies early on Christmas morning.
If you're on the fence about Thompson, you must visit this website!
I concede that there are many political obstacles, but what better way to undermine these obstacles than by electing a president who has deep pro-life convictions? If we ever hope to see America restored to her former glory, this is the only strategy to pursue.
Certainly, abortion has taken us far away from the American dream of a just and free society. The question is what to do about it. Even if we elect a pro-life president, the only way he can affect abortion policy is to appoint strict-constitutionalist judges (something even a less-than-ideal president could conceivably do). And this only affects abortion policy if the court decides to revisit its previous decision. Assuming that happened, judges appointed by pro-life presidents could wimp out at the last moment (or completely change their minds, etc.). If (the if's are getting bigger at each leap) the court reverses Roe v. Wade, the only thing that would be accomplished would be to allow states the freedom to set their own abortion policy. Admittedly, this would be a huge step in the right direction. But, ultimately, we come back to changing the attitudes of the American people. If that doesn't happen, all this is for nothing. Many states will simply continue the status quo at the state level.
Alternatively, if we do nothing but convince the American people of the wickedness of abortion, we will see immediate and lasting change. Not all abortion will be stopped, but it will stop to the degree that we influence public opinion. Indeed, some of this is already happening in small bits. The improvement of ultrasound technology helps, as women see their baby for what it is. Premature babies are being saved at younger and younger ages. The point is that this is the real front line in the battle.
Electing a pro-life president would probably help some, but it might not help at all. This long-shot of a chance is not worth sacrificing the pressing needs of reform and security (things that will be influenced--no chance involved).
Limited government ensures that we live in a free society. Even if that society is unsafe, it is preferable to a safe society without freedom. Commitment to the War on Terror helps keep our free society safe. Without a free and safe society, how can we even begin to fight abortion (and all the other issues)? Given the president's limitations on setting abortion policy, we must give the abortion issue a lower (but still high #3) priority.
While I agree that limited government and defeating terrorism are critical to our maintaining a free and safe society, I do not believe the abortion issue is therefore superceded by these concerns.
Does any nation that promotes the slaughter of its own children deserve either freedom or safety? I'm certain that it deserves neither, and I'm confident our founding fathers would agree on this point.
They dreamed of and fought for a society founded upon what they considered to be the most basic principles of human justice. They hung our nation's entire existence on these words:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
There was a time when America was a just society. She's never been perfect, but she long strove to respect the life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness of all men.
Yet when our nation relinquished its respect for every human life, it ceased to be the society those great men envisioned and built. When America left this foundational principle, it lost the essential character of justice.
This is why abortion is the most important issue in an election. Reinstating respect for every human life is the only way America can again be a just society. Only then will it be worth fighting for freedom and safety.
I concede that there are many political obstacles, but what better way to undermine these obstacles than by electing a president who has deep pro-life convictions? If we ever hope to see America restored to her former glory, this is the only strategy to pursue.
Monday, December 17, 2007
I understand that Huckabee's Christmas ad is warm and cuddly. If only he weren't such a raving big-government, tax-and-spend, foreign-policy lightweight...
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
Would you support a candidate who was pro-life but called for the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops on foreign soil?
Or a candidate who was pro-life but promised to raise taxes across the board to finance universal healthcare?
My answer to your two questions is "not necessarily". Being pro-life is not an instant qualifier, it's just that being pro-abortion is an instant disqualifier.
However, we are not discussing how best to choose from a variety of candidates, but rather, how best to choose between two, such as in a general election. Perhaps I could have been more specific. This scenario illustrates how one could permissibly vote for a pro-choice candidate, given either two pro-choice candidates or a pro-choice conservative vs. a pro-life liberal (or a pro-life idiot). This is the crux of my two questions above. Assume these pro-life candidates run against a pro-choice candidate with a strong commitment to limited government and a tough stance on fighting terror. Admittedly, these candidates do not exist (nor do they have much chance of existing in the future), but if they did, which would you vote for?
In this situation, Stephen would no doubt choose "none of the above." That is a separate discussion. Leaving that aside, what I really intend to do here is provide a reasonable justification for my list (1. limited government, 2. war on terror, 3. abortion+). While I agree that abortion is an unspeakable evil in our society, that fact has only a limited effect on presidential politics, for the simple reason that the president cannot do all that much to change abortion policy (which Stephen concedes). And yet, while he cannot do all that much, he can do something. Otherwise, abortion would not even make the top ten. Contrast this with what the president can achieve on the issues of limited government (or greatly expanded government, e.g. prescription drug plan, universal healthcare, etc.) and fighting terrorism and rogue nations (or allowing them free reign). In these areas the president has tremendous latitude and can usher in sweeping changes for good or ill.
But Stephen further presses his point:
To debate this issue in anything other than entirely objective terms is to effectively legitimize the practice. Once the discussion is subjective, we have no moral grounds on which to oppose abortion. Similarly, to vote for any candidate who publicly supports abortion is to relinquish any principled opposition to it. At that point, abortion becomes only one more subjective issue.
Is abortion distasteful, or is it unconscionable? Is it a minor problem, or is it our nation's greatest reproach?
This seems to cast the abortion issue in an all-or-nothing mold. Either we end abortion or fail. I concede that abortion is indeed our nation's greatest sin. This does not eliminate the fact that abortion politics are notoriously complex. Roe vs. Wade is perhaps the most misunderstood Supreme Court case in our nation's history. Some would argue that only a constitutional amendment will turn back the tide (similar to those who argue for a marriage amendment). Certainly, these would be welcomed by Christian conservatives, but they are misguided. If we actually had enough public support for such an amendment, we would no longer need the amendment. Perhaps Roe vs. Wade could be overturned, and it certainly should be. However, this would do nothing more than allow states to consider the question for themselves. Short of these two sweeping reforms, what do we have? Our only other course of action is incremental change--doing what we can when we can. We can push for parental notification laws, oppose partial-birth abortion, and support crisis pregnancy centers. Most of these items can be pursued without the help of the president.
My conclusion: Limited government ensues that we live in a free society. Even if that society is unsafe, it is preferable to a safe society without freedom. Commitment to the War on Terror helps keep our free society safe. Without a free and safe society, how can we even begin to fight abortion (and all the other issues)? Given the president's limitations on setting abortion policy, we must give the abortion issue a lower (but still high #3) priority.
1.Limited Government (taxes, spending, etc.)
2. War on Terror and National Security
3. Abortion & Immigration (and everything else)
I'd like to know where you stand. What is your list of top issues? This question seems fair enough as we consider how best to spend our primary vote. Forget about candidates for a moment, and let's talk about issues. This is a discussion we ought to be having, so join in!
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
I will add that I just read through this article from 1998 (no doubt dug up to scare people about Huckabee's "extreme fundamentalist views"), and I have to say that I agree with him here. He speaks against the evils of big government several times and points out that the gospel helps people more than government. Unfortunately, I haven't heard anything but support of big government from him recently.
Just to recap (in case you didn't read the comments a few posts down), here are my top issues:
1. Conservative philosophy of limited government. This would solve so many of our problems.
2. The War on Terror and national security.
3. Abortion, immigration and everything else.
I will vote for the candidate who can best deliver on these issues in this order.
Mr. Huckabee also leads in Iowa and South Carolina.
With the primaries looming, Republicans must decide which they value more highly--the credentials of a fiscal/philosophical conservative or the credentials of a social conservative. As Mr. Huckabee continues to gain momentum, it appears more and more primary voters favor the latter.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
This paragraph caught my eye:
In seeking to detail the consequences of a decline in reading, the study showed that reading appeared to correlate with other academic achievement. In examining the average 2005 math scores of 12th graders who lived in homes with fewer than 10 books, an analysis of federal Education Department statistics found that those students scored much lower than those who lived in homes with more than 100 books. Although some of those results could be attributed to income gaps, Mr. Iyengar noted that students who lived in homes with more than 100 books but whose parents only completed high school scored higher on math tests than those students whose parents held college degrees (and were therefore likely to earn higher incomes) but who lived in homes with fewer than 10 books.
So having parents who read is possibly more important than having parents who have graduated college? It seems to fly in the face of the conventional wisdom that says we should start children in school earlier and keep them longer.
I understand not everyone enjoys reading as much as Philip or me but c'mon folks: pick up a book! Pick up a real book not some Danielle Steele romance or John Grisham "thriller". As far as the 100 books thing I busted that mark on our Library Thing account a long time ago. And I don't count things that we check out at the library. (53 books currently, including books for the kids)
And, as a full disclaimer, I don't consider myself particularly well read. I've never read Beowulf, most of Dickens, or quite a few other "famous" authors. Maybe I'll read those things with my girls, sooner rather than later.
H/T: The Common Room
Monday, November 26, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
So we're supposed to institutionalize our kids from the age of 3 on up. Is it any wonder kids hate school by the time they're 7?!
And what about a national curriculum for babies? If the thought of some social worker coming to check on your baby's development in "four distinct curriculum headings" doesn't send chills up your spine then I don't know what will.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
(In case you haven't found it already, RealClearPolitics has the best poll data around.)
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Sunday, November 11, 2007
I am currently reading the tremendous book, The Party of Death, by National Review Senior Editor Ramesh Ponnuru. This book deals with bioethics in all its forms, from abortion to euthanasia to stem cell research. I will have a review of the book once I finish it.
Ponnuru cuts straight to the heart of these highly charged and confused debates. Whatever the specifics of the debate at hand, Ponnuru cautions us to avoid creating two categories of humans: humans who have value and, therefore, rights and humans who do not. As applied to the stem cell debate, those who support the right to life for all humans must oppose the deliberate destruction of embryos, for whatever reason.
Some key points underlying the stem cell/cloning discussion:
1. Embryos are fully human and fully alive. Their appearance, size, location or level of development do not alter these facts in any way.
2. Harvesting embryonic stem cells from an embryo causes it to die.
3. Embryonic Stem Cell research has little chance of curing Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, diabetes, spinal cord injuries or anything else. Claims made by Ron Reagan and the like are wishful thinking at best and manipulative falsehood at worst.
4. Other kinds of stem cell research are available (adult, cord blood, placental) and are extremely promising. These kinds of research do not involve the death of a human embryo.
This by no means covers all the debate; rather, these points should be a starting place for those who wish to respect the right of all humans to live. No matter how "complicated" and confused the issues get as we slide down the slippery slope, let us never lose sight of the line between life and death.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Monday, November 5, 2007
Even if you think you understand capitalism, you need to read The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism by Dr. Robert P. Murphy. This book shatters nearly every politically correct, but wrong, theory of how the economy works, and explains how pure laissez-faire regulation-free capitalism could benefit everyone. Murphy shows how government involvement in economic matters is universally harmful, and his defense of absolute property rights is powerful and refreshing.
The book covers a wide variety of topics, from how Roosevelt actually made the Great Depression worse to why paying CEOs the big bucks is good and why unions are bad. Murphy's solution to overfishing? Allow someone to own the water (fisheries are never overfished). Want to stop poaching elephants in the Serengeti? Allow the land and animals to be owned (cow-poaching is virtually non-existent). Want to end inflation? Disband the Federal Reserve and tie our currency back to gold. Murphy defends "robber-barons" (Rockefeller donated about $550 million to charity back when that was a LOT of money), free trade and outsourcing. He argues that capitalism defeats racism and improves the environment. Reading this book will give you a much better understanding of economics (and better at recognizing when politicians are bending the truth or just flat-out wrong). And I just love the picture on the cover. Get this book today!
Sunday, November 4, 2007
In a letter last year responding to a Freedom of Information Act request by the conservative group Judicial Watch, Melissa Walker, supervisory archivist of the Clinton Presidential Library, wrote that archivists had identified 3,022,030 still-unreleased health-care documents, along with 2,884 e-mails and 1,021 photos covered by the group's request. Archives officials at the Clinton library have yet to process the Judicial Watch request or release the several million pages of task-force documents, including many key internal memos written by Mrs. Clinton and her advisers about how to restructure the health-care industry. This prompted the group to file a new lawsuit last week demanding their immediate disclosure.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Hillary simply cannot afford for people to know what she really thinks about health-care or anything else. Liberals don't win national elections; only candidates who are conservative or who pretend to be have a shot. Wonder why that is...
Saturday, November 3, 2007
This is just another instance of the doctors getting it completely wrong and distraught parents going along with the supposed experts. One is forced to wonder how often parents are told that their children have no chance to live and how often parents believe it.
I can't imagine how it must feel to be told one of your babies will die and that his death may cause your other child to die as well. I want to believe that I would leave that in God's hands or "risk them both" in Mrs. Jones' words (the mother in the case linked above). This is just another story demonstrating God's grace we can never deserve. Neither the doctors nor the parents deserve this happy ending but God blessed them with little Gabriel anyway.
Maybe God will use the story of Gabriel Jones to caution us that even the experts don't always (or ever!) know what the future holds.
Friday, November 2, 2007
Oregonians just love Mother Earth...and taxes. But an interesting question to ask is, which does the big Oregon government like more, protecting the planet or collecting tax money? The answer comes in this story about a company called Flexcar. Flexcar is actually a pretty ingenious combination of a taxicab and a rental car. People can reserve one of the hundreds of flexcars parked around the city (for as little as an hour) and be driving off within minutes. Access to such a convenient and reliable service makes it possible for many Oregonians to forgo owning a car. This not only "saves the planet," it also solves some REAL problems, such as roadway congestion.
The "problem" occurred when lawmakers noticed (thanks to rental car companies) that Flexcar was exempt from the Oregon rental car tax. The exemption helped to encourage planet-saving and discourage traffic by giving citizens the reward of not having to pay the rental tax (9.7%). Well, all that is over. Flexcar users will now have to cough up the extra cash even while "doing the right thing."
The moral of the story is that the Oregon state government just missed a golden opportunity to show the planet just how much they care. Actually, they did show us what they do care about, only it isn't protecting the environment--it's GETTING MORE MONEY AND POWER. I'm sure they would be happy to save the planet, too, if they could raise taxes to do it. But when the two issues collide, taxes win every time.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
As for me, I will never support Huckabee in the primary (although in the general election or as vice-president, I'm not sure) and I can tell you why in two words:
What was wrong for Michael Dukakis is wrong for Mike Huckabee, even if the situations are slightly different. Maybe a Pastor has to show forgiveness but a Governor/President doesn't.
I haven't been exactly thrilled with Fred Thompson's performance so far but he still has my vote. At this point, if Thompson dropped out, I'd probably vote for McCain before Huckabee or Romney. As for Giuliani: ain't gonna happen.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
However, you really must see the speech he delivered at the Values Voter Summit.
Electability may be a concern, but Huckabee is gaining significant ground in the polls. Warren writes:
There is very little chance the Republicans will have a candidate by March, despite the fact that some activists are saying we should put our differences aside and start running against Hillary. Of course, in a few months, after the first round of primaries, there will be some winners and losers. At least one of the front runners will have to drop out of the race. Right now, my money is on McCain to make an early exit. I also predict that Duncan Hunter will drop out. He's simply not getting traction because the issues he hoped would differentiate him are being carried ably by others. Ron Paul is in for the duration. He's raising enough money to stay in, and he seems to be enjoying the notoriety. And though he can't win, he will carry enough supporters late into the process - perhaps all the way to the convention - to play spoiler or convention broker.
Huckabee could be a major beneficiary of all of this, especially of any early re-alignments. As Huckabee starts to appear more electable, he will pick up more of the undecided voters, which right now stand at about 15 to 20 percent of the likely primary voters. They won't all break for Huckabee, of course, but he'll likely get more than his fair share. Also, many of those who have decided will change their minds. A former Southern Baptist leader in South Carolina who had supported Romney has already withdrawn his endorsement. Indeed, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council estimates that about 25 percent of evangelicals are supporting Giuliani, but he also said that support is "squishy." If just a few of those evangelicals move away from Giuliani, he's no longer the front runner. If they moved en masse to Huckabee, then Huckabee is suddenly a "top-tier" candidate.
I hope he's right.
Edit: Here's Warren's article in full.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Swarms of moths are invading Sydney's business district, cloaking skyscrapers and infesting hotels as they succumb to the bright lights of Australia's biggest city.I couldn't resist posting the last quote from this story released by Bloomberg today about Sydney's Bogong moth problem:
While some Bogong connoisseurs prepare omelets, Robinson said he prefers to pluck them off walls, remove the furry wings and eat them raw.
``They have a nut-like taste, but mostly they just taste like moth,'' he said.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
After today's debate, I would hesitate to put Mike Huckabee in charge of a large high school. This is irrelevant since he has no chance of winning the nomination.
Who sounded the most presidential? Mr. Romney and Mr. Giuliani came off well, I thought.
Of course, there's no need to analyze the actual content of the debate. If I want to know where a candidate stands on an issue, I have many far superior sources at my disposal. Presidential debates in the information age represent little more than theatrical obstacle courses.
It would be nice if Mr. Thompson could project a better image in future appearances, but it's of little consequence to my nomination decision. He's right on the issues, and his stated principles are backed up by his record in the U.S. Senate. He has a good shot at winning the election. He will have my support.
Monday, October 8, 2007
Friday, October 5, 2007
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Britney Spears, 'Breaking News'
by Jake Halpern
The problem is not US Weekly, People, "Entertainment Tonight," "Access Hollywood" or any of the shows and publications that have always billed themselves as entertainment venues. The problem is when TV shows and entire networks, which Americans rely upon to get the news, allow real news stories to be pushed aside again and again and again in deference to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.
by Robert D. Kaplan
Rather than hated, like during Vietnam, now the troops are "loved." But the best units don't want love; they want respect. The dilemma is that the safer the administration keeps us at home, the more disconnected the citizenry is from its own military posted abroad. An army at war and a nation at the mall do not encounter each other except through the refractive medium of news and entertainment.
That medium is refractive because while the U.S. still has a national military, it no longer has a national media to quite the same extent. The media is increasingly representative of an international society, whose loyalty to a particular territory is more and more diluted. That international society has ideas to defend -- ideas of universal justice -- but little actual ground. And without ground to defend, it has little need of heroes. Thus, future news cycles will also be dominated by victims.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Do you look at those early pictures of Kimberly Mueller and see a "fetus"? Let's cut the euphemisms already. Those people who are so eager for choice need to man up and call a baby a baby. You may be for "choice" but you are for choosing to destroy a human being, not a cancer like mass of tissue.
Sometimes I think God is allowing such marvelous scientific advancements so that the so-called wise of this world will continue to be confounded. Grow strong, Baby Kimberly!
Monday, October 1, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Ultimately, the story is about a young man battling past fear and failure to protect his family in a culture that is imploding under the weight of materialism and lack of respect for human life. These issues seem quite relevant to our modern world. This is one R-rated movie worth watching, especially if you are a man.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
The media are covering the story, but shouldn't it be a bigger deal? Anybody remember Jack Abramoff? Now THAT was a story. Because it involved Republicans (and Democrats, too). Do you think Giuliani or Thompson or Romney could survive this kind of scandal? As if. But Hilary skates right through, with her "Get out of Scandal Free" card, the American media.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
What? It's better for children to interact with other humans? How shocking...
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I remember waking up a bit late that Tuesday morning and, as is my habit, switching on my computer to see what's happening. The first thing I saw was a picture of the WTC and an explosion. My first thought was to wonder what new movie was coming out. I clicked on something else. More about something at the WTC. Then I started reading. Karen joined me, and we soon made our way to the TV. We sat there for the next several hours--really, the next few days--just watching. In those moments, our world changed. The fact that we were expecting our first child (the ultrasound was September 10) only served to heighten the sensations of helplessness, fear, confusion and anger.
We watched it all: the replays of the planes hitting, the recovery effort in the midst of more building collapses, Pres. Bush's visit to Ground Zero, the memorial service at the National Cathedral. Some older than myself say the Kennedy assassination came close to producing that feeling of national shock. Those still older can recall the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. All I know is that life will never be quite the same again. The rules of the whole world have changed. It falls on us to figure out what the new rules are and move forward. To a large extent, we've done that. Our military has, and is still, engaged in one of the greatest struggles of the modern era. A danger unlike any other now hovers over us, waiting for our guard to relax. New madmen seek to conquer the whole world, not with great armies of soldiers, but with armies of religious teachers aided by a small band of terrorists.
As we look back on these past six years, where do we stand? We have made real progress on many fronts, yet we seem weaker on the home front. We wrestle with answering the most basic of questions: Is American great? Many are jealous of our power and prosperity. Many seek to advance a dogma of socialism, so that all may be equally miserable. Many have lost all knowledge of the source of our greatness: trust in the Almighty God. Let us take this opportunity to once again sear the images of that terrible day into our minds, so that we may never forget the reality of the new world that surrounds us. And let us all do what we can to help America remember her Creator and Sustainer. God bless America!
Monday, September 10, 2007
As I consider the war in Iraq (and the greater War on Terror), I have noticed some glaring omissions in the discussion. According to the story linked above, 35% of Americans now approve on the surge (up from 27%). How are these Americans coming to their conclusions? What additional items might help foster more well-informed opinions. Here is my list of things I want to know before I decide what to think about the Iraq War:
1. What do the troops think about the war? I understand that there is actually a waiting list for military personnel who want to go fight in Iraq. Perhaps it could be argued that these "newbies" don't fully understand the horrors of war. However, it might also speak to the deeply-held patriotism and faith in the spirit of our great country to be found in these bravest of citizens. If the troops support the war, shouldn't we?
2. What is the score? We hear about deaths of American soldiers in 10's and 20's. Without a doubt, each and every loss of a soldier in war is tragic. But a little context would make their sacrifice much more meaningful. So how many "insurgents" or terrorists were killed or captured last week? Finally, we got a small glimpse of this number from President Bush last month. He said that we have averaged about 1,500 EVERY MONTH since January. How many did the terrorists get? Five or six? To me, it looks like we're winning in a big, big way.
3. Anything "good" happening over there? The news overflows with negative reporting--car bomb here, civilian casualty there, groups of people shouting and burning American flags. A steady diet of this might easier convince even rational, sane people that it's a hopeless situation. However, what are we not hearing about? Many, many good things are happening every day. Much of Iraq lives in relative peace and security (certainly this is the case when compared to the situation of terror under Saddam). The standard of living has shot through the roof, and the war isn't even over yet! Where is all the good news?
4. What will happen if we quit? No one ever seems to consider this. People seem to think once our troops all come home, everyone will live happily ever after. That's not quite how it happened the last time we cut and ran (Vietnam). Tragedy on a massive scale ensued, and our reputation as a world power was permanently damaged. The region itself suffered from the destabilization and Communism got a second wind. Do we really want all that to happen again? The stakes are even higher now.
As we approach the sixth anniversary of 9-11, let's all take a moment to ponder the situation in Iraq in light of all the facts. The War on Terror is the defining issue of our time. We simply cannot quit, cannot surrender, cannot lose. Let's support the troops AND the war.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
The bottom line: Fred came off as the serious, down-to-earth, I-don't-care-if-you-like-it-or-not kind of guy we are familiar with. The reason all his TV and movie characters also appear to be this way stems from the fact that Fred is really that guy. My only negative observation, if it is one, is that he did seem a bit, well...old. This doesn't worry me, but it might register negatively with some other segments of our youth-oriented culture. At any rate, it didn't seem to be an issue for Ronald Reagan.
I also happen to think his missing the early debates is a good move. Who wants to be just one guy on a stage of ten with only a handful of thirty-second windows to give a compelling and thorough answer to the great problems of the age? I'm pretty sure more people were watching Leno last night anyway! Anything you can do to set yourself apart at this stage of the game is a smart idea. Will it pay off for Thompson? I guess we'll find out pretty soon.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Monday, September 3, 2007
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
Bush did issue an executive order authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to seize the property of any person who undermines efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq. So of course you are guaranteed to lose your house and be thrown into prison for protesting the war here in the states. These liberal digg-olescents need to cut back on whatever designer drug they currently use and switch over to chill pills. The liberal Guardian has a much more realistic account of Bush's "scheme," i.e., fighting terrorists in Iraq.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
“THE Iranian regime is basically a messianic apocalyptic cult.” So says Israel's once and perhaps future prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu. If he is right the world is teetering on the edge of a terrifying crisis.
The article describes three possible outcomes of this nasty situation.
This story could have at least three unhappy endings. In one, Iran ends up with nuclear weapons, bringing new instability and a hair-trigger face-off with nuclear Israel into one of the world's least-safe neighbourhoods. In another, America or Israel take pre-emptive military action and manage to stop it, even though such an attack would almost certainly have very dangerous consequences of its own. In the third ending, Iran is attacked, and enraged, and retaliates—and still ends up with a bomb anyway.
It is vital to understand that this third finale is not a nightmare dreamt up by editorial writers. After the false intelligence that led America into Iraq, and the mayhem that followed, it may seem hard to believe that America or Israel are pondering an attack on a much bigger Muslim country. But they are—and they are not mad.
When The Economist begins kicking around the idea of a pre-emptive strike, you can be assured the Iran situation is getting very serious.
The U.S. is a rich nation getting richer. According to Census figures, the average inflation-adjusted income in the top quintile of American earners increased 22% between 1993 and 2003. Incomes in the middle quintile rose 17% on average, while the incomes in the bottom quintile increased 13%. Over the 30 years prior to 2003, top-quintile earners saw their real incomes increase by two-thirds, versus a quarter for those in the middle quintile and a fifth among the bottom earners.
Reason to celebrate? Not according to those worried that the rich are getting richer faster than the poor are getting richer.
Mr. Brooks asserts that the way to improve economic happiness is to promote economic mobility.
An accurate and constructive vision of America sees a land of both inequality and opportunity, in which hard work and perseverance are the keys to jumping from the ranks of the have-nots to those of the haves. This vision promotes policies focused not on wiping out economic inequality, but rather on enhancing economic mobility. These policies include improving educational opportunities, addressing cultural impediments to success, enhancing the fluidity of labor markets, searching for ways to include all citizens in America's investing revolution, and protecting the climate for entrepreneurship.
While the world focuses on Iran's centrifuges, the regime in Tehran appears to be in the midst of one of its most ferocious crackdowns on dissent in years. The government has focused on labor leaders, universities, the press, women's rights advocates, a former nuclear negotiator, Iranian-Americans and even civil servants who demanded higher salaries. Iran's cruel treatment of its own citizens is yet another sign that it can't be trusted to respect the welfare of other nations.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Sunday, July 15, 2007
As a member of a thriving community of Baptists, I occasionally find myself confronted with the religion question: Is Happy Potter an evil book? Inevitably, we compare the Potter books to those of Tolkien and Lewis, as they all deal in fantasy. However, I must admit that Rowling's tales tend to blur the line between good and evil, and her books' link to the occult cannot be easily overlooked. On the other hand, I can't see the books as producing any more real-life witches than pirate novels have produced pirates.
What really concerns me (and Karen) is the cultural question: Is Harry Potter a good book? Having read them all (and seen the dreadful movies), we conclude that they are of only an average quality. They are mildly entertaining, rather like eating a snickers bar--junk food for your brain. The sad truth is that the emperor has no clothes. But how could millions of Potter fans be wrong? As the article points out, they have bought not a book, but an experience. Millions will read the book at the same time (and, in a few years, watch the horrid movie version). They are not becoming readers--they are only participating in pop culture.
So where does this leave us? I advise caution in exposing your children to the later volumes, as they tend to diverge from the playful, childish innocence found at the beginning. Yet, I doubt your teenager will start dressing in black and brewing potions in her bedroom simply because she read through the series. If you feel you must avoid them completely, I can fully respect your conviction. If you do decide to read the Potter books (or finish the series with book seven), try not to stop there. Read other books--maybe even some of those "classics" from your high school English class you skipped through, or ones you heard about in college. Will I be reading the new Harry Potter book? You bet.
Monday, July 9, 2007
For some Fred-Rogers-related humor, here's one of my many favorite Simpsons moments.
Friday, July 6, 2007
"They've launched over 300 investigations, had over 350 requests for documents and interviews and they have had over 600 oversight hearings in just about 100 days."
Forget Al-Qaeda, third-world dictators or even illegal immigrants; public enemy number one is none other than George W. Bush (and anyone who knows him). Each new day's Democrat rhetoric only makes the situation that much clearer. Like the teenager-ridden Digg.com crowd, who spent the Fourth of July digging up "Impeach Bush Now" stories, the Democrats continue their triumphant march over the cliffs of irrelevancy.
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
This bears directly on our view of terrorists today. It's easy to read the headlines and forget that terrorists might also come to know the Lord as Savior. Indeed, such a thing seems unlikely. After all, Simon was at least a Jew and, as such, would have been expecting a Messiah. Muslims possess no such predisposition. They seek only to "convert," enslave or kill all infidels on the face of the earth. From a human standpoint, this appears to be an insurmountable wall. Yet, it is God who brings salvation to the hearts of men, and with God all things are possible.
Ultimately, the only answer to the current political crisis of militant Islam is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some might call this assessment "simplistic." A look at history will press my point. What overturned British tyranny in the American colonies? Military force, yes...but the real battle was fought ideologically, in the hearts of patriots. Freedom beat tyranny. What about our victory over the Nazis? Freedom triumphed over the hatred of a madman. Look even to the collapse of Soviet Russia. Freedom outlasted the bankruptcy of communism. Freedom always wins. It springs from the idea that our rights come not from any human institution, but rather, from God Almighty. And how can men truly know God apart from His Son, Jesus Christ?
The hope for Muslim nations, enthralled by hate, is the same hope that fell upon Simon. It is the only hope for our great nation today and for all the world. We must give our all to plant the gospel truth into the hearts and minds of both those who would destroy us and those who strive to defend us. The love of Christ can save our nation and all others besides. Let us celebrate this Fourth of July by reclaiming the greatest American dream: to spread hope and freedom to all corners of the globe.
Read Hewitt's analysis at Townhall. Still, for all the flack the president is taking over this he might as well have granted the pardon.
Monday, July 2, 2007
John R. Lott notes in his book, Freedomnomics, that sentences for white-collar crimes often fail to account for the life-altering impact of a conviction. Common blue-collar criminals can usually return to a similar standard of living and employment. White-collar criminals, however, find they can no longer practice in their area of expertise (law, medicine, accounting, upper-management, etc.) because firms cannot afford to hire someone of questionable reputation. Furthermore, these white-collar felons cannot get blue-collar jobs, either; since employers deem them vastly over-qualified (an employee who would be bored and likely to leave at the first opportunity).
Bush tried to find the middle ground, but he should have given Libby a FULL PARDON. This scenario is the only one in which Libby's professional life can be reconstructed. Sparing only the jail, while allowing him some dignity, ultimately will not help Libby get another job. Democrats will be (and are) angry with Bush no matter what he does in Libby's favor. What has Bush really got to lose?
And just for a little perspective: let's all think back to the Clinton impeachment saga or the Mark Rich pardon... What were the Democrat talking points again?
I'm almost beginning to feel sorry for liberals who were, no doubt, hoping the attackers were disgruntled Anglicans or even Scientologists...ANYTHING but Muslims. Unfortunately for them, reality has a nasty habit of turning up at the most inopportune times. The further liberals sink into denial, the less relevant they become (and they didn't have much relevance to begin with)!
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Disclaimer: The Coffee House also contains a good deal of sports material. I understand that some people find this sort of thing amusing. Personally, the only team I care about has a big elephant for a mascot, but I digress...
Friday, June 29, 2007
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Of course, for a commentary on socialized medicine that is actually grounded in reality, check out this piece by David Gratzer in today's WSJ. He explains that countries like Canada really have health care systems "in which dogs can get a hip replacement in under a week and in which humans can wait two to three years."
Thanks to WSJ's Daniel Henniger for pointing this one out in his opinion piece here.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Rosie's defense? Her daughter was just "playing dress up". Right. We're supposed to believe that (crazy though she may be) Rosie O'Donnell, who is vehemently anti-guns, allows her children to play with toy guns? If that's true it's hypocrisy. And even if "just dressing up" is how it came about she's using her own child as a pawn in her personal political agenda. Or maybe just as way to get back in the news, but that's just cynical of me.
Look, I'm for private gun ownership. I'll defend that 2nd Amendment to anyone. But guns and politics about guns, are not the province of children. As we do not have sons this hasn't come up very often in our home. Though our girls are more known for playing Princess Teacher Ballerina than Rambo, I've seen them playing all sorts of things, sometimes even with pretend weapons (blame it on their uncle & daddy!), but I've never once seen them suit up in camo, toss some (fake) ammunition around their shoulders, tote a (toy) gun, and ask me to post the picture for the entire world to see.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
"It is an extremely alarming development and raises the stakes considerably. In effect, it means we are in a full on war with Iran -- but nobody has officially declared it."
Don't expect this news to get much play in the drive-by media. They will continue to ignore and trivialize evil wherever they find it, preferring to focus on blaming the USA and George Bush for all the world's troubles.
Friday, June 22, 2007
15 June 07
Dear Night Raider Families and Loved Ones,
As I'm sure you know by now, the end of May was a tough month for the Night Raidersas we had 6 Soldiers seriously wounded and lost CPL Casey Zylman-all while serving their nation here in Iraq. Each of them and their families has made a tremendous sacrifice and I ask that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
After a series of catastrophic IEDs, your Night Raiders struck back hard against the enemy. Blackfoot Troop supported by Kiowa Warrior (KW) attack helicopters and Air Force F16s interdicted and destroyed a violent IED cell in their area of operations.
After the initial contact where elements of Blackfoot Troop engaged and destroyed an enemy vehicle and disabled a second with lethal machine gun fire, KWs were brought in to disable the third, and finally 2x 500lb laser guided bombs finished off any remnants of the enemy and their bomb making equipment. Within days, elements of Comanche Troop in support of the Iraqi Army took down a second deadly IED cell and captured those responsible for the death of our brother, CPL Zylman.
The net result is that we have the new enemy threat on its heels and on the run. The pressure is on them and this has also resulted in different factions of the enemy fighting against each other for the remnants of resources and territory. Additionally, elements of the Fire Support platoon (FIST) in Hellfighter Troop captured one of the leading financiers of terrorist activities in Western Nineveh. The Squadron staff has worked hard to develop plans against these threats and the Troops have endured a higher operational tempo to execute the long, continuous operations that have netted these successes against the enemy.
Additionally, Apache Troop has had tremendous success stemming the flow of insurgents, terrorists, and foreign fighters in Rabiah and at the Port of Entry (POE) between Syria and Iraq. The insurgents have been so frustrated that they cannot easily cross this once porous entry and exit point that they have tried to strike back. We anticipated our success would cause dire attempts by the enemy, and less than a week ago they tried to attack the POE and Combat Outpost Heider with dual Suicide Truck-Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (STBIED = Truck Bomb) each carrying 3,000 pounds of explosives. Apache Troop's force protection and coordination with local Iraqi Security Forces resulted in the Iraqi Police defeating one of the trucks at a check point and the other having to divert to another target where it was also defeated. Unfortunately, the 2 hero IPs that stopped the first truck were killed in the blast as were 3 other IP and 5 civilians. No Night Raiders were wounded in the attack.
While your Night Raiders have been involved with more engagements with the enemy, we have also made significant progress in the areas of economics, governance, and reconstruction. We recently began a micro-grant program for small businesses in Tal'Afar through the Economic Business Center and funded start up costs for 9 businesses. These businesses include a sports store, potato chip factory, coffee and ice cream shop, electronics store, cell phone store, and farming equipment.
This year's harvest of barley and wheat is set to surpass last year's mark by 25-30% due to Apache Troop's success with ensuring irrigation canal networks and pump stations were operational in the Rabiah region. The Sinjar Water Project, a $17 million dollar project to provide irrigation and drinking water to a vast part of our region is on schedule and very soon we will be conducting the opening of the first phase of this project in Sinjar proper.
Additionally, Baghdad and the central government of Iraq have finally released $29 million of the $37 million in Reconstruction Funds promised to Tal'Afar 18 months ago. The money is at the Provincial level and work has begun between the Tal'Afar City Council, City Directors, and the Deputy Governors of Nineveh (Mosul) to jump start the projects that began over a year ago and start bidding, contracting, and funding the remainder of the outstanding projects. Very soon we hope to see contracts, jobs, and long awaited reconstruction in the city of Tal'Afar.
We also continue to repair many bridges and culverts that the insurgency has blown up to try to isolate the population bases, instill fear in the populace, and undermine the credibility of the local governance and security forces. Along with these repairs, we continue to "bridge the gap" with last mile projects for the people to include electricity projects hooking up villages to the national grid, drinking water wells for outlying villages, paving roads, and building facilities for the government such as the Tal'Afar City Council building, Tal'Afar library, and Joint Coordination Centers for the hub cities. These are just a few of the many projects we manage every day on behalf of both the US taxpayer and the Iraqi people. We go to great lengths to QA/QC each project every step of the way and ensure they are done correctly. This month will see several landmark grand openings of some of these facilities and the funding for many others to include the Tal'Afar Today newspaper and a Media Center for Western Nineveh. To date, your Night Raiders have completed over 100 projects for the Iraqis totally over $10 million.
Every day I see progress in Western Nineveh in each of our lines of effort: Security, Transition, Governance, Economics, and Communication. While we will not reach our desired end state in each prior to our departure in a few months, we have made very real, visible progress that will set the conditions for the unit that follows us and provide the framework for the Iraqis to progress, eventually on their own, toward the prosperous future of their choosing.
Prepared and Loyal!!
MALCOLM B. FROST
Lieutenant Colonel, Infantry
Thursday, June 21, 2007
If Congress (and states) were really interested in lowering the price of gas, all they need do is roll back taxes on gas. These taxes exceed the profits made by "greedy" oil companies. One more step would finish the job: end all the foolish environmental restrictions on building new refineries, off-shore drilling and drilling in Alaska. Instant price decreases AND leverage against Islamo-fascist oil barons. Which sounds better to you?