"I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

Thomas Jefferson
Sept. 23, 1800

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Conservatism From The Brit Perspective

A writer on the UK conservative blog CentreRight has posted the beginnings of his list of precepts that define conservatism. It's interesting to see how much I find to agree with. Here's the list:

  1. No insignificant person has ever been born.
  2. Economic liberalism needs social conservatism (and, 5pm addition, Iain Murray emails me to say and vice versa)
  3. The presumption should always be in favour of life
  4. Government should be as small as possible but as large as necessary
  5. Multilateral organisations transfer power from people to politicians
  6. Private choices have public consequences/ Policymakers have an interest in 'private choices', at least so long as they have consequences for taxpayers
  7. Conservatism is a creative coalition between security, economic and cultural conservatives
  8. A welfare state that feeds-and-forgets isn't compassionate
  9. Politics is less important than ideas, culture and religion
  10. Free enterprise and big business are not the same
  11. Taxation has dynamic effects
  12. Pre-emption is the best response to many of today's security threats
  13. There is such thing as society, it's just not the state
  14. Man is a fallen creature
  15. Decision-making powers should be as close as possible to those affected by those decisions
  16. Private ownership is nearly always preferable to common ownership
  17. A strong society is built upon the vigorous virtues of courage, ambition, creativity, self-sufficiency and enterprise.
  18. Love of country is fundamental to all conservatism.
  19. Social liberalism can be destructive of social justice.
  20. Conservative reform is usually preferable to radical revolution. Conservatism must deal with its own enemies within.

I especially like his point that free enterprise does not necessarily equal big business, in light of our government's inability to distinguish between the two. Bush's attempts to save big business are in danger of seriously hurting free enterprise. I fear that will only get worse under the Obama administration.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Best of the Best Of

Check out all the totally useless, yet highly amusing, "Best Of 2008" lists.

I don't think I made one of them. I'll try harder in '09.

Our State Is A Mess

If you're sick of all that holiday cheer and were looking for something to complain about, Chad Adams at the John Locke Foundation's Squall Lines blog has a list for you.

He hits some, but surely not all, of the bases, including the North Carolina probation system, mental health system and transportation department. He even points out the sad fact that governments can't even run liquor sales at a profit. Good Lord.

Hamas Needed Bombing

Just in case you were inclined to feel a bit sorry for Hamas having to deal with a modern air force dropping bombs and missiles on it for days on end, Little Green Footballs brings us this from the Jerusalem Post.

It seems that just before Christmas, the Hamas legislature passed a new criminal code for the Palestinian Authority that legalizes crucifixion. How nice.

And these are the people that the Jimmy Carter "peace now" crowd wants Israel to negotiate with. There are some people, and Hamas falls into this category, that to dignify them with negotiations would be a step backwards for civilization.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Count Your Blessings

As we prepare for another Christmas in the most free nation on Earth, let's remember those who have to deal with more than a few ACLU lawyers to celebrate their faith.

Joseph Morrison Skelly writes at National Review Online about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Lutheran minister who actively fought against the Nazis from inside Germany. He is an example of the many men and women who risk their lives and freedom to celebrate Christmas.

Skelly reminds us of a few of these:

At Christmas time in 1942 Bonhoeffer had circulated a long letter to his closest colleagues assessing a decade of resistance, later reprinted as the essay “After Ten Years.” In it he asks the question, “Who stands firm?” Today, there are Christians who quietly stand up to tyranny. On the morning of December 25, they will acknowledge the day’s significance. In Beijing, a husband will wish his wife “Merry Christmas.” In Havana, a family will exchange gifts. A minister in Riyadh will read the Gospel. A priest in Pyongyang will silently say Mass. These men and women, like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, resist without fear. They grasp a fundamental fact about the intersection of freedom and faith, as true for Christians as it is for men and women of all religions. They understand that to be human is to know God; to be human and free is to know God fully.
God Bless them.

I Blame Global Warming

If a blizzard hasn't knocked out your electricity, you can read this fun list of The Top Ten Things Global Warming Is Responsible For.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas In Iraq

The world's only Arab democracy allows the celebration of Christmas. The Interior Ministry even sponsored an event in Baghdad featuring Santa, a band, a decorated tree and a hot air balloon with Jesus Christ on its side.

That would get a town or city sued in this country. I probably shouldn't even say that, if any US funds we somehow involved, the ACLU is probably already at the courthouse.

On a happier note, does this mean we won?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Southeastern NC To Be Awash With Roadkill

North Carolina DOT announced it will layoff most temporary workers by early next month, in a cost-cutting attempt. One of the jobs performed by these unlucky souls is roadkill clean-up. Being laid-off is bad, but being laid-off from a job picking dead possums off the side of the road...maybe not so much.

Surely, the state wouldn't create make-work jobs for officials' friends and relatives, so I'm afraid this move will have dire consequences. How we we keep from being drowned in the carcasses of dead critters? My wife suggested that perhaps the vultures would step up, but can we count on Mother Nature to perform a job that is so obviously the proper role of Government?

Only time will tell, but I for one, am buying hip waders.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Very Toothy Christmas

Researchers in Scotland will try to answer one of the world's most burning questions: Do sharks like Christmas music?

After it was learned that fish could recognize a melody, this was the obvious next step. I'm not sure I'd want to be around to see a great white's reaction to Wham's Next Christmas, but good luck to the Scots!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Real Human Rights President

I'll bet you didn't read about this in your newspaper. President Bush recognized International Human Rights Day by hosting a round table with bloggers and journalists from countries where they are being oppressed. Bush met with men and women from Cuba, Iran, Belarus, Burma and China to discuss how each person has been able to use technology to shed light on the abuses suffered in their home country.

Val Prieto on the Babalu Blog (great name, by the way) introduces the participants and tells what the opportunity means to him, and his father. Thanks to Jay Nordingler's Impromptus for the link.

Ironic, isn't it, that Jimmy Carter never tires of telling the world he's the Human Rights President, while happily meeting and kissing up to the very thugs who make these journalists' lives miserable. Let's hope President Bush gets a bit more credit from historians than he gets from his contemporaries.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sign Up For The Global Warming Freaks' Poo-poo List

An anonymous global warming fanatic (comment #45, if you follow the link) thinks that all those who deny the Gospel Of Al Gore should have their names put on a list so future generations can heap shame upon their memories.

Here's your chance at history. Sign the list.

Obama Finds Himself And Staff Innocent

Never fear Americans! Obama and his staff have investigated themselves and found themselves to have committed no wrongdoing in their conversations with Gov. Blagojevich about Obama's senate seat.

Imagine the money and time the country will save over the next four years by having a chief executive so pure and wonderful that he can carry on investigations into his own behavior. I imagine him in front of the mirror saying, "Self, did you do anything wrong? No? Well good, that settles that."

Illinois would save a ton of time in money if it just asked Blagojevich to investigate himself. Watergate would have been much less painful for the country if Richard Nixon had been in charge of the investigations into his administration.

Monday, December 15, 2008

RNC Goes On Offense

The Republican National Committee has produced this video ad highlighting the unanswered questions about the relationship between the Obama transition team and Gov. Blagojevich.

John McCain, meanwhile, is criticizing the RNC for attacking the incoming administration when they should be "working together." I guess it's back to the old "maverick" days. That didn't take long.

Can we please find a Republican to run for president in four years?

It's A Very Barney Christmas

The White House Barney-cam rules!!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Corrupt Does Not Equal "Crazy"

The brazen behavior of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has led many main stream media apologists to suggest the man is out and out crazy. As such, he is not a symbol of corrupt Democratic politics, but a sideshow freak. He's interesting and horrifying, but not indicative of any larger problem. Some have even managed to lay blame on the man's hair.

This reaction shows either a total disregard for the intelligence of the news consumer, or a complete ignorance of the nature of political power in human society. John Locke wrote that humans are born with the right and desire to be free. Governments are set up as a necessary evil to ensure that one man's freedom doesn't infringe on that of another. History records an unbroken string of men given power over other men by government over stepping their bounds. It's the reason our founders installed so many checks on the power of the federal government in total and on each branch individually. It's also why the first amendment was designed to keep the government's hands off the news business.

Without constant vigilance, the actions of Blagojevich are the natural way of things. It's not crazy, it's human nature.

Here in Brunswick County, we had a similar situation. Our long-time Sheriff was running his department as a personal fiefdom, and when he was investigated, was recorded trying to obstruct that investigation. Ronald Hewett was at one time a very admired man in this county, and to some he still is, though he sits in prison today. He was a young man put into a position of power as part of a Democratic party that was used having all things political and legal as they wished. Our county has changed a lot recently, both demographically and politically, and Sheriff Hewett was unprepared for and maybe unaware of that change. Some here tried to blame his behavior on alcoholism and prescription drug abuse, which was part of the problem, but it went far beyond that. Having grown up in the political and social climate he did, Hewett acted as a man with his morals and character would be expected to act.

Hewett and Blagojevich were wrong, but the hubris and power-hunger they demonstrated have been a part of the human struggle for as long as we've banded together into societies. Forgetting that we have to keep up a constant watch for this in our leaders will ensure further abuses of power.

Senate Republicans May Be On The Right Track

Let us hope that the Republican senators' refusal to cave in to the United Auto Workers' union signals a return to principle that will continue into the new congress seated next year. The Wall Street Journal editorializes to that effect here.

Here's a part:

Thursday's showdown marked an important political moment for the Republican Party. By refusing to write a blank check to Detroit, Senate Republicans have started to reclaim some credibility on fiscal policy and the role of government in the economy. They did so standing up to a Republican President who doesn't want any more bad headlines, as well as to Democrats who will blame the GOP if the auto makers collapse.

They also stood up for the right reasons. No bailout will ever restore the car companies to profitability without a restructuring. Yet an explicit UAW goal is to use the bailout to avoid any such thing. The union and their Democratic protectors want to avoid the discipline that a bankruptcy could impose under Chapter 11. A government-directed salvation would also give environmentalists huge leverage over the cars Detroit builds, a power they and Democrats have wanted for decades.

Friday, December 12, 2008

So Far No Bail Out

It seems that the negotiations to win some Republican support for the automaker bailout plan have fallen apart.

The unions will not, as Sen. Corker demands, give a date certain for reaching pay parity with foreign car makers' US plants. Big surprise, huh?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Never Fear, Obama Team "Gathering Facts" About Itself

Trying heroically to remain outside the Illinois Senate seat/Rod Blagojevich cesspool, Obama today assured reporters that his staff was "gathering facts" about its contacts with the Illinois governor.

Apparently, once Obama and his underlings figure out what they did or said, they'll let us know. I'm sure it will most enlightening.

Senate Republicans Preparing To Compromise On Bailout Bill

Stephen Spruiell at National Review Online reports on Tennessee Senator Bob Corker's negotiations with Sen. Reid on the auto bailout bill. He's looking to give the proposed "car czar" much of the authority of a bankruptcy judge, forcing the companies to cut labor costs and deal with bond holders. Bloomberg.com has a story on the negotiations here.

Spruiell's point that a bankruptcy judge would be better than a "car czar" trying to act like a bankruptcy judge is well taken. The courts are the proper venue for this restructuring and congress should step aside. The GOP seems unable to learn that being the Democrat-lite party is not the path to success.

Senator Jim DeMint thinks the American people have about had enough. He's predicting "riots" if even more select people are bailed out with money from taxpayers who aren't exactly sitting pretty themselves. Here's the video.

Maybe riots are a bit counter-productive, but I would like to see the American people stirred up in defense of the free market.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

NCAA Footbal Playoff Simulator

ESPN has a simulator on their web site that allows you to seed 16 teams then have them fight through simulated playoff games to reach the national championship. Too cool! Give it a try.

Credit Where Credit Is Due

The hideous automaker bailout bill just passed the US House of Representatives, which is bad.

Our very own Representative, Democrat Mike McIntyre joined just 19 other Democrats in voting "Nay," which is good.

Thanks Mike. Keep it up.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Standing Athwart The Bailout

It looks like South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint has joined John Ensign and Jeff Sessions in threatening to filibuster the Democrats' proposed auto bailout bill. I wish there were more Republican voices speaking out strongly in favor of free markets and against nationalizing American businesses, but I suppose we've got to start somewhere.

This latest idea of government appointed "Auto Czar" is mind numbingly stupid. One wonders where such a person has been while the Big Three were floundering away. The idea that one individual, selected by the incompetents in the US Congress, can solve all of Detroit's problems should have been laughed out of the Capitol building.

This Is Going To Be A Fun Four Years

The man charged with filling Barack Obama's soon-to-be-vacated Senate seat was arrested today for trying to sell it to the highest bidder. Illinois Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich was charged by federal prosecutors with all manner of corruption after years of investigation that produced some really entertaining wiretap transcipts.

Apparently the Gov' has a bit of a potty mouth.

Despite the fact that he is recorded calling our President-Elect a "mother(bleeper)," Blagojevich and Obama come from the exact same political culture. Don't think this is the last time we're going to see corrupt Chicago-style of politics over the next four years. Stay tuned.

Monday, December 8, 2008

High School Book Censorship Silliness

These people should all have there teaching certificates revoked. Then their voting rights, just to be safe. From the Hot Air blog:

Robert Cox reports on a curious outbreak of missing pages from a New Rochelle High School library. The same pages disappeared from every copy of the book Girl, Interrupted, which explores author Susan Kaysen’s experiences in the 1960s as a young woman self-committed to a mental health hospital. Vandalism? Only of an official kind:

Students at New Rochelle School High School are going to find it difficult to complete their next assignment: comparing the film adaptation of “Girl, Interrupted” to the best-selling book. In the book, Kaysen recounts her confinement at a Massachussets mental hospital in the 1960’s.

Pages from the middle of the book have been torn out by the school district after having been deemed “inappropriate” by school officials due to sexual content and strong language. Removed is a scene where the rebellious Lisa (played by Angela Jolie in the movie) encourages Susanna (played by Winona Ryder) to circumvent hospital rules against sexual intercourse by engaging in oral sex instead.

“The material was of a sexual nature that we deemed inappropriate for teachers to present to their students,” said English Department Chariperson Leslie Altschul, “since the book has other redeeming features, we took the liberty of bowdlerizing.”

At issue are pages 64-70 of the book, a chapter called “Checkmate”. It deals with a dialog between the girls in the facility about having sex with visitors and avoiding getting caught by the nurses during their five-minute room checks. The language is frank and realistic, and anyone with an Internet connection can read the first three pages of the section by using Amazon’s search function. New Rochelle High School apparently didn’t realize this or the curiosity their crude censorship would create, nor did they consider the strange message their actions would send to the students.

One does not, under any circumstances, tear pages out of books. It is just uncivilized and wrong. Period.

England Abandon's English

The latest version of the Oxford University Press' Junior English Dictionary drops words referring to Christianity, Britain and nature in favor of more "modern" computer and pop-psychology terms. The changes have traditionalists up in arms, and rightly so. Take a look at the Telegraph's listing of what's in and what's out:

Words taken out:

Carol, cracker, holly, ivy, mistletoe

Dwarf, elf, goblin

Abbey, aisle, altar, bishop, chapel, christen, disciple, minister, monastery, monk, nun, nunnery, parish, pew, psalm, pulpit, saint, sin, devil, vicar

Coronation, duchess, duke, emperor, empire, monarch, decade

adder, ass, beaver, boar, budgerigar, bullock, cheetah, colt, corgi, cygnet, doe, drake, ferret, gerbil, goldfish, guinea pig, hamster, heron, herring, kingfisher, lark, leopard, lobster, magpie, minnow, mussel, newt, otter, ox, oyster, panther, pelican, piglet, plaice, poodle, porcupine, porpoise, raven, spaniel, starling, stoat, stork, terrapin, thrush, weasel, wren.

Acorn, allotment, almond, apricot, ash, bacon, beech, beetroot, blackberry, blacksmith, bloom, bluebell, bramble, bran, bray, bridle, brook, buttercup, canary, canter, carnation, catkin, cauliflower, chestnut, clover, conker, county, cowslip, crocus, dandelion, diesel, fern, fungus, gooseberry, gorse, hazel, hazelnut, heather, holly, horse chestnut, ivy, lavender, leek, liquorice, manger, marzipan, melon, minnow, mint, nectar, nectarine, oats, pansy, parsnip, pasture, poppy, porridge, poultry, primrose, prune, radish, rhubarb, sheaf, spinach, sycamore, tulip, turnip, vine, violet, walnut, willow

Words put in:

Blog, broadband, MP3 player, voicemail, attachment, database, export, chatroom, bullet point, cut and paste, analogue

Celebrity, tolerant, vandalism, negotiate, interdependent, creep, citizenship, childhood, conflict, common sense, debate, EU, drought, brainy, boisterous, cautionary tale, bilingual, bungee jumping, committee, compulsory, cope, democratic, allergic, biodegradable, emotion, dyslexic, donate, endangered, Euro

Apparatus, food chain, incisor, square number, trapezium, alliteration, colloquial, idiom, curriculum, classify, chronological, block graph

I understand the dictionary's need to be relevant to today's children and remain small enough to be practical to them, but this is still scary. Lots of attention has been drawn to the deletion of Christian terminology, especially in the comments to the original article, and they are all valid points. But look at the list of removed words and see what really sticks out. Mother nature is taking it on the chin!

Great Britain is surely losing much of its countryside, but do they have to lose all the language that goes along with it? Humans are products of their environment, whether they ever see it in its natural state or not. A child who grows up seeing only concrete and steel and plastic loses the appreciation that man is not supreme.

In a man-made world, man makes the laws. This is easy for a child who knows no better to believe, to his own detriment. We are children of Nature and Nature's God who has endowed each of us with rights that no man can take away. To understand that on any real level requires a vocabulary that recognizes nature. If we take away the words, we take away the reality for all too many.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez

Not only was the crooked Democrat William Jefferson of Louisiana booted from his seat in congress, the people of his New Orleans district replaced him with a 41 year-old Vietnamese-American Republican.

Anh "Joseph" Cao won the largely black and democrat district in voting yesterday that had been delayed by Hurricane Gustav.

He joins an Indian-American Republican governor. Gotta love those backwards, racist Southern Republicans, huh?

Sunday Night Twain

"Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist but you have ceased to live."

--Mark Twain, "Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar"

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Pirates Are Cooler Than Terrorists

The possibility of a struggle the likes of which the world hasn't seen since Godzilla took on Mechagodzilla in 1974 looms on the East African coast. Al Shabab, a Somali Islamist group affiliated with Al Qaeda, has moved into a coastal town with plans to retake a super-tanker from Somali pirates.

It seems Al Shabab considers piracy against the rules of Islam. Good for them, right? One little problem--it's only contrary to the Koran's teachings to pirate a ship belonging to other Muslims.

Oh well, I guess you have to start somewhere.

Not surprisingly, some American liberals are more than willing to support terrorists in the fight against pirates.


Poor Choice Of Words?

Jon Favreau, recently named director of speechwriting for the Obama White House, posted the above photo on his Facebook page. All in good fun, of course this is what you get with 27 year olds in senior positions.

The best part, though, is the transition team spokesman's responce:

Asked about the photos, Favreau, who was recently appointed director of speechwriting for the White House, declined comment. A transition official said that Favreau had "reached out to Senator Clinton to offer an apology."

"Reached out" indeed. The next four years are gonna be AWESOME!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Tragedy On Oak Island

Since man has been digging through mountains and spanning rivers for many years, we easily forget how dangerous these projects still are. Here on Oak Island we've been reminded.

On Wednesday a concrete girder fell from a new bridge being constructed across the Intracoastal Waterway, killing one man and injuring two others. Jose Montalvo, a Sumter, SC resident and father of three, lost his life working on a project we here on Oak Island have been clamoring for for decades. We tend to forget how much risk is still involved in the huge pieces of infrastructure that we've come to take for granted.

The accident will be investigated and the project will continue, but I hope all of us will feel a bit more humbled by the work and sacrifices of the engineers and construction professionals that make our convenience possible.

The State Port Pilot has a link to video of the collapse.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Just In Time For Christmas

It's a "Lego" Terrorist!!!! Complete with bomb belt!!!

(not approved by Lego, of course)

Capitol Odor Eater

The new US Capitol visitor center may have taken eight years to construct, come in $356 billion dollars over budget and completely misconstrued the Constitution, but it was all worth it. Now Harry Reid doesn't have to smell the stench of constituents at his work place. From the DC Examiner:

The Capitol Visitors Center, which opened this morning, may have tripled its original budget and fallen years behind schedule, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid found a silver lining for members of Congress: tourists won't offend them with their B.O. anymore.

"My staff tells me not to say this, but I'm going to say it anyway," said Reid in his remarks. "In the summer because of the heat and high humidity, you could literally smell the tourists coming into the Capitol. It may be descriptive but it's true."

But it's no longer going to be true, noted Reid, thanks to the air conditioned, indoor space.

And that's not all. "We have many bathrooms here, as you can see," Reid continued. "Souvenirs are available."

$621 million well spent.

If they don't confiscate all of my money to pay UAW workers to sit in a lounge, maybe I can afford deodorant.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Bailouts and Jet Envy

Well, now I guess we can feel good about "loaning" tens of billions of dollars of OUR money to three poorly run automakers with no profits and a market cap of under $7 billion. See, their executives drove there own bad selves from Detroit to Washington DC.

In hybrids. Oh joy!!!

While showing up for a bailout hearing in private jets was bad PR, the stink raised over it has been disgusting. Americans are outraged over the mode of transport and the salaries of corporate executives, but don't blink an eye about having their government seize their money to buy itself into private-sector businesses. That's called socialism, look it up.

While the auto makers have racked up a huge debt and made unrealistic promises to their employees, the US Congress is hardly in a position to lecture them.

As of September 30th of this year, the United States national debt stood at $10,024,724,896,912.49. That's ten trillion twenty-four billion seven hundred twenty-four million eight hundred ninety-six thousand nine hundred twelve dollars and forty-nine cents. The debt wracked up by GM, Chrysler and Ford is chump change compared to that.

The Social Security system will begin breaking down in the 2020's and be totally bankrupt soon after.

The people responsible for our national debt and fraudulent retirement plan are demanding oversight of the Big Three auto makers as they use our tax dollars to recover from their troubles. How comforting.

And the American citizen is fixated on an airplane.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Run Away! Run Away!

A relatively small US cruise ship outran pirates in the Gulf of Aden between Somalia and Yemen after being fired upon with small arms. The pirates, in two small boats, couldn't keep up with the cruise liner carrying almost 1,000 people. The cruise was on its way from Egypt to Oman via the Suez Canal when it was attacked in an area patrolled by international anti-pirate forces.


Standing By India

Christopher Hitchens writes a passionate piece today at Slate.com arguing for standing by India as an important ally. India is more multi-ethnic and religiously diverse than many of us realize. They are becoming much like the United States in that area of the world. That may be a large part of the reason they find themselves under attack by jihadists.

With Europe on in inescapable decline, maybe India is just the ally we should be cultivating.

Mr. Hitchens also does the great service of explaining why Bombay is now called Mumbai:

When Salman Rushdie wrote, in The Moor's Last Sigh in 1995, that "those who hated India, those who sought to ruin it, would need to ruin Bombay," he was alluding to the Hindu chauvinists who had tried to exert their own monopoly in the city and who had forcibly renamed it—after a Hindu goddess—Mumbai. We all now collude with this, in the same way that most newspapers and TV stations do the Burmese junta's work for it by using the fake name Myanmar. (Bombay's hospital and stock exchange, both targets of terrorists, are still called by their right name by most people, just as Bollywood retains its "B.")

I hate name changes. I'm not real fond of changes at all, really.

Monday, December 1, 2008

New U.S. Capitol Building Misinformation Center Opening Tomorrow

The Capitol Building's new visitor center opens tomorrow, presenting a very modern view of the relationship between your government and the Constitution. That is to say a view entirely inconsistent with the document the framers produced almost 220 years ago. Matt Spalding with the Heritage Foundation toured the new facility at the recommendation of South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint and reports on the twisting of our country's Constitution away from the vision of its creators.

Wrong, Mr. Madison. Congress’ new Visitor Center decrees the Constitution isn’t a list of powers but rather of “aspirations” Congress is expected to define and realize. The exhibit specifies six:

  1. Unity (as in “a more perfect Union” in the Preamble, which grants Congress no power).
  2. Freedom (based on the First Amendment, which begins with the words “Congress shall make no law …”).
  3. Common Defense (from Article I, Section 8).
  4. Knowledge (authority to promote public education, support arts and sciences, fund extensive research).
  5. Exploration (to justify funding “curiosity and boldness” — like 4, this comes from a convoluted reading of the clause granting Congress the power to issue patents).
  6. General Welfare (found in Article I, Section 8’s restriction of the taxing power, but taken here to mean “improving transportation, promoting agriculture and industry, protecting health and the environment, and seeking ways to solve social and economic problems”).

At first I thought I'd be sure to skip this monstrosity on our next trip to DC, but on second thought maybe the best use of this is as an example to our children of what can happen if we don't guard our liberty from those in power, whether elected or not.

I think I'll take my son here after reading the Constitution ourselves, or maybe bring a copy along, and let the elementary school brain of his pick apart the work of our present political leaders.

That shouldn't take long.

Great Reporting on the Indian Terror Attacks

The Wall Street Journal has a great report on the Mumbai terrorists and the Indian security forces' response. It's really scary how easy it is for a small group of highly motivated men to cause such havoc in a major city. Sure the government response could have been better and they could have been better prepared, but this sort of thing is impossible to stop in a free society. Let's hope this brings home the wisdom of George Bush's strategy of fighting the terrorists in their homes instead of ours.

Lest we forget that this is MUSLIM terror, religiously motivated and carried out by true-believing Islamists, read this excerpt from the WSJ's story:

On the 20th floor, the gunmen shoved the group out of the stairwell. They lined up the 13 men and three women and lifted their weapons. "Why are you doing this to us?" a man called out. "We haven't done anything to you."

"Remember Babri Masjid?" one of the gunmen shouted, referring to a 16th-century mosque built by India's first Mughal Muslim emperor and destroyed by Hindu radicals in 1992.

"Remember Godhra?" the second attacker asked, a reference to the town in the Indian state of Gujarat where religious rioting that evolved into an anti-Muslim pogrom began in 2002.

"We are Turkish. We are Muslim," someone in the group screamed. One of the gunmen motioned for two Turks in the group to step aside.

Then they pointed their weapons at the rest and squeezed the triggers.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

US Navy's Answer To Piracy

The War Is Boring blog has a video tour of one of the US navy's newest warships. She's the USS Freedom, the navy's first Littoral Combat Ship, able to patrol coastal waters for pirates, terrorists and other ne'er do wells. Check out the helicopter-looking thingy in the ship's hanger. I think its a remote control aircraft. Cool.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

More Pirate News

Wow! Those were some great security guards! Somali pirates attacked and captured a chemical tanker Friday and help arrived just in time to fish the tanker's British security detail out of the sea, reports the AP.

The ship's captain radioed the anti-pirate task force, who sent a German helicopter to the scene too late to do anything but rescue the employees of the ambitiously named Anti-Piracy Maritime Security Solutions who had jumped overboard.

Did they really jump, or were they made to walk the plank? Aaaaarrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!

The "international community" is making me feel safer by the minute.

Three Steps To Reviving The GOP

Mark Sanford outlines his recipe for a rejuvenated Republican Party in an article at the Politico.
He's big on returning to core principles, then actually paying attention to them as you make decisions. Here's the start:

First, let’s go back to the principle of saying what you mean and meaning what you say. A political party is much like a brand, and brands thrive or wither based on how consistently they deliver on what they promise. Along those same lines, it’s important for brands to stick to their knitting. If John Deere’s tractor sales are declining, they don’t say, “Tell you what, let’s make cars and airplanes, too.” Instead, they focus on producing better tractors.

I make that point because there’s a real temptation in Republican circles right now to try and be all things to all people. We tried that already — it was called “compassionate conservatism,” and it got us nowhere.

Gov. Sanford goes on from there to implore us to respect ideas over personalities and to look to the states rather than Washington for our examples.

He's right in that the future of the party lies with governors rather than senators. We should be trying to make government not only smaller, but closer to the people.

An individual can look after his needs on the local or county level much more effectively than at the national level. I think this is an easy argument to make and could help us gain some credibility with younger and more libertarian-minded voters.

Friday, November 28, 2008

What the Government Really Does

Larrey Anderson at the American Thinker asks us to look around and try to find one actual thing provided or created by the government. Try this at home, it's fun.

He makes the point well that the government is really good at regulating and slowing down the production of its citizens. Asking it to do anything else is silly in the extreme.

Asking the government to "save the economy" is downright dangerous.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanks For What Lasts

Bruce Walker at the American Thinker blog writes of the greatness of permanence and the dangers of change. This is what we, as conservatives, must learn to explain. The whole essay needs your attention, but here's the start:

Barack Obama won the presidency promising change. As we enter our national season of Thanksgiving, we should reflect on the goodness of permanence. Liberals morphed over the last three decades into "progressives." The idea of progress is a talisman of our times. I wonder why? Surely if there is one idea which should have died in the last century, it is the idea that progress is good. All the word implies is movement in a particular direction. That direction could be toward Heaven or toward the Inferno.
In the last hundred years we have watch the world plunge twice into wars which devoured tens of millions of souls whole; monsters who tried to exterminate Jews, Armenians, kulaks, and other innocents; people sell their birthright of liberty for baubles of government goodies; and the degeneration of education and media so that truth seems to have died in public discourse. Most change seems to be bad and the Chinese curse "May you live in interesting times" seems very wise

I'm with Mr. Walker 100% on this one. I'm quite happy, for the most part, with the way things are. If I want something changed, I'll change it myself, thank you very much. From the way the President-elect's cabinet is shaping up, maybe, just maybe, he's coming around to a more mature view of "change" as well. We can always hope.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

All Is Not Lost At UNC Journalism School

It's sad that one is surprised by this, but someone at the UNC School of Communications has posted to their Talk Politics blog an argument against "hate speech" codes on college campuses. Leroy Towns writes a defense of free speech that I'd like to see coming from all journalism schools. Here's a piece:

Free speech, uncontrolled by the government (or by the UNC system), is the most basic and precious right of Americans. Free political speech keeps the government in check. When it is eroded, even for the best of intentions, the foundation of democracy crumbles.

What the NC students wrote was reprehensible, but it provides a teaching moment for all of us involved in higher education: To enjoy freedom of speech, we have to suffer the utterance of fools. Otherwise, we risk being declared fools ourselves and being silenced when someone disagrees with what we say.

As has been said, and as the NC State case reminds us, the path to freedom of expression is traveled by the most unsavory of characters. But it must be open to all.

Mr. Towns is referring to a committee set up by UNC System President Erskine Bowles to consider hate crime policies after racist statements were written in the NC State "free speech tunnel." The state NAACP asked for the offending students to be expelled. The school said that the writing in the tunnel wasn't a crime and the students apologized. The conflict is the apparent reason for Bowles task force.

Any University that designates one area for "free speech" is already on a slippery slope. Does that mean the rest of the school is not a "free speech zone?"

The prosecution of people for "hate crimes" is positively Orewellian. They punish a citizen for what a jury can be convinced was going on in his head during the commission of a crime. Crime should be punished, not thoughts, no matter how repulsive.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

North Carolina Post-Election Poll

The Civitas Institute has released the results of their after-election poll of North Carolinians. They asked respondents why they didn't vote for certain candidates, and got some interesting answers. Since these were not multiple choice questions, the responses are all over the map, but in certain cases they group together nicely. In the governors' race, for instance, the top two reasons by far for not voting for Pat McCrory were the fact that he is a Republican and not having heard much about him. I'm not sure if this speaks badly for his campaign, the state and local party organizations or the media.

Another interesting finding is the changing sources of voters' information. Twenty-five percent of respondents cited cable news as their main source of political information. Next most popular was the Internet, at 15%, and newspapers and network news tied with 14%. Television still comes in strong, but with the popularity of Internet news sites and blogs and cable news channels, it looks to me as if people are seeking out a news source that they feel is right for them. Perhaps they are looking for the most thorough and in-depth reporting, but I suspect most people are gravitating towards an information source that reinforces what they already believe.

This trend is worrisome to some people, but I'm not troubled at all. It's really a step backwards, toward the time at the beginning of our nation when all the newspapers were blatantly and proudly partisan. We are so inundated with information nowadays that there isn't really much chance that people will be able to limit themselves to only hearing one point of view. I think that what the trend toward personalizing our news sources reveals is a growing awareness that there are really very few, if any, objective news outlets. And that's OK, as long as the people are aware.

An Eco-Friendly Thanksgiving

This is environmentalism I can get into. According to this pretty graphic in theWashington Post , we can help the environment by drinking huge bottles of imported wine. At least that's what I get out of it.

Your Marine Corps At Work

This is a great story of what our Marines can accomplish. It's from the Marine Corp News by way of National Review Online's Michael Ledeen:

by Cpl. James M. Mercure
FARAH PROVINCE, Afghanistan - In the city of Shewan, approximately 250 insurgents ambushed 30 Marines and paid a heavy price for it.
Shewan has historically been a safe haven for insurgents, who used to plan and stage attacks against Coalition Forces in the Bala Baluk district.
The city is home to several major insurgent leaders. Reports indicate that more than 250 full time fighters reside in the city and in the surrounding villages.
Shewan had been a thorn in the side of Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Afghanistan throughout the Marines' deployment here in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, because it controls an important supply route into the Bala Baluk district. Opening the route was key to continuing combat operations in the area.
"The day started out with a 10-kilometer patrol with elements mounted and dismounted, so by the time we got to Shewan, we were pretty beat," said a designated marksman who requested to remain unidentified. "Our vehicles came under a barrage of enemy RPGs (rocket propelled grenades) and machine gun fire. One of our 'humvees' was disabled from RPG fire, and the Marines inside dismounted and laid down suppression fire so they could evacuate a Marine who was knocked unconscious from the blast."
The vicious attack that left the humvee destroyed and several of the Marines pinned down in the kill zone sparked an intense eight-hour battle as the platoon desperately fought to recover their comrades. After recovering the Marines trapped in the kill zone, another platoon sergeant personally led numerous attacks on enemy fortified positions while the platoon fought house to house and trench to trench in order to clear through the enemy ambush site.
"The biggest thing to take from that day is what Marines can accomplish when they're given the opportunity to fight," the sniper said. "A small group of Marines met a numerically superior force and embarrassed them in their own backyard. The insurgents told the townspeople that they were stronger than the Americans, and that day we showed them they were wrong."
During the battle, the designated marksman single handedly thwarted a company-sized enemy RPG and machinegun ambush by reportedly killing 20 enemy fighters with his devastatingly accurate precision fire. He selflessly exposed himself time and again to intense enemy fire during a critical point in the eight-hour battle for Shewan in order to kill any enemy combatants who attempted to engage or maneuver on the Marines in the kill zone. What made his actions even more impressive was the fact that he didn't miss any shots, despite the enemies' rounds impacting within a foot of his fighting position.
"I was in my own little world," the young corporal said. "I wasn't even aware of a lot of the rounds impacting near my position, because I was concentrating so hard on making sure my rounds were on target."
After calling for close-air support, the small group of Marines pushed forward and broke the enemies' spirit as many of them dropped their weapons and fled the battlefield. At the end of the battle, the Marines had reduced an enemy stronghold, killed more than 50 insurgents and wounded several more.
"I didn't realize how many bad guys there were until we had broken through the enemies' lines and forced them to retreat. It was roughly 250 insurgents against 30 of us," the corporal said. "It was a good day for the Marine Corps. We killed a lot of bad guys, and none of our guys were seriously injured."

Monday, November 24, 2008

Lawyers, A Pirate's Best Friend

Seems I'm not the only one to see the Somali pirate situation as a clue to the Obama administration's plans for anti-terror policy. Brett Joshpe writes in the American Spectator:

The ABA Journal recently detailed the swath of lawyers (16 out of 25) populating the top echelon of Barack Obama's transition team. Both Obama and Vice-President-elect Joe Biden are lawyers, the first time Americans have elected an all-attorney ticket since Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew. What can America expect from an executive branch teeming with lawyers? This month's scenes from the Somali coast might offer a troubling glimpse.

Pirates have seized nine vessels in the last two weeks and attacked at least 80 ships this year, threatening commerce and jeopardizing human lives. Most notoriously, they captured a super-tanker carrying $100 million of crude oil, and are holding the crew hostage for ransom. In an op-ed in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal titled "Pirates Exploit Confusion About International Law," David Rivkin Jr. and Lee Casey explained how legal uncertainty among governments is stymieing efforts to combat the pirates who are wreaking havoc on East-African high seas.

Rivkin and Casey observed that "America's NATO allies have effectively abandoned the historical legal rules permitting irregular fighters to be tried in special military courts (or, in the case of pirates, admiralty courts) in favor of a straightforward criminal-justice model…common criminals cannot be targeted with military force." They went on to explain that last year "the British Foreign Office reportedly warned the Royal Navy not to detain pirates, since this might violate their 'human rights.'"

Muslims Cheating Muslims

The Council on American-Islamic Relations is being sued for fraud in Federal court. Summons were handed out during their annual dinner while Congressman Kieth Ellison was giving some sort of address. The video at the end of this link is awesome.

It seems the legal council for CAIR wasn't actually a lawyer and bilked lots of those coming to CAIR for legal help out of money. CAIR responded by forcing those who complained to sign secrecy agreements pledging not speak with law enforcement about the fraud.

Hey, at least these are equal opportunity scum-bags.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

These are some REALLY happy pups. Their man just came home from a 14 month Iraq deployment. Oh yeah, the soldier seems kinda happy as well.

Interesting Indeed

John Hood over at the Carolina Journal Online has a piece out today called "Beverly Perdue's Interesting Interview" that gives us some hope for the future of the state. It seems that our Governor-Elect is thinking some rather big thoughts about the role of the state government. She wonders aloud if it isn't time to shift some of the responsibilities for roads, courts and education back to towns and counties.

If she had said this before the election, I'd have voted for her. I'd love to see more authority vested closer to home, that's where it belongs. Perdue hasn't a snowball's chance in Hell of actually enacting these reforms, but it is great to hear a politician at least mention the subject.

Your Thoughts On A Graph

The web site PoliticallyEmpowered.com will mathematically chart your personal political views. Just take a survey and submit it for a look at your very own nifty little graph showing how socially and fiscally liberal or conservative you happen to be. They even write you a "Personal Political Statement," though it's a little silly calling a form letter with the blanks filled in by a computer "personal."

If you'd like to see your own chart, just follow the above link, register and go to the "Profile" tab at the top.

The libertarians have there own quiz and chart, which is much simpler and shorter, here.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Oh Joy!! A New North Carolina Tax

Let me tell you how it will be
There's one for you, nineteen for me
'Cause I'm the taxman,
Yeah, I'm the taxman

Should five percent appear too small
Be thankful I don't take it all
'Cause I'm the taxman,
Yeah, I'm the taxman

If you drive a car, I'll tax the street
If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat
If you get too cold, I'll tax the heat
If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet

'Cause I'm the taxman,
Yeah, I'm the taxman

Don't ask me what I want it for (a-ah Mr. Wilson)
If you don't want to pay some more (a-ah Mr. Heath)
'Cause I'm the taxman,
Yeah, I'm the taxman

Now my advice for those who die (Taxman)
Declare the pennies on your eyes (Taxman)
'Cause I'm the taxman,
Yeah, I'm the taxman
And you're working for no one but me (Taxman)

--The Beatles (1966)

The News and Observer reports that a "special committee" has proposed taxing North Carolinians based on the miles they drive. You'd pay at inspection time based on your odometer reading.

Of course the new tax could "replace or supplement" the current gasoline tax. Any bets on which?

Happy World Toilet Day

Who knew? Today was World Toilet Day, and I didn't even get my Toilet cards in the mail. Oh well, there's always next year.

In celebration, international sewage experts (there's something to aspire to) called for an end to flushing toilets. It seems we're causing some poor sap to die of thirst every time we flush, so some are proposing toilets that use no water. Nice. Of course the more traditional bureaucrats have held to the old stand-by toilet flushing tax to help save the sewage.

Before you think this is too funny, remember that here in the great old U.S of A your government regulates the size and capacity of your toilet, and has passed a law banning incandescent light bulbs by 2014.

I can't seem to find the power to do any of these things in the Constitution. Maybe I'm not looking hard enough.

Poll Examines Voter Reasoning

A new Civitas Institute poll asked voters to explain why they did not vote for the other guy. These are a bunch of verbatim responses and so are not very scientific, but they are interesting.

After a couple of reads, it occurred to me that Obama's voters tend to see Democrats and McCain as a Republican, while the McCain voters were much more likely to define the candidates by ideology, i.e. liberal, conservative, socialist. I'm not sure how to use that insight, but I found it interesting. I think that at least it shows the way to win the right is to speak as a conservative rather than as a Republican. The right-leaning voters may be more likely to tell the difference.

What Would Madison Have Thought Of The Bailout?

A Washington Times column by Bruce Fein asks that question and comes to the conclusion--not much. Madison warned in the Federalist papers of over-complicating government rules. He argued that it would tip the playing field in favor of those able to navigate the complexities of regulations over those who were innovators and hard workers. Fein's whole column is great, but here's the meat:

Writing 220 years ago in Federalist 62, James Madison descried incessant changes in the law that altered the economic playing field. Legal instability confers on lobbyists and their clients a preferred position over men and women whose labors are economically productive. Anticipating modern-day Jack Abramoffs, Madison observed that mutability in government financial decrees gives "unreasonable advantage ... to the sagacious, the enterprising, and the moneyed few over the industrious and uninformed mass of the people. Every new regulation concerning commerce or revenue, or in any way affecting the value of the different species of property, presents a new harvest to those who watch the change, and can trace its consequences; a harvest, reared not by themselves, but by the toils and cares of the great body of their fellow citizens. This is a state of things in which it may be said with some truth that laws are made for the FEW, not for the MANY."

TARA fits Madison's observation like a glove. Its strategy for boosting the economy has changed more rapidly than George Steinbrenner's firing of New York Yankee managers. The Treasury Department's initial plan was to purchase "toxic" mortgage-backed securities from financial institutions in jeopardy. A few days later, it changed to purchases of preferred stock in major banks in futile hope that the beneficiaries would make loans out of gratitude for their government benefactor. Next came the plan to inject capital into institutions offering consumer credit, and then the AIG bailout enlargement.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Michael Steele on the GOP's Future

This interview with Michael Steele illustrates his plans for the GOP if elected the party chairman. He has some grand plans, and if anyone can carry them off, it's Steele.

I do wish he'd not praise the man who helped orchestrate the kidnapping of Elian Gonzalez, Eric Holder. Holder is dangerous man to have in charge of the Justice Department.

Mid-Week Tennyson

Tho' much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

from "Ulysses" by Alfred Tennyson

Somali Pirates Too Big To Fail?

The pirate seizure of a supertanker carrying $100 million in oil has brought the usual response from the international defense think tank community. From The Times of London:

Analysts said, however, that the seizure of the Sirius Star exposed the use of foreign warships as “a sticking plaster” that would not solve the problem. “Maritime security operations in that area are addressing the symptoms not the causes,” said Jason Alderwick, a maritime defence analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Roger Middleton, a Horn of Africa specialist at the Chatham House think-tank, said that the capture was a crucial escalation. “Now that they have shown they are able to seize an enormous ship like this, it is beyond a military solution. You won’t fix this without a political solution.”

Surely the "political solution" will amount to sending loads of US dollars to the pirates so they won't have to go through the trouble of hijacking ships. We can hope our new administration will be cool to this idea, but Obama's rhetoric on the importance of following world opinion makes me have my doubts.

In happier news, the Indian Navy has experimented with the old fashioned, pre-think tank method of pirate disposal.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Victory In Iraq Day

This site proposes we declare November 22nd Victory In Iraq Day. He makes a very good case for our having already won the war. I'm prepared to celebrate.


Blackbeard would be proud. Pirates have captured probably the biggest booty in history with the hijacking of a Saudi supertanker holding 2 million barrels of crude oil in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Kenya. Russian, Nato, India and the United States all have a naval presence in the region, but piracy is still rampant.

Some have called this terrorism, but I think that cheapens the term. What we're seeing off the coast of East Africa is entirely profit-driven. It's good olde fashioned piracy. It'll be fun to see how the new administration handles this, because it may give us a hint as to how they would deal with real terrorists.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Hands Off My Cows, Satan!!!

A group of seven Amish farmers in Michigan are suing the USDA over plans to radio tag all their cattle. The Amish claim this is part of an attempt to "number every living thing" mentioned in the Book of Revelations and attributed to the Anti-Christ.

I, for one, oppose Satanic cows.

Some "Emergency"

It seems the financial catastrophe that was minutes away when the congress was considering the $700 billion bailout is now taking its sweet time. The Whitehouse is now saying it will save half of the bailout money for the incoming Obama administration to dole out.

So let's review, the bailout was needed to buy up bad mortgage debt RIGHT NOW so that everyone's employer could get a loan to meet payroll. Now, weeks later, we find that the money is NOT going to be spent on bad mortgage debt at all, but instead "loaned" directly to banks, insurance companies and automakers.

This bailout has become so absurd that we are now on the verge of loaning $25 billion dollars to three automakers that could be purchased completely and in total for about $7 million. Basically you are about to loan $25 billion of your tax dollars to companies that are worth a fraction of that money and haven't shown the ability to turn a profit in years. Sound eerily like the mortgages that got us into this mess?

Would it surprise you to learn that one of the most vigorous proponents of this idea is Barney Frank?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Shameless Archaeology Geek Post

Archaeologists have excavated the remains of the oldest known temple on earth. The 11,000 year old site in southern Turkey near the Syrian border pre-dates Stonehenge by 6,000 years.

It's being proposed that the site may play a role in the transition from hunter/gatherer societies to farming societies. While there is no evidence of farming at the site, there are the remains of wild plants that are the ancestors of some of the first farmed crops. The stones of the temple are huge and carved with animal motifs, so people may have had to find a way to stay near the temple for longer than a hunter/gatherer group was accustomed to staying in any one place.

This staying in one place gave rise to the need for civil society, which gave rise to rulers, which gave rise to criticism of rulers, which is me.

Thanks 11,000 year old Middle Eastern dudes!

Field Trip!!

Montpelier, James Madison's home in central Virginia, is restored and re-opened to visitors. While Thomas Jefferson and George Washington get most of the attention for birthing our nation, it was James Madison's work that made us the unique country we are today. He studied governments all over the world and throughout time to come up with the framework for our Constitution, enshrining the rule of law rather than the rule of men. It's about time we removed the pink stucco from the man's house.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

No Bail Out For Us, Thanks

Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina makes a persuasive argument for ending the bail out gravy train while we still can. Sanford has only two years left in his term-limited governorship. Hopefully this will leave him plenty of time to focus on the Whitehouse in 2012. He's one of the last true conservatives to reach high political office and isn't ashamed of his views or afraid to argue for them.

Winning The Middle

Former New Jersey Governor and EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman argues in a Washington Post column that the GOP must move to the "center" on social issues like abortion, gay rights and stem cell research if it is to survive.

Our central thesis was simple: The Republican Party had been taken hostage by "social fundamentalists," the people who base their votes on such social issues as abortion, gay rights and stem cell research. Unless the GOP freed itself from their grip, we argued, it would so alienate itself from the broad center of the American electorate that it would become increasingly marginalized and find itself out of power.

I find the discussion of attracting "moderates" to the party tiresome at best. James Gimpel, a political science professor from the University of Maryland, makes a convincing argument at National Review Online that those in the "middle" don't actually believe much of anything until they are led one way or the other by a charismatic political figure. Moderates by definition have no ideology to show them where they stand on any issue. They tend to wait for some perceived consensus, then join right in. The way to win the votes of the "middle" is to provide them with a bandwagon on which to jump.

I think that especially on the three issues Whitman references, a return to the Founders' principles could win us the day. Neither abortion, gay rights nor stem cell research should be Federal issues. The 9th and 10th Amendments specifically grant to the states and the people all powers not granted to the congress, president or courts.

The abortion debate is at its heart a debate over the definition of murder. Abortion is the act of ending the life of "something" and the question is what that something is and whether it deserves some kind of protection. All these are questions best decided by the states and the people, not one federal court. The power over who lives and dies is too important to leave the hands of the citizens.

Gay rights has basically come to mean marriage. All questions of marriage are the sole purview of the states as well. The federal government has no right to force states to define marriage one way or the other.

Stem cell research will be funded or not by the private sector depending on the promise of results. If the only funding available for stem cell research comes from federal grants, that should tell us something about the chances of that researches real success. The right has done a horrible job of making the distinction between outlawing scientific research and not throwing tons of tax dollars at it.

All of these issues can and should be brought closer to the people. This would increase the power of each voter and decrease to power of a nameless, faceless bureaucracy. We as conservatives need to make that argument consistently and powerfully if we hope to turn to mushy middle into reliable votes for Freedom.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Creationism Is Back On The Table

The Brunswick County Board of Education heard once more from a local resident who advocates teaching the Hebrew creation myth in public schools. From the State Port Pilot:

Although hesitant to re-open discussions right now, Brunswick County school board members have not yet closed the book on creationism in the classroom.
During the public address portion of its meeting Thursday, the board of education heard once again from parent Joel Fanti, who reiterated his argument that creationism, a Biblical account of the origin of life, be taught in addition to evolution. Fanti first approached the board with the issue in September.
But since his first appearance, Fanti said he now understood the myriad reasons why school board members would have a difficult time adding Creationism to the science course catalog — the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) could cite the district for not following state standards, among others.
Instead, Fanti asked the board to consider integrating creationism into a social science like world history. Under NCDPI guidelines, Creationism cannot be introduced into the standard course of study but can be taught from a cultural perspective in history and elective classes.

The board sort of waffled with the issue, neither sending Mr. Fanti packing or signing on to his ideas. Hopefully, they were just being polite, but I'm afraid past history argues against that.

I won't get into the creationism vs. intelligent design vs. evolution argument because it can't be won. Those who believe the biblical story of creation can't be argued from their views with scientific evidence. That's not the nature of faith. On the other hand, atheistic evolutionary biologists will never see the hand of God in the development of life for the same reason. Theirs is faith of a different kind, but faith none the less.

I think what all sides should agree on is that the public schools should not be dabbling in religious education. The left will see it as unconstitutional, of course, but the faithful should be just as opposed.

Do you really want the people responsible for today's education system teaching your kids about religion? If they do as good a job with God as they do with history, literature, mathematics and science, we'll end up graduating a bunch of atheists.

Keeping faith and government at arms' length is really a protection for the faithful.

Are There ANY Republican Safe Seats?

The American Thinker blog has a piece today by C. Edmund Wright drawing portents and lessons from the loss to the GOP of Elizabeth Dole's Senate seat. I'm not sure I'd go as far as he does with the importance of the seat itself, which was once Jesse Helms', but his point about the future of the party is well taken.

As has been said, you can't fight demographics. So what is the GOP to do? Some inside the Beltway will say the party must diversify and moderate to prevent destruction. These are the folks who ran the McCain campaign. McCain lost the big tent moderates by 21 points. Clearly this is not the answer.

The only answer is to start winning some arguments. We have to start changing some minds. We need to educate. You know -- like who really caused 9-11 and the collapse of Fannie Mae -- as we look backward. As we look forward, perhaps the argument of how liberal oil policy and confiscatory union thugs are the reason Detroit and Michigan are in the tank, not George Bush and capitalism. And so on.

But to win some arguments, you must HAVE some arguments. This is something people named Dole, Bush and McCain don't seem to understand. If we don't start, Carolina blue is just the beginning.

We mustn't be scared of being called "negative" when we disagree with the latest Democrat proposal. They have much less of a mandate than they or the media want to believe. The American people want to be individualists again. Individuality is cool. Liberty is NOT negative. The silver lining to our becoming the minority party is that now WE are the non-conformists, the anti-establishment rebels.

Our ideas trace a direct line back to Samuel Adams' Sons of Liberty, who were definitely not a bunch of stuffed shirts. Time to get back to our roots.