"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

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.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Draft Michael Steele

There is an online petition to draft Michael Steele for RNC chairman here.

Apparently, he's in negotiations to win Newt Gingrich's endorsement, so I guess those two won't fight it out.

The only rumored opposition is current chair, Mike Duncan, and Mike Huckabee's guy, Chip Saltsman. God help us.

Evolution vs. Creationism in Schools

In light of the recent discussion of creationism in our Brunswick County schools, here's a little history about the federal court's decisions on the matter.

Let's all hope our new Republicans on the Board of Education put their emphasis on actual education. If we were to graduate students who could read with understanding and think critically, they would be in a position to make up there own minds about social and religious issues. It does no good to pass out free bibles to kids who can't read well enough to get anything out of them.

Michael Steele's Vision

Michael Steele, leader of GOPAC and rumored to be fighting for the RNC chairmanship, has a piece in the Wall Street Journal today laying out his vision for the future of the Republican Party. I think this is exactly what the Republicans need from a leader. He's positive, grounded in principle and dedicated to winning. Here's a part:

Republicans once said that the opportunities this nation has to offer rest not in government but rather in the hands of individuals. Over the past decade or so, however, we Republicans lost our way. The disparity between our rhetoric and our action grew until our credibility snapped. It wasn't the fault of our ideals. It was the failure of our leadership.

Over time, our principles morphed into baser motives. Continued political dominance grew more important to those who led us than the noble vision most of us originally signed on for. And to maintain power we turned to the controls of government -- we became the party of big government. We behaved like Democrats.

True, the country has changed and our party must adapt. However, it is wrong to believe we must change our principles or become conservative-lite. After all, the voters did not suddenly become liberal; but they have lost any sense of confidence that the Republican Party holds the answers to their problems.

Most Americans today see a Republican Party that defines itself by what it is against rather than what it is for. We can tell you why public schools aren't working, but not articulate a compelling vision for how we'll better educate children. We're well equipped to rail against tax increases; but can't begin to explain how we'll help the poor. We exclude far better than we welcome.

Monday, November 10, 2008

National Media Bulldogs

In case you were concerned about the national media being too hard on Obama as president, never fear. From CNN's Reliable Sources, Howard Kurtz asks National Public Radio host Michel Martin about an Obama honeymoon:

KURTZ: Will he get an initial honeymoon from the press, Michel, especially given the historic nature of his victory?

MARTIN: I would argue that he's going to get a honeymoon because of the historic nature of the problems addressing the country right now. I think that this is...

KURTZ: Here he is coming into office...

MARTIN: Coming into office. I mean, I don't want to be...

KURTZ: ... with a huge financial crisis and two wars, and a lot of other things.

MARTIN: And two wars. I mean, I think I would liken it to the period right after 9/11, when the press was very uncritical of the president because you couldn't afford to be. The public had a certain boundary that they were willing to allow you to play, and after a certain point that boundary relaxes. But I think it's really more the underlying circumstances, not so much his status and demographic

They won't be asking any tough questions of The Chosen One because that would be just plain un-American!

New Republican National Comittee Chairman

The Washington Times reports on a race for the RNC chairmanship between Michael Steele and Newt Gingrich. This is encouraging news as both men are actually pretty conservative. I'd give the nod to Steele because of Gingrich's American Solutions initiative. I'm just in no mood to reach out across the aisle right now.

I'd like to see someone who can articulate broad liberty-based conservative ideas rather than specific policies. There is a lot of education needed and I think we need to start with America 101. Steele is a man who I think may be able to reach those who need most to hear the message.


Happy 233rd Birthday to the United States Marine Corps.

And thanks.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday Night Poetry

Thanks to Little Green Footballs:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

William Butler Yeats

Being True To Ourselves

The first step in the rescue of conservatism is being honest about what's gone wrong. In a Weekly Standard article, P.J. O'Rourke lays it all out in gory detail.

Let us bend over and kiss our ass goodbye. Our 28-year conservative opportunity to fix the moral and practical boundaries of government is gone--gone with the bear market and the Bear Stearns and the bear that's headed off to do you-know-what in the woods on our philosophy.

None of this is the fault of the left. After the events of the 20th century--national socialism, international socialism, inter-species socialism from Earth First--anyone who is still on the left is obviously insane and not responsible for his or her actions. No, we on the right did it. The financial crisis that is hoisting us on our own petard is only the latest (if the last) of the petard hoistings that have issued from the hindquarters of our movement. We've had nearly three decades to educate the electorate about freedom, responsibility, and the evils of collectivism, and we responded by creating a big-city-public-school-system of a learning environment.

Liberalism had been running wild in the nation since the Great Depression. At the end of the Carter administration we had it cornered in one of its dreadful low-income housing projects or smelly public parks or some such place, and we held the Taser gun in our hand, pointed it at the beast's swollen gut, and didn't pull the trigger. Liberalism wasn't zapped and rolled away on a gurney and confined somewhere until it expired from natural causes such as natural law or natural rights.

This whole piece is worth reading. It's long and sure to step on the toes of lots of conservative "issues voters," but he's dead-on right.

It's going to take time to bring the Republican party back to conservatis, then to make America realize she's running out of second chances. Time to start from scratch, perhaps?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Wealth Spreading Problems

Seems some Obama campaign workers are a bit disappointed in "The Chosen One". From WTHR in Indianapolis:

Lines were long and tempers flared Wednesday not to vote but to get paid for canvassing for Barack Obama. Several hundred people are still waiting to get their pay for last-minute campaigning. Police were called to the Obama campaign office on North Meridian Street downtown to control the crowd.

The line was long and the crowd was angry at times.

"I want my money today! It's my money. I want it right now!" yelled one former campaign worker.

Eventually people did start getting paid, but some said they were missing hours and told to fill in paperwork making their claim and that eventually they would get a check in the mail.

"Still that's not right. I'm disappointed. I'm glad for the president, but I'm disappointed in this system," said Diane Jefferson, temporary campaign worker.

"It should have been $480. It's $230," said Imani Sankofa.

"They gave us $10 an hour. So we added it. I added up all the hours so it was supposed to be at least $120. All I get is $90," said Charles Martin.

"I worked nine hours a day for 4 days and got paid half of what I should have earned," said Randall Waldon.

Some people weren't satisfied with filling out a claim form for money they felt was still due to them.

"They say that they gonna call you or they going to mail it to you, but I don't know. We'll see what happens," said Antron Grose.

"Talking about they'll mail it to us. I ain't worried about that, man. They're not going to mail nothin'," said Martin.

Change I'd Like To Believe

It's amazing what the light of day will do to even The Chosen One's plans. Obama's change.gov website was edited last night to take out references to "requiring" middle and high school and college students to do "community service." Here's the new and improved version.

Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by setting a goal that all middle school and high school students do 50 hours of community service a year and by developing a plan so that all college students who conduct 100 hours of community service receive a universal and fully refundable tax credit ensuring that the first $4,000 of their college education is completely free. Obama will encourage retiring Americans to serve by improving programs available for individuals over age 55, while at the same time promoting youth programs such as Youth Build and Head Start.

Asking college students to work in exchange for their free money from the government isn't a bad idea at all. Let's just hope that community service is defined broadly enough to include more than ACORN.

As far as "setting a goal" for community service by secondary school kids, we'll have to watch that. It still makes me nervous.

I think this change reflects a PR move much more than a change of heart. The Obama administration's first natural inclination will always be to force "change" in what it believes to be the best interests of "the people."

Friday, November 7, 2008

It's Alive!!!!!

Surprise, surprise, surprise. "New votes" keep popping up in Minnesota for Al Frankin in his close race with Republican Norm Coleman. Amazing how all the found votes are for the same guy.

Here's the story from the Star-Tribune, and the blogger take on it.

Leading From The Rear

President Elect Barack Obama has named Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm to his economic task force. Gov. Granholm took office in 2003 and has since seen Michigan fall into a recession well before the rest of the country. The state has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation and has for years.

How did the genius Granholm manage this you ask? Raising taxes on business and high achievers and increasing state budgets year after year did the trick.

Sound familiar?

Forced "Volunteerism" Under Obama

Please don't look at the whole site until Monday (have some fun this weekend), but this from change.gov, the Obama transition website, is too scary to let pass. From the horse's mouth:

Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year. Obama will encourage retiring Americans to serve by improving programs available for individuals over age 55, while at the same time promoting youth programs such as Youth Build and Head Start.

Note that not only our children will be forced into Obama's personal idea of "community service," but seniors look to be next in line.

"Want that next social security check granny? Better sign up 150 new voters in this inner city project first."

Who'd have thought the first Black president would seek to violate the 13th Amendment? We live in strange times, indeed.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Go Barney, Go!

Barney, the First Dog, gives the McCain campaign a belated lesson on the correct way to handle the media.

Yes, you do want to link to the video with sound after savoring the slo-mo. If anyone ever spoke to me in that voice, I'd do the same thing.


Is the Republican party dead? Randall Hoven at the American Thinker thinks so, and he even gives us the exact time of death:

The death of the Republican Party has an exact date: October 3, 2008. The day John McCain lost his bid for President also has an exact date: October 1, 2008. These dates are when the coroner officially declared death; the coma started much earlier: March 27, 2002.

October 3, 2008 is, of course, when the $trillion bailout was passed by the House and signed into law by President Bush. October 1 was when John McCain voted for the bailout in the Senate, and went on to urge House Republicans to vote in favor of it. March 27, 2002 was when President Bush signed McCain-Feingold into law. (Ironically, Feingold voted against the bailout, making him more Republican than McCain.)

The bailout is often quoted as costing $700 B. When all bailouts are added up (Fannie and Freddie, FHA, JP Morgan, Bear-Stearns, etc.), the cost is more like $1.8 trillion.

I'll agree with him on the cause of the illness, but not the prognosis. The big bailout plan was the perfect example of Republicans either having no core principles or choosing to ignore them in a panic. Anyone who was surprised that McCain voted for it hasn't payed much attention to the Maverick. He has a good heart, and the instincts of a problem-solver, but since he's a part of government, he sees only government solutions to problems. Just like in the cases of campaign finance reform and global warming, McCain has no ideological foundation to fall back on and so grabs for whatever government program seems to him to be addressing the problem. He'd rather do the wrong thing than do nothing, which is the exact opposite of conservatism.

The Republican party is not dead, but it is at a crossroads. Ironically, the bailout bill helps us clearly see the choices before the party. We can follow those who voted for the bailout, stretching out our arms to unite and find some
common cause with the new administration. Or we can follow those who chose to follow the path of the recently departed William F. Buckley Jr, and stood athwart history yelling, "Stop!"

The former path is much easier in the short run. While it won't make the media love us, they'll hate us less. Most voters in the last election will be happier with us. There will be much more unity and less divisiveness in politics for the next four years.

But what would such a country come to look like? Is "getting along" and "doing something" worth turning our backs on the principles of individual liberty and responsibility? The desire to be loved, or at least liked, is intrinsic in almost all politicians. It's the nature of the beast. We'll need to seek out the rare few who dare to lead, who can teach their constituents to stop fearing freedom.

They are out there. It's our job to find and support them.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

NC Employee Health Plan In Trouble

Aren't you glad that the wise voters of North Carolina responded to the corruption and mismanagement in state government by throwing those responsible out of office? Oh wait, they didn't?

I hope all the state employees and teachers enjoy the possible 33% increase in medical insurance co-pays. Good thing we re-elected such wise and responsible leaders.

From Jim Stegall at the Carolina Journal:

ASHEBORO — Four months after finding that the State Employees’ Health Plan was on track to finish the fiscal year $264 million in the red, N.C. legislators yet have to agree on a plan to stop the bleeding.

While the plan’s administrators struggle to find ways to economize, the Senate’s No. 2 lawmaker, Tony Rand, is trying to develop a long-term fix to the problem — a fix that will most likely involve higher premiums and co-pays for the 650,000 teachers and state employees who depend on the plan.

Walker’s report indicated that it would take a premium increase of 32.8 percent to 37.4 percent, depending on usage and inflation, to make the plan solvent again.

A Hopeful Sign

In the first hopeful sign out of the future Obama administration, it seems they've found a suitable role for Joe Biden--eating lunch with Democrat congresspeople. The Washington Post writes:

"Biden plans to spend much of his time working with his former congressional colleagues, possibly attending some of the weekly lunches hosted by Senate Democrats..."

I hope the press can cover his conversations. I love that guy.

Moving On

On the national and state levels, yesterdays results were sobering, to say the least. I've about heard my fill of commentators, both conservative and otherwise, calling for the country to "come together" behind our new President-Elect. My principles are the same this morning as they were yesterday, and it would be a betrayal of them to stand behind a man who holds them in contempt just for the sake of "unity".

Now more than ever is the time to stand up for Freedom and Liberty and try to gather as many under their flag as possible. One presidential election will not mean the death of libertarian conservatism. Yesterday was one small battle in the fight to keep men free that's been raging for centuries. After one losing battle of the American Revolution, Thomas Paine wrote this:

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it. The event of yesterday is one of those kind alarms which is just sufficient to rouse us to duty, without being of consequence enough to depress our fortitude. It is not a field of a few acres of ground, but a cause we are defending, and whether we defeat the enemy in one battle, or by degrees, the consequence will be the same."

So please, let this recent battle rouse you to duty but don't let it depress your fortitude.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


The Most Merciful And Splendid Barack Hussein Obama has acquired an 18,000 vote lead as of 11:38 pm. I've had quite enough of this.


At 11 it's down to a 743 vote McCain lead in NC. This could get ugly. Unfortunately, I'm not thinking Obama will be needing North Carolina's Electoral votes.

Whooo Hooo!!!

As of 10:33 McCain has a 1,102 vote lead over Obama in North Carolina. No matter what happens nationally, I'd feel a lot better if the good guys could pull out my state. Florida looks closer and closer the more precincts report as well. i wonder if it's wishful thinking or if the state was called too soon. Again.

Local Results

It looks like a good day for the Republicans locally, if not nationally or state-wide. Though McCain/Palin did well in my admittedly lily-white and fairly affluent precinct, and in Brunswick County at large, he's having a tougher time in the rest of the sate. It's too close to call as of now (10:15 pm), but Obama has a small lead at this point.

The GOP did well at the county level. It looks like the two remaining Democrats on the County Commission will lose their seats to Republicans. The Board of Education will remain with a 4-1 Republican majority. Robert Robinson, our long-serving Register of Deeds will finally lose his job to a political newcomer, Brenda Clemons.

It's a mixed bag on the state level. Brunswick County's NC House District 17 will return Oak Island's own Bonner Stiller. Brunswick and Pender Counties turned out fairly strong for R.C. Soles' Republican challenger, Betty Fennell, but it remains to be seen if she can overcome the Columbus County vote for Soles. Pat McCrory did well in Southeastern NC, but at this time he trails Democrat Bev Purdue state-wide by 100,000 votes with few counties left to report.

Sadly, Senator Dole will be replaced by Kay Hagan and Mike McIntyre will return to the House of Representatives.

Election Day Report

It looks as though early and often voting has had the desired effect. Polls in Brunswick County have been very calm today. The turnout at my precinct on Oak Island has been steady, but never was there a line. As of 4 pm about 350 people had cast ballots in Oak Island 3 today.

There might be an after work rush, but since there was no before work or lunch time rush, I'd be surprised. With more than half of Brunswick County's registered voters casting ballots before Election Day, there aren't very many folks left to vote.

Let's hope the count goes as smooth as the voting has. I'll update results as I find them, but you can track Brunswick County results here. Choose the "Reports" tab for a precinct-by-precinct breakdown.

Democrats Target Your 401k

Think a falling stock market is the biggest threat to your IRA or 401k, think again. This isn't an April Fool's joke, it's a real proposal with a real chance of passage under a Democrat controlled House and Senate. This piece ought to send chills down your spine, but the whole article is even scarier.

RALEIGH — Democrats in the U.S. House have been conducting hearings on proposals to confiscate workers’ personal retirement accounts — including 401(k)s and IRAs — and convert them to accounts managed by the Social Security Administration.

Triggered by the financial crisis the past two months, the hearings reportedly were meant to stem losses incurred by many workers and retirees whose 401(k) and IRA balances have been shrinking rapidly.

The testimony of Teresa Ghilarducci, professor of economic policy analysis at the New School for Social Research in New York, in hearings Oct. 7 drew the most attention and criticism. Testifying for the House Committee on Education and Labor, Ghilarducci proposed that the government eliminate tax breaks for 401(k) and similar retirement accounts, such as IRAs, and confiscate workers’ retirement plan accounts and convert them to universal Guaranteed Retirement Accounts (GRAs) managed by the Social Security Administration.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Don't Sweat The Exit Polls

A memo from the McCain campaign explains the historical Democrat tilt of the exit polls. More Dems are likely to participate and the pollsters tend to be more liberal-leaning as well.

It might be a long night. Don't get flustered by a media that's been in the tank for Obama for months.

Joe Biden Calls His Sister A "Girl-Boy"

Or something like that. In Joe's latest "rhetorical flourish," our favorite Delaware Senator tries to explain how his sister and Sen. Claire McCaskill got to be so tough. Or soft. Or something.

Good Lord, I'll miss this guy.

Doomsday Scenario?

Bob Krumm has his election prediction on his blog. It's very well reasoned and a bit scary. The upshot is he's got Obama winning the popular vote by a few percent and McCain winning the Electors by a hair. Things would get ugly.

At this point, though, predictions are worth even less than the polls.

A Gaze Into The Crystal Ball

This piece in the New York Post offers a prediction of America's place in the world as the Obama administration closes out it's first term. Here's a little taste:

Looking back on the four years of his first administration, President Obama can be proud: He made the US welcome among the family of nations again; he reduced our reliance on military force; and he gave us peace by reaching sensible accommodations with our enemies.

The lies told about him in the 2008 election were exposed as sheer bigotry. Far from being "soft on radical Islam," President Obama was the first world leader to welcome Jewish refugees after Iran's nuclear destruction of Israel's major cities (his only caveat - a fair one - was the refusal to accept Zionist military officers and their families, in light of Israel's excessive retaliation).

The scariest part is that I truly beleive he'll do much more damage to the US at home than abroad. Not that any of this is far-fetched.