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Showing posts from November, 2008

Pro-life atheists

I suppose it would be too much to expect Christopher Hitchens- God bless him, even though he doesn't believe in God- to avoid the chance to be contrarian. And I don't think his inconsistent position on abortion is nearly the advance in the dialog on this divisive issue Newsweek's Lisa Miller apparently believes it is.

Nevertheless, Miller's brief article does highlight the surprising number of pro-life atheists out there. In so doing, it forces Miller to acknowledge the validity of a point secularists and the pro-abortion crowd generally like to avoid, even if they are aware of it: that neither abortion nor any other ethical question is intrinsically religious.

Some time ago President-elect Obama did us all a service by suggesting (despite the wrongheaded objections by various "Evangelical" leaders to this sensible observation) that there is no valid objection to anybody bringing his or her religious convictions as to what ought or ought not to be legal into …

Don't count on Franken overtaking Coleman

It continues to look as if Minnesota- the state that once elected Jesse Ventura governor- is going to escape becoming the laughingstock of America once again. The nice folks may not have embarassed themselves once again electing former comedian and serial mudslinger Al Franken to the U.S. Senate after all.

While the recount continues to be close, veteran observers of such affairs say that the odds on "Angry Al" overtaking Coleman are pretty slim.

Historian Reeves daydreams of civility

Richard Reeves (has anyone else noticed his striking facial resemblance to Robert Mitchum?) thinks that with the election of Barack Obama- who has shown the instincts of a uniter at this early point in his adminstration- we may have reached the end of the era of "hyper-partisanship" which marked the Clinton and Bush eras.

Dream on, Mr. R. The merest chat with your average, run-of-the-mill Democrat will relieve you of any illusion that Mr. Obama will be even able to wean his own base from the partisan hatred that has been mother's milk to it lo these past eight years. And once any president actually begins to govern- to make controversial decisions with real consequences, and to justly merit being held accountable for the consequences- talk of a new Era of Good Feeling inevitably comes to a screeching halt.

"Governing as a uniter," alas, is an oxymoron under all but the most tenuous and temporary of conditions. James Madison managed to pull it off for a while. Oth…

Obama snubs the best candidate for State

You won't read much about this in the liberal media, so better take the opportunity now.

President-elect Obama had the opportunity to offer the job of secretary of state to an Hispanic who was a seven-term congressman, a special U.S. envoy to North Korea, Iraq, Cuba and Sudan, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, a governor, and a five-time nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize. Moreover, this individual- at considerable personal cost- snubbed Hillary Clinton, who had been the First Lady in an administration in which he had prominently served, to support Obama for the Democratic nomination, earning the label "Judas" from James Carville.

Briefly a candidate for president himself in 2008, this man had probably the best commercials of anybody contesting the Iowa caucuses in either party: a series of humorous "job interviews" that served to highlight his extraordinary qualifications en route to his being dismissed as "overqualified" for the job …

What is it with Democrats named Al, anyway?

Eight years ago the United States experienced the closest presidential race in its history.

As had been expected for some weeks, it all came down to Florida. The networks- operating on the basis of exit polls using disastrously flawed models- projected Al Gore the winner of the Sunshine State and, in effect, the presidency early in the evening.

The Bush camp demurred, pointing out that its own information told a much different story. As the night went on, it quickly became clear that it was Bush's polls, and not the ones on which the networks were relying, that had it right.

Nevertheless, for several hours the networks refused to acknowledge their mistake, and pull Florida back into the undecided column. We will never know by how many millions the Bush vote was suppressed by the networks' ongoing message to voters in the Midwest and West during those crucial hours that they needn't bother showing up at the polls, since the issue had already been decided in Gore's favor…

Article: HIV could be wiped out in ten years!

An article published in the British medical journal The Lancet describes a mathematical model which predicts that, if the populations countries with high HIV infection rates are regularly tested and treated, the HIV virus could be wiped out in a decade.

Yes, that's what I said.

The cost of the program would peak at $3.4 billion a year, but would rapidly drop after an initial expenditure. Still, there are all manner of logistical and other practical obstacles involved.

On the other hand, given the human cost of HIV/AIDS, can the human race afford not to find a way, it the approach the model suggests has a sound chance of working?

HT: Drudge

ROTFL!

It seems that there's a certain Russian political analyst who is so unqualified for his job that thinks the US is on the verge of breaking up the way the USSR did. Not only that, but he apparently expects Russia to be one of the countries that picks up the financial pieces when American economic power simply dissolves!

That we're headed for a decline in America's relative power, and toward a politically and economically multi-polar world order, is beyond doubt. But no rational assessment has the United States functioning politically, economically, diplomatically, or militarily in the new order as anything less than first among equals.

I'm often amused by the cluelessness even of other democracies- who have, after all, been in the democracy business a much shorter time than we have- when it comes to the whole idea of how a government such as ours functions. In France, you can still be jailed for insulting a governmet official; even in Canada, political correctness has r…

Is Barack Obama is a platonic ideal?

Why did it take me so long to get around to reading David McCullough's wonderful biography of our second president, John Adams? Last night I finally finished it. It was a great read.

There are many things about Adams' life that remind me of our present era. Not the least of these is the tendency of the newspapers back then to lionize the candidates of their own party and demonize those of the opposition. Indeed, the kind words the Anti-Federalist newspapers had for Adams upon his election are all the more striking for their departure from the norm.

It didn't last. Adam's lack of enthusiasm for the French Revolution and his preference for a strong executive was somehow spun even by his friend Thomas Jefferson into a charge that he was at heart a royalist rather than a republican. That was hogwash, of course- and Jefferson, deep down, probably knew it. But the mud flew in both directions in the campaign of 1800, one of many in our history whose remembrance places the sl…

Here they are, folks...

A collection of the ultimate contemporary worship anthems.

Hey-even if the song is about how much I love Jesus and how I praise Jesus and how I want to serve Jesus, who is the song really about?



...and the ultimate seeker-friendly congregation!

Plurality sees the Web as most reliable source for news

A Zogby poll commissioned by the IFC- not exactly a hotbed of conservatism- reports that a plurality of Americans- 37.6%- see the internet as the most reliable source for news.

TV was second, with 20.3%. Radio was third, with 16%.

Apparently nobody reads newspapers anymore.

Among the news networks, 39.3% regard FOX News as the most trustworthy source of information for issues they consider most important, followed by CNN with 16% and MSNBC with 15%.

72.6%- 88.7% of Republicans and 57.5% of Democrats- regard the media as biased.

Looks like they aren't fooling anybody anymore.

HT: Drudge

A libertarian speaks up for us social conservatives

I am a social conservative. I am not big on libertarianism. In fact, libertarianism tends to creep me out. While libertarians seldom start out intending this, all too often their ideology tends to end up saying that individuals have a right to do things that are destructive to society as long as it doesn't hurt anybody else.

Yes, I'm aware that the last sentence is incoherent. That's because, in practice, I find libertarianism incoherent.

Now, here is an interesting article in which a libertarian makes that case that libertarians ought not to be- as they frequently are- similarly turned off by social conservatism.

I think it makes sense. But then, I'm a social conservative.

HT: Real Clear Politics

Realignment? Judge for yourself

Did Barack Obama's election represent a major realignment in our nation's politics?

No.

But here are the arguments on both sides, spoken in the language of polls and surveys. To me, they paint a picture of an election simply not decided on the basis of ideology- and of an immediate American political future that's very much up for grabs.

Is Obama dissing the nutroots?

James Kirchick of the New York Daily News says that President-elect Obama is in the process of throwing the (perpetually) angry and radical leftist blogosphere under the bus- and is preparing to govern from the Center.

The moonbat bloggers who have so enthusiastically libeled George W. Bush and the Republicans over the course of the past eight years are, in Kirchick's view, "impotent." That's not the story we heard during the primary campaign, of course. And it was these same people who were responsible for the Democrats' successful wresting of the blogosphere from the blogging machine that played such a major role in George W. Bush's victory in 2004, and dominating the web for Obama in 2008.

Meanwhile, David Sanger, who writes for the Democratic campaign pamphlet of record (the New York Times), shares the impression that Obama has decided to "tilt to the center," encouraging "a clash of ideas."

Sanger does so after finally conceding what the…

Era of global U.S. dominance reaching its end?

A new National Intelligence Estimate prepared for president-elect Barack Obama predicts an end to U.S. global dominance and the emergence of a "multipolar" economic world in the next twenty years.

The estimate also forecasts a worldwide economic restructuring of which the current global crisis is only a part, with countries such as China India, which operate under a "state capitalism" model, will share economic power with the United States, the estimate said.

Iran, Turkey, Indonesia, and conceivably Russia were also seen as gaining power.

Best medicine for the GOP: time

Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribuneherein renders the Republican party the wisest possible counsel: patience.

A sample:

...The best advice for the GOP is simple: Don't be at the helm when the economy hits the rocks. There is no better way for an incumbent party to assure its defeat than a recession. Richard Nixon proved that in 1960, Jimmy Carter confirmed it in 1980 and George H.W. Bush removed all doubt in 1992...

The difference between 2004 and 2008 is not that Americans became more liberal. It's that the issue of greatest urgency changed. Four years ago, the top concerns were moral values and Iraq. Only 21 percent of Americans ranked the economy as their biggest worry. This year, 63 percent put the economy first...

The good news for Republicans? Despite the powerful undertow of the economy and George W. Bush, the Republican presidential candidate got more than 46 percent of the vote. That doesn't look like a party that has no fundamental appeal. It looks like a party whos…

Sad to say, Barack Obama will not unite America

President-elect Obama ran on a platform of uniting a divided country.

As I've said before, while I do not doubt his personal sincerity, I am extremely skeptical as to whether he can pull it off. For one thing, only a centrist can be a uniter- and while I continue to hope that Mr. Obama governs as a centrist, his record and his professed ideology are very far to the Left of the political spectrum. For another, I see no indication that his own base- the ideological Left wing generally, and specifically the rank-and-file of the Democratic party- are particularly inclined to give up the malice and the willingness to believe patent lies about Republicans which has been one of their most defining characteristics ever since their failed attempt to steal Florida and the presidency for Al Gore in 2000.

I quickly add that neither of these characteristics have been exactly alien to Republicans, either. But any effort by Mr.Obama to conciliate Republicans obviously would have to begin with a …

Medved: Hold the Obama bashing

Michael Medved is a very smart man- and, as usual, he has some good advice for those of us who are less than thrilled about the outcome of the election.

It's going to be tough, but we need to lay off the Obama bashing for a while.

As Medved rightly says, we need to give the man a chance to make his mistakes, and allow his disasterously extreme Left-wing agenda to become manifest as what it is. Although I have little hope that the hatemongers on the Right will be any more sensitive to this point than those who have been lying about and slandering George W. Bush for the past eight years have been, the American people are quite properly sick of political trash-talking.

Make no mistake: most of Obama's supporters are going to continue talking trash. They are not apt to be any more gracious in victory than they were in defeat. But Obama's much-publicized campaign for reconciliation and civility among Americans will still manage to make the Democrats come off as the reasonable, ch…

Huckabee trashes Romney- and rightly so

Mike Huckabee's new book is quite critical of Mitt Romney- justifiably, in my opinion. Lest we forget it was Romney's decision to trash Ronald Reagan's "Eleventh Commandment-" "Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican-" and go negative on Huckabee during the campaign here in Iowa early this year that ended up making Romney the most disliked of all the contenders among his fellow candidates. Romney continued his slash-and-burn tactics against John McCain once Huckabee was safely out of the way, still oblivious to the fact that he was providing the Democrats with potential ammunition for the Fall campaign.

Huckabee's book apparently makes pretty much the same case Huck made- successfully- during the primaries: that Romney's conversion to social conservatism from a consistent, career-long record as a social liberal, while welcome, seemed to coincide curiously with his decision that he wanted to be president.

The Romney camp's response? Rom…

Al-Zawahri calls Obama, Rice "house n....rs"

Osama bin Laden's right-hand man, Ayman al-Zawahri, has issued a statement concerning the election of Barack Obama which contains a racial epithet which we all know would accurately translate to something a great deal more objectionable than "house negro."

Good. The president-elect needs, for all our sakes, to have the battle lines drawn before he even takes office. The loonier elements of the Right need to have concrete evidence before them that, while it remains to be seen whether the fears many of us have about whether Mr. Obama is going to be up to the task of carrying on the war on terror, it's nothing short of nutty to suggest that he's not on our side.

And if 9/11 left any doubt among the loonier elements of the worldwide Left about the reprehensible character of bin Laden's and company, let their overt racism be entered into evidence for the prosecution.

HT: Drudge

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It's started

He's only been president-elect for two weeks, and he doesn't take office for another two months. But the first approve/disapprove polls for Barack Obama are already on the books.

So far, the average is 56.3% favorable, 39.3% unfavorable. That's considerably less popularity than the reportage of the MSM has been attributing to the man we're being told is the first fruits of an irresistable tidal wave from the Left that will sweep all before it and transform the political landscape for a generation.

And remember... these are the first polls for a newly elected president, taken before he's had a chance to make anybody mad.

HT: Real Clear Politics

Poll: Obama voters uninformed

Wondering what impact the unprecedented and universally-acknowledged media bias in favor of Barack Obama had on the recent election? Check this out:



Commissioned by a filmmaker doing a documentary on the impact of pro-Obama bias in the media, one of America's best pollsters- John Zogby- conducted a twelve question post-election poll of Obama voters to find out just how familiar they were with "statements and scandals" associated with the two tickets.

Only 54% of Obama voters got at least half of the questions right. Only two percent got a perfect score.

57% of Obama voters were unaware that the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress.

Only 27% knew that Obama had won his first election by getting all of his opponents thrown off the ballot. Only 22% correctly associated Obama with the admission that his policies would probably bankrupt the coal industry. Only 44% were aware that Obama held a fundraiser in his first political campaign at the home of former Weather Undergr…

Will Obama, like JFK, be all hype and no substance?

Remember the Arby's commercial from the early Eighties, which featured an elderly non-actress named Clara Peller confronting the guy behind the counter at a hamburger place with the question, "Where's the beef?" It made Clara a celebrity for a time. It even found a place in American political history when former vice-president Walter Mondale that question of his rival for the 1984 Democratic nomination, Gary Hart, who was running on a platform of "new ideas" that never seemed to make it into his speeches.

Molly Ivins- an extremely partisan but also very funny Democrat- wrote a book shortly after the election of George W. Bush entitled All Hat, No Cattle- a Texas idiom implying someone similarly big on talk but short on substance.

We may be about to enter an administration with the biggest, tallest hat of all time-but the cattle may be hard to find.

Herein Howard Kurtz- another Washington Post staffer exhibiting an objectivity uncharacteristic for his paper- ex…

The emperor has no mandate

No, America is not a "center Left nation."

See the post below.

There seems to be a real vogue on the Left these days for reading earth shattering, seismic ideological shifts into an anomylous election in which ideology probably played less of a role than any election in my lifetime- and in which the winning candidate, having run as essentially an enigma, has absolutely no mandate for any particular course of action.

I guess if my party had just carried a majority of the American electorate for only the second time in 44 years, I'd also be tempted to read things into the result that just aren't there. There is no question that the Republican party was soundly repudiated on on Nov. 4. But what all those left wing columnists and bloggers seem to miss is, first, that the Democratic Congress is even more unpopular than George W. Bush with the electorate that chose Mr. Obama, and, secondly, that our new chief executive so carefully avoided laying out an ideological agenda th…

Barack Obama and the No Big Deal

I was there in Grant Park in August of 1968, when the Chicago police, on the orders of the first Mayor Daley, cracked the heads of demonstrator and passerby alike in a spasm of the very kind of lawlessness they were sworn to oppose.

I was not one of the demonstrators. There was a telephone repair strike, and no reasonable expectation that messages could be reliably delivered by phone among the hotels at which the various state delegations to the 1968 Democratic National Convention were staying. I was part of a cadre of youthful, clean-cut, well-dressed messengers McCarthy campaign had organized to carry those messages by hand, if need be .

Wearing a suit and tie, horn-rimmed glasses, and close-cropped hair, I was stationed at what was then the Pick-Congress Hotel, two blocks away from the epicenter of the violence at Michigan and Balbo. I will never forget the experience of watching the people I'd been raised to see as my protectors, the Chicago police, acting like hoodlums. I will …

MSNBC punked by phony McCain advisor

If Sarah Palin really ever described Africa as a country rather than a continent- which she denies, but which Fox News, MSNBC, the Los Angeles Times, the New Republic, Jay Leno, among others, maintain- the identity of the source remains a mystery.

MSNBC anchor David Shuster reported Monday that the source of the story, McCain policy adviser Martin Eisenstadt, a senior fellow at the Harding Institute of Freedom and Democracy, had claimed credit for the story in his blog.

The trouble is that nobody named Martin Eisenstadt ever worked for the McCain campaign, and there is no Harding Institute of Freedom and Democracy.

The Institute does have a website, for all that- and Eisenstadt does have a blog. It turns out that "Eisenstadt" is actually Eitan Gorlin, a film maker who, along with a friend named Dan Mirvish, pulled the deception off as a publicity stunt for an idea they have for a TV series based on "Eisenstadt."

"Eisenstadt's" blog has been feeding not o…

Catholic bishops will resist Obama's pro-abortion barbarism

The nation's Catholic bishops are considering playing hardball with the incoming Obama administration over its promise to liberalize abortion policies.

Good.

One point should be made to Dr. Whalen, who seems to think that it's the bishops' job to mollify parishioners even at the cost of the truth: it isn't their rhetoric that's 'vicious.'

It's abortion on demand.

Salon's Paglia "gets it" about Palin, Ayers, and the MSM

Camille Paglia over at Salon.com isn't exactly Rush Limbaugh. Yet read this post-election musing. Note the forthright recognition of the media's role in trashing Sarah Palin- and Paglia's dawning realization that maybe there was more to this Bill Ayers thing than the Democrats and their media lap-dogs have been willing to concede.

She even forthrightly recognizes why the media had the knives out for Sarah.

HT: Drudge

If I had a hammer...

I just came across these:

1. When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said “Repent,” He willed that the whole life of believers should be one of repentance.

2. To “repent” means to be contrite for one’s sins and to trust Jesus Christ and solely in His completed work for one’s forgiveness, life, and salvation.

3. Those who describe the Christian life as purpose-driven deny true repentance, confuse the Law and the Gospel, and obscure the merits of Christ.

4. Impious and wicked are the methods of those who substitute self-help and pop-psychology for the Gospel in the name of relevance.

5. This impious disregard for the Gospel wickedly transforms sacred Scripture into a guidebook for living, a pharisaic sourcebook of principles, and sows tares among the wheat.

6. Relevance, self-help and pop-psychology have no power to work true contrition over sins and faith in Jesus Christ.

7. Like clouds without rain, purpose-driven preachers withhold the proclamation of the forgiveness of sins won by Christ on …

A new 95 Theses

These are wonderful. The original can be found here.

There are quite a few church doors I'd like to nail them on:

1. When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said “Repent,” He willed that the whole life of believers should be one of repentance.

2. To “repent” means to be contrite for one’s sins and to trust Jesus Christ and solely in His completed work for one’s forgiveness, life, and salvation.

3. Those who describe the Christian life as purpose-driven deny true repentance, confuse the Law and the Gospel, and obscure the merits of Christ.

4. Impious and wicked are the methods of those who substitute self-help and pop-psychology for the Gospel in the name of relevance.

5. This impious disregard for the Gospel wickedly transforms sacred Scripture into a guidebook for living, a pharisaic sourcebook of principles, and sows tares among the wheat.

6. Relevance, self-help and pop-psychology have no power to work true contrition over sins and faith in Jesus Christ.

7. Like clouds without rain, purp…

Al Franken, magician

We all know that Al Franken used to be a comedian; that in recent years he has been a professional hatemonger and character assassin; and that he is locked in a desperate recount struggle with Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn), whom he would like to replace in the U.S. Senate.

But did you know that he's also a magician?

The recount hasn't even begun yet. But somehow, "misplaced' Franken votes are turning up magically all over Minnesota.

Looks- or rather smells- rather like what Franken's party tried to pull in Florida in 2000. Let's hope it turns out the same way.

HT: Drudge

Why it'll be "one and done" for President Obama

I've said for months that the 2008 election would turn out to be a "poison pill" election like 1976 or 1988- one taking place at a moment in the nation's history that is such that any president elected in it would be doomed to serve only one term.

Here is an excellent post from the U.S. News and World Report explaining exactly why.

Yes, it was a bummer, watching those returns a week ago tonight. But now it's Barack Obama who the electorate is going to hold accountable for the state of the nation, not George W. Bush. And the silver lining is that the tough time America was going to go through these next four years no matter who won last Tuesday is going to be held against Obama, and not against John McCain.

No, the next four years won't be much fun for any of us. But the next two election nights- in 2010 and 2012- will be a lot more fun for us Republicans than last Tuesday was. And however insufferable the Democrats may be, remember: it's temporary.

HT: Real C…

Intellectual is as intellectual does

A couple of months ago, I was in the midst of a heated argument with a rather fanatical Democrat when I caught him contradicting one of the cardinal doctrines of what passes for modern intellectual liberalism: the notion that truth is relative. I parenthetically congratulated him for conceding that point.

My snottiness apparently went right over his head, though. He was so worked up that he tacitly conceded the point that relativism is gibberish, and worthy only of the intellectually limited. "We're the smart ones," he sneered- "we" being those on the Left.

Nobody sneers like a liberal. Excuse me- like a progressive.

In fact, intellectual arrogance is as much a lib- er, progressive characteristic as intellectual fuzziness. That those on the Left are, ipso facto, smart, and those on the Right, ipso facto, stupid is a part of the Leftist catechism so basic that many, er, progressives regard it as self-evident. Those of us who actually think can only chuckle.

Thomas …