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Showing posts from January, 2009

I guess they've noticed

Even the Iranians recognize what President Obama and his synophants in and out of the media seem unable to see: that a posture of "reason" toward the homicidal nut-jobs who are running the Islamic Republic is a policy of weakness.

Even the totalitarian fanatics acknowledge the bankruptcy of negotiating with totalitarian fanatics.

HT: Drudge

The Washington Post's Robinson is delusional

Utterly delusional.

The deficit-multiplying stimulus package the House just passed at President Obama's behest will be enough to inspire a great deal of saving and debt-paying. It will not do nearly as much to stimulate the economy as the media are so sure it will.

Tax cuts are more stimulating, in any case, than government spending. The liberal Ur-myth to the contrary, it was World War II, and not the spending programs of the New Deal, which brought us out of the Great Depression- as even FDR finally had to admit when he acknowledged the passing of our sick economy from the care of "Dr. New Deal" to that of "Dr. Win-the-War." The bill for any spending we do is going to come due some day. One cannot reconstruct the economy by endlessly spending money we do not have.

Yet even to the extent that government spending will help, the Obama package is inadequate to do more than enable our private financial prudence. It is simply not a solution to the economic crisis, and…

Why do I bother?

I said last October that as far as I was concerned, the Cubs season would begin next October. Winning a third consecutive division championship and then losing in the first round of the playoffs doesn't cut it this year. I'd just as soon they not make the post season at all.

Despite my satisfaction with the Trib's apparent decision to sell the team to lifelong Cub fan Tom Ritter, as far as I can see the team has essentially gone backward since they broke our hearts in the playoffs- a rather familiar pattern for Chicago sports franchises at the very moment when they ought to be doing whatever it takes to get to the next level. The Jake Peavy deal is apparently dead once and for all,, and for what can't be all that much of a financial difference they've decided to sign Paul Bako instead of retaining Henry Blanco as their backup catcher.

Mark DeRosa, one of their most dependable players not only during the regular season but during the October meltdown, has already been…

Blagojevich out

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been unanimously convicted by the state senate on impeachment charges, ousted from office, and banned from ever again seeking elective office in Illinois.

In a trial involving the same charges he's facing in a criminal investigation, he was denied the right to call any witness in his defense who might be called in the criminal trial.

One may well applaud the result, while deploring the manner of its obtaining.

Blago ousted, barred for life from elective office

Denied the opportunity to summon witnesses who might be called in his criminal trial- and therefore who might be able to offer evidence relevant to the case against him- Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been unanimously convicted by the state senate in his impeachment trial and ousted from office.

In a second, seperate vote, the senators voted to impose the "political death penalty," barring Blagojevich from ever seeking elective office in Illinois again.

Did Blago deserve it? Almost certainly.

Did he get a fair trial? Not a chance.

Cubs' new owner seems like a winner

A belated word about my Cubs: the Chicago Tribune has announced that billionare Tom Ricketts- a lifelong Cubs fan who met his wife at Wrigley Field, and once lived across the street from it- has been selected as the team's new owner. While most of us have been rooting for Mark Cuban, his legal difficulties and the problems he undoubtedly would have had being approved by the other owners made him effectively a non-starter. In Ricketts, we have an owner with both deep pockets and a dedication to seeing the team win.
All things considered, it's hard to see how we could realistically have had a better outcome. So let's go out and get Jake Peavy now, and end this one hundred and one year draught!

Is Blagojevich right about being railroaded?

John Faber raises an interesting point: Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, whose impeachment trial began today, has already had the case for the prosecution made in the media. No particular standard of proof is required for members of the State Senate to remove Blagojevich from office.

That being the case, the rules which prevent either Blagojevich or the managers for the prosecution in the Senate from summoning witnesses who might have to testify later in Blagojevich's criminal trial operate against Blagojevich in a way they simply don't operate against the managers for the prosecution. In fact, they effectively prevent Blagojevich from disproving those charges- from answering a case for his removal from office which to all intents and purposes has already been made in the media.

Maybe Blagojevich- who is boycotting the trial on the ground that it's a sham- has a point. Granted, the Sixth Amendment only applies to criminal charges. But it's hard to see that technicality a…

Guilty or innocent, Blagojevich's impeachment trial is a sham

Impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, whose trial before the Illinois Senate began a few hours ago, is exactly right. He is being railroaded. The impeachment process, as it's being carried out, is a travesty of due process, and I am shocked that there hasn't been an outcry that obvious fact.

Blagjoevich's guilt or innocence isn't the issue. Guilty or innocent, his trial is a sham, just as he maintains. Quite honestly, he is absolutely right to boycott a trial in which he is being denied the opportunity to confront his accusers or defend himself against their charges.

I have absolutely no brief for Blagojevich. None whatsoever. Such evidence as is accessible to the public portrays him as a grotesquely corrupt politician in a state which (as much as it pains me to say this, since I was born and raised there) has, along with Louisiana, probably the most corrupt history of any in the nation. But the fact remains that the kangaroo court being conducted in the Illinois Sena…

Federal court keeps Coleman's bid alive

A three-judge Federal panel has rejected a bid by presumptive Minnesota Senator-elect Al Franken to block a lawsuit by incumbent Norm Coleman over alleged irregularities in the recount which gave Franken his apparent victory.

Franken has been certified as the winner by some 225 votes after a recount wiped out a slightly larger Coleman lead in the original tally.

Coleman claims that hundreds of absentee ballots were improperly rejected, and that a significant number of Franken votes were counted twice. The famous Democratic desire that "all the votes be counted" turns out- unsurprisingly- to be rather selective.

The trial on Coleman's suit begins Monday.

HT: Drudge

For the Hollywood elite, America is 'cool' again

Sixteen years ago, when Bill Clinton took office after twelve years of Ronald Reagan and George H.W., some Hollywood type- I forget who- remarked upon seeing Air Force jets overfly the Capitol, "Now those are our jets."

Whoever that Hollywood elitist was said a mouthful. The jets were "our" jets under the other party, too- always assuming, of course, that "we" remain Americans even when the guy we vote for loses. Regrettably, it's not obvious that our cultural elites see things that way.

Chuck Raash herein examines Hollywood's predictable discovery that now that their guy is in the White House, it's OK to be an American again.

HT: Real Clear Politics

Bad form, Rush. REALLY bad form

A not a real mature attitude, either.

We are in too deep a pile of economic doo-doo to be willing that our president fail, no matter how the other side acted eight years ago (and since).

Wanting certain of Mr. Obama's policy objectives to fail is one thing; I want that, too. But wanting him to fail is another.

None of us can afford that- and it ill-behooves us to respond to the new administration with the same malice the other side showed toward the last one.

Two judicial abominations compared

Today is the thirty-sixth anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

It's hard to realize that it's been that short a time since the mentality of Dred Scott v. Sanford has returned, and the law has been able to conceive of living members of species homo sapiens who are not persons.

That such should be the case in an age which prides itself on its sophistication and enlightenment is not only tragic, but an indictment of our entire society. That the issue is not debated on those terms, but in terms of the alleged Constitutional (!) right of a third party to take the life of that living entity at will does not speak any better for our capacity for rational thought than it does for our own humanity. The Fourteenth Amendment- the supposed rationale for Roe- does not mention abortion, and by no obvious logic can be plausibly said to guarantee a right to it. On the other hand, that very amendment says, in so many words,
No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immun…

Barack Obama is my president, too

Eight years ago today, having stood in the cold and wind outside the Capitol and heard George W. Bush take the oath of office as our 43rd president, I walked down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Canadian embassy, from which- courtesy of a couple who worked at the embassy and were neighbors of the college buddy with whom Denise and I were staying- we would be able to view the inaugural parade in warmth and relative comfort.

There were demonstrators who were unwilling to accept the result of the election, and who claimed on no particularly convincing basis that it had been stolen. Most of them still make that ill-founded claim today; hatred is a powerful emotion, and neither time nor reason easily displace it. But the divisions in our country were, then as now, a fact of life. I accepted their presence with regret.

But as I walked up Pennsylvania Avenue, I passed one girl- an African-American, as it happened- who was wearing a button which disturbed me profoundly. It still does. It read


President Obama's inaugural addresss

Below is the text of President Obama's inaugural address.

I disagree with the president about many things. In the months and years ahead, I expect to register that disagreement on this blog. But not today.

Today is a day for all of us to join in fervent prayer for our new president, and to pledge him all the support our consciences will allow.

God be with you, Mr. President.

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those …

On the last day of the Bush administration, a glimpse of an alternate history

I just completed a book by my favorite fiction author, alternate history writer Harry Turtledove, that has a great deal to say to our own timeline.

Those familiar with Turtledove know that he has a penchant for allowing actual history to dictate the outline of events in his own "what-might-have-been" worlds. For example, the eventual liberalization of the victorious Nazi regime he relates in his In the Presence of Mine Enemies is clearly patterned after the Gorbachev/Yeltsen era of the Soviet Union, transferred in some detail from Russia to Germany. And in his alternate World War II (which takes place in a universe in which the Confederacy won the Civil War with support from England and France- earning those two nations the eternal emnity of the United States, and ultimately pitting a democratic USA and its imperial German ally against a Fascist England, France, and Confederacy), the war on the North American front is a virtual replay of the actual events in Hitler's inva…

Jimmy Carter's warped notion of 'human rights'

Remember when Jimmy Carter made "human rights" the hallmark of his essentially regrettable presidency? He's been sounding the same note- and quite sanctimoniously, too- throughout the Bush administration.

But Carter's commitment to human rights seems to be a tad selective. For example, he's waxed quite eloquent of late in defense of the most monstrously murderous regime in all of human history: that of China.

The selective humanitarianism of the left can be an astounding thing.

'Nuff said

The New York Times out-outs Scooter

Remember the Lame Plame Blame Game? Scooter Libby was eventually convicted for his role in "outing" CIA operative Valarie Plame (wife of foreign service officer Joe Wilson, who allegedly angered the Bush administration by denying- incorrectly, as it turned out- that Saddam Hussein had been seeking yellowcake uranium in Niger). Supposedly the information that Ms. Plame was an undercover agent was leaked to columnist Bob Novak. The problem, of course, is that while the Novak column Plame supporters point to does identify her as a CIA "operative," her undercover status was first mentioned by family friend and liberal columnist David Corn in his column the next day!

There has been a great deal of sanctimony from the left about the impropriety of blowing the cover of an undercover CIA agent. Can't argue with that, actually. But I do find it fascinating that the New York Times today outed an entire series of covert initiatives by the Bush administration against Iran…

St. Richard John Neuhaus, 1936-2009

The pro-abortion flag is being planted on the wrong side of the liberal/conservative divide.-- Missouri Synod Lutheran Pastor and liberal activist Richard John Neuhaus, 1968
He was an anti-Vietnam activist who hobnobbed with the Berrigans, a Missouri Synod Lutheran pastor who transcended the stereotyped attitudes which so frequently characterized those belonging to a church body in which it was possible to go literally from kindergarten through to one's Ph.D without ever attending a school not run by the Synod and populated by conservative, Republican Nordic types demographically identical to oneself.

He was one from whom those few of us in the LCMS whose commitment to just-war theology outweighed the reflexive cultural impulse conservative German Lutherans feel to automatically bless the cannons took inspiration. Later- after the Seminex crisis and the formation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America- he was the de facto leader of those of us in the ELCA who still identified…

Conyers' doesn't like Gupta's integrity

In 2007, habitually dishonest left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore did a movie called "SiCKO," in which he indicted the American health care system and compared it unfavorably to that of Cuba.

Health care is one issue on which I am not terribly conservative anymore. Being uninsured for as long as I have, without needed medications, and with only the most tenuous prospect of being able to deal reasonably with even a non-catastrophic illness, a single-payer nationalize plan looks increasingly attractive to me. Philosophically, I strongly believe that access to health care ought not to depend upon one's ability to pay. I feel the same way about justice- and the fact is that in our legal system the ability of the rich to hire the best attorneys and to pay expert witnesses are only two of the ways in which equal protection under the law is more of an ideal than a reality in America.

There remain, to be sure, excellent arguments as to why a single-payer plan would be less than id…

Blago impeached

No sooner had I alluded to the upcoming impeachment of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in the previous post than I discovered that it was no longer merely upcoming.

By a vote of 114-1, with one member voting "present," the Illinois House has made Blagojevich the first governor in the long and often corrupt history of my native state to be impeached.

The 59-member Illinois State Senate will convene next week to begin arrangements for the trial. Forty guilty votes will be required to convict Blagojevich and remove him from office. Should this take place, Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn will take his place.

Franken somehow manages to find the votes

When a statewide race is close enough, nobody will suggest that a recount is not in order. Unfortunately- though the Florida courts in 2000 were selectively cognisant of this fact- recounts are, if anything, often easier to manipulate with fraudulent intent than the original canvass.

Experience teaches that when a Democrat is on the losing end of a close race, it is virtually inevitable that overlooked, uncounted votes should suddenly be discovered, that counted votes should be lost before the recount can be conducted, and that compelling reasons will be found for counting votes previously disqualified for reasonable causes- and quite possibly disqualifying votes previously counted. In Florida in 2000, Republican Secretary of State Katherine Harris had (the cherished Democratic myth to the contrary) no practical control over the initial count. The counties in which supporters of Al Gore claimed irregularities were uniformly Democratic counties in which practical control was exercised …

Crichton merited a better sendoff

Michael Crichton- who, as the LA Times once observed, was probably the only man ever "to have a No. 1 book, No. 1 movie and No. 1 TV show all at the same time,” died on Election Day. That's no doubt one reason why his passing received less attention than one would expect for the death of the guy responsible for both Jurassic Park and ER.

But TIME omitted Crichton from its tribute to those who made news- whether by dying or otherwise- in 2008, and the media generally seem to have had surprisingly little to say about the death of a man who had such a profound impact on the popular culture.

Could the reason be his skepticism about the catastrophic view of global warming so devoutly espoused by the media, Hollywood, and the other moguls of the popular culture?

For his best-known book, Jurassic Park, Crichton invented a fascinating and even compelling, but highly fictionalized, "villain:" Velociraptor, an admittedly vicious dino which, in reality, weighed only about seventy…