Friday, March 31, 2006

The illegal immigration issue is getting worse

After all the stories about the recent protests in support of illegal immigration, a story today caught my eye (link here).

In a Phoenix-area high school, a bunch of students tried to raise the Mexican flag over the school. Some other students saw them doing it, yanked it down, and burned it.

To the students who burned the Mexican flag, I say thank you. I know you will probably be disciplined for it, but the statement you made is worth far more than any punishment a school can give you. If you were my children, I would be proudly applauding your actions.

To the students who tried to raise the Mexican flag, I say welcome to America. If you like Mexico better, feel free to go back. If you still think part of our country was wrongfully taken from you, I have two words for you: San Jacinto. We kicked your butts before, and we can do it again if you try to pull that crap here.

To our politicians in Washington, I say you better pay attention. This issue is starting to raise tensions on both sides of it. Americans are getting angry, and your precious jobs are in jeopardy, regardless of what the minority hispanic vote wants. Tread carefully, but tread quickly.

Quote of the day

"Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock." - Will Rogers

Will Rogers is one of those people, like Mark Twain, whose quotes still ring true after all this time.

Editorial of the day

What I said about culture yesterday was brought back to me today by Clarence Page's editorial "Weapons of 'Mass Self-Destruction'".

Specifically, Page talks about the issue of "hip-hop culture" among black youth, and how he disagrees with people who blame that for the problems of crime and unemployment among black youth.

I could not agree more. As I stated yesterday, individuals determine the culture. While it may be rare to see individuals reject the culture with which they grow up, that usually has more to do with limited/poor education and/or limited exposure to other cultures. If you never see other possibilities, how could you objectively look at what you know?

On the issue of hip-hop culture, let us take the chicken-or-the-egg approach to it. Which came first: hip-hop culture, or high rates of crime and unemployment among black youth? The high rates of crime and unemployment have been with us for many decades. Hip-hop culture is relatively new, going back roughly 10-20 years.

The problems came first. Hip-hop culture is just a new expression of black youth's discontent.

Page makes some good points about ways to solve the problems from the bottom-up. Page also makes one last, and very disturbing, point:
"I don't get why so many of America's children must live with the self-destructive residue not only of popular culture but also of Washington's political culture. If only they could afford lobbyists."

This is a separate issue, but no less valid. If there is a problem in the country, there better be some lobbyists working on it, otherwise Washington could care less.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Media bias

If you ever doubt that the Media is biased, here is a classic example of bias.

Evidence A is from the New York Times:
"Judges on Secretive Panel Speak Out on Spy Program


WASHINGTON, March 28 -- Five former judges on the nation's most secretive court, including one who resigned in apparent protest over President Bush's domestic eavesdropping, urged Congress on Tuesday to give the court a formal role in overseeing the surveillance program. In a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the secretive court, known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, several former judges who served on the panel also voiced skepticism at a Senate hearing about the president's constitutional authority to order wiretapping on Americans without a court order. They also suggested that the program could imperil criminal prosecutions that grew out of the wiretaps...

...[Judge Robertson] did not weigh in on the ultimate question of whether he considered the N.S.A. program illegal. The judges at the committee hearing avoided that politically charged issue despite persistent questioning from Democrats, even as the judges raised concerns about how the program was put into effect."

Evidence B is from the Washington Times:
"FISA judges say Bush within law

By Brian DeBose

March 29, 2006

A panel of former Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges yesterday told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that President Bush did not act illegally when he created by executive order a wiretapping program conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA).
The five judges testifying before the committee said they could not speak specifically to the NSA listening program without being briefed on it, but that a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act does not override the president's constitutional authority to spy on suspected international agents under executive order.
"If a court refuses a FISA application and there is not sufficient time for the president to go to the court of review, the president can under executive order act unilaterally, which he is doing now," said Judge Allan Kornblum, magistrate judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida and an author of the 1978 FISA Act. "I think that the president would be remiss exercising his constitutional authority by giving all of that power over to a statute."
The judges, however, said Mr. Bush's choice to ignore established law regarding foreign intelligence gathering was made "at his own peril," because ultimately he will have to answer to Congress and the Supreme Court if the surveillance was found not to be in the best interests of national security."

One of these newspapers should be putting out an apology, although I doubt it will happen.

This is a good example of why you need to get news from more than one source.

(Hat tip to Kim Priestap over at Wizbang)

Happy birthday Alex!

Happy birthday Alex!

My son is 7 years old today. It is amazing how the time flies.

Quote of the day

"Study the past if you would define the future." - Confucius

One might look at this saying and think, "This is just another way of saying 'those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it'." That is not quite right.

I find the saying by Confucius to be a lot more all-encompassing than the "history" quote, which is strictly about not repeating the mistakes of the past. The Confucius quote is also about building upon what we already know.

Editorial of the day


a.The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought.
b.These patterns, traits, and products considered as the expression of a particular period, class, community, or population: Edwardian culture; Japanese culture; the culture of poverty.
c.These patterns, traits, and products considered with respect to a particular category, such as a field, subject, or mode of expression: religious culture in the Middle Ages; musical culture; oral culture.
d.The predominating attitudes and behavior that characterize the functioning of a group or organization.

How should we define culture? That is what I took from Jonathon Zimmerman's editorial today, "Culture wars: Beware of presuming sameness".

Zimmerman begins with an example:
"I don't remember her name. But I can still picture my sixth grade student's frightened expression when I asked her to give the first classroom presentation that morning.

"Where I come from," she said, in a quivering voice, "girls don't go first." She was an immigrant from a Muslim country in the Middle East whose family had moved to Baltimore a few years earlier. I was a young social studies teacher at her middle school, fired with passion and idealism. I believed in my heart that schools should respect national differences. But I also believed that we should treat boys and girls in an equal fashion.

So how should I have responded?

I would have used it as an opportunity to explain culture to the class. How often in our classroom lives are we presented with such a stark cultural contrast? As he stated later:
"And that brings us back to my young student. I'm not proud of this, but I let her go second. Today, I'd turn her objection into a set of questions. When you say "girls don't go first" in your homeland, what do you mean? Who agrees with this idea? Who doesn't?"

I would have added the all-important question: Why?

One aspect of culture which is not addressed by Zimmerman is the individual. "These patterns, traits, and products considered as the expression of a particular period, class, community, or population" belong to a group of individuals. They are common "patterns, traits, and products" that are shared by a group of individuals. The individuals share these things willingly, and in many cases unquestioningly.

The world is filled with different cultures, just as it is filled with different individuals. But which is more important: culture or individual?

I could write a book about the interplay between culture, religion, and legal systems, but culture transcends the other two because of one factor: the individual acceptance of it. An individual can change religions. Laws change constantly (and can be broken by individuals). But it is truly rare to find the person who can throw off the shackles of the culture with which they were raised. They may deny parts of it, but the majority of it sticks with them.

On the other hand, the fact that individuals can determine how they deal with their cultural values shows where the true importance is. Inevitably, the individual can determine the culture. By the laws of evolution, the individual MUST determine the culture. If a cultural value does not enhance an individual's ability to survive, then the cultural value must be changed, or ignored.

My point is this: Our democratic culture is needed in the Middle East. Islamic culture has held back the people of the Middle East for far too long, by making them tolerant of totalitarian rule. I will not say that all aspects of Islamic culture are responsible for this. However, until we can change enough of it to make democracy palatable to the Muslims, they will remain in their static culture, continually resenting the West for it's successes, without ever seeing how Western Civilization got to where it is.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Quote of the day

"There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else." - Sam Walton

For people who wonder how Walmart became successful, you only have to look at the life of Sam Walton to understand it.

Editorial of the day

In "The Beginning of the Demonization of John McCain", John McIntyre makes some good points about John McCain. One thing I had not realized:

"The bottom line is that Mr. McCain isn't a moderate; he's a man of the hard right. How far right? A statistical analysis of Mr. McCain's recent voting record, available at, ranks him as the Senate's third most conservative member. .....

He isn't a moderate. Mr. McCain's policy positions and Senate votes don't just place him at the right end of America's political spectrum; they place him in the right wing of the Republican Party.

The other point McIntyre makes is about how the Media are now starting to demonize McCain, which only stands to help him with the Republican base. The Media may be shooting themselves in the foot with this one. But this would NOT be the first time they did that.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Quote of the day

"Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light-years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual. The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both." - Carl Sagan

If anyone wants to know the main source of my religious views, Sagan describes it quite eloquently here.

How anyone can look at the universe and NOT see God is beyond me. I guess the ability of the human mind to deny something so glaringly obvious is another of the universe's wonders.

(Hat tip to planetary

Editorial of the day

I never thought I would be adding the writings of Arnold Schwarzenegger to an "Editorial of the day", but the "Governator" deserves this one.

In his LA Times editorial, "Next step for immigration", he shows a true understanding of the immigration issue.

He does not take it easy on illegals, while at the same time recognizing the value of immigration to this country.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Misconceptions about Reagan

Over at, I read a post from Malia that completely stunned me with her ignorance regarding Ronald Reagan's presidency. How can someone claim to be a Republican first and still be so completely misinformed about the single greatest Republican president of our time?

Allow me to set the record straight. The following quotes are from her post. This is taken from what I posted over at

"First, please do your research Ed. I mean really do your research...not just read the hype of a has been speech writer."

Malia, I LIVED through the Reagan administration. Does experience count for anything?

"Reagan increased defense spending, not to fight the fact, Reagan was dog meat to the Hard Right because despite his rhetoric about the "evil empire" he befriended the Soviets...why? To bring the world together to fight...Space Invaders. That's right...he was certain that the Earth was going to be invaded any day."

One quote makes government policy? Let's take a look at the Reagan quote:

"With our obsession with antagonisms of the moment, we often forget how much unites all the members of humanity. I occasionally think how quickly our differences, worldwide, would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world."

Sounds like a reasonable speculation, not a call to arm our planet against space invaders.

As for Reagan's relationship with the Soviets, the only reason he got them to come to the table is because he confronted them directly. Remember his "evil empire" comment? Or how about the "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall" comment? Reagan didn't pussyfoot around the Soviets.

You claim to be a political realist. How realistic is it to think a president as much beloved as Reagan was, increased defense spending in order to fight aliens from outer space?

"You talked about GW going after two banana republics? (earlier thread) Ever heard of Grenada? Yep that 2 month grand war with an off shoot colony aligned with Cuba. How about Somalia? Talk about "cut and run"... That was YOUR Reagan there, backing up Carter's "hit us hard enough and we're gone" plan to the pre-descendants of the terrorists we are fighting NOW."

Hmm...We were in Somalia in 1993. Last time I checked, Bill Clinton was the president then, NOT Reagan.

I know what happened: You were a liberal in 1993! You had that wonderfully selective memory thing that liberals seem to enjoy. Now that you are over on the Republican side, you may want to start remembering things as they actually were, instead of how you would have liked them to be.

"Oh and about Reagan's tax cuts...he came in with all these bright ideas and before the end of his regime, ended up having to reverse these cuts AND bail out some social programs, most notibly the Social Security program. GW, on the other hand kept his tax cuts despite the call from Democrats in Congress for reversing the "Tax Cuts for the Rich" to fund the war on Terrorism. Reagan never proved tax cuts worked; in fact he set up the first Bush with a deficient that doomed Bush Sr's presidency, DESPITE Bush's leadership in keeping Saddam from taking over Kuwait's oil and taking away the "pain" of Vietnam. I fail to comprehend why you excuse Reagan's reversal of his tax cuts (from an earlier thread) because of Congress' refusal to curb spending, but blame GW for not bringing smaller government in time of war...doesn't GW also have a Congress to deal with?"

You make a lot of bad points in a small amount of space, so let's take them one at a time.

First, when Reagan left office, taxes were still lower than when he came into office. I know the liberals love to point out his tax increases while conveniently ignoring this fact.

Second, Reagan bailed out Social Security. And Bush did what with Social Security? That's right: NOTHING!

Third, Reagan had to raise taxes because he could not get the Democratic Congress to cut spending. Bush kept the tax cuts while the Republican Congress kept raising spending to unheard-of levels.

Fourth, Reagan never proved tax cuts worked? Do you even have a remote clue about the state of the economy during the 80's? Or the 70's?

During the 70's, we had a bad problem with inflation. You might not be familiar with it, probably because it has never been a problem in your lifetime, thanks to Reagan's nomination of Alan Greenspan to the Federal Reserve in 1987. Fortunately, Paul Volcker (Greenspan's predecessor) got inflation under control, although it was as high as 13% in 1981. It was down to about 3% in 1983.

I guess you are probably not familiar with the stock market boom of the 80's? A lot of it was due to Reagan's tax cuts.

Fifth, the deficit doomed Bush Sr's presidency? No, a campaign lie doomed Bush Sr's presidency ("read my lips..."). When you raise taxes and the economy tanks, the public holds you accountable, especially when you promised NOT to raise taxes.

Sixth, you give Bush Sr. credit for taking away the "pain of Vietnam"? That little Grenada incident you mocked did more to heal the pain of Vietnam. What you fail to realize is that the U.S. was militarily impotent prior to Grenada. Remember Carter's failed attempt to rescue the Iranian hostages? We had absolutely no faith whatsoever in our military.

Granted, Grenada was a baby step. But it was a sorely needed one. Without Grenada, there would NOT have been a Kuwait, because the American public would have had no appetite for such a large military action. By the way, don't think Bush Sr. would have succeeded if Reagan's presidency had been a failure: Bush Sr. rode Reagan's coattails into the White House.

Seventh, one more time: Bush has a Republican Congress, Reagan had a Democratic Congress. The deficit was significantly lower under Reagan, even though Reagan had to deal with an unfriendly Congress. How can you justify the obscene amounts of pork under Bush, when he allegedly has a friendly congress?

"Ed, do you have any idea what Reagan's "big idea" for illegal immigration reform? It's that little piece of paper employees have to sign that promises that they are legally entitled to work in America. That's it. And well, you can see how great that has worked right?"

Illegal immigration was not the problem back then that it is today. We didn't have to worry about terrorists sneaking in with the illegal immigrants. We also didn't have the Mexican government openly encouraging it's citizens to cross the border illegally.

"Respect? Ed, please, please do your research. Go beyond the rewrite of history according to Peggy Noonan. The man talked about trees taking up all the invaders...he was known as the actor playing his greatest role. No one took him seriously until he was safely out of office and no longer able to scare the world with the knowledge that this man had his finger on the world's nukes."

That certainly explains why Reagan won a landslide re-election victory in '84. The only ones scared by Reagan were your liberal friends. The overwhelming majority of Americans loved Reagan.

The problem here is your vision of Reagan clearly was formed during your liberal years. The liberals despised him almost as much as they despise Bush now.

If it weren't for Reagan, we would probably be like France now, floundering from one failed socialist program to another, with no direction and no real hope.

"I truly did not want to go after this man. I honestly believe that the one great--and yes, I do believe it was great--thing this man did was give Americans the ability to dream again. He brought back the romance of America...where nothing was impossible for people who believed and who had the will. He was that generation's JFK.

And like JFK, it may take another 30 years before we strip all the hype and get back to reality. Only I do not think we can afford it. We ARE fighting real enemies here and an ideology that is trying to take out God out of our national conscience.

We don't need idols, we need leaders that will roll up their sleeves and do the real work.

Unlike JFK, Reagan was a man of great integrity. They both talked the talk, but only Reagan walked the walk.

You forget why Reagan was able to bring "back the romance of America". If his policies had failed, there would be NOTHING he could have said to make things better. He would have been kicked out of office in '84.

In our current situation, if you don't think Reagan would have confronted our enemies abroad and at home, then you don't know Reagan.

Quote(s) of the day

"If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing." - Anatole France

Whenever you hear someone defend their beliefs/opinions by quoting polls, make sure to question the validity of it.

When I first read the above quote, another classic came to mind:

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." - Benjamin Disraeli

One of the most useless statistics is the presidential approval rating poll. The Democrats like to rattle off his approval numbers as if they mean the American public has turned liberal overnight. They are going to be really disappointed when they learn that half of those disapproval numbers come from conservatives.

But that is just one example of how statistics don't paint the whole picture sometimes.

Editorial of the week

In his editorial today, Robert Novak brings up an interesting way for President Bush to cut the pork spending:

"...Sen. Jim DeMint, a freshman Republican from South Carolina, had a better idea for the president: Why not instruct your department heads to ignore the earmarks Congress adds to your budget?

DeMint was not encouraging Bush to take the law into his own hands and defy statutes passed by Congress. A March 6 report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) said more than 95 percent of all earmarks were not written into law but were merely contained in the reports of congressional committees and legislative managers. "Earmarks that appear in committee reports and the statements of managers do not legally bind agencies," said the report.

Unfortunately, Novak also says the president seems opposed to the idea. It seems the president is afraid of getting into a war with Congressional committee chairmen.

Bush is the guy everyone in the world seems to think is a "cowboy"? When it comes to dealing with Congress, Bush is the biggest wimp that ever lived.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The cause of raucous conservative rhetoric

A lot of the raucous rhetoric among conservatives today has come about due to the actions of the Republicans in power. As long as I can remember, Republicans have been generally consistent in their actions matching their words. Republicans who have not met this standard generally have not lasted long in office (Bush Sr. comes to mind).

Bush Jr. presents us with an unfortunate dichotomy of truthfulness: With our enemies, he has been brutally honest and backed up his words with force. But with his friends, namely the Republican Congress, he makes idle threats consistently. This is the same Republican Congress which was paid for by Jack Abramoff and God knows who else. The Republican Congress reminds me of France right now: a friend in name only.

I know the Democrats have been corrupt for decades. When a Democrat does something dishonest, I am not surprised. When the Democratic Party does something dishonest, I can say "What did you expect?"

When an occasional Republican does something dishonest, I can look at it and say there's one in every group. But when the majority of Republicans in Congress do something dishonest, that shakes my faith. Sure, I can say some of them got campaign donations without knowing who Abramoff was. But there are too many involved not to think they were selling out the conservative cause for campaign donations.

It was NOT the "Indian affairs" Abramoff bought votes for that bothers me. It was the implication that our representatives would sell their votes. Maybe what they did was perfectly legal. But unlike Democrats who view the law as the ultimate standard of morality, I expect better from Republicans. Republicans have always had higher standards than the Democrats. They have always had to, because any time they slipped up, the Media was on them like white on rice.

What some of my conservative brethren around here view as "being reasonable" or "negotiating with the Democrats", I see as becoming LIKE the corrupt, would-sell-their-mothers-for-a-campaign-donation Democrats.

When I see the absurd amount of pork spending, I have to wonder how much of it was paid for with campaign donations.

When I hear the Republicans talk about resurrecting the "Contract with America", that tells me how far they have fallen since 1994. They should not have to resurrect it, because they should have been following it all along.

My issue is not with the conservatives. We all generally believe the same thing, with a few nuanced differences here and there. What I don't share with some of them is faith in the Republican Party. The GOP will have to earn my trust back.

Quote of the day

"You know the one thing that's wrong with this country? Everyone gets a chance to have their fair say." -Bill Clinton

In Clinton's defense, he did say this in response to a heckler. However, it does leave you wondering whether he really believes it.

I tend to think he does.

Editorial(s) of the day

With Congress and the President debating immigration, all eyes turned towards Senator Hillary Clinton, who objected to a bill which would make illegally entering this country a felony, instead of a misdemeanor. In Senator Clinton's words:

"It is certainly not in keeping with my understanding of the Scriptures," Clinton said, "because this bill would literally criminalize the Good Samaritan and probably even Jesus himself."

(Quote from

I was surprised to see nothing in the editorials about this. Last night, both Bill O'Reilly and Lou Dobbs led off their shows with this story. Considering it happened on Wednesday, you would think someone would have an opinion by Friday morning.

Thank god for Neal Boortz and the Confederate Yankee!

Boortz finishes his editorial on Hillary's immigration stand with this classic paragraph:

"We now see yet another example of a politician with no soul...someone who will grab power any way she can. And to think she could be our new commander in-chief. Come to think of it, that might help the illegal immigration problem...people will be heading for the border!"

Confederate Yankee has this scorching reply to Hillary's comment:

"Senator, I doubt you even know what the Good Book looks like, but please have your campaign researchers at least make a pass at reading the New Testament before you try to rewrite Luke 10:25-37.

The Good Samaritan, like the priest and the Levite, was an Israeli, and Samaritans exist to this day inside Holon, Israel, and Nablus in the West Bank. The proposed law would not criminalize the Good Samaritan, because he, too is a native citizen of Israel. Jesus Christ, like the Good Samaritan, is also a native son, and not an illegal immigrant.

Your comments, Senator Clinton, were not just calculated to be inflammatory, they were laughably ignorant. Perhaps the next time you are seen near a Bible for a photo-op, you should consider opening it.

On a completely unrelated note, there is a great joke over at Boortz's website, "How To Guarantee Yourself A Ticket".

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Quote of the day

"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain

Learning is a lifelong pursuit. You don't have to be in a classroom to learn.

Pick up a book.

Do an internet search.

Talk with somebody who is knowledgeable in a field.

But do whatever it takes to sate your curiosity.

Editorial of the day

The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.

Replace "Lord" with "government", and you have the topic of George Will's column today, "School Voucher Foolishness in Fla.".

We have a public school that is failing, by the state's own standards. The state enables students of that school to use vouchers to attend private schools. The students take advantage of the program. The teacher's union takes the state to court, trying to block the voucher program. The state's Supreme Court bans the voucher program based on one word of the state constitution: "uniform". The state is required to provide public school education which is "uniform".

No regard is given by the court to what the state should do when this fails to happen. The state just has to make it happen, like there is some educational magic wand at the governor's disposal.

States are fighting an uphill battle against the teacher's unions every step of the way, yet the states are expected to maintain a quality education system.

Until we take the teacher's unions out of politics (or out of existence), we will NEVER make any real progress in improving education in this country.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Illegal immigration vs. the nanny state

Of illegal immigration or the nanny state, which is the greater problem? Only within the context of terrorism can I say that illegal immigration might be the greater of the two problems. If a terrorist sneaks a nuclear bomb across the border, the possible damage negates comparisons to any damage a nanny state can do.

However, terrorists with nukes are the worst case scenario. Terrorism itself is the worst part of illegal immigration, but I would not call it the largest probable impact of it. As long as our military is in Iraq and Afghanistan, most terrorists will take the easy way out and try to hit our military.

Illegal immigration tends to bring higher crime rates with it. Also, there are too many places where the illegals are eligible for benefits, which leaves taxpayers paying for non-taxpayers. In addition, with the wealth flowing from this country back to the immigrant's home country, we are losing a lot of the economic benefit we could be getting from the wealth in the U.S.

The nanny state is a whole new level of problem. The more government does for the people, the more people expect from the government. We have seen the results of this in France and in New Orleans (during Katrina). This is a vicious cycle, where government is forced to raise taxes to pay for all of its' benefits, eventually stifling productivity and killing the golden goose of the private sector. The worst part is that it takes at least a generation to undo the damage, and that would probably come after a period of anarchy.

Illegal immigration is bad, but the far-reaching impact of the nanny state is much worse.

Quote of the day

"You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatreds.
You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man's initiative and independence.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.
" - William J. H. Boetcker

I know this quote is a bit long, but it describes my political philosophy quite nicely.

Hat tip to "The Quotations Page".

Editorial of the day

I missed a great editorial yesterday from Cal Thomas. Called "Spending Obscenities", it is a must-read for all fiscal conservatives. It would not hurt the non-conservatives either.

As I try to point out to the Bush koolaid drinkers, our current budget deficit is NOT because of the War on Terrorism. It is because our politicians in Washington are feeding at the trough of government, and Bush is doing nothing to discourage them.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The basics of global warming

With all the talk about "global warming" recently, there seems to be one fact which is overlooked by many of the enviro-nazis in their rush to blame humanity for all the world's problems.

What is the primary cause of heat on the earth? The sun. Without the sun, there is no amount of human-created anything that is going to warm this planet for any significant amount of time.

This is NOT to say it is impossible for mankind to effect the amount of the sun's heat which is captured by the earth. However, before drawing that kind of conclusion, you must first determine that the sun is burning at the same intensity or less than in previous years. Increased solar activity could lead to increased global warming. Until that possibility is excluded, all other theories are in doubt.

To only look for human causes of global warming is an anthropocentric assumption.

Quote of the day

"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery." - Winston Churchill

Pick your poison.

Personally, I prefer capitalism. At least you can earn your share of the blessings. With socialism, you get what the government gives you. Period.

Editorial of the day

"Socialism Makes People Worse"? That is the title of Dennis Prager's editorial today over at

In America, we look at the riots over in France as a bunch of spoiled brats throwing temper tantrums. Prager draws the conclusion that the socialist policies of France over the years have led to the French people's corruption. I could not agree more.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Quote of the day

"The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it." - H.L. Mencken

The obvious corollary to this is that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

When politicians promise you something which sounds wonderful, always ask yourself, "How much is this going to cost me?"

Editorial of the day

I know accounting law is about as exciting as watching the Academy Award being presented for "Best Microphone Work in a Foreign Film", but the editorial by Mallory Factor over at the Wall Street Journal's website is an important read.

Factor points out the Democrats are hopping on the anti-Sarbanes-Oxley(Sarbox, as she calls it) bandwagon. For those of you who do not remember, Sarbox was passed in 2002 in response to the Enron and Worldcom accounting scandals. What you may not realize is the impact this legislation has had on businesses, and the U.S. economy:

"Beyond the direct cost of compliance to individual companies, a recent University of Rochester study concluded that the total effect of the law has reduced the stock value of American companies by $1.4 trillion. That is $1.4 trillion that could be invested in infrastructure improvements, jobs, innovative technologies or research and development."

Personally, I would not mind seeing the Democrats use this issue to help stake out a position to the right of the Republicans. It might give me more options at the ballot box.

Friday, March 17, 2006

A response from my congressman

Back in February, I sent an email to my congressman, Nathan Deal. I posted about it here.

Here is the email I sent:

Dear Representative Deal,
I am writing you about an issue which I find troubling. With all of the talk about the problems of earmarks in bills, I find it amazing that the Congress has made no progress towards eliminating this. With all of the corruption this process has allowed, I find it inexcusable for any conservative legislator NOT to be pushing this issue wholeheartedly. For me, elimination of the earmarking process is the litmus test by which you will be judged in the 2006 election.

Ed McGonigal

In a letter dated March 8th, here is Representative Deal's response (NOTE: I am excluding the first and last paragraphs which were just longwinded hellos and goodbyes):

"If you are familiar with the Federal budget process, then you know the President submits his budget for the upcoming fiscal year early in each calendar year. The Administration's annual budget submission is followed by Congressional action on the budget, which usually includes the annual budget resolution and appropriations. During the months of deliberation on budget legislation, the Administration often revises its original proposals as a result of interactions with Congress and changing circumstances in the economy and the world. President Bush submitted his budget to the House on February 6, 2006.

Each year, Congress has the opportunity to set its discretionary budget for the coming year. A large portion of federal expenditures is mandatory, set in current law, and does not change without the changing of law. Medicare and Social Security are examples of this type of mandatory spending. The remainder of the federal budget is open to yearly changes by legislators. Each year we must carefully define our priorities, and attempt to find places where waste, fraud, and abuse are occurring. As we aim to achieve the President's goal of cutting the deficit in half over the next five years, we will be faced with many difficult decisions. I will certainly keep your thoughts in mind as we examine each budget request and determine our fiscal priorities. It is imperative that we keep government spending in check. We must ensure that we are not spending more than we are taking in each year.

You may be interested to know that I introduced the Fiscal Responsibility Act on April 28th, 2005. The initial reaction to this legislation has been very positive, demonstrating the importance of deficit reduction to people throughout the nation. This bill is currently awaiting action in the committees to which it was referred, the House Committee on Government Reform and the House Committee on House Administration. H.R. 1980 has been endorsed by the National Taxpayers Union, Americans for Tax Reform, the American Conservative Union, the Small Business Survival Committee, and Citizens Against Government Waste.

The Fiscal Responsibility Act will provide a significant, tangible incentive for all Members of Congress to balance the Federal Budget and avoid excessive, wasteful spending. This bill creates a simple yet effective mechanism that is triggered when the Federal government runs a fiscal-year deficit. When triggered, this mechanism will implement an automatic five-percent pay reduction and void the Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for all Members of Congress. If the deficit spending continues, the pay cut will be increased to ten percent and Member COLAs will continue to be voided every consecutive fiscal year that expenditures exceed revenues. Although the pay reductions will be capped at a maximum of 10 percent, the loss of COLAs will continue to increase the true cost to Members every year we run a deficit. Of course, the pay reductions and COLA forfeitures will not be implemented after a fiscal year in which we run a surplus or expenditures equal revenue.

This bill does include an exclusionary provision for budget outlays that directly relates to military conflict which lasts over 30 days or is in direct response to a terrorist attack on the United States. This provision will allow for unforeseen Defense and Homeland Security spending."

Nowhere in the letter does Rep. Deal address my concern, which is the earmarking process. Calls for spending restraint fall on deaf ears around representatives like Don Young. Until the process is eliminated or heavily restrained, we end up relying on the majority in Congress to show spending restraint. Based on recent history, I do not have a whole lot of faith in that happening.

As for Deal's Fiscal Responsibility Act, you will notice that even if it were to be enacted (fat chance), it still would NOT be in effect right now thanks to the war in Iraq.

In other words, I have to take him at his word that Deal and the rest of Congress will show spending restraint. How come I don't feel reassured?

Quote of the day: Ancient Rome week

"The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws." - Tacitus

In light of this, is it not ironic that our lawmakers are working on lobbying reform laws after the Abramoff scandal, instead of eliminating the cause of the problem, which is earmarking? Our lawmakers have no interest in reform. They merely seek to cover their tracks a little better.

Editorial of the day

Dick Morris provides his early analysis of the GOP presidential race over at The Hill.

Morris states that, "...McCain and Giuliani are the only two frequently mentioned candidates who could actually get elected and defy the likely disaster the GOP faces in ’08." His justification for this lies in McCain and Giuliani's appeal to swing voters, such as "Hispanics and women". Their weakness lies in the Republican base. They would both have a hard time claiming the Republicans needed to win the nomination.

Of the other three front-runners, Morris has this to say:

"[Bill] Frist, ethically compromised at the outset, has shown his limitations too graphically as majority leader to hope for the nomination. The fact that he could only get 1 vote in 3 in a straw poll in his backyard tells us something.

[Mitt] Romney probably carries enough baggage with him from Massachusetts to make his pursuit of the Republican nomination futile. You cannot be elected governor of the People’s Republic and hope to keep your positions conservative enough to win the Republican nomination.

George Allen, the creature of the party’s right wing, could win the nomination but not the election. Hillary would chew him up and spit him out.

I have to agree with Morris on Frist and Romney.

As for Allen, I cannot say I know him well enough to say how he would do against Hillary. I will admit most of the noise for Allen comes from the more conservative people I know, so Morris' analysis rings true.

Then Morris brings up the dark horse candidate (pun NOT intended), Condi Rice:

"Moving up in the polls (now tied with Rudy and McCain for first place), Rice could both be nominated and elected. Her ability to handle herself on an international stage is increasingly obvious, and her more authentic claim to the title of self-made woman than the phony, Bill-dependent résumé of Mrs. Clinton both are making her more and more attractive nationally."

On the surface, Rice does have appeal as an effective person, and will probably deliver a hit to some key Democratic voting blocks. But effective people do not necessarily make effective presidents. Another thing to consider is what are Rice's political positions? Working with Bush does not mean she shares his views (remember, Bush Sr. worked for Reagan).

I won't spoil Morris' final prediction for you. However, my own view is that if Republicans pander to their base by picking a solidly conservative candidate, they will lose to Clinton. If they pick someone who can contest the middle ground with Clinton, they can win.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Compassionate conservatism = liberal spending?

Peggy Noonan poses an interesting question in her editorial today (link here):

"When George W. Bush first came on the scene in 2000, did you understand him to be a liberal in terms of spending?...Is that what Mr. Bush meant by compassionate conservatism?"

Before anyone hits me over the head with 9/11 and Iraq, I should point out that most of the spending increases have NOT come in defense, so 9/11 and Iraq are irrelevant to the spending issue.

I will buy the argument that Congress is responsible for a lot of the spending. However, Bush has signed off on everything the Congress has sent to him. At what point do we hold him accountable?

Remember Truman's "The buck stops here"? Apparently, Bush doesn't remember it.

There are three ways to look at Bush: One is that he is in the awkward position of having to defend his party's legislators, even as they spend like horny guys in a strip joint; or, two, Bush actually approves of the spending which is happening; or, three, a combination of the first two. I think it is number three, which does not bode well for the American public.

Back to Peggy Noonan's question: I think liberal spending was EXACTLY what Bush meant by compassionate conservatism. Unfortunately, the rest of us were hoodwinked by his little phrase.

Quote of the day: Ancient Rome week

"You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength." - Marcus Aurelius

Is it any wonder why Aurelius was considered one of the "Five Good Emperors"?

How many people in the world get neurotic trying to control the world around them? In reality, place your priority on controlling yourself, and you will find the world around you will take on a new perspective, one which will be far more manageable.

Editorial of the day

I missed a good column at the end of the day yesterday, so I am giving Tim Chapman over at the "Editorial of the day" today.

Tim shows us once again why, as bad as the Republicans are, the Democrats are worse, even to the point where they cannot be taken seriously. Between being dishonest and stupid, what virtues can the Democrats boast? "We're not the Republicans" does not get it.

If I went out and killed someone, I could say, "At least I'm not Charles Manson." Do you think a judge hearing that would say "you're right" and let me go?

It is beginning to look like our election choices boil down to competent crooks or incompetent crooks. Looking at those choices makes me wonder if Iran getting the bomb would be so bad.

Darwin strikes again

Every now and then, you read a story in the news about someone who dies doing something incredibly stupid.

Yesterday, there was a story on about an 18 year old girl who died when she got hit by a train.

She was deaf. She was walking down train tracks. She was text messaging on her cell phone. Sound like a recipe for disaster?

Sometimes, people do things that scream, "I AM TOO STUPID TO LIVE!" Unfortunately, nature takes them at their word.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Quote of the day: Ancient Rome week

"In a free state there should be freedom of speech and thought." - Tiberius

It is ironic that this should come from an Emperor of Rome.

This is one of those little jewels of wisdom that seems obvious to those of us who live in free states. But how much of it do we take for granted? You only have to look at the Danish Muslim cartoon controversy recently to see how much we overlook this basic point. It also shows us how much the Muslims just don't get it.

Editorial of the day

There is an interesting political analysis of John McCain over at by Ruth Marcus.

The article starts out talking about McCain's historically stormy relationship with Trent Lott. It goes on to say that Lott seems to be supporting McCain's presidential aspirations now.

One good quote the article has from McCain is his reference to what he considers priorities this year:

"...the important salient issues that we are facing at this moment -- they are the corruption, the earmarking, Iran and Iraq."

McCain's priorities are right on the money.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Ed's Administration: Part II revisited

(part II link here)

There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding around part II of this series. I would like to take a moment to clear up a few things.

What would have gotten done before 9/11? Marriage tax penalty relief. That's it.

Realistically speaking, I do not honestly think the Congress would buy off on my other proposals. I doubt they would even agree to double their salaries in exchange for an end to earmarking.

If you look closely at my proposals, a lot of them revolve around the way Congress does business. Campaign financing and earmarking are two of the primary ways our legislators ensure their own re-election. If the purpose of government is to re-elect legislators, then it is a tremendous system. Personally, I think it stinks.

Prior to 9/11, Congress will undoubtedly forward some pork-stuffed legislation to me. It will get vetoed. I will then hold a press conference where I will highlight the ridiculous ways our legislators were attempting to rob the national treasury. I will also highlight who those legislators are BY NAME. I suspect I will have plenty of legislators on both sides of the aisle quite angry with me.

Congress will utterly despise me. However, I will throw them a bone. I will call in the Congressional leaders of both parties and tell them if they remove the pork, I will sign it. If they cannot get it passed without the pork, it does not deserve to be passed. With split houses, they may have trouble overriding the veto. It is risky, but I think I can win the first round of this battle.

A lot of you seem to be under the impression I will be taking my proposals and executing them by Executive Order. That is NOT true. I am showing you what I am proposing to Congress. If Congress takes the proposal and passes it, THAT is when it would become law.

For the sake of this scenario, I assume Congress will be antagonistic.

Quote(s) of the day: Ancient Rome week

Today I present two quotes from the great Roman orator, Cicero:

"Justice consists in doing no injury to men; decency in giving them no offense." - Marcus Tullius Cicero

"The more laws, the less justice." - Marcus Tullius Cicero

How often do our lawmakers confuse decency with justice? In so doing, they limit the amount of justice available for all.

One need only look at the sheer volume of our law books to see how little justice there truly is.

Editorial of the day

Thomas Sowell takes on the hypocrites in the educational profession today (link here).

As Dr. Sowell correctly points out:
"Only among "educators" is there such confusion that merely exposing what they are doing behind the backs of parents and taxpayers is regarded as a violation of their rights. Tenure is apparently supposed to confer carte blanche."

Is anyone EVER going to take education seriously?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Ed's Administration: Part III (9/11 and Afghanistan)

(part I link here)
(part II link here)

9/11 was one of those days in history that most presidents would handle the same way. Politics steps aside, as events dominate the discussion and the actions taken. The only president of my lifetime who might have handled events differently than Bush would have been Carter. Even with his ineptness, he might have handled it the same.

That being said, I would hope to handle things as well, and in the same way, as Bush did.

The only place I would fault Bush, and I will admit I am nitpicking, is his personal response when he found out the second plane hit the World Trade Center. I would have given my apologies to that class, but I would have been out of there VERY quickly. You would not have seen me sitting in a classroom looking stunned.

On that day, I remember when I heard the first plane hit. My reaction was somewhat jaded. We hear about plane crashes all the time. I assumed this was just another one. Plus there was historical precedent, since a plane hit the Empire State Building back in the 1940's.

When I heard the second plane hit, I knew this was not coincidence. I knew something was happening. My first reaction was to head straight to the internet, to find out all I could.

If I was president, I would have ordered my staff to gather all the information possible in the shortest amount of time possible. I do not doubt Bush did something similar, but I would have done it sooner. But that is the news junkie in me talking.

After 9/11, my actions would have been similar, if not identical, to Bush's actions. I would have handled Afghanistan the exact same way. Unfortunately, I am afraid my actions would have also let bin Laden slip away at Tora Bora. Our actions at Tora Bora were consistent with our strategy which allowed us to take Afghanistan from the Taliban.

Where I diverge from Bush would be in the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. I would have sought to open lines of communication within the existing information-gathering departments (i.e. CIA, FBI, NSA, etc.). Information should be available seemlessly, with the only considerations being security clearance and agency purview.

There are other issues which are related to 9/11, but I am saving those for part IV, which deals more extensively with 2002.

Quote of the day: Ancient Rome week

With the ides of March upon us, it seems fitting to make the quotes this week about and from Ancient Rome.

"Ancient Rome declined because it had a Senate; now what's going to happen to us with both a Senate and a House?" - Will Rogers

Editorial of the day

I cannot walk away from a good editorial that bashes the Congress for pork barrel spending. Robert Novak did his take yesterday on "Spendthrift Republicans".

Novak quotes Senator Tom Coburn several times. Every time I hear Coburn mentioned, I like him more and more.

Oklahoma, you got yourselves a good one in Coburn. Keep him in there as long as he will stay.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Culpepper to the Raiders?

NFL Network this morning was reporting a rumor that Daunte Culpepper might be traded to the Raiders, as early as today.

As a Raider fan (always have to start my Raider-related opinions with this disclaimer), I am delighted down to my toes with this one. I just hope it is true.

Ed's Administration: Part II (pre-9/11)

(Part I link here)

If I assume that I won the 2000 election in the same way Bush did (Florida recount, Supreme Court decision, etc.), then my actions following the electoral college would be different. I would have taken one radical step I don't think Bush would have considered: I would offer the vice presidency to Joe Lieberman (after asking my own vice president to step down for the good of the country, and assuming Lieberman accepted). Such an act would mute a lot of the "stolen election" comments from all but those on the farthest Left. It would be a good faith gesture which should get a little political capital with the Democrats.

If Lieberman did NOT accept, I could use the gesture later on the Democrats ("I tried to include them in my government, but they wanted no part of it.").

Lieberman is one of the more moderate Democrats, so I would have no problem with him as my vice president.

That being said, on to my pre-9/11 presidency. The first thing from my platform to be accomplished would be ending the marriage tax penalty. In my conversations with Congressional leaders, it would become clear that this would pass easily and painlessly. Bush got it done by March of 2001.

Next up would be the end of pork barrel spending. First, I would approach Congressional leaders and ask them how it can be done. Since the answer would be "it can't", then I would offer them a carrot: Pass legislation which will end the earmarking process in 2003 (the start of the next Congress) and also double their salaries. That is right: Double the salaries of all senators and congressmen in exchange for the end to the earmarking process. That is a deal that more than pays for itself.

Along with this, I include my idea for campaign finance reform:

1. All campaign donations will go into a central fund for each individual race, to be controlled by the FEC.

2. There are no limits to donations, and any individual or organization can contribute as much as they want.

3. In each race, the Democrats and Republicans will split the pool evenly. If a third party candidate runs, they must contribute at least 10% of the total value of the pool in order to receive an equal split with the other two parties. Otherwise, they just receive back what they contributed.

4. Contributions may go through the individual campaigns, but the campaigns must explicitly report the sources of all donations to the FEC.

5. Any funds left in the candidate's treasury at the end of the election are to be returned to the fund for the next election. No campaign is allowed to incur unpaid debts.

6. Teacher's unions are forbidden from making campaign donations. If Congress balked at this part, I would back off on it, although I would revisit it later.

I know the first question already: What if an individual or company makes an obsecenely large donation to a candidate's campaign fund? My answer is the candidate in question would not benefit as much from it, since the money would be split evenly between the two party's candidates (or three or more party's candidates, as the case may be). Also, obscenely large donations stand out like a sore thumb. That could be bad PR for the entity making the donation.

The second question: What if no one donates anything? Then the candidates have no money. That should be encouragement enough for them to raise funds.

Let us assume, for the sake of argument, the Congressional leaders balk at the offer. Then I play hardball. I tell them first behind closed doors that the next piece of legislation to come to me with unnecessary federal spending will get the veto pen, followed by a press conference highlighting the more egregious examples of pork, with the earmarking senators or congressman called out in front of the national media for their attempted theft from the taxpayers of this country. This would be done regardless of the offending politician's party. For Republicans, this would be especially important since the Media loves Republicans criticizing Republicans (that's why they love John McCain).

If Congress refuses my offer behind closed doors, then I go public with it. Basically, I lay down the gauntlet.

You may ask: What if Congress fights me tooth and nail on this? Eventually, when the budget comes up in November, this could lead to a government shutdown, much like during the Clinton administration. That works in the president's favor. Even though Congress was in the right during the government shutdown, the Congress took the PR hit because they were viewed as being obstructionist. That is what I would count on.

Naturally, 9/11 will alter my strategy. But that is for part III.

Quote of the day

Men are like steel. When they lose their temper, they lose their worth.” - Chuck Norris

Can you believe Chuck Norris is 66 today? I feel old just thinking about it.

Editorial of the day

Sorry folks, it must be a slow news day, because I saw nothing of interest out there.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Ed's Administration: Part I (2000 Election)

Malia over at put up a challenge to all the conservatives/independents complaining about Bush:

"It’s 2001, YOU’VE been president of the USA for less than a year. You’ve got a whole bunch of ideas of what is wrong with the country and what it’s going to take to fix it...

...Please remember that in this “fantasy”, you are NOT the king nor are you a dictator. You are the leader of a nation where half of your people does not agree with your ideology—and yes, you have to consider ALL of them. You have a majority party but only a slight one and you need 2/3s to run a program thru. Tell me how easily you will pull out that veto pen and refuse to budge on your principals when the bills to fund the equipment for the men and women that you sent to war will be held up in Democrat Seniority laden committees. Please factor in the world economy, the Arab strong hold on our fuel and how we have to walk the fine line between a nuke Israel and countries with an insane religion trying to get their own "alternative" fuel sources…note that if you decide wrong, people die, lose jobs, forfeit rights.

Then finally tell me how you would take the time to discuss it with an impressionable and impatient public that is spurred on by a hostile media.

I’m serious. I want real solutions for all the complaints against Bush—all your pet issues that makes you question Bush’s conservatism, his intelligence, and his courage. I want you to tell me what YOU would have done differently than the man you blame everything on...

I will have to break this scenario up into different parts, as there are many aspects to a presidency.

First, we have to go back to the 2000 election. I go back this far because I would not have run on the same platform as Bush. After the Clinton years, my platform would have been about integrity in government. Specifically, I would have called for more transparency in government. My "contract with America", if you will, would include the following:

1. The security of this country is the first priority of the federal government always. All policies and legislation will be weighed against this priority.

2. The end of pork-barrel spending, where the taxpayers send money to the government, which returns it to us in projects that only help a small minority of the people. If these projects need to be funded, let the states or localities do it. If there is a naional interest involved, then we should be able to get funding on the federal level with a stand-alone bill.

3. Protecting the Social Security and Medicare trust funds. These were not intended for financing other government projects. Instead, they should be used to pay current benefits AND to help fund this country's economic growth and educational system. SBA and educational loans will come from these funds. Defaults on these loans will have to be reimbursed from general tax revenues.

4. End the marriage tax penalty. This was also part of Bush's platform, which he managed to pass. I agreed with it then too.

5. The teacher's unions in this country do NOT have our children's best interests as their goal. They are there to look out for the teachers' interests ALONE. The teacher's unions either need to be disbanded, or a voucher system must be put in place to encourage educational competition. Our children's education, and the future of this country, is too important to be ignored.

6. Free trade must be pursued wherever possible. Protectionist policies only keep bad industries from improving themselves.

7. Campaign finance reform must be done, and it must be radical. It must reduce the effect of special interests on our political process, while keeping the political process transparent. No more back room deals for campaign donations. (I will go into more detail on this one later.)

8. I oppose gun control legislation. While I will not seek to overturn current gun control legislation, I will not be adding any further gun control laws.

9. Abortion is a non-issue at this point. While I would support a Constitutional Amendment which would return the legality of abortion to the states, there are other issues of greater importance at this time.

10. Socialized medicine does NOT work. However, someone must pay when a catastrophic illness occurs. Private insurance is poorly equipped to handle such occurrences. Medicare or Medicaid should be expanded to handle catastrophic medical conditions where costs incurred top $100,000, regardless of the person's age. This should help make private insurance more affordable.

If I was elected in 2000, this is the platform which would have elected me. In the next part, I will explain how I make it happen.

Quote of the day

"If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking." - George S. Patton

The next time you have a thought which everyone else around you shares, question it. It may be the right thing to think, but you will never know why until you question it.

Editorial of the day

An editorial which starts out talking about the Academy Awards would normally be ignored by me. However, Peggy Noonan's observations about the growing irrelevancy of Hollywood are golden (link here). It should be mandatory reading for anyone in Hollywood.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A woman, two potholes, and 311

There's a very funny post by Dawn Summers over at "Clareified". It's a great story, so I won't spoil it for you, other than the title I put above.

Quote of the day

"Between two groups of people who want to make inconsistent kinds of worlds, I see no remedy but force." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

A very important point to remember in today's world. Until the Muslims learn tolerance for other cultures and religions, force may be our only option. Let us hope they learn before force must be applied.

Holmes died this day in 1894.

Editorial of the day

Molly Ivins is one of the looniest of the moonbats. However, I found her editorial today quite interesting (link here). It shows that even those on the Left recognize the Democrats are as beholden to their base as the Republicans to their base. As Ivins says:

"I can’t see a damn soul in D.C. except Russ Feingold who is even worth considering for President. The rest of them seem to me so poisonously in hock to this system of legalized bribery they can’t even see straight.

Look at their reaction to this Abramoff scandal. They’re talking about “a lobby reform package.” We don’t need a lobby reform package, you dimwits, we need full public financing of campaigns, and every single one of you who spends half your time whoring after special interest contributions knows it. The Abramoff scandal is a once in a lifetime gift—a perfect lesson on what’s wrong with the system being laid out for people to see. Run with it, don’t mess around with little patches, and fix the system.

If Molly had stuck with this issue, she would have had a winner. Unfortunately, she had to go off into Moonbatland and attack the Iraq war and call for "Single-payer health insurance". But I know how hard it is for moonbats to stay on topic.

Instead, I have to give "Editorial of the day" to John Stossel for "The Inescapable Facts on Public Education". When I saw yet another Stossel column on education, my first thought was, "Again?". However, I would rather read Stossel beating the dead horse of our poor educational system than read Ivins ranting about Iraq.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Quote of the day

"And so, my fellow americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man." - John F. Kennedy

Americans are generally familiar with the first part of the above quote, but the second part is equally important. Unfortunately, Kennedy's question remains unanswered to this day, as most of the world seems more involved in naked self-interest than the freedom of mankind.

Editorial(s) of the day

There are two editorials which, read together, make a very powerful statement. First, there is Thomas Sowell's "Cathedrals and Faith", where he makes the following point:

"In crisis, some have to put their lives on the line, as fireman, policemen and people in the military still do. But, for that, you have to believe that the institution and the society are worthy of your sacrifices.

We have now been through at least two generations of constant denigration of American society, two generations in which cheap glory could be gained by flouting rules and mocking values.

Is it surprising that we seem to have dwindling numbers of people willing to take responsibility and make sacrifices to preserve the social framework that makes our survival and advancement possible?

Second, there is Leon de Winter's "Soft Europe", where he says:

"But what does Western civilization mean in and to Europe? In the European welfare state, the system ensures that each individual can rely on maximum social security. Without doubt, the welfare state is the ultimate achievement of European civilization. But it did not come without a philosophy: the welfare state gave birth to a postmodern cultural relativism that underpins the tolerant, liberal, pacifistic and secular European societies of today.

Only the Earth is still a planet on which opposing forces collide. The welfare state, based on its provision of social services and the participation of reasonably acting civilians, is unable to respond to globalization or mass immigration. Its structures work as long as the system is closed. But because of vast changes in demographics and economics, the welfare state has become too expensive. All over Europe its fundaments are cracking.

This crisis is serious enough. The European political establishment is too preoccupied with its internal problems to even contemplate problems beyond its shores. Its philosophy holds that "soft power" alone can be brought to bear in any conflict between power blocs or ideologies or civilizations. That explains Europe's inability or unwillingness to defend the freedom of speech in one of the smallest EU member states, Denmark, during the Cartoon War. That's why there is near silence in Europe about the daily anti-Semitic provocations from Iran, which says that it'll hit Jews worldwide if Israel tries to destroy the Iranian nuclear program.

The EU does not know why it should ever sacrifice its sons in military conflict. What sacred values are worth defending at such a high cost? The EU isn't prepared to enter a conflict with Iran, with all its potentially devastating human casualties and economic hardships.

Sowell puts it best with the last line of his column:

"We still have the cathedral of freedom but how long will it last without the faith?"

In a world that is still dangerous, can Western Civilization afford the luxury of the welfare state? Can we afford to ignore the barbarians at our gate?

Monday, March 06, 2006

Quote of the day

"The thing about performance, even if it's only an illusion, is that it is a celebration of the fact that we do contain within ourselves infinite possibilities." - Sydney Smith

Editorial of the day

There was good column by Jack Kelly over at yesterday. He brings up the most important question in the War on Terror:

"Josh Manchester, a Marine veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, asks in his Web log (Adventures of Chester) the central strategic question in the war on terror: Is Islam compatible with a free society?"

Kelly goes on to point out:

"President Bush has answered that question with an emphatic "yes." We are at war not with Islam, but with a radical subset of it which could be described as heretical.

Osama bin Laden, conservative columnist Ann Coulter and some Christian preachers say "no" -- all of Islam is at war with the values of the West.

It would be inconvenient if they were right. There are approximately 1.4 billion Muslims in the world. Blood will flow in rivers if we have to fight them all. If you believe being a Muslim is as inherently threatening to liberty and democracy as being a Nazi was, then it follows that we must either convert, deport, arrest or kill the Muslims in our midst.

As much as we hate terrorism, this is what we are faced with if we cannot assimilate the Muslims into free societies: killing or containing all Muslims. These are NOT options. Only if the Arab world openly declares war on the rest of humanity do these become options. Let us hope it does not come to that.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Blog word cloud

Thanks to Karol over at for the heads up on this neat little blog word cloud which you can get over at

Here's mine for this site:

I know it is just useless blog stuff, but it is still kind of neat.

Quote of the day

"It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence." - Mahatma Gandhi

Editorial of the day

Today, I decided to go with the epitome of moonbat logic: Garrison Keillor wants to impeach Bush. Shooting down moonbat logic is like Dick Cheney shooting a lawyer. You barely have time to think before the trigger is pulled and down he goes.

His argument is basically this: Torture is wrong, therefore Bush must be impeached.

Of course, Keillor's thought process does not extend beyond this basic argument. He does not stop to think: If Bush is removed from office, who will be the next president? That would be Dick Cheney. Do you think Cheney would stop the torture? I doubt it. If we impeach Cheney too? I think we can go down the Constitutional chain of command and not find anyone who will remove this policy. They might be a lot more quiet about it, but it won't go away.

Ironically, Keillor is smart enough to recognize that the ballot box does not leave us an option:

"Meanwhile, many Democrats have conceded the very subject of security and positioned themselves as Guardians of Our Forests and Benefactors of Waifs and Owls, neglecting the most basic job of government, which is to defend the country."

So we impeach Bush, Cheney takes over and hides the torture, and then in the next election we vote Republican? That should teach the Republicans a lesson.

In all seriousness, I can appreciate there are people in this country who are adamantly opposed to torture. I especially respect the position of people like John McCain who are opposed to it based on the fact they were on the receiving end of it. In general, I am also opposed to it.

But folks, this is war. War presents us with many "lesser of two evils" choices. If the safety of our country depends directly or indirectly on the use of torture, then I will support it. I don't have to like it. You don't have to like it. At least we are still alive to discuss it.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Quote of the day

Since I did not give Thomas Sowell's article the "Editorial of the day", I thought I would give him the "Quote of the day":

"Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good. In area after area - crime, education, housing, race relations - the situation has gotten worse after the bright new theories were put into operation. The amazing thing is that this history of failure and disaster has neither discouraged the social engineers nor discredited them." - Thomas Sowell, from Is Reality Optional?

Even today, it is amazing how liberalism/socialism continues to thrive.

Editorial of the day

Mike Adams for President? Quite a funny read actually.

While I cannot say I agree with all his positions ("allow Americans to claim their firearms as "dependents" as early as 2009"), I do like his idea about handing over 10% of our nuclear arsenal to the Israelis (for use on Iran).

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

NFL coaches are too conservative

How many times have you seen this: It is the first quarter. The offense has the ball. It is fourth down and goal to go on the opponent's one yard line. And the coach decides to kick a field goal.

The announcers throw out the obligatory line, "It's always best to put some points on the board this early in the game." Or is it?

According to an article over at, there is a study by David Romer of the University of California at Berkeley which casts new light on this topic.

From the article:
"In a series of case studies, Romer found coaches to be overly conservative, opting for field goals in situations where, on average, choosing to go for a first down or a touchdown would up the odds of winning by 3 percent.

In particular, Romer found that when faced with fourth-and-goal on the 2-yard line early in the game, going for a touchdown is the much wiser choice. While the field goal is a near certainty, getting a touchdown in that situation has about a 43 percent chance of success, he calculates. And failing to score a TD at least leaves the opponent deep in its own territory.

But in nine case studies of this situation, the teams booted against the odds.

After doing a whole bunch of complex math, and considering things like momentum and field position in more than 700 real NFL game situations, Romer concludes that whenever the chance of a touchdown is statistically 18 percent, that's the better choice.

The study used data only from the first quarter of games, when the contests were still close and the outcome uncertain.

That is what I keep telling those silly coaches. Now I have some science to back me up.

Quote of the day

"People tend to forget their duties but remember their rights." - Indira Gandhi

Editorial of the day

John Stossel makes a great case for competition in our educational system today ("Competition Works").