Monday, June 30, 2008

Flaws in Catechesis?

I had to read this twice to make sure ...

A telephone survey of 1,201 American adults, conducted in April 2008, revealed that 48 percent of all Americans believe homosexual behavior is sinful, while 45 percent believe it is not sinful, almost a statistical tie when considering the margin of error.

The percentage is slightly different when the respondent indicates he or she knows someone with same-sex attraction; 49 percent indicating it is not sinful. Among those who have a religious affiliation, 55 percent of Catholics and 31 percent of Protestants said they do not believe homosexual behavior is sinful.

Yah, the operative term is "behavior," not "orientation."

Frankly, that's shocking, although it comports with other studies which show a similarly shocking ignorance of elementary Eucharistic theo and the reality of 25-30% weekly Mass attendance.

Look, folks, we're dealing with the salvation of souls. S'pose a series of homilies on the Big 10 might be in order?

HT: Ignatius

UPDATE 7/1: Apparently the "Catholics" are self-defined as such--therefore, the reliability of the readings is very suspect. HT: Chironomo

The Duty of Patriotism

Grim sums it nicely, I think.

If a nation sets aside the natural rights of mankind, it becomes a tyranny, and not patriotism but separation or destruction is the duty of its citizens. This view is the birthright of Americans, and it is a longstanding complaint of mine against our hard left that they will not accept it. If America is as bad as they so often claim, they have duties beyond mere complaint. If she is evil, fight her. If she is not, fight for her.

And quotes GKC while getting to that point!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

High Speed Rail? Not Here, Not Now

Headless, the investigative reporter (and full-time nuker) brings us a great little tidbit.

The Amtrak run through Waukesha County has been shut down for three weeks due to high water undermining rail lines through Brookfield.

No way around it for rail travel. No detours, just close up shop.

Well, not quite. Those enterprising managers at Amtrak did find a way to bypass their unusable train tracks. They are putting their customers from Madison on the bus. To Chicago. So they can ride the train to Milwaukee.

The shortest duration offered for that trip: 6 hours 44 minutes

Gee. What ECONOMY we have here!!

Of course, the KRM (and others) could be built on elevated tracks with 200' pilings-to-bedrock supporting them. That's a solution, eh?

McCann, "Sr. Predator", and the Archdiocese

Jessica McBride wrote a lengthy article in the current edition of Milwaukee magazine about the abuse of boys by the Sister of Mercy, Norma Giannini. It is not very pretty. Link here, (HT: Terry Berres)

There's a sidebar of interest.

"When asked why the Archdiocese didn't refer the Giannini case for prosecution back in the 1990's, spokesperson ...Hohl did something local church officials have never done before: she blamed the ...DA's office.

"In Wisconsin, the 6-year [S.O.L. stops tolling] on crimes like sex abuse when a suspect leaves the state. [A practice about 100 years old.] But Hohl said the archdiocese concluded back in the 1990's that the DA's office wouldn't "apply" that provision to church sex abuse cases in which a suspect--like...Giannini--hadn't left the state specifically to flee prosecution."

IOW, Mike McCann was slicing and dicing the enforcement policy very thin, indeed. When a suspect leaves the State, their INTENT or reason for leaving determines whether the DA will prosecute. An interesting way to play prosecutor, no?

[Giannini was transferred, and the story does not indicate that she requested the transfer.]

Not to worry. There's plenty of blame to spread around:

"Since Giannini hadn't [fled to avoid prosecution] Hohl says, the Archdiocese believed the DA wouldn't prosecute and therefore didn't contact the office....The Church created its own secret investigative panel."

There is relevant nuance here. Sr. Giannini was a member of a religious Order--meaning that the Archdiocese did not direct her activities--unlike Diocesan priests (who are NOT members of religious orders.) Were the Archdiocese to "step up to the plate" on Giannini, it's likely they would be exposed to another damages lawsuit. The Archdiocese didn't report, leaving Sr. Giannini to possibly continue her abuses.

That makes an interesting moral question, no?

The article, by the way, is well-researched and documented although McBride encountered a lot of people who would not talk--on or off the record.

Among other oddities, the Milwaukee Police Department managed to "lose" a file on the case; the Archdiocese extracted a confession from the nun (followed by their non-contact of the DA); and Bishop Sklba plays dumb, even though he knew about it. Neither he nor Abp. Weakland could be reached for comment, either.

One minor complaint I have about the article: Jessica writes that 'St. Patrick's was founded to give the Irish a parish in which they could go to Mass in English.' Not true. They could hear the SERMON in English--the Mass was in Latin at that time. The German and Polish parishes also had Mass in Latin--but the sermons were in the language of the old countries.

Good work, Jessica!!

GOP "Fuel Solution:" Half A Loaf

McConnell is bragging about the recently-introduced GOP "Fuel Solution." But there's something missing from their plan, folks.

In an attempt at a bipartisan solution to high gas prices, Senate Republicans Thursday unveiled The Gas Price Reduction Act (GPRA) of 2008, which would simultaneously open the way for production of more domestic oil and reduce energy consumption overall.

As gas prices creep toward $5/gallon in most states, Democrats have nixed tapping into America’s domestic oil reserves via offshore drilling and other accessible methods.

The GPRA considers environmental concerns by excluding the option to drill in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) -- also opposed by Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain -- and instead proposes what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) called a “narrowly targeted proposal…to reach out to our Democrat friends.”

The four-step plan to “find more, use less” includes the promotion of offshore drilling, oil shale exploration, utilizing plug-in electric vehicles and improving the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) with increased funding, staff and regulation.

Not a word about dropping the Corn-A-Hole mandate, arguably the single most significant driver of food-price inflation.

Therefore, under the Republican plan, you'll be able to drive to the grocery store--but only for window-shopping. Buying food? Out of the question.

No wonder they're called "The Stupid Party."

Wisconsin Refuses Federal Money

That's a surprise headline, eh?

Not if you know WHY.

Skeptical states are shoving aside millions of federal dollars for abstinence education, walking away from the program the Bush administration touts for slowing teen sexual activity. Barely half the states are still in, and two more say they are leaving.

Some $50 million has been budgeted for this year, and financially strapped states might be expected to want their share.

Some Federal money doesn't fit the Planned Barrenhood profile favored by WEAC and DarthDoyle.

Madison Sewer District: Forethought?

In a brief report the other night covering beach closings, Channel 12 mentioned that a beach on Monona Lake is closed due to a raw sewage spill.

Seems that an electrical power line feeding the pumps at the sewage processing plant was disabled, leaving the plant without power. As a consequence, there was an overflow of sewage directly into the lake.

Doesn't anyone in the Madison Sewer District know about "backup power" generators?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Sarcasm? Not Really

The OTHER McCain makes a good observation.

I'll remember to quote Tucker Bounds [a McCain adviser] next time one of my Republican friends complains that I dare even acknowledge the existence of such a thing as the Bob Barr campaign.

"Fear not: The McCain message will will carry through to November," I'll say.

And my Republican friends will say: "Message? McCain's got a message now? What is it?"

An RNC (and McCain campaign) with any gonads would hammer, hammer, hammer, every DAY, at the Congressionally-imposed ethanol mandate and the Democrat-imposed drilling restrictions.

But they'd rather see the citizens starve and/or walk.

Some Ideas for Tom Barrett

Since he's the Mayorish of Milwaukee (and I don't live there) I'm happy to cite a few ideas for "Saint Willie" Hines and Mayor Milk-Carton for possible implementation in the near future.

These are taken from an essay by Radley Balko, published in the Chicago Trib.

At Reason Magazine, we recently took a look at how the 35 most-populous cities in the United States balance individual freedom with government paternalism. We ranked the cities on how much freedom they afford their residents to indulge in alcohol, tobacco, drugs, sex, gambling and food. And, for good measure, we also looked at the cities' gun laws, use of traffic and surveillance cameras, and tossed in an "other" category to catch weird laws such as New York's ban on unlicensed dancing, or Chicago's tax on bottled water.

The sad news, Chicagoans, is that your town came in dead last. And it wasn't even close.

A ban on "unlicensed dancing"!! A tax on bottled water!!

There's more:

Chicagoans pay the second-highest cigarette tax in the country, and the sixth-highest tax on alcohol. Chicago has more traffic-light cameras than any city in America (despite studies questioning their effectiveness), restricts cell phone use while driving,... politicians can spend time and political capital on alleged "quality of life" issues, such as how much space there ought to be between strippers and strip-club patrons (good work, Seattle!); monitoring the blood sugar levels of their residents (snoop on, New York!); or drawing up building codes for doghouses (I'm looking at you, San Francisco!).

Milwaukee could have mandatory blood-sugar monitoring! And dog-house building codes!! (It goes without saying that the doghouses will be subject to property tax, of course.)

Balko provides a veiled warning, too:

Today's cities are large enough to afford most residents the anonymity to indulge forbidden pleasures in black and gray markets without much fear of getting caught. The information revolution has provided myriad ways for us to transcend old boundaries of home, family and neighborhood

Which 'black- and gray-markets' are burgeoning, by the way. There are a lot of Wisconsin people who purchase low/no tax cigarettes from friends who just happen to travel out-of-state (but not to Chicago, where ONE PACK will run you $9.35.)

And that sort of enterprise will continue to grow as the Government-mandated High Cost of Fuels and Foods continues to escalate.

One other thing, boys: you should remember what Chicago is also famous for: the violence engendered as Government-enforced bans created opportunities for 'alternative suppliers.'

Hines and McGee

One of the audiotapes of McGee's phone calls includes interesting language.

He told some mark or other that ' trying to put me on the license committee,' after which he observed that '[it] will make me more powerful.'

Correct me if I'm wrong here.

Wasn't Hines running on a "St. Willie" platform, maintaining a circumspect distance from McGee, and talking tough on crime?

If so, then why would Hines "try" to put McGee on Licenses?

Con-Law "Prof" Turley--Ignoramus?

It went past pretty quickly, but I'm wondering if anyone else noticed.

Commenting on the Heller decision on FoxNews, ConLaw Prof Turley (I forget which school) stated that 'The Supreme Court discovered a NEW right in the Constitution....'

Almost dropped my coffee...

"Healthy Wisconsin"'s Cost Increases

Let's not talk about the initial proposal--which only runs about $15 billion, delivered.

Let's talk about how that number grows.

It grows because there will be all sorts of pressure groups with all sorts of ideas about "health."

J.P. Wieske, director of public affairs at the Council for Affordable Health Insurance, helps compile an annual list of health insurance mandates imposed by the states. . . . Some of the benefits companies have been forced to cover include: in vitro fertilization, morbid obesity treatment, and lockjaw disorders. Some states require coverage of specialists including acupuncturists, pastoral counselors, marriage therapists, and massage therapists. Additionally, several states have imposed so-called "slacker mandates" allowing parents to keep grown children on their health-care policy until the age of 30. . . .

The report that Wieske co-authored estimated that such mandates can add anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent to the price tag of a health insurance policy, depending on the state and the type of mandate

Think it can't happen here?

Well, in a State whose largest County employs UNION-ONLY grass-cutters, you think wrong.

Conservative? Don't Bother Selling to Epic Systems


Epic Systems Corp., the Verona-based electronic medical records company, is threatening to pull its business from local vendors who support the state's largest business lobby over a political disagreement with the group.

In a statement to the State Journal, the company cited concern over Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce's spending this year on behalf of state Supreme Court candidate Michael Gableman, estimated at $1.8 million, as a reason for working only with vendors whose officials oppose WMC's agenda.

...Howard Schweber, a professor of law and political science at UW-Madison, said he's never heard of another situation in which a business threatens not to work with another company based on an election campaign.

The Epic statement was drafted by company founder and chief executive officer Judy Faulkner, executive vice president Carl Dvorak and chief administrative officer Steve Dickmann.
Each declined to be interviewed.

...Faulkner has contributed heavily to Democrats, including Gov. Jim Doyle and Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign's online campaign donor file. WMC funded ads opposing Falk in 2006 when she ran for attorney general.

Faulkner also donated $24,000 to One Wisconsin Now Action, a liberal political group that is now essentially defunct, according to its 2006 tax filing.

I'm with Prof. Schweber on this. I've never heard of this happening before (although it's enitrely possible that political connections have an impact on business which is un-reported.)

It appears that Epic's CEO is convinced that all her vendors are merely selling commodities--replicable in quality and quantity from almost anyone on the street--so Epic won't be harmed by purchasing inferior goods/services.

That, alone, should tell you something.

Apparently, $200 million of put-in-place construction is significant to general contractor JP Cullen.

Blaming WMC’s politicking for the “travesty of ethics” in this spring’s state Supreme Court race, Epic’s management announced that it would “try to work only with vendors that do not support WMC with its current management.”

That policy decision apparently prompted J.P. Cullen & Sons, the Janesville-based contractor of Epic’s ongoing campus expansion in Verona, to drop its membership in WMC and for its president and CEO David Cullen to resign from the WMC board of directors.

The massive Epic construction project -- the second phase exceeds $200 million -- has to be a major piece of business for Cullen, which finds itself caught in the middle of the Epic-WMC smackdown.

The dispute is so sensitive that none of the principals were willing to talk today to a reporter...

$200 million over 2 years is VERY large money for a general contractor.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Eat Less or Grow Your Own

From a newsletter:

The Preliminary All Farm Products Index of Prices Received by Farmers increased 7.3% in June from May.

That's a ONE-MONTH pop, folks, not annual total.

Abp. Burke Out of St Louis, to Rome

The announcement this morning:

Today, at noon in Rome (5 a.m. CDT), it was announced that His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, has named me prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, effective immediately. With the announcement, I ceased to be the Archbishop of St. Louis

That makes Abp. Burke the top guy on Canon-law affairs in Rome, and makes St. Louis safe for aborto-Democrats (for the time being.)

HT Ed Peters

Lefty Reaction to Heller: Kill Scalia

No, I'm not making this up.

That bit of advice came from a fellow who is famous for inventing the term "Barack, the Magic Negro" and is a well-known entertainment-industry type.

The comment was deleted by the blogsite...

HT: Confederate Yankee.

The Cynic's View of Heller

Vox Day pretty much nails down the "on the other hand...." viewpoint on the Heller decision.

Prior to the ruling, Day wrote:

...while it has the potential to be a landmark decision in defense of the Second Amendment, I fully expect the Supreme Court to pull one of their patented weasel jobs. The Court has a much greater tendency to get expansive in its interpretations when extending Federal power, not when limiting it

A truism.

Post-ruling, he notes, quoting Scalia:

“the most natural reading of ‘keep Arms’ in the Second Amendment is to “have weapons.”

“The term was applied, then as now, to weapons that were not specifically designed for military use and were not employed in a military capacity.”

“Putting all of these textual elements together, we find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.”

“Thus, we do not read the Second Amendment to protect the right of citizens to carry arms for any sort of confrontation, just as we do not read the First Amendment to protect the right of citizens to speak for any purpose.”

And comments:

I'm guessing that a confrontation with the government is not going to fall within the aegis of this protected right, despite the historical context of the Constitution's authors having very recently confronted their own lawful government with arms.

Scalia's opinion does allow two readings--both for AND against full-autos, for example. While he allows that the 2A was inserted partially to assuage the anti-Federalists (who were concerned about Big Gummint and thus would keep armaments sufficient to defeat a Gummint army used against the citizens), he also used language which seems to strip the RKBA of 'non-ordinary' weapons, such as machine guns.

Day is an anti-Federalist, and doesn't like Scalia's weaseling.

If nothing else, Scalia's ruling will make a lot of lawyers happy; there will be a LOT more litigation over his dicta on "regulation."

Belling, for example, sees Heller as obviating Wisconsin's ban on concealed-carry. I don't--at least, not by its plain language.

The Agitator also chimes in.

...Scalia also goes out of his way to note that the "individual right" the Court found today doesn’t undo onerous regulations on the sale of guns, leaves untouched bans on "unusual or dangerous" weapons, and doesn’t overturn existing bans on concealed carry...

• A future Congress is barred from passing a uniform federal ban on handguns or rifles in the home. Just about any other federal regulation would probably still be okay, provided it meets the minimal Commerce Clause test in U.S. v. Lopez.

• The 600,000 residents of Washington, D.C. and residents of other federal protectorates now have the constitutional right to own a handgun, provided they meet a set of conditions put forth by the city council—the limits of which will be litigated at a future date. Also, even this right for this small group of people extends only to handguns or rifles kept in the home.

We repeat: happy lawyers.

Obama The Lying Sack (on Guns)

The Obama lying continues--

Yesterday, he disavowed "a staffer"'s statement that Obama concurred with DC in its ban of handguns, and went on to say that he's just all ducky with Heller.

This story belies that crap.

Demarr lived in the tony Chicago suburb of Wilmette, which banned ownership of handguns, even if kept in the home and used only for self defense. But in December 2003, when a man broke into his house, Demarr used a pistol to shoot him.

Even though the man was inside Demarr’s home and trying to rob him, Demarr was charged by local police with violating the handgun ban.

That, of course, produced much outrage. Within a few months, the Illinois state Senate took up a bill that would have granted an individual an “affirmative defense,” or a legal justification for violating local gun restrictions if they were acting in self-defense.

But when the legislation came up for a vote in the Senate, Obama was one of 20 who voted against it—and homeowners like Demarr who used guns in self defense. Thirty-eight state senators voted “aye,” and the bill passed the state senate.

Oh, yes, there's more:

By May, an amendment from the Illinois House added the right of an individual to violate local ordinances banning handguns “when on his or her land or in his or her abode or fixed place of business.” That version went back to the Senate, and Obama voted against the bill a second time in its amended form, though it passed the Senate again 41 to 16

Obama never showed up for the veto-override vote (which also succeeded.)

While I understand that Democrats are inclined to favor their candidate, it's more difficult to understand exactly WHY they do.

HT: RedState

Chicago in Gunsights After Heller

The suit's already been filed against Chicago. Took about, oh....4 hours.


Canadian Healthcare Plan "In Crisis"

Yah, I guess.

And that headline-quote is from the AUTHOR of the Canadian socialist plan.

Back in the 1960s, [Claude] Castonguay chaired a Canadian government committee studying health reform and recommended that his home province of Quebec — then the largest and most affluent in the country — adopt government-administered health care, covering all citizens through tax levies

...Four decades later, as the chairman of a government committee reviewing Quebec health care this year, Castonguay concluded that the system is in "crisis."

"We thought we could resolve the system's problems by rationing services or injecting massive amounts of new money into it," says Castonguay. But now he prescribes a radical overhaul: "We are proposing to give a greater role to the private sector so that people can exercise freedom of choice."

Bookmark this and make certain that it is read into the record when the Nurse Robson Rached forces assemble in Madistan next January.

HT: Van Helsing

DC Mayor: Dense? or Stupid?

Some people just don't get it. Here are a couple of excerpts from a report of Mayor Fenty's reaction to Heller. (HT: John Lott)

Second, automatic and semiautomatic handguns generally remain illegal and may not be registered

...although the Court struck the safe storage provision on the ground that it was too broadly written, firearms at home should be kept either unloaded and disassembled or else locked except for use in self-defense in emergencies

Now Scalia's opinion:

We think that Miller’s “ordinary military equipment” language must be read in tandem with what comes after: “[O]rdinarily when called for [militia] service [able-bodied] men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time.” 307 U. S., at 179. The traditional militia was formed from a pool of men bringing arms “in common use at the time” for lawful purposes like self-defense. “In the colonial and revolutionary war era, [small-arms] weapons used by militiamen and weapons used in defense of person and home were one and the same.

By far, the most common self-defense weapon is the semi-automatic handgun. Even Hollywood gets it--the last appearance of a revolver was Clint Eastwood's/Dirty Harry's .44Mag.

And here, Scalia again:

we hold that the District’s ban on handgun possession in the home violates the Second Amendment, as does its prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense.

So the Mayor is engaging in double-speak. He suggests that the guns be kept "locked" or "dis-assembled," except for use in self-defense. Unless the Mayor contemplates that each lawful gun-owner in DC will have a small armory available, (thus many could be kept locked/dis-assembled, but one could be ready for "immediate self-defense") his counsel is deficient.

And his statement on semi-automatics? That's another lawsuit unless he claims to have "mis-spoken."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Live Worse, Rabble!

Owen caught this.

With three of 29 members voting no, the task force adopted a compromise that calls for the state to bring down emissions linked to global warming by 22% by 2022

Two of the three "no" votes came from small businesses (doing less than $500 million/year in sales.) The other "no" was from GM.

The "yes" votes came from Green-Profiteer Johnson Controls, SCJohnson (owned by eco-freaks) and the utilities--which don't give a rip how much YOU pay for electricity, despite the BS uttered by the spokescritter.

Drive less, eat uncooked food, turn the heat down to 45 degrees night/55 degrees day, and fuggedabout air conditioning.

That's the program from the Big Green, folks.

A Mother Asks...

You should see this in the original blogpost.

Damn good stuff.

Stem-Cells Work

News not reported widely:

The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has announced that it is funding a new adult stem-cell treatment that could treat diabetes-induced retinal damage, a leading cause of blindness.....

In animal experiments, adult stem-cells have shown a remarkable ability to target and repair damaged blood vessels in the eye, which are a key problem in diabetic eye disease and macular degeneration.

No babies were killed in this process.

HT: Papist

Chant Aeternum

From a NYTimes (!!!!!) article:

Bells peal and the chant begins — low at first, then swelling as all the monks join in. Their soft voices wash over the ancient stones, replacing the empty clatter of the day with something like the sound of eternity.

Given the aversion of the LiturgyWonks to Chant, the Times' characterization makes Chant seem to be like a silver cross.


Communion in the Hand? Should Go Away

From an interview of Mgr. Guido Marini, Papal MC (current one, folks!)

Q) In the recent visit to Santa Maria di Leuca and to Brindisi, the Pope has distributed Communion to the faithful in the mouth while kneeling. Is this a practice destined to become habitual in the papal celebrations?

A) I really think so. In this regard it must not be forgotten that the distribution of Communion in the hand still remains, from a juridical point of view, an indult [i.e. an exception] to the universal law, granted by the Holy See to those bishops' conferences who have requested it. The manner adopted by Benedict XVI [on the tongue] aims to underline the validity of the norm valid for the whole Church. In addition one could perhaps even see a preference for using this manner of distribution which, without taking away anything from the other [manner], better highlights the truth of the Real Presence in the Eucharist, helps the devotion of the faithful, and introduces [them] more easily to the sense of the mystery. These are aspects which, in our time, pastorally speaking, it is urgent to stress and recover.

No surprise. It's even possible that each U S Bishop could adopt this example.

Flim-Flammery at the 2 Vatican Council

This is "Catholic arcana" but resembles the politics of the USA. No surprise, that.

...One of the many difficulties in interpreting the Council’s Declaration on Religious Liberty, and reconciling it with traditional doctrine, lies in the fact that while the key article 2 of this document, Dignitatis Humanae (DH), begins by affirming that the right to religious liberty has to do with conscientiously held religious beliefs, it ends by affirming that the same right is enjoyed even by those who are not in good conscience (that is, those who “do not fulfill their obligation of seeking and adhering to the truth”). Curious...

...The above passage recognizing immunity from coercion for those whose religious propaganda is not in good conscience was absent from the first three drafts of DH. It finally appeared in the fourth (second-last) draft, presented on October 25, 1965, only a few weeks before the end of the Council (cf. AS IV, V, p. 79). Bishop Emil De Smedt, the Dutch relator (official spokesman for the drafting Commission), then gave his relatio (speech) to the assembled Fathers officially explaining this fourth draft and its changes to the previous draft. However, in doing so he did not even mention this important addition to the text! On the contrary, in commenting on the new version of article 2, De Smedt repeatedly stressed the importance of conscience, citing the (unchanged) words in the first paragraph of #2 which assert that the human person must not be forced to act against (or be prevented from acting in accordance with) “his conscience”

The good Father Harrison discovered another "burial" of text--this related to the conversion of the Jews. Follow the link.

HT: Phil Blosser

Are the Evangelicals "Cracking Up"?

Well, the NYTimes thinks so.

Others (who happen to BE evangelicals and scholars) are not so sure.

...Take, for example, the purported radical shift in alignment among religious conservatives that was reported as a cover story in the New York Times Magazine in October 2007. Under the definitive title “The Evangelical Crackup,” David D. Kirkpatrick announced that the “conservative Christian political movement” today shows signs of “coming apart beneath its leaders.”

...The story line, though it might vary in its details, proceeds on certain cherished assumptions that are intended to keep theological conservatives—be they Protestant or Catholic—culturally quarantined. Accordingly, the “religious right,” at least on the Protestant side, is a largely unthinking albeit well-organized and heavily financed movement. This “movement,” under the marching orders of the Pat Robertsons and James Dobsons, is in bed with the Republican party and is a largely two-issue political phenomenon (i.e., directed by its obsessive fear of abortion and homosexuality). Moreover, much of the religious right’s influence stems from the hegemony of the Southern Baptists, the largest denomination (demonization?) in the land, particularly since the “conservative takeover” of the 1980s, when “moderates” were “forced out” of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Of course, little of the 'story line' is true.

[Kirkpatrick likes Warren and Hybels, without realizing that they are anomalic--these folks are similar to the Elmbrook Church group here in Milwaukee.]

Kirkpatrick’s reporting does do us the service, however inadvertently, of exposing problems that are internal to wider evangelicalism itself and its relationship to the culture. That megachurch leaders are placed on a pedestal, whether by New York Times reporters or evangelicals themselves, is instructive. What needs emphasis is that megachurch entrepreneurs—with their large congregations, their larger constituencies, and their even larger book sales—may not be the best, or even the legitimate, measurements of Protestant evangelicalism’s health and vibrancy

...megachurches may well represent the most glaring deficiencies in evangelical thinking—for example, heavy dependence on marketing, large numbers as a measurement of “success,” congregations run as businesses, and a strongly anti-sacramental orientation to church life.


Shortly after Kirkpatrick’s report of a “crackup” appeared, a writer by the name of David Sessions argued in the online journal that the “evangelical right”—whatever the merits of such a moniker—is in truth undergoing no such thing. Rather, he pointed out, the role of evangelicals in the 2004 election itself had been wildly overstated and inflated by the media to mythical proportions. Similarly, on the eve of the 2008 election, he maintained, the fiction of a widespread evangelical “desertion” to the political left needed to be challenged

...[Kirkpatrick] ignores the remarkable—and seldom reported—diversity among evangelicals on matters social and political ...This development, it needs reiteration, has been measurable since the 1980s and is both heartening and to be encouraged. To describe this as a “recent” phenomenon or a “desertion” of traditional priorities or a major leftward political shift, as Kirkpatrick does, is pure fiction

Correlatively, Kirkpatrick propounds a view of evangelicals that is patently false when he writes: “The phenomenon of theologically conservative Christians plunging into political activism . . . is, historically speaking, something of an anomaly.” While Times reporters cannot be expected to be experts in American religious history, they cannot be excused for evading—or denying—the rich history of American evangelical Protestants in terms of social reform, health and medical reform, not to mention a fundamental concern for human life, dignity, and welfare. And in this regard, we evangelicals gratefully continue to learn from our Catholic brethren.

...important changes surely have been afoot throughout wider evangelicalism, but neither are the most significant of these developments “recent” nor do they spell a collapse of traditional evangelical commitments in the social-political arena that equate to an exodus to the Democratic party, Kirkpatrick’s own wishes notwithstanding

...and don't count any votes until they're actually voted, folks.

Wild Pigs, "Disaster Relief" and The Feds

Sent by a friend.

There was a Chemistry professor in a large college that had some exchange students in the class. One day while the class was in the lab the Professor noticed one young man (exchange student) who kept rubbing his back, and stretching as if his back hurt.

The professor asked the young man what was the matter. The student told him he had a bullet lodged in his back. He had been shot while fighting communists in his native country who were trying to overthrow his country's government and install a communist government.

In the midst of his story he looked at the professor and asked a strange question. He asked, 'Do you know how to catch wild pigs?'

The professor thought it was a joke and asked for the punch line.

The young man said this was no joke.

'You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground. The pigs find it and begin to come everyday to eat the free corn. When they are used to coming every day, you put a fence down one side of the place where they are used to coming. When they get used to the fence, they begin to eat the corn again and you put up another side of the fence. They get used to that and start to eat again. You continue until you have all four sides of the fence up with a gate in the last side. The pigs that are used to the free corn start to come through the gate to eat, and then you slam the gate on them and catch the whole herd.

Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom. They run around and around inside the fence, but they are caught. Soon they go back to eating the free corn. They are so used to it that they have forgotten how to forage in the woods for themselves, so they accept their captivity.

The young man then told the professor that is exactly what he sees happening to America . The government keeps pushing us toward socialism and keeps spreading the free corn out in the form of programs such as supplemental income, tax credit for unearned income, tobacco subsidies, dairy subsidies, payments not to plant crops (CRP), welfare, medicine, drugs, etc, etc, etc.

While we continue to lose our freedoms - just a little at a time.

Sounds a lot like boiling frogs to me.

Buy more ammo, and thank Scalia & Co.

Heller Interesting Grafs

Some stuff grabbed from Scalia's opinion:

The first salient feature of the operative clause is that it codifies a “right of the people.”
The unamended Constitution and the Bill of Rights use the phrase “right of the people” two other times, in the First Amendment’s Assembly-and-Petition Clause and in the Fourth Amendment’s Search-and-Seizure Clause. The Ninth Amendment uses very similar terminology (“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people”). All three of these instances unambiguously refer to individual rights, not “collective” rights, or rights that may be exercised only through participation in some
corporate body

Three provisions of the Constitution refer to “the people” in a context other than “rights”—the famous preamble (“We the people”), §2 of Article I (providing that “the people” will choose members of the House), and the Tenth Amendment (providing that those powers not given the
Federal Government remain with “the States” or “the people”). Those provisions arguably refer to “the people” acting collectively—but they deal with the exercise or reservation of powers, not rights. Nowhere else in the Constitution does a “right” attributed to “the people” refer to anything other than an individual right.6 What is more, in all six other provisions of the Constitution that mention “the people,” the term unambiguously refers to all members of the political community, not an unspecified subset

This contrasts markedly with the phrase “the militia” in the prefatory clause. As we will describe below, the “militia” in colonial America consisted of a subset of “the people”— those who were male, able bodied, and within a certain age range. Reading the Second Amendment as protecting only the right to “keep and bear Arms” in an organized militia therefore fits poorly with the operative clause’s description of the holder of that right as “the

We start therefore with a strong presumption that the Second Amendment right is exercised individually and belongs to all Americans

He then observes that "arms" means "arms," not some subset like "military arms;" that "keep" means "keep," not anything else, and that there are no restrictions 'for military usage only;' and that "bear" has a connotation of 'anticipating conflict,' which implies self-defense. This is distinguished from the military use of the term, which was always followed by the word "against."

He also points out that if the Framers wanted to limit "keep and bear" to military personnel, they could have WRITTEN the 2A in exactly that fashion.


Putting all of these textual elements together, we find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation. This meaning is strongly confirmed by the historical background of the Second Amendment. We look to this because it has always been widely understood that the Second Amendment, like the First and Fourth Amendments, codified a pre-existing right. The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it “shall not be infringed.” As we said in United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 553 (1876), “[t]his is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed . . . .”16


(A side note: the real reason for including the 2A is here:)

The debate with respect to the right to keep and bear arms, as with other guarantees in the Bill of Rights, was not over whether it was desirable (all agreed that it was) but over whether it needed to be codified in the Constitution. During the 1788 ratification debates, the fear that
the federal government would disarm the people in order to impose rule through a standing army or select militia was pervasive in Antifederalist rhetoric. See, e.g., Letters from The Federal Farmer III (Oct. 10, 1787), in 2 The Complete Anti-Federalist 234, 242 (H. Storing ed. 1981).

That is to say that the right was inserted BECAUSE of Government, not necessarily in favor of Government.

The prefatory clause does not suggest that preserving the militia was the only reason Americans valued the ancient right; most undoubtedly thought it even more important for self-defense and hunting. But the threat that the new Federal Government would destroy the citizens’ militia by taking away their arms was the reason that right—unlike some other English rights—was codified in a written Constitution. JUSTICE BREYER’s assertion that individual self-defense is merely a “subsidiary interest” of the right to keep and bear arms, see post, at 36, is profoundly mistaken.


virtually all interpreters of the Second Amendment in the century after its enactment interpreted the amendment as we do


Joseph Story published his famous Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States in 1833. JUSTICE STEVENS suggests that “[t]here is not so much as a whisper” in Story’s explanation of the Second Amendment that favors the individual-rights view. Post, at 34. That is
wrong. Story explained that the English Bill of Rights had also included a “right to bear arms,” a right that, as we have discussed, had nothing to do with militia service. 3 Story §1858. He then equated the English right with the Second Amendment:

“§1891. A similar provision [to the Second Amendment] in favour of protestants (for to them it is confined) is to be found in the bill of rights of 1688, it being declared, ‘that the subjects, which are protestants, may have arms for their defence suitable to their condition, and as allowed by law.’ But under various pretences the effect of this provision has been greatly narrowed; and it is at present in England more nominal than real, as a defensive privilege.” (Footnotes omitted.)

This comparison to the Declaration of Right would not make sense if the Second Amendment right was the right to use a gun in a militia, which was plainly not what the English right protected

Scalia notes that the Southern dis-arming of blacks was viewed as a crime against 'the natural right' enshrined in the 2A, as well.

He then discusses SCOTUS precedents. We especially note his discussion of Miller:

JUSTICE STEVENS places overwhelming reliance upon this Court’s decision in United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174 (1939). “[H]undreds of judges,” we are told, “have relied on the view of the amendment we endorsed there,” post, at 2, and “[e]ven if the textual and historical arguments
on both side of the issue were evenly balanced, respect for the well-settled views of all of our predecessors on this Court, and for the rule of law itself . . . would prevent most jurists from endorsing such a dramatic upheaval in the law,” post, at 4. And what is, according to JUSTICE STEVENS, the holding of Miller that demands such obeisance? That the Second Amendment “protects the right to keep and bear arms for certain military purposes, but that it does not curtail the legislature’s power to regulate the nonmilitary use and ownership of weapons.”
Post, at 2.

Nothing so clearly demonstrates the weakness of JUSTICE STEVENS’ case. Miller did not hold that and cannot possibly be read to have held that. The judgment in the case upheld against a Second Amendment challenge two men’s federal convictions for transporting an unregistered
short-barreled shotgun in interstate commerce, in violation of the National Firearms Act, 48 Stat. 1236. It is entirely clear that the Court’s basis for saying that the Second Amendment did not apply was not that the defendants were “bear[ing] arms” not “for . . . military purposes”
but for “nonmilitary use,” post, at 2. Rather, it was that the type of weapon at issue was not eligible for Second Amendment protection
: “In the absence of any evidence tending to show that the possession or use of a [shortbarreled shotgun] at this time has some reasonable relationship
to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument.” 307 U. S., at 178 (emphasis added). “Certainly,” the Court continued, “it is not within judicial notice that
this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment or that its use could contribute to the common defense.”

This holding is not only consistent with, but positively suggests, that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to keep and bear arms (though only arms that “have some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia”). Had the Court
believed that the Second Amendment protects only those serving in the militia, it would have been odd to examine the character of the weapon rather than simply note that the two crooks were not militiamen

Then he goes a bit further.

We may as well consider at this point (for we will have to consider eventually) what types of weapons Miller permits. Read in isolation, Miller’s phrase “part of ordinary military equipment” could mean that only those weapons useful in warfare are protected. That would be a startling reading of the opinion, since it would mean that the National Firearms Act’s restrictions on machineguns (not challenged in Miller) might be unconstitutional, machineguns being useful in warfare in 1939. We think that Miller’s “ordinary military equipment” language must be read in tandem with what comes after: “[O]rdinarily when called for [militia] service [able-bodied] men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time.” 307 U. S., at 179. The traditional militia was formed from a pool of men bringing arms “in common use at the time” for lawful purposes like self-defense. “In the colonial and revolutionary war era, [small-arms] weapons used by militiamen and weapons used in defense of person and home were one and the same.”

We therefore read Miller to say only that the Second Amendment does not protect those
weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes
, such as short-barreled shotguns. That accords with the historical understanding of the scope of the right, see Part III, infra.

Thus, the AR-15 (and perhaps its full-auto versions) are perfectly Constitutional. It would seem, however, that bazookas, rockets, tanks, and nukes are proscribed. Drat.


...nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the
possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.26

We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. Miller said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those “in common use at the time.” 307 U. S., at 179. We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition
of prohibiting the carrying of “dangerous and unusual weapons.”

Specifically to the DC ban:

The handgun ban amounts to a prohibition of an entire class of “arms” that is overwhelmingly
chosen by American society for that lawful purpose. The prohibition extends, moreover, to the home, where the need for defense of self, family, and property is most acute.
Under any of the standards of scrutiny that we have applied to enumerated constitutional rights,27 banning from
the home “the most preferred firearm in the nation to ‘keep’ and use for protection of one’s home and family,” 478 F. 3d, at 400, would fail constitutional muster

As to Breyer's plea to "trust the Justices,":

We know of no other enumerated constitutional right whose core protection has been subjected to a freestanding “interest-balancing” approach. The very enumeration of the right takes out of the hands of government—even the Third Branch of Government—the power to decide on a
case-by-case basis whether the right is really worth insisting upon. A constitutional guarantee subject to future judges’ assessments of its usefulness is no constitutional guarantee at all. Constitutional rights are enshrined with the scope they were understood to have when the people adopted them, whether or not future legislatures or (yes) even future judges think that scope too broad.

Perhaps Screechin'Shirley should read the above, several times, before she issues another "Mommy, May I" decision on Wisconsin's 25th Amendment...

The Ego of Obama

If I were a DemoLefty, I would be very cautious about predicting victory for Obama.

The Other McCain quotes a story:

"A book proposal by Obama about his life was submitted to publishers and a deal was reached with Poseidon, a small imprint of Simon & Schuster, for what is known in the industry as 'six figures' (about $125,000, I am told). Several years passed and Obama was too busy finishing law school and embarking on his career to get the book done. Simon & Schuster canceled the contract, which probably meant that Obama had to pay back at least some of what he had received of the advance."

And goes on to note:

Whoa! A six-figure advance for a 27-year-old law student with no significant previous publishing experience? Who ever heard of such a thing?

What strikes me is not that he was a 27-yo-law student--but that he thought that HIS life story-to-date was of interest to a publisher.


Latest from SCOTUSBLOG.

The 2nd Circuit's ruling (in favor of Heller, against DC) is affirmed! Scalia wrote the opinion.

Ginsburg, Breyer, Stevens, Souter disagree.

Another Price Increase

Since we are paying more for food, fuel, ammo, and MATC, I thought you'd like to know that the price of iron will escalate signficantly, too.

Iron ore giants Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton announced that they had come to agreements with key Chinese steelmakers, agreements that hike the base price of iron ore by 86% over a year ago. The combination of ever increasing demand, especially from China and India, along with the power that the three-company iron oligopoly has over the much more competitive steel industry did the trick. Iron ore is a sellers market, and there are only a few sellers.

The price was the result of negotiations with Baosteel, China's #1 steelmaker, but will apparently apply to all other steel companies that buy from the two Australian iron giants. It will also apply retrospectively to all iron bought from those companies since April 1.


Twenty Years Ago, James Hansen May Have Been Right

Headless does us all a favor, with a graph (!!) for science-knownothings like me.

First, at the time of Hansen’s testimony (the blue dot), his temperature data demonstrated an exceptionally strong correlation with atmospheric CO2. Based on this limited data, he had reason to be alarmed at that time. It should be noted that the superimposed actual CO2 plot tracks Hansen's projected 1988 to 2008 worst case plot fairly closely.

However, his projections of temperatures after 1988 show that his model broke down almost precisely when he testified. This could be due to a saturation effect for CO2 at that level or (more likely) shows Hansen got lucky with his early model and his CO2-temperature relation from 1964 through 1988. There may really be nothing there, except a coincidence.

I’ll add that there was indeed a modest amount of global warming from 1988 to 2001, with a plateau through 2006 that was about 0.2 degrees Celsius warmer than 1988. But global temperatures have since declined. Declined so much that the average global temperature is now 0.2 degrees Celsius less than 1988, not the 0.7 degrees higher that Hansen predicted. A difference of minus 9 tenths of a degree Celsius.

Which is why the mantra is now "climate change" rather than 'warming.' Hansen's acolytes can read, too.

Wanna see the graph? Go visit Headless' site.

SCOTUS Places Itself in Jeopardy

While I don't always agree with Powerline's thoughts, these guys are fairly high-powered lawyers--thus, at least in appearance, they are supposed to be docile about SCOTUS' opinions.

Not this time.

Whence comes the Court's authority to render the judgment in cases such as Kennedy? It is entirely self-created, based on the Court's ipse dixit. This is not the way it's supposed to work. As Justice Alito writes in dissent, quoting from Justice Kennedy's opinion: "The Court is willing to block the potential emergence of a national consensus in favor of permitting the death penalty for child rape because, in the end, what matters is the Court’s 'own judgment' regarding 'the acceptability of the death penalty.'”

The Court's handiwork in Boumediene represents a more recent and more consequential appropriation of power whose limits have not yet even begun to be tested, and it is one that flies in the face of the Court's own previous jurisprudence. In Boumediene the Court follows along the path it began to blaze in Rasul in 2004.

Our acquiescence in the doctrine of judicial supremacy is of long standing, but it is time to revisit it in the spirit of Abraham Lincoln. In Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, Allen Guelzo reminds us that Lincoln "mistrusted the federal judiciary and expected that any emancipation initiatives which came directly from his hand would be struck down in the courts."

Such "acquiescence" is to be expected from attorneys. But the arrogance of the Lefties and Kennedy leaves the Court in a position where they are 'asking for it.'

The outcome has portent. When the citizens percieve that Courts are stuffed with jackasses, (see, e.g., Screechin'Shirley's SCOWI "Mommy, May I" drivel on Wisconsin's 25th Amendment), the citizens may choose to disregard the law.

Or see the prediction of more "multi-shot suicides" here:

We find before us—and perhaps a bit beneath us—a Supreme Court of the United States that in this session has found more sympathy and more previously unknown rights for suspected terrorists and child rapists than it has for the average American.

From Bagram to Baltimore, expect to hear some names and dates begin to be associated with this and similar urban legends.

It is a truism of the human experience that when a people sees their system of justice fail due to inequities in the judicial process, they will find justice on their own.

There are fools, and damn fools. But apparently, Black-Robed fools are the worst of the lot.

Border Violence Getting Serious

While GWB's Administration is wishing on a star instead of building a fence as fast as possible, things in the border area are getting WAYYYY out of control.

Police reports show that three men arrested in a Phoenix home invasion and homicide Monday may have been active members of the Mexican Army.

While on the J.D. Hayworth show, Phoenix Law Enforcement Association President Mark Spencer said that the men involved were hired by drug cartels to perform home invasions and assassinations.

The Monday morning incident at 8329 W. Cypress St. resulted in the death of the homeowner. Between 50 and 100 rounds were fired at the house.

Spencer said a police officer told him that one of the men captured said they were completely prepared to ambush Phoenix police, but ran out of ammunition.

He added that all were all dressed in military tactical gear and were armed with AR-15 assault rifles. Three other men involved in the invasion escaped.


HT: Moonbattery

Is Obama Nuts?

Clay Cramer tells us that the Canadians are not happy with US eco-freaks--and that Obama apparently is one of them.

Borrowing heavily from the rhetoric of the environmental movement, right down to using the pejorative "tar sands" to describe Canada's reserves, mayors from the United States' largest cities adopted a resolution at a meeting in Miami on Monday singling out Western Canada's oil-sands sector as part of a crackdown on fuels that cause global warming.

Yesterday, Mr. Obama vowed to break America's addiction to "dirty, dwindling and dangerously expensive" oil if elected U. S. president -- and he said one of his first targets may well be imports from Canada's oil sands. A senior advisor to Obama's campaign said it's an "open question" whether Alberta's oil sands fit with Obama's vision for shifting the U. S. dramatically away from carbon-intensive fuels.

Look, folks. Whether we are at "peak oil", or whether the hydrocarbon era is causing "global warming/cooling/change" is irrelevant.

The fact is that the US economy is now, and will be for the next 20 years, petroleum-dependent. You can, perhaps, eliminate gasoline-powered engines--but you cannot eliminate the need for lubrication, nor pavement, nor plastics (in all configurations).

If Obama is suggesting that he's willing to blow off ALL those uses for petroleum, he is absolutely crazy.

Obama: "I Was For It Before I Was Against It"

School-choice vouchers, that is.

Here in Milwaukee Obama said it's fine.

In DC, (where his vote counts), he'll kill the voucher program.

Money talks.

Forget About Christmas Presents: You're Paying MATC

If the rapidly rising costs of gasoline, electricity, natural gas, ammo, and food weren't enough to break your Christmas-club account, MATC will.

Milwaukee's second-most-greedy school-taxing organization will hit you for a 5% increase in taxes. And, of course, they will take your money at the point of a gun.

The Milwaukee Area Technical College Board on Tuesday night unanimously approved a 2009 budget that increases the property tax levy 4.9% — an increase that means the college has boosted the levy 31% in the last five years

...The overall budget increases spending 6.2% from what the college budgeted for 2008.

...Health care costs went up significantly despite the school’s efforts to suppress them...fewer employees opted for the preferred provider organization than expected.

As to the last item--read "DUH!"

Van Hollen v. Warren

The actualities of the brouhaha between Van Hollen and the former CID chief, Jim Warren, are beginning to emerge.

In a nutshell, I suspect Warren was used to running his own show, using his own judgment, and not spending much time informing the Attorney General.

That may well have satisfied Peg "Lift-Und-Schlurp-'Em" Lautenschlager and her palace guard-dog, Dan Bach.

But it did not sit well with Van Hollen.

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said Wednesday he has ordered a review of how criminal investigations have been handled after he learned that a high-profile Milwaukee case was so poorly documented it appears no investigation was conducted at all.

Van Hollen told reporters that the investigation into whether politics played a role in awarding a contract to redevelop the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Kenilworth building was “closed without my knowledge (and) without my consent” and he expected to get feedback before that decision was made.

Asked why he would not be told of decisions like that beforehand, Van Hollen said he relies on key assistants — including former Division of Criminal Investigation chief Jim Warren — to “honestly and forthrightly let me know what is going on.”

Referring to his first year in office, Van Hollen said: “I don’t believe . . . I was necessarily getting that sort of response or feedback” from Warren, who retired early this year rather than be reassigned

One does not have to be a genius to figure this out--although at least two RadioMouths refuse to get it.

Maybe the case in question simply had no "there" there. Obviously, Warren was used to running his own show--and it's likely that his conclusions were the right ones.

Warren just didn't like the idea that he would have to actually report to someone. Neither did two of his top assistants. Too bad that the new Attorney General (Warren's boss) didn't agree.

Van Hollen's Lab Is Cooking

While a certain afternoon RadioMouth continues to disparage the Attorney General, the numbers point to some success for Van Hollen.

The budget passed in 2007 authorized the hiring of 30 more DNA analysts, and the 27 who completed training are now certified to process evidence.

The department said the Crime Lab completed 321 DNA cases in May, more than any other month in the history and more than three times what was being done during an average month in 2006.

The backlog is now nearly 1,640 cases, compared with 1,775 cases at the start of Van Hollen’s term, officials said.

Of course, anyone can cherry-pick numbers like the May performance above. And for CSI-addicts (and RadioMouths), reducing the backlog to Zero in 60-minutes-less-commercials is the only acceptable result.

Adults look at the longer-term results. If Van Hollen's re-working of the lab continues to produce valid results at 3X those of the previous AG, I'll be happy.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Kennedy Imposes His Morality

All you really need to read is this excerpt:

This could not be reconciled with our evolving standards of decency and the necessity to constrain the use of the death penalty HIS humble opinion.

Newspaper Outsourcing

Yup--it's arrived in the MSM.

An Indian company will take over copy editing duties for some stories published in The Orange County Register and will handle page layout for a community newspaper at the company that owns the Pulitzer Prize-winning daily, the newspaper confirmed Tuesday.

HT: Dreher

The Smart Guys

We'll quote a couple of Smart Guys.

...the fragile outlook for world prosperity will be improved... The uncertainty tax on world growth will be lowered too, as will the energy tax from temporarily spiking oil prices.

(The spike? To $37.++ The year? 2003. The Smart Guy? Larry Kudlow.)

“Under every plausible scenario, the negative effect will be quite small relative to the economic benefits... The key issue is oil, and a regime change in Iraq would facilitate an increase in world oil,” thereby driving down oil prices.

(The Smart Guy? Laurence Lindsey, Bush's Senior Economic Adviser)

Paul Wolfowitz, then Deputy Secretary of Defense, went on to reassure the nation that Iraqi oil revenues would pay all the costs of reconstructing the country.

All these Smart Guys should get full refunds on their college tuition.

Source: The Daily Reckoning

The Second Amendment's Value--Part Two

Recall, please, that the 2A was written with Revolutions in mind--not duck-hunting.

Then read Headless' quick synopsis of Democrat energy "solutions," which begins thus:

I seriously believe that Obama, Pelosi, and Reid have entered into an energy suicide pact for America.

In (even more) short: no nukes, no coal, no petroleum.

Buy more ammo. It may come in useful soon.

Gummint: Incompetent and Stupid, Too

Wiggy points out Example # 2 of Gummint's inimitable stupidity.

The state and counties are supposed to require applicants to verify that they were uninsured for 12 months, however, nothing in their marketing of the plan informs potential enrollees of that requirement, and more egregious, is that this information isn’t even asked on the Badger care application form.. How can they enforce the requirement if they don't even ask applicants the question? For the insurers that have to process these applications, it doesn't appear they are able to determine if prior coverage existed. Is the State asking this question verbally? How can they possible verify that these 70,000 enrollees were uninsured for 12 months?

Most of us are already well-acquainted with Example # 1 of Gummint's imimitable stupidity.

Last week, Gov. Jim Doyle announced that seven Wisconsin counties, including Milwaukee, had become eligible for disaster FoodShare benefits, a federally funded program...Federal rules do not require applicants to provide proof of either flood damage or income, according to state Department of Health and Family Services Secretary Karen Timberlake.

"Inimitable" is, of course, the wrong word. Obviously, the Gummints imitate each other.

"Un-frickin-believable" might be a better adjective.

The Common Sense of LawDog

LawDog is, perhaps, the best humorist since Mark Twain--or Will Rogers, who would be a closer match.

Perhaps that's because he also has a lot of Common Sense.

ICE [In Case of Emergency] numbers are great -- if you leave your phone unlocked.

If you leave your phone unlocked so as to allow access by strangers in the event of an emergency, all of your personal information is accessible to any critters with sticky fingers and a loose interpretation of property rights.

Personally, I find the best idea is to grab a blank business card, write the name and number of your emergency contact on it, laminate it, and put it in your wallet or purse behind your drivers license -- or just put it in a pocket. Those are the first places emergency types look for ID anyway.As always, your mileage may vary.

Of course, if you are disabled enough that you can't lock your phone-keyboard, ...

Why People Don't Like Lawyers

While debating "Jessica's Law" in Massachusetts, a lawyer-legislator (and Democrat) remarked that he'd:

“rip apart” 6-year-old victims on the witness stand and “make sure the rest of their life is ruined.”

In a fiery soliloquy on the House floor, Fagan said he’d grill victims so that, “when they’re 8 years old they throw up; when they’re 12 years old, they won’t sleep; when they’re 19 years old, they’ll have nightmares and they’ll never have a relationship with anybody.”

Nice of him to tell us about lawyering techniques, no?

Moderate Pubbie Bites the Dust

Chris Cannon (R-Utah) lost his primary to an actual Conservative.

A groundbreaking grassroots organization built by challenger Jason Chaffetz combined Tuesday with a growing storm of Republican discontent to sweep six-term Congressman Chris Cannon out of office.

Chaffetz handily defeated Cannon, earning 60 percent of the vote to land the Republican nomination for Utah's 3rd District seat in Congress, a seat held by Cannon since 1996.
"I got a nice call from Congressman Cannon wishing us all the best. That was a sweet call to take," Chaffetz said after 200 supporters greeted him at 11 p.m. with chants of "Jason, Jason, Jason."

Unhappy Republican voters stayed home Tuesday, and those who did vote expressed their frustration with $4 gas and other problems. Cannon termed it a revolution, a sign that the anger that swept Democrats to power in Congress had lapped up on Utah's borders

We have to get serious about $4 gasoline, fiscal discipline and the illegal immigration problem in America," [Chaffetz] said.

Cannon turned into a Demican about 1 year after taking office and has been a disappointment ever since.

Don't let the door hit you in the ass, Chris.

"Im Here from the Government to Help You"

Here's the Obama version of parenthood in the USA.

Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has proposed what he calls his "Zero to Five" plan. It is a collection of programs aimed at getting the government involved in the raising of your children from the moment they are born.

"The first part of my plan focuses on providing quality affordable early childhood education to every child in America," Obama said in a November speech. "As president, I will launch a Children's First Agenda that provides care, learning and support to families with children ages zero to five."

Sure hope you have the chance to say hello to your baby before the Gummint workers haul him or her out the door...

The Cost of Non-Family Families

Good intentions, maybe a solution--but the premise is inaccurate.

The home environments of some youths make getting to college nearly impossible, a group called the Wisconsin Coalition for a Public Boarding School said Tuesday

The coalition of philanthropists, educators, politicians and business leaders announced its intention to raise more than $30 million in private funds to open a Milwaukee school for at-risk students in three years. The group also plans to persuade legislators to allocate state funding for the college-prep program...

That State taxpayer contribution would be $10 million or so. Cost will be about $30K/student, roughly 300% of the current MPS spending level. Reason for that cost?


The root-cause premise is wrong:

“What we have in our community right now is a crisis in education,” said Cory Nettles, former state secretary of commerce and a member of the coalition.

Mr. Nettles: you have a crisis in FAMILIES--or more accurately, in NON-families--which causes a "crisis in education."

As Mr. Harris is wont to say: "It's the Culture, Stupid!!"

A Milwaukee school would provide wraparound services such as intensive tutoring, lessons in conflict resolution and communication skills to young people who struggle in their current school placements. The combination has worked in Washington: 97% of that SEED school’s graduates have gone on to four-year colleges, according to the group’s literature.

The Milwaukee Boarding School Foundation was founded by local philanthropist Marty Stein prior to his death in 2006. Dan Bader, president of the Helen Bader Foundation, is now vice president of that group’s board.

“Marty saw a gap for those kids and those families who needed a really intensive experience in the form of an urban boarding school,” Bader said.

The coalition’s next steps will be to rally support among state lawmakers and to help raise money

Good intentions. Good people.

More Taxes!! Just What Wisconsin Needs

Phil Evenson, who is about to retire, thinks SE Wisconsin drivers will be getting a free ride.

Actually, what Evenson demonstrates is the Party-In-Government (PIG) mentality--even though he is not formally a part of "government."

Gasoline tax revenue is declining, and the state needs to consider charging motorists a toll to drive in faster, less congested lanes as a way to raise money for much-needed highway improvements, the director of the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission said Tuesday.

“What’s wrong with a premium charge for a premium ride?” Phil Evenson said during a forum on transportation funding...

As the use of alternate-fuel and fuel-efficient vehicles increases, Evenson said, the amount of revenue the state collects in gasoline taxes will decline.

The gas tax is a major source of the funding the state designates for highway projects.

Yes--IF it's not being stolen by the Governor and Leggies to fund other failing State programs, like education, for example.

The Highway Lobby was present, and had something to add.

A wide gap already exists between the cost of state highway projects and the amount of money available to pay for them, said Pat Goss, executive director of the Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association...

The Wisconsin interstate system already is crumbling in many places and further deterioration would hinder the state’s economic growth and ill-serve state residents, Goss said

The Usual Lie: that only more roads (and more road-maintenance) will save the State from economic doom.

Gee. PRChina's road-system must REALLY be good, no? Same with India, no?

Evenson said the state needs an entirely new system for paying for highway construction, one that should include so-called “road pricing,” charging tolls for express lanes.

“The only real question is do we have the will in Wisconsin to do it,” said Evenson, who is set to retire at the end of the year

What we need around here are some PRO-Jec-Tions!!:

A study done by the [Reason] foundation predicts that motorists in the Milwaukee metro area will experience severe congestion on the highways by 2030 if nothing is done to increase highway capacity and efficiency, Staley said. [Staley is the Director of Urban/Land Use Policy for the Reason Foundation.]

Of course, "severe congestion" implies that there will be increasing economic activity--which is not likely if taxes and fees continue to rise to accomodate the PIG-spending schemes.

That's simply not reasonable, Mr. Staley.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Reformers

This is good.

Boston’s colorful Mayor, James M. Curley, held a similar view: “Reform administrations suffer from a diarrhea of promises and a constipation of performance.


HT: The Catholic Thing

Personality-Adjusted Prayers

For those of you who've been through the Personnel Department's Shrink-O-Grams, and who pray, here are some suggestions through the Meyers-Briggs prism.

ISTJ: Lord, help me to relax about insignificant details beginning tomorrow at 11:41:23 a.m. E.S.T.

ISTP: God, help me to consider people’s feelings, even if most of them ARE hypersensitive.

ESTP: God, help me to take responsibility for my own actions, even though they’re usually NOT my fault.

ESTJ: God, help me to not try to RUN everything. But, if You need some help, just ask.

ISFJ: Lord, help me to be more laid back and help me to do it EXACTLY right.

ISFP: Lord, help me to stand up for my rights (if you don’t mind my asking).

ESFP: God, help me to take things more seriously, especially parties and dancing.

ESFJ: God, give me patience, and I mean right NOW.

INFJ: Lord, help me not to be a perfectionist. (Did I spell that correctly?)

INFP: God, help me to finish everything I sta

ENFP: God, help me to keep my mind on one th - Look a bird! - at a time.

ENFJ: God, help me to do only what I can and trust you for the rest. Do you mind putting that in writing?

INTJ: Lord, keep me open to other’s ideas, *wrong* though they may be.

INTP: Lord, help me to be less independent, but let me do it my way.

ENTP: Lord, help me follow established procedures today. On second thought, I’ll settle for a few minutes.

ENTJ: Lord, help me slow downandnotrushthroughwhatIdo.

HT: Happy Catholic

For Phelony

Ms. Jones has been discussing men a bit.

Perhaps she should know this.

"...two studies have confirmed it: bad boys get the most girls. The finding may help explain why a nasty suite of antisocial personality traits known as the 'dark triad' persists in the human population, despite their potentially grave cultural costs...

"The traits are the self-obsession of narcissism; the impulsive, thrill-seeking and callous behavior of psychopaths; and the deceitful and exploitative nature of Machiavellianism...

"...being just slightly evil could have an upside: a prolific sex life, says Peter Jonason at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. 'We have some evidence that the three traits are really the same thing and may represent a successful evolutionary strategy.

Two out of three doesn't make it.


What Was Churchill Thinking?


Recent scholarship by German historian Gerd Überschär and the British writer Brian Martin suggest that Churchill had a hand not only in blackening the German resistance, which he did in a speech before Parliament on August 2, 1944, but also in contributing to the deaths of resistance leaders.

The success of an anti-Nazi coup would have damaged Churchill’s war aims, which included, beside the utter devastation of a defeated Germany, cashing in on the good will of Soviet Russia. Churchill went so far in his efforts to keep anti-Nazi German patriots, including moderate leftist like Julius Leber, from prevailing against Hitler that he leaked information about their identities and whereabouts to the Gestapo, with the help of the BBC and the Chief of Political Warfare John W. Wheeler-Bennett.

Apparently, Lord Winnie was trying to make up for his moronic command decisions in Turkey during WWI, or something.

Fits right in with his firebombing of Dresden, though.