Monday, April 30, 2007

A Fun Little Diversion

Got a few minutes to kill, and want to get away from the dirty world of politics for a little bit? Look no further.

Tidbits from the Republican Primary

Mitt Romney has a great Townhall piece blasting McCain-Feingold (by the way, he’ll also be giving the commencement address at my soon-to-be school, Hillsdale College).
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Fred Thompson: “
mulling summer announcement,” though he hasn’t made a final decision yet. I would humbly point out to my fellow conservatives two things: 1.) there’s a Republican primary debate just days away, and 2.) right now, my guy is an actual candidate.
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Whoops: “Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani released his latest slate of New Hampshire supporters last week. One problem: Not all of them back the former New York City mayor.”
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And John McCain: idiot.

Brought to You by...You!

"The spectacle of September 11 is a forceful reminder of the potentially destructive power of the three great monotheistic religions [Christianity, Judaism and Islam] that have dominated the world one way or another for nearly 2,000 years…You only have to travel a few miles from New York City to find yourself in the middle of a country which is - far from being the secular world which was deplored and attacked by the Islamic fundamentalists - is in fact intensely Christian and therefore in its own way, of course, is just as religious as the Muslim world that attacked it.” So says Jonathan Miller, host of a 2005 pro-atheism documentary by BBC, now coming Stateside courtesy of PBS.
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Yup, that’d be the same PBS that
wouldn’t allow an important anti-Islamofascism film to be aired. Why isn’t anybody on Capitol Hill calling for PBS to be defunded?
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(By the way, the folks behind the BBC piece use the term "nontheism" a lot. I've noticed this in Sam Harris's writing, too: What's up with their dislike of the label "atheist?")

Ye Hypocrites!

UPDATE: It appears the culprit was an impostor, so I’m retracting my comments about this conversation. (However, nobody’s out of the hypocrisy woods yet…)

Don't Let This Happen To You

This is part of Sean Hannity's brawl with Al Sharpton. Overall Hannity does a pretty good job, but about 1:50 in, he gets caught in a smarmy and needless display of partisan apologizing.

When challenged to demand Hillary Clinton return the donation from gangsta rapper Timbaland, Sharpton retorts by demanding Sean blast George W. Bush for welcoming Sean "Puffy" Combs to the White House. Hannity, who can't level anything but the very mildest criticism at the President, gives a weak response, first trying to parse the number of N-words in each thug's song (he's "not that familiar with him," you see), then changing the topic to Sharpton's own use of foul language.

Sharpton dodged the question, and his record needs to be challenged; no question. But conservatives simply cannot claim the moral high ground if we make excuses for our guys like Hannity did.

The proper response would have been, "First, I'm not familiar with the case you're talking about, and I frankly don't trust you to represent it accurately. But if it did happen, then it's inexcusable and the President should be ashamed of himself."

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Rational Discourse, Liberal Style

That same arbiter of civility who stood up to mean ol’ me on YouStinkLeft has a new post about a classy, productive [read: whiny indulgence] website called sorryaboutourpresident.com. Not surprisingly, it’s another opportunity to show the Left’s upside-down sensibilities.
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Remember, the Left
does not approve of mean-spiritedness. No sir! ‘Course, that apparently doesn’t apply to the following:
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Calling half the American voting populace “halfwits.”
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Saying “their bad choice has made me hate the country I was born in, the country whose anthem could bring tears to my eyes. I hear it now and feel a little nauseated.”
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Moreover, this reaction to a comparatively-mild counter-post puts this whole thing in perspective quite nicely:
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The post: “We are fighting a war to win, hopefully, so my great-grandchildren DON’T have to fight to live in a peaceful world. The great-grandchildren of the fanatics we now find ourselves engaged with, although unborn, will be just as dedicated to our demise as their predecessors. If you don’t have the courage for this battle, fine. Step out of the way. Your lack of courage embarrasses me. It should embarrass you, too.”
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The reaction: "Excuse me for this comment, but who the hell is this person to tell me what I should be embarrassed of? What gives them the jurisdiction to tell me that ‘Dubya’ is doing a good job and that I should stop complaining? Oh, and we lack courage. Yeah, that’d be why we’ve been working to impeach Bush. This person’s great-grandchildren are probably going to have to fight in a war (if we make it though this one). Do they think that after this war that there will be world peace? Well, in that case, this person is not only not worth the glance, but also ignorant.”
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I love it: these people can take the most heinous, lazily-ignorant, hypocritical, and reckless positions imaginable, but unless we treat them with kid gloves, we’re the bad guys. ‘Of course, daring not to pull the lever for their guy is enough to make somebody a “halfwit” and justifies hating their country & being sickened by the National Anthem (straight from the horse’s mouth, folks!), so currying favor with them is really a tremendous waste of time.

The Statesman that Time Forgot

His name is Mike Gravel. He hasn’t held public office since 1981. He manages to make the rest of the Democrats look hawkish by comparison. And he wants to be your president.
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Senator Gravel advocates a plan that empowers individual citizens to actually make law, believes in global warming (of course), and wants to “de-criminalize minor drug offenses.” Oddly enough, he also happens to support the Fair Tax.
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The would-be commander-in-chief “firmly opposed President Bush’s decision to send 40,000 [say what?] more troops to Iraq.”
How would he get out of the war? He would “pass a law. Not a resolution, a law making it a felony to stay there,” and he thinks Barack Obama (!) wants to nuke somebody.
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Huh.

Friday, April 27, 2007

I'm Ashamed of Myself...NOT!

A milestone in my life as a conservative rabble-rouser: I’ve been banned from a liberal blog! Why? Because I was “obnoxious,” “patronizing,” and I “insulted” people.
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If you want the full context of what went down, check out the debate on
this post, then this one, and lastly this one. Under a revised profile I left a parting message for the little darlings, but just in case they decide to delete it, I think I'll post it here for posterity:
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Hah! I’ll admit, I took a couple potshots at some stunningly bad logic, and described your position in frank terms, but you libs really oughta consider that for the most part, my insults were in RESPONSE to:
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- Aryeh insulting as a “scumbag,” a “nosy and controlling neo-christian,” a “cultist,” and a “bully”
- Emily lying about my very words, mischaracterizing “I understand there will always be some teens who have sex” as “You aren’t willing to admit that sex is something that teenagers have and will continue to have.”
- that twit Things Come Undone likening me to ABORTION CLINIC BOMBERS based on - you guessed it! - ZERO evidence whatsoever.
- Brittainy demagoging me a sexist, an “ideology-driven nutjob,” “crazy anti-sex, anti-woman” (also based on nothing more substantive than her hatred & ideology), & insulting my “reading comprehension skills.”
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It’s also worth noting that Brendon’s idea of an “insult” is more than a little bizzare; I claimed that societal narcissism is a result of liberalism. Right or wrong, it’s a debatable position, not a personal insult.
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Now, do I particularly care that any of you insulted me? Nah - I’m a big boy, and I’ve taken worse from better. I don’t mind a light jab or two - from either side - but I DO mind when self-righteous hypocrites get on their high horses and pretend they're innocent little angels (remember Angelica from the cartoon “Rugrats”? That’s you guys.)
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Not only that, but you shouldn’t be surprised that your position - that some humans are unworthy of being protected by lethal force - is looked upon unkindly by normal Americans.
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Anyway, thanks for the laughs and the practice; I do so enjoy taking the occasional trip to the ol’ intellectual boxing bags! Catch ya later.
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Calvin
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PS: as always, I’ll be sure to keep you in my prayers to the “invisible man in the sky.”
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UPDATE: Yup, I've been deleted. Oh well, their hypocrisy is pretty glaring on their own pages for anybody independent passersby, and as for the rest...well, I can't even begin to guess how many psych-analysts & all the intensive care you'd need to untangle the years of brainwashing and biases that've layered on over the years. Deception is a tangled web, indeed.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Just a Bit of Perspective

I'm among the last guys on Earth to give the Iraq War's mismanagement a pass, but for what it's worth, I think this needs to be said: Right now I'm watching Bill O'Reilly interview an ex-Iraqi ambassador - who happens to be a woman. That's right; a woman in a position of real power in an Arab government, and it wouldn't have happened if not for George W. Bush. With so much we've promised the Iraqi people, and so much hanging in the balance, we cannot abandon this cause.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Must-See TV: O'Reilly vs. Dawkins

I was surprised to see Richard Dawkins on "The O'Reilly Factor's" lineup last night because of Dawkin's refusals to debate Michael Medved or Dennis Prager; he doesn't want to dignify "creationists" with his presence, you see. But watching Bill grill him the other night, another explanation revealed himself: the guy's case just ain't that powerful.

Dawkins is considered to be one of secularism's brightest lights, so after watching you may be compelled to ask: "This is it? Maybe they meant ROBERT Dawkins...Ronald Dawkins? Rudolph Dawkins?"

Monday, April 23, 2007

Maybe Pat Robertson Wasn't That Far Off...

So what’s Cindy Sheehan’s best buddy up to these days?
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Thousands of Venezuelans have taken to the streets of Caracas in protest at the president's decision to close the country's oldest private TV network. [Hugo] Chavez's supporters say Radio Caracas Television (RCTV) backed a 2002 coup which briefly ousted him. But the country's opposition say the decision to close the network is an attempt to silence Mr Chavez's critics […] The government claims that the channel is breaching the constitution by rallying support for the opposition.
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Don’t worry, though—Jimmy
told us Chavez got elected fair & square, remember?
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(Hat tip:
Boots & Sabers)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Merchandise Meant to Be

Admit it: you just knew these were coming sooner or later, didn’t you?

A Glimpse into the Heart of Evil

Back during the 2003 debate over partial-birth abortion, Slate ran an editorial by abortionist Warren Hern entitled, “Did I Violate the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban?” His thesis is that the law’s language was vague, which would lead to problems. Full disclosure: I haven’t looked at his argument in detail (I might for a future post, and if you want to read the law for yourself, click here). In my opinion, there’s no substantive moral difference between a month-1 abortion and a month-9 abortion. But right now my interest is in Hern’s closing paragraph:
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“Earlier this year, I began an abortion on a young woman who was 17 weeks pregnant. Because of the two days of prior treatment, the amniotic membranes were visible and bulging. I ruptured the membranes and released the fluid to reduce the risk of amniotic fluid embolism. Then I inserted my forceps into the uterus and applied them to the head of the fetus, which was still alive, since fetal injection is not done at that stage of pregnancy. I closed the forceps, crushing the skull of the fetus, and withdrew the forceps. The fetus, now dead, slid out more or less intact. With the next pass of the forceps, I grasped the placenta, and it came out in one piece. Within a few seconds, I had completed my routine exploration of the uterus and sharp curettage. The blood loss would just fill a tablespoon. The patient, who was awake, hardly felt the operation. She was relieved, grateful, and safe. She wants to have children in the future.”
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Read that again. This "doctor" is describing an act of murder, admitting that his victim was "alive" at the time, and doing so without the slightest hint of regret or embarassment; indeed, he is proud of the grotesque way in which he makes a living! I've never been surprised at the existence of evil in this world, but the degree of acceptance his kind has achieved in so-called civilized society still makes me sick to my stomach.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Odds & Ends

John McCain jokes about bombing Iran, then tells predictably-shocked (shocked!) liberals to “get a life.” Good for you, Senator.
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Meanwhile, another Hollywood leftist turns out to be a
rotten bloke in his personal life. Does this count as “verbal violence,” Senator Obama? Unlike the Rutgers basketball team with Don Imus, this poor girl actually had to spend long periods of time with this creep, whose tirade was far more vicious than “nappy-headed ho.”
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Oh, and Jo[k]e Biden
decries the “politics of polarization,” saying “since 1994 with the Gingrich revolution, just take a look at Iraq, Venezuela, Katrina, what’s gone down at Virginia Tech, Darfur, Imus. Take a look. This didn’t happen accidentally, all these things.” But there’s nothing polarizing or divisive whatsoever about blaming a political party for, among other things, a school shooting and overseas genocide in the same breath. Nope. Nuthin’.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Way to Go, Andrew Wilkow!

Check out this stellar performance in which he deftly pummels evil and stupidity, in this case personified by Kim Gandy, president of NOW.

Barack's Brilliance

During Barack Obama’s campaign stop in Milwaukee, WI, he used the Virginia Tech massacre as a jumping-off point to address “other kinds” of violence:
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There's the "verbal violence" of Imus.
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There's "the violence of men and women who have worked all their lives and suddenly have the rug pulled out from under them because their job is moved to another country."
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There's "the violence of children whose voices are not heard in communities that are ignored,"
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And so, Obama says, "there's a lot of different forms of violence in our society, and so much of it is rooted in our incapacity to recognize ourselves in each other."
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Many politicians would avoid, I think, suggesting that outsourcing and mass-murder belong in the same category.
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As well they should, to say nothing of a radio jock’s obnoxiousness! Verbal violence?! More like verbal flatulence.
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Listening to Obama’s speech, I had another question: where was the Senator’s famed charisma? I sure didn’t hear it. Maybe Obamamania has to be taken in small doses due to its extreme potency…yeah, that’s it…
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(In comparison, I think my guy—who
just received the Ronald Reagan Award from Frontiers of Freedom—has the upper hand on charisma.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What I'm Reading Right Now

Currently I’m juggling the following:
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I’ve finally started
The Da Vinci Code, and I’ve got to give Dan Brown this much: he knows how to write suspense. The mystery and the distinct characters surrounding it do have quite an allure. Which is why all the falsehoods (Wikipedia’s article on ‘em is surprisingly long, but be careful—it is Wikipedia, after all) within are so inexcusable, especially considering Brown’s “Fact” preface in the front. And occasionally Brown wanders into displays of sheer idiocy like this line: “Langdon was always surprised how few Christians who gazed upon ‘the crucifix’ realized their symbol’s violent history was reflected in its very name: ‘cross’ and ‘crucifix’ came from the Latin word cruciare—to torture.” Uh, note to Dan: the torture Christ endured for our sins isn’t exactly an obscure part of Christianity…Bottom line: if Brown had instead prefaced the book with something along the lines of, “The following story takes creative license with several elements of history, religion and art,” I could probably give The Da Vinci Code a thumbs-up (at least so far; we’ll see how things go when I’m finished).
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Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel—Why Everything You Know Is Wrong by John Stossel and The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Radicals in America by David Horowitz. These gems—the former on various falsehoods in all walks of life, the latter on demented college professors—are nice because they’re broken down into bite-sized passages that can be read & set aside without forgetting some important context that came before. Highly recommended.
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At a thrift shop tonight I found
Reagan: The Political Chameleon. It’s a book written before the Gipper’s presidency by ex-California Governor Pat Brown. Once I finish the above, I look forward to reading how spectacularly wrong Brown, in retrospect, is with his assertion that “there is no need to qualify this view in the slightest: Ronald Reagan’s election to the presidency would be a national disaster.” Also, this passage from the jacket got me thinking:
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“What sort of man is Ronald Reagan? His philosophy has ranged the political spectrum—from left-wing Democrat during the McCarthy era, to capitalist spokesman for General Electric, to Goldwater conservative—changing colors as the chameleon does, constantly camouflaging himself to match his environment. Do Reagan’s beliefs truly reflect the man, or are they merely a method of matching the views of his current circle, with no more depth or profundity that the varying hues of the chameleon?”
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Hmm…
who does the Left level that charge against these days? (Now, I don’t want to jinx anything, or prematurely make him into another Reagan…but we can hope…)

Score One for the Good Guys!

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court today voted to uphold the 2003 ban on partial-birth abortions. Predictably, in her dissenting opinion Ruth Bader Ginsburg whined that “the ruling ‘refuses to take ... seriously’ previous Supreme Court decisions on abortion.” Well…yeah, that’s kinda the point.
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Predictably, the frontrunners of the ‘08 Republican field
have embraced the ruling, while all three leading Democrats promptly took the Nazi position on the issue (by the way, Barbara Boxer’s reaction was even more extreme; too bad she’s not running for President!).
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Today was a great day—a great day for America, for human rights, and even for President Bush (both of his appointees delivered today). But this battle isn’t over by a long shot. It won’t be over
until the rest of our countrymen remember that “unalienable” really does mean “unalienable,” and every human life, from the moment of conception onward, is recognized & protected by US law.
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(Oh, by the way: if you wanna see a general abortion debate that’s just taken a turn for the stupid, click here.)
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UPDATE: Though I still think pro-lifers are right to celebrate today, Ross over at Sullivan’s blog has a
somewhat-more sober reaction that’s worth reading.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Abstinence Education a Failure? Not So Fast

Social lefties are giddy that a new study is making the rounds which purports to show precisely that, but dig a little deeper, and that conclusion becomes premature. For one thing, the study only looked at four such programs. For another, the report itself includes this caveat:
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“Targeting youth at young ages may not be sufficient. Most Title V, Section 510 abstinence education programs are implemented in upper elementary and middle schools and most are completed before youth enter high school. The findings from this study provide no evidence that abstinence programs implemented at these grades reduce sexual activity of youth during their high school years. However, the findings provide no information on the effects programs might have if they were implemented in high school or began at earlier ages but continued through high school.
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“Peer support for abstinence erodes during adolescence. Peer support for abstinence is a significant predictor of later sexual activity. Although the four abstinence programs had at most a small impact on this measure in the short term and no impact in the long term, this finding suggests that promoting support for abstinence among peer networks should be an important feature of future abstinence programs.”
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It’s obvious that any meaningful effort would have to be “comprehensive” (to use a word the Left loves so much). I would also add that, for the best effect, abstinence education in schools would have to be part of a broader societal effort to take back the culture: reemphasize parenting, condemning sexual saturation in the media, reaffirming that sex has consequences by fighting abortion & free distribution of birth control, not electing moral degenerates President…Meanwhile, Michael Medved has some good insights on sex education & federal funding
here.

Monday, April 16, 2007

America's Mayor Aborting Own Candidacy?

Too early to be sure, but one can only hope…
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Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani warned GOP activists in Des Moines on Saturday that if they insist on a nominee who always agrees with them, it will spell defeat in 2008.
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“Our party is going to grow, and we are going to win in 2008 if we are a party characterized by what we’re for, not if we’re a party that’s known for what we’re against,” the former New York mayor said at a midday campaign stop.
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Republicans can win, he said, if they nominate a candidate committed to the fight against terrorism and high taxes, rather than a pure social conservative.
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“Our party has to get beyond issues like that,” Giuliani said, a reference to abortion rights, which he supports.
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Over at the
Corner there’s some doubt as to what precisely Giuliani meant, but to me, it’s immaterial. We know he’s an extremist on abortion, and that he hasn’t a clue what judicial originalism means. I don’t think there’s any doubt that he’d love it if the social Right would just vanish, and chances are this was a case of the real Rudy bubbling to the surface.

Evil at Virginia Tech

A horrifying day at Virginia Tech University: 32 killed and 15 injured by a currently-mysterious gunman, who apparently killed himself afterward. Lord, a lot of people need Your comfort today…

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Anatomy of a Propaganda Racket

Why does this not surprise me?
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The producer of a tax-financed documentary on Islamic extremism claims his film has been dropped for political reasons from a television series that airs next week on more than 300 PBS stations nationwide.
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Key portions of the documentary focus on Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser of Phoenix and his American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a non-profit organization of Muslim Americans who advocate patriotism, constitutional democracy and a separation of church and state.
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Martyn Burke says that the Public Broadcasting Service and project managers at station WETA in Washington, D.C., excluded his documentary, Islam vs. Islamists, from the series America at a Crossroads after he refused to fire two co-producers affiliated with a conservative think tank.
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"I was ordered to fire my two partners (who brought me into this project) on political grounds," Burke said in a complaint letter to PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supplied funds for the films.
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Burke wrote that his documentary depicts the plight of moderate Muslims who are silenced by Islamic extremists, adding, "Now it appears to be PBS and CPB who are silencing them."
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A Jan. 30 news release by the corporation listed Islam vs. Islamists as one of eight films to be presented in the opening series.
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Mary Stewart, vice president of external affairs at WETA, said Burke's documentary was not completed on time to be among 11 documentaries that will be aired beginning Sunday. Stewart said the picture may be broadcast by PBS at a later date.
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"The film is a strong film," Stewart said. "I'm still hoping to see this in the Crossroads initiative."
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Jeff Bieber, WETA's executive producer for Crossroads, gave a substantially different explanation. He said Burke's film had "serious structural problems (and) . . . was irresponsible because the writing was alarmist, and it wasn't fair."
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"They're crying foul, and there was no foul ball," Bieber added. "The problem is in their film."
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The controversy involves a collection of documentaries financed with $20 million in federal grants from the corporation, which conceived Crossroads in 2004 to enhance public understanding of terrorism, homeland security and other crucial issues in the post-9/11 era. Independent filmmakers submitted 430 proposals. Full production grants were given to 21 of those, including Islam vs. Islamists, which received $700,000.
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Subtitled Voices From the Muslim Center, Burke says his film "attempts to answer the question: 'Where are the moderate Muslims?' The answer is, 'Wherever they are, they are reviled and sometimes attacked' " by extremists.
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Michael Levy, a spokesman for CPB, said the corporation set up the Crossroads project and provided funding, but turned over management and content control to PBS and WETA 13 months ago.
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After that, Burke says in his Feb. 23 complaint letter, he "consistently encountered actions by the PBS series producers that violate the basic tenets of journalism in America."-PBS officials turned down interview requests.
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The dispute adds to a running debate about political bias in the nation's publicly funded television business. In 2004, filmmakers complained that CPB was pushing a right-wing agenda for the Crossroads series. A year later, CPB President Kenneth Tomlinson sought to eliminate what he saw as a liberal bias at PBS. He was forced to resign after an inspector general's report found that he violated federal rules and ethics standards in the process.
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Burke's credits include Pirates of Silicon Valley, a movie about the founders of Microsoft, and The Hollywood Ten, a documentary about blacklisted leftists in the motion picture industry during the 1950s.
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In the making of Islam vs. Islamists, Burke's co-producers were Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy, and Alex Alexiev, the non-profit organization's vice president. Both men are neo-conservatives who have written on the threat of "Islamofascism" to the free world.
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Before filming began last year, Burke says, Bieber asked him, "Don't you check into the politics of the people you work with?"
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Bieber said PBS was concerned that the Center for Security Policy is an advocacy group, so its leaders could not produce an objective picture. Because of that, he suggested that Gaffney be demoted to adviser.-Burke, who did not honor the recommendation, says that funding was delayed and WETA began to interfere with his film until it was "expelled" from Crossroads.
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Among Burke's examples of tampering:
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• A WETA manager pressed to eliminate a key perspective of the film: The claim that Muslim radicals are pushing to establish "parallel societies" in America and Europe governed by Shariah law rather than sectarian courts.
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• After grants were issued, Crossroads managers commissioned a new film that overlapped with Islam vs. Islamists and competed for the same interview subjects.
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• WETA appointed an advisory board that includes Aminah Beverly McCloud, director of World Islamic Studies at DePaul University. In an "unparalleled breach of ethics," Burke says, McCloud took rough-cut segments of the film and showed them to Nation of Islam officials, who are a subject of the documentary. They threatened to sue.
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"This utterly undermines any journalistic independence," Burke wrote in an e-mail to WETA officials.
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In an interview, McCloud said she showed a single video frame to a Muslim journalist who was not a Nation of Islam representative.
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However, in a January e-mail, McCloud told Crossroads producers that she had spoken with Nation of Islam representatives and "invited them over to view this section." She also wrote that they were outraged "and will promptly pursue litigation."
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Stewart, the WETA executive, said McCloud was admonished for "inappropriate" conduct.-Otherwise, however, Stewart said Crossroads producers have dealt with Islam vs. Islamists in a fair and professional manner.
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Frank Gaffney weighs in on the controversy
here. So here’s how it works: the Left can constantly accuse conservatives of hating Arabs & Muslims and portraying them all as terrorists and brutes. But when conservatives try to give voice to Muslims who genuinely are decent, humane, freedom-loving people, it’s silenced. Now that’s a pretty slick little propaganda racket.

RIP, Pat Buckley

Patricia Buckley, wife of National Review’s William F Buckley, died last night. Rest in peace, madam, and for the rest of you, please say a prayer for her loved ones.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Terror Warrior?

Rudy Giuliani should be forgiven for his social liberalism and elected president because he’ll fight an aggressive War on Terror—or so we’re told. Now, even that is questionable:
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[I]n discussing the deployment of more troops, Mr. Giuliani has been alone in saying that such a strategy may not succeed, potentially providing him cover should the situation in Iraq deteriorate further. And he has put the strategy in a broader context that plays down the importance of Iraq.
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Terrorists “are going to continue to be at war with us, no matter what the outcome in Iraq,” Mr. Giuliani said recently in New Hampshire. The night before, he said that “there are no sure things,” and that if the United States fails in Iraq, “we have to be ready for that, too.” In California a few days later, speaking of “the danger of focusing on Iraq too much,” he said that complete success there would not win the fight against terrorism, and that failure there would not lose it.
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I’ve been trying to figure out the why Rudy’s terror rhetoric is so underwhelming yet so appealing to people, and the other night it hit me: it’s nothing the average talk-radio listener off the street couldn’t repeat back to you. “Terrorists will come here…war whether we want it or not…the president has acknowledged mistakes…” which is true enough as far as it goes, but that’s about as specific as America’s Mayor gets (
listen for his answer as to what mistakes we made in Iraq…hint: it ain’t there).
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Man, this house of cards is seriously overdue for a nice, strong gust of wind…

Life in Bush's Amerika of Fear - or - CAIR Needs to Get a Life

The horror continues:
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Two hours before the Islamic Center of Clarksville held its 1 p.m. Friday prayer service, called Jummah, a Quran was found vandalized on the front steps.
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The front of the Quran, Islam's holy book, read "Mohammad pedophile" while an expletive was written inside, smeared under two strips of bacon, according to a Clarksville Police report. The report labeled the incident a hate crime.
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The bacon strips are offensive to Muslims because they are forbidden from eating pork.
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Apparently, CAIR
wants the FBI to investigate the case. Last time I checked, the feds were kinda busy with that whole “global movement of Islamic fanatics trying to kill people en masse” thing. I’d rather they didn’t make detours for every vandalism case that comes their way.
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Man's Inhumanity to Man...& the Spin Defending It

Back on April 5, the Reporter ran this pro-life letter:
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Abortion: ‘Man’s inhumanity to man’
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Keith Kramer
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Because abortion cannot be defended on its own merits, population controllers argue for a woman’s right to choose, never about what is being chosen.
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Choosing abortion always kills the innocent glimmer of light within our very dark world. A grieving time for life, our society begs healing from questions still to be asked; yet a man’s intellect never quite permits asking, lest complacency flee like dried dandelion fluff.
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We would dwell beyond the snares of “man’s inhumanity to man,” leaving inhumanity at the door of the Nazi holocaust. Now that we are the enforcer, we justify atrocity as somehow necessary and excusable.
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“I tremble for my country when I recall that God is just.”—Thomas Jefferson
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Today this response appeared:
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Brent Schmitz
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Mr. Keith Kraemer asserts in his letter to the editor on Thursday (April 5) that "abortion cannot be defended on its own merits," and proceeds to refer to pro-choice Americans as "population controllers," evoking images of the government mandated infanticide and involuntary sterilizations of parents that have occurred in China for the past decades.
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It’s equally safe to assume that there won’t be a mass program to imprison & kill Jews in the United States, too. Does that mean we can’t attribute such a desire to neo-Nazis operating within the country? Furthermore, while a variety of motivations prop up abortion (all of them sick), there is a very real movement of “population controllers” on the Left, as evidenced by
Mark Morford of the San Francisco Gate.
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By focusing on abortion as "inhumanity," Mr. Kraemer ignores the vital question of this issue, "When does human life begin?" I am neither a doctor nor a theologian, and do not presume to answer this question with an assertion, though Mr. Kraemer feels no such apprehension.
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I suspect Mr. Kramer “feels no such apprehension” about accepting unborn humanity as a given because we live in an age where that fact ought to be
as clear as that the sun rises in the morning. I think that, considering the length of the average Opinion letter, Kramer focused on a point that needed to be heard.
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I would ask him what qualifications he has to assert the beginning of life at conception. This position, if supported adequately, is certainly valid, and thus would render abortion immoral, but Mr. Kraemer has given us no evidence to support his conjecture.
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I also find it interesting that Mr. Kraemer compares a pro-choice society to Nazism without acknowledging that there is doubt in whether or not abortion terminates a human life—there is no such doubt that millions of innocents died in the Holocaust.
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Actually, the only doubt is among those who want abortion to be legal. In reality,
“life begins at conception” is a scientific fact. But Mr. Schmitz’s acknowledgement of doubt points to another flaw in the case for abortion: unless science could unequivocally establish that life begins at some point after conception, to terminate something you understand might be life is a clearly-evil act.
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Mr. Kraemer ends his letter with a quotation from Thomas Jefferson. I will do the same. "Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law." Mr. Kraemer, defend your position without invoking religious dogma, which cannot be argued against, and our country can begin to have a serious debate about the moral dilemma that is abortion.
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The most serious debate our country ever had was about the moral dilemma that is slavery. And that is the evil to which Jefferson referred when he trembled for his country at the thought of God’s justice. Does Schmitz think Jefferson’s invocation of “religious dogma” invalidated his disgust for slavery? Did the
explicitly-religious rhetoric invoked by the rest of the Founding Fathers supporting the overall concept of liberty invalidate the American Revolution or the Constitutional Convention? What about the deep influence religion held on Abraham Lincoln? Or Churchill’s calls to fight for “the survival of Christian civilization”?
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Maybe the issues revolving around America’s birth, slavery, the Civil War, and World War II don’t count as “serious.”

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hollywood's At It Again? You Bet Your Sweet Shoe-Phone!

It seems Hollywood’s gonna bring the classic spy sitcom Get Smart to the big screen. As a fan of the original (hey TV Land, how ‘bout putting it back on your lineup?), I really want this movie to be good. But considering that sitcom-to-film translations have a mixed track record (good…and ugh), I’m a bit anxious…

Coulter Tells It Like It Is

I really haven’t felt like weighing in on the Don Imus flap. Fortunately, Ann does it for me. (By the way, about a year ago she wrote a piece about the now-absolved Duke lacrosse players that remains a must-read for this important, oft-overlooked point:
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Yes, of course no one "deserves" to die for a mistake. Or to be raped or falsely accused of rape for a mistake. I have always been unabashedly anti-murder, anti-rape and anti-false accusation — and I don't care who knows about it! -But these statements would roll off the tongue more easily in a world that so much as tacitly acknowledged that all these messy turns of fate followed behavior that your mother could have told you was tacky.
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Not very long ago, all the precursor behavior in these cases would have been recognized as vulgar — whether or not anyone ended up dead, raped or falsely accused of rape. But in a nation of people in constant terror of being perceived as "judgmental," I'm not sure most people do recognize that anymore.
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It shouldn't be necessary to point out that girls shouldn't be bar-hopping alone or taking their clothes off in front of strangers, and that young men shouldn't be hiring strippers. But we live in a world of Bill Clinton, Paris Hilton, Howard Stern, Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman," Democratic fund-raisers at the Playboy Mansion and tax deductions for entertaining clients at strip clubs.
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This is an age in which the expression "girls gone wild" is becoming a redundancy. So even as the bodies pile up, I don't think the message about integrity is getting through.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Heresy from the Church of Gore

A warmer climate could prove to be more beneficial than the one we have now. Much of the alarm over climate change is based on ignorance of what is normal for weather and climate. There is no evidence, for instance, that extreme weather events are increasing in any systematic way, according to scientists at the U.S. National Hurricane Center, the World Meteorological Organization and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (which released the second part of this year's report earlier this month). Indeed, meteorological theory holds that, outside the tropics, weather in a warming world should be less variable, which might be a good thing.
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In many other respects, the ill effects of warming are overblown. Sea levels, for example, have been increasing since the end of the last ice age. When you look at recent centuries in perspective, ignoring short-term fluctuations, the rate of sea-level rise has been relatively uniform (less than a couple of millimeters a year). There's even some evidence that the rate was higher in the first half of the twentieth century than in the second half. Overall, the risk of sea-level rise from global warming is less at almost any given location than that from other causes, such as tectonic motions of the earth's surface.
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That’s Richard Lindzen, the Alfred Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT,
in the pages of Newsweek. How inconvenient.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Division on the Right

I’ve got a bone to pick with two of our potential candidates: Fred Thompson and Newt Gingrich.
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Not on policy grounds—both men are (though not perfect) conservative enough to win my support, should they conquer the primaries. I think Thompson has a chance of winning, Newt not so much, but there are a lot of people excited about the mere possibility of their candidacies. Which is why the “maybe” status of their candidacies bothers me.
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If you want to be president, go for it. Make your cases and do your best to rally the Right. I wouldn’t jump ship (I’m convinced Mitt Romney is the best the field has to offer), but if you can convince the most voters that you’re the standard-bearer, I’ll be more than happy to fight for you after the primary.
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On the flip side, you need to make a decision. If you’re not going to run, you need to say so. A lot of people’s hopes are resting on you two—especially on Thompson—and it’s not right to get their hopes up over nothing.
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It’s this state of limbo that bothers me. Until you make a commitment, your presence in the mix only serves to divide the Right’s support, and help Giuliani—and if we’re going to save the Republican Party from becoming the RINO Party, we need to unite behind a real candidate.

Must-Read Exchange

RIP, Johnny Hart


Johnny Hart, the cartoonist behind BC, died Saturday at 76.
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Though not my favorite comic (that honor would go to Dilbert), BC was always a charming, amusing strip. On my wall, I have one of Mr. Hart’s Sunday strips, which features the following poem:
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There once was a preacher named Charlie D
Whose degree was in Christianity
But he chose to take up botany
So he sailed aboard the
HMS B
A fox of a man on a dog of a ship
Allowed his Christianity to slip
And concocted a ‘theory’ while at sea
Designed to make monkeys of you and me.
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Rest in peace, Johnny Hart.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Easter Thoughts on Civility vs. Profanity

“The foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing is a vice so mean and low that every person of sense and character detests and despises it.”
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- Sentiment
attributed to President George Washington
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A couple weeks back,
this News Buckit post caught the attention of various conservative pundits. Patrick Ishmael posits that, while the Left doesn’t have a monopoly on crudeness, its members do conduct themselves in a considerably more vulgar manner than those on the Right. The results come as no surprise whatsoever—for years ProtestWarrior has been putting the lie to the Left’s image of civility, the indispensable Michelle Malkin tears apart the insanity in Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild, and those of us who take part in politics regularly, especially on the Internet, encounter the mud fairly frequently.
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Why the bitterness, obscenity & viciousness? Because Internet moonbats aren’t animated by anything more thoughtful, honorable or complex than sheer hatred. As adherents to an emotion-dominant worldview, their opponents
cannot be innocently mistaken; ill will is the only logical explanation. Nobody could possibly believe the Iraq War could lead to less global violence in the long term, so oil profits or bloodlust must drive its proponents. Affirmative action obviously helps blacks; only racists would oppose it. And so on.
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Upon accepting the premise that the opponent is a villain unsusceptible to facts, the moonbat no longer considers presenting a superior argument the top priority (or any priority, often enough). Instead, he/she seeks to destroy and dehumanize the enemy. Any consideration for honesty, ethics or maturity is disregarded in favor of indulging his/her blind rage. Never mind how the sophomoric tirades or blatant demagoguery reflect upon him/her; they make the mudslinger feel good on some perverse level, and that’s all that matters—not whether the mud is true or relevant, just that it’s vicious. It’s easy to picture the average moonbat giggling behind the keyboard that has replaced his/her childhood playground, juvenile thoughts of “That’ll teach ‘em!” dancing in his/her head.
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Mature Americans are rightly disgusted by bloggers like
Amanda Marcotte & Melissa McEwan and pundits like Bill Maher & Al Franken, but you do have to credit them with one thing: they rant as themselves, let their conduct define their identities, and let the chips fall where they may. However, the Internet allows millions of more-cowardly demagogues to spew their venom from the shadows. The fact that such people choose to operate anonymously, thereby keeping their demagoguery a nice, safe distance from their true identities, suggests that somewhere, deep down, they know what they do is simply not right.
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I wonder if that knowledge also produces a guilt or pain that, despite repeated attempts to drown it out with self-indulgent venom, just cannot be snuffed out. It’s sad that people choose to deal with their inner demons by lashing out in such useless, hateful and childish ways, but hopefully some of them will come to realize that their lives don’t have to be stuck in such moral ruts. Once they realize what they do is wrong, they can reject it, find forgiveness and redemption, and truly cast out their inner demons. Ultimately, that’s what this Easter Sunday is about.

Blessed Easter

To balance out last night’s decidedly-twisted Easter post, I direct your attention to Kate, who reminds us about the true reason for the season:
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Matthew 28:1-10
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1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
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2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
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5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
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8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
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Revelation 21:1-7
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1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
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5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
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6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Outrage in New Jersey

A New Jersey high school has sparked outrage by staging a mock school shooting and hostage drama – with right-wing religious fundamentalists as the gunmen.
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In late March, the Burlington Township High School – in an effort to prepare students for a real-life crisis – staged the mock attack, with two police detectives portraying angry Christian men armed with handguns. They entered the school with force, pretended to gun down students in the hallways, then took 10 students hostage and barricaded themselves in the school’s media center.
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The fake gunmen were described as "members of a right-wing fundamentalist group called the ‘New Crusaders’ who don’t believe in the separation of church and state.”
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The men were purportedly seeking revenge because the daughter of one of them had been expelled for praying before class.
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Before the exercise, Superintendent Chris Manno said that students and teachers needed "to practice under conditions as real as possible . . . in order to evaluate our procedures and plans so that they’re as effective as possible,” according to the American Center for Law & Justice.

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I’m suuuure that this was just a random choice, and that the shooters just as easily could have been, say, eco-terrorists, Black Panthers, or disgruntled gays…
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What a blatant display of bigotry! No public school should be inventing such vile associations to any religious group or political school of thought. Why couldn’t the threat have been a hostage-taking fugitive or a generic psychopath?

Hear That in the Distance?

…that’s the deceptively-low rumble of a coming juggernaut that will ravage Rudy, maul Mitt and flatten Fred. Yes, I speak of the rising political dynamo that is: Mike Huckabee.
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Sorry, I know I missed April Fools by a few days, but I couldn’t resist.

Gingrich, Kerry to Debate Global Warming Next Week

Someone better get video.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Calling Today's Abolitionists!

There’s still time to order your shirt for American Life League’s fifth annual Pro-Life T-shirt Day. Only six bucks, and you can take a stand for what’s right - on April 24, and beyond.

A Reminder that Ronaldus Maximus Was But a Mortal...

As a ex-Justice who defends the influence of FOREIGN LAW in AMERICAN judicial proceedings, Sandra Day O’Connor has a lot of nerve:
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“[O’Connor] has grown weary of partisan attacks on judges, criticisms that she believes are causing citizens to lose faith in the judicial system…she finds troubling the ‘increased number of attack on judges that are coming out of the halls of Congress and out of state legislatures across the country.’”
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(Hat tip:
the Right Angle)

Good News!

Things are looking better for my man Mitt in Zogby’s latest New Hampshire poll. If he keeps up with solid interviews like last night’s sit-down with Hannity, and ads that tackle the rest of his positions with the same sharp, gung-ho attitude displayed in this one, we just might save this party from itself.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Why Democrats Can't Be Trusted to Protect You

The laundry list keeps growing…
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ITEM 1:
Pelosi Shills for Syrian Despot
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The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi recently met with Syrian President Bashar Assad, and is wasting no time in parroting his line: “We were very pleased with the assurances we received from the president that he was ready to resume the peace process. He's ready to engage in negotiations for peace with Israel.” And by the way, the trip is
legal grounding for Pelosi’s impeachment (or, if the Bush Administration had threatened to stop her, even imprisonment). Not that our current crop of “leaders” will stand up to her.
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ITEM 2:
House Dems Vote to Allow Intimidation of US Citizens in Favor of Muslim Pressure Groups
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In response to the
lying imams’ desired lawsuit against the terrified passengers who reported their suspicious conduct, Rep. Peter King offered a proposal to protect those who report potential terrorist activity from legal action. Though it passed the House, more than half of the Democrats voted against it—and surely there are more than a few liberals waiting to follow suit once it gets to the Senate.
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Outrageous, yet all-too common these days.

Reporter Commentary: Say NO to Rudy

The Reporter has published my latest Guest Commentary (adapted from my CPAC post) about the danger of a Giuliani candidacy—perhaps the most important editorial I’ve ever written.

Score One for Judicial Originalism!

Ziegler wins.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Quote of the Day

"Iran had free elections, even though some candidates were not allowed to run."

-The former Canadian ambassador to Iran, on Hannity & Colmes tonight.

Must-See Video

UN Watch takes a stand against the United Nations Human Rights Council...and while the results are predictable, they're stunning nonetheless.

Moonbats and Military Service

An eloquent, thoughtful fellow named “Anonymous” has just left this pearl of wisdom on the same-sex marriage article I recently posted:
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“Hey hotshot. You're such a flag-waving, "God-Bless-America'ing, Bush-loving, war-supporting, sabre-rattling 19-year-old, why haven't you joined the armed forces yet? Put that money where that mouth is, chicken-boy. College indeed!”
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I’d actually like to thank our mysterious friend for his comment, because it helps me illustrate just how loony the Left can get without having to sift through the moonbat mud that is the Daily Kos.
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First: Notice how the comment has nothing to do with the topic? I guess we’re just in a bitter mood and feel the need to vent about it.
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Second: I assume that each “ing” he attributes to me denotes a particular trait he finds objectionable. Sadly, he hasn’t articulated exactly what is objectionable about each of them. Folks, if you expect to be taken seriously in life, coherency is key.
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Third: Bush-loving? It’s true that I’ve
defended the president when justified, but I haven’t been a stranger to blasting him, and on several occasions. It’s too bad that the Left so often doesn’t bother to look for background to support what they’re talking about.
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Fourth: This is a good opportunity to address one of the Left’s most common propaganda tactics: This oft-parroted line, that if you’re not a soldier you aren’t entitled to have an opinion favorable to military action, needs to be challenged. For one thing, whether or not somebody serves says nothing about whether or not his positions are right. Oliver North, John McCain & Sam Johnson view the Iraq War in a fundamentally-different way than do John Kerry, Jack Murtha & Max Cleland. They’re all military veterans, yet they obviously can’t all be correct.
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So why haven’t I joined the military? Simple: like many Americans, I don't have what it takes. I freely admit that. The fact that I’m not serving my country in uniform is one of the reasons why I’ve dedicated myself to saving America another way: by using my particular God-given strengths—writing, debate, commentary, etc.—to the fight against internal threats to our nation’s survival. I’m proud of what I do here on CFO, in the Reporter’s opinion pages, and elsewhere, but I have never made an attempt to present my work as anything more than what it is. I will always stand in awe of the true heroes willing to trek halfway across the world, endure grueling conditions away from their families, and risk death & suffering to keep us safe & free.
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I do not know of a single conservative who views such sacrifice lightly. I certainly don’t—several friends of mine have enlisted (or will enlist), and the possibility that they might die in combat someday scares me to death. But I look at my friends and neighbors, my parents and family, and the possibility of their murder scares me to death, too. I don’t want my little goddaughters or my future children to inherit a world where madmen can slaughter whomever they deem religious heretics with reckless abandon—
which is exactly what happened on a Tuesday morning six years ago.
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So while the bravest of our society fight the War on Terror, I’ll keep on fighting the War of Public Opinion. You think I’m wrong? Fine. Show me where. But if you think I’m going to apologize for what I believe, or for doing my (relatively small, admittedly) part for America’s survival, think again.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Saving Marriage

An important piece by David Blankenhorn from the latest Weekly Standard:
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Defining Marriage Down Is No Way to Save It
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Does permitting same-sex marriage weaken marriage as a social institution? Or does extending to gay and lesbian couples the right to marry have little or no effect on marriage overall? Scholars and commentators have expended much effort trying in vain to wring proof of causation from the data--all the while ignoring the meaning of some simple correlations that the numbers do indubitably show.
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Much of the disagreement among scholars centers on how to interpret trends in the Netherlands and Scandinavia. Stanley Kurtz has argued, in this magazine and elsewhere, that the adoption of gay marriage or same-sex civil unions in those countries has significantly weakened customary marriage, already eroded by easy divorce and stigma-free cohabitation.
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William Eskridge, a Yale Law School professor, and Darren R. Spedale, an attorney, beg to differ. In
Gay Marriage: For Better or for Worse?, a book-length reply to Kurtz, they insist that Kurtz does not prove that gay marriage is causing anything in those nations; that Nordic marriage overall appears to be healthier than Kurtz allows; and that even if marriage is declining in that part of the world, "the question remains whether that phenomenon is a lamentable development."
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Eskridge and Spedale want it both ways. For them, there is no proof that marriage has weakened, but if there were it wouldn't be a problem. For people who care about marriage, this perspective inspires no confidence. Eskridge and Spedale do score one important point, however. Neither Kurtz nor anyone else can scientifically prove that allowing gay marriage causes the institution of marriage to get weaker. Correlation does not imply causation. The relation between two correlated phenomena may be causal, or it may be random, or it may reflect some deeper cause producing both. Even if you could show that every last person in North Carolina eats barbecue, you would not have established that eating barbecue is a result of taking up residence in North Carolina.
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When it comes to the health of marriage as an institution and the legal status of same-sex unions, there is much to be gained from giving up the search for causation and studying some recurring patterns in the data, as I did for my book
The Future of Marriage. It turns out that certain clusters of beliefs about and attitudes toward marriage consistently correlate with certain institutional arrangements. The correlations crop up in a large number of countries and recur in data drawn from different surveys of opinion.
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Take the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP), a collaborative effort of universities in over 40 countries. It interviewed about 50,000 adults in 35 countries in 2002. What is useful for our purposes is that respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with six statements that directly relate to marriage as an institution:
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1. Married people are generally happier than unmarried people.
2. People who want children ought to get married.
3. One parent can bring up a child as well as two parents together.
4. It is all right for a couple to live together without intending to get married.
5. Divorce is usually the best solution when a couple can't seem to work out their marriage problems.
6. The main purpose of marriage these days is to have children.
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Let's stipulate that for statements one, two, and six, an "agree" answer indicates support for traditional marriage as an authoritative institution. Similarly, for statements three, four, and five, let's stipulate that agreement indicates a lack of support, or less support, for traditional marriage. -
Then divide the countries surveyed into four categories: those that permit same-sex marriage; those that permit same-sex civil unions (but not same-sex marriage); those in which some regions permit same-sex marriage; and those that do not legally recognize same-sex unions.
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The correlations are strong. Support for marriage is by far the weakest in countries with same-sex marriage. The countries with marriage-like civil unions show significantly more support for marriage. The two countries with only regional recognition of gay marriage (Australia and the United States) do better still on these support-for-marriage measurements, and those without either gay marriage or marriage-like civil unions do best of all.
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In some instances, the differences are quite large. For example, people in nations with gay marriage are less than half as likely as people in nations without gay unions to say that married people are happier. Perhaps most important, they are significantly less likely to say that people who want children ought to get married (38 percent vs. 60 percent). They are also significantly more likely to say that cohabiting without intending to marry is all right (83 percent vs. 50 percent), and are somewhat more likely to say that divorce is usually the best solution to marital problems. Respondents in the countries with gay marriage are significantly more likely than those in Australia and the United States to say that divorce is usually the best solution.

A similar exercise using data from a different survey yields similar results. The World Values Survey, based in Stockholm, Sweden, periodically interviews nationally representative samples of the publics of some 80 countries on six continents--over 100,000 people in all--on a range of issues. It contains three statements directly related to marriage as an institution:
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1. A child needs a home with both a father and a mother to grow up happily.
2. It is all right for a woman to want a child but not a stable relationship with a man.
3. Marriage is an outdated institution.
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Again grouping the countries according to the legal status of same-sex unions, the data from the 1999-2001 wave of interviews yield a clear pattern. Support for marriage as an institution is weakest in those countries with same-sex marriage. Countries with same-sex civil unions show more support, and countries with regional recognition show still more. By significant margins, support for marriage is highest in countries that extend no legal recognition to same-sex unions.
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So what of it? Granted that these correlations may or may not reflect causation, what exactly can be said about the fact that certain values and attitudes and legal arrangements tend to cluster?
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Here's an analogy. Find some teenagers who smoke, and you can confidently predict that they are more likely to drink than their nonsmoking peers. Why? Because teen smoking and drinking tend to hang together. What's more, teens who engage in either of these activities are also more likely than nonsmokers or nondrinkers to engage in other risky behaviors, such as skipping school, getting insufficient sleep, and forming friendships with peers who get into trouble.
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Because these behaviors correlate and tend to reinforce one another, it is virtually impossible for the researcher to pull out any one from the cluster and determine that it alone is causing or is likely to cause some personal or (even harder to measure) social result. All that can be said for sure is that these things go together. To the degree possible, parents hope that their children can avoid all of them, the entire syndrome--drinking, smoking, skipping school, missing sleep, and making friends with other children who get into trouble--in part because each of them increases exposure to the others.
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It's the same with marriage. Certain trends in values and attitudes tend to cluster with each other and with certain trends in behavior. A rise in unwed childbearing goes hand in hand with a weakening of the belief that people who want to have children should get married. High divorce rates are encountered where the belief in marital permanence is low. More one-parent homes are found where the belief that children need both a father and a mother is weaker. A rise in nonmarital cohabitation is linked at least partly to the belief that marriage as an institution is outmoded. The legal endorsement of gay marriage occurs where the belief prevails that marriage itself should be redefined as a private personal relationship. And all of these marriage-weakening attitudes and behaviors are linked. Around the world, the surveys show, these things go together.
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Eskridge and Spedale are right. We cannot demonstrate statistically what exactly causes what, or what is likely to have what consequences in the future. But we do see in country after country that these phenomena form a pattern that recurs. They are mutually reinforcing. Socially, an advance for any of them is likely to be an advance for all of them. An individual who tends to accept any one or two of them probably accepts the others as well. And as a political and strategic matter, anyone who is fighting for any one of them should--almost certainly already does--support all of them, since a victory for any of them clearly coincides with the advance of the others. Which is why, for example, people who have devoted much of their professional lives to attacking marriage as an institution almost always favor gay marriage. These things do go together.
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Inevitably, the pattern discernible in the statistics is borne out in the statements of the activists. Many of those who most vigorously champion same-sex marriage say that they do so precisely in the hope of dethroning once and for all the traditional "conjugal institution."
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That phrase comes from Judith Stacey, professor of sociology at New York University and a major expert witness testifying in courts and elsewhere for gay marriage. She views the fight for same-sex marriage as the "vanguard site" for rebuilding family forms. The author of journal articles like "Good Riddance to ‘The Family,'" she argues forthrightly that "if we begin to value the meaning and quality of intimate bonds over their customary forms, there are few limits to the kinds of marriage and kinship patterns people might wish to devise."
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Similarly, David L. Chambers, a law professor at the University of Michigan widely published on family issues, favors gay marriage for itself but also because it would likely "make society receptive to the further evolution of the law." What kind of evolution? He writes, "If the deeply entrenched paradigm we are challenging is the romantically linked man-woman couple, we should respect the similar claims made against the hegemony of the two-person unit and against the romantic foundations of marriage."
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Examples could be multiplied--the recently deceased Ellen Willis, professor of journalism at NYU and head of its Center for Cultural Reporting and Criticism, expressed the hope that gay marriage would "introduce an implicit revolt against the institution into its very heart, further promoting the democratization and secularization of personal and sexual life"--but they can only illustrate the point already established by the large-scale international comparisons: Empirically speaking, gay marriage goes along with the erosion, not the shoring up, of the institution of marriage.
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These facts have two implications. First, to the degree that it makes any sense to oppose gay marriage, it makes sense only if one also opposes with equal clarity and intensity the other main trends pushing our society toward postinstitutional marriage. After all, the big idea is not to stop gay marriage. The big idea is to stop the erosion of society's most pro-child institution. Gay marriage is only one facet of the larger threat to the institution.
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Similarly, it's time to recognize that the beliefs about marriage that correlate with the push for gay marriage do not exist in splendid isolation, unrelated to marriage's overall institutional prospects. Nor do those values have anything to do with strengthening the institution, notwithstanding the much-publicized but undocumented claims to the contrary from those making the "conservative case" for gay marriage.
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Instead, the deep logic of same-sex marriage is clearly consistent with what scholars call deinstitutionalization--the overturning or weakening of all of the customary forms of marriage, and the dramatic shrinking of marriage's public meaning and institutional authority. Does deinstitutionalization necessarily require gay marriage? Apparently not. For decades heterosexuals have been doing a fine job on that front all by themselves. But gay marriage clearly presupposes and reinforces deinstitutionalization.
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By itself, the "conservative case" for gay marriage might be attractive. It would be gratifying to extend the benefits of marriage to same-sex couples--if gay marriage and marriage renewal somehow fit together. But they do not. As individuals and as a society, we can strive to maintain and strengthen marriage as a primary social institution and society's best welfare plan for children (some would say for men and women too). Or we can strive to implement same-sex marriage. But unless we are prepared to tear down with one hand what we are building up with the other, we cannot do both.

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