Archive for April, 2005

Your Belief System

Saturday, April 30th, 2005

In “your belief system\” we trust?
May “your belief system\” bless America?
So help me “your belief system\”?
“Your belief system\” willing?
“Your belief system\” bless you?
For “your belief system\” so loved the world—?

Sounds fairly bizarre, doesn’t it?

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation “under your belief system\” with liberty and justice for all.*

“If ye are not one, ye are not mine.\”
-Jesus Christ

This puts diversity in perspective, doesn’t it?

*(This is how a school in Colorado proposes to change the pledge. Watch out! It\’s heading your way!)

Smells Like Havana

Friday, April 29th, 2005

Yes, Social Security needs more money. Raising taxes as the solution sounds like the common response from the left but sooner rather than later the able taxpayers will be drawing social security. Then what? Is raising taxes the only solution available?

What is wrong with allowing individuals the option to invest some of their own money in their own future with the added benefit of passing that along to their own families? It is a reasonable and a fair program that promotes individual responsibility by applying moderate incentives, all the while reducing the future burden on the SS system. Is it possible that we Americans are not smart enough to make this work?

No, the real reason this is being so stridently opposed by the left is that the ruling elitists derive their power from controlling (and mismanaging) this massive amount of money. And of course, these highly educated, supremely sophisticated, hyper-indoctrinated elitists know better than we how to spend it. This doesn’t make me feel more secure at all; it smells an awful lot like communism.

Uncle!

Thursday, April 28th, 2005

I have been taking a lot of heat lately for my defense of John Bolton. I am about to surprise my critics by giving them their due and then letting go of the issue; Bolton does have a serious flaw. Whether it is severe enough to keep him from serving our nation in the UN is beyond my ability to predict, but I am willing to state that he is in dire need of a new hair style and that the moustache needs a trim. He would find, if he was willing to make the sacrifice, that he could take 10 years off his look if he shaved the moustache off altogether. It sure wouldn\’t hurt his chances with the committee, in a floor vote, and his potential candidacy as one of People Magazine\’s \”Most Adorable\” Americans.

Ambush

Thursday, April 28th, 2005

The world is infinitely more dangerous today than in the darkest days of WWII. The availability of nuclear and biological weapons has never been more troublesome than it is now, especially since the break-up of the Soviet Union and the disappearance of nuclear materials, technologies and information; especially since the Pakistani scientist has shared recipes; especially since North Korea has chosen to sell nuclear delivery systems to those we cannot classify as friends; especially since our sworn enemy, Iran, is in clear violation of nuclear non-proliferation treaties.

Our nation has already been attacked by ideological and religious allies of Iran. We face enemies unbound by national boundaries. The argument that Saddam, who clearly supported terror, was not a great danger to the US, the region and the world, is hollow at best. One might think this has already been settled, but apparently not. There are still many who troop this specious argument out for the purposes of inflicting casualties on Bush, his administration and his appointees; in this case, John Bolton.

The truth is this; leftist hatred for Bush, his administration and his policies are not based on current geo-political realities. The president’s domestic enemies politicize their personal disdain because politics offers politically correct cover for their attacks. The war itself has become a weapon, rather than a legitimate reason to ambush Bush. But their real purpose in going to war against him is because his world view collides, morally, with neo-secularist ideology. This is the real issue, isn\’t it?

The left is more concerned about Bush\’s faith than with his politics and polices. Be honest. A frontal attack on religious grounds would be the political equivalent of the Japanese assault on Marine positions at the Tenaru River*; it would be a hell of a fight but in the end, there wouldn\’t be a lefty left.

Instead, the bristling minority battles Bolton on the periphery; skirmishing rather than risking open conflict over the real issue. Bolton may end up a casualty of leftist aggression but the battle will ultimately be won by the right.

To those who assert that Bolton had been too hard on the Iranian’s, whose nuclear aspirations endanger the whole world, the question remains; has this problem been resolved by the “softerâ€? wording and the \”making nice\” that the Chamberlain clones in London and their fellow appeasers at Foggy Bottom demanded? The answer is a resounding \”NO\”.

Lessons have long ago been learned about how to confront tyranny. One may speak softly; it’s true, but only as long as the Big Stick is clearly visible.

*(34 Marines were killed in that all-night battle on Guadalcanal. I thank my dear friend, Pat, who was there defending his friends and his country with his BAR . 800 Japanese died and their commanding officer committed suicide to atone for his failure.)

The Borking of Bolton

Tuesday, April 26th, 2005

If what is being said about Bolton is true (that, among other things, he dummied info to get us into the war in Iraq), what makes him different from Clinton appointee George \”Slam Dunk\” Tenet? Or those responsible for cooking up Johnson\’s Gulf of Tonkin incident? Or those in the Roosevelt administration who wanted to get us into WWII in the worst way? Or the Wilson administration\’s failure to disclose that the Lusitania was carrying war materiel to the British in contravention of America\’s neutrality pledge?

Were all these Democrats wrong to take us into these conflicts with less-than-accurate information? These all seem like \”ends-justifies-means\” deceptions designed to enable us to take action against enemies before they are further strengthened or emboldened in their aggressive behaviors. We have to hand it to FDR for maneuvering us into position to defeat the Axis. Pacifist inertia had to be overcome. Free peoples are more likely to be tolerant and less likely to become aggressive than their counterparts in totalitarian lands. It takes unambiguous provocation in order to get Americans to resort to arms. FDR has to be recognized for recognizing the dangers confronting us at the time; dangers from the West and the East. Considering the risks he acted appropriately, albeit, by his own admission, less than honestly. After all, isn’t the first casualty of war, truth?

The truth is that Bolton is being Borked not because of personal style or anti-UN bias. The Dems are afraid that he will expose UN corruption and their (or their French friends) complicity in a host of unethical or illegal activities. Bolton is dangerous alright; dangerous to the political futures of powerful members of the Democrat Party who have blindly defended the UN and their un-American activities and agenda.

Earth Day

Sunday, April 24th, 2005

(Yes, I know that Earth Day was the 22nd. This is posted two days late as a result of what appears to be an act of cyber-sabotage that had me temporarily sidelined.)

I am truly happy to be here on planet Earth! It is a beautiful place; a blue and brown orb when seen from beyond the lustrous membrane that keeps an otherwise insignificant spec of dust habitable; a blue and brown world when viewed from beaches toward the sea, from desert dunes to turquoise sky. The magnificence and majesty of this world is rivaled only by our awe and our gratitude.

After watching the sun rise over the Serengeti Plain, Carl Jung, the noted psychologist, concluded that the creation did not take place thousands, millions or billions of years ago; rather that creation occurs daily as we awake and awaken to an appreciation of the world and its wonders. What would be the point of all this without human consciousness to give it meaning?

As partners in creation, we humans busily engage in the never-ending quest to rearrange matter in a way that matters; to change the world of today in a fashion that alters the future; to leave a mark, indelible, in the shifting sands of time. Our God-like nature presses ever against the present, reshaping the surface of the planet to accommodate our tendencies, desires and our unlimited creative potential. Show me another creature that manipulates and masters his environment to the degree that humans do.

We can’t help it; we are made this way. We are born to change and improve things. Jung discusses the underlying meaning of alchemical transmutation in psychological if not spiritual terms; altering matter alters us. No matter how the orcs from the E. L. F. howl, they must ultimately confront the fact that they themselves are part of the never-static status quo; always pressing for change (although in their case actions are frequently reactionary, reflexively unreasonable, and generally regrettable). And yet, from outside the shallow glowing mantle that separates us from the void, the Great Wall of China is the only visible evidence that mankind has made a mark at all.

The Hudson River, once a wide and toxic industrial sewer, now provides fish for the table. Skylines once shrouded in smog now shimmer in the evening glow. Stewardship means caring for that which we possess but do not own; that which we appreciate and those things for which we are responsible. Short of an all-out nuclear conflagration there is little we can mess up that we cannot fix (please refer to World War II).

Yes, our earth is a wonderful place but it would be without meaning without the humans that possess it.

Random Thoughts: April 19th

Wednesday, April 20th, 2005

(Further evidence of the likelihood that the author suffers from Adult Onset A.D.D.)

If the new Pope is, as described by CBS News and others who protest too much, “God’s Rottweiler\”, does that make Barbara “Beelzebub’s Boxer?

Should liberal Catholics and their allies in the neo-secularist press really be disappointed that the new Pope is not young enough, not “fresh\” enough, and not flexible enough? Is it not more important to consider what God wants? Is the Pope not chosen by revelation granted to the Cardinals by God Himself? If this is not so, where is the power and the authority of the church? If this is not so, what is the point of all this hand-wringing over the irrelevant? These malcontents may have a relatively reasonable argument about God’s place in government but their attempts to keep Him out of His own Theocratic Enterprise seems wholly inappropriate.

The call for \”Reform\” is misplaced. Real reform is an individual choice and commitment. To \”reform\” is to \”conform\” oneself to the better, higher, nobler set of principles embodied in this case by religious belief. The demand to reform the religion to conform to the changing culture is absurd beyond belief.

The discussions describing various past Popes as moderates, conservative or liberal is most interesting in view of the doctrines the Pope is called upon to support. Are the doctrines true? Is truth time-bound or culturally constrained? Are the doctrines of the church conservative, moderate or liberal? These are the important questions to ask before attaching nearly meaningless labels to the conservator of the doctrines. I am not a Catholic but I am happy to have another staunch ally in the battle against the moral relativists and the neo-secularists.

If Joe Biden thinks John Bolton is not qualified to serve as our Ambassador to the UN because he verbally “dressed down\” a subordinate for dishonesty, what did he think (or say)about the Clintons’ habitual and legendary practice of abusively berating their underlings? Should this behavior disqualify Hillary from being President and Bill from being the UN’s Secretary General? (Whatever happened to that February, 1993 video of the new president losing his famous temper and severely scolding the pathetic aide who was cowering on his knees in the bushes? I haven’t seen it since—–February of 1993!)

Patriot’s Day, April 18, the day we celebrate the anniversary of the embattled farmers’ stand at the Concord Bridge and the firing of “the shot heard round the world\”, passed without anyone even noticing. Why?

Today, the 12th anniversary of the tragic culmination of the Clinton Administration’s attack on the Mt. Carmel compound outside Waco, Texas, occupied by David Koresh and his followers, passed without anyone noticing. Do questions remain?

Today, the 10th anniversary of the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City did not pass without notice, but questions remain. Did McVey really do this in response to the Waco debacle? Was Al Qaeda involved? Why all the phone calls from Terry Nichols to known Abu Sayef members in the Philippines?

I don’t care how big Ann Coulter’s feet are; I’m just glad she’s afoot.

Is there an active conspiracy to minimize human potential? GK Chesterton was quoted as saying, “The problem when people stop believing in God is not that they will believe nothing but that they will believe anything.\” People who believe anything, having no firm foundation, have little to look forward to but must look in every direction to find it. Is the neo-secularist attack on God just part of the conspiracy or the point of the spear? Are not knowledge of God, ages-old wisdom, faith and belief most retrograde to their desire?

Words, words, words.

Feeling Better

Tuesday, April 19th, 2005

I have started to write three books, and have written substantial portions of each, but for some reason I have not been able to finish them. This has been a source of some frustration over the years but I think about it and worry about it in the same way I write books; never reaching a conclusion. Now I understand! Watching TV a few days ago, I saw an advertisement for a drug designed to help people with Adult A.D. D. (attention deficit disorder). This must be it! This settles two significant issues for me. One; it explains why I am able to regularly post some nonsense or other on this blog page while being seemingly unable to devote the requisite attention to take on anything longer than a few pages at a sitting. The other issue is the attendant nagging guilt. Now I can blame my performance (or lack thereof) on something beyond my control and outside the realms of my personal responsibility. I feel so much better already and I haven\’t even taken the drug!

Advertisers

Monday, April 18th, 2005

Please do not support the businesses that advertise on this web site. These unsolicited and unwelcome enterprises use my blog, and many others\’ blog pages, to promote their businesses without regard to the host and without paying for the commercial use of the host\’s site. These unethical (in deed and purpose) operations post inane responses to specific blogs in the comment section while attaching their own links to their usually dubious ventures (from gambling to viagra) in an effort to attract the site\’s readers to their various vices. I delete an average of 100 of these on a daily basis. This is a pain that one should not have to endure but is symptomatic of our age. We may not be able to avoid coming face to face with such things, but we don\’t have to smile, we don\’t have to accept it as acceptable, and we certainly don\’t have to give them any money. Please don\’t give them any of yours! Thank you for not buying from those who advertise here.

Freedom is a Weapon

Friday, April 15th, 2005

Recent news about Osama Bin Laden eluding capture in Tora Bora by bribing would-be captors should strike no one as surprising. It appears, according to the German intelligence service, that he was initially cornered by some underlings in the employ of an Afghan warlord; men who were not fully cognizant of their potential good fortune. The Al Qaeda leader may be evil, but stupid he’s not. As much as he derides America and capitalism he recognized the value of a dollar as soon as the Afghan militia appeared outside his cave. Had the ill-informed tribesmen been aware of the significant reward offered by the Americans they probably would have disregarded Osama’s trinkets, taken him captive, and offered him up for the higher price.

Bin Laden’s Fatwa against the US and western culture would have been less hypocritical had he been able to talk his way out of the ever-tightening noose by recourse to his boilerplate Wahabi diatribe about the Great Satan and its lackeys, the Israelis. Perhaps he tried but the Afghans found his philosophy lacking, especially after enduring years of aberrant Taliban teachings and their stifling, black robe rule. Still, there can be no doubt that Bin Laden has been quite talented in using our own means (the very things that Islamic fundamentalists rail against) as effective tools to combat us.

During a post 9-11 visit with a pro Al Qaeda Saudi Sheik that was videotaped, later found by our troops and then shown to the nation, Bin Laden bragged about using fuel-laden American planes as bombs to blow up the World Trade Center. He spoke enthusiastically about his using the enemy’s strengths and capabilities against them. There is considerable evidence that his operatives manipulated the tragedy further, benefiting their cause through timely investments in the NYSE just a few blocks from the smoldering wreckage of the Two Towers. He used our own laws and regulations against us in placing his henchmen in position to prepare for and carry out this dastardly deed. America’s politically correct environment prevented the apprehension of these men before they could act. Fears over accusations of racial profiling were the very means employed to gain access to the aircraft that sliced through the towers, smashed into the Pentagon, and plowed into a Pennsylvania field. Pro fundamentalist Arab TV, clearly allied with Osama’s message and freely spewing the messages of hate into our airspace, is defended by those who justify the outrage on the basis of First Amendment privilege. Osama has recognized that he can use our open society, our open borders, and our open national debate against us. The very thing he despises most about us, freedom, is his most valued weapon against us. It is true that true freedom presupposes the right to do wrong. Herein lies the reason for the conflict at hand.

The fundamentalists hate us not for who we are and what we have; they hate us for what they are not and what they do not have, indeed what they cannot allow themselves to have. Islamic terrorists are not motivated by American militarism; they are motivated by American freedoms. The Mullahs, fully failing to comprehend the fact that righteousness does not exist apart from freedom, cannot possibly keep their flocks on the reservation if forced to compete with the Westernization that attends modernization. They have looked around and have beheld that countries and cultures behind the Iron and Bamboo Curtains have fallen, not to force of arms but to the forces of modernization. Broadcast images of an arguably better life have created great demands for the trappings of relative affluence. The experiences of all nations that have undertaken to provide these things for their citizens unambiguously illustrates that modernization comes with a cultural price. Radios don’t arrive without the music and the ideas that reside inside. Automobiles have radios! TV’s and motion pictures would be completely useless without the images they convey. Refrigerators are perfect for cooling Coke or Pepsi and other delectables from afar. Fashions conceal or reveal. The internet has everything (including blogs about freedom). The Mullahs know that if they permit the transporting of their flocks from the seventh century world in which they have been suspended for nearly one and a half millennia to the 21st Century, their reign will surely end as Western fashion and freedoms will inevitably and irreversibly alter the dynamics of the Muslim universe. As with all tyrants who will not give up their power without a struggle that inevitably includes sacrificing their supporters (and their innocent victims), the extremists in the Muslim communities will yield only to force, from without or within. Ultimately this is a battle they cannot win, but in the struggle others will continue to lose their lives.

From our perspective, Americans must remain vigilant; aware that our freedoms are indeed weapons that can and will be used against us. There is no reason to limit or suspend those freedoms in order to deny them to the terrorists (this is equivalent to disarming law abiding citizens in an effort to stop violent crime). Doing so would not only be counterproductive but it would give the enemy a measure of victory. Our freedoms are our strength and our best weapon in the war against the reactionary forces of radical Islam. We must also be wary of the PC Panderers among us who would weaken our abilities and our resolve to engage the enemies of our nation. We must exercise our freedom to verbally challenge unreasonable and illogical notions in an open contest of ideas. We cannot permit the PC police to silence us when we observe the abuse of freedoms and their use as weapons against us. Anyone who is so engaged and all who sit silently and permit this to occur are, wittingly or unwittingly, the allies of Osama.

Ide Declare!

Friday, April 15th, 2005

Forget the Ides of March! As hard as that day was for Ceasar, its the Ides of April that prove so taxing for the rest of us. But this day is just for reporting. We will be rendering unto Ceasar until about the Ides of June.

By Their Fruits

Monday, April 11th, 2005

Tom DeLay is being attacked by House and Senate Democrats and their allies in the left-leaning press not for ethical improprieties or for exercising poor judgment relating to fundraising and potential nepotistic practices, but rather for having the audacity to threaten the Democrat’s real power base; the Judiciary. These ethical questions are purely a smokescreen beneath the cover of which they hope to take the House Majority leader out (and not for BBQ). If these were the real issues a large percentage of members of congress would be similarly pilloried instead of Hillaried (the response reserved by the “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil of Democrats� crowd at the New York Times, the Washington Post, CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, etc., for Hillary and other ethically challenged members of her party). DeLay may have some questions to answer and perhaps he should, but we should hope this doesn’t distract him from the actions that caused this tempest; a threatened, long-overdue legislative review of our Judicial System, what it was designed by the Founding Fathers to do and what it has become. This may well be the most important test of citizenship faced in this nation since 1865.

Other Democratic SWATT (Sophists Waffling, Antagonizing and Truth Twisting) teams will be working on the Bolton nomination in an effort to derail his confirmation to serve as the US envoy to the UN. He is being derided for not being PC enough in his prior dealings with that assembly of dissemblers and tyrants; for attempting to hold that body accountable for something, anything. If only the UN was as harmless as a debating society. American needs a forceful, resolute representative to that organization to promote and protect our interests. Shouldn\’t this be a goal for all Americans, especially those who have sworn a near-sacred oath to \”Protect and Defend\”?

Politics may be many things; the art of the possible, the art of compromise, the friction that slows the ship of state for good or ill. It has its high purpose; to provide the arena for a contest among ideas. The problem arises not from an honest, open debate on the merits of conflicting ideologies but rather from a propensity for one side or the other to avoid the facts and hide the truth. But how does one discern which side is being honest? By their fruits, perhaps?

Thanks Eric!

Saturday, April 9th, 2005

I thank Eric Hogue for linking my blog to his excellent site. I am most grateful and feel quite honored. I admire Eric for his unwavering commitment and unflagging efforts to promote the rule of reason and principle here in the true political epicenter of the nation if not the world; Sacramento, where the 21st Century is being invented and reinvented in the laboratory of cultural legislation, where the tides have turned so often that a whirlpool is all that is visible (could this be the source of that giant flushing sound?), and now, hopefully, in the heated retorts of reform.

The short biography that follows will provide the interested (and the disinterested) a perspective from which to view the opinions expressed in the Poached Frog Blog.

I was born in Western Colorado and grew up in a community of around 1000 people. Most were engaged in coal mining, fruit farming (primarily apples and pears) or cattle ranching. My father was a high school teacher and a basketball coach. It was here, on one channel, that I got sucked into politics, during the Kennedy-Nixon debate (whatever happened to Kemoi and Matsu anyway?) I took Kennedy\’s assassination personally. In my endless walks about town, I once counted 24 different churches or meeting houses. The vast majority of citizens were openly tolerant of each other. Still, it wasn’t until 1964 that black people were allowed to spend the night in town. I left to work in Denver as soon after graduation as was possible.

It was 1968. The fall of that year found me in Berkeley living a half a block off of the ever-peculiar Telegraph Avenue. I assumed myself to be a radical, based upon my social associations and owing to my conviction that the Vietnam War was wrong, but not many years hence I was led to conclude that my objections to the war (always based more on Clauswitz than upon contemporary cultural convention) were not symptomatic of a chronic leftist orientation. A couple of weeks in a Marxist Commune (purely as a visitor and out of simple necessity) further inoculated me against the socialist disease. It was here I discovered that only children of well-to-do capitalists can afford to be Marxists.

I started a lifetime of labor in the orchards at the age of seven. My first career was in the culinary arts (although making Hollandaise is more of a science). After washing mountains of pots, I graduated to prep cook, line cook, and sous chef, ultimately becoming a chef when the chef was fired for getting drunk, fighting with the owner, and storming out. None of these things, together or alone, would have been sufficient reason for the immediate elevation of my status; the chef could have survived all of that. It was to be expected in those days that the chef would naturally be temperamental (when not just plain mental). His fate was settled by his simple failure to return. I invested 18 years in the trade in Berkeley, the resort communities of Aspen and Vail, and in Germany, preparing meals for a host of interesting people; many whose names you would recognize. We all hunger.

My first serious effort to get out of the restaurant business was a foray into the oil fields. I will be posting something about this soon, relative to energy issues and recent visits to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. I managed to stay out of the kitchen for over two years but I returned to the feeding frenzy as oil prices dropped and domestic drilling activity slowed. Besides, I couldn’t stand the cold.

I came to Sacramento in 1986, at the invitation of someone who offered me an opportunity in the insurance industry; my present vocation. I use this blog primarily as therapy to counter my near toxic over-absorption of news and to deal with current political and cultural matters without resorting to getting drunk, fighting with the owner, and storming out.

I am an Independent conservative; not that this keeps me above the fray. I have never been a member of a political party excepting a mercifully short stint as a member of the Reform Party (I liked the name). I ran for the seat in the California State Assembly vacated by the death of BT Collins. It was a privilege and an education to participate in the many debates and forums. More than a few voiced the opinion that I was the better candidate but, as an Independent I was unelectable and therefore unsupportable. Still, I earned about 3600 votes (in a 4-way race) for the $900 invested in the printing of my position paper. (The winner spent approx $400,000 for approx 21,000 votes.) Many have asked if I will ever run again but I have been cured of any residual aspiration to become a politician. Besides, why be one when you can buy one, or two, or three (I am trying to get a handle on this cynicism thing). In truth I was relieved to have lost considering some of the people with whom I would have been forced to associate and compromise. Is this a cop-out or mere rationalization?

I am a husband, father, and grandfather, and I believe that families are essential to God’s purposes. I am a well-read student of history, was an avid traveler (until navigating through the airport became more arduous than crossing the border), and have lived abroad for several years. My love of country has been markedly enhanced as a result of all these things.

I will endeavor to keep this current, pertinent, and real, usually adding three or four new postings per week . I promise to be accurate with factual information and I pledge to provide appropriate attribution whenever I offer another’s material on this site. I welcome your comments. Thanks again, Eric!

Democratic Theocracy?

Tuesday, April 5th, 2005

The debate over the future of the Catholic Church should be important and illuminating for all people.

There is a dynamic at play having to do with the more liberal elements of the Church. Call it the Kennedy-Kerry wing if you wish; those people who believe that the Church needs to accommodate current cultural standards (or the lack thereof); those who believe that same-gender marriage, abortion, women in the priesthood, and marriage for priests should now be openly permissible in Catholic Society. These interests are lobbying for changes in core doctrine; the thing that makes a religion a religion.

Their excuse; because they are members, they should have a say. On the one hand one can appreciate democratic ideals and aspirations. On the other hand, isn’t God the Ultimate Theocrat? When would it ever be our privilege to tell God what should and should not be acceptable? In our present state of mortality and maturity (vis-à-vis the Almighty), is it wisdom to demand a vote? The last time a direct vote of the people was taken didn’t the voters choose Barabbas?

Poll Position

Monday, April 4th, 2005

The new Zogby poll concerning the issues surrounding the death of Terri Schiavo clearly confirms what we have all known forever; that answers are dependent upon the questions. After reviewing the variety of questions posed, the Zogby Poll questions contain more accurate information than the arguably distorted questions in the highly touted ABC poll. Imagine that! Quite naturally the answers are considerably different, as well. When given more complete information the respondents are universally and overwhelmingly disposed toward maintaining the lives of those suffering the same afflictions as Terri Schiavo.

Acknowledging the old legal advice that one “never asks a question to which one does not know the answer� many pollsters craft their questions to elicit the desired response. If the desired response was “5�, for example, one could ask the question “What is 3 plus 2?� or one could ask (a la Jimi Hendrix) “If 6 turned out to be 9, what is 6 minus 4?� There is no substantial difference between this question and the following posed by ABC.

\”Schiavo suffered brain damage and has been on life support for 15 years. Doctors say she has no consciousness and her condition is irreversible. Her husband and her parents disagree about whether she would have wanted to be kept alive. Florida courts have sided with the husband and her feeding tube was removed on Friday. What’s your opinion on this case — do you support or oppose the decision to remove Schiavo’s feeding tube? Do you support/oppose it strongly or somewhat?\”

Compare this question in Zogby’s poll. \”If a disabled person is not terminally ill, not in a coma, and not being kept alive on life support, and they have no written directive, should or should they not be denied food and water?â€?

Are we even talking about the same case? If the answer to this question is “yes�, would this not indicate a problem somewhere? Would it not indicate the promotion of a specific position and the crafting of a certain outcome? How do you feel about that? Do you strongly or somewhat agree or disagree?

(It should also be noted that the Zogby Poll has been more accurate, more often, than all other nationally recognized polls through the last three national election cycles.)

Pope John Paul II

Sunday, April 3rd, 2005

Pope John Paul II will be remembered by most as a champion of traditional, time–honored moral principles, for his tireless efforts on behalf of the world\’s less fortunate, for his outreach to those not of his faith, and as an historic Cold Warrior. He was a man of action, a doer of truth. Whether or not one subscribes to his particular brand of Christianity, his faith and his defense of the moral high ground must be appreciated by all who regard conviction, courage, commitment, civility, constancy, and consistency as virtues. While the man himself will be missed, we must pray (even as non-Catholics) that these essential qualities will remain in the person of the new Pope. May God bless them both.

Rational Security

Saturday, April 2nd, 2005

We should all feel much better knowing that former National Security Advisor, Sandy Berger, has confessed to stealing and destroying top secret documents from the National Archives. He was only kidding when he had previously insisted that the documents had accidentally fallen, unnoticed, into his socks and skivvies. We can all rest assured knowing that he will be appropriately punished, losing his security clearance for three years. He will be able to reclaim it just in time to reprise his role as head of the NSA for the second Clinton presidency. We can look forward to once again using our nation’s supply of cruise missiles on African aspirin factories and Chinese Embassies, to once again tying one hand behind the back of our intelligence community, and once again turning down offers for the handover of Osama Bin Laden. These actions are certain to re-endear us to our European allies and allow us to sleep more securely in our beds.