Archive for September, 2005

Roberts Confirmed

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

The Democrats in the Senate had no choice but to confirm John Roberts to be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He was too good a nominee to be denied. Still it is interesting how they parceled out their votes to put the best possible face on the little “L” (lost) to be posted under their big “L” (Liberals). And of course, W got the “Big W”, and so did We.

Red State Democrats, in the main, voted for Roberts to protect their respective seats in the upcoming election cycle (an acknowledgement that, in spite of all the vituperative rhetoric to the contrary, Roberts was not out of the mainstream). Those in relatively safe Democratic seats voted against him in order to play to their Left-wing base. They have to keep those contributions coming in.

The next nominee will not be accorded such generous treatment. The Democrats argue that the court must maintain its present “balance”, for reasons no reasoning individual can reasonably comprehend, apart from the understanding that this is exclusively for the Left’s own political benefit. That the justice that slips into to O’Conner’s robe and mantle must be an O’Conner clone is a flawed argument that will be made and tested.

Hopefully Bush will surprise everyone again with this next nomination and pick someone like Orin Hatch.

All political calculations aside, today is a great day for America.

What\’s News?

Monday, September 26th, 2005

We have long been told that no news is good news. This might be more accurately expressed as follows; good news is not news.

We don\’t hear about the planes that take off and land safely. We only hear about the very, very few that crash (or that land with malfunctioning landing gear). We don\’t hear about the overwhelming number of people who travel safely in their automobiles. We only hear about those very, very few that have crashed. We don’t hear about the 25,000,000 Iraqi’s not killed by suicide terrorists every day.

We don\’t hear about all the people who have successfully defended their families, homes and neighborhoods by the appropriate use of firearms. We only hear about the rare and very occasional actions of madmen who would have used a machete or a screwdriver in the violent expression of their insanity, had a gun not been available.

We need to keep things in perspective as we tune in to get our regular fix of news. Just as we shouldn’t allow the weather to dictate the tone of our attitudes, we cannot allow the narrow focus on the bad things that do infrequently happen to people to skew our view of life and obscure the many wonderful blessings available to us in this most amazing time in human history.

Keep the faith.

Take Me Out To the Ball Game

Friday, September 23rd, 2005

I am an unapologetic sports fan. My father was a high school coach and I grew up fully immersed in the spirit of teamwork and competition. There is much to be learned from working with teammates toward a common goal. In addition to a host of virtues that can be gained from the process of blending one’s own talents, abilities and attitudes with those of the others on the team, there is the added benefit of simply belonging; the human need at the very center of Mazlow’s Hierarchy. This need also sheds light on what one needs to know in order to understand the average sports’ fan.

In contemplating the nature of sports, of games, I have reached the following conclusion. Games do not merely consist of rules; games are rules. Rules make the game. If this were not so, athletic events would be played on or in an undefined arena. Athletes would all be attired individually and all would be applying their own concepts and equipment in an effort to obtain an undefined goal or result; in other words, chaos would reign. It would be something akin to allowing your average rough and tumble British football-tough to take on the delirious denizens of Oakland’s Black Hole at a shopping mall. It would be interesting, but only from a distance and only for a while.

Rules allow games to exist. Each game is defined by its own rules. People are able to play and enjoy the game because of the enforcement of the rules. If, in baseball for example, the batter were to use his Louisville Slugger to clobber members of the opposing team instead of just the baseball, and do so without regard to consequence, the game would simply not be much fun, and the season would be significantly shortened. The umpires and security personnel are there to ensure that the rules are observed and obeyed. Consequences for violating these rules are immediately meted out. Subsequent additional measures are often taken for unnecessary roughness or for leaping into the stands to pummel inordinately boisterous fans. Rules keep everyone reasonably safe while making the game as fair, interesting and enjoyable as possible for all concerned.

If rules are required to keep our amusements from becoming chaotic, doesn’t it stand to reason that our more serious pursuits, even our very lives, are subject to a set of rules designed to keep us safe and on track while providing a goal and some genuine enjoyment on the way? Would it be too much to expect that violations of the rules come with consequences, immediate or long-term? Allow me to propose that the following represent the very basic fundamental rules that provide us the safety and happiness we seek while preventing complete chaos.

Exodus 3: Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
12 ¶ Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
13 Thou shalt not kill.
14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
15 Thou shalt not steal.
16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

Some of you will think this game/life comparison is a bit of a stretch. That\’s okay. If it\’s that much of a stretch, just sing a few bars of \”Take Me Out to the Ball Game\” and contemplate the significance of \”one, two, three strikes you\’re out—\”.

Harry Reid\’s Hypocrisy

Wednesday, September 21st, 2005

Harry Reid calls John Roberts “disingenuous”. He derides Judge Roberts’ use of the term “illegal Amigos” in a private memo, as being offensive. Reid, who claims to be a worthy member of the LDS Church, but who espouses views clearly in conflict with that institution, has no room to be calling someone else “disingenuous” with this bit of hypocrisy clearly in view.

This is also the same Harry Reid who called President Bush a “liar” in front of a group of grade school kids. Am I missing something? Has our language been so undermined and twisted in recent years that privately referring to someone as an Amigo (a friend) is more offensive than publicly calling someone a liar?

I didn’t think that he could beat Tom Daschle for being blatantly partisan, but I was wrong.

One can reasonably expect politicians to be hypocritical. No one should be surprised by the duplicitous demagoguery of John Kerry, Barbara Boxer or Ted Kennedy, but one should also reasonably expect a more honest effort from someone who claims membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Harry Reid is, and should be held to a higher standardbecause of truths he is obliged to uphold. Thus far he has failed, and in this failure he has disgraced his country and his faith. Perhaps this is what was meant by the passage that \”the elect(ed) shall be deceived\”.

Das Reich

Friday, September 16th, 2005

Robert Reich, former Clinton Administration Secretary of Labor, was called to serve as a witness yesterday in the Senate hearings regarding the appointment of John Roberts to be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. This philosophical “giant” from the Left, left an interesting and telling thought upon concluding his testimony.

He said it was “Dangerous to turn the future over to a court where you don’t know what will happen.”

This is an interesting concept. I thought this was the very purpose for having a court. Why have a trial, or a court, if we know at the outset what the verdict or result will be? Isn’t the point and purpose of the judicial process to follow the facts wherever they lead? One can build a case and hope to be able to guide the judge or jury to a certain conclusion but, as we have seen from the OJ trial, there is no guarantee of a specific outcome.

What Reich was asking of the Senate, was to confirm a Justice who will do what we expect him or her to do under predetermined agreement. Isn\’t this bias? Would this qualify as justice?

Topical Storm Biden

Wednesday, September 14th, 2005

Joe Biden is a pompous windbag!

Judging the Judge

Wednesday, September 14th, 2005

Herb Kohl didn\’t like John Roberts\’ analogy, comparing judges to umpires or referees. I\’m not sure I liked it either. Roberts is much more like a power hitter than an umpire. His batting average was 1000 as he hit for the cycle and added several home runs today.

It is clear that the Democrats have no answers for Judge Roberts. They don’t have many questions either. Continuing with the terminology from the season, Roberts is an All-Star playing against Little Leaguers. He is intellectually far superior to those who now sit in judgment of him, Democrats or Republicans. He is probably morally superior, as well. He is the actually the only true player in this game.

With all the talk tossed around about the Separation of Powers it is amazing to me that so few people question the make-up of the Judiciary Committee; itself a violation of the Separation of Powers. These are all attorneys, all official members of the Judicial Branch of government. What are they doing in the Legislative Branch? The people judging the judges should not be members of the Judicial Branch. In fact, there should be no attorneys at all in our legislative bodies. There should also be no attorneys serving in the Executive Branch, apart from the Attorney General and his staff. When attorneys pass the bar they are sworn in as officers of the court. How can they then serve in the other branches of government without a clear and unambiguous conflict of interest, without violating the very essence of the Separation of Powers?

Whether you agree or not, one must admit that none of the people who sit in judgment of Judge Roberts (apart perhaps from Orin Hatch or Lindsey Graham) could ever be deemed qualified to sit on the bench to which Roberts has been nominated. Do you honestly think you could get a fair trial from the likes of Joe Biden, Ted Kennedy or Chuck Schumer? Laughable displays of unbridled hubris are a far cry from the judicial temperament they demand of the appointee. If this weren’t such serious business, this would be truly amusing.

Tomorrow will be interesting. He is really making the Dems\’ harrowed hurlers look very bad. The way Roberts is clobbering those wobbly curve balls and smashing the fastballs out of the park, it would be wise of the Democrats to decide to intentionally walk him in order to get to the next batter.

Global Warning

Saturday, September 10th, 2005

I am old enough to remember when the alarmist community and their “scientists” were warning us of the impending Ice Age. Twenty years later, the same Chicken Littles are blaming Hurricane Katrina on Global Warming.

If the earth is truly 4,000,0000,000 years old as these same folks claim, and as we humans have been keeping accurate records for how long (a couple hundred years?), how can we extrapolate a looming melt-down of the polar caps and the inundation of the coastal population centers on a sampling that represents .000000002% of the available data? Imagine that we were talking about polls instead of poles. Who would pay attention to such an infinitesimal number? One could ingest the deadliest toxin in a solution of .000000002% and not even get tired.

If the Polar caps and the glaciers are melting, why is Plymouth Rock still above water and why haven’t the citizens of Marblehead and Gloucester been evacuated to higher ground in the last 400 years? We seem only to be evacuating those who live below sea level. Why are there still Dutch people? (I know! It\’s all the dikes.)

Al Gore chose the coldest day on record for that date to deliver his address on global warming to the shivering Few Yorkers who braved the chill to hear him mutter through chattering teeth about the devastating impact of rising temperatures. I understand that some in attendance were seen warming their hands on his utterances. Wasn’t anyone paying attention?

Show me the science! I am an objective person willing to bow to the facts, but don’t shove Kyoto down my throat and tell me that America is responsible for hurricanes.

Just a few days ago, the German Environmental Minister, Jurgen Tritten , was quoted as saying , “The American president has closed his eyes to the economic and human damage that natural catastrophes such as Katrina — in other words, disasters caused by a lack of climate protection measures — can visit on his country,\”. And if this wasn’t enough, he went on to say, “When reason finally reaches the headquarters of the climate polluters, the international community will need to be able to extend a hand with an elaborate proposal for the future of international climate protection. The German government stands ready for this.”

What were his thoughts about climate polluters in the Bay of Bengal this Christmas past? Was the worst flooding in Holland\’s history caused by climate altering pollutants from Dutch industry and automobiles, or by the intentional demolition of their dikes and levies by the Germans? The German government stands ready.

His adolescent reflections are mirrored in the attitudes of the misinformed and propagandized victims of the Red/Green coalition that has gripped Central Europe like a Moscow Winter since the crumbling of the Wall; an event that allowed democracy to move eastward and socialism to creep stealthily westward. Herr Tritten would be well-served to do a little more traveling in the homeland of his ideology, the land of Chernobyl and toxic waste sites that would make Love Canal look like Club Med.

Socialists have no real desire to protect the environment. Their primary motivation is to protect themselves and promote their guilt-based anti-human agenda. They are anxiously engaged in the active conspiracy to minimize human potential.

This whole Kyoto thing is simply another mechanism to punish America and Americans for being free and creative and for not knuckling under to the sophists and sophisticates on the Continent and their fellow travelers who presume to call themselves Americans.

The Veto

Thursday, September 8th, 2005

Hats off to Governor Schwarzenegger who has committed to veto the California Legislature’s vain and cavalier attempt to thwart the will of the electorate—again. Regardless of his own private reasons for this decision, he made the correct choice. 63% of the voters in the state have voiced their express determination that marriage is a covenant that exists only between one man and one woman. This should have been good enough.

The people of the state have endured the encroachment of the questionable (if not offensive and objectionable) agenda of the nearly militant homosexual lobby to the degree that the citizens have been essentially willing to say “live and let live”; granting rights for same sex couples that may or may not be deserved, rights nearly equal to those of married couples.

This is still not good enough for Mark Leno and Zelda Gilroy. Their message is a mess. While demanding that their private predilections should be protected, they openly flaunt their sexuality. Should an individual’s sexual preferences form the foundation of a political movement? Only in the death throes of civilizations have such things been that important.

Most people would be happy to let the odd couple next door live out their lives together, peacefully and quietly, if they would only be peaceful and quiet about it, as they should be about private matters. The great annoyance for most heteros is that the homosexual movement is just plain annoying. We don’t want to hear about your thing! Please take it back to your bedroom and keep it there!

I have worked with plenty of pleasant homosexuals; people I truly liked. They didn’t make an issue of their sexuality and I didn’t give them a hard time about it. We are all God’s children. Still, I would think it best if people wouldn’t engage in activities that reduced their life expectancy by 20 years (according to the Oxford Journal of Medicine), but it is their choice.

Still, one must ask the question; if we are outlawing cigarettes and potato chips because they are a health hazard, why is the legislature so intent upon endorsing a behavior that is arguably as dangerous? The answer to this question further fuels the argument in favor of re-convening a part-time legislature in the state of California.

The Good News from Katrina

Monday, September 5th, 2005

On the human side of Hurricane Katrina there is ample blame to go around, beginning and ending with the ultra-corrupt nature of Louisiana politics and its corrosive impact on the greater New Orleans community. On many levels this is a natural disaster unprecedented in the history of our nation, yet others have endured similar catastrophies or worse; Pompey, Krakatoa, Lisbon (60,000 deaths in the 1774 tempest) and even Galveston (6000 dead in the 1900 hurricane) to name a few. There have been numerous natural disasters that have claimed far more lives and that have destroyed whole cities. Still, for Americans and particularly those directly impacted, the catastrophe in New Orleans seems apocalyptic.

Is it possible that a greater good can come of this disaster? I believe that this is not only possible; it is certain. Consider for a moment the current dreadful state of the community. No one can doubt that the poor in particular were not properly served by the emergency response services leading up to the storm, and in its wake. 2000 school buses sat empty and idol as this storm bore down on the Big Easy. The fact that New Orleans is home to some of the poorest citizens in our nation, while the city and its elite extract significant wealth from its visitors and its port, should raise the ire and eyebrows of any objective person. Should this have been allowed to continue?

Who was most significantly impacted by this storm in the long term? The poor? What did they have to lose? They are greatly inconvenienced, to be sure, and some lost loved ones, but it couldn’t have been easy enduring the perpetual poverty engendered by the greed of local politicians and poverty pimps. The ones that stand to lose are those who have something to lose. Who will be the primary beneficiaries of the disaster? The poor, those who have not only been rescued from the storm and the flood but also from the moral morass, the corruption and potentially, depending upon their own attitudes and behaviors, the poverty to which they were condemned. This is the good news emanating from the disaster.

For those who blame God, America and George Bush for everything, perhaps the following perspective will be meaningful.

“It is only natural. After sorrow comes joy.” –Ho Chi Mihn

September to Remember

Sunday, September 4th, 2005

Now that the Bolton confrontation is over, the Neo-Secularists will now take up their positions against John Roberts in the hope of besting Bush on this field of battle. This September will be one to remember as the members return, ready, refreshed and re-armed. The Left is outgunned, on the run and will certainly, ultimately fail, but not without a fight. They are irked at the President’s recess appointment of Bolton, to be sure but they are far more fearful of losing their grip on the Judiciary. This will be an interesting contest. Will Roberts be called to account for his faith; a faith he shares with JFK? The ever-increasing differences between the wheat and the tares will never be more visible than in the coming debate.

That some in this country continue to persecute people of faith is beyond dispute. The neo-secularists claim that their secular beliefs outweigh the beliefs of religionists; based solely on the fact that we live in a secular nation. These people have essentially created the state religion of secularism, in clear contravention of the \”Establishment\” Clause. In so doing they also violate the rights of others engaged in the practice of \”freedom of association\” (the Boy Scouts for one excellent example), and those in the pursuit and practice of their religions (the outlawing of prayer in a host of venues), publicly intimidating those engaged in exercising the freedom of speech (referring to recitations of the consequences of immoral behaviors as \”hate speech\”), and the list goes on.

Those who support these attacks also sponsor, to one degree or another, nearly every societal ill known to man, from all forms of illicit sexual behavior to all forms of drug abuse. All of these behaviors weaken the individual and by extension, the society. What would one call it if not evil; just a life-style choice?

We are each free to act upon our own agency. That is why we are here. One is not free, however, to inflict one’s faith in neo-secularism on the rest of us, especially by judicial fiat. If the Left wants to organize all its friends and fellow travelers and can actually win an election without cheating, I will submit to the will of that government. Having failed at Democracy, the Democrats should not be able to run the country through the courts.

Helping the Helpless

Friday, September 2nd, 2005

The unfolding tragedy in New Orleans is illustrative of the unalterable fact that one cannot help someone who will not help himself. Those who chose, against all advice, counsel and directive, to remain in the city, have only themselves to blame for their predicament. Should the National Guard have been sent in before hand to have forcefully evacuated this city? That would have gone over like a lead balloon. Should the Guard have been sent in the immediate aftermath? That is looking like a good idea. The differences between what is happening in Mississippi and Louisiana are more than striking. I hope people are truly paying attention.

The Politics of Perversion

Friday, September 2nd, 2005

The Lefties in the California State Legislature are at it again. With all the critical issues at hand, they have chosen to resurrect the frequently buried but obviously undying specter of homosexual marriage. A few short years ago, 63% of the voters in the state passed Proposition 22, the Defense of Marriage Act. The citizens overwhelmingly approved the Initiative that clearly stated that the definition of marriage in the state of California was the legal union of one man and one woman. There is not much here to misunderstand; yet the Democrats in Sacramento continue to shove this perversion down our throats. If they really don’t have anything more important to do, perhaps we should seriously consider the re-introduction of the Part Time Legislature.

Spinning the Numbers

Thursday, September 1st, 2005

The poll results recently released by the Public Policy Institute of California, offers some very interesting insight into the attitude of voters as we approach the November special election. First of all just over 50% of those participating in the poll indicate that they are likely to vote in the election. How much does this skew the result?

The other issues the poll raises are that voters distrust the state government; they are suspicious of the Governor’s agenda; they are unhappy with the state legislature as an institution. With all this, the majority (according to the poll) does not approve of the special election even though the most critical initiatives on the ballot are designed to address and correct some of these very concerns. Something isn’t right here! How can people be so dissatisfied with the status quo and yet be satisfied enough to do nothing about the status quo? Are the voters conflicted? Was the poll properly conducted? Are the results being properly interpreted? Are the results being manipulated?

I am unable to put much faith in this poll, as it lacks internal consistency. Logic must be logical; it must at least be true to itself. I don’t find this here. Maybe we could have an initiative that would require polls to at least be self-consistent and relevant?——-
Nah! Who cares!

Calculating the Aftermath

Thursday, September 1st, 2005

I am saddened, sobered and humbled by the devastation on our Southern shores. My heart goes out to our brothers and sisters whose lives have been so brutally disrupted by this catastrophic event. It is hard to comprehend the magnitude of the disaster wrought by this storm, and harder still to see the silver lining; but it is there. It is simply not visible until we emerge from the cloud.

One must wonder why so many people chose to ignore the warnings. Weren\’t these people paying any attention to the news? Were they over-confident? Under-informed? Unconscious? Certainly those of us who paid attention to the news were fully aware of the grave danger. Certainly there was enough time to flee. We must show compassion to the afflicted, but one should have a reasonable expectation of responsible behavior—or? Is there something here for the rest of us to learn?

Most of us are appalled at the lawlessness we witness, and are confounded. We shouldn’t be so surprised, not because of those who are in true and dire need of sustenance, but because New Orleans has been recklessly bumping up against lawlessness for decades. The city was a moral morass before it became a literal cesspool. Who can offer a serious rebuttal? Any place that openly converts the celebration of Lent into a booze-fueled boob-fest has to expect that the moral vacuum created will attract other less-than-honorable characters to its neighborhood. To see the ethically challenged behaving indecently shouldn’t arouse any objective person’s astonishment.

The damage inflicted upon the economy by the disruption of the flow of oil and the distillation of gasoline is a poignant reminder of the damage inflicted on our economy by the well-intentioned but ill-considered actions of many in the environmental movement; a movement that has prevented necessary domestic exploration and drilling, and thwarted the construction of new oil refineries for years, as though Americans were going to stop driving automobiles, flying rescue helicopters or running emergency generators.

This scene will be played out again in places like Sacramento; another city surrounded by levy systems that will be unable to hold the flows of rivers and streams overburdened by the runoff from a record Sierra snow pack dissolved by torrential spring rains. This event is inevitable unless new water storage is created. The current price tag of $1.5 Billion will seem like nothing compared with the cost of another Katrina-like cleanup effort.

If we weren’t living in a culture that has so carelessly abandoned the principle of being prepared perhaps things might be different. But I guess the Boy Scout Motto is as passé as the ACLU is passionate about ridding our nation of the Boy Scouts.

We have much to do. Appropriately anticipating and calculating the risks, as a society and as individuals, is a good first step and might well appreciably minimize the magnitude of the devastation in the aftermath of future disasters.

Winners are Losers

Thursday, September 1st, 2005

An acquaintance of mine won the German National Lottery many years ago. He is an anomaly as far as lottery winners are concerned as he managed to retain some of what he won. The average European lottery winner is broke within three years. I suppose that would ring true universally. There is a significant difference between earning and winning money (it also stands to reason that similar distinctions are to be found in the intergenerational transfer of wealth).

My friend suddenly found himself in uncharted waters. He was immediately mindful of the envy of his friends and their petitions for patronage and so began to withdraw from increasingly uncomfortable social scenes. He built a nice little house for himself and his wife, and they purchased an upscale automobile. They began to frequent more elegant locales and took up the association of a small number of the “upper crust” in a neighboring community. His ship had come in! He had arrived. But then came a sobering realization that consigned him to a life in a social “no-man’s-land”.

He had abandoned his old friends, and they him, for related reasons. Yet his new friends would not fully accept him into their society because he came by his fortune not by industry or family prestige, but by a simple stroke of luck. He was simply not qualified to be a peer because he had done nothing to be deserving of his station apart from having purchased a lottery ticket. He was too good for his old friends and would never be good enough for his new acquaintances.

Today, he spends the majority of his time alone in the forest or at home with his wife. He knows many people in the community, but his diminished sense of belonging has even insulated him from his parents and siblings with whom he rarely associates. He won the lottery but lost much more of a more lasting value.

I cannot help but liken this to affirmative action. By virtue of chance, a person is born into this world under a genetic circumstance that determines his or her skin color but not his or her talents, character, attitudes, ethics, creativity, dedication or demeanor. When a person is wins a job or a position by the simple imposition of chance rather than by virtue of talent or ability, everyone around that person is naturally suspicious of that person’s true right to the position. The vast majority of people would privately confide that they suspect that former Secretary of State Powell has been the beneficiary of Affirmative Action at some point in his career. Does this adversely affect Powell and his family? What do you think?

Just as my German acquaintance endures the social vacuum created by the intercession of luck, beneficiaries of Affirmative Action programs become the victims of Affirmative Action programs.