"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." - Plato
Friday, April 29, 2005
Freedom and Dignity Incompatible With Islam
Now that communism is all but dead, the left has glommed onto Islam as its darling. Now one wonder after this admission from the Dear Leader of the Iranian Islamist tyranny.
"The Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has said that "human rights, are a weapon in the hands of our enemies to fight Islam." Speaking at the Conference for the Unity of Islam which opened in Tehran yesterday, Khamenei said: "The awakening of Muslims, had weakened the plot by America, by international Zionism and by other hidden forces on the planet implicated in a universal strategy which has the objective of fighting Islamic nations, which are a force of one and a half billion believers and with the large natural reserves."
To a mixed audience of Iranians, Arabs and other foreigners at the conference, Ayatollah Khamenei said that it was "only through the unity of all Muslims, can they confront these diabolical attempts."
Khamenei also explained how Iran is viewed globally in the role that it plays within the context of Islam. As the supreme leader of the Islamic republic, he said, that the "country has contributed to the awakening of Muslims and our enemies are trying to compensate for their poverty of thought, and so they have raised the banner of terrorism and are armed with human rights in order to defeat Islam and Muslims." "
Democrats Can Feel Shame
Dino Rossi has good cause to be angry about the results of the 2004 Washington gubernatorial election. And even though his lawsuit to overturn the election is unlikely to, and probably should not, overturn the results of that election, it has stirred enough filth from the bottom of the swamp to embarrass even the victors into electoral reforms. And, although those changes are very modest, had these laws been in effect in time for the 2004 election, Christine Gregoire would today be just another shabby out of work ex-attorney general, standing on a street corner holding a hand-lettered cardboard sign reading, “Will sue cigarette companies for food.”
In this last election, despotically left wing King County was the epicenter of massive incompetence, if not outright voter fraud. We had voters casting multiple ballots, felons casting ballots, ballots from Republican neighborhoods left uncounted. There were more ballots counted in King County than could be accounted for by the number of voters who entered the polling places. In a sworn statement before the court in which Rossi’s case is being heard, King County election chief Dean Logan admitted that his minions knowingly counted unverified provisional ballots. We also learned that hundreds of ballots were cast by people who were all registered at the same address, city hall.
The embarrassment of those revelations undoubtedly pressured Democrats into plugging some of the more obvious holes in the system.
In this last election, our troops overseas were disenfranchised by left leaning counties, including King County, that mailed out ballots to our soldiers too late for them to be returned in time to be counted. And, they only sent them out when they did under court order.
But, that at least has been corrected. Now, overseas ballots are given an additional three weeks for return.
Election workers are no longer permitted to “enhance” ballots that were improperly marked so that they may be counted. Gregoire profited generously from enhancement in the recounts. Voters who spoil their ballots will, from now on, be out of luck. Only counting the ballots of those who can read and follow simple instructions might have given Rossi the election.
Voting twice is now a felony. This could doubly benefit Republicans. Not only would it discourage multiple votes, but as the felon vote is so overwhelmingly Democratic, those convicted of the crime would be wiped off the voting rolls. And speaking of felons, voter registration rolls will actually be checked against Washington State Patrol criminal records so that we no longer rely upon the truthfulness of felons.
Voter registration rolls will now be checked against other states to determine if a voter is casting ballots in multiple states.
Among the sillier “reforms” is a requirement potential voter registrants be asked if they are citizens, but not asked to provide evidence of citizenship, not even a driver’s license.
Certainly, there is much that yet needs to be done. Requiring positive photo identification at registration and at the voting booth would help. As it is, anyone can claim to be me and cast a ballot in my name.
The absentee ballot rules need to be tightened considerably. Currently, anybody may request a mail-in, absentee ballot simply for convenience sake, without having to actually be out of town. Vote by mail is an irresistible invitation to fraud.
The lawsuit has actually generated some real nuggets that might come in handy for the next legislative session. Something else that we have learned from the lawsuit is that King County Election Chief, Dean Logan, does not actually know how many ballots his county printed. Without knowing that, we really don’t know if any were diverted to fraudulent uses.
Ballots should be treated exactly like freshly printed $100 bills from the federal mint and we should know exactly how many were printed, distributed and counted. And, those numbers had better match.
If someone at the mint were unable to account for $200,000, he would not be hearing an attaboy and getting a slap on the back from his boss as King County Executive Ron Sims has done repeatedly for Dean Logan.
Real progress was made in this session. Our next election, whether it’s in four years or a couple of months, will be cleaner. But more needs to be done. Every fraudulent ballot cast steals someone else’s legitimate voter.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
How About Criminals?
New York police are blaming Ipods for a crime wave. That's like blaming the gun makers for the crimes that criminals commit using guns.
Democrats and Republicans agree on one thing - they should not be held accountable for their dishonesty and irresponsibility. So, both parties are going after the one senator that stands for responsible government.
"Dr. Tom Coburn, a U.S. senator from Oklahoma for less than four months, last week was up to old tricks he started playing in the House a decade ago. He was making colleagues' lives miserable by exposing wasteful, unnecessary spending that is supposed to stay hidden. The Senate establishment, like its House counterpart, has retaliated by bringing ethics charges against the obstetrician-senator for going home to Muskogee, Okla., to deliver babies.
In a legislative body whose members spend much of their time off the Senate floor begging for money, it is worthy of Kafka that the only pending ethical proceeding involves Coburn's concept of the citizen-legislator. It is serious. Unless the rules are changed, Coburn must either break his campaign pledge of continuing baby deliveries or leave the Senate."
Monday, April 25, 2005
Just When You Thought You'd Heard It All
Germany is suffering a rash of exploding toads.
"As many as 1,000 toads have died after their bodies swelled to bursting point and then exploded, according to reports from animal welfare workers and veterinarians."
Okay, We've Seen Enough
Many months ago, when many of us accused the United Nations of attempting a coverup and of lacking the honesty to investigate itself, Kofi Annan and Paul Volcker demanded that we wait and see.
Well, we've waited and we've seen. We were right all along.
"A former senior investigator from the independent probe into allegations of corruption in the U.N. oil-for-food program confirmed Saturday that he had resigned to protest a report clearing U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan of meddling in the operation.
In his first public comments since leaving the investigation, Robert Parton, one of two investigators who resigned from the Independent Inquiry Committee led by former Fed chief Paul Volcker, criticized his former employer Saturday for misrepresenting the grounds of his resignation.
Parton, who was in charge of investigating Annan, confirmed a report by The Associated Press earlier this week that he and another investigator had resigned to protest recent findings by the committee that cleared the secretary general of meddling in the $64 billion program.
"Contrary to recent published reports, I resigned my position as Senior Investigative Counsel for the IIC not because my work was complete but on principle," Parton said Saturday in a statement e-mailed to AP."
NC - 17 Democrats
Well duh! The Democrats have just discovered that parents are concerned about the corrupting effects that the entertainment industry has on their children.
This certainly explains why Hillary Clinton has been speaking about trying to find a middle ground on aborttion. Of course, she doesn't mean a word of it and everybody knows she's a fraud.
"In an attempt to reach out to evangelical Christians in the Republican red states, Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, has been talking much more about values and "the culture," and sprinkling his attacks on Republicans with phrases from the Bible.
"We need to kick the money changers out of the temple and restore moral values to America," he said last week in Florida.
But an online survey of 11,568 Dean supporters released earlier this month by the Pew Research Center found that such religious or culturally conservative appeals may not play well with liberal Democrats.
Among the Pew findings, 38 percent of Dean supporters polled said they had no religious affiliation, compared with 11 percent of all Americans; 91 percent supported same-sex "marriage," compared with 38 percent of all Democrats; and 80 percent said they were liberals, compared with 27 percent of all Democrats."
So, should the Democrats alienate their base and their biggest sources of cash? Do they even have the courage to do so?
Friday, April 22, 2005
Will CBS Pick This Up?
Seems that, unlike Tom Delay, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi really did break ethics laws. And, she refuses to answer any questions about it.
"House Republicans yesterday called on Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to provide documentation to prove that a Washington lobbyist firm did not pay for a trip she and other Democrats took to Puerto Rico in 2001.
"We feel that such lingering questions undermine the integrity of the institution and we hope [the questions] will be cleared up as soon as possible," wrote Republican Reps. Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina and Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia.
The Washington Times reported earlier this week that Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Ohio Democrat and member of the House ethics committee, listed a registered lobbyist as the trip's sponsor. House rules prohibit registered lobbyists from paying for travel by members.
On travel disclosure forms filed with the House clerk, Mrs. Pelosi and others on the trip listed a group called Todo Puerto Rico con Vieques as its sponsor.
After the discrepancy was made public, Mrs. Jones amended her travel disclosure form to match those of Mrs. Pelosi and other travelers. A spokeswoman in Mrs. Jones' office blamed the conflicting information on "human error" but declined to provide proof that the trip was paid for by Todo Puerto Rico con Vieques, rather than D.C. lobbyist Smith, Dawson & Andrews."
So, not only did she accept money from the lobbyist, she lied on her disclosure forms to conceal the payment.
Is The Pope Catholic?
“Is the pope Catholic?”
Back when people possessed the patience for polysyllabic witticisms, that phrase was the standard response when someone asked a stupid question for which the answer was self-evident.
These days, we simply grunt the cartoonish exclamation, “duh!”
So, today, when somebody asks, “Is the pope Catholic?” there must be some substance to the question.
It seems that a lot of people were surprised earlier this week when the white smoke rose from Saint Peter’s basilica announcing that the College of Cardinals had elected a Catholic as the next pope. Many people, including most of the press, seemed to be expecting that John Paul II’s successor would be a Unitarian Universalist or something.
And, judging by the reaction that that same mainstream press chose to highlight, it seems that a significant proportion of Catholics were hoping that the new pope would abandon tradition and be more in tune with elite opinion’s predilection for abortion on demand, gay marriage and starving the handicapped to death. In other words, they wanted a pope who was not, in fact, a Catholic.
Scarcely had Cardinal Ratzinger chosen his new papal name when the press began offering their own alternative suggestions, such as God’s Rotweiller and Pope John Paul II’s enforcer.
Now that would be a good name. Pope Rotweiller I. It certainly has a contemporary ring to it that Pope Benedict XVI lacks. Pope Benedict XVI seems, on the surface, less imposing than say, Super Bowl XXXVII.
But the most insulting pejoratives that were hung around Pope Benedict XVI’s neck by the press this week past was, “conservative” or “fundamentalist.” And his greatest crime was that he intended to keep to that old tyme religion.
Hey! Earth to liberals! He’s the pope of the Catholic Church! He was elevated to the rank of cardinal because he adhered to Catholic orthodoxy! His peers, who gained their stature the same way, were from the start absolutely certain to elect somebody whom they perceived as best equipped to defending the faith as they know it. You might as well criticize Republicans for failing to nominate Howard Dean as their presidential candidate last year.
My goodness! How can the press report on a world that it doesn’t understand?
The Catholic Church is conservative because it is supposed to be. A church is supposed to stand as a bulwark of morality against the stiff winds of popular culture, hedonism, and moral relativism. Any church that simply believes in what’s happening now has no validity as a faith. They might attract a few adherents who need reinforcement rather than guidance. But a religion that simply reflects modern fads and trends belongs on MTV, not in a cathedral.
I am not a Catholic because I have real doctrinal disagreements with Catholic teachings. Like many critics of Catholicism, I think that the Catholic Church could adjust a few things without doing itself any harm. I’ve yet to have a Catholic point to a biblical passage that forbids married clergy for example. I don’t really understand why Catholicism marginalizes women.
But, to expect that this or any other newly elected pope would simply toss aside those traditions and many other tenets to suit my tastes is really quite silly.
I wasn’t surprised that the mainstream media was so quick to pounce upon what they perceived as Cardinal Ratzinger’s deficiencies. What I find surprising is the number of Catholics who wish that their religion would change to accommodate their own prejudices.
Hey! Once again, what the Catholic Church stands for is written down for anyone to read. Catholics in name only who find fault with that doctrine should not demand that every other Catholic yield to accommodate them. They should find another faith. When King Henry VIII decided that Catholicism not longer suited him, he formed his own religion. It’s easier these days. Just go down the street. Surely there’s a protestant church somewhere that shares your opinions.
Is being called “Catholic” so prestigious that one will continue to keep the label even though one wishes he or she could overthrow what the church stands for? That seems a bit selfish to me.
Rather than lament that Catholicism has not remade itself to suit you, make yourself useful and pray that this pope has the strength and wisdom to guide the church through the challenges that confront it.
Saturday, April 16, 2005
Democrats Lie, Republicans Pay?
Ever heard of Tom Tancredo? Neither had I. Apparently he too would like an invitation to Meet the Press.
Even as he admits that the charges against Tom Delay are trumped up by Democrats, he says that the majority leader should step aside until the the charges against him are cleared up.
Of course, the charges will never be cleared up. For one reason, the Democrats won't permit the House Ethics Committee to meet. For another, they'll just cook something eles up.
Stop Me, Before I Steal Again!
Now we know what the real problem with United Nations is. It's not the UN itself. It's not France and Germany and Russia.
It's the United States and Great Britain.
"U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who earlier angered the United States and Britain by calling the Iraq war 'illegal,' has upset both nations again -- this time accusing them of allowing Saddam Hussein to enrich himself selling oil outside the U.N.-run oil-for-food program."
Uh huh. The only nations on earth willing to enforce UN mandates are responsible for Saddam Hussein's criminality - the UN's complicity.
Just as Pavlov could make his dogs slobber witht promise of food, Tim Russert can make certain Republicans do tricks with the promise of some screen time. The trick they are to perform is to subvert their own party.
One of the best trained dogs is John McCain. Keep track of how many talking head shows he appears on this weekend and next.
Saturday, April 02, 2005
Too Bad For Martha Stewart That She Didn't Lie About National Security
In the end, Martha Stewart went to jail for lying to investigators about a crime she was acquitted of.
Sandy Berger skates even though he lied to investigators about real crime that compromised national security.
Friday, April 01, 2005
Sandy Berger To Plead Guilty
I guess Sandy Berger decided that it would difficult to convince a jury that classified documents just accidentally got stuffed into his underwear.
"The deal's terms make clear that Berger spoke falsely last summer in public claims that in 2003 he twice inadvertently walked off with copies of a classified document during visits to the National Archives, then later lost them.
He described the episode last summer as "an honest mistake." Yesterday, a Berger associate who declined to be identified by name but was speaking with Berger's permission said: "He recognizes what he did was wrong. . . . It was not inadvertent."
Going After Big Spam
My goodness, but aren’t Washington’s Democrats twisting themselves into some interesting pretzels trying to keep their somewhat amended promise not to balance the budget with higher taxes? Like most Washingtonians, I recall Christine Gregoire last fall assuring us that she had no intention of raising taxes. Now, we are given to understand that we misheard her. What she really promised was that she would not impose a general tax increase. Apparently that gives her license to inflict targeted tax increases.
With targeted tax increases, you can foist the burden on a relatively small proportion of the electorate – too few to vote you out of office in four years. And, if you’re really nimble, you can raise taxes on those whom you don’t expect to vote for you anyway.
And clearly, Democrats do not expect that very many of their voters are the sort who consume Spam and chili con carne out of a can, because that’s where they expect to raise $11 million from new taxes on canned meat over the next two years.
Yes, that’s true. Washington’s Democratic dominated government plans to raise taxes on canned meat. Spam, Vienna sausages, and deviled ham are all on the hit list. Democrats are notorious for using the tax code to fine tune human behavior. In general, legislators like to play social scientists on C-SPAN by modifying human behavior by raising taxes on activities they would like to reduce. And so, it is no surprise that they’re raising taxes on booze and cigarettes. But canned meat? What’s wrong with that?
Well, in this case, it seems that it is all about raising money and not for discouraging behavior that Democrats deem unsuitable in polite company.
Last year, the state’s Supreme Court divined that the state could not tax fresh and canned meats at different rates. Although, why meat should be specifically taxed as all eludes me. Do we have a tofu tax?
Undoubtedly Christine Gregoire and her Seattlista allies imagine that they can get away with balancing the budget on the trailer park demographic. It’s easy to imagine that slice of our citizenry sitting on their porches in worn out, overstuffed couches, puffing on Camels, while snacking on Vienna sausages, and finally washing it down with some Jack Daniels on the rocks. And Democrats do not imagine their voters looking like that.
Certainly, we could never expect Seattle Democrats to impose taxes upon their own favorites - brie, latté, brioche, sushi or sticky buns.
Certainly when one thinks of an elitist Seattle Democrat, one does not conjure up an image of someone smoking a cigarette while breakfasting on fried Spam and scrambled eggs. Clearly the target seems to be those Washingtonians who are in no danger of circulating among the Seattle elites. You certainly won’t see Vienna sausages alongside the canapés on the hors de oeuvre tray at Boeing or Microsoft social functions.
I must admit that when I first heard that the Washington Legislature planned to tax Spam, I was not entirely displeased. I’ve often thought that one reason that we have so much SPAM arriving in our e-mail boxes was that it was free. And, while I prefer a private sector solution, the prospect of forcing SPAMMERS out of business through taxes was a satisfactory second best solution.
But then I learned that, no, it was not junk e-mail that Olympia wanted to tax. It was that greasy, cloying canned meat that they were going after. And Vienna sausages, and deviled ham and all other canned meats. Good grief! What are they thinking?
As a non-consumer of canned meats, this will have little effect on me personally. This has to rank among the more bizarre targeted tax increases that anyone has ever conceived of.
Final note. On the morning that Terri Schiavo finally fulfilled the wishes of the American cultural left wing and died, I read a story about a fetus that had been made into a work of art by “plasticizing.” It had been stolen from a museum where it was on exhibit. If dead humans may now be displayed as works of art, then I propose that Terri Schiavo’s head be mounted on a plaque, like a big game trophy, and hung on the wall of the reception room of the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters. Congratulations guys! You won!
Ward Churchill Finds A Home Among Brethren
Wanna meet the people whom Ward Churchill feels at home with. Click here.
Use Head and Shoulders, Save the Planet
Your dandruff is destroying the planet. It's true!
"WASHINGTON, D.C. — If you have nasty dandruff, you could be an air polluter. New research out of Germany says tiny particles in the air known as aerosols may play a bigger role in world climate than thought.
Besides dandruff and other flaking skin, aerosols include cellular material such as fur and pollen.
The German research found biological materials can make up as much as 25 percent of aerosols in some areas, and as much as 40 percent in others.
Aerosols have been widely studied because of their ability to both warm the air, and help cool it. The source of many of them has been unexplained.
Not all scientists are convinced by the research, saying more study is needed.
The findings are in the latest issue of the journal Science."