Friday, June 24, 2005

Democrats Whine, Media Dines (Rove Shines)

I wanted to comment on this ridiculous Democrat whining about Carl Rove’s political speech in which he gave an interesting and largely accurate portrayal of the difference between post-9/11 conservatives and liberals.

First, it is clear that he was making a generalization. By lumping all conservatives and all liberals together into groups, he was using a literary device, one that sane people recognize. He didn’t mean ALL conservatives or ALL liberals. So if he were to clarify by saying that it was clear he meant “some liberals”, not “all liberals”, he would only be stating the obvious.

The Democrats are all over the news begging Rove to apologize to them, or for the President to fire him, for stating the obvious.

The only reason the Democrats get away with this at all is that the Media has decided to back one side. Also, they won’t make independent critical comments of hypocrisy, preferring instead to wait for an opponent to react, and then to cover the fistfight.

An unbiased media would be laughing at Senator Reid, who called the president both a loser and a liar, AND said that the Republicans in the Senate wanted to institute one-party rule and a theocracy, now claiming foul. And they wouldn’t report Hillary Clinton complaining about Rove in New York without pointing out her words at the Minnesota fundraiser when she said that for America to survive it was imperative that the republicans be stopped. And we could go on, but the media should be doing this.

Carl Rove, a POLITICAL OPERATIVE (not a white house appointee, or a confirmed member of the staff), goes to a POLITICAL GATHERING, and makes a POLITICAL POINT where he gives HIS opinion of the difference between the conservative and liberal agenda.

And the Elected Democrats, who couldn’t seem to find their voices to raise a peep against comments Senator Durbin made, comments SO BAD that HE HIMSELF eventually apologized, have now found their voice to defend not the country, not the military, but rather themselves.

The same party leadership who claim that the republicans want to kill your children, poison your water, send all your jobs overseas, take all your money and give it to rich people, steal your grandparent’s social security and give it to Ken Lay, and turn our democracy into either a Taliban-like repressive theocratic regime, OR a one-party dictatorship — they are complaining that Rove said that liberals (not ALL liberals, meaning SOME liberals) didn’t like the idea of war, and would rather have fought terrorists like criminals.

Anybody remember any democrats saying that James Carville our Paul Begala should be fired for all the things they said about republicans? Don’t think so.

But it is fair for the Democrats to act this way — Rove is political, and they are political. The MEDIA is supposed to see through this and report the truth to the American people, and it would rather cheer the democrats, because the media want the democrats to win.

Billy Graham's Last Crusade

I was informed by a blog by Old Zach over at Sic Semper Tyrannis that Billy Graham is scheduled to perform his last crusade tonight in New York City. This prompted me to write a response which I repeat and expand upon here.

As you may know, AOL/Discovery Channel has been running a poll for “The Greatest American”. Billy Graham made the top 25 (They have a biography here). I used my votes in the poll for the Reverend, not because I think he was the absolutely greatest American ever, but because I felt he deserved to be considered in the top 5.

I remember going to a crusade as a young child. As you probably know, each crusade includes an “altar call”. I don't remember if I went forward, although I likely did, as did many others of faith in support of this man, his message, and those who were brought to the same faith through his sound preaching and obvious love for others.

My memory fails me, but I believe my family was involved in this crusade. My parents have always been religious, and my father would have likely been involved with a local crusade. I can picture the stage with the performers, and can hear the Reverend’s voice echoing around the stadium. Of course, having watched many other crusades on TV I am probably imposing those on my memory.

In some ways I am glad he served when he did, and not 20 years later. I get chills of dread even contemplating what liberals would make of him and his preaching today.

No doubt left-wing organizations would be fighting to keep him from preaching in stadiums paid for by public funds (as they have in at least on case with a PromiseKeepers rally. (story here, FreeRepublic discussion here.) The ACLU would have a field day.

No doubt that a wide cross-section of the liberal population would call him divisive, would decry his absolutist message of a single way to heaven, would denounce his lack of tolerance toward other faiths and people of no faith (this despite his overwhelming tolerance and love toward all).

I can hear Senate Democrats making speeches complaining of his close ties with a Republican president. I can see and the others trying to dig up sins from his past to flog him with.

It seems he is only spared because he is such an Icon now that those opposed to his message (or simply opposed to any public proselytizing) feel it would be to hard to challenge him. I see the attacks on others as a sign they don’t want to make the same mistake.

I see what those who cannot tolerate religion do to the men of the cloth today. And I am glad that the Reverend Billy Graham was spared much of the evil of our modern times. Although, I am also sad because he will not be heard any longer.

Durbin's "Apology"

After I submitted my Wednesday article, "Durbin Comments Tailor-made for Censure", the news flashed that Durbin had apologized.

I read his apology, and found it lacking. At best, it was the kind of "non-apology" apology, where he blamed those who found his words unacceptable. It is the kind of thing you teach your children. When you apologize, you don't say "I'm sorry IF you were hurt", you say "I'm sorry that I hurt YOU".

Durbin said that he apologized to those who THOUGHT his words went over the line, and he apologized to anybody who was hurt by his comparisons.

But it is true that he did "apologize" in a fashion. And that is probably all we can expect from a member of the Senate. And that fact that he did realize his words merited an apology just makes the silence of the rest of his party that much worse.

After all, last Thursday, after Senator Warner explained to Senator Durbin why his words were wrong (a message which took way too long to get through to the Senator), Senator Reid made a speech in response where he supported Durbin and claimed that the entire flap was simply a campaign from the right wing. Now that Durbin himself acknowledges that his words were wrong, what excuse can Senator Reid offer for why he couldn't see that last Thursday?
And realize that no other democrat in the Senate or the House said a single word opposing Durbin's comments about America treating its prisoners like Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot.

You might think that they have a rule about letting each person stand and answer for their own comments. That would be a stupid rule, but it seemed to be their modus operandi last week.
Well, contrast that with their reaction this week to something Carl Rove said. Now, Carl Rove is not an elected representative. He is not the 2nd-in-command in the Senate. He is a POLITICAL ADVISOR, which means his job is to make political comments, which can from time to time be harsh.

Carl Rove gave a speech where he offered his opinion as to why liberalism was failing and conservatism was winning. In that speech, he contrasted the conservative response to 9/11, which was to forcefully go after the terrorists, with the liberal response, which was to try to understand the terrorists and have dialogs to solve the problems non-violently.

Well, dozens of elected democrats, who had all lost their moral compass last week, along with their voices, suddenly found them again. They called for Rove to apologize and/or resign. Now I note that Senator Durbin still has his leadership position, even though he admits his words were wrong. But in Rove's case, not only was he voicing his opinion as a political operative and citizen, but his opinion was correct. Even NOW, the argument about Guantanamo is that we should treat the detainees NOT like prisoners of a war, but like arrested suspects who deserve a fair trial. That is what Rove was saying.

But, and this is where it gets even more hypocritical, many elected democrats, some of whom defended Durbin, none of whom said anything against him, say that it isn't enough that Rove apologize, but that other people should also repudiate his comments. Senator Clinton asked army generals to take a political position on this, something they quite rightfully would not do (and she should be ashamed for asking non-political military leaders to choose sides against their president). Senator Schumer wants President Bush to apologize for Rove's comments, which were not different from what Bush said in the debates last year. And lest we forget, Senator Kerry not only agreed with that assessment, he argued that the Democrat's position of taking a more reasoned approach was the RIGHT approach.

Two things we can learn from this. First, the democrats KNOW they can't support their position on terror, which is why they hate that Carl Rove explained it so well. BTW, if you think I am wrong about the opinion being correct, the Republican National Committee has on its web site supporting documentation for Rove's claims. For example, a petition MoveOn.Org (certainly a liberal group associated with the Democrat Party) which called, just DAYS AFTER 9/11 and BEFORE THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN, for a peaceful, non-violent "resolution" to the problems which had arisen because of the attacks against our country.

And second and more importantly for those rational people trying to decide what happened to the democrats and whether they should still support them, the democrats this week showed what was most important to them. Senator Durbin attacked AMERICA, and not one democrat spoke out. Rove made a true comment which indicted liberals, and the democrat party rose in unison to call for his head. The Democrat party proves it cares more about itself and its own power than it does our military, our civilians supporting the war on terror, and the country itself.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

I have a plan for my blogs.

Here's a post nobody will care about, but i'll try to make it interesting anyway.

As I said a few days ago, I had a blog over on MSN. They don't give you a lot of control over what your blogs look like, and I didn't really like their setup, but on the other hand it is free (at least if you are an MSN subscriber) and I don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Anyway, I also write a column once a week for the Potomac News. I consider it a hobby, although since I get paid it is fun to say that I am now a "professional opinion columnist". Allowing my focus to wander, I remember that my son, having to do a report about what one of his parents does for a living, chose to write about my writing, rather than the career I have worked at for the last 24 years, and which actually pays the bills.

Frankly, I find it easier to describe my life as a writer than explain what my real job is, so this works out great for me. I will be ever greatful to a friend of mine, someone from my church who thought I should try to get the job, and talking me up with the editor.

Writing is a mixed blessing, because having a weekly column means that every week I have to write something. And it can't be just anything, like this blog is, it has to be something that I could reasonable expect that at least a few people who read the paper would find interesting enough to spend their time looking over. Also, being a local paper, I feel beholden to write about local issues at least some of the time, even though my focus has for some time been more on national politics. Then there is the problem of having to have the facts straight.

However, to counter the negatives of being stressed out each week writing factual columns that people will read (and that are under 1000 words long) is the rush you get from being a "published opinion columnist". Even though so far as I can tell my "qualifications" for the job are that I can write in complete sentences, and I live in the area. :->

Bringing this post back on topic, having two blogs seems a waste if they say the same things. And the other blog, on MSN, has been where I've been posting links to my column. So my idea, and I have to clear it with the paper first, is to use THAT blog to actually allow web comments on my columns. So rather than have a link list with my columns, I'd put the links in a short BLOG, allowing readers to put comments on the blog.

I never said this was an original idea, since there are probably hundreds of blogs of this type. But this solves some problems for me. Fore example, it bugs me when people write letters to the editor about my columns, because I can't answer them. With this new blog site, and with the blessing of the editor, I would "anonymously" post letters addressed to my column as COMMENTS, and comment on them.

Now, this sounds like a lot of work, and I might never get past writing this blog to discuss it. Or maybe this is just a bad idea, and the paper will discourage me. Also, I find that the "comments" method of having a back-and-forth on a topic isn't the best way to go.

But the only other ideas I've had so far is to turn the other blog into a poetry site. Which might sound meritorious to those who have not read my poetry.

Where is Natalie Holloway (Why do we care?)

Do we live in a great country, or what? We have over 280 million people, all with their own lives to lead, problems to address, victories and defeats, struggles of adversity, sorrow, and shear madness.

And yet, if one of our beloved citizens goes missing, we still take the time to provide wall-to-wall coverage of the desparate search (at least if it is a good-looking white female).

You would think that everybody in our country is accounted for except Natalie. How else do you explain the obsession with her dissappearance, and the networks tripping over each other trying to report whatever unsubstantiated rumor passes for news.

Fox News has been pitiful in all this. In the course of the last two days, they've gone from "she's missing" to "she's been murdered", to "Suspects to lead us to her body", to "Suspects confess to murder". Then they backed off to "Suspects confess to something BAD". Tonight they are back to "Search for Holloway continues". I guess when you know absolutely nothing, and there is almost nothing NEW to report, the best way to be "fair and BALANCED" is to present all possible outcomes as if they have happened. "We make it up, you decide which one you like the best".

But frankly, getting the story wrong isn't really as big a deal in this case as HAVING THE STORY AT ALL. I relate a sad story from my own county, Prince William, Va., starting from last September.

A woman with some personality disorders walked a mile from her home to a local store. On her way back home, she decided to cut through the woods. This happened last september. But the woods were terribly overgrown, and she got lost. She had a cell phone, and called a relative to say she was lost, and tried to describe where she was.

Now, I don't remember hearing this story last september. I know the place this happened, as I used to live within a mile of the store. And I am pretty good at hacking my way through impassable underbrush. And I like to help people.

Anyway, there was some attempt apparently to find her, but they gave up. I think because of her mental problems, maybe it was assumed she had just wandered off. Anyway, in March the police ran a dog search training exercise, and decided to take a shot at finding her again. They did find her body, about 100 yards from several houses. They needed a bulldozer to clear the brush to get to her body. The closest homeowner said they had never heard of her missing, and would have been glad to search.

I've got to think that stories like this happen all the time, all around the country. I be right now there is someone missing in every county in america. And to the degree that all of us are wasting our time watching the news for the latest on a missing girl in Aruba, we aren't being informed of people who might have gotten lost in our own neighborhoods and communities, even though THESE are the stories for which we might actually be helpful.

I am convinced that if I had known of my fellow citizen last september, I could have found her, or at least tried. And I'm convinved many people would do the same in their own towns, just as I'm pretty sure none of us are going to get on a plane to fly to Aruba to look for Natalie, or were inclined to drive to Georgia to find Jennifer Wilbanks (the runaway bride).

I made a reference to a white woman up above, but that really isn't the point. Bill O'Reilly once pointed out that he had the story of two minority girls who were missing, and frankly having THREE national stories of missing children isn't any better than one.

We are connected, in fact WAY TOO CONNECTED, to the world we live in. We get worked up over events that are happening far away from us. These are not trivial events, and we should get worked up, but since something (many things) are happening every day that are bad, the fact that we are now able to be inundated by news from around the world, and that the news invariably reports all the horror stories from around the world, means that we are confronted like never before with pain and suffering.

And the News Media plays on our natural empathy with those who are suffering, with background interviews and coverage designed to get us emotionally involved in stories, so we will hang on through the commercials.

I think this barrage of bad news takes an emotional toll on us. I think it breeds a sense of hopelessness which is unwarranted. Of course there is nothing any of us can do about the girl in Aruba, or Amy Lynn Bradley (IF you don't know who this is, you unfortunately might know by tomorrow). But we CAN do something about people missing in our own back yards, if we are TOLD about them.

And Pryor Makes Three

With the successful confirmation of William Pryor, along with David McKeague and Richard Griffin, brings to FIVE the number of judges who were previously blocked who have been confirmed since the infamous “Gang of 14” made their blood-pact to avoid the “nuclear option”.

Pryor was the last of three guaranteed votes. McKeague and Griffin were not in the written deal, and are the first judges to be confirmed under the new “spirit of cooperation” which supposedly accompanied the deal.

The democrats, who when the deal was first announced, considered themselves victorious, are now having second thoughts. Three of the judges they labeled as the most extreme of the nominations are now sitting on the bench. They have promised that the feud over judges that started with Bush I and extended through Clinton to Bush II is now over – so they shouldn’t go back and complain any more about how unfair it was for their nominees when the Republicans had a majority and acted like a majority. Of course the democrats ARE still talking about it.

In exchange, they got a postponement of the nuclear option, allowing them to keep the judicial filibuster so long as they don’t use it. At least two Republicans who were part of the deal have explained that, with the filibuster not used on these three judges, it sets the bar for what is “extraordinary”. Since the Democrats called two of these three (Brown and Pryor) the most extreme justices to ever appear before the Senate, it is hard to imagine there will be another justice nominate who would be MORE extreme. Further, since Brown (by the deal) didn’t meet the standard of “extraordinary circumstance”, should Bush later nominate her for the Supreme Court it will be hard for the Democrats to filibuster. The Republicans in the deal have promised that, if THEY don’t think a judge is “extraordinarily bad”, and the democrats filibuster, they will consider the deal broken and vote for the ‘nuclear option’.

So the Democrats are wondering what they got. The conservatives are still peeved, because they see the filibuster as a sword of Damocles hanging over the inevitable conservative Supreme Court nominee, and believe that they won’t get enough Republicans to break a filibuster then, so we needed to break it now. They may be right, although it isn’t clear that the Republicans had enough votes to break it now.

The Minnesota Star-Tribune has adopted a Democrat talking point (no surprise here), announcing Pryor’s appointment thusly:

The Senate voted 53 to 45 to confirm Pryor for a lifetime appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

The Democrats have taken to reminding people again and again that a judge gets a “lifetime appointment”. I did some study of the turnover rate of judges, compared to Senators, and while the information available to me was too sketchy to be certain, it appears that the percentage of judges that retires each year compares with that of the Senators. In other words, in many states Senators serve longer than judges.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Two Down, Many To Go

It’s been a couple of weeks now since the fateful "Compromise" on Judges. So far, So good.

A month ago the democrats had a solid vote for filibuster on every appeals court nominee they felt like blocking. A month ago Priscilla Owens and Janice Rogers Brown were considered by democrats the most extreme judicial nominees ever to be presented to the Senate for confirmation.

These two judges were part of a triumvirate of evil, a threat to democracy and our very way of life. They were like the Sith to the Democrat judicial "Jedi Knights", wielding the force of the unelected judiciary but for evil rather than good.
What a difference a month makes. A month ago Senator Bill Frist said enough is enough, and threatened to put an end to the filibuster. Since that time some Senate Democrats have had a change of heart.

The filibuster on Owens fell with a MAJORITY of democrats voting to end debate. She is now an Appeals Court Justice, only 4 years too late. The filibuster on Brown fell yesterday, by a smaller margin, but with enough democrats that even without the deal, if the democrat leadership had released the senators to vote their conscience, the filibuster would have been ended. Today she was confirmed, and soon she too will be a sitting Appeals Court Justice.

And the filibuster on Justice William Pryor ended today as well, with 12 democrats joining the republicans to denounce the delaying tactics of the leadership. He was also considered a far-right extremist who would inject his personal opinions into court cases. Justice Pryor has been serving in his nominated position since last year, having been "recess-appointed" by President Bush. Now he is a day away from being confirmed to that position. His outstanding work in the past year on the bench may have had something to do with the Democrat collapse on his nomination. While some argued that he was just biding his time, ruling cautiously to deceive the senate into approving him, most senators must see that calling a sitting judge a liar and deciever, a trickster and a con man, is not good for our government.

Several more justices are also slated to be voted in this week, after long delays and holds for no reason other than the personal revenge of a Senator from Michigan over the rejection of a relative to a seat on the bench. Good to know that when the Democrats decided to act for the good of the country instead of their own party extremists, they also decided that personal grudges should be left behind.
I have no illusion that this is a lasting peace. The owners of the democrat party hold the purse strings, and they are not at all happy with this turn of events. Last month they had a stranglehold on the judiciary, a veto over who could be a judge. Now three of their most hated adversaries have won, the american people have won, and the liberal interest groups don't like it one bit.

Look for a fight over the nomination of Justice Myers. President Bush is not playing politics, he wants good nominees to receive a vote, and he won't easily be convinced to withdraw. And Senator Frist is tired of being the whipping boy for a recalcitrant and petty minority led by a loose cannon, Senator Reid. Myers was not promised a vote in the "deal", but at least two republicans in the deal say that Myers is NOT an "extraordinary case", and filibustering him would break the agreement. Their votes would provide the margin for victory over the filibuster.

That is, assuming no other republicans broke ranks. They have no reason to now. It is clear that the Democrats were not completely in agreement on the filibuster, and some only participated under severe threat. They don't want to lose the filibuster, so they will compromise whenever they see it threatened. The "constitutional option" card should be good for a vote on Myers, and maybe even Saad (who may get voted down if he gets a vote).

Then there is Bolton, not a judicial nominee, but filibustered before the memorial day recess. "King of the Dealmakers" John McCain stepped up to solve the "Bolton Problem", but even his powers of kissing up to the opposition were not enough to obtain assurances of a vote on this nominee. And now the democrats, who SAY they are voting against Bolton simply because they THINK he might not be able to be effective, NOW ARE ARGUING that, because they are going to vote against him, it will weaken him and make him less effective. Talk about your self-fufulling prophesy. I say to them now what I said several weeks ago -- Just Vote For Bolton, and he WILL have the credibility WE NEED for the good of the country.

Not that I expect the Democrats to do what is good for the country. The People of the country, democrats and republicans, mostly want what is best. But the democrats have been hijacked by a far-left cabal, led by the likes of Soros and Howard Dean.
But that is negative thinking. For now, let me just bask in the joy of having a few good nominees sitting where they SHOULD have been sitting for years, on the benches of the court system.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

A New Blog Spot!

This is my second blog spot in the wonderful world of the internet. I have been operating a blog under the msn network, at CriticallyThinking.

But I don't really like msn, or their blogs. I notice that a lot of blogs I like are using, so I decided I'd try it out. I don't expect to maintain two blogs, since I don't post enough for one.

However, I probably will maintain two blogs, because not only do I expect the unexpected, I am too lazy to take any actions which would be necessary to consolidate my blogs.

It won't hurt me to move here in any case, since I had hardly built up a following in my previous blog.

Of course, all the comments I have made throughout the web reference that site -- so if anybody ever gets interested in what I am saying that's where they are going.

This has got to be one of the more self-reflective blogs around. I wonder why people think others are interested in what they have to say, and I especially wonder why I think people want to see my own process ramblings.

But maybe someone will find some humor in a blogger who writes a novel about his indecision over which blog site to use.