Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Mark Steyn is at it again

Mark Steyn is at it again, being one of the most lucid, interesting, humane, logical commentators on just about anything (this time the anything happens to be the societal repercussions of Terri's ordeal). Hat Tip: Galley Slaves

How we arrive at our conclusions

If you scroll down my blog, you'll see that for the past three days, I've been doing a lot of posts that touch upon the fact that the liberals have a completely different set of operating principles than do conservatives. I've sort of poked fun at this, but Hugh Hewitt, in his most recent Weekly Standard column tackles the real world problems that occur when two groups have competing value systems, and one utterly rejects the validity of the other's. What's happening here is that the Left is saying that, if your ultimate policy conclusions come, even in part, through a religious filter, they are not just wrong, but entirely invalid. Thus, the Left says that he only valid conclusions come from thought that is utterly uninformed or "uninfected" by religion. In that regard, the Left falls into the same error I was making, only they present it as a virtue, not a fault: They believe that they don't have "principles" -- they just have pure, rationale conclusions, mathematical in their perfection, utterly removed from any polluting principles. I think the feeling is that principles are an old-fashioned construct and, as such, must inevitably be tainted by old fashioned ideas, such as racism, sexism, poverty-ism, empire lust, capitalism, pro-life-ism, etc. Hat tip: Palm Tree Pundit

What religion teaches us

From my friend again:

Religious people believe they have received wisdom from God. This makes them humble. People who look down on religious people believe they are wise because they have achieved wisdom through their own efforts. This makes them haughty.

A solid entry in the "Paul Krugman is an idiot" club

This Edward L. Daley article does a great job of taking apart Paul Krugman's most recent hate-filled rant. I actually have reason to be grateful to the loathsome Paul Krugman. It was his insane rants that led me to question my previously held liberal beliefs. I think I'm in the intellectually and morally stronger position now that I've espoused conservatism, so I have to be appreciative of someone who pushed me across that Rubicon, no matter how inadvertently. Having said that, be sure to read Mr. Daley's take on Krugman's most recent screed.

The difference between liberals and conservatives

One of the things I've always flattered myself about is my ability to choose smart friends. Here's what one of my very smart friends had to say:

There is an old ironic saying that liberals believe that people are basically good and should be controlled by extensive government rules; conservatives know that people are basically evil and should be given the greatest freedom possible. I suppose this is only true in an economic sense (certainly not as to social issues like abortion, drugs or gay rights), but it is an interesting spin, nonetheless. The truth is that conservatives fear the accumulation of too much power in anybody's hands, because they understand power does corrupt (or, at least, the corrupt tend to seize power). Liberals welcome the accumulation of all power in government because they believe that such power in the right hands (theirs) will be used only to make the world a better place.

The bizarre deference we extend to judges

R.I.P. Terri Schiavo. Here's Ann Coulter on activist judges and the way we've been conditioned to believe that they are not part of the government:

Alexander Hamilton's famous last words in "The Federalist" described the judiciary as the "least dangerous branch," because it had neither force nor will. Now the judiciary is the most dangerous branch. It doesn't need force because it has smoke and mirrors and a lot of people defending the moronic scribblings of any judge as the perfect efflorescence of "the rule of law." This week, an indisputably innocent woman will be killed by the government for one reason: Judge Greer of Pinellas County, Fla., ordered it. Polls claim that a majority of Americans objected to action by the U.S. Congress in the Schiavo case as "government intrusion" into a "private family matter" — as if Judge Greer is not also the government. So twisted is our view of the judiciary that a judicial decree is treated like a naturally occurring phenomenon, like a rainbow or an act of God. Our infallible, divine ruler is a county judge in Florida named George Greer, who has more authority in America than the U.S. Congress, the president and the governor. No wonder the Southern Baptist Church threw Greer out: Only one god per church! It's a good system if you like monarchy and legally sanctioned murder. But spare me the paeans to "strict constructionism" and "limited government."
The last thing I want to say on this sad subject, with poor Terri murdered by the judicial branch of the government, is that I've had it with the consistency-mongers who claim that all conservatives are hypocrites because they sought to use one branch of government (the legislative one) to prevent another branch of the government (the judicial one) from overseeing the slow murder of an innocent woman:
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Students may be wising up

Anti-war activism seems to have run out of steam at Columbia University:

Two years ago, as America’s foot soldiers headed into Iraq, a thousand of Columbia’s own artillerymen hit the bricks in an organized walkout that culminated in a rally at the sundial. Yesterday’s noon walkout, to protest the second anniversary of the war, drew only 50 students at its peak.
The organizers are putting a good face on it, but I think that, if you can't get a good anti-war rally going at a radical American University, you've got a problem. In fact, things are even worse for the anti-war movement at Columbia than the article's introductory paragraph would indicate:
David Judd, SEAS ’08 and a member of the Anti-War Coalition, said the election “was demoralizing for the anti-war movement as a whole,” but thinks dissent is on the upswing again. He said yesterday’s turnout, while low, was a positive step, up from an October demonstration at Columbia protesting the siege on Fallujah that drew about 15 people.
Could it be that, despite the Leftist, militant, anti-Semitic, anti-American faculty at Columbia, the students are starting to figure things out for themselves?

Making sure California taxpayers and UC Berkeley students get their money's worth

Can anyone explain to me why the student newspaper at UC Berkeley has a sex columnist? I have a habit of checking out student newspapers online, since I think it's interesting (and usually disappointing) to see what our "future leaders" are thinking and how well (or, usually, how badly) they are writing. I was taken aback, however, to discover that the Daily Cal, which is UC Berkeley's student newspaper, tackles such interesting issues as sadism, faked orgasms, and videotaping sex. I should say here that I'm not disgusted by the content, which is fairly mild. I'm just discombobulated by my sense that the student newspaper is not the place for this type of stuff, no matter how mild. University of California campuses are, in part, taxpayer funded, and they all have undergraduates -- kids 17 and up. I don't think the student newspaper should be purveying this type of information. My question, of course, and I'd love comments, is whether I'm totally out of it to believe that a sex column is inappropriate for a college newspaper?

Hooray for Hollywood!

I've commented before (here, here, here, and here) about the fact that Hollywood advances a value system antithetical to the values most Americans hold. This New York Times article (with hyperlinks omitted) about a movie opening tomorrow confirms me in my belief that Hollywood is pushing a less than wholesome agenda:

If Quentin Tarantino's 'Reservoir Dogs' and 'Pulp Fiction' shocked audiences with up-close gore, and his 'Kill Bill' movies racked up record numbers of spurting arteries and flying body parts, his pal Robert Rodriguez's 'Sin City,' which opens in 3,300 theaters nationwide tomorrow, may set a new mark for its stomach-churning versatility. Try this for range: cannibalism, castration, decapitation, dismemberment, electrocution, hanging, massacres, pedophilia, slashings and lots and lots of torture.
Nice to know that our American teenagers will have a new movie to see this coming weekend. What's funny is that, because this movie will have an art house, cutting edge cachet, the same people who decry the violence of our times, the wars the conservatives fight, the guns the conservatives allow people to carry, etc., will be applauding this movie for its faithfulness to the original noir comic strip, for its technical mastery, yada, yada, yada. Indeed, speaking of the teenagers seeing it, the director proudly points out that he had no problem with the rating process:
Mr. Rodriguez said that the Motion Picture Association of America had not asked for a single change before giving "Sin City" an "R" rating. "They're usually the most squeamish, but they got the stylization, they got the abstractness of it and it was obviously not a realistic movie."
The important thing to remember in this bloodfest is that it is actually a romance, and that's what the viewers need to take away:
[T]he gore in every scene is secondary to the romantic underpinnings of the three plots. "If all there was was the violence of the comic book, nobody would be making this movie including me," he said by telephone Wednesday. "What transcends it is these are three lugs who happen to be in love with these women in very different ways - the knights in dirty armor. Bruce Willis is the protector, Clive Owen is fighting for the honor of the women of the streets and Mickey Rourke was framed. It's about the lengths they will go for redemption and revenge. That's the core of it, and that's what Robert and Frank got, and that's what every film noir piece has. And people love that."
Even the NY Times columnist writing about this movie recognizes the disingenuous irony in that statement:
Of course, not every film noir piece shows the heads of five prostitutes mounted on a wall, or a dog eating the legs of a still-live boy, or a man ripping out the genitals of another man, or - but never mind.
People may sneer at the bland stuff that Hollywood used to produce but I'll take "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House" or even a Francis the Talking Mule, or a Bonzo the Chimp movie, any day. UPDATE: Much to my amusement, one day after posting the above, I was speaking to a dear, liberal friend who is tremendously excited about Sin City. When I commented about the disgusting, really degrading, violence, he said that wasn't a problem. The film clips he's seen are "so artistic." He's too dear a person for me to have commented that I don't think art sanitizes violence.

Remember when music was just music?

My question is, when did rock stars and their fans begin to think that rock stars actually have greater insights into politics than anyone else? Out of Australia, we get this

REM have paid tribute to the late rock star Michael Hutchence and continued a verbal assault on US President George W Bush on their first Australian tour in a decade.
Gosh, some of REM's music is good, but they really haven't given me any reason to believe that they're either foreign or domestic policy specialists.

Holding two opposite thoughts in your head simultaneously

I note this article in which the UN charges that the American occupation is essentially starving Iraqi children (which, if true, is horrific and, if not true, is one more example of why the UN is evil). Since the UN and the Left tend to walk the streets in harmony, I wonder what the Left, which serenely accepts that Terri is dying peacefully, makes of this: "The silent daily massacre by hunger is a form of murder," Mr Ziegler said. "It must be battled and eliminated."

A nice list

I started a snide list about the rather, um, unusual belief system good liberals espouse. Anne, over at Palm Tree Pundit, has come up with a much nicer list of things for which she is thankful, and she encourages others to add to that list. I am, in fact, thankful for many things (all secular, I have to admit, which makes it look rather shallow in contrast to Anne's list): 1. My family. 2. The fact that my family is healthy and happy. 3. Friends, near, far and in cyberspace. 4. A president who I believe is making a positive difference in the world. 5. Interesting work. 6. Living in a wonderful neighborhood, in a great town, in a marvelous part of the world. 7. Good books. 8. Moments of silence. 9. My five senses.

It's baaack!

Just to let you know, City Journal has just published its Spring 2005 edition. I can't wait to read the myriad articles it's uploaded. Sadly, most of the articles are not online, but I remain hopeful that, with the passage of time, they'll upload more of them.

A survivor's perspective on the Terri Schiavo matter

As she admits, Gail, at Crossing the Rubicon, took her time posting about Terri, but it was definitely worth the wait. Gail's post touches on personal responsibility, Jewish law, surviving breast cancer, ethics, maturity, etc.

Are we a death culture or a life culture?

Inspired by the controversy swirling around Terri's court-sanctioned murder, Dennis Prager has come out with one of his best columns yet. In this one, he tackles the fact that Judaism and, from it, Christianity stood out in the ancient world as life-affirming, not death-affirming, religions. As he notes, this viewpoint still distinguishes them from other religions, most notably, now, fundamentalist Islam, with its unending focus on 72 virgins (or raisins). He walks through many of Judaisms rituals and proscriptions to explain that they were intended to stand in stark contrast to the Egyptian obsession with death:

[I]f there is anything that Judeo-Christian values stand for, it is choosing life and rejecting death. As the Torah puts it, "I have put before you today life and death, and you shall choose life." Even believing Jews and Christians are not fully aware of how much the rejection of death-oriented Egypt underlies the values and practices of the Torah, the first five books of the Bible held sacred by Judaism and Christianity. Egyptian civilization was steeped in death. Its bible was the Book of the Dead, and its greatest monuments, its very symbols, the pyramids, were gigantic tombs. One of the Torah's first tasks was to destroy the connection between civilization (and, of course, religion) and death. That is the reason, I am convinced, for the absence of overt mention of the afterlife in the Jewish Bible — it was greatly concerned with getting humanity preoccupied with life. With a few noble exceptions, preoccupation with the afterlife has led to denigration of life. The Islamic terrorists and the cultures that support them are only the most recent examples.
The longevity of Egyptian civilization indicates that a nation built around a death cult can still be a thriving, powerful nation. It's not necessarily a recipe for cultural suicide. However, I have to ask myself if that's the type of nation we want to be. I'd rather choose life.

Are we more stupid, or are we the victims of prejudice?

The WaPo did a lengthy article on a just-released study that once again demonstrates that our colleges and universities – especially those that view themselves as elite – are awash in liberals, more so than even the WaPo expected. The WaPo article is worth reading, but I don't find anything in it especially quotable. What it did leave me wondering, though, is how the study's results are going to play out. I'm quite sure that, fairly quickly, the liberal media will play it out as demonstrating that conservatives are more stupid, less intellectually capable, than liberals. The conservatives, of course, will point to the fact that the hiring and tenure tracks at these institutions rest in the hands of people who make no bones about finding conservatives evil. And it just strikes me that, if this plays out as I suspect, this parallels very closely the situation when blacks were not admitted to institutes of higher education. Then, too, the guardians of those institution took refuge behind ideas such as stupid or incapable, while those being denied admission understood the true bias driving the decision-making.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Democratic principles

Having read the Justice Scalia profile in The New Yorker, I was talking to a friend of mine about the fact the profile's author, in a tone that I thought was critical, took Scalia to task for bringing to his decision-making the traditional American/Roman Catholic belief system that frames his world. From there, we drifted into my contention that liberals will accept any rationale for decision-making except for religion. My friend commented that he found it interesting, as we talked, what a different view of liberals we have. He believes that they have principles, but that their principles are dead wrong; I believe they are immoral, since I believe that their world-views are so self-referential as to be devoid of guiding principles (a subject I posted on here). After looking at the issue some more, I've decided (as I often do) that this friend is right. A principle, after all, is "A basic truth, law, or assumption." (See definition number 1 for "principle" in the The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition.) To me, principles mean traditional principles, pretty much defined at the top by the Ten Commandments, and working down from there. But if you accept that principles are not the same as traditional values, but are, in fact, simply a group's guiding belief systems, the liberals have lots of them. I'm starting here a list of the defining principles that guide liberals in their decision-making, at both political and social levels. You should feel free to chime in, here or on your own blogs, with more: 1. White men are evil. 2. White men have as their primary goal the subjugation of women and minorities. 3. All women are victims of white men. 4. All minorities are victims of white men, and of some white women. 5. Neither minorities nor women will ever be able to achieve any type of success, in any area of endeavor, without government aid (presumably because it takes the heft of the government to defeat the evil visited on them by white men). 6. People who embrace traditional religious values are stupid (I actually heard someone say this, using those words). 7. People who embrace traditional religious values hate minorities, women and poor people. 8. If people who embrace traditional religious values are for something, then liberals must by definition be against it. 9. Jesus would have been a Democrat. 10. Only judges can be trusted to make laws that protect people from white men and religious people. UPDATE: I've just read Anna Quindlen's "why Terri would want to die" column in Newsweek, so I'll add my Demo Principle No. 11: Die young, stay pretty. UPDATE II: Regarding Principles 1, 2 and 3 (evil white men and their effect on women), check out this article by Mike S. Adams regarding the feminist insanity at UNH.

What about Dole for President in 2008?

My friend and I were talking about viable Republican candidates in 2008. He bandied about Condi's name, but I just don't think a few years as Sec'y of State is enough to get the voters to put her in the White House. Cheney is currently refusing to run (and people may be dubious about his heart health). McCain is too much of a wild card (and people may be dubious about his, what was it?, cancer). And so the no-list grows. Hillary looks like an unstoppable juggernaut simply because there is no one there to stop her. And then I thought, what about Elizabeth Dole? She's fiercely intelligent, a seasoned politican by now, and a credentialed conservative. It would certainly be an interesting match-up, wouldn't it?

The AP and I don't see eye to eye on things

Click to this link and tell me what you see. I see exhausted and disheartened. The AP sees a "slight smile." And in any event, why should the AP be describing someone's facial expression in a photograph that anyone can look at?

Conservatives -- the new blacks on college campuses?

The WaPo did a lengthy article on a just-released study that once again demonstrates that our colleges and universities – especially those that view themselves as elite – are awash in liberals, more so than even the WaPo expected. The WaPo article is worth reading, but I don't find anything in it especially quotable. What it did leave me wondering, though, is how the study's results are going to play out. I'm quite sure that, fairly quickly, the liberal media will play it out as demonstrating that conservatives are more stupid, less intellectually capable, than liberals. The conservatives, of course, will point to the fact that the hiring and tenure tracks at these institutions rest in the hands of people who make no bones about finding conservatives evil. And it just strikes me that, if this plays out as I suspect, the parties' respective positions will parallel very closely the situation when blacks were not admitted to institutes of higher education. Then, too, the guardians of those institution took refuge behind ideas such as stupid or incapable, while those being denied admission understood the true bias driving the decision-making.

Monday, March 28, 2005

A heads-up about the new face of faith amongst liberals

Laer, over at Cheat-Seeking Missiles, is a better man than I am (especially because I'm not a man), since he has the courage regularly to read the L.A. Times. I visit it occasionally, but am always put off by its world view. Anyway, he just did a post about the Rev. Jim Wallis, a man much touted in the MSM because he is their answer to the fact that people are concerned that the Libs lack values. As Laer's great post shows, though, Rev. Wallis simply parrots Demo positions, and then finds stray Biblical sentences to support those positions. In fact, the Bible can support many things, but it's stunning how in Rev. Wallis' hands, it systematically supports all Demo talking points.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Mark Steyn does it again

I don't consider this a Terri Schiavo post but, rather, a Mark Steyn post. Having said that, Here's Mark Steyn about Terri Schiavo:

I'm neither a Floridian nor a lawyer, and, for all I know, it may be legal under Florida law for the state to order her to be starved to death. But it is still wrong. This is not a criminal, not a murderer, not a person whose life should be in the gift of the state. So I find it repulsive, and indeed decadent, to have her continued existence framed in terms of ''plaintiffs'' and ''petitions'' and ''en banc review'' and ''de novo'' and all the other legalese. Mrs. Schiavo has been in her present condition for 15 years. Whoever she once was, this is who she is now -- and, after a decade and a half, there is no compelling reason to kill her. Any legal system with a decent respect for the status quo -- something too many American judges are increasingly disdainful of -- would recognize that her present life, in all its limitations, is now a well-established fact, and it is the most grotesque judicial overreaching for any court at this late stage to decide enough is enough. It would be one thing had a doctor decided to reach for the morphine and ''put her out of her misery'' after a week in her diminished state; after 15 years, for the courts to treat her like a Death Row killer who's exhausted her appeals is simply vile.
Believe it or not, the column only gets better after this. Thus, with regard to Mr. Schiavo, the inestimable Mr. Steyn has this to say:
Michael Schiavo took a vow to be faithful in sickness and in health, forsaking all others till death do them part. He's forsaken his wife and been unfaithful to her: She is, de facto, his ex-wife, yet, de jure, he appears to have the right to order her execution. This is preposterous. Suppose his current common-law partner were to fall victim to a disabling accident. Would he also be able to have her terminated? Can he exercise his spousal rights polygamously? The legal deference to Mr. Schiavo's position, to his rights overriding her parents', is at odds with reality.
Mr. Steyn also takes on a point I've tried ineptly to make, which is that the Terri Schiavo who may 15+ years ago have made a reference to "not wanting to live like that" is no longer with us. There is a different Terri Schiavo here, who may, until the courts ordered her death, have valued the simply pleasures of her life:
As for the worthlessness of Terri Schiavo's existence, some years back I was discussing the death of a distinguished songwriter with one of his old colleagues. My then girlfriend, in her mid-20s, was getting twitchy to head for dinner and said airily, ''Oh, well, he had a good life. He was 87.'' ''That's easy for you to say,'' said his old pal. ''I'm 86.'' To say nobody would want to live in an iron lung or a wheelchair or a neck brace or with third-degree burns over 80 percent of your body is likewise easy for you to say. We all have friends who are passionate about some activity -- They say, ''I live to ski,'' or dance, or play the cello. Then something happens and they can't. The ones I've known fall into two broad camps: There are those who give up and consider what's left of their lives a waste of time; and there are those who say they've learned to appreciate simple pleasures, like the morning sun through the spring blossom dappling their room each morning. Most of us roll our eyes and think, ''What a loser, mooning on about the blossom. He used to be a Hollywood vice president, for Pete's sake.'' But that's easy for us to say. We can't know which camp we'd fall into until it happens to us. And it behooves us to maintain a certain modesty about presuming to speak for others -- even those we know well. Example: ''Driving down there, I remember distinctly thinking that Chris would rather not live than be in this condition.'' That's Barbara Johnson recalling the 1995 accident of her son Christopher Reeve. Her instinct was to pull the plug; his was to live.

Excellent post about judicial activism

Check out this excellent post about judicial activism over at Power Line.

Money buys justice

As this Power Line post points out, that the party with the most money gets the best lawyers and the best outcome, and that's probably what happened in the Schiavo case, where Michael had his malpractice money to play around with. I will add, though, that tenacity counts for something, and I've seen small lawyers who become personally committed to cases simply wear the other side out. Usually, a big firm lawyer is accountable to his partners, who will not allow him to over-litigate a case, whereas a small lawyer with a bee in his bonnet may hang onto a case like grim death. In the Schiavo case, though, as the Power Line post makes clear, the real fight began at the appellate level, by which time the Shiavos had already been so effectively outlawyered, they had no room to maneuver.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Worries in Latin America

This morning, I finished reading the April 11 issue of the National Review. The whole issue was excellent, but I was especially struck by the Cover Article about Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. I'd been vaguely aware that Chavez was up to no good, but didn't really think about it until I read this article. The article discusses the fact that Latin America, after some good years in the 1990s, looks as if it's going to fall back into the horrible Stalinist/Trotsky-ite type of Communism that characterized the bloody 1970s and 1980s. It also turns out that Chavez is financing this devolution with oil -- oil that provides 1/3 of America's fuel needs. (Makes me glad all over again that Congress finally authorized drilling in ANWR.) It also turns out that Chavez is pumping money into Castro's pockets, which is not a nice thought -- especially since China and Iran are doing the same. Coming on the heels of this eye-opening article, I received this morning an email from a friend linking me to an interview with Author Humberto Fontova about Castro. Fontova thinks that Castro has WMD, and also comments on the massive funding Castro is suddenly receiving -- funding that more than offsets the financial damage the American boycott was inflicting. It's an interesting interview, and I wish those of my lib friends who champion Cuba would take the time to read it. They might realize that their valid sympathies for the beleaguered Cuban people would find a quicker reward if they didn't pump money into Castro's pockets. Based on these two Saturday morning reads, I'm clearly going to have to give the situation in Latin America more attention.

Why do we even bother with polls anymore?

Why, I wonder, do we even bother with polls anymore? A week ago, I read at Michelle Malkin's blog that the poll purporting to show that American's are opposed to keeping Terri Schiavo alive was completely bogus, because the hypothetical preceding the poll question was false. Today, I read in at Right Wing News that the results in the recent poll showing that Pres. Bush's approval right has dropped came about because there were more Demo's polled than Republicans. I'd just be flogging a dead horse were I to link to articles about the exit polls following the 2004 election. (I do have to ask, though, whether the MSM was attempting to create a 1980-scenario? If I remember my history correctly, Carter -- thank Goodness -- conceded the 1980 election to Reagan before West Coast polls had even closed, based upon the results coming out of the East.) I keep hearing a voice (is it Twains? Disraelis?) saying "There are three kinds of lies. Lies, damn lies, and statistics."

Activist judges

I've been having a really interesting series of back-of-forths with Steve, over at Random Rants and Inquiries, regarding activist judges. (You can see our comments, if you want to, here and here.) Because I was so interested in what Steve had to say, I carried the discussion over to a lunch with a friend of mine who is a conservative lawyer. Speaking with him made me realize that my initial take on what constitutes an "activist" judge is too broad and facile. My friend came up with a much better definition of an activist judge. He pointed out that the balance of power between the legislative and the judicial process is that it is the legislature's responsibility to begin things -- to create or change laws -- while it is the judiciary's role to have the final say. In his view, judicial activism occurs when the judges step in without giving the Legislative process a chance to play itself out. I think this is perfectly right, and sidesteps the problem of whether judges should be doing the type of interpretation they're now engaged in. It isn't that the shouldn't be interpreting the laws; it's that they shouldn't be diving in with opinions and interpretations before the democratically elected legislatures (state and federal) have had a chance fully to play out their role. Interestingly, on the same evening my friend and I had this conversation, I came home to find the most recent New Yorker in the mail. In this edition, there is a fascinating profile of Justice Scalia. (You can read an interview with the profile's author, Margaret Talbot, here.) That profile reveals that even some of the liberal justices felt that the Roe v. Wade decision was in error, since it short-circuited the legislative process. In her on-line interview, Talbot, when asked about the nexus between Scalia's "originalism" and his views on abortion, has this to say:

How does his stance on abortion fit into that philosophy? He would say: I look at the Constitution and I don’t see anywhere in there anything about a right to abortion. And, furthermore, I don’t see anywhere in there the right to privacy or autonomy that some people extrapolate from the Constitution to support the right to abortion. If you want legalized abortion—or any other new right—he would argue, you need to convince your fellow-citizens and pass a law. Unelected judges have no particular ability to divine what the moral standards are out there, and it’s anti-democratic for them to impose their views.
Talbot's comment about Scalia distills for me the essence of the problem I have with activist judges. Rather than waiting out the legislative process, it leapfrogs its way over to unelected judges, which I view as a profoundly undemocratic process. As I've said before, this is the single bad legacy of the Civil Rights movement -- the liberal's belief that they should never wait for the legislative process, but should immediately shop for a sympathetic judge to deliver the final word on any subject.

Friday, March 25, 2005

It's all society's fault

Here the Harvard Crimson trumpets the news that, nationwide, more women than men are now enrolled as college and university undergraduates (including at Harvard itself). Do not fear, though -- the Crimson is not rejoicing:

But while women are outstripping men in college enrollment, men and women still do not receive equal returns from a college education, said Barbara Gault, director of research at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research in Washington D.C. “Even though women are outnumbering men in undergraduate programs, it doesn’t mean they are achieving equality in the workforce,” Gault said. “There is still a gender wage gap. For a woman to earn as much as a man with a bachelor degree she would need a professional degree.”
Without any attempt at analysis, the article leapfrogs to the fact that this differential results from discrimination:
Assistant Professor of Sociology Prudence L. Carter, who has done work on the sociology of education while at Harvard, suggested that such continuing gender-based discrimination may shape female educational aspirations. “If we know that the wage differential is still quite gendered, females may feel compelled to get more education to reach a certain wage bracket,” said Carter. “Parents may also place more pressure on daughters because of a sense that women have a double hurdle to jump.”
The article did abruptly jump subjects to note that more women may be entering college because men (or should I say, boys) are faring badly at American high schools, something I think is a huge problem for American boys and, by extension, for America itself:
The higher percentage of girls in higher education may also be linked to discrimination against men on the high school level, said Professor of Sociology Michèle Lamont. “One factor is that, in general, teachers at the high school level tend to be tougher on boys than they are on girls,” Lamont said. “Minority boys who come to school in hip-hop fashion are more likely to be perceived as disruptive. Teachers’ perceptions of codes of femininity lead them to reinforce academic achievement for girls.”
The article is surprising inarticulate, and misses something important: women might be earning less after college because many women (myself included) get off the career track to get on the Mommy track. And despite strides in modern science, I haven't seen any pregnant men in my neighborhood lately. The feminists can rant as they wish but I suspect that biology may be economic destiny, at least in many cases. The article also doesn't address the fact that boys and girls have very different interests. As the mother of a very boy-like boy, and a very girl-like girl, I can tell you that I can easily foresee that they will take different career paths. Absent huge personality changes, she'll go for something nuturing (and not be that concerned about money), while he will opt for something high competitive, with big earning potential. Did I mention that biology may be economic destiny?

I'm a poodle (miniature). What are you?

I had a great time discovering what kind of dog I am. What kind are you?

Thursday, March 24, 2005

My last Terri Schiavo post

I've exhausted anything I can say about Terri Schiavo. For my last post, I'm resurrecting an old, old (possibly Chinese?) story that I first posted in January. It tells of a young boy who is heading to the river when he meets up with his father. On his father's back is a basket, and in the basket is the aged grandfather. "Father," says the boy. "Where are you taking grandfather?" "Shhh," answered the father. "Grandfather is too old to work and is getting sick. I am taking him to the river to end things quickly." The boy thought for a moment. "Good idea, Father," he said. "Just be sure to bring the basket back, so that I can use it one day for you."

The rule of law; not the rule of judges

Here's Ann Coulter saying in a much better way what I tried to say here; namely, that it's time for a government leader to act to protect Schiavo's civil rights:

As a practical matter, courts will generally have the last word in interpreting the law because courts decide cases. But that's a pragmatic point. There is nothing in the law, the Constitution or the concept of 'federalism' that mandates giving courts the last word. Other public officials, including governors and Presidents, are sworn to uphold the law, too. It would be chaotic if public officials made a habit of disregarding court rulings simply because they disagreed with them. But a practice born of practicality has led the courts to greater and greater flights of arrogance. Sublimely confident that no one will ever call their bluff, courts are now regularly discovering secret legal provisions requiring abortion and gay marriage and prohibiting public prayer and Ten Commandments displays. Just once, we need an elected official to stand up to a clearly incorrect ruling by a court. Any incorrect ruling will do, but my vote is for a state court that has ordered a disabled woman to be starved to death at the request of her adulterous husband.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Where did Newsweek find this guy?

Over at Newsweek, you'll find an interview with a Jesuit "bioethicist" who claims that the Pope didn't mean what he said when he told a group of people that it was not an extraordinary effort to provide food and water to someone to preserve life and that, in fact, it is an extraordinary effort to be forced to give someone food and water for 15 years. Remind me to tell my children, whom I have to feed regularly (and you try feeding a recalcitrant child) that it's time to starve them to death, since it's too much work.

The right question

Someone who has been watching the arrests of people attempting to feed Terri orally emailed this question to David Limbaugh:

Dear David: I share your disgust with the Terri Schiavo situation and wonder at Michael Schiavo's motive. One detail in particular is really bothering me. I can understand a family's decision to withdraw or not consent to a feeding tube. What I cannot understand is why, once the tube has been removed, a court or individual would stand in the way of someone providing oral food or water if the patient can handle receiving it. What possible justification can there be for a court to prevent Terri's parents from giving her ice chips? This rule, above all others, proves to me that the Court is intent upon killing Terri. "Allowing nature to take its course" is no more their intent in this case than it would be if you or I were forbidden water. If Terri were truly unable to take anything by mouth and letting nature or God decide if it's time for her to die is the objective, then why bother forbidding oral fluids and/or food? Thank you for your dedication and your attempts to save Terri. Joanne
If you have an answer to her question, please let me know. I certainly can't answer it. It seems to me that Joanne is absolutely right that the goal here is to kill Terri, not to prevent her from receiving even minimal medical intervention. It also seems to me that the proper wrap-up for this post is this link, which takes you to a short article, with picture, showing police arresting a 12 year old boy who tried to deliver a glass of water to Terri. (Reuters has a "protect" function on its pictures that makes it difficult for me to incorporate the picture into this post.)

Al Qaeda on the rocks

Amir Taheri points out that Al Qaeda is in trouble:

WHERE do we go from here? Islamist groups are posing now that question in the murky space they inhabit on the margins of reality. It is asked in radical mosques, touched upon in articles published by fellow-travelers and debated in the chat-rooms of militant Web sites. Beyond the usual suggestions to hijack a few more jets or poison some Western city's drinking water, the movement appears to have run out of ideas. Yet it may be passing through its deepest crisis since 9/11.
In the remainder of the article, Tahiri details precisely the kind of trouble in which Al Qaeda finds itself: decapitated leadership, communications problems, funding problems, etc. If you'd like to feel a moment of sheer optimism, read his article.

The Demos newfound antipathy to Federalism

If you want a good challenge to your liberal friends who argue that it is dreadful and shocking that the Feds should be involved in this State's rights matter, check out this pithy Rich Lowry column. In it, he amply demonstrates that while Republicans are remaining true to their "protect innocent life" roots, Democrats have basely abandoned their decades long dependency on the Federal government to fix matters they believe are socially important.

Michelle Malkin takes on Michael Schiavo and the MSM

In what I think is one of her best columns ever, Michelle Malkin takes on both the mainstream media's abysmal and false coverage of the Schiavo matter, which includes its burial of Michael Schiavo's at times shameful conduct. Despite being used to the MSM's shoddy reporting, I was still shocked by the twisted polls taken, and the trumpeting of their inevitably false results:

On a fundamental matter of life and death, the MSM heavyweights have proven themselves utterly incapable of reporting fairly. Take a widely-publicized ABC News poll released on Monday that supposedly showed strong public opposition to any Washington intervention in Terri's case. Here is how the spinmasters framed the main poll question: "As you may know, a woman in Florida named Terri 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 parents and her husband disagree on whether or not she should be kept on life support. In cases like this who do you think should have final say, (the parents) or (the spouse)?" A follow-up questions asked: "If you were in this condition, would you want to be kept alive, or not?" The problem is that, contrary to what ABC News told those polled, Terri Schiavo is not on "life support" and has never been on "life support." The loaded phrase evokes images of a comatose patient being artificially sustained by myriad machines and pumps and wires. Terri was on a feeding tube. A feeding tube is not a ventilator. Terri can breathe just fine on her own. And as many of her medical caretakers and parents have argued, if given proper rehabilitation, Terri could learn to chew and swallow on her own as well. She is disabled, not dead. But ABC News did not see fit to inform either the poll takers or its viewers of the truth. Instead, it misled them—and the result was a poll response that produced—voila!—"broad public disapproval" for any government intervention to spare Terri from slowly starving to death. Blogger Ed Morrissey of Captain's Quarters ( noted: "Either ABC is completely incompetent in conducting research, or they have attempted to fool their viewers and readership with false polling that essentially lies about the case in question. Since when does ABC conduct push polling for euthanasia?"
What you're not reading the MSM, which adores the term "persistent vegetative state" is that Terri Schiavo in fact is just extremely handicapped, and that Michael Schiavo is getting irked at her tenacity in clinging to life:
Imagine how the poll results might have turned out if ABC News had made clear to participants that Terri is not terminally ill. Not in excruciating pain. Capable of saying "Mommy" and "Help me." And of "getting the feeling she's falling" or getting "excited," in her husband's own testimony, when her head is not held properly. Imagine how the poll results might have turned out if ABC News had informed participants that in a sworn affidavit, registered nurse Carla Sauer Iyer, who worked at the Palm Garden of Largo Convalescent Center in Largo, Fla., while Terri Schiavo was a patient there, testified: "Throughout my time at Palm Gardens, Michael Schiavo was focused on Terri's death. Michael would say 'When is she going to die?' 'Has she died yet?' and 'When is that bitch gonna die?'"
This whole thing is disgusting. And the MSM is slowly, inexorably, getting its way. Two days ago, in a conversation with an elderly friend, my friend was agreeing that Schiavo was being murdered. Yesterday, after watching ABC news, she announced to me that it is disgraceful that the President would interfere to keep this brain dead woman alive. This is an intelligent, compassionate woman, and yet she succumbed without a murmur to the pro-death drumbeat being sounded over the MSM airwaves.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Short and sweet

From Laer at Cheat Seeking Missiles, three simple paragraphs that define the issue:

The logic of this case is so simple, and so defies the howls of the Left, that it's a wonder they're letting themselves be cast as ghouls of death. It all comes down to this: If Terri is in as bad a shape as her husband says she is, she doesn't know and wouldn't care whether she is alive or not, so why not let her parents care for her if they want to? And if she is not in as bad a shape as her husband says she is, why in the world would you kill her instead of transferring responsibility for her care to people who love her and will support her?
Having said that, though, my very pro-life friend raised this one issue: if we say that Terri should be kept alive because there are people ready, willing and able to take care of her, what do we do in a situation in which there are people ready, willing and financially unable to take care of the person. My friend asks if we're creating a new entitlement system. Just when you climb up one slippery slope, you seem to slip down another.

Democrats -- the New Spartans

This sentence struck me in a George Neumayr column in The American Spectator:

The self-described party of the 'little guy' is his greatest enemy, aborting him at the beginning of life or dehydrating him to death at the end of life, all the while insisting that it is for his 'own good.'
Isn't that what the Spartans used to do? The need for a strong society was so paramount that the Spartans routinely euthanized dead weight. It's just that they didn't make any bones about it, while the Dems tend to dress it up. Having said that, I feel that I need to make plain that, despite my complete support for Terri's parents, my own feelings about all of these issues are anything but clear. I recognize that the conservatives have the moral high ground on both abortion and euthanasia. Nevertheless, I cannot get over certain ingrained beliefs: Regarding abortions, while I accept completely that the fetus is a life, I still have a strong feeling (and undoubtedly a selfish one) that the woman has a voice in the matter. I'd trust that voice more, though, if we lived in more of a life affirming culture (see my Mark Steyn post, below). I simply can't get over a feeling of revulsion, for example, at the thought of a women being forced to carry for 9 months a child that is the product of a brutal rape. Yes, the child is innocent, but somehow the woman has to matter too. I also continue to be comfortable with pulling the plug on someone who is brain dead, and who is kept alive solely because a machine is handling respiration. That is, if you'll pardon the almost unconscionable pun, a no-brainer. The slope gets more slippery in other situations, even when there is a directive demanding that ones life be terminated. I had a friend who died of AIDS a decade plus ago, and his was a miserable, prolonged death. Early on, he confided to me that he had a stash of medicines that he intended to use when things got too bad to bear. What was fascinating was that, no matter the indignities and pain that the disease visited on his body, things never did get too bad to bear. He ultimately died from the disease itself, although he was no doubt comforted by the fact that he could, if he desired, exercise control over his own end. Science has certainly outstripped man's capacity for dealing with many of these issues. In the old days, medicine was such that it readily killed the living. Now, we have to grapple with the fact that it seems to keep alive the dead.

Mark Steyn on depopulation and the politics of death

The first half of Mark Steyn's latest article is mostly word play. It's in the second half of the article that you get to the real meat of the argument. I can't summarize it adequately, so I present the second half here, in its entirety:

Since 1945, a multiplicity of government interventions - state pensions, subsidised higher education, higher taxes to pay for everything - has so ruptured traditional patterns of inter-generational solidarity that in Europe a child is now an optional lifestyle accessory. By 2050, Estonia's population will have fallen by 52 per cent, Bulgaria's by 36 per cent, Italy's by 22 per cent. The hyper-rationalism of post-Christian Europe turns out to be wholly irrational: what's the point of creating a secular utopia if it's only for one generation? Shortly after 9/11, I wrote in these pages about one of the most curious aspects of the new war - the assurance given to Islamist 'martyrs' that 72 virgins were standing by to pleasure them for eternity. The notion that the after-life is a well-appointed brothel is a perplexing one to the Judaeo-Christian world, and I suggested that Americans would be sceptical if heaven were framed purely in terms of boundless earthly pleasures. But, on reflection, if the Islamists are banal in portraying the next world purely in terms of sensual self-gratification, we're just as reductive in measuring this one the same way. America this Holy Week is following the frenzied efforts to halt the court-enforced starvation of a brain-damaged woman for no reason other than that her continued existence is an inconvenience to her husband. In Britain, two doctors escape prosecution for aborting an otherwise healthy baby with a treatable cleft palate because the authorities are satisfied they acted 'in good faith'. You can read similar stories in almost any corner of the developed world, except perhaps the Netherlands, where discretionary euthanasia is so advanced it's news if the kid makes it out of the maternity ward. As the New York Times reported the other day: "Babies born into what is certain to be a brief life of grievous suffering should have their lives ended by physicians under strict guidelines, according to two doctors in the Netherlands. "The doctors, Eduard Verhagen and Pieter J. J. Sauer of the University Medical Center in Groningen, in an essay in today's New England Journal of Medicine, said they had developed guidelines, known as the Groningen protocol." Ah, the protocols of the elders of science. Odd the way scientists have such little regard for scientific progress. It's highly likely that many birth defects - not just the bilateral cleft lips - will be treatable and correctible in the next decade or two. But once you start weighing the relative values of individual lives, there's no end to it. Much of that derives from the way abortion has redefined life - as a "choice", an option. In practice, a culture that thinks Terri Schiavo's life in Florida or the cleft-lipped baby's in Herefordshire has no value winds up ascribing no value to life in general. Hence, the shrivelled fertility rates in Europe and in blue-state America: John Kerry won the 16 states with the lowest birth rates; George W Bush took 25 of the 26 states with the highest. The 19th-century Shaker communities were forbidden from breeding and could increase their number only by conversion. The Euro-Canadian-Democratic Party welfare secularists seem to have chosen the same predicament voluntarily, and are likely to meet the same fate. The martyrdom culture of radical Islam is a literal dead end. But so is the slyer death culture of post-Christian radical narcissism. This is the political issue that will determine all the others: it's the demography, stupid.

Word help needed

I'm suffering a complete brain freeze and cannot remember a word. I'm hoping that someone out there can help. What is the word for something that is ostensibly a novel but is, in fact, a political tract dressed up in novel's clothing? Zola's books, for example, often fell into this category.

Gotta love that yogurt

Since I eat two or three servings of yogurt a day, this story caught my eye:

Replacing other foods with a few daily servings of yogurt may help obese adults trim their waistlines better than calorie-cutting alone, a new study suggests.

Women in the news

One of my favorite writers on women's issues, Christina Hoff Sommers, weighs in here with an article describing the hard-line academic feminists who are in the intellectual vanguard of the attack against Larry Summers for daring to posit that women's and men's brains are different. Funnily enough, just the other day Maureen Dowd, who was one of the screechiest voices on the "let's get Summers" bandwagon, wrote a column trumpeting the recent scientific announcement that women are indeed different, since the are genetically more complex than men. She did throw in a line about the fact that this latest research might go some way to explain Summer's remark, but she didn't have the grace to develop that theme. Apparently, "different" applies only to women if it can be coupled with "better" (and apparently, contrary to Occam's Razor, complex is better). Read both Sommers and Dowd. It's interesting to see the two side by side. I know which one I'd put my trust in.

Brave -- and inhumane -- new world

The Left, struggling to come up with the worst insult they can level at Pres. Bush, routinely call him Hitler. However, as Kathryn Lopez makes clear in this chilling article, it is the Left that embraces death for those "unworthy" of living. For example:

"Killing a defective infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Sometimes it is not wrong at all." Peter Singer, a bioethics professor at Princeton University, penned this chillingly cold line in his book "Practical Ethics" (Cambridge University Press, 1993). *** Could Peter Singer be, or be grooming, the next Harry Haiselden? Wesley Smith, author of "A Consumer's Guide to a Brave New World," points out that Singer is a tenured professor at one of our most prestigious universities "because of his advocacy" — school administrators knew exactly who they were hiring at the time. And there he is, "preparing the intellectual ground" for infant euthanasia right in New Jersey. Smith warns, "If we invite the vampire of euthanasia into our midst, we will fall off of the same vertical cliff as has Holland."
A friend of mine, a committed right to lifer, loves to say, "I can understand how you could be for the death penalty and for abortion, or against the death penalty and against abortion, but I can't possibly understand how you can be against the death penalty and for abortion." I guess he's going to have to add infant and handicapped euthanasia to that pithy statement. UPDATE: For an intelligent discussion about the real Hitler analogy, check out this post at Cheat Seeking Missiles.

From a man who pays attention to words

I never thought, years ago, that Pat Sajak would write something that I not only agree with, but that I think is stated with elegance and clarity. Just shows how those biases and prejudices can affect what we do. Here's just a part of Sajak's take on how the press's biases affect everything we read:

I have a little hobby of collecting these examples of subtle bias, and they are very easy to find. The problem is that you appear to be nit-picking when you point them out; however, these kinds of ingrained prejudices are endemic. One Senator merely states a fact, while the Conservative Senator "claims" something. Unnecessary and prejudicial adjectives are used with abandon, usually to the detriment of the more Conservative side. Alarming statistics about global warming, spousal abuse, homelessness or dozens of other issues are given without challenge if they come from activists. The challenge comes only when those issues are discussed from a more Conservative point of view. ("Conservative Senator Smith claimed homelessness is dropping, but the Center for Homelessness reports…")
This same clearsightedness imbues his article, so you may want to take time to read the whole thing.

Monday, March 21, 2005

The NY Times implicitly advocates overthrowing the Constitution

The NY Times has launched a brutal attack on Justice Scalia as a possible Chief Justice. Its opinion itself deserves a brutal attack, because of the presumptions that underlying it. It begins

Some court-watchers say Justice Antonin Scalia is on a "charm offensive" to become the next chief justice. Then he must have been taking the day off when he gave a speech last week and lashed out at the Supreme Court's recent ruling striking down the death penalty for juveniles, and at the idea of a "living Constitution." There is nothing charming about his view that judges have no business considering the constitutionality of aspects of the death penalty, or that the Constitution should be frozen in time.
This opening certainly implies that Scalia is lusting after a state in which juveniles are routinely dragged to the gas chambers. In fact, Scalia was simply asserting that the Supreme Court opinion overstepped itself, which is an entirely different concept, especially when coming from a Supreme Court justice. What I like, though, is the notion that the Constitution, in Scalia's hands, would be frozen in time, with its implication that we'd revert to medieval concepts of justice, complete with thumb screws and racks.
Justice Scalia dissented bitterly in this month's juvenile death penalty case. Reasonable minds may ask, as he did, whether the majority opinion relied too heavily on the norms of international law in deciding what punishment does not meet modern standards of decency. But Justice Scalia disagreed not merely with the majority's conclusion that offenders cannot be executed for crimes committed when they were under the age of 18, but with the very fact that the court was even considering the question. "By what conceivable warrant can nine lawyers presume to be the authoritative conscience of the nation?" he asked.
The fact is, Scalia is right. In a Democracy, the citizens, acting through the legislators, are the voice of the nation. Nine men and women who have no checks and balances imposed upon them, and who live in the rarified world of Washington, D.C., are not the nation's voice or conscience. Scalia is therefore correct that these lawyers are meant under Art. III of the U.S. Constitution only to be the interpreters of law as it is, not the voice of the nation's conscience. Their voice and their consciences, at best, reflect only their narrow sensibilities and political millieu.
In his speech last week at the Woodrow Wilson Center, he continued on the same theme. He attacked the idea of a "living Constitution," one that evolves with modern sensibilities, which the Supreme Court has long recognized in its jurisprudence, and of "evolving notions of decency," a standard the court uses to interpret the Eighth Amendment prohibition on "cruel and unusual punishments" in cases like those involving the death penalty. In drafting the Constitution, and particularly the Bill of Rights, the Founders chose to use broad phrases that necessarily require interpretation. Since its landmark 1803 ruling in Marbury v. Madison, the court has held that it is the final word on the Constitution's meaning. In the recent juvenile death penalty case, the court was doing its job of determining what one such phrase, "cruel and unusual punishment," means today.
There is no doubt that our modern sensibilities (whether modern be determined as of 1850, 1950, or 2005) inform the decisions we make. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court has always kept up the pretence that it is applying the law, even though that law may be filitered through evolving belief systems. Here, though, the NY Times is advocating that the Constitution simply be slotted into modern value systems, without even the pretence of ordinary legal, Constitutional analysis, something that becomes even more clear in the following paragraphs.
The implications of Justice Scalia's remarks are sweeping. Many of the most central principles of American constitutional law - from the right to a court-appointed lawyer to the right to buy contraception - have emerged from the court's evolving sense of the meaning of constitutional clauses. Justice Scalia seems to be suggesting that many, or perhaps all, of these rights should exist only at the whim of legislatures.
There you have it: because policies we at the NY Times like come from judges, not from the Constitution, the Constitution must yield to the judges' interpretation. That's a terrifying slippery slope, since the next step is to say, the heck with the Constitution, let's just rely entirely on judges.
Justice Scalia may believe that by repeating his radical views enough times, the nation will grow accustomed to them. But his approach would mean throwing out much of the nation's existing constitutional law, and depriving Americans of basic rights. Justice Scalia's campaign to be the next chief justice, if it is that, is a timely reminder of why he would be a disastrous choice for the job.
Notice the terminology here: Justice Scalia, who advocates elevating the Constitution above individual preferences, is "radical," implying that those who would jettison the Constitution entirely in favor of a few judge's viewpoints are moderate. The NY Times is saying that it would deprive Americans of their paramount judge-made "rights" if we were actually to revert to the rights the Founding Fathers envisioned. If you want radical, you'll find it in this NY Times opinion, which essentially advocates the overthrow of our Constitution in favor of the law of judges. I, personally, find that a scary thought.

Can this really be what they meant to say

A British court just convicted a 20 something for being complicit in the murder of a woman who was trying to protect her daughter during a robbery. The robbery was a gang effort, and the actual triggerman is missing. Here's what The Telegraph has to say:

However, police are still looking for James Brodie, 21, who they believe actually shot Mrs Bates, calling her a 'silly cow' as she slumped to the ground. Brodie is thought to have been responsible for a string of violent attacks at the time but has since disappeared without a trace and is feared dead.
My question is, do they really mean "feared" dead? When I hear about a child lost in the wilderness, I fear he is dead. When I hear about a little girl in Florida snatched from her bedroom, I fear she is dead. But frankly, when I hear about a man who murdered a woman in cold blood, and who is thought to "have been responsible for a string of violent attacks," I have no fear of his death, only the hope that it is so.

Computers as band-aid remedies in classrooms

The Montessori school that my children attend has a minimal computer presence in the classroom (they're used for the teachers to generate worksheets) and strongly discourages parents from allowing their kids on the computer at home. In the Montessorian experience, computer use impairs the children's ability actually to learn the given subjects at issue. Now, from England, there comes support for this position:

The electronically challenged will chortle at the news that computers may contribute nothing to pupils' skills in maths and literacy. But in fact the study published today by the Royal Economic Society is more serious than that. It suggests that the vast sums of money spent on equipping state schools with computers - £2.5 billion so far, with £1.5 billion more promised in last week's Budget - are largely a waste of money. The Government believes that computers are the key to "personalised learning" and should be "embedded" in the teaching of every subject. The study, by contrast, concludes that the less pupils use them at home and school, the better they do in international maths and literacy tests. Moreover, familiarity with them at work has no more effect on employability or earning power than being able to use a telephone or a pencil. The Government should realise that academic learning is different from gazing at a computer screen in class, in much the same way as one would watch television at home. Information and communications technology is taking up too much of pupils' and teachers' time. New Labour's obsession with it is ripe for review.
As someone who is deeply suspicious of the teachers' unions, I will only add that I don't think that it is a coincidence that teachers are so often in favor of something that removes from them the obligation actually to teach their students. A computerized classroom has a teacher sitting at one end, passively, and students at the other end, playing games at a computer station that purport to educate, but do little more than teach the children how to manipulate the mouse.

Jewish law and Terri Schiavo

In the press, those supporting Terri Schiavo's right to live have been advocating from a Christian perspective. As Rabbi Aryeh Spero makes plain here, Jewish law holds the same position. And, to make it a bit easier for the fence sitters troubled by the fact that assisted suicide so often calls for us to determine where Nature's or God's hold on life ends and the hold of pure science begins, Rabbi Spero has this to say:

Long ago Jewish law made a distinction between withholding medication and special treatments from a patient as opposed to withholding food and water. Whereas there comes a time when we are no longer required to proactively employ 'heroic' medicines and treatments to keep a non-functioning body operating, it is always necessary to continue feeding a patient.
I urge you to read the whole article; it's a good one.

What the Constitution says

Because of the big fight today between Legislative and judicial powers, I thought it would be worthwhile examining Article III of the Constitution. Here it is. (You can see a nice clean copy of the whole constitution here):

Article. III. Section. 1. The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office. Section. 2. Clause 1: The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority; --to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls; --to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction; --to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party; --to Controversies between two or more States; --between a State and Citizens of another State; --between Citizens of different States, --between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects. Clause 2: In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make. Clause 3: The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed. Section. 3. Clause 1: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. Clause 2: The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.
It was a very liberal reading of Section 2, Clause 1 that gave John Marshall the idea, back at the beginning of the 19th Century, that the Courts get to review all Legislation. The clause certainly doesn't say that judges have that right. Interestingly, Art. VI, Clause 2 would seem to subjugate the judiciary to the legislative will:
Article. VI, Clause 2 This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
Apparently the Founders were not big on rule by judges. Here, you can see my post on why I think Democrats have essentially abandoned the legislative process and placed all their faith in rule by judges (aside from the obvious fact that the judges tend to agree with them, and the legislatures do not).

Thinking twice before googling your news

Here, in its entirety, is a post from lgf:

I thought I’d seen everything. But Google News has now added the unspeakably vile neo-Nazi white supremacist web site National Vanguard to their index of “legitimate news sources.” (Hat tip: Morgan.) And LGF has been turned down. Twice.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Evil minds, evil ideas

I was actually quite offended by the world wide protests today on the Second Anniversary of the Iraq War. When I think of the ebullient Iraqis with their purple fingers, the Afghani women with visible faces standing in line to vote, and the hundreds of thousands of brave Lebanese protesting against their Syrian occupiers, I feel tremendous pride in what America has done. I think it's been a step forward for universal freedom, and is an extraordinary gift from our country to the world. Watching the protests also made me think of a 1949 Helen MacInnes Cold War era novel called Rest and Be Thankful. The book is set in Wyoming, and has a bunch of jaded New Yorkers being confronted with real America. With the exception of the covert Communist, who is incapable of seeing beauty or truth in the landscape and people around him, the New Yorkers have their eyes opened to the real America, unfiltered by French thinkers and Madison Avenue publications. It's a good read, both dated and timeless. The reason I mention the book is because of something MacInnes has one of her characters say about the covert Communist: "There is something evil in a mind that wishes ill-fortune on others who have done him no harm. I think it is all the more evil for disguising itself as idealism." I couldn't have said it better myself about today's protestors.

It's Mark Steyn again

Here Mark Steyn simultaneously destroys the UN and makes it clear that Bolton could not have been a better choice to begin housecleaning at that disgusting institution.

Fisking the Terri Schiavo right to deathers

If you want to see a polite, quality fisking of the thought process driving those who support Terri's husband, check out this PalmTree Pundit post, in which Anne responds to an email castigating her for supporting Terri's right to life.

The Left's alternate universe

I find these protests bizarre. I would have thought the January elections in Iraq and the protests in Lebanon would have left the Left with nothing to say. Clearly, though, saying nothing, in a loud, vulgar, anti-American fashion, is what the Left does best.

The dangerous legacy of the Civil Rights Movement

In the 1950s, in certain states, the state legislatures, executive branches and the judiciary colluded to perpetuate the horrors of Jim Crow. In these hermetically-sealed states, no one opposed to this status quo could gain any traction to change the situation. It was logical, therefore, to look outward, and the most effective help could be obtained in the federal judicial system. Unlike the state court judges, these federal judges would actually compare the Jim Crow laws to the United States Constitution and act if the laws violated Constitutional rights. The Federal Judicial tactic worked and broke the back of Jim Crow (something that was inarguably a "good thing"). The problem is that the lessons of the Civil Rights Movement, rather than being understood as a unique response to an aberrant system, now inform the Left's entire view of our country's civic process. The Left has no faith in the Legislature, either state or federal, and routinely places all of its faith in the judiciary. The Left, in other words, has essentially abandoned Democracy in favor of rule by judges. Now, there are a lot of good, decent judges out there. There are also a lot of narrow-minded, unintelligent, doctrinally-driven political hacks. In the federal sphere, they're appointed, not elected, and they serve for life with minimal oversight. I say minimal because the District Court judges can be overturned by the Appellate Court judges, and the Appellate Court judges can be overturned by the Supreme Court but, in fact, most decisions are not overturned. In addition, of course, nobody looks over the Supreme Court's shoulder, explaining the increasingly violent battles to ensure that doctrinally "proper" judges occupy those seats. Judges, who understand that they are now in a position, not only to act as judges, but to co-opt the legislative role, and who understand that they are only nominally answerable to anybody, are acting as any normal person would in that position: they are doing whatever the heck they want. They are becoming the living embodiment of Lord Acton's warning that "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." We're at a tipping point now, with the possibility that we can still revert to a true Demoracy, with power residing in the Legislature (which is elected by the people), not the judiciary. Just make sure to pressure your Congress people when non-activist judges are proposed for the federal bench. And, if you have elected state judges, be sure to vote for those who indicate that the believe their job is to interpret, not create, the law.

R.I.P. Jessica Lunsford

Friday, March 18, 2005

Do your kids watch MTV?

If your children watch MTV, you need to read MTV Smut Peddlers: Targeting Kids with Sex, Drugs and Alcohol, a study published by the Parents Television Council. After reading it, you're free to continue allowing your children to watch MTV, but I doubt you'll want to.

The Gavin Newsome option for Terri Schiavo

See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction... This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live. (Deut.30:15,19)
Where is Jeb Bush? Gavin Newsome, San Francisco's mayor, when he decided that gays were being denied their constitutional right to marry, said, "The heck with the law" and, in his capacity as an executive, committed an act of civil disobedience. Why isn't Jeb Bush doing the same? Why isn't he bravely committing the civilly disobedient act of removing Terri Schiavo bodily from the hospital, and bringing her to a place where she will be fed and hydrated? Given that he has the power to do so, doesn't he have the moral obligation to do so, regardless of the consequences? And just as Gavin Newsome knew that nothing bad would really happen to him for his act of civil disobedience, doesn't Jeb Bush know the same? This is his moment to be great. It's not too late. Terri can still manage for a few more days. So if you think this is an important idea, please promulgate it across the blogosphere as quickly as you can. My statcounter shows that my readership is limited, but those of you who have greater access, please do what you can to get this message out. UPDATE: If Jeb Bush acts, it may be the important opening salvo in what I'm beginning to perceive as something akin to a civil war against activist judges (about whom I've blogged here, here, here and here). Mark R. Levin, at NRO's corner, has an excellent point regarding the legislative/judicial tensions swirling around Terri's death, and I post it here in its entirety:
I see this more as a struggle between the elected branches and the judiciary. The Florida legislature and Governor Jeb Bush did, in fact, attempt to intervene in the Schiavo case a few years back, and prevent the removal of her feeding tube. But the Florida Supreme Court ruled, among other things, that the governor had no such power. Yesterday, Florida Superior Court Judge Greer, in essence, said the same about congressional authority. He quickly dismissed the relevance of the House subpoenas with this statement: "I have had no cogent reason why the committee should intervene." The state judge, therefore, contended that the House had to convince him of the legitimacy of its subpoena to compel witnesses to appear so it can conduct hearings. I've heard nothing from academia about this stunning judicial assertion. As the courts continue to usurp the policy- and law-making power of the elected branches, and offend an ever-growing number of Americans and their representatives, we can expect the tension between the elected branches and the judiciary to grow. The judges have no one to blame but themselves. In the eyes of many, they have pursued a course that delegitimizes their institution and calls into question their motives. And while the courts set themselves up as the final arbiters of all conflicts between themselves and the other branches, at least the House, in this first test of constitutional wills, does not appear ready to surrender. After all, if it won't protect its own constitutional prerogatives, who will? The more the House resists judicial usurpation, the more unhinged its critics in academia and the mainstream media will become -- accusing it of politicizing the independent judiciary, intimidating judges, and so forth. The reason for this is straightforward: the judiciary is the means by which the Left has been most successful in recent decades in imposing its agenda on society. They've gone to extraordinary lengths to obstruct President Bush's judicial nominations, including the unconstitutional use of filibusters in the Senate, and they will be equally zealous in the House.

Poor Ward Churchill

If you feel you have a good, firm hold on the veins in your forehead and the food in your stomach, you'll be able to read this hagiographic AP love letter to the "embattled" Ward Churchill.

The unbalanced balance of power

Here's another (mercifully?) short post to accommodate Blogger's delicate sensibilities. Check out this editorial talking about the dangerous accretion of power in a Constitutionally unfettered Supreme Court. The bit I loved best was this:

The Court declared that the death penalty was now unconstitutional for minors due to a supposed "emerging national consensus" that the death penalty was wrong. The last time we checked, the Supreme Court was supposed to use the Constitution as its guide. If anyone's to take notice of an "emerging national consensus," it's the legislature.

Victor Davis Hanson takes on the facile use of Hitler analogies

In a fabulously written article, Victor Davis Hanson takes on and decimates the Left's facile and frequent use of the "Hitler" analogy when speaking of Bush and the Republicans. Because Blogger is being exceptionally hinky lately, I won't strain it by serving up quotations from this column. I simply urge you to click on over there.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Still time to send your Senator a Schiavo petition

I'm ambivalent about the whole abortion debate. As a mother, I have a visceral sense that the fetus will one day be a baby, and am loath to interfere with that process, but I can still easily imagine situations in which a woman would reasonably want or need an abortion. Given this ambivalence, it comes as something of a surprise to me that I am linking here to the National Right to Life Committee website, but I am. My problem with the Terri Schiavo situation is that her parents, who manifestly love her and want to care for her, are opposed to the tube-withdrawal, while the husband, who has moved on to a new wife and children, is desperate for her to die. That just makes me uncomfortable. Maybe hubby really is keeping Terri's wishes in mind, but it sounds as if he's trying to clear the decks for a new life. I can actually understand hubby's point of view: after all, he and Terri can't have been together long when she became so profoundly disabled -- she was only 26 when her brain was destroyed. Her life stopped; his has gone on. What's weird is how he clings to her. Her parents want her care, so why doesn't he give it to them? He would claim, I'm sure, that he's acting with Terri's interests at heart and with true love, because she really does want to die. That altruistic stance, though, plays badly against the fact that there is every indication that he hasn't cared well for Terri in the past years, since she's suffering from terrible bed sores, and other fairly preventable problems. Basically, as a mother, the thought that a son-in-law, who cannot possibly love my child as I love my child, is calling the shots, with his new wife at his side, smells bad. I'm also loath to see her death go forward because I distrust judges. I'd prefer to see a lot more medical and judicial review on this subject before letting a single judge call this shot. For more perspectives, see this Andrew McCarthy article about how criminals get more due process than Terri has; and this Rev. Robert Johansen article about the shoddy care and testing Terri has received. All in all, I'm sufficiently uncomfortably with this whole scenario that I think things ought to come to a complete stop before any irrevocable steps are taken. So, back to the top of this post, please, and click on that link.

Is the heyday of activist judges ending?

If you have a few minutes, check out this Thomas Lifson article from The American Thinker. Mr. Lifson posits that a confluence of facts and ideas is operating to end the era of activist judges -- something I think is a very good thing. Having said that, I'll just add one note that has always troubled me when criticizing, as I frequently do, the fact that judges have for decades felt free to substitute their opinions and morality in place of both Constitutional and statutory dictates, and case authority precedence. This exception to the rule, of course, is the Civil Rights Movement. I do not see how, in the 1950s, African-Americans could have broken free of the horrific States' Rights approach that controlled the Jim Crow South if the Supreme Court hadn't pushed the boundaries. Some of the decisions had to be rooted in true Constitutional doctrines, such as the 5th and 14th Amendments regarding equal application of the law (no judicial activism there, I think), but some, such as the libel cases, were already penumbra pushers. The clear moral righteousness of these 1950s' decisions leaves many of us -- at least many of us ex-liberals -- with a hazy feeling that the Supreme Court needs some room, just not all the room it's currently taking for itself. Having said that, I think the best idea is still non-activist judges, who see pushing the boundaries, not as the rule, but as the most extraordinary step to be taken only when nothing else -- absolutely nothing else -- will work. Certainly, this attitude would prevent the current judicial activism in the area of homosexual marriage, something the judges are withdrawing from public debate without even giving the American people a chance to weigh in on. This is not only judicial activism, it is a profoundly anti-Democratic course of conduct that can only weaken the body politic.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

I am woman, hear me . . . whatever

This is Gee Dubya opining on the feministas' demand that newspapers fill half their op-ed pages with women and that law schools fill half their Law Reviews with women:

Affirmative action doesn't work, and it isn't fair. It perpetuates stereotypes. Sheer talent, motivation, and experience should trump accidentals at birth.
Read Gee Dubya's whole intelligent post on the harm done by Susan Estrich and her ilk here. BTW, on a related note, Ann Coulter's most recent column beautifully expands on my earlier post -- with actual facts, yet -- about the possibility that affirmative action on police forces may be part of the reason Nichols was able to go on his rampage in Atlanta.

At least someone at Brown has some common sense

Brown University, in common with most expensive American educational institutions, has a strong anti-Semitic wing that finds voice in demands that the University withdraw any investments it has that benefit Israel. A copy editor at the Brown Daily Herald, while accepting the moral relativism that now regularly characterizes the debate (that is, Israel and the Palestinians are at least equally guilty of wrongdoing), at least has the common sense to recognize that the divestment campaign is intellectually false and morally bankrupt. You can read the whole op-ed here, but I'll just highlight a few of his points, as they relate strictly to Israel (he also makes a good point about the fact that a University is not a democracy, with students dictating all institutional decisions):

The United Nations - sponsored World Conference on Racism did, in fact, speak against Israel's policies under the Barak government as ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. However, this same conference failed to mention human rights abuses in China, Rwanda or any place in the Arab world. Just because the opponents of Israel, including ARA, are well organized, does not necessitate that they are in the moral right. Their campaign seems limited, as they call for the University to single out Israel among the nations of the world. I'm not particularly pro-Israel or pro-Palestine; I'm just against a movement whose sole purpose is economic warfare against a sovereign state. I think we can have a vigorous debate about whether it was moral to create Israel in the first place [Ed. -- well, actually, I don't think that's debatable anymore], and certainly whether its foreign and defense policies are just. However, that dialogue is not created by a kind of movement based more on rhetoric than reasoned argument. Suggesting that the policies of Israel are a system of apartheid, to describe its actions as genocide, to characterize its procedures as crimes against humanity, are charges that are both thoughtless and odious. Stating conclusions without explaining how you got there does not amount to intellectualism, but rather a destruction of true fact-finding.
Having come out on the side of reason, not emotion, the article dips dangerously into that odious moral relativism I mentioned, almost seems to crash, but then pulls out of the dive for a clear statement about the need to avoid biased hyberbole as the engine in the Israel debate:
The pragmatic reality of the situation is that neither party is innocent in the Middle East, and both sides have spilled blood, and had blood spilled. [Ed. -- I would distinguish between blood spilled defensively against military targets, and destructive acts aimed at civilian populations, but that's just me.] The question now is how we can get all the parties to the negotiating table, and address the other questions of greatest importance - those of Palestinian statehood, the removal of the wall, the problems of refugees, how to recognize the national aspirations of both of these peoples and how the United States can play a positive role in the process. These questions should drive our debate, one in which reasonable people can passionately disagree. But as Jeffrey Garten and Anthony Kronman, the deans of the schools of management and law at Yale have written: "Those now campaigning for divestment from Israel contribute not at all to this debate. Their distortions of fact, hyperbole of expression and lack of moral judgment must be rejected with the same decisiveness that we embrace the cause of peace and the reasoned, careful and patient search for a pathway to it."
It appears that at least one person is getting some benefit from that pricey Brown education.

Things you can't say at Harvard

We're definitely different from the boys:

A large team of scientists has published a detailed profile of the DNA bundle in Nature magazine. They found that female mammals, who possess two copies of the X chromosome, express more genes than males, who only have one X and a Y chromosome. They also said that females were protected from many diseases because of their double dose of the X chromosome. 'The X chromosome is the most extraordinary in the human genome in terms of biology and its association with disease,' said Mark Ross, the project leader at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, UK.
Just don't say this at Harvard.

O'Neill gives ample evidence about MSM bias

In a lengthy interview in the American Enterprise Magazine, John O'Neill talks about the Swift Boat Veterans' role in the 2004 election. Assuming that what he says is true (and I do, since I watched events unfold in real time), he really paints a staggering picture of the mainstream media doing everything it could to suppress the story and, when it could no longer be surprised, to defend Kerry's position. Here, O'Neill speaks of his first introduction to the media's adamant determination to ignore the story:

TAE: At the Swift Boat veterans' May 4 press conference you had an open letter calling Kerry unfit to be Commander in Chief. It was signed by virtually all of John Kerry's commanders in Vietnam. Yet the story fell flat. The media ignored it. How did your group react to the media blackout? O'NEILL: We were shocked. We couldn't believe it. I haven't been involved in politics or media relations, and I thought the job of the media was primarily to report the facts. It was obvious to me that many hundreds of his former comrades coming forward to say that he lied about his record in Vietnam and that he was unfit to be President would be important information for Americans. I only then became aware of the bias of the media. TAE: How do you explain the media's response? O'NEILL: The establishment media was very pro-Kerry. They were opposed to any story that was critical of Kerry, and I believe that they were captured by their own bias. We met with one reporter around that time. We told a story to him relating to Kerry's service. He acknowledged it was true and terribly important. And he told us he would not print it because it would help George Bush. That's when we began to realize we had a real problem on our hands.
He moves from the media's bias to discuss Kerry's hubris, which was based, in part, on Kerry's absolute faith that the media would insulate him from dangerous stories:
TAE: Were you surprised when Senator Kerry focused so much on his Vietnam record at the Democratic Convention in late July? How do you account for this when he clearly knew you were out there? O'NEILL: I think he thought that he had good control over the mainline media, that they were sympathetic, that they would kill the story. And I think he was very confident that was the case with the New York Times and the three major networks and CNN, and that he could intimidate the portions of the media not already friendly to him. And so he thought the story would never come out. That had been his experience over and over again in Massachusetts. TAE: Everything changed in early August, after your first ad. O'NEILL: All of a sudden, Kerry and the media were faced with an ad that was actually showing. There was a time when they controlled the entire world of communications. That day is over. The Kerry campaign, fortunately for us, threatened the stations carrying the ad. They had two Washington law firms write legal letters demanding that the ads not be run. *** TAE: Did the attempts of Kerry's people to stop your message only help publicize it more? O'NEILL: They helped us tremendously. The threats against the station managers led to extensive publicity, particularly on the "Hannity & Colmes" show and then on other FOX News shows. Then it spread to CNN and to MSNBC. More than 1,400,000 people downloaded that first ad, and it swept through the Internet. It also allowed thousands and thousands of people to start donating money to us at our Web site. Three weeks after it was put up, half of all the people in the United States had heard about that ad and about us and yet there had never been a story about us on ABC, NBC, or CBS or in the New York Times. At that point, people began laughing, I believe, at the mainline media. It became obvious they were suppressing the story.
Once the mainstream media could no longer suppress the story, it went into attack dog mode:
TAE: The media establishment finally took notice when Senator Kerry attacked you publicly on August 19. Then they seemed to see their role as proving your charges false. O'NEILL: Yes, that's exactly what occurred. The New York Times functioned as a newsletter for the Kerry campaign. The Times purported to show that I was a Republican. I would have been happy to be a Republican if I really was. The article was ridiculous. It had me married to the wrong person. It was really a sad article to see from a great newspaper. It should win the Jayson Blair award. There's never been a piece in the New York Times examining the factual basis of the Swift Boat vets' charges.
These attacks included a Bizarro Land book review of the Swift Boat Vets' book, which concluded that the 1971 debate between Kerry and O'Neill launched Kerry's career, even though his career in fact went dormant for 13 years:
TAE: The New York Times didn't get around to reviewing your book until October although it had been at the top of the Times bestseller list since August? O'NEILL: They began the review by saying if Kerry loses the election it will be because of this book. You would expect that declaration would be followed by an in-depth review of the book that would indicate whether it was true or not true. But the review is very short. No fact is refuted other than the outcome of my debate with John Kerry in 1971. I said I thought I'd beat him. I quoted from the Boston Globe, the New York Times, and the San Antonio Express & News, all of which concluded that he lost. The Times review claimed that debate was the launching point for Kerry's entire career. The fact is, before the debate John Kerry was a major national figure. After the debate, his career declined. He was defeated for Congress and he disappeared from public view. Only in the New York Times would that debate be the launching point for Kerry's career. When you have a guy who's very famous in 1971 and then no one hears about him again until 1984, how could this be a launch?
Eventually, various MSM shows did have O'Neill on, but they did it to challenge him, not to elicit information. He describes being screamed at by Jim Carville, and having Thomas Oliphant, of the Boston Globe attack him. With regard to the latter, O'Neill makes this (to me) surprising revelation:
TAE: On the "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" you were matched with Thomas Oliphant of the Boston Globe who lectured you. He said that your allegations didn't meet the basic criteria for a real story. O'NEILL: It was interesting. He said in order to carry a story you had to have conclusive evidence. Within a few days of that story, the Boston Globe, his newspaper, was pushing the Dan Rather story, based on phony documents, that President Bush skirted his National Guard duty. Oliphant was involved with the story. He should be ashamed of himself, as I think the entire journalistic establishment should be. TAE: What were you thinking during that interview? O'NEILL: About being lectured on journalistic ethics by a journalist from a newspaper now famous for a lack of ethics? It was truly a remarkable experience, particularly from someone who was trying to suppress a story that he knew was the truth. Oliphant, after all, was a friend of Kerry's. As a matter of fact, the Kerry campaign was asked to send a debate representative, and I gather Oliphant was their representative. How could a supposedly independent journalist appear as a debater for the Kerry campaign? How could James Carville be an independent commentator if he was retained by the Kerry campaign? I realized they were simply doing openly what the New York Times was doing secretly.
O'Neill then turns to the famous Nightline show, where Koppel tried to rebut the Swift Boat veterans by getting the word from 5 former Viet Cong soldiers. I don't know about you, but I'm dubious about voting for a Commander in Chief whose staunchest defenders can only be found amongst the enemy troops. The interview goes on for quite a while, but I'll leave it with a point O'Neill makes about the state of the American media since the last time he dealt with it in 1971:
TAE: There are parallels between your own experience in 1971 and today. How has the media changed in terms of being "balanced" since you debated John Kerry on "The Dick Cavett Show"? O'NEILL: I'm Rip Van Winkle when it comes to the media. I happily disappeared from public life for 32 years. The big difference is that, in 1971, while the media would spin facts on occasion and spin them very favorably to Kerry and his group, they wouldn't actually suppress the news. What's happened now is the mainline media, by which I mean the three major networks, and the New York Times, suppress news stories. It's one thing to provide opinion, even in the news section. It's another to suppress facts that are adverse to your views. That is really a brave new world that did not exist in the 1970s. TAE: Does your experience suggest the major media have lost their gatekeeper role? O'NEILL: Yes, without question. Major networks tried to blacklist us and to hide the story from the public. In doing so they seemed to follow the directions of the Kerry campaign. As long as the campaign ignored us, they ignored us. When the Kerry campaign went on the attack, the big media attacked us. But the message got out anyway. In my opinion they were unsuccessful basically because they didn't have very much to work with. They hadn't anything to sink their teeth into. We were very careful in the ads and in the book. That's why the attacks on us flailed around.
Did I mention at the beginning of this post that I tend to believe O'Neill's version of events last year? I am reminded, after going through this article, that only a day or two ago, the Columbia Journalism School published a report proving irrefutably that the MSM grossly favored Kerry in their reporting. This is just more of the same, I guess.