Monday, March 31, 2008

Obama's a Liberal . . . And Hiding It

I'm not sure what hurts Barack Obama's candidacy more, the fact that people are discovering that he's really a true-blue liberal or the fact that he's trying to hide his liberalism.  

Personally, I would have more respect for the man if he would tell us what he really thought instead of hiding behind vacuous platitudes and say-nothing speeches.  And I certainly have no respect for Obama now claiming that he didn't complete and never read his answers to candidate questionnaires from his campaign for the Illinois Senate.

In December, The Politico published a story on Obama's 1996 responses to a questionnaire submitted to him by a liberal Chicago group.  In his responses, Obama stated that he supported state legislation to "ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns."  He also stated that he was completely opposed to capital punishment.  He was opposed to notifying the parents of minors seeking abortion and opposed to any other restriction on abortion.

Obama's presidential campaign backed away from those views trying to paint their candidate as more moderate and mainstream.  The official position was that the questionnaires at issue were completed by an underling and that Obama never saw them.

Today, The Politico published a follow up story with a copy of the questionnaire showing Obama's handwritten additions.  (Sounds a lot like Hillary Clinton's tall tale of sniper fire being proven untrue by CBS's videotape.  Surprised kudos to the media for actually reporting on these stories.)

Obama's claimed ignorance is not true.  He answered the questionnaire and he's not telling the truth about it now.

And Obama's not telling the truth about his present "moderate" positions either.  I agree with the treasurer of the group that issued the questionnaire in 1996, Aviva Patt.  She's quoted as saying that she "always believed [the liberal responses to the questionnaire] to be his views . . . what he really believes in."  Now, Patt stated, Obama is "tailoring" his positions "to make himself more palatable as a nationwide candidate."  Don't forget, Obama was ranked as the most liberal senator in 2007.

What's worse, being a liberal or being a liberal in moderate clothing?  

Either way, Obama should not be elected president.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Free Speech on the Internet - Not in France

A teachers' union in France has won a court case to shut down a web-site on which students graded their teachers' performance. 
According to this commentary published by Ronald Sokol the French court determined that an uncensored on-line discussion of teachers was too controversial.  The court held that freedom of speech ended when it affected teaching.  Huh?!

Teachers - and anybody other people for that matter - are already protected by laws against defamation or threats.  The should not be above comment.  And good ones shouldn't be afraid of being graded by their students.  Bad teachers should be afraid - but what's wrong with telling the truth.

I understand that malice could enter into these grades and any on-line anonymous process could be tainted - but it is what it is.  Take it for that and leave it at that.

Sokal's take on the subject is concisely given, "The idea of free speech is that people should be able to express their views without constraint, even if their views are wrong. Out of the chaos and struggle of conflicting ideas, better ideas emerge."  He's absolutely right.

And that's why American's had better take their First Amendment rights seriously.  

But this is France, you say, why worry about it here.  Take a moment to revisit Avery Doninger, the Connecticut high-schooler kicked off of her student council for posting negative comments about her school's administration on-line.  What would have happened if she had commented about teachers instead of administrators.  Would the NEA have tried to shut down her blog?  Let's hope not - but we should all be vigilant in defense of our freedoms.

A Bit About A Blog - This One To Be Exact

As a few of you may have noticed over the weekend, I didn't post any new pieces.  I thought that it might make sense to tell anyone and everyone about my blogging habits.  I usually blog in the late evenings, when the rest of my household is asleep.  I don't like to take time away from family for this endeavor (or for much else either).  I won't say that I'll never blog at a different time of day, but if you're checking for new material, you should probably not expect it until it is late.

I'm also less inclined to make the time to blog on a Friday or Saturday night . . .  for two reasons.  First is the family.  We're more likely to have family functions or events on the weekends.  Second probably has to do with my readers families . . . I get far fewer hits on Saturdays and Sundays than during the week.  So often I think that weekend posts won't be read - so I don't bother.  If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it does it make a sound could be translated into if a blogger posts on a weekend and nobody is on-line to read it does it matter.  Again, I'll never say I'll never post on the weekend but I probably won't do it too often.  And if I don't, don't think that it means I've quit blogging.  I'll be back when Monday (probably Sunday night) rolls around.

I hope that if you enjoy the blog (whether you agree or disagree with my point of view) you'll keep reading and tell your friends.

And I also hope that you'll accept this invitation to post your comments.  Whether you agree or disagree, I'd like to know.

And, one minor note on the comments - something those of you new to the blogosphere or blogspot sites might not know.  Anonymous comments are fine and encouraged but you're also able to leave your "name" or a nickname whenever you blog.  If you want me to know you are the same person leaving more than one comment, just use the "Name/URL" function under "Choose an identity."  You can give yourself whatever name(s) you want.  You can use your real name or a completely anonymous cyber-identity.  But, I think that it would be more enjoyable to read comments from the same person on different subject - if I knew that they were from the same person.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Democrats and "Racial Baggage"

I enjoyed Z. Dwight Billingsly's column in today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch.   To read the entire column, click here.  I've excerpted parts below . . . with my own comments following in white.

Obama speech exposes his hypocrisy

Z. Dwight Billingsly
Z. Dwight Billingsly

The best analysis I've seen of the hypocrisy of Barack Obama's longtime membership in the church of hate-mongering Reverend Jeremiah Wright was Shelby Steele's oped piece in The Wall Street Journal last week. Steele called Obama a "bargainer."

"Bargainers," Steele wrote, "make the subliminal promise to whites not to shame them with America's history of racism on the condition that they will not hold the bargainer's race against him. And whites love this bargain — and feel affection for the bargainer — because it gives them racial innocence in a society where whites live under constant threat of being stigmatized as racist."

But Obama broke his part of the bargain when he chose to remain a member of Rev. Wright's church all these years, hoping that the whites he was comforting with the bargain never would find out.
. . .

Once the public saw what Obama's pastor had been saying for more than 20 years about whites and about America, the senator's hypocrisy was plain even to liberals.

When he was confronted with his violation of the "bargain," Obama continued to express support and admiration for Rev. Wright and decided that we needed to have a conversation about race after all. His speech attempted to explain the hate his pastor expressed. Obama said whites shouldn't be surprised that black people such as Rev. Wright still were angry about past racism.

To me, Obama sounded a lot like those who have invoked Charles Lee "Cookie" Thornton's grievances against local government in trying to rationalize his murdering five people in Kirkwood. Obama tried to defend the indefensible and in the process suggested that he actually might have been culpable for his pastor's ravings after all.

Obama will pay a price for defending his relationship with Rev. Wright and, thus, abandoning his bargain. Once he stops being a "bargainer" and becomes a "challenger," as Steele describes Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton — people who seek to intimidate whites with charges of racism — white liberals will turn on him. 

. . .

So go ahead and vote Democratic this year if you want to wallow in racial recriminations for the next four years. Whether it's Obama or the wife of our first black president or Missouri attorney general Jay Nixon, who's running for governor, or St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, Democrats come to the table with heavy racial baggage they just can't or won't put down.

In contrast, notice that black Republicans aren't race hustlers. From Colin Powell to Amy Holmes; from Condi Rice to Kenneth Blackwell and Shelby Steele, there's no bargaining and no guilt, just excellence in search of opportunity.

Think about how much better that is for America than the alternative. Even if you're a liberal.

Buried within this column about the issue of the day - Obama and his hate-filled pastor - is a much larger point    . . . "Democrats come to the table with heavy racial baggage they just can't or won't put down."  

It does seem that black Republicans have risen to greater positions of power and in larger numbers than Democrats.  See Clarence Thomas, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice as prime examples.  Yet the Democrats can count on the votes of African-Americans year after year.

Dwight Billingsly is working through Missouri Spectrum to change that.  More power to him.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Steelman for Governor?

Surprisingly, the Riverfront Times actually published a fair and thoughtful in-depth story on Republican candidate for governor Sarah Steelman.  Despite the tacky and demeaning title (what more should we expect from the RFT?), it is well worth a read.  

Based on her career and her conservative credentials, Steelman deserves consideration for the nomination.

Like most Republicans, my first reaction to Kenny Hulshof's entry in the race was that everyone else should get out of his way and let him focus on Jay Nixon.  Lt. Governor Peter Kinder obliged but Steelman wouldn't.  Maybe she shouldn't.

It really looks like the GOP has two viable candidates for governor.  If Steelman and Hulshof can stay away from Clinton-Obama-esque sniping at one another, stay positive and talk simply about who would be the best governor, Missouri could benefit from a primary race.

May the best man (or woman) win.

Unbelievable! Feds Outsource Passports to Foreign Company

Today, the Washington Times published the first of a three-part series revealing the U.S. Government's outsourcing of the manufacturing of passports to foreign companies.  This alarming article by Bill Gertz raises the obvious security concerns.  I won't fully rehash those concerns here (since you can click on the link and read Gertz's article yourself) but just imagine . . . blank American passports are being assembled in Europe and Thailand before being shipped to the U.S.  

There is no way to be sure about the security of those blank passports.  With a blank American passport, Osama bin Laden himself could get past our customs agents.

Why on earth would our federal government outsource production of the very documents that allow a free pass through our border security?  Well, Gertz answers that question too . . . money.  

The Government Printing Office is turning huge profits on passports.  Profits are being given a higher priority than security.  And those profits are being turned by charging ever-higher fees to Americans for those passports.  To what end?  The Government Printing Office was designed to break even.

This makes even less sense than allowing the European consortium Airbus to manufacture the U.S. Air Force's new tanker.  Stop the insanity now!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Win For the Constitution

Today the conservative wing of the U.S. Supreme Court stood up for state's rights, national sovereignty and the U.S. Constitution.
President George W. Bush had issued an executive order "requiring" Texas to abide by a ruling of the International Court of Justice "mandating" a new trial for a Mexican national on death row.  Texas refused arguing that the president had no constitutional or statutory authority for his executive order and, furthermore, Texas courts were not bound by rulings of the ICJ.  

A 6-3 majority of the court agreed with Texas and ruled that President Bush had no authority to act without authorization to do so given by Congress or the Constitution.  Congress has not passed any law binding American courts to the ICJ and the Constitution certainly doesn't envision our courts bowing down to international courts.

With this decision, Texas was vindicated and despite continued overreaching of the federal government the Supreme Court showed state's rights are still alive and kicking.  It also stood up for the rights of Americans to govern themselves and not be subjugated to international tribunals.  Score one for the sovereignty of the United States.

Score one also for the Constitution and its design of a government of limited powers.  President Bush, as so many presidents before him, sought to act without authority.  Many thanks to the Supreme Court for standing up to the Executive Branch and saying no.

Specifically, thanks go to Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices John Paul Stevens, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

Three Justices dissented from this decision.  Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsberg and David Souter would have declared the ICJ decision as binding law, enforceable in all courts across the nation.  Had the liberals held the majority, they would have placed American courts beneath the judgments of this international body.

Don't forget to consider the potential consequences to the Supreme Court when you cast your ballot for president in November.

Eminent Domain Update

On March 18, I wrote about the Missouri Supreme Court's decision in City of Arnold v. Tourkakis, which held that the Missouri Constitution does not prohibit municipalities of any size from seizing private property for the sake of private development.  Today, the Post-Dispatch published a column by the dentist whose land is being taken by Arnold on its op-ed page.  Homer Tourkakis states his case very well.  And, he's resigned to his fate.

While I believe the Missouri Supreme Court correctly decided the case before it, I strongly oppose the notion that eminent domain should be used to take land from one private person and give it to another.  I suggested that "somebody" needed to act to protect landowners from this type of government land grab.  

Well, that somebody might just be Homer Tourkakis and Missouri Citizens for Property Rights.  That organization, with Tourkakis on its board of directors, is pushing a ballot initiative to protect Missouri property owners from eminent domain abuse.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Another Small Chink in the Armor of Global Warming Hysteria

In 2006, researchers "identified" global warming as the "trigger" for chytridiomycosis, which is causing severe declines in populations of the harlequin frog in South and Central America.  Just last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change touted the '06 study. 
Too bad it was wrong.

The New York Times is reporting on a study to be released tomorrow that studied the issue and "found no evidence that climate change has been driving chytridiomycosis." 

Watch out for scientists drawing politically correct conclusions.

Hillary Lies About Trip to Bosnia

Surprise, surprise, another Clinton has been caught in another lie.  This time, Bill's not lying about sex with an intern.  Instead, Hillary is telling a tall tale about a dramatic trip she took to war torn Bosnia in 1996.  She "remembers landing under sniper fire."

Fortunately for Hillary then, but not so fortunately for her presidential aspirations now, there was no such sniper fire.  Instead of being shot at and running for the safety of a waiting car (as she is now claiming happened), the then-First Lady participated in a greeting ceremony (which she is now claiming didn't happen).

Most unfortunately for Mrs. Clinton, she wasn't alone on the Bosnia trip and the folks with her - CBS News - are talking.  More importantly, they're showing the video.

In the best possible light, Hillary's memory is faulty.  More likely, she's trying to paint a picture of herself, again, as more involved in foreign policy during her husband's presidency than she actually was.  She didn't count on her friends at CBS turning on her and bringing her tall tale down to size.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Christ the Lord is risen today.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Luetkemeyer for Congress?

Until now, the only Republican candidate to garner much media attention in the race to replace Kenny Hulshof in Congress has been former football player Brock Olivo.  Today, a candidate with some actual experience (and one who has presumably voted in an election before) announced that he's throwing his hat into the ring . . .

Blaine Luetkemeyer is currently director of the Missouri Division of Tourism and before that he served for six years as a state representative from St. Elizabeth.

In a Columbia Tribune article, Luetkemeyer proclaims himself to be pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-gun rights and supportive of a continued military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq.  He's also quoted as saying "I believe that the money that's in your pocket is your money and not that of the federal government."

I don't pretend to know enough about Luetkemeyer yet and I know next to nothing about his GOP rivals for the nomination (with the noted exception of Olivo) but so far this candidate is sounding like a good candidate for the job.

Democrat Proposes 50 Cent Per Gallon Gas Tax

At a time when the price of gasoline is running over $3.00 per gallon, Michigan Democrat John Dingell is proposing a national 50 cent tax on every gallon sold.  That's just brilliant.  (Sarcasm intended.)

Unfortunately, Dingell isn't some two-bit back-bencher with no influence in Washington, he's the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The mile-high price of gasoline is already working its way into almost everything Americans buy.  That cost is driving inflation fears and threatening the already slowing economy.  Adding 50 cents to the price of gasoline now should be the last thing on anybody's mind.

But this liberal Democrat apparently thinks that the time is right to raise taxes.  (Although as a liberal, he probably thinks any time is the right time to raise taxes.)  Dingell couldn't be further from the truth.  It amazes me how little regard for the economy this "respected" congressman is showing.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Freedom Disappearing in Venezuela

Venezuela held a national referendum in December and rejected "reforms" proposed by President a.k.a. Dictator Hugo Chavez.  Now, it has been reported that Chavez is refusing to abide by that referendum and implementing his rejected plans anyway.  He's proceeding to "nationalize several sectors of the economy."

Though Fidel Castro is out to pasture, Communism is very much alive and dangerous right here in the Western hemisphere.  

American needs to keep a close eye on Venezuela and Hugo Chavez.

McCain Is Winning. Should he thank Limbaugh?

John McCain has pulled ahead of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in a national poll released earlier today.  McCain leads Hillary 48-40 and Obama 46-40.  Maybe there's more to McCain's candidacy than meets the eye.

On the other hand, maybe Rush Limbaugh deserves the credit along with his willing accomplices, Clinton and Obama.  Rush was positively giddy on his show today.  Before the Texas and Ohio primaries, Rush urged Republicans in both states to cross over and vote for Clinton in the hopes of keeping that bloody primary battle going.  Republicans did cross over, Hillary won those states and continues to fight on, though it seems impossible that she could collect enough delegates to win.  Rush's tactics, dubbed "Operation Chaos," seem to be working.

Wasn't conventional wisdom telling us that McCain couldn't count on conservative talk radio?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

McCain Most Popular Presidential Candidate

According to a UPI story published today, Republican nominee-in-waiting John McCain has the highest favorable rating of any remaining candidate.  

According to a Gallup poll completed over the weekend, 67% of Americans have a favorable opinion of McCain.  Barack Obama's favorable rating is 62% and Hillary Clinton's is 53%.  (Count me in the minority on all three of these folks.)

Does this mean McCain actually might have a chance at winning in November?

Missouri Supreme Court Shows Restraint - Upholds TIF and Eminent Domain In Arnold

Today the Missouri Supreme Court got one right.  Right on the law - but wrong on public policy.

The City of Arnold wants to redevelop land within its boundaries.  Unfortunately, the City doesn't own all the land.  A dentist's office stood in the way and its owner doesn't want to sell.  Arnold, therefore, declared the area "blighted" and tried to take the property by eminent domain.  The valiant dentist, Homer Tourkakis, fought this taking of his property all the way to the Supreme Court.  Today, he lost.

In its 6-1 opinion, the Court ruled that Missouri's tax increment financing law allows all municipalities in the state "to utilize eminent domain to take private property to facilitate redevelopment."  Tourkakis had argued that only charter cities, which Arnold is not, were allowed to use eminent domain in that fashion.  This technicality, unfortunately for Tourkakis, did not hold up.

The Supreme Court correctly upheld the TIF law enacted by elected representatives of the people in 1982.  Those representatives had the right to make the law and today the Court simply interpreted it.  Instead of yielding to the temptation to make law from the bench, the judges deferred to the legislature.

But the legislature was wrong in 1982 and should revisit and curb the exercise of eminent domain in 2008.  Eminent domain is a necessary evil, without which roads could not have been built and other projects for the public good could not have been completed.  But its use has been expanded from necessary public projects to projects designed to benefit one private interest over another.  

Cities are using their power to rob Peter to pay Paul.  Or, in this case, Arnold is robbing Homer to pay a redeveloper.  Somebody needs to stand up to protect Homer Tourkakis and all the other Peters out there.

Monday, March 17, 2008

280,523 Steps In the Right Direction

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security deported 280,523 persons in fiscal 2007.  This figure is higher than ever before and almost 100,000 more illegal immigrants were sent home in 2007 than in 2006.  (The figures come from a story in today's Washington Times.)

Homeland Security deserves some credit for improvements but there is still a long way to go.  Nobody knows how many illegal aliens are in the United States right now but estimates range from 7 million to 20 million or more.  

Deporting 280,523 illegal immigrants is a start but, unfortunately, that many deportations really just scratch the surface of the problem.  The time is now (though it should have been years ago) for our federal government to get serious on this issue.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Hulshof Against Political Patronage

Since the automobile was introduced to Missouri's roads, governors have used license fee offices to reward their favorite political supporters.  Historically, those who invested enough to get their guy elected cashed in when that guy granted his supporter the right to open up their own small business monopoly.

Three cheers for Republican gubernatorial candidate Kenny Hulshof, who has pledged to end the political patronage system for awarding state license offices.  Instead the offices would be awarded by competitive bid.

It should be a no-brainer for Sarah Steelman, Hulshof's GOP primary opponent, and Jay Nixon, the Democrat's presumptive nominee, to match this pledge.  

If they don't, we should all question why they don't.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Science Supporting Global Warming Hype is Faulty

Since its founding in 1988, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has sounded the alarm on global warming.  The IPCC published a widely-cited report in 2001 claiming that world temperatures were relatively stable from the year 1000 through 1900 but spiked dramatically from 1900 to 2000.  H. Sterling Burnett's commentary in yesterday's Washington Times, however, points out that the science behind the temperature report is seriously flawed.  According to Burnett, the IPCC scientists used statistics in their report without consulting any statisticians and, consequently, got them wrong.  Furthermore, the IPCC's 2007 predictions of catastrophe resulting from global warming are based on clearly inaccurate data.

Don't believe the hype.  And don't believe Al Gore or the IPCC.  There is no scientific consensus on global warming.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Organization of Muslim Nations Opposes Free Speech

Leaders of 57 Islamic countries met in Senegal this week and urged that new laws be created to allow Muslims to sue freedom-loving nations which allow "anti-Islamic speech."  Those leaders believe that their religion is under increasing attack in the West and want to outlaw "blasphemous" cartoons, speech or depictions of Islam around the world, not just within their own borders (which is bad enough).  

According to an AP report on the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the conference chairman claimed that freedom of speech did not include the right to blaspheme Islam.  Further, he said, "there can be no freedom without limits."

That's ridiculous.  Freedom requires the freedom to say unpopular things.  Otherwise, a tyranny of the majority view is inevitable.  Western nations recognize that.  Our national sovereignty must be defended.  No international accord should regulate what speech is allowed or is not allowed in any other nation.

In addition to creeping international political correctness, the measure is also hypocritical.  Muslim nations would not be punished for allowing anti-Semitic or anti-Christian speech.  Only that which is "blasphemous" would be subject to legal attack.  But who gets to decide what is blasphemous?  I suspect that the Islamic nations want to decide.  I doubt that they would consider a claim that Jesus Christ was merely a prophet, not God, to be blasphemy, but a Christian would.  Why wouldn't that be prosecuted to the same extent as a cartoon depiction of the prophet Muhammad?  Because what is good for the goose is not good for the gander.

And the historically Christian nations in the Western world value freedom of speech.  Our nations are stronger because of the open marketplace of ideas.  That includes religious ideas.

The 57 leaders who met in Senegal should worry about their own nations - and possibly extending freedom to their own people.  They should stop worrying about how to limit freedom elsewhere.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

No College for Illegal Immigrants

Illegal immigration is a major problem in the United States and Missouri.  Our nation was built by immigrants - but immigrants who, by and large, followed the laws of their new nation and entered legally.  America should still welcome immigrants, but only immigrants who follow the law, wait their turn and enter the country legally.  Those immigrants who are here illegally should not be allowed to benefit from their illegal presence here.

Although it is only a small step, a bill sponsored by Representative Jerry Nolte (R-Gladstone) in the Missouri House of Representatives is at least a step in the right direction.  If the bill is passed and signed into law, state colleges and universities would be prohibited from enrolling illegal immigrants.

Enrollment at a taxpayer supported college or university is such a benefit and a privilege that should be withheld from individuals whose presence in the country is not permitted by law.

That seems simple and obvious to me but apparently it is not obvious to everyone.  In a Post-Dispatch article, two critics of the proposal are quoted.  Ed Wildberger (D-St. Joseph) believes that the bill "punishes children for their parents' mistakes."  Indeed, the illegal immigrant collegian's parents may have broken the law, these young adults are also breaking the law.  Neither they nor their parents should be receiving benefits from the state, like enrollment in a state college or university.

More troubling is the criticism of House Minority Leader Paul LeVota (D-Independence).  LeVota said that this proposal doesn't address the real immigration problem facing the state - employment of illegal aliens.  That statement is certainly true.  But it isn't a valid criticism of this proposal.  Pass this bill to prohibit enrollment of illegal immigrants in colleges and universities.  Then, Rep. LeVota, try sponsoring a bill that does something about employment of illegal immigrants as well.

Brock Olivo Should Run For Mayor!

There was an election held Wednesday night in the Prospect Bend neighborhood of Broward County, Florida.  But no votes were cast.  None.

It sounds like the perfect community for local congressional candidate, Brock Olivo to take up residence.  Prospect Bend is a community of like-minded people.  He'd fit right in.

(I'm not making this up.  See link.)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Missouri Should Think Twice About Pushing Biodiesel

A bill making its way through the Missouri Senate would mandate that all diesel fuel sold in Missouri contain 5% biofuel by 2010.  The apparent goal of the measure is to protect the environment and support local farmers.  According to BusinessWeek, the push for this is coming from local corn and soybean farm interests looking to make more money on the sale of their crops.  But farm commodity prices are already going up and the price of food is going up in turn.  Do we really want to reduce the amount of food we have available (and increase its cost) through another big government mandate requiring us to burn more and more of it in our fuel tanks?

In this cause the farming interests have ready made allies in the environmentalist movement and and global warming crowd.  But their support might be misplaced.  The bloom is coming off the biofuel rose.  Several reports, including a November 2007 article in Smithsonian, indicate that the creation of some biofuels is worse for the environment than burning gasoline.

I believe in the family farm and farmers.  But I also believe in the free market.  The market should drive commodity prices (and, remember, is already driving them up), governments shouldn't drive prices on anything.  And before even beginning to consider meddling in the market, governments should be sure of their science.

Spitzer Update

Apparently New York Governor Eliot Spitzer has decided to call it quits tomorrow.  Score one for decency.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Politicians Who Live In Glass Houses . . .

New York Governor Eliot Spitzer (a Democrat) has been caught on federal wiretaps soliciting and, apparently, patronizing a prostitute.  An FBI Affidavit details what he was caught doing.  As reported in the New York Times, he has admitted acting "in a way that violates my obligation to my family and violates my or any sense of right and wrong."  Yet he describes the situation as "a private matter," and has not yet resigned.  Apparently, he learned something from his political ally, Bill Clinton.

As the former Attorney General of New York, Spitzer should know that patronizing prostitution is not simply a private matter.  It is against the law.  The law that he's sworn to uphold.

Spitzer has also made a name for himself by prosecuting prostitution rings, in addition to the white collar criminals that made him a household name.

It looks like we can mark this guy down as a politician who lives up to the stereotype . . . he's a hypocrite.

Making Anonymous Posting Illegal

How backward is Kentucky?  When it comes to free speech, their state legislature will have a chance to answer the question.

Representative Tim Couch (a Republican, unfortunately) has introduced a bill to make anonymous posting of anything on the internet illegal.  According to a story from Lexington's KTVQ, couch so much wants to stop on-line bullying that he's willing to take away Kentuckians rights.  

Anonymous posting allows individuals to say what they really think, without fear of what others might think of their opinion and without fear of their own personal safety.  That safety could be threatened if Couch's measure became law - since it would also require registration of the individuals address with each host website.  How many people would retreat from public debate for fear that some lunatic who might read their comments would track them down?  Keeping one person's voice silent for fear is too many.

In the short time that this blog has been running, I've had numerous anonymous posts.  In fact, most of the feedback I've gotten on what I have published has been anonymous.  Quelling that debate is not the right answer to any question.

On-line bullying might be a problem - but anybody reading an anonymous internet post should take it for what it is . . . a statement that could be made by anybody, with or without knowledge of any specific situation.  No such comments should be taken too seriously.

Kentucky legislators have a choice, they can stand up for liberty and the First Amendment or they can vote for Representative Couch's ill-conceived bill.  

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Pax Hillarius

Hillary Clinton has been positioning herself as more experienced in foreign policy issues than her opponent for the Democrat's presidential nomination, Barack Obama.  She may be right but that statement says more about Obama's lack of experience than Hillary's depth of experience.

In this campaign, Hillary is claiming credit for peace in Northern Ireland.  This is a key part of her claimed foreign policy experience.  But, David Trimble, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for actually helping bring about that peace in 1998, has called Hillary's claims of involvement "a wee bit silly."  Trimble says that Hillary had no role whatsoever besides accompanying her husband and cheerleading from the sidelines.  Trimble's comments are reported in The Daily Telegraph.

Most of Hillary's so-called experience comes from the time she served as First Lady.  It is quite possible that she served as a confidant and even a behind-the-scenes advisor to her husband but that's a far cry from being a participant in foreign policy herself.  To boost her credentials over her opponent's, Hillary seems to be taking credit for anything "good" that her husband did.  As Obama has pointed out, however, she's not willing to take the blame for her husband's failures.

Based on David Trimble's comments, it seems that Hillary Clinton should get as much credit for peace in Northern Ireland as Al Gore gets for inventing the internet.

Friday, March 7, 2008

What's Wrong With Obama? He's more liberal than ANY other senator!

National Journal has released a ranking of senators on a liberal to conservative scale.  These rankings are based on 2007 roll call votes.  Who's more liberal than Ted Kennedy?  Most of the other Democrats actually.  Hard to believe, but Teddy now qualifies as a "moderate" with a liberal score of 76.2 (out of a possible 100).

Among the 27 Democrats left of Kennedy are . . . surprise, surprise . . . Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.  Hillary is the 16th most liberal senator with a liberal score of 82.8.  In addition to Kennedy, she's more liberal than notables Chris Dodd, Carl Levin and John Kerry.

But even Mrs. Clinton's liberalism is dwarfed by Barack Obama's.  Obama scored an unbelievable 95.5 on the liberal scale.  95.5!

Obama is more liberal than Diane Feinstein, Kennedy, Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid, Barbara Boxer and even Joe Biden for heaven's sake!

So when Obama tries to sell the electorate on vague platitudes, hope, change, and "fresh" ideas, remember his track record.  His voting record shows he's as liberal as can be.  And at the root of all those "ideas" is the same old, stale, failed liberalism of the past.  They've just been dressed up with a fresh face.

America shouldn't be fooled by this liberal posing as somebody he's not!

*An interesting footnote . . . Senator John McCain missed too many votes in 2007 to be ranked on this scale.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Not Holding the Line on Spending

In stark contrast to the actions of Republicans in control of the Missouri General Assembly (see my blog entry dated March 4, 2008), who reacted to an executive branch budget proposal by trimming it down to size, Democrats in control of the U.S. Congress are in the process of eliminating budget "cuts" proposed by President Bush for fiscal 2009.  (Most of those "cuts" by the way, are actually spending increases.  The spending just doesn't increase as much as Democrats want it to.)

The ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, told that the Democrats' budget proposal also includes "the largest tax increase in American history."  Ryan also stated that the Democrats are "choosing Pork over paychecks."

Most Republicans in Congress don't qualify as saints on spending, but Democrats seem determined to live up to their reputation as tax-and-spend liberals.  

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Underground Free Speech in Communist Cuba - But Free Speech For Students Threatened In Connecticut

Two items concerning free speech caught my eye on the Drudge Report today.  One I viewed with hope, the other with appall.  

The hopeful story comes from Cuba via the New York Times.  In spite of the repressive Communist regime, young people are using technology to spread news and information around the island.  Apparently, they're illicitly logging on to the internet, watching foreign television on smuggled satellite dishes or even using digital cameras to record what they see first hand.  The gathered news is then passed around from one person to the next by memory stick or flash drive.  As technology leaps forward in Cuba, the government can't keep up.  The trickle of outside information into the country is turning into a flood.  One day soon, we can only hope, it will wash the Raul nee Fidel Castro regime right into the Caribbean Sea.

The appalling story comes from Connecticut via the Associated Press.  Lewis S. Mills High School in Burlington prohibited a student from serving on the student council because she posted comments critical of the school's administration on her own internet blog.  Avery Doninger's comments were a tad vulgar and definitely juvenile (she is just 17) but they were made from her personal computer, in her home, and on a website unaffiliated with the school.  Apparently a judge in Connecticut believes that the First Amendment does not apply to high school students at home on their own computers and denied her request for an injunction.  The case is currently on appeal.

Isn't it sad that when free speech seems to be on the rise in Cuba, it seems to be on the decline right here at home?

Is Barak Obama "Foreign-born" and Ineligible for the Presidency?

The United States Constitution requires that the president be a "natural born citizen."  Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill's recently introduced a bill to clarify who is and is not a "natural born citizen."  The purpose of this bill is widely reported to be clarification of John McCain's eligibility for the presidency.  McCain, you see, was born in Panama.  His father was stationed there, serving in the U.S. Navy.

But according to Leon Siu, writing in the Hawaii Reporter, McCaskill, who happens to be the national co-chair of Barack Obama's presidential campaign, has an ulterior motive.  She is actually being very tricky and hoping to pass a bill that we all think is about McCain when in reality, it is all about Obama. 

Obama, according to Siu, was born in a foreign country.  That country was Hawaii.  The Hawaiian Kingdom, you see, is a sovereign nation illegally occupied by the United States.  Siu claims that "numerous actions and admissions by the U.S. government since 1893 indicate that Hawaii is not a lawful territory or state of the U.S.  . . . "In recent years the [fraudulent claim of Hawaiian statehood] began to unravel and in recent months, the pace has accelerated considerably."

As much as I would like to believe that Claire McCaskill had crass, selfish, political purpose behind this bill, Siu's claims are, unfortunately, laughable.  Not only is his claim of Hawaiian independence ridiculous, McCaskill's bill wouldn't even apply to Obama.  Her bill only applies to children "born to any citizen of the United States while serving in the active or reserve components of the United States Armed Forces."  When he was born, Obama's parents were not in the military.

McCaskill's only possible political motive for this bill is to make herself look good.  But guess what, she deserves to look good when she does good.  And even this conservative will admit, she's doing a good (though probably unnecessary) thing now.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Holding the Line on Spending

Kudos to Republicans in the Missouri General Assembly.  According to a published report in today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch, GOP legislators are planning to cut back Governor Matt Blunt's proposed $650 million spending increase by $100 million.

Although Blunt is a self-induced lame duck, it still takes courage to stand up to a governor from your own party.  

If only Republicans in Washington had done the same thing when they were in control of Congress . . .

Monday, March 3, 2008

Don't Let Violence Take Away Freedom

Violence interrupted democracy in Kirkwood on February 7.  Charles "Cookie" Thornton leaped from loudmouth to killer and took the lives of five innocent people.  Now, his criminal actions threaten to take a small piece of liberty from all of the rest of us.

Public officials in municipalities around the area, and probably around the country, are grappling with security in the wake of the Kirkwood killings.  As the Post-Dispatch reported today, some are wondering how to deal with their own local gadflies.  Some are installing metal detectors.  Others are posting armed guards (though the guards were the first victims in Kirkwood).  Pine Lawn, apparently, "has voted to bar anyone it deems disruptive from public meetings."  Would Pine Lawn have barred Martin Luther King, Jr., from its meetings in the 1960s?  Many southern cities would have deemed him disruptive.
While Pine Lawn's motives are understandable, that city has gone too far.

Security is important.  Let there be no doubt about that.  Public officials certainly have the right and even the duty to protect themselves and attendees at public meetings from violence.  But citizens, loud or not, with popular opinions or not, must be allowed access to government.  
The problem is that government shouldn't be allowed to decide whose voice is heard and whose voice is kept silent.  The Bill of Rights protects some of our most fundamental freedoms as Americans.  Among those rights are the right to free speech and the right to petition our government with grievances.  We must not allow Cookie Thornton's violence to chip away at those freedoms.

Listening to Democrats Incites Violence

Listening to Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama was apparently too much for Gregory Lynn Carter.  According to a local news report, the Taylorsville, North Carolina, man picked up a baseball bat and struck a friend in the head.  Politics truly is a blood sport.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

A Novel VP thought, Pick the Best Person for the Job

With John McCain firmly in control of the GOP presidential nomination, speculation is growing over his running mate.  Advice is plentiful.  Reuters ran a typical article this evening, quoting "experts" suggesting that McCain pick a candidate who would help McCain win a particular state, like Florida governor Charlie Crist or Minnesota governor Tom Pewlenty.  Or a woman or an African-American to run against Hillary Clinton or Barak Obama, depending on which of those candidates wins the Democratic race.

Here's my advice to McCain  . . . select as your running mate the person who would make the best president if you could not finish your term.

Wouldn't (or at least shouldn't) folks in Florida or Minnesota respect McCain more if he selected the right man (or woman) for the job than if he merely kissed up to them by choosing a native son.  Wouldn't women or minorities prefer to vote for the best possible ticket and not one with a token VP candidate?

Don't take this the wrong way.  Crist, Pewlenty, Kay Bailey Hutchison, or Colin Powell might in fact be the best possible candidate for vice president.  Each of them have attributes and detriments that can be weighed at another time.  But choosing Crist because he's from Florida, Pewlenty because he's from Minnesota, Hutchison because she's a woman, or Powell because he's black would do a disservice to that person and to the county.

I realize that my advice to Senator McCain might be looked on as naive.  But I think that the country would rally around a candidate who would consistently do what was right because it was the right thing to do.

Here's hoping that John McCain decides to nominate a running mate who is the best person he can find rather than the most strategic vote-getter.