29 October 2006

Do not even try to tell me ....

... that Republicans misuse God and wield their faith as a weapon in a manner not fitting, when golden child Harold Ford, Democratic Representative and candidate for the Senate from Tennessee had this to share:
My friend Lincoln Davis who chairs our campaign says there are, there’s one big difference between us and misfortunate Republicans when it comes to our faith: he said that Republicans fear the Lord; he said Democrats fear AND love the Lord.
That via Powerline, who also has video of the comment.

28 October 2006

An electronic voting system I could support

Here is an idea: an electronic voting machine that is fast, secure, flexible and verifiable.

You enter a (not necessarily your home) polling place. You go up and show them your official state issued voting card. Since all the state systems are compatible, the clerk directs you to a voting booth. You walk into the booth, and insert your card. You are faced with a screen. On it are your local candidates. Whether you are one of we peons who vote in our home precincts all the time, or one of those folks who 'winter' in the sun belt, your home ballot for the precinct of your home address registration is on the screen. (Isn't the internet wonderful?) You touch the screen to pick your choices. When you are done, you touch a spot that says "Done voting."

Before you leave your voting booth, 2 cards print out. Each records your votes. You walk out to the elections official. He/she asks you if your ballot is accurate. You look it over. If it is not, you go in, reinsert the ballot and vote again. If it is, you drop it in a locked box, if it is local, or put it in an envelope, that will have printed out at the official's table, addressed to your home elections office and put it in another locked box for the USPS to pick up.

The preliminary election results are available from the computer printouts within minutes of the closing of polls.

Part of verification would entail the opening of a random selection of locked local precinct boxes to verify the results and hand counting the ballots. Full verification would wait only 4 days for the USPS to deliver any provisional ballots voted outside the local jurisdiction, which would be confirmed.

The one hitch in this? Secrecy of the ballot. There is a possibility of someone compromising the secrecy of the ballot. I know that. But in a nation of 300,000,000, I am less concerned about that than I am in among a smaller electorate.

I am sure someone smarter than I am will see this and say ... no there are additional problems. Please... tell me what they are and how they are any worse than the last 6 years of second guessing?

Maybe ... (part 2)

I commented on why the White House seems so calm here.

I have another theory, however.

Since the Democrat's plan seems to consist of:
- letting taxes go up in 2010, and probably raising them sooner.
- spending more money on "social programs" and then calling it Homeland Security than even the spendthrift Republican Congress has done.
- Doing something different in Iraq, which is almost certain to be as unsuccessful as the Bush plan has been.
- not being the Republicans.

And since Presidents rarely get anything constructive done in their 7th & 8th years ...

... maybe the best thing that can happen to Republicans in 2008 is a Democratic Congress (one or both houses in 2006.

Because, frankly, the above Democratic strategy does not sound like much more than a short term winner.

26 October 2006

On the Tacky Tennessee Senate Race Commercial

If you have not seen it, it is here at YouTube.

My thoughts:

1. I have sometimes wondered about it when I have seen news coverage, but frankly, I did not even know Harold Ford was black. He is one of the palest black men I have ever seen.

2. I think the format of the ad is hilarious and extremely effective. Ford supporters are probably glad of the controversy because it lets them attack the ad without dealing with the issues raised.

3. I know that there is a lot of residual racism in this country, and the notion of a white woman telling a black man "call me" will, to some people, serve as race-baiting. (To Kill a Mockingbird and all that.) But ...

4. The only people who are most strenuously objecting to this ad in this country (Ford's opponent Bob Corker called it "tacky") are the NAACP and others who ought not be upset by the notion of an interracial relationship. It seems to me that for the members of the black community to object to a Republican ad because it shows the possibility of an interracial dating relationship is for those same forces of integration to be taking a stand against interracial relationships. Is the NAACP really proposing to castigate people for miscegenation?

5. Maybe the best thing about this ad is that the Canadians are upset. According to the Globe and Mail, when a man in the ad says: "Canada can take care of North Korea. They're not busy." the Canadians have taken that to mean that they are freeloaders, lazy, or worse. Not how I read it, but I think it is kind of funny that the Canadians did.

24 October 2006

When did feelings become normative?

I have been sitting on this one for over a week, because I have not had the time, and it is so good.

From Peggy Noonan, and if your doubt her conclusions, read the whole peice here.

It is not only about rage and resentment, and how some have come to see them as virtues, as an emblem of rightness. I feel so much, therefore my views are correct and must prevail. It is about something so obvious it is almost embarrassing to state. Free speech means hearing things you like and agree with, and it means allowing others to speak whose views you do not like or agree with. This--listening to the other person with respect and forbearance, and with an acceptance of human diversity--is the price we pay for living in a great democracy. And it is a really low price for such a great thing.

We all know this, at least in the abstract. Why are so many forgetting it in the particular?

Let us be more pointed. Students, stars, media movers, academics: They are always saying they want debate, but they don't. They want their vision imposed. They want to win. And if the win doesn't come quickly, they'll rush the stage, curse you out, attempt to intimidate.

And they don't always recognize themselves to be bullying. So full of their righteousness are they that they have lost the ability to judge themselves and their manner.

And all this continues to come more from the left than the right in America.

Which is, at least in terms of timing, strange. The left in America--Democrats, liberals, Bush haters, skeptics of many sorts--seems to be poised for a significant electoral victory. Do they understand that if it comes it will be not because of Columbia, Streisand, O'Donnell, et al., but in spite of them?

What is most missing from the left in America is an element of grace--of civic grace, democratic grace, the kind that assumes disagreements are part of the fabric, but we can make the fabric hold together. The Democratic Party hasn't had enough of this kind of thing since Bobby Kennedy died. What also seems missing is the courage to ask a question. Conservatives these days are asking themselves very many questions, but I wonder if the left could tolerate asking itself even a few. Such as: Why are we producing so many adherents who defy the old liberal virtues of free and open inquiry, free and open speech? Why are we producing so many bullies?

'Nuff said.

Gotta love those Muslims!

Actually, I do, but sometimes, like in this story, - completely ignored by the MSM, it is hard.

Maybe ...

Lyn Davis Lear ... otherwise unknown to me, but probably not to her psychiatrist.. blogs:

All week I've been reading in disparate sources from Drudge to US News and World Report about Bush, Rove and Cheney being overly confident about the midterm elections. Even Republican strategists are increasingly concerned because the White House doesn't have a plan if they lose. This lack of planning shouldn't surprise anyone, but if you really think about it a creepy, crawly feeling grows in your gut.

Here are some questions: Are these guys simply narcissistic idiots Rove-ing around in some never-never land bubble or do they know something we don't? Have they planned a grab bag nose punch of an October/November surprise? Or have Diebold, ES&S, and local state secretaries assured them that they will do "whatever it takes" to get a Republican Congress elected again? Or are they just planning to outspend us?
She goes on to reveal that some of her friends also hold paranoid delusions.

Maybe Rove et al have really good poll data, as they have had in the past, that indicates that are going to do ok. Or maybe they are simply realists who know that no matter what the outcome on election day, they will have to govern, and whining about it is not going to change anything.

But then, the left could not comprehend that.

22 October 2006

I love it when the press undercuts a great political line ...

From Peggy Noonan:

Mrs. Clinton, who will soon go fully national again, shrewdly makes more and more religious references and has taken to wearing a cross on her neck on the campaign trail. Ben Smith of New York's Daily News called it a diamond cross. It looks like one. But diamonds would be an odd thing for a Democratic politician to campaign in. No Democrat or Republican politician has worn expensive jewelry in New York since Mario Cuomo looked at his wealthy opponent in their first debate and purred, "Nice watch, Lou!"

A hunch. Hillary is just waiting for someone to ask her about the diamond cross so she can shyly respond, 'Lord, it's glass, actually.' Her office will elaborate: It was given to her by a little girl in Poughkeepsie, to remind her of what's important. Hillary promised to wear it every day.

But now she can't. And don't even think that she is not regretting it.

An apt description of the Left

Apparently there is a play based on the life and musings of patriotic, peace-loving activist Rachel Corrie, pictured here.

In discussing the "play" Terry Teachout had the following to say about the Left:

It's an ill-crafted piece of goopy give-peace-a-chance agitprop--yet it's being performed to cheers and tears before admiring crowds of theater-savvy New Yorkers who, like Mr. Rickman himself, ought to know better.

So why don't they? Because Palestine is the new Cuba, a political cause whose invocation has the effect of instantaneously anesthetizing the upper brain functions of those who believe in it.

'Nuff said.

18 October 2006

Love ya ... but ...

The sign on a hotel in town (whose owner is a Green Bay Fan):

ARE 6-0

Mind you, they deserved to lose Monday night ...
But I am awfully glad they did not.

Some have indicated that my boys got lucky with the missed kick by Rackers. Nope. Not if you believe Hunter Hillenmeyer:

Larry: There was some mention that Hunter Hillenmeyer partially blocked the missed field goal at the end of Monday night’s game. Has that been confirmed?

Newport Beach, California

Nick: There’s no mention of a deflection in the official statistics, but I asked Hunter Hillenmeyer after the game and he told me that Neil Rackers’ errant 40-yard field goal attempt in the final minute of the fourth quarter did in fact graze off his fingertips.

So, not luck, just a good team snatching victory .... oh enough of the cliches.

Good news from Thomas Friedman

Since I am not a New Orc Times subscriber, this comes via Best of the Web Today

Thoman Friedman writes:
Although the Vietcong and Hanoi were badly mauled during Tet, they delivered, through the media, such a psychological blow to U.S. hopes of "winning" in Vietnam that Tet is widely credited with eroding support for President Johnson and driving him to withdraw as a candidate for re-election. . . .

While there may be no single hand coordinating the upsurge in violence in Iraq, enough people seem to be deliberately stoking the fires there before our election that the parallel with Tet is not inappropriate. The jihadists want to sow so much havoc that Bush supporters will be defeated in the midterms and the president will face a revolt from his own party, as well as from Democrats, if he does not begin a pullout from Iraq.
Tet was a disaster for the VC. In other words, even though every casualty of war is a tragedy, if we have the intestinal fortitude to withstand a few more, we will face a severly weakend jihadist movement in Iraq shortly after the election.

All we have to do is withstand a negative, vitriolic, defeatist disinformation campaign by the left leaning MSM.

Well, heck, unlike 1968, we have 3 1/2 years of experience at that now!

Dang it is busy

As I indicated on my profile, I am a pastor at a church in NW Wisconsin. Solo pastor, roughly 300 members.

I did not expect I'd be down to 1 post a week this soon ....

Just know there are tons of things I want to blog on, but they apparently have to wait.

11 October 2006

Victims of expedience

If John Fund and The American Spectator are telling the truth, it seems that Democratic operatives were perfectly willing to allow Mark Foley to go on victimizing underage boys until closer to the election, just for political advantage. While Fund does not name his sources, let's call them The Donkeys.

What I want to know is what did the Donkeys know and when did they know it,

and how much abuse has gone on while they sat on this story for political advantage!?!

If there's one thing I can't stand ...

...its intollerance!

After the riot at Columbia University last week, Ross Kaminsky of Real Clear Politics offers this piece of wisdom I picked up at OpinionJournal.com:

It is a remarkable thing about liberals (or, at Columbia, outright leftists) in free societies: They are far more intolerant than conservatives. The protesters hate people who oppose illegal immigration. They accept the use of intimidation and violence to keep such people from speaking, then blame the victim for having been controversial. Conservatives generally don't hate people for their views even if those views are as wrong-headed as those of many (or, in my experience, most) Columbia students.

Can't add much to that.

07 October 2006

When Hypocrisy is not

One of the better minds on the net is James Taranto. He edits Opinionjournal.com and writes the Best of the Web Today column. Here are his comments on Rep. Mark Foley from October 2.

The most fascinating comment about the scandal comes from Andrew Sullivan:

I don't know Foley, although, like any other gay man in D.C., I was told he was gay, closeted, afraid and therefore also screwed up. What the closet does to people--the hypocrisies it fosters, the pathologies it breeds--is brutal. There are many still-closeted gay men in D.C., many of them working for a Republican party that has sadly deeply hostile to gay dignity. How they live with themselves I do not fully understand. . . .

What I do know is that the closet corrupts. The lies it requires and the compartmentalization it demands can lead people to places they never truly wanted to go, and for which they have to take ultimate responsibility. From what I've read, Foley is another example of this destructive and self-destructive pattern for which the only cure is courage and honesty. While gays were fighting for thir [sic] basic equality, Foley voted for the "Defense of Marriage Act." If his resignation means the end of the closet for him, and if there is no more to this than we now know, then it may even be for the good. Better to find integrity and lose a Congressional seat than never live with integrity at all.

It seems to us that someone who is sexually interested in children had damn well better stay in the closet, and if he can't, he should be put in one with a thick metal door that locks from the outside. It is astonishing, and more than a little disturbing, that Sullivan would seek to make Foley a poster child for gay liberation.

Further, has it occurred to Sullivan that his response to the Foley scandal undermines his own credibility as an advocate of same-sex marriage? Sullivan has long claimed to be advancing traditional values. All he wants, he says, is for society to recognize that gay couples are no less capable of serious, loving, lifelong commitments than ordinary couples are.

But if a middle-aged congressman were caught sending lewd messages to 16-year-old girls, what adherent to traditional values would claim that the congressman's real problem is that he is insufficiently open about his sexuality?

Exploitation Reaction Formation
One of the odder accusations being leveled against Foley is that of hypocrisy. As the Washington Post notes, Foley "built his political career in large measure on legislative proposals meant to halt the sexual predation of children and others":

A well-liked member of the class of conservatives elected to Congress in 1994, Foley was until two days ago a deputy whip for the House Republicans and a co-chairman of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus. A Web site for the bipartisan group states that it was formed to "create a voice within Congress" on that issue and to operate a hotline for tips about "online child sexual exploitation" that could be passed to law enforcement agencies.

At a White House Rose Garden ceremony on July 27, President Bush hailed Foley and some other House and Senate lawmakers as members of a "SWAT team for kids." Bush spoke while signing into law a broad child protection measure that included a Foley-sponsored provision requiring sex offenders to register in every state where they live, work or attend school.

Exploiting children is bad. Does simultaneously decrying the exploitation of children make it worse? This would seem to be a pretty obvious case of hypocrisy being the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

What's more, any armchair psychologist worth his salt will tell you that Foley's activism on behalf of children appears to be a reaction formation--that is, a neurotic defense against his own impulses (a theme we struck, in another context, two weeks ago).

A tangentially related analogy is the antigay activist who turns out to be a closeted homosexual. (Andrew Sullivan notwithstanding, Foley does not seem to fall into this category. He in fact voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2004.) This is a standard trope of the gay left, and it is not without a grain of truth.

But the Foley case shows why this trope is not really an argument. Foley's own apparent penchant for exploiting children in no way discredits the idea he was espousing: that society should be vigilant in protecting children from exploitation. Similarly, when a gay-basher turns out to be secretly homosexual, that has no bearing on the question of whether homosexual conduct is moral. Many activists for children are motivated by nothing more complicated than a genuine concern for their well-being. By the same token, many opponents of gay rights are psychologically untroubled and sincere in their beliefs.

We're not making a case against homosexuality here; we tend toward the love-and-let-love view. And it can be useful to understand the psychology behind extreme political views (or behind odd political obsessions, even if they aren't extreme). Our point simply is that a psychoanalysis is different from an argument on the merits.

Where Taranto's logic uncharacteristically fails him is in the assumption that a vote for the Federal Marraige Amendment is, at least in part, anti-gay activism. That is like saying that someone opposing an increase in the minimum wage is therefore anti-worker. There is a significant difference between intent and result. One's intent may be to protect and preserve small businesses which create jobs.

I recall an ad in favor of Oregon's marriage protection amendment, which featured two partnered gay men who said, among other things, that there are good reasons for not wanting to redefine marriage. I agree.

I'm back ... and I'm celebrating!

About a week of church meetings in Albuquerque NM kept me off the blog for a while.

I will try to write something more substantive, but the SCOTUS this week effectively granted injunctive relief to all of us.

I had been unaware of the case, and now I know why.

Silence. Blessed Silence.

Hat Tip: BOWT