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Heavy-Handed Politics

"€œGod willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world
without the United States and Zionism."€ -- Iran President Ahmadi-Nejad

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Will New Orleans Recover?

Weak and struggling before Katrina, the good-time city now teeters on the brink.
By Nicole Gelinas, City Journal

It would be uplifting to write today of how the brave people of New Orleans will come together and help each other after Hurricane Katrina—and of course many aredoing just that. Volunteers are navigating their boats around downed power linesand burbling gas mains to rescue fellow citizens still hanging onto rooftops in
the water. Even as floodwaters still engulf the city, evacuees eagerly seek to
return and rebuild their storied city—though they may not be able to do so for

But to anticipate what the city must go through now, after damming up its broken levees and pumping the floodwaters back into LakePontchartrain, is heartbreaking. No American city has ever gone through what New Orleans must go through: the complete (if temporary) flight of its most affluent and capable citizens, followed by social breakdown among those left behind, after which must come the total reconstruction of economic and physical infrastructure by a devastated populace.

And the locals and outsiders who try to help New Orleans in the weeks and months to come will do so with no local institutional infrastructure to back them up. New Orleans has no real competent government or civil infrastructure—and no aggressive media or organized citizens’ groups to prod public officials in the right direction
during what will be, in the best-case scenario, a painstaking path to normalcy."

The New Orleans crime rate during normal times is 10 times the national average, Gelinas writes, and "the city's economy is utterly dependent on tourism. . . . New Orleans has experienced a steady brain drain and fiscal drain for decades, as affluent corporations and individuals have fled, leaving behind a large population of people dependent on the government. Socially, New Orleans is one of America's last helpless cities--just at the moment when it must do all it can to help itself survive."

The Battle of New Orleans

Even in America, civil order is more fragile than we think.
Opinion Journal

Of all the bad news from New Orleans, the most disturbing has been the reports of spreading disorder, with looting, marauding gangs and even sniper fire at helicopters and rescue workers. Americans sometimes expect their government to do far too much--such as ensure low gasoline prices--but they do have a right to expect that it will at least provide for the safety of its citizens, even or perhaps especially in a crisis.

Abundance of Oil

"This morning (Thursday, Sept. 1), he [Pres. George Bush] went on ABC News and asked us all to “conserve” energy use. This is a Jimmy Carter approach. We don’t need to conserve, we need to produce, produce lots more oil so our economy can grow and we can be free of Saudi crude.

Our failure to produce more and be more free, our energy problem, is almost entirely political. Which means it can be fixed politically – mostly by getting the EPA out of the way.

An obvious requirement for energy independence would be to increase our refining capacity – that is, build more oil refineries. There hasn’t been a single new refinery built in the US in 30 years. One reason is that it has to comply with a half million federal environmental regulations – every year.

There’s a brainless buffoon in the Senate from Florida named Bill Nelson who actually called today for a repeat of Richard Nixon’s disastrous freeze on gas prices – and swore he would prevent any attempt to drill for oil off Florida’s coast.

The way to get around such folk and tap into the immense oil reserves off the coasts of California, Georgia, and Florida is for the President to press Congress to eliminate the federal prohibition to extract oil and gas from 80% of the nation’s coast, and to give the states most of the federal royalty money for continental shelf production.

The prospect of billions of dollars in oil royalties for their states will sweep away the concerns of many a Congressman and Senator.

Then my personal fantasy: for Mr. Bush in his next major media interview to announce: “We’re going to drill ANWR. We’re going to get as much oil out of Alaska as we can because our economy is more important than caribou. Deal with it.”

Beyond all of this has to be the public realization that we are not “running out of oil,” that it is not true that America has “only three percent of the world’s oil” while consuming a quarter of its production. There has got to be a widespread recognition that America has far, far more oil than Saudi Arabia, and combined with western Canada far, far more oil than all of the Middle East.

The Green River Formation in Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado contains 1.2 trillion (with a t) barrels of oil in deposits known as oil shale. The extraction and refining costs from oil shale are rapidly becoming commercially viable. A scientist friend of mine, for example, has developed a process he estimates could produce, from one particular deposit, five million barrels a day, plus one million barrels of distilled water and 100 % of the world’s production of aluminum for 50 years – with a 22% ROI at an oil price of $45 a barrel.

The Athabaska and Peace River Oil Sands in Alberta, Canada contain well over a trillion barrels – and again, extraction costs are dropping. There are scores of billions of barrels more in the western US.

But try to get a drop of any of it out of the ground and into your gas tank and the environmentalists go berserk. They’ll deluge Congress with demands for blocking legislation, the EPA for blocking regulations, and the courts with every imaginable lawsuit to prevent it.

They’ll also do their best to hamstring and slow down reconstruction along the obliterated Gulf Coast.

So – while you can’t blame anyone for a natural disaster like Katrina, if you feel like screaming in rage next time you fill up your car’s gas tank and need some folks to blame: choose the enviros. Get them out of the way and not only will that tankful cost so much less, but it will be gas that America produced itself."

---To The Point, Dr. Jack Wheeler

Dr. Wheeler also says: "If you are considering sending a contribution or volunteering for Katrina disaster relief, I recommend Southern Baptist Disaster Relief . Their toll-free number is 1-888-571-5895."

Radical Left & Radical Islam - Their Common Ground

"If reality is contradictory and logic is an illusion, then you are left with only one way to resolve conflicts and disagreements: violently. For Marxists and Moslems, change in the world consists of contradictory opposing forces – exploiters and exploited, believers and infidels – overcoming or being overcome.

Thus both Marx and Mohammed are advocates of apocalyptic totalitarianism.

For both, there are no moral absolutes: morality is whatever serves to further the interests of the exploited over the exploiters, the believers over the infidels. To assert the end does not justify the means is “bourgeois morality” for Marxists, a perverse denial of the Will of Allah for Moslems.

For both, reality is zero-sum with no compromise, no mutual cooperation between proletariat and bourgeois or believers and infidels to mutual benefit. For one to win, the other must lose. There can be no other way.

For both, peace means submission. For us, peace means the absence of violence. For Marx and Mohammed, peace means the absence of disobedience.

For both Marx and Mohammed, terrorism and jihad are hard-wired into their souls. Both Marxism and Mohammedanism (a previously common and now very un-PC term for Islam) are ideologies of war and hate, dividing the world into bourgeois exploiters vs. proletariat exploited.

Peace can only come until the contradiction between them is resolved by force, and the latter compelled by the former to believe in Allah and Marx alone. For both Marx and Mohammed, peace and justice can only be achieved through an Apocalypse."

---Jack Wheeler

Curious Civil Rights Views of Dick 'The Turbin' Durbin

Sen. Dick Durbin, best known for likening American soldiers to Nazis, weighs in today with a Chicago Tribune op-ed in advance of the John Roberts hearings. Mostly it's liberal boilerplate, but one assertion got our attention: "Nowhere did the Constitution expressly give Congress the authority to pass the Civil Rights Act [of 1964]."

Really? What about the 14th Amendment? Here are the first and last sections of that amendment, which was ratified in 1868:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. . . . The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

We'd say that last clause authorized Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. One could argue otherwise, on the ground that the Civil Rights Act, which outlaws discrimination in private commerce, goes further than the 14th Amendment, which mandates equal treatment by government. But we would counter that the system of Jim Crow segregation was so all-pervasive that federal intervention in private commerce was necessary to ensure the promise of the 14th Amendment--and that, even more clearly, the amendment grants Congress the discretion to determine that the Civil Rights Act was "appropriate legislation."

Does Durbin disagree? Does he really think that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was an extraconstitutional exercise? Or is he making this argument in bad faith in order to render more palatable actions, such as the creation of a "right" to abortion, that plainly are extraconstitutional?"

From Opinion Journal

More Hysteria From the Left

I cannot count the number of times I have heard, or read, since Katrina struck New Orleans that we could not respond fast enough because we have too many national guard personnel over in Iraq.

Boy, if that were true, our national security would be so jeopardized, that even the troop-bashing left would be calling for increased military recruiting and spending.

But alas, as usual, they have it wrong again.

" Take the Army for example. There are 1,012,000 soldiers on active duty, in the Reserves, or in the National Guard. Of them, 261,000 are deployed overseas in 120 countries. Iraq accounts for 103,000 soldiers, or 10.2 percent of the Army.

That's all? Yes, 10.2 percent. That datum is significant in itself, a good one to keep handy the next time someone talks about how our forces are stretched too thin, our troops are at the breaking point, and so forth. If you add in Afghanistan (15,000) and the support troops in Kuwait (10,000) you still only have 12.6 percent.

So where are the rest? 751,000 (74.2 percent) are in the U.S. About half are active duty, and half Guard and Reserve. The Guard is the real issue of course--the Left wants you to believe that the country has been denuded of its citizen soldiers, and that Louisiana has suffered inordinately because Guardsmen and women who would have been available to be mobilized by the state to stop looting and aid in reconstruction are instead risking their lives in Iraq."

Oil for Food Scandal Drags On

Friday, September 02, 2005

The Capitalist Mainfesto

Anti-capitalist intellectuals and writers present a constellation of related criticisms. They hold that capitalism creates inequalities of income, that it exploits the workers and the impoverished, that it supplants spiritual values with materialism, and that it leads to imperialism and war. Successful businessmen, according to their view, accumulated fortunes largely by means of fraud and peculation. Such accusations come alike from socialists and conservative defenders of the current mixed economies, from secularists and religionists, from Marxists and from Catholic clergymen, from Jews and from Muslims.

The system of freedom and wealth is repeatedly and savagely attacked by many intellectuals and other highly educated individuals -- worse, by men and women claiming to be "liberals," humanists, lovers of man, i.e., the very individuals who should function as the protectors and preservers of human life. There is an enormous disconnect between the facts of capitalism's nature and history – and the evaluation of these by many "progressive" writers and the millions whose thinking they influence.

The facts of capitalism's nature and history are not unknown. Certainly the educated critics are well aware of them. Capitalism's enemies are simply unimpressed. Why? What is responsible for the great disconnect? The reason is that the objections to capitalism are not based on factual grounds – and all the evidence in the world establishing the freedom and prosperity of those living under capitalism will not influence the system's critics to the slightest degree. The criticisms are motivated solely by moral and philosophical theories. Read more at Capitalism Magazine.

"Peace": The Stalking-Horse of the Mideast
The true purpose of many Arabs, and that of most Palestinians including the Palestinian Authority, is the destruction of Israel. It has been voiced repeatedly, and documented, and preached, and brazenly advocated by Islamic clerics in Western countries. Everyone has heard it -- including Israel’s leaders, including our intelligence agencies, including President Bush -- but no one will believe it.

One must ask oneself this: If the Arab states were genuinely, sincerely concerned with the plight of the Palestinians, why haven't they ever welcomed them into their own countries, or pledged financial aid to alleviate the misery, instead of allowing Western countries promise $3 billion to the Palestinian Authority?

Full article.

Supply and Demand

"Some Americans are demanding that the government do something about gasoline prices. Let's think back to 1979 when the government did do something. The Carter administration instituted price controls. What did we see? We saw long gasoline lines, and that's if the gas station hadn't run out of gas. It's estimated that Americans used about 150,000 barrels of oil per day idling their cars while waiting in line. In an effort to deal with long lines, the Carter administration introduced the harebrained scheme of odd and even days, whereby a motorist whose license tag started with an odd number could fill up on odd-numbered days, and those with an even number on even-numbered days.

With the recent spike in gas prices, the government has chosen not to pursue stupid policies of the past. As a result, we haven't seen shortages. We haven't seen long lines. We haven't seen gasoline station fights and riots. Why? Because price has been allowed to perform its valuable function -- that of equating demand with supply.

Our true supply problem is of our own doing. Large quantities of oil lie below the 20 million acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The amount of land proposed for oil drilling is less than 2,000 acres, less than one-half of one percent of ANWR. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates there are about 10 billion barrels of recoverable oil in ANWR. But environmentalists' hold on Congress has prevented us from drilling for it. They've also had success in restricting drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and off the shore of California. Another part of our energy problem has to do with refining capacity. Again, because of environmentalists' successful efforts, it's been 30 years since we've built a new oil refinery.

Few people realize that the U.S. is also a major oil-producing country. After Saudi Arabia, producing 10.4 million barrels a day, then Russia with 9.4 million barrels, the U.S. with 8.7 million barrels a day is the third-largest producer of oil. But we could produce more. Why aren't we? Producers have a variety of techniques to win monopoly power and higher profits that come with that power. What's a way for OPEC to gain more power? I have a hypothesis, for which I have no evidence, but it ought to be tested. If I were an OPEC big cheese, I'd easily conclude that I could restrict output and charge higher oil prices if somehow U.S. oil drilling were restricted. I'd see U.S. environmental groups as allies, and I would make "charitable" contributions to assist their efforts to reduce U.S. output. Again, I have no evidence, but it's a hypothesis worth examination."

Full article by Walter Williams, PHD Economist, here.

"On the topic of fossil fuel, OPEC oil topped $70/barrel this week, though it costs the money-grubbing cartel a mere $4/barrel to produce. (If memory serves, we liberated this region from tyranny twice in recent history, yet no offer of reduced oil prices to help alleviate our refining crisis has been forthcoming.) President Bush will surely be blamed for our high gas prices and our limited refining capabilities—but those casting the blame are the same folks who have blocked construction of a single U.S. refinement facility since 1976."

---The Federalist

Also from The Federalist:
"From the Leftjudiciary, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken has effectively blocked new oil drilling off the Left Coast for the time being, ordering further studies of the "environmental risks" —a process that will take years. At issue is the federal government's request to extend leases on 36 offshore tracts between San Luis Obispo and Oxnard counties in order for oil companies to use them for new drilling. Entangled by much legal wrangling, the tracts have been unused since the leases were taken between 1968 and 1984. The oil companies have now filed suit in order either to use the tracts or to force the federal government to buy back the leases, originally bought at $1.25 billion. Some 512 million barrels of oil sits under the ocean floor, waiting to give us some relief from rising gas prices, but no, the Left doesn't want you to be driving that SUV anyway! They need that gas for their private jets..."

And finally this:
"The American Left has generally devolved into thumb-sucking mode over all the things they are against. No new ideas, no optimism—only screaming "Not in our Name" or "Not in my back yard" and other high chair banging. A prime example is the proposed 130-turbine wind farm off Cape Cod that would produce three-quarters of local power, reducing their dependence on nasty electric plants. While it's clear that Sen. Ted Kennedy opposes the wind farm—his view of the sound might be slightly affected (if, indeed, he can see between five and thirteen miles offshore)—even GOP senators John Warner and Lamar Alexander are balking at the idea. Of course, it has nothing to do with their property in the area. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., even held a fundraiser against the project. Leave it to the hypocritical Left to want other people's money to oppose alternative energy sources! All in all, The Providence Journal said it best: "[T]here are two sets of environmental policies in the United States today: one for the very rich and one for the yahoos."

I Too, Remember This.....

"Back in the 1970s, the hysteria was about global cooling and the prospect of a new ice age. A National Academy of Sciences report back then led Science magazine to conclude in its March 1, 1975, issue that a long 'ice age is a real possibility.'According to the April 28, 1975, issue of Newsweek, 'the earth's climate seems to be cooling down.' A note of urgency was part of the global cooling hysteria then as much as it is part of today's global warming hysteria. According to the February, 1973, issue of Science Digest, 'Once the freeze starts, it will be too late'."

--Thomas Sowell

Thanks, Mr. Sowell for reminding me of this, complete with who, when, and where it was being reported.

"Global-Warming" Hurricanes

"Global warming causes increased storminess" makes for interesting headlines. It also violates fundamental scientific truth and the lessons of history."

--- George H. Taylor, Certified Consulting Meteorologist and State Climatologist, Oregon.

With a similar view, regardless of the claims of so called "global-warming hurricanes," renowned meteorologist Dr. William Gray, in a recent interview (which can be read here) with Discover magazine, which has been out there preaching and pushing the theory of human-induced global warming, chose to dispute their views and stated:

"This human-induced global-warming thing...is grossly exaggerated... I'm not disputing there has been global warming. There was a lot of global warming in the 1930s and '40s, and then there was global cooling in the middle '40s to the early '70s. And there has been warming since the middle '70s, especially in the last 10 years. But this is natural, due to ocean circulation changes and other factors. It is not human induced."

"Nearly all of my colleagues who have been around 40 or 50 years are skeptical ...... about this global-warming thing. But no one asks us."

But why ask them? What do they know, right?

Responding to a question about the increased hurricane activity of last year and the likelihood of another active hurricane season this year, Dr. Gray responded:

"The Atlantic has had more of these storms in the least 10 years or so, but in other ocean basins, activity is slightly down. Why would that be so if this is climate change? The Atlantic is a special basin? The number of major storms in the Atlantic also went way down from the middle1960s to the middle '90s, when greenhouse gases were going up."

Serving as professor of atmospheric science and head of the Tropical Meteorology Project at Colorado State University, he pioneered the science of hurricane forecasting more than two decades ago. He is described by the magazine's editors as one of "the world's most famous hurricane experts."

"I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death."

---Thomas Paine

Bolton and the UN

From The Federalist:
"In its initial conception, the UN was to be a deliberative body capable of developing negotiated resolutions to international solutions. Now, after fifty years of decay, the UN General Assembly is only a vehicle for the conveyance of Third World kleptocrats to New York City, whence they come to dine, dance and damn the very country that acts as their host.

Now, the UN is seeking to recreate its role as an international arbiter of international disputes. That site set, the United States is the clear target of the UN's "Draft Outcome Document of the High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly of September, 2005"—not a meeting to which U.S. representatives were privy.

The plan would commit the U.S. to "meeting all commitments and obligations under the Kyoto Protocol"; to "maintain a moratorium on nuclear-test explosions pending the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and call upon all States to sign and ratify"; and authorize "the commencement, without delay, of negotiations on... effective measures for the prevention of an arms race in outer space"—all policies that the President has firmly rejected. The UN Outcome Document also mandates a global tax and a United Nations army.

More UN-nik pie in the sky? Well, the strategy undertaken by Kofi Annan & Co. to overcome any U.S. "reticence" was to present this package to Mr. Bush as a little September surprise at a special summit meeting slated for next month. After all, he couldn't refuse to sign without looking the part of the much-maligned "cowboy president," could he?

Enter John Bolton. When Ambassador Bolton got wind of the document, the roof was razed at Turtle Bay—thank heavens for that. If ever a U.S. President needed tenacity in an ambassador to the UN, it's now. We hope Mr. Bolton's recess appointment becomes a fixed reality in the coming congressional term."

Investors Business Daily adds:
"What supporters loved about John Bolton, and what worried his critics, was that he would push for structural change at the UN. The new ambassador has confirmed both sides' expectations... Bolton has occupied his Turtle Bay office just a few weeks and already he's tipped over Kofi Annan's bureaucratic apple cart. The secretary general had scheduled a Sept. 14 summit for the heads of 175 nations.

The agenda? Ratifying the 2000 Millennium Summit, which put the UN squarely in the business of not just arbitrating global conflicts but ending poverty and curing disease. Global utopianism of this sort—the Bush administration rightly believes—does not set the UN on the right course. It simply invites more of the monumental corruption into which the body—once touted as 'the last, best hope for mankind' —has been sinking.

So Bolton introduced 175 amendments to the plan. The U.S. version eliminates much of the sappy, socialistic language and demands attention be paid to terrorism, human rights and the curbing of weapons of mass destruction. It strikes any mention of the International Criminal Court, that hobbyhorse of world government enthusiasts in the Democratic Party. The bold stroke prompted The Washington Post to report that the administration had 'thrown the proceedings into turmoil,' a lead intended to excite anti-Bolton sentiments on the Hill. But such pot-stirring, even UN fans understand, is long overdue."

The Washington Post whines about it here in their piece, "UNdiplomatic".
JUST ABOUT EVERY head of state will be in New York for a U.N. summit two weeks from now, but the preparatory diplomacy has been anything but statesmanlike. John R. Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has demanded a long list of changes to the summit document that, though sometimes defensible in substance, has been presented in such a way as to deepen mistrust and resentment of the United States.
(Emphasis mine -H.H.)

Mistrust? Resentment? What, me worry? Hell, no! I wonder, who mistrusts whom more? I think the general populace of the U.S., perhaps, distrusts and resents these blood sucking fools at the UN more than they do us.
"Neither U.N. officials nor Mr. Bolton's office have handled this dispute gracefully. Speaking in his capacity as a special U.N. adviser, Jeffrey D. Sachs, a Columbia University professor, has excoriated the Bush administration for backing away from a commitment to devote 0.7 percent of gross domestic product to foreign aid, but that was never a firm pledge. Meanwhile, Richard Grenell, Mr. Bolton's spokesman, reacted to a request for an interview with the ambassador by enunciating the principle that journalists need to support Mr. Bolton in order to have access to him. As to the diplomacy on the summit document, Mr. Grenell pooh-poohed its significance and predicted that it would fail anyway.
Ahhhhh, here is the real problem. And I love it: "journalists need to support Mr. Bolton in order to have access to him." There is a lot of work to be done at the UN, and we lost a lot of precious time with the stonewalling without an up or down vote on Bolton.

And now, Mr. Bolton doesn't want to waste more time, with these know nothing, panty waists, demanding his time as they hurl accusations and insinuations thinly disguised as thoughtful and probing questions. The contempt this present day media has shown towards this administration has been at an insane level. And Bolton wants no part of it. Hooray for him.

Related article: U.N. Accused of Distorting U.S. Aid Commitments: Administration Denies Having Endorsed Specific Targets Known as Millennium Development Goals

A Sensible Iraqi Constitution

By Charles Krauthammer
Washington Post
Friday, September 2, 2005

"I've never been a big fan of the Iraqi constitution project. Issues such as federalism and the role of Islam are simply too large and fundamental to be decided this early in Iraq's democratic evolution. It is more appropriately the work of years as Iraqis learn accommodation and tolerance and the other habits of self-government.

I wrote two months ago that forcing a resolution of Iraq's cosmic dilemmas by some arbitrary date could serve only to exacerbate existing divisions. This has indeed happened. Nonetheless, the Iraqi constitution project is a fact. It has produced a document. It goes to referendum on Oct. 15. And all the lamentations and rending of garments over the text are highly overblown." Full article.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Heh, heh. From Opinion Journal:

What Would School Kids Do Without Experts?
"Experts Say It's Important for School Kids to Eat Healthy"--headline, NY1 Web site (New York), Aug. 29

What Would We Do Without Editorials?
"Editorial: Katrina's Reign and Chaos Not Welcome"--headline, Times-Picayune (New Orleans), Aug. 31

Darwin's Poor Publicists

From Opinion Journal's "Best of the Web"

Darwin's Poor Publicists
"A poll released yesterday found that nearly two-thirds of Americans say that creationism should be taught alongside evolution in public schools," the New York Times reports:

In all, 64 percent said they were open to the idea of teaching creationism in addition to evolution, while 38 percent favored replacing evolution with creationism. . . .

John C. Green, a senior fellow at the Pew Forum, said he was surprised to see that teaching both evolution and creationism was favored not only by conservative Christians, but also by majorities of secular respondents, liberal Democrats and those who accept the theory of natural selection. Mr. Green called it a reflection of "American pragmatism."

"It's like they're saying, 'Some people see it this way, some see it that way, so just teach it all and let the kids figure it out.' It seems like a nice compromise, but it infuriates both the creationists and the scientists," said Mr. Green, who is also a professor at the University of Akron in Ohio.

The poll results are here.

This column disagrees with most Americans. Neither the biblical story of creation nor the idea of "intelligent design" is a scientific theory (despite the latter's pretensions), and thus neither belongs in science class, as opposed to courses in history, religion and philosophy.

At the same time, we are mystified by the strong emotions this issue stirs up on the pro-evolution side. Here's columnist Harold Meyerson in today's Washington Post:

Now that the president himself has said that intelligent design should be part of the curriculum, too (which gives a whole new, afterlife-specific meaning to the notion of No Child Left Behind), such school board creationism probably will expand exponentially. . . .

I'm going to assume--a clear leap of faith on my part--that none of the Republican presidential hopefuls in 2008, with the possible exception of Rick Santorum, actually believes this stuff. . . .

So let the first presidential primary of the Dark Ages begin! I want to know if George Allen believes in the Rapture, and whether he thinks such likely primary rivals as Rudy Giuliani will be left behind. I want to know if that well-known dinosaurphile, Newt Gingrich, is dangerously geologistic, if he really believes that the big lizards have been extinct for millions of years. I'm waiting for Bill Frist to deny, if pressed by an indignant Iowan, that blood circulates. And I wonder if John McCain believes Rick Santorum is descended from apes. And if yes, how far?

Republicans often gloat about Democratic voters driving their presidential hopefuls to the left during primary season. But at this point in American politics, it's the Republican base that is galloping both rightward and dumbward simultaneously. It could make for an interesting--make that, Menckenian--primary process. And a dimmer, diminished United States.

Meyerson comes across as dogmatic, closed-minded and contemptuous of those who disagree with him--the attitude of a fanatic, not a scientist. If even Americans who don't believe in creationism favor teaching it alongside evolution, perhaps people like Meyerson should ask if their obnoxious style of argument is part of the reason.

"The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse."

-- James Madison

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

"Once the justices depart, as most of them have, from the original understanding of the principles of the Constitution, they lack any guidance other than their own attempts at moral philosophy, a task for which they have not even minimal skills. Yet when it rules in the name of the Constitution, whether it rules truly or not, the Court is the most powerful branch of government in domestic policy. The combination of absolute power, disdain for the historic Constitution, and philosophical incompetence is lethal."

---Robert Bork

(Emphasis mine - H.H.)

Bork belongs on the Supreme Court. What a shame.

"Bean-counting government bureaucrats are free to take race, ethnicity and gender into account when doling out public funds to non-white-male contractors. But God help law enforcement officers, air marshals and border agents who try to use those same factors to combat terrorism and protect American lives."

---Michelle Malkin

"The sword of Muhammad and the Quran are the most fatal enemies of civilization, liberty and truth which the world has yet known." ---Sir William Muir

Sir William Muir
(April 27, 1819 - 1905), was a Scottish Orientalist. Sir William Muir was an Orientalist speciallising in the history of the time of Muhammad and the early caliphate. His chief books are a Life of Mahomet and History of Islam to the Era of the Hegira; Annals of the Early Caliphate; The Caliphate, an abridgment and continuation of the Annals, which brings the record down to the fall of the caliphate on the onset of the Mongols; The Koran: its Composition and Teaching; and The Mohammedan Controversy, a reprint of five essays published at intervals between 1885 and 1887. In 1888 he delivered the Rede lecture at Cambridge on The Early Caliphate and Rise of Islam.

Biographical info from Wikopedia.

"In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in French; I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language."

---Mark Twain

Energy Supply

By Hugh Aynesworth
August 31, 2005
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Hurricane Katrina shut down almost all of the energy
production in the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the nation's short-term energy
future. Oil workers congregating here said Katrina
seemed certain to have demolished some of the infrastructure.
The storm idled 95 percent of crude oil production and
88 percent of the area's natural-gas output -- almost 25 percent of the nation's
oil output, said the U.S. Minerals Management Service, an arm of the Interior

Where is the aid and or help (or at least - the offers) from other countries? Has anyone heard of any? I read somewhere that Japan had offered to release some of its' oil reserves to the U.S.

Anyone heard of other aid offers?


Police demand powers against sex offenders

SCOTLAND'S most senior police officers are calling for extensive new powers to deal with sex offenders including the right to force entry to their homes and the ability to veto their movements.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

"Hamas - land"

Q: Israelis fear that Gaza could become “Hamasland” after the withdrawal.
A: Let Israel die.

—Hamas spokesman, in an interview with the Saudi daily Asharq Al-Awsat, on August 18th.

From an article written by Joey Tartakovsky titled, Gaza and Victory? Palestinians believe they have both, but Israel intends to exchange one for the other, can be read over at Victor Hanson's website. It is a good read.
The critics were right. As Palestinian groups celebrate carnival-style, basking in praise from across the Arab world, one doubts that many of them actually believed that the end of occupation meant the end of fighting. Were that true, last week’s events would be cause to lay down their rifles; instead, they seem readier than ever to discharge them. Unless, of course, occupation referred not to the ’67 ceasefire borders, but to Israel proper. A newly-bold Hamas spokesman explains: “We do not and will not recognize a state called Israel. Israel has no right to any inch of Palestinian land.”

The cutthroats of Hamas, like Jack the Ripper in his infamous letter to a London paper, have informed their pursuers that they shan’t quit ripping till they do get buckled. Islamic Jihad took potshots at departing settlers, and even attempted a suicide bombing on the first day of evacuations, which Israel intercepted. But another bomber did make it through on Sunday, maiming 10 in the city of Be’er Sheva. With these groups there is no “peace process.” There is a war process. Israel must meet the next wave of Palestinian shootings, stabbings, rocket attacks, and suicide bombings with retaliation swift and fierce."

It's never been about gaining "their land" back. It's been about the destruction of Israel.

Iraqis - keen and optimistic

From Chrenkoff, he's reporting on a poll that is showing that 88% of Iraqi's saying they will vote on the constitution.

"Our special correspondent Haider Ajina translated the results of the latest opinion poll published in the August 29th edition of the Iraqi Arabic newspaper “Alhayat”:

"New Iraqi Poll shows 88% will vote for constitution.

"A poll taken by “The Iraqi center for national development & dialog”, which is headed by former Planning minister Mahdi Alhafith. Reveals 88% of Iraqis polled said they will participate in the next vote (for the constitution) on the 15th of October. 5% said they will not vote 6% had not decided yet.

"Mr. Alhafith said to Alhayat newspaper: The poll included 3667 Iraqis, 53% men, the polls showed that 88% of those support holding the constitutional vote under current condition, while 10% were against for various reason. Some of the reasons were that Iraq is not a free country of its own sovereignty, the constitution will not meet their ambitions or that Iraq does not need democracy now and that the security situation will not allow the proper implementation of the constitution.

"As to how many polled support federalism, Alhafith said that 25% of those polled said they support federalism and consider it the preferred way to run the country. He added that 91% of those in favor of federalism were Kurds. While 58% prefer a central government with provincial administration. 17% refused to answer. Further, 45% want a central government, 23% prefer a union type government, 16% prefer a non central government and 13% refused to answer.

"As to the question of Islam being a main source of legislation. 42% support having Islam being the main source of legislation. 24% support having Islam be the only source of legislation. 13% support not having any law which conflicts with Islam. 14% support having Islam being only one of many sources of legislation, not the only one.

"As for women’s rights and women’s representation in the legislature. 84% support giving women full rights and benefits as men. 60% said that a minimum of 25% mandatory representation of women in the assembly is sufficient. 21% said that the minimum number should be raised to 33%.

"As for revenues from natural resources and how they should be divided. 50% said that a central government should divide the revenues proportionately between the central government and the provinces. 19% support an independent agency provided for by the constitution decide. 12% support the constitution decide the percentages between central & provincial governments. 8% support provincial governments in the provinces in which the natural resources exist decide how to divide the revenues.

"78% of those polled expected security to improve after the constitution is adopted. 85% said they are interested in and are following the elections. 10% said they are not interested and do not follow the elections. 5% refused to answer".

Judicial Control - Part 2


The Judiciary Continued, and the Distribution of the Judicial Authority
From McLEAN's Edition, New York.
Alexander Hamilton

To the People of the State of New York:

"In the first place, there is not a syllable in the plan under consideration which directly empowers the national courts to construe the laws according to the spirit of the Constitution, or which gives them any greater latitude in this respect than may be claimed by the courts of every State."

Judicial Control - Part 1


The Particular Structure of the New Government and the Distribution of Power Among Its Different Parts

From the New York Packet.
Friday, February 1, 1788.

To the People of the State of New York:

"When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person or body," says he, "there can be no liberty, because apprehensions may arise lest THE SAME monarch or senate should ENACT tyrannical laws to EXECUTE them in a tyrannical manner. " Again: "Were the power of judging joined with the legislative, the life and liberty of the subject would be exposed to arbitrary control, for THE JUDGE would then be THE LEGISLATOR. Were it joined to the executive power, THE JUDGE might behave with all the violence of AN OPPRESSOR. "

He was actually quoting Montesquieu because he believed in Montesquieu's message.

A New York Times Surprise

Not unexpectedly, the wacky left is blaming hurricane Katrina on global warming (and through extension - President Bush).

Surprisingly, however, the New York Times is pouring cold water on the hot air coming from the predictable left with this:
Because hurricanes form over warm ocean water, it is easy to assume that the recent rise in their number and ferocity is because of global warming.

But that is not the case, scientists say. Instead, the severity of hurricane seasons changes with cycles of temperatures of several decades in the Atlantic Ocean. The recent onslaught "is very much natural," said William M. Gray, a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University who issues forecasts for the hurricane season.

From 1970 to 1994, the Atlantic was relatively quiet, with no more than three major hurricanes in any year and none at all in three of those years. Cooler water in the North Atlantic strengthened wind shear, which tends to tear storms apart before they turn into hurricanes.

In 1995, hurricane patterns reverted to the active mode of the 1950's and 60's. From 1995 to 2003, 32 major hurricanes, with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater, stormed across the Atlantic. It was chance, Dr. Gray said, that only three of them struck the United States at full strength.

What's up with the New York Times?

Al-Qaida Targets U.S., UK, Australia This Year

South Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS) told its Parliament this past week, quoting a "senior" al-Qaida member arrested last month, that the U.S. and Australia are the top terror targets this year, a South Korean news agency reported Sunday.

South Korea, Japan and the Philippines are secondary targets, the NIS claimed. DETAILS.

21 Terrorists Became U.S. Citizens
Two new reports released today by the Center for Immigration Studies examine the role of immigration control in our efforts to prevent further terrorist attacks on American soil. Both point to the profound security challenges posed by a federal government policy of mass immigration and lax enforcement of the law. DETAILS

Call for anti-terror law ban on US evangelist
A GOVERNMENT minister has fuelled the row over Britain's proposed new anti-terror laws by calling for Pat Robertson, the controversial American evangelist, to be banned from the UK. Nigel Griffiths, the deputy leader of the House of Commons, said Mr Robertson should be barred from Britain for inciting "hate and murder".

Does this mean that George Stephanopoulos will be banned from the UK, too?

This is just one of many reasons why our schools are in the shape they are in presently. Yes, I know this news story didn't take place in the U.S. (this afterall is a U.S. based blog), but come on folks ... connect the dots, eh?

Let pupils swear in school, argues parents' group
PUPILS should be allowed to swear in the classroom rather than be punished for their four-letter-word outbursts, Scottish parents' representatives said yesterday.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Social concern agency probed in D.C.

Federal authorities are investigating one of the District's top Medicaid transportation providers and have seized more than $1 million in accounts held by the company and its president, government records and interviews show.

The Chalabi Comeback

In a piece for Opinion Journal, Robert Pollock writes about Ahmed Chalabi as "Iraq's indispensable man" who "returns to center stage."

Pollock writes, "As for the war, a visit quickly makes plain that the latest "quagmire" panic in Washington is widely off the mark. True, the security situation in Baghdad remains a long way from what it should be; but neither do the insurgents control swaths of territory--think Fallujah--as they used to. What's more, the heavy lifting is increasingly being done by Iraqis. "The Iraqi Brigade that owns Haifa Street has done something that we could never do," Gen. Petraeus told me over lunch. Iraqi security forces are far more visible, and with competent Iraqi leadership such success stories will multiply slowly but steadily. It will be, in Donald Rumsfeld's famous words, "a long, hard slog." But it should increasingly be an Iraqi slog.

The more important story, the real determinant of whether Iraq stands or falls, is the political one. And a key player is a man countless powerful people around the world have wished would go away. Of course, there are no "indispensable men"--De Gaulle famously remarked that the graveyards are full of them--but Mr. Chalabi is as close as you come among Iraq's political class. He sees the powerful Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani regularly; he is trusted by the Kurds, and, to the extent anyone is, by Sadr; and he put forth a constitutional oil-sharing proposal that has a chance of making federalism acceptable to the Sunnis. It is telling that he was one of the last people huddled with Zalmay Khalilzad in the wee hours of Saturday, when the U.S. ambassador finally gave the go-ahead to announce an agreement. Mr. Khalilzad, who has now brokered constitutions for 50 million newly free people in two countries--and who deserves a medal for his efforts--is a man who knows who to have by his side when a deal has to get done.

The question now is whether his bosses in Washington are mature enough to put aside past mistakes and work with Mr. Chalabi. They certainly no longer have to worry about him being written off as an American puppet."
Full op-ed here.

"The American people should be told, first of all, that when liberals say "civil rights," they mean mostly lucrative trial-lawyer-driven employee grievances, the rights of convicted murderers, and the continued use of divisive racial quotas.

When liberals say "women's rights," they mean that parents have no right to know when a man impregnates their minor daughter and takes her for an abortion.

When liberals assail Judge Roberts about the issue of equal pay for women--which is the law--they really mean that government should dictate how much every worker is paid.

When liberals speak of environmental and worker rights, they mean unlimited federal government regulatory power over local governments and the private sector."


Which Errors are More Costly ?

"The stated reason for going to war with Iraq is that our intelligence agencies surmised Saddam Hussein had, or was near having, nuclear, biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction. Intelligence is never perfect. During World War II, our intelligence agencies thought that Germany was close to having an atomic bomb. That intelligence was later found to be flawed, but it played an important role in the conduct of the war. Since intelligence is always less than perfect, we're forced to decide which error is least costly. Leading up to our war with Iraq, the potential errors confronting us were: Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and we incorrectly assumed he didn't. Or, he didn't have weapons of mass destruction and we incorrectly assumed he did. Both errors are costly, but which is more costly? It's my guess that it would have been more costly for us to make the first error: Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and we incorrectly assumed he didn't."

---Walter Williams

"[T]he welfare state...not only encourages the poor to stay dependent, it kills individuals' desire to help them."

---John Stosse

A U.N. Alternative Needed

"The best thing Ambassador John Bolton can do during his brief tenure representing the United States would be to announce our withdrawal from the UN so that it can continue its present implosion. The U.S. needs to renounce the mandates of the many UN treaties that do nothing but attack our national sovereignty. The United States needs to promote the creation of a new organization composed only of truly democratic nations that would come together to insure and protect the expansion of freedom throughout the world. John Bolton will speak for George W. Bush. I suggest you listen very closely. If he says, 'We're outta here,' break out the champagne."

---Alan Caruba

Missing Able Danger 'Atta' Chart in 2002 Video

A copy of the Able Danger chart that identified lead 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta as a terrorist operating inside the U.S. a year before the 9/11 attacks is clearly visible in a video of a 2002 speech by delivered by Rep. Curt Weldon to the Heritage Foundation. Story.

Playing Chicken

Opinion Journal
"A new Associated Press-Ipsos
poll has results that seem obvious: "People who have friends or relatives serving in Iraq are more likely than others to have a positive view" of the war effort there:

A solid majority of those who did not know anyone in Iraq said they thought the war was a mistake, 61 percent, compared to 36 percent who thought it was the right decision. Those who had a relative or friend there were almost evenly split, 49 percent right decision, 47 percent mistake.

We analyzed Friday the meaning of the relatively high numbers overall who at the moment say the war was a "mistake," but the finding that those closer to the war are more likely to support it underscores one of the more audacious inversions of the "antiwar" movement--namely the complaint that supporters of the war are not actually fighting it themselves or "sending" their "children" to fight it. These are the same people, of course, who think we should take seriously the advice of such military geniuses as Maureen Dowd, Bob Herbert, former Enron adviser Paul Krugman and Frank Rich.

Of course all citizens have a right to participate in public debates on matters of war and peace, and civilian control of the military is a core democratic principle. That the left is resorting to "chickenhawk" nonsense is a sign of how empty its argument is.

'A Liberal Nut Case'

From Opinion Journal
"Here's an op-ed piece that takes rather a harsher approach than most (including us) to Cindy Sheehan:

Since I am not one to sugarcoat a subject I will start by simply saying: Ms. Sheehan is a liberal nut case who needs to be put in her place.

I know these are strong words to use against a "grieving mother", but the time for grief is over. Ms. Sheehan's own hateful words ended her grievance. . . .

I think it is time for our gloves to come off. Many columnists around the country have "tip-toed" around the Sheehan controversy because they have respected the loss of her son. But now Ms. Sheehan is showing her true colors: Liberal activist, not loving mother. I think it is time to fight back. . . .

Appeasers are directly responsible for the death of Ms. Sheehan's son, not George W. Bush. If the whole country was united for the war in Iraq, I doubt if the terrorists would have started their suicide bombing campaign.

Using this logic Ms. Sheehan has become the biggest terrorist in the world, not George W. Bush as she so eloquently stated. . . .

One other point: Every time Ms. Sheehan opens her mouth in protest she is dragging the legacy of her son through liberal muck. Her son was a hero who volunteered to serve his county and died protecting the constitution. Now his mother has become a traitor who is using the war on terror to wage a war against a president whom she does not like.

What's noteworthy about this is the venue in which it appeared: the Arab News of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Maybe President Bush is succeeding in winning Arab hearts and minds."

Sunday, August 28, 2005

GOP ratchets upbid to woo blacks

Blacks in both major political parties have felt "marginalized" for decades, but Republicans hope a new strategy will help them reach out to black voters and politicians.

U.S. releases 1,000 from Abu Ghraib prison

The U.S. military said yesterday it had freed 1,000 detainees from Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison at the Baghdad government's request, in the largest release to date.