Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The French vote "Non"

Everyone seems to be interested in the vote by France to reject the proposed Constitution advanced for the EU. My interest in the French is fairly minimal, but with everyone so excited, I have made a small effort to see what all the excitement is about. The best I can come up with is the lower class of France voted no because it would likely infringe on the French "way of life". This could mean a lot of things, but the common interpretation is it would have perhaps required one to work longer than 35 hours a week with fewer holidays and shorter vacation times. Makes sense to me. What I don't really understand, and I don't care enough to investigate further, is why Chirac, who fought hard for approval, is now firing people in his administration in response to the rejection.Oh, well.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Koran Abuse

It seems to me the Koran in the hands of our guests in Cuba is causing way too much of a problem. The guards have been accused by the terrorists held there of disrespecting the Koran and this has an easy solution. As far as I know, we have no obligation to provide these to prisoners. Take them away and be done with the problem.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Stem Cell Research

Stem cell legislation is much in the news now and there are several points which need to made since you won't get an accurate account from TV or the newspapers in most cases. Much of what you hear and read will hold that Bush is pledging to veto stem cell reasearch legislation and as a result we will never cure diseases like diabetes and quadrapedics will never walk again. We need to keep in mind that Bush's decision applies only to federal funding of research involving laboratory-derived embryos. His position does not "ban" anything. He is simply refusing to allow federal funds to be used for research which millions of Americans find morally offensive. At the federal level, funding for stem cell research of all forms is being increased from $306 million to $566 million (using adult and umbilical stem cells). At the state level, California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts all have or will have large stem-cell projects. Some 70 companies, which will eventually profit from the fruits of this research, are also engaged in a wide range of research approaches. I am not sure that I would draw the line exactly where Bush drew it with regard to existing emryos which will be destroyed anyway, but he was elected and the line he drew is certainly logical. We just need to keep in mind that the position being taken by our President is not banning anything. Furthermore, one need not use federal money to do research.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Another Bad Idea

Just when I had decided they had done everything possible to destroy education in America, they have thrown another scoop of dirt on the grave. The latest idiocy is a decision that the children's classics like "Little Women" and "Treasure Island" are too hard to wade through for those children with poor reading skills. The solution is to retell these stories with simpler language and easier words. Ten of the literary classics have been published and 9 more are in the works. To date, 533 thousand copies have been sold. This suggests our so-called educators are buying into the publishers marketing nonsense that these books are for the student with learning disabilities. My sad hypothesis is the education establishment is so stupid that they find the books easier to read and thus choose them for their students.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


My wife called Newsweek yesterday. The guy on the phone didn't even ask why we were cancelling.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Senate Rules

This is getting tedious with all the spin about whether or not the Senate should rule that a majority of those present and voting should be allowed to confirm a presidential nominee to a federal court. The democrats are loudly proclaiming that it would be a travesty if the rule were changed since the minority would not be able to filibuster judicial nominees. To get a firm grasp on just how specious that argument is, ask yourself this. If the Republicans do get such a ruling, do you think that when the dems get the senate back (and they will) and have a dem President, they will change the rule back so the republicans can then filibuster their nominees? The principle will not be so holy under those circumstances.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Tsunami Relief

As part of another great column, Mark Steyn gives us an update on the tsunami relief effort in the context of the John Bolton confirmation battle. Here is a tease, but you should read the entire column here

Thus, Bolton would have no problem getting nominated as U.N. ambassador if he were more like Paul Martin. Who? Well, he's prime minister of Canada. And in January, after the tsunami hit, he flew into Sri Lanka to pledge millions and millions and millions in aid. Not like that heartless George W. Bush back at the ranch in Texas. Why, Prime Minister Martin walked along the ravaged coast of Kalumnai and was, reported Canada's CTV network, "visibly shaken." President Bush might well have been shaken, but he wasn't visible, and in the international compassion league, that's what counts. So Martin boldly committed Canada to giving $425 million to tsunami relief. "Mr. Paul Martin Has Set A Great Example For The Rest Of The World Leaders!" raved the LankaWeb news service.
You know how much of that $425 million has been spent so far? Fifty thousand dollars -- Canadian. That's about 40 grand in U.S. dollars. The rest isn't tied up in Indonesian bureaucracy, it's back in Ottawa. But, unlike horrible "unilateralist" America, Canada enjoys a reputation as the perfect global citizen, renowned for its commitment to the U.N. and multilateralism. And on the beaches of Sri Lanka, that and a buck'll get you a strawberry daiquiri. Canada's contribution to tsunami relief is objectively useless and rhetorically fraudulent.

Look for this article in the MSM

Will the main stream media pick up on this story?

A French study of 2,837 births - the first to investigate the link between terminations and extremely premature births - found that mothers who had previously had an abortion were 1.7 times more likely to give birth to a baby at less than 28 weeks' gestation. Many babies born this early die soon after birth, and a large number who survive suffer serious disability.

Read the whole article here

Friday, May 13, 2005

Extremists thwart science

It turns out there are there are Islamic “Weapons of Mass Destruction” after all. In particular, biological weapons. But these mass killers have been developed within Islamic nations, and are doing most of their damage there. The war on terror has taken many American doctors to Islamic nations, and they have discovered a heretofore hidden AIDS epidemic. . . .

But it’s not just AIDS. In Nigeria, faith based paranoia on the part of Islamic clergy, and politicians, caused a polio epidemic, which is now spreading to other Islamic nations. The UN has been trying for years to wipe out polio (which has been eliminated in most Western nations). In the last few years, UN medical resources were massing to wipe polio out in one of the last places where it still thrives; northern Nigeria. But some local Islamic clergy got the idea that these foreigners and their medicine (polio vaccine) were actually out to poison young Moslem females and make them sterile. Yeah, it’s nuts, but it went over big in northern Nigeria and stopped the polio eradication program cold.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Sad correlation

The news, especially cable news, seems to move from one tragic missing/murdered child to another. We had a couple in Florida and now two girls in Illinois were murdered by the father of one 9 year old. The commentators on these news programs never seem to linger on the obvious fact that in essentially all cases the family is to some degree non-functional. A father was shacked up with a girlfriend when his child is taken and killed by a known child molestor living in the neighborhood. In another case a woman stays with a man who is just out of prison for attacking someone with a running chainsaw. He kills her child. He has some 19 felony and heavy misdemeanors on his record. In Georgia, a mother lets her two children--aged around 2--wander off and drown in a sewage pond. Her ineptidude as a mother was well documented by the state child welfare workers, but she evidently could not function as a caretaker for her children.
Until the underpinnings of the American family are strengthened, more sad stories like these are to come.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

This is insane.

The Bush administration has now agreed to take some of our tax money and use it to pay for medical care for illegal aliens in several border states since they conclude this is a federal responsibility. The reason it is a federal responsibility is because the federal government refuses to provide border control and security. The guidelines, however, forbid hospitals from asking persons who present themselves for treatment if they are here illegally. In order to collect on this fund of money, they have to ask indirect questions, like where they were born and if they are eligible for Medicaid. What a pile of nonsense. Read more here

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Sowell hits another one out of the park

This is a very brief overview of Sowell's newest book and, as usual, he gets to the essence of the problem with the black culture and the harm being done by the liberals in their support of it.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

I love this

Every now and then I read something which summarizes a situation so perfectly I just have to share it. An example was in the Wall Street Journal today and the quote is from Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. who captured the current social security debate beautifully.

"First of all, Social Security and Medicare are the same problem--and that problem is how Americans under 50 can provide for their old-age consumption without engaging in wishful thinking about enormous taxes that future workers would be willing to pay to keep them happy in retirement."

Monday, May 02, 2005

GM on life support

Most of us will find it incredulous when GM goes into bankruptcy. I remember when all their new cars came out in September each year and everyone raced to the dealership to see that years models. The company,however, will go the way of the steel companies. Over the years both agreed to labor demands for larger and larger benefits and wages which were tenable when there was no global competition. That is no longer true--especially in cars and steel. Here is the data. If you take all the company's shares and multiply them by the market value of a share you get the equity value of the entire company. That is what you could buy the company for. In the case of GM that comes to 14 billion dollars. As George Will pointed out, that is less than the value of Harley Davidson. More pertinent to the GM case, they have health care liablities of 20 billion and a 90 billion pension fund. The situation at Ford is no better since they agreed to much the same labor demands. I am really glad I am not depending on either company for a pension check each month. On the other hand, the effect of these bankruptcy declarations on the economy and stock market could be traumatic.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

What's Important

I have decided there is a large disconnect between what the people I happen to talk to in the course of daily contact think is a problem in the U.S. and what the TV and other major media are talking and concerned about. Right now, everyone but the people are talking about social security and what changes we should make and whether Bush is winning or losing on the issue. There is no interest in the subject as far as I can tell. The young people I meet should be concerned, but don't seem to have moved intellectually beyond the point where they are resigned to the fact it won't be there for them. The extractions from their pay for social security is painless and has always been there, so it is accepted. Young people have other concerns. Old geezers all seem to realize that the problem won't ever affect themselves and don't seem to have the energy to fight on behalf of their children and grandchildren. Likewise, the broad middle age group in America probably have other bigger worries financially than social security. They are focused on the next set of monthly payments, college tuition for children, and gas prices.
The one issue which I hear talked about during casual contact is not at all on the radar of the politicians and media. That is the complete breakdown of security on our borders. The President spent one hour answering questions from the press last Thursday and nobody brought up the subject. The liberals don't want to stop the influx of potential democrat voters and the conservatives don't want to seem cruel so the problem festers. So, the politicians ignore the problem. I predict that will change at some point this year. There will be some event which focuses the national attention on the disgraceful lack of enforcement of our border laws and I just hope it is not another 9-11 sized incident. If it is, President Bush will never have another night of peaceful sleep and his presidency will be forever held in the disgrace it will deserve. He stood on the steps of the capitol twice with his hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the laws of the U.S. He has not done it and neither have the 535 Congressmen and women who took a similar oath. A situation like this can only end badly.

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