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March 27, 2007

Spam Flood Abates, Comment Area Dried Off

Spammers overloaded the software and it shut the gates. As of now, the comment area is open for business again.

And I'll get hauled off by the Language Police if I mix in another metaphor.

Posted by Doug at 08:33 PM

"The Other Iraq"

Recently on the Public Radio program Open Source, Christopher Lydon did a show on Iraqi Kurdistan, or, as it's PR campaign calls it, "the other Iraq". You can listen to the show and read the show notes here on Radio Open Source. He interviewed Qubad Talabani, Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) Representative to the United States and son of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, KRG Representative to the United Kingdom, and Peter Galbraith, former (and first) Ambassador to Croatia under Clinton, Senior Diplomatic Fellow at the Center for Arms Control, and Non-Proliferation Advisor to the KRG.

For some, it may be an eye-opening program. From the discussion of how Americans were indeed greeted as liberators, to the economic prosperity, to the lack of sectarian violence among the Sunni, Shia and Christian Kurds, this program should give pause to those saying we should get out of Iraq ASAP. In fact, both the Kurdish guests warned against a withdrawal too early. (Ambassador Galbraith, predictably, disagreed. More on that in a moment.)

The program was quite a departure from Lydon's show's usual fare. As is typical for public radio, the slate of guests is often slanted liberal, and many time 100% so. Lydon calls his show a "conversation", but it usually is a monologue from the Left. To have a program extolling the good things that have come from the war (even if the host can't bring himself to agree, insinuating that some of the responses sounded like "fantasy") is equal time that has been sorely missing from the media at large. Kudos to Lydon and the PRI folks for finally, if really belatedly, bringing the news.

The cognitive dissonance was deafening when Peter Galbraith did disagree at the end of the show with the idea of staying in Iraq. Here were the very people he's working to help asking for our continued help, and all he can do is shill for Hillary Clinton's presidential bid (by name) and say that, as she does, we need to get out of there because the Iraqi experiment has failed.

I'd ask him, and anyone else who said that the war in Iraq was and is a failure; what do you say to the Kurds? Were they and all other Iraqis not worth the effort to get rid of Hussein and his terror supporting and practicing regime? Just because some may not be handling freedom as well as we'd hoped, should we have left them all to the designs of the Ba'athists? If you blame the US for the violence in the south, are you prepared to credit the US for the peace and prosperity in the north?

Posted by Doug at 01:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 23, 2007

Abstinence Considered Offensive, University Surrenders

Welcome to the age where encouraging abstinence until marriage is considered offensive. OK, truth be told, we've been in this age for quite some time now, except that the sentiment wasn't quite as outspoken. Now that abstinence groups are being formed in places like Harvard and MIT, however, the ridicule is boiling over.

This article talks about the new group at Harvard, secular in nature, that is trying to promote abstinence on campus. Seniors Sarah Kinsella and Justin Murray started "True Love Revolution" in response to all the other overt encouragment of sex on campus, and to the white flag waved by the administration. In response, those oh-so-tolerant folks on the Left are outraged.

Some feminists, in particular, have criticized True Love Revolution's message.

Harvard student Rebecca Singh said she was offended by a valentine the group sent to the dormitory mailboxes of all freshmen. It read: "Why wait? Because you're worth it."

"I think they thought that we might not be `ruined' yet," Singh said. "It's a symptom of that culture we have that values a woman on her purity. It's a relic."

Yeah, who needs self-control, eh?

A little common sense, however, is seeing the light of day.

In the student paper, The Harvard Crimson, columnist Jessica C. Coggins praised the group's low-key approach and scolded Harvard students for their "laughter at the virgin." She said students on the campus, which has 6,700 undergraduates, should "find a different confidence booster than making fun of celibate peers."

As usual, the administration gets it wrong.
Dr. David Rosenthal, director of Harvard health services, disputed the notion that the university promotes sex.

He said students mistakenly think everyone on campus is having sex. The National College Health Assessment Survey, which included Harvard and hundreds of other campuses, found that about 29 percent of students reported not having sex in the past school year. For the 71 percent who are having sex, it is crucial to promote safety, Rosenthal said.

"Some students may have a feeling that acknowledgment is condoning," he said, "and it's not."

But it's not just "acknowledgement", as noted earlier in the article.
True Love Revolution members say the problem starts with the university. They say Harvard has implicitly led students to believe that having sex at college is a foregone conclusion by requiring incoming freshman to attend a seminar on date-rape that does not mention abstinence, by placing condoms in freshmen dorms, and by hosting racy lecturers. (Harvard students have also launched H-Bomb, a magazine featuring racy photos of undergraduates.)

Acknowledging is one thing. But this is encouraging. When you remove the consequences of bad decisions, you get more bad decisions. Shouldn't take a university degree to understand that.

Posted by Doug at 02:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 21, 2007

Morning Show Gatekeeping

In my hotel room watching the cable news morning shows (FNC's "Fox & Friends" and CNN's "American Morning"), I noticed that both were covering many of the same stories.

  • The war in Iraq, specifically the new insurgent tactic of reducing suspicion by having kids in cars intended to be a car bomb.
  • The issues surrounding the firing of the 8 US attorneys. Both networks had Democrats featured voicing their objections (Fox showed Chuck Shumer, CNN had Rahm Emmanuel).
  • The recovery of the lost Boy Scout.

But as much as I looked for it (and I left CNN on longer to see if they would cover it), "American Morning wouldn't touch, as far as I could see, the upcoming testimony of Al Gore in front of Congress on global warming, specifically the unprecedented considerations and concessions being made for him and how he's abusing them. I kept CNN on long enough to start hearing them repeat the same stories (how to eat healthy at Chinese restaurants), so they had plenty of time to deal with it.

If it's legitimate to cover Democrats questioning why the President will only allow administration officials to testify without being under oath (and it is a legitimate question and a legitimate story), why ignore this other major story about a former Vice President testifying to Congress? Could it be because it doesn't look good for Democrats or global warming alarmists when Gore ask for more time for his opening remarks than anyone else, and that he requested to submit the written version of those remarks 24 hours ahead of time instead of the customary 48, and that he hadn't submitted them as of the morning of his appearance?

Those, too, are legitimate questions about a legitimate story, but CNN, if they gave it any time, gave it the shortest of shrift at best. And while Fox is covering stories that look bad for both Democrats and Republicans, CNN isn't. So who's a shill for whom?

Posted by Doug at 10:56 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 17, 2007

Fred Thompson, Presidential Candidate?

One of the most intriguing potential presidential candidates hasn't even declared yet and is having an effect on the race: former Republican Senator Fred Thompson. John Fund of Opinionjournal.com has a terrific interview with Mr. Thompson in which he discusses a possible presidential run.Personally, I hope he will run simply because it will vastly improve the field of potenital candidates.

Posted by Tom at 11:03 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 14, 2007

Public Schools Teaching Student to Lie to Parents

When the public school system starts forcing kids to lie to their parents about what they're being taught, you know it's time to homeschool.

And when what they're being taught is homosexual sensitivity training, you have to wonder why they feel they can't be open and honest about it. Yeah, I know the presumed reason; that parent might object. But if parents are not allowed any say as to their children's education, it's no longer public education anymore, is it? It's state education. (And I really hope this school district doesn't ever complain about not enough parental involvement.)

Click here for a link to audio from Concerned Women for America, and click here for the WND news story.

Posted by Doug at 02:15 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

March 13, 2007

German Homeschool Family Update

It's only getting worse.

A German appeals court has not only affirmed a lower court's decision that ripped a 15-year-old homeschooler from her family and subjected her to a forced stay in a psychiatric hospital because she is homeschooled, but also ordered her parents to be given psychiatric evaluations, an international rights organization says.

The government psychologists, who had previously diagnosed Melissa Busekros with "schoolphobia", would now get a shot at labelling the parents. What's more, the court ignored the fact that the parents have been willing to accept a government compromise.
The appeals court ruling came despite the fact that all three of the lawyers representing Melissa Busekros clearly stated in their request to the court the family had accepted a compromise offered by a lower court for her to return home under government supervision.

"In spite of [that] … the appeals court held that the family refused the court's initial compromise to let Melissa become an outpatient," Thornton said.

Read the whole thing for details, and to get caught up if you hadn't seen this before.

Posted by Doug at 02:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 12, 2007

Democrats Throw Another Tantrum

Of all the childish tantrums and manufactured outrage that have come from the Democrats, this has surely got to be near the top. First it was John Edwards, then the Nevada State Democratic Party pulled out completely from the debate they themselves set up to be hosted by Fox News. The far left essentially owns the Democrats now, as it was pressure from the like of MoveOn.org that nixed the debate.

Not content with the charge that Fox leans right (which I'll grant, but what are CNN and the NY Times; centrist?), they had to make up a reason that might actually carry some weight with the folks who do watch Fox. The supposed reason that "proved" Fox was a right-wing shill were comments by Roger Ailes.

But [state party chair Tom] Collins and [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid wrote that comments on Thursday by FOX News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, when he jokingly compared Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, the junior senator from Illinois, to Osama bin Laden, "went too far," and prompted Nevada Democrats to end the partnership.

"We cannot, as good Democrats, put our party in a position to defend such comments," the letter said. "In light of his comments, we have concluded that it is not possible to hold a presidential debate that will focus on our candidates and are therefore cancelling our August debate. We take no pleasure in this, but it is the only course of action."

And what was this awful comment, comparing Barak Obama to a terrorist?
And it is true that Barack Obama is on the move. I don't know if it's true that President Bush called Musharraf and said, 'Why can't we catch this guy?'

For cryin' out loud, this is a joke about George W. Bush! See here for the entire transcript so you can see it in context. If they're going to boycott Fox for that kind of a remark, are they going to boycott Leno and Letterman for the very same jokes? For the state party leader and the Senate Majority Leader to engage in such blatant partisan lying says a lot about their party and a lot more about those who are fooled by such rhetoric.

And we're not done with the lies. On the John Edwards site, on the page trying to drum up campaign money over this manufactured controversy (hmm, maybe this was the whole idea in the first place), his headline is "Fox Attacks". In it, Edwards castigates Ailes for putting forth the perfectly reasonable idea that this sets a bad precedent.

Fox has already started striking backat John for saying no. (There's a surprise - Fox attacking a Democrat.) Last night, Roger Ailes - the life-long Republican operative who is now Chairman of Fox News Channel - said that any candidate "who believes he can blacklist any news organization is making a terrible mistake" and "is impeding freedom of speech and free press."

The Left is so ready to yell "McCarthyism!" and "the stifling of dissent!" if their ideas don't get the publicity they want, and yet here they are dismissing what is a very reasonable concern about McCarthy-like tests for news organizations to pass if they'll be allowed to air Democrats. The irony is that they're trying to accuse Fox of not covering Democrats while ensuring that they can't. What kind of tortured logic is that?

One more thing: the article is called "Fox Attacks" and there is an accompanying graphic, a screenshot of a website. The screenshot is captioned by the Edwards site "Fair and Balanced?" and "You Decide. They'll Retort." And the screenshot is of, not the Fox News site, the Drudge Report, with a headline that the Edwards folks considers biased. Talk about bait-and-switch and misdirection. Conflating the two is simply dishonest, but Edwards contributors are just eating it up.

This is a new low for Democrats.

As usual, ScrappleFace nails it.

Posted by Doug at 04:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 10, 2007

Comments Back On

The spammers again overloaded our blog software and it threw everyone out of the comment pool. I'm sounding the all clear.

Posted by Doug at 11:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 08, 2007

Edwards Doesn't Want Your Vote

At least if you watch the Fox News Channel. John Edwards will simply not tolerate any group that will not tow the liberal line.

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards won't participate in a debate co-hosted by Fox News and the Nevada Democratic Party, his campaign said, as party officials tried to settle a dustup over their partnership with the cable network.

Edwards' campaign said the involvement of Fox News, which is often accused by liberals of having a conservative bias, was part of the decision to pass on the Aug. 14 debate in Reno.

"There were a number of factors and Fox was one of those."

Far-left blogs have been pushing for this,and Edwards has caved. The Left has set yet another lower standard. Unless you can name a Republican that has ever skipped a major debate based solely on the slant of the network carrying it. That may be difficult, even considering, for example, CBS's "myopic zeal" against Republicans. Edwards will take his ball and go home unless you're slanted his way.

This says as much about the media as it does about Edwards. He knows the networks who are in bed with him, and you don't get access if you aren't. Oh, that liberal media.

Posted by Doug at 02:22 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 07, 2007

Evidence of "The Great Misreading"

After the election, I noted that some right-of-center pundits were saying that while the Democrats won big in the election, conservative values won big as well. No, that's not a contradiction. I said that the actions of the Democrats has been a great misreading of the election results which, as had been noted by others, was the election of more moderate Democrats, not the leftist kind.

Today comes proof of it. Blue Dog Democrats are asserting their power.

When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi faced scorn from fellow Democrats during a recent closed-door meeting for not moving more aggressively on Iraq, it was conservative Blue Dogs _ her ideological opposites _ who rose to defend her.

The unlikely support reflected an emerging dynamic in the House, where the 43 right-of-center fiscal hawks are increasingly asserting their power, working to moderate the policies and image of a party with a liberal base and leaders to match.

The coalition's name is a play on yellow dog Democrats, an epithet that came into being in the 1920s to describe party loyalists in the South who, it was said, would vote for a yellow dog if it ran on the Democratic ticket. Democrats who said their moderate to conservative views had been "choked blue" by the party's liberal flank started referring to themselves as blue dogs and formed their group after Republicans swept control of the House in 1994.

With Democrats in charge again, the Blue Dogs have played a key role in halting an emerging plan to place strict conditions on war funding. Their revolt helped beat back that proposal, by Pelosi ally John Murtha, D-Pa. Leaders are now considering a watered-down version.

These moderate Democrats push fiscal responsibility and are putting the brakes on the Pelosi/Murtha wing who are charting a course for Iraqi killing fields. As much as the anti-war crowd would hope for it, and as much as the Democrat leadership talks it, support for cut-and-run is weak. Further, fiscal irresponsibility (from either party) is not what the election was about, either. The last election was indeed a referendum on how Republicans have been running the government, and while the public doesn't like how the war has gone, they elected more Democrats who don't want to just bail out post haste. Any suggestion otherwise is to blindly ignore those very election results they continue to trumpet.

Posted by Doug at 04:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Search for "The Real Leaker"

"Scooter" Libby was found guilty on 4 of 5 counts of lying to investigators, and the fallout is landing on Dick Cheney.

In legal terms, the jury has spoken in the Libby case.

In political terms, Vice President Dick Cheney is still awaiting a judgment.

For many weeks, Washington watched, transfixed, as the trial of I. Lewis Libby Jr. cast Cheney, his former boss, in the role of puppeteer, pulling the strings in a covert public relations campaign to defend the administration's case for war in Iraq and discredit a critic.

"There is a cloud over the vice president," the prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, told the jury in summing up the case last month.

Cheney was not charged in the case, cooperated with the investigation and expressed a willingness to testify if called, though he never was. Yet he was a central figure throughout, aggressively fighting back against suggestions that he and President George W. Bush had taken the country to war on the basis of flawed intelligence, showing himself to be keenly sensitive to how he was portrayed in the press, and backing Libby to the end.

The jury considered Libby the "fall guy", and the prosecutor and Joe Wilson have a lower opinion of Cheney. Yet no one has been charged with the actual leak in this case. I guess, in a similar manner to OJ Simpson looking for "the real killer", pundits and talking heads will continue the hunt "the real leaker". In yet another eerie similarity to the Simpson situation, Wilson has filed a civil suit against Cheney.

There is one major difference, though, between this situation and OJ's. The real leaker has admitted to it. The problem is, the Left doesn't want to focus on Richard Armitage because he was an Iraq war skeptic in the State Department. No neo-con, he. And going after someone who, if not a Democrat, at least had views that the anti-war crowd appreciated, would not fit the narrative that they have written for this whole kerfuffle. "It was a neo-con revenge hit!" "Karl Rove should be frog-marched!" "The stifling of dissent!"

And in the article detailing who lost face in this whole matter, how many times is Armitage's name mentioned: 0. He's not a neo-con, he's not a White House official, and he was, in fact, a voice of dissent. Doesn't fit the narrative, so the Left and the Media stop paying attention to him.

If there was any intellectual honesty left in those pounding on Cheney, we'd see Armitage's name a whole lot more. Instead, it's not about the truth or the policy or whatever high hobby-horse they're riding. It's all about the politics.

Posted by Doug at 11:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Safe Targets

First James Cameron trotted out bones to the Discovery Channel and made claims about them--that they were the bones of the biblical Jesus--that not even the man who discovered them claimed. Now ABC highlights a nut in Houston, giving him a platform to be legitimized, who claims to be Jesus. And the Anti-Christ. And who grew up stealing to pay for his heroin addiction. The headline reads, "Jesus Might Be Alive and Well in Houston", giving the story a "hey, it could be true" air.

(Hat tip to WorldViews.)

Amazing how the ever-sensitive media that blushed and turned away when the Danish cartoons of Muhammad came calling have no problem with airing the flimsiest story that calls Christianity into question. The gatekeepers have a very selective gate. As one commenter to the WorldView post said, "Do you think ABC would do a similar story about some character claiming to be Mohammed, Martin Luther King, Abraham etc?"

Yeah, me neither

Posted by Doug at 09:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 06, 2007

Being Pro-choice (on Education)

Via Betsy's Page comes word of a chance for South Carolinians to get a bit more choice regarding schooling. In the report, Brendan Miniter give the example of a school operating on a shoe-string budget with low-paid teachers and just 42 students, but that is outperforming the local public school on SAT scores by 46%.

The idea that the public school system should be reformed from within has had plenty of time to be tried. It's not working. one member of South Carolina's state House has been there and done that.

Two years ago similar reforms were defeated in the state House by seven votes. But school-choice supporters picked up several seats in the last election, one of which is now held by Curtis Brantley, an African-American from rural Jasper County who picked off an incumbent in a Democratic primary last year. "It's time," he told me recently while sitting in his sparsely furnished office, "to try something new."

As a former public school official who, as he tells it, was forced into retirement after trying to reform the school system from the inside, Mr. Brantley is now becoming a powerful voice for reform in Columbia. And he was only too happy to organize buses for school-choice supporters from his district to attend the rally [at the state Capitol].

I wouldn't call it "something new", exactly. We've had school choice in higher education for a good long time, and it has resulted in one of the best systems in the world, while at the same time not deal a death blow to state schools. It can be done, it has been done, but those with a vested interest in the status quo (and those politicians beholden to them) simply won't let it happen, if they can help it.

As time goes by, they may not be able to help it.

Posted by Doug at 02:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 05, 2007

Conservative Conservationists

Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina had an article in the Washington Post a week ago Friday (just pointed out to me) regarding conservative conservationists. No, nowhere near an oxymoron. His point is how the right should deal with the global warming issue, because if we don't deal with it, the Left will, and you know what sort of big-government, economic takeover solutions they'll come up with. (Think Kyoto Protocol.) Gov. Sanford make 3 points:

First, conservatives must reframe the environmental discussion by replacing the political left's scare tactics with conservative principles such as responsibility and stewardship. Stewardship -- the idea that we need to take care of what we've been given -- simply makes sense. It makes dollars as well, for the simple reason that our economy is founded on natural resources, from tourism and manufacturing to real estate and agriculture. Here in South Carolina, conservation easements are springing up across the state as landowners see the dual benefit of preserving the environment and protecting their pocketbooks.

Second, conservatives must reclaim lost ground from far-left interest groups by showing how environmental conservation is as much about expanding economic opportunity as it is about saving whales or replanting rain forests. When corporations such as BP and Shell America pursue alternative energy sources, they not only cut carbon emissions but help cut our petroleum dependency on OPEC nations. When South Carolina restaurants recycle their oyster shells, they not only restore shellfish habitat but take a job off local governments' plates and ensure continuing revenue streams for local fishermen.

Third, conservatives must respond to climate change with innovation, not regulation. This means encouraging private research and implementation of more eco-friendly construction, more energy-efficient workplaces and more sustainable ways of going about life -- all of which cuts costs and protects God's creation. It means looking past the question of whether your car's exhaust melts polar ice caps and instead treating our environment as an investment our future depends on.

Read the whole thing. That last point is the key, but is predicated on the first two.

Posted by Doug at 11:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 02, 2007

Prayer Request from Former SCO'er

From former SCO contributor Matt Stokes comes this prayer request related to the severe weather we had down here in the South the past couple of days.

Those of you who know me know that I'm something of a weather nerd. I always keep a close watch on the news just to see how things will go throughout the week. Today was obviously no different; I stayed close by the internet and I was also pretty excited to my first wall cloud up close. I also realize that in the Deep South, severe weather is not a joke. My dear wife knows how I struggle to not lash out at those foolish knuckleheads in the checkout line who dismiss the weathermen on days like this. It is indeed severe and quite often has very serious consequences. If you've not seen in the news, todays weather has had tragic results in south Alabama. A tornado struck Enterprise High School, killing at least five people; some accounts have that number as high as 18.

For those who don't know, Enterprise is moderate sized town about 100 miles south of Montgomery, Alabama. My dads best friends family is from Enterprise, so I was concerned to see if they were alright. They weren't. My father, Mark Stokes, has served as pastor of Southern Baptist churches throughout Alabama; his best friend is Mike Jackson, a pastor for many years who now serves in a position at the Alabama Baptist State Convention. We learned tonight that Uncle Mikes nephew (his brothers only son) was found among the bodies at Enterprise High School. Hes not my real uncle obviously, but he and my dad have a very close relationship, and my siblings and I regard him and his family as our own. This is particularly hard for Uncle Mikes family both he and his two brothers have all lost their only sons to tragedy. It is an understatement to say that right now the Jackson family is experiencing deep grief.

It is also comforting to know that the Jackson family is one that believes in the risen Christ, and can trust in the mercy and compassion of a sovereign God. I do not know why these things happen, but I believe wholeheartedly in the sovereignty of God. This was no accident, and God was not asleep at the wheel when tragedy struck Enterprise. I cant begin to understand why things like this occur, but I can trust that God will work all things to His glory, even in the midst of our own sorrow and grief. I send this e-mail simply to ask my friends, colleagues, and acquaintances to keep the Jackson family, and my own, I suppose, in your prayers. Pray that in the Lord the family will find strength and comfort. Pray that the Church in Enterprise, Alabama will be there for all who mourn the loss of friends and family. And pray that in all things, lives will be drawn to the Cross, whereupon we all may lay down our sorrows and burdens, and find great relief.

Grace and peace to you and yours,

Matthew and Lori Stokes

Posted by Doug at 04:05 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack