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September 28, 2007

A Cop-out of Biblical Proportions

John Edwards really need to rediscover his place in this world.

A fairy tale about two princes falling in love sparked a backlash - and a lawsuit - against a teacher and a school last year when it was read to a second-grade class in Massachusetts.

But the three frontrunners in the Democratic presidential race suggested Wednesday night at their debate in New Hampshire that they'd support reading the controversial book to children as part of a school curriculum.

Moderator Tim Russert asked John Edwards, Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton whether they'd be comfortable having the story - called "King & King" - read to their children in school.

Edwards gave the first and most definitive answer - a resounding and instant "yes, absolutely" - although he added that it "might be a little tough" for second-graders.


The 2004 vice presidential candidate and former North Carolina senator said he doesn't want to influence his kids' opinions about the issue.

"I don't want to make that decision on behalf of my children," he said. "I want my children to be able to make that decision on behalf of themselves, and I want them to be exposed to all the information, even in - did you say second grade? Second grade might be a little tough, but even in second grade to be exposed to all those possibilities, because I don't want to impose my view. Nobody made me God."

Though nobody made John Edwards God, God made him a parent. To throw his hands up and say that since he's not The Almighty that he has no place in forming his childrens' views is a major cop-out. I'm sure he'd find some reason to inject himself in their upbringing if, let's say, the book were instead about a Kingdom where homosexuality wasn't practiced because everyone thought it was immoral.

And while we're on the subject of second graders making their own moral decisions, how about a book on adultery? I mean, it happens quite a lot, and some folks don't see the moral issue with it, so let's just show the kiddos an alternative. "The Open-Marriage Kingdom", in the children's section at a bookstore near you.

Careful, John. If the Lord wants that book out, He'll reach down with His own hand and smite it Himself. No one made you God.

Posted by Doug at 01:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ben Stein on Intelligent Design

In February, 2008, Ben Stein (yes, that Ben Stein) is coming out with a movie that exposes the scientific community's rather non-scientific silencing of those not towing the line.

Evolution – and the explosive debate over its virtual monopoly on America's public school classrooms – is the focus of the film "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed."

In the movie, Stein, who is also a lawyer, economist, former presidential speechwriter, author and social commentator, is stunned by what he discovers – an elitist scientific establishment that has traded in its skepticism for dogma. Even worse, say publicists for the feature film, "along the way, Stein uncovers a long line of biologists, astronomers, chemists and philosophers who have had their reputations destroyed and their careers ruined by a scientific establishment that allows absolutely no dissent from Charles Darwin's theory of random mutation and natural selection."

"Big Science in this area of biology has lost its way," says Stein. "Scientists are supposed to be allowed to follow the evidence wherever it may lead, no matter what the implications are. Freedom of inquiry has been greatly compromised, and this is not only anti-American, it's anti-science. It's anti-the whole concept of learning."

Nice to see someone taking on this issue in what looks to be a funny and informative, Ben Stein sort of way.

Posted by Doug at 01:01 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Serial Divorcers and the Divorce Rate

Liz Taylor is keeping the divorce rate high.

Eight-times married Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor could be heading for yet another trip down the aisle as she declared her love for a wealthy businessman she met last year in Hawaii.

As much as I believe the divorce rate in the country is too high, its people like Taylor that make it artificially high. She's been divorced 8 times, so 8 other married couples need to stay together for life just to keep a combined 50% rate alive.

And if past history is any indicator, two more couples need to be signed up real soon now.

Posted by Doug at 12:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Change Begins With Us

I'm not one to post campaign material for one candidate or another here, especially since I've really not made up my mind. But this post by Mitt Romney at Redstate really hits the nail on the head with me. Key paragraph:

The blame for Washington's failures lies not just with the Democrats but with Republicans as well. We have to put our own house in order. We can no longer be a party of big spenders with ethical standards more fitting of a Jay Leno punch line. We can no longer pretend our borders are secure. When Republicans act like Democrats, America loses. It's time for change in Washington and change begins with us.

Read the whole thing.

Posted by Doug at 08:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Bulletproof Backpack

From Gizmodo comes word of this new item that, frankly, speaks volumes about our public school system.

Made from 13 layers of K-29 Kevlar, this thin, lightweight plate fits in most backpacks and can stop every bullet from a 9mm all the way to Dirty Harry's .44 Magnum.

Yeah, that's the kind of "socialization" my homeschooled kids are missing out on.

Posted by Doug at 08:28 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 27, 2007

Telling Comedy From Reality

It appears that too many on the Left are willing and eager to accept Jon Stewart at face value, forgetting that his show is, y'know, not an actual news show.

“Idiots are now convinced that Dubya doesn’t know Nelson Mandela is still alive,” writes Abu Wabu. “What has in fact died, and what a miserable, stinking death it was, is real intellectual rigor on the idiot left.” As made evident by followers of Daily Show host Jon Stewart, “a voice for democratic ideals and the noble place of citizenship”, at least according to Tom Brokaw. Pity, then, that Stewart’s idealistic nobility is wasted on an audience of morons:
Thursday’s episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Oh my God. How funny was it? And for a very wrong reason indeed. I’ve already shared it with others. George W Bush thought Nelson Mandela is dead? Dude! How wrong could he possibly be!

Hat tip to Tim Blair, who has a host of other examples. And, of course, if these Nuance Nabobs would take a look at the context, they'd see that Stewart's hack job just fed them plastic red meat, that they gobbled up. This wouldn't be so scary if "The Daily Show" weren't so many people's primary news source.

It's a comedy show, folks. Treat it with way more skepticism than your average nightly news program.

Posted by Doug at 05:18 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 26, 2007

A Win for Religious Displays

A Ten Commandments display in Kentucky will remain, beating back an assault by the ACLU.

A federal court in Lexington, Ky., has ruled that the Ten Commandments can remain on display in the Mercer County courthouse, rejecting an attempt by the American Civil Liberties Union to have them removed.

“This is a major victory for the people of Mercer County and for all Americans who don’t buy into the ACLU’s extreme misrepresentation of our Constitution,” said Francis J. Manion, senior counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, which argued the case for the county.

“The First Amendment was never intended to remove all mention of God or religion from the public square,” said Manion. “The Supreme Court and many other courts have long recognized the foundational role of the Ten Commandments in the development of our legal system.”

Hat tip to Stop the ACLU, where Nathan Bradfield, after making his case for why the ACLU has been wrong in this and other efforts, states:
Those who would argue that our Founders intended to begin a secular nation with secular documents are living a pipe dream. A. H. Everett, said in the Legislature of Massachusetts, “In almost all of the distinguished states, the principal care of the community has been to provide for the support of religion.” Whether out of ignorance or lack of exposure, a minority of Americans neglect every Founder not named Paine, Jefferson, or Madison. And the latter two must be quoted out of context in order fit their secular, separation mold.

I wouldn't go so far as to say the tide is turning against the ACLU in cases like this, because it matters so much whether the judge takes the Constitution at its word or not. But it is good to see.

Posted by Doug at 11:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 25, 2007

Free Speech for Thee, But Not for Me...Sort of

The appearance of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Columbia University was trumpeted by portions of the Left as a big win for "free speech". I'm reminded of the saying used quite often; an open mind, like an open window, still needs a screen to keep the bugs out. Just because our republic isn't going to collapse if we let an evil man speak doesn't mean we should offer up a forum for him.

But apparently, the Left has its own version of the screen. If the speech exposes the dirty laundry of the Left, it should be screened out.

Early this summer, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign for president learned that the men’s magazine GQ was working on a story the campaign was sure to hate: an account of infighting in Hillaryland.

So Clinton’s aides pulled a page from the book of Hollywood publicists and offered GQ a stark choice: Kill the piece, or lose access to planned celebrity coverboy Bill Clinton.

Despite internal protests, GQ editor Jim Nelson met the Clinton campaign’s demands, which had been delivered by Bill Clinton’s spokesman, Jay Carson, several sources familiar with the conversations said.

GQ writer George Saunders traveled with Clinton to Africa in July, and Clinton is slated to appear on the cover of GQ’s December issue, in which it traditionally names a “Man of the Year,” according magazine industry sources.

And the offending article by Atlantic Monthly staff writer Josh Green got the spike.

Wasn't it supposed to be George W. Bush that participated in this kind of stifling of dissent?

Posted by Doug at 12:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 24, 2007

TV Screen Clutter

The clutter on your TV screen is getting worse.

Kyra Sedgwick, star of “The Closer” on TNT, walks under a police tape and scans the screen with her flashlight. And every time she does, she makes Gretchen Corbin, a technical writer in Berkeley, Calif., irate.

The promotional ads for “The Closer” run in the bottom right of the screen during other TNT programs — a graphic called a snipe. But for Ms. Corbin, who sometimes watches movies that have subtitles, the tiny images block the dialogue.

“Some ad just took over the entire bottom of the screen so I missed what the characters said to each other,” said Ms. Corbin, describing a recent experience. “And it’s TV, so you can’t rewind.”

Snipes are just the latest effort by network executives to cram promotions onto television screens in the age of channel surfing, ad skipping and screen-based multitasking. At first, viewers may feel a slight jolt of pleasure at the sight of a new visual effect, they say, but over time the intrusions contribute to the sense that the screen is far more cluttered — not just with ads, but with news crawls and other streams of information.

Not just "snipes" but full blown, full-color, moving ads that take away from the current show, sometimes obscuring it. This really is way too much.

This ranks right down there with a feature on news channels that appeared after 9/11: The Scroller(tm). On a day when terrorism hit the US, keeping up with more news than just what was being covered at the moment was very useful. But when The Scroller is noting who's won a local mustache and beard contest, it's usefulness has long, long been outlived. Give me some of my screen back, guys

Posted by Doug at 12:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 20, 2007

Unintentional Humor

Bruce Eckel wrote an article about how bad he thinks RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is as a tool for finding out what's new on the net. In "RSS: The Wrong Solution to a Broken Internet", he writes:

What are you, the consumer, trying to accomplish? You want to be notified when something happens. We have a well-known pattern for that problem. It's called publish-subscribe. The publisher keeps a pointer to the subscriber, and when something happens tells the subscriber about it. Maximally efficient.

Why doesn't it work? Because the internet is anonymous. People can behave badly because nobody knows who they really are, and enough people do behave badly that you can't risk giving out a pointer to yourself. So we don't. Instead, we need RSS where our readers are constantly, stupidly asking, "did it change yet?" "Did it change yet?" "Now has it changed?" "Now?"

And indeed that can be a problem, especially for RSS readers that poll far too frequently. Bruce makes the case for a less anonymous Internet, and I can agree with him on a number of points.

What gave me a chuckle was this bit at the end of the article, which, I imagine, is added to any article on the site.

RSS Feed

If you'd like to be notified whenever Bruce Eckel adds a new entry to his weblog, subscribe to his RSS feed.

With "RSS Feed" in big type. I know, gotta use the tools that currently exist, even if you think they're broken, but it got my day off to a good start.

Posted by Doug at 09:32 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 19, 2007

Our Standing In The World

Democrats have bemoaned the (alleged) loss of standing with the world that the US has suffered supposedly due to the war in Iraq. I guess before that, everyone just loved us, and since then we've lost the support of our allies. Well, the good news is, those Democrats can stop their worrying; France likes us again.

Sometimes it's not the message, but the messenger who delivers it. After spending much of this decade going head to head with the US over its invasion of Iraq due to nuclear weapons suspicions, France seems to be joining American bellicosity when it comes to those same suspicions about Iran. On French radio on Sunday, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said that it is time to "prepare ourselves for the worst" and indicated that he was talking about a possible war with Iran.

The remarks are simply the most recent indication that France under new President Nicolas Sarkozy is turning its back on the almost reflexive anti-US stance of his predecessor Jacques Chirac.

Democrats who have cited our "standing" as a reason to oppose Bush will now start supporting him, right? Well, no, of course it couldn't be that easy.
On Monday, the UN's head nuclear watchdog Mohamed ElBaradei blasted Kouchner, saying that diplomacy is still the best route and warned against "hyping" the issue.

"There are rules on how to use force," ElBaradei said "and I would hope that everybody would have gotten the lesson after the Iraq situation, where 700,000 innocent civilians have lost their lives on the suspicion that a country has nuclear weapons."

Of course, the UN is still jittery. Yes, there are rules on how to use force, which, incidentally, we followed, and still we "lost standing". Sorry, I don't exert too much worry on what others might think of us even if we follow the rules. I want diplomacy to work, make no mistake. But I also want enemies to know that there will be a price if they continue to threaten us and our allies. That's all that Kouchner was saying; nothing's off the table.
Kouchner also indicated that the European Union might begin looking into imposing its own sanctions against Iran, should the UN continue to be unable to strengthen those currently in place.

Because we all know how well UN sanctions worked on Iraq. Exhibit A is:
China and Russia -- both of which wield vetoes on the UN Security Council -- have been reluctant to take a harder line against Iran, which is widely suspected of trying to develop nuclear weapons.

Anyway, it looks like the world is starting to see things our way again, albeit slowly. Democrats should be sleeping better tonight.

Either that or the whole "standing" issue was just a smoke screen, as long as the "world" though the way they did. I'm kinda leaning that way.

Posted by Doug at 02:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Evolutionary Theory Challenged By Fossils

CBS News reports on new discoveries that are rewriting what evolutionists have thought about who begat whom.

Surprising research based on two African fossils suggests our family tree is more like a wayward bush with stubby branches, challenging what had been common thinking on how early humans evolved.

The discovery by Meave Leakey, a member of a famous family of paleontologists, shows that two species of early human ancestors lived at the same time in Kenya. That pokes holes in the chief theory of man's early evolution — that one of those species evolved from the other.

And it further discredits that iconic illustration of human evolution that begins with a knuckle-dragging ape and ends with a briefcase-carrying man.

Scott Ott at ScrappleFace nails it as usual.
Far from casting doubt on Darwin’s theory, experts say that the lack of evidence and contradictory discoveries have helped to build “a consensus of certainty in the field.”

“Finding little physical evidence to substantiate the theory only means there must still be a great deal of supportive evidence out there to be found,” said an unnamed editor of the journal Nature, which plans to publish a paper on the African skulls this week. “The more we realize how little we know, the more certain we are that we’re right. As I once read in a scholarly paper somewhere, ‘faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen’.”

Posted by Doug at 01:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 18, 2007

Democratic Candidates Continue to Show Partisanship

The Fox News Channel is somehow too biased, supposedly, for a fair presidential debate, but the Huffington Post and Slate aren't?

Democratic 2008 presidential hopefuls parried unusual questions about flatulent cows and "spoiled brat" voters, as well as Iraq and health care, in the first exclusively online campaign "debate."

The "mashup" forum hosted by Yahoo! in partnership with the blog Huffington Post and online magazine Slate, allowed voters to compare responses to similiar questions on burning issues, posed by talk-show host Charlie Rose.

Democrats are simply not interested in fairness and balance. Republicans are going to participate in their own debate hosted by left-wing political web sites. But for Democrats to complain about Fox's bias while embracing a host that is even more biased to the left than about any MSM outlet you can name is the height of hypocracy. Their concern about "bias" is all talk, and completely disingenuous. It is their problem that this highlights, not Fox's.

Posted by Doug at 08:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 14, 2007

When the Polls Don't Match the Narrative

I'm not a big fan of opinion polls, especially when average Americans are polled on a subject that they really don't know or can't know much about. One of the recent polls that the media has enjoyed reporting the results of is whether folks think the "surge" in Iraq is working.

Frankly, the average American, myself included, has no way to know definitively whether the surge is "working" or not. It mostly depends on your definition of "working" and what you're hearing from the news media. A poll of people without all the facts -- and if you're not in the military or the government, you probably don't have nearly enough facts -- is pretty much useless.

Still, the media like to use them to generate news, and back in July, CBS News polled Americans and found that 19% thought the surge was "making things better". However, when that poll started to go against the liberal media narrative of how bad things are going there, their coverage reflected their displeasure at the outcome.

On the day of the long-anticipated report from General David Petraeus on the "surge," the CBS Evening News ignored how its latest poll discovered the third straight month of an increase in the percent of Americans who believe the surge has "made things better" in Iraq. As the percentage has gone up, CBS's interest in the result has gone down. In July, anchor Katie Couric led with how only 19 percent thought the surge was "making things better" and a month later, in August, when that number jumped to 29 percent, CBS and Couric gave it just 12 seconds 20 minutes into the newscast..

While Monday's CBS Evening News skipped how the share crediting the surge for "making things better" rose to 35 percent in the survey conducted through Saturday, the newscast found time to highlight three other findings that stressed public opposition to the war and distrust of President Bush.

When the poll backs the narrative, it leads. When it doesn't, find some other way to ask the question to get the "right" response.

Oh, that liberal media.

Posted by Doug at 12:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 12, 2007

Early Thoughts on 2008

It’s after Labor Day, and I think every serious candidate who is going to get in is in; so it may be time to begin writing more about 2008. At least today.

As a conservative pragmatist, evangelical Christian, and an increasingly rare supporter of President Bush, what do I want in the next president?

I want sound conservative policy that seeks to limit the role of government, accentuates the value of personal accountability and responsibility, recognizes the values of the free market, and respects the role of spiritually infused moral character in the maintenance of a civil society--and in forging a balance between order and freedom.

One Nation, Speaking English
I want the president to seek to maintain the values and identity of America by addressing the central issue of domestic policy, the control of national borders, immigration—legal and illegal—and the return of the melting pot, not a cultural Balkanization that destroys nationhood. Making English the national language would be a nice touch, and important to this goal.

Keep Battling Jihadism
The new president must recognize that the central international issue is the isolation and discrediting of radical Islam and jihadism, and the defeat of the terrorists that emerge. My president should acknowledge that Iraq is a necessary part of that battle.

The president cannot shrink at the possibility that we must take solid, even military action, against Iran, which is clearly toxic and dangerous and the leading sponsor of international terrorism. We must show Iran strength; they think we are weak.

Total Life Ethic
I want the president to have a total life ethic. For me that starts with persuading people to stop choosing abortion. That is the most important priority, and it is separate from our need to reverse Roe v Wade, which I also believe needs to be done.

(Could just one national Democratic candidate mount a campaign to stop women from choosing abortions? The right to choose has to include the right to choose life. That would be a start; but no one has staked out that ground).

I believe part of a total life ethic is raising the standard for application of the death penalty. I like Romney’s standard of “no doubt” on death penalty, which I have written on.

We need to assure a healthy life for our children by reversing environmental degradation and resulting climate change. My favorite candidate will stop ignoring sound and widely accepted science--the overwhelming proof that human-induced global warming is a problem. Just what the solution should be can be debated; but to deny that it is a problem means the candidate is playing to what he thinks the based wants to hear; pure and simple. The Republicans need to talk more about climate; it is hard to discern their opinions, although from what I’ve seen, Guiliani and Huckabee seem the most open to finding solutions.

Marriage is the Sacred Union of a Man and Woman
I think the president should lead the nation to assure that marriage is protected as the sacred bonding of a man and woman, grounded in faith, history, tradition, all that we have known for all time.

But I also would support states’ rights to establish civil unions between any two consenting adults of any gender. If we give two homosexuals special rights in a civil union, however, we need to also provide them to two heterosexual men who establish households, or a man and woman who set up a household but don’t marry (perhaps aren’t even sleeping together). It provides some benefit to those who in some way establish a stable household.

Democrats Fail on Almost Every Measure
None of the Democrats qualify because they’ve all taken the wrong position on Iraq and on abortion.

On the Republicans
I don’t care if Romney is Mormon. I just want him to be more human. His reaction to the Larry Craig incident was heartless; he feels like a Dukakis automan at times. Is it the Massachusetts air? I like his business sense and his innovation. He just needs to loosen up and be real.

I was a supporter of John McCain in 2000 He is an American hero; I like his candor and passion; I know all of the conservative complaints. I just think he is too old. The presidency is too hard; it makes young men old; it makes old men senile.

There is something very attractive about Guiliani’s strength and honesty. I agree with him on far fewer issues than most of the others, but I feel like he’d be a good president.

Fred Thompson looks like the president of the United States, and I like that he has been in the D.C. trenches as counsel to the Watergate committee. I like that he’s shown partisan independence enough to make his own party mad, but that he’s got a great conservative voting record. I don’t think federalism is the answer to as many things as Fred thinks it is—but there are far worse things in a candidate. He’s formidable, and if he can let his personality come through on the stump, and during debates (remember Bob Dole, who couldn’t), he can beat Hillbama.

I like everything I’ve read about Huckabee, except that he comes from Hope, Arkansas, which is kind of weird, with Bill Clinton and all. His Christian faith resonates; I like his openness on the environment. He supports the Fair Tax, which would change America for the better. Anyone who can conquer obesity and stay thin, has shown great strength and courage. That means more than he’s being given credit for. I just don’t think he has enough gravitas to make it. As I’ve said, Romney or Guiliani should select him as VP—for regional balance and all that Huckabee is.

Maybe Brownback another year. He’s a good guy.

I think a lot of Newt Gingrich—he is smarter than all of the rest of them-- but I don’t he can overcome the baggage and I don’t think he’ll jump in.

Posted by Jim at 12:53 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 11, 2007

Six Years After

There's not much more that I can say about 9/11 than I've already said before (some in 2006, but mostly in 2004). I think the national memory is still fading, especially when many still can't come to face the fact that Islamo-fascists are really out to kill us. Some politicians want to remove preventative measures that nipped many attack, most recently in Germany, in the bud. They just don't realize the danger. 9/11 was a one-off, so far, because of better intelligence gathering. We need to keep it.

If we are attacked again because we forgot the stakes and the lessons, to a large extent we would have ourselves to blame. Remember.

Posted by Doug at 12:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 08, 2007

Author Madeleine L'Engle Has Died

Author Madeleine L'Engle, whose best known book A Wrinkle In Time was rejected several times before finally being published (and went on to win a Newberry Medal for best children's book in 1963) has died at age 88. From the Associated Press:

Author Madeleine L'Engle, whose novel "A Wrinkle in Time" has captivated generations of schoolchildren and adults since the 1960s, has died, her publicist said Friday. She was 88. L'Engle died Thursday at a nursing home in Litchfield, said Jennifer Doerr, publicity manager for publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

The Newbery Medal winner wrote more than 60 books, including fantasies, poetry and memoirs, often highlighting spiritual themes and her Christian faith.

For many years, she was the writer in residence and librarian at the Episcopal Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City.

Although L'Engle was often labeled a children's author, she disliked that classification. In a 1993 Associated Press interview, she said she did not write down to children.

"In my dreams, I never have an age," she said. "I never write for any age group in mind. ... When you underestimate your audience, you're cutting yourself off from your best work."

She will be truly missed.

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

September 06, 2007

He Who Pays is In Control

When you want to buy something, especially a high-ticket item -- let's say a car -- you want to do your research first. You have certain things that are important to you, as well as those things you think would be nifty to have, and balance that with how much your needs and wants are going to cost you. Then, you make your choice, good or bad, and you buy a car. You may buy just what you need, or you may buy more than that, but whatever the price, you are responsible for it. Your neighbor can neither tell you what to buy nor should your neighbor pay for any part of it, even the excess gas if you buy a guzzler. You pay the money, so you control the choice, and the consequences.

But with something more personal, like health insurance, liberals seem to think that experts in their ivory tower should manage the health care spending of us all. The lure is that just pay them a fee and they'll run the whole healthcare system for you. Don't worry about cost. The upside, they tell you, is that you may get more healthcare than you pay for. The downside, they don't tell you, is that any money you don't use you also don't keep. This "forced charity" (oxymoron) is held up as the way to make sure we all get what we need. From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs. (Great line, wonder who said it.)

But that is just the foot in the door. As with the car, when you pay, you decide how much or little gas mileage you're willing to pay for, how much luxury you want, and what you can do without. You neighbor doesn't have a say because he's not paying for it. In a nationalized health care system, however, whoever is paying now has that power over you, and not just which doctor you go to. Folks in the UK are finding that out.

Failing to follow a healthy lifestyle could lead to free NHS treatment being denied under the Tory plans.

Patients would be handed "NHS Health Miles Cards" allowing them to earn reward points for losing weight, giving up smoking, receiving immunisations or attending regular health screenings.

Like a supermarket loyalty card, the points could be redeemed as discounts on gym membership and fresh fruit and vegetables, or even give priority for other public services - such as jumping the queue for council housing.

But heavy smokers, the obese and binge drinkers who were a drain on the NHS could be denied some routine treatments such as hip replacements until they cleaned up their act.

Those who abused the system - by calling an ambulance when a trip to the GP would be sufficient, or telephoning out of hours with needless queries - could also be penalised.

The report calls for a greater emphasis on the "citizen's responsibility" to be healthy and says no one should expect taxpayers to fund their unhealthy lifestyles.

Ironically, I heartily agree with the statement that "no one should expect taxpayers to fund their unhealthy lifestyles". However, because the government is forcing taxpayers to fund their neighbors' poor choices, now the government has to step in and make your lifestyle choices. It's not that I don't think people should be as preventative as they can health-wise, it's just that I don't think the Health Police should be, in effect, roaming the streets making sure you're running your daily 2 miles or doing your 25 situps, and shutting down food stores that don't serve items that are up to government standards. The result is the same, with or without a London bobby walking the beat.

When the government pays, the government calls the shots. All the shots.

Posted by Doug at 01:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 05, 2007

Another Giant of the Christian Right Passes: James Kennedy Dead at 76

D. James Kennedy died this morning. His greatest accomplishment was certainly Evangelicsm Explosion, credited with the conversion to Christianity of more than 50 million people. Not bad for a Presbyterian, eh?

Posted by Jim at 08:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Some Gems from a Very Old Blogroll

As I near the third anniversary of my personal blog, The Rooftop Blog, I’ve decided to clean up the Blogroll. There are blogs on there I haven't visited in months; well, years. If they’re no longer interesting to me, off they go. At the same time, I’ll spend some time mentioning some interesting posts. Here we go:

I Wonder if it’s Superstition

21st Century Reformation, which has a nice mix of serious spirituality and pop interest, says Steve Wonder’s Superstition is the best ever, and points to a fun YouTube clip of a performance. Remind me to tell you sometime about the free concert Stevie Wonder did for me years ago at the Baltimore Penitentiary that cost me $25,000.

If It Was Only Flatulence

A Red Mind in a Blue State muses

“Hearing all this green talk lately, Live Earth, etc. How delicious would it be if we eventually found out that global warming is caused by the flatulence of whales, manatees and baby seals, and that the only sure way to save the Earth is with a club?...”

That would make things a lot easier. But, alas, it’s us—which makes the club less desirable.

Blood and Fire

Adrian Warnock in the UK still appreciates great old hymns. Here’s one by William Booth, founder of The Salvation Army.

One stanza:

To make our weak hearts strong and brave: Send the fire! To live, a dying world to save: Send the fire today! Oh, see us on Your altar lay, We give our lives to you today, So crown the offering now we pray: Send the fire today! Send the fire today! Send the fire today!

Diamond in the Rough

For some reason, this actually brings tears to your eyes.

The Miracle of Grace, in Washington

Beyond the Rim cites Peggy Noonan’s call for grace in response to the Sept. Iraq report.

It will take something that miraculous to keep it from becoming just another political football.

Posted by Jim at 06:42 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 04, 2007

Another Accountability Moment

Brought to you by Republicans.

Sen. Larry Craig said Saturday he will resign, succumbing to rapidly intensifying pressure from within his own Republican Party.

Not censured, not wrist-slapped, not frowned upon; resigned. As noted before on this blog, more than once, both sides have their issues with fallible human beings in positions of power. But it's Republicans that, far more often, do the right thing.

I heard Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday repeat what he'd heard from some sources that the number of Republicans leaving due to scandal shows how bad off the party is. I say that it shows how better off the party is. I repeat, both sides have their troubles, but the Republicans are ridding themselves of the bad apples, and they are better off for it.

Update: Looks like Sen. Craig is trying to undo his guilty plea and resignation. We'll see how that turns out. But if indeed he is still guilty on the other side of this legal maneuver, I believe the Republican party will continue to do the right thing.

Posted by Doug at 12:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack