Thursday, March 31, 2005
"Human activity is putting such strain on the natural functions of Earth that the ability of the planet's ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted."
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Monday, March 28, 2005
Friday, March 25, 2005
Here are critiques by Wiliam F. Buckley and Andrew Sullivan about all of this brouhaha, though Sullivan's critique of American conservatism is a little broader.
Here's the Reagan quote I like from Sullivan's column:
“The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less
centralised authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general
description also of what libertarianism is.”
So if you think Congress knows what Terry Shiavo would have wanted better than her husband, than you are aruging for a paternalistic government, one that knows what you want and need better than you do. There was a time when liberalism, the New Deal and the Great Society were criticized for such thinking.
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Republicans easily abandon their cherished principles of individual privacy andWhat would the left do without the hypocrisy card? Would they be able to form an argument? Hypocrisy is not the end all be all to me. While it’s a weakness that can rightly be exploited – as Jonah Goldberg points out here – it’s not the worst thing that a politician can display, especially in a open democracy like ours where leaders have to pacify constituents by compromises and shifts.
states rights when their personal ambitions come into play.
So if a politician has two stances – one for the right to life and another for state’s rights – and those two positions come in conflict, should that politician avoid choosing between them because doing so would be hypocrisy? And as much as Republicans believe in state’s rights, they also believe in the 14th Amendment. So, if the politician believes that Terri Schiavo is being unduly denied her right to life, and the Florida supreme court is not adequately protecting her, then would it not stand to reason that the Senate should act within its powers to protect her?
As for Terri being denied her right to life – that point is admittedly not a proven fact. But there are questions, which is why Congress wanted more appeals on the case. As a friend of mine said, perhaps Terri would have a better chance if she was on death row. Krauthammer made a pretty good assessment when he described the issue as a choice between a legal travesty and a moral tragedy.
And where Dowd thinks that Republicans are advancing there own ambitions, I think it’s more a case of Republicans putting their money where their mouth is.
Dowd quoting Republican House Rep. Christopher Shays:
"This Republican Party of Lincoln has become a party of theocracy. There areWe will dismiss the assertion that having a Christian element in the party that actually influences party platforms equates a theocracy. At the time of this post (and Dowd’s column) it is appearing less and less likely that the tube will be reinserted into Terri. With Terri’s death dies the argument of Congressional overreach, because it is hard to make such an argument for something that failed. There may very well be repercussions from this issue, but it will hurt the (mostly silent) Democrats more than the Republicans. Why? Because it will fuel Bush’s argument about an out of control judiciary, which has stonewalled any attempts at further deliberation. The more people think about that, the more they won’t understand why Terri had to be starved to death now. And it appears that Congress was no match for the courts. All the while, the left has ridiculed the Republicans for refusing to accept decisions that they (the Republicans) disagree with. In other words, to listen to the left, the Supreme Court is the one branch of government that should be above checks and balances. And, by proxy, it certainly won’t help the Democrats filibustering Bush’s nominees of strict constitutionalists. In a cold political sense, Terri’s death is the worst thing that can happen to Democrats.
going to be repercussions from this vote."
Finally, when Dowd charges Bush with packing the courts, she should probably learn what “packing the courts” actually means. It’s not replacing retiring judges with conservative nominees. It is creating new seats to fill with judges of your own liking. The last president to do that was FDR, who was frustrated with the judicial opposition to New Deal programs.
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Maybe they can have public readings where they go through the colossal document like it was storytime in the class room. When I first heard of French opposition to the constitution, I thought it may have been fueled by a French desire to have more control over the size of bananas being imported, etc., but apparently that's not the case. This story goes on to say that the French oppose cutting red tape for service industries moving across borders because they see it as a threat to their nanny state.
here's twenty of the better photos i shot at the anti-war rally that took place last saturday here in chicago--the second anniversary of the invasion of iraq. you can download the flyer for the rally from the chicago coalition against war and racism webpage here. i was excited to see something i would usually only on see on television. so i get there just as the march was arriving at federal plaza. behind them followed hundreds of chicago police in riot gear, an armada of paddy wagons, police with video cameras rolling, police on horses, certain riot police with wooden bats, police on mountain bikes, and a large group from the sheriff's department in their brown outfits.
judging from the signs the rally seemed like a clearinghouse of protests: a lot of anti-bush stuff of course, opposition to zionist rule, demands to end the occupation of palestine, a lot of socialist and worker's rights organizations, get out of iraq, get out of afghanistan, no u.s. involvement in haiti, no chicago police brutality.
among the variety of speakers was lila lipscomb, the mom who lost a son in iraq and was featured in fahrenheit 9/11. she gave a pretty moving speech. she's in one of the pictures talking to a reporter.
i enjoyed seeing the baby boomer protesters. i could tell it was like the old days for some of them. and then you had young thrift-store-clothes-wearing food-not-bombs kids with bandanas hiding their identity and goggles on their heads in case things got rough. revolution!
i loved the clear channel salesmen commodifying free speech. they never got out of character.
overall, things were positive and energizing. a lot of media. across the street about ten individuals wearing protestwarrior.com shirts would occasionally shout "loser!" as the rally faded out.
Monday, March 21, 2005
Incidentally, my friend Jay over at Nonfamous has a penchant for painting Bush and Republicans as fascists. But what fascist errs on the side of life? If I recall, Hitler wanted to kill people like Schiavo for the benefit of the species.
Jay’s post also serves as a sort’ve living will, itself:
Let me say this very clearly to my friends and family. If anything like thiseverI’m sure that can be arranged, Jay.
happens to me and somehow my wishes aren't followed, I don't want you just to
stop feeding me. And don't wait 13 years to do something, either! I want 80ccof
morphine, a bullet to the head, or whatever it takes--and wherever I end up,I'm
sure I'll see some of you there. OK? Thanks!
Finally, Dude’s post with the MSNBC link makes a pretty good point regarding Congress passing a bill for one person. While I don’t have a good argument to the contrary (though I guess that’s the difference between a conservative and a libertarian) I applaud Congress for clever maneuvering to keep Terri alive. So far as I know, the issue has not gone to Congress to decide, but is still up to the courts.
UPDATE: In answer to my question, Schiavo hasn't had an MRI because of some implants that were added to her some time ago. However, she could have a PET scan, which would make a clearer image of the brain than a CAT scan.
Sunday, March 20, 2005
"The number of bills the Rules Committee allows to go to the floor under 'open rules,' that is, bills to which any member may offer amendments, has dropped steadily. By the count of the then-minority Republicans in the 95th Congress in 1977-78, 85 percent of nonappropriations legislation in the House were offered under open rules.
But the number of bills open to revision dwindled to 57 percent overall and to 30 percent for nonappropriations bills in 1993-94, the last Congress controlled by Democrats, a denial of process so serious that it led the late Representative Gerald Solomon, a New York Republican, to pledge that the incoming Republicans would make the vast majority of bills open. But the opposite happened.In the current Republican-led Congress, according to statistics offered by both parties, the percentage of nonappropriations bills open to revision has dropped to 15 percent. "
Saturday, March 19, 2005
Friday, March 18, 2005
i'm all for a foreign policy that promotes democracy. but i think we should be very careful when using bombs to promote democracy--or to help find phantom WMDs. from this Joseph Sobran article:
"Countless Iraqis, tens of thousands at least, have been killed by American forces. The dead posed no threat to us at all. If the war was wrong in the first place, it isn't made just by the fact that surviving Iraqis are voting. Assuming that democracy is a big improvement on dictatorship, it remains true that the end doesn't justify the means. If mass murder results in free elections, it's still mass murder."
foreign policy aside, from this new york times opinion:
"The atrocities that occurred in prisons like Abu Ghraib were the product of decisions that began at the very top, when the Bush administration decided that Sept. 11 had wiped out its responsibility to abide by the rules, including the Geneva Conventions and the American Constitution."
and what about jose padilla? imprisoned for over two years without being charged with a single crime? i want a leader to a) be outraged that this can happen in america and b) protect us against terrorism.
and from Arianna Huffington:
"The most dangerous aspect of the president's newfound dedication to freedom is that it completely ignores the fact that his aggressive push to liberate the people of Iraq has made us much less safe here at home. And this, more than anything else, is the highest priority of any government. Yet our ports, railways and borders remain porous. Our first responders remain underfunded. Our troops are stretched way too thin."
Thursday, March 17, 2005
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
The foreign policy Realists want nothing to do with George Bush's idealism. They
rely exclusively on deterrence and balance of power to adjudicate relations
abroad: We must deal with the world as it is, they say, rather than as we
think it should be. Isolationists likewise bristle at the idea of expending blood or
treasure in an open-ended commitment to spread our values. And don't expect
liberals to applaud the new idealism, as if their 1960s vision of an ethical foreign policy has at last arrived. The Left's attachment to "multiculturalism" long ago ended the idea that the U.S. had any right to place Western ideas of politics over indigenous practices. Other "progressives" are de facto pacifists; for them, any use of U.S. force is a betrayal of global diplomacy....
....Despite these many reservations and pitfalls, George Bush's new idealism may
eventually make America's foreign initiatives more consistent and predictable to
friend and enemy alike. Personalities and crises of the day may nuance the
stance of the United States, but illiberal regimes will ultimately realize there
will be no real friendship with the U.S. unless they reform their governments
and free their peoples.
In response to Mat's comments on a previous post, I'm not sure I can explain why the left has refused to embrace the Bush doctrine if their burning disdain of Bush, the man, is not a factor.
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Over the past two weeks several Western capitals, including London and
Paris, have witnessed feverish activity by more than two dozen groups
organising meetings and marches to mark the second anniversary of the
liberation of Iraq. The aim is not to celebrate the event and express
solidarity with the emerging Iraqi democracy, but to vilify George W. Bush
and Tony Blair, thus lamenting the demise of Saddam Hussein.
Monday, March 14, 2005
If all goes well, those efforts will produce a joint declaration by US
President George W. Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi next
autumn that will reflect the most fundamental and far-reaching revision of
the alliance since the US-Japan Security Treaty was rewritten in 1960.
The most notable element in the rally was that it did represent a broad
cross section of Lebanese from all around the country.
Sunday, March 13, 2005
Saturday, March 12, 2005
Friday, March 11, 2005
Thursday, March 10, 2005
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
I’m a sucker for movies about Americans running a business or plantation or otherwise plying a trade in far off locales – like John Wayne’s operation in Hitari or Clarke Gable’s rubber plantation in Red Dust, and The Naked Jungle did not short change me on that score, but Lenigen’s hacienda was larger and certainly more majestic than what I pictured it in the story. To stretch it out into a feature film, the first two thirds of the movie implanted a mail-order bride love story that was a bit long and dull. But once the ants started getting close, the movie got better. After some sure fire scenes of Leningen’s men preparing for battle, building defenses – the drama kicks off with the first casualty, the drunk Mexican lookout. And it ends with a desperate run by Charlton through the ants to the dam. Good stuff, but the preceding impertinent subplot made the overall film a bit stiff. They can’t all be King Solomon’s Mines.
BTW – When is the African Queen going to be released on DVD? Somebody is slacking.
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
But if you want to get some perspective on Hezbollah as a political party (orFinally, an appropriate place for a Nazi analogy. While watching the news the other night I noticed that both Hizbollah militants and the Syrians are goose-steppers, a sure sign of evil.
"Lebanese faction" as the New York Times called it), think Nazi party in the
German Reichstag in the early 1930s.
It seems like there’s been lots of rallies and protests everywhere, whether its in Turkey or Togo or Nepal or Kuwait, its getting harder to sling a dead cat with out hitting a protest, unless, of course, your in Tinnamen Square, where protest are cleared away.
PS - Austin Bay predicted these past few weeks back in December:
"Mark it on your calendar: Next month, the Arab Middle East will
Sunday, March 06, 2005
Saturday, March 05, 2005
And then there's this comical Best of the Web piece in the WSJ with the following excerpt:
The editorialists at the Orange County (Calif.) Register think something
may be going on here:It is fairly easy to see that something important is happening in
Lebanon, a move in the direction of independence and the idea of a civil
society with democratic underpinnings that is reflected elsewhere in the Middle East. It is more difficult to figure out why it is happening just
now, what forces have converged at this moment.
Man, this is a tough one! We're racking our brain trying to remember if
anything happened recently that might have given a push to proponents of
democracy in the Middle East. Hmm, nope! Still can't think of
Finally, regarding the same Taranto piece, he quotes Daniel Schorr:
During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, President Bush said that "aApparently Mr Schorr was aware of the liberation line Bush used prior to the invasion.
liberated Iraq can show the power of freedom to transform that vital
He may have had it right.
Thursday, March 03, 2005
Update: a letter to Jonah I found on the Corner reads:
From a reader:
The common complaint of Stewart and the anti-hygiene anti-war crowd seems to be that the freedom of Iraqis was an after the fact rationalization for the war. It got me thinking, so I did some heavy research and was quite surprised to learn that the military operation was not named “Operation Iraqi WMD”! Apparently it was called—get this!—Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
However, I disagree that a bait and switch took place upon the lead up to the war. Certainly the WMD case got the most attention from the people and the press and became a focal point from the administration, but the other reasons, including the freedom of the Iraqi people were stated beforehand as well, as his 2002 speech to the U.N. shows. I also maintain that the president was careful to distinguish between a grave and gathering threat and an imminent threat. If an administration official painted the threat as imminent, such a depiction was the exception, not the rule. In his 2003 SOTU Bush stated:
Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have
terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice
before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge,
all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in
the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an
I recognize that rehashing this argument will not bring about any reconciliation. One side feels that the president was essentially honest with the people (though I’ll admit that there was a selling job to garner support for the war) and the other side feels that the president lied and manipulated evidence to go to war. Neither can prove, with any certainty, its case.
That said, I would no sooner condemn Bush for focusing on the liberation aspect after the WMD argument didn’t pan out as I would condemn Lincoln for freeing the slaves after his 1860 campaign tried to convince nervous slaveholders that he wasn’t an abolitionist.
A couple of excerpts from that UN speech:
In 1991, Security Council Resolution 688 demanded that the Iraqi regime
cease at once the repression of its own people, including the systematic
repression of minorities -- which the Council said, threatened international
peace and security in the region. This demand goes ignored.
Last year, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights found that Iraq continues to commit extremely grave violations of human rights, and that the regime's repression is all pervasive. Tens of thousands of political opponents and ordinary citizens have been subjected to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, summary execution, and torture by beating and burning, electric shock, starvation, mutilation, and rape. Wives are tortured in front of their husbands, children in the presence of their parents -- and all of these horrors concealed from the world by the apparatus of a totalitarian state.
In 1991, the U.N. Security Council, through Resolutions 686 and 687, demanded that Iraq return all prisoners from Kuwait and other lands. Iraq's regime agreed. It broke its promise. Last year the Secretary General's high-level coordinator for this issue reported that Kuwait, Saudi, Indian, Syrian, Lebanese, Iranian, Egyptian, Bahraini, and Omani nationals remain unaccounted for -- more than 600 people. One American pilot is among them. In 1991, the U.N. Security Council, through Resolution 687, demanded that Iraq renounce all involvement with terrorism, and permit no terrorist organizations to operate in Iraq. Iraq's regime agreed. It broke this promise.
In violation of Security Council Resolution 1373, Iraq continues to shelter and
support terrorist organizations that direct violence against Iran, Israel, and
Western governments. Iraqi dissidents abroad are targeted for murder. In 1993,
Iraq attempted to assassinate the Emir of Kuwait and a former American
President. Iraq's government openly praised the attacks of September the 11th.
And al Qaeda terrorists escaped from Afghanistan and are known to be in Iraq.
We know that Saddam Hussein pursued weapons of mass murder even when
inspectors were in his country. Are we to assume that he stopped when they left?
The history, the logic, and the facts lead to one conclusion: Saddam Hussein's
regime is a grave and gathering danger. To suggest otherwise is to hope against
the evidence. To assume this regime's good faith is to bet the lives of millions
and the peace of the world in a reckless gamble. And this is a risk we must not
If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will immediately and unconditionally
forswear, disclose, and remove or destroy all weapons of mass destruction,
long-range missiles, and all related material.
If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will immediately end all support for terrorism and act to suppress it, as all states are required to do by U.N. Security Council resolutions.
If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will cease persecution of its civilian
population, including Shi'a, Sunnis, Kurds, Turkomans, and others, again as
required by Security Council resolutions.
If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will release or account for all Gulf War personnel whose fate is still unknown. It will return the remains of any who are deceased, return stolen property, accept liability for losses resulting from the invasion of Kuwait, and fully cooperate with international efforts to resolve these issues, as required by Security Council resolutions.
If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will immediately end all illicit trade outside the oil-for-food program. It will accept U.N. administration of funds from that program, to ensure that the money is used fairly and promptly for the benefit of the Iraqi people.
If all these steps are taken, it will signal a new openness and accountability in Iraq. And it could open the prospect of the United Nations helping to build a government
that represents all Iraqis -- a government based on respect for human rights,
economic liberty, and internationally supervised elections.
Liberty for the Iraqi people is a great moral cause, and a great strategic
More importantly, isn't it a bit disconcerting from a security standpoint that someone can attend the White House briefings without submitting to the full FBI background check?