Thursday, September 30, 2004

"I'm a Pro-Life Democrat"

An interview with the Executive Director of Democrats for Life of America

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Keep this in mind

The next time someone talks about how President Bush "stole the election," remind them of this:
    A comprehensive study of the 2000 presidential election in Florida suggests that if the U.S. Supreme Court had allowed a statewide vote recount to proceed, Republican candidate George W. Bush would still have been elected president.

    The National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago conducted the six-month study for a consortium of eight news media companies, including CNN.

Of course, some people never let things like facts get in the way of their political views.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

More 'ad limina' addresses

This spring, I linked the first seven addresses by the Holy Father to the bishops of the U.S. making their ad limina reports to Rome.

John Paul II received another group in June, and has received two more in September.

The June address was to the bishops of the Provinces of Portland, Seattle, and Anchorage.

The first September address was to the bishops of the Provinces of Boston and Hartford.

The second was to the bishops of the Region of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

New link!

I've become pretty bad about keeping up on linking other blogs these days. One of those who have been overlooked is "Anne Shirley" of Ruminations. The really sad thing is that Anne is probably the geographically closest blogger to me, at least in St. Blogs and the other circles I travel in in Blogdom.

Sorry for the delinquency, Anne!

Monday, September 27, 2004

Chill out, people

Apropos of this post of mine from last week, I want to reiterate something: this election is not, I repeat, not, the end all and be all of our existence on the planet Earth. I've seen way too many people (chiefly on the left, but not exclusively) working themselves into hysterics about the outcome of the presidential election, to the point that I'm thinking they're treating this like a religion.

Chill out, folks.

Yes, this election is important, and vitally so. But it is not the sum meaning of our lives. The fact of the matter is, many of the things that both sides dislike and even abhor about the other side will continue after the election: we'll still have troops in Iraq (thank God!), and abortion will still be legal (sadly). Again, the election is important: President Bush has the right overall stance on both hotbutton issues, and the actions he'd take will make a difference on both issues.

Nonetheless, there are still more important things than this race, and I think we need to remember that.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

More AP bias

From Powerline, here and here.
Bush v. Kerry

I've found a couple interesting quotes in stories on the election over the last couple of days.

In this MSNBC story, we find the following:
    Betsy Bodenhamer, a 33-year-old teacher’s aide and mother of two from Galesburg, Ill., says she has always voted for Democrats in recent presidential elections. This year, she’s leaning toward Bush.

    “I think if Kerry gets elected, he’s going to pull everybody out of Iraq and they’ll have to fend for themselves,” she said. “Situations like 9/11 will happen again and again.”
And in this Newsweek internet exclusive, we find this quote (from this NYTimes story):
    Tom Ampleman, a blue-collar union member who lives near this suburb just outside St. Louis, says he voted for Bill Clinton twice and then Al Gore, but he is now grappling with deep religious misgivings about the Democratic Party.

    "I haven't declared myself a Republican, but if I had to go in there and vote right now I probably would vote for the Republicans," Mr. Ampleman said recently, sitting in his pickup truck at a public park here.

    "I'm not happy with the moral issues at all with the Democrats," continued Mr. Ampleman, who works as a welder at an aerospace company. "The Republicans will hurt me in the long run in providing for my family, but it's probably more important to watch out for the unborn and that kind of stuff."
Now, I disagree with Mr. Ampleman when he says that Republican policies will be more harmful to his ability to provide for his family, but regardless... statements like this befuddle liberals to no end. How -- they wonder -- can people vote for politicians whose policies are harmful to them? Ampleman gives them the answer: because on the most important issues, those politicians have it right, and voters like these are more interested in voting according to principle than pocketbook.

You realize what's going on here? You have voters who act against their own self-interests, and liberals -- who constantly attack and villify conservatives as the supporters of the rich and opporessors of the little guy, i.e. as the ones who act solely according to their own self-interests -- are upset and dumbfounded!

For more on this, read the Newsweek exlusive I linked... the title of the story is, "It's About Abortion, Stupid," and its point is that
    Democrats stick to the uninspiring and oversimplified notion that people reliably vote their pocketbook, period. In this view, even Iraq is as much as anything else an economic disaster. “This is the Clinton legacy; never strike a moral issue,” complains one Kerry adviser who feels his alternative view has not been heard.
The author also notes, regarding Mr. Ampleman,
    I find it wonderful that there are Tom Amplemans out there for whom voting is not only an economic calculation—a what’s-in-it-for-me? decision—but a moral exercise, a matter of trying to do the right thing.

    But Democrats don’t seem to get that. And they don’t get Tom at all.

Crazy world, as Scorpions said.

(Hat tip to Emily of After Abortion for linking the Newsweek article.)

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Santorum sets the record straight

Recently there has been some complaining in St. Blogs that Senator Rick Santorum not only supported pro-abortion Arlen Spector in his primary battle with pro-life Pat Toomey, but now also supports the rape & incest exceptions for abortion.

Santorum replied to both complaints in a letter to the editor (responding to another letter) in the Sept. 19-25 issue of National Catholic Register. He states that he "would not require exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother." So that's that.

As far as his support for Spector, he reiterates what he's said before: pro-life legislation can only pass if there is a Republican majority in the Senate, and since Spector stands a much better chance of winning the general election than Toomey, the overall pro-life cause led him to endorse Spector. Now, there's obviously other ways to read the situation, but I think it's unreasonable to think that Santorum has suddenly jettisoned his pro-life principles for partisan political reasons. Of course, I could be wrong, but I'd rather give the guy the benefit of the doubt. Were he to continue to act in a questionable manner, I'd revisit my stance. But at this point, I believe the guy.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

"Public Schools No Place for Teachers' Kids"

That's the headline for this Washington Times story, which details the results of a study which found that "nationwide, public school teachers are almost twice as likely as other parents to choose private schools for their own children," and that "more than 1 in 5 public school teachers said their children attend private schools."
Flip-flop, but not who you think

Yesterday, John J. Miller posted the following at The Corner:
    "In the end, what difference does it make what one candidate or the other did or didn't do during the Vietnam War? In some ways, that war is as distant as the Napoleonic campaigns." That's Dan Rather, talking about the Swift Boat Vets in an interview published on Aug 30. I hadn't seen it before reading today's WSJ editorial--which goes on to make this simple observation: "Nine days later Mr. Rather was reporting on Mr. Bush's National Guard service as if it were the story of a lifetime." Let's hope it really is the story of a lifetime--the one for which Dan Rather is always remembered.
How transparent can you be?
Run for the hills!

Some of you may have heard of the webforum Democratic Underground. It's where the most partisan folks of the left hang out to talk, discuss, and rant. And boy, do they rant.

One of their number, Koko01, recently asked,
    Oldie DU'ers where are you planning on moving? I can't stay and fight. But, I don't know where to go. I don't like in Canada. But, when Rather caves I know it's time...if one get outta here.
Hmm... so, a major network news anchor admitting (and he barely did that) that there might be problems with memos used to "prove" that Bush was a poor TANG officer is the tipping point to leave the country? Huh???

That's not all... in response to some comments, Koko01 went on to say,
    Yes...I will vote before I go...but I need to make plans. I don't want to be left here like the Jews who didn't get out in Nazi Germany. I have a big's hard for me to "blend in." I've already lost friends and family members because of Bush, so I know just like with Ann Frank's experience in Holland...I and my family would be turned in because I have an "aura" of Resistence. Folks can just tell about folks like me.

    I will have to leave here. Many of you can "blend in" and go "unnoticed with a "practiced Repug...blend in ...making your subtle points and thereby you can stay to mount La RESISTANCe....But, I am not blessed with virtue of "blending." I'm tired of this and I know I can't do I will have to find a place...I just am stymied as to where..

If John Kerry were to win the election, I'd be very disappointed. But I'd never think something like this, let alone express it, in public or private.

Not only that, but the fact is there isn't anywhere to go. I've lived abroad, and I've enjoyed doing so. And I know plenty of people who have moved to other countries, usually for family or cultural reasons. But the fact of the matter is, you aren't going to find anywhere else more free than the US.

It's possible to take politics too seriously. Koko01 is Exhibit A.

(Hat tip: Jonah Goldberg.)
Fake. But accurate.

Some of you may have heard about the NYTimes article last week that acknowledged that the CBS memos were fakes, yet asserted that they were still accurate. In other words, the general point of the CBS story (that Bush was AWOL, a poor pilot, etc.) was still true, even though the memos CBS produced were forgeries.

A number of people have commented on the inanity of this position. Basically, without the memos, there is no proof that Bush was a poor TANG (Texas Air National Guard) officer, and hence the story collapses.

That doesn't deter some, though. For instance, liberal blogger Kos says,
    The [right-]wingnuts are crowing about the CBS memo issue, as though they've somehow proven something.

    They may have proven the memos were reconstructions or forgeries or whatever. But fact is, they haven't touched the underlying assertion -- that Bush was AWOL and didn't fulfill his duty to his nation, not when he was in Alabama, and not when he went to Massachussets for business school.

    When the wingnuts prove Bush fulfilled his duties, then I'll pay attention. As it stands, the overwhelming mountains of evidence against Bush's National Guard service may have gotten a few memos lighter.

When one becomes too much of an ideologue, they say stupid things. Really stupid things. Kos, what evidence do you have that Bush "was AWOL and didn't fulfill his duty to his nation," other than the forged documents?? Bush has released his military records, and they demonstrate that he fulfilled his military duty.

But if you're convinced that he is a lying, evil imbicile, that evidence is worthless.

New Bush ad

The President's campaign has a new ad which shows clips of Senator Kerry windsurfing one way and then another, and a voice-over talking about his voting flip-flops.

Pretty clever ad. See it here.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Now why do they do that?

Eve Tushnet posts excerpts from an AP story which tells us how "leftover" embryos created by invitro fertilization are "discarded" (i.e. killed). According to the story, "the reverence that some clinics gave to the task surprised researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Rutgers University." To be honest, it surprises me too. But it shouldn't... I think we all have an intuitive recognition that human embryos aren't just blobs of tissue, etc., but are real, living human beings. No matter how much we might consciously believe the opposite, reality has its way of "intruding upon us despite ourselves.
Let's make a deal!

Stanley Kurtz proposes a trade:
    I would suggest the following steps as a rough outline of a resolution of our national media conflict. Conservatives need to control at least one major broadcast television network news division; at least one, and possibly two, major national newspapers; and at least one of the two major national news magazines. In addition to their current control of NPR, liberals need to be granted ownership of at least one-third of all existing talk-radio stations in the country. So, for example, we could solve the media-bias problem by giving ABC News, the Washington Post, USA Today, and Newsweekover to conservatives, while allowing Al Franken to dispense about one-third of all talk-radio stations to his allies. With the successful completion of such a grand bargain, America's media-bias problem would be effectively solved.
I personally would support such a deal, as I think objectivity (journalistic or otherwise) is much harder to attain that we think, and this would provide balance while we work toward that objectivity. Others, though, aren't so sure.

What think ye?
Some ears aren't deaf

Norma McCorvey (the "Roe" in Roe v. Wade) recently filed a lawsuit to get the infamous case which bears her pseudonym overturned (a number of years ago she became pro-life). Last week a federal appeals court rejected her case, but as Shannen Coffin notes, McCorvey's arguments did not fall on deaf ears. Go read his article here.

(Hat tip to Emily of After Abortion.)
Unions today

Last Friday, Bill Cork asked, "Why should Catholic social teaching be supportive of labor unions today?" He has his own thoughts, and the opened it up for discussion.

Check it out.
"Proportionate Reasons" again

Thanks to Bill Cork, I found this Catholic News Service story, in which Dominican priest (and one heck of a theologian) Augustine DiNoia (of the Dominican's St. Joseph province of the Eastern U.S.) explains what that "proportionate reasons" thingy in Ratzinger's June note meant (see my post on this below). DiNoia's take is important, because he is the undersecretary for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, of which Ratzinger is the prefect. A few excerpts...
    The memo was certainly not intended to clear the way for Catholics to vote for candidates who are in favor of laws permitting abortion or euthanasia, but rather to clarify that the simple act of voting for such candidates might not per se justify one's exclusion from Holy Communion...

    The problem is that it's difficult to determine the purpose, or "moral object," of an act of voting, DiNoia said. "The only thing we could say is, a person might come to be in the state of mortal sin and therefore unworthy to receive Communion if they voted precisely with the moral object of extending abortion or the provision of abortion. But that would be the only case where that would happen...
The entire article is worth reading. In short, DiNoia refutes critics on both the right and left who think that Ratzinger opened a mile-wide exception with this note.

I'd also recommend checking out this post from Catholic [?] Kerry Watch on this.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Proportionate Reasons

A couple of archbishops have offered explanations of that dreaded "proportionate reasons" clause in Ratzinger's note on politicians, abortion, and voting.

See this letter from Archbishop John Donoghue of Atlanta, and this article from Archbishop John Myers of Newark.

(Hat tip: thanks Mo!)
It's about time

(Meant to blog this the other day...)

Saudi Arabia is pretty well-known its oppression of freedom of religion (see the case of Brian Savio O'Connor.) And it looks like our State Department is finally getting its act together on this and putting that nation on its list of "countries of particular concern".

Unfortunately, it sounds like Colin Powell is hoping to get Saudi Arabia taken off the list.

Ahh, politics...

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

If only blogs were around then...

Anne Morse writes today about a Dan Rather Vietnam documentary aired in 1988 which featured a number of vets who told unbelievably horrid tales about their time in Vietnam.

Morse talks about the widespread critical acclaim poured on CBS and Rather for the documentary, and then notes, "There was just one problem: Almost none of it was true," and proceeds to explain.

It appears that we are in the midst of Rathergate Part Deux (or more).

(Hat tip to Dr. Blosser.)
"Besotted with fun"

Grad theology student, son of Dr. Phillip, and brother of Christopher, Jamie Blosser today commented on an address by Pope John Paul to a delegation from New Zealand. To quote Jamie,
    According to the Holy Father, Kiwis are caving in to an 'unrestrained secularism' and becoming 'besotted with fun.' 'Besotted with fun' has instantly become one of my favorite phrases of all time, and I intend to use it as frequently as possible.
I can see why! "Besotted with fun"... what a turn of phrase! Kudos to JPII for using it, and to Jamie for quoting it.
"Proportionate Reasons"

There has been a flurry of controversy in the Catholic corner of blogdom known affectionately as St. Blogs regarding the final statement in Cardinal Ratzinger's June note to Cardinal McCarrick and Bishop Gregory regarding politicians, voting, and abortion. The note concludes with the following:
    A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.
It's the final clause which has confused and even angered many Catholics: "which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons." What possible reasons, they ask, can possibly justify voting for someone who supports the killing of innocent children? Isn't Ratzinger (he's one of the good guys, right?) opening a loophole big enough for a truck to drive through? These are the things people are saying.

But Ratzinger's final sentence is hardly a novelty in Catholic moral thought. Both the principle of double effect and the "maxim" of the lesser of two evils are applied when it comes to voting, and the Church has always allow the view that in certain circumstances it is morally licit to vote for a candidate who supports abortion rights (e.g. the well-known moral theologian Germain Grisez, who noted in the second volume of his The Way of the Lord Jesus that it is sometimes right to vote for the "less bad of two unworthy candidates" [p. 872]).

Ratzinger didn't perform a realpolitik calculus to arrive at this conclusion... he simply stated what has always been the case. After all, it's this moral principle which will allow me to vote for Larry Diedrich, John Thune, and George Bush, all of whom support the right to abortion in certain circumstances (e.g. rape and incest). If some bloggers and commenters were right, then it would be immoral to vote for any of those candidates!

Some people also wish that Ratzinger would have spoken "plain english" in his note, or at least elaborated on the "proportionate reasons" point to make it clearer. But they're forgetting that he sent this note to fellow cardinals and bishops, not to the general public, and I think it was safe of him to assume that he wouldn't have to elaborate on this point.

This all having been said, I don't know of an actual race at least at the national level in our country where proportionate reasons are present. I think we need to remember, though, that this doesn't mean that such a situation could never arise.

For more on this, I'd recommend this letter by Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life and especially this post by Jimmy Akin.

Monday, September 13, 2004

You gotta be kidding me

Tonight I heard a new ad against President Bush, this one starring Edie Falco of "The Sopranos" fame. The ad is from MOB -- Mothers Opposing Bush. Yes, I'm serious.

Ms. Falco makes a handful of criticisms against the President, all of them around the theme that he has failed our families and our children, and hence should be opposed by all mothers. Or something.

One of her complaints is that our schools are failing our children. This has got to be the most disingenuous of all the charges, considering the the Leave No Child Behind Act has sunk billions upon billions of dollars into public education.

But that doesn't matter. The important thing is to make people think that the President cares neither for our children nor for their education. In other words, to make people afraid.

And I thought that only Republicans used the politics of fear.
C'mon, Tom...

The other night I saw Senator Daschle's latest ad, in which he criticizes his opponent, John Thune, for running a negative ad which claims -- among other things -- that Daschle supported gas tax increases, when he did no such thing.

Small problem.

Thune didn't run the ad.

And Daschle did support gas tax increases.

Go here for more.

And while you're at it, visit
The Anglican Church and Theology

Interesting column by George Weigel on the apparent tendency to avoid theology by higher prelates in the Anglican Church. One quote:
    Dr. Rowan Williams is a formidable and well-regarded theologian. Whether he can convince his fellow bishops of the Anglican Communion to think theologically, rather than sociologically and politically, about central questions of Christian doctrine and Church order would seem to be one of his challenges.

New site:

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Speaking of oil...

as I was in the last post, many people continue to believe that the US invaded Iraq last year for its oil, and that opposition to the war from France was motivated by peace-loving intentions.

Guess again. (Shorter summary here.)

Oil did play a role in the diplomatic war leading up to Operation Iraqi Freedom, but not in the way a lot of people think.
Human Rights

Last week, Tacitus of Redstate wrote a post entitled A Lonely Beacon, detailing how the US government has declared that the violence in Sudan constitutes genocide.

While Europe dithers (refusing to call it genocide, because, as Instapundit notes, "Because if it were, you know, we [the EU] would have to do something about it"), the Arab League refused to get involved (rejecting sanctions and international intervention), and the UN does little, it is the US and its President, George W. Bush, that calls a spade a spade (again) and seek action against this ongoing, current genocide.

How will our allies in Europe (that's more than France & Germany, Senator Kerry) and elsewhere respond? Will they refuse to get involved? In the case of France, I wonder why (do a Find for oil).

Update: there was a rally for the genocide today in Washington; check out some pictures of the event here, including the one of the sign headlined, "Thank You President Bush For Your Leadership".
New MS Office program

Jeff Miller discusses the latest offering in the Microsoft Office line of software: MS Forger.

As he says, "if you are a Kerry campaign operative or a CBS intern then this is the program for you."

Friday, September 10, 2004


By now, most of you have probably heard about Rathergate.

The other night, Dan Rather broke a story on 60 Minutes II, revealing newly-discovered military records indicating that certain aspects of President Bush's Air National Guard service weren't as he claimed. In other words, he lied.

Thanks to the blogosphere, however, (especially the guys at Powerline) serious questions have been raised regarding the authenticity of these records, with many people claiming that they are clearly forgeries (see this post for a summary). The story was picked up last night by the mainstream media, and there have been a number of articles on this today, including the AP, Washington Post, and ABC. Apparently, the conventional wisdom among the major media outlets at this point is that these documents are, in fact, forgeries.

Dan Rather, however, is sticking by the story. Hence, the name being bandied about by some regarding this... Rathergate.

Interestingly, Rather will not be anchoring CBS News tonight... you can see his sub here. (Update: fixed the link to the pic of Dan's sub.)

From the AP the other day: Ministers confront lawmakers on gay marriage: Black clegy have heated exchange with member of the Black Caucus.

See also the Worldnet Daily story, "Black caucus ignores black clergy".

And Focus on the Family also discussed it: "African-American Pastors Stand Up to Lawmakers on Marriage".
Un amico di Roma

Early this morning, I got a comment from a friend I got to know in Rome. It turns out he has his own blog.

Go check out Chateau du Meau!

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Global poll

As many of you have heard, a recent poll indicated that were all the people of the world able to vote in this falls US presidential election, Senator John Kerry would win in a landslide.

Since things aren't looking good for Mr. Kerry at the present, I have an idea that might make everyone happy: the American people, the people of the world, Mr. Kerry, and Mr. Bush:

President Bush can be re-elected, and Senator Kerry can run for Secretary-General of the United Nations.

What do you think?

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Who Should President Bush thank? Warren Burger

Why? Because if it weren't for the infamous decision of Mr. Burger's court handed down in 1973 -- Roe v. Wade -- it overwhelming likelihood is that Al Gore would have won Florida and hence the Presidency in 2000. And the same realities are bound to impact this November's election, although events right now (which, it must of course be said, hardly guarantee what they will be in early November0 indicate that things won't be 2000-close.

Nonetheless, it remains true that from a purely realpolitik perspective, abortion has been harder on Democrats than Republicans (NB: abortion is, of course, hardest on its victims: the child that is killed and the woman that is victimized, even if the victimization is consensual). What's my evidence for that claim? Exhibit A has to be an article which many of you readers are already familiar: Larry Eastland's article, "The Empty Cradle Will Rock," which appeared at OpinionJournal in June. Mr. Eastland crunches the numbers, and concludes that were abortion illegal, Al Gore probably would have won Florida by some 45,000 votes.

A number of Mr. Eastland's conclusions are worth citing directly:
    Abortion has caused missing Democrats--and missing liberals. For advocates so fundamentally committed to changing the face of conservative America, liberals have been remarkably blind to the fact that every day the abortions they advocate dramatically decrease their power to do so. Imagine the number of followers that their abortion policies eliminate who, over the next several decades, would have emerged as the new liberal thinkers, voters, adherents, fund-raisers and workers for their cause.

    • Six out of 10 Americans call themselves conservatives. Only a quarter of them are having abortions.

    • A little more than one-third of Americans call themselves liberals. More than four in 10 are having abortions.

    • This means that liberals are having one third more abortions than conservatives.

    As liberals and Democrats fervently seek new voters and supporters through events, fund-raisers, direct mail and every other form of communication available, they achieve results minuscule in comparison to the loss of voters they suffer from their own abortion policies. It is a grim irony lost on them, for which they will pay dearly in elections to come.
A similar argument is advanced by scholar Phillip Longman, author of the recently-released book, "The Empty Cradle: How Falling Birthrates Threaten World Prosperity and What to Do About It." In an article for the Washington Post, Longman argues that conservatives (i.e. Bush supporters) are having considerably more kids than Gore/Kerry supporters, and considering that the majority of people tend to follow the political persuasions of their parents, this clearly does not bode well for Democrats. Longman concludes his article,
    If Gore's America (and presumably John Kerry's) is reproducing at a slower pace than Bush's America, what does this imply for the future? Well, as the comedian Dick Cavett remarked, "If your parents never had children, chances are you won't either." When secular-minded Americans decide to have few if any children, they unwittingly give a strong evolutionary advantage to the other side of the culture divide. Sure, some children who grow up in fundamentalist families will become secularists, and vice versa. But most people, particularly if they have children, wind up with pretty much the same religious and political orientations as their parents. If "Metros" don't start having more children, America's future is "Retro."

I strongly believe that we need two viable political parties in our country. Perhaps after the Democrats finish aborting themselves out of existence (unless Democrats for Life can make some headway in their party), a new party -- also pro-life -- can be formed out of the debris, which would balance those elements of the GOP which are less than palatable to the Catholic worldview.

It would be easier if Democrats woke up and remembered that they champion themselves as the party that stands up for the oppressed and defends the defenseless and started advocating the respect of all humans' rights, including both mothers and their children. Unfortunately, the odds of that happening are currently slim to none.

Too bad.

Monday, September 06, 2004

A couple anecdotal letters...

from The Corner.

    I am a northeast Pennsylvania resident who also happens to work up the road from the stadium where Bush made his first post-convention appearance.

    As expected, security was tight, traffic was a nightmare, and those of us who had to work had to find ways to get around it. To make it possible I left for work at 5 am this morning. Since we're a bank operations center, I just didn't have the option of saying "another day, time to play hooky."

    Groggy and tired, I arrived at the location at 5:45 and was amazed to see the traffic already backing up. The poor officers who arrived at 4:30 am to handle a Presidential appearance at 9:15 were smiling and waving us on. The organization as they tried to route those of us who had to get to work and at the same time direct those who were determined to get to the stadium was difficult, impossible at times, but well-done and determined.

    And I found I was astonished. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area is a renowned Democratic stronghold, run by a political machine that's been in place for decades. Where did all these Republicans come from? How did they fill every one of the 18,000 seats they could? Why would 18,000 people (and more if they could have) come out in the pre-dawn darkness to hear a speech? Why did students from the University of Scranton arrive at the airport at 12:30 this morning to greet the President and First Lady and show their support? Why did even more crowds see him off at the airport this morning - unable to get to the stadium but needing to cheer him on?

    Why did the total number of protestors at the stadium, in this Democratic town, number 3 whole people? Even the newspapers seem incredulous.

    And then it occurred to me. There's a base of support that's farther and wider then realized. That people are quietly supporting Bush, keeping to themselves because they're unwilling to find themselves a part of the vitriolic smear and attack debates launched by those who hate him. That they walk away from political argument because you can't talk to someone who rants, but their silence doesn't mean agreement.
    I'm writing for the first time to the Corner because this post gave me the chills. I'm a student at NYU, one of the most liberal strongholds in one of the most liberal cities in the country. I have experienced several similar occurrances over the past year, and am continually amazed at the level of quiet support for Bush. Although nearly every single political gathering at NYU has a drastically liberal slant, there are more members of the College Republicans than College Democrats. Although our students lead protests and participate in die-ins, there are invariably twice as many people quietly disgusted with their actions than vocally supporting them. Volunteering at the convention, I spoke with numerous police officers, one of whom spelled it out for me very succinctly. "I'm 16 hours deep in a 20 hour shift, and I spent the first half of it being harassed, cursed at, and attacked by protesters over on Eighth Ave. One of them bit me on my hand, so I got sent back here to wat ch over the delegates for the second half of my shift. Since I showed up, I've gotten nothing but smiles, thank yous, and salutes from these delegates. One of my friends just offered to relieve me, but I told him I didn't mind staying around for a while longer. I voted for Gore last time, and Clinton before him, but I'm voting for Bush this time, without a doubt." Hearing that made up for all of the vitriol I've had to deal with being a Conservative at NYU.

Not polls. Just interesting.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Template update

As you can see, I've updated the color scheme of my blog. I'd wanted to do so for some time, but don't possess the html know-how for the changes I want.

Fortunately, Jeff Miller, The Curt Jester, does.

Thanks again, Jeff!

The Kerry campaign should have vetted the city they made as their latest Ohio stop a bit more. I'm referring to Steubenville, on the banks of the Ohio river across from West Virginia. Steubenville is a steel town, and that and other reasons make it seem to be a good Kerry stronghold.

But that's not the case.

Thanks to Franciscan University of Steubenville (someone's alma mater ;-) and to a fairly strong diocese, the Catholic population of the area (which makes up a good chunk of the entire populace) is pretty solid, being especially pro-life on the abortion issue.

I don't think the Kerry campaign realized this, because they had kn0wn, they probably wouldn't have come.

Here's an email sent to Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review Online explaining how things went:
    John Kerry came to Steubenville yesterday and quickly realized he was in the wrong city. Steubenville is a city where there are 6 Democrats for every 1 Republican, and the Steelworkers unions are alive and active. You would think this was solid John Kerry territory. The mob used to control Steubenville and now the unions think they do. Well, they are wrong.

    The Kerry campaign first scheduled a visit to Steubenville two weeks ago but "scheduling conflicts" came up at the last minute. Oh, and did I mention that Kerry wanted to use a local gun range as a campaign stop, but the owner turned him down? And that the Fire Department Union President told the Kerry campaign that not only would he not organize the union to support Kerry at the rally, but that he was supporting President Bush! The Kerry campaign took for granted that this area was sown up. Mistake number one. So they rescheduled the campaign trip when Franciscan University was back in session. Mistake number two.

    Before Kerry arrived there was a huge pro-life march led by Franciscan University students, 500 strong. "You can't be Catholic and pro-abortion", read some of their signs. Students and members of local Catholic parishes were full of energy and FoxNews reported that this was the largest protest against Kerry outside of the Democratic Convention. Just picture 500 pro-lifers marching from their college campus to meet Kerry. Where else but in Steubenville, Ohio! Though the Franciscan University did not organize the event, it is well known for its orthodox Catholic education which encourages students to put their faith into action. These students simply cherish their Catholic faith and could not stand to let Kerry use their faith as a political prop. I am proud of my alma mater.

    ….The Kerry campaign not only made a mistake in their timing, but they also chose to hold the rally in a public park which should be open to all the public. Mistake number three. The police chief, sheriff, and mayor all agreed with me that protesters and their signs would be allowed inside the Kerry rally site. Freedom of speech is alive and well here in Ohio. The Kerry campaign flipped out!

    So, now add another 500 local Bush supporters to the Kerry rally. They tried to turn up the music but they could not drown us out. According to the Herald Star (local press), "The crowd, estimated by officials as 3,500 strong, was almost split in half with people for and against the Massachusetts senator." John Kerry must know he has a problem when over 15% of his audience was booing him. We were respectful and did not heckle him - but upon arrival and when he sought our applause he got something he didn't expect. As the press arrived a feisty nine year old little girl began shouting, "We want Bush!", and we all chanted along. The campaign staff was beside themselves. This is history in the making! Even places like Steubenville are not supporting John Kerry. He is in serious trouble.

    My friends, John Kerry will not be coming back to Steubenville. Kerry was visibly shaken when he received boos from the audience.....
I'm not surprised.

Update: more on Kerry's Steubenville reception at Redstate here.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Bush's speech

I suppose I ought to say a word or two about last night's speech.

Like many others, I thought the first half was a bit too laundry list-ish, but that the second half was outstanding. I think he clearly laid out his rationale for going to war, and even though you might disagree, I don't see how anyone could accuse him of rushing into the war.

Relatedly, I think any honest observer who watched him speak about meeting wounded soldiers and the families of soldiers who gave their lives in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq can possibly say that he acted in anything but good faith. Look at the man! He's a decent man! Don't tell me that he's a cold-hearted liar who just wants to line the pockets of his oil buddies... he did what he had to because he believed it was necessary for the security of our nation. You can think he was wrong, but there's no way you can honestly tell me that he acted dishonestly.

Among the many reactions, I'd like to note that of the Vodkapundit, Stephen Green, a libertarian blogger with whom I don't share a lot in common, in terms of worldview. But I think he's reaction is spot on in many ways, and I want to quote part of it:

    There was no overriding theme to President Bush’s speech, except for the unspoken one: “This is who I am.” No, wait -- let me amend that. The unspoken theme was, “This is who we are.” As Americans.

    For all its faults, for all its overtly- and overly-religious tones, this small-l libertarian prefers George Bush’s America to John Kerry’s. I don’t care for NASCAR. I’m not much for country music, Sundays at church, blue-eyed soul, or faith-based initiatives.

    But Bush made me feel welcome all the same. No, wait – let me amend that statement, too. Bush made me feel like his place is somewhere I’d like to spend some time and get to know the locals. You know -- down a few beers, chat up the natives and learn their quaint customs.

    I don’t feel as welcome, as at home, in the America Kerry painted for us tonight.

    I’ll repeat something I said earlier.

    Forget the war. Forget policy. Forget everything but two men who want something from me. Kerry could never have joked about the way he walks – or made any other joke at his own expense. Bush can, and did. That's a guy comfortable in his own skin, and that's a guy I'd give something to, before the other guy. I'm pretty sure a lot of people recognize that, even if only instinctively. In other words, my gut tells me to vote for Bush.

    My brain does, too.

Bush was apparently clueless and driftless for much of his adult life, until he was 40. I think that when he woke up, he wanted to make up for his time and serve, and I think that's a big part of what led him to seek the presidency, including his second term.

He's got my vote, now more than ever.

This tops the cake

President Bush made a stop in West Allis, Wisconsin today, and when speaking at a rally, he informed the crowd that he'd just heard that former President Clinton was in the hospital for heart surgery. He said that Clinton was in their thoughts and prayers, and according to an AP story on the event, "Bush's audience of thousands in West Allis, Wis., booed. Bush did nothing to stop them."

Okay, I'm not Clinton fan, but that's a pretty cold-hearted, callous reaction.

There just one thing...

It didn't happen.

The audience didn't boo. Bush didn't fail to stop them from doing so.

In fact, their audible reaction was one of surprise and dismay.

Don't believe me? You can hear a soundbite of Bush's words and the crowd's reaction here.

So, how are we to interpret the quote I offered above? Is there any explanation, other than that it was a bald-faced lie? How could the reporter who penned the report possibly explain the reaction in that manner in good faith?

This is unbelievable.

For all of you who don't think there is a liberal bias in the media, here's your example.

You know what makes this all the more interesting? The AP corrected the story and removed the quote above. Later, they offered another version of the story, telling us that "the crowd reacted with applause and with some "ooohs," apparently surprised by the news that Clinton was ill."

You don't say?

Yet the AP failed to give an account for the first version and its lie, let alone apologize.

There needs to be an accounting for this. Someone's butt has to be fired. (Any liberals who read this... don't bother trying to compare this to Bush's WMD "lies". We both know that there is a difference between a mistake and a lie, so don't even think about it.)

For more on this, go here, here, and/or here.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

I almost caved

I came this close to commenting again at The Village Gate today... I had a subject and first sentence typed before I stopped myself.

What prompted my almost-off-the-wagon episode? This line by another commenter:

the Christian Right is pursuing a fear-based and extremist socio-political agenda that they're attempting to put a veneer of respectability on by cloaking it in religion.


Who exactly constitutes "the Christian Right"?

What exactly is a fear-based agenda?

What exactly is an extremist agenda?

Whatever those things are, they must be very, very bad; how does cloaking them in religion make them respectable?

Do words mean anything anymore?

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Good points

Jonah Goldberg makes some good points about Kerry, the Gulf War, and the Iraq War, points that he (and I) think Bush et al should be making.

For instance...

Kerry opposed the Iraq War because the right nations (i.e. France & Germany) weren't in our coalition. But both of them and everyone else Kerry loves supported the Gulf War.

Kerry voted against it anyway.

Kerry opposed the Iraq War because the UN didn't give final approval. Bush 41 got that approval from the UN for the Gulf War.

Kerry voted against it anyway.

As Zell put it tonight:



Cheney & Halliburton

VP Dick Cheney, of course, has become the veritable lightning-rod for controversy over the past couple of years. Michael Moore and his fellow unhinged liberals (no, the last two words are not redundant... cf. Zell Miller, for instance ;-) believe that the whole Iraq war was fought to line the pockets of Bush, Cheney, and all their fat cat friends (remember, Kerry is a poor rich guy), Cheney's former company, Halliburton, being Public Enemy Number One.

There's a little problem, though. It appears that the perception of Moore et al and reality don't quite match up (surprised?), which is another way of saying that their perception is not true. Why do I say that? Because between late 2000 and November of 2003 (several months after the cessation of major combat ops in Iraq), Halliburton's share value dropped by more than a third. (See Niall Ferguson's Colossus.)

As C+C Music Factory might have said, this is one those "things that make you go hmmm."

(Hat tip: John Hillen.)
RNC tonight

Wow! Zell Miller! He didn't hold back, did he? (Well, actually he did, thanks to some of the "bigwigs" running the convention... see here.)

And Cheney was solid, as always.

But I think I loved the crowd most of all... how about the "flip-flop!" chants during Cheney's speech! Amazing!

In the post-speech surf to see what the Web is saying, I came across some excerpts of the big liberal bloggers' responses. It occurred to me... whoever wins this race, there is going to be a lot of ink handy for that guy's bloggers to rub in the face of the loser's bloggers. Kos, for instance, who apparently sees no way for Miller's speech to bring votes to Bush. I strongly disagree, and either way, our words will always be available. (Unless, of course, Kos decides to try to wipe his words out of the internet, which he's done before.)

It's up and ready!

As promised, the audio of Bishop Carlson's presentation is now available online.

Go to the website of the Diocese of Sioux Falls and click on "Theology on Tap", right underneath the image of the Church. It will open a new window, with all of the presentations currently available. Click on "Bishop Carlson: 'Faith & Politics'", and enjoy!
Protesters' chants and signs

I love these.

"Billions for the war, still nothing for the poor."

"Racist, sexists, anti-gay R-N-C, go away."

(Found here.)

"Five, six, seven, eight, we don't want your police state!"

(Found here.)

Let me try...

Two, four, six, eight... why don't you try and use your brain and drop the unhinged rhetoric before you make yourself look even more foolish (if that's possible).

Yeah, it doesn't rhyme, but hey! it makes my point.