Friday, September 4, 2009

Stand Up Against Religious Discrimination on Campus

The Aliance Defense Fund has been doing yeoman's work toward the goal of providing equal treatment for religious, especially Christian, students on university campi which, as we know, are overrun with angry, vindictive leftists posing as professors. Here's a quick spot providing sample cases and explaining what it is that they do to resolve them.

This is the great news, as reported on the ADF's very informative website, that "every time a public university’s speech code is challenged in a courtroom – it fails. ADF has been instrumental in several of those cases." In other words, these university's policies vis-à-vis speech codes, speech zones, compelled participation, etc. are all unenforceable and probably unconstitutional.

Of course, this group needs donations to operate. Currently they have a campaign running where some wealthy folks have agreed to match funds up to $2.2 million. I donated to this group, and not just because the dude in the video has the same hairstyle as I have. Maybe I'm weird, but a 100% success rate never fails to impress me.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

History Lessons

Lisa Fabrizio's devastating article on modern day liberals and their ironic and absurd worship of the Kennedys.

For, while liberals love to cite history, they have a convenient way of forgetting it; especially when it comes to our 'royal family.' It was King John who submerged this country into the Viet Nam War because of his hatred for Communism and who was an enthusiastic tax cutter. And it was his younger sibling, Prince Robert, who wire-tapped Martin Luther King and also famously hounded and prosecuted organized labor thugs. Add to this that JFK was assassinated by a pathetic Communist sympathizer and RFK was gunned down by a PLO supporter because of his support for Israel and you get the picture.

And yet in later years, dauphin-by-default Teddy and his friends cling to Communist regimes, carry big labor in their back pockets, and think anyone who favors tax cuts should be dispatched immediately to hell. And here we must also mention 'last brother' Obama, whose buddy Bill Ayers, dedicated his Marxist manifesto, "Prairie Fire," to Sirhan Sirhan whom Ayers considered, along with others, a "political prisoner." Needless to say, support for Israel among the last few Kennedy brothers has been, shall we say, scant.

Ms. Fabrizio's writing is, well, I think I'll call her Ms. Fab for short. Dauphin-by default... love it! Read the whole article, there are lots of good zingers in there.

I checked out the Sirhan Sirhan dedication in Ayers's book in the link. That is true; you can see his name there, but it's in a long list of political prisoners. The media is never going to bring that up, but we will. Zombietime has detailed source material here.

And it was another ironic twist of Kennedy history that served to benefit the country in a way not intended by the late senator. We all remember his successful bid to ruin the reputation of Robert Bork; an infamy he would have surely repeated during the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearings, were he not hamstrung by his own involvement with nephew William Kennedy Smith's rape trial.

As far as I am concerned, we will never probably be done sorting through all the slime oozing from the decaying corpse of Camelot. I'm making sure to do my best to supplement the mainstream media kid glove treatment of the failed experiment in American royalty.

Figure 1: Detail of William Ayers's dedication in Prairie Fire

Mike Rosen explains the "Kennedy Syndrome"

A great article about why the demise of the Kennedy family is such good news for America.

Jack and Bobby Kennedy were charismatic, larger-than-life political figures. Following their deaths, Ted, the last of the brothers, inherited the legacy. Following generations of Kennedys have been lesser figures. Several are lawyers. Some have dabbled in politics with modest results. Others entered the media, charitable foundations and the non-profit sector. There's hardly a secretary, insurance salesman, corporate executive, retailer, stock broker or soldier among them.

Ironically, this is the progeny of Joseph P. Kennedy, the family patriarch. The son of a humble Boston saloonkeeper, Joe was an ambitious, enterprising, hardnosed scrapper who married well and amassed a fortune in banking and shipbuilding, to say nothing of bootlegging during Prohibition. Unlike most of us who are forced to deal with mundane necessities like earning a living, inheritors of wealth (like the Kennedys) are relieved of that concern. Of course, they haven't taken a personal poverty oath but their gratification comes not from producing income and wealth themselves but from redistributing the fruits of other people's production. I call this the Kennedy Syndrome.

I'm no opponent of wealth. I've tried to accumulate some of my own from what's left after the tax collector's cut. Perhaps, as one who started without any, I have a greater appreciation for those who earn it than the Kennedys. And that's the fatal flaw of those afflicted with the Kennedy Syndrome. As compassionate do-gooders, they sympathize with the needy. That's commendable. But they have a blind spot in their inability to empathize with hard-working, industrious, risk- taking, entrepreneurial Americans who are the driving force behind our market economy and the creators of new wealth.

I remember hearing a talk once at a retreat that went something like this: "Some people like to sit on their back porch drinking a Martini and feeling bad for the poor, starving, godless natives in Africa, but their won't go over an talk to their next door neighbor because he has to wear a colostomy bag. This gives him an unpleasant smell, so it's much more pleasant to keep thinking about the natives in Africa, maybe even giving some money to charity to help them out." This is what comes to mind when I think of this Kennedy Syndrome, except that Ted Kennedy wanted to give someone else's money to the abstract poor. Rosen aptly quotes Mark Twain: "To be good is noble. To tell other people to do good is even nobler and much less trouble."

And I'm glad Rosen points out how self-indulgent the whole redistribution project is and how people like the Kennedys use it wrongly in an attempt to "redeem" themselves and their opulent playboy lifestyles. Maybe Teddy Kennedy wouldn't have felt the need to play Robin Hood in the Senate if he weren't so busy playing Don Juan in the nearby environs. I loved the conclusion, especially the WFB quote on idealism.

The appetite of do-gooders to dispense public largesse with the property of others is insatiable. But piling one social program on another runs up government spending to unsustainable levels. There are limits to the taxes you can impose on productive citizens. After you've soaked the rich, the middle class will necessarily get soaked as well. Government borrowing to finance budget deficits inescapably crowds out private sector investment, undermining the source of societal wealth. In the words of William F. Buckley, Jr., "Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality, the costs become prohibitive."

Visa, Mastercard and Bourbon Accepted

My undying gratitude goes to Tom at Disputations for directing my attention to National Bourbon Heritage Month. This resolution points out that "bourbon has been used as a form of currency" in the past. As far as I'm concerned that still works for me as legal tender for all debts, public and private.

High Tech Brain Atrophy

I always thought that web-surfing was an misnamed phrase since it was adapted from the term channel-surfing which implies a mindless, sequential flipping whereas clicking hyper-links is an action with some logic. In addition to the entire interactive quality of reading hypertext, any new pages are in some way related to the page being left.

So here comes Blog Surfer to put the surf back into web-surfing. Est Quod Est has gotten some hits from it, so I wanted to see what it was about. It took me awhile to "get" it, but then I realized that someone took the time to simulate channel-surfing on the web. Don't you just love it.

Over The Top Doesn't Get Any Cooler

I know I'll get an eye-roll from at least one person for posting this, but oh well. I'm sure it will be better than the Shanghai Noon sequel.

I guess I overlook the Catholic minstrelsy and juvenile male fantasizing in a few scenes so as to enjoy the roller-coaster ride. I mean, come on—who hasn't thought about how cool it would be to kill a Russian mobster with a toilet?

Quick Thought on Kennedy's Letter to Pope

Here's a quickie in honor of Ted Kennedy who liked quickies, especially at lunchtime. It's based on this article about "scholars" studying the letters between The Big Guy and the Pope. This is the line that caught my eye, on page 2:

In both instances, only excerpts from the letters were read aloud, so it is not known whether other subjects, such as Kennedy’s support for abortion rights, were discussed in the correspondence.

OK, well I guess they left out all the unimportant stuff. Or... maybe Teddy knew the real Third Secret? Unclear.

When I read the letter, my first impression was that it represented a half-hearted grasp of a morally confused, dying man, unconscious of his pomposity and self-importance. This was my second and third impression as well. Possibly he actually thought he was being deeply humble, even as he had the letter hand delivered by the President of the United States. However, God is the ultimate judge, and as always, your mileage may vary, as we say on the internets.

Father Sirico on the Parched Wilderness of Socialized Medicine

Great article by Father Robert Sirico of the Acton Institute on the attempt of the "religious left" to absolutize the health care debate into a battle of good versus evil. Here's his conclusion:

There is little or no recognition that other key institutions—the family, the Church, local civic associations—might also have a role to play in shaping reform. Certainly, no recognition for those civic and social groups that have a healthy distrust of an invasive state. Instead, we get the constant demand from the Religious Left that Washington must act. It is a sort of idolatry—the worship of Big Government as the solution to all of our problems.

There is a near total blindness to the fact that nationalized health systems in other countries are deeply troubled, even deadly. Horror stories about these systems are plentiful in the mainstream media. What about the common good? A 2002 report by the Adam Smith Institute noted the following about Britain’s state-run healthcare monopoly:

The NHS has a severe shortage of capacity, directly costing the lives of tens of thousands of patients a year. We have fewer doctors per head of population than any European country apart from Albania. We import nurses and doctors from the world's poorest countries, and export sick people to some of the richest. More than one million people—one in sixty of the population—are waiting for treatment.

Faith communities should recognize the Religious Left’s “40 Days” campaign for what it is: a politically driven “community organizing” effort that aims to expand a bloated state and make Americans evermore dependent on politicians and bureaucrats, not doctors, for healthcare. As people of faith, we need to speak up against this dishonest affair. After all, it’s our “prophetic” duty.

Of course he brings up a lot of questions we all have, primary among them this one: "Why must it be the federal government that takes care of everything?"

Anti-AIDS Drugs Must Be a Bad Trip

Hat tip to Mark Shea who appropriately advises Andrew Sullivan "Dude, let it go already," in reference to his continuing Palin Derangement Syndrome. I mean, I realize Levi Johnston seems like such a reliable source (cough). Will he successfully pull a Kato Kaelin out of this fiasco? At this point he is bearing a more striking resemblance to Cindy Sheehan.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Hugo Chavez and Children's Book Illustrators

This reminds me of this. Somewhat.

Read the whole Chávez piece; it's full of scary parallels to what is going on in the top of the Western Hemisphere. We see Chávez trying to push a stimulus, jacking up welfare programs, censoring broadcasters, talkin' to the kiddies, tear-gassing dissenters.... Keep your eyes on Obama with this schoolyard bully pulpit speech on the 9/8/09, and don't forget to write a letter as Kathleen suggested.

CNN Poll Shows Independents Now Disapprove of Obama

53 to 43 disapprove.

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Another recent important message from our Fearless Leader: "Don't forget to cover your sneezes with your sleeves. We have nothing to fear but fear itself...and the swine flu."

letter to public school superintendent

Here is a draft letter to my school district's superintendent about the speech Our Dear Leader intends to deliver to ALL public school students on September 8th, 2009. Feel free to use as a template:

Dear Mr. XXXXXX,

I am the parent of a XXXXX grader and deeply concerned that the school will be broadcasting an address from the President of the United States during my child's class time on September 8th. I have no idea what the content of this address will be, and am unable to vet it as a parent. The politicization of my child's education is not something I welcome. My child is not old enough to vote, and he is not old enough to formulate political opinions without my guidance. Therefore I urgently request that parents be able to read and view the exact same speech before it is given to students. If this is not possible, then I must insist that my son's normal school day take place on September 8th, without interruption from the President of the United States.

In addition, I have read Department of Education materials suggesting student assignments after the presidential address. There is one suggestion that my child can discuss what he, my child, can do for the President. I find these suggestions very offensive and believe they run counter to the United States Constitution, which expressly limits the role of the federal executive branch. My child is getting an education for himself and his community, and is not required to do anything for the President. The President is not a king. I must insist that any teacher at the school refrain from suggesting that my child owes any sort of "help" to the President.

Please inform the parents what the school district will do to preserve the relatively non-politicized atmosphere that has, apparently until today, existed in XXXXXXXXX classrooms.

Obamacare Will Raise Health Care Costs For Young Healthy People

Prepare to get angry. This USA Today Article explains how Obamacare will increase health care costs on young, healthy entrepreneurial folks. IOW, the productive wealth-generating people in our nation. I advise you to read the whole article, but realize that it is not laid out to logically demonstrate how Obamacare would raise costs on the healthy. So keep in mind that the bill stipulates that insurance companies would only be able to charge two times as high a premium for their oldest customer as they would for their youngest customer. This is how young people would be forced to pay more, and is a good practical point of evidence to use when explaining how this atrocity would eventually put private companies out of business.

This is exactly the opposite direction in which we should be going. I'd like to see more at the actuarial cafeteria. For example, I should get lower health coverage for being a non-smoker, thin and heterosexual. My wife's insurance should be able to be lower by not covering "reproductive health services", i.e., birth control and abortion. Obviously this stuff makes liberals gasp. But there is a new generation of individualistic young people in this country who aren't buying this Great Society bullshit, and I can't say I blame them....

But that's a digression. What I see happening if this Obamacare bill passes is this: alternative health clinics starting up to perform whatever services you want for a fee. It would be inevitable. The lines would be shorter and people with enough money would join. It might even be legal—doctors and loophole-finding lawyers have been known to hang out a lot, and even sometimes be related to one another.

These clinics would be like the private drinking establishments in the dry town in which I grew up. You know, the Elks Club, Lions Club, American Legion, etc. You join and pay dues (premiums) and then you can enjoy having a beverage poured for you (service) for a few bucks (co-pay). I've heard tell of clubs in dry towns out in Utah where basically you join at the front door by signing a paper and paying dues of $1.00 and you can resign if you want when you leave. Where there is a will, there's a way, especially in America.

But if this is not legal, these "speakeasy" clinics will exist all the same due to the fact that this is a matter of life and death. Thus the object of giving everyone the same health care coverage would backfire in the biggest way possible with the richest Americans being able to afford boutique-style health care with short lines and the poorest Americans waiting months to receive critical surgeries in an incompetent government run system.

Reminds me of the story of Christ and the Paralytic. The man needed healing, and his friends heroically found a way around the crowd.

Would I break laws to obtain health care for my wife and kids? As Sarah Palin would say, "You Betcha!"

This guitarist is great!

Andy McKee, "Drifting".

Dating myself here, but this dude plays like Michael Hedges. I obviously don't follow music the way I used to.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Snip, snip; the kind of thing my wife reads

My wife doesn't have a blog, but she reads a lot of blogs, probably more of a variety than I do. She should have a blog; it would be really good, but she is entirely uninterested.

On Saturday, I was walking past the dining room when I noticed a big grin on her face. So I went over to see what she was reading and saw this: "Calf Nuts on a Cowboy Hat, Chapter 2". Thus I learned that castrating boy cows can be hugely entertaining for the cowboys. Of both genders.

"I think this is funny," she said. I think I went to bed really late Saturday night.

David Brooks on Obama: From Tide to Slide

I like to read David Brooks's columns, they are always informative and usually insightful and this new one on "The Obama Slide" is no exception. I advise reading the whole thing. I do wish he'd ditch the pink shirt and tie, but there's no bean-counting for taste, as they say.

But I can't agree with his short concluding paragraphs:

The president’s challenge now is to halt the slide. That doesn’t mean giving up his goals. It means he has to align his proposals to the values of the political center: fiscal responsibility, individual choice and decentralized authority.

Events have pushed Barack Obama off to the left. Time to rebalance.

I'm sorry, but yes it does mean giving up his goals. His goal is exactly greater centralized authority and less individual choice. And no, "events" have not pushed Obama to the left. His ideology has always been left.

Brooks has always liked Obama and as a media moderate has been somewhat bewitched by his intellectual prowess and speaking ability. So these rose-colored glasses might explain why he has missed the obvious.

Thanks for reading my blog. For current commentary and what-not, visit the Est Quod Est homepage

Nice War Chest

Politico reports that Sarah Palin has over 1,000 requests for speaking engagements. Some of these have a price tag of over $100,000.00. I see the beginning of a nice war chest for Sarah, plus she can go out and buy some really nice guns with that kind of cash flow.

That reminds me. If anyone wants to talk about what kind of firearms they favor or would like to get, or anything related to shooting and gun culture in general, please leave whatever comments you wish on any post on this blog. It's really not going to be "off-topic" most of the time and if it is, so what really. Don't be shy.

Thomas Sowell on the West's Slow Suicide

Sowell quotes Solzhenitsyn in his latest piece.

The late Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn put his finger on the problem when he said: "The timid civilized world has found nothing with which to oppose the onslaught of a sudden revival of barefaced barbarity, other than concessions and smiles."

He wrote this long before Barack Obama became President of the United States. But this administration epitomizes the "concessions and smiles" approach to countries that are our implacable enemies.

Then he mentions the Obama Administration's war on the CIA:

Tragically, those with this strange inversion of values include the Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder. Although President Obama has said that he does not want to revisit the past, this is only the latest example of how his administration's actions are the direct opposite of his lofty words.

It is not just a question of looking backward. The decision to second-guess CIA agents who extracted information to save American lives is even worse when you look forward.

Years from now, long after Barack Obama is gone, CIA agents dealing with hardened terrorists will have to worry about whether what they do to get information out of them to save American lives will make these agents themselves liable to prosecution that can destroy their careers and ruin their lives.

Maybe the CIA, in order to survive, should just start killing these suspects after they wring the info out of them. Then toss them in the river like a mob fmaily would. Dead men tell no tales, and they could find a way to keep this off the books to avoid scandalizing the ridiculous asses who don't understand that these international criminals have forfeited their rights like the Germans Sowell mentions.

German soldiers who put on American military uniforms, in order to infiltrate American lines during the Battle of the Bulge were simply lined up against a wall and shot-- and nobody wrung their hands over it. Nor did the U.S. Army try to conceal what they had done. The executions were filmed and the film has been shown on the History Channel.

What Sowell writes is so sensible and what the Obama Administration is telegraphing is indefensible. Dick Morris pointed out yesterday when he was on Prager's show that many countries have voiced a concern that they are not sure what the U. S. foreign policy currently is on a range of issues, only that generally it is the same as Bush's to the foreign observer. But in light of recent developments my guess is that it is appearing less and less coherent to a CIA agent or anyone tasked with keeping the country safer.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Cowardice versus Greed

Golf Joke / Kennedy Joke

Oh, here's another good one to add to my small heap from the other night.

Q: Ted Kennedy, OJ Simpson, Heidi Fleiss, and John Wayne Bobbit are playing golf together. Who wins?

A: None of them. O.J. slices, Heidi hooks, Bobbit has no putter, and Ted Kennedy can't drive over water.

(Heh, heh. He said "putter.")

Thanks for reading my blog. For current commentary and what-not, visit the Est Quod Est homepage

Give 'em Hell, Barry!

Neil Stevens rightly compares so-called "cybersecurity" bill to Harry Truman's seizure of the steel industry in 1952. Excerpt:

S. 773, a bill by West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller, Democrat, has a 55-page draft bill that would create new “emergency” powers for the President, a ‘cybersecurity’ Enabling Act of sorts, that would give the President the authority broad powers over any “non-governmental” computer networks, whether public or private, that are declared by the President to be “critical.”

On its own, this power is already dangerous, and even frightening to anyone in the industry. Whether large or small, we all who operate on the Internet invest in online capital. Large firms spend billions on the task, and now the Democrats want to nationalize it at the drop of a hat. This is threatened theft on a scale not usually seen outside banana Republics.

These powers extend beyond declared emergencies, however. Rockefeller’s bill would immediately grant the ability of the government to control hiring and firing of jobs related to these so-called critical networks, because the President could unilaterally declare that jobs related to those networks would be required to be filled by people certified to the task by the government. And much like with the car dealerships, the Obama administration is fully expected to use its power to favor political allies for these jobs by granting or denying certification depending on your level of donations to Obama for America or the Democratic National Committee.

Elections have consequences, and all those people who told themselves that Democrats would leave the Internet alone now have a lesson to learn regarding letting the scorpion of big government onto their backs. But it is not too late, and we all now can unite against the socialist threat now looming over the Internet.

This can't really be necessary to fight the war on terror. If suspected terrorists own servers and other computers I'm sure the authority already exists at the federal level to grab them. This is about full control, my friends.