Alpine Summit

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Investment Crash Course, Part 2.

Okay, so now you have a basic understanding of what stocks and shares are. This post will go over some of the basic strategies investors have to make money off the stock market.

The first thing to do is know why you want to invest. Is this going to be an idle hobby for your own enjoyment, or is this something you want to do as part of a retirement portfolio? How you answer that question will determine your strategies in the stock market. Second, you have to know how much you're willing to invest. Most online brokers require at least $500 to open an account- this is not a lot of money and you'll probably want to have more than that. Finding how much you want to invest also goes along with finding a broker. You should realize that you will be paying money to someone to buy/sell stock for you. Finally I'll talk about the different positions you can take on a stock excluding derivatives (options).

So, why do you want to invest? Is it because of an interest in the stock market? Do you just want the experience? Is this a serious thing you plan to do to have something on which to retire? Whatever the reason, you need to set up the game plan first before you buy any stocks. For me, investing is a bit more of an experiential thing since I'm still in college, but once I graduate and can start making money to keep paying into my account on a monthly basis, I'll start investing for retirement. The key word to investing is "discipline." It's hard to watch a stock you just bought start losing value because that means you won't get as much money back as you spent if you sell it (you lose money). You need to be able to ride out some rough spots and have the ability to take a hit.

Theory and practice are two completely different things and you won't know what I'm talking about until you've actually started to invest. When I first began investing, I would buy a stock and if, in the same day, it started going down I would panic and sell. This was very costly because I wasn't holding onto the stock long enough to make any returns. All the while I was paying a commission to my broker every time I traded. Another thing: don't discount the effect of a commission on your stock price. For example if you buy 20 shares of a stock at 14.10 and you pay $7/trade (Scottrade, my broker), your stock will need to get to 14.80 to break even- [(14.10*20+14)/20]. It's usually best to do these calculations before you buy the stock so you can guage on whether or not it will reach that target price. You benefit in volume with the more shares you buy. Suppose you buy 3000 shares of stock at the same price and commission, the price will only need to go to 14.10467 to break even. This is something to keep in mind when looking at a stock, too. How much of it can you afford, and will its perceived increase in value cover your costs of buying it? If no, don't buy it.

Now that you have an idea of why you're investing, you need to look at stocks appropriate for your strategy. If you're looking at retiring, you will want to find stable stocks- called blue chips. Blue chip stocks are VERY stable stocks that belong to successful companies that have little or no chance of going bust anytime soon. These kinds of companies would include Microsoft, IBM, 3M, etc. There are a lot of them. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, that you see on the news all the time (AKA: "The Dow") is an index made up of these blue chips and are supposed to represent how the market performs overall from day to day. It's not usually accurate, though, because while blue chips may have had a bad day, there are plenty of other stocks that had a good day.

Anyway, if you're planning for retirement, these are the kind of stocks you want to buy. They usually have a dividend associated with them (that's a share of the profits of the company for a period of time given back to investors, usually in a fiscal year) and pay out consistently. These are great stocks to have if you're looking to retire on them because they give dividends at different times and a well constructed portfolio can pay a dividend to you on a monthly basis depending on what stocks you invest in.

Mutual Funds are funds set up where they buy a "basket" of stocks and build their own portfolio and individuals can then invest in the fund. The value of their shares of the fund depend on how well the stocks of the fund do. These are great to use if you don't want to make your own portfolio, or deal with all the fun parts (IMO) of investing, though funds tend to have returns that track with the market in the long run; but can still lose money. The difference is that you have to pay a fee, usually part of your profit, to the fund so that those working FOR the fund will continue to maintain it. Again, it offers no guarantees and I've always been more of a do-it-yourselfer.

For the hobbyist, there are many options. You can day trade, swing trade, or do long-term investing. Hobbyists tend to speculate more and aren't as concerned with the 5-year forecasts like a "serious" investor would be. Day trading is speculating on a stock's value during a given trading day.

A day trader is going to buy shares of a stock, a very large volume, at once, and sell it off before the market closes that day. These people tend to be the "black sheep" of the stock market. I'm not entirely sure why, but I think it may have something to do with throwing off predictions by the long-term people. Either way, day trading is extremely risky because the shorter time period you look at for a stock, the more random the price fluxuation. People have committed suicide because of day trades gone wrong, so if you plan to do this kind of trading, I suggest it be with money you won't lament losing. Also, you should really know what you're doing with this form of trading and be willing to watch the stock constantly from 9:30-4:00 ET. If not, I suggest staying away from this form of investing.

A swing trader is someone who will buy shares of a stock and will have a price target in mind and won't sell the stock until it hits that price. They're actually defined by the trading behavior, though. They will buy a stock, but then sell it within a few weeks or months... short-term, but not within the day usually, but before a year. This is more my style of investing as it has the fun of day trading with the risk closer to long-term holding (that is, it's lower risk).

Finally, the long-term investor seeks stocks he/she plans on holding for at least a year. This is the least risky form of investing because stocks, for the most part, have been proven to go up in value in the long-run. Whenever speaking of the "long-run" or "long-term" in investing, it means "more than one year." A long-term investor could be looking for returns from the stock price going up, or they could be looking to collect a dividend. Again, it all depends.

An investor can also speculate. Most experts recommend some amount of speculation in a portfolio. Speculative stocks are stocks for companies that aren't really on firm ground, new to the game, selling a new product, or otherwise not proven in the market yet. Microsoft was a speculative stock back in the late 8o's (you can check historical prices on MSFT back then and weep that you didn't buy any). The risk of losing money is pretty great with these, but their reward is great, too. Some investors do nothing but speculate, while others merely supplement their portfolio with some speculative stocks and still others stay away from them like grim death. It's really up to the person and how much risk they're willing to take on.

Positions investors can take can be confusing. The "long" (or positive) position means buying a stock at one price and selling at another. Fairly simple. It's like buying a comic book, holding onto it until it gains in value then selling it back. There is also something called the "short" (or negative) position which is a little more confusing.

When you sell a stock short you expect the stock value to go down, but want to make money on it. So, you call up your broker and say "I want to sell X shares of stock XYZ short." The broker will then take X number of shares of stock XYZ from another client who has promised to hold onto those shares for a period of time and "give" them to you. Now, you don't owe the broker the money for the stock, you owe him/her the stock itself. This is where it gets confusing. You take the stock and sell it immediately on the open market. You then have all the money from the sale that you then just sit on until the price goes down or the owner of the stock you sold wants their stock back. There is a time limit to how long you can have this debt to the broker before he starts hitting you with credit reports and ugly letters... mainly because they weren't your shares.

I got off-topic a bit again, but whatever. Anyway, the plan is to sell the shares at a high price, sit on the money, wait for the price to drop, then buy back those same shares at a lower price. You won't need to spend as much money buying the shares back as you got selling the shares to begin with. After buying the shares back, you turn them over to the broker and he/she gives them back to the investor. You get to pocket the difference in how much was recieved by selling the shares and how much was lost buying them back. You only make a profit if the stock price drops in this case and you put your credit rating on the line if you can't afford to buy the stock back if its value goes up. You usually need to guarantee a reserve cash amount with your broker before they'll let you do this kind of trading because it's fairly risky for them.

Knowing the strategies is only part of the battle. An investor needs to know when to implement what strategy. For example, you aren't going to put sunblock on if it's snowing outside. Similarly, you don't want to buy a stock when it's at its peak price for the year. But how do you know when to buy or sell? When to hold on to a stock longer? How to treat the stock... sell short or buy? These questions can only be answered with research of the stock. My next installment will involve the tools investors use to analyze a stock to see what the best thing to do with that stock is.

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Saturday, July 30, 2005

The Chinese Messiah

Apparently, the number of Christians in China outnumbers members of the Communist party. Instapundit linked to a news story, but it required registration. It's great news to hear this.

Xun Jinzhen, a Christian convert who runs a beauty salon in Beijing, put it eloquently when he said: "We have very few people who believe in communism as a faith. So there's an emptiness in their hearts."


It's true. So many people I meet who don't believe in God have a hole in their lives. Many of them are angry people with no hope in their life. It's just good to see God's presence is being felt in such an unholy land.

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"Caught the Bastards"

Hey Look! An arab (british born) muslim male between the ages of 18 and 45!

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Friday, July 29, 2005

Investment Crash Course, Part 1

I've had several people ask me about investing on varying levels of understanding. So, I've decided to start my own miniseries where I talk about some of the generalities and what I know personally about investing. This post is going to cover What stocks are, what other securities are out there, and a little on the pricing of stocks and how you can take advantage of it.

First off, what is a stock? To answer this, I need to explain a small bit of business law, first. When someone starts a business in America, they have the option of how that business is defined. The definition of the business determines how finances are to be handled (among other things). The main types of businesses are Sole proprietorships, Partnerships, and Corporations.

Sole proprietorships are the most simple of business organizations because it merely involves a person hanging out their shingle and selling their wares. No special papers need to be filed, and profits from the business are counted as personal income. An example of this would be your kids' lemonade stand. They just go out to a sidewalk corner and sell lemonade and keep all the revenues. However, if the business incurs debt and goes under, creditors can come after the owner's own personal assets. A sole proprietorship dies when the owner dies, or if he/she decides to call it quits.

Partnerships are like sole proprietorships except that it's run by at least two people. There is usually an agreement in the form of a contract that determines who does what and how profits are distributed according to what each parter has contributed to the business. The contract usually outlines what percentage each partner owns, and only partners can manage. Again, liability for the business going under is unlimited, that is, they can come after your home if the business fails. When a parter dies or walks away, the partnership is voided and the business ends. Now, if other partners want to continue the business, they have to draw up a new contract and form a new partnership. The lemonade stand example from before works again, just imagine it's your kid and his/her friends running it together.

Corporations are businesses that have filed papers with the state in which they wish to do business and limits the liability of the owners. Someone who owns a business that has been incorporated has "limited liability" (and you thought this would be hard to understand). This means that if the business goes under, the owner is only liable to pay what he/she invested in the company and the company's creditors cannot take the owners home. One of the rules of a corporation is that the personal finances of the owner and the finances of the company must remain separate. For example, the owner can't use the company as their own personal bank. When you hear people talking about "piercing the corporate veil," they're talking about finding a way to go after the personal finances of an owner of a corporation. The most recent example of this would be the Enron and Worldcom scandals. Corporations are considered a legal entity unto themselves. It's best to think of a corporation as a person or individual, but not in a literal sense. Also, a company cannot go to prison... though it could still break laws. This is why the Sarbanes-Oxley act was passed. It makes the leadership of a corporation either be honest in their dealings, or personally have to break the law. That adds accountability to a company.

ANYWAY, I got off-topic. When a business incorporates, it has to come up with a way to determine ownership. Since personal finances of individuals aren't involved, there has to be a unit of measurement to show ownership of the company. That is what stock is. Stock is one thing a company has and it's broken down into "shares." When incorporating, the owner determines how many shares they want. It basically asks "how many shares equals 100% ownership?" This means you can't sell more than this number of shares. Most will make this number incredibly high (I'll explain this later). All shares belong to the company and the company's total value is divided by the number of shares to determine the price of an individual share.

Other securities that corporations issue are bonds and options. Bonds are debt. A bond is comparable to you going to the bank for a loan. It's a corporation's version of asking for a loan. I may talk more in-depth about these in another post sometime, but that's what bonds are. Options are derivative securities. They are contracts made by two people where one agrees to buy a stock at a certain price, and one agrees to sell a stock at a certain price. The option merely gives you the right to buy/sell a stock at a certain price... you don't actually have ownership of the company if you own an option. Options can be as complicated as you want them to be, and I took an entire class on futures and options, so I may not talk too much about these... or if I do, it'll be its own post... at least.

Getting back to the stocks, the values of a stock vary according to what you're looking at. A public company is a company where its stock is traded publicly in a stock market (NYSE, NASDAQ, AMEX are the big houses in America). Public stock is subject to the whims of the public. If people even think the latest widget is going to make billions of trillions of dollars for the company, the stock price will go up due to basic supply and demand. But, the book value, or strict value of the stock based on a financial audit of the company, can be, and often is, different. This is mainly due to the fact that the public will add value to the stock for its potential, but a financial audit doesn't. So for example, a company won't say "we expect to make this much in the next year from this product, so lets add that into our value."

Stocks on the stock exchanges are the ones most individuals trade. Because stocks are subject to the whims of the public, its price fluxuates daily and the smart investor will be able to buy a number of shares of stock at one price, and hopefully sell it at a higher price level so as to make money. I'll go more into detail on this later. "Buy low, sell high" is the motto of any investor.

Part 2 will cover some strategies and legal issues of investors.

Wikipedia goes more into some detail here if you care to read more.

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Academic Bias?

I know I talk a lot about liberal media bias, but there's also academic bias. Even here at the University of Wyoming, a conservative campus by most rights, has plenty of liberal influence. Anyway, Blackfive linked to an op-ed piece by a professor from Stanford who says our troops are nothing but bloodthirsty mercenaries.

THE United States now has a mercenary army. To be sure, our soldiers are hired from within the citizenry, unlike the hated Hessians whom George III recruited to fight against the American Revolutionaries. But like those Hessians, today's volunteers sign up for some mighty dangerous work largely for wages and benefits - a compensation package that may not always be commensurate with the dangers in store, as current recruiting problems testify.

Neither the idealism nor the patriotism of those who serve is in question here. The profession of arms is a noble calling, and there is no shame in wage labor. But the fact remains that the United States today has a military force that is extraordinarily lean and lethal, even while it is increasingly separated from the civil society on whose behalf it fights. This is worrisome - for reasons that go well beyond unmet recruiting targets.

Blackfive looked up the definition of "mercenary" and both definitions mean someone who is solely motivated by money and one who fights in a foreign army. Neither definition applies to our troops. Because our military is purely voluntary, a reaction from the hippy movement against the draft, and get paid anything is proof that they're mercenaries. It's a no-win situation for the military with liberals. They're either forced to serve their country against their will and how could this happen? Or, they're only in it for monetary gain. The common denominator here is that the military is evil according to liberals.

Kennedy also says in his next breath, "I'm not questioning their patriotism and motivation..." that's true, except for the part where he questions their patriotism and motivation. By merely suggesting that our troops are mercenaries, he is saying they have no loyalties. If they have no loyalties, how can they be patriotic? If their only driving purpose is to make money (according to the definition of mercenary), then he is in fact making a statement as to their motivation. This was thrown in because he knew people would question his statements.

He also makes a final jab in the last part of that second paragraph: "even while it is increasingly separated from the civil society on whose behalf it fights." The military is distant from the CIVIL society. So what's most distant from "civil?" Barbaric would be a good antonym I'd say. So, our military is growing more barbaric because it's moving further from a CIVIL society. But he still likes our troops... don't you dare question his patriotism.

Some will find it offensive to call today's armed forces a "mercenary army," but our troops are emphatically not the kind of citizen-soldiers that we fielded two generations ago - drawn from all ranks of society without respect to background or privilege or education, and mobilized on such a scale that civilian society's deep and durable consent to the resort to arms was absolutely necessary.

I imagine some would find it offiensive to call today's armed forces a "mercenary army." Starting with the members of said military, followed closely by her veterans. Mr. Ken- oh, I mean DOCTOR Kennedy seems to forget that during WW2, the military was still segregated.

Blackfive has his own thoughts here. Also, if you care to e-mail the good professor; his e-mail, along with a brief history of his career, can be found here. Keep it civil, though, lest he think you're a mercenary.

UPDATE: While looking for trackbacks on this post, I came across a TON of good blog posts from the trackbacks on Blackfive. I highly recommend you check them out. Linking them all would take too long. Many of them are from military vets. As I predicted, they weren't too happy with Kennedy's characterization of them as mercenaries.

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Naked Europeans Stick It to Us Americans

So yeah. This was weird to read about. I would say I'm speechless, but then I wouldn't be posting about it, would I? Ann Althouse commented about it too.

Most of those who showed up in little or no attire Friday opted for swimsuits, but a few hardy souls dared to bare more. Among them was Bettina Huth of Stuttgart, Germany, who roamed the exhibition wearing only sandals and a black bikini bottom.

Although she used a program at one point to shield herself from a phalanx of TV cameras, Huth, 52, said she didn't understand what all the fuss was about.

"I go into the steam bath every week, so I'm used to being naked," she said. "I think there's a double morality, especially in America. We lived in California for two years, and I found it strange that my children had to cover themselves up at the beach when they were only 3 or 4 years old. That's ridiculous."


Ridiculous like walking around a museum topless, but covering yourself up when there are cameras? Speaking of double morality... nevermind. The reason you had to cover your kids up was because there are a lot of sick people around and letting your kid run around naked is not only wrong, but possibly dangerous. Here's what Ann said about that same quote:

Oh, yeah, those terrible Americans. What hypocrites!

I'm amused by the way nudists flatter themselves, always claiming to be especially honest. But then they always say things that sound so disingenuous, that they are just being natural and why is everyone making such a fuss?

A great observation. Us hypocrite Americans with our "double morality" of "keep your private parts private." Public nudity is not beautiful, nor is it something I care to look at from day to day. Why? Because the people who would take advantage of such measures are middle-aged, fat, and/or unshapely. Quite frankly, I really don't care to see that. The only naked bodies I want to see are mine and my wife's (if I ever get one). Then there was this guy:

Mario Vorhemes, a 20-year-old Vienna resident who strode into the Leopold on Friday wearing nothing but a green and black Speedo, was nonchalant.

"What's the big deal?" he asked. "We're born naked into this world. Why can't we walk around in it without clothes from time to time?"


Yeah, we are born naked in this world, we're also born into this world crying, throwing up, crapping and pissing on ourselves. Why don't we just continue to do that? Because we grow and mature as we get older and part of that growth and maturity includes being humble, the greatest example of that is being clothed. Now put your clothes back on and go find a job, hippie.

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Thursday, July 28, 2005

"Over Where?"

My friend sent me this article about Iraq vets' reaction to "Over There," a new series on FX about the Iraq war from the viewpoint of the soldiers. They made a lot of good comments about the series, some observations I noticed while watching.

It's set in Iraq, hyped as "true to life" by producers and hailed by critics as "unflinching" and "gut-wrenching."

"Bogus" was the preferred adjective among the eight soldiers -- most of them Iraq vets -- viewing the series pilot last week at Camp Murray, headquarters of the Washington State National Guard in Tacoma.


They go into detail with their problems with the show including how the truck at the end pulls to the side of the road to land on flagged wires. They don't pull over, and IEDs are NEVER flagged. The soldiers have great perspectives on the show. The creator, Steven Bochco, says the show is supposed to be apolitical. He still can't help but insert his own viewpoints, albeit subtly, though. There was always a dramatic pause when an Iraqi was killed, and a few other inconsistencies the soldiers noticed.

Bochco, who co-created the series with Chris Gerolmo ("Mississippi Burning"), has stated in interviews that the show is apolitical. "Ultimately, a young man being shot at in a firefight has absolutely no interest in politics," he told Reuters news service.

But some camo-clad critics at Camp Murray were left wondering just what the message was in "Over There." One said a young soldier who brags about slitting the throat of a child sentry "makes us look like murderers."


It's nice to know the viewpoint of actual veterans on this show because it helps put the show in perspective instead of just assuming it's accurate. Watching the previews for next week, it looks like they will address the issue of prisoner abuse and the subsequent cover-up by soldiers so they don't get in trouble. I can't even begin to get started on the inaccuracy of that portrayal. But then, I haven't seen next week's episode yet, so maybe I'm wrong. Time will tell. Other than the inaccuracies, it has some great graphic violence (a terrorist gets his entire upper body exploded from a direct hit from an M203 grenade) and a compelling story so far.

Also, on the subject of TV shows, be sure not to miss the Friday lineup on the Sci Fi channel of new episodes of Stargate SG-1/Atlantis and Battlestar Galactica.

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Let's Look at the Front Page of the NYT Today...

On my way to work I usually pick up a free copy of the Times. It's a promo thing they do through the graduate school at my school. Anyway, what story do I see on the front page? "An Advocate For the Right" talking about how Roberts, during the Reagan administration (that's, 20 years ago) was some uber right-wing hack and that's why conservatives are endorsing him. A copy of the article was reprinted by the International Herald Tribune for your viewing pleasure.

He favored less government enforcement of civil rights laws rather than more. He criticized court decisions that required a thick wall between church and state. He took the side of prosecutors over criminal defendants. He maintained that the courts should be limited and the president's powers enhanced.

Roberts was only 26 when he joined the Reagan administration and 31 when he left. But the ideology he expressed as a young man helps explain why conservative activists seem pleased with him today, even without a detailed record of conservative advocacy.

He favored less government enforcement of civil rights laws rather than more. He criticized court decisions that required a thick wall between church and state. He took the side of prosecutors over criminal defendants. He maintained that the courts should be limited and the president's powers enhanced.

Roberts was only 26 when he joined the Reagan administration and 31 when he left. But the ideology he expressed as a young man helps explain why conservative activists seem pleased with him today, even without a detailed record of conservative advocacy.

The reporter (David Rosenbaum) subtly puts his own bias in this part. Did you miss it? He says "...helps explain why conservative activists seem pleased with him..." as if to say conservative activists can only endorse right-wing ideologies and are unable to be impartial (oh, that liberal media). Nevermind the fact that nobody knew this information before today; that doesn't matter, conservatives only endorsed him because he worked for Reagan.

Olson, who considerably outranked Roberts and who was one of the nations most widely known conservative lawyers on constitutional matters, was arguing that Congress' hands were tied because the Supreme Court had ruled that busing was constitutionally required in some circumstances.

"Even the conservatives thought Roberts was too right-wing for his own good!" Please. First off, I should repeat myself: this was 20 YEARS AGO at the beginning of Roberts' career. A lot can happen in 20 years and this is hardly any kind of "smoking gun" or whatever.

The article goes on to fault him for his stance for school prayer; not keeping religion strictly separated from any public venue. As if this was something to fault him on, it isn't like he's advocating a theocracy movement or anything.

There was also this where he argues about affirmative action:

"Under our view of the law," he wrote in 1981, "it is not enough to say that blacks and women have been historically discriminated against as groups and are therefore entitled to special preferences."

Oh, the horrors! How DARE he mention that people shouldn't get preferential treatment because of the color of their skin or the way their people (not necessarily them) have been treated in the past. But then, I guess this is a conservative viewpoint after all since he believes minorities can take care of themselves and don't need the government from cradle to grave. I would hardly count this as "right-wing" though. More like "right-of-center."

Anyway, the article goes on from there. You can read it for yourself to see how Roberts was 20 years ago fresh out of college for an idea of how he will behave today with 20 years of experience under his belt. Then again, maybe not.

Mark my words: the democrats will pounce on this news FAST. Kennedy, Dean, Reid, Pelosi et. al. will come out saying how he'll be a tool to the Bush administration, and how we don't need right-wing extremists on the court, and why they can't in good concience vote to confirm Roberts to the SCOTUS. When it's all over, you'll see a narrow approval of Roberts after all the filibustering (read: whining) from the Democrats... hopefully before 2008.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Cruciphobes Lose a Battle

Michelle Malkin, that wonderous woman of conservatism, talks about a battle to remove a cross from a hill on public land and coins the term "cruciphobe" which I really like and will no doubt start using in my day-to-day speech. One of the things that caught my attention in this story was this:

SAN DIEGO – A ballot measure to preserve the Mount Soledad cross on public land in La Jolla easily surpassed the two-thirds support it needed for approval Tuesday night.

But the voters' decision on Proposition A won't be the final word. The controversy heads back to court next month.

Two court dates are scheduled in the next three weeks. A Superior Court judge will examine the ballot measure's constitutionality Aug. 12, and a federal judge will hear cross-related arguments Aug. 15.

...

"Holy cow," Thalheimer said, looking at absentee-voting results that showed three out of four voters backing Proposition A. "It is better than I expected."

Attorney James McElroy, whose client filed a lawsuit challenging the presence of the cross on city land in 1989, called the vote meaningless.

"It still doesn't mean a damn thing," he said. "Voters should have never voted on it. It's a waste of taxpayers' money."


So, when it suits liberals to do so, they cry about letting the people decide and whine about letting the citizens vote in this case, they knew they were in the minority so tried keeping it in the courts. Even though there was a vote anyway, and 75% of the voters support the other guy (when only 66% is needed), they just go running back to court because they're offended and it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. This isn't about any kind of legality, this is about people hating the cross and hating Christianity and when they're found to be in the minority, they try and push their religion-hating agenda on everyone else through the courts. This is a tried and true tactic of the left. The first amendment guarantees freedom OF religion... not freedom FROM religion. The whole issue is stupid if you ask me; people should find better things to do with their time than whining about a cross on a hill.

Expecting a high number of absentee ballots, Proposition A backers spent $27,000 to send postcards to absentee voters. More than 84,000 voters cast absentee ballots on the cross question.

McElroy and Paulson preferred to wage their battle in court, and no one else stepped into the void to campaign against Proposition A.


They are the ONLY ones willing to fight this. That should tell them something. They just need to lay off the entire issue and recognize when they're fighting a losing battle- which is actually quite often for liberals.

Michelle Malkvin also links to Smash who chronicles the battle over this a lot better than I could as he seems to be closer to the subject than me. Great comments there, I recommend you read them. One thing he mentions that I've thought about before but didn't in this case, why is a cross so offensive to someone who doesn't believe in it? Why do they care so much to erase this symbol? Like I said: because they hate Christianity and the cross. It isn't any other explination why they would be fighting to hard to oppose this.

I have friends whose parents barely talk to them (or sometimes not at all) because of their Christian faith. These people's own flesh and blood, and they can't stand their children having religion. Why is that? I can understand why Jewish or Muslim or other religious parents wouldn't like their kids becoming Christian, but why atheist parents? By their logic, there's nothing lost or gained by their children being Christian; yet, they still hate it. One girl I know (who is going to seminary now) was grounded for going to church growing up, while her mother never practiced any specific faith (other than the faith that there is no God). It just amazes me.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Styen's Latest

I got this from the open thread comments today at LGF. Mark steyn comments on a couple of things in this column I find quite interesting.

According to his cousins back in Pakistan, Yorkshire lad Shehzad Tanweer decided to become a "holy warrior" because of "US abuse of Muslim prisoners in Guantanamo Bay".

There is, of course, no "US abuse of Muslim prisoners in Guantanamo Bay". Newsweek's story about Korans being flushed down the toilet turned out to be a crock; minor examples of possible disrespect of the holy book are outweighed by multiple desecrations of their Korans by the detainees. One man was exposed to Christina Aguilera CDs played very loud in an attempt to break him, which I can't say I'd care for. Another had large chunks of Harry Potter read to him, but don't worry, it wasn't the new one.

None the less, to avenge the brutal torture of having Harry Potter read to you by a woman, Shehzad Tanweer self-detonated on the Underground and killed seven people. Ted Kennedy, Newsweek and the British press might like to ponder that before they puff up the next shameful torture technique (insufficient selection of entrées?) into front page news. Loose lips sink Tube trips.

This reminds me of a discussion I was having with my friend over AIM the other night. He was complaining about how the Bush administration is trying to keep several Abu Ghraib pictures out of the public forum and cites this as an example of the illegal oppressive cabal that is the Bush regime- or something along those lines. He wanted the pictures released so we can "know how evil our Army is." I told him, that such images serve no purpose because the issue is over, those who have been found to do wrong have been punished and the pictures would only serve as propaganda for the terrorists and Al Jazeera. They would be able to point to those pictures and say "see? the Americans are as bad as we've been saying!" This adds to the terrorists' movement and subsequently puts our own troops in danger.

I'm all for the FOIA, but during a time of war where our troops lives are on the line is no time to demand these pictures become public. My friend's response was that troops signed up to get shot at and it was their own decision to be put in harm's way by their country. That part is true, but they didn't sign up to be put in harm's way just so their country could turn around and betray them by feeding the enemy propaganda.

Also, you'll notice that the media covers only the bad things coming out of Iraq while ignoring all the good being done. I never once saw a story covering the teddy bear drop or the medic who treated his would-be killer's wounds (Oh, that liberal media). All these negative stories serve to do is steele the resolve of our enemies while weakening the morale of troops and the homefront. But anyway, on with the column.

With that in mind, we turn to Jean Charles de Menezes, the supposed "suicide bomber" who turned out to be a Brazilian electrician on his way to work. Unfortunately, by the time the Metropolitan Police figured that out, they'd put five bullets in his head. We're told we shouldn't second-guess split-second decisions that have to be made under great stress by those on the scene, which would be a more persuasive argument if the British constabulary didn't spend so much time doing exactly that to homeowners who make the mistake of defending themselves against violent criminals.

He makes a good point here. Why would they question a split-second decision made by the police while homeowners in a similar situation defending themselves are put on trial? I think it's stupid to put homeowners on trial. I recognize some find it stupid not to question what the police did, though. If only the police weren't carrying those guns, this would have never happened! Ironically enough, it wasn't until they passed a "nobody is allowed to have guns" law that their police started carrying guns. Great Britain is in deep trouble politically. They need some sweeping changes to get back to a point of sanity/freedom. In a country where productive citizens pay 68% in taxes while the homeless and jobless people get free food, houses, health care, and other "luxury items," something is seriously wrong.

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Kerry Kalls for Kooperation

(Hat Tip: Right Thoughts - warning: profanity) John Kerry, who isn't part of the judiciary committee, has demanded Bush and Roberts release all documents about Roberts and how dare they not do what he says.

"We cannot do our duty if either Judge Roberts or the Bush administration hides elements of his professional record," said the Massachusetts senator who was his party's presidential candidate last year.

...

Kerry is not a member of the committee. But he nonetheless injected himself into the debate at the end of a week in which Bush appeared to catch Democrats off guard by picking a court candidate with conservative credentials, yet one with little judicial experience, and thus, little public paper trail. Roberts would replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who often provided the decisive vote in split decisions, sometimes siding with conservative justices and sometimes with the liberals.

"The American people should know whether John Roberts will protect their constitutional rights if confirmed as a justice to the court," Kerry said in a statement.


The only reason Kerry has made this comment is because he wants the publicity. Maybe he thinks he still has a shot a president again in '08. Whatever the reason, the guy is an absolute hypocrite. After stonewalling Republicans' calls for him to release his military records pertaining to the purple hearts he was always more than willing to show anyone, whether or not they cared to see them, he's whining that Roberts hasn't released enough documentation for them to be satisfied. Rest assured, there will never be enough documentation for these lunatics. I wouldn't be surprised if they lose some political capital trying to fight Bush on this one. Most Americans acknowledge that Roberts is the absolute best candidate for the SCOTUS and the Democratic senators will only underline their reactionary obstructionist behavior to those who haven't seen it yet. Then there was this little gem:

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, said he voted against Roberts in committee for his appeals court seat two years ago partly because he didn't feel the nominee fully answered senators' questions.

"I urged Judge Roberts, as far as he can legally within the canons of ethics, to be forthcoming and honest with his answers," Durbin said after their meeting. "If he is open and honest, I think it will go a long way."


Dick "Our Troops are Nazis" Durbin complains that Roberts was not forthcoming 2 years ago? Perhaps it was because you kept asking him hypotheticals where the law was omited and only saught to see where his ideologies were. That's the thing that really eats at Democrats about this nominee- he follows the law and they can't use the usual "right-wing zealot" mantra of which they have become so used to using.

The fact that they are absolutely twisting and stretching as much as possible to try and delegitemize this candidate is not only political hackery at the expense of the nation, but also illustrates how the Democrats have become a reactionary party whose only consistant viewpoint for the past couple of decades has been "Republicans are wrong."

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Monday, July 25, 2005

Those Classy Democrats Strike Again

For all their posturing and self-righteous condemnation of us "immoral" and "corrupt" Republicans, this story absolutely insensed me (From BlackFive).

The family of a Marine who was killed in Iraq is furious with Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll for showing up uninvited at his funeral this week, handing out her business card and then saying "our government" is against the war.

...

Then, suddenly, "one uninvited guest made an appearance, Catherine Baker Knoll."

She sat down next to a Goodrich family member and, during the distribution of communion, said, "Who are you?" Then she handed the family member one of her business cards, which Goodrich said she still has.

"Knoll felt this was an appropriate time to campaign and impose her will on us," Goodrich said. "I am amazed and disgusted Knoll finds a Marine funeral a prime place to campaign."


This is absolute class. The family wants an apology, but I wouldn't hold my breath if I were them.

Asked to comment on Goodrich's complaints about Knoll's conduct at the funeral, the aide said that "would be inappropriate."

Oh, you mean "inappropriate" like using a fallen Marine as a photo op? Oh, but don't you DARE question her patriotism.

Michelle Malkin has a great roundup on this entire story.

UPDATE: The Lt. Govenor has issued an apology to the family for her shamless actions at their son's funeral. Michelle Malkin posted the apology on her website.

One thing I noticed, though, was that the right-wing people who came out about this are spinning this into some "she didn't really apologize" sort of thing. Granted what she did was still despicable, but she apologized and it's time to move on. Whether or not she's sincere about it, time will tell. As for me, this is good enough and people on the right should just let it go now. Here are the quotes Michelle posted from some other bloggers:

Brian J. Noggle observes: "When the first words of a personal message are FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, you know it's a poll-felt communication from a politician."

Yep.

Blackfive: ""One of Pennsylvania's sons"? Guess that makes the Lieutenant Governor the Wicked Step-Mother..."


She may have done this because of polls or whatever. I just don't think it matters, though. She owned up to what she did and isn't playing politics. I'm no fan of democrats in general, but you have to give them their due. She owned up to what she did, may not have seen what the big deal is according to the apology(which some might have a problem with), but still apologized. The govenor himself apologized almost right away to the family for what his Lt. Gov said. That should also count for something. So the bloggers and other fellow right-wing conspirators out there, lay off and be happy she isn't playing politics with this.

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One God, Under Nation...

The Anchoress talks about the left's view of religion in America from a column by Jonathan Turley; specifically, Christianity. Because, that's the religion we all have to watch out for- oh wait. Nevermind.

The exchange occurred during one of Roberts' informal discussions with senators last week. According to two people who attended the meeting, Roberts was asked by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) what he would do if the law required a ruling that his church considers immoral. Roberts is a devout Catholic and is married to an ardent pro-life activist. The Catholic Church considers abortion to be a sin, and various church leaders have stated that government officials supporting abortion should be denied religious rites such as communion. (Pope Benedict XVI is often cited as holding this strict view of the merging of a person's faith and public duties).

Renowned for his unflappable style in oral argument, Roberts appeared nonplused and, according to sources in the meeting, answered after a long pause that he would probably have to recuse himself.

It was the first unscripted answer in the most carefully scripted nomination in history. It was also the wrong answer. In taking office, a justice takes an oath to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the United States. A judge's personal religious views should have no role in the interpretation of the laws. (To his credit, Roberts did not say that his faith would control in such a case).

Turley goes on to talk about how Roberts' recusing himself would lead to an evenly split court on many important issues and worries about that. First of all, the left, as an inherently (with exceptions) anti-religious ideology, has no concept of personal values and moral absolutism and how religion shapes those values and morals. They think it's just some practice that can be turned on and off at the "appropriate" times. I recall people questioned Kennedy's Catholocism before being elected President and wondering if he would make the U.S. a de-facto "Vatican City 2" the argument was stupid then and it's stupid now.

Religion should not be a disqualifier for any job- including the supreme court. That's exactly what the left would love, though. "No Christians allowed." Their crying is getting louder, too. Any time a conservative is picked/nominated/voted into an office of substantial power, all these liberals come out of the woodwork "concerned" about their religious views (if they're Christian) and if they will conflict with their policy-making. The second someone says they aren't going to be doing something because "God says so" I'll stand with these liberals on the issue. Until that time, leave them alone! Just because they get their moral compass from a certain faith does not mean they won't apply law in an ethical way. Anchoress has this to say:

Seems to me if a judge has a moral or ethical conflict regarding a case before him or her, recusing oneself is the right option - but then, I am no expert on this stuff. Nevertheless, Turley is “troubled.”

He's "troubled" because he hates Christianity and Christians. He hates their moral stance on issues and especially hates that he can't come up with anything better to attack Roberts than his religious beliefs. Another quick thought: if Roberts was being an activist for his faith, it would surely have shown by now.

Anchoress also links to Villainous Company who has some really great comments, too.

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The Altar of Multiculturalism

I especially enjoyed this opinion column from The Australian by Mark Steyn about how multiculturalism is hurting us.

For four years, much of the western world behaved like Bryant. Bomb us, and we agonise over the "root causes" (that is, what we did wrong). Decapitate us, and our politicians rush to the nearest mosque to declare that "Islam is a religion of peace". Issue bloodcurdling calls at Friday prayers to kill all the Jews and infidels, and we fret that it may cause a backlash against Muslims. Behead sodomites and mutilate female genitalia, and gay groups and feminist groups can't wait to march alongside you denouncing Bush, Blair and Howard. Murder a schoolful of children, and our scholars explain that to the "vast majority" of Muslims "jihad" is a harmless concept meaning "decaf latte with skimmed milk and cinnamon sprinkles".

When things like this happen, the only question that should be on people's minds is "how do we eliminate this threat?" Not "why would somebody do something like this? and how can we fix it?" Also, another example of the left's desire to see America fail over doing the right thing: marching with and supporting those who would just as soon kill them as they would me or my family. Earlier in the column Steyn talks about a meeting between Mohammed Atta and Johnelle Bryant, an official with the department of agriculture in Florida about building a large crop duster.

The meeting got off to a rocky start when Atta refused to deal with Bryant because she was but a woman. But, after this unpleasantness had been smoothed out, things went swimmingly. When it was explained to him that, alas, he wouldn't get the 650 grand in cash that day, Atta threatened to cut Bryant's throat. He then pointed to a picture behind her desk showing an aerial view of downtown Washington - the White House, the Pentagon et al - and asked: "How would America like it if another country destroyed that city and some of the monuments in it?"

Fortunately, Bryant's been on the training course and knows an opportunity for multicultural outreach when she sees one. "I felt that he was trying to make the cultural leap from the country that he came from," she recalled. "I was attempting, in every manner I could, to help him make his relocation into our country as easy for him as I could."


This sort of thing is not an "opportunity for multiculturalism!" This is, however, a great opportunity to call the FBI (or at least the police) for threatening your life and the United States. Hindsight is 20/20 though, I guess.

Read the whole thing, he makes great points about multiculturalism and how some people have some pathological obsession with adhering to it; most especially with Muslims and arabs. Even though those are the exact people we should be watching out for.

Finally, Styen mentions something I think can apply to the liberal movement in general:

"Clearly, a civilisation that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself."

This could easily explain why liberals are so much for "getting along" and making all kinds of compromising deals with these people. Their ideology demands they be guilty for being American, White, Male, or part of any group predominantly in power. Because of this, they have no desire to defend themselves because they somehow think they- or we- deserve it somehow.

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Baghdad Fonda

Michelle Malkin (whom I would ascribe as "awesome to the max") posts a great story from the AP about Jane Fonda and her upcoming trip to Iraq.

Prompted by a question from the audience, Fonda said war veterans that she has met on a nationwide book tour have encouraged her to break her silence on the Iraq war.

"I've decided I'm coming out," she said.


Because I was REALLY wanting to know where Fonda stood on any issue involving America and the world. I could pretty much guess her stance on any international issue involving America. Her being a died-in-the-wool liberal makes it easy: "the other guy is right!" Boy, that was hard.

Not only that, but she's taking this little tour across Iraq in a bus that runs on vegitable oil. I guess she doesn't want to contribute to the country's revenue while she's there, lest she validate the occupation. Liberals would make for great entertainment if they weren't actually influential. I think the only difference between this trip and her trip in Vietnam is that the terrorists don't have AA guns.

I already know what she's going to say: "the occupation has devastated this country... most people I've met had wished America used more peaceful means to get rid of Saddam... the troops here have commited several atrocities not being covered by the media... etc." Don't think the media won't cover her every move in Iraq, either.

I'd tell her to stick to singing or acting but she really isn't good at that and it's probably just better this talentless has-been actress/singer, looking for more publicity as an anti-American, just disappear.

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Fatwa

A movie currently looking for distribution looks to be a promising film. The movie is called "Fatwa," and centers around a D.C. sleeper cell bent on bombing the national mall.

"Fatwa" is the story of just such an attack(ed. the 9/11 attacks). The plot centers around junior senator Maggie Davidson (Lauren Holly), a hard-liner against terrorism who has also become a figurehead for anti-terrorist action. Unbeknownst to Maggie, she has been singled out to be another figurehead-- a terrorist sleeper cell in the suburban D.c. metro area mobilizes a plan to blow up a dirty bomb on the National Mall with Maggie being killed in the blast.

Soon, Maggie will learn exactly how deep the roots of terrorism go, and how hard it is to tell who's part of this game and who isn't.

"Fatwa" explores the concepts of power, control, fear, ethics, and duty in a post-9/11 world. Gone are the days when we can remain ignorant of such issues.

It looks to be a promising film that takes an honest look at terrorism from the perspective that these people are out to kill us and ours for the sake of their god and thus, cannot be bargained with; that's probably why finding a distributor is proving to be an obstacle. It's also probably the reason this movie is an independent film. Hollywood hates reality. Especially when the reality is that America isn't at fault. I haven't seen the movie, and these are more guesstimates about how the movie will be, but from where I'm sitting it promises to be quite good. Anyway, check out the trailer, read the synopsis and see what I mean.

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Another Great Example of the Left

Lee at Right-Thinking has this wonderful story in addition to the Govenor Gnoll story. He has a great thought about the knoll story I was sort of thinking myself but hadn't developed the idea:

Note the typically Michael Moore-ish assumption that anyone who loses a family member in the war is instantly going to be against it.

I'm guessing that, to a liberal, they can't possibly understand why someone would support a war in which their family died.

Anyway, about this latest story. Who would do such a thing? I love to see a liberal's idea of "free speech." Don't you DARE question their patriotism, though.

Democrats and liberals have lost all ethos with me. Sure there are fringe groups on the right that do similar things, but instances like this are far more heavily weighted on the left's side; and Republicans aren't nearly as infiltrated with their fringe as the Democrats are with theirs. Of course, I can't say that with any statistical confidence, but any quick inventory on such acts (i.e. having "die-ins" on busy streets in NYC) are from the left. Most fringe right-wingers tend to go live by themselves and live in bunkers or join the KKK which is pretty much just a shooting club these days.

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Saturday, July 23, 2005

Saturday Morning Reads

Ann Coulter plagiarized some old opinion columns from the mid 80's to the early 90's according to Raw Story. I haven't read these other columns and I can't speak to the credibility of this website, but if it's true, I won't care to listen to Ann Coulter anymore as any kind of source. In the realm of politics where ideas and opinions are assets, plagiarism is the equivalent of thievery. I sincerely hope this isn't true, but the evidence they provide here looks pretty bad for her.

Reasoned Audacity mentions some blogs mocking John Roberts. Because the liberals can't find anything wrong with Bush's SCOTUS nominee, they're resorting to what they do best: making stuff up about him. So what's their "problem" with him? They claim he's gay. Yup. Typical liberals; they can't get him on the issues, or (honestly) attack him personally, so they make stuff up about which to criticize him. Kind of odd, too, because if liberals were honest people, they would be lauding him for him being gay instead of mocking him; but only liberal gays are good, right?

The ACLU is demanding documents from the FBI under the Freedom of Information Act. Is it about the latest Arab Male being randomly searched? Illegal immigrants being denied social security? Nope. Documents by the FBI pertaining to the ACLU and their support of terrorism. I'm glad to see the FBI doing their job. Read the whole blog post, but this is my favorite part:

Not promoting terrorism? The ACLU has opposed almost everything the government has done to fight terrorism! From the no-fly list to stronger border control, the ACLU has been there to oppose it. But this isn’t anything new. During their history, the ACLU has found many strange ways to distort the intentions of our founding Fathers in order to grant immunity and protection for sworn enemies of America to carry out their assault on America. Let’s take a look into history and see the MANY reasons the ACLU should be under investigation.

Sometimes their support of terrorists and their activities are subtle, like their strong objection to the use of metal detectors in America’s airports. Other times, it is much more direct.


Good stuff. Perhaps if the ACLU doesn't want to be viewed as taking the terrorists' side, perhaps they should quit taking the terrorists' side. There is a point where care for civil rights crosses into enabling America's enemies and the ACLU crossed it a long time ago.

An article outlining the democrats' reaction to the Roberts nomination on MSNBC is next. He's such a great candidate, they had to have a little more time finding ways to demonize him as well as Bush in the process. Now that they have their 6-point game plan down, the crticism can begin! I've said it before (though I'm not sure if I've posted it here) that Democrats are the reactionary party. Their ideology is based on whatever isn't Republican instead of any honest ideology with the country's interests in mind. They wait to see where Republicans land on an issue and take a contrary position- they react to what Republicans say. It makes me sick. I may go more in-depth with this one later. For now though, read and be amazed at these lunatics and their doctrine of being the anti-Republicans.

A very big hat tip to Mudville Gazette from which all this came.

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Friday, July 22, 2005

Terrorism is No Big Thing

No, terrorism isn't one big thing. It's a lot of little things. I got a link to a list of terrorist acts since 1972(Part 1, Part 2)- the Munich olympics are missing (I may have missed it) but this is the nature of terrorism as the Anchoress says. Many small attacks... it nips and takes small bites out of society until its spirit is crushed. Terrorism is a threat. Most terrorist attacks are by Arab Muslim males between the ages of 18 and 45.

That's why reading this today made me angry(Via Right-Thinking). They're going to start randomly searching people's bags in New York before they can get on the subway. This will hopefully curb terrorist opportunities to bomb our own subways as they have in Great Britain.

"No racial profiling will be allowed," Mr. Kelly said. "It's against our policies. But it will be a systematized approach."

He added, "We'll give some very specific and detailed instructions to our officers on how to do it in accordance with our laws and the Constitution."

Despite the police commissioner's assurances, the new policy raised concerns about the prospect of unreasonable searches.

"The police can and should be aggressively investigating anyone they suspect is trying to bring explosives into the subway," said Christopher Dunn, associate legal director at the New York Civil Liberties Union. "However, random police searches of people without any suspicion of wrongdoing are contrary to our most basic constitutional values. This is a very troubling announcement."


"We're going to make sure that the percentage of Arabs searched is in sync with our laws on affirmative action percentages. " That's what I just read. This isn't a job interview! This is looking for people who are trying to kill us! I don't understand it. Israelis have not had a hijacking on their airlines for decades. Why? Because they have always made sure to check out the Arab Muslim males from 18 to 45. It works, and it isn't violating people's rights- it's protecting America. What will it take for people to wake up to what's going on with these people?

Victor Davis Hanson has a great take on how we in the west have viewed terrorism since 1947. Quite interesting considering people are still thinking like this. He has a lot of good stuff to say each week.

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Get Out of Here! No Way!

I saw this on LGF and would just like to point out the idiocy of these comments.
"We have got to get out of Iraq, it is the crux of the matter. I believe if Tony Blair and George Bush left Iraq and stopped propping up dictatorial regimes in the Muslim world, the threat rate to Britain would come down to nearly zero."

This was spoken by a British Muslim leader. Why am I not surprised they come out against the country that harbors them while making apologies for the terrorists? Anchoress has a good line up of the "nearly zero" attacks that have happened before the Iraq war.

Propping up dictatorial regimes? Oh, you mean like Iran, North Korea, Iraq and Lybia? Please. This guy is the one making apologies for the people who want to have nothing but Islam in the world by the murder of anyone who disagrees with their narrow view. This guy has the audacity to say that WE prop up dictatorial regimes? Give me a break!

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Scouting Out Confrontation

My friend sent me a copy of the Senate record yesterday about a bill introduced to ensure DoD funding of the scouts. Since they aren't a religious group, they should be given equal funding. Anyway, I read Senator Enzi's comments and it made me happy. I should also point out that I'm not a huge fan of the boy scouts for personal reasons, but I do recognize that for a lot of boys it is a great place to meet people, learn life skills and just have a good time.

Mr. ENZI. Mr. President, I rise in support of amendment No. 1342, the Support Our Scouts Act, offered by my distinguished colleague from Tennessee, Senator Frist. The amendment was intended to be simple and straightforward in its purpose, to ensure the Department of Defense can continue to support youth organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America, without fear of frivolous lawsuits. The dollars that are being spent on litigation ought to be spent on programs for the youth. Every time we see a group like the Boy Scouts , that will teach character and take care of the community, we ought to do everything we can to promote it.

This Saturday, over 40,000 Boy Scouts from around the Nation will meet at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia for the National Scout Jamboree. This event provides a unique opportunity for the military and civilian communities to help our young men gain a greater understanding of patriotism, comradeship, and self-confidence.

Since the first jamboree was held at the base of the Washington Monument in 1937, more than 600,000 Scouts and leaders have participated in the national events. I attended the jamboree at Valley Forge in 1957.

Boy Scouts has been a part of my education. I am an Eagle Scout. I am pleased to say my son was in Scouts . He is an Eagle Scout. Boy Scouts is an education. It is an education in possibilities for careers. I can think of no substitution for the 6 million boys in Scouts and the millions who have preceded them. There are dozens on both sides of the aisle who have been Boy Scouts . I say it is part of my education because each of the badges that is earned, each of the merit badges that is earned, is an education. I tell schoolkids as I go across my State and across my country that even though at times I took courses or merit badges or programs that I didn't see where I would ever have a use for them, by now I have had a use for them and wish I had paid more attention at the time I was doing it.

I always liked a merit badge pamphlet on my desk called ``Entrepreneurship.'' It is the hardest Boy Scout badge to earn. It is one of the most important ones. I believe small business is the future of our country. Boy Scouts promote small business through their internship merit badge. Why would it be the toughest to get? Not only do you have to figure out a plan, devise a business plan, figure how to finance it, but the final requirement for the badge is to start a business.

I could go on and on through the list of merit badges required in order to get an Eagle badge. There are millions of boys in this country who are doing that and will be doing that. They do need places to meet. They are being discriminated against. They are being told they cannot use military facilities, even for their national jamborees.

These jamborees have become a great American tradition for our young people, and Fort A.P. Hill has been made the permanent site of the gatherings. But now the courts are trying to say that this is unconstitutional.

It isn't just military facilities; it is Federal facilities. A couple of years ago, we had an opportunity to debate this again on floor, and it had to do with the Smithsonian.

Some Boy Scouts requested they be able to do the Eagle Scout Court of Honor at the National Zoo and were denied. Why? The determination by the legal staff of the Smithsonian that Scouts discriminate because of their support for and encouragement for the spiritual life of their members. Specifically, they embrace the concept that the universe was created by a supreme being, although we surely point out Scouts do not endorse or require a single belief or any particular faith's God. The mere fact they asked you to believe in and try to foster a relationship with a supreme being who created the universe was enough to disqualify them.

I read that portion of the letter twice. I had just visited the National Archives and read the original document signed by our Founding Fathers. It is a good thing they hadn't asked to sign the Declaration of Independence at the National Zoo.

This happens in the schools across the country. Other requests have been denied. They were also told they were not relevant to the National Zoo.

That is kind of a fascinating experiment in words. I did look to see what other sorts of things had been done there and found they had a Washington Singers musical concert, and the Washington

premiers for both the ``Lion King'' and ``Batman.'' Clearly, relevance was not a determining factor in those decisions.

But the Boy Scouts have done some particular things in conservation that are important, in conservation tied in with the zoo. In fact, the founder of the National Zoo was Dr. William Hornaday. He is one of the people who was involved in some of the special conservation movements and has one of the conservation badges of Scouts named after him.


You can go here for the raw data if you wish. Senator Frist's comments were good too. Look for the Senate documents from July 21, 2005. I would also recommend you use Firefox. It has a great page search feature built in to find keywords on a displayed page.

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Giving Gays an Opportunity

Gaypatriot mentions something most people probably overlook about the "religion of peace."

Oh... and has HRC and NGLTF heard about the hanging of two Iranian gay men earlier this week? Or are they too consumed with their pro-abortion agenda and opposition of Supreme Court nominee [INSERT NAME HERE]?

If Allah is supposed to be so merciful and compassionate, why is it okay to hang gays? Jesus, on the other hand, would have embraced such people as he would a leper. He didn't care about their social standing, finances, or stake in life. He cared about them as people and so should we.

Before people start writing to me, I do realize a lot of Christians forget this and view gays as second-rate people. I'm not going to compare it to hanging people, but it's still just as unacceptable. Hate the sin, not the sinner.

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Thursday, July 21, 2005

I'm Noticing a Trend

Via The Museum of Left Wing Lunacy. The story goes that Google has denied a Christian website for undisclosed purposes saying it does not fit with their policy of accepting websites for Google advertisement.

Despite accepting advertisements for such groups as homosexual singles sites, Google is coming under scrutiny again for allegedly banning commercials for a Christian organization.

ChristianExodus.org, the group looking to have like-minded people move to one state to help restore godly values to government, says it's been rejected from placing ads on Google AdSense.

An e-mail from the Mountain View, Calif.-based company cited "sensitive content" as the reason for the rejection, though it was not specific in what specifically was considered sensitive.

"After reviewing your application, our program specialists have found that it does not comply with our policies," the Google AdSense Team wrote. "We have reviewed your site and found that many of the ads that would appear on your site would not be relevant to your site's content. As the ads would not provide a valuable experience for your site's users or our advertisers, we feel that your site isn't a good fit for the AdSense program at this time."


Interesting, isn't it? Homosexual groups can have their butt party websites get Google advertising, but a Christian site is "sensitive content." Please.

This isn't the first time Google has subjectively dictated who can and can't have access to the Google gold mine(see here, here, here, here, here, here, and here, there is a lot more if you want to type "google news" and search his website). LGF has continually asked to be put on as a news source, but has been rejected for one reason or another while extreme leftist blogs have obtained "news source" status.

Google has never been clear on how they pick websites. It's fairly obvious though that they have left-wing people working there to stonewall those opinions they don't agree with while promoting those they do.

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ACLU Strikes Again

The ACLU strikes again. Hat Tip: LGF

Held at Fort A.P. Hill for 25 years, the event more than triples the county's population, bringing 40,000 Scouts, leaders and staff together for 10 days of sports, conservation activities and the construction of a tent city so elaborate that military officials compare it to a refugee camp.

The jamboree is also an important event for the U.S. military, which has been supporting it since the 1930s with contractors, 1,500 troops and $2 million a year in Defense Department funding. However, that relationship is coming under scrutiny.

A federal judge ruled late last month that the Pentagon funding is unconstitutional because the Boy Scouts are a religious organization, requiring Scouts to affirm a belief in God. The case was initiated by the American Civil Liberties Union.


First off, this judge should not have made a decision about the boy scouts being a "religious organization" because it does not advocate a single god... merely an affirmation that there is a god.

Second of all, this is the ACLU throwing a tantrum because the boy scouts didn't bow to them when they decreed the boy scouts should allow gays in their ranks. The girl scouts got overrun by lefties and made concessions to such organizations as the ACLU and now it's just a shell of an organization with little moral direction for girls to follow. The ACLU wants the same thing for the boy scouts and it isn't going to happen. I'm glad to see they're standing up to this horrid organization. This is the kind of worthless and harmful crap I expect from the ACLU. Every once in a while they'll do something good, but it's so few and far between that I'd rather they just not exist.

The Scouts and their advocates - including Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Republican from Tennessee, and Rep. Jo Ann Davis, a Republican from Virginia, whose district includes Fort A.P. Hill - are livid, saying the jamboree provides a unique training opportunity for troops. Among those speaking out this week was Nathan Diament, director of public policy for the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, who said the ruling in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois amounts to "discrimination against religious entities."

This jamboree is a time where boys can come together and bond while learning skills that can sometimes serve them for the rest of their lives. The ACLU would rather that not be the case becase they acknowledge the existence of a god. Why doesn't someone challenge the religious status of the ACLU for disbelief in a god? I mean, it takes just as much faith for that, right? So who called the ACLU?

During the jamborees, thousands of U.S. troops set up and take down 17,000 tents and provide security, communications support and medical services, among other things. But the relationship was called into question in 1999, when a group of Chicago taxpayers -including a Methodist minister and a rabbi - sued several government agencies for their financial support of the Boy Scouts. The ACLU represented the group.

Among others, a Methodist priest and a rabbi?! What is the matter with these people?! I seriously hope they were not acting at the behest of their churches. I attend a Methodist church, and if I find they're behind this priest I'm looking for a new church.

UPDATE: LGF linked to a noble effort by the GOP to protect the boy scouts from such absurdity in the future.

Senate Republican leaders plan to move legislation next year to protect the Boy Scouts of America from attacks by liberal groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union over government ties to the organization, which has an oath that acknowledges God.

I like how they refer to the ACLU as a "liberal group." Haha. Mainly, because that's what they are. Just see how they (a self-described constitutional watchdog group) try to sidestep the second amendment. It's the typical liberal stance on gun control (applies to state militias, not individuals). Nevermind they consider every other right an individual one. But I digress. I'm glad to see people aren't going to just take this sitting down.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Latest From the Chinese Space Program

Wow. Just, Wow. This is the most Earth-shattering research ever to be done in the history of space research! They were probably just sitting around and some guy goes "hey! we have this extra rocket lying around, right? Well I have an idea!"

Hat Tip: No Government Cheese

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Our Furthest Concerns

Drudge has tons of stuff on China this morning and some of it is interesing.

First up is the Unocal bid. Chevron has won the nod from Unocal's executives for fear of having regulators step in if they accept China's sweeter offer.
A CNOOC spokesman said the company remained "comfortable" with its $18.5 billion bid and believed its offer had a "distinct advantage." A person familiar with the matter said CNOOC had anticipated a higher Chevron bid and was reviewing options on how to react.

In other words; "We have to ask the Chinese government if we can offer them more money." The main issue I had with this deal is that oil is a national security issue. China's becoming more oil hungry as they start moving more towards a free market and I have no doubt they would simply export all the oil they need for their own purposes. So? So keep reading. I'm very happy Unocal's executives have made this decision. It's up to the shareholders now, though so there's still a chance.

Second story, and partly illustrating why the oil deal makes me nervous, is about China's military buildup. This looks like posturing to me. China has always had a superiority complex since they turned communist. To me, it looks like they feel they are supposed to be the strongest power in the world and it's only because of some quirk of fate that they aren't. This attitude is a dangerous one. Even though they aren't the strongest power, they can still cause problems.

"Some of China's military planners are surveying the strategic landscape beyond Taiwan," the report said.

Taiwan has been a contentious issue between the U.S. and China for a LONG time. The problem is that the U.S. has promised to help Taiwan should China take any kind of military action against Taiwan. Such things strain relations between the two countries. China is not a friendly country. It isn't an enemy- yet- but they certainly aren't allies.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Tuesday prior to the release of the report that it illustrates why a European arms embargo against the Chinese should be kept in place.

Some members of the European Union, including France, have sought an end to the embargo, which was imposed after the Chinese military crushed student protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989.


Oh and look at that. FRANCE of all people wants the weapons embargo lifted. They are well aware of the fragile situation between China and the U.S. (and western powers in general, actually) and don't care. They care more about selling their crappy weapons (sans the P-90 as it is "not crappy") to the Chinese to make money. Though we shouldn't be surprised. After all, they were more than happy to sell weapons to Saddam Hussein when there was an arms embargo on his country. That's getting off-topic, though. Let's see what the U.S. leadership thinks of all this:

It described China as being at a strategic crossroads that could lead down three paths but "not yet set immutably on one course or another."

One path is peaceful integration and benign competition in the world. Or China would exert dominant influence in an expanding sphere. A third path sees China as a less confident, inward-looking state focused on challenges to national unity and the Chinese Communist Party's claim to legitimacy.


It's an interesting take. I doubt you'll see a "less confident" China. They're so determined to make people think they're a force to be rekoned; nevermind people already know this. That doesn't mean they won't rattle the sabre anyway. I think China's best bet, though, is to simply work within the free market system. Though that would require leaving communism and I doubt their leadership is willing to give up all that power. Leaving them as somewhat of an impasse.

So what's the Chinese response to these concerns raised by the Pentagon? "Leave us alone!" A dangerous reaction to be sure. When concerns are raised about a non-friendly country's military situation, and their response is, "don't worry about it," be worried.

So, only time will tell if China will choose to go to war with the world or finally drop its communist ways. I think it would be better for everyone if they drop communism.

UPDATE: Max Boot has a column about China's "stealth war" against the U.S. I'm not so sure about his conclusions, but I wouldn't put it past the Chinese. Like I said, they want the world to think they're as great as they think they are and would gladly play "king of the mountain" to do it. (Via: Instapundit)

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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A Little Problem in France

I saw this on Resistance is Futile thought it was pretty funny. France is being invaded by locusts and they're eating everything plant-like. Apparently it looks like Egypt from the book of Exodus. What's funny about this, though, is that the pesticides that could kill them off have been banned! Haha! One reaps what one sows. So now agriculture is threatened and nature is being destroyed because of environmentalists. Now that's what I call ironic.

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Iraq Airlift

Blackfive features a cool story about dropping teddy bears from aircraft to Iraqi children. It reminds me of this.

Does anyone seriously think our troops are evil imperialist kkkapitalist pigdogs?! The men and women in our military are the most principled, disciplined, loyal, upstanding, nicest, and virtuous people you will EVER meet. Period. There are exceptions to the rule as there are with anything, of course, but overall they are the greatest people you could possibly hope to know.

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More Rove coverage

So now that the liberals/media can't seem to make it sound like Rove did anything wrong they're starting in on the whole "Bush lied" deal. This post at Just One Minute talks about what Bush said and when he actually said it with cited sources. So this also can't stick and it's only a matter of time before they realize they've ended up being on the wrong side of an issue... again.

Sep 30, 2003:

Bush: "Yes. Let me just say something about leaks in Washington. There are too many leaks of classified information in Washington. There's leaks at the executive branch; there's leaks in the legislative branch. There's just too many leaks. And if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of."(emphasis mine)

McClellan press conference here.

Q Scott, the President seemed to raise the bar and add a qualifier today when discussing whether or not anybody would be dismissed for -- in the leak of a CIA officer's name,(ed. emphasis theirs- probably a reference point for searching purposes) in which he said that he would -- if someone is found to have committed a crime, they would no longer work in this administration. That's never been part of the standard before, why is that added now?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I disagree, Terry. I think that the President was stating what is obvious when it comes to people who work in the administration: that if someone commits a crime, they're not going to be working any longer in this administration. Now the President talked about how it's important for us to learn all the facts. We don't know all the facts, and it's important that we not prejudge the outcome of the investigation. We need to let the investigation continue. And the investigators are the ones who are in the best position to gather all the facts and draw the conclusions. And at that point, we will be more than happy to talk about it, as I indicated last week.

The reporters repeat themselves, but you can check out the references on the Whitehouse page for yourself. So shut up about this idiocy! Bush didn't lie.

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Monday, July 18, 2005

Parting the Black Sea

"Ebonics be back" according to Michelle Malkin. Not only are they trying to get it in the classroom again, they're trying to declare it a civil right! I'd just like to mention that this issue was debated and argued over endlessly years ago. It illustrates with what tenacity liberals go to to get their agendas furthered because here they are... again... whining about it.

Why would they want to get such an idiotic concept declared a "civil right?" Because they can then say people who opposed it were against civil rights in general. It is absolutely the most retarded issue to be arguing about. Ebonics is NOT a language. Actually, I'm wrong. It is a language- english. Except unlike the queen's english or American english, it's defined as "bad" english.

The black community- or whoever- pushing this should recognize that this will do nothing but widen a gap between themselves and, well, everyone else. Not only that, but it will be hurting the children who learn this completely worthless "language" because, unlike other courses such as women's studies which is just worthless, learning poor english skills will actually hurt kids when they grow up and try to find a job. Perhaps that's the ultimate goal: keep the black community in the lower echelons of society so those in power can maintain their control.

UPDATE: Two Babes and a Brain cite a response to this article showing that the school board wasn't actually considering this for their curriculum. That's good to know.

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Carnival of the Capitalists

This is a link to the Carnival of Capitalists or CotC for short. They have a roundup of various blog posts about business-related items. I first started reading this carnival a few weeks ago. Usually there's only about one or two things that sound interesting to me, but this one in particular is pretty awesome; it has TONS of cool stuff this week, so I thought I'd link to it. I'll update later with some of my favorites once I've had a chance to read them.

UPDATE: So I had a chance to check out some of the more interesting posts from the CotC this week. Here are the creme de la creme:

-Euronomics failures with a dash of French-bashing goodness. The jist is that the self-proclaimed enlightened Europe has a higher unemployment rate that us knuckle-dragging Americans. I guess we're just too stupid to fail as spectacularly as the French.

-Economics of Terrorism. Interesting take on what might happen if we pull troops out. By rewarding the terrorists with something they want (pulling troops out) they will be more inclined to continue terrorism. The basic tenet of this comes from the fact that if you reward an act you will get more of it. I tend to agree. Even if you didn't agree with putting troops in there in the first place, you should recognize that it's too late to pull them out because the terrorists will think they have won. They would be right, too.

-Debunking an expert. This post invovles analysis of Jim Cramer. He's the host of "Mad Money" on CNBC. He's fun to watch because he literally breaks a sweat talking about stocks. Apparently, though, someone has been keeping track of the stocks he recommends buying and selling and has no better than "coin flip" odds. I found this interesting because so many people claim to be experts when their success depends largely on luck. In fact, I would go as far as to say that they rely on luck more than they do skill.

So those were the ones that were of particular interest to me. There were others I found interesting, but probably not worth mentioning here since it involves some mild background in business. I recommend checking it out for yourself and see if there's anything you like.

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Thoughts from a Communist Christian

Okay, I know she isn't a communist, but she's still from California and that counts for something, right? Anyway I thought this was interesting since many liberals despise Christianity. I thought I'd comment on why I think Ms. McEntyre is wrong. Not only is she wrong, but she's wrong right off the blocks. Read her introduction:

Among those who are mournful and angry about the outcome of this election, doubtful about the integrity of the process, and opposed to the neoconservative agenda are Christians who believe the name of Christ is being pressed into service to market a political agenda impossible to align with the ethics, mission, or character of Jesus. Here are some of the identifying features of that agenda: -- suppression of authentic diversity and debate in the name of “unity” -- fearmongering and secret surveillance in the name of “safety” -- wanton military aggression in the name of “liberation” -- triumphalist rewriting of recent history to justify unprecedented economic imperialism -- use of religious language to persuade a poorly informed public to accept political control by the few -- literalistic and selective use of biblical texts to legitimate that control -- sale of government to big business to consolidate that control -- sloganeering, anti-intellectualism, and oversimplification to forestall reflection, analysis, and debate -- expropriation of public media to insure the success of all the above

God's name is not "being pressed into service" as McEntyre mentions. He has never EVER said we're going to war for the glory of God. Nor has he said anything similar. Ms. McEntyre has been fooled by someone that Bush's motives for Iraq were religious. As for her claims of a "suppression of authentic diversity..." quote, I see none of that happening either. Does she consider "he betrayed this country!" as "debate?" I certainly hope not. Fearmongering? Perhaps Americans should be afraid. These people want to kill you. Not only that, but they want to kill your family, your friends, democrats, republicans- anyone not subscribing to their ideology. There is nothing in terms of "surveillance" that is happening now that didn't happen before 9/11. It's just that it's easier for the government to perform such acts. That's it. Wanton military aggression... in the name of "liberation?!" I have absolutely no clue what she's talking about here. Our troops have been able to specifically target the terrorists while preserving countless civillian lives. Our military is using a scalpel when they could much more easily (and cheaply) use a hammer to solve this problem. I would hardly call that "wanton." I especially like the next one: "use of religious language to persuade a poorly informed public to accept political control by the few." Again, Bush has NEVER used religious language to justify the war(s). NEVER. This is a fabrication made up by someone to further criticize the Bush administration. When you can't find legitimate grievances, why not just come up with your own? I can barely go on through this introduction! The next one is a reference to halliburton I'm sure: "sale of government to big business to consolidate that control." Do I really need to point it out? I could be here all day and I haven't even gotten to the meat of her argument which involves the "religious speech" she didn't like being used to further a political ideology... hmm. Moving on (.org)!
The very public nature of Bush’s religiosity ought to be at least a yellow flag for any believer who remembers Jesus’ admonishment to the Pharisees: "Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 6:1).

The NIV version of Matthew 6:1 is:
"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven."

The chapter refers to acts of goodness you perform and not to boast about them to others to make yourself look good. This in no way applies to Bush. I've never seen Bush get up and say "see how great I am? I freed all these people... you should all think I'm great now." Sure he's come out saying that he's freed the Iraqis, but it was merely in defense of himself- he didn't voluteer to start talking about it. If her interpretation applies, then the next time I see someone drop a hundred dollar bill on the ground, I better not give it back to them. I'd be better to just keep it, lest they notice me being pious. In her next citation, she repeats herself... again.
Bush’s “God talked to me” approach to political decision-making needs at least to be submitted to the test Paul sets forth in enumerating the fruits of the Spirit: if an action is truly “Spirit-driven,” it will be marked by “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:23).

Bush has NEVER said God told him to go to war (as I said before). Regardless, McEntyre conveniently omits the verse just prior to 23 (which would be 22):
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

The FRUIT of the spirit. That is, what is born out of acts from the spirit. At least, that's how I read it. Because the "fruit" is the "result" in many other places in the Bible. So then, has joy, peace, kindness, goodness, etc. happened as a RESULT of the war in Iraq? I say yes.

And I wonder how those on the “Christian Right” whose rallying cry of choice is “family values” read Jesus’ admonishment to the disciples, “If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). Or his answer to the messenger who interrupted him to say his mother and brothers wanted his attention: “Who is my mother and who are my brothers? . . . whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Matt. 12:42). Obviously these startling “hard sayings” need to be read in context. No one claims Jesus was “anti-family,” but neither did he elevate a particular model of family life. Rather he seemed to indicate that there would be circumstances in which people would be called to leave their families, to reconfigure them, to challenge them, and in any case to understand that as members of the Body of Christ, we would have to subordinate our allegiance to all human institutions, including family. Focusing on the family can become idolatry.

This entire paragraph is nothing but a cheap shot against Focus on the Family which is a large Christian organization providing political support to Republicans- as well as helping people raise a family as Christians. Focus on the Family does not idolize or in any way assert that family comes before everything... including God. Like I said, it's just a cheap shot.

Politically, “family values” serves the purposes of Bush’s deeper agenda, all too reminiscent of the National Socialist slogan, “Kinder, Küche, Kirche” (Children, Kitchen, Church) that focused the attention of a compliant population on the domestic sphere as the locus of their proper moral concern while political power was concentrated in the hands of a violent few.

For those of you who don't know, the "National Socialist" party she refers to are the Nazis. So, there you have it; "Bush is a Nazi! Right-wing christians are Nazis!" Well, Ms. McEntyre, what does the Bible say about speaking evil about our leaders?

"Paul replied, "Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: 'Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people(Exodus 22:28).'" Acts 23:5

Interesting.

Her next deal is about stem cell research, gay marriage, and abortion. She cites Mat 7:3 as proof us right-wing Christians are hypocrites.

The claim that the election was won by those who voted on the “moral issues” is particularly troubling to those of us who believe in the richness and complexity of the biblical story and of the way it invites us to moral reflection. For many on the “Christian Right,” the “non-negotiable” moral issues in the election were reduced to abortion, gay marriage, and stem cell research. Many thoughtful Christians recognize the moral complexity of these issues and the need for careful reflection on the contexts of biblical guidelines invoked in discussion of them. Oversimplification of these issues by members of the far Right (often in complete disregard of their socioeconomic and psychological contexts) has resulted in widespread lack of compassion for those most closely and personally affected. (see Matthew 7:3)

We aren't judging. At least, I'm not. People like Fred Phelps or the Church of Jesus Christ Christian have made judgements, but I have my own problems with them claiming to be brothers/sisters in Christ because they don't practice what the Bible teachers. More on-topic though, the idea behind abortion et. al. is that we aren't making judgements, we're recognizing an affront to God and trying to stop it within the law. Should we just do nothing and be implicitly accepting of such things? Gay marriage- and homosexuality in general- is specifically cited as "immoral" in the Bible. It's the whole reason Sodom and Gammorah were destroyed. As Christians, we are taught to love life therefore we cannot support abortion and, by extension, embryonic stem cell research. Bush has not banned research in it, either. He's merely said that the federal government would not fund such research. That doesn't mean people can't research it on their own. So far, though, the best chance and finding cures are with adult stem cells. Which are easy to harvest and don't require killing people to get them.

Most troubling of all, of course, is the fact that so many seem to restrict their concept of morality to personal actions. Where is the moral concern for the underfunding of services to the poorest among us, or stewardship of the natural world that has been put into our keeping? How can we overlook the moral obscenity that is war? Especially a war based on lies that has laid waste to the land and infrastructure of Iraq, killed well over 100,000 innocent civilians, and brutalized the psyches of our own troops as they brutalize their victims in the name of security.

"Where are all the socialist programs?!" "War is hell" and "Bush lied, children died!" Did I miss anything? First off, Jesus said we should help our fellow man, he didn't say steal from your richer neighbor to do it- which is exactly what socialist programs do. Second, war IS hell. War sucks. I doubt anyone could argue with that (who was sane). But the result of this war, contrary to Ms. McEntyre's claims, is far better. The infrastructure is taking shape, 25 MILLION people are living freer and happier lives because of this war, and it was all done by volunteers. My sister visited Walter Reed Army Medical Center and with the exception of a couple of people, she met many men who had been wounded all wanting to go back to Iraq. This included a man who lost both his legs in an explosion.

She wraps up in her conclusion, but then adds this little bit to the end:

Whatever Jesus would do, given what he did do, and has promised he will do, I don’t think it looks much like what the insulated, self-congratulatory Fox News fans on the “Christian Right” are doing.

Another little cheap shot against Fox News which, in my opinion, is the most balanced news source out there given that they hire liberals (Alan Colms, Susan Estrich, among others) AND conservatives (Sean Hannity, Brit Hume, among others) instead of left-of-center and more left than that. Nor do I see how people like me are "self-congratulatory." Whatever.

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