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Eminent Domain Stuff

New London Update (2/24/06)
Coverage of the Rally at New London's City Hall (w/ pics)

Tuesday, November 30, 2004


Killing Babies...And Children

This is absolutely amazing...although sadly not surprising:

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) - A hospital in the Netherlands - the first nation to permit euthanasia - recently proposed guidelines for mercy killings of terminally ill newborns, and then made a startling revelation: It has already begun carrying out such procedures, which include administering a lethal dose of sedatives.
In an obvious and pitiful attempt to muddy the waters:

However, experts acknowledge that doctors euthanize routinely in the United States and elsewhere, but that the practice is hidden.

"Measures that might marginally extend a child's life by minutes or hours or days or weeks are stopped. This happens routinely, namely, every day," said Lance Stell, professor of medical ethics at Davidson College in Davidson, N.C., and staff ethicist at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C. "Everybody knows that it happens, but there's a lot of hypocrisy. Instead, people talk about things they're not going to do."
There is a fundamental difference between withholding treatment (i.e., allowing nature to take its course) and actively killing a human being. In the US we allow doctors and patients (or their surrogates) to decide when enough is enough...but we do not allow doctors to actively end life. To say otherwise is misleading. I can only assume that the deception is intentional in this case, since Mr. Stell is presented as an expert in the field. Pay attention to this debate. There is most certainly a slippery slope here and it is one we must avoid like the plague because the stakes are high indeed.

Some good commentary here.


More discussion over at Say Anything in the comment section.


Marcland Is Reborn

Marcland has fallen victim to a blog host collapse. Not only has Marc moved, but he has renamed his blog in hopes of a fresh start. His new blog is hubs and spokes. Don't let the new name and look through you off, the insightful and entertaining blogging is sure to continue unabated.


Monday, November 29, 2004


Homespun Symposium III

This week's question is from Bill:

What, in your mind, represents the single greatest long-term threat to the United States of America, and what should be done about it?
My knee-jerk reaction is to answer 'Terrorism.' I think, however, that there is a more basic threat to our country. The threat that I see as the most dangerous is the growth of multiculturalism. Please, don't take this to mean that I am intolerant, bigoted or otherwise bad. By multiculturalism I mean the view that seems to be taking hold in some sectors of our society whose main tenant is that all cultures and ideas are equal. This view is fed and allowed to grow due to the unfortunate fact that some in our country hold to the 'ideal' of moral relativism. This way of seeing the world results in only a few shades of gray...unless someone disagrees. The only thing that multiculturalism (MC)labels as wrong is disagreement with itself. The existence of this paradox is completely ignored by those who ascribe to MC and they simply plod on decrying anyone who dares draw a line in the sand and say, "This is wrong and that is right."

The problem with MC (and moral relativism in general) is that those who accept it wholeheartedly lose the ability to fight evil because, after all, there is no good or evil, just differences of opinion and prespective. These are the people who will say that they are only trying to avoid offending anyone and then ban the Declaration of Independence from History classes. These are the same people who will, in hopes of keep atheists happy, allow students to thank anyone they like during Thanksgiving...except God.

While these are certainly disturbing examples, the reason that MC is the single most serious long-term threat is two-fold. First, because it renders us impotent to fight Terrorism. If we are unable to point at Terrorists and say "EVIL", then how are we ever going to justify "bring[ing] our enemies to justice or...justice to our enemies"? Second, MC is so attractive on the surface that its growth is insidious. We must, therefore, be ever vigilant in identifying and rooting out the seductively destructive forces of multiculturalism before it becomes any more ingrained in our society than it is already.


Other Homespun Bloggers' Responces

A Physicist's Perspective
Bunker Mulligan
Bill's Big Bloviating Blog
The Commons at Paulie World
Ogre's Politics & Views


Things To Be Thankful For

I ran into this (via Cold Fury). Better late than never.


Cord Blood Cures?

Apparently, stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood have been used to heal a two decade old spinal cord injury in South Korea. I'm pretty skeptical at this point because there is only this one reported case but I am also hopeful. If this holds up we'll have yet another case of non-embryonic stem cells proving to be therapeutically useful.

I hope that we will find enough cures and treatments using non-embryonic stem cells that people will stop fixating on embryonic stem cells. I suspect, however, that at least some people will continue to push the embryonic stem cell issue nonetheless. With any luck that (rather small) contingent of people will be exposed as the frauds they are and people will finally see their true (and quite ulterior) motives.


Sunday, November 28, 2004


Best Of Homespun

The Best Of Homespun is up. Check it out.


Thursday, November 25, 2004


Happy Thanksgiving

George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1789:

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor -- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be -- That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks -- for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation -- for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the tranquility [sic], union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed -- for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted -- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions -- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually -- to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed -- to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn [sic] kindness onto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord -- To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease [sic] of science among them and us -- and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York
the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

George Washington

Don't let anyone tell you this is right. It's not.

Also, the true story of Thanksgiving (you won't find this one in public school history books).


This is absolutely amazing as well. Someone needs to tell these teachers that teaching about religion is not the same as teaching religion.


Wednesday, November 24, 2004


Picture This

Last night I was watching Hannity and Colmes and they were discussing the basketball fight. Their guest was a sports agent, although I didn't catch whether he was actually Artest's agent or not. In any case, the agent was telling us just how unfair it is to deprive this poor guy of his ability to play the game and draw a salary for the rest of the year. As I've said before, I won't be happy untill players who do things like this are banned for ever. Seem a bit harsh? Consider this:

You're working at a trendy coffee shop making $10/hour. You get into an argument with a coworker and it gets violent. However, shoving is as far as it goes and you back off to avoid further conflict. Then, some costomer throws a cup of water and hits you in the head. Of course, you weren't looking across the counter at the time so you didn't see who did the deed. So...you jump over the counter and start swinging. You manage to land a few solid rights some guy's skull before you're pulled off. As you might imagine, your manager is pretty pissed, as is the company owner. They decided that they're really going to teach you a lesson. You will be suspended for one year without pay. After that time you will be allowed to come back to work at your full salary because you are, after all, an otherwise great employee and you draw costmers to the store by virture of your greatness.

Does anyone want to tell me that is a likely senairo? No? Then why is it that this dirtbag punk who assaulted a paying customer (and an apparently innocent one at that) is not being thrown the league for good?


Tuesday, November 23, 2004


UN Badboys

Michelle has an interesting story about abuses by UN Peacekeepers:

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 22 (Reuters) - The United Nations is investigating about 150 allegations of sexual abuse by U.N. civilian staff and soldiers in the Congo, some of them recorded on videotape, a senior U.N. official said on Monday.

The accusations include pedophilia, rape and prostitution, said Jane Holl Lute, an assistant secretary-general in the peacekeeping department.
Yeah, I'm sure the NYT will be running with this story. Just don't hold you breath.


Monday, November 22, 2004


Homespun Symposium

This post is my submission to this week's Homespun Symposium. The question posed by In Search of Utopia is:

Is the division in America important to you? What will be necessary to heal it? What part do you see Bloggers playing in that discussion and how will you personally contribute to it?
My first thought is, What division? I know, I know. I have also heard an awful lot of talk about how divided the country is too. But what, exactly, is that opinion based on? I would suggest that a good deal of the apparent division in the country is due to a small number of politically active groups driven by lingering anger over the results of the 2000 election making a lot of noise. The noise they manage to make is then amplified by the Media, for whatever reasons. However, any true division that might exist is independent of how loudly these groups scream.

Certainly some would look at this and assert that I have just admitted that we are, in fact, divided and the cause was the 2000 election. Well, I must disagree. I know that there is always a lot of discussion based on poll numbers and apparent public opinion. My general impression is that polls are so fraught with error and bias that they are generally useless. A far more accurate (although not as flexible) way to determine public opinion is to just look at election results. And after all, if the 2000 election was the cause of the division in this country then shouldn't the 2004 election have put those ill feelings to rest?

So...let's take a look at just how 'divided' we have been in the recent past. Why is it that I don't recall hearing similar talk of division during Clinton's years? Look at the election results and then tell me that we're more divided today than we were then. Bill Clinton never received a simple majority of the popular vote. As a matter of fact, if one were to go back and award votes for Perot to George H. W. Bush or Bob Dole you'll find that the 1992 and 1996 elections would have gone the other way (1992) or would have been very close (1996). Since Perot drew far more voters from the Right than from the Left, why is it that we didn't hear people claiming that Bill Clinton had no mandate and that he should reach across the aisle to Republicans and conduct himself in a bipartisan manner?

Aside from my general distaste for the painfully obvious double standard I am generally irritated with all this talk of division. We just had an election wherein the incumbent received more popular votes than any candidate in history. Granted, the election was close in terms of popular vote percentage and Electoral College votes...but the point remains that George Bush won the election hands down. So, we're divided?

I would argue that any division that does exist is not new but has only been brought into the direct light of public perception by virtue of the violent and sensational events of the past few years. From the contentious election of 2000 to 9/11/01 to Afghanistan and Iraq, politics has become increasingly important in the minds of more and more Americans (hence the increased overall turnout at the polls this year). So perhaps rather than attempt to find causes for the 'new' division in this country, we should consider what led to the continued (if underlying) division that has been seething for years. Only once we admit the true nature of the division can we attempt to fix it.

Since I obviously believe that any division we see around us today has been going strong for years, I'm not sure exactly how to address the second part of the question. I'm not sure how I am supposed to contribute to any healing of the divide. I suppose the most likely way that I will contribute will be to continue my efforts to point out what I see as the Truth. Likely, that is the only thing that any of us can do. Only through reasoned discussion can we even begin to correctly define the issues of contention between Left, Right and everyone else, for that matter.

In the end whether or not we will fix the divide depends on its nature. It seems to me that many of the points of contention among various ends of the political spectrum concern very basic disagreements. I see this whenever I talk to certain liberal friends. We can go back and forth for an hour and in the end come the conclusion that, although we understand each other completely, we simply don't agree. In the end I think that speaking of 'healing' whatever divide there might be is misleading. It can only be 'healed' if it's sick in the first place. The current division is healthy in the sense that each side understands the other and fundamentally disagrees. My advice: Keep fighting for what you believe. Maybe, just maybe, you'll manage to help a few people 'see the light' in your lifetime. At the end of the day, that's about all we can really hope for.

Other Homespun Bloggers weigh in:

Ogre's Politics and Views
Little Red Blog
A Physicist's Perspective
The Commons (Paulie)
Mad Poets Anonymous
Bunker Mulligan
Mark A. Kilmer's Political Annotation


From The Source

Here is the story of the Marine shooting the supposedly-disabled insurgent in Fallujah. His account strikes me as attempting to be as fair as possible. Although he was in the same room, he allows for the possiblity that his preception of the wounded man's threat level was different from the Marine's. In any case, read his account and make up your own mind.


Good News From Iraq: Part 15

Arthur has posted his latest installment of Good News From Iraq. Check it out.


Ding - Round 1

I always liked the old joke: I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out. Unfortunately, I think we might have to amend that to a basketball game broke out. In the interests of full disclosure, I don't give a flying you-know-what about that sport. As far as I can tell the maturity-to-salary ratio is lower in basketball than in any other sport. Regardless, I am going to weigh in on the latest debacle.

When I saw those two idiots run into the stands and start swinging my second thought (the first being, and I quote, "Woa.") was that their playing days were over. I figured that the league wouldn't stand for such amazingly stupid decision-making. The last time I check I would have a hard time keeping my job if I punched one of the people paying my salary in the nose. So I just assumed that the question would really be whether or not the players who bum-rushed the stands would end up in criminal or civil court before they managed to find a job asking, "Paper or plastic?" So you can imagine my surprise/disgust when I happened to be flipping around on the TV yesterday and ran into the NBA Commissioner's press conference.

The upshot is that Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson, both of whom where in the stands punching people have been suspended for the rest of the season and for 30 games, respectively. That is absolutely amazing to me. Plus, add to that the fact that Artest apparently went after an innocent guy. Imagine what it would be like. Here you've paid about $50 (or more?) to sit courtside. You see a brawl starting on the court, then some idiot hits Ronny with a plastic cup and suddenly this monster athlete is hopping over chairs and people so he can hit you in the face. And the upshot is that he gets suspended for the rest of the season? That's it? I'll tell you what, these guys are lucky I'm not in charge. If it were up to me I would send a very clear message to all NBA players, fans and the entire world: If a player attacks a fan he will never again draw salary from an NBA team. Feel free to go play in Europe or at your local pickup game...but you will never again wear an NBA uniform.

If you think I'm being too harsh, consider this question: Mr. Artest, for another $100,000 could you have managed to restrain yourself?


I just ran into this quote:

"The line is drawn, and my guess is that won't happen again -- certainly not by anybody who wants to be associated with our league." -- N-B-A commissioner David Stern said.
No, Mr. Stern, you misunderstand. The reality is that this won't be done again by anybody who wants to play the rest of the season. Based solely on your ruling that is the only conclusion that can be drawn. What are you going to do if this happens again? If some other player runs into the stands and breaks someone's jaw, are you going to suspend him for the -gasp- whole season? Or are you going to posture and suggest that this time the act is worthy of a lifetime suspension? I guess we'll just have to wait and see.


Strengthen The Good

STG has recently been registered as a 503(c) non-profit organization, allowing them to offer tax deductions in exchange for donations. The most recent group is the subject of Alan's email:

Slovakian teenagers, at a small and poor school set amongs the towers of a Soviet-era apartment block, trying to learn English (which they call "the language of freedom and opportunity,") but with no books.

So I thought we could help build a library, and have something to feel good about along the way.

Got an extra copy of The Fountainhead or Old Yeller or the works of T. S. Eliot lying around? Here's your chance to use them to do some good.

Please consider posting a link to my post at STG, and remember: Don't just fight evil ... strengthen the good!
Check them out the STG post here and you can go directly to the C. S. Lewis Bilingual High School here. Take a look at the list of books. I'm sure we've all got that extra copy of a true classic that should be shared with kids who have very little and are striving to learn "the language of freedom and opportunity."


Sunday, November 21, 2004


Best Of Homespun

The Best Of Homespun Bloggers is up. As always a nice place to find good blogging on a wide variety of topics.


Friday, November 19, 2004


Ah Yes...

...tolerant Socialists. I know, how about we all try to be more like Europeans!



Make way for the Slickster Bill.


Remember, this is happening on the EU's watch.


Thursday, November 18, 2004


Jim Carrey

You know, I'm glad to hear the Jim is finding peace through God and a total lack of drugs and booze. But you know, this strikes me as yet another example of a Hollywood type living a good chunk of his/her life, having a revelation that clean livin' ain't so bad and then announcing it as if they rest of us had just been hanging around waiting for the pronouncement. It just seems so sanctimonious. Jim, congrats...but you're really not telling the rest of us anything new.


Evolution vs. Intelligent Design: Round 12

As you may have noticed I have been blogging for a while on the Evolution vs. ID debate. My counterpart in this exercise has been David over at A Physicist's Perspective. We also carry on some back channel communication on this and other topics and one of his emails got me to thinking about the relationship between religion and science. First, here's what I had written to him:

The thing I keep coming back to, though, is that both divine creation and evolution can logically make things from basic and common building blocks. The reason I come down on the side of evolution is not that God could not have made organisms as they currently exist, but to say that He did in a direct sense is to destroy the very foundation of science (in my humble opinion =)). But I won't belabor the point here since I've blogged on this already.
To which he (in part) replied:

I think you should be careful about what you mean by "the foundation of science". I know you think that science must by definition admit no supernatural --
i.e., good science cannot appeal to laws other than purely physical/chemical/natural laws.

But this is by no means the historic view of science; it's one that's come about only recently. I think it's really a result of the enlightenment and modernism, I suppose. Anyway, I like to point out that many of the great scientists of several centuries ago were good scientists precisely BECAUSE they believed that God designed the universe. Newton, Pascal, Kepler, Boyle, Linneaus, Faraday, Dalton, Joule, Mendel, Pasteur, Maxwell, Lord Kelvin, and others are notable examples. From what I understand, some of them believed the study of science would be producctive -- and found it to be so -- because they believed the universe was designed by a rational being, therefore we can learn about how it works by applying our minds.

Anyway, the point is simply that these men did science because they believed in a supernatural God; they did not see science as entirely separate and something that could admit no mention of the supernatural.
To the contrary, I think that the very foundation of Science is most certainly to admit nothing outside of "purely physical/chemical/natural laws." You see, these men pursued their studies because they believed the effort was worth their time since God made the Universe understandable. However, this most certainly does not imply that they resorted to "laws other than purely physical/chemical/natural laws." As a matter of fact, none of them did. To a man they relied only on what could be proven/explained using only physical/chemical/natural laws. Anyone who did otherwise didn't make David's list because we don't remember him...because he was wrong.

So to say that these men were religious and believed that God created the Universe is not to imply that they believed that God took a direct, and unpredictable, hand in what we see as reality. To the contrary they ascribed to God a much more remote and universal role. While this may not be satisfying to Bible literalists, it is the only view consistent with the study and acceptance of Science (bearing in mind the caveat that Science has nothing to say about miracles).

The parallel to the current topic is that we, like our predecessors, should continue to look for natural explanations for the diversity of life we see all around us. To resort to a direct supernatural cause for the genesis and development of Life is to misunderstand the purpose and method of both Science and Religion. Science is the rational study of Nature. Religion is a belief system that, independent of its ultimate truth or falsehood, is meant to be a moral guidepost. There is no fundamental reason that the two need find conflict. With respect to Evolution specifically there is certainly no need for conflict. Evolution is concerned only with the development of Life on Earth and it has nothing to say concerning the origin of the Universe or anything else, for that matter. I think that most of the issues each side has with the other are due to a need to have their own ideas (whether scientific or religious) account for everything. If we could all keep our ideas in their proper realm I think we could avoid an awful lot of argument.

As I have at least implied before, Religion should help us make moral decisions and our belief in God can certainly drive us to do Science. Mixing Religion and Science, however, only leads to the detriment of both.


Unlawful Shooting?!

Power Line has the text of a letter written by a Marine regarding the recent videotaped shooting of a supposedly wounded Iraqi. Read it.

(link via A Physicist's Perspective)



Mr. Kerry, could you please remind us all what you thought we should do with Iran with respect to nuclear material?

Kerry insisted as president he would provide Tehran with the nuclear fuel it wants for a pledge to use it for peaceful purposes only.
Well, I suppose it's just as well he never got the chance:

SANTIAGO, Chile - The United States has intelligence that Iran is working to adapt missiles to deliver a nuclear weapon, further evidence that the Islamic republic is determined to acquire a nuclear bomb, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said Wednesday.
Great. Another country run by the inmates is going nuclear. It's too bad that we haven't gently (or not so gently) judged the insane from power. Now we're going to end up with yet another threat to the entire Middle East. Just what we need right next door to the fledgling democracy.


Well, I'll certainly sleep better tonight:

Iran Says It Has No Secret Nuclear Activities


Wednesday, November 17, 2004


True Class

Well, if not true class, at least true to form. Clinton's Legacy Library is about to open and he has apparently devoted some serious space to his Impeachment:

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Bill Clinton (news - web sites)'s presidential library devotes one of 14 exhibit areas to scandal, explained in the context of Republican Party efforts to discredit Clinton.


The scandal exhibit, called "The Fight for Power," mentions Lewinsky by name and includes sections called "Politics of Persecution" and "A New Culture of Confrontation."
I wonder if there will be a section entitled: Republicans made me lie under oath.



Since I am constantly on the Media's case about only reporting bad news (although they don't seem to really notice =)), I thought I'd draw your attention to a bit of good news. Actually, its quite heartwarming...

Daschle Bids Democrats Goodbye

Yes, I'm even going to refrain from commenting on the ridiculously Left-leaning tone of this 'news' story. Let's just going to bask in the defeat of a true obstructionist...ahhhh....


Double Standard

I've refrained from commenting on the Marine accused of killing an apparently wounded and unarmed person in a mosque. I can no longer hold back. Let me just say up front that I do not condone the cold-blooded killing of unarmed POWs. However, I refuse to pass judgment on a young man who had been under extreme stress that I will probably never encounter, had been in combat for a week straight and had been shot in the face. Also, remember that insurgents have been faking injuries to draw our Marines and Soldiers in close and then opening fire. In my opinion, any group using those tactics deserves no protection whatsoever. So here's what today's article has to say:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - The fatal shooting of a wounded and apparently unarmed man in a Fallujah mosque by a U.S. Marine angered Sunni Muslims in Iraq on Tuesday and raised questions about the protection of insurgents once they are out of action.


However, the status of the wounded man was unclear. A different Marine unit had come under fire from the mosque on Friday. Those Marines stormed the building, killing 10 men and wounding five, according to Sites. He said Marines treated the wounded and left them.


"The troops not only violated our mosques with their sins and their boots but they stepped on our brothers' blood," said Khalil, the shop owner. "They are criminals and mercenaries. I feel guilty standing here and not doing anything."
So, I'm supposed to feel bad that an insurgent fighter was wounded and then got killed? Are you kidding me? And, we know that our boys had come under attack from this very mosque in previous days! So who was it that "violated" the mosque, might I ask? Oh, and did you hear any outcry (amplified by the Media) when Muslim fighters took up positions in the Church of the Nativity? I don't really the 'world community' clamoring that those dirty Muslims where desecrating a Christian Holy Site. And specifically one that had never been used by militant Christians as a position from which to kill Muslims.

I don't particularly care what Iraqis, or anyone else, thinks out our military’s actions in Fallujah. This all could have been avoided if the scum in the city had thrown down their weapons (made in France, Russia and/or Iran) and decided to join the future. Instead they have chosen to go down with the sinking ship of a horrible dictatorship. Good riddance.


Bloodletting has a great post on this. I particularly like this line of reasoning:

Put that Marine back on the line. He [President Bush] needs to stand tall for the troops as they have stood tall for all of us. A lot of people will complain about the message it sends to the Sunnis. Screw that trash. If they can be convinced of the legitimacy of life in a democracy, they already are. There are some people who will not change their mind, no matter the evidence supporting such a shift. What we can convince people of is that we have the will to kill them without remorse.


Tuesday, November 16, 2004


Oh Man

I actually caught part of Rush the other day while he was offering his counseling services to any Democrats that might be suffering from post-election depression. The official psychobabble for the 'condition' is Post Election Selection Trauma or (you guessed it) PEST. Well, now some people in Florida have gotten their panties in a bunch over Rush's insensitivity. The article makes numerous references to Republicans taunting, gloating and being general meanies.

My purpose here is not to taunt anyone or make light of their disappointment over the election results. I would have been very unhappy had Kerry won. However, if he had I would have told any Republicans claiming to suffer from PEST to shut their whining traps and get on with life. So I will give the same advice to any of you on the Left who are just so distraught that you can't possibly go on. Look, we have a long and distinguished history of the peaceful transfer of power whenever the voting public dictates it. So shut up and move on already. Instead of whining about losing, why not act like winners who have suffered a temporary setback. In other words...Get back out on the field and play the damn game!

As I type this post we have brave men and women putting their individual and collective asses on the line to make this world a safer place. It makes me sick to see Americans pissing and moaning because their guy lost. Oh the humanity! How could this possibly happen? I just can't go on! I simply must move to Canada! [Whine, whine, boo-hoo].

Now that at least some of you have seen the light, I will address the holdouts. If after reading the above you still can't pull it together, I would like to offer my own diagnosis. Rather than PEST, how about labeling yourself with a syndrome I have identified just today.

I call it: W UpSets Socialists, or WUSS. So now you can kill two birds with one stone. By telling people that you are afflicted by the WUSS syndrome, they will know that 1) you are a Kerry supporter and 2) you are a WUSS.

It is my sincere desire that all affected Kerry supporters and Bush haters find an effect treatment for their WUSS. But if not, for the good of the country and your own Party, please suffer in silence. You're giving the rest of us a bad name.


Here is Rush's response.


Monday, November 15, 2004


Electoral College

This post is my contribution to this week's Homespun Symposium.

I have argued previously that the Electoral College (EC) is inherently unfair. While I do understand the various practical issues that the EC addresses (and have been pointed out by other Homespun Bloggers this week), I am still going to make a case against the EC...if for no other reason than I think it's an unpopular position and it's always good to have both sides.

My most basic issue with the EC is that it discounts many individual citizen's vote for President. Although we are the United States of America (and not the People's Republic of America, thank God) I still find a basic flaw in the system. Namely that my vote for President has never contributed to the candidate of my choice being elected.

The pro-EC side will argue that it protects us against fraud and even saved out collective butts in 2000 by concentrating the legal battles to a small area rather than allowing them to range across the country. However, this is only the case because the majority of States have decided to allocate 100% of their Electoral Votes to the candidate who wins a majority (or plurality) of their state's popular vote. In fact, Nebraska and Maine have systems that allow the possibility that their Electoral Votes be split, depending on the specific outcomes of local voting. So it is possible, in principle, that all 50 states could adopt a system to proportionally split up their Electoral Votes, thereby negating many of the purported advantages of the EC.

While I readily admit any such change in the state-by-state Electoral Vote allocation rules is highly to absolutely unlikely, the protections of the EC are not inherent in the federal system.

So, we have a system that does provide at least some of the protections cited by its supporters. However, I think that one of the most often cited examples is either misleading, misunderstood, or I'm just missing something.

Proponents of the EC often claim that without the EC candidates would totally ignore small states and states where they would be likely to get the smallest increase in votes per campaign hour spent. So, the argument goes, John Kerry would have spent a ton of time in Massachusetts trying to pump up support from his 62% up higher and higher. Conversely, he would have spent less time in Ohio battling for that last percentage point to tip the scales ever so slightly in his favor in order to reap the large EC payoff.

First off, do the voters in Massachusetts that would have taken Kerry from 62% to 70% have any less inherent value than the voters that would have taken him from 49% to 51% in Ohio? In other words, is it better for our country for Kerry to try to convince 2% of Ohio residents or for him to try to convince 8% of Massachusetts’s residents? In terms of straight numbers, obviously convincing an additional 8% of voters from one area is more significant than getting 2% more from another area.

However, the argument could be made that it's better for the country if Presidential candidates are forced to spread themselves evenly around the country, rather than just concentrating on the places where they already have a large percentage of the vote locked up. But let's think about that for a second. First, this argument assumes that Kerry even could have convinced more Mass residents to vote for him. Is there any reason to suspect that this is the case? I don't know, but there certainly is an upper limit on the percentage anyone is going to get in any state, period. Secondly, under the current system it is obvious that a candidate needs support from all over the country to be elected. Would the situation be any different with a straight popular vote?

Looking at the electoral results by state, it appears that Bush is very popular in those pesky 'fly over' states and Kerry was very popular on the coast. However, if you examine the electoral results by county (as I'm sure many of you have), an entirely different pattern emerges: Kerry wins in cities and Bush wins out in the country.

So, within a given state where the EC votes are all or none and only the popular vote matters, where did Bush campaign relative to Kerry? By the logic of the pro-EC crowd Bush should have only spent time out in the countryside while Kerry should have never left the city limits. After all, it only makes sense to try to run up your popular vote totals where you're already supported, right?

Did this happen, even in the all-important battle ground states? I don't have the raw data, but it was my impression that Kerry was out there asking: "Can I get me a hunting license here?" and Bush spent as much time in the cities as out in the hill-and-dale.

I don't necessarily know that this reasoning can be extending to a national level, but it's at least worth some thought.





Homespun Symposium

Homespun Bloggers has added a new feature: Homespun Symposium. Each week there will be a question posed by one of our members. Each blogger will have the opportunity to post on the topic and the links will be collected in the weekly post at the Homespun blog. This week's question was chosen by yours truly. Check the post through the week as new links will be posted each day.


Evolution vs. Intelligent Design: Round 11

Recently I've been giving some more thought to the underlying issues of the Evolution vs. ID debate. Since the data we have available neither confirm nor refute either 'theory' completely, we are left to either argue minutea or grand concepts, neither of which really resolve the issue. So, in this post I am going to make an attempt to lay out why I think Evolution is closer to a scientific Theory than is ID, and why I think this leads directly to the conclusion that Evolution has a much better chance of being 'proven' correct than does the latter (for some discussion of what is, and is not, a Theory see what I had to say here and what David thought of it (also related)).

Here is what the ID crowd would have you believe. First off, Microevolution is perfectly acceptable. Microevolution basically theorizes that small genetic changes over a few generations in a population of organisms can lead to noticeable changes in their appearance and/or function. This is obvious if one considers the development of domesticated dogs from wolves. In this case, there is no fundamental change in body structure except for those of size, color, etc. So, we have a 'new' animal but it is so closely related to the old one that we do not see a new body plan or fundamental biochemical or genetic differences.

IDers, however, claim that even many instances of Microevolution over time in a population cannot account for the great diversity of Life we see all around us. It is somewhat unclear, to me at least (and perhaps this is because there is no consensus among the ID crowd) just how insufficient Microevolution is to produce Macroevolution. Some argue that new body forms cannot be attained by Evolution while others focus on Evolution's inability to produce irreducibly complex systems. However, I think that the development of new body forms is dependent on new irreducibly complex (IC) systems, so let's focus on that.

Michael Behe is the first person I ran across arguing that IC systems cannot be constructed by small changes being positively and/or negatively selected over time (i.e., Evolution). As a matter of fact he devoted an entire book to the topic. He argues that only IC systems are outside the productive power of Evolution and he readily asserts that non-IC systems could easily be constructed by natural selection acting on genetic variation. In my experience, Behe's argument is the ID argument phrased in the most simple and basic terms. So...let's take a look at what his hypothesis requires us to accept.

Behe identifies multiple IC systems in his book and other writings. These systems' functions, he says, are 100% dependent on the function of all their components. If one is missing, the whole thing falls apart. This sounds like a very formidable problem for Evolution to overcome, and one might even be tempted to conclude that Evolution could not possibly produce such a system.

If you ascribe to Behe's brand of ID hypothesizing, then here is what (I think) you must accept. First, any IC system is identified by virtue of the fact that....what? We point out IC systems based on what criteria? The only criteria that I can find support for is this: A system is IC if Michael Behe cannot think of a way that it could be constructed in small steps. So what happens if, as I have asked previously, he's wrong in identifying one or more of his example systems as IC? If someone demonstrates that one of his IC systems could be constructed by Evolution, would the entire Intelligent Design hypothesis be refuted...or just that one example? Based on the fact that there are no set criteria for defining an IC system, I suppose the answer is that only that one example would be refuted. But, don't forget that this also implies that every supposedly-IC system is vulnerable to similar demonstrations of non-IC-ness.

So, in order to believe that ID is correct based on the IC argument, one must assert that:
1) Only IC systems are outside the creative power of Evolution.
2) IC systems are not identified by any definable criteria, but that's ok because we trust Dr. Behe's judgment.
3) All IC systems are the special and unique creation of God (or some supernatural being).

So, someone might very well come back with the fact that not all ID adherents fall into Dr. Behe's particular camp. They might very well argue all sorts of other theories dealing with the specifics of ID. So, here are the things one must believe to adhere to ID of any variety:
1) Evolution is insufficient to produce the many species and body types of Life.
2) Those species and body types were each produced in special, unique (i.e., one-time-only) events by God (or Whomever).

Either way the common feature of all ID arguments is that, at some time in the past, a Being with powers we do not (cannot?) understand created all __ (IC systems or species/body types). While this is a perfectly reasonable thing to believe it is, by definition, not science.

While David has pointed out that Macroevolution is not technically a Theory because it (supposedly) fails to provide testable predictions, it seems to me that it is at least a testable hypothesis whereas ID is not. You can argue all you want, but if ID posits that God created each species (or each IC system) individually then we have what amounts to as a bunch of miracles. Science, as I've mentioned before, has absolutely nothing to say about miracles. That does not mean that the existence of miracles is denied by science, but only that science cannot have anything intelligent to say about them since they are, by definition, not reproducible. So, in order to define Intelligent Design as a scientific theory (or even hypothesis) we would have to agree to interject miracles into a working model. Specifically, the model would go something like this:

Natural Selection acts on genetic variation to produce most systems except those that are Irreducibly Complex. When needed for the continued Evolution of Life, IC systems are created by an unknowable mechanism, allowing Evolution to continue.

Such a model would necessitate a total redefinition of what we mean by Science. While this is not, a priori, unacceptable I think that we should hold off undertaking such drastic measures if we have a simpler model that fits not only data but also the fundamental nature of Science itself.

Enter Evolution. It advances the idea that not only is the event of speciation (or creation of a new supposedly-IC system) is possible invoking simple and reproducible events. Further, it is entirely within the realm of possibility that we might just be able to recreate the defining event of Macroevolution in the lab, namely speciation or demonstrate that a supposedly-IC system is, in fact, Reducibly Complex. While these are certainly not trivial tasks, there is no principle inherent in the Theory of Evolution that rules this out as a possibility. The same cannot be said for Intelligent Design.

In conclusion...there are things in this universe we might be completely incapable of understanding. This does not mean, however, that we should identify the really tough problems, figure that they're unsolvable and just give up.


Something just occurred to me that should have been obvious before. Much has (rightly) been made of Evolution's (in)ability to make testable predictions. This is true in a strict, laboratory sense. However, there are other ways to skin a saber-tooth tiger. In addition to predicting the outcome of yet-to-be-done experiments, a Hypothesis or Theory can also be evaluated by its ability to predict the a yet-to-be-made-discovery. A case in point is this paper reporting a fossil that appears to show one of T. rex's little cousins with feathers. Apparently (and I'm taking the word of the authors here), this characteristic had been predicted prior to the discovery of an actual example. This prediction was made based on the assumption that dinosaurs evolved into modern-day birds. This single datum supports Evolution being defined as a Theory as opposed to a Hypothesis or just a some crazy ranting of a guy from the 19th century.


Good news from Afghanistan

Chrenkoff is back at it with his 6th installment of Good News from Afghanistan. Check it out and learn what the Media isn't bothering to tell you.


Sunday, November 14, 2004


Best Of Homespun Bloggers

The Best Of Homespun Bloggers is up. Check back tomorrow for the Topic of the Week and links to Homespuners who have taken up the challenge.


Saturday, November 13, 2004


The Basis Of Government

I meant to link to this earlier in the week but I got sidetracked. It's always refreshing to see someone step back and talk about what is and is not actually in the Constitution. Here's a bit:

After a variety of conversations with people on how our country can move forward I have come to the conclusion that most of them need to read the Constitution before having that conversation. There is a very limited understanding of what that document says, and yet it is written in plain English and is not difficult to understand. This country was set up so that most power was retained by the states and the people, not the Federal government. But, to avoid situations that many are concerned with, for example a same sex couple who is legally married in California being considered not legally married in Nevada, the framers put this in.

Article 4, Section 1: "Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State."
Read the whole thing.


Friday, November 12, 2004


Ditches In Europe

One of the arguments I hear from ceratin quarters regarding illegal immigrants in the US is that they are providing a very necessary service. This 'underground economy' is supposedly composed of illegals doing the work that (and I quote) "Americans won't do." So, this story got me wondering: Are the hoity-toity Europeans more willing than us Americans to do undesirable jobs?

And...we should not neglet to realize that the Europeans are supposed to be the all-caring, loving Socalists. What are they doing turning back the teeming masses? All these people want is what the Euros have. You know, 'free' health care, 'free' education, etc.


My, What Beautiful Eyes You'll Have

Here we go...

Characteristics such as height, eye colour and intelligence could be selected if women undergoing fertility treatment are given more freedom to pick the donated sperm, egg or embryo.
This is obviously not the "genetic engineering" that I am still predicting will eventually come to be accepted. It is, however, an early step. As things stand today I think there would be a public uproar if someone where able to truly design a child, but they might just be able to get away with this. With this established and accepted, the next phase will be to actively choose specific charactists one at a time and in a much more accurate way than just choose a sperm and/or egg donor.


Thursday, November 11, 2004


Black Box In Your Car

That's right folks. Big Brother may soon be riding shotgun:

Privacy experts warn that once cars are outfitted for the most limited data recording, the government will find a way to argue it’s for drivers’ "own good" to collect more. They point to a push in recent years to install GPS in all cars so that emergency officials can easily find incapacitated accident victims.

"When you are telling someone it is for their own good, then it should be their own choice, they should be able to say ‘no,’" said professor Yale Kamisar of the University of Michigan Law School. "None of these things work out the way they are supposed to. Why should we believe all of these assurances when they haven’t been honored in the past?"
Umm...duh! Anyone who tells you that the government will never get their hands on this and that the types of information collected will be limited to "X" is either stupid or lying through their teeth. It's that simple.

Here's the thing that really killed me:

According to Joe Osterman, director of highway safety at the NTSB, the recommendation was inspired in part by a tragic auto accident involving a 86-year-old man who drove his car into a crowded Santa Monica farmers’ market last summer, killing 10 and injuring 63.

Osterman said a black box in the car might have not saved the people in the crash, but would have allowed investigators to find out how it happened and how cars could be better designed to reduce the likelihood of greater injury in the future.
Let's see, I've got an idea. We could have saved all those people that died on the street by taking away that guy's driver's license! Does this joker honestly want me to believe that a black box is going to help tell us what went wrong? I'll save us all a lot of time, money and freedom...an old guy got confused and drove his car into a crowed street and killed people. I'm really pretty amazing, if I do say so myself. I just figured all that out without resorting to an invasive Black Box.

If you need any more answers just email me and include a PayPal transfer of $100 per inquiry. I'll be waiting for the cash to start rolling in.


Fight Early And Fight Often

That's right folks, I have taken the plunge and joined Blogs Against Hillary. Why? It should be obvious:

Imagine waking up almost 4 years from now. It's November 5th, 2008. The day after the next Presidential Election. You turn on your radio and the next thing you hear is " PRESIDENT ELECT HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON." Sounds pretty scary doesn't it?? Fear is a great motivator, and if the thought of 4 years of Hill and Bill doesn't scare you, then I don't know what else would! That's why I decided to create this site long in advance of that day. The time is now, my conservative friends. We must prepare for what is to come in the next few years. Hillary is going to run, and with that the Clintonistas will be back in force. This site will be dedicated to stopping them....
The button is at the bottom of my sidebar. Check them out.



Rest In Hell


Wednesday, November 10, 2004



Grrr. Count one in the Liberal column for Bush. I suppose it possible he's playing politics. Something like giving the Left this issue up front so that he'll have some more cards to play when it comes time to decimate the IRS or push Tort reform.

I just hate the precedent this sort of thing sets. It sends the message that we're not really serious about insisting that people enter the country legally. We'll stop the ones who aren't good at it and send them back. But...if you manage to make it in and survive for a while, we'll eventually get around to officially forgetting that you broke our laws and let you stay. Great message to send.


Tuesday, November 09, 2004


Racial Preferences In Law School Admissions

As I mentioned before, Rick Sander is guest-blogging at Volokh on the issue of race in law school admissions. Today was the second installment (here is the first). These are well worth reading. He is doing a very good job of turning the huge study he published into something everyone can understand. Here's the money paragraph so far:

Taking the graduation effect and the bar effect together, and one finds that only 45% of blacks who started law school in 1991 graduated and passed the bar on their first attempt (compared to 80% of whites). Again, this is not a "racial" effect, but a preferences effect. I find in my analysies that the graduate-and-pass rate for blacks would rise to 74% in a preference-free system -- still a little lower than the white rate, but only because the distribution of black credentials is lower than the white distribution.
Read it all. Interesting stuff.


When Democrats Speak...

...you really get a clear view into their psyche (or is it psychosis?).

Carville 1: The purpose of a political party is to win elections, and we're not doing that. Yes...but should that be at least ideally subservient to advancing the best interests of the country? Maybe it's just me.

Carville 2: The party needs a narrative...an aggressively reform, anti-Washington, anti-business-as-usual party. Sorry, that position is already occupied. Unless the article misquoted him and he actually said something like 'we need to be the "anti-business" party'. That would be convenient because they've already got that one covered.

Shrum: All the polls appeared to be moving in the right direction...We thought, 'We're ahead in the battleground states, we'll win in the battleground states.' Problem #1, they care about polls. Problem #2, they believe polls.

Remember, the best way to beat the Left is to just let them talk.


Monday, November 08, 2004


Good News From Iraq: Part 14

Arthur's got another amazing installment of Good News From Iraq. Give it a read and remember, the Media isn't telling you the whole story.


Further Improving Homespun

It looks like Homespun Bloggers is going to add another dimension. In addition to the weekly Best Of, we are going to pick a Topic of the Week and let loose. All posts will be linked to from Homespun so it'll be easy to see what everyone has to say. Check it out and feel free to leave any suggestions you might have. And, as always, membership is open to just about anyone. What to know if you 'qualify'? Check out the membership deal.



Could it be that Howard Dean will seek to replace the failure McAwful? If I were (shiver) a Democrat I would be of two minds on this one. One the one hand Dean is a pure Leftist. He has proven that he will stick to any and all sorts of crazy Liberal ideals. In that sense, cool. At the very least the Dems would have a chance to become a 'pure' Party.

On the other hand, Howard Dean is crazy. I mean, out of his mind, conversing with ruminants, sort of crazy. This may not be the best attribute in a Party leader.

As a Conservative, I wouldn't mind seeing Dean at the head of the Party. With Algore, Soros and Moore fading into the sunset, I'm getting a little bored. I say: Bring him on!! AAAHHHH!!!


Crying For Arafat

I'd be pissed if my tax dollars were supporting this crap.


Electoral College

Finally, someone who agrees with me (via Backcountry Conservative). I think this editorial is correct. One of the strongest arguments for the EC is that it protects small states from being ignored. I think the counterpoint is that the EC guarantees that any states that are not close in the polls will be ignored. But hey, read the (short) opinion piece and make up your own mind.


Tougher Stance On North Korea?

Would Clinton have actually ordered nuclear weapons dropped on North Korea in the event of an invasion into the South? I have my doubts, but the very existence of such a plan makes the question Will Bush take a tougher stance on North Korea? somewhat comical. Of course, the stance that Clinton actually took on N. Korea was significantly different than the one implied by these heretofore secret documents. Regardless, to all those detractors of Bush's multilateral talks, consider Slick Willie's plans for NK.


Sunday, November 07, 2004


Troops Into Fallujah

May God Go With Our Fighting Men!

"You're all in the process of making history," Kent [Sgt. Maj. Carlton W. Kent, the top enlisted Marine in Iraq] told a crowd of some 2,500 Marines. "This is another Hue city in the making. I have no doubt, if we do get the word, that each and every one of you is going to do what you have always done - kick some butt."

(My emphasis and, I'm sure, Sgt. Maj. Kent's as well.)


Best Of Homespun

The Best of Homespun is up. Check it out. Great blogging, as always.


Stop The Presses!!

France attacks unilaterally!


Affirmative Action In Law Schools

Rick Sander is guest-blogging at the Volokh Conspiracy to help publicize his new article about the effects of Affirmative Action in law schools. It's an extremely long paper and so he has decided to write four short pieces at Volokh to explain what his research has uncovered to us in the unwashed masses with respect to legal jargon. So head over the Volokh next week to see what he has to say. I'll try to remember to link as the posts appear.


Shredding Abortion Myths

After Abortion has a great 15-part series on abortion myths as supplied by Planned Parenthood on their website. It's a long bit of reading but the point is well argued and definitely worth your time, whichever side of the issue you're currently on.

Here is Part 15 and the links to all the other installments are at the very bottom of that post.


Evolution vs. ID, Round 10 - Evolution in the Classroom

Here is another local school board decision that has already caught national attention:

Theories other than evolution to be taught in Grantsburg

Essentially, the deal is that the local school board decided that science education should not be "inclusive of just one scientific theory." I'm sure that my ID friends out there (hopefully) reading this will be satisfied that the scientific theory of Intelligent Design has been recognized by yet another academic entity.

For my money, I'm still not entirely convinced that ID is a true scientific hypothesis. Certainly, it is not a theory in the literal sense. In reality:

In popular usage, a theory is just a vague and fuzzy sort of fact and a hypothesis is often used as a fancy synonym to `guess'. But to a scientist a theory is a conceptual framework that explains existing observations and predicts new ones.


A hypothesis is a working assumption. Typically, a scientist devises a hypothesis and then sees if it ``holds water'' by testing it against available data (obtained from previous experiments and observations). If the hypothesis does hold water, the scientist declares it to be a theory.
This is not splitting hairs. The fact is that ID certainly does not rise above the level of Hypothesis. So this school district is going to dictate that a Hypothesis is taught as an alternative to Evolutionary Theory.

I'm sure that some would argue that while microevolution is definitely a Theory (as it can used to predict future outcomes), macroevolution is not. I would counter that macroevolution, while not directly testable today, provides the most consistent (if imperfect) framework that is currently available to explain Life as we know it. Further, it is conceivable that macroevolution could be directly tested in the future. All that would be required is to observe the development of a true new species (of, say, bacteria) in the lab. To my knowledge this has not been attempted, but I do think it is possible. The same cannot be said for Intelligent Design.

Intelligent Design, as I have mentioned previously, is based entirely on negative arguments. Its proponents argue that Evolution is insufficient and then advance their own theory that A --> B --> And then a miracle occurs --> Life. While the same could be said for macroevolution, the difference is that Evolution has the potential to scientifically explain the existence of Life, while ID will always have to appeal to a 'higher power' that, by its very nature, is outside the realm of science.

So, as I said before, this school district is going to teach a Hypothesis as an alternative to a Theory in science class. This is unacceptable because there are any number of Hypotheses that are supported by only making negative arguments against an accepted Theory (I'm sure you could come up with a few dozen without much trouble).

In the end I think that Evolution will win out for the simple reason that, by its very nature, science eventually ascertains the Truth. The question is: How time and $$ are we going to spend in the meantime? The answer will be directly proportional to the weight that ID is given in our education system.


Friday, November 05, 2004



With all the talk about a final offensive against the Terrorists hiding out in Fallujah I am reminded of this story I blogged in early October. I wonder what we'll find when we finally get a hold of Fallujah (aside from a bunch of dead and dying bad guys, of course).


Thank ___ They're So Smart

All I can say is Thank _____ some Democrats are so smart. What would we do without them telling us how smart they are?

The only question I'll bother asking about that idiot Slate piece is: Who said anybody hates Democrats?

I find it humorous that the Left equates being out-voted with hatred and ignorance. Quite telling.


And if you're wondering about the "Thank ___", I certainly wouldn’t way to use the Big Guy's name...after all, being religious is ignorant.


More Cool Science Stuff

The latest issue of Science has some serious cool stuff going on. One in particular caught my attention because it is the sort of thing used by IDers in the Evolution vs. Intelligent Design debate (latest Round here).

Type III secretion systems are bacteria's way of moving certain proteins across their membrane. They're sort of like syringes and very complex (some might even say irreducibly so =0). The machinery has been adapted for a number of purposes including injecting toxins into cells (ours) and for exporting structural proteins needed outside the cell. Anyway, I'm really posting this so I can show you the picture. Here is the link, but since I'm guessing it's not available for free, I'll just post the picture too.

Type III Secretion System Posted by Hello

All right, I know. I'm really revealing my dorky side...but I just thought these were too cool to resist.


Global Warming?

Not if you're using the multi-year drought in the Western US. Here's what Science has to say:

How Dry It Has Been

Much of the western United States continues to experience a multiyear drought, and planners are wondering if there will be adequate water available to fill the growing thirst of an expanding population. How unusual is such a drought? Cook et al. (p. 1015, published online 7 October 2004) used a large set of tree ring data for the past 1200 years to compile a regional summer drought reconstruction for the western United States. The current dry period is far less severe than those that occurred repeatedly during most of the last millennium. A 400-year-long period with long intervals of extreme aridity, which began in about 900 A.D. and is roughly coincident with the Medieval Warm Period, suggests that aridity may be a natural consequence of higher temperatures in the warmer world of the near future.
One more data point that suggests it was not industrialization that caused warm temperatures.


The Left Needs A Mirror

Much along the lines of what I said yesterday, Rush has some good points about what the Left needs to do to get the Extreme-Left Democratic Party back on track:

He [Clinton] went to Florida. Bush carried Florida. He went to Arkansas. Bush carried Arkansas. He went to Philadelphia, and Kerry was going to carry Philadelphia anyway no matter what Fast Eddie Rendell had to do there to make it happen. Clinton continues to hurt Democrats when he goes out, when it comes to their electoral chances. But if you're unwilling to accept the fact that George W. Bush is more popular in the country than Bill Clinton ever was then you as a Democrat have a chance to understand what you face and where you are. If you're unwilling to accept that, the days of darkness and despair are many in your future.
Until you get honest with yourselves, you're in for a lot of disappointment.



Chirac should be absolutely and totally ignored. I can't think of even a single use for this loser:

He (Chirac) will snub a meeting with Iraqi PM Iyad Allawi in Brussels today. It is a sleight aimed at Mr Bush and Tony Blair, who back Mr Allawi.


However Chirac DID find time to visit Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in hospital yesterday.
'Nuff said.


Blogs For Bush Lives On

Matt says that Blogs for Bush is going to have life in the post 2004 election world. After Inauguration Day the blog is going to change its name to GOPbloggers.com and I am confident that the high quality and power of the Conservative blogosphere will continue without interruption.

Matt, thank you for all your hard work. I, for one, and happy to see Blogs for Bush live on as the unifying force it has become. Keep up the great work.


Thursday, November 04, 2004


Saddam, A Trial And Evidence

I (and some Derbyshire guy) called it. Any trial we might want to put Saddam through will actually be a "trial", complete with appropriate "scare quotes". For reasons that become painfully obvious if you read the two pieces linked to above, any Saddam "trial" will be a mockery of justice and have the potential to get a truly evil SOB off the hook.

I bring this up now because of a nice little article I found via The Command Post. Since it's so short here's the whole thing:

The US-based organization, Human Rights Watch, says it is likely that vital evidence needed in Iraq for the forthcoming trials of the deposed president Saddam Hussein and other officials, has been lost or tainted.

The organization says American-led coalition forces failed to secure important sites after last year's invasion of Iraq.

Human Rights Watch says that the coalition's failure to prevent or minimize the looting and destruction of government buildings in April of 2003, led to the wide spread removal of state archives.

The coalition subsequently failed to put in place expertise and assistance needed to ensure proper classification, and exhumation procedures.

In some areas, it says, coalition soldiers watched as villagers or families of people who disappeared during Saddam Hussein's rule dug up remains at mass grave-sites.
First off, our soldiers were in the process of killing the enemy. I don't think we train our Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen to be CSI detectives. Last time I checked the purpose of our Armed Forces was to kill people and break things.

So now we've got a "human rights" group (yep, more "scare quotes") who appears to be laying the groundwork for future protests that there is not enough evidence that Saddam was directly responsible for the horrible things that happened while he was his old Benevolent Dictator self. The answer is simple: Kill Him. That is the clearest message we could possibly send. If you are evil, we will kill you.

It truly sickens me to see Americans (or anyone, for that matter) take the side of a brutal dictator because all the evidentiary procedures were not followed in the middle of a war zone.

In the end I have confidence that the Iraqis will do what needs to be done. In the meantime, at least we get to see the true colors of some of these "human rights" groups.


Tremble, Ye Democrats

To listen to the Media and the Left (as if there's a difference) you'd think the US is divided. Heck, looking at this map you might even come to the same conclusion.

But...take a look at this map and then tell me that we're a Nation Divided. I'd say a better characterization is a sea of Red surrounding the tiniest pockets of Blue.


No Joy In Mudville...

...for the not-so-mighty Kerry has struck out.

This year we've seen one Curse broken, and another kept intact. Not since 1918 had Boston won the World Series...and not since JFK had a Senator been elected Presient.

It's been interesting to watch the reactions of various people here in the Liberal North East. You'd almost think the sky was falling. I've had liberal friends tell me that the feel 'disconnected' from the country, that they'd like to move to Canada (not so fast), and that the New England should secede from the country.

To my liberal friends who say they feel 'disconnected' from the country, you probably are. As Ann points out in her most recent column, the 11 marriage amendments did better than Bush himself in those states. That should tell us that even Democrats voting for Kerry were in favor of the amendments. That would definitely put the Democratic leadership (Daschle and friends, ha!) and bigwigs (Soros, Moore, Moveon, etc.) completely out of touch with the rank and file. If the party wants to survive and get back into contention they're going to need to find the next generation Zell Miller...or at least someone who 1) has morals and principles and 2) is in line with the majority of today’s Democrats. Essentially, the term Liberal needs to be taken back by people who disagree with the politics of Conservatism, but have (at some point in their lives) seen an abortion they didn't like and a caribou they didn't mind killing.

The other comment that I found quite revealing was the one about New England seceding from the Union. Obviously this is just frustration talking, but I think it might indicate something more deep and significant. The Liberals of NE tend, in my experience, to be more along the lines of Kerry, Soros, Moore, etc. There's nothing inherently wrong with having those views (although there is a lot wrong with the way some of them go about doing business). However, the underlying flaw that seems to be shared by a lot of people in this area is that they think the 'other side' is so bad that they can't possibly live with that 'other side' winning. That, to me, indicates a general lack of self-confidence. A winner is a winner regardless of a competition’s outcome. As the late, great Vince Lombardi said: We didn't lose the game; we just ran out of time. It's not that I think any of my liberal friends are 'losers.' Quite the opposite, they are very successful. However, the comments I have heard no few of them make indicates a losing attitude.

Part of me is fine with that losing attitude from the Left. It means that Conservatism is more and more likely to win, which makes me happy. However, I honestly want a competitive Democratic Party. The reasons for this are simple. The failings of the Democratic Party are obvious. They have gotten to this point, in part, because they were essentially unchallenged for many years. With the Old Liberal Media (pre cable and internet news) they could make pronouncements and it would be taken as fact. Republicans, on the other hand, played second fiddle for decades in Congress. They became the minority party of opposition (without friends in the Media) and, therefore, were forced to construct arguments.

So now we have two parties. On the Left, we have a Party in disarray and shambles because they allowed themselves to get sloppy. On the Right we have a Party that has been forced to hone its skills of reasoning and thought and so, is ideologically strong. Fortunately, with the New Media I don't think that even decades of Republican domination of Government will cause a downfall like that of the Democrats. However, the danger does still exist and we must be wary of it.

In the end I hope that the Left finds the self-confidence to take a hard and honest look at themselves and finally admit their faults and shortcomings. That is the only way they will pick themselves off the ground and get back into the fight. For the good of the country, get to it already!


Wednesday, November 03, 2004


Not Americans

To these people I say Good Riddance!

If they can't abide by the results of a fair and open election, then they don't deserve to be called American and they should leave. For those of you who think that the results are the results whether your guy won or not, I thank you for that. The rest of you can go rot in socialism.


Bush's Acceptance Speech

The speech was obviously filled with lots of thanks, etc., etc. But the on thing that stuck out was the reference to reforming the tax code. I don't know what he has in mind, but (aside from Terrorism and Congressional Term Limits) I think simplifying our tax code holds amazing potential for good. Imagine the increase in productivity if individuals and businesses no longer had to keep such close track of everything. If we could just make it simple enough that a dope like me could do it with my eyes closed I really think we'd see some solid and tangible benefits. Here's hoping.


Kerry Conceds

The AP is reporting that Kerry has conceded (as of about 11 minutes ago).

If it's true, then I salute Kerry for doing the right thing.


Drudge Says...

Kerry tells President Bush he will concede White House race at 1 PM ET...


V for Victory

Bush is going to win. I have no doubt.

I am also loving the Senate and House results!

Two questions:

1) How do Democrats oust a Republican Senate leader?
Answer: They hound him when he says nice things about an old man at his birthday party until he quits.

2) How do Republicans oust a Democratic Senate leader?
Answer: Vote him out!


Question 3: Kerry cannot win the popular vote, so where are all the Leftists conceding the election?
Answer: The only thing that concerns the Left is regaining power. The don't care about "mandates" unless it benefits their side to claim the lack of one.

Of course, extending the Left's 2000 reasoning, even if Kerry wins he would have lost the popular vote so resoundingly that he would be absolutely prohibited from doing anything without running it by the House, Senate, each state's Governor, and me personally. Fortunately, Bush is going to pull out enough of the remaining states that everyone seems too afraid to call and that will be the end of the story.


Tuesday, November 02, 2004


CNN and CA

What's up with CNN calling CA at about 11:01pm (Eastern Standard Time)? Their polls closed at 11pm. Did CNN get a message from the future or something? I'm sure they're right since there's almost no chance that CA is going Red...but shouldn't they, being a national news source, at least wait until they have some actualy data? Just a thought.


Evolution vs. ID Round 9 - Defining Victory

In an attempt to stay sane on this Election Day, I have been studiously avoiding as much political news as possible. So, here's what I've been thinking about instead...

In Round 5 I wrote the following:

Now we see systems to which we cannot ascribe intermediate states and so some conclude that they were actively designed by an intelligent force. In the future, we may very well find that intermediate state, disproving at least one example in support of ID. But would that really be the case? Would we really only be disproving one example in support of ID? I would argue that finding a single example refuting even one system previously 'shown' to be IC would destroy the entire system and relegate Intelligent Design to its own place in the trash bin of history. Why? Read on.
From there I basically argue that since ID has no positive arguments (only negative ones against Evolution, etc.) and so disproving any one of Behe's Irreducibly Complex examples would destroy the whole hypothesis. While there is some merit to that reasoning, let me revise that somewhat...

In remainder of this post I will try to define what Victory might look like if the Theory of Evolution wins. I'll hold off defining what an ID victory might look like for now. I'm interested to see what you IDers might think before polluting the discussion with my own thoughts. I should mention, however, that disproving the validity of Evolution does not constitute a Victory for ID. Not only must the IDers show that Evolution is lacking...but they must also show that ID is sufficient to explain Life (or at least the aspects of Life to which IDers would ascribe ID).

I think the best way to define victory for the theory of Evolution is to take on Michael Behe. Why? Simply put, I think Dr. Behe provides some of the best and most reasonable critiques and challenges to Evolution I have yet had the pleasure of encountering. Essentially, he seems to take the position that natural selection acting on genetic variation (a.k.a. Evolution) can produce many of the aspects of Life as we know it. His problem with Evolution is that there are some systems that, he claims, cannot be produced by gradual change. He calls these systems Irreducibly Complex because they are functional only as a whole and (apparently) have no function otherwise. Therefore, he reasons, these systems cannot have been produced by Evolution and must have come into existence via Intelligent Design. (See here for some further discussion of the potential pitfalls of the Irreducibly Complex argument.)

In his book, Darwin's Black Box, Dr. Behe goes into great depth about various systems he considers Irreducibly Complex (IC). The details are not important here, but only the fact that he identifies a number of these systems. Obviously, it is quite possible that any number of these supposedly-IC systems might turn out to be Reducibly Complex, and therefore able to be produced by Evolution. Such an example would not win the argument for Evolution, since there would still be other, supposedly-IC, systems that 'could not' be produced by Evolution.

However, proving that all of Behe's supposedly-IC systems in that particular book would not even definitively win the argument because someone might very well come up with more.

So, I suppose that I would be willing to settle for proving that just a few of Behe's example systems are non-IC. That would at least demonstrate that even someone as intelligent and dedicated as Dr. Behe is not able to definitely identify an IC system. That being the case, it would be safe to conclude that there are no solid criteria for inclusion in the list of IC systems and, therefore, the very existence of IC systems would be called into serious question. That being the case, it would be far safer to assume that all systems have the potential to be produced by Evolution and the only reason a system might appear otherwise is that our knowledge is currently lacking. That would be about as close to Victory as I can readily imagine.

I would love to hear from anyone with thoughts on this. I would especially like to hear from IDers concerned with defining what Victory might look like for their side. Feel free to email or leave your thoughts in the Comments.

Happy Evolving, IDing and/or Voting =).


Feathery Tyrannosauroids?

In the vein of the Evolution vs. ID debate, I thought I'd direct your attention to an interesting article concerning feathers (also a less technical comment here). Apparently, a fossil from a cousin of the well-known T. rex has been found with evidence that it had protofeathers. While these structures are not identical to those of modern birds, it is yet another piece of evidence that supports Evolution (especially because the ID people have used feathers as irreducibly complex structures that could not possibly have developed via small changes over time).


Monday, November 01, 2004


Robbins' Good News

Although he may have stolen the title from our friend Arthur, he's got a great article nonetheless:

To fill the gap left by the al Qaqaa munitions story that was preempted by the New York Times, 60 Minutes ran a feature Sunday night on the travails of our fighting forces in Iraq. It portrayed an under-equipped military placed in danger by flawed policies and politicians more interested in pork than protecting our troops. It was typical of that kind of story, chiefly anecdotal and drawing conclusions out of proportion to the particulars presented. I keep waiting for some fact-based stories on the up-armored M1114 Humvee. There are currently 5,100 operational in Iraq with 724 more en route. This is in addition to the 8,700 armor kits (CBS referred to these as "so-called 'add-on armor' kits") sent to Iraq to upgrade standard Humvees. But most stories make it sound like our guys are all riding around in pickup trucks. Or take, for example, the notion that we are sending out troops without body armor. The fact is that most of the troops have the finest state-of-the-art body armor in the world, and the rest have the previous generation — which is also better than any other country's body armor. Soon they will all have the latest gear. And the reason why most of the wounds in Iraq are in the extremities is precisely because our armor is so good at protecting the rest of the body.
Read the whole thing.



As you might know, I am decidedly uncomfortable with some aspects of our scientific 'advances.' This is a perfect example:

Cancer-free 'designer babies' get approval

PEOPLE with inherited forms of cancer have won the right to select embryos free from genes that might trigger the disease in future generations, The Times has learnt.
This is all fine and dandy. Who's going to argue with a technology that has the potential to wipe out an inherited form of cancer? The problem is, as always, that his technique will eventually be used to select for 'nonessential' traits. Today it's cancer, tomorrow it'll be eye color. Or maybe athletic ability. Think GATTACA.

For those skeptics out there I am more than willing to take bets. The terms are simple: I say that screening of IVF embryos will eventually be used to select (for or against) some non-lethal and/or some non-essential trait.

Anyone willing to take the bet can send me $$ via PayPal. There's really no need to wait until it happens. The only time when everyone is always definitely wrong when he or she says something will never happen.

I guess there's not much point in continually pointing out these things since no one could (or perhaps even should) stop this sort of progress. There's just something about it that gets under my skin.


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