Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Collective IQ of the Blogosphere Just Went Up

Tammy Bruce joins the revolution. It was just a matter of time until Tammy joined the blogosphere. She has a voice made for blogging: individualistic, smart and passionate. Here is an excerpt of her bio on Talk Radio Network:

Tammy Bruce is an openly gay, pro-choice, gun owning, pro-death penalty, voted-for-President Reagan progressive feminist. Ms. Bruce eviscerates the Feminist Elite's hatred of men, marriage and motherhood, the Black Elite's championing of violent rap, the Gay Elite's "grab for children" by insinuating let-it-all-hang-out Sex-Ed programs into schools, the Academic Elite's nihilism and anti-Americanism, and the Entertainment Elite's "moral depravity beyond measure."
If there were more Democrats like Tammy I might not have left the party.

Update: Oops, fogot to mention the most important fact: I found out about her new blog through Pajamas Media, where she is on the editorial board.
(Via Instapundit)

Friday, September 23, 2005

Root Causes of Terror in Bangladesh

Red Mist has the following insight:

"More than 100 small bombs have exploded almost simultaneously in towns and cities across Bangladesh, police said, including 15 in the capital Dhaka and 20 in the south-eastern port of Chittagong. Police in some affected cities said leaflets - apparently from a recently banned Islamic extremist group calling for the implementation of Islamic law - were found near the scene of the blasts. Mazeedul Haq, Chittagong's police Commissioner, said the leaflets bore the name of the banned Jamayetul Mujahideen and read: "It is time to implement Islamic law in Bangladesh. There is no future with man-made law."

Well we need to remember there is a reason these terrorists inflicted this on the state of Bangladesh. Instead of describing these acts simplistically as "evil", we need to understand the 'root cause' of this anger, to account for the hatred people around the world feel for Bangladesh. Bangladesh needs to revise all the policies which have resulted in the legitimate grievances of these terrorists, including Bangladesh's occupation of Iraq, its massive military and financial support for the apartheid state of Israel, its refusal to sign the Kyoto treaty and its imperialist arrogance on the world stage. Only once Bangladesh stops trying to project global power and agrees to enter dialogue with the understandably inflamed opinion of jihadists will this cycle of violence abate. After all, if someone hates you in a murderous way, you must have done something to deserve it.
(Via Oxblog)

UPATE: Just to be clear, the first section is Red Mist quoting from the article and the second is him commenting on it. I double-indented the article quote, but that makes it look like the remaining text is mine. It isn't.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Ginsberg: Wrong on All Counts

Several people have linked to this article in which Ruth Bader Ginsberg offers advice to President Bush on his nomination for O'Connor's replacement.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg told an audience Wednesday that she doesn't like the idea of being the only female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

I don't much like the idea of her being on the court myself, but I was always too polite to say so.

But in choosing to fill one of the two open positions on the court, "any woman will not do," she said.

There are "some women who might be appointed who would not advance human rights or women's rights," Ginsburg told those gathered at the New York City Bar Association.

Doesn't she realize that advancing causes is not the role of any judge, regardless of gender? The role of a judge is to interpret the law and guard the constitutional protection of existing rights. This single sentence encapsulates the whole problem with liberal judicial theory.


Ginsburg stressed that the president should appoint a "fine jurist," adding that there are many women who fit that mold.

"I have a list of highly qualified women, but the president has not consulted me," Ginsburg said during a brief interview Wednesday night.

No, Madame Justice, I don't suppose he has. It is the role of the Senate to provide "advice and consent" on Presidential appointments. You might have heard of this little thing called the Constitution? Check out Article II, Section 2. Just a thought.

[...]Ginsburg defended some of the justices' references to laws in other countries when making decisions, a practice strongly opposed by some U.S. legislators. The justice said using foreign sources does not mean giving them superior status in deciding cases.

"I will take enlightenment wherever I can get it," she said. "I don't want to stop at a national boundary."

Fair enough: enlightenment is a wonderful thing. Just don't try to make foreign laws binding on American citizens.
I don't usually go in for fisking of this sort, but there were too many points in this short article which just screamed for commentary. We now return to our normal long-winded pontificating mode.

Democrats are pro-Union...

... but are Unions pro-Democrat? Mickey Kaus discusses the question in response to Criticism from Yglesias. Here are a few of Kaus' better points:

[...]It's no accident that unions have shrunk. The clumsy, legalistic mechanism of the Wagner Act--where seniority rules and firing incompetents requires elaborate negotiation--turns out to be a good way to fail to keep up in modern, technology-driven capitalism.

[...]they make the private sector more efficient than government at virtually anything both of them do. The result is a pervasive public cynicism about government efficacy that has done more to undermine the case for government action than union lobbying can ever do to support it.


"Historically," as Yglesias notes, unions have selflessly helped Democrats solve a number of national problems (Social Security, medical care for the elderly, civil rights, worker safety, unemployment insurance). Unfortunately, what's left are the national problems where this New Deal pairing didn't work because unions actively stand in the way of solutions. Two of these problems, in particular, are among our biggest: a) Unionized teachers stand in the way of the educational changes that might ameliorate our twin education crises (inner city disaster and suburban mediocrity). And b) unions stand in the way of the best solution to the welfare problem (and hence the NewOrleans-style underclass problem, and hence the persistent-poverty problem), namely public jobs programs. Unions have always disliked public jobs programs because public jobs workers threaten to perform work that municipal unions and construction unions now perform for far more money (thanks, in part, to the Davis-Bacon Act). In my ideal of liberal activism, we make sure everyone who wants a job has a job. Then we worry about making those jobs pay $40 an hour rather than $8 an hour.
Kaus' suggestions are geared toward strenghtening the Democratic party, which I am not particularly interested in doing. However, depriving the Unions of their political influence would seem to be a good thing for the country in general.

I would particularly like to see the teachers' unions disabled. Kaus does not suggest this, but I have argued before that it would make sense to outlaw all government unions. This would be fair since, unlike private sector employment where regulation actually interferes with commerce and the right to private ownership, government employees work at the behest of the public and the public should be able to control their compensation. No one, in other words, has a right to a job at taxpayer expense. And if it is ruled unconstitutional, why not push for an ammendment? Doesn't reducing the influence of liberalism in public schools make more sense for a social conservative than pushing for a ban on gay marriage? Wouldn't the improved efficiency be more appealing to a fiscal conservative?

This strategy is far too bold for the current Republican leadership, who seem determined to squander their control of two branches of government, but I keep mentioning it in the hope that the proposal will be picked up by someone with the vision to see its advantages.

(Cross-posted at Love America First)

UPDATE: I just noticed Rosemary's post from Tuesday about California Propostion 75 and the CTA's diverting of funds to advertise against it. The measure seeks to give union members the opportunity to keep their dues from being used in political campaigns they don't approve of. This is a much less visionary proposition than mine, but it seems like a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Replacing Kofi

Roger L. Simon is taking a poll of possbile replacements for Kofi Annan when the Oil-for-Food scandal finally brings him down. I am not holding my breath on that one, but I did want to get a vote in for Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf, the former Iraqi Information Minister. Yulia Tymoshenko was also suggested, being out of work and all.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Helping Huricane Victims in Houston

This email was forwarded to me by my pastor. I don't know Dr. Crenshaw personally, but his reputation in our little denomination is very high:

Dear Folks,
This is an email broadcast to my friends and relatives help the flood victims. You may already be doing something, and that is great, but if not here is an opportunity.

As you may know, we in Houston are receiving large numbers of flood victims. This is an opportunity for the Church to rise to the occasion to help. Our particular church, St Francis REC, is getting involved. I've talked to the Salvation Army here, and they are doing what they can. But they need a huge number of supplies and will continue to have a need for some time. If you would like to help us "on the front lines," as it were, send a tax deductible contradiction to my church, St Francis REC, 18018 Deep Brook, Spring, TX 77379. We are purchasing materials from Walmart and the dollar stores, and I'm personally taking these to them. 100% of what you give will go to them. My time is voluntary. We are also getting Bibles, New Testaments, etc, any good Christian literature, to take also. This is a great opportunity to meet people's need in the name of Christ. Besides, Matt 25:40ff gives us great motivation to do so!

We would like for people to consider this not a one time donation but an ongoing thing for several months. We'll let you know when the needs are met.

In His grace,
Curtis Crenshaw
For good measure, here is the email from my pastor:
Dear Friend,

I'm forwarding you this appeal from Dr. Curtis Crenshaw. Many have felt the need to give financial help to alleviate the huge suffering brought about by the hurricane but weren't sure which agency to fund. There are many worthy groups. This one is as good as they get. Dr. Curtis Crenshaw is the pastor of a parish outside of Houston. He is totally reliable and can be trusted. The money you send to St. Francis R.E.C. in Spring, Texas will be used wisely and holistically towards the needs of the flood victims. Please help.

In Christ,
Fr. Paul
There are also two REC churches in the Baton Rouge area, but I haven't been able to contact them (phone lines are still down). These two parishes are likely to be in critical need of support, so I will try to find info and update it here.

Update: Actually that was quicker than expected. Here is some info on the various gulf-coast parishes in the REC from our denomination's website:
Many of our parishes have desired to show forth the love of Christ by supporting the Katrina relief effort. If you feel so led to donate to this cause, you can send funds to your Diocesan Headquarters and they will make the appropriate disbursements. You may also donate online through the following sites:

The American Anglican Council website.

The American Red Cross website.

OUR GULF COAST PARISHES - Our Houston Headquarters has received many emails and phone calls asking about the status of our parishes along the Gulf Coast. It has been difficult for us to contact some of our priests/parishes since the phone lines are still inoperable. We do know that everyone in St. Paul's (Baton Rouge, LA) and St. Alban's (Ethel, LA) are fine. At last update, their only problem was a prolonged power outage. Some Parishioners of St. Simon's (Fairhope, AL) and St. Stephen's (Flowood, MS) and St. John's (Mt.Laurel, AL) experienced minor damage. The greater Mobile(AL) area is experiencing a severe gasoline shortage.
The links go to sites accepting online dontations. I don't know how those donations are handled, but I personally would be inclined to go with senind a check, since most online credit card processing skims a bit off the top to pay the credit card companies. There may be exceptions in this sort of case, but check it out before you donate. (If such things matter to you. I don't mean to discourage anyone from giving, just trying to make the gifts as efficient as possible.)