Thursday, May 26, 2005

Judicial Nominations - Big Deals, Big Heads, and the Gang of Fourteen

Seems both sides are steamed about the "deal" struck by the so-called "gang of fourteen". Andrew C. McCarthy of the National Review Online is, shall we say, less than impressed with the syrupy and self-congratulatory rhetoric about "mutual trust" (they've got to be kidding) and defending senate tradition:

Let's say, instead, that they simply gave us the bottom line: (a) three of the president's nominees get an up-or-down vote (i.e., exactly three of the pending seven left standing after the Democrats, in that spirit of compromise, whittled down from the original ten); (b) the Democrats remain free to filibuster (but only on the strict condition that, uh, well, that the Democrats feel like filibustering); and (c) the Republicans, on the brink of breaking four years of obstruction, decide instead to punt (and on the eve of a likely battle over a Supreme Court vacancy, no less).
You can read the rest of McCarthy's column here. I got no great sense of victory when I watched the much touted moment unfold in the news conference announcing the agreement. What struck me was the euphoric self-congratulation of the "gang of fourteen", who were announcing that they had essentially postponed the problem. Grand moment. Celebratory claps on the back. But for what? Peggy Noonan (as usual) says it better than I can:
Listening to them I thought of some of the great and hallowed phrases of our Republic. "The rooster who thought he brought the dawn." "The only man who can strut sitting down."

I know they're centrists, but there is nothing moderate about their self-regard. And why should there be? I personally was dazzled by their refusal to bow to the counsels of common sense and proportion, and stirred that they had no fear of justified insult ("blowhard," "puffed up popinjay") as they moved forward in the halls of the United States Senate to bravely proclaim their excellence.
Yeah, I wanted to see an end to the Democrats' collective apoplexy. Would any deal have accomplished that? I'm guessing the answer is no.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Confederate Yankee's Comment on the "Religion of Peace"

Yup. 'Nuff said.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

What has it got in its pocketses? The Truth in Filibuster Polling

Did you ever hear poll results, and ask yourself, "Who the hell are they asking?" Get the feeling there must be something wrong with this picture? Brian at The Blue State Conservatives is exploring polling . . .tricksy polling. . .

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Pure Genius: Cox & Forkum Editorial Cartoons

Take a look at Cox & Forkum today. Go now, and browse. You'll thank me.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Kyoto Protocol - Maybe We're Not Dooooomed After All

There's been a fair bit of discussion lately about the monotonously singular nature of political discourse at universities. Guess the scientific community is infected with the same drone-like mentality on the issue of global warming. If you think you might adopt the "let us eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die" strategy for dealing with our impending demise, you may want to pop over to Right Wing Nut House and take a look at what we've been missing - and why. There's more at LGF.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Escalating Viciousness of Anti-Christian Rhetoric

It was irritating enough before, this anti-Christian flap, what with police dramas depicting every ax-murdering wife-beating kidnapping pedophile as a twisted "Christian", quoting the Bible for justification. Or documentary "revelations" of "recent discoveries" of the secret sex life of Jesus Christ. And, of course, the sniggering attitude of superiority of a seeming hoard of news commentators presenting Christians as pitiable and addled. But lately, well, in case you've lived in some extraterrestrial place for the last year or so, here are some snippets:

Religious Divide In Politics Grows Venomous,
Richard N. Ostling shares this little gem in what is (in my opinion) a very fair-minded article in The Day (New London, CT). He's referring to the academic conference at the City University of New York on the real agenda of the religious far right:

At the CUNY conference, the central threat speakers raised was theocracy...Though one speaker lamented Roman Catholicism's new fundamentalist pope, the weekend's chief targets were evangelical Protestants whose tactics were compared with those of Machiavelli, Hitler, Stalin and Jim Jones of mass suicide fame.
J. Grant Swank, Jr. of puts his take on this new wave of left-leaning hysteria this way:
The United States is on the verge of destruction because of Christians. Christians are now the concerted enemy out to do in the nation. There is no doubt about it. Five hundred humanists gathering in New York said so. They are vehement. They are frightened.
I know. You picture the gentle and frail octogenarians on the steps of your local church, and you're tempted to laugh. But this is more than liberal looniness. Another snippet:

The Enemies of Religious Liberty, James Hitchcock:
The liberal state, Sadurski argues, should discriminate among religious groups on the basis of how progressive each is thought to be, and Rogers Smith insists in Liberalism and American Constitutional Law (1990) that religion can only enjoy constitutional liberties if it undergoes a basic transformation to make itself more rational or self-critical. Going further, Steven Macedo, who explicitly identifies his view as comprehensive, defines liberalism in The New Right Versus the Constitution (1987) as a permanently educative order for the preservation of liberal values and argues that the power of government can be legitimately used against illiberal churches because doing so promotes greater overall freedom.

Along the same lines, Smith asserts that society may overide people's commitments to particular religious groups if these commitments seriously restrain their members capacities and opportunities for reflective, independent choice. In other words, some private organizations, such as churches, should be restricted because their beliefs can be a danger to liberal values.
Aaahh. So the pointy-eared, dripping-fanged Christians aren't the only ones with an agenda, it seems.

The Left's "Dominionist" Demons
Don Feder of reports Ken Salazar's revelation on the identity of the beast:
Last week, Colorado Senator Ken Salazar (a Democrat, naturally) told a radio interviewer that Dr. James Dobson and Focus on the Family "are the Antichrist of the world" for urging citizens to demand their senators vote to end the filibuster of Bush judges. (Aside: Imagine the furor if Jerry Falwell had called Hillary Clinton "the Antichrist.")

Salazar later amended himself to say Focus and Dobson's "approach was un-Christian, meaning self-serving and selfish." In effect, Salazar is saying that for a Christian group to attempt to get government to reflect Christian values is "un-Christian." If you say so, Senator....
And then Mr. Feder says something that I've been saying for awhile (only he says it better):
What The Protocols of The Learned Elders of Zion meant to anti-Semitism, Dominionism and Christian Reconstructionism are for the anti-Christian Left an attempt to stir up hatred by seeking to convince the unwary of a dark plot to take over the world or nation.
I've wondered which will happen first - outbreaks of violence against Christians, or revulsion on the part of fair minded people. So, needless to say, I was encouraged (and comforted, for the sake of the gentle and frail octogenarian on the steps of the local church) by James Taranto's column in the OpinionJournal, Why I'm Rooting for the Religious Right. He says he is neither a Christian, nor religious at all, and lays claim to the political middle. But in his column I heard - yup! - outspoken revulsion. Here he's speaking of the use of the filibuster to subvert the voting process for judicial nominees:
After following long-established rules for at least a quarter-century, they [Christian conservatives] can hardly be faulted for objecting when their opponents answer their success by effectively changing those rules.
This procedural high-handedness is of a piece with the arrogant attitude the secular left takes toward the religious right. Last week a Boston Globe columnist wrote that what he called "right-wing crackpots--excuse me, 'people of faith' " were promoting "knuckle-dragging judges."
So why is he rooting for the religious right? He says,
I am put off by self-righteousness, closed-mindedness, and contempt for democracy and pluralism--all of which characterize the opposition to the religious right. . . And the religious right includes not only Christians of various stripes but also Orthodox Jews and even conservative Muslims. Far from the sectarian movement its foes portray, it is in truth a manifestation of the religious pluralism that makes America great. Therein lies its strength.
Do you remember what it was like to have a dialogue, a stimulating and spirited exchange of opposing ideas, instead of this mindless and potentially dangerous escalation of hate? I hope this is the beginning of a trend, don't you?