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John Adams Blog

The blog of The Antient and Honourable John Adams Society, Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society www.johnadamssociety.org

Friday, May 27, 2005

Liberals and "Caring less"

Occasionally, I will listen to one of the radio shows hosted by a card-carrying member of the loony left. I can't listen long, but I does help me understand the enemy.

Today, listening to the host carry on about some topic or another, he ended his rant with "And I could care less".

Now, what precisely is this supposed to mean? Is it a measure of how important this rant was relative to other rants? Since he could care less about this one, it must rank above those that he cares not at all about. In that case, I'm not quite sure why this topic was worthy of discussion. Should he not be whining on about the topic lesser on the 'care' meter?

Or, perhaps since he clearly cared more about this topic than others, he felt like expending valuable* bandwidth expounding on it. Yet, given the disdain with which the host spoke of the topic, I got the distinct impression that he had strong negative feelings about it, and didn't really care. Tough to tell.

It's "I COULDN'T care less", or for those with contraction problems, "I could NOT care less"! Get it straight, or get off the radio. In fact, just forget I said anything and get off the radio.

*Well, it's liberal radio, and the listening audience probably consisted of me and the 12 members of the Green party, so maybe 'valuable' is too strong a word

Bolton is discouraging

I was hopeful that the "deal" would mkae filibusters passe. Instead, the Bolton filibuster shows that the cynical response to the "deal" maybe be more wise. Of course the media is trying to portray the Bolton filibuster as a delay....

Democrats forced the delay in part because they claim that the White House has stonewalled on information that might prove damaging to Bolton, whose brusque style Democrats said would be ill-suited to U.N. diplomacy....The procedural vote to advance Bolton's nomination to a confirmation vote was 56-42, four short of the 60 votes that Bolton's Republican backers needed.

Lets get real. Democrats refused to vote for cloture , which is a filibuster.

There are some media talking heads that point to low approval of Congress as a similar fact to 1994 when the Republicans were swept into power. However, in 1994 Republicans had ideas which were not based only on blocking the Democrat agenda. In 2005, Democrats have no ideas but blocking and filibustering (and preserving abortion).

Blogger festivus said...

I think that ultimately, Bolton will be approved. I see the Dems filibuster of judges very differently than that of Bolton. The former was an attempt to prevent those judges from being voted on at all. The latter is a delay tactic to see what new negative evidence comes to light. They know that the longer they wait, the more likely it is that something will come forward that might be used to turn another Republican or two. I expect that this delay will not go on for much longer, and that Bolton will be confirmed.

That said, I don't like the Dems tactics in either case, but the continuation of debate on Bolton does not offend me as much as it did on the judges.

8:43 AM, May 27, 2005  

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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

An issue of leadership

I've got mixed, but generally pretty negative feelings on the judicial compromise. When I first heard of the agreement, I commented to my wife how disappointed I was. I don't like that any nominees were thrown overboard, and the undefined 'extraordinary circumstances' clause will likely be used in circumstances simply ordinary. I hold out minimal hope that the 7 Republican members of the gang of 12 will recognize when this happens, call the Democrats on their betrayal of the agreement and immediately move to readdress the judicial filibuster. The only possible positive side of this is that most of our nominees will move out of their long purgatory to a vote and confirmation.

I'm left to realize that the fact that this compromise happened is simply a failure of Republican Senate leadership. Sen. Frist hemmed and hawed on this issue, threatening it, but delaying before pulling the trigger, which only gave the Democrats time to work on a basically unacceptable compromise. I'm reminded of the UN's method to confronting world problems, and then compare it to the approach used by President Bush. No one doubted his resolve. Frist failed, and failed miserably. He has a majority, yet governs like a minority.

The only sure casualty of yesterday's agreement was Sen. Frist's Presidential ambitions, and it's likely that McCain's and Graham's went up in smoke as well.

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

I'm not sure Frist has a majority. That is, while there is a Republican majority in the Senate, there is not a conservative majority. A whole bunch of Republican Senators just aren't that Republican. They are much better than Democrats, but not that Republican.

I guess the question to judge Frist is: what would have happened if he forced a vote on curtailing filibusters and lost?

1:39 PM, May 24, 2005  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

I think the initial reaction by conservatives to this deal is totally wrong. First, people are overreacting to the language "extraordinary circumstances" and are assuming that it is a hollow term. We should remember, however, that this term was agreed to by centrist Democrats and Republicans, not by Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer. The term will be much more meaningful to this group than a leftist Senator who cares nothing for tradition.

Second, I think the deal ends democratic filibusters for good. The deal is well crafted because it looks like the Democrats got something, when in reality it is almost a total defeat for the filibuster strategy (its not a total defeat because two previously nominated judges were casualties of the deal).

To claim "extreme circumstances" you need at least 6 of the 7 republicans in the coalition to agree that it is exreme (to avoid the constitutional option).

I think as time goes by, Republicans will realize that this was a good deal and almost a total loss for Democrats....that is if Bush doesn't become a wimp in his nominations.

2:02 PM, May 24, 2005  

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Monday, May 23, 2005

Disenfranchise Government Employees

I spent the weekend fishing up on Lake Vermilion. It was cold and rainy, and an insufficient number of walleye were hungry. Yet, the beer was cold and plentiful, and there were just enough bites to keep us interested, which makes up for a lot. As with most fishing trips, there was a lot of time available for quiet reflection on various and sundry topics. One that I pondered was the admittedly unlikely concept of recinding the right to vote for government employees. This is appealing to me for three main reasons.

First, I think there's a huge conflict of interest when people who derive their primary source of income from government having a say so in who is elected. Their self interest in voting for those candidates who will be the most likely to increase government spending, resulting in more public dollars flowing into the pockets of those voters is detrimental to the rest of us.

I happen to serve as a member of a local government commission. It's mostly volunteer, but in the interest of full disclosure does come with a small annual stipend. After taxes, I'm left with enough to take my wife out for a couple of nice meals at say, Manny's (including some nice wine) to help make up for the time I spend studying material and attending meetings. But it certainly isn't going to make me rich and it could go away tomorrow and I wouldn't miss it or choose to resign my position.

Every year, we are required to sign an ethics statement that says that we understand and will abide by state law regarding conflicts of interest. Suffice it to say that it's pretty strict. A person that has something coming before our commission can't as much buy me a cup of cheap coffee without it being a violation. Yet we allow millions of people to vote for candidates who are committed in word and deed to increasing the size and spending of government, much of which directly benefits those voting government employees.

Second, I'd like to think that this might work to discourage people from taking positions with the government. I may not be the typical voter, but I'd sure think twice about signing up for a position if I knew that the acceptance of that position would cause me to be disenfranchised. Fewer government employees can be nothing but a good thing.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, we'd go a long way toward eliminating the pressure put on lawmakers to pander to government employees, teachers unions and the like with promises of more money in the relentless pursuit of votes. I don't doubt that the true big-government, big-spending legislators will still try to move forward their agenda, but those that are on the fence in tough districts would be more free to vote their conscience, and I'd like to think that without that pressure, their conscience would compel them to hold down the outflow of cash.


Disenfranchsing government employees. I think it's time to try it.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

104th JAS Debate Huge Success

Greetings. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed the debate caucus tonight. The speeches were excellent. Great chuckles occurred when Mr. Phalen referred to attending a "neoconservative meeting" and Capt. Ferguson responded frankly to the question regarding Frenchman existing at the time of the Crusades. Everyone did a great job. It was fun returning to Nolte Hall after a six-year or so absence. I want to applaud all those who contributed. Thank you.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day

Imagine my surprise when I read the LA Times editorial (registration required) this morning advocating Sen. Frist's hoped-for move to abolish the judicial filibuster. (hat tip: ABC News THE NOTE)

Nuke It, Already
We usually like it when centrist senators like John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) try to galvanize the sensible center on behalf of some compromise, but we sincerely hope they fail in their attempt to preserve the Senate's filibuster. Count this page on the side of conservative social activists who are pushing Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to "nuke" the filibuster.

We don't share these activists' enthusiasm for the White House judicial nominees triggering the current showdown. But we do believe that nominees are entitled to a vote on the floor of the Senate.

The filibuster, an arcane if venerable parliamentary tactic that empowers a minority of 41 senators to block a vote, goes above and beyond those checks on majority power legitimately written into the Constitution.The filibuster is an inherently reactionary instrument most famously used to block civil rights legislation for a generation. Democratic senators themselves decried the filibuster not long ago when they were in the majority and President Clinton's judicial nominees were being blocked.

Frist is on the verge of doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. He plans to bring the nomination of Priscilla R. Owen, a Texas Supreme Court justice, before the full Senate today. Democrats have blocked her nomination in the past, and Frist is now threatening to force a change in rules to prohibit filibusters of judicial nominees. That would be a great triumph for the American people. It would be an even greater triumph if the Senate were to destroy the filibuster altogether.

Alas, we shouldn't uncork the champagne bottles just yet. Because the filibuster is at heart a conservative's weapon, and because Frist is essentially asking senators (regardless of their ideology) to relinquish some of their individual power, we're fearful that the centrists may yet prevail. That would be one judicious compromise that would deny the American people a worthwhile victory.

The Times, a very liberal paper, is an unlikely ally to those conservatives who wish to ensure that President Bush's nominees get an up or down vote. Yet, to paraphrase their editorial, The Times has done "the right thing for the wrong reasons", and that's good enough for me.

Blogger ssc said...

Wow! The Times are a changin'.

12:53 AM, May 19, 2005  

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Newsweek Blunder Breaks MSM

I think the Newsweek blunder breaks the Main Stream Media's connection with Blue State America permanently. There is no hope for recovery. Once Blue State America turns to alternative and multiple sources for its news -- including Fox News -- it will never return to the politically correct MSM. I know others have said this -- but I think the MSM's response will be to move further leftward and further toward irrationality.

The New York Times recently published new rules on anonymous sources and corroboration -- but it's too late. The NYT has already sold its journalistic soul to liberalism.

"Liberal journalism" is an oxymoron. You can't be liberal in America and still be an objective journalist. Doesn't work.

It reminds me of a funny story concerning Roger Ailes. I am paraphrasing. But, Ailes was asked what the key to success was in starting Fox News. He responded that they found a "niche" -- which represented more than half of America. Thank you, Roger.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Facts Are Stubborn Things In Filibuster Debate

The Washington Times had an editorial today with the following statistical analysis:

During the first complete two-year Congress of their presidencies, postwar
presidents achieved the following confirmation rates for their circuit-court
nominees: Truman (80th Congress; 3/3: 100 percent); Eisenhower (83rd; 12/13:
92.3 percent); Kennedy (87th; 17/22: 77.3 percent); Johnson (89th; 25/26: 96.2
percent); Nixon (91st; 20/23: 87 percent); Ford (94th; 9/11: 81.8 percent);
Carter (95th: 12/12: 100 percent); Reagan (97th: 19/20; 95 percent); G.H.W. Bush
(101st; 22/23: 95.7 percent); Clinton (103rd: 19/22: 86.4 percent); G.W. Bush
(107th; 17/32: 53.1 percent).

When you compare apples to apples, it is obvious Senate Democrats have been misbehaving.

Blogger dax said...

Misbehaving is a very mild way of describing the LibDem actions on the Bush nominees.
It's hard to see the logic in the actions of the Repubs as to this issue. I have to believe that they (Repubs) understand that LibDems, to the public, look childlike and small with their continuing obstructionist tactics. Give them enough rope and they'll hang themselves.

1:03 PM, May 16, 2005  

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Saturday, May 07, 2005

Libertarians Display Wares in Belgium

I found this art project profiled by Drudge:

Bruges, Belgium - Almost 2 000 people braved the frigid weather early on Saturday, but they didn't get cold feet.They all went naked in the centre of gothic Bruges in an art "happening" organized by photographer Spencer Tunick.With temperatures closing in on freezing, winds lashing the turrets of the city and rain putting a shine on the ancient cobblestones, 1 950 people shed their clothes at dawn, with many posing in a street close to the medieval Belfry or touring the canals on boats."It was a good feeling, everybody went naked and there was this sense of togetherness. There was no shame," said Charlotte Logghe."It was extremely cold though. We were wet through and through," she added.In the warmer environment of the city's theater, hundreds of naked spectators had the cameras turned on them.Tunick has been doing such nude assemblages around the world since 1992. The artist chose Bruges to open the Corpus 05 festival, which runs through September. - Sapa-AP

Blogger Craig Westover said...

Ahh . . . . Did I miss the word "libertarian" in the article? I believe the article was about "people." Indeed, we must do something about "people." "People" are always doing bad things. It would be a much better world without "people."

My conceptualized "canvass" includes the spectacle of 2,000 naked people shivering in the cold and one lone writer sitting at a computer terminal Googling “Amsterdam naked libertarians,” while on his bookshelf sits dusty copies of the great works of western thought.

That is art.

10:28 AM, May 08, 2005  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

Actually, if you google "Amsterdam naked libertarians" you get this post as the first hit. Talk about self-referential art!

8:28 PM, May 09, 2005  

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Tony Blair Wins!

The Conservative Party lost the election in Britain. Tony Blair's Labour Party prevailed by a substantial margin. It is a substantial loss considering the sorry state of the conservative parties throughout Northern Europe.

For liberals, more government is an entrepreneurial undertaking

From the horse's mouth -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi offered an important insight on ABC's This Week last Sunday; namely that liberals regard large government transfer programs as a sign of their entrepreneurial spirit:
“The American people should trust the Democrats because we originated Social Security. This was a very entrepreneurial idea of the New Deal, and Democrats will not allow the Republicans to turn this great deal for the American people into a raw deal for them by what they are proposing.”

Friday, May 06, 2005

A theory so obvious that it isn't defended?

The New York Times reports this morning that defenders of Darwin's Theory of Evolution are refusing to testify at hearings on the high school biology curricula in Kansas that have been called by the State Board of Education.

For me this is a great parable on liberal orthodoxies. Among liberals there are some things that are so true that to question them is to be a bigot and a thought-criminal. Today in Kansas, liberals reveal that their true interest is in obedience to established orthodoxies; not in discussion, analysis or debate.

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

Oh please. Please don't make evolution a "liberal orthodoxy." No self respecting biologist is going to argue in front of the Kansas school board about evolution any more than a self respecting astronomer is going to argue with them regarding whether the earth is flat or spherical. I'm sure there are those who don't like physics but instead believe each particle moves due to a precise action of God. (Why do rocks sink in water? Because God wants them to.) But the physics we have is only scientific theory we have to teach. You teach it or you don't teach physics.

Well, evolution is the only current scientific biological theory we have. It doesn't explain everything and students should be taught this as well, but it is our best scientific theory. In fact, it is the only scientific theory on the table.

(Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory any more than "God causes rocks to sink" is. "God did it" may be true, in both physics and biology, but it isn't a scientific theory. Leave that to a class on world religions and let the poor students learn what our best scientific thinking is on scientific questions.)

4:30 PM, May 06, 2005  
Blogger Shane Coffey said...

Sir, everytime a group disagrees with your beliefs does not mean they are liberals. Creationism can be taught in Sunday school. Leave the religious teachings out of public schools. If I were a muslim, I would not want some school board dictating what religious teachings my kids will learn. Theology like politics is a touchy subject and is subjective to who you are talking to.

No one is right and no one is wrong in theology, people only have opinions. Until we have definitive proof, evolution is the only teachings we have. How do we explain the dinosaurs. Creationism does not allow for their existance, however, the dinosaurs did exist.

By the way I am going to blogroll your blog.

7:18 AM, May 23, 2005  

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Monday, May 02, 2005

British Election May Be Surprise for Conservatives

In Britain, recent polls show the Conservatives only trailing the Labor Party by two percent, 36% to 34% with Liberal Democrats at 22%. If the Conservatives can pull off an upset this week, it may mean the battle is still on for Western Europe. However, I am concerned that the Christophobic elite in Western Europe have such a grip on things that it will take at least a century to turn things around again. But, we can only hope. Go Tories!

Bring Out the Virtual Pitchforks!

Populists beware! Another well-meaning "world" organization is predictably turning leftward. Heretofore, the World Intellectual Property Organization's mission has been to harmonize international law and promote the protection of intellectual property rights (sounds like what our government used to do -- right?). Now, WIPO is considering third world initiatives to weaken intellectual property rights because they get in the way of development. Think of how many jobs one could create in Brazil if they could violate all of our inventors' patents and copyrights? You get the picture. Check the article out here.

Bring out the pitchforks

On Tom Hauser's At Issue program yesterday, Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat made a statement that had me laughing out loud. In a discussion about the possibility of a referendum on the stadium tax, Opat was asked something like "Don't you think it's likely that the voters wouldn't approve this tax if they had the opportunity to vote on it?" Opat replied, "They probably wouldn't approve our level of social spending either if we took it to a referendum." (Note to Mike: There's a nugget of common-sense wisdom here that perhaps is escaping your deep intellectual thinking) He went on to talk about their responsibility to the public interest.

Let me get this straight: You're acting in our interest, yet you're afraid to formally ask us what we think. This is just code for "I know better than you what's good for you", and yet another reason why we need to throw this bum out.