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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

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Wacky Syrians

In a heated Debate at the United Nations today, the Syrian ambassador accused Israel of starting two world wars:

Syria responded that Israel was the one precipitating a third world war, saying that "If we examine the matter, we will find that Israel was behind the eruption of both World War I and World II."

Maybe my history is wrong, but did Israel exist prior to World War I and II? These guys can't even get their fraudulent history correct.

Blogger King Oliver said...

The quotation beginning, "If we examine the matter," is delicious. That is just the kind of wording the Chinese Communists used to employ to give a scientific and scholarly gloss to their bald-faced fabrications.

12:09 PM, June 01, 2006  

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That liberal media

I was listening to NPR this morning and they did a bit on corruption. First they talked about Jack Abrahamoff, Duke Cunningham, Bob Ney (who has not been charged), and of course Tom Delay. When they got to Rep. Jefferson and the $90,000 in the freezer, all NPR could talk about was how Speaker Hastert and Chairman Sensenbrenner were mad at the Bush Administration for a separation of powers issue.

What a waste of a good political story.

In other parts of the media there are rumors of a massacre by some broken marines in Haditha, Iraq. We don't yet know if it is true, but I am sure the media is all upset over the lack of pictures from the massacre. Maybe they will fake a photo of an 80 year old in his wheelchair. Consequently, I bet that the massacre story, if true, will actually carry less interest and do less damage to than the overblown story over Abu Garib. The media will get all crazy over it - they will call for Rumsfeld and Bush and everyone else to resign. But, they have altready cried wolf on Abu Garib......

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

John Day Smith

For the past five years I have attended the memorial day service at Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis. Lakewood is the one of the most pristine cemeteries in Minnesota and is home to more than 2000 civil war veterans. Each year the service has been attended by the same gospel singers who do an excellent job of capturing the spirit of the day. This year's service was especially interesting because it included a bunch of Civil War reenactors firing their rifles and Abraham Lincoln attended to give the Gettysburg address. The service is always well done and it is hard not to feel a little emotional when the gospel group performs their yearly rendition of Battle Hymn of the Republic.

I have a strange connection to the Lakewood memorial service through my prior residence in Minneapolis on Holmes Ave (about 5 blocks from the cemetery). It turns out that in the 1920s and 1930s, John Day Smith, a former Minnesota Judge and state representative who grew up in Maine, eventually came to live in the third floor of our house, which had been re-made into an apartment by his daughter and son in law who owned the house at that time. Mr. Smith is noted in the link above as being the only Republican in the statehouse in 1891 from Hennepin County. An article written in the late 1970s in the local neighborhood newspaper, recounted how Mr. Smith used to sit out on the porch and tell Civil War stories to some of the children in the neighborhood.

Apparently Mr. Smith's stories were true. He saw quite a bit of action during the war, was seriously wounded, and was on the front end of Picket's charge at Gettysburg. He later wrote a book about his experience THE HISTORY OF THE NINETEENTH REGIMENT OF MAINE VOLUNTEER INFANTRY 1862-1865, in 1909. The book is still available here. The news article stated that Smith came to Minnesota partly because of contacts he made in the 1st Minnesota Regiment during the battle of Gettysburg.

Mr. Smith's connection to Lakewood was that he became the main speaker at the service for several decades until his death in 1933.

Mr. Smith was also know in Minnesota history for his opposition to the death penalty. In 1889, as a legislator, Smith authored and got passed, the John Day Smith law, which required that executions only be carried out in seclusion (out of the public eye). This was one of the first laws passed which eventually lead to abolishing the death penalty in Minnesota.

So Much

There is so much to blog about today - Al Gore's new end of civilization movie, the Republican infighting over immigration, the return (or beginning) of King Oliver to these boards, and even all the pricks who hate the U.S. military in this country. It's a struggle. however, too add any meaningful material to these copies. However, this story could not be passed up:


The story is sickening.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Senator Sessions on S. 2611

Not all our senators are on Prozac. See Senator Sessions' analysis of S. 2611: http://sessions.senate.gov/pressapp/record.cfm?id=256143

Day of shame

I am sorry to report that yesterday the U.S. Senate voted in favor of S. 2611, one of the most disgraceful, and potentially one of the most destructive, pieces of legislation in American history. Unless the House Republicans stand firm, we are in for a stepped-up invasion of illegals, increased crime and burdens on the social welfare system, further displacement of lower-class Americans, and the continuing erosion of national culture, sovereignty, and identity--not to mention a huge upsurge in Democratic voters as millions of Mexicans and others become legal voters.

It is astonishing how out of touch the Senate is with the American people. Michael Savage thinks the Democratic senators, at least, are all on Prozac and don't know what they're doing. I think it more likely that senators in general have to spend so much time fundraising with the very wealthy that they absorb the pride the wealthy sometimes show of knowing nothing about the hardships of ordinary people. Probably the liberal ideology of equality in all things has metastasized to the point where the sense of shared nationhood, of us vs. them, is no longer felt to be a legitimate sentiment. Patriotism is now only legitimate if it is synonymous with liberal universalism. America is only legitimate to the extent it sponsors liberal universalism. Unfortunately our President has swallowed liberal universalism hook, line, and sinker. Some of you knew that before he was elected.

Here are links to comments on the Day of Shame by Lawrence Auster, host of the traditionalist View From The Right: http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/005735.html http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/005734.html
http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/005733.html http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/005732.html

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Hail King Oliver. We hope to see you post far more in the future.

I dont take as dim a view. I think that there are liberal forces out there that, unfortunately, we need to compromise with to avoid the disaster you speak of. If nothing happens, we will just get more illegal immigration and could run the risk of getting total amnesty if we lose the House, which we will if no bill is passed.

The Senate bill does represent the more liberal view. But, it is a bill; a bill that will now go to conference; a bill that must be negotiated with the much tougher House bill. In the end we should get a strong border enforcment bill, with more restrictive caps on any worker program with some path towards citizenship that recognizes the reality of the situation (that some may call amnesty). I think it is possible to get a bill that will not "End our Civilization" as Auster claims.

Michael Savage states over and over again that he would rather lose than compromise and argues that being ruled by a leftist government would be good for us and maybe provide a wake-up call.

We should reject this apocolyptic view. I would rather not go through the pain of leftist rulership for a chance at Savage's utopia. If Savage wants to go to the guillotine, he is welcome to slash his own throat.

1:59 PM, May 26, 2006  
Blogger King Oliver said...

Realistically, in legislation, we need to make the best deal we can. However, we can get a much better deal than the Senate bill. It is not significantly better than the amnesty without border enforcement that Sloanasaurus presents as the worst case. Republicans who stand firm on immigration will win in November, especially if they effectively sell to the voters (against the media bias, to be sure) the destructive consequences of excessive, unprecedented immigration.

Where a compromise is not marginally better than losing, you can afford to refuse to compromise. Moreover, the administration is so committed to lax immigration enforcement that anything less than an irresistible mandate for across the board enforcement will fail to change the status quo. I don't agree with Savage that a leftist government will result in a wake-up call. But there are many issues with respect to which we would be better off with a Republican Congress blocking a Democratic president than a Republican Conggress lying down for a Republican President. This is certainly one of them.

The Heritage Foundation's reporting on S. 2611 is worth looking at. Here is an address: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Immigration/wm1076.cfm.

One thing that can be gleaned from Lawrence Auster's writing is that the immigration debate is a superb laboratory for identifying what conservatism is and who is a conservative. For example, the debate exposes many who consider themselves to be conservatives--because they oppose the expansion of the welfare state, the suppression of religion, and the expansion of international jurisdictions--to be liberals when it comes to immigration, i.e., they value the pursuit of egalitarian and universalist or libertarian) ideals (over the welfare and survival of a concrete historical people, the American people. Right-liberals tend to prize economic freedom over the well-being of the people, or measure the well-being of the people solely in terms of economic freedom, while left-liberals prize freedom from material want and sexual freedom over the overall well-being of the people. Both left- and right-liberals tend to define the functionality of a society in terms of its formal political processes (or economic measures), not in the degree of conformity of its social and political relationships to a standard provided by our on-going discovery of natural law. It is left to conservatives to try to figure out who the real people are and what is really best for them.

Given the difficulty of assimilating immigrants at current levels, especially in an intellectual culture that fosters ethnic balkanization to support grievance lobbies, it is close to self-evident that massive increases in immigration are deleterious to the welfare of the nation. It is also self-evident that legalizing 12 million Mexican will result in creating at most 4 million new Republican voters and at least 8 million new Democratic voters, for an massive influx of support to expand the welfare state. Of course, the newly legalized Mexicans would be eligible for a host of benefits, including those under the label of affirmative action.

How can anyone with a concrete sense of the the nation and a wish for its well-being accept a massive addition of foreigners who will further the most destructive political trends in our society is beyond me. Thus I think the judgment of many is based on their commitment to right- and left-liberal universalist ideals rather than the interests of the American people.

1:13 PM, May 30, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:56 PM, May 30, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

If the Congress can pass a bill that is enforcement only and that stops the flow of immigrants - that would be the best result. I agree with the argument that eventually, the illegals would diminsh through attrition if the flow is stopped. One would think that is the logical result considering both houses agree on the enforcement part.

However, there is also the risk that we will get no legislation and I think having no legislation could ultimately result in total amnesty and more open borders. I think that is far worse than no bill especially because it appears that a considerable number of Democrats oppose the guest worker program because of Union support and also support restrictions on the number of immigrants coming in. You could actually get a much more restrictive bill if it is negotiated properly.

I agree with Auster that preserving the traditional American people is the desired outcome. I am just not as sure as Auster that such a preservation is at risk necessarily because of the current Senate Bill.

Preventing immigration does not always result in preserving traditional society. Consider for example, Japan, a country which has allowed virtually no immigration and is one of the most ethnically pure societies in the world. Japan totally destroyed its traditional society in only a few generations. Today Japan is basically a western country.

I am not going to bite at Auster's claim about fake conservatives. All Auster is doing is restating the Jefferson-Hamilton debate that began 225 years ago. Its obvious that Auster is much more "Jeffersonian" in his views. Unfortunately for Auster, Hamilton appears to have won the debate...for the time being at least.

10:00 PM, May 30, 2006  

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Victory in Iraq

Although the media won't admit it, it is pretty clear that the Iraq policy has been successful. The installment of the new government last week is the crowning jewel on three years of work. There is now today a legitimate democratic government in the middle-east with rooted institutions. Such a government has never existed in the Arab world. Most successful has been the construction from scratch of a professional Iraq army. Many critics still argue that it was a mistake to disband Saddam's old army. I disagree. Disbanding the old army and starting over was essential to the long-term health of Iraq. The real mistakes I saw were some of the missteps in reconstituting the army and the failure to secure certain terrorist areas such as Falluja sooner then they did. However, that is all water under the bridge now - most of those things have been done.

Certainly, Iraq is still a dangerous place. However, the danger is on the periphery. Two years ago you heard stories about terrorist bands taking over police stations and winning fire fights. That no longer happens. Today the largest problem is "sectarian" violence, which is another word for criminal gang violence. This issue is a nasty problem, but not a threat to the national sovereignty.

There were three significant turning points or tests in Iraq that were won by coalition and Iraqi forcers. The first was the defeat of Sadr's Shiite militia in Najef in April 2004. This victory was significant because the shia forces were defeated without massive political damage to the shia support of the coalition. Second was the eventual take-down of Falluja. This victory took away the terrorists only significant base of permanent operations. The final victory was the political victory following the destruction of the Shia shrine in Karbala. The fact that full scale civil war was avoided showed for the first time the strength of the new-political institutions that now exist. Many sighed a sign of relief.

There is much work ahead in Iraq. But, Iraq has a bright future.

If ever a Nobel peace prize should be awarded, it should be given to the Grand Ayatolla Sistani. His cries for peace and calm and turning the other cheek in the face of constant badgering by the Sunni terrorists is on the level with other great peace figures in recent history such as Martin Luther King and Gandhi. The common response in the Muslim world is to call for violent Jihad. Sistani called for the opposite. Instead the prize is awarded to leftists such as Jimmy Carter….that is another story.

Congressional Idiots

I am at a loss for words regarding the Denny Hastert criticism over the FBI's seaching of Congressman Jeffersons office over a corruption case. The guy had $100k stuffed in his freezer. How much more corrupt can you get. Furthermore, the FBI got a warrant to search the office by showing probable cause to the other branch of government. What does Hastert think should happen? Does he think Congressmen should be protected from such searches?

I think Hastert should step down as Speaker. He has been there too long and has lost his political judgment. This kind of stuff outrageous. We need new leadership.

UPDATE: NRO has a great editorial on the subject.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Mexico's President - No Friend

While I respect the debate going on in this country regarding securing the border and immigration reform, I really don't understand the crap that comes out of Vincente Fox regarding immigration:

Vincente Fox said Wednesday that immigration is the most pressing callenge to the relationship between his country and the United States, but is also their greatest opportunity.

I don't get it. Fox is mad that we want to defend our borders against illegal immigration? What a joke. It's almost like Krushev proposing that we get rid of our nuclear weapons first before we discuss arms limitations.

There's more:

Building walls, constructing barriers on the border does not offer an efficient solution in a relationship of friends, neighbors and partners," Fox said in the border city of Tijuana. "We will go on defending the rights of our countrymen without rest or respite. With passion we will demand the full respect of their human rights.

Unbelievable. When did human rights include entering your neighbor's country illegally to work. One would think that first and foremost, human rights would include living under a government that is not totally corrupt.

I enjoyed this quote from the same article:

On the border with Arizona, bedraggled migrants who had been turned back by the border patrol said that more fences would not keep them from crossing but only make smugglers charge more money for the trip.

"I had to leave my three children, walk for three days in the desert, and now I'm here with more debts than ever," said Edith Martinez, a 40-year-old from Oaxaca who walked back over the border bridge to the Mexican town of Nogales. "Now I have to work in the United States to pay my debts from the trip."

According to this woman, it's our fault that she has to work here. Yikes!

Ward the Turd

If you have a moment, browse through the report on Ward Churchill's academic misconduct at the University of Colorado. The report is pretty interesting and argues well that Ward Churchill is no less than a complete fraud.

Ward Churchill is the ultimate leftist - someone who has built their entire foundation and politicial belief on fraudulent facts. He has plenty of followers, none of whom will be swayed by thie report. I am actually a little surprised that a report like this was actually written. Perhaps there is some hope that leftist frauds at other Universities will also be discovered. On second thought, I doubt it.

Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Did you say something S'aurus? I'm sorry. I can't get past the picture. Did you have to put it right THERE, at the top?

8:59 PM, May 24, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Isn't the picture fantastic!

The poster child of the Left.

9:32 AM, May 25, 2006  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Say what else you will about conservatives, but it is clear that we dress better, have better hair, and don't smell nearly as bad as the weirdos on the left. (I don't know the technology behind it, but this picture manages to emit an odor.)

10:34 PM, May 25, 2006  

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Founder's Opinions

The Founders also had a lot to say about immigration. Ben Franklin was especially worried about other Europeans:

...in Europe, the Spaniards, Italians, French, Russians, and Swedes are generally of what we call a swarthy complexion; as are the Germans also, the saxons only excepted, who with the English make the principal body of white people on the face of the earth. I would wish their numbers were increased...But perhaps I am partial to the complexion of my country, for such kind of pariality is natural to mankind.

Paul Johnson recounts Franklin's further frustration with all the Germans settling in Pennsylvania:

He [Franklin] was not at all happy about the number of Germans coming to America, especially to Pennsylvania, where they tended to vote en bloc, the fist instance of ethnicity in politics. 'Why should the Palatine boor be suffered to swarm into our settlements and, by herding together, establish their language and manners to the exclusion of ours? Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a colony of aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us, instead of Anglicising them?'

Apparently Franklin at one point considered monetary rewards to encourage Englishmen to marry German woman, but eventually dismissed the idea stating "German women are so generally disagreeable that it would require great portions to induce Englishmen to marry them."

Is this true? Is anyone here married to a German woman?

Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

I'm 1/4 Dutch. Is that close?

7:38 AM, May 24, 2006  

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Monday, May 22, 2006

Bush is saving the Republican Party

The conservative base is sour on Bush, especially for supporting a compromise on immigration. However, conservatives will thank Bush in the end. Bush's position on immigration is saving conservatives and the Republican party from becoming the anti-hispanic party and therefore becoming powerless.

We all know that the shrill coming from many conservatives is rooted in the wrongs these immigrants have commited by crossing our borders illegally. However, most people do not understand that argument. Instead they only only hear the shrills and perceive them as anti-immigrant sentiment. Further, the mainstream liberal media and the Democratic party is more than willing to portray these arguments and pounce on the shrills as anti-immigrant and not anti-illegal-immigrant. The danger is that this sentiment will become conventional wisdom, thus dooming any chance that any significant amount of Hispanics or any recent immigrants will support the Republican party in any significant numbers (currently 35 million are foreign born). This same thing happend to Black Americans in the 1930s and onward. The Republican party became the anti-black party even though Democrats have done squat for Blacks.

However Bush's position on immigration and his stubborness in not cowing to the base has saved the party and conservatives from themselves. If Bush were to fall in line with the base, there would be no immigration bill. The bill would fail miserably. There would be no chance at border security. Instead there would only be anti-immigrant rhetoric leading to massive defeat at the polls for a generation and eventually lead to blanket amnesty, higher taxes, leftist judges, more terrorism, and a poorer America. With Bush, we are going to get tough border security along with a compromised amnesty - one that includes background checks, learning english, paying fines, etc...

The media would love to paint Republicans as the anti-immigrant party, just as they love painting Republicans as the hate the poor party or the anti black party or the for-low-wages party. However, they need Bush to go along with the nativism or it won't work. Bush isn't going along and the demonization is not working. Conservatives should be thankful that that current occupant of the White House has a long term realistic view, not just short term emotions.

Update: Here is a great example today by E.J. Dionne demonizing those for English as the national language as anti-immigrant.

Andrew Jackson was no femme

Paul Johnson in a History of the American People recounts some advice Mrs. Elizabeth Jackson gave to her youngest on her death bed in 1782.

Mrs. Elizabeth Jackson, who had been nursing the American wounded in an
improvised hospital, contracted an infection and died too, leaving young Andrew an orphan of the war. He remembered every word of the dying advice of this grim woman: 'Avoid quarrels as long as you can without yielding to imposition. But sustain your manhood always. Never bring a suit in law for assault or battery or defamation. The law affords no remedies for such outrages that can satisfy the feelings of a true man [but] if you ever have to vindicate your honor, do it calmly.'

I wonder if such advice is dispensed today by America's women. Perhaps it is not the fault of American men that many have become feminized. Perhaps it is the fault of America's women who have failed to dispense such worthy advice onto the young men of our times.

Amnesty via Military Service

John McCain commented that some illegal immigrants have children serving in Iraq. I doubt this is the case, but perhaps there are one or two such situations.

He gave me an idea, however. Create one and only one option for amnesty: four years of military service, not on the Mexican border, but in Iraq or Afghanistan. Anyone unwilling can then be rounded up and shipped back from whence they came.

And build the damn wall.

And, as John Fund of the WSJ opines, require photo identification to vote in federal elections as an amendment to the immigration bill.

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

I think you can already get a rapid path to citizenship via serving in the armed forces. I have heard of several stories.

10:35 PM, May 22, 2006  

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Friday, May 19, 2006

Inflation and Interest Rates

Now, I'm no Fed economist, but automatically tying interest rate hikes to inflation seems simplistic. There are different causes for inflation, and my guess is that oil prices (in and of themselves, and as a factor in the higher cost of goods) are driving the current spike-ette.

If raising the interest rate were an antidote, would we raise the rate indefinitely? But I say it is not a pure antidote to inflation. (Oh, I do understand that higher interest rates makes money more "expensive," reducing its supply, which should theoretically curb inflation. I'm saying not all inflation is equal, of the same cause or even all bad.)

Let us look at the housing market, a substantial sector of the economy. The purpose of interest rate hikes is to encourage savings and discourage spending. But in the housing market "spending" can also double as savings. (Investment is investment, whether it be in bonds or in real estate.) Many a retirement plan is in real estate. Moving consumers from renting into home ownership could be viewed in a fashion as increasing savings.

Granted, at too low an interest rate, the housing market can become hyperinflationary. But we are safely beyond that point. In fact, we could be approaching a deflationary housing market where prices may be lower, but where purchasing power is also decreasing, dinging both buyer and seller.

Lower interest rates encourage investment in the stock market, which should be seen as a form of savings. More retirement funds are invested in the stock market these days than in bonds and CDs, are they not? We do not want to see Wall Street become overly bullish either, as we did circa Y2K. But again, we are well enough beyond a dangerously bull market.

Monetary policies take a while to have an effect, in any event. Recall the stagflation of the late seventies. Fed Chair Volker was already putting to work what we now consider standard strategy (in fact, he paved the way for Greenspan) but it wasn't until a few years later that economy shifted, whether because of Fed policy, tax cuts, or rational exuberance. By the time monetary policy changes do take effect, other factors in the economy have likely shifted, such as oil prices or tax rate reductions, and the policies wind up needing reverse correction.

What I'm trying to say here is, "Cool it, Bernanke." It's true that he has not promised another rate hike, but following the price index numbers recently released, Wall Street clearly sees rate hikes into the far horizon. Must the two necessarily be linked?

(Disclaimer: It's possible that there is not a shred of evidence to back me up and that my argument could be torn apart by any random economist on the blog. I may get around to a little research on this matter. These automatic rate hikes are driving me up a wall.)

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Paul Volker hurt more small business people than anyone in history. There was no reason to raise rates to 20%.

Besides rising oil prices are the same as an interest rate hike.

Rising interest rates are just another thing making people sour in this country.

On the other hand, maybe the Fed knows what it is doing.... I am still flabbergasted that we did not have a serious recession after the market crash in 2000.

10:37 PM, May 19, 2006  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

The Pencil, he is in the Italy. The Pencil, he cannot comment on the economy right now. To the Pencil, she is beautiful.

8:54 AM, May 25, 2006  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

The Pencil has been enjoying Chianti. Godspeed, Pencil.

8:02 PM, May 28, 2006  

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

This picture makes me feel old

Of course, I was perhaps a couple years out of high school when Big was released.

(It's not that I don't have something to say about immigration, but it's been a constant political quagmire, mysteriously looming large only of late. I'm clearly the only person not to have registered my thoughts on the topic on the internet in the last week.)

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Sadly, I was unable to get through chapter 1 of the Da Vinci code.

Neverhteless, I am a little flabberghasted by all the criticism of the movie. It is...only a movie. Who cares about all the idiots who may believe that it is true. They are harmless in their idiot beliefs. After all, there are still vast numbers who think Sept 11 was a Jewish plot.

12:20 AM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger festivus said...

I found it to be a fascinating story, but that's it - it's a story. There's certainly a huge marketing advantage in basing this very loosely on historical fact and interweaving fiction where appropriate to make the story interesting.

I keep hearing that this book 'shook' someone's faith, or turned them away from the church. In my opinion, a faith that can be shaken by a novel isn't much of a faith at all.

It's just a story, folks, a best selling and generally great one, but it's just a story. Let's move on - nothing to see here.

8:55 AM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

I did read the book, as it was a gift from my mother-in-law a year and a half ago, and enjoyed it as a story. I have been unable to get very far into other books by Dan Brown however, as his plots drip with liberal philosophy such as global warming and the evil nature of guns.

These Christianity revisionist authors definitely tend toward the left. I just finished a similar work of fiction, The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry wherein the heros use dart guns and are either atheist, agnostic or Muslim. Heck, even the Templar Brothers don't believe in a hereafter.

This genre seems to have sprung to life following the Da Vinci Code. Say, let's get to work on a few good spy novels, eh?

11:30 AM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

I could understand the controversy if scientific or documentory evidence cast doubt on the gospels. These things would really be problematic and make people question their faith. However, that a made-up story is causing controversy is ridiculous. I suppose it's worth while to complain only to make sure that the media doesn't try to spin the made-up story as being true.

Perhaps Dan Rather should do a special on it. He is an expert at making truth out of fiction.

1:32 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

Part of the problem is just how ignorant many Christians are regarding Christianity. For instance, the Gospels of Thomas and Judas are real historical documents. They are not part of the Bible because the early church believed they were heretical (as does the Church today). But many, if not most, Christians have no idea that there are all sorts of ancient Christian related documents which are not part of the Bible - that some "made it in" and some did not. So when the Da Vinci code "reveals" the existence of the Gospel of Thomas, since this existence is not fiction, it shakes their faith.

2:16 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Hmm. It must have been 2 and 1/2 years ago that I received it as a gift. A year and a 1/2 ago I would have received something like a lump of coal. Not that it is relevant to the discussion.

3:39 PM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Do tell......

4:12 PM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Naw, it would sound like a bad country music song. Let's talk about something fun, like immigration.

8:03 AM, May 19, 2006  

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The President's speech

I liked the speech and the proposed policy. I think the President is committed to securing the border. A lot of conservatives a criticizing him for not going far enough. However, with an additional 6000 National Guard going to the Mexican border, there will be over 12,000 personnel guarding the border. That should be enough if they are well managed. In all the President's speech was a pragmatic proposal considering the current political climate we are in. Sometimes we need pragmatic leadership.

I think a lot of conservatives love to hate Bush on the immigration issue. Take Hinderacker at PowerLine:

and he blew it. He should have given the speech I told him to. As soon as he started talking about guest worker programs and the impossibility of deporting 11 million illegals, it was all over. President Bush keeps trying to find the middle ground, on this and many other issues. But sometimes, there isn't a viable middle ground. This is one of those instances.

Hinderacker believes that Bush's stance on immigration will destroy the Republican majority. I am not so sure. This time, the "middle ground" may be the correct course. Considering the current political climate, if the middle ground is not taken, we could get the status quo, which is far worse. Remember, the change that we are talking about would greatly inhibit the current flow of illegal immigration. There are plenty on the left who would prefer the status quo. I think if Bush can show results and provide leadership on the issue, his ideas will be accepted.

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

The basic problem here is that many middle to lower class conservatives believe their country is being overrun and that the rich republicans are purposefully doing nothing about it because immigration from Latin America makes their (the rich republicans) lives better. So having more people at the border does nothing to put them at ease since they can be withdrawn anytime.

So I'm with Hinderaker. Without a wall, we can't have an amnesty program without the next 12 million Latin Americans being convinced that in 10 or 15 years, they will get amnesty. On the other hand, if we build a wall and institute an i.d. verification system with real penalties for hiring an illegal alien, then if we get illegal immigration under control, in five years we can talk about amnesty. At that point, it won't be such a problem that it will be a huge invitation for further illegal immigration since we will have shown we know how to stop that.

Oh. One more thing. In the fashion of polipundit.com, anyone who disagrees with me is a LIAR, LIAR!

4:42 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

You still need troops to man the wall. A wall without troops is just a short term nuisance. Thus, you have the same problem even with a wall...you can withdraw the troops at any time.

Besides, if a wall was there, the illegals would just find another way to get in. Perhaps they would float in rafts up the coast or dig tunnels.

Hinderaker is just sour. He would have criticized Bush regardless. That is the state of things these days.

12:16 AM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

The exact same arguments that walls are ineffective, that those who want to get in will find a way, could be used in Israel's case as well. But Israel's wall has been hugely effective.

Yes, there are troops there, but the wall itself means you need far fewer.

4:29 AM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

I agree with your on the effectiveness of walls if they are manned. In Israel's case the wall makes total sense because they are striving for 100% effectiveness. Further, people who man the wall probably live only a few miles from work.

My point is in a country of 300 million, there will not be much difference with 20,000 troops manning the border or 5,000 troops. Further, with a wall you may be able to keep out 99%, while without a wall you could keep out 95%. Therefore, the wall really only becomes a symbol.

If a future political leader, such as John Kerry decides not to man the wall, then the wall becomes useless.

Instead we should "secure the border," which means building walls and fences only where they are most effective (such as in larger population centers and guarding the border with troops (or border patrol).

8:42 AM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Where are the drones? A few months ago there was an unveiling of the drone squad, unmanned craft roaming about the border seeking bodies. And I've heard nothing since. Perhaps it was a technological fantasy (I've had a few of those) or the machines turned out to be too expensive, or, for all I know, it was a Rovian smokescreen.

8:33 AM, May 19, 2006  

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Monday, May 15, 2006

Securing the Border and the President

President Bush is supposed to speak tonight about "immigration reform." Specifically he will discuss securing the border. Now various outlets are reporting (based on leaks) that Bush really isn't going to offer much of anything for securing the border. If it is true, it will be a dissappointment.

I understand Bush's conviction in his compassion for poor mexicans who want to come here to work. I also understand Bush's conviction for those currently here. But, we should be compassionate through the law. It makes no sense to leave the border open when we know thousands cross each day illegally. This sort of policy reaks of liberalism. It reminds me of the insane policy of not checking for ID when people vote.

From political standpoint, I think immigration can be a wedge issue in favor of republicans. It's one thing for the leftist/liberal democrat elites to support illegal immigration - they believe that such voters will be future democrats. However, why would a lower middle class voter support illegal immigration. It does nothing but hurt them. It lowers their wages and lowers their standard of living.

Vincente Fox apparently called Bush complaining that the border would be "militarized." Hmm, shouldn't all borders be militarized?

I don't care how the border is secured; whether it be a fence, a wall, troops, or electronic surveillance... the goal should be that no one gets across illegally. We can start with troops and drones. But, if that doesn't work we should move to a fence or wall. If that does not work, then we should shoot to kill.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Lets Confuse Iran by Withdrawing

This is the recommendation of Simon Jenkins writing in the Guardian today:

There is, of course, one thing that Britain and America could do that would wholly disorientate Ahmadinejad and have him rushing troops to his borders. It would be a sudden end to the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Such a decision would remove at a stroke the running theme of Iranian militancy. It would saddle Tehran with two unstable neighbours whose insurgents and revanchists would cause it, its allies and its surrogates no end of trouble.

This line of thinking is leftism at its finest. It reminds me of a teacher I had in 10th grade who stated to the class of students that we should show the Soviets that we are serious about disarmament by disarming ourselves first. Even tenth graders had enough life experience to know this was stupid.

Could you imagine Jenkins writing in the 50s.. "lets put the Soviets off guard by removing our troops from Western Europe...." Insane!

Jenkins thinks that isurgents would cause Iran never ending trouble. However, it could also give Iran the pretext to invade Iraq and and occupy the Iraqi oil fields (just as Syria occupied Lebanon) making Iran a super power. Oh...I don't think the Iranian parliament will be ready to surrender at the loss of 40-50 soldiers a month from annoying sunni insurgents, nor do I think Iran will be so careful in their colalteral damage when responding to Sunni insurgents.

Wake up, you cannot allow the Left to run the government. They will get us all killed!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Bush's Letter to Ahmadinejad

I was thinking more about the letter (discussed in my post below) from Iran's President Ahmadinejad to President Bush. I think President Bush should respond to the letter. Here is what he should say:

Dear President Ahmadinejad,

I received your letter. I thought about many of the points you made and about how you believe your proposed way of life is better than ours and how liberal democracy has failed. Why is it, however, that so many of America's victims in the world (including 400,000 Iranians) wish to come to America and live under our failed liberal democracy. Further, why is it that no one wants to move to Iran.

Waiting patiently for your response,

George W. Bush

That Letter to Bush

If you haven't read the letter from Iran's president, Ahmadinejad, you can do so here. The letter is basically a third world screed against America. The letter has the typical stuff. It blasts Bush for the war on terror, it claims Bush is being non-Christian, etc... However it also contains this nugget:

Liberalism and Western-style democracy have not been able to help realize
the ideals of humanity. Today these two concepts have failed. Those with insight can already hear the sounds of the shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of the liberal democratic systems

We should expect that this paragraph would be widely reported. After all it is direct proof that Iran despises the west (not just America).

Strangely, however, as I watch NBC news tonight, they reviewed the letter almost as if they agreed with the points made by Iran. They cited the Christian references and the war. But, no where was there a reference to the above paragraph. They also commented on how Bush had just dismissed the letter out of hand, implying that Bush was just pissing away a legitimate olive branch. However, there is no such thing as a legitimate olive branch if it comes with the above paragraph. Moreover, the letter also contains the typical anti-Israel stuff... NBC fails to cite that as well.

The media has gone over the deep end. The next thing you know the MSM will be defending the enemy over fashion criticisms... (wait that story has already been done) It is all quite funny.... but not really that funny. The media this decade can be summed up by one simple phrase:

"Fake but Accurate"

UPDATE: Powerline comments on the AP story on the same subject. I searched this AP story, and no where in the story is the comment on liberal democracy quoted. However, the story made this comment:

Though the United States didn't get what it wanted from the letter, some Iranians worried that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's dismissal of it was too abrupt and warned she may have missed an opportunity to ease the strain between the longtime enemies.

Can you believe this stuff. How outrageous.

UPDATE 2: The Wall Street Journal goes into more detail here.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Johnson Smith Co.

I have a bunch of junk left over from my childhood including about 50 Richie Rich Comics. I used to be a big fan (at age 10). I did a little research and it appears that Richie Rich is no longer published. However, this guy claims that Richie Rich appeared more times in comics than any other comic character in history. Also interesting is that in almost every issue is a full page ad for the Johnson Smith Co. The company still exists and has a website:

The Johnson Smith Company™ is one of America's oldest catalogs companies. In 1905, our founder, Alfred Johnson Smith, started selling his novelties and practical jokes in Australia. The company was officially founded in the U.S.A. in 1914, when Mr. Smith shipped his first package from Chicago. Australia to Chicago was to be the first of several moves... The Johnson Smith Company relocated to Racine, Wisconsin in 1926. Nine years later the company made a mid-depression move to Detroit, Michigan with the intention of starting a Canadian subsidiary across the Detroit River. Those plans were abandoned with the outbreak of World War II. The company remained near the Detroit riverfront for nearly 35 years, until it moved to Mt. Clemens, Michigan (a Detroit suburb)in the early 1970s. In 1986 the company made an exciting move to Bradenton, Florida, to a specially-designed building that enables us to serve our customers with state-of-the-art technology and service! Our story is not without sociological aspects and influences. During the 1920s and 1930s, practical jokes and home hobbies provided an escape for people wracked with economic struggle brought on by WWI and the Great Depression. Our 700-page catalog provided hours of "escape," fun and fantasy for the depressed nation, even without having to place an order! Even today we hear from people who remember our catalog and the "relief" we provided! Today, the Johnson Smith catalog is known as Things You Never Knew Existed (TYNKE) and still brings hours of enjoyment to people across the country

Notable items for sale in my October 1977 Issue of Richie Rich Profits are:

X-Ray Vision Glasses $1.25
U Control 7 ft Life Size Ghost 95 cents
Secret Spy Miror $1.25
Automatic Switch Action Comb $1.49
Flesh Eating Plants $1.00
Live Sea Monkeys $1.25
Midget Spy Camera $1.49
Pocket Spy Telescope $1.59
Surprise Package $1.00
7 feet tall Monster

I admit that I did purchase the Ghost (a hefty bag with fishing wire), the Camera and the pocket telescope. I also remember purchasing a joy buzzer, X Ray glasses, and a lifelike mouse. It was always such a drag to wait 4-6 weeks for delivery, which usually really meant 8-12 weeks for delivery. But, what great prices even for back then! And to think that none of the stuff was made in China....yet.

At least I never go suckered into selling Grit....(or did I?)
Oh yeah, I never liked Little Lotta either.

Friday, May 05, 2006

What would they do? What would they say?

What would the anti-death-penalty, pro-euthanasia people say if this hypothetical chain of events actually happened?

First, suppose some state in the 9th Circus changes its laws to allow assisted suicide. With legal toleration of euthanasia comes involuntary euthanasia, where the doctor kills the patient without the patient’s explicit consent, and frequently, without the patient knowing.

A 1991 study by the Dutch government found that 70 percent of the patients killed by doctors had not given their consent; 10 percent of those killed by doctors weren’t informed of the mercy coming their way. This was 20 years before the Dutch government changed the law to officially allow doctors to kill the patients who did request it. We can probably assume that people who went into an irreversible coma without leaving instructions fell in the 10 percent that did not know or consent to their deaths.

Next, suppose the federal courts continue preventing executions of prisoners by lethal injection on the grounds that such a death is cruel and unusual (well, at least it would still be cruel, even if it becomes routine health care).

Now suppose that a convicted murderer suffers a massive stroke while awaiting the pleasure of the court, and is not expected to ever come out of the coma that resulted from the stroke. Recognizing the prisoner is now unable to comprehend his surroundings or any punishment the state might inflict, the governor of the state commutes the sentence of the comatose murderer to time served, and the patient is released from prison to whatever hospital will take him. The hospital staff recognizes that the once vital and dangerous man could not enjoy life in a persistent vegetative state, and kills their patient in compliance with what they think he would have requested, if he were as enlightened as those making the decision.

The murderer would be dead by lethal injection, but not at the order of a court, and not as the result of any judicial proceedings. Can an injection withheld because of its cruelty be given as an act of mercy? What would it say about those who protest giving such a death to a man guilty of murder, but want doctors to give such a death to the aged and infirm, regardless of their guilt or innocence?


Porter Goss has resigned as head of the CIA after less than 2 years on the job.

I wonder what it means? Maybe the whole CIA is slated to be dismantled. Perhaps it has so many moles that its not worth trying to reform.


Perhaps Porter is going to write a hate Bush book while money can still be made..

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

May Debate

The John Adams Society
Christopher Phelan, Chairman
Marianne Stebbins Beck, Secretary
Larry Colson, Chief Whip
Roger Belfay, Chancellor

May 10, 2006

"American feminism has a man problem. The beaming Betty Crockers, hangdog dowdies, and parochial prudes who call themselves feminists want men to be like women. They fear and despise the masculine."
— Camille Paglia

Following the feminist movement of the seventies and eighties, men have taken up the additional roles of wife, mother and housekeeper. No longer an economic arrangement, marriage is now a tool for companionship, with women seeking a confidente, an uber-girlfriend. From mall to mall across suburbia, girly-men are seen holding purses and shuffling an appropriate two feet behind the family chief. The once-stoic gender now emotes equally with his wife, and discusses his feelings with his children.

Today’s politically correct culture, in which emotional intelligence trumps traditional IQ, rewards the feminized male. It is no longer enough for a man to do his job well, if in silence; today’s man must collaborate and incentivize with his female associates and bosses. Leadership is now defined by how well someone can empathize with and motivate those being led, as opposed to strict decision-making ability. It can be argued that these traits, at least to some extent, are not entirely negative.

ON THE OTHER HAND, the popularity of such shows as HBO’s Sopranos suggests that both sexes would applaud a return to traditional roles. Today’s voters still pull the lever more often for manly men (wit the sail boarding Kerry vs the brush-clearing Texan, or Al Gore in need of an alpha-male makeover). As ever before, the female is biologically drawn to virility, strength and security in a mate, even when preferring hugs to grunts. And younger generations of woman have shunned the old-style feminism, freeing the modern man to reclaim his role closer to John Wayne than Alan Alda.

The chairman, wishing to mull this further over a double-whip latte, has called for a debate to settle the question:


The Debate will be held on Wednesday, May 10, 2006 at the University Club, 420 Summit Avenue, in Saint Paul. The Chancellor will preside over drinks beginning at seven o'clock p.m. The debate will begin at half past seven. While there is no dress code for attendance, gentlemen who wish to speak must wear a tie; ladies should adhere to a similar sartorial standard. For those gentlemen who arrive tieless yet wish to speak, fret not: the Purveyor of Ties will keep on hand at least one of his quite remarkable ties for just such an eventuality. Questions about debate caucus procedures or about the John Adams Society itself may be directed to the Chairman at (612) 204-5615 or the Secretary at (952) 470-8090.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Coming Election

Bush's approval ratings are low. Some say it is because of Iraq, or Katrina, or gas prices, etc... But, Iraq has been trouble before and the approval ratings were not this low. I think the ratings are staying low for one reason - immigration policy. A good portion of the Republican base is pissed at Bush about immigration and they will remain pissed for the visable future. So much so they will not offer support to Bush.

For a while I thought this split was bad news for the party and the 2006 elections. However, now I think just the opposite. So far the biggest opponent to Bush on immigration has been the Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives. Immigration motivates the base and the base will get out and vote if they see the Republicans in Congress fighting on this issue. In contrast, Democrats are motivated very little by immigration. They may oppose a wall on the border, but they don't go crazy over it (as they do with Bush hatred). Therefore, besides Bush hatred, what is there for Democrats to get motivated about for 2006. As in the past, Bush hatred will not be enough.

I think the Republican base will get out and vote over immigration and that Republicans will do quite well in November.

Message from Democrats to immigrants: Stop protesting immigration and start complaining about Iraq, Bush, and Katrina.