Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Harry Reid: Off the Deep End

Harry Reid has said that opponents of health care reform are like the supporters of slavery back in the day. Or opponents of women's and civil rights. All he has actually done is shown that he is simply a radical who needs to be turned out of office.

Health care, let's face it, is not in league with those issues. Indeed there is not a right to health care any more than a right to a particular job or particular home. There is only the right, which is in fact an obligation, to pursue these things freely in an open market. Government controls by their very nature restrict these rights. They must, in the long run, constrict them severely, because eventually our only choice will be what Washington offers us. That does not respect humanity and human rights. It insults them.

If you insist on an analogy between slavery and something modern, at least look to abortion rights activists. It is there where human dignity is most directly at issue, not over a hyper-partisan political football such as government mandated health care.

Mr. Reid demonstrates nothing less than a callous disregard of his colleagues and their position when he stoops to such scandalous talk. Especially as he and his liberal peers hold all the cards, at least for now. But, of course, that's why all this must be done now, these extreme measures must be forced through as soon as possible. Because they won't have the votes after January 3rd, 2011, and they know it.

Reid's very shrillness on the point illustrates as much. Let's give him a reason to scream really loud in November.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Biden: A Smart...what?

Vice President Joe Biden has used an inappropriate word. Again. This time, directed towards a store manager in Wisconsin.

Did he mean it as a joke? We're willing to accept that he did. But he still should not have said it where it could be picked up publicly. It was bad taste in that regard, and someone in his position should know better.

Robert Byrd, the longest serving member of the Senate, has died. God rest his soul; this is not the time to discuss his defects, and he deserves our prayers as much as anyone at their death.

Yet it is interesting to note the media reaction to him compared to another recalcitrant southerner cut of the same cloth. Senator Byrd is hailed as a champion of civil rights despite racist actions early in his career, and rightly praised for renouncing them. Yet former South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond, at his death in 2003, was not given quite such similar treatment by the media. This despite his having changed views over the years, as exampled by being the first Senator to hire an African American staffer.

The only palpable difference between the two is that Thurmond committed the sin of being Republican. It is a shame that such media bias should cloud its praise for Senator Byrd.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment, through the doctrine of Incorporation inherent in the Fourteenth Amendment, is applicable to the states and localities.

Be careful what you sow, liberals, for it shall dictate what you reap. It is only logical that if other parts of the Bill of Rights can be held against the states then surely gun rights can be as well. Yet the narrow vote shows how very important the 2010 and 2012 election cycles shall be. Conservatives, these rights shall only be protected if we respond at the voting booth. Thankfully, the almost certain Kagan nomination is too early to challenge this ruling, or those similar.

We hope that putting the name of Jesus Christ alongside that of Lady Gaga in yesterday's report did not seem an inappropriate attempt at headline grabbing. Please let us know if you think so, and accept our apology if it was indeed offensive.

As a pure and unnecessary aside, we originally had a typo in this article. We had referred to 'gun rights' as 'fun rights'. Please laugh with us at that. After all, f is smack next to g on the keyboard.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Jesus Christ crucified; Lady Gaga too?

Somewhere on AOL yesterday it was argued that Lady Gaga has finally gone too far. She wore a bikini to a baseball game, then became upset when it made her the object of attention. Finally, she flipped off the fans. All of which makes us say: THAT is going too far? But using Catholic imagery in a poor fashion is not insulting, not over the top, not just plain rude and inconsiderate? What we have here is another example of alack of perspective in the mainstream media. Be rude to Christians, but not to baseball fans. It's simply ridiculous.

A Swedish scholar has reported that Jesus Christ likely did not die of crucifixion. His death was probably still gruesome, but Gunnar Samuelsson, a theologian at the University of Gothenburg, believes that it was not necessarily through being hung on a cross. There isn't enough evidence, he asserts. This comes after his study of ancient Greek.

We won't bore you with the details, but, ultimately, they aren't particularly important. If Christ is the Son of God sent to save us and had to be executed in order to accomplish that, then any type of humiliating death would fit the bill, and Samuelsson still believes that to be the case. Yet the real trouble here is that he risks causing a rift in the Christian world already torn asunder by other and, quite frankly, more important questions.

We are willing to take him on his word that he only wants the truth. We will even concede that his interest is genuinely scholarly. But the fact is that most other scholars disagree, and tradition does as well. Especially when he uses phrases such as, "So the device described in the Gospels could have been a cross, but it could also have been a spiked pole, or a tree trunk, or something entirely different.", which are not very useful to any understanding of the situation. As they translate into that he may very well have been nailed to a cross anyway, it seems to mean little even academically. Why stir the pot without solid evidence rather than conjecture, even such as may be considered a decent educated guess? Christianity has enough enemies in the world without our own members bringing even the slightest doubt to it. His announcement doesn't really seem to serve a useful point.

We intended to be more generally crabby today, but as our second item went on father than we intended, we'll let it go at these two morsels of insight. Until tomorrow...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The US Social Forum has left Detroit: Good Riddance

The United States Social Forum has come and gone from the City of Detroit. It is fair to ask whether anyone outside of local reporters even noticed. They can be forgiven their interest, however slight. It is their job to seek out the unusual.

Unusual it was, this leftist gabfest which graced our burg with its presence this past week. Without much money to actually stay in places of comfort (they're called hotels, BTW, all you social forum participants; the common folk employ them regularly) they put up tents where they were welcome. One such sight, next to a church, was made up of crowded old nylon bags virtually atop one another, dirty and aged.

The crowning glory of their stay was a protest at a small park near the Detroit Incinerator, upon which they marched afterwards. This was not a nonpartisan affair, despite what some have alleged. It was quite partisan, in fact: one speaker ended his harangue against the world with that cliched old, 'Power to the People!" catch phrase. Another asserted, quite seriously, that pollution was 'racist'. A third railed about crimes against nature. You get the point.

Crimes against nature? It is no crime against a tree to cut down the tree. It may be a crime against a landowner if it is his tree, or a crime against God if down wantonly, but the tree has no moral obligation towards anyone. There can be no crime against it.

Pollution is racist? Of all the human ills in the world (and there are human ills, only generally not of the type the Social Forumers decry) pollution seems the most color and gender blind of them all.

There were speakers from the inner city of Chicago and the coal fields of West Virginia and the public employees unions of North Carolina. These are not people with the interests of Detroit in mind. They are roving semi-professional rabble rousers, seeking only to take down da man. What they would do after he is deposed, well, judging by the list of participants, The Midwest Radical Cultural Corridor, for example, a look at the history of the old Soviet Union, not to mention a taste of Maoist China or Tiananmen Square, would likely offer us a satisfactory pre-knowledge of such a result.

The Social Forum, in short, was simply a gathering of aging old socialists who can't believe the sixties have passed them by, and younger radicals radical because it's cool. They are not to be taken seriously.

It began to drizzle as they started their march towards the incinerator. They probably assumed it was acid rain sent by the corporate interests to bring their cause down. It would make sense, in a certain vein: only the paranoid recognize paranoia fully.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Fifth No-hitter of the Year

Edwin Jackson of the Arizona Diamondbacks Pitched the fifth no-hitter of the 2010 baseball season yesterday. He blanked the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0. It was not exactly a gem, however. Jackson walked eight and threw a whopping (for these days) 149 pitches in his accomplishment. It was a very ugly game, but the record books will show it to be the no-hitter it in fact is.

Amrmando Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers pitched the third no-hitter of the season, a gem of a perfect game which baseball's powers steadfastly refuse to formally recognize on the grounds of integrity. You simply can't overturn a ruling on the field, they claim.

That isn't integrity, it's obstinacy. It's based on an archaic view of integrity which will not allow truth to get in the way of principle, even when the truth is totally obvious to any and all observers. Bud Selig knows Galarraga threw a perfect game; either that, or he's complete idiot. He needs to correct the official record book.

This is not to disparage Edwin Jackson. His might not have been the prettiest no-hitter, but a no-hitter it was just the same. He merits the recognition of a no-hitter no less than Galarraga deserves proper citation for his perfect game. That Bud Selig and baseball will now recognize Jackson while steadfastly and stupidly refusing to hail Armando Galarraga for a greater feat is insulting to the, yes, integrity of the game as well as to the integrity of the players, and even Jim Joyce.

Bravo Edwin Jackson: you are getting what you deserve. Bravo Armando Galarraga: you pitched a perfect game and will always have that feat in your history. Yet boo to the Major League Baseball dinosaurs in New York. You do not have integrity on your side, but, rather, the foolish inconsistency which is the hobgoblin of small minds.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Parental Rights Under Fire Again

Provincetown Schools in Massachusetts have announced that they will give out condoms to students who ask for them. This policy apparently will apply to all students in the K -12 system. Parents will not be informed of any giveaways, but the students will receive counseling and education about sex.

Considering the overall lousy job that the nations' schools are doing, that is not much of a comfort. But you must understand that, in American education today, it is much more important that schools be socially aware and active than it is to actually deal with teaching our kids reading, writing, and math. Why teach anything, when the youngsters will only lose their lives to casual sex, disease, and debauchery?

Such crass ideas not only fail to respect the students as human beings with free will capable of knowing the wrong from the right and able to behave accordingly, they disparage the average parent as ignorant of what is best for their children. How dare anyone in any field, let alone such a powerful one as education, harbor such blanket and unfounded feelings about moms and dads as a group? Who are these folks, who only see each individual child a few hours a day (if that) that they can know better than that child's parents what is best for the kid? They clearly bring their preconceptions to the field, applying them irreverently to any and all, because, after all, they're the professionals, thank yew very much. You're merely the parents.

This is public education today, friends. Insulting and impudent. But when we pay for teachers yet get social engineers, what do you expect?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Kwame: He Just Keeps Going and Going...

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is in trouble again. This time it's with the Feds, who have brought about 19 charges against him. They involve fraud and tax evasion, and if convicted, he could face decades in prison.

Just when it seems that things can't get worse, they do. Yet we should not be shocked to see that a man who has displayed great arrogance in both his personal and political lives should be suspected of even more arrogance. Soliciting funds for personal use under the guise of charity is simply despicable.

But not surprising. Detroit does not need more negative publicity yet the former Mayor appears more than willing to give it to us anyway. If we have set him up for a comeback, as he said we did we he left office, it will after this be a very impressive return indeed.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The GOP is open to Minorities

Victories in Republican primaries in no less than of an old school state as South Carolina display something which we have known for years: minorities are welcome in the Grand Old Party. It is a lesson which minorities voters en masse ought to heed.

Conservative philosophy is all inclusive. Conservative thoughts and actions benefit, ahem, all right thinking people regardless of race, sex, or creed. Conservatives as a group recognize and respect this, and when given the opportunity openly show it. This is particularly clear when we note that both Nikki Haley, who won the SC GOP gubernatorial race, and Tim Scott, a black Republican who won a runoff in the State's 1st District primary, were endorsed by none other than Tea Party favorite Sarah Palin.

These are no shallow displays of affection by the right wing. These are bona fide signals that anyone who accepts the conservative creed will be accepted into her tent. The numbers of minorities in the GOP will continue to rise steadily as minorities themselves come to realize that what they believe in is in fact best represented by the conservative movement. As they come to realize that they are merely being played by the Democratic party and other leftists simply as means to getting and holding elective office, and see that there is an opposing political movement which really cares about the dignity of all people, they will switch allegiances.

Republicans are incessantly told that they do not reach out to others. The South Carolina results tell us otherwise, as the grass roots of the party have shown. It does not bode well for the left in the long run.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Local Control Works Best

One of the most basic axioms a conservative should have in his arsenal is known as the Principle of Subsidiarity. Plainly stated, it says that things should be done on the most local level possible. Why? Because that it the surest way to get necessary things accomplished in the most efficient manner.

The closer we are to a problem the better we ought to be able to understand it. We will see it more clearly, and indeed, particularly with issues and events nearby, we will likely have a greater interest in it. Schools, for example, should by and large be run within the local community because it is the locals who have the greatest interest in the education of their kids. Their kids are the ones who are generally going to hang around and run things when the current generation cannot anymore.

As a rule, the closer to a problem the less money which must be spend alleviating it. This is in part due to localized control, again as issues should be seen more clearly but also as there would be no added layers of bureaucracy which would otherwise have to be paid for by the electorate. Perhaps this is why, try as she might, Washington cannot get a grip on poverty: too much money which is supposed to help the poor in fact keeps bureaucrats at their desks.

There are of course many factors to consider when deciding what job should be done where in a national scheme. A nation as a whole must take up the defense of its people: could Detroit reasonably be expected to ward off an attack by a large foreign power on its own? If we were to leave Detroit to its own devices (a prospect many folks out there may not mind, but let's set aside jokes right now) we would hardly be a nation in the best sense of the word.

As a rule, conservatives would argue that few powers would be nationwide in scope. Military protection, the necessary and proper federal judicial arrangements, coinage, and issues of commerce (to varying degrees) come first to mind. State power would be wider than that of municipalities, perhaps, while communities would see to the bulk of day in and day out tasks: police and fire protection, trash pickup, and to the schools, among other chores.

We could go on all day discussing particulars, but you get the point. Local control is the best remedy for most ills. It is a point which should be discussed, if you'll excuse the irony, on a wider scale.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

Today is Father's Day, the 100th, in fact. It is and should be a day of celebration. Let Dad, as the joke goes, sit and have a beer and watch the ball game. In short, what he does all the time anyway.

But there is a serious issue here. For years the importance of fatherhood was neglected, and very often by the very fathers we are expected to honor and emulate. Much of it began with government aid programs. When dad became superfluous because our father in Washington would take care of his family anyway, many dads took the message as having taken patriarchical responsibility from their own shoulders, and started to live accordingly. The effects of the broken homes and lack of discipline this encouraged are still being felt in many communities today.

Then, rather than do things which respected families as whole units, mom, dad, and the kids, we began to look at single parenthood, which translated into pure matriarchy, as a virtue. Now, that surely can be. Sometimes it is forced upon mothers with the loss of a father through death or abandonment and may be genuinely heroic in that context. Yet it is hard to believe that most mothers would want that. Most would certainly want the aid of the other parent if for no other reason than help with daily trials. But more, any good parent should see that proper guidance is needed from the masculine and feminine. There is a reason that the right family structure involves both. Each one instructs in its own way, and through which a complete individual is better born.

So on this Father's Day it is best to remember that fathers are needed every day in many ways. If your dad is here, have a beer with him and watch a few innings of the game next to him. If he has passed, have the beer anyway and listen as he nonetheless watches a few innings with you. And if he has simply shirked his responsibilities, pray that he finds the courage to return to his correct role. For as with good mothers, without good fathers we are not whole. No one wants to be half a person.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Recycling: not worth the effort.

My wife and daughter are very into recycling, and that's okay. There's certainly nothing wrong with it, and they do it all themselves, so it doesn't even really affect me.

Still, our son while on leave from the Army commented on it in a way I had never considered. Watching his mother prepare tuna cans and milk jugs for recycling he remarked, as she was rinsing the items out and even putting the cans through the dishwater, "So we have to wash our trash?"

Which leads me to my point. Do we really need to recycle things for which there is no demand? Steel, aluminum, copper; these things all get paid for by people who have a real use for them. They're worth money, therefore they get recycled. Paper, plastic, even tin cans aren't worth anything and therefore do not get recycled so readily.

Unless the government encourages or demands it. Many recycling projects are underwritten by government or commanded by it through things such as curbside pickup. In short, they wouldn't exist without coersion. Things worth doing get done without any hint of force.

Think of that when you're washing your tuna cans, using extra water, or burning extra gas to take things to a recycling center. Are we really doing anything worth such effort?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The World Cup

They are playing the World Cup of Soccer these days, and while it's interesting enough for the sense of event, well, on the whole it isn't interesting enough.

Ivory Coast and Portugal played a 0-0 tie yesterday. Sorry, draw, to use soccer parlance. That simply isn't interesting, folks.

Indeed, there have been several ties already in the tournament. It seems as though there have been more ties than victories. Don't they know how to score?

Soccer needs to do something about that. Widen the goal, perhaps, or take a couple players off the field, or get rid of the offsides call, anything to pick up the pace and make the game worth watching. But until and unless they do, soccer will always be dull.

They need to get rid of that annoying racket caused by the horns they blow incessantly through matches too. Although why fans do that is understandable. They need to be entertained while they watch the games.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Exciting Times in Detroit

Posters have been displayed across downtown Detroit announcing a protest of the City's incinerator, the (dum-da-dum-dum) largest in world supposedly, to be held on June 26th. This is in conjunction with the US Social Forum to be held in the city from June 22nd-26th. The Forum itself is a follow up to a similar activity held in Atlanta in 2007. It is all apparently the work of a group called the Ruckus Society, who happily proclaim that 'actions speak louder than words.'

Indeed they do. The group proposes to sponsor workshops on how to protest more efficiently (protest can be fun!) and another which will examine the corporate control of climate policy. Further, they will offer a Freedom Song and Sounds Institute, where groups will sit together and sing 'songs, chants, rhymes, and more.' And it will all be capped off with a Saturday protest march on the incinerator.

A quick look at a local website dedicated to the protest march itself (we won't furnish it to you; we're giving this far too much credibility as it is simply by discussing it) lists a whole passel of groups associated with the event: Greenpeace, the aforementioned Ruckusers, the Sierra Club, and a whole list of organizations with flash words such as environment and toxic in their names. Finally, the Ruckus Society promises that the famous Leftist Lounge from Atlanta will be available again in Detroit for regular old partying.

Now we see. This isn't anything like a concerned citizens group. This is a fringe element out to make themselves known, and the Motor City is the lucky recipient this year. Further evidence that we are dealing with a bunch of powerless left wing partisans can be seen on the same poles where the banners for the protest can be found: pamphlets pleading for the locals to please open up their homes during the Social Forum to house those coming into town for the festivities.

Gee, when we were young conservative activists we paid our own way to out of town meetings. We didn't plead with anyone to put us up: we found hotels and motels more than willing to take our money to let us stay, restaurants very happy to provide us with food and drink, and community activities in the local watering holes where, well, perhaps we did sing, but it was karaoke, good, honest, regular tunes, and we didn't meet just to discuss the whales. We met to have fun, solely and completely.

These are the new social sticks in the mud, and of the worst kind. They have an agenda. In that light, we're just not sure that the Leftist Lounge is destined to be a particularly happening place. But we may go ahead and observe the protest from across the street, just to see what the Sixties were like.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Rising From the Ashes?

Did the 2008 election expose former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as an uninformed, shoot from the lip gal unfit for governing? Only time will answer that question, but for the moment, if she truly did flame out in what may have been merely an inaugural national political run, it is fair to wonder if there is something of the Phoenix about her.

Her endorsement record of gubernatorial candidates in 2010 primaries is 4 and 0, should South Carolina Republican Nikki Haley win a runoff in the Palmetto State on June 22nd as expected. In House races Ms. Palin's magic had not been spun quite so well as her chosen ones are a mere 5-4. Still, it is easier to have an effect on broader races in part because a larger pool of voters are involved. The more local the candidate, the more likely the results are tied into the local political landscape. Someone with broad national appeal may not play as well among those more tied into the smaller regions.

And not all of her endorsements have met with enthusiasm in conservative circles. Palin declined to support Nevada's Sue Lowden, a party favorite who lost to Tea partier Sharron Angle. Meanwhile, her support of Terry Branstad in Iowa met with conservative sniping that he was too moderate. So there seems to be a bit of playing both sides going on in the Palin camp.

All of which means...what? An argument can be made that she's positioning herself for 2012, looking for winners who may be able to use their power to support a Palin for President campaign. In that view, it makes sense to support conservatives and Tea Party types who may be an asset in their home states while choosing those in moderate areas who could win votes for her there. Further, she may be attempting to line up a winning record among others as a way of showing that she is a winner herself. Momentum is tomorrow's starting pitcher, the baseball wags tell us, and 2102 is, well, tomorrow in the election cycle.

It was a mistake for the politicos to interpret Sarah Palin as shallow in 2008, despite evidence to the contrary. This is not to say that she will have a cakewalk should she mount a campaign for the White House. But she would not be the first conservative interpreted as backward to reinvigorate American conservatism in the end. We may one day hear her name in sentences with Ronald Reagan.

Or we may not. Either way, at this point Sarah Palin does not appear quite so out of her element as many initially thought. Considering her accomplishment in simply becoming governor of even a small state such as Alaska, it would unwise to write her off too soon. Particularly if her people fare well this coming November.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Gaga over Gaga?

Lady Gaga, apparently a pop icon of some sort, apparently also has a reputation for over the top activity in her music videos. Her most recent one has her doing variously disgusting acts with symbols of Catholicism.

That isn't surprising. One sure way to call attention to yourself is to use religious imagery in anti-religious fashion. Years ago a so-called artist made a name for himself by photographing a Crucifix in urine. In short, shocking use of religion is nothing new, and the Catholic Church, which has so much imagery, is quite easily the common victim of such abuse.

Why? Or perhaps an even better question is, why not employ the more regular use of the icons of other faiths?

For starters, other faiths, particularly non-Christian belief systems, are somehow exempt for different reasons. It is not PC to use images of Islam or Buddhism, one because people are afraid of it and the other because Buddhism seems accepted as simply a creed of peace and harmony. It is not viewed as hierarchical or tied down by theology.

But the chief reason that the Catholic Church is so often mocked so savagely is because she is not only the biggest religious institution in the Western world, but the one with the most comprehensive morality. The intellectual and cultural elite, especially, it seems, those who want to do as they please when they please (entertainers are high on that list) do not want to be told what they can and cannot do. They want to be their own judges about what is right and what is wrong.

So they belittle and disrespect in any way they can that one shining example of absolute and objective morality: the Church of Rome.

Do not confuse the priest sex abuse scandal with the teachings of Christ through his Church. The sins of an individual, any individual, are not in themselves a reflection of the espoused teachings of any given institution, let alone Catholicism. Even Catholics of rank and distinction are still human and subject to human failings. It is the rightness of Her teachings which are under attack with videos such as Ms. Gaga's.

Perhaps she is doing it simply for fame and fortune. But seeing as she already has an audience, there seems little point to mock the Church except to mock Her. That is not art. That is drivel of the worst kind: self interested behavior for no other reason than sensationalism. It is like swearing for the mere sake of swearing, and below the dignity of any human person.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Mulberry Season and Joe Cosgriff

Note: This is a repeat of one of my first blogs, and it is still one of my favorites. Look for it every year about this time. I still miss you, Joe.

Funny, isn’t it. how we sometimes identify people with certain times, places, or things?

In the alley behind our old family repair shop there is a row of mulberry bushes which have been there for years. My grandfather would, in the late spring when they were in season, always stop and treat himself to a few of the little fruits as he went to and from work.

Little? Well, mulberries are small compared to most fruits. In context, they’re like raspberries who have spent a lot of time in the gym; a scant few are a handful. They’re juicy and sweet, and Grandpa Joe liked them. I remember vividly his picking and popping them into his mouth as he made his way down the alley, as though he were a kid again.

Time passes, and so, sadly, did Grandpa Joe. Yet the mulberries still grew, and I couldn’t help over the years but develop a liking to them myself. As I hike to and from work nowadays I’ll stop and have a few. As it were, my daughter also came to know and like the mulberries too. Often we’ll take bowls and go fill them with the little purple black fruits, snacking as we pick, and my wife will make pies out of those which make it back home. I like the idea that three generations of a family have been able to enjoy those berries ripening on the same bushes.

Now, I’m not all that naive; I know that Joe Cosgriff was ornery and arbitrary, with a hair trigger temper. I know it from the tales my Dad and his siblings have told, and from the personal experience of having worked with him for a good 15 or 18 years. I know too that there was a part of him which was somehow kind and appreciative, and that there were moments when these came out despite, perhaps, himself. There were good times and trying ones, and lasting impressions. I find as I grow older that, in the end, it is the good times which matter more than the difficult, even if it seems there were more tough days than easy. I believe too that the smallest, almost innocuous, memories can also be the greatest insights into the honest character of someone.

What prompts me to write this? It’s June, and the mulberries are in. And I’m thinking about you, Joe.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Military Kwame

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick mat be able to attend a so-called 'boot camp', where the incarcerated take part in a quasi-military regimen to rehabilitate them. It would allow him to be released from prison in about 90 days rather than the minimum year and a half he currently is expected to serve.

Is exercise, counseling, and work what the former Mayor needs? Perhaps. Wayne County Prosecutor Kim Worthy says no, and is attempting to keep him in jail according to his current sentence. But the idea of Mr. Kilpatrick actually working is interesting.

We're not sure what to think. The idea of running him through a gauntlet has its appeal. There has to be something which will get through to him.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Christian Schools and Unchristian Behavior

A Florida teacher has been fired from a Christian school due to fornication, having sex outside of marriage. The instructor, Jaretta Hamilton, when applying for maternity leave admitted to school authorities that her child had been conceived before her marriage. The school then made the issue public by informing the parents of the school's students of the reasons Ms. Hamilton was dismissed.

This is a complete mess, and that's all. Contrary to what the fired teacher and her legal counsel may say, along with however the law might be argued to apply at this time (remember our law, like our Constitution, is living, and therefore truly unknown), a private school which presumes to uphold certain private values is well within its moral rights to dismiss employees who are not in accord with whatever reasonable standards the school sets in place. A Christian school has the moral right to expect its patrons and personnel to live according to its beliefs. If, as the school says, Ms. Hamilton agreed during her hiring that she would live as such and is unrepentant in her approach, then it is wrong to argue that she has the right to the job she once held.

However, informing parents of why she was dismissed is another question entirely. The school's argument that parents have a right to know why a teacher of their children was suddenly released is specious. There's no real cause to subject anyone to public scrutiny over a matter essentially between the school and Ms. Hamilton. We do not live in the era of the scarlet letter; the only thing accomplished by letting everyone know the details is shame and humiliation for the former employee, and self righteousness displayed by the administration. If Ms. Hamilton wished to bring such affliction upon herself by making this a public cause, that's one thing. But to have the school make it an open issue at the least shows poor judgment, and at the worst, an arrogance which belies any good Christian standard.

Ms. Hamilton's lawyer, Ed Gay, argues that the whole case is one of marital status discrimination, and that the school is only a school rather than a church, and thus subject to the charge. On that point, he is wrong. A Christian school is an extension of a Christian church and has the right to lay out a Christian foundation for its teaching and teachers. But the invasion of privacy charge has grounds. There is no Christian defense for poor judgment and inconsiderate behavior.

Expecting your workers to live your faith values is one thing. Besmirching someone's character is another, even if you are certain you are justified. The real lesson here is one of the need for Christian charity even in the face of an unchristian act. One wonders if any of those involved will learn that lesson.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The President Swears; is He Grasping at Straws?

President Barack Obama speaks to experts so that he knows who to beat down. Spoken like a brawler who has the biggest fight of his life ahead of him. Which, no doubt, he has.

2010 is the year where we will find out whether Barack Obama is the left's Ronald Reagan. Reagan endured animosity and hardship during his first two years in office and faced a difficult mid-term election in 1982. Yet he recovered and became revered as one of the greatest leaders in our history. Is such a turnaround possible for the current Chief Executive?

Well, as they say, anything's possible. Yet Mr. Obama does not appear to have anywhere near the same amount of base popular support as Mr. Reagan did. Nor does he have the charisma of the Great Communicator. Nor does he seem to have quite so clear of a message as the former actor, who said in no uncertain terms that government needed to allow people to be people, to find the strength within themselves to improve their lot in life. Reagan spoke to the American people about trust and a belief one's self. What does Obama offer us?

Swearing quite literally that he'll kick the stuffing out of whoever needs it. After proper consultation with those who know.

Wow. That sure makes us believe in the future of America.

This was not a Harry Truman moment, brought on by the excitement of the time. This was somehow calculated, an attempt to show that Barack Hussein Obama means business. That perhaps is why it sounded so false. It came across almost a flippancy.

Public officials should refrain from even the mildest expletives. But if you're going to swear, make it emphatic. Make it sound like you really believe that it needed to be said in order to make a point. Make it draw attention to, not that the President of the United States swore, but that the swearing sharpened the focus on an important point.

It is interesting to note as well that FDR never spoke, at least in public, of beating the tar out of Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan. Yet President Obama thinks it all right to do it to mere business executives. Is there any wonder why he's losing his grip on the voting public?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Mixed Bag

Primary elections are happening all over the nation today, and incumbents in both parties are anxious. The Democrats are worried due to anti-incumbent sentiment as they have the most incumbents. The GOP is concerned because the Tea party movement has the potential to disrupt their plans. It should be a fascinating evening watching the returns trickle in.

Congress, dominated by the Democrats, stands at an approval rating of 29 percent, lower than at a similar time in 1994 when the ranking sat at 40%, and everyone on their side of the aisle knows what happened that November. Yet the sailing may not be all that clear for the Republican Party. Incumbents in Nevada and Iowa face what appear to be insurmountable challenges, while Tea party candidates may disrupt party favorites in many areas. The big trouble with that is polling data shows the loosely aligned Tea Party mavericks hold a rather muddled opinion among the general public themselves: roughly half of those surveyed distrust the movement. When you factor in a supposed 60% doubt among the electorate that the GOP can be trusted to fix our problems, there has to be concern on the right side too.

Nevertheless, with President Obama's ratings low, it would seem that the folks with the most to gain are still the Republicans. We should know more by this time tomorrow, and the real debate will not be over until deep into the fall. But our money is, for now, still with the GOP.

Monday, June 7, 2010

No Integrity in Baseball

Major League Baseball has yet to give Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga his perfect game. The precise reasons are unknown, as no one has actually said anything in particular about the issue. But it's safe to presume that they are based on two things: the integrity of the game, and letting human error stand.

These are premises at odds with one another. Integrity demands that human error be taken into account and corrected if possible. This is a very correctable situation. Not fixing it lacks rather than establishes integrity.

Sports are supposed to teach us integrity and fair play. Yet all the current situation teaches us is obstinacy, and in the most archaic manner. Bud Selig has essentially said what's ruled on the field stays on the field, a commendable sense of justice in the olden days before we could review and admit and correct error. Still, some fans and officials have asked, where does it stop? If MLB overrules this, then what else can be overruled?

There is an easy answer to this: whatever should be overruled based on the preponderance of the evidence. Not every single call in baseball, but only those where there is clear evidence of substantial human error.

Bud Selig is a coward on the perfect game we all saw. The Detroit Tigers themselves deserve a place in the hall of shame for not specifically asking MLB to change the call and give one of its own players the fame he earned on the field. The organization apparently is filled with timid cowards as well.

Hear this: Armando Galarraga will eventually get his due. But it will take people of greater conscience than who rule baseball today. Major League Baseball must get out of the 12th century and accept that we have the technology to make the game better. And the sooner the better, lest a great game be lost on history.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Rand Paul Disease

Thinking before speaking. This is an art which appears to be lost on most folks these days. Sadly, politicos seem to be the worst practitioners of foot in mouth disease.

A South Carolina State Senator and fellow Republican Jake Knotts called South Carolina GOP gubernatorial hopeful Nikki Haley a raghead. She is of Asian Indian descent. He says he meant it as a joke and has apologized.

His explanation that he said so because he was being interviewed on an Internet show which was supposed to be freewheeling is no justification. Anyone ought to know that anything going over the world wide web can and will be picked up and disseminated, especially by those who want to stir up controversy.

Mr. Knotts' stupid comment is precisely what gives the Republican Party and greater conservative movement a black eye. Even if we are supposed to accept it as humor, it is the type reserved for sophomoric films at best. At worst, and being said by a public official in a public atmosphere surely fits the worst case scenario, it begs for the charge of latent racism which right wingers face daily without any help from presumed allies.

Haley has suffered enough with recent allegations of infidelity. She doesn't need this kind of further controversy surrounding her person or campaign. And South Carolina could certainly use a cleaner electoral environment than it has been graced with so far. We do not need any more cases of Rand Paul disease in our commentary.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Slow News Day

There just doesn't seem to be anything worth writing about today. The BP oil spill is still spilling. Armando Galarraga still has not gotten credit for his perfect game. President Barack Obama is still lashing out at BP and sportswriters are still hashing about whether the Detroit Tigers hurler should get into the record books. So, what to do?

This: have a great weekend folks. If anything really cool happens later today, we'll be right here with the full report.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Diversity in Education

Almost all of the states along with the District of Columbia have signed on to to the Common Core State Standards blueprint, which calls for consistent standards across the board over who should know what when. The basic justification is that consistent national standards are needed to ensure that all children in all states will be adequately prepared for college and the world of work.

Alaska and Texas did not sign on. This is not surprising of either, particularly for the Lone Star State, as it has apparently gone its own way on content standards. Regardless of your opinion of Texas' education reforms, the one thing that stands out about the Common Core State Standards initiative is that it takes just a bit more control of education from the states and directs it towards the federal government.

Supporters say that it doesn't tell teachers what to teach but merely gives them goals. If there's a difference between what to teach as opposed to presumed goals to be met, we can't fathom it. Having a standard that says all kindergartners ought to be able to count to one hundred by tens sure doesn't leave a lot of room for imagination. Perhaps they are talking about the content of higher grades, and there would surely be more diversity of such content farther up the learning ladder. Still, even that seems little more than pablum. How much real difference can there be in teaching math or reading skills?

But the main threat here, again, is that that much more control will be lost to states and localities and that much more given to a national association of some sort. This has been put in place so that states may qualify for Race to the Top funding, a White House education program.

We see the true colors of the movement now. Schools have almost universally, at least in the last generation or two, praised diversity. Yet they now call for something which shall centralize education just that much more, and erode a little further the state and local control of teaching. And all for the sake of more money from the feds.

It strikes us that a new golden calf has been forged.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga was absolutely, positively, and completely robbed last night. He pitched the 21st perfect game in Major League Baseball history and will not get the credit for it.

There must be something that can be done about this travesty. Come on, Bud Selig, be a leader. Be a real baseball commissioner with the best interest of the game in mind and find some kind of reason to change the official outcome of last night's Tigers/Indians game. Find some sort of extra-constitutional power in the game's annals and overrule the current final result.

Major League baseball umpires are human, to be sure, but this just ain't right. Galarraga himself was very kind and considerate in his remarks after the game, and Tigers manager Jim Leyland after the game said all the right things as well. But there needs to be an outcry against this; there has to be a reaction so strong and so firm as to force a change.

The rule book be damned in this case. Stand up for what's right, Major League Baseball. You don't have to change the outcome of the game; that won't be affected at all if you simply retroactively overrule the call. And sports justice will be served.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Reasonable Idea

In 1954, the University of Texas named a dorm after William Stewart Simkins, who taught law there for three decades. Now there is a movement afoot to rename the building, because Simkins was a Klansman.

This is a pretty easy issue to agree upon. There is no defense of naming any place, particularly one on a college campus, after such a notorious character. We, liberal and conservative alike, can disagree respectfully on many matters, even emotionally charged issues. But a school building named after a Klansman?

It's a no-brainer, University of Texas. Change the name of the dormitory. There are no rational grounds for keeping it as it is.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

2010 Census: How Will Politics Affect Politics?

All that effort, all the time and money spent on the 2010 Census, all the encouragement from the government to stand up and be counted, and who ironically is the most likely to benefit from it?

Republicans, that's who. With the 2010 mid-term elections shaping up as a political windfall for the GOP, and with many states holding gubernatorial elections as well, what we have is yet another fear for the left coming to fruition. You see, the States will be redistricting the House of Representatives, and the more states controlled by the GOP, the more likely that new districts will benefit the Republicans in 2012.

The Census figures will not be available in time to affect this year's vote, but will certainly have a major effect on the makeup of Congress after November 2012. So this year's elections may well be of that rare type and quality which affect, not simply the immediate political landscape but that of at least the next decade. It is an opportunity the Republicans will surely do all that they can for their best advantage.

But more than that. Let's face it: the people most likely to have filled out their Census forms or at least made sure they were counted are the same people most likely to come out for what are often seen as less important elections. The people who don't get counted are generally the ones whose regular participation in the electoral process is less than exemplary. They don't get involved in much of anything, preferring to stay in the shadows for whatever reason. While the folks who do make themselves known tend to be Republican.

For all of our Democratic and liberal friends, be afraid. Be very afraid.