We Win, They Lose
The Wit and Wisdom of Three Guys Named Brent, Mark and Mike
Sunday, January 30, 2005
Iraq Elections
Today is a great day. Whatever your political persuasion, you should find something to feel good about in the fact that the Iraqis turned out in force to vote. One good quote I found regarding those who would continue to carp about how horrible the war is, how the Iraqis aren't fit for democracy, blah, blah, blah...:

Pessimism masquerading as realism should not be regarded as insight, and you should note the real cause for concern- hawk's gloating. We aren't gloating, we are just happy and relieved, and no one thinks this is the final step for our involvement in Iraq. It is, however, an important real and symbolic victory, and everyone should be happy.

Do I think this means we can start shipping soldiers home tomorrow? No.

Do I think this means that Iraq is going to turn into an American/European style Democracy by tomorrow? No.

But was this an important first step? Yes. Why can't some Democrats embrace this? Why must they constantly position themselves and their party in such a way that they gain politically when things go poorly?

A commenter to the above post stated:

It's almost as if the Dems feel they lost this election...

That's pretty funny.

Saving the Pledge
is the title of this interesting article in First Things. In it, Vincent Philip Munoz argues that saving the pledge requires bringing the case to the federal judiciary, rather than stripping federal courts of their power to hear it, as the House of Representatives did last year.

He states:

[T]hose who favor keeping “under God” in the Pledge should pray that the Senate quietly kills the Pledge Protection Act. Should it pass, the legislation may increase—not decrease—the likelihood that judges will find “under God” unconstitutional. The bill would prevent, moreover, the possibility of a decisive Supreme Court decision in favor of the Pledge.

Unlike a constitutional amendment, jurisdiction-stripping using Article III, Section 2, does not affect or overturn existing Supreme Court precedents. In practice it transfers final judicial authority from the United States Supreme Court to the court of last resort in each state. The tradition of stare decisis would likely lead these state courts to follow existing Supreme Court precedents. So if Congress strips all federal courts of jurisdiction over the Pledge, First Amendment challenges to “under God” will be decided by state supreme courts likely to apply existing Supreme Court precedents concerning the establishment of religion.

Professor Munoz also notes that Justice Kennedy is the key vote on the Supreme Court should such a case reach it again:

That fifth vote likely would be Justice Anthony Kennedy. If the Pledge goes down, Kennedy will take the blame. In 1992 he devised the “Coercion” test in the school prayer case Lee v. Weisman. In Lee, Kennedy wrote that students who attend public school graduations that include prayers are “psychologically coerced” to participate in a religious exercise. Prayer at graduation violates the Constitution, Kennedy wrote, even if students are asked only to remain respectfully silent while others pray.


When the Supreme Court reversed Newdow on narrow technical grounds, Kennedy was spared from facing the consequences of his own jurisprudence. He will not get off so easily the next time a Pledge case comes up. The most strategic way to save the Pledge would be to force Justice Kennedy to vote on its constitutional merits.

It’s no secret that Kennedy is attentive to public criticism. Given the Pledge’s overwhelming popularity among the American people and the fact that the nation’s law-school elites have not rallied against it, if forced to cast the decisive vote Kennedy will likely vote to avoid bringing scorn upon himself. Unlike Justices Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer, moreover, he has never embraced the ACLU’s “wall of separation” ideology. The conditions are ripe for Kennedy to support the Pledge.

I have noted previously how Justice Kennedy has "evolved" on the bench, likely due to sensitivity to public criticism and elite opinion. Who knows, perhaps he even read my piece noting his complete (and little-noticed) flip-flop in Lawrence v. Texas.

Saturday, January 29, 2005
What's the Deal?
Seems every time I go in the video store there are tons of movies which are advertised as the "not seen in theaters" version. Invariably, this is an "unrated" version of a popular movie. It is almost always an R-rated movie made more explicit, or a PG-13 stepped up to an R or worse.

I wonder -- why don't the studios ever put out a video that was not the version seen in the theater that is LESS explicit, LESS graphic, LESS violent? Make a PG-13 into a PG, or a PG into a G. I believe it would make good business sense, because there are plenty of those movies that I refuse to see because of the content. If they would leave the story the same and make it palatable, I'd rent it.

But mainly I wonder why the movie to video changes are a one-way street? Why don't they go both ways? If it's just about giving the viewer more options, then why not make both?

Maybe it's not about giving the viewer more options.

My Daughter's Poem
My wonderful 7-year old daughter recently wrote the following poem:

Harry Haret has a parrot
who liked to say ferret
although he was a parrot
he liked ferrets

Harry Haret thought his parrot
was a ferret,
but his mother Mary
knew it was a canary.

I think it is excellent, and she was so proud of herself!!

What do you think?

Wal Mart and Abortion
Click here for an opinion piece titled "Heroes and Villains" from what I imagine must be the student newspaper for Cornell University. It states:

Speaking of which, the outrageous weather was unable to give hypothermia to the VILLAINOUS abortion-rights opponents who marched on Washington, protesting the 32nd anniversary of HEROIC Roe v. Wade. Apparently, they were kept warm by their self-righteousness. It's been 32 years since the United States Supreme Court recognized a woman's right to choose, and we want to see this decision upheld for at least another 32.

In the first paragraph, they singled out Wal Mart as a villain, stating:

Wal-Mart is infamous for its low wages, gender discrimination and anti-union mindset. An hourly wage of $6.50 would be awesome in Bangladesh, but here it can scarcely buy you shampoo. Plus, we're worried that the megastore will start carrying wholesale varieties of those weird tschotchkes that you can only find in the Tibetan stores on the Commons and drive our local merchants out of business. But they will -- the only thing you can't get at the big W is probably an abortion ...

Now there's a thought -- what would all these weirdos on the left do if Wal Mart began offering abortions? Theier heads would explode, they wouldn't know how to react.

Senator Kennedy and the Fourteenth Amendment
Senators must take an oath to support the Constitution before serving. The oath states:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

This oath fulfills the Constitutional mandate, found in Article VI, that the Senators and Representatives "shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution[.]"

Following the Civil War, a section of the Fourteenth Amendment was designed to prevent former Confederates in Congress from serving again if they had engaged in rebellion. Section Three of that Amendment reads:

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State Legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two thirds of each House, remove such disability.

My question is this -- under this Section, can a Senator be expelled for giving a speech that arguably constitutes "aid or comfort" to an enemy of this country?

I thought of this when I heard this speech, delivered by Senator Kennedy two days ago:

We lost our national purpose in Vietnam. We abandoned the truth. We failed our ideals. The words of our leaders could no longer be trusted.

In the name of a misguided cause, we continued the war too long. We failed to comprehend the events around us. We did not understand that our very presence was creating new enemies and defeating the very goals we set out to achieve. We cannot allow that history to repeat itself in Iraq.

We must learn from our mistakes. We must recognize what a large and growing number of Iraqis now believe. The war in Iraq has become a war against the American occupation.

We have reached the point that a prolonged American military presence in Iraq is no longer productive for either Iraq or the United States. The U.S. military presence has become part of the problem, not part of the solution.

What a disgrace. Whatever else this speech is, it surely provides comfort to our enemies in Iraq.

And so I ask -- can Senator Kennedy be held to account for this speech?

Under the Fourteenth Amendment, who decides what is "aid or comfort"? Who decides if the Senator has given comfort to an enemy?

I've never seen this discussed, but Section Three seems to perhaps conflict with Section 5 of Article I, which states:

Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two thirds, expel a member.

Did the Fourteenth Amendment, which came some eighty years after Article I, modify the two-thirds requirement, so long as the Senator can be said to have given "aid or comfort" to an enemy? Under this Section, could a majority of the Senate remove Senator Kennedy?

Would I vote to remove him? No - I think one should be allowed to speak their mind. However, if he went much further, I could be persuaded to do so. And I do think the speech is disgraceful, and would certainly vote to censure him.

And I know this is all conjecture and hypothetical, but I really am wondering. Who gets to decide? Do the American people have the right to remove Senator Kennedy (or another Senator who says something similar or worse)? What if a sitting Senator donates money to al qaeda? Or says on the floor of the Senate that he hopes all of our troops are killed by our enemies because the war is unjust? Does the Senate have any power to remove him or her? What is the mechanism for enforcement of this section?

(Cross-posted at Southern Appeal)

Monday, January 24, 2005
Court upholds LDS Church firing employee for disloyalty
Click here for an Associated Press article which includes the following:

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled Thursday there was no direct evidence of gender or age bias by the Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In addition, the court found that they could require Cook to maintain a valid temple recommend -- written certification of an individual's worthiness to enter an LDS temple -- to keep her job.

Plaintiff contended in her brief that "[a]ll Utah judges should have recused themselves and the case assigned to another state because of bias."

She lost.

Saturday, January 22, 2005
The pseudo-feminist show trial of Larry Summers
Don't miss William Saletan's piece on the Lawrence Summers controversy. (Summers is a previous member of President Clinton's cabinet -- what is it with these guys and their women problems?)

Anyway, Saletan writes:

Nobody bats an eye at the overrepresentation of men in prison. But suggest that the excess might go both ways, and you're a pig.

He concludes:

Already Summers is being forced to apologize, in the style of a Communist show trial, for sending "an unintended signal of discouragement to talented girls and women." But the best signal to send to talented girls and boys is that science isn't about respecting sensitivities. It's about respecting facts. The only people who don't belong in science, male or female, are those who would rather close their eyes—and yours—than see what's there.

Thirty-Two Years of Abortion
Today is the 32nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Click here for Blackmun's Bane, an article I wrote two years ago on the decision.

Based on the oral arguments in Roe, and on a Texas statute which was unchallenged in that case (and thus, still on the books) the article makes clear the fact that when given the chance thirty years ago, even the "pro-choice" crowd did not claim that abortion rights included killing a half-born child.

Saturday, January 15, 2005
Good point...
This article at Front Page Magazine by Michael Radu contains the following money quote:

Ironically, the liberal Carter and Clinton supporters who regard America's Constitution as "a living document"--that is, subject to fashions that change with the times--nevertheless hail the Geneva Conventions and Protocols (the second of which was never signed or ratified by the U.S. Senate) as eternal monuments akin to the Pyramids.


Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Gay-friendly? As opposed to what?
The Orlando Sentinel reports that "Ground was broken today for The Gardens, Orlando's first time-share resort targeting gay consumers."

For years, the homosexual activists have been telling us that society is anti-gay, that even if we don't know it, we're homophobic, that they're under all this societal pressure, blah, blah, blah. They publicly state that all they want is to be treated like everyone else, and yet time and again, they isolate themselves with stupid ideas like this.

But that's not my point in drawing attention to this -- frankly, I could care less if they all want to live in the same place. But what intrigues me is this statement, which closes the piece:

While the property by law cannot discriminate and sell exclusively to homosexuals, marketers said they will make it clear to prospective buyers that the clientele is expected to be predominantly -- if not exclusively -- gays and lesbians.

How do you like that? You know the homosexual activists would go absolutely bonkers if a marketer of any other resort stated that it intended to "make it clear" that "their community is expected to be predominantly -- if not exclusively -- heterosexual." You know they'd be out in force picketing, and whining about how oppressed they are. But the fact that this statement is not going to draw a bit of outrage gives the lie to their claim of oppression -- homosexuals are, as George Orwell once put it, more equal than the rest of us.

As further evidence of the victory of gayness, look no further than the title of the article -- "Ground Breaks on Gay-Friendly Resort." Gay-Friendly -- isn't that nice? Who can argue with that? We're all supposed to read that headline, nod our heads and say to ourselves: "good for them - they deserve it, after all we've put them through." Just think of the insidious nature of the phrase "gay-friendly." By implication, every other place is NOT gay-friendly. The poor oppressed dears.

But if ground had broken on a heterosexual resort that "made it clear" to prospective clientele that it intended to be "predominantly, if not exclusively heterosexual" the title would be on the front page, and would be something like this:

"GROUND BREAKS ON ANTI-GAY RESORT: Hundreds Gather to Throw Hissy-Fits."

Do you think anyone would dare protest this resort because the marketers are letting people know their intentions for 100% homosexual population? The funny (just not ha-ha funny) part is that if anyone did, the homosexuals would act (once again) as if they were the ones being oppressed. Unbelievable.

(Cross-posted at Southern Appeal)

Monday, January 10, 2005
Don't worry, they work. And if they don't...
Turns out the condoms Planned Parenthood is giving away are the worst ones on the market. I'm sure it doesn't have anything to do with the fact that Planned Parenthood won't be too upset if they fail every once in a while, and they can make a few hundred dollars to clean up any unpleasantness.

"Rejected" by the Senate?
Read this article titled "Pryor supporters debate timing of confirmation vote."

New York Senator Charles Schumer is quoted in the article as saying:

Judge Pryor hasn't changed his way-out-of-the-mainstream views and it is highly unlikely that anyone in the Senate will change their views. To nominate judges previously rejected by the Senate is wrong.

Question -- when was Pryor "previously rejected by the Senate"? Anyone looking for ammunition to support the contention that the senate democrats are increasing the majority required to confirm a nominee to 60, look no further. Pryor was never given a floor vote, if he had been, he would be confirmed. The senate has never "rejected" Pryor, and it is disingenuous of Schumer to act as if they have, especially when he is a main reason they refuse to even bring Pryor's nomination to a vote.

The article concludes with this:

Schumer responded that senators approved 204 of 214 Bush judicial picks in his first term, rejecting only 10 who were out of the mainstream.

"The White House and Bill Frist shouldn't be poking people in the eye," Schumer said.

When were these 10 nominees who are so far out of the mainstream "rejected"? If they are so far out of the mainstream, let's bring them up for votes and see what happens, Chuck. But don't act as if you've already "rejected" them when you refuse to even have a vote.

Sunday, January 09, 2005
Eminent Domain
Click here for "Legal Plunder," an excellent article on eminent domain.

Why is this part of high school?
Here is an article about a group calling itself the Community Awareness Network for a Drug-free Life and Environment (CANDLE), which is sponsoring a retreat "for students who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, and students who are heterosexual and want to be supportive of classmates who are not, said James Young, youth initiative coordinator for the group."

Funny, the group's name doesn't suggest any homosexual agenda -- sounds more like an anti-drug group, right? Instead of staying away from drugs, however, it seems CANDLE is going to teach these students to be political advocates for homosexuality. The opening paragraph of the story states:

Gay and lesbian students and their friends will have a chance next week to learn about such issues as political advocacy and discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Wonder what CANDLE would think about a Christian group which takes 80 students away for the weekend to teach them about "political advocacy" and "discrimination based on religious orientation"?

And why would any parent let their child go away overnight with this outfit? The article states only that the retreat "begins Friday night." When does it end?

One other thing -- how do these gay groups get away with this kind of stuff? Can you imagine, even for a moment, a group dedicated to discussing and facilitating heterosexuality among teens being given 80 students to take away for the weekend to get "real age-appropriate and accurate information about themselves"? Why is sexuality topic number one in our high schools today?

Seems the only thing they can teach in high school these days is homosexuality and "anti-bullying," whatever the heck that is.

Saturday, January 08, 2005
Thomas' Opinions
Much has been written about Senator Reid's ridiculous comment that Justice Thomas was an "embarassment" and that his opinions were poorly written. Many suspected that Senator Reid had not read any Thomas opinions, a suspicion later confirmed when Senator Reid made a fool of himself when directly challenged to produce a specific opinion to support his comment.

I have just read a speech from Justice Thomas in which he states:

Those of you who bother to read my opinions probably see that I rarely venture beyond straightforward opinions. I do not think it is an opportunity to engage in lively prose. It seems to me that it is deadly serious business and should be approached in a deadly serious manner.

Justice Thomas rocks. Senator Reid, your intellect is showing. And it ain't pretty.

Clinton's Perverse Legacy
Guess I missed this interesting article when it was published in The Atlantic Monthly on November 23, 2004. It makes a few interesting points, among them:

Clinton may not have left a substantial legislative legacy, but his political legacy is potent. He and Herbert Hoover may be the only presidents whose enduring bequest was to the opposition party. Richard Nixon's self-destruction in Watergate decimated his party in the congressional elections of 1974, the first post-Watergate contest. But that setback was transient, as the GOP resurgence under Reagan would show. Twenty years later Bill Clinton led his party to a more consequential defeat—the loss of the House of Representatives, the center of Democratic power since the New Deal. Clinton failed ordinary Americans, and wounded his party, by not bringing Health Care Reform—his one bid for a major achievement—to a vote, even though the Democrats controlled both branches of Congress. With each election cycle, it becomes clearer and clearer that 1994 was the worst defeat in the history of the world's oldest political party. Unlike the GOP in 1974, the Democrats may never recover from 1994—not today, when congressmen pick the voters through computer-directed gerrymandering, not when Congressional districts are becoming ideological affinity groups, the red districts attracting republicans, the blue districts democrats.

The piece concludes with this:

The perversity of Clinton's legacy raises the suspicion that the Clinton presidency itself was the "vast right-wing conspiracy."

Thursday, January 06, 2005
Why get divorced? Just marry someone else.
The mayor who brought us gay marriage is getting divorced. Why bother?

Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Don't Bully the Homosexuals -- Just the Christians
Remind me never to send my kids to school in Berkeley. Check this out:

Berkeley middle school students created images and essays in response to viewing the anti-bullying film produced by Women's Educational Media "Let's Get Real," part of BUSD's safe schools program.


The Safe Schools project looks at the various forms that bullying behavior can take, particularly as it relates to race, gender, religion, skin color, class, appearance, sexual orientation, etc. A particular focus of the project is to make schools safer for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) students who are especially at high risk for bullying.

I wonder if any of the kids drew a picture of or wrote an essay about a middle-school cramming its pro-homosexual agenda down a kid's throat? Bet they don't consider THAT bullying, religion or no.

Why not teach them math? Reading? Science?

Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Black/Gay Split
The Financial Times carries an article which begins:

When Bernice King led thousands of black people on a march through the streets of central Atlanta last month, bystanders might have assumed the youngest daughter of Martin Luther King was continuing her father's campaign against racial inequality.

In fact, the event was organised by a local black church in support of traditional Christian values - including opposition to gay marriage.

The march showed how deepening social conservatism in the US south crosses racial boundaries and exposes divisions within the black community - including the King family - about whether the civil rights movement should embrace or reject homosexuals.

By starting the march at the tomb of Martin Luther King in Atlanta and placing his daughter at the front of the procession, organisers were sending an unspoken message that the civil rights leader would have supported their stand against homosexual marriage.

The Republicans should get Bernice to speak at their next convention. Wonder why the mainstream media wasn't covering this? I'll bet if she came out in favor of homosexual marriage, it would have been everywhere.

Check out these idiots
I guess some people have nothing better to do than spray paint "God hates you" on the side of an LDS church.

Saturday, January 01, 2005
Just A Question
Where does President Bush get the authority to simply state that the United States will give $350 million to the tsunami victims? I'm as concerned about their welfare as the next guy, but it seems to me that the President has no constitutional basis to simply unilaterally declare that taxpayer dollars will be gifted to anyone, for any purpose. Am I wrong?

The story notes that:

The money comes from the Defense Department budget and USAID's International Disaster Famine and Assistance account, said Noam Neusner, a spokesman for the White House Office of Management and Budget.

But Powell cautioned, "In due course, wherever the money comes from, those accounts will have to be replenished, and that will take action with the Congress, so we will be reaching out to Congress in the days ahead."

What if the President wanted to give a (relatively) much smaller amount to a family in Africa that has lost their father in a farming accident? Can he simply declare that "the United States is giving so-and-so's family $250 thousand to help them out in their time of need"? If not, what's the difference?

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