Precinct 333

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Cuba a beacon of democracy for the oppressive US?

Where do public colleges and universities find folks like this???

When I was a college student in the mid-1980s, Illinois State University had the old Stalinist in the English Department, daily agitating for a socialist revolution from 8-4 before going home to his mini-mansion in his Mercedes. We also had the guy in my beloved Political Science Department who quoted Lenin and Marx in his US government classes and hung pictures of himself with Castro and Ortega all over his office -- until he inherited his uncle's multi-million dollar commercial real estate empire and moved out west to live the life of the capitalist oppressor.

I thought of these guys today as I read a piece by University of Minnesota professor August Nimitz on (Red) He begins with standard leftist anti-war ranting, saying:
I agree that gross human rights violations are commonplace in Cuba -- in the US-occupied Cuban territory of Guantanamo! The abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad have their immediate roots in Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo. For these and other reasons -- particularly, the bipartisan offensive against domestic democratic rights in the name of fighting terrorism -- I reject the democratic pretensions of Washington and those who claim to speak on its behalf, such as Weiner and Buchanan.

But then he continues on to argue that because of Castro, the people of Cuba have greater political and economic rights than Americans!

I hope that Nimitz sleeps well tonight, dreaming of the revolution -- probably in a McMansion with a couple of SUVs in the garage. And I hope those dreams accurately reflect the historical reality that when the Communist Revolution comes, it is usually the bourgeois intellectuals like him who are among the first to be shot by the revolutionaries.


Top Bishop Supports Federal Marriage Amendment!

Not-so-conservative bishop promotes common-sense change.

Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, has come out in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment and urged is brother bishops to do the same.

"This situation challenges Catholics -- and all who seek the truth -- to think deeply about the meaning of marriage, its purposes and its value to individuals, families and society."

Supporters of gay marriage immediately attacked Gregory, the Bishop of Belleville, IL, and the Catholic Church as a whole, for speaking out in support of a definition which has two millennia of support in Catholic teaching and practice.

On a personal note, I would like to say I am pleasantly surprised by this story. I first met Bishop Gregory 14 years ago when I entered the seminary, and he became the bishop of the diocese for which I studied about six months before I left the seminary to determine if teaching or the priesthood was my real vocation. Gregory is a brilliant man, but also a gentle pastor, and I did not expect so public a statement of support for the FMA, even though I knew that would be his position.


Friday, June 25, 2004

America loses a great public servant

Solicitor General Ted Olson, whose arguments persuaded the Supreme Court to order a constitutionally acceptable vote count in Florida and who later lost his lovely wife, conservative comentator Barbara Olson, in the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, will resign his position aftr the current Supreme Court term ends this summer.

After his wife's death, Olson became an outspoken defender of administration policies in the war on teror. Recognizing the flagging support for that effort on the part of the Left, in 2003 Olson recalled the deaths of so many Americans on 9/11, in particular his wife, who stayed on the phone reporting what was happening until her flight hit the Pentagon. "Their suffering and deaths must fuel our dedication to stamp out this cancer," Olson said.


Some things just need saying.

Dems outraged that VP uses curse word on Senate floor that they support being used on television and radio, or in anti-Republican rants at Leftist rallies.

After a heated exchange over political charges and counter charges, Vice President Dick Cheney popped off at Senator Patrick Leahy, using the "F-word". The Senate was not in session at the time.

Which is worse -- directing the "F-word" at someone who is something of a peer during a heated discussion, or directing it at a public servant whose job it is to throw himself in front of a bullet directed at you because he didn't anticipate your direction on a snowboard (as John Kerry did)?

Oh, that's right, this is the sacred Senate floor, occupied by such fine individuals as Ted "I left Mary Jo underwater in the car 12 hours ago while I was drunk" Kennedy, Robert "I'm a Klansman and I'd rather the country be destroyed than fight to preserve it beside a nigger" Byrd, and Patrick "I don't care if it will cost the life of an agent, leaking this top secret info will make me look important" Leahy.

Perhaps most telling was the arrogance displayed by Leahy during one of his "Mommy!!!!!!! Dick said a dirty word!" interviews:
"I was here before Mr. Cheney, and I'll probably be here after he leaves. I'm more interested in how Vermonters feel about me."

If that were true, you wouldn't have run to the press and given all these interviews about something so petty, Pat.

The only thing Cheney has to apologize for is not having given the guy a good dressing down earlier. And the VP seems to agree with me, along with a number of senators.


Judge offers clintonian apology -- Still needs to be impeached

Judge Guido Calabresi says he is sorry for comparing George W. Bush to Hitler and Mussolini.

"My remarks were extemporaneous and, in hindsight, reasonably could be - and indeed have been - understood to do something which I did not intend, that is, take a partisan position," Calabresi wrote in a letter of apology to Chief Judge John Walker.


In his letter of apology, Calabresi said he was ``deeply sorry'' for remarks that were meant as ``a rather complicated academic argument about the nature of re-elections after highly contested original elections'' - but that were ``too easily taken as partisan.''

Unfortunately, your honor, your "complicated academic argument" included a call for the American people to "remove" the president from office. And your wife was up at Yale a few weeks ago to protest the presence of President and Mrs. Bush at their own daughter's graduation -- and was quoted (see end of the article) as saying she was doing so on your behalf. You issued no denial of that statement. Given the proximity to your partisan rant, you need to resign or be impeached.

And by the way -- this is the same appellate judge who ruled that even though the Supreme Court ruled the Boy Scouts had the constitutional right to exclude homosexuals from the organization, a state could make them "pay a price" for doing so. So apparently he has a wholesale disregard for the Constitution, not just the portions creating the Electoral College and the Supreme Court.


Thursday, June 24, 2004

Could it be from a need to anesthetize the pain and guilt?

Women whose first unplanned pregnancy ends in abortion are significantly more likely to become drunks and junkies. That is the result of a study published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse this month. It is the 20th such article published in recent years -- but the silence is deafening in the media.

Why is it that the rate of substance abuse is double among aborted women? It isn't because of pre-abortion substance abuse, for the study limited itself to those who had no previous history of substance abuse. It appears to be a psychological response to the procedure.

Pro-life groups consider the results important as a tool for counseling against abortion and helping women who have had the procedure. Anti-life groups (including NOW and NARAL) refuse to comment, and will no doubt work to discredit these results rather than using them to help women.


Some folks just don't get it!

Separation of Church and State is a myth imposed upon the United States by Supreme Court edict. It certainly is not in the Constitution. Indeed, the only restrictions that exist regarding religion apply to GOVERNMENT action, not CHURCH action. Churches are, in fact, guaranteed the right to speak out on public issues by both the free exercise clause and the free speech clauses of the First Amendment.

While some would argue that restrictions on politicking by churches is part of their trade-off for tax exempt status, the holding in McCullough v. Maryland would seem to imply that churches could never be taxed in any way, shape, or form. After all, "the power to tax is the power to destroy." And it is definitively NOT within the purview of any government entity in the United States to destroy a religion.

And so we come back to the question of the Catholic bishops and anti-life politicians like John Kerry. Several bishops have stated that the presumptive nominee (and other anti-life politicians) will be denied communion within their respective dioceses, while others have attempted to engage the candidate in a less confrontational manner. This last week, the bishops agreed that individual bishops may choose the path that they believe to be the most prudent. But strikingly, they also directed Catholics institutions to avoid issuing invitations or awarding honors to the any officeholder who publicly supports abortion.

Needless to say, the liberals are outraged, frothing and fulminating about separation of church and state. George Marlin points out that to the degree that they do so, they are hypocrites. They have publicly applauded papal and episcopal efforts in support of liberal causes in the past. Whether it has been liberal statements on the economy and war to opposition to the manner in which the death penalty is imposed, they have supported political speech by bishops. And liberals supported Archbishop Joseph F. Rummel back in 1962 when he excommunicated several public officials who were obstructing integration of Catholic schools and using their power to obstruct the exercise of civil right by African Americans. Such support was proper in every case. They should have the integrity to do so now.

Not that this course of action should be undertaken lightly. Denying communion is a serious step, as is the more grave step of formally excommunicating individuals. And there is the potential for backlash, as Cardinal Theodore McCarrick points out. In the short term, Catholics could find themselves treated with suspicion when they run for office, as was the case when another Massachusetts Senator with the initials JFK ran for president in 1960.

But in the end, the Catholic Church should remain faithful to its message and its teachings. And true American patriots should steadfastly support its right to do so.


Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Gee, but the ADL is silent about this.

In a Dirksen Senate Office Building Ceremony, surrounded by members of both the House of Representatives and US Senate, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon received a crown, declared himself to be "Humanity's Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent." How this happened is shrouded in mystery, since no one can determine what US Senator authorized the holding of the ceremony in the building.

Moon has claimed to have spoken in "the spirit world" with all deceased U.S. presidents, Jesus, Moses, Mohammed and others. At the March 23 event, he said: "The founders of five great religions and many other leaders in the spirit world, including even Communist leaders such as Marx and Lenin . . . and dictators such as Hitler and Stalin, have found strength in my teachings, mended their ways and been reborn as new persons."

Yeah. Right. Uh-huh.


ADL To Texas GOP: Censor Nation's Christian Heritage!

Let's be honest about it. America was settled by Christians from its earliest days. All sorts of Christians to be sure, but Christians. Making such a statement does not denigrate the handful of Jews or practitioners of other religions who were present at the creation of the United States, but the foundation of America was a Christian event.

To that end, the Republican Party of Texas includes a plank acknowledging that America was founded as, and remains, a Christian nation. And the Anti-Defamation League has a problem with that. They label the recognition of the reality that America remains over 85% Christian as divisive.

What the ADL does not recognize is that the divisiveness comes not from the majority celebrating its heritage, but from the minority attempting to suppress such celebration. The very fact that this is a Christian nation is fundamental to the welcome and protection religious minorities have found here. Rather than enforce conformity of religion, we grant every believer the dignity of being permitted to follow their own free will in areas of religion.

Speaking as a Texas Republican, I would like to suggest that any ADL member uncomfortable with the Christian nation plank consider a move to Israel, where there is a perfectly good Jewish state for them. And when they get there, let them remember that it is only the good-will of the "intolerant" Christian United States that allows Israel to survive and thrive in the face of a sea of hostile Muslim neighbors.


Will the Supreme Court Vanish?

If current trends in nominations and confirmation battles continue, the US Supreme Court could disappear before too long. Stuart Taylor, Jr. proposes a scenario under which it could happen, destroying both a check on the elected branches of government and the moral authority of the federal courts.

Taylor rightly points out that the focus on ideology in judicial nominees over the last two decades, combined with the trend towards filibustering nominees declared "outside the mainstream" by politicians who are themselves on the fringes of American public opinion could reduce the court to as few as four justices by the next presidential election. While one might hope for greater wisdom on the part of our elected leaders, consider how few people have ever gone broke underestimating politicians.


Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Outrage as molester keeps his council seat!

Claudio "Clyde" Ochoa is a child abusing pervert who took two girls off campus from Galena Park High School for sex while working as a substitute teacher. He is also a city councilman in Jacinto City. Unfortunately, that will not change following his plea bargain on charges related to his sexual assault of these two girls.

In exchange for a guilty plea on a misdemeanor charge of "enticing a child," Ochoa will do 45 days in the county lockup instead of doing 20 years in a state prison and paying a $10,000 fine. Ochoa will also be allowed to keep his council seat, since state law does not consider misdemeanor to be of sufficient gravity to require resignation.

Now let's look at this. I'm a teacher in the same district (though not the same school). If I had contact even remotely resembling this with a student, I would certainly be doing hard time. No way would I be allowed to plead out to a piddly misdemeanor. Something stinks in this case. Who made the decision to let this molester slide? Why did the judge accept such an inappropriate deal? We need to know, and we need to find a way to stop such miscarriages of justice from being permitted in the future.


Millionaire father of billionaire pleads -- tax away our money!

William Gates, Sr., father of Microsoft mogul and leading candidate for Anti- Christ Bill Gates, had a little piece in the Chronicle calling for more social programs and increased estate taxes. It is part of his never-ending crusade to tax money that has already been taxed multiple times just because it is there and available to tax. He goes on at length about the need for the richest Americans to "give back" a part of their wealth to the country that made such wealth possible.

What a rich socialist like Gates is unable to grasp is that such folks have already given back. Wages were taxed as income. Every capital gain was taxed. Real property was taxed continuously. And that doesn't even begin to consider the "giving back" that resulted from their investments in enterprises that provided employment, goods, and services, or their charitable and philanthropic contributions and activities. Sorry, old man, but all that is giving back.

But I'll tell you what -- it seems fair to say that you feel you have not given enough of your wealth to the government. Fine. Write a check to the treasury for as much more as you feel you need to give. Better yet, leave all of your fortune to the government as the ultimate sign of your belief that wealth should not be passed from generation to generation.

But keep your hands off of what the rest of the American people have.


Monday, June 21, 2004

From the depths of my heart, with love.

My grandmother, Mary Travelstead, passed away this morning after a short illness following a stroke. She was 92. She was on her own until a month ago, but the body just gave out.

Grandma always said she would make a terrible invalid, and that she didn't want to linger on if her mind went. She didn't, and I take comfort in that.

If I exclude faith and love (both of which she had in abundance), I would say that her great legacy to the family is education. Born in an age when few went to college, she managed to find scholarships to send all four of her children off to college at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, even though their father never saw the worth of a college education to a small town kid. While Aunt Audrey came back without a degree to marry her boyfriend, the other three made the most of their educations. Uncle Stan was the librarian at Marion High School in Marion, Illinois for many years. Aunt Wilma taught school and eventually became a principal in Lincoln, Nebraska. My dad, Roger, served 27 years as an officer in the US Navy before turning his sights to education as a college professor and a Job Corps administrator. None of the three holds less than a Master's Degree, and there is at least one Ph.D. among them. She eventually went to college herself, and earned an Associate's Degree in Mental Health in her 60s. As I look at those of us who are blessed to have been her grandchildren, I can't help but notice that having only a BA makes you average, and having less a slacker. Quite a legacy she left us there.

There has been quite a distance between us since my wife and I moved to Houston. Making it back to Illinois for a visit hasn't been an option for several years, but we talked nearly every week. I'll miss that. But let me end with the words that concluded so many phone calls the last few years.

I love you, Grandma. I'll come home to you when I can.


Diocese to file Chapter 11?

Settlements and judgements related to sexual abuse cases may force the Diocese of Tucson to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, according to Bishop Gerald Kicanas. In order to make adequate provisions for pastoral work and settlements (both current and future), the diocese will be forced to take action in the face of high settlement demands from plaintiff's lawyers.

This raises a number of questions, but the biggest is this -- how can a court appointed trustee administer the operation of a Catholic diocese? Does this create a church/state separation problem, especially if the trustee/administrator and the bishop disagree on priorities and what is needed to provide for the mission of the Church? This could be quite interesting.

On a personal note, the Diocese of Tucson and its bishop are certainly in my prayers. I first met Bishop Kicanas 15 years ago when he was rector of my seminary. I have taken classes from him, eaten meals with him, and spilled my guts out to him. Rarely have I met a man of greater decency and personal holiness. Hang in there, Jerry.


Pro-choice = no choice for Dem politician

Apparently the only acceptable choice on abortion is abortion, according to Florida Democrats. At least that is what Democrat candidate for property appraiser Joy Hearn has been told. Certain leaders of her local party have advised her that it is unacceptable for her to have "Choose Life" license plates on her car. While a strong liberal on most issues, Hearn is a faithful Catholic and accepts Church teachings on the sanctity of life.

But that isn't good enough for the Democrats -- there is no choice on pro-choice for her, despite the fact that the office she seeks has nothing to do with the abortion issue in any way, shape, or form.


You have no right to remain silent...

In a decision stunningly at odds with the clear wording of the Fifth Amendment, the Supreme Court has ruled 5-4 that you do not have the right to remain silent when a police officer asks you to identify yourself -- and that the state may make it a crime to attempt to assert your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent or Fourth Amendment right to privacy in the face of such questioning.

While the majority in this case argued that a name is unlikely to be incriminating, they overlooked the point made by Justice John Paul Stevens that, given today's information technology, simply having an individuals name can unlock the door to a host of records, files, and bits of confidential information.


IMPEACH THIS JUDGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In a stunning act of arrogance, a federal judge has indicated he believes the George W. Bush is acting like Mussolini and Hitler!

Speaking before the ultra-liberal American Constitution society, Judge Guido Calabresi argued that the President was illegitimately placed in power by the Supreme Court, and then compared the means used to the methods used to get the two dictators into power. Furthermore, he argues that Bush is exercising "extorting power" in his conduct of the War on Terrorism -- and that he has no right to exercise any but the most basic functions of his office. Calabresi also declared that members of the public should expel Mr. Bush from office in order to cleanse the democratic system.

In doing this, the Judge indicates that he does not accept the decision of the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore, and has demonstrated contempt for the President. It calls question his willingness to conform to decisions of the Supreme Court, and his impartiality in cases involving the Bush Administration. And the partisan nature of his call to overthrow the government during time of war borders on treason.

This is not the first time the Judge has overstepped his bounds. In a 2000 case, this partisan Democrat attacked then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani during his Senatorial campaign.

This guy has gotta go!


Sunday, June 20, 2004

Soviet-Style Mental Health Care for Conservatives

Al Gore can rant like a madman. Howard Dean can let rip with inarticulate roars. Bill Clinton can confess to sociopathic behaviors cause by his dysfunctional youth. But if you are a conservative, watch out!

Ask Wilson "Will" Taylor about what happens if you are a passionate Republican. Based only on the word of a causal acquaintance who had overheard his rant on the effects of high taxes on the elderly, Taylor was barred from entering city hall to speak to the mayor (whatever happened to the right to petition for the redress of grievances?) and involuntarily committed on an emergency basis "as a danger to himself and others" to a mental hospital for 13 days. Based on his politics and his passionate language, Dr. Mallikarajun Patta (lift his license quick) declared him "delusional, psychotic and perhaps bipolar", and suggested that he be committed to a state mental hospital for an indefinite term.

Only the intervention of Judge William Whitman has freed the Republican candidate for St. Joseph County Councilman from the threat of political reeducation through psychiatrists medication. And we thought this couldn't happen in America?

UPDATE: Part 2 -- It gets uglier, as false accusations, cops at the door and a lying doctor are used to get Taylor taken into custody, committed, and medicated under false pretenses.

UPDATE: Part 3 -- Hearing witnesses appear to contradict themselves on Taylor's dangerousness, need for involuntary commitment.

UPDATE: Part 4 -- Taylor is found not to be a threat to self or others, and probably never was. But the law may leave him no recourse.


ACLU: We Can't Let This Religious Freedom Thing Take Hold

Proving that it is the biggest protector of only SOME constitutional rights and liberties, the ACLU has come out against the Workplace Religious Freedom Act, which would require that employers make reasonable accommodations of employee religious beliefs and practices. The measure is sponsored by Senators Rick Santorum (R-PA) and (giving credit where credit is due). . . John Kerry (D-MA).

This bill would strengthen protections previously enacted by defining "undue hardship" as meaning "any inconvenience to the employer. The new standard would require that the hardship impose a significant financial or logistical burden on the employer. The bill would guarantee the right to wear a yarmulke or crucifix, take off religious holidays, or engage in religious practices that do not disrupt the workplace (i.e. Bible reading during breaks, posting religious pictures and sentiments in one's work space).

The ACLU opposes the measure because it fears folks could "refuse to work with people of the opposite gender or with gays or lesbians, or that they could use the law to justify proselytizing or displaying a swastika." Aside from the fact that these matters are already dealt with elsewhere in federal law, all of these would impose a substantial economic or logistical burden on the employer that would allow for prohibition.

Face it -- the ACLU won't steadfastly protect your religious freedom unless you are an atheist, a witch, or an Islamist terrorist.


Windmill Tilting, Part Two

Libertarian Presidential candidate Michael Badnarik aims to cost Bush the election.

Well, if the Democrats think they can Kerry Texas, why not this scenario? Vin Suprynowicz argues (correctly, I think)that Badnarik should be given a shot in the national debates due to the number of state where he will appear on the ballot. That standard would allow both Badnarik and Nader to overcome the hump of "popularity" (so difficult to quantify) by meeting the objective standard of "on enough state ballots to potentially win". I think he is right.

Vin then goes on to start chronicling the Badnarik quest for the Libertarian Party nomination -- on $33,000. He says he'll finish the yarn next week. I look forward to it.


Windmill Tilting, Part One

Texas Democrat Party convention ends

Amidst partisan accusations against Texas Republicans, opposition to both open government and majority rule, the silencing of a member of the legislature who acts in a bipartisan fashion, and the creation of a think tank to "develop issues" for the Party, Texas Democrats adopted a platform that is woefully out of step with the majority of Texans and then went home. What is more, folks repeatedly expressed the delusional notion that Texas is "in-play" during the 2004 election, and that John Kerry could win the state from Bush.

After several days of maneuvering to silence Senator Sylvester Turner, who stayed in Austin to do the people's business when the rest of the Democrat caucus fled the state to avoid arrest, the party came up with a pathetic solution -- schedule his speech at a new time after weeks of having told him otherwise. Turner, who had committed to deliver a funeral eulogy at that time, was denied his requested rescheduling and boycotted the end of the convention.

And in a move that smacked of liberal arrogance,
Committee members narrowly rejected a proposal to require that all legislative votes be recorded, and several members said they feared they were ceding the high ground to Republicans, who approved such a measure at their convention earlier this month.

Committee co-chairs state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio and Rep. Garnet Coleman of Houston argued that abolishing voice votes in favor of recorded votes would make it more difficult for legislators of both parties to pass needed but unpopular legislation.

Once again showing that liberals don't trust the people to know what is good for them.


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