Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Blog Update #2

Thanks to Gus's tip, I was able to gather almost all of my links. A huge and hearty thanks, Gus!!!
Check 'em all out.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Movie

Yesterday, I watched "The Guardian" on DVD. This is an excellent, reality based film, complimenting the US Coast Guard and recommended. There are some flaws, sadly, but they only subtract from the film if you let them.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Blog Upgrade

Oh well, like Gus, I decided to try my hand at upgrading to the "new" blogger. Much to my dismay, I seem to have lost all my links to other bloggers for this new page layout. If that is the case, it is a major bummer, but it will give me a chance to add and subtract blogs, so I guess I will grin and bear it. I like the new color scheme and welcome any comments on it.

Be nice.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Brief Notes #2

Last night I watched Charlie Rose on PBS. His first guest was Robert Rubin, former Treasury Secretary under Clinton. Here is an obviously bright man who, philosophically, is clueless in the absolute. He spoke at length on "what needs to be done" to fix America. He wants a bi-partisan/non-partisan "dialogue" on the issues of the day, concerning health care, public education, the environment, infrastructure, regulatory reform and globalization. He mentioned something called "The Hamilton Project" [concerning economics] which I later discovered was partnered with the Brookings Institute, which is a left leaning think tank.

What is depressing, but not unexpected by the Left or Right today, is during this whole interview, not once was the idea spoken of concerning the separation of state and economics of the health care system, or of any of these other topics. Concerning health care, Rubin said that he knows of four different "paths" to universal coverage that he'd like to see discussed by the new democratic majority, which by the way, he lauded loudly and long about how much good they've already achieved [!] He "admires" Hillary to the extreme and has positive thoughts on Obama, too!!!! Gee, how nice to see him lobby for a position in their possible future administration! HA.

The other tidbit is local. Some outfit called CTFourm.org is hosting a lecture series on one night called "Save the World." It features an all-star all-Leftist panel [as far as I can tell] including the actor Tim Robbins, among others. The topics are--of course--how to 'save' the environment, how to deal with terrorism, etc. Again, not one opposite idea or expression of thought except for a leftist bent.

I can see a lot more heavy-lifting ahead for us.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

RED ALERT!! Follow Up to Brief Notes

Two alarming stories hit my eyes earlier this morning and I will link to them shortly. In my brief notes post the other day, I mentioned the growing merger between left and right on environmentalism. Yahoo News has a story on the evangelical and "scientists" [quote marks around the word scientists are for obvious reasons]. Here is the article in full:

Evangelicals, scientists join on warming

JOHN HEILPRIN, Associated Press Writer
Wed Jan 17, 7:22 PM ET


WASHINGTON - Saying they share a moral purpose, a group of evangelicals and scientists said Wednesday they will work together to convince the nation's leaders that global warming is real.

The Rev. Rich Cizik, public policy director for the National Association of Evangelicals, and Nobel-laureate Eric Chivian, director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, were among 28 signers of a statement that demands urgent changes in values, lifestyles and public policies to avert disastrous changes in climate.

"God will judge us for destroying the Creation. Therefore, we as evangelicals have a responsibility to be even more vigilant than others," Cizik told a news conference.

"Science can be an ally in helping us understand what faith is telling us," he said. "We will not allow the Creation to be degraded, destroyed by human folly."

Among the project's supporters are Edward O. Wilson, a two-time Pulitzer prize-winning scientist and author; James Hansen, a prominent NASA climatologist; and Calvin B. DeWitt, president of the Academy of Evangelical Scientists and Ethicists.

Chivian said evangelicals and scientists are not as odd a couple as they may seem.

"We discovered that we were both speaking from our hearts and our minds. We found that we really like each other," he said.

Not all evangelicals were on board.

The Interfaith Stewardship Alliance, formed by evangelicals who say scientific evidence counters claims of climate change, derided Wednesday's announcement as "just another attempt to create the impression of growing consensus among evangelicals about global warming. There is no such growing consensus."

The alliance charged that the National Association of Evangelicals' board never approved the new collaboration. The NAE said its board approved a "dialogue," but no specific actions.

The new effort represents the boldest evangelical step yet into the world of environmental activism.

To start, the coalition is meeting with congressional leaders, both Democrat and Republican, organizing a summit on environmental issues and developing public relations tools such as a "Creation Care" Bible study guide.

It also has requested a meeting with President Bush. Sens. Barack Obama (news, bio, voting record), D-Ill., Richard Lugar (news, bio, voting record), R-Ind., and Olympia Snowe (news, bio, voting record), R-Maine, all signaled their support Wednesday for the collaboration of evangelicals and scientists.

Their pairing grew from a retreat last year at which all sides agreed that human behavior and public policy have put the environment at risk.

In the past, conservative Christians who embraced that cause have met significant resistance.

The Rev. Joel Hunter of Northland megachurch in Longwood, Fla., refused to become president of the Christian Coalition of America last year because he said the group would not expand its agenda to include the environment and poverty. Hunter has now endorsed the new project.

___

On the Net:

National Association of Evangelicals: http://www.nae.net/

Harvard Center for Health and the Global Environment: http://chge.med.harvard.edu

The other story that hit me, coincided with gus van horn's excellent post on the Fairness Doctrine. Found here:
http://gusvanhorn.blogspot.com/2007/01/reviving-fairness-doctrine.html

This is from a fellow blogger, Bill Hobbs, of Nashville who had this important post on his Blog yesterday--again, posted in full with link:

http://billhobbs.com/2007/01/criminalizing_free_speech.html


Criminalizing Free Speech
The Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate is moving to restrict your free speech rights in a big, big way. Section 220 of Senate Bill 1, the lobbying reform bill legislation currently before the U.S. Senate, would require grassroots causes, even bloggers, who communicate to 500 or more members of the public on policy matters, to register and report quarterly to Congress just as big-time lobbyists do.


Section 220 would require reporting of "paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying," - and would define "'paid" merely as making communications to 500 or more people. That's it. And last week the Senate passed an amendment to the lobbying reform bill to create criminal penalties, including up to one year in jail, if someone "knowingly and willingly fails to file or report."

So, a blogger with 500 readers who criticizes Congress or urges some sort of policy action would be subject to the law's reporting requirements. In effect, critics of Congress would have to register with Congress.

This blog has more than 500 readers. In fact, it is read by around 25,000 different people every month, though not every day. But I will never register with or file a "lobbying" report to Congress. Never. Because BillHobbs.com is not a lobbying effort, it is a independent project in journalism, protected by the First Amendment, which says that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Section 220 threatens to abridge my - and your freedom of speech and of the press (ink or digital), and it even threatens my - and your - First Amendment right to the free exercise of your religious faith.

That's because Section 220 isn't limited to bloggers and others who wish to write and speak out about their government. Section 220 also represents a wholesale attack on the free exercise of religion, as any pastor, rabbi, imam or guru who speaks about a public policy issue to an audience of 500 or more people would have to register as a lobbyist and file quarterly reports. A pastor who writes an op-ed urging the U.S. to pull its troops out of Iraq, or urging Congress to fund or not fund stem-cell research, for example, would be communicating to more than 500 people. They, too, would be subject to the onerous registration and reporting requirements of Section 220 =- or risk the criminal penalties.

it is not just an assault on the First Amendment rights of religious leaders - it is an assault on the First Amendment rights of all Americans. If you emailed 500 people and urged them to "call their congressman" to support or oppose some bill, and you didn't register as a lobbyist and file a quarterly report, you would be at risk of a year in prison.

All brought to you courtesy of the Democratic-controlled Senate.


[Addendum: Hell, in my post the other day, I didn't even mention the mindless Islamic hordes who want to kill us. A good ten other things could've been included, too for that matter. I just didn't want to depress myself any further!]

Monday, January 15, 2007

Brilliant

How to Truly Support our Troops
By Alex Epstein

Whatever their views of President Bush's new "surge" of 20,000 soldiers, both liberals and conservatives continue to claim that they support our troops. Liberals say they support our troops by criticizing or opposing "Operation Iraqi Freedom," which they claim has unnecessarily killed 3,000 soldiers. Conservatives say they support our troops by supporting the mission that most of our troops believe in.

In fact, neither liberals nor conservatives truly support the brave men and women who risk their lives to defend America. For both, "support our troops" is a cheap, undeserved claim to patriotism--one that obscures their unwillingness to do what is truly necessary to protect America and its soldiers.

Granted, almost everyone wants to give our troops the resources they need to do their jobs: the best weapons, armor, provisions, and training available—as well as praise, gratitude, and encouragement. But for our government to truly support our troops, it must do far more than help them do their jobs; it must give them the right jobs to do--the jobs that will effectively defend America while minimizing the risk to their lives. Our government must place soldiers' lives at risk only when American freedom is threatened, and during war it must give them the objectives and tactics that will defeat the enemy as quickly as possible.

The conservatives' Iraq war does not meet this standard. It could have--if the war had been undertaken as a step in defeating the anti-American, terrorist-sponsoring regimes of the Middle East and thus rendering the region non-threatening. Instead, President Bush made the war's primary focus the welfare of Iraqis--above all, their "freedom" to elect whatever regime they wished, no matter how anti-American. Further sacrificing Americans to Iraqis, Bush and his subordinates imposed crippling "rules of engagement" (also supported by liberals) that place the lives of civilians in enemy territory above our soldiers. Our hamstrung troops in Iraq have not been allowed to smash a militarily puny insurgency; instead, they have been forced to suffer an endless series of deaths by an undefeated enemy, while Islamic totalitarians worldwide rejoice in our defeat.

One does not support our troops by sending them to fight wars of self-sacrifice and then thanking their corpses. The conservatives' call to "stay the course" in Iraq--or to add 20,000 troops to that course--is harmful to America and its troops because the mission has been conceived and conducted in defiance of American interests.

If the conservatives do not support our troops, then do the liberals? Absolutely not.

Observe that while liberals criticize the Iraq war for killing our troops, they propose no alternative policy that would protect America against Islamic totalitarianism and its state supporters, including the militant, terrorist theocracy of Iran. Liberals' only policy proposal is that we not take military action in Iraq or in any other country beyond Afghanistan. Why? Because they believe that America has no right to defy the "international community" or "impose its will on the rest of the world"--i.e., to aggressively pursue its self-defense. They, like the conservatives, advocate self-sacrifice in foreign policy. Denying our right to an all-out military defense, liberals say we must engage committed enemies like Iran with endless "diplomacy," i.e., bribery, appeasement, and inaction.

One does not support our troops by keeping them home when their and our freedom requires military action. Our soldiers did not join the military to sit on their hands while Iran prepares for nuclear jihad.

If liberals were truly concerned with our troops in Iraq and the freedom our soldiers should be fighting for, they would call for our soldiers to smash the insurgency and move on to defeat our other enemies. Instead, they call for a self-effacing retreat from Iraq, followed by further kowtowing to the anti-Americans at the United Nations--actions that would greatly embolden the Islamic totalitarians.

Liberals oppose the Iraq war and other wars, not because they truly value our soldiers, but because they--like the conservatives--oppose our soldiers mounting an uncompromising, self-assertive defense of America. But such a defense is required to defeat the threat of Islamic totalitarianism. We must adopt a foreign policy of self-interest and commit to defend ourselves using our full, unmatched military might. Neither the conservatives nor the liberals support this, and thus they end up sacrificing our troops and our freedom.

Do not let the conservatives or liberals pose as defenders of America or its military. Demand that they start truly protecting America and its soldiers--or be scorned as traitors to both.

Alex Epstein is a junior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute (http://www.aynrand.org/) in Irvine, Calif. The Institute promotes Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand--author of "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead." Contact the writer at media@aynrand.org.




Copyright © 2006 Ayn Rand® Institute. All rights reserved.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Brief Notes

On the collapse of civilization...Noumenal Self has an essay commenting on Robert Tracinski's series "What Went Right". I agree with Noumenal's assessment, so far.
My own thoughts are that civilization is hanging by a thread. I will define civilization this way: a secular, technologically advancing culture with a solid "society-wide" philosophical respect for and proper knowledge of reason, logic and reality.
America today is a cesspool of nihilism and worship of the irrational. The Left's hatred of freedom, and the Right's hatred of human life on earth both dominate our society/culture in nearly every aspect.
Yet these ideas are reaching their zenith. The world-wide collapse of communism showed that altruist-based political structures have failed. Freedom isn't guaranteed to any society or culture. It's not a light-switch that can be turned on "just like that". Philosophy is the motor of history, and the engine of any truly human future we are to have. But more than that---it has to be the correct philosophy. Ayn Rand's philosophy, to be exact.
While it is great that "free-markets" are spreading, the cynic in me sees that these markets are being used and manipulated by thugs and dictator's to simply "loosen the noose" around their subject's necks, not to aid in the prosperity of the nation's citizen's.
Notice too, please that the "religion" of environmentalism is fusing both left and right together. Surely you've seen the increasing news items on how religionists are more and more quoting how men are to be the "stewards" of earth for future generations? So much for property rights.
Notice too, the incremental increase in chipping away our freedom of speech. Which is being attacked by both sides of the aisle. I can't recall at the moment but it was either Miss Rand or von Mises who said, " a Constitution without it's proper philosophic base is just a meaningless piece of paper".

The good news is, Objectivism is spreading. It has a toe-hold and the foot is gaining on solid ground. Ayn Rand's ideas are right, not because I say so, nor because a majority 'believes' them, but because they correspond to reality and offer man a blueprint to happiness. Life-long, life-sustaining happiness. This is indeed good news, but the struggle ahead is long and painful. However, the enemy is so small, really, that when we win, we'll wonder why it took so long.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Buckeyes takin' a whippin'

Ohio State is losing to a better team in Florida. Right now it is 34-14 Gators with a minute to go in the third. I do not expect the Buckeyes to score again, frankly. It's never over till it's over, but I'm going to go ahead and tip my hat to Urban Meyer and say congratulations.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

It MUST Be True!?

Dateline: Northeast United States
Time: January 6,2007
Temperature: 70 degrees and sunny


It goes without saying then. It's gotta be Global Warming. Just LOOK outside! It's self-evident. The majority of "scientists" MUST be right. Who can argue with World-Wide consensus? Who can argue with Professor/Scientist Al Gore? After all, he has only our well-being at heart. Right? Democracy IS democracy says Bush, so who can know more than the masses on this issue? Why, the majority of people here "know" something goofy's goin' on, so they automatically jump to the conclusion's relentlessly hammered into them, for decades now, of our "objective" and honest MSM.
By God, the Democrats BETTER DO SOMETHING now that we've put them in charge to try and corral a renegade planet raping administration!!!

[This public service message brought to with tounge firmly in cheek by Yours Truly--from sun drenched Connecticut! HA!]

Monday, January 01, 2007