Friday, November 10, 2006

Reading Assignment

The following two articles, written prior to the election, should be required reading for every American. Its too bad that more voters didn't read them before November 7th, but all is not lost: the War on Terror must continue, and the first step must be a stable, democratic Iraq.

I will warn you, though, that the first one is a difficult read, because it describes a very terrible, (thankfully only) possible, future world.

There WILL be a quiz, and it will take place in 2008.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Turnout Looks Good in Conservative Cobb

I voted this morning, and I noted that the lines were very long. Longer than I remember for any other midterm election. Hopefully that bodes well that very-conservative Cobb County is turning out strongly.

Securing the Peace is a Lot Harder than Wishing for It

Keep that in mind when you vote today. Enough said.

Monday, November 06, 2006

More Resentment Than Gratitude

Below is an axiom I stumbled on, as quoted by George Will:

"Any new entitlement generates less gratitude for what is given than it does resentment for what is withheld."

How perfectly does that capture our experience?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Where is the American Resolve?

Wars can't be won halfway. Either a nation throws itself fully into the task of defeating its enemies, or it is defeated.

In the War on Terror, currently raging in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon, I'm afraid that some Americans are losing their resolve. They've become bored with the struggle, and just want their quiet, easy lives back. How shallow. This is a war for our very way of life. On one side, we are fighting for freedom, modernity, and civilization. On the other side, the Islamists are fighting for power and barbarity, the subjection of those who are not elites, and the destruction of Christianity and Judiasm.

What's more, the Western world is becoming its own worst enemy in this conflict. Its Western media that beams the images of destruction around the world, and hangs the responsibility on the American and Israeli military by way of falsified photos and flippant, misleading captions.

As Cal Thomas notes in his recent column on Townhall (referring to recent testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee):

Rumsfeld elaborated on the difference between the two sides: "One side does all it can to avoid civilian casualties, while the other side uses civilians as shields, and then skillfully orchestrates a public outcry when the other side accidentally kills civilians in their midst. One side is held to exacting standards of near perfection; the other side is held to no standards and no accountability at all."

More from Cal Thomas:

During World War II, U.S. and German forces fought the battle of Hurtgen Forest. It began Sept. 19, 1944 and ended Feb. 10, 1945. That was one battle in a strategically insignificant corridor of barely 50 square miles east of the Belgium-Germany border. The Germans inflicted more than 24,000 casualties on American forces, while another 9,000 Americans were sidelined due to illness, fatigue and friendly fire. Had live TV beamed this battle to America, there might have been an outcry that the policy was failing and somehow a cease-fire and an accommodation with Hitler should be achieved. America won that war because the objective wasn't to understand the Nazis, or to reach an accommodation with them; the objective was to win the war. Anything less in this war - against an equally evil and unrelenting enemy - will mean defeat for the United States and for freedom everywhere. That's what Rumsfeld was getting at when he said, "We can persevere in Iraq or we can withdraw prematurely, until they force us to make a stand nearer home. But make no mistake: They are not going to give up, whether we acquiesce in their immediate demands or not."

Make no mistake. This is a war that must be won. What's more, its unfortunate but true that civilians will be killed. The terrorist's tactics make it certain. Just as tragically, American soldiers will be killed and injured. But in the face of that, the United States of America must maintain its resolve to win the fight and preserve freedom and our way of life.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Steve and Cokie Get It Wrong, Again

Steve and Cokie's latest column, titled "Bush's Stubbornness", was startling in the number of inaccuracies, misleading statements, and apparent willful misinterpretation of reality. The gist if their argument is that President Bush's veto of the embryonic stem cell funding legislation somehow represents the triumph of hard-headedness over "science". Unfortunately, their argument is full of holes.

First of all, through most of the column, the Roberts' refer to the research covered by the legislation that President Bush vetoed as "stem cell" research. This, I believe, is an intentional attempt to make people believe that the president, and those who agree with him are opposed to stem cell research in general. In fact, both the objection and the vetoed legislation apply specifically to embryonic stem cell research, and not to that research that is based on adult stem cells, or those derived from placental or umbilical cord blood.

Steve and Cokie make the argument that embryonic stem cell (ESC) research raises "...the possibility of new treatments for a range of debilitating conditions, from cancer and Parkinson's to spinal cord injuries". What they don't bother to mention, however, is that those same conditions are being treated NOW using adult stem cells (ASC). Adult stem cells (as the name implies) come from adults, or from umbilical cord or placental blood, and retrieving them doesn't result in the destruction of any life. At least 72 different diseases and conditions are currently treatable using therapies derived from adult stem cell research. How many conditions are currently treated using therapies derived from ESC research? NOT ONE. That's right. Not a single person has ever been treated as a result of embryonic stem cell research. Progress and scientific advancements are much more pronounced with ASC research, yet some are clamoring for federal dollars to go to embryonic stem cell research. Why?

There are two groups of people who really stand to gain from ESC: the pro-abortion crowd and a minority of pharmaceutical/bio-technology companies. The pro-abortion crowd wants to continue to chip away at society's respect for the sanctity of life. If they can get the public to agree that its OK to destroy a fetus for research, why not then for convenience? The pharma/bio-tech companies have a financial motive. If they can arrange for the taxpayer to foot some of their costs, all the better for their bottom lines'.

Its clear that President Bush's veto certainly wasn't an example of hard-headedness winning out over "science". Science and practical application is solidly on the side of adult stem cell-derived therapies. Why should the taxpayers pay to destroy human life in the off-chance that it could lead to alternative treatments that, in many cases, are already treatable using adult stem Cells? Just as importantly, denying federal funding to ESC research does not in any way restrict or limit the private funding of that research, or the chances that a cure or treatment will be found, through that or any other form of research. Its ridiculous to imply, or outright state, (as the Roberts' do in their column), that people are suffering because the government won't pay for ESC research.

The icing on the cake in Steve and Cokie's column was this little gem: "...[President Bush] refuses to recognize that most moral choices are not between good and evil, but between competing virtues." According to the Oxford dictionary, the word "moral" is defined as: "concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character". No "competing virtues" there. The Roberts' statement is exactly what's wrong with so much of society today: there is such a thing as objective right and wrong. Morality is not in the eye of the beholder. Destroying human embryos, whether for research or convenience (as is done in an abortion), is wrong. Period.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Embryonic Stem Cells Haven't Cured a Single Person

Yesterday, President Bush vetoed legislation that would have allowed money from the federal budget to be spent on Embryonic Stem Cell (ESC) research. This was his first veto, and it couldn't have been more important than on this legislation. Congratulations on the veto, Mr. President.

To hear the ESC advocates tell it, the only way science can cure lots of diseases and conditions, from Parkinsons, to Alzheimers, to spinal cord damage, is to have the federal government pay to destroy human embryos while harvesting their stem cells for research. This is utter hogwash.

Here are the facts: Adult Stem Cell (ASC) research, which draws on stem cells taken from adults, or from the umbilical cord and placenta, has already resulted in treatments for dozens of diseases and conditions, including Sickle Cell Anemia, several forms of Leukemia, Systemic Lupus, Chron's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Coronary Artery Disease, Parkinson's Disease, Spinal Cord Injury, and brain, skin, breast, and ovarian cancer. In fact, here's a list of 72 diseases and conditions treated using adult stem cells. All this without destroying a single human embryo.

On the other hand, what treatments has ESC research lead to? NONE. Not a single person has been treated for any disease or condition as a result of Embryonic Stem Cell research. What's more, if ESC research is so promising, why does the federal government need to be involved financially at all? If this was a real opportunity to advance science, healthcare companies and venture capitalists would be knocking each other down to fund it.

Adult Stem Cell research is where the cures are, now and in the future. This was an excellent example of the use of the President's veto power.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Conservative Principles Victorious in Cobb County, Georgia

The primaries passed yesterday, with most of the races being decided as expected. In addition to the regular races, however, the Republican primary ballot also contained four "survey" questions at the end to assess the popularity of several important issues. I was struck with how popular conservative principles really are in my ever-so-red county in suburban Atlanta.
The first question read: "Do you support Guest Worker programs for illegal aliens?". The results were 59% no, and 41% yes. This should be considered, (locally anyway), as a solid rebuke of the compassionate conservative position that posits an amnesty program for illegals, under a nicer sounding name. 

More surprising, however, was the margin of victory for the second question: "Do you support the 'Fair Tax' plan which is a federal national sales tax to replace the income tax?". Here, the results were 85% yes, and only 15% no. This is astounding, and very welcome, news. The time for comprehensive tax reform has come.

The last two questions were local issues, but their results do shed some light on the guiding principles of Cobb Republicans. Solid majorites of 73% and 84% agreed that school board terms should be shorter, and that SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) votes should only occur during general elections to maximize voter turnout, respectively.

In the first case, shorter terms for government officials, even local government, is in keeping with the traditional conservative principle of limited, responsible government.

In the second case, limiting SPLOSTs to the general election will increase the number of voters weighing in, making them less susceptible to special interest rallying. Its reasonable to assume that more participation should result in fewer, and smaller, SPLOSTs being passed.

Yesterday was a good day for conservative principles in Cobb County, Georgia.

Monday, July 10, 2006

5.4 Million New Jobs from the Tax Cuts

The federal government is reporting that 121,000 jobs were created in June, the latest in a string of job creation that's been responsible for 1.85 million new jobs over the last 12 months.

Since August of 2003, 5.4 million jobs have been created. What's more, the employment rate is currently in the basement at 4.6 percent. That's lower than the average unemployment rate for the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and the 1990s.

Federal tax revenue is up, unemployment is down, and the economy has grown by more than 20% since the 2003 tax cuts were enacted, just three short years ago.

The argument about the benefit of tax cuts is over. The supply-siders win. Again.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Record Charitable Giving by Americans in 2005

According to a report released by the "Giving USA" foundation, Americans gave more than $260.28 billion to charitable causes in 2005. This is the highest total since the economic bubble based on the internet burst in 2000.

According to Richard Jolly, the chairman of Giving USA: "When there is a very significant need, when people are clearly aware of that need, they will respond"

The benficiaries of the year's charitable generosity included the victims of Hurrican Katrina, Hurricane Rita, the tsunami in Asia, and the earthquake in Pakistan, among scores of other worthy causes.

Its important to note that no government coercion was involved. The American people did this, because it was the right thing to do.

Line Item Veto Vote

According to the Club For Growth:

The House is scheduled to vote next week on the Legislative Line-Item Veto Act of 2006. Sponsored by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the Line-Item Veto Act is a necessary weapon in the fight against runaway spending and earmark abuse.

Under Ryan's proposal, when Congress passes a bill, the president would suggest rescissions of selected projects in the bill to Congress. There would then be a timely up-or-down vote on each of his suggestions.

This act should also quell fears that the line-item veto excessively empowers the executive branch and remains unconstitutional. Because Congress would retain the final say, both concerns are alleviated.

Please call your representative and urge them to vote for the line item veto. Enacting this legislation would prvide powerful tools for reducing wasteful federal spending.

It would also be helpful to call your Senator, as well, as this legislation will also need to be approved in the Senate.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Conservative Legislative Priorities

Recently I've posted several things that were intended to highlight the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of liberalism. I've decided that its time to refocus on what conservatives should be doing, rather than on what's wrong with liberals, especially since that's one of the things I so heartily fault the Democratic Party for.

In service of that goal, I thought I'd take a little time to jot down some legislative priorities, as I see them. These are not necessarily listed in order of importance, but I think its useful to list them as a reference point.

I consider this list a work in progress, and I'll be adding to and editing it over time.

  • Secure The Borders - Guest workers, paths to citizenship, everything other than gaining control of our own borders, needs to wait. The flow of illegal immigrants over our borders must stop, now. This can be achieved chiefly by construction of a fence along the entire border with Mexico, and additional increases in the number of border patrol agents.

  • Make The Tax Cuts Permanent - The tax cuts passed by Congress during Bush's first term have demonstrably improved the economy. The debate on this is over. Its time to make the tax cuts permanent and look at other ways that the tax burden can be lessened.

  • Cut Federal Spending - There are literally hundreds of federal programs and agencies that do nothing more than fight for their own existence. These money drains need to be eliminated. A step in the right direction is the proposed Sunset Commission, which would identify and recommend the elimination of unneeded federal agencies, in a process similar to that used by the BRAC (or Base Realignment and Closure Commission). Federal agencies identified by the Sunset Commission as unnecessary and wasteful would have to be explicitly re-authorized by a vote of Congress to remain. In the absence of that re-authorization, they would be dissolved. This, more than anything else, would cut wasteful spending from the budget.

  • Resolve The Looming Social Security/Medicare Crisis

  • Pass The FAIR/Flat Tax

  • Pass the Marriage Ammendment

  • More to come...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Shameful History of the Democratic Party

The next time a liberal tries to tell you that the Democratic Party is the party of Civil Rights, and that Republican are bigots, direct them to this official report produced by the state of North Carolina regarding a Democratic Party-instigated white supremacy riot in Wilmington, North Carolina, at about the turn of the last century:

From Bruce Bartlett's recent comments on the report:

The culmination of the Democrats' racist campaign was a riot throughout Wilmington on Election Day. Many died, and all the Republican municipal officials, whose terms didn't expire until the next election, were forced to resign at gunpoint. Democrats retook control and quickly moved to cement their power by arresting prominent Republicans and driving others out of the city permanently.

It has always been conservatives and the Republicans who promote the issues and policies that will protect civil rights and promote economic and social equality, including equality of opportunity, for all.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Democratic Demagoguery and Absurdity - Again

Ridiculous, deceptive, out-right lies never seem to end from the Democratic Party. Witness the following quote from Representative Jim McDermott, in reference to the tax cut extension that recently passed the House and is expected to pass the Senate:

"The Republican Party ... is sending all the millionaires on an all-expenses-paid vacation — for $41,000 a year," said Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash). "The rest of America is being forced to choose between filling the gas tank or stocking the refrigerator."

This statement is nonsense on its face. Utter nonsense. The assertion that the general American public is being forced to choose between buying gas or buying food is patently ABSURD. Representative McDermott knows this, yet he makes the statement anyway, in a desperate attempt to gain some sort of political foothold for his party.

Another point that seems to be lost on the Democrats is the fact that this legislation merely extends the existing tax rates. Passage of this bill doesn't provide anyone with additional tax cuts, or put any additional money in anyone's pocket, rich or poor. It simply prevents an otherwise automatic increase in tax rates that would result from the expiration of the cuts passed in 2003.

In reality, what Representative McDermott is arguing for is a TAX INCREASE. Not passing this legislation would result in taxes going up for a large percentage of taxpayers.

Frankly, the more the Democrats argue for increasing taxes, with the attendant slowing of the economy and reduction in tax revenues, the better off the Republicans are.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

An Idea Whose Time Has Come

The GOP has recently called for a "Sunset Commission", which would identify and recommend the elimination of unneeded federal agencies. Similar to the BRAC (or Base Realignment and Closure Commission), which recommends the closure of unneeded military bases, the Sunset Commission would have real power.

Its recommendations would be bundled for consideration by Congress. Individual federal agencies or programs within the bundled recommendations could not be tinkered with by legislators. The package of closures as a whole would need to be voted up or down.

There are scores of government programs and agencies that waste our taxes, with no broad benefit to the American people. This is just the sort of step that Congress needs to take to reduce the runaway spending at the Federal level. Reports are that the idea is gaining momentum as the GOP's conservative base demands that something be done to follow through on the Republican's promises of limited government.

Please call/fax/email your Senators and House representative and ask them to support the Sunset Commission.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Democrats - The Party of... Well, What, Exactly?

Lately, the Democratic Party seems to be the party of anger, obstructionism, and wild-eyed Bush-hatred. Try this little thought experiment: Name five things the Democratic Party is FOR (Platitudes about world peace or relieving suffering don't count; just about everyone of every party would like those things to happen, the only differences they have are how we get there). Bet you can't.

Mark Steyn, writing in the Chicago Sun Times, said it well, I think:

. . . the high holiness of dissent for its own sake is now the core belief of the Democratic Party: It's not what you're for, it's what you're against. Their current denunciations of Big Oil have a crudely effective opportunism but say to them "OK, what's your energy policy?" and see what answers you get: More domestic oil? Ooh, no, we can't disturb the pristine ANWRbreeding ground of the world's largest mosquito herd. More nuclear power, like the French? Ooh, no, might be another Three Mile Island. Er, OK, you're the mass transit guys; how about we go back to wood-fired steam trains? Ooh, no, we're opposed to logging, in case it causes global warming, or cooling, or both.

Remember that when you go to the voting booth this November: you can either vote for a candidate from a party that's for positions (like cutting taxes, immigration control, strong national defense, freedom from government interference, etc), or you can vote for a candidate from a party that's AGAINST everything.

Should be an easy decision...

Friday, April 14, 2006

Steve and Cokie Crack Me Up

Just had to share this little tidbit I noticed in the most recent column by Steve and Cokie Roberts. Its titled "Conservatives on brink of disaster on illegals" (I would include a link, but I can't seem to find an archive of their columns anywhere on the web - I find it occasionally in my local paper).

Among general recitations of the typically socially-conservative leanings of immigrants from south of the border, they take the time to trash the recent immigration bill passed in the House last winter, that would have made it a felony to be in the country illegally. Most amusingly, however, they include the following passage:

"[the bill] makes it a crime to live here illegally..."

I couldn't help but laugh out loud when I read this, most likely startling my fellow diners in a local fast food restaurant. Let me get this straight: Steve and Cokie Roberts are complaining that the House immigration bill would have made participating in an illegal activity a crime? Aren't they centuries and centuries too late to complain about this? I think its self-evident that ever since Hammurabi penned his code, its been a crime to commit illegal acts.

Its also interesting to note that Steve and Cokie commit the same old leftist error (or is it an error?) of confusing opposition to illegal immigration with some sort of imagined opposition to immigrants in general. This is a red herring of the first order. While there are a small number of people in America that could accurately be described as xenophobes, the average supporter of stricter border enforcement can't. We're simply asking for the laws to be enforced, and for people wishing to make their life in the U.S. to come here legally, so we can welcome them to the melting pot.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Mustache March a Huge Success

Thanks to all of you who pledged during the Mustache March fundraiser I participated in here at the office. Together, our company raised about $2000 for CURE Childhood Cancer, and had some fun doing it.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Mustache March

I'm currently participating in a fundraising event called "Mustache March". Several of us at my company, Nucleus Medical Art, are raising money for CURE Childhood Cancer through the month of March by growing mustaches. Yes, you read that right: I'll be growing a mustache this month. At the end of the month, we'll be taking photographs and we'll be judged for "Best In Show", "Most Disturbing", "Most Fitting", and "Dirt Lip" awards. I've never once tried to actually grow a mustache, so I'm pretty concerned about how this is going to turn out.

During the month, we're collecting pledges from our friends and family to go directly to CURE Childhood Cancer. If you'd like to see me with a mustache (I'm not sure I want to see me with a mustache), and you would like to help us raise money for this very worthy charity, would you consider making a pledge? Pledge amounts can vary from as little as $5 to as much as you'd like to give. Checks are made directly to "CURE Childhood Cancer". All I get out of it is the possible humiliation of winning the "Dirt Lip" award at the end of the month. You can get the check to me at any time during the month of March.

My daughter, Katie, complains bitterly when I miss just one day of shaving, much less 30. As many of you know, she can be very persuasive when she wants to be, so I'll need as much support as I can get. If you think you would like to help out, please email me and let me know what amount you would like to pledge. I plan to post a few pictures of the progress during the month, so check back often.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Great Tax Analogy Story

I am not the author of the following, but it's so appropriate and true on its face that I can't resist reproducing it here. It claims to be the work of a Dr. David Kamerschen, Ph.D. Here's to you, Dr. K...

Just in case you are not completely clear on this issue, I hope the following will help. Please read it carefully.

Let's put tax cuts in terms everyone can understand.

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for dinner and the bill for all ten comes to $100.

If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do.

The ten men ate dinner in the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve.

"Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily meal by $20." Dinner for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected.

They would still eat for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?'

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to eat their meal.

So, the restaurant owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:
The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings).
The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to eat for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

"I only got a dollar out of the $20," declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man," but he got $10!"

"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than me!"

"That's true!!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. The next night the tenth man didn't show up for dinner, so the nine sat down and ate without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start eating overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D

That, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly what everyone needs to keep in mind when the liberals start to scream about "tax cuts for the rich".