Saturday, August 30, 2003

Life imitates art?

Tony Blair plans to establish a Ministry of Truth. This does not seem to be a joke.

The problem is, some people think that Blair already has one.

The person who thought that name up cannot have read 1984. I'm sure that this will not be the final name of the office.
More on Dean

A reader writes concerning Howard Dean:

This is a pretty good analysis, except for one thing.
*Kucinich* was the candidate that many on the Left
initially embraced, not Dean. Dean's positions on gun
control and capital punishment make him a no-go for
the Left set.

Dean's core constituency seems to be a different set
of voters. I'm betting that they are quite a bit
younger than the classic "Lefty" Democrat and tend to
work in technology or media ... and that they are
attracted to him not on the basis of his platform (but
who can complain about that -- it's plain vanilla
Centrist), but because his campaign is willing to
speak to them using the language and medium (blog,
chat, IM, e-mail) that they use.

I think that Dean's success, to some degree, is the
result of these folks evangelizing (parents,
coworkers, friends) ... And Dean stomping the ground
in Iowa and NH to a degree that his competition can't
(since they have day jobs).

There are some good points in there, but I still believe Dean has a lot of support from the Left. The reader is correct that much of Dean's platform is vanilla, but the thing that made him stant out was his hard-core opposition to the War in Iraq. This attracted a large group on the far Left who would not have otherwise considered Dean. His strident anti-war rhetoric was just what the Bush-haters wanted to hear.

I do agree with the idea that technology has made Dean a "cool" candidate that young people want to be associated with.

Kucinich is simply a joke. The people who are supporting him are Ralph Nader and his crowd, for whom Dean is too conservative. These people are supporting Kucinich as a form of protest and are probably going Green in the general election. Serious Democratic leftists are supporting Dean or someone else.
Dean backlash fully underway

Today the Post comes out with a story pointing out some issue flip-flops. I really think the race is going to get vicious, because these guys know that Hillary is their nominee in 2008. This could be the last chance they get to run for President.

Friday, August 29, 2003

Hillary 2004? She says no.

This actually makes a lot of sense:

Hank Sheinkopf, a New York-based Democratic strategist who worked on former President Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign, said that while there will be pressure on her to run, she probably won't because Bush does not look beatable, at least not now.

"There are those in the party who might like to see her go, so she can get knocked off (by Bush), opening up a different field in 2008," Sheinkopf said. "She is the big bear in the woods, and so long as she's in the way, anybody who wants to run (in 2008) can't consider it."

Boys falling behind at school

While reading this USA Today editorial pointing out how boys are falling behind girls in educational terms, I was reminded of my time spent as a high school algebra teacher for part of 1998 (I took over for another "teacher" with about 12 weeks of the school year left). I noticed that almost all of the girls would make an effort to learn, but many of the boys would only make an effort to cheat.

I think a big part of the problem is that there aren't enough male high school teachers, and those that we do have are usually either coaches or nerds. I think recruiting more male teachers needs to be a focus of the education establishment, but I don't have any good ideas how. I wonder what Number 2 Pencil and Joanne Jacobs think?

UPDATE: Here's Joanne's post.
Bias against Howard Dean?

David Adesnik has a great post up on a highly biased New York Times article that snidely attacked Howard Dean. I too noticed the bias in the article when I read it (though my reaction was snickering and smirking instead of outrage).

While his post very correctly points out the article's editorializing, I do think that Adesnik is completely wrong about the reasons for the bias. Many on the Left initially embraced Dean when he was viewed as a two-bit, small-state governor who didn't have a chance. Now that he's leading in New Hampshire by 21 points and is the frontrunner for the nomination, there is a palpable panic that he could lead the party off the cliff to a massive defeat next year. That's why I also give some credence to the reports that Hillary might be rethinking her promise not to run.

Changing gears for a second, I also wanted to comment on something I caught in the article:

For each of the 800 people who skipped the Green Bay Packers game on Saturday night to chant "We want Dean" in a Milwaukee airplane hangar, there must be many like the young woman in the pink taffeta strapless bridesmaid's dress who went to the hotel bar where reporters and supporters were mingling over martinis and wondered, "What's going on here?"

Told it was the Dean campaign, she looked blank. Howard Dean, someone said. Running for president.

"President?" she asked. "President of what?"

Try to picture this hotel bar full of Dean staffers and reporters. The reporters are cozying up to the staffers, hoping they'll leak some valuable, scoopable information. The staffers are cozying up to the reporters to try to spin the news coverage in favor of their candidate. Staffers on the campaign trail work long hours and they and the reporters alike are all away from home, so hotel bars are predictably packed when a major candidate is staying there. It's wild. I've actually only seen this take place with GOP candidates, so I can only imagine how much more intense it must be when the reporters actually plan to vote for the candidates that they are covering.
Racist Democrats are OK

Bryan Preston has a great post that points to the fact that Republican racism (even if only perceived rather than real) is grounds for removal from office, but Democratic rasicm is no big deal.

UPDATE: Robert Tagorda fears a backlash if Republicans push the MEChA issue too hard. As I explain in his comments section, I disagree.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Who will be the next Louisiana governor?

The Times-Picayune has a great primer of Louisiana's gubernatorial race (yes, California isn't the only state electing a governor this year).

Monday, August 25, 2003

False prophet?

Bravo to Quin Hilyear for nailing Roy Moore to the wall. I'm really disappointed that this has become the issue upon which conservative Christians have decided to make their stand.

UPDATE: To clarify my position, I want to make it clear that I think that the federal court's decision ordering the monument to be removed is wrong. However, we should keep in mind that the monument was only there in the first place because Roy Moore put it there to pick a fight and provoke this kind of reaction. Many Christians have rightly said that the "worship" of this monument borders on idolotry. There are so many issues that conservative Christians need to be involved in, and instead we are setting up another Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell whose primary focus seems to be on himself.

If these people want to protest, how about protesting the smut being served up to their kids on their TV screens? Why not protest outside of one of the gambling casinos that are springing up everywhere and preying on the most desperate and vulnerable in our society? Or, instead of protesting, why not volunteer in your local church and actually accomplish something positive? Most churches struggle to get enough volunteers to teach children's Sunday school, visit members in hospitals, and accomplish the things that their ministries are trying to do.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Christian-hating, part IV

I have recently been blogging about how the Left hates President Bush because of his Christian faith. (Read here first, then here, and here). Here's another great example that I haven't yet quoted. The author says that the President's faith "might make one snicker, or even laugh" and says that his Christianity "is not altogether reassuring to a modern world facing such a fanatic on the trigger of weapons of mass destruction that are capable of destroying the Earth several times over." (emphasis mine)

Notice how it is President Bush's faith that makes him appear stupid to the "enlightened" author. Notice how he sneers at real Christianity. Have you ever wondered how a man with a degree from Yale and an MBA from Harvard Business School got a false reputation for stupidity? The accent? Bubba Clinton had one of those too. Malapropisms? Show me anyone who speaks frequently in public who doesn't have slips of the tongue. No, it's largely because of his faith.

This sneering attitude influences our international relationships as well. Many people have lately been wondering why our "allies" in France and Germany have failed to support us in Iraq. I have a simple, very un-PC answer -- America is a strongly Christian nation and they are not -- and they despise us for that reason. France and Germany have become increasingly agnostic and atheist throughout this century, and the German situation has become even more pronounced since reunification.

While there are reasons to doubt the accuracy of some of the data, this University of Michigan study provides the only real means of making worldwide comparisons of religious observance.

Note that most of our European allies in the Iraq war (especially Poland, Spain, Portugal, and Italy) are among the nations with the highest rates of church attendance. Britain's score is slightly lower than some of these nations, but I think that Britain's support reflects the large percentage of its Christian population that believes in real Christianity and hasn't been gutted by postmodern, revisionist Biblical "scholarship" that turns Jesus into just a wise man who gave good advice. France and Germany, however, have extremely low rates of church attendance.

The U. of Michigan study is obviously problematic because it measures attendance of religious services, not faith or zeal -- there are Christians who do not attend church and vice versa. A larger flaw for these purposes is that it doesn't distinguish which religion the person is observing. If one were to take out the large Muslim populations of France and Germany, their rates in the study would be even lower.

On an overall basis, though, it is obvious that basic Christian values unite us with other Christian nations. Of course democracy and freedom are important values that we share with other nations -- but moral values are important as well. In America, as in other Christian nations, we believe in the reality of good and evil and generally do not adhere to theories of moral relativism. We should not be surprised that the countries of Sartre and Nietzsche (like their followers in the American Left) hold different values than those of most Americans.

In the long term, America's strongest allies will be those with whom we share a Christian-based system of values. Even non-Christian Americans have been strongly influenced by their upbringing in a largely Christian culture (compared to the culture of Northern Europe anyway). President Bush has postulated the War on Terror as a conflict between democracy and terrorists, but it is naive to think that a "democracy" such as France will ever be a true ally in such a war when a lack of moral clarity renders it impossible for them to recognize terrorism when it is staring them in the face.

Most Christians today strongly believe in religious tolerance. As I have pointed out, most of the world's Muslims do not. The large-scale Muslim immigration to France and Germany will continue to alienate these countries from the United States.

(By the way, looking at rates of church attendance in America will also tell you a lot about our internal politics. Keep in mind, though, that denominational differences are also important.)

I've been remiss in failing to recognize Nathan Hallford of Southern Conservatives for picking up the ball on the Christian-hating issue. There's a lot of good stuff over there.

In a related issue, Southern Appeal has been all over the Pryor nomination issue. Feddie also rightly condemns Justice Roy Moore's grandstanding on the Ten Commandments monument. Of course the federal court's decision was incorrect and outrageous, but it is equally outrageous for a chief justice of a state supreme court to flout the rule of law.

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