Friday, March 31, 2006

Happy America First Day!

Today, March 31st, is America First Day, the day when College Republicans all across campus celebrate the fact that Cesar Chavez wanted to deport illegal immigrants.

Last year, the whole campus got involved in the holiday. For those of you who missed out on the festivities, I'll provide a brief recap.

Pat Buchanan, the former presidential candidate and author, spoke on campus about how he agrees with Cesar Chavez that illegal aliens should be deported. His speech helped to unite a diverse audience and bring us closer together, as everyone in the audience found something to applaud.

Unfortunately, one of the revilers got a little out of control, spilling his handy mug of salad dressing all over Buchanan while he raced up the aisle for a closer view of the action. The mowhawked malefactor ended up spending ten days in jail and being assessed thousands of dollars in fines.

Earlier in the day, fun-loving women's studies matriarch Edith Fisher got in on the action. She playfully assaulted a member of the College Republicans in a fashion reminiscent of how Cesar Chavez's union enforcers assaulted illegal aliens who tried to break into the country to do the work that Chavez's union wanted to do.

Fisher couldn't contain her excitement, screaming and wildly waving a Mexican flag in her classroom. She then continued the celebration:

""In celebration of Cesar Chavez Day, I had a Mexican flag with me in the classroom propped up in front of the window," Fisher said in the letter. "I attached the flag to the poster, symbolically forcing it through Buchanan's face."

Shortly after she started class, a man, later identified as Hall, entered Fisher's classroom and attempted to walk toward the poster, according to Fisher.

"I was scared," Fisher said. "It felt like my classroom was under siege.""

This followed a ripping-down-of-the-flyers, a traditional activity on campus. (This post by Dan Flynn provides a round-up of the action, and this is an update.)

Overall, America First Day 2005 was truly a day to remember!

Attack of the killer tomatoes

Apparently, the crazy left on campus is now attacking McDonald's. Their gripe seems to have something to do with union organizing. The group leading the effort was the "Coalition of Immokalee Workers." They were joined by the Kalamazoo Homeless Action Network (hi-yah!). KHAN, the group too left-wing for Don Cooney, seems to be getting around. They're too busy to get jobs, thank you very much.

This motley crew marched into the McDonald's in the Bernhard Center to deliver a letter to manager protesting tomato prices. If these people think that the manager of a McDonald's franchise has any control over such things, then they're even dumber than I thought. Call me selfish, but I find it hard to sympathize with people who want to raise the prices that I pay for food.

The protesters were thrown out by the police.

This is the perfect end to the story: "After presenting the manager with the letter, the protesters left to attend a Cesar Chavez Day celebration event, held at the Wesley Foundation on WMU's campus."

Thursday, March 30, 2006

DeVos in the news

A couple national political publications have recently featured articles concerning Michigan's gubernatorial race. Congressional Quarterly reports that the race is very tight.

Meanwhile, The Hill critiques DeVos's advertising campaign. The gist of the story doesn't really seem right to me. Almost everyone who I've talked to has liked the DeVos ad. In any case, I'm sure that there will be plenty more ads before the race is over.

Hooray for Nebraska!

Earlier today, the unicameral legislature of Nebraska gave final approval to a right-to-carry bill! The bill will now go to Governor Dave Heineman for his signature. CCW has been a long time in coming for Nebraska, mainly due to a filibuster launched by a single determined liberal which required the bill to get two-thirds of the vote. With this vote and the recent passage of concealed carry in Kansas, Iowa is not the only state that voted for Bush which does not yet have a shall-issue (or better) concealed weapons law.

Self-defense is also on the march. Since my last update, Indiana and Mississippi have passed "stand your ground" laws, and bills in Georgia and Alabama are awaiting signatures. Thus far, the states that have passed "stand your ground" laws are:
Florida (2005)
South Dakota
Georgia (awaiting signature)
Alabama (awaiting signature)

Monday, March 27, 2006

Debunking the DaVinci Code

This is an event that College Republicans might be interested in.

InterVarsity Mars Hill Lecture Series at WMU presents
Dr. Paul Maier, WMU Professor of Ancient History, speaking on
"The Davinci Code: Fact or Fiction?"
at 7:30 pm this Wednesday, March 29, at WMU's Kanley Chapel.
There will be a question and answer time after the talk, and a free coffeehouse after the event in the Kanley Dialogue Center.

I haven't read the book The DaVinci Code, but I have heard that it is full of lies, and that it attempts to undermine Christianity. I'm interested to learn more about it.

UPDATE: Sigh. Nobody ever believes me. Check out this article for more on Dan Brown's agenda:

"I chose this topic for personal reasons — primarily as an exploration of my own faith and my own ideas about religion. …This may be the first time the secret has been unveiled within the format of a popular thriller, but the information is anything but new. My sincere hope is that The Da Vinci Code, in addition to entertaining people, will serve as an open door for readers to begin their own explorations.
Dan Brown, "The Da Vinci Code,""

Oh, by the way, the book claims: "all descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate" (p. 1).

I would think it obvious that a fictional book can have both a real-world agenda and real-world effects. Uncle Tom's Cabin comes to mind.

Saturday, March 25, 2006


This POLITICAL UPDATE focuses on liberal heroes. The left is quick to attack America and anyone who has contributed to our advancement. But liberals have their own heroes, who have more than a few skeletons in their closets.

LaShawn Barber condemns Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, who promoted eugenics against black people.
Allan Ryskind explores Martin Luther King Jr.'s ties to communists.
Humberto Fontova explores the strange heroes of black history month.
Robert Spencer explains how the case of Ramsey Clark reveals that liberals condone treason.
Chuck Devore reports that liberal Upton Sinclair lied about the Sacco and Vanzetti case.

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

WMU College Republicans Endorse Jack Hoogendyk for State Rep.

The WMU College Republicans have voted unanimously to endorse Jack Hoogendyk for the Republican nomination for the 61st district State House seat. We believe that Jack is clearly the best man for the job.

We believe that the 61st district deserves more than just someone to wear the Republican label. We need a leader who takes principled stands. We need a hard worker who is willing to put in the effort to get good legislation passed. We need a servant who cares about his constituents. We need a principled conservative to protect freedom and traditional values. We have all these things in Jack Hoogendyk.

We know Jack Hoogendyk; we have seen him in action. This is why we believe that Jack Hoogendyk deserves another term in Lansing. This is why we have endorsed him.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Good news and bad news

There's good news and bad news about the minimum wage. The good news is that the "Raise the Wage Coalition" is calling off the drive for a ballot proposition in November. This is largely due to a bill that the state legislature passed banning low-paying jobs ("raising the minimum wage").

The bad news is that the minimum wage increase will give American jobs to illegal immigrants. A blog post at Human Events makes this point. Here's what I wrote on this subject:

"Proponents of the minimum wage claim that it doesn’t actually destroy jobs. But eliminating jobs is not the employer’s only option. Many employers hire illegal immigrants at below the minimum wage to replace Americans who they cannot afford to hire above it. There are 10-20 million illegal immigrants in this country. Most of them are here to work, and the only reason that there are jobs available for them is because employers can hire them for less than what American citizens can work for. Until the issue of illegal immigration is satisfactorily addressed, raising the minimum wage will only transfer jobs from American citizens to illegal immigrants. Employers could also choose to outsource jobs or to automate them."

Politicians have protected their jobs at the expense of yours.

English language bill under attack

State Rep. Jack Hoogendyk's bill to make English the official language of Michigan continues to be attacked. I reported earlier on the attack by the city of Grand Rapids. A recent article in the Battle Creek Enquirer continues the assault. Typical of the completely unbiased media, the article quotes five opponents of the bill versus one proponent (Hoogendyk).

What follows are some of the arguments of the bill's opponents, and my responses.

""If you don't have the choice to learn another language, you won't learn another culture. If you can't learn another language, another culture, you won't be competitive in the future," Grillo said."

Nobody's stopping anyone from learning another language. For that matter, shouldn't what Grillo says apply to immigrants needing to learn English? Does he realize that his argument contradicts his position?

"John Musick, head of the Michigan Organizing Project, which promotes better state government policies for immigrants, said if the bill is approved it will alienate nonnative Hispanics, forcing them into a "shadow society."

"If we want them to go to school, get educated, have decent jobs, get access to medical care, then we have to make some accommodations for them as they are learning English," he said."

Unless "immigrants" are also going to set up shadow schools, shadow hospitals, and shadow businesses, I'm betting that this bill will encourage them to learn English more quickly. For that matter, knowing English is a requirement to become a citizen. These people wouldn't be illegal immigrants, would they?

"Emily Aleman, executive director of the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan, an advocacy organization in Grand Rapids, said the introduction of this bill sets a tone of exclusivity."

When liberals don't have any good arguments, they complain about "tone."

""This bill could be amended in about any way you could imagine relating to the use of English or any other language as it relates to state government or any other organization that is supported by state dollars," said Schauer, who is fluent in English and Spanish."

He's not so fluent, apparently, that he knows not to speak in run-on sentences. In any case, objecting to hypothetical amendments isn't much of an argument.

"Rep. Lorence Wenke, R-Richland Township, said he will not support the bill because it implies that certain groups in Michigan aren't as important as others."


"Musick said he encourages Michigan residents to oppose this legislation, "just like you would resist the (Ku Klux Klan) and past racist things that have happened in this country," he said."

The last I checked, the Klan supported racial segregation. The goal of this bill is to promote integration. Does Musick support language segregation? How are people supposed to integrate if they can't communicate? Did that just sound like Jesse Jackson?

UPDATE: A new poll shows that 82% of Michigan residents support the bill.

Saad withdraws

Henry Saad, the Michigan Court of Appeals judge who President Bush nominates for the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (which includes Michigan), has withdrawn his nomination. He waited more than four years, and never received a vote, thanks to Senators Levin and Stabenow.

This takes the cake: "Angela Benander, a spokesman for Stabenow, said the senator 'respects Judge Saad's decision.'" She was the reason for his decision! All the more reason to send Stabenow packing in November.


This is an update to my previous post on gun rights. In Kansas, Governor Sebelius vetoed the concealed carry bill. Well, on Wednesday the state Senate overrode her veto, and on Thursday the state House did as well. Congratulations, Kansas!

Only Illinois, Wisconsin, and Nebraska now have no concealed carry.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Everyone DOESN'T want freedom

One of the most wrongheaded notions of neoconservatives and those influenced by their ideas, including President Bush and Rush Limbaugh is that everyone wants freedom. Or, as Rush puts it, "the natural yearning of the human heart is for freedom." Nonsense, I say.

Consider the story out of Afghanistan of a man who has been sentenced to death for being a Christian. I could have sworn that all the terrorism and violence in the Middle East was caused by a few evil dictators, and that democracy would end that all. How could this happen? This couldn't have anything to do with Islam, could it?

Of course it could. Terrorism and lack of religious freedom are the products of ideology, specifically Islamic ideology. They are not the products of economic conditions or a lack of democracy. In fact, democracy is the product of certain cultural characteristics, including willingness to tolerate those you disagree with. Imposing different government structures will not change these underlying cultural factors, at least not much.

Democracy also requires a basic support for freedom amongst the people. But does this actually exist? This is one of the many instances where confusion results from ambiguous meaning. What does it mean to say that everyone wants freedom? If all it means is that people don't like getting raped and tortured, then this is certainly true. But how much freedom do people really want? If people really want lots of freedom, it's hard to explain why they put up with a government that takes half their money. Programs like Social Security that take your money by force and then give some of it back couldn't exist if people didn't support them. Examining many examples throughout history shows that the amount of freedom that people want is fairly limited.

There is another ambiguity. Ponder this: Did Saddam Hussein want freedom? Presumably, he didn't want other people telling him what to do, right? By now, the problem should be clear. There is a big difference between wanting freedom for yourself and wanting freedom for everyone. Lots of people who don't want anyone telling them what to do have no problem with wanting to tell other people what to do. Unfortunately, only a relative handful of conservatives and libertarians really want freedom for everyone. But this is what is required for a "democracy" to last.

Otherwise, people will soon discover that they can rob their neighbors at the ballot box. Then government power and spending will grow larger and larger until government either collapses or becomes tyrannical. That's how the Weimar republic, a democracy, collapsed. Unfortunately, we are heading down the same road.

Campaign news

It's nice to see that "professional" politicos aren't so different from the rest of us. This amusing story describes how the Democratic chairman and DeVos' spokesman got into a shouting match after the Democrat tried to hold a press conference on DeVos' property:

"The two then exchanged accusations, insults and threats as 16 DeVos campaign staffers came out carrying placards calling Gov. Jennifer Granholm a liar.

More than seven months before the election, the clash underscored what many expect to be an intense gubernatorial campaign that has already seen extensive TV advertising by multimillionaire DeVos.

At one point Monday, Truscott poked Brewer's shoulder to make a point. Brewer threatened to file assault charges."

Meanwhile, this article by Paul Weyrich analyzes the chances of black Republicans to win statewide office, including Keith Butler in Michigan. I don't necessarily agree with his take on the candidates, but I do think that it is interesting how the party establishment picks candidates. If they don't like you, they will recruit someone against you and try to defeat you. They are anything but neutral.

On a side note, I completely agree with Weyrich's take on the Ohio gubernatorial race. Ken Blackwell is clearly the best candidate. This article proves that the marriage initiative was not a Republican scheme to win more votes, since every top Republican in the state opposed it except Blackwell.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Law mandates ultrasound before abortion

Governor Granholm is going to sign a bill to require an abortionist to allow a pregnant woman to view an ultrasound of her unborn child:

"The anti-abortion group Right to Life of Michigan, maintains that the change will ensure that pregnant women have more complete access to accurate information before having an abortion.

"I think she looked at both the substance of the policy, and at the politics, and determined that a veto was not the prudent thing to do," said Ed Rivet, chief lobbyist for Right to Life of Michigan.

The law would require physicians who take ultrasound images before performing an abortion to give his or her patient the opportunity to view an active ultrasound of the fetus, and to offer the patient a still image taken from the ultrasound."

This is important because a significant proportion of women who see their child on an ultrasound don't go through with an abortion. This is one of the reasons that the abortion rate has been going down in recent years. This bill will save lives. This is the kind of bill that state legislatures need to be passing, rather than focusing on Quixotic efforts to ban all abortion.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


This POLITICAL UPDATE focuses on economics. A good understanding of economics in necessary to refute the government's schemes.

Ron Paul writes that rising gold prices mean that government counterfeiting causes inflation.
Bruce Bartlett writes that rich people pay most taxes.
Walter Williams slays the myth of price controls.
Anthony Dick writes that socialism doesn't work in Canadian health care.
Walter Williams writes that government promotes cartels.
Sally Pipes shows that price controls on prescription drugs would cost lives.

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Gun rights update

While most of these stories haven't made the headlines, there is plenty happening in the continuing struggle to advance gun rights.

First, a few items I've been saving. Gun Owners of America summarizes the news about gun rights in 2005. John Lott reports on Brazil's rejection of a proposed gun ban. John Stossel slays myths about guns.

The battle to ensure that the right to bear arms is not infringed continues, and is now being fought mainly in the Midwest. Thirty-seven states currently have "shall-issue" laws for concealed carry permits or do not require permits to carry concealed weapons (Vermont and Alaska fall into this category).

This battle played out in Wisconsin earlier this year. Two years ago, the legislature passed a shall-issue bill, Governor Jim Doyle vetoed it, the state senate voted to override him, and the state house failed to do so after a democrat switched sides at the last minute. This year, the same thing happened. Democratic state reps. Terry VanAkkern and John Steinbink had voted for the bill three times before, and publicly announced their support, so naturally when were needed, they voted against it. Governor Doyle may be vulnerable in the 2006 election.

In Nebraska, a shall-issue bill has the support of the governor, and is struggling to maintain the two-thirds support in the legislature needed to overcome a filibuster. It has survived two rounds of debate and needs to survive one more before becoming law.

In Kansas, a shall-issue bill has passed both halves of the legislature with more than two-thirds support, and is now in the hands of Governor Kathleen Sebelius. Two years ago, she vetoed a similar bill. The senate voted to override, but the house did not. This time around, the bill has even more support, but it is unclear how whether there are enough votes to override a veto.

Shall-issue legislation has also been introduced in Iowa and Delaware. Apparently, the Delaware bill stands a good chance of passing, thanks to a relatively pro-gun Democratic governor. In Wyoming, the state house voted to do away with the need for permits altogether, but the senate did not take up the measure.

The other trend in gun rights recently is the push to broaden self-defense laws. This started with the NRA's successful efforts to pass a so-called "stand your ground" bill in Florida last year. Opponents have taken to calling these bills "Shoot first laws." Similar bills have surfaced in a number of states, including Michigan. South Dakota's version has been signed into law.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Abortionists for Schwarz

The Adrian Insider reports that Joe Schwarz has accepted money from Planned Parenthood. According to the Federal Election Commission, it appears that they have given Schwarz $10,000. It speaks volumes that the leading perpetrator and defender of abortion in America has offered Joe Schwarz money, and that he has accepted it.

Meanwhile, Schwarz is still claiming to be pro-life.

By the way, Planned Parenthood continues the legacy of its founder, Margaret Sanger, to use eugenics against black people.

See what I've written on Schwarz's position on abortion.

UPDATE: Congressional Quarterly reports on the race:

"Schwarz said that he is a faithful Roman Catholic who does not approve overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

“I agree with the decision that a woman has the right to choose and it is the woman’s choice,” Schwarz told “It should not be a choice decided by a bunch of middle-aged men.”"

Proof of a Ruse

I noticed in the Western Herald that Michael Ruse will be speaking on campus tonight. He is a defender of evolution against creation and intelligent design. I'm not planning to go, but this seemed like the perfect time to comment on something that Dr. Ruse said a while back.

Dr. Ruse claimed that evolution is just as well-proven as a mathematical truth like "2+2=4." "In the middle of the discussion, Dr. Ruse claimed that evolution is a proven fact, just as "proven" as 2+2=4. When challenged, he insisted the two statements are equivalently true."

I've been following the creation/evolution/intelligent design debate for a while, and I have to say that I was absolutely shocked by this statement. This is completely absurd. A mathematical statement like "2+2=4" is either an axiom or proved from axioms by deduction. Even assuming that everything the evolutionists say is true, evolution would be a scientific theory. Theories are proved by logical induction. To be scientific, a statement must be testable, and hence potentially falsifiable. No matter how much evidence there is for a scientific theory, it is always potentially falsifiable by subsequent observations. Thus nothing in science can ever be "as proven" as mathematics.

Did Dr. Ruse make this statement out of ignorance or an intent to deceive his audience? It makes me wonder whether the evolutionists know anything about science at all. In any case, this is good reason not to trust the evolutionists.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Random Thoughts

1. An old saying says, "If you don't like the weather in Michigan, wait five minutes."

On Monday, the following occurred within 24 hours:

A thunderstorm in the early morning hours, complete with torrential rains and a tornado watch.
Balmy weather reaching a high near seventy degrees.
A sudden cold snap, along with wind that almost blew me over.
Snow with accumulation in the evening.

2. Debbie Stabenow: Dangerously Incompetent.

3. According to recently released survey results, the faculty hate Judy Bailey. A full 83.4% of respondents do not have confidence in her ability to lead this university. 64.3% strongly felt that way. They have similar thoughts about Linda Delene.

Bailey has criticized the results, because "only" 53% of the faculty responded. That's a pretty good response rate for a survey.

The groups that hate Bailey now include faculty, students, grad students, unions, republicans, democrats, greens, and Medallion scholars. Did I miss anyone?

4. A letter to the editor Tuesday in the Herald from math professor Alan Schwenk notes that while liberals self-righteously condemned Coulter for being "mean," they tried to silence us by tearing down our fliers.

In response to the notion that the poor liberals just couldn't control themselves because they were so offended, I would point out that even the mild-mannered Students for Life have had their flyers torn down. All they say is "The future is pro-life." Liberals really are fascists who can't stand free speech. The speech is today at 7PM in Sangren.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Top gubernatorial races

John Gizzi, the politics editor for Human Events, has compiled a list of the top gubernatorial races in the nation. Michigan came in third:

"In a state that has not shared in the nationwide economic boom, Amway heir and sure GOP nominee Richard DeVos, Jr., is considered even money against Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm."

You can also see his lists of the top Senate races and top House races.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


This POLITICAL UPDATE focuses on the culture war. The left's attempt to destroy conservatism, Christianity, and western civilization continues. This takes place not through rational persuasion, but through the subconscious influence of culture.

William Lind exposes the cultural Marxism that drives the culture war.
Donald Devine reviews the state of Christianity in the world today.
Will Grigg explains how the culture war is leading to the death of the west and conquest by Islam.
Mac Johnson shows how the culture war has led to birth rates below replacement level.
Finally, Eagle Forum reviews the continuing battle in Congress.

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Why the culture war matters

A while back, I exchanged emails with a reader concerning a POLITICAL UPDATE about the war on Christmas entitled Christmas and communism. My reader agreed with me on the substance of the issue, but didn't think that the issue was very important because most people agree with us. In response, I wrote the following email about the culture war, which I will now share with you:

You don't have to have a majority to get your way. 70-80% of Americans support school prayer, oppose affirmative action, support the Ten Commandments at courthouses, oppose illegal immigration, and want to ban partial birth abortion, yet liberals have achieved their positions on all of these issues. What makes the war on Christmas so interesting to me is that 96% of Americans celebrate Christmas, and yet the left has torn down nativity scenes, renamed Christmas trees and Christmas break, and even bludgeoned private companies like Wal-Mart and Target into banning their employees from saying "merry Christmas."

You shouldn't equate winning elections with winning the culture war. Many of the things that I listed above happened under Republican Presidents with Republican-appointed Supreme Courts. Ultimately, culture is more important than politics. The prevailing culture usually determines political outcomes. Politicians are more likely to be influenced by the culture than to influence it.

One way to define culture is what we do without thinking about it. That is, most people don't make most decisions by logically analyzing the possible choices and consequences, along with costs and benefits. They do what comes naturally. I certainly agree that issues like social security, taxes, and immigration are very important. I think I've covered a wide range of important issues in the POLITICAL UPDATE. But the outcomes of these issues will be decided by the prevailing culture. Why is it that some people choose freedom and others choose dependence on government? Why do some people fight government encroachments and others acquiesce? These are cultural issues.

Simplifying greatly, I believe that people will either depend on God or government. Faith in God gives people the will and courage to be free and to resist government. George Washington agreed, saying that the Constitution (which greatly restricts government) was "made for a moral and religious people, and is wholly inadequate for any other." Another person who agreed was Antonio Gramsci. If you read Death of the West, which I still strongly recommend, you'll know that he was one of the communist founders of cultural Marxism. He realized that people's religion was preventing them from worshiping the state, as he sought. He and others began a campaign to destroy religion and traditional Western culture through cultural Marxism, thus igniting the culture war.

I should clearly distinguish between economic and cultural Marxism. Economic Marxism has been thoroughly discredited and lives on only in phrases such as "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer," and such nonsense. Very few people are cultural Marxists as such, and relatively few are consciously trying to destroy our culture, but cultural Marxism has taken on a life of its own. Political correctness, multiculturalism, deconstructionism, "tolerance," and "diversity" are all the poisoned fruit of cultural Marxism. Most of the people who advocate these concepts aren't Marxists, of course, but if you trace the origins of these ideas back to their conception, you'll find that they were invented by communists. "Political correctness" was first used in a communist party newsletter. "Tolerance" was defined by Herbert Marcuse, another cultural Marxist, as "Tolerance of movements from the left, intolerance of movements from the right."

Christmas isn't going to be abolished, at least not soon. But the goal right now is to strip it of any religious meaning. This entails tearing down nativity scenes and banning the word Christmas wherever possible. Liberalism tries to make people feel dirty, or at least self-conscious, about mentioning Christmas (you might offend someone!)

The same thing is happening with other holidays. Every year, a bunch of Ward Churchill types attack Columbus Day for honoring the genocidal racist imperialism that Columbus brought to America, or whatever. Gay rights groups attack the New York Saint Patrick's Day parade for not allowing drag queens to march in it. Are these people marginal? Maybe. But they have succeeded in getting parades canceled in one case and stopping all Democratic politicians from marching in the other.

Concerning post-9-11 patriotism, I find it interesting that Central Michigan University, in the middle of very conservative area, banned displaying the American flag after 9-11. I believe that the purported rationale was that it would offend foreigners. Similar incidents occurred all over the country. You can't tell me America isn't under attack, and I'm not talking about Osama. If I remember correctly, Central reversed its policy after public outrage ensued.

The public is on our side, as repeated election results show. But culture influences you subconsciously. People can be influenced by a culture that they don't like. As time passes, new generations arise that accept the changes as normal. I'm not saying that we can't win. We can win, but we have to try.

I love the internet

The internet is amazing. The explosion of information that is now available is just incredible. A thousand years ago, communicating with people worldwide would have required a network of thousands of employees, at the minimum. A hundred years ago, it would have required owning printing presses worldwide. Fifty years ago, it would have required owning a network of radio stations. Twenty years ago, it would have required a network of television stations. To consistently get out your message, you have to have been a multimillionaire at least.

Today, I can write something and make it available instantly worldwide. For free. Doing research is so much easier. It used to be possible for the media to hide the truth just by ignoring it. Now it isn't. More on how the internet expands freedom here and here.

Another student against Schwarz

Hillsdale College student Hans Zeiger dissects the record of Joe Schwarz and analyzes the challenge of Tim Walberg in an article for WorldNetDaily entitled "Joe Schwarz's coming expulsion from Congress." He writes:

"The first time I saw Joe Schwarz was in a six-way congressional debate at Hillsdale College. Republicans in the district made the mistake in 2004 of tolerating five generally qualified conservatives to run up against Mr. Schwarz and each other in the primary election. At the debate, Schwarz defended his pro-abortion position and his endorsement of universal health care. Those positions don't resonate with the people of Michigan's Seventh District. So the five conservatives pulled in 72 percent among themselves, handing victory to Mr. Schwarz with only 28 percent.

Needless to say, Joe Schwarz has been a disappointment.

The National Taxpayers Union recently assigned Mr. Schwarz one of the lowest ratings of any Republican in Congress. The median score for members of Congress is 48 percent. Schwarz earns a 47 percent or C-minus for his record on taxes and spending. According to the NTU, Schwarz's rating "represents a minimally acceptable voting record on controlling taxes and spending."

After Hurricane Katrina, Schwarz spoke of undoing the Bush tax cuts to finance the hurricane cleanup. He supported the $223 million "Bridge to Nowhere" in Alaska, part of the gargantuan Highway Bill. He voted to fund the terribly unnecessary Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the equally unnecessary National Endowment for the Arts. He even voted to federally finance the purchase of impotency drugs. Cutting spending does not seem an option to Mr. Schwarz. A little 1 percent spending-cut proposal was met with his big "no" vote.

Schwarz's record on private-property issues is horrendous. After the Supreme Court's Kelo decision that expanded eminent-domain powers, Schwarz opposed a bill to protect private-property rights. While the size and power of government has grown, individual ownership has become increasingly insecure. Joe Schwarz is actively helping to perpetuate that insecurity.

Gun Owners of America gives Schwarz a puny 50 percent rating (even though Schwarz represents a major hunting and outdoors constituency). Schwarz pulls in a mere 60 percent rating from Eagle Forum, and a 62 percent rating from Family Research Council. Schwarz is one of the few Republicans who stands against a federal Marriage Amendment. He voted in favor of John Conyers' bill that would deliver special punishments for so-called hate crimes."

Read the whole article. Also, see what I wrote on Schwarz's positions on abortion and gun rights.

Education on education

Have you ever wondered why college costs so much? Why is it that tuition keep increasing at enormous rates? One of the things that I love about economics is that it can be used to systematically answer such questions. The answers are often very unintuitive. If you want to know why college costs so much, read this piece.

Several recent stories in education deserve some mention. They are nicely summarized in this cartoon. In short, Yale admitted a former spokesman for the Taliban. A tape of a high school geography teacher going on an anti-Bush, anti-capitalism rant is circulating the internet. A Muslim college student in North Carolina tried to run over fellow students as an attack against the United States.

For much more on the wacky world of college, check out this blog.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The wrath of KHAN

According to the Kalamazoo Gazette, a group of homeless people is demanding that they be allowed to use private property, even if the owners don't want them there. The Kalamazoo Homeless Action Nation (KHAN) is demanding that the Kalamazoo City Commission pass an ordinance forcing business owners to allow homeless people to stay in their businesses.

Homeless people aren't taking this issue lying down, either. They're threatening to do what homeless people do best--sit around. "KHAN spokesperson Adriana Rosas said the group may protest lack of action on the ordinance by spending the night of March 31, National Night Out for the Homeless, on public property near commissioners' homes. ... `We will be a constant thorn in your side until you pass this ordinance,' one shelter resident told commissioners. `Play games with the homeless, and God's going to play games with you.'" Wow, I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't want these people on their property.

Commissioner Mary Balkema is also mentioned in the article: "Commissioners David Anderson, who chaired a subcommittee reviewing the proposed ordinance, and Mary Balkema, who sits on the governing board of the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission, took issue with the criticism.

`To call the Mission a prison is offensive,' Balkema said, referring to charges by some human-rights-ordinance advocates.

`Many, many cities have problems with homeless people that are worse than Kalamazoo,' Anderson said. `We do have a system on the backs of caring, generous people here so that nobody has to go hungry or sleep outside if they don't choose to.'"

"`We're going to do anything necessary within the law to get this ordinance passed,' said Lori Anne Fuller, a KHAN member who is homeless." Anything, apparently, except GET A JOB. These people have time for political activism, but they don't have time for gainful employment?

Even liberals Don Cooney and Lee Kirk point out that the proposed initiative is unenforceable.

The "Kalamazoo Homeless Action Network" is a name that raises all sorts of comedic possibilities.

UPDATE: Here is more information on the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission.

Tax increase proposed in WSA

Western Student Association (WSA) President Derek Getman and Vice-President Alex Mehn floated the idea of raising taxes on WMU students at the March 8 WSA meeting. They proposed increasing the Student Assessment Fee (SAF) by 67%, from $12 to $20.

It isn't entirely clear how such a tax increase would come about. Apparently, it would need to be approved by the Board of Trustees in any case. Also, there would need to be a student referendum on the matter.

How such a referendum would come about is unclear. Getman and Mehn seemed to think that a single student could have it put on the ballot. This seems dubious, given that nothing in the election guidelines addresses student referendums.

Perhaps the lesson for us is that government at all levels will always want more of our money. Government encroachments on our liberty must be actively resisted.

Last person you'd expect to say that

Here's a quote I read in a news article that I found to be quite interesting. "But the courts say it's not about what he did or didn't do or what she did or didn't do. It's about the rights of the child." How take a guess as to who said this. If you guessed Kim Gandy, president of leftist group NOW (National Organization for Women) then you're right! It's rather humorous when someone like that says courts focus on the rights of the child. I saw this quote in an article on the website of a local (local meaning for me meaning Toledo) TV station. It's about the reproductive rights of men and whatnot. It's an interesting read and can be found at I'm interested in hearing how this case turns out.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Minimum Wage Resources

To effectively counter the liberals' deceptive minimum wage proposal, you need facts. I have compiled a number of articles on the minimum wage (mw) that I will make available here for anyone interested in researching the subject. What follows are one-sentence summaries of the articles.

Paul Jacob argues that the minimum wage increases unemployment.
The liberal group ACORN refuses to pay its own workers the mw.
Many people are legally paid below the mw.
The mw causes unemployment of teenagers.
The mw is a perfect example of liberal economics.
For a long time, the New York Times opposed the mw.
Taxpayers pay for living wage laws.
The living wage rhetoric is deceptive.

A new Wal-Mart was flooded with applications.
Why not legislate minimum stock prices?
The mw causes massive unemployment.
Unions are conspiring against Wal-Mart.
The historical example of Henry Ford supports the free market, not the mw.

Why not raise the mw $100 per hour?
This is a detailed study on the mw.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The definition of free trade extremism

In the last POLITICAL UPDATE, I referred to some of the "conservative" supporters of the port deal as "free trade extremists." This is my term, so it may not have been clear what I meant.

I recognize that many of our members are Buchanan-style protectionists. My view is somewhat different. I generally support free trade as long as it does not conflict with national security.

A free-trade extremist, however, supports free trade no matter what. A perfect example is Larry Kudlow. At first, it appeared that his most recent column would attempt to actually defend that deal, rather than just call all its' critics racists, like his previous column.

Larry just can't understand why anyone would think there are security problems with this deal. What about the UAE's previous recognition of the Taliban? What about their ties to terrorists? As Phyllis Schlafly points out, "The fact that the UAE has been helpful in some respects since Sept. 11 does not trump the facts that two of the Sept. 11 hijackers came from the UAE and some money to finance the terrorists attacks was laundered through that country's banking system. Dubai was the main transshipment point for the Pakistani nuclear engineer who ran the world's largest nuclear proliferation ring and shipped equipment to enrich uranium from there to Libya, Iran and North Korea."

This is what I mean by free trade extremism: "In fact, the Bush administration’s plan to create a U.S. free-trade zone across the Middle East is one of the most positive initiatives in the effort to defeat fundamentalist Islamic terrorism." Don't worry! Free trade will solve everything! How exactly a free-trade zone will thwart Osama isn't clear. Perhaps Larry is buying into the liberal myth that terrorism is caused by poverty rather than Islamic ideology.

He continues: "Let’s not forget that the UAE in the post-9/11 world has become a strong American ally." As opposed to pre-9/11, when they were recognizing the Taliban. If they can switch, they can switch back. An alliance based on self-interest is different than an alliance based on shared values.

And then there's this: "Yes, DP World is a state-owned enterprise, but if that criteria were used to oppose an economic relationship, we’d have to terminate all activity with communist China and state-owned oil companies in Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela, and Mexico."

I can't believe he actually wrote this. Can he really not see any difference between buying oil from a state-run company, and letting a state-run company manage our ports? Two words: NATIONAL SECURITY. As libertarian congressman Ron Paul, who is certainly no protectionist, points out, governments serve their own interests. We can't count on the UAE to do what is best for us.

There are currently private companies helping to supply our troops in Iraq. Would Kudlow let foreign governments run this too? If not, why not?

In Larry's mind, critics of this deal are secretly motivated by protectionism. This is strange considering that of the three critics he names, only Buchanan is clearly a protectionist. Malkin has written extensively on the deal and never once argued that the deal would be bad for our economy.

Apparently, all the secret protectionists are secretly racist, too: "Whether it’s anti-Arab Islamophobia..." (is there pro-Arab Islamophobia?) "... or anti-Mexican Hispanophobia,..." This is a new one. What about national-security-o-phobia? What about not-making-up-stupid-words-o-phobia? "...the fear-mongers in the conservative ranks do not truly believe in economic opportunity."

Ah, the poor downtrodden governments of the world, yearning for economic opportunity! Even assuming that this deal economically benefits the Emirates, what's good about that? Since when have conservatives wanted governments to have more money? Richer governments hurt, rather than help, their citizens.

Conservatives should know better than to trust someone who supports free trade at all costs, and accuses all critics of racism.

Gitmo detainees seek asylum

This is a news story I found on
The gist of the story is that many Muslim detainees currently held at Guantanamo Bay have been pleading with authorities to be given political asylum in the US. Now, I'm sure it isn't the wisest course of action to release suspected terrorists and Al-Qaeda operatives into the US, but this story does prove a great point. If the UN is so concerned about alleged abuse of the detainees, they should ask why the alleged "victims" of torture on a horrifying scale are begging their torturers to not make them go back home where they claim they will face almost certain death. Also goes to show that if these requests are genuine, even an Islamofascist would rather live in the US than his own country. As Reagan so well put it, truly a "shining city on a hill."

Liberals worth ridiculing

There are three items in Monday's Western Herald worthy of ridicule. First, in a letter to the editor (which is apparently not available online) a liberal claims that Ann Coulter compared Bush to Stalin. It took me a while to figure out what he was referring to. Of course, he completely mixed up what Coulter actually said. She contrasted liberals' support for Stalin's revolution, despite its obvious failure, to their opposition to Bush's revolution in Iraq. The key point here is that liberals are traitors. They supported Stalin because he opposed America, and they oppose Bush because he doesn't.

The second item is a letter from everyone's favorite Physics Department chairman, Paul Pancella. He makes the usual complaints that she is not "thoughtful" enough. This would have been slightly more credible if he hadn't tried to ask a "gotcha" question about College Republicans in the military, which Coulter easily shot down. Apparently, his idea of thoughtful commentary is a cartoon posted on his office door implying that Americans want to kill our troops to steal Iraq's oil.

Pancella then presumes to apologize on our behalf to everyone who didn't like our event. I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize on his behalf to anyone who has ever had to read anything he wrote. He just can't stand the idea that conservatives might actually get to have an event on campus. Someone who cancelled his subscription to the Gazette because it was too conservative might not be the best judge of what is mainstream in the real world.

Finally, he complains about our flyers. Strangely, he has yet to write a letter about the attacks on free speech by liberals who tore down thousands of our flyers. I guess that one got lost in the mail. He is outraged by the idea that we posted more than one flyer per bulletin board.

That leads us to item number three, an unintentionally hilarious article about an experimental "writing" class. An excerpt:

"Some English experimental writing students at Western Michigan University believe bad weather is responsible for knocking down their speech bubble projects, which were hung on trees outside Brown Hall, Miller Auditorium and Waldo Library for the past couple of weeks. ... There were at least eight of the speech bubbles hanging from the trees, Wicker said, adding that some students replaced their old speech bubbles with new ones before the break in the hope that the messages of their experiment in writing would not be lost."

So apparently, hanging speech bubbles from trees gets you college credit in "experimental" "writing," but posting more than one flyer per bulletin board is too much free speech. Where are the environmentalists when you need them?

Saturday, March 04, 2006


This POLITICAL UPDATE focuses on the proposed sale of management of American ports to a UAE company. The Bush administration approved this deal despite obvious security concerns. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has a record of both ties to terrorists and human rights violations that make it unfit to manage our ports.

This deal has been widely criticized by both conservatives and liberals. It is hardly surprising that the few "conservative" defenders of this deal quickly resorted to race-baiting. The 70% of Americans who oppose this deal all hate Arabs, just like all the critics of Harriet Miers were elitists who hate women. The free-trade extremists and post-Americans who support this deal have shown themselves unworthy of our trust.

R. Cort Kirkwood explains why this deal is so bad for America.
Terry Jeffrey examines the record of the UAE.
Robert Spencer examines Bush's skewed view of Islam.
Michelle Malkin destroys the "conservative" defenders of the deal.
Finally, Malkin examines the consistency of liberals on this issue.

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Friday, March 03, 2006

The ports of Panama

In the midst of the controversy over management of American ports, it seems appropriate to remind everyone of another threat to American security related to ports. Specifically, the ports at both ends of the Panama Canal are controlled by communist China.

Following the surrender of American control of the canal in 2000, the ports at both ends of it were leased to Hutchison Whampoa, a company controlled by Red China. This arrangement was apparently the result of massive bribery of Panamanian legislators.

This surrender was the result of treason at home. In the late 70's, Jimmy Carter campaigned tirelessly to give away the canal that we had built and paid for. The treaty was (illegitimately) ratified by one vote. Ronald Reagan campaigned against the transfer, and Carter and many of the Senators who voted for the treaty were turned out of office.

The final transfer occurred in 2000, at the end of the Clinton administration. Despite the clear threat that this deal posed to national security, Clinton allowed it to proceed. This might have had something to do with all the cash that Red China illegally funneled to Clinton's re-election campaign.

For more on this topic, go here and here.

Cesar Chavez opposed illegal immigration

This article from The American Conservative points out facts about Cesar Chavez that neither the minimum wage nuts or the la raza crowd will want to hear. Chavez opposed illegal immigration because it would harm American workers and depress their wages.

"Chavez’s essential problem was straight out of Econ 101, the law of supply and demand. He needed to limit the supply of labor in order to drive up wages. Just as American Federation of Labor founder Samuel Gompers, himself a Jewish immigrant, was one of the most influential voices calling for the successful immigration-restriction law of 1924, Chavez, during his effectual years, was a ferocious opponent of illegal immigration."


"The UFW picketed INS offices to demand closure of the border. Chavez also finked on illegal alien scabs to la migra. Columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr. reported in the Arizona Republic, “Cesar Chavez, a labor leader intent on protecting union membership, was as effective a surrogate for the INS as ever existed. Indeed, Chavez and the United Farm Workers Union he headed routinely reported, to the INS, for deportation, suspected illegal immigrants who served as strikebreakers or refused to unionize.”

Like today’s Minutemen, UFW staffers under the command of Chavez’s brother Manuel patrolled the Arizona-Mexico border to keep out illegal aliens. Unlike the well-behaved Minutemen, however, Chavez’s boys sometimes beat up intruders."

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Soviet assassinations

This isn't exactly new, but it hasn't received nearly as much attention as it should have. An Italian commission has confirmed has confirmed that the Soviet Union was behind the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II.

Note: normally I wouldn't link to CBS news, since they have a history of making things up, but I have seen this information in several other sources, so I think it's safe.

What I find interesting about this is that a few years later, the Soviet Union shot down flight KAL 007, whose most famous passenger was Congressman Larry McDonald (D-GA), perhaps the staunchest anti-communist in Congress. The shoot-down was written up as an accident. It is worth noting that the General Secretary of the USSR at the time was Yuri Andropov, a hard-liner who ran the KGB at the time of the attempt on the Pope's life.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Conservative Voices on Campus

In today's Gazette, Diether Haenicke, former President of Western, praises the College Republicans for our hard work in bringing many conservative speakers to campus. I wish he were still Western's President. Here's an excerpt:

"I sat next to Jim, a WMU criminal justice major from Ann Arbor, a bright, well-spoken and well-mannered young man. I asked him what his guess was regarding the political leanings of students on our campus. He thought that it was 50-50, with the liberal half being very outspoken and visible in classes and the conservative half smartly holding back in class discussions and public pronouncements. They know that their opinions are not popular with many of their teachers. My own observation is that Jim has it right, but it is a guess.

Since conservative views are so seldom heard on campus, the College Republicans must be thanked. Under the fine leadership of Matt Hall and Ashley Allen, who both served as presidents of this student group, they have invited to campus, year after year, conservative speakers who address controversial issues that usually trigger horror among academics: affirmative action, racial preferences, illegal immigration, campus speech codes, and other such hot-button topics.

Ward Connerly, the African-American who fought for abolishing racial preferences in California, spoke here, as did Justice Roy Moore who placed a monument with the Ten Commandments in his Alabama courthouse, and Dinesh D'Souza, Pat Buchanan, Michelle Malkin, Reginald Jones, and Alan Kors, the noted Princeton- and Harvard-educated historian who gained national prominence for defending the academic rights of students."

Read it all.

Schwarz on abortion

In a post yesterday, I criticized the record of Congressman Joe Schwarz. I have since received negative feedback on that post from Schwarz's staff. In an attempt to be as fair as possible, I will post detailed analyses of his positions. The post below this one examines his record on guns. This post will focus on his position on abortion.

I stated in my previous post that Schwarz is pro-abortion. By "pro-abortion," I mean that he believes that abortion should be legal. Schwarz has said in the past that he "personally" opposes abortion, but he does not think that it should be illegal. As stated, this is the same position that John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, and Jennifer Granholm have taken. I believe that these three are insincere, and are simply looking for a way to camouflage their pro-abortion beliefs (and reconcile them with their affiliation with the Catholic church.)

I don't know whether Schwarz is sincere. Let us assume that he is. How has Schwarz's personal opposition to abortion influenced his actions? Has he participated in a pro-life rally, such as the annual March for Life? Has he protested in front of an abortion clinic? Has he donated money to a pro-life group, or a crisis pregnancy center? (I don't know the answers to these questions. If you do, please post them in the comments.)

Here is what Schwarz has to say about abortion on his House site:


As a pro-life member of Congress, I am proud to share the same view on life as President Bush and former Michigan Gov. John Engler.

During my 16-year tenure in the Michigan Senate I voted to ban both partial-birth abortion and assisted suicide. Now, as a representative in Congress, I will continue to support those positions.

My pro-life exceptions include cases of rape, incest and to save the life of the mother. I respect differing opinions on this very personal issue, while noting that this Congress is unlikely to bring up the issue of Roe v. Wade.

I am a co-sponsor of H.R. 748, "The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act," sponsored by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.). Approved by the House with my support on April 27, this bill prohibits the transportation of a minor across state lines to get an abortion in situations in which the minor resides in a state (e.g., Michigan) with parental-consent laws, unless the abortion is to save the life of the mother.

During my first three months in Congress, I cast an important vote in favor of S. 686, for a federal-court review of the case of Theresa Marie Schiavo. I am proud of this vote and consider it an important part of my pro-life record.

As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I voted against an amendment in committee to the 2006 defense authorization bill that would loosen restrictions for receiving abortions in overseas military hospitals. It is currently legal for military members to have an abortion in an overseas military hospitals only in cases of incest, rape, or to save the life of the mother. The amendment would have allowed abortions under any circumstances, while I believed the existing restrictions should be kept in place. Thankfully, the amendment was defeated."

This is what Tim Walberg has to say on his campaign site:

"Right to Life
Tim Walberg is strongly pro-life. When he first ran for public office his platform included an end to the public funding of abortions and Tim encouraged positive alternatives to abortion that ministered to the needs of desperate teens and adults. His consistent efforts earned for him the "Advocate for Life" award from Michigan Right to Life.

Congressman Schwarz supports abortion on demand believing that it is "a woman’s right to choose," [Detroit Free Press 7-18-02] and that Roe v. Wade was decided correctly [Detroit Free Press 7-1-02]."

I have not independently verified these citations, but I have no reason to believe that they are incorrect.

What do pro-life organizations have to say?

Searching the website of Michigan Right to Life turned up the following gem as part of an analysis of the 2002 governor's race:

"In the Republican primary, Posthumus will be facing off with long-shot challenger Joe Schwarz, who is a State Senator from Battle Creek. In an interview published by Michigan Information and Research Service (MIRS), Sen. Schwarz described Right to Life of Michigan as "foaming, salivating" and said "if there were a thousand of them, I might get one vote. I don't give a (expletive). That's not who I'm after. I think they're wrong." Sen. Schwarz obviously does not share the same views as Right to Life of Michigan."

The website of National Right to Life has ratings of Congress. In their ratings of 2005, the one year Schwarz has completed in Congress, they found that out of seven total votes, he voted the pro-life way five times and the pro-abortion way two times. This was better than four of Michigan's Democratic congressmen and worse than two others. It was the worst record of any of Michigan's Republican congressmen.

Right to Life has endorsed Tim Walberg.

The August 4, 2002 Kalamazoo Gazette describes Schwarz's position this way: "Yet while many Republicans disagree with Schwarz's support for abortion rights and for stricter gun controls..."

Schwarz is quoted in the same article as saying the following about pro-lifers: "Moral absolutists drive me a little bonkers," Schwarz says. "Voters do not want to muddy the political process with arguments and issues that are best left to people's personal choice."

Finally, it is also noteworthy that Schwarz has been endorsed by former Michigan governor William Milliken. What is particularly interesting about this is that Milliken has refused to endorse every Republican nominee for President and governor since 1980 because they were pro-life. Evidently, Joe Schwarz didn't fail that test.

UPDATE: Planned Parenthood has contributed $10,000 to Schwarz, and he accepted it.

It is clear that Joe Schwarz is pro-abortion. He may vote for a few pro-life measures, but he is not pro-life. That is why Right to Life has endorsed Tim Walberg, and it is why any pro-life voter should support him.

Schwarz on guns

In a previous post, I characterized Congressman Joe Schwarz as "anti-gun." In this post, I will take a closer look at his position on gun rights. Like all gun rights activists, I used the term "anti-gun" to mean "anti-gun rights." Whether Schwarz personally likes guns is irrelevant. The question is whether he supports gun rights for everyone. It's his beliefs and voting record that I care about.

This is what Schwarz has to say about gun rights on his House website:

"Second Amendment

I am a gun owner myself and I support the Second Amendment. Under the Constitution, Americans have the right to bear arms, and it should remain that way.

I am a proud co-sponsor of H.R. 800, sponsored by Reps. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Rick Boucher (D-Va.). This bill shields gun manufacturers from liability for injuries due to unlawful use of firearms. I was pleased to vote for this bill when it came to floor on Oct. 20.

The Second Amendment was not written as a mere exercise in constitutional thought. It had a practical purpose: first, to ensure that citizens would have the tools to protect their families and their homes and, second, to ensure that an ARMED militia could be called up to defend the country in emergencies.

But lawsuits for damages due to criminal uses of firearms have the potential of crippling the American firearms industry, in the same manner as the threat of medical liability has crippled the medical industry. Why would we want to go down that route? Why would we want to put firearms out of the reach of law-abiding citizens.

I am also a co-sponsor of H.R. 1288, "The District of Columbia Personal Protection Act," sponsored by Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.).

Under existing D.C. statutes--which the Congress has power to overturn--D.C. residents are generally prohibited from firearm ownership within our nation's capital. Only under very rare exceptions are they allowed to possess a weapon in their home, and under few if any circumstances are they allowed to carry the weapon within their home for personal protection. This would seem to me to be unconstitional, [sic] and that is why, as a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, I have decided to co-sponsor this bill to restore D.C. residents' constitutional rights.

During debate on H.R. 3058, the appropriations bill for the District of Columbia, I voted for the Souder Amendment. This amendment, which was adopted, prevents the use of federal funds to enforce the D.C. gun ban."

This is what Tim Walberg says about his and Schwarz's positions on gun rights on his campaign site:

"Second Amendment
Tim Walberg believes the Second Amendment is a constitutional guarantee, not a personal opinion. He is a resolute supporter of sportsmen, a proud member of the NRA, and possesses a lifetime A+ NRA voting record rating.

Congressman Schwarz does not believe the Second Amendment of the Constitution gives individuals the right to keep and bear arms. [Detroit Free Press 7-4-02]. Schwarz also called Michigan's right-to-carry law "nuts" [MIRS 8-31-01]."

I have not independently verified these citations, but I have no reason to believe they are incorrect.

What do pro-gun organizations have to say about Schwarz?

In the 2004 congressional elections, the National Rifle Association gave Schwarz a raiting of 'B-'. It gave his Democratic opponent, Sharon Renier, an 'A' rating.

In the Gun Owners of America ratings of Congress, Schwarz receives a 'B' rating. GOA defines this to mean "Pro-Gun Compromiser: generally leans our way." It's not completely clear, but it appears that this rates only his one year in Congress, not his previous record.

I searched GOA's website for their ratings of Schwarz as a state legislator. Both their 1998 survey, when Schwarz was running for re-election to the State Senate, and their 2002 survey, when Schwarz was running for Governor are available, but Schwarz refused to fill either of them out.

In 2004, the Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners (MCRGO) endorsed Democrat Sharon Renier over Schwarz. In 2002, MCRGO endorsed Dick Posthumus for Governor.

As of this date, it does not appear that any of these organizations have made an endorsement in the 2006 primary.

As a state senator, Schwarz voted against the concealed-carry bill that made Michigan a right-to-carry state. He was one of only four Republican state senators to do so. This was (in my opinion) the most important vote on gun rights that he has made, and he voted the wrong way.

Finally, there is this characterization of Schwarz's position that appeared in the August 4, 2002 edition of the Kalamazoo Gazette: "Yet while many Republicans disagree with Schwarz's support for abortion rights and for stricter gun controls, GOP Senators..." I knew my bag of old newspapers would come in handy someday!

In retrospect, it may have been too harsh to call Schwarz "anti-gun." He isn't in the Diane Feinstein camp. Nonetheless, he is at best unreliable, and there are a number of troubling aspects to his record. Tim Walberg is clearly the better candidate to defend and advance gun rights.