Friday, June 30, 2006

Don't Go WMU

An interesting notice appears on Western's GoWMU website:

Date: June 27, 2006

Subject: Summer I grades available July 3

Grades for Summer I session will be available through GoWMU by 5 p.m. Monday, July 3.

To view grades, students should use the following steps: (1) click on "Students" under "Academic Services" on the GoWMU home tab, (2) click on the link under "My Self-Service," (3) click on "Student Self-Service," (4) click on "Academic Services," and (5) click on "Final Grades."

We agree there are too many steps in this process, and it will be simpler in the future. (Emphasis added)

If no grade is listed for one of your courses, it is because your instructor has not turned in a grade, yet.

Registrar's Office

I'm guessing they've gotten some complaints.

I think this cartoon perfectly summarizes the situation with the GoWMU site.

Right to Life endorses

Right to Life of Michigan has made its endorsements for the August 8 primary elections. (They don't seem to be online.)

RTL endorsed Dick DeVos for Governor and declared that both Butler and Bouchard meet their criteria. They endorsed seven of nine Republican congressmen (all but Upton and Schwarz). They endorsed two of six Democratic congressmen (Stupak and Kildee). They endorsed Tim Walberg over Joe Schwarz in the 7th district. Schwarz claims to be pro-life, but his record says otherwise.

For the State Senate, all but one Republican who has any chance of winning got the RTL endorsement. (The exception was Senator Laura Toy.) Pro-lifers are so dominant in the Republican party that the Democratic primaries are more interesting. There are several pro-life Democrats running for state senate endorsed by RTL. Incumbents endorsed are Ray Basham (8), Dennis Olshove (9), and Jim Barcia (31). Primary competitors endorsed include Triette Reeves (5) and John Gleason (27).

For the State House, there are many races in which RTL simply says that all the Republican candidates meet their criteria. There are also a number of races in which one candidate was endorsed. I believe that RTL's rules require them to endorse when there is a pro-abortion candidate in the race.

I don't know enough about most of the races to know whether there is any danger of losing any of these seats to a pro-abortion candidate. At present, I believe there is only one pro-abortion Republican in the state House. John Stewart (20) is term-limited. His pro-abortion wife is running to replace him. RTL has endorsed Mark Abbo for the seat.

There are also a number of endorsements in Democratic primaries. Interestingly, several of them are in Detroit seats. It will be interesting to see what happens in these heavily Democratic seats with many candidates running.

Locally, RTL (of course) endorsed Jack Hoogendyk over his challenger. RTL also declared that Pam Lightvoet and John Conlon meet their criteria for the 9th Circuit Court. They endorsed five of the ten current Republican county commissioners. They endorsed Republican challengers Tom Barrett and Rob Bricker. They also endorsed Democrat Michael Quinn over Republican Thomas Drabik in district 10.

Inside the state party

Robert Bluey at Human Events has an interesting post about the Michigan State Republican Party. He points to a fascinating article in the Weekly Standard. Anyone who wants to understand the inner workings of the state party needs to read this article. It reviews a lot of interesting history.

Apparently, there is maneuvering going on behind the scenes as to who the 2008 Presidential nominee will be. One faction supports John McCain and the other supports Mitt Romney. Romney is viewed as the more conservative candidate. Hence, his supporters want have a closed primary. This would prevent Democrats and independents from helping to pick the Republican nominee. In 2000, Democrats helped McCain to win the Presidential primary over Bush.

I support a closed primary because it will help conservative candidates. I don't think much of either McCain or Romney, however. Tom Tancredo is the only candidate who is solid on all the issues.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Flag-burning farce

The constitutional amendment to ban flag-burning has once again failed in the Senate, this time by only one vote. The vote was 66-34 (it needed 2/3 to pass).

This raises the question: are the amendment's supporters stupid or insincere? Weighing in on the side of insincere is Robert Bluey of Human Events. He argues that the amendment would have passed if the GOP really wanted it to. They could have whipped the members and found one more vote for it. What he doesn't mention is that one of the three Republicans who voted against the proposed amendment is Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Whip. Another was Bob Bennett, his deputy.

I support banning flag-burning, but I oppose this amendment. First of all, this isn't exactly the most important issue in the world. It isn't worth amending the Constitution. But beyond that, a constitutional amendment is absolutely the wrong strategy.

The whole reason that this amendment was proposed at all is that about fifteen years ago, the Supreme Court ruled (5-4) that flag-burning is "speech" which is protected by the First Amendment. The flag-burning amendment is case-in-point that trying to amend the Constitution in response to every bad Supreme Court decision is a terrible strategy. Yet no matter how many times it doesn't work, conservatives never seem to learn.

The right answer is to strip jurisdiction from the courts over this issue. This is the proper response to abuse of judicial power, and it has the added benefit of being easier to pass. (It needs only 50 votes, or 60 with a filibuster.) If conservatives had tried this, flag-burning would have been banned years ago.

Another problem with the amendment is that it would give Congress the power to ban flag-burning, but the issue should be decided at the local, not federal level.

The problem is the courts, not the Constitution.

Going to the Governor

The "stand your ground" bill has passed both houses of the Michigan legislature and is headed to Governor Granholm. From MCRGO:

Home safety falls into governor's hands

A bill sponsored by state Rep. Rick Jones to protect law-abiding Michigan residents was sent to the governor today. The legislation gives Michigan residents the right to use force to defend themselves and their families, when facing imminent death, great bodily harm or rape at the hands of a violent criminal.

Jones said his bill clarifies the law on self-defense and makes it clear that law abiding citizens cannot be prosecuted or sued civilly for defending themselves.

"One of America's most basic values is the right to protect oneself and their families," said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. "This will give every resident in Michigan the confidence to know that they can act to defend themselves and their family without threat of repercussion. The House and the senate have done the right thing by passing the bills; now it is in the governor's hands."

The legislation eliminates the duty of law-abiding citizens to retreat and establishes a presumption that a criminal who breaks and enters or car jacks intends to cause death, great bodily harm or rape. In addition, the bills make anyone who lawfully defends themselves immune from civil liability, and make it clear that they cannot be prosecuted.

"In 33 years of law enforcement, I saw many victims of crime," Jones said. "This important package of bills protects crime victims and allows citizens to defend themselves, their spouse and their children from imminent death or rape."

The inspiration for the bill came from the historical account of Dr. Ossian Sweet's 1925 trial defending his home against the Ku Klux Klan in Michigan. The case began in 1925 when Ossian Sweet, a Detroit doctor and grandson of slaves, moved his family to a neighborhood where they would be the only black family. This enraged the Ku Klux Klan, who and surrounded his home yelling insults and racial slurs. Some of the crowd rushed and shots were fired from the house. One man was killed and another was injured. Dr. Sweet was charged with murder and eventually acquitted.
I expect that Granholm will sign it based on the number of Democrats who voted for it in the legislature. We shall see.

Taking over America

The conquest of America continues. Now we learn that Mexican drug cartels are taking over American cities. WorldNetDaily provides details:

"In the typical scenario, a wealthy Mexican immigrant opens a business in a small town," he says. "It could be a very nice Mexican restaurant. He's well-dressed, speaks English, seemingly a real gentleman. He gets involved in the community. His business welcomes police officers with discounts. He makes friends with city officials and other businessmen. No one has any idea where his money comes from – the Mexican drug cartels."

Valdemar says the agent of the cartels often sets up other businesses – including the sale of cheap used tires and used autos. These businesses are used almost exclusively as fronts for laundering money.

Then he begins targeting political power in the town. When election time rolls around, Valdemar says, he sponsors – directly or indirectly – a number of candidates for the city council with the express purpose of winning a majority of seats for his handpicked operatives. Some of the candidates are simply in place to level baseless accusations against incumbents, while others keep above the fray, positioning themselves for victory.

As soon as they take power, the new majority fires the city attorney and names a replacement. Often the second city official to go is the city manager. Both of these moves are designed to cover up the illicit activities that will follow.

This information is revealed by Rep. Tom Tancredo in his new book In Mortal Danger: The Battle for America's Border and Security.

Thank God for Tom Tancredo.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Godless: A Review

Godless: The Church of Liberalism is the fifth book by Ann Coulter. It quickly topped the New York Times bestseller list, and generated a round of news stories about some "controversial" remarks contained therein. The news focused on Coulter's comments on victims as spokesmen. However, the book covers many aspects of liberalism. Beyond the particular topics, Godless advances the thesis that liberalism is really a religion--a Godless one.

The book covers the following topics, enumerated by chapter.
1. Multiple topics, including environmentalism and liberalism as a religion
2. Liberalism on crime
3. The Willie Horton case
4. Abortion
5. Victims as spokesmen
6. Public school teachers
7. Liberalism versus science
8. The "theory" of evolution
9. The "evidence" for evolution
10. The treatment of critics of evolution
11. The political consequences of evolution

Coulter's work is excellent, as usual. Her writing style is the mix of quick wit and bomb-throwing that has made her famous. This makes subjects that might otherwise be turgid easy to read about. As in her other books, she has a tendency to move quickly from fact to fact, and the larger point can get lost in the shuffle. Something is lost in analytical precision, but her style helps the reader to understand liberalism in a way that other authors' styles do not.

Several parts of Godless are particularly excellent. The chapter on the Willie Horton case is fascinating. It's still hard to believe that the Democrats nominated someone for President who thought that it was a good idea to let murderers serving life-without-parole out of prison on weekend furloughs. The chapter on crime should totally shatter the myth that liberals are tough on crime. It provides case-and-point evidence for what conservatives mean by judicial activism.

The true story of the Scopes Monkey Trial is spellbinding. Suffice to say, the truth is completely different from what you've heard. The entire four chapters on evolution are good. It's amazing to hear the "theory" of evolution and realize just how flimsy it actually is. Orthodoxy is only maintained by persecuting scientists who disagree, as Coulter documents. The political implications of Darwinism are particularly chilling. Coulter documents how Darwinism gave rise to Hitler and the eugenics movement.

I do have a few objections to various points in the book. One is her treatment of the Anti-Federalists. True, they opposed ratification of the Constitution, but for completely different reasons than today's liberals. Liberals today hate the Constitution because it restrains government power. The Anti-Federalists objected to the Constitution because it did not restrain government power enough. Their main points were that the Constitution should contain a Bill of Rights (which was later adopted), that it would lead to the federal government overrunning the state governments, and that the judiciary would become too powerful. Today, these points seem difficult to dispute.

Coulter also seems to endorse the "old Earth" chronology of intelligent design, rather than the "young Earth" chronology of creationism. This leads to some conceptual problems for her (and the entire ID movement) which she does not explore.

The overarching theme of the book is that liberalism is really a religion, as opposed to a rational belief system. Looking at liberalism as a religion is a useful analogy, to a point. Evolution is certainly a religious belief, not a scientific truth. Abortion really does seem like a sacrament for liberals. At other times the analogy seems forced, as when the spokes-victims are said to be emblematic of the doctrine of infallibility.

I wish that Coulter had explored the analogy in greater depth. Assuming that liberalism is a religion, what is its catechism? Coulter does a good job cataloguing many of the strange actions, statements, and beliefs of liberals. But this raises a deeper question. Where is all this nonsense coming from?

The most important sentence of the book is this one, from the first chapter.

"Everything that liberals believe is in elegant opposition to basic Biblical precepts."

Indeed it is, and this is the key to solving the puzzle. Once you realize the implications of this statement, everything falls into place. What previously seemed incomprehensible suddenly makes perfect sense.

Unfortunately, Coulter does not pursue this thought further. Still, she has come closer than any other author to discerning the true nature of liberalism. That, by itself, makes her book well worth purchasing and reading.

POLITICAL UPDATE--Economics and Government

This update focuses on economics and government. Economics can help us to anticipate the consequences of our actions. Government consistently creates perverse incentives that make problems worse.

Michael Rozeff explains how government and labor unions work together to rob you.
Tim Carney shows that, instead of promoting free markets, many businesses fund liberalism.
Walter Williams explains how government makes natural disasters worse.
Williams explains that bogus notions about rights have fueled the government's growth.
Mac Johnson argues that government uses "free trade" to take away American sovereignty.
Phyllis Schlafly explains how welfare creates perverse incentives that destroy families.
Williams shows that the federal deficit leads to inflation.
Williams writes that minimum wage laws discriminate against blacks.
Warren Mass explains that the Federal Reserve causes inflation, which increases gas prices.

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Constitutional Convention?

Upset with the failure of the Federal Marriage Amendment, some conservative leaders are apparently considering attempting to call a constitutional convention. Robert Novak reports:

Supporters of a constitutional amendment to keep the courts from legalizing homosexual marriage, stunned by poor support in the recent Senate vote, are beginning a campaign for a constitutional convention.

The provision of the Constitution's Article V requiring such a convention if called by two-thirds of the state legislatures has never been used. Fear of throwing the Constitution open to general amendment has overridden support for specific issues. However, key advocates of barring gay marriages believe the constitutional convention strategy will keep the issue alive.

A recent memo circulated within the anti-gay marriage coalition lists Princeton Professor Robby George, Tony Perkins and Chuck Donovan of the Family Research Council, and conservative financial consultant Frank Cannon as favoring the strategy.

This is a terrible idea.

I must confess that I'm not completely sold on the advisability of the Federal Marriage Amendment. As usual, Ann Coulter said it best. This gem appears in her best column ever, "Supreme Court Opinions Not Private Enough." (Read it all now.)

In response to the court's sodomy ruling last term, conservatives are talking about passing a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. It's really touching how conservatives keep trying to figure out what constitutional mechanisms are available to force the courts to acknowledge the existence of the Constitution. But what is the point of a constitutional amendment when judges won't read the Constitution we already have? What will the amendment say? "OK, no fooling around--we really mean it this time!

That doesn't mean that the FMA would necessarily be a bad idea. But it misses the point. Amending the Constitution implies that there is something wrong with it. But there isn't. The problem is judges who intentionally violate it. Logically, we should focus on the judges. No constitutional mechanism will suffice while judges control the Constitution.

Conservatives seem to instinctively choose the hardest way of doing something. Amending the Constitution on any contentious issue is virtually impossible. Even when a proposed amendment has the support of both parties, it can still be defeated, as was the Equal Rights Amendment.

Even if the FMA is a good idea, though, a constitutional convention is still a horrible one. The constitutional convention (con con) is an idea that keeps popping up on the right. In the 80s, it was the balanced budget amendment. In the 90s, it was term limits.

A con con has never happened since the original one. A con con would open up the whole constitution to amendment. The standard for ratifying an amendment could even be changed. Our nation has lost much of the understanding it once had of its founding principles. The result would almost inevitably worse.

Phyllis Schlafly addressed the con con issue 22 years ago with regard to the balanced budget amendment. You can find more con con articles here and here.

There is a better way. The right answer is to stop the abuse of judicial power by taking away that power. Specifically, Congress can use its Article III, Section 2 power to strip the courts of jurisdiction over specific issues, including marriage. This addresses the problem directly and requires a lower threshold for approval (50, or 60 with a filibuster). It also focuses on the issue directly on judicial abuse and removes excuses of the opponents of marriage. (More information is available here.)

Conservatives must zealously defend the Constitution while protecting marriage.

Fewer abortions

The abortion rate has declined in Michigan to the lowest level since records were first kept. The Free Press provides the details.

"At 25,209, the total of abortions performed in Michigan last year was the lowest since detailed record-keeping began in the 1970s.

The abortion rate -- abortions per 1,000 women -- also dropped last year, from 12.8 in 2004 to 11.9 for women ages 15-44, equaling the previous low rate in 1999.

The figures were reported by the state Department of Community Health this month, and track with a national drop.

Although there is no consensus about what is driving the decline, abortion opponents say such restrictions as parental notification and informed consent are part of the reason."

We are making progress, however slowly.

SPP update

More articles on the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) and North American Union (NAU):

Tom Tancredo is asking questions about the SPP.
This article asks what who authorized the SPP.
This article concerns the Trans-Texas Corridor.
The SPP would trump the supreme court.
The Trans-Texas corridor will be started soon.
Documents about the SPP are being sought.
NASCO--North America's SuperCorridor Coalition-- is involved.
Mexican trucks could enter the US freely.
Kansas City would become an inland port.
The SPP will erase America's borders.
A system of super-highways will connect the NAU.
NASCO wants to keep its plans below the radar.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Campus gun club

Gun Owners of America and the Leadership Institute are working together to create gun clubs on campus. GOA provides the details:

"Do you know someone who is pro-gun, who likes working with college age kids, and who is in need of a full-time job in the fall?

Well if so, former Rep. Steve Stockman (R) has a deal for him.

Stockman is the Director of the Campus Leadership Program (CLP) in northern Virginia. The CLP is a project of the Leadership Institute, which trains conservative activists and places them in key level positions around the country -- both in government and the media.

The CLP project focuses specifically on college campuses, helping conservative students start independent groups that are fighting to reclaim the campus from decades of leftist abuses. The CLP has started 722 conservative clubs in schools in all 50 states.

But they have very few gun clubs, which is something they would like to change.

That's why this is a unique opportunity for someone who likes working with college-aged kids. They can help the pro-gun cause in the fall by starting a GOA gun club on campus or by working as a field representative. Every field rep who starts a gun group will be paid between $400-500. Kids can make as much as $1,000 a week.

But realize, it's not just about the money. It's about preserving our Second Amendment rights.

It doesn't matter how many battles we win today. If we lose the hearts and minds of the next generation, we will never win the ultimate battle to regain our lost rights."

If there were a gun club at Western Michigan University, would you join it?

Secret slush fund

Apparently the Democrats are maneuvering to avoid campaign finance laws.

This information on their "secret slush fund" comes from the Detroit Free Press:

"Meanwhile, the Democratic Governors Association has poured $750,000 into Partners for Progress, a fund run by the Kalamazoo County Democratic Party that is expected to help Granholm's campaign.

The fund is not required by law to reveal its donors or how it spends money. Republicans complain that Partners for Progress amounts to a large, secret slush fund for Granholm."


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

At the races

More Michigan politics:

1. From Congressional Quarterly:

"Republican Dick DeVos is a vastly wealthy businessman who is challenging Michigan Democratic Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm in her bid for a second term. And he is spending money at a rate unprecedented in Michigan politics — shaking up the contest in the marginally Democratic-leaning state and turning it into an apparent tossup at this point in time.

With both polls and state political analysts indicating that DeVos’ expensive early media blitz is taking its toll on Granholm, has changed its Election Forecaster rating on the race from Leans Democratic to No Clear Favorite.

While recent independent surveys conflict on who is leading the race, they nonetheless appear to confirm that DeVos has emerged as a threatening competitor.

A poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports on June 7 showed Granholm with a 44 percent to 42 percent lead over DeVos. But the poll that really turned heads, conducted by Lansing-based EPIC/ MRA in mid-June, showed DeVos with a 48 percent to 40 percent lead over Granholm."

I was wondering if CQ was going to change their rating for this race.

2. This article from the Free Press has some interesting information about DeVos' donations to conservative organizations.

3. From the Free Press: "Republican" Pat Godchaux is asking for Democrat votes to try to win the Republican nomination for the 9th congressional district.

"Republican candidate Patricia (Pan) Godchaux has a message for Oakland County Democrats that sounds convincingly Democratic: If they want to oust the anti-abortion, pro-war, anti-environment, pro-gun, anti-teachers union U.S. Rep. Joe Knollenberg, then vote for her in the Aug. 8 primary.

Godchaux has sent a flyer to registered Democrats in the district asking them what their vote against the Bloomfield Township Republican has gotten them in recent years."

This is what the term RINO means. Senator Lincoln Chafee is quietly doing the same thing.

I wonder how many other "Republicans" are counting on Democrats to help them win their primaries?

4. Kalamazoo County Drain Commissioner Bill French can't be happy with this article from the Kalamazoo Gazette.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Immigration: The Battle Continues

We may have reached a turning point in the battle for our nation's survival. The disguised proposals for amnesty and worse are being exposed for what they are.

The Senate passed a disastrous bill. Senator Jeff Sessions explains what makes the bill so bad. Senator Jim DeMint counts down the top ten reasons to oppose the Senate bill. Ann Coulter explains that the bill gives amnesty, discriminates against Americans, and squanders our tax dollars. Phyllis Schlafly explains that a guest worker program would cost America dearly.

Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Pence has proposed a "compromise" immigration plan. This plan still amounts to amnesty. Mark Krikorian explains in detail the many flaws of the plan. Pat Buchanan explains how this plan threatens the GOP and America.

There's more that you should know.
Phyllis Schlafly explains the motives for amnesty.
Schlafly provides more common sense about immigration.
Finally, Mac Johnson says how conservatives should treat supporters of amnesty.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

On campus

Here's some news of what's happening around Western. Several of these stories are from the Western Herald, which does not appear to be online over the summer.

1. Western modified its nondiscrimination policy to include "transgendered" people. WMU now protects "people who wear clothes not normally associated with their gender," i. e. crossdressers. This was approved by the Board of Trustees. WMU is the only school in Michigan to have such a policy. No word on whether Western will be changing its nondiscrimination policy to protect conservatives.

2. Following the resignation of Linda Delene, Western is searching for a new Provost. In the mean time, they have hired the Dean of the College of Health and Human Services to fill the position for one year. The article that I read about her didn't contain any red flags, other than the fact that she was hired by Judy Bailey.

3. The reason that Delene resigned was the outrage over the graduate program cuts. Initially, Delene had announced that all decisions were final. Under pressure, Western is now allowing an appeals process. The changes that were announced seems particularly arbitrary, with no underlying rationale. Many programs were cut without warning, while a few would be created without any consultation with the relevant departments. My plans to get a masters degree in "ethnohistory" may have to wait.

4. Construction continues to proceed on West Michigan between Howard and Drake. The road has been down to two lanes since the end of "spring" semester as the north side of the road has been torn up. Most of the curbs and sidewalks are in on that side and paving has begun. Presumably, traffic will soon be shifted to that side while the other side is dug up.

5. Western is discussing more changes to campus. Several contractors have presented ideas. One proposal would tear up the Miller Plaza and get rid of the fountain.

Gun rights advance again

From the National Rifle Association:

"Pro-Gun Advancements Made in Michigan!

Friday, June 16, 2006

HB 5192 by Representative Scott Hummel (R-93) which drops the hunting age from 14 and 12 to 12 and 10 for big game and small game respectively has passed the Senate and is now in the House awaiting concurrence. The companion bill, SB 1105 by Senator Michelle McManus (R-35), passed the House Natural Resources Committee yesterday and now moves to the House.

The House “Castle Doctrine” package comprised of four bills, HB 5142 by Representative Tom Casperson (R-108), HB 5143 by Representative Rick Jones (R-71), HB 5153 by Representative Leslie Mortimer (R-65), and HB 5548 by Representative Tim Moore (R-97) is awaiting concurrence by the House.

The two Senate “Castle Doctrine” bills, SB 1046 by Senator Alan Cropsey (R-33) and SB 1185, by Senator Ron Jelinek (R-21) are on second reading in the House. All the bills listed above are expected to be up for a vote in the House this coming week.

Please call your State Representative and ask him or her to support HB 5192, SB 1105 and the House and Senate “Castle Doctrine” package. The general phone number for the House of Representatives is (517) 373-0135."

At least on this issue, we are slowly winning back our freedoms.

State of the MCRI

Michael O'Brien, a writer for the Michigan Review, writes in National Review about the state of the MCRI. The article is well worth reading.

"To what extent these political dynamics will affect the fortunes of Michigan’s Republican candidates as well as the MCRI remains unclear. Bill Ballenger, the director of Inside Michigan Politics and arguably the most influential pundit in his state, analyzes the MCRI as a “marginal favorite” to win. Although an early March EPIC/MRA poll showed the MCRI to be in a closer-than-expected race, with only 44 percent in favor and 47 percent opposed, Ballenger calls that an “aberration,” and indicates that his company’s own internal polling yields a higher proportion of support. But he also acknowledges that a lack of institutional support and a well-financed opposition may yet defeat the MCRI. (The latest Detroit News poll has it at 43-42.)"

Kudos to Mike Cox for endorsing the MCRI.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


The Coulterpalooza continues!

Godless has reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.

Ann's latest column addresses the controversy. She makes a great point about the double standard concerning civility.

David Klinghoffer reviews Godless for National Review.

Right Wing News interviews Coulter.

You can view the video of her appearance on the Tonight Show here.

Godless: Spiritual Politics

Released on 6/6/06, Ann Coulter's fifth book explores liberals' obsession with fighting against Judeo-Christian morality. She explores and ties together several concepts, events, and strains of thought that she and others previously delved into, however, her biggest contribution to the forum is her insight into how liberals have enforced a belief system with some similarities to secular humanism as a state religion. Although she never mentions it by name, she speaks at length on Darwinism (one of the core dogmas of the religion) and eludes to some of the other core values. However, she also eludes to certain environmentalist ideas that are not of the humanist belief system. (Whereas secular humanism holds that the good of man is the greatest good, Ann assigns the end of our species as a good in liberalism.)

The key discussions in the text are on crime and education (specifically evolution), with the media always affecting every discourse. She gives examples of how the right ideas on crime seem to come from conservatives (in particular, Rudy Giuliani), while wrong ideas seem to come from the left (in particular, Michael Dukakis). On the education front, the ACLU appears regularly in her often polemic remarks. As usual, Ann enjoys offering revisions of the media's slant - revisions that are extremely valuable to readers who were around when the events she discusses took place.

Coulter's main weakness is not in her attack on liberalism, but in her defense of her own Christianity. On several occasions, she makes remarks that do not make the most of the opportunity that they are afforded by her notable wit. The effort she expends on calling the darkness dark dims the light that she shines on it. (Biblically speaking, part of the purpose of exposing the darkness is to shine our light.) Additionally, she affords herself a chance in her opening to make remarks on behalf of those who stand with her (morally speaking) which she does not use to her best advantage.

Overall, "Godless" is well-worth the time and money spent on it. The quality of Ann's research is excellent. The book's worst enemy may well be Ann's writing style (Hemingway she's not), but most of her fans are unlikely to read the book for their own edification. Whether as a last third of what was begun in Slander and Treason or as a standalone piece of reading, Ann Coulter delivers the goods on liberals in "Godless: The Church of Liberalism."

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Happy Flag Day!

Take from

The History of Flag Day

The Fourth of July was traditionally celebrated as America's birthday, but the idea of an annual day specifically celebrating the Flag is believed to have first originated in 1885. BJ Cigrand, a schoolteacher, arranged for the pupils in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School, District 6, to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as 'Flag Birthday'. In numerous magazines and newspaper articles and public addresses over the following years, Cigrand continued to enthusiastically advocate the observance of June 14 as 'Flag Birthday', or 'Flag Day'.

On June 14, 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York City, planned appropriate ceremonies for the children of his school, and his idea of observing Flag Day was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York. On June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held a Flag Day celebration, and on June 14 of the following year, the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution, celebrated Flag Day.

Following the suggestion of Colonel J Granville Leach (at the time historian of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution), the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America on April 25, 1893 adopted a resolution requesting the mayor of Philadelphia and all others in authority and all private citizens to display the Flag on June 14th. Leach went on to recommend that thereafter the day be known as 'Flag Day', and on that day, school children be assembled for appropriate exercises, with each child being given a small Flag.

Two weeks later on May 8th, the Board of Managers of the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution unanimously endorsed the action of the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames. As a result of the resolution, Dr. Edward Brooks, then Superintendent of Public Schools of Philadelphia, directed that Flag Day exercises be held on June 14, 1893 in Independence Square. School children were assembled, each carrying a small Flag, and patriotic songs were sung and addresses delivered.

In 1894, the governor of New York directed that on June 14 the Flag be displayed on all public buildings. With BJ Cigrand and Leroy Van Horn as the moving spirits, the Illinois organization, known as the American Flag Day Association, was organized for the purpose of promoting the holding of Flag Day exercises. On June 14th, 1894, under the auspices of this association, the first general public school children's celebration of Flag Day in Chicago was held in Douglas, Garfield, Humboldt, Lincoln, and Washington Parks, with more than 300,000 children participating.

Adults, too, participated in patriotic programs. Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior, delivered a 1914 Flag Day address in which he repeated words he said the flag had spoken to him that morning: "I am what you make me; nothing more. I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself."

Inspired by these three decades of state and local celebrations, Flag Day - the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 - was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson's proclamation, it was not until August 3rd, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.

More Michigan politics

1. The MCRI faces a tough fight between now and November. A new poll shows the state divided over the measure.

Meanwhile, the K-16 initiative has a lead, at least for now. Hopefully its opponents will come down on it like a ton of bricks and kill it.

2. Dawson Bell provides a summary of the fight over cable TV in Michigan. Jack Hoogendyk has sponsored a bill to promote cable choice.

3. Jerry Zandstra has dropped out of the Senate race. Republicans will choose between Michael Bouchard and Keith Butler in August.

4. The State Senate passed a bill that would protect that confidentiality of concealed weapon permit holders. The vote was 32-5.

5. Former New Jersey governor Christy Whitman spoke in Michigan recently. This article provides the details of her speech.

I haven't read her book or heard her speech, so I can't comment on it. Instead, you can read a review of her book by this politically-involved Republican woman.

Granholm is going down

The latest polling in the gubernatorial race shows that DeVos leads by 8 percentage points. The poll shows 48% for DeVos and 40% for Granholm.

Interestingly, there is no difference in the results between union and non-union households.

DeVos has spent a lot on ads, but he hasn't even gone negative yet. All he has done is publicize the obvious fact that Michigan's economy isn't doing very well. There's a lot more that he can unleash on Granholm.

Come November, Granholm is going down.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

POLITICAL UPDATE--Security and Prosperity Partnership

This update focuses on the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP).

All of the articles in this update are written by Jerome Corsi, Ph. D. Corsi is best known as the co-author of Unfit for Command, the book by promoted by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. The articles appeared in Human Events and WorldNetDaily.

Corsi explains the connection between the SPP and a North American Union, and shows how this relates to the issue of immigration.
He explains the involvement of Robert Pastor, including a proposal to replace the dollar with the "Amero."
The SPP is already being implemented, without the consent of Congress or the public.
It is coming about through bureaucratic regulations.
A number of business deals are connected to the SPP.
The Trans-Texas Corridor plays a major role in the SPP.

Tom Tancredo is asking questions about the SPP.
This article asks what who authorized the SPP.
This article concerns the Trans-Texas Corridor.

Other articles on the SPP have been written by Phyllis Schlafly, William Jasper, and Steven Yates.

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

An odd story

From the Gazette:

"Kalamazoo County Drain Commissioner William B. French was arraigned in Kalamazoo County District Court Thursday on a charge of larceny of less than $200.

French, 56, of Fort Custer Drive in Augusta, is accused of taking a railroad mile marker in Charleston Township from Norfolk Southern Railroad, Kalamazoo County Sheriff Mike Anderson said.

The theft allegedly occurred in September 2004, Anderson said. French was elected drain commissioner in November 2004."

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Communist Manifesto

From the "things you're not supposed to know" file:

Did you know that Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto contains a platform of ten planks laying out the communist agenda? Take a look at this list. Pay particular attention to numbers two, three, five, and ten.

1. Abolition of private property and the application of all rents of land to public purposes.

2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.

4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.

6. Centralization of the means of communications and transportation in the hands of the State.

7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state, the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.

8. Equal liability of all to labor. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries, gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of population over the country.

10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production.

Thanks to Club for Growth.

College Republican National Committee

I found this and thought I'd pass it along.

Save the GOP has two analyses of the state of the College Republican National Committee (CRNC). The first is by Joe Biles. The second is by Alexander Brunk.

I don't know enough about the subject to say whether they are right. But anyone who heard what happened at the last CRNC election knows that the organization has serious problems.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Hawaii saved for now

The Senate voted today on a bill to create a race-based government for Hawaii. The bill failed to gain enough votes for cloture. However, the majority of Senators voted for this monstrosity. The vote was 56-41. Thirteen Republicans voted for the bill.

We can expect this bill to return in the future. It's still amazing to me that anyone would dare to support this. Most Hawaiians, and even many native Hawaiians don't support it.

Unfortunately, the disuniting of America continues.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Motorcycle Helmets

The State House of Representatives voted today to repeal the requirement to wear a helmet while riding on a motorcycle. The vote was 66-37. It was previously approved by the Senate. It now goes to Governor Granholm, who is expected to veto it.

This issue ought to be a simple one for conservatives. If somebody wants to ride a motorcycle without a helmet, he should be able to. But then there's this from the article:

"The Michigan Association of Insurance Agents renewed its opposition Tuesday.

"This so-called freedom of choice issue ends when someone's perceived right not to wear a helmet negatively impacts insurance and medical costs for everyone," the group said."

All too often we hear the argument "well, if you do [unsafe thing] and get hurt, we'll have to pay for your health care." But we don't have to pay for anyone's health care. We choose to. And when I say "we choose to," I mean that the government chooses to spend our money whether we want them to or not.

Similarly, I don't see why insurance companies couldn't charge higher rates to people who don't wear helmets, if they want.

The health care argument is flawed in other ways, as well. It's certainly possible that someone who didn't wear a helmet could have higher health care costs. However, it's also possible that someone who would have required health care after wearing a helmet would die without one and not cost anything. Thus it isn't clear that costs would really increase.

Another argument that I have heard is that while a helmet may protect you more in the event of an accident, it may also make you more likely to have an accident. This is because it restricts your vision and can get hot inside. I don't know whether this is true, but it seems plausible enough.

Motorcycle riders should be able to weigh these risks for themselves. The lesson here is that if government starts out trying to fix your mistakes, it ends up telling you what to do.

Michigan Politics News

We live in interesting times.

1. The State Senate has voted for the "Stand Your Ground" law. For reasons that are unclear to me, this consists of a package of six bills. They approved two of them today and should vote on the rest tomorrow. (UPDATE: All the bills have been approved.) They were approved by 28-10 and 30-8 votes.

2. The so-called K-16 Initiative will be on the ballot in November, as it was certified by the state Board of Canvassers. I'll have more to say about this later, but for now this excerpt will suffice:

"Legislative leaders and Gov. Jennifer Granholm and her likely GOP opponent, Dick DeVos, oppose the initiative. A coalition of groups representing local government, hospitals, police and business is planning an ad campaign against it.

Rich Studley, of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber and other groups will vigorously oppose the initiative. He said the proposal calls for more spending without any guarantee of improved quality or identified funding source.

``We feel very strongly that the Legislature has no obligation whatsoever to take up a one-sided and self-serving proposal,'' he said."

3. The Kalamazoo City Commission has voted to oppose the Iraq war and the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative. Liberals Don Cooney, Bobby Hopewell, Sean McCann, and David Anderson voted for both resolutions. Commissioners Mary Balkema, Hannah McKinney, and Barb Miller abstained. In a strange twist, it turns out that the Kalamazoo City Commission has no control over foreign policy.

This caught my attention: "An identical vote of four "yes'' votes and three abstentions passed a second resolution supporting "continuation of voluntary public-sector affirmative-action programs in education, contracting and employment.''"

What exactly is a voluntary affirmative action program? Do people freely agree to be discriminated against?

UPDATE: The County Commission has also discussed the issue.

4. Jack Hoogendyk writes on behalf of English as the official language of Michigan in the Detroit Free Press.

"Declaring English as the state language is the right thing to do for all in Michigan, because of cost, unity and economic opportunity for everyone."

5. Human Events reports on how Debbie Stabenow is connected to Jack Abramoff.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Godless by Ann Coulter released today

Today is the release date for Ann Coulter's new book Godless: The Church of Liberalism. I can't wait to get my copy.

In the mean time, you can read this review by Lisa de Pasquale.

You can read this interview with Ann Coulter.

You can even read the first chapter of Godless.

Happy reading!


Coulter reviews her own book here.

Ben Shapiro posts a detailed review here.

State Senate at stake

The Democrats are going to be making an effort to take control of the Michigan State Senate in 2006. An article on Mlive provides the details:

"(AP) -- For Democrats to take control of the Michigan Legislature in November, they will need to pick up seats. Here are some key Senate races:

_13th District: Oakland County is trending more Democratic, but this open district -- now represented by term-limited Republican Shirley Johnson -- still leans Republican. Andy Levin, son of U.S. Rep. Sander Levin and nephew of U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, has name recognition, but GOP state Rep. Shelley Taub and former Rep. John Pappageorge have legislative experience.

_17th District: This battleground area covering Monroe County and parts of Washtenaw and Jackson counties is open by departure of term-limited Republican Bev Hammerstrom. Township clerk Bob Schockman, a Democrat, likely will face former GOP state Rep. Randy Richardville.

_32rd District: Term-limited Republican Mike Goschka can't run again in area of Saginaw and Gratiot counties that's seen as a toss-up. Republican state Rep. Roger Kahn will face winner of three-way Democratic primary.

_6th District: GOP incumbent Laura Toy will be challenged by term-limited Democratic state Rep. Glenn Anderson in this Wayne County district that has a slightly bigger Democratic base.

_34th District: GOP incumbent Gerald Van Woerkom will face former Democratic state Rep. Julie Dennis or Dave Tibergien."

Thanks to Republican Michigander for this article. Check out his site for profiles af all 38 State Senate districts. (Scroll down and look on the column on the right.) He provides his analysis of the races.

Right now, I think that only the 32nd district is a true toss-up. The others all lean Republican. The Democrats might win some of them if the Republican candidates mess up or the Democrats have a good year.

RM also thinks that districts 20 (Kalamazoo County) and 29 (Grand Rapids) are vulnerable. I don't think that either are that vulnerable and I suspect that the Democrats will focus their resources on the five districts above.

Monday, June 05, 2006

POLITICAL UPDATE--Liberals and the War on Terrorism

This update focuses on liberals and the war against Islamic terrorism. Liberals claim to support fighting terrorists, but their actions say otherwise.

Mark Steyn writes that liberals are using the Haditha incident to attack America.
John Leo writes that liberal opposition to fighting terrorists follows from a long history of anti-Americanism.
Pat Buchanan writes that a Pulitzer prize was awarded for treasonous leaks from A CIA agent.
Aryeh Spero writes that the ideology of transnationalism leads to liberal treason.
Aryeh Spero explains how liberals undermine the war.

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


The Western Michigan University College Republicans wish to announce our support for the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI). This is an initiative that will appear on the ballot in November to be decided by Michigan voters. It would prohibit the government and state universities from discriminating on the basis of race or sex.

The simplest reason to support the MCRI is that racial discrimination is morally wrong. We believe that in a time when almost everyone professes support for civil rights, it is outrageous that programs that judge people differently based on the color of their skin continue to exist. Many excuses exist to justify such “benign discrimination,” but they cannot excuse it because no racial discrimination is benign. Every human being has inherent dignity and worth; we all deserve to be judged on our merits, not on irrelevant physical characteristics.

Beyond this, there is a highly relevant question in this debate that is usually left unasked. That is, does “affirmative action” actually work? Such programs are usually conceived as benefiting blacks at the expense of whites, with people lining up on one side of the issue or the other. The truth is different. All the available evidence indicates that affirmative action not only doesn’t work, but in fact it hurts blacks most of all.

Consider the issue from an economic perspective. The most efficient allocation of resources will occur when jobs or university admissions are allocated based on merit. Promoting people beyond their level of qualifications is setting them up to fail. Of course, there are exceptions. But the numbers don’t lie. Statistics show that the people who receive preferential treatment are much more likely to drop out of college. This clearly doesn’t do them any favors.

Racial discrimination doesn’t benefit anyone except a few demagogues. The opponents of the MCRI can be expected to employ all sorts of doomsday scenarios to scare people away from voting for it. But the truth is that we have nothing to fear from ending racial discrimination. It is high time that the party that ended slavery lead the way to abolish state-sponsored racial discrimination forever. We urge you to vote for the MCRI in November.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Granholm versus economics

Governor Jennifer Granholm has a plan for Michigan. At least, that's what she calls it.

According to the Detroit News, Granholm announced the details of her "plan" at the "Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce's annual policy conference on Mackinac Island." From the article:

"She went over highlights of her economic revival plan for the state, including a $2 billion investment in diversifying the economy, speeding up road construction to create short-term jobs, doubling the number of college graduates over 10 years and cutting taxes for manufacturers by $600 million."

Let's go through these one by one.

First, the good news. Tax cuts are definitely a good idea. The article doesn't make it clear what sort of tax cuts she's talking about. Let's hope they're real, across the board tax cuts. Let's hope they're not "targeted" tax cuts, where government picks winners and losers. Those are practically worthless for improving an economy.

How about "a $2 billion investment in diversifying the economy?" Isn't it great how politicians talk about "investment," instead of what it really is--spending. Unlike a real investment, government does not suffer the consequences if it goes bad. That means it has much less of an incentive to use money effectively.

Government can only "invest" money that it takes from the taxpayers. That means that they can't do whatever they would have done with it. People can spend their own money more effectively than government can. But Granholm doesn't seem to agree.

Then there's "diversifying the economy." Liberals just love diversity! Seriously, though, I can only assume that this means that government would subsidize some politically fashionable industry. There always seems to be some magical industry that we need to attract. A few years back, it was internet technology. Then the dot-com bubble burst. Now, it seems to be biotechnology. I wonder how Americans managed to invent cars and computers without government subsidies. It must have been a fluke.

What about "speeding up road construction to create short-term jobs?" Short-term jobs, huh? I wonder how short-term these jobs will be. Somehow I can't help thinking that these jobs will wrap up around the middle of November. Short-term jobs won't help Michigan in the long run.

More, or speeded-up road construction may or may not be a good thing. But road construction exists to create roads, not to create jobs. Government does not exist to provide jobs. Government can only hire someone by taking money from someone else. Once again, need we remember that capitalism works better than socialism?

Finally, there's "doubling the number of college graduates over 10 years." I get the feeling that Granholm just picked that goal out of the air.

The impetus for this initiative seems to be the observation that college graduates make more money than non-graduates. But as any college graduate ought to know, correlation does not imply causation. It could be that more intelligent and motivated people are both more likely to graduate from college and to make more money.

Not everyone should go the college. Many jobs don't require a college degree. For some people, college would just be a huge waste of money. Subsidizing college more would inevitably lead to filling colleges with more people who party and don't take college seriously. Raising taxes to pay for all these subsidies would just lead more of our college graduates to leave the state.

Maybe Granholm should go back to college and learn some economics.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Zandstra still fighting

Jerry Zandstra, one of the Republican candidates for U. S. Senate, may not make the ballot due to questions about the signatures that he turned in. He not giving up yet, though. From the Free Press:

"Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jerry Zandstra said Thursday he does not believe questions about his nominating petitions will keep him off the August primary ballot and said he plans to fight efforts to disqualify him.

Zandstra, one of three Republicans seeking the nomination to run against incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, said Secretary of State elections officials and an East Lansing lawyer who questioned whether he had filed the required 15,000 petition signatures are wrong.

In a draft of his response to state elections officials, Zandstra, a western Michigan minister and think tank analyst, cites dozens of signatures challenged for various reasons that he says should be counted.

Zandstra claimed to have submitted 15,710 signatures initially, but elections officials said they counted only 15,317 and that more than 350 of those were invalid. Zandstra is scheduled to appear before the Board of State Canvassers next week to make his case."

Zandstra issued this statement about the controversy.

I hope that all three candidates are on the ballot, so that Michigan Republicans will have the opportunity to choose who they think is best to take on Debbie Stabenow.

Contempt of Court

From the Free Press:

"Democrat on canvassing board resigns, admits contempt of court

A state elections official has resigned his post and admitted he acted in contempt of court when he and a colleague declined to approve an affirmative action ballot proposal at a wild meeting in Lansing late last year.

Paul Mitchell, one of two Democrats on the Board of State Canvassers, paid $250 to settle the contempt action filed by a panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals, which had ordered the board to approve the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative for the 2006 election.

The appeals court issued an order Wednesday dismissing the case against Mitchell. Another canvasser, Democrat Doyle O'Connor, continues to face a contempt charge.

O'Connor has claimed that he should not be found in contempt because he did not intend to violate the appeals court order."

The BSC is a joke. It has become completely politicized. It tried to sabotage the MCRI, just like it tried to stop the marriage amendment and Ralph Nader's candidacy in 2004, for bogus reasons.

Thankfully, Michigan has excellent courts, which have consistently upheld the rule of law. Thank you, John Engler!