Monday, March 31, 2008

Nugent in the News

The Kalamazoo Gazette and Western Herald provide coverage of Ted Nugent's speech. (The Herald article misstates the title of Nugent's speech.)

Ted Nugent touts gun rights
Nugent: everyone should join NRA
MCRGO: Ted Nugent's March 31st WMU RKBA Speech

America First Day with Ted Nugent

Monday, March 31, Ted Nugent will speak at Western. His speech will be in Miller Auditorium at 7 PM. Viewers are advised to come early to get a good seat.

Nugent's topic is "God, Guns, and Rock and Roll".

Listen to Nugent's interview on WKZO radio.

Read the WMU News article on the event.

Liberals are hopping mad.

Media coverage: WMU News Western Herald Kalamazoo Gazette
Post-event coverage: Kalamazoo Gazette Western Herald MCRGO

Interviews: WKZO WRKR

Find out more about America First Day three years ago: Happy America First Day!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Tom Barrett Overseas

Tom Barrett, the former Chairman of the WMU College Republicans has completed his training in Texas and has been deployed to the Middle East. He is a Sergeant in the Army and continues to serve his country.

Tom is a great conservative and a great American. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

Previous: Tom Barrett Deployed

POLITICAL UPDATE--China

This update focuses on China. China is a communist country that is an enemy of America. Its economy remains mostly socialist, but it benefits from trade with America. China continues to spy on America and plan for war.

William Jasper: Chinopoly
Dennis Behreandt: China’s Bid to Buy the West
Phyllis Schlafly: 'It's Still the Economy, Stupid'
James Zumwalt: The Giant is Restive
Martin Sieff: Behind the Chinese Spy Roundup

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Second Amendment at the Supreme Court

Last week Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments in DC v. Heller, the case challenging the Washington DC gun ban.

You can hear audio here on read a transcript here.

There are a couple interesting points about the arguments.

The DC lawyer tried to claim that the second amendment only applied to citizens who are part of an organized state militia. This is despite the fact that the amendment recognizes the "right of the people". He claimed that the clause stating "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state" negates this.

But the militia are the people. Founding Father George Mason said

I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials.
Tenche Coxe stated

Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American...[T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.
The DC lawyer also argued that handguns could be banned because long guns are sufficient for self defence. The DC law also requires that long guns be disassembled or trigger locked and bans carrying them from room to room. The DC lawyer claimed that they didn't really mean it and wouldn't enforce it that way. That must be very reassuring to DC gun owners.

But are long guns sufficient for self defence? Long guns certainly have some advantages such as more power and better accuracy. But what if you only have one arm? What if you aren't strong enough to hold a long gun steady? What if you can't walk fast enough to retrieve it? Don't such people have the right to defend their lives with a gun?

Similar to a question Justice Scalia asked, is it OK to ban one book if another says something similar?

One interesting side note is that Justice Souter, whose questions put him on the anti-gun side, was mugged in Washington DC in 2004.

Friday, March 28, 2008

WSA Election Results

The WSA election results have been announced.

Harik beats out Emerick for presidency

Danielle Harik defeated Josh Emerick to become WSA President. She got 56% of the vote.

All the candidates for college senator on the ballot were elected.

The nonbinding referendum on the SAF tax increase passed with 65% of the vote. About 7% of Western students actually voted. That means that about 5% of Western students voted to support the SAF increase, 2% opposed it, and 93% did not vote. This is hardly a mandate for higher taxes. The more concentrated interest groups that receive the SAF turned out to vote. Hopefully, the Board of Trustees won't go along with them.

Previous: WSA Election

Moore Developments

Kalamazoo City Commissioner Stephanie Moore is going to trial. This stems from an incident at a basketball game in Battle Creek between Moore and a police officer who was arresting a young man.

While Moore's leftist politics and embezzlement conviction are obnoxious, this case is increasingly troubling. She is charged with a felony, punishable by up to two years in prison for "resisting and obstructing a police officer". This is despite the fact that there was no physical contact between her and police officer Vincent Munoz.

Calhoun County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Deirdre Ford disagreed.

Physical interaction is not a requirement before someone can be charged with resisting and obstructing a police officer, she said.
Shouldn't it be? Should it be a crime to get into an argument with a police officer?

Further, the timing of the charges, after Moore filed a complaint, is at least suspicious.

Moore didn't commit violence or theft. At worst, she trespassed and got into an argument with a police officer. That may be worthy of a fine, but the threat of two years in prison is outrageous.

Light Bulb Choice Movement Gains Momentum

See this article: Bachmann is pro-choice on bulbs

624787

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Straight Talk from Ted Nugent

WRKR has been airing radio interview ads with Uncle Ted to promote our event. They are available online at www.wrkr.com

Guns end rape:
http://www.wrkr.com/includes/tables/4/20080324124040.ted_d.mp3

More:
http://www.wrkr.com/includes/tables/4/20080324123923.ted_c.mp3

http://www.wrkr.com/includes/tables/4/20080321163627.ted_a.mp3
http://www.wrkr.com/includes/tables/4/20080321165316.ted_b.mp3

Also, Ted will be on air between 4 and 5pm on Monday, March 31 directly before our event.

CBS Exposes Hillary Clinton Bosnia Trip



Hillary has been called out for embellishing her credentials in the past, but this may take the cake. The video speaks for itself.

Isn't she supposed to be the democrat with all the experience? If so, that doesn’t say much for Obama. The fact of the matter is, there is only one candidate with the military and foreign relations experience necessary to lead our nation through these troubled times: that candidate is John McCain.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Liberal Fascists Hate Nugent

Liberals are in a frothing rage over our upcoming event with Ted Nugent. Just look at the comments on the Herald article.

Flyers advertising Nugent's appearance have been torn down by liberals in multiple buildings around campus.

Lest one think that the flyers were torn down because they are "offensive", flyers for Students for Life and Intervarsity that were not remotely "offensive" have also been torn down. Liberals want to suppress any conservative speech on campus.

Previous:
Happy America First Day!
Flyering Wrap-up
We will not be silenced

Saturday, March 22, 2008

POLITICAL UPDATE--Education

This update focuses on education. A California court has ruled that home schooling is illegal. Feminism persists on college campuses. College professors are overwhelmingly liberal.

Gary Bauer: Home-Schooling: A Criminal Offense?
Steven Greenhut: A Real Threat to California Home-Schoolers
Bob Unruh: Parents of 166,000 students could face criminal charges
Bob Unruh: Judge orders homeschoolers into government education

Christina Hoff Sommers: Why Can’t a Woman Be More Like a Man?
Heather MacDonald: The Campus Rape Myth
Phyllis Schlafly: College Not Necessary for Many New Careers
Education Reporter: Study Examines Professors' Political and Social Views

"Predictably, humanities and social sciences professors were most likely to lean left. 17.6% of social sciences professors declared a Marxist political identity. Marxism also claimed 5% support in the humanities, and negligible support in other disciplines."

Learn more about education issues in Education Reporter.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Bill French Removed

Attorney General Mike Cox has ruled that Kalamazoo County Drain Commissioner Bill French vacated his position when he was convicted of a misdemeanor.

AG Cox removes Drain Commissioner Bill French from office

Previous: Drain Commissioner Update

Thursday, March 20, 2008

MCRI Upheld

A federal judge has dismissed the lawsuit against the MCRI. Press articles quoted BAMN without mentioning that the organization is a communist front group.

Judge Lawson Upholds Proposal 2

Previous: MCRI Battle

On Campus

News on campus.

Nugent! Nugent to speak at Miller

Musician Ted Nugent is coming to Western Michigan University on March 31 to give a speech called "God, Guns & Rock 'n' Roll."

Nugent, known for his conservative political views, will be speaking at the invitation of the WMU College Republicans.

"We are excited and honored to host Ted Nugent," said Megan Buwalda, chairman of the College Republicans. "Mr. Nugent is a cultural icon. Gun rights have been a very hot topic on campus recently and we feel that Ted Nugent will contribute positvely to the discourse in our community."
WSA/Herald: WSA vote recommends the Herald not accept ads from other universities
Editorial: WSA resolution to ban the Western Herald from offering ad space deters independence of paper

Who do these people think they are? How dare they try to tell other organizations what to do? Have any of them ever run a business? This is the fatal conceit of government--that politicians and bureaucrats can run people's lives and businesses better than they can. For once, the Herald editorial is right on.

Group lobbies Congress for cheaper birth control prices

They want taxpayers to subsidize their lifestyle.

WSA election: Students should reject proposal to raise SAF
More money isn't right answer to funding problem, some say
Broad support exists for SAF increase

Surprise! People who get the SAF support increasing the SAF!

Stabenow encourages women to participate in politics

Quiet room for prayer, meditation opens Tuesday

The Dar al-Islam advances.

Herald Editorial: If a governor comes to work every day and does a great job, should we care if he has sex with prostitutes after?

The editorialist is almost the only one who thinks that Spitzer did a good job. See John Derbyshire on Spitzer's terrible record.

Western Michigan University offers active military staff in-state tuition rates

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

WSA Election

The WSA election is this week. Voting will take place Tuesday, March 18 to Friday, March 21. Voting will take place online here and is open to WMU students.

The candidates for President are Josh Emerick and Danielle Harik. Emerick is the Political Affairs Committee Chairman. Harik is the President of "PeaceJam Mentors". Emerick's running mate is Stephanie Meyer. Harik's running mate is Andrew Crowe.

Emerick proclaims message of pride, activism in candidacy
Harik emphasizes awareness, involvement in presidential bid
Harik, Emerick square off

WSA College Senators will also be elected.

There will also be a nonbinding referendum on the ballot to increase the Student Assessment Fee. The increase would be 75%, from $12 to $21.

WSA Wants a Tax Increase

Election News

Local news about elections.

61st District: O'Brien runs for House

Medical marijuana: Most area lawmakers oppose marijuana as medical treatment

Medical marijuana: Anything to avoid the pain: Nuclear-blast survivor heads Veterans for Medical Marijuana Access

Taxes: EDUCATION TAX PROPOSAL Schools see money woes two ways: bad, worse

88th District: Third GOP candidate files for 88th District seat

KCTA: Taxes, Taxes, Taxes

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Communist Chinese Gov. blocks YouTube

From the AP-- full story HERE

Internet users in China were blocked from seeing YouTube.com on Sunday after dozens of videos about protests in Tibet appeared on the popular U.S. video Web site. The blocking added to the communist government's efforts to control what the public saw and heard about protests that erupted Friday in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, against Chinese rule. There were no protest scenes posted on China-based video Web sites such as 56.com, youku.com and tudou.com.

The Chinese government has not commented on its move to prevent access to YouTube. Internet users trying to call up the Web site were presented with a blank screen. Foreign Web sites run by news organizations and human rights groups are regularly blocked if they carry sensitive information. Operators of China-based online bulletin boards are required to monitor their content and enforce censorship.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

POLITICAL UPDATE--Immigration

This update focuses on immigration. The federal government, liberals, and Mexico continue to promote illegal immigration, while patriots battle for immigration reform.

Duncan Hunter: Virtually De-Fenceless
Phyllis Schlafly: Judges Getting the Message About Illegal Aliens
John McManus: The Battle Against Illegal Immigration
Larry Greenley: How to Fix Illegal Immigration
Robert Spencer: National Security At the Border
Ron Paul: If We Subsidize Them...
Allan Wall: Calderon's Tour Of America: Hobnobbing With The Very Rich, And Demagoguing The Illegal Alien Community
Phyllis Schlafly: It's Still The Economy, Stupid
Joe Guzzardi: New York Governor Eliot Spitzer: Not Gone Yet—But Going?

For more on immigration, see VDARE.com.

Grover Norquist advocates for McCain



Conservative anti-tax advocate Grover Norquest talks on the Daily Show about limiting government and one of the reasons why he's excited for John McCain to be President.

Friday, March 14, 2008

WMUCRs for McCain

Im proud to announce that at our meeting this past Wednesday, the WMU CRs in following with President Bush, the Republican National Committee Chairman, and the College Republican National Committee Chairman voted to officially endorse John McCain in his race for President.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pro-Capitalism Event

Pro-capitalism event at Western Michigan University

"Myths We Believe About Wealth and Poverty"
Dr. Jay Richards, Acton Institute

Wednesday, March 19th
7:30 PM at WMU’s Kanley Chapel

Sponsored by Intervarsity’s Graduate Christian Fellowship

Feminists Versus Math

Feminists are plotting to destroy math and science by applying Title 9, which requires equal numbers of men and women, to them.

Why Can’t a Woman Be More Like a Man?

Live from New York

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Understanding Government: Decentralization

Government decisions can be made by divisions that vary in size.

Governments can control jurisdictions that are small or large. This size can be measured in either population or area. Governments can be structured to have multiple levels that govern overlapping jurisdictions of different size.

DEFINITION OF TERMS

The subject here is whether government is centralized or decentralized. A centralized government has most decisions made in one relatively large jurisdiction. A decentralized government has many decisions made in relatively small jurisdictions that subdivide its total territory. Note that while a centralized government may have smaller administrative units, the relevant distinction here is at what level policy decisions are made.

The principle that government should be decentralized can be extended outside the realm of government. In this case, it is sometimes called subsidiarity, and derives from Catholic social teaching. This principle says that decisions should be made at the lowest level practical. The lowest possible level is the individual, followed by the family, private organizations, and local, regional, national, and (theoretically) world government. Decentralization below the level of government is freedom, where everyone can do what they want so long as it does not infringe on the rights of others.

Decentralization is often referred to as federalism, though this term tends to refer more specifically to the American constitutional principle of dual sovereignty between state and national governments. Federalism appears most directly in the Tenth Amendment, and is in turn referred to as "states' rights". This is despite the fact that this term does not appear in the amendment, and that governments do not have rights, they have powers. Thus "states' powers" would be a more accurate term.

SATISFYING POLITICAL DESIRES

Centralization and decentralization have a number of different effects on the actions of government.

One difference between the two is that more people will achieve the outcome they desire for themselves under decentralization than under centralization. It can be shown mathematically that more people will be on the winning sides of an election if a large jurisdiction is broken down into smaller jurisdictions than if a single election applies to everyone. While decentralization guarantees that more people will be on the winning sides, it is true that the winners will not necessarily include all the same people as under centralization.

Note that taking this as far as it will go leads to everyone having his own jurisdiction and everyone being on the winning sides. This is freedom.

On issues for which there is no inherently right or wrong position, this is clearly beneficial, since more people can get their way. Which issues fall into this category is likely to be contested, but it should include such things as state birds and flags at the least.

What about issues where there are inherently right and wrong sides? There is no guarantee that the right side will win under centralization, but decentralization guarantees that fewer people will be coerced. This approaches the ideal of freedom under which nobody is coerced and policy positions simply become personal choices. Personal choices may still be immoral, but personal immorality is different from the immorality of coercion.

Whether or not decentralization leads to good policies, it will at least reduce the potential for civil strife, since more people can have their way at the same time.

POLITICAL COMPETITION

Another difference between centralization and decentralization is that under decentralization it is easier for people to avoid policies that are destructive or distasteful. Specifically, they can move to a different jurisdiction. This is easier when jurisdictions are smaller, since smaller jurisdictions are more likely to have the same language, similar culture, and be closer to family.

Similarly, when people are looking to move somewhere, they will have more choices of different policies. Thus they will be more likely to find suitable policies.

This further implies that people will tend to gravitate toward jurisdictions that have better policies and avoid jurisdictions that have bad policies. The latter jurisdictions will receive less tax revenue, and will be forced to contract. Thus decentralization creates a sort of 'natural selection' amongst political jurisdictions that encourages good policies and discourages bad policies.

Political leaders are capable of recognizing this process in action. They can then act to eliminate bad policies and implement good policies. This is true even if they would prefer not to do so otherwise, due to ideology or political pressures.

Decentralization makes reliable comparison of different policies possible. Determining the effects of a particular policy is often difficult. How do you know whether a policy causes a particular result or they are unrelated? In a single jurisdiction it is difficult to tell. But comparing the conditions before and after policy changes (or not) in multiple jurisdictions makes statistically significant analysis possible. Some jurisdictions can serve as a 'control' while others are an 'experimental' group.

Having different policies in different jurisdictions creates data on a greater number of policy options. Being able to compare different policies in different jurisdictions makes it more likely that good ones will be chosen.

Having smaller jurisdictions makes experimentation easier and less costly. It is easier because people need only convince political leaders in a small jurisdiction to try a given policy. With more jurisdictions to choose from, it is more likely that they will find a jurisdiction that is willing to try something new. If the policy succeeds, other jurisdictions may follow along, until the policy becomes widespread. In contrast, if people need to convince political leaders in a single large jurisdiction to try a policy, they may be unable to. A policy that would have been successful may never be implemented.

Smaller jurisdictions also make experimentation less costly, since fewer people will be hurt if a new policy fails than if it is tried in a large jurisdiction.

DIVIDED POWER

Decentralization makes it easier to organize resistance to bad policies. A citizen may be able to rouse enough others to create the political pressure needed to change a policy of a town or school board. But a single citizen has no hope of organizing enough people to change a policy in a very large jurisdiction. Effecting that sort of change takes a great deal of organization, which is difficult to create and maintain. It can be co-opted, and even then there is no guarantee of success.

Another benefit of decentralization is that it avoids faction. That is, it is more difficult for a person or group to take control of an entire country and overthrow its political system. In a centralized country, if such a group takes control of the central government, there may not be any institutions capable of resistance. But in a decentralized country, the central government would have less power, and regional jurisdictions could serve as centers of resistance to the faction.

One implication of this analysis of centralization and decentralization is that world government would lead to more government coercion, less satisfaction of people's political desires, and worse policies through less political competition. It would create a great danger of tyranny.

AN OBJECTION

The chief objection to decentralization is that sometimes small jurisdictions may have bad polices. In this case, the central government can overrule them and impose good policies. This is certainly possible. It is possible for either a small jurisdiction to have a better policy than a large one or a large jurisdiction to have a better policy than a small one. The relevant question is which is more likely. For all of the reasons above, the former is more likely than the latter.

Note that this question cannot be settled on a case by case basis. There must be some final authority, whether it is the central or regional government. For decentralization to succeed, some bad policies must be tolerated. Attempting to correct them through centralization would undermine decentralization and lead to worse policies overall.

CONCLUSION

Centralization leads to more government coercion and less satisfaction of people's political desires. It leads to worse policies through less political competition. It creates a greater danger that a faction could seize power. In contrast, decentralization implies less coercion, better policies, and less danger of faction.

Now, decentralization is not always possible, as in the case of national defense. But whenever possible, government power must be decentralized.

POLITICAL UPDATE--Gun Rights

This update focuses on gun rights. The Supreme Court will soon consider the meaning of the Second Amendment and the constitutionality of the DC gun ban. The Solicitor General filed a brief undermining the Second Amendment.

Oliver North: The Second Amendment’s Day in Court
Greg Perry: Get Good With Gun Gab
WorldNetDaily: Public 'threatened' by private-firearms ownership
Chuck Baldwin: Buy A Gun
Joseph Farah: What Will You Do If They Shoot Up Your Church?
Thomas Sowell: At Last!
Greg Perry: Guns Reduce Accidents and Other Fascinating Facts and Figures To Amaze Your Friends
Charley Reese: The Ideal Self-Defense Weapon

Daily gun news is available at NRA-ILA and Keep and Bear Arms.

Friday, March 07, 2008

The Phony Walberg/Schauer Poll

The media is reporting that a new poll in the 7th Congressional District race between Congressman Tim Walberg and State Senator Mark Schauer shows that they are tied.

A survey of 7th Congressional District voters conducted by Detroit News/WXYZ-Action News pollster EPIC-MRA shows Rep. Tim Walberg of Tipton in a statistical dead heat when voters are read biographical information about him and challenger Mark Schauer, who represents the Battle Creek area in the state Senate. Walberg stood at 48 percent and Schauer at 49 percent.
But this is extremely misleading, if not downright false. The key here is the "biographical information". This kind of poll is basically worthless in determining the state of a race. You can make any candidate look competitive with this kind of poll.

The article never says what biographical information was provided. But at least the News mentions it, unlike some other media outlets.

Here is the real result of the poll.

When voters had no additional information than the two candidates' names and party affiliations, Walberg was favored by 51 percent to Schauer's 40 percent. That head-to-head question was asked first, then asked again after the biographical information was read to survey respondents.
Why did the media report the first result rather than this one? Walberg may well face a tough race, but it is not tied or a "dead heat" at the present.

61st District Race Shaping Up

From the Kalamazoo Gazette:

------------------

Portage official to run for state House

PORTAGE -- The Portage City Council is nonpartisan, but in the next two weeks it could get a dose of politics.

Councilman Larry DeShazor announced Wednesday that he is running for state representative in the 61st House District, and Councilwoman Margaret O'Brien said she, too, is favoring a run for that seat.

This is DeShazor's second bid for the two-year role. He fell short in the 2006 Republican primary against incumbent state Rep. Jack Hoogendyk, R-Texas Township, who is barred by term limits from running again this year.

Hoogendyk is seeking the Republican nomination to challenge U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, in November.

O'Brien, who is a Republican, said she is "leaning toward'' entering the House race. She plans to make an announcement in the next two weeks.

Democrat Julie Rogers, a Kalamazoo Township resident who lost to Hoogendyk by 1 percentage point in the 2006 general election, has announced her candidacy to represent the district. It includes the city of Portage; Alamo, Oshtemo, Texas and Prairie Ronde townships; and western Kalamazoo Township.

DeShazor said in a statement that, as a member of the Portage City Council, he "successfully advocated for job growth and retention, diversifying our economy and increased education funding at all levels.''

DeShazor is a team manager for State Farm Insurance, O'Brien is a Realtor for Re/Max Advantage, and Rogers is a physical therapist for Bronson Methodist Hospital and Borgess Medical Center.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

What's So Great About Christianity

Dinesh D'Souza, an author and columnist who spoke at Western in 2004, has written a book entitled What's So Great About Christianity. It is a response to several recent atheist bestsellers and a defense of the faith.

D'Souza chronicles the explosive growth of Christianity worldwide, particularly in the third world. At the same time, atheism has gained some ground in America. Religion thrives in part because religious believers are more motivated to have children than nonbelievers. Atheists have attacked Christianity in print and attempt to indoctrinate children in the schools.

D'Souza explains how Christianity provides many of the most basic precepts of Western Civilization. This includes limited government, as opposed to unlimited state power. There is also the belief that there is value in the lives of ordinary people. Then there is the belief that people have inherent worth and equal political rights.

Christianity values reason and there are significant arguments based on reason for the existence of God. Christianity posits an ordered universe, and this belief helped create science. The "war between science and religion" is a myth, as is the story that Galileo was punished for his scientific research.

Scientists have shown that the universe has a beginning (as opposed to always existing), agreeing with Christianity. The physical laws of the universe are structured within very narrow boundaries to make life possible. This is a strong argument for the existence of God. Human and other life implies design and the existence of God. Scientists often assume atheism, but science cannot support this as a conclusion.

D'Souza cites the philosophy of Kant to show that we cannot assume that all that we can see is all that exists. Science cannot disprove miracles, it can only tell us the rules that apply when they don't happen. Pascal's wager explains that faith is reasonable.

The "crimes" of religion have been greatly exaggerated, including the inquisition. Most wars are not religious. Atheists are responsible for the most murders in history. Atheist communists and Nazis murdered more than 100 million people.

Morality is objective and knowable. The fact that most people think about it at all is evidence of its existence, and the major world religions agree on many moral principles. Man has a spiritual component as well as a material body, as we are self-aware and use reason and language. The popular belief that people are their own sources of morality is wrong. Atheism is attractive because it eliminates moral restraints. Suffering is a problem for both Christians and atheists. Bad things happen because God allows free will, but religion provides comfort when they happen.

Christianity is unique in that it offers the gift of salvation from sin. Christianity changes people's lives for the better.

What's So Great About Christianity has many strengths. The biggest weakness is its treatment of evolution. Its argument for a common ancestor of all life is unconvincing. It does not explain the origin of man's spiritual component if his body has evolved from nothing. It also does not explain how death can be a result of sin if it was always a part of the process of evolution.

Still, What's So Great About Christianity is a valuable and profitable read.

Related reading:
Evidence That Demands a Verdict
The Victory of Reason
Godless: A Review
How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

WSA Update

It turns out that one of the major arguments for increasing the Student Assessment Fee (SAF) is untrue. See these comments on the Western Herald article on the subject. The current proposal is for a 75% tax increase, from $12 to $21.
Mark Gostomski
posted 3/04/08 @ 11:33 PM EST
Hate to tell you but you need to check your facts. The last SAF increase was in 1998-1999 school year when Corey Watt was WSA president. The SAF increased from $9 - $12 and it was a very bloody battle to get it approved. I can not even imagine trying to get a $9 increase when I know what it took to get a $3 increase.

David Worthams
posted 3/05/08 @ 8:16 AM EST
I wanted to second the remarks of my old friend Mark Gostomski, as I was the AC (formerly SBAC chair) at the time of the last increased, and frankly really chaired the movement to make the increase in teh SAF in '98-99.

While I think the WSA has done a wise thing in essence, capping the amount of SAF dollars that go to the club teams (i.e. Stallions Hockey, Mustangs Hockey, etc), calling for a $9 increase in the "Student Activity tax" will be a very big challenge. Remember, it's not your money ... it's the student's money that you're asking for!

Sincerely, David Worthams
1994 President 1998 Chairperson Western Student Association
Interested readers may wish to see these past articles on the WSA.
WSA Wants a Tax Increase
WSA Update
WSA affiliates with SAM & USSA, a "left-wing radical outlet"
WSA Gets Results
Everything bad about government with none of the power
Tax increase proposed in WSA

The Fight for Congress

The 2008 elections will once again feature a battle for power in Congress. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 of 100 Senate seats will be up for election.

Republicans face tough prospects in both chambers. The Iraq War and various scandals have hurt the Republican Party. Far more Republicans than democrats are retiring, meaning the democrats have more opportunities to pick up seats. On the plus side, conservatives are winning more open Republican seats, moving the party more to the right.

In the Senate, democrats currently hold a 51-49 advantage. Overcoming a filibuster takes 60 votes, meaning that Republicans have the ability to block much bad legislation. This ability will be significantly diminished if democrats pick up more seats.

Of the 35 seats up for election, 23 are held by Republicans and just 12 are held by democrats. Republicans have few opportunities to pick up seats. Their best shot is in Louisiana (Landrieu), and they have longer odds in South Dakota (Johnson) and New Jersey (Lautenberg).

Meanwhile, there are many vulnerable Republican seats. Five Republican senators are retiring. They are in Virginia (Warner), New Mexico (Domenici), Colorado (Allard), Nebraska (Hagel), and Idaho (Craig). Two Republican senators are recent appointees facing their first statewide elections in Mississippi (Wicker, replacing Lott) and Wyoming (Barrasso, replacing Thomas). Several Republican incumbents are vulnerable. Democrats will target seats in New Hampshire (Sununu), Minnesota (Coleman), and Oregon (Smith), and have longer shots in Maine (Collins), Alaska (Stevens), and Kentucky (McConnell). The Virginia, New Mexico, and Colorado seats are highly vulnerable, and the two appointees are less vulnerable.

In the House of Representatives, democrats currently hold a roughly 30 seat advantage over Republicans. The democrats' ability to pass legislation has been hampered by their limited margin and by the fact that many of their new members come from conservative-leaning districts and are (or ran as) moderates. Winning a larger majority would significantly help the democrats to pass their legislation.

Currently, 29 Republicans are either retiring or have already resigned from office. Only six democrats are retiring and two other democrat seats are open due to death. Of the open Republican seats, roughly a dozen are vulnerable to democrat takeover. Only one of the open democrat seats in vulnerable to Republican takeover. Democrats will also target many of the seats that they narrowly missed winning in 2006, and a few incumbents who have not recently seen competitive races. Republicans will target many of the seats that they lost in 2006, and a few other potentially vulnerable democrat incumbents.

At the present, it appears likely that democrats will make gains in both houses of Congress. The size of those gains will determine their ability to pass legislation after the election.

This blog will not actively cover most of the national races, but readers can follow them using our Campaign News links.

McCain's Road Ahead

Barring some unforeseen health problem or scandal in the six months to the Republican convention, Senator John McCain will be the Republican nominee. McCain faces a difficult road to the White House.

The political environment is bad for Republicans. The GOP suffered big losses in the midterm elections of 2006. The Iraq war remains very unpopular. Various scandals have led several Republican members of Congress to resign or be indicted, and the Republican brand has been tarnished. Economic troubles such as the housing meltdown, high gas prices, and more are becoming increasingly prominent, and Republicans are more likely to be blamed.

Democrat presidential candidates have raised significantly more money than Republicans. Democrat primaries have seen higher turnout.

John McCain won the nomination battle thanks in part to support from the mainstream media. He can hardly expect this to continue. The recent dubious New York Times attack on McCain may be the tip of the iceberg. So what can we expect from the media in the months ahead?

McCain remains strongly in support of the war. The media will point this out constantly and discuss whether it will hurt his campaign. McCain himself has said that he will lose if he does not change public opinion on the war.

The media will scour McCain's past looking for scandals and controversies. The Keating Five scandal will receive a lot more play. If there are things in McCain's past that have been swept under the rug, expect them to come out.

McCain's age will become an issue. The media won't ever say that McCain is too old, they'll just keep raising the issue as a topic of discussion, thus putting it in everyone's mind. The Democratic nominee will probably deny that McCain is too old, putting the idea in people's head even more. Any campaign gaffes will be discussed in this context.

McCain's temperament will also become an issue. The lovable, gruff, truth-telling maverick the media has portrayed up to now will be transformed by the media into an unstable, angry, offensive man.

Meanwhile, McCain faces trouble with conservatives. Many conservatives are discussing whether a McCain victory would be a victory for conservatives. James Dobson, Ann Coulter, and John Derbyshire will not vote for McCain, and Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin, Pat Buchanan, and others have debated whether they can vote for him. McCain will have to find a way to win conservative votes to win in November.

McCain does have some things going for him. He is a solid and sometimes charismatic speaker. He has some appeal to moderates and independents (which the media will doubtless try to damage). McCain could also benefit from the racial divide in the democratic party, with blacks supporting Obama and Hispanics supporting Clinton. He could gain votes from whichever group loses.

Overall, McCain faces many challenges in his bid for the White House.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

McCain is the nominee!

McCain is our man! McCain '08!

For more, see here.

Monday, March 03, 2008

MFCR Update

Resolution Weekends resume

Just for Fun

Saturday, March 01, 2008

POLITICAL UPDATE--News from Abroad

This update focuses on news from abroad. Kosovo's independence is a victory for Islamic extremists. America continues to face problems with Islam in Iraq, Europe, and elsewhere. Cuba remains controlled by communist murderers.

Robert Maginnis: Kosovo's Troubled Independence
Pat Buchanan: Will Bush’s Recognition Of Kosovo Spur Renewed Balkanization?
Walid Phares: Hezbollah's Billion Petrodollars
Jed Babbin: Islam vs. Free Speech
Robert Maginnis: US-Iraq Challenges in 2008
Robert Spencer: Stand By Steyn
Pat Buchanan: Democracy vs. Security

Walter Williams: Africa: A Tragic Continent
Humberto Fontova: What's Next for Cuba? Raul
Susan Easton: The EU's Treaty Treachery
John McManus: Ian Smith and the Fall of Rhodesia

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Carrying on Debate

On Monday, the Herald published two articles and an editorial on the subject of carrying concealed weapons on campus. The articles published opinions of several police officers, professors, students, and the Herald editorial writers. Two students had good pro-gun comments. The police, professors, and (of course) the Herald were against it.

Officials question concealed carry
Students remain at odds on concealed weapons
Concealed carry: School shootings would not be prevented by allowing concealed weapons on campus

One of the more striking features of the gun debate is that the anti-gun side makes assertions based on no reason or evidence. Let's take a look at some quotes from the Herald.

"It doesn't matter whose hands they're in, fewer guns is less of a chance for gun violence on campus," said Lt. Brian Crandall of the WMU Department of Public Safety. Crandall said on WMU's campus, guns should only be carried by trained professionals such as campus police. He said he agrees with the campus policy of "no guns on campus."
When is Lt. Crandall going to give up his gun? After all, fewer guns means less violence! That includes the police, too. It doesn't matter whose hands they're in! Or does Crandall want more violence on campus? Or don't more guns automatically mean more violence?

Deputy Chief Blaine Kalafut of the WMU DPS is slightly more skeptical of the idea. He said not every professor would want to carry a gun and if they did, they would have to be properly trained. Therefore, it might not solve the problem because there is a chance of a suspect figuring out which professors carry guns and which ones do not and acting accordingly, Kalafut said.
How likely is that? The suspect would have to investigate all the professors in a building, and somehow figure out if they were carrying. Act accordingly might mean not shooting people, and at least the professors who carried could save their own lives.

"The proper defensive use of a gun in a classroom setting by a professor would be highly unlikely," Kramer said. Kramer said only law enforcement officials should be allowed to carry guns on campus.
Says who? Two million or so crimes are disrupted every year by citizens with guns. Why can't professors do the same? Are college professors supposed to be smarter than average people?

"It could help depending on the situation but every situation is so case specific that it may do more harm than good," Crawford said. Crawford said he believes professors carrying guns on campus could help in some situations.
How did this guy get hired by the Sociology Department?

"I can't even imagine how it would poison the classroom," Swanson said. "I'm very against it and it could be very dangerous."
This is pure emotion. No reason in sight.

"Guns have no place in our modern society and the fact that people feel the need to own guns says that there are some major problems in our society," Jon Snoek, administrator of "Students Against Guns," said in a Facebook message. "If there was no trigger to pull, the bullet they fired might never have killed that person."
The purpose of guns is to protect citizens against violent crimes. Modern society depends on freedom and private property rights. There was plenty of crime before guns were invented.

"We should require mandatory gun training, safety, and education courses which must be passed in order for someone to purchase a gun," Snoek said. "In addition to that, I feel there should be mandatory psychological evaluations to ensure that the person wanting to buy a gun is a stable individual and at the time of the evaluation isn't a high risk to go on a murderous rampage."
Training and education aren't going to stop crime. As much as we would like to think that we can use screening to identify future criminals, we can't. Giving government the power to decide who may buy a gun would take away freedom and cost innocent lives.

"Most people who have permits to carry concealed weapons have limited training and undergo less testing than even a novice police recruit," reads the campaign Web site. "Yet they are led to believe that, given a dangerous situation, they will use deadly force with the same care and consideration that police officers will."
Concealed carry is not the same as police work. Police chase and arrest criminals, citizens defend their lives.

"The National Rifle Association at every opportunity uses the fear of crime to promote the need for ordinary citizens to secretly pack a gun. The NRA is working to create a world where people carry guns into schools, bars, parks, courts, churches, and just about anywhere else they like," reads the Web site.
It's called freedom. The Brady Bunch is using fear of crime to take away our freedom. Is there any number of times that they are wrong after which the media will stop treating them as a legitimate organization? Every time concealed carry is debated, they warn of blood in the streets. It never happens.

There are always concerns about safety immediately following tragedies like this. Allowing students, professors or both to have guns on campus is not the solution, though. For every one incident that might be prevented by concealed carry on campus, there would be many more incidents that would be caused by the same allowance. Concealed carry on campus would only give those carrying weapons the opportunities to overreact. Not only that, but if professors had guns on campus, students would obviously be aware of this. This might intimidate a lot of students, and unfortunately the risk of a student stealing a professor's gun does exist.
Where's the evidence? Such fears have been shown to be illusory again and again.

Unfortunately, in the world we live in, shootings can happen anywhere. A college campus is just one more place that large amount of people congregate that can sometimes be the sites of massacres, just like the Omaha mall that was the site of a shooting last year. No amount of security can be guaranteed to prevent shootings like this - killers will always be able to find opportunities to kill. Not everyone can be protected from it. All that we can do is remember that while they are tragic and memorable, these events are still unlikely. While there are steps that can be taken to improve safety, allowing fearful people to carry guns on campus is not one such step. Concealed carry would only give the opportunity for additional tragedy as opposed to prevented tragedy.
Guess what that mall had in common with most universities? It prohibited concealed carry too!

The alleged need for training is a common argument. But there is no evidence that more training actually helps. Economist John Lott, who has studied concealed carry extensively, found no benefit to training requirements. Certainly, all else being equal, more training is better. But it also costs money, so requiring it can prevent some people from carrying and make everyone less safe.

Using a gun isn't that complicated. It's certainly much simpler than driving a car. Most times that a gun is used to prevent a crime, it isn't fired. Training is nice, but not having it isn't a reason to not let people protect their lives.

Concealed carry isn't some new, untested idea. Thirty-nine states have a right to carry, and nine more allow concealed carry with more restrictions. Universities in Utah and others scattered across the county allow concealed carry. We know the results. Concealed carry reduces crime and liberal fears are baseless.

On Thursday, the Herald published letters to the editor from Steve Sessions, Caleb Lohman, and Jeff Koenig supporting gun rights.