Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Repealing the SBT
Now, Oakland County Executive Brooks Patterson has turned in signatures supporting the repeal of the tax. This will allow the legislature to repeal the tax without the governor being able to veto it.
The so-called "people's override" was last used to approve the Human Life Definition Act, a bill to ban partial birth abortion.
"A controversial petition drive to place on the November ballot a constitutional amendment declaring that life begins at conception has divided Michigan's historically strong anti-abortion movement.
The proposal is backed by a band of abortion opponents, religious activists and the Michigan Republican Party, which endorsed it last month.
But the traditional heavyweights of the anti-abortion core in this state -- Right to Life of Michigan and the Michigan Catholic Conference -- are officially sitting this one out. And some say the two are working against it, behind the scenes.
The clash has led to public sniping, the withdrawal of a U.S. Senate candidate endorsement and a dispute over which group is really staying true to its mission.
"It's never healthy for the movement when pro-life groups divide over anything," said Judie Brown, president of American Life League, a national anti-abortion organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. Brown supports the Michigan ballot issue."
I tend to think that Right to Life is correct about the question of strategy being debated here. But whatever you think about this proposal, fighting within the pro-life movement is not a good thing.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Maier's talk convincingly deals with the "it's just fiction" argument. He points out that fictionalizing the foreground (the story) is acceptable, while fictionalizing the background is not. Dan Brown explicitly claims that this background information is factual on the first page of his book.
In addition to what he says, I would point out that fictional works such as novels, television shows, and movies have a significant cultural impact. This is because so many people spend so much time consuming them, and because people may not realize the messages that such works are sending. Thus straightforward nonfiction works may be less likely to influence people because they will be more on guard.
If you went to the Students for Like event at the same time and wonder what you missed, you should check it out.
Here's what Terry Jeffrey has to say about the movie.
Gun Owners of America
GOA is a great group that defends our Second Amendment freedoms. It is actually more right-wing than the National Rifle Association. It opposes all gun control, restrictions on free speech, and violations of civil liberties. It supports withdrawal from the United Nations.
The GOA endorsement is a pretty good indicator of who the true conservative in a race is.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Thomas Sowell writes that liberals are using government schools propagandize children.
Phyllis Schlafly writes that college campuses are run by radical liberals and reviews books that Americans should read.
Lars Larson writes that many schools spend more than $10,000 per student per year.
Joel Belz writes that government schools continue to fail.
Ann Coulter writes that college professors are causing tuition to increase.
Brad Edmonds argues that home-schooling is best.
POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
An absentee legislature
Quick: Is this a good idea or a bad idea?
If you said it's a good idea... well, think about it.
Do we really want our legislators hard at work? Doesn't this imply that government is the answer to our problems? Conservatives realize that government isn't the answer. Government is more likely to mess things up than make things right.
In addition, looking at the list of absentee legislators shows that most of them are Democrats, and most of them are from Detroit. If they don't want to vote, that's fine by me. In fact, I'd gladly pay them to never show up again.
For some strange reason, pay for politicians is the one category of spending that drives the public into a rage. The government can employ a million bureaucrats to just sit around--or worse, create regulations that cost the economy a trillion dollars--and nobody will notice. But if politicians get a few thousands dollars more, people will be furious.
As long as you support the existence of a republican form of government, you support employing politicians. The relevant question is not whether they deserve what they are making--they usually don't. The relevant question is what sort of incentives political pay creates.
The problem with politicians is not that they don't work hard enough. Most of them work all to hard. The problem is what they do. I agree with Thomas Sowell: I'd pay them much more to do much less.
The Club for Growth
The Club is a group that advocates limited government and economic freedom. Their strategy is to research races and make endorsements. Then, their members all over the country can choose which candidates they want to contribute to. The members send the checks to the Club, which forwards them to the candidates.
This is the most effective way to contribute to political candidates. People can pool their money and hence their influence. Candidates know why people are contributing money, so it is easier to hold them accountable.
Often, what good conservative candidates need to win is enough money to stand out from the crowd. That's what the Club gives them. It has racked up a 7-1 winning record in primaries this year. Here's an excerpt from a profile of the group in the Washington Post:
" May seems to be the Club For Growth's month.
The Washington, D.C.-based political organization, which is dedicated to supporting laissez faire capitalism, has scored a slew of GOP primary victories so far this month. It began in Ohio on May 2 where the group backed state Sen. Jim Jordan in the open 4th District House race and Secretary of State Ken Blackwell in the governor's race.
A week later, state Sen. Adrian Smith -- the Club-endorsed candidate -- won a crowded Republican primary in the western Nebraska 3rd District. On May 16, Club for Growth President Pat Toomey and the club's Pennsylvania chapter helped organize conservatives to vote against GOP state legislators who had approved a pay raise for themselves. Seventeen legislators members wound up losing their primary races, 13 of whom were Republicans.
Then, last night, another Club-backed candidate, state Rep. Bill Sali, won a six-way GOP primary to claim the nomination in Idaho's 1st District."
The one race that they didn't win was a House seat in Minnesota in which the nominee, Michelle Bachmann, seems even more conservative than the candidate they endorsed.
Let's hope that candidates endorsed by the Club for Growth win many more races this year.
Friday, May 26, 2006
And then Hawaii
"Hawaii is asking the U.S. Senate to create a Hawaiian race-based government for persons with Native Hawaiian blood living anywhere in the United States. I'm not making this up; it's real."
"We are trying to spread democracy around the world, but that message doesn't seem to have reached the sponsors of S. 147. The bill does not assure that the new race-based government will be democratic; nothing in the bill prevents it from becoming a theocratic monarchy (with a new Queen Liliuokalani?). "
Will such wonders never cease?
The betrayal continues
Senator Jeff Sessions argued valiantly against the bill. Meanwhile, Senator Jim DeMint counts down the ten worst things in the amnesty bill. We would have to "consult" with Mexico about building a fence to protect our border.
You can see the roll call of how Senators voted here. 23 Republicans voted for the bill. 4 Democrats voted against it.
Surprisingly, Debbie Stabenow was one of them. Sen. Stabenow has hardly become a friend of border enforcement, given how she voted on many of the amendments to the bill. I suspect her vote has something to do with being up for reelection this year.
Don't forget to check out my most recent update on immigration--before it's too late.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Tax increase for busing?
The Commission conducted a poll purporting to show support for such a measure:
"Slightly under half of 400 Kalamazoo County residents surveyed would vote for a proposal that would raise taxes by 1 mill to pay for public transportation, according to a poll conducted by a Lansing firm. But those polled also indicated that public transportation is not among their top concerns.
Forty-nine percent of the registered voters polled in the county from April 19 to April 27 said they would vote for the measure, while 39 percent said they would vote against it.
Three percent of respondents said they lean toward supporting the millage, while another 3 percent indicated they were leaning against the proposal. Six percent of the poll's respondents were undecided."
Of course, as with most polls, the results depend greatly on how the question is asked. Voters rejected the County's last attempt to raise taxes when they shot down the justice facilities millage a year ago.
I'd like someone to explain to me why the government ought to be running buses at all. Why can't bus services be provided by the free market? If you want to ride on a bus, pay for it. Don't demand that government provide buses.
Taxis are run by the free market just fine, and nobody seems to think that government should run them. Similarly, long-distance bus service is run by private companies. Why are municipal buses different?
Someone might argue that the poor can't afford to pay for bus fare. That person ought to do some research on the following question: which system provides lower prices--capitalism or socialism? Let me know when you figure out the answer.
But you might argue that we ought to subsidize the transportation costs of the poor. Assuming that this is the case, however, it would make much more sense to provide vouchers to the poor to subsidize their use of a private system. This would be akin to food stamps. Nobody seems to think that government should run grocery stores. Private charity would be much more effective than any government action, though.
My own experience with the bus system has reinforced my beliefs. Like most Americans, I avoid buses when at all possible. However, I have used the bus system a few times on Western's campus.
To start with, I should point out campus is practically the ideal scenario for making buses practical. The population density is high. The entry and exit points (e. g. dorms and classrooms) are concentrated. People have to move frequently from place to place.
Nonetheless, the bus system on campus was highly frustrating. The buses were often late and occasionally never came at all. For a student needing to be in class on time, this was simply unacceptable. Occasionally, during peak hours, the bus would be so full that no more people could fit on it.
Most people will never ride buses regularly because they require waiting around. They require you to schedule your life around the bus schedule. They often don't go where you need to go. They don't let you keep things handy, as you can in your car.
Regardless of these problems, a privately run bus system would be best. A for-profit company would have incentives to economize, provide the routes that people want, be on time, and provide good service.
As in so many other areas, government just doesn't work.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Gun rights advance again
The State House has unanimously passed a bill that would make records of concealed weapons permit holders confidential.
Meanwhile, the State Senate passed a bill to lower the hunting age from 14 to 12 by a vote of 29-9.
The "stand your ground" bill has passed a Senate committee and should be coming up for a vote in the full Senate fairly soon.
English attacked again
"[A State Rep.] was one of only a few Republicans who voted against the bill. She was disappointed that it included no expenditures for promoting literacy or for English-as-a-second-language instruction. And she said she couldn't support it because it ``might be slightly divisive.''
Division is not what Michigan needs.
But it's an election year. It's time to trot out all the hot-button social issues that rile voters and create an enemy to fight.
Two years ago, gay marriage was the political punching bag, with states, including Michigan, rushing to ban it.
This election year, it appears the foe will be illegal immigrants and those who don't speak English.
We've had enough.
The state Legislature must quit this ridiculous, time-wasting pandering and get to work solving some of the very real problems the state faces. "
Opponents of the bill have been unable to come up with any actual arguments against the bill, and the Gazette doesn't even try. Instead, they trot out the old "election year politics" tripe.
Conservatives must be geniuses at election-year politics. After all, they secretly engineered the massive marches of hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens, right? They made sure that the illegals carried foreign flags and chanted in Spanish! They set up whole neighborhoods where only Spanish is spoken--and just for the election! There's no problem, it's just election-year politics!
As mentioned in the editorial, the Gazette made the same argument about "gay marriage" two years ago. It was just as stupid then. Apparently, conservatives somehow managed to get a bunch of liberal judges to overturn marriage laws and impose "gay marriage" and "civil unions" just for the election.
There's a pattern here. Liberals can push for what they want, and it's perfectly normal. When conservatives oppose them, they are just "playing partisan politics" with "hot-button issues." HOW DARE THEY STAND AGAINST THE INEVITABLE TIDE OF HISTORY?
I particularly like the "divisive" argument. Apparently, English is divisive. And not even the normal amount of divisive, but slightly divisive! In this argument, it doesn't matter how popular an issue is, as long as one person opposes it. Then it's "divisive, " which means that it must be opposed, regardless of merit. Somehow, I doubt that the Gazette has ever opposed anything that they otherwise supported because it might be "divisive." Was the civil rights movement divisive?
Meanwhile, in the U. S. Senate, Harry Reid trotted out the old "racist" argument to oppose English as our national language. Terry Jeffrey shreds that argument in his latest column.
Monday, May 22, 2006
Linda Delene Resigns
"There was no reason given for the resignation, which is effective Monday, and the Gazette was unable to reach Delene for comment Friday.
But her resignation comes a day after the faculty union passed a resolution to have the no-confidence vote, in part because of how Delene handled a graduate-degree review, according to a union official.
The results of the review were released to faculty on May 11.
Some professors were galled that certain graduate programs were cut without specific explanation and initially without an appeals process.
Bailey announced Thursday that she reversed that decision and will allow for appeals.
But union spokesman Alan Rea said Friday that the discord also goes deeper than the graduate-program issue. He declined to explain, however, and said he didn't want to now, particularly in light of the resignation."
Delene has been Judy Bailey's right-hand woman, and as such I'm glad to see her go. She was directly involved in the medallion program fiasco. The faculty has been upset with both her and Bailey for some time. Now if only Bailey would resign we'd really be getting somewhere.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
The Moment of Truth
Recently, the President made a prime-time speech on behalf of his amnesty plan. Warren Mass dissects the speech. Mac Johnson writes that the government refuses to enforce our immigration laws. Ann Coulter dissects many myths about immigration in the speech.
What is being proposed is literally the end of America. A bill in the Senate would allow up to 200 million immigrants to come to this country legally, says William Jasper. Robert Rector estimates that more than 100 million people could immigrate to the US. (A recent amendment has slightly changed these calculations.)
Amnesty would be devastating to our country. Kurt Williamson writes that amnesty would cost us billions and make us vulnerable to terrorism.
Illegal aliens have flooded the streets in opposition to securing our borders and protecting our interests. These protests were hardly spontaneous. They were planned and organized by a variety of communist groups, primarily the Workers World Party through its front group International ANSWER, writes William Jasper. The choice of the communist holiday of Mayday was no accident. These groups have the goal of undermining and destroying America.
Many illegals believe in Reconquista, the idea that the American Southwest belongs to Mexico and should be taken back. Michelle Malkin finds proof in the Mayday rallies.
The American people are demanding that our borders be protected, writes John Leo. However, elites in America, Canada, and Mexico continue to push for merging the three nations into one North American Union, under the aegis of the Security and Prosperity Partnership. Jerome Corsi provides the details.
Please read the articles that this post links to. The future of our country is at stake.
Saturday, May 20, 2006
An interesting article
Friday, May 19, 2006
Socialism threatens civil liberties
These are not easy issues. There are costs and potential dangers on both sides. Certainly, the threat of terrorism is very real, and the government needs the power to stop it. However, we should view skeptically its demands for more power. The fact is, the government has not effectively used the powers that it already has. 9/11 could have been prevented if government had controlled immigration, screened for known terrorists, arrested illegal aliens at traffic stops, allowed pilots to carry guns, or investigated Zacharias Moussaoui without fear of 'racial profiling'.
Meanwhile, there are serious dangers in giving the government more power. But why do we have civil liberties at all? Don't we want it to have every chance to stop bad things from happening? One possible answer is to protect the rights of criminals. But criminals don't deserve protection. The innocent deserve protection, not the guilty. We have civil liberties for everyone because we can't trust the government to tell us which is which.
The whole point in having civil liberties is to prevent the government from becoming tyrannical. But only a crazy anti-government extremist could really believe that our government could ever become tyrannical, right? Well, you should read the Founding Fathers, who wrote the Bill of Rights. They talked constantly about the dangers of tyrannical government--and government was much less intrusive then than it is now.
Government always wants more power. But power can be used for good or evil. As President Gerald Ford said, "A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have." Yet the leftists who supposedly understand the dangers of more government power for national defense have no problem with more government control over the economy.
Case in point: In England, a man is being denied health care because he mailed pictures of an abortion to the Queen. If the government has the power to give you health care, it has the power to deny you health care. Thus socialism can be used as a means of political control.
A state that wishes to totally control its subjects cannot rely exclusively on martial force. A much more subtle and powerful weapon is the ability to deny people needed services. Thus those who abhor tyranny must resist all government efforts to control the economy.
Civil liberties deserve better defenders than liberals.
Conservatives revolt against GOP
In Utah, the state Republican Party held its convention, and challenger John Jacob received more votes than incumbent Republican Chris Cannon. Conservatives rejected Cannon due to his pro-amnesty stance on immigration. He votes like a conservative on most other issues. The race will now go to a primary, since neither candidate received at least 60% of the vote.
This follow on the heels of the defeat of Indiana Senate Majority Leader at the hands of a conservative challenger.
Also, several incumbent legislators in North Carolina were defeated by conservative challengers after working too closely with the Democrats.
Up until now, the conventional wisdom has been that Democrats will gain seats in the upcoming elections. But what if instead, conservatives toss out the incumbents who have forgotten where they came from?
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Analysis of local races
State Senate--20th District
Incumbent Republican Tom George will seek reelection against Democratic State Rep. Alexander Lipsey of Kalamazoo. Lipsey had been running for Michigan Attorney General, but the State Democratic establishment, led by Governor Granholm, succeeded in forcing him out of the race.
The district is competitive, as Kerry won it in 2004, but George won it by about 10 points as an open seat against a capable Democrat four years ago. This time, he's the incumbent, and he remains capable and popular. Lipsey has a liberal record that should provide plenty of ammunition. There's no reason to think that George won't get at least as large a percentage this time.
State House--60th District
Rep. Lipsey is vacating this seat due to term limits. On the Democratic side, former Kalamazoo Mayor Robert Jones is seeking the seat. Jones received the most votes in four consecutive city commission elections.
He is opposed by Rev. Jerry McNeely, who can best be described as Kalamazoo's Al Sharpton. This race can only be seen as a grudge match for McNeely. He attacked Jones and the city as racist and caused significant racial problems last year. In response, Jones got him transferred out of his church.
Jones is the candidate that the Democratic Party wants, and there's no reason to think that he won't win this primary easily. However, it could be an ugly campaign to get there.
On the Republican side, there are two candidates--frequent candidate Gloria Ham and Armando Romero, owner of a translation business. Romero is the preferred candidate of the local Republican party.
Romero is a credible candidate, but he will be a definite underdog in a liberal district that has not elected a Republican in recent memory.
State House--61st District
Conservative State Rep. Jack Hoogendyk is running for a third and final term. He is a hero to conservatives who has sponsored a bill to make English the official language of Michigan, amongst other measures. He is being challenged by two candidates in the primary, including moderate Portage City Councilman Larry DeShazor. Hoogendyk is a popular incumbent with a strong base of support, and he is likely to win the primary.
The Republican nominee is almost certain to win against an unknown Democrat.
State House--63rd District
State Rep. Lorence Wenke is running for reelection. He is being challenged in the primary by former State Rep. Jerry VanderRoest. Due to term limits, both candidates can only serve one more term in the State House.
Wenke is known as a moderate, and VanderRoest is a staunch conservative. Two years ago, VanderRoest challenged Wenke in the primary and came within 80 votes of defeating him. The main issue was Wenke's vote against a constitutional amendment defining marriage to be the union of one man and one woman. It failed in the legislature and was subsequently passed through the referendum process. Taxes and abortion were also issues in the race.
VanderRoest nearly defeated Wenke despite being vastly outspent. His chances this time depend on his ability to raise money, and Wenke's willingness to spend his own money.
The Republican nominee should have no problems in November.
Most of the seventeen county commission races will not be particularly competitive, and six will not have any competition in the general election. All of the Republican incumbents are running for reelection. I'm not familiar with any of their Democratic challengers, so I don't know if any of them are in any danger. Here are my thoughts on a few of the Democrat-held seats.
In District 1, Democrat Dan McGlinn is retiring. Democrat Jack Urban will take on Republican Mark Liddle. This district is the campus of WMU and the Westnedge Hill area.
In District 2, Democrat Eva Ozier is retiring. Surprisingly, Democrat Carolyn Alford is the only candidate in either party. This district is the heavily Democratic Northside.
In District 4, Democratic incumbent John Taylor faces a strong challenge from Republican Army veteran Tom Barrett. This district is the Arcadia, Knollwood, Winchell, Oakwood, and Parkview Hills neighborhood.
In District 5, Democratic incumbent Brian Johnson is being challenged by Republican Rob Bricker.
In District 6, Democratic incumbent Franklin Thompson is being challenged in the primary by Larry Stieglitz. The Democratic establishment may be backing Stieglitz. Thompson has been convicted of domestic violence and is known for erratic behavior. No Republican filed for the seat.
In District 7, Democratic incumbent David Buskirk is being challenged by Republican Brandon Moore.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
"It won't be a dull primary election for Kalamazoo-area voters.
The Rev. Jerry McNeely, the controversial president of the Kalamazoo Metropolitan Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is running against fellow Democrat and former Kalamazoo Mayor Robert Jones to replace Alexander Lipsey in the state House. There also are two Republican candidates for that seat.
In the 63rd House District, look for a rematch between Rep. Lorence Wenke and former Rep. Jerry VanderRoest in the Republican primary. The two were involved in a mud-slinging campaign two years ago that started out as a fight over gay marriage and ended with heated accusations about VanderRoest's personal life.
Meanwhile, state Rep. Jack Hoogendyk is facing two challengers in the Republican primary, and seven Republicans are competing to replace state Rep. Gary Newell in the 87th District.
Both Newell and Lipsey are leaving the House because of term limits. Lipsey is the Democratic challenger facing state Sen. Tom George, R-Texas Township.
Tuesday was the deadline for candidates to file for the Aug. 8 primary. Offices up for election this year include governor, the U.S. Senate seat held by Debbie Stabenow, state Senate and House and county boards of commissioners.
On the Kalamazoo county board, Democrats Dan McGlinn and Eva Ozier are the two incumbents not seeking re-election to the 17-member board.
Running unopposed for Ozier's seat is Carolyn Alford, who stepped down last year from the Kalamazoo Public Schools Board of Education. Alford is running as a Democrat. The candidates for McGlinn's seat are Republican Mark Liddle and Democrat Jack Urban.
Of the remaining incumbents, all face challengers in the primary or in November except for Democrat Robert Barnard and Republicans John W. Zull, Deb Buchholz-Hiemstra and M. Jeff Heppler."
The Gazette provides a 51-part rundown of the candidates starting here.
The County Board of Commissioners has voted to ask for a tax increase of $28 million to fund a new juvenile home. A similar request was shot down by county voters as part of a larger $91 million package last year.
Official English passes House!
Democrats voted roughly 2-1 against the bill, but 17 of them did vote for it. Based on this vote, it is unclear what Governor Granholm will do. The vote in the House would be enough to override a veto, but some Democrats could defect on such a vote.
From the Detroit News article:
"LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- English would become the state's official language under a bill passed Tuesday by the state House.
If the legislation becomes law, state agencies would not be required to provide documents in languages other than English. However, supporters of the bill said nothing in it would prohibit an agency from printing documents in a foreign language if it so desired.
The bill passed by a 73-32 vote and now goes to the Senate. The bill had bipartisan support, but it lost a few votes when it was changed on the House floor to remove some clarifying language that had been suggested by Democrats at the committee level.
Rep. Jack Hoogendyk, a Republican from Kalamazoo and the bill's sponsor, said having an official language would be a unifying factor and would encourage people to learn English. That would help more people raise their educational and income levels, he said.
"I believe what makes us strong as a state and a nation is what we share in common," Hoogendyk said. "One thing we share is our language." "
You can see what I wrote about this bill here, here, and here.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
However, Sheehan's record is clear enough. Interested readers can find much more about Sheehan here. This information was compiled on David Horowitz's indispensable site Discover the Network, a guide to political left and a great repository of political information.
While there are certainly some patriotic Americans who oppose the war, much of the so-called anti-war movement is really an anti-American movement. They have simply latched onto a convenient means of attacking America. The war gives them a convenient platform for calling America a murdering racist imperialist nation that goes around bombing, murdering, raping, looting, and more. According to them, America is responsible for all the evil in the world.
Cindy Sheehan is an interesting case study. No quote better summarizes her real beliefs than this one: "America has been killing people on this continent since it was started. This country is not worth dying for." If that's not unpatriotic, what is?
Remember, the anti-war movement has made this woman one of its leaders. What does that say about them? You can see plenty more of Sheehan in her own words here.
UPDATE: Here is the Gazette article on her visit.
After the filing deadline
None of the congressional races will be competitive in the general election. Democrats had harbored some hopes of making them competitive, but they won't be. The only competitive congressional race will be the primary campaign between Congressman Joe Schwarz and former State Rep. Tim Walberg. Congressional Quarterly summarizes the race:
"One Republican House incumbent in Michigan appears to face serious danger at the polls this year. Unfortunately for the state's Democrats, the threatening challenge comes from another Republican, rather than from one of their candidates.
First-term Rep. Joe Schwarz, a Republican centrist, is being challenged in the 7th District Aug. 8 primary by conservative Tim Walberg, a former state representative who boasts support from the national anti-tax organization Club for Growth. But the survivor of that primary will be heavily favored in November."
" 7th District: The Schwarz-Walberg showdown in the 7th District primary is something of a rematch of the 2004 contest, but with a lot less company. Four other Republicans also were on the ballot in that year's race to succeed retiring six-term Republican Rep. Nick Smith.
That, in fact, is the crux of Walberg's challenge this year. Schwarz was the sole moderate in a field crowded with conservatives, and he won the primary with 28 percent of the vote. Walberg argues that the district's conservative-leaning GOP primary electorate will favor him in a one-on-one match. But Schwarz has rallied support from much of the state and national Republican establishment as the incumbent in the race.
Schwarz has a typical incumbent's advantage in overall fundraising, with $811,000 in receipts as of March 31 to Walberg's $343,000. But Schwarz also has spent much more money already, leaving the two more closely matched -- $334,000 to $304,000 -- in cash on hand.
The winner will almost certainly be favored to hold the seat for the Republicans in a district that in 2004 gave 54 percent to Bush and 58 percent of the general election vote to Schwarz.
CQ rates the 7th District general election as Safe Republican."
You can see evaluations of Schwarz's record on abortion, guns, and overall.
I'll run through the local races later.
In the Gazette
1. Julie Mack writes that the "wage gap" between men and women is caused by lifestyle choices, not discrimination.
"The Census Bureau's pay-gap figure is a statistic without context. It represents the average pay for a full-time female worker compared to a man with a full-time job. It does not take into account differences in career choices, or that men are much more likely to work graveyard shifts or overtime, or that women are more likely to interrupt their career trajectory to raise children.
``Why Men Earn More,'' a new book by Warren Farrell, a former board member for the National Organization for Women, takes a hard look at the reasons women earn less than men. He points out that women are less likely to choose jobs that involve travel or work outdoors or a higher degree of physical hazard or odd hours. He says women tend to trade higher incomes for more free time and flexibility."
2. Linda Mah writes that the Kalamazoo Public Library has banned Christmas. KPL claims that this is because decorations take too much time.
I have heard that several of the board members of the library are in the ACLU. The library has certainly found time to promote books that encourage draft-dodging and promote homosexuality to children. The war on Christmas has come to Kalamazoo.
3. The Rev. Jerry McNeely is being evicted from his parsonage. He is a racial demagogue who created serious racial problems after the firing of a black police officer last year. He was criticized by a member of his own organization (NAACP) for his "half-truths and tirades." Eventually, Mayor Jones (who is black) got sick of McNeely's antics and talked to his superior. He was transferred to a church in Detroit. It took a court order to get him to leave.
4. The Gazette has an article about WMU's graduate program cuts.
Monday, May 15, 2006
POLITICAL UPDATE--Islam and Europe
Pat Buchanan writes that socialism is collapsing in Europe.
John Leo writes that free speech is threatened in both Europe and the Muslim world.
Robert Spencer summarizes the case of a Muslim who was almost killed for becoming a Christian.
R. Cort Kirkwood explains how Islam threatens Europe.
Ann Coulter comments on the cartoon Jihad.
POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.
2. A State House committee passed Jack Hoogendyk's official English bill without opposition. I loved this part of the story:
"Hoogendyk opened his testimony today with a bit of a skit in which he was asked by Committee Chair Leon DROLET (R-Clinton Twp.) to explain the bill, and responded in Dutch. After Hoogendyk said his piece in Dutch, Rep. Bob GOSSELIN (R-Troy) complained to Drolet that he couldn't understand.
"I guess that makes my point," Hoogendyk responded. "My parents came to the United States in 1949 from the Netherlands. They made the decision to learn English. They thought it was imperative. I believe that by establishing English as the official language, this legislation promotes unity." "
3. A State Senate committee will vote tomorrow on a stand your ground bill.
4. Western has announced a decision to slash graduate programs. This is apparently a complete surprise. There are several articles in the Western Herald but they don't appear to be online. I wonder if this has anything to do with the grad student unionization?
5. The governor's race is still essentially tied, but now DeVos has a one-point lead over Granholm.
6. The State Supreme Court will decide whether people can be required to show id before voting. Of course, Democrats are for voter fraud and Republicans are against it. Republican Michigander asks if showing id violates our right to vote, does showing id to buy a gun violate the Second Amendment?
Thursday, May 11, 2006
The First Things of the US are the First Things of the UK
Some commentators might view this piece as reaching out to anyone who might be interested in making the Church stronger, whether they're in the region legally or illegally.
The bigger problem with the Cardinal's approach to immigration is that, as Reverend Richard John Niehaus (editor of First Things - a magazine for intellectually inclined Christians) points out, many of the Muslim immigrants to the U. K. are "making it emphatically, even violently, clear that they have no intention of becoming British." He adds that while the Catholic Church is universal, neither the U. S. nor the U. K. can say the same.
One of the biggest problems that Catholic conservatives have with Pope John Paul II is the number of (politically and theologically) liberal cardinals he appointed (on both sides of the Atlantic). (Though it must be noted that some of the selections were more the fault of the American Papal Nuncio than the Pope.) (Those in the U. S. have been a cause of trouble in the seminaries, while some in Europe have caused even larger problems. This is one of the reasons that the election of the former Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to the papacy caused such great rejoicing among certain sections of Catholicism.) It is then, no surprise that these cardinals would take stances that take theological stances opposite the Church's and political stances opposite most conservatives.
Well Writ Right Wing Reads: “Women Who Make the World Worse,” by Kate O’Beirne
O’Beirne systematically dissects the tactics and views of leading feminists on the subjects of the family, the education system, the day-care system, careers, sports, the armed forces, politics, and abortion. Additionally, she discusses many of the conservative heroes who have flustered the feminists at every turn (including, most notably, Phyllis Schlafly).
The scholarship of O’Beirne’s offering is almost overwhelming. Her opinion shows through the quotes and statistics that she presents as well as the summaries that conclude the sections, but the reader searching for a blunt opinionated Coulterine commentary of feminists would do well to skip to the last chapter. The remainder of the book is a textbook display of where the feminists went wrong and why they are wrong.
Some of the book’s main contentions include:
- feminists are trying to use the educational system to emasculate the male gender
- feminism consistently (and admittedly) is against research on how males and females differ
- feminists consistently concoct public opinion and deny reality when their deception is discovered
Liberals attempted to sabotage (or something) this book by posting poor reviews of it book on amazon.com. The error in their commentary is immediately obvious to anyone who has read the book (or is familiar with O’Beirne’s previous work), but to the general population, the allegations of poor scholarship are not clearly unfounded.
Additionally, “Touchstone” (a Christian magazine) reviewed the book favorably but noted that anyone who does not believe in evolution might take issue with the book’s final chapter. While O’Beirne clearly believes in micro-evolution (a specie evolving without changing to a different specie), the charge that she believes in macro-evolution (Darwinian evolution) is not supported by the text.The book was released in hardcover on January 2, 20006. It will be released in paperback on October 31, 2006.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
The Gods of the Copybook Headings
This is a profound work. I particularly like stanzas 5-7. Pat Buchanan quotes the sixth stanza in Death of the West. It is amazingly prescient in foretelling the malady that currently afflicts our society.
"The Gods of the Copybook Headings" refers to timeless moral truths that were printed in copybooks so that students would learn them through repetition.
The Gods of the Copybook Headings
AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.
We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.
We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.
With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.
When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."
On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."
In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."
Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.
As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will bum,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return.
Mexican immigration rules!
"Mexico has a single, streamlined law that ensures that foreign visitors and immigrants are:
in the country legally;
have the means to sustain themselves economically;
not destined to be burdens on society;
of economic and social benefit to society;
of good character and have no criminal records; and
contributors to the general well-being of the nation.
The law also ensures that:
immigration authorities have a record of each foreign visitor;
foreign visitors do not violate their visa status;
foreign visitors are banned from interfering in the country’s internal politics;
foreign visitors who enter under false pretenses are imprisoned or deported;
foreign visitors violating the terms of their entry are imprisoned or deported;
those who aid in illegal immigration will be sent to prison."
There is much more. Read it all.
Let's leave the illegal immigrants in Mexico and import Mexican immigration laws instead.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Who's really getting windfall profits?
- The federal government brings in 18.4 cents per gallon of gas sold.
- Oil companies bring in about 9 cents per gallon of gas sold.
Am I the only one who finds it odd that the feds make twice as much money off gas as those who provide it to us? And then there's the states too. I just find it a tad hipocritical when the feds are talking about windfall profits on the part of oil companies when they're making even more. And what do they do with that money? Make it harder for oil companies by imposing rediculous enviornmental regulations. In a way, that's bad business on the part of the government. Why would they want to drive their cash cow out of business by making it harder for them to conduct business?
Ann Coulter writes that Democrats have consistently tried to increase gas prices.
Mac Johnson debunks Bill O'Reilly's conspiracy theory of gas prices.
Mac Johnson then explains that liberals oppose energy production.
Herman Cain explains disruptions of our oil supply.
Thomas Sowell corrects the economic fallacies concerning energy.
POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Gouging by Government
I wonder whether this would be an issue if gas prices weren't displayed on giant signs as we drive down the road. Government policies can cost people thousands of dollars, and you'll never hear a peep. But if gas prices go up twenty cents, you'll never hear the end of it.
Certainly, higher prices are no fun. But that hardly excuses the level of hysteria that has descended upon the nation. It seems as if people will start foaming at the mouth at the very mention of "big oil." The reaction is akin to the two minutes hate of Emmanuel Goldstein. People still don't understand economics.
"Price gouging" is the fashionable epithet being bandied about. What nonsense. Gouging is, literally, an act of violence. A voluntary agreement is the opposite of violence. Yet despite all this "gouging," people keep buying gas. Why do people agree to be "gouged?" If you don't want to be "gouged" at the pump, don't buy gas. Even if gas cost $100 dollars per gallon, this would not be "gouging" because you could choose not to buy it.
Around this point in the discussion, you can count on someone to bring up the record profits of the oil companies. Of course, ExxonMobil is capable of making large profits because it is a very large company. But how large are their profits, really? You might think that oil companies had suddenly decided to make an extra dollar per gallon in profit.
In fact, oil companies get less than nine cents per gallon. Those are the gigantic record profits that have everyone so upset. The profits of oil companies are smaller than the profits in many other industries. Nobody complains about the obscene profits of McDonald's.
In any case, there is nothing wrong with profits. In fact, profits are a good thing. Socialists would have you believe that profit is merely waste, and that prices would be lower if we could just eliminate profit. But profit is the cost of innovation. It is the chance of making a profit that drives so many people to make goods and services available to the public. The larger the profit, the greater the incentive to satisfy mankind.
The ginormous oil profits have led to calls for a windfall profits tax. The idea that large profits are a windfall would seem to contradict the idea that they result from a massive oil conspiracy, but no matter. The proposed windfall profits tax is a manifestation of the politics of envy. What purpose would it serve? It would increase prices rather than decrease them. Reducing the potential profits that an oil company can earn reduces the incentive to develop new sources of oil. That reduces the supply of oil, which increases the price.
Gasoline is made from oil. Hence the price of gasoline is determined by the price of oil. Oil companies don't make oil, they buy it from countries that produce it. If anyone is conspiring to fix prices, it would be OPEC, which is a cartel. Cartels exist to fix prices. In this case, though, there isn't much that even OPEC can do.
So if a conspiracy doesn't explain higher gas prices, what does? It is worth remembering that prices are mutually agreed to by buyer and seller. The buyer always wants to pay as little as possible, and the seller always wants to charge as much as possible. If a price changes, something else must have changed.
Economics tells us that an increase in prices means that either demand increased or supply decreased. In this case, it's some of both. China and India are continuing to use more oil as their economies continue to expand. Also, the summer driving season is beginning here in America.
On the supply side, there are continuing problems in Iraq, and there is increased risk of confrontation with Iran. Nigeria has been shut down as a supplier due to terrorist activity. Venezuela is run by an anti-American communist, and the newly elected communist leader of Bolivia just "nationalized" (stole) his country's oil fields. In addition, refining capacity is still limited thanks to hurricane damage and government regulations mandate switching fuel blends around this time.
In the midst of all this turmoil, though, there is one entity making out just fine--the government. Government takes an average of 44 cents per gallon of gas. Oil companies have to work hard for their 9 cents per gallon, but government takes its cut regardless. Oil companies can only profit when people freely choose to buy their product, but government taxes are backed by violence.
Government has also imposed environmental regulations which significantly impact the cost of gas. These too are backed by force. Government also stops oil companies from drilling for oil domestically, whether in ANWR, off the Pacific, Atlantic, or Gulf Coasts, or under the Great Lakes. It imposes regulations and allows lawsuits which make it next to impossible to open any new refineries.
Then, when all of this results in high gas prices, politicians (government employees) whip up hysteria against the companies that actually produce the oil. They demand a windfall profits tax, so they can take even more money, and make the cost of gas even higher. Who exactly is doing the gouging?
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Kalamazoo: Hit Me Again
Apparently, the answer to rotten schools in Kalamazoo is always to raise taxes. Does anybody ever ask whether this is working? Apparently, Kalamazoo voters never learn from their mistakes. That might explain why there are so many poor people in Kalamazoo.
There is good news, though. In the Galesburg/Augusta school district, voters rejected all three bond proposals with no votes ranging from 58-64%.
Several states held primary elections. Conservatives won an important battle in Ohio with the victory of Ken Blackwell in the gubernatorial primary. Blackwell is solidly pro-life, pro-gun, pro-marriage, and for limiting government. He also has a real chance of winning substantial black support. Blackwell has had to fight the corrupt liberal GOP establishment every step of the way. His election in November would be a great victory for conservatives.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
An Education Dearly Bought
I can help with the bond initiatives, though. I recommend that you vote against any bond initiatives on the ballot. Here in Kalamazoo County, the Kalamazoo Public School District is demanding a tax increase. (Check out this very annoying article in the Kalamazoo Gazette to see what is on the ballot in your area.)
School districts always seem to be requesting tax increases. But are we really getting our money's worth out of government schools?
World Magazine columnist Joel Belz points out that government schools fail at a rate that would never be tolerated in the private sector. Furthermore, the problem is only likely to get worse, as schools continue to lose good people.
Meanwhile, government schools are consuming more and more of our money. Lars Larson writes that many schools are spending more than $10,000 per student. Teachers' unions and government bureaucrats can be expected to argue that they need more money to do a better job. But spending more money cannot solve the problem of the misuse of money. This goes beyond whether or not the schools have good leadership. How much more evidence do we need that socialism doesn't work?
Government schools need to be held accountable for their record of failure. Voters should reject sending any more money to them.
Monday, May 01, 2006
Liberals want you Dead
More fundamentally, what makes liberals tick? Why do liberals believe the things that they do, and act the ways that they act? What is the common denominator that explains liberalism? This seems to me to be a hugely important question that has gotten very little attention.
Some of the proposed explanations include self-interest, ignorance, stupidity, fear, narcissism, and guilt. While these may be contributing factors, I don't think they get to the root of the problem. I won't go into a detailed explanation, but suffice to say that if you look around you'll soon find liberal behavior that cannot be adequately explained.
In her indispensable book Treason, Ann Coulter spends 300 or so pages documenting liberal attacks on America. On the last page, she reveals what she believes is the reason that liberals hate America: they hate civilization. I think that this is closer to the truth, but it still fails to satisfy. After all, liberals weren't nearly as upset about the Soviet Union, which wasn't exactly anarchical.
I believe that the fundamental explanation for liberalism is that liberalism tries to destroy all good in the world. A necessary corollary of this is trying to destroy America. Of course, I should be careful to distinguish between liberalism and liberals. Liberals are people who are influenced by liberalism, but they may be otherwise nice and have other redeeming features. There is nothing redeeming about liberalism.
If you ask a liberal what explains liberalism, you'll probably get some bilge about liberals caring about poor people. At this point, I come to a must-read article by Gene Veith. He writes how recent liberal philosophy has become anti-human:
"Consider a recent speech by University of Texas biologist Eric Pianka. He was addressing the Texas Academy of Science, which had just named him the 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist.
When people learn what is being taught in their tax-supported universities, they are often shocked. So before Mr. Pianka's talk, Academy officials threw out a TV cameraman who was videotaping the conference. Mr. Pianka explained that the public was not ready to hear what he was going to say. The old humanists used to believe in the freedom of the press and the free flow of ideas. But ordinary Texans might not approve of hearing that this Distinguished Texas Scientist wanted to kill them.
Mr. Pianka began by condemning "anthropocentrism," the idea that human beings have a privileged place in the universe. He told about a neighbor who once asked him what good are the lizards that he studies. Mr. Pianka replied, "What good are you?"
Mr. Pianka believes, in his words, "We're no better than bacteria!" and he has proposed an anti-bacterial course of hygiene. He said that, in order to save the planet, the human population should be reduced by 90 percent. War and famine are not efficient enough, he said, to kill the billions of people necessary. Disease would be the best population reducer. AIDS, though, works much too slowly."
Just as important was the audiences' reaction:
"The Academy gave Mr. Pianka a sustained ovation. In the Q&A that followed, Mr. Pianka said, "You know, the bird flu's good, too." He also suggested we "sterilize everybody on the Earth." He praised China with its forced-abortion laws "because they got a police state and they can force people to stop reproducing." "
Then there is this article by Eric Englund that I posted a while back, but which deserves more attention. The environmentalist movement has been particularly vocal about their plans for humanity:
"Jacques-Yves Cousteau, environmentalist and documentary maker: "ItÂs terrible to have to say this. World population must be stabilized, and to do that we must eliminate 350,000 people per day. This is so horrible to contemplate that we shouldn't even say it. But the general situation in which we are involved is lamentable."
John Davis, editor of Earth First! Journal: "I suspect that eradicating smallpox was wrong. It played an important part in balancing ecosystems."
Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University population biologist: "We're at 6 billion people on the Earth, and that's roughly three times what the planet should have. About 2 billion is optimal."
David Foreman, founder of Earth First!: "Phasing out the human race will solve every problem on earth, social and environmental."
David M. Graber, research biologist for the National Park Service: "It is cosmically unlikely that the developed world will choose to end its orgy of fossil-energy consumption, and the Third World its suicidal consumption of landscape. Until such time as Homo sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along."
Alexander King, founder of the Malthusian Club of Rome: "My own doubts came when DDT was introduced. In Guyana, within two years, it had almost eliminated malaria. So my chief quarrel with DDT, in hindsight, is that it has greatly added to the population problem."
Merton Lambert, former spokesman for the Rockefeller Foundation: "The world has a cancer, and that cancer is man."
John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club: "Honorable representatives of the great saurians of older creation, may you long enjoy your lilies and rushes, and be blessed now and then with a mouthful of terror-stricken man by way of a dainty!"
Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, leader of the World Wildlife Fund: "If I were reincarnated I would wish to be returned to earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels."
Maurice Strong, U.N. environmental leader: "Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring that about?"
Ted Turner, CNN founder, UN supporter, and environmentalist: "A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal."
Paul Watson, a founder of Greenpeace: "I got the impression that instead of going out to shoot birds, I should go out and shoot the kids who shoot birds."
There you have it. Liberals want you dead.
Kalamazoo Gospel Mission
The Gospel Mission does good work in providing food, shelter, and clothing to those who truly need it. But they recognize that the problem of homelessness goes much deeper than a lack of material goods. Homelessness is a behavioral problem. The Gospel Mission recognizes that homeless people have spiritual problems that neeed to be addressed.
They have been attacked by the radical Kalamazoo Homeless Action Network. KHAN believes that the homeless are entitled to food and shelter without having to hear the Gospel message.
Rev. Brown also pointed out that the Gospel mission takes no government funding. He makes the point that government control follows government money. The federal government naturally tries to remove God and Gospel as a condition of their support.
President Bush has proposed federal government funding for charities like the Gospel Mission. But private and religious charities are so effective precisely because they are private and religious. Federal funding runs the risk of corrupting them. That's the flaw in the faith-based initiative.