Don't let your posessions possess you. If life were all about money, why do so many people have so little?
Because Ideas Matter
Don't let your posessions possess you. If life were all about money, why do so many people have so little?
For Lexington and Concord; for the Alamo; for Gettysburg and Bull Run; for Iwo Jima; for Midway and Normandy; for Korea and Vietnam; for the long, secret years of the Cold War; for Kabul and Fallujah; for all the battles, great and small, that brought us our liberty, fought by men and women who are truly this nation's sons and daughters, thank you. May we live thoughtful lives worthy of your sacrifice.
The other day, police arrested conspiracist filmmaker Olver Stone after measuring his blood alcohol level at above the legal limit. Does anyone believe he was really drunk? Remember, Oliver: Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.
More and more governments are outlawing your talking on a cell phone while driving. They say it leads to accidents. Could be, but the real distractions are little kids in the back seats, and no one's talking about outlawing them.
Last night, Nightline examined the impact one year later of Bill Cosby's incendiary comments urging young blacks and their parents to take personal responsibility for their lives. Speaking for the "conservative" side, author Shelby Steele said that even if fellow blacks have been victims of racism or injustice, they are not absolved of the responsibility–or, even better, the opportunity–to improve their lives.
Fifty Republicans in the House yesterday defied their president to pass a bill that would lift current funding restrictions on destroying human embryos in pursuit of hypothetical but unproven medical cures for diseases such as M.S. and Alzheimers. Lawmakers want researchers to gain access to the 400,000 frozen embryos created by in-vitro fertilization and currently in cold storage.
Having lost the public relations battle and unable to enforce party discipline, the Republicans yesterday cut a deal with the minority Democratic Party. The agreement will allow three of 10 qualified nominees the courtesy of a vote, in exchange for a promise of good faith by Democrats later. What about good faith now? The truce gives Harry Reid and company a de facto veto over future nominees. While Republicans might defend the "compromise" as half a loaf being better than none, I think the voters who wanted some action from Republicans on judges will have a different assessment: snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
The news that a judge has struck down Nebraska's new ban on homosexual marriage only underscores the need for the Federal Marriage Amendment. Critics of the FMA–mainly Democrats–have been repeating the mantra, "Let the states decide." Well, they've been trying to do just that, but judges keep getting in the way. Ratifying the FMA would allow voters in every state to participate, and keep the decision out of the hands of unelected judges.
The military scandal du jour is the publication of those secret photos of Saddam in his underwear. The media are now wringing their hands about how bad those pictures are for America's image in the Muslim world. Why then do they keep airing them?
Yesterday President Bush promised to veto any bill that loosens his restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. You'll recall that in 2001 the president said, in a compromise position, that federal funds would only go to research that worked with existing stem cell lines. On Friday, he reiterated that position in plain terms, saying that he is against promoting "science that destroys life in order to save life." Senate majority leader Harry Reid, who has fallen into the bad habit lately of calling radical anything and anyone with whom he disagrees, was at it again, saying "radical ideology [should not] stand in the way." I guess ad hominem attacks are the way to go when you don't have the facts on your side. What's so radical about recognizing the scientific fact that human embryos are developing human life and wanting to protect that life? Contrast that cautious approach with that of Reid, who, knowing human embryos are human, wants to destroy them anyway to harvest their stem cells–even though such cells are readily available through cord blood and other ethical sources. The question naturally comes to mind: Which man–Bush or Reid–harbors a radical ideology?
Amid all the hype about embryonic stem cells, cord blood (which is rich in stem cells but does not carry the ethical baggage that attends the destruction of developing human life) has been relatively unnoticed. That may be about to change. The "Cord Blood Stem Cell Act," sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith, may soon come to the House floor. According to the Family Research Council, the bill would provide federal funding to increase the national inventory of cord blood stem cells and enable physicians to have access to a centralized network to obtain these cells. The law would also spread the word about the need to preserve cord blood stem cells. What's not to like?
Last Congress, the Democratic minority broke more than 200 years of Senate tradition and began filibustering President Bush's federal appeals court nominees. Though these judges had majority support among senators, the Democrats used the filibuster to keep them from getting an up or down vote. Why? Not because judges such as Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown are unqualified. They are well-qualified, as the American Bar Association has noted. The real reason is that the radical Left interest groups that run the Democratic Party–such as NARAL Pro-Choice America–are unalterably opposed to jurists who interpret the Constitution rather than legislating the latest liberal fads from the bench. The Democrats can't let conservative judges make it to the appeals court level. They know this is where Supreme Court judges come from, and with several vacancies at the high court likely in the near future, they will break every rule and twist the meaning of "advice and consent" beyond recognition. The Democrats, who keep losing elections, want to retain the only lever on power they have left: the judiciary. That's why they are ready to shut down the Senate. If we want rule by the people rather than rule by judges, we have to stare them down.
In France, easily one of Europe's most secular states, the government asked workers to forego Monday's paid holiday to raise money for the nation's elderly. Apparently socialistic compassion only goes so far. The request sparked outraged protests from union workers sporting signs such as "No to Free Work." Thousands more simply took the day off as usual. France, home to the 35-hour workweek, grants workers more than generous vacation time, so the protests left naive government officials nonplussed. One other bit of irony: The holiday French "workers" are taking such umbrage at losing is the Monday after Pentecost Sunday, commemorating the advent nearly two millennia ago of the Holy Spirit to the church, 50 days after the resurrection from the dead of Jesus Christ. These are profoundly religious events, and to see secularized Frenchmen fight to keep this formerly religious holy-day is amusing, to say the least. Kind of like the ACLU fighting to remove all vestiges of Christmas from the public square–and then giving its employees December 25 off.
Ever thought about how hard it is to collect the money from a rebate? You usually have to fill out a form. Sometimes you have to make a copy of the receipt. (The original receipt will not do.) Then you have to send your documents in and wait eight to ten weeks. Other times you open the box that your purchase came in and search in vain to find any "literature" describing how to collect the rebate that was advertised in the store (which induced you to buy that particular item in the first place). So you look for a toll-free number, an e-mail address, or a website. You either get no help from these, or you get a different offer altogether. I have a sneaking suspicion that these rebate-happy companies don't really want us to get our money. (They mainly want our names and addresses.) And if we do, they exact their pound of flesh for the privilege. Just give us the discount and be done with it.
Following the biased, anti-administration reporting of the New York Times and CBS News before it, Newsweek's admission that its "toilet story" was fabricated further flushes the mainstream media's credibility down the Porta-Potty. Only this time, the people who were really hurt were the Muslims who died in resulting street violence. I guess it's time to revise the old bumper sticker slogan from "Clinton Lied, Monica Cried; Bush Lied, People Died" to "Newsweek Lied, People Died."
Last week, Pope Benedict XVI waived the five-year waiting period for John Paul II, putting his predecessor on the fast-track to sainthood. This makes it official: It now easier to be named a saint than to make the baseball Hall of Fame.
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Rep. Duncan Hunter is proposing a law to keep women out of combat. With sincere appreciation for all that women have done and are doing to protect our country, I have to say it's a good idea. Women, while equal in dignity and worth, are not men, and the U.S. military is not a jobs program. There are many valuable things women can do to serve their country. Combat is not one of them.
A suicide car bomb exploded near a market in Baghdad earlier today, killing a dozen more people. More than 400 people have died in such attacks since a new government was announced two weeks ago. While most of the victims have been Muslim Iraqis, most of the attackers have been Muslims from outside the country. To stop this mayhem, the U.S. must apply some real pressure to these "neighbors" and get serious about controlling the borders.
One more thought on the NBA's controversial decision (see below) to name Steve Nash (a white) the league MVP over Shaquille O'Neal (a black): Keeping in mind that Nash is the first Caucasian to win the award in nearly two decades, don't think of it as racism. Consider it affirmative action for white people.
I guess it had to happen. The merchants of racial grievance have showed up in the National Basketball Association, a league dominated by African-Americans. They're suggesting that the diminutive Steve Nash won this year's Most Valuable Player award over the gargantuan mega-star Shaquille O'Neal at least partly because Nash is white and O'Neal is black. Charges of racism in this case are laughable. O'Neal makes $25 million a year plus endorsements, and his face is all over NBA marketing. O'Neal is so great a player that he could win the award every year. Nash, a fine player, had a breakout year and surprisingly helped turn a poor team into one that had a great season. While I disagree with the vote, there's no racism here. People love the underdog. As Wilt Chamberlain (the giant of his day) once said, "Nobody loves Goliath."
Sixty years ago, the American soldier kept us safe from Hitler's tyranny, at tremendous cost. Today, the American soldier, again at tremendous cost, is keeping us safe from Islamic tyranny. We need to remind ourselves over and over that freedom is not free–and then thank a vet.
Scientists who believe in evolution have chosen to boycott state Board of Education hearings on how the theory should be treated in Kansas public schools, leaving the stage clear for advocates of Intelligent Design. Strange. I thought scientists were supposed to be the open-minded ones, who examined all the evidence. Instead, like children who don't get their way, they have taken their ball and gone home. Could it be they are unsure whether their theory can withstand a challenge in the arena of ideas?
During George W. Bush’s brief tour of the newly democratic Baltic states, Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga presented him with the Three-Star Order, the nation's top honor. She called President Bush a "signal fighter [for] freedom and democracy in the world." However, on Friday Senate Democratic minority leader Harry Reid told a group of high schoolers in Las Vegas that the president is "a loser.'' The contrasting views show how easy it is for some people to take their liberty for granted. Those who actually have some experience fighting tyranny, however, appreciate what the president is doing. Let bitter partisans such as Reid rave on, but let’s keep them in the minority where they belong.
The other day, the Fed raised interest rates another quarter-point. It was the eighth such hike in the last year. In a financial quirk, however, mortgage rates remain near historic lows. Experts don't expect this dissonance to last. Eventually, mortgage rates will go up. Thus, if you have an adjustable rate now, you need to look seriously at locking in at a low fixed rate now. This will protect your housing budget–and possibly allow you to sleep better at night.
There's only one you, so be the best you that you can be. But don't try to be someone else. It will only frustrate you.
At a conference in New York City last weekend called "Examining the Real Agenda of the Religious Far Right," sponsored by the City University of New York and People For the American Way, participants warned gravely about America's looming theocracy. Sessions on subjects such as "Fundamentalism: the Fear and the Rage," "Is Unholy Theocracy Here?" and "On the Psychology and Theocracy of George W. Bush: Reflections in a Culture of Fear" stoked liberal paranoia. What's a Christian to do in the face of such ignorant and irrational secular rage? Yes, lies must be answered, but columnist George Will notes that Christians are too well established in this society to credibly claim the status of victim. "Some Christians should practice the magnanimity of the strong," Will says, "rather than cultivate the grievances of the weak." Good advice. Today is the National Day of Prayer. Let's pray not only for our country, but for those who hate us.
According to a news report this week in the Washington Times, "A letter to terrorist Abu Musab Zarqawi from a key lieutenant complains of low morale and incompetent leaders in waging war against American and Iraqi government troops in Iraq." Morale about the war has hit a new low elsewhere–among the American people. A CNN/USAToday/Gallup poll released yesterday says that 57 percent of the public now says the war in Iraq wasn't worth it–a drop of 7 percentage points since February. So let me get this straight: Just as it appears we have the terrorists on the run, many Americans appear ready to give up and give in to the terrorists–which is precisely what they are trying to achieve. I, for one, am glad that our commander in chief doesn't wage war by the ever-changing polls.
In the National Basketball Association, Commissioner David Stern fined Houston Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy $100,000 for saying that the referees were "harder" on his star center, Yao Ming, because of complaints about officiating by Mark Cuban, the high-profile owner of the rival Dallas Mavericks. Preferential treatment of star players is the unofficial but completely obvious modus operandi of the NBA, and has been since the halcyon days of "Magic and Larry." Van Gundy is being fined more than what most people earn in a year not because what he said is so outlandish, but because it is so plausible.
Now that the overhyped "runaway bride" (not to be confused with the Runaway Bunny) has turned out to be a fraud, here's a preliminary scorecard of winners and losers. Losers: The bride (who may face criminal charges, not to mention nationwide scorn); her parents (who paid for a lavish wedding that never happened). Winners: The invited guests (who can return their gifts); the groom (who doesn't have to marry her).