Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog

Monday, June 30, 2003

More Progress on the Road Map

For an idealistic foreing policy moron, President Bush appears to be making real progress towards ending the violence in the Middle East.
Israeli and Palestinian commanders shook hands Monday, bulldozers dismantled checkpoints and Palestinian traffic flowed freely in the Gaza Strip — significant steps toward ending 33 months of bloody fighting.

Yep, there's still a long road ahead, but consider this paragraph:
But after Israel implemented a troop pullout from northern Gaza and agreed to pull out of Bethlehem on Wednesday, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon shrugged off calls to react to the shootings and called for patience.

"Even if the Palestinians were the fastest in the world and the most determined, you can't expect them to destroy terrorism in a moment, since this morning," Sharon told members of parliament.

That's from a hard liner Israeli, basically saying they have to give the Palestinians a chance to come into compliance. Did anyone even suspect that this was a possibility even a year ago? How about six months ago? Israel is pulling out of Gaza, and Palestinian Security forces are taking over. The Palestinians have a new Prime Minister, who seems to be actively working to end the Intifadah. Arafat is being pushed to the side; Hussein is no longer around to fund terrorism; the important Arab countries are uniting behind a call for peace, and a two state solution.

While it could all fall apart tomorrow, peace in the Middle East is actually a possibility instead of a pipe dream.

Posted by Rich
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Tax cuts to aid a stagnant economy

Really stupid idea right? I mean, who other than some stupid Texan who had to steal the Presidency would be dumb enough to think that cutting taxes is the way to prosperity?

Can you say Gerhard Schroeder

Sweeping reductions in income tax are on the way in Germany after Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and his cabinet decided to bet on Germans' willingness to spend to save the stagnating economy.

Posted by Rich
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Liberalism II: Liberalism Defended

This started as a reply to a comment from Barry B., but grew so long, I decided to make it a post.

I missed the part where I called you a liar and a thief, Barry. In fact, a careful reading of the post reveals that I did no such thing. Instead, I said that liberals have been taken in by a lie, and proceeded to illustrate it.

If you honestly believe that gov't exists to ensure that all our needs are met, then you are not a liar, even though the premise itself is false. If you honestly believe that it is okay to confiscate and redistribute the wealth of those who create it, then you are not a thief, even though it is theft of property.

Barry says:

I missed the part where I was not only a liar but a THIEF because I am a liberal who has paid into Social Security and Medicare and taxes for education all my life and I think I am entitled to have my SS payments and medicare payments in my retirement.

You believe you are entitled to get out of the system what you put in, and more if needed. Shouldn't the wealthy citizen expect the same: to get out of the system at least what he put in? But our system guarantees that he won't, since he's carrying the load for those who want to get out more than they put in. If you were told that you had to pay 10, 20, or 30 times the amount you could ever hope to get back from the system, would you do so willingly, in order to ensure that those who didn't contribute their share would be taken care of? Are you doing so now?

That's what you're asking of the wealthy.

And I don't buy the argument that it's OK because "They don't need it." Need is irrelevant. Property should never be taken simply because "they don't need it." It was earned, or created by these people; it belongs to them, not you or me. If ownership is based solely on need, then personal property rights are a thing of the past.

Barry asks:

Does Rich want to return to the days of the Robber Barrons and child labor?

By your argument, adopting liberal labor laws has increased the wealth of the owners/managers. Is it reasonable to suggest that if those laws were removed, those same owner/managers would return to a less efficient, less profitable business model?

I don't think so.

Barry asks:

Does Rich want to end the public school system?

Our public school systems have become a national disgrace. Yes, an educated work force is a boon to business, but are our public schools getting the job done? The resounding answer from both businesses and colleges is "No, they aren't."

Perhaps it's time to consider a new model.

Barry says:

If the government decides that as part of medicare we can afford a drug program yes [prescription drugs are a right] and it appears that the Republican Conservatives have decided it is a good idea.

It's only a right if we can afford it?

Here is a wonderful demonstration of the liberal fallacy in action. True rights exist whether we can afford them or not. A 'right' that only exists if we can afford it is by definition a privilege. A prescription drug plan is not a right, but a privilege of living in a wealthy society.

And that applies to everything we've talked about. I agree, all of these things are good to have. A good education, medical care, a welfare safety net, prescription drugs. I'm not against any of them.


They are the benefits of living in a wealthy society where initiative, innovation, and hard work are rewarded. If we can afford them, then by all means, let's have them. But when an average guy is already paying over 37% of his income in taxes, I seriously question whether we can afford it.

Barry says:

Liberals think government can improve the entire state, country and community by collectively spending more of the wealth of the country taken in taxes and that typically they can increase the wealth of the wealthy so they benefit more even with the larger tax bite.

So liberals really want the wealthy to become more wealthy?

Paging Mr. Orwell, Mr. George Orwell. Double speak in progress...

If the goal of liberal policy is to increase the wealth of the wealthy, then why all the class warfare rhetoric? I also note the nationalization of wealth ("by collectively spending more of the wealth of the country"), a common liberal conceit. I hate to break it to you, but the wealth belongs to the people, not the country, not the gov't. The gov't levies taxes, and the people control the gov't. Should taxes grow too burdensome, the people act to do something about it, like elect fiscal conservatives. But then, we know how you feel about the people
Einstein is credited with the following gem of wisdom: “Only two things in my experience are infinite: 1) is the Universe 2) is human stupidity. And sometimes I am not sure about the universe.” P T. Barnam once opined that “ Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American Public.

Careful there, your elitism is showing.

Barry says:

98% of the wealth in this country is controlled by a very small percentage of the people. That wealth is what is primarily protected by the more than 50% of every tax dollar we pay. This includes Veteran’s entitlements like VA care and payments to wounded soldiers, the Homeland Security department, and the Billions we just spent in Iraq.
Why should those Americans with so very little to lose pay disproportionate amounts of their income to protect the wealth of the very wealthy?

Nobody has asked them to. Just as you point out that a majority of the wealth is controlled by a minority of the people, so too are the majority of taxes paid by that same minority. And I'd love to see figures on any 'disproportionate' amounts, either in dollars or percentages. Even the 'horrible' sales tax takes a larger bite from the wealthy than the poor, because the wealthy spend more.

Barry says:

The entitlements you mentioned are paid for by those entitled to them.

Simply not true. Families on welfare by definition aren't paying taxes. The average senior today will draw far more out of Social Security and Medicare than he ever paid in. It's simple logic; if they were able to pay in what they took out, they wouldn't need the assistance in the first place. If those who needed assistance most were able to pay for that assistance, the wealthy would not be in a 250% higher tax bracket (37%) than the majority of Americans(15%). The undeniable fact is that our liberal social policies are only made possible by placing the lion's share of the burden on the backs of the wealthy.

Posted by Rich
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Sunday, June 29, 2003

Liberalism I: The Lie at its Heart

Liberals are not all bad people. Like most everybody, they truly care about the world around them, and want to do whatever it takes to make it a better place. Unfortunately, liberals have been exposed to a pernicious idea, utterly compelling yet disastrously misleading, and this idea permeates every facet of their philosophy.

That lie is called Entitlement.

At the heart of every liberal program lies the idea that we are entitled to something just because we have a heartbeat. Liberals tell us that we are entitled to these things not because we've earned them, worked for them, or sacrificed for them; we are entitled to them because we have a pulse.

"As human beings, we have rights," the libs cry. "We have a right to this and a right to that, and it is our God-given right to demand the other thing too, (unless we're atheist, in which case we can still demand the other thing, we just don't try to determine the basis for it.)"

Like the grasshopper in Aesop's fable, liberals believe that the government owes them a living. It exists to meet their every need, regardless of their own efforts, or lack thereof. It is only through the confiscation of wealth from the productive members of society that the government can support the entitlement lie, which leads us to "progressive taxation," and "making the wealthy pay their fair share," which are both euphamisms for confiscation of earned wealth. (This dynamic is being caried out on a global scale today, particularly in the UN. The Kyoto Treaty was another good example.)

Put simply, modern liberalism is based on a lie which is propped up by theft.

So what are rights? How do we distinguish between true human rights, and the parasitic privileges of a wealthy culture? In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson wrote,
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Note the essentially limited nature of those rights. True rights delineate opportunities, not outcomes. Health, wealth, and happiness are not rights; the pursuit of them is. Jefferson tells us that we have the right to struggle, nothing more. Compare this with the liberal laundry list of rights, most of which define outcomes, not opportunities.

  • We have a right to a good job at a good wage.
  • We have a right to a free basic education and a low cost college education.
  • We have a right to medical care.
  • We have a right to perscription drugs.
  • We have a right to have the gov't look after us when we've finished working.

Somehow, we've switched from protecting opportunities to directing outcomes, which in practice actually reduces our real rights and freedoms, as demonstrated by the recent SCOTUS decisions on afirmative action. By defining an outcome, a diverse student body, as a right, the right to equal protection under the law, as well as freedom of association is diminished.

It has been said that a civilized society takes care of those less fortunate, and that is certainly true. The problem comes when that compassion becomes mandatory, or when those less fortunate believe they have a right to that compassion. The productive members begin to shoulder more and more of the burden, while the rest of the population gets more demanding. Not only do they demand the right to high wages (unions), they demand to be paid when they're not working (FMLA benefits). Conditioned to expect their needs to be met by the governement, they become less willing/able to take care of themselves, creating a downward spiral which ends when the load exceeds the ability of the productive class to carry it, leading to societal collapse. It is the inevitable outcome of the Entitlement lie.

Posted by Rich
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Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Don’t forget the Bash

Blogger's Bash, tomorrow night, 6 PM at Barleys in the Old City. See you there!

Posted by Rich
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Practice what you preach

Awhile back, Trent Lott said something incredibly stupid. He implied that if Strom Thurmond had been elected President when he ran, the nationwould have been better off. The blogosphere, mostly led by conservative bloggers, picked up the story and kept it alive until the mainstream finally ran with it. The end result was Lott stepping down from the Majority Leader position.

Now Gephardt has made a similarly egregious statement.
When I'm president, we'll do executive orders to overcome any wrong thing the Supreme Court does tomorrow or any other day.

Let's ignore for the moment that he couldn't possibly follow through on such an outrageous statement, and concentrate instead on what the liberal blogosphere has to say about it. After all, Gephardt is running for President. He's been a leading light of the Democrat Party for quite sometime. Certainly if his view of running the country through Presidential fiat were not part of the Democratic mindset, then he will be denounced, right?

Let's just take a tour through the left and see...

From SKBubba:
So I don't know what he said, when he said it, or why he said it, and frankly I don't care.

From Barry Bozeman, nothing

From Barry (the original)
. I see it as an offhand comment during a discussion session at a candidates forum with other Democratic candidates and partisans.

From Kevin
If Gephardt does not apologize for these remarks, or continues to make them, then I will be concerned.

From Atrios: nothing

From Daily Kos: Nothing.

From the agonist: nothing

From Talking Points Memo: nothing

From tblogg: (Blogger links not working, scroll down to "He may be a fool but he's our fool.") A list of Bush malapropisms, to suggest that mangling the English language is somehow equivalent to mangling the Constitution, demolishing the Separation of Powers, and ruling by Presidential declaration.

In short, the left is trivializing the comment as meaningless. "He didn't really mean it." The problem is he did. Listening to the commentary shows that. He wasn't taken out of context, or speaking off the cuff, but announcing very clearly that if elected as President, he would overrule Supreme Court decisions by Executive Order.

If he doesn't back away from that statement, then we have no choice but to take him at his word. And if liberals do not call on him to back down, then we must take their silence to mean acceptence, if not active support, for that statement.

UPDATE: I inadvertantly left off the link to Rush Limbaughtomy home of Barry Bozeman. That has been corrected. Barry is a cool guy, even though he does tend to foam at the mouth at the first hint of conservative rhetoric, His stated goal is to drive Limbaugh fans to apoplexy using the tactics of el Rushbo himself. I don't know how successful he'll be, but it'll certainly make for entertaining blogging.

Posted by Rich
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Senate filibuster rules changing

The GOP controlled Senate is taking steps to loosen the deathgrip Democrats have taken on the throat of Bush Judicial nominees. In a 10-0 vote today, the Senate Rules committee voted to approve an amendment to Senate rules which decreases the number of votes needed to end a filbuster each time a vote is called.

Interestingly, no Democrat member ofthe committee showed up to vote. Unfortunately for them, unlike in the Texas legislature, running and hiding wasn't enough to stop passage of the measure. Democrats deny that they boycotted the vote.

Next, the measure must go before the full Senate, although Majority Leader Frist has not said when he'll bring it up.

There's a game of brinksmanship going on here. The Dems are using the filibuster in an unprecedented effort to derail a sitting President's judicial nomination. Their opposition is not based on the worthiness of the candidate; Estrada for example got the ABA's highest rating. It's nothing more than partisan politics Now that the dems went nuclear, the reps are prepared to do the same, weakening the use of filibusters to block judicial nominations. While this measure is limited to judicial nomination filibusters, the threat to the filibuster in general is clear.

The minority party has two means of maintaining influence, compromise or obstructionism. Unwilling to compromise, gridlock has become the weapon of choice for the minority party. By limiting the ability of the minority party to obstruct the work of Congress, they may be forced into a more conciliatory mode of operation.

Frist is not eager to escalate the fight; the delicate balance of power between majority and minority is not toyed with lightly. But when excessive force is applied in one direction, it must be countered with a like force, or the balance is destroyed.

Dems now have a choice to make. Allow the nominations to proceed to the full Senate, and make their case there, or risk a permanent loss of power for the minority party.

Posted by Rich
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Unemployment and Poverty

There's a little debate over at Bubba's on unemployment, and what the gov't should do about it. Apparently, since I am not real sympathetic towards recent college grads who prefer to sponge off mom and dad until their dream job falls in their lap instead of working their way to their dream job, I'm a right wingnut.

Well, so be it.

When I got out of the Navy in 1993, the nuclear industry was in a major downturn. Operations and maintenance jobs were few and far between, so I took a job in field service for a bio-med firm, making use of the electronics portion of my training. It was entry level, and paid accordingly, and kept me on the road covering a three state territory, but it put food on the table and a roof over our heads. I was a road warrior for a little over a year until I found an opening in the nuke field. It wasn't the perfect job, but it took me one step closer to where I wanted to be. The pay was significantly better, almost double, but it involved long periods away from home. I stayed with it for a year, then found the job I wanted, and got back to Tennessee, hopefully for good.

The bottom line is that I took what was available to work my way to where I wanted to be. There are some who suggest that it just isn't possible today, that the job market is too tight, that unemployment is too high. For comparison, the unemployment rate then was 6.9%, roughly equivalent to today. With no college degree, and only specialized military training, I managed to go from well below the poverty line to solid middle class in about 5 years.

Don't tell me it can't be done today; I won't buy it.

As for that so called "poverty line", during my last two years in the Navy, even adjusting for benefits, my family lived significantly below the poverty line. We qualified for every program out there, WIC, section 8 housing, the whole ball of wax. When I got out of the Navy, my income took a jump, but it was outweighed by the loss of benefits, which kept me below the poverty line for about another year and a half, until I took my second job. Again, we were eligible for WIC, etc.

At no time did I take advantage of it. We had a car, two TV's, and a VCR. The kids had food, clothes, and went to the doctor as needed. We didn't have a lot of luxuries, we rarely went out for dinner, and there were tough times, and an emergency could have wiped us out. We did face one housing crunch, but fortunately I had my family to fall back on. We survive the crisis (It lasted a week, involved a duplicitous Yankee, and forms the root of my dislike for the state of Ohio) and moved along, scrimping and scraping until we made it past those rough years. I never considered us as part of the working poor, since we had the necessities covered, and even had a little money to play with from time to time.

Here's a quick test to see if you're poor:

  1. If you have a car less than 5 years old, or more than 1 car, you're not poor.
  2. If you have TIVO, a big screen TV, or a satellite dish, you're not poor.
  3. If you have a cell phone, you're not poor.
  4. If you're kids wear shoes that cost more than $30, you're not poor.
  5. If there's a Nike Swoosh anywhere in your house or possessions, you're not poor.
  6. If you have a microwave in your kitchen, you're not poor.
  7. If you eat fast food more than twice a week, or at a sit down restaurant more than twice a month, you're not poor.
  8. If you have medical insurance, you're not poor.

That's not poverty.

Poverty is living in a cardboard shantytown outside of Rio de Janeiro, drinking filthy water.
Poverty is living in a tarpaper shack in the foothills of Appalachia, selling moss for pin money.
Poverty is living on the streets because you have no family to take you in, and nowhere else to go.
Poverty is your kids going to bed hungry because there's no money for food.

I've seen real poverty in my travels around the world; what we call poverty would be considered luxury just about anywhere else on the planet. We define poverty too broadly in this country, which dilutes our efforts in helping those who truly need it. There are two possible reasons for this expansion in the definition of poverty. Either we are aiming high, trying to elevate all of our citizens to a standard of living that would be considered wealthy by the rest of the world, or it is a cynical manipulation by politicians who want to amplify the problems of the poor in order to advance their own agenda.

Posted by Rich
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Sunday, June 22, 2003

The Hulk

I admit it; I'm a nerd.

I played D&D (although I preferred other RPGs); I played wargames; I read science fiction by the truckload. I've been messing around with computers for over 20 years now; I've had modems from 300 baud all the way up to my current cable modem. I've been a member of Q-Link, Compuserve and AOL (oh the shame!).

And I collected comics.

Not just as a kid; I started in college, and continued after I joined the Navy. I've still got 'em backed and bagged (For the uninitiated, comic collectors keep their comics in pristine condition by placing each one in an individual bag, backed with a piece of cardboard to prevent wrinkles) in my room. Over the years, I guess I've collected about a thousand of them, and The Hulk has his place in that collection.

I was eager to see the movie version for a couple of reasons. First, I love Ang Lee's work. Like the best authors of speculative fiction, he uses the extraordinary to explore the ordinary. While the mayhem is entertaining, it's the story that grabs you, and the characters that keep you. Stan Lee understood that principle, and used it to drive Marvel to the top of the comic book world. I wanted to see if Ang and Stan had anything in common beyond a last name. Second, Marvel seems to be on a roll with their latest movie adaptations. Spiderman rocked, and Daredevil was electric, so I had high hopes that the Hulk would work as well.

As the guy standing beside me on the way out of the theater said to his date, "They got it right!"

We'll get the bad out of the way quickly.

First, there was that godawful travesty aired during the Superbowl. What on earth possessed them to market an unfinished clip? On the basis of that promo, I was planning to skip the movie entirely. Fortunately, the trailer I saw later showed more movie, and less unfinished CG work. Next, capturing Nick Nolte's descent into madness on film (David Banner/Nick Nolte...typecasting? You be the judge) may have been interesting, but it led to some truly unbelievable moments in the film.

Yeah, I know, we're watching a movie about a guy who turns into a giant green monster, and I'm carping about unbelievable moments from Nick Nolte. As any writer worth his salt knows, maintaining the reader's suspension of disbelief is paramount. He has to convince the reader that what is going on is real in order to get him to care about it. In general fiction, this is hard enough; in speculative fiction, you've already got one strike against you, namely that giant green monster jumping around onscreen. The audience already has to work hard enough to stay with you on that; to ask that same audience to believe that the Army, knowing what Banner is capable of, would allow his father to try and bait him into a homicidal rage without acting to stop it is asking too much.

Now, for the good.

First, the obvious; Jennifer Connelly is the most beautiful actress in Hollywood today, and one of the most underutilized. With any luck, betwen this movie and her Oscar winning role in A Beautiful Mind, we'll get to see a lot more of her. Maybe they'll give her a role where she's not in love with an emotionally disturbed genius. How about one where she's in love with an emotionally disturbed blogger?

It could happen...

Second, Ang Lee's direction and Frederick Elmes' cinematography combine to echo the comic book format while transcending it. The split screens, the transitions, the extreme closeups, and the multiple angles all evoke the language of comics, where artists had to use all kinds of visual shorthand to convey complex emotions and actions in a few highly stylized static panels. Lee chose to emulate that shorthand and Elmes made it work brilliantly, bending and sometimes breaking cinematographic rules in the process, but producing a truly unioque and powerful look to the film. I'm betting that Hulk will be nominated and win for Best Cinematography.

The story itself is busy, as we have Bruce and his father, Betty and her father, Bruce and Betty, and both fathers, all interacting in a complex chain of move and countermove, all trying to influence the actions of Bruce. In this light, the Hulk becomes the monster, and more the victim of the machinations of those who try to take advantage of him. It is the contrast of that towering rage and relative innocence that makes the Hulk such a popular character, and this movie captures that contrast perfectly.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Posted by Rich
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Saturday, June 21, 2003

Integrity in blogging

Yep, that's me to the left over there. I was attacked by a sudden case of conscience and could no longer bear the deception I was engaging in. Sure, it was nice to present the old image to the world, smiling, confident, in control. But it was a sham, a hoax, a staged presentation with no more link to reality than a politican's campaign promise.

Now you can see the real me; harried, disheveled, battered by the slings and arrowas of outrageous fortune (OK, I stole that last bit), baffled by the real world, but still pressing on. Sure, I would have loved to keep the image of the suave, debonair, single father of six, but I could no longer live the lie. What you see is the real me, so get used to it!*grin*

PS: I've done Lileks one better. Rather than give his readers a picture to photoshop to make him look ridiculous, I've given my readers a pic that doesn't need to be photoshopped. I truly go to the extremes to keep y'all happy.

I hope you appreciate it!

Posted by Rich
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Friday, June 20, 2003

Blogger’s Bash!

Ok, folks, for those who don't have e-mail, don't read e-mail, or get so much e-mail you might have missed it, I've scheduled another Bloggers Bash for this Wednesday, around 6, at Barley's in the old city. I'm hoping for a big turnout since it's been awhile between bashes. I'd especially like to meet the newer members of the RTB, since we've been growing so rapidly. Drop me a line and let me know whether or not you can make it so I can let Barley's know how many to expect.

See you next Wednesday! (SKB, name the movie(s))

Posted by Rich
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Wednesday, June 18, 2003

From my e-mail

I may have started a trend in feminine hygeine humor. I got this in my mail this morning:

Fish Hook Salesman

A young guy from Texas moves to California and goes to a big "everything under one roof" department store looking for a job. The manager says, "Do you have any sales experience?"

The kid says, "Yeah, I was a salesman back home in Texas."

Well, the boss liked the kid so he gave him the job. "You start tomorrow. I'll come down after we close and see how you did."

His first day on the job was rough but he got through it. After the store was locked up, the boss came down. "How many sales did you make today?"

The kid says, "One."

The boss says, "Just one? Our sales people average 20 or 30 sales a day. How much was the sale for?"

The kid says, "$101,237.64."

The boss says, "$101,237.64? What the hell did you sell?"

Kid says, "First I sold him a small fish hook. Then I sold him a medium fish hook. Then I sold him a larger fish hook. Then I sold him a new fishing rod. Then I asked him where he was going fishing and he said down at the coast, so I told him he was gonna need a boat, so we went down to the boat department and I sold him that twin engine Chris Craft.

Then he said he didn't think his Honda Civic would pull it, so I took
him down to the automotive department and sold him that 4X4 Blazer."

The boss said, "A guy came in here to buy a fish hook and you sold him a boat and truck?"

Kid says, "No, he came in here to buy a box of tampons for his wife and
I said, 'Well, your weekend's shot, you might as well go fishing.'"

Posted by Rich
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Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Cloning and the AMA

The AMA has endorsed cloning for research purposes, describing it as ethical. While it certainly is legal, I doubt very seriously that it can be described as ethical. And if it is, then cloning for reproduction is just as ethical.
Specifically, what the AMA has endorsed is cloning embryos to harvest their stem cells. Those stem cells are then encouraged to grow, in the hopes that they can be used in therapies for a myriad of degenerative diseases. At the same time, the AMA rejects cloning for reproduction as unethical, given the risks of the process, the high chances of producing defective fetuses, and the moral implications which arise once the clone is born and becomes a legal person. This gives rise to the odd notion that cloning is OK as long as you kill the clone prior to birth.

Opponents object to the process because they consider the embryo as a human organism, and reject the notion of creating a life to harvest its cells. They also point out that there are other alternatives for ESC, including umbilical blood and autologous adult stem cells, that have already proven their efficacy, and are being used successfully. Ironically, there have been no successful ESC therapies developed, yet the medical community holds out great hope for the future.

So here's my question: We already have evidence that adult stem cells can differentiate into multiple tissue types, just as ESC do. We also know that once differentiated, ASC show significantly more stability, resulting in fewer tumors. We also have empirical evidence that therapies based on ASC work, and work well. We also know that ASC can be isolated from the patient, eliminating all rejection and immune issues.

Why then are some pushing so hard for ESC research?

Posted by Rich
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Liberal bigotry revisited

Liberals are much nicer people than conservatives. It says so right here on the label. They aren't mean spirited or petty, and would never stoop to personal attacks or vendettas in support of their own ideology. They always take the high road, discussing issues passionately, but reasonably, and always based on facts.

It's those nasty mean dirty conservatives who've dragged political discourse in the mud. They're ideology is morally and logically bankrupt, so all they can do is rant and rave and shout down any who try to disagree with them, going so far as to call anybody who dares have a differing opinion "unamerican," or "traitor."

It's a good thing we have liberals to keep us on the right, oops, correct path. After all, we the sheeple are too dumb to know whats best for us. We need our good Uncle Sam to take care of us and make sure we wash behind our ears before he tucks us in at night.

Yeah, right.

What ignited this little rant, you ask? I guess I'm just fed up with the rampant hypocrisy coming from a good portion of the left, particularly those who feel the need to take the most extreme elements of conservatism and use them to tar the entire conservative community while simulaneously denying that the extreme leftists are a part of the left. It's hypocrisy, pure and simple. Yes, there are whack jobs on the right, but they do not represent the views of the majority of conservatives; that's why they are called extremists. Get it?

Probably not.

Normally, I don't link to hate sites, but this little gem illustrates what I'm talking about. It's a Flash animation from the DNC talking about how Bush is going to destroy the Supreme Court. Now dems are claiming that it's just humor, (Funny how that excuse doesn't work when the humor is racist, sexist, or homophobic. Must be that non-existent bigotry against conservatives again.) but I fail to see anything funny in lies being used to try and scare people.

Examples? Sure.
  • The clip implies that Miguel Estrada is hiding his record. Untrue. His judicial record has been reviewed by the ABA, who found him to be well qualified for the Court.
  • The clip implies that President Bush wants to pack the court with ultra conservatives. Based on his judicial appointments to date, only 2 of which faced significant dem opposition, that simply hasn't been the case. And even the two nominees facing opposition aren't ultra-conservative.

Beyond the lies, are the personal attacks. According to the add, conservatives are heartless ("Heart? We don't need a heart!") and unAmerican (...American Values, not right wing values.)

It isn't a joke when lies, distortion, and innuendo are used to try and ignite a firestorm of opposition; it's demagoguery of the worst kind. Not to mention that the creators of this garbage take it very seriously.
"This is really using humor to talk about a very serious subject, that is the kind of thing at stake if George W. Bush actually gets to make an appointment to the Supreme Court," said Democratic political consultant Kiki Moore.

It's amusing to hear a liberal so scared of the power of conservatism that she honestly belives that Bush can turn the entire nation into an ultra-conservative nightmare with a single SCOTUS appointment. Conservatism must be some pretty potent stuff.

I already know what I'm going to hear from liberals who like the cartoon:
  1. But it's OK, because conservatives do it too!
  2. But it's OK, because conservatives are really bad people; they deserve it.
  3. But it's OK, because conservatives have all the power, so vicious satire is the only weapon we have.

    Alright, let's deal with these.
    1. Yep, they do. And since both sides do it, don't get on your high horse about "negative campaigning," or "the decline in civility" the next time a dem gets flamed. Or stand ready to shown up as the hypocrite you will be.
    2. Careful, your bigotry is showing again. That line has been used to legitimize bigotry since Cain was banished from the garden. The "party of tolerance" should be able to do better than that. Or is all that talk about multiculturalism just hype?
    3. Here's my favorite one of all, because it really reveals a lot about the mindset of some liberals. According to this argument it's OK for them to indulge in vicious and petty attacks on conservatives because conservatives have all the power. Liberals are weak, puny, disorganized, and insignificant. The only way they can fight back is through vituperative rhetoric.

    It must be awful living with such a core of self loathing. No wonder they tend to be so cranky.

    Finally, I have to address the implication of the entire bit, that conservatives are either diabolical, plotting the overthrow of all that is good and decent, or subhuman monsters, programmed to do their master's bidding without thought or feelings. It's the same paradigm I pointed out before, that all conservatives are either corrupt ideologues, or dupes.

Posted by Rich
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Monday, June 16, 2003

A worrisome decision

This is interesting. A ruling by the Supreme Court allows forced medication of criminal defendants in order to make them capable of standing trial.
High Court Limits Gov't Drugging of Nonviolent Defendants

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court (search) on Monday limited the government's ability to forcibly medicate mentally ill criminal defendants to make them well enough to stand trial for fraud or other nonviolent charges.

The 6-3 ruling, a defeat for prosecutors, means that the government will have to revise a common practice now of putting defendants on anti-psychotic drugs for their trials. Justices said that the Constitution (search) allows the government to administer drugs only "in limited circumstances."

The case required the court to balance the government's interest in punishing nonviolent crime with a person's constitutional right to control his or her body.

I understand the prosecution's point here; the strategy of avoiding prosectution by maintaining incompetency is reprehensible. On the other hand, the defendant does have the right to determine whether to accept or reject medical treatment. Where is the balancing point? When does the State have an interest compelling enough to allow them to violate a person's fundamental right?

Based on the language in Roe v Wade, I would have to say that the State's interest only becomes compelling when another life is threatened. That would limit the practice of forced medication to those facing prosecution for violent crimes, or defendants previously convicted of violent crimes. Even in those cases, competency at trial should not be confused with competency during the criminal act.

Posted by Rich
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