Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Help Victims of Hurricane Katrina

We at Quite Right are participating in Blog Relief Day (September 1) to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Katrina is the greatest natural disaster to strike the U.S. in our lifetimes. The devastation is vast. The need for help is huge.

All of us can help. A list of charities that are helping Katrima's victims is available at Instapundit. Please donate to the Red Cross, Feed the Children, or any other charity of your choice.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Why Judicial Confirmations Have Become Politicized

All of us have noticed how political the judicial confirmatin has become. Justice Antonin Scalia addressed this issue and hit the nail on the head concerning why this is so. According to Scalia, the concept of a "living Constitution" (interpreting the Constitution in accordance with the judge's ideas of "evolving standards of justice") has created a climate in which judges settle society's difficult moral issues. Once judges begin acting as superlegislators by settling moral issues, political groups will try to assure that the judges selected will make superlegislative decisions agreeable to the political group. In other words, the participants in the political process (voters) will influence their representatives to select judges who will make decisions acceptable to the majority.

Read a more complete summary of Scalia's views at Confirm Them.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Price Controls on Gas Prices

China began to move to a free economy about 25 years ago and has had made great economic progress since then. However, China still controls the price of gasoline and a few other basic consumer commodities. In today's environment of high oil prices, China's control over gas prices at the pump has caused shortages and long lines at gas stations. Some refineries in China export gasoline in order to get a higher price for their product.

Indonesia, which produces significant amounts of oil, also has price controls on gasoline. One result is that consumers have little incentive to save fuel. As in China, Indonesia is experiencing gas shortages and long lines. Also, Indonesia is beginning to import more oil than it exports. Indonesia may become ineligible to retain its membership in the Organization of Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Now Hawaii, the state with the highest gas prices, has decided to control the wholesale price of gasoline. The state's 2 wholesalers will have less incentive to secure gasoline supplies for Hawaii. You do not need a crystal ball to foresee the outcome of Hawaii's experiment with wholesale price controls.

Irony in Crawford, Texas

The "You don't speak for me, Cindy" tour will arrive in Crawford tomorrow. One of the organizers of the bus caravan is Debra Johns, whose son is in the Marines. Johns has requested to meet with Cindy Sheehan. Sheehan's handlers have adamantly refused Johns's request.

Isn't it ironic that Cindy Sheehan, who wants to meet with Pres. Bush, refuses to meet a Marine's mother who wants to meet with Sheehan?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Code Pink Protest at Walter Reed

Code Pink, an anti-war group, has been protesting outside Walter Reed Medical Center, where many injured soldiers return for treatment. The Code Pink protesters carry inappropriate signs, such as "Maimed for a lie" and "Mothers don't let your children grow up to be killers". The protest demonstrations take place while loved visit seriously injured soldiers.

Code Pink's protests at Walter Reed are disgusting. Code Pink should not use wounded soldiers as props for its cause. Leave the soldiers alone!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Roberts Calls for Assassination of Chavez

Pat Roberts on his show yesterday said the U.S. should assassinate Pres. Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. Though Chavez may actively work against the interests of the U.S., assassination of undesirable political leaders is not and should not be the policy of the U.S. Roberts should retract his statement and should apologize for making it.

Monday, August 22, 2005

San Francisco Rejects World War II Battleship

The City of San Francisco rejected having the battleship Iowa as a museum on the waterfront.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein [(D-Cal.)] ... , a former San Francisco mayor, helped secure $3 million to tow the Iowa from Rhode Island to the Bay Area in 2001 in hopes of making touristy Fisherman's Wharf its new home.

But city supervisors voted 8-3 last month to oppose taking in the ship, citing local opposition to the Iraq war and the military's stance on gays, among other things.


Feinstein called it a "very petty decision."

"This isn't the San Francisco that I've known and loved and grew up in and was born in," Feinstein said.

San Francisco's maritime museum already has one military vessel — the USS Pampanito, an attack submarine that sank six Japanese ships during World War II and has about 110,000 visitors a year.

Eugene Volokh at Volokh's Conspiracy had this to say:

Just appalling. This ship helped protect America and the Free World from the Japanese and the Nazis. It helped protect the South Koreans from being overrun by the North. Yet somehow that's all outweighed in the Supervisors' minds by the Iraq war and of the military's policy on homosexuality. What a shocking lack of perspective and lack of respect for the institution that has helped (and continues to help) to protect San Franciscans -- and, I should mention, gay and lesbian San Franciscans, who would have suffered far worse than exclusion from the military in the hands of our WWII-era enemies, or of our modern enemies -- alongside all other Americans.

I could not agree more. The radical Left is getting loonier all the time.

American perseverance

Lately, Pres. Bush's poll numbers have been slipping. In part, the slippage reflects doubts about how the war in Iraq is going as deadly attacks on American troops and Iraqis continue with no end in sight. Is the drop in Pres. Bush's pool numbers a sign that the American public is losing its will to complete the job in Iraq in the face of continuing casualties?

Since the Vietnam era, the will of the American people to persevere has been questioned. The U.S. abandoned South Vietnam, left Beirut (after more than 200 Marines died in a truck bombing), and quit Somalia (after taking casualties in the teens and seeing a soldier's dead body dragged through the streets).

Al Qaida's leaders saw all this, too, and concluded that the U.S. would run away rather than sustain casualties. Partly in expectation of this result, Al Qaida attacked the American homeland on September 11, 2001, killing nearly 3,000. As Al Qaida expected, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in response to those attacks on U.S. soil. However, instead of becoming bogged down as the Soviets had done, the U.S. won the war quickly. Because of the short duration of the Afghanistan war and the relatively light casualties, Al Qaida did not believe that the U.S.'s willingness to sustain casualties in a prolonged war had changed.

The test of Al Qaeda's belief and our perseverance is presented in Iraq. Al Qaida can not defeat the U.S. in Iraq, but Al Qaida believes that the U.S. will pull out if its casualties continue to mount. Al Qaeda's efforts are designed to sap American will back home and then to carve out a new safe haven with superior will and firepower in the chaotic aftermath. If Al Qaida succeeds, America will be worse off than if we maintain our troops in Iraq until the job is finished, no matter how long it takes. Even liberal Democratic senators such as Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) understand that.

Though the elected Democrats in the Senate may understand what is at stake, the radical wing of the Democratic Party does not. The Cindy Sheehans of the world are shortsighted and seem unconcerned with the effects of their policy prescription to bring home all the troops now. The news media show Cindy Sheehan and her fellow travelers in a favorable light and give a steady drumbeat of negative news in Iraq, helping to influence the American public against the war in Iraq.

Is America losing the will to persevere in Iraq? The elections in 2006 and 2008 will answer the question.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Political Correctness Runs Amok at NCAA

Last week, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the governing body for most college sports, decreed that teams in bowl games may not have mascots or symbols representing American Indians. Teams with Indian names (for example, Illini, Seminoles, Aztecs) will be affected. Teams with names representing people of European heritage (for example, Fighting Irish, Spartans, Trojans, Cavaliers, Orangemen) are not affected, on the theory that Fighting Irish is not offensive but Fighting Illini is. This distinction does not make common sense.

Obviously, the NCAA's decree results from a politically correct ideology, without regard to the actual opinion of American Indians, most of whom are not offended. Florida State University may sue because it obtained the permission of the Seminole tribe to use the name Seminoles for the athletic teams. The NCAA does not care about that detail because not all Seminole Indians were consulted.

The NCAA decree is absurd when you consider the different treatment of Fighting Illini and Fighting Irish, for one example.

Liberals frequently argue that conservatives are the ones who will try to force Americans to live in accord with a certain ideology. However, this NCAA decree shows that liberals are the ones who are more likely to do so.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

NARAL Communications Director Resigns

NARAL's Communications Director resigned Friday. His email claims he had already planned to leave "/after the Supreme Court nomination fight was over". However, the uproar over NARAL's blatantly false ad distorting Judge Roberts's record (see my post immediately below) may have had more than a little to do with the timing.

(Hat tip to Agrippa, commenting at Confirm Them)

NARAL Plays and Drops Anti-Roberts Ad

This past week, NARAL, a pro-abortion advocacy group, began and ended a TV commercial attacking John Roberts, Pres. Bush's nominee to the Supreme Court. Annenberg Political Fact Check, a nonpartisan fact checking project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, describes the ad:

The ad shows images of a bombed clinic before a woman identified as Emily Lyons appears on screen, saying "I nearly lost my life." An announcer says, "Supreme Court nominee John Roberts filed court briefs supporting violent fringe groups and a convicted clinic bomber".The announcer then urges viewers to "call your Senators" and "tell them to oppose John Roberts" because we "can't afford a Justice whose ideology leads him to excuse violence against other Americans."

What does the nonpartisan Annenberg Political Fact Check say about the accuracy of NARAL's ad?

The ad is false.

And the ad misleads when it says Roberts supported a clinic bomber. It is true that Roberts sided with the bomber and many other defendants in a civil case, but the case didn't deal with bombing at all. Roberts argued that abortion clinics who brought the suit had no right use an 1871 federal anti-discrimination statute against anti-abortion protesters who tried to blockade clinics. Eventually a 6-3 majority of the Supreme Court agreed, too. Roberts argued that blockades were already illegal under state law.

The images used in the ad are especially misleading. The pictures are of a clinic bombing that happened nearly seven years after Roberts signed the legal brief in question.

NARAL's ad is blatantly false and misleading in every particular. The ad completely distorts what Roberts argued to the Supreme Court and neglects to mention that a majority of the Supreme Court agreed with his position. Nothing in the ad conveys even an element of truth. As John said at Power Line, "It is not easy to fit so many lies and distortions into a 30-second commercial."

Even worse, NARAL knows the ad distorts Roberts's record. During the press conference to unveil the ad, NARAL President Nancy Keenan said, "I want to be very clear that we are not suggesting that Mr. Roberts condones or supports clinic violence. ..." When pressed further, Keenan responded, "Again, I don't think he does condone clinic violence. We are not saying that."

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, wrote a letter urging NARAL to withdraw the ad. Sen. Specter called the ad "blatantly untrue and unfair".

Walter Dellinger, an acting solicitor general in the Clinton administration and no friend of Republicans, wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee and called NARAL's ad "unfair and unwarranted". Dellinger spoke out to stop a "downward spiral of politics".

In response to the furor, NARAL pulled the ad before the end of the week. NARAL wrote to Sen. Specter, "We ... regret that many people have misconstrued our recent advertisement about Mr. Roberts' record."

No one misconstrued NARAL's ad. NARAL deliberately designed the ad to distort Roberts's record in a partisan political effort to keep a conservative judge off the Supreme Court. The ad was despicable and horrid, and NARAL owes Judge Roberts, the Senate, and the nation an apology.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

U.S. Dropped Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima 60 Years Ago Today

Sixty years ago today, the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan near the end of World War II. The resulting devastation of Hiroshima and the devastation of Nagasaki 3 days later caused Japan to surrender. Without the 2 atomic bombs, Japan would not have surrendered, and the U.S. would have had to invade Japan.

It was estimated that the U.S. would have lost 1 million men in an invasion. My father was scheduled to be in the invasion force. So I for one am glad that the U.S. used the atomic bomb on Japan and that the invasion became unnecessary. Otherwise, like millions of other Americans living today, I might never have been born.

Let us also remember that Japan started the war with a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. One lesson from Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima is that you can start a war more easily than you can control its course and outcome.

We all hope that no one ever again suffers the tremendous death and destruction caused by a single nuclear bomb.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Double Standard on Middle East Terrorism

An Israeli used a gun to kill 3 or 4 Palestinians and to wound several others. He was killed by a Palestinian mob.

Predictably, Israel's leaders and people are appalled and deplore the action without reservation. On the other side, Palestinians claim that the individual's action shows the prevailing intent of Israelis toward Palestinians.

When a Palestinian kills Israelis in a similar incident, many Palestinians applaud the action, and Palestinian leaders explain how the act resulted from Israeli oppression and occupation. The Israeli reaction does not include mob violence.

Which terrorist actions do you think represent the prevailing group's attitude toward the other group, the one Israeli's act or the many Palestinians' acts? Which group do you think wants to eradicate the other?

Monday, August 01, 2005

Bush Appoints Bolton as U.N. Ambassador

After 5 months of partisan obstruction by Senate Democrats, Pres. Bush gave a recess appointment to John Bolton to serve as U.N. Ambassador through the end of next year. Bush faced 2 choices: make the recess appointment or allow the Democrats to obstruct a necessary appointment because they disagree with Bush's foreign policy. He made the right choice.

Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) showed his usual lack of class and ignorance of the Constitution (the Constitution specifically provides for recess appointments) by saying that the recess appointment was an abuse of power. The real abuse of power was the Senate Democrats' refusal to allow an up-or-down vote on the nomination of Bolton, a vote they knew they would lose.

9/11 Memorial in Trinidad

The war museum (it has a longer official name) near Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago has a memorial to its 13 citizens who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The memorial is a simple and powerful reminder of who died and how. The memorial shows the front pages of a few newspapers from 9/12/2001, with their pictures showing the attack on the Twin Towers in New York, and has a plaque with the 13 names. The memorial reminds visitors of the horror of that day.

The 9/11 memorial in Trinidad's war museum is an exemplary model for the 9/11 memorial committee in New York. Keep it simple, remember those who died, and focus on what happened on 9/11/2001.

The New York committee seems to have become sidetracked on irrelevant political issues and has lost focus on the true purpose of the memorial. Perhaps the committee members should visit the Trinidad war museum to regain focus and a proper perspective.