“At what point does a baby get human rights?”

August 16, 2008 at 9:11 pm

So went the question posed by Rick Warren to Barack Obama tonight at the Saddleback faith forum. Obama stumbled and bumbled in his response saying only two things definitively: 1 — the answer to that question is “above my pay grade”, and 2 — He “strongly supports” Roe vs. Wade.

Weak. And yes, entirely characteristic and predictable.

The five-day congressional work week and families

December 6, 2006 at 1:40 pm

As noted, congressional Democrats are moving to a five day legislative work-week in Congress next year. Some Republicans are criticizing the move:

“Keeping us up here eats away at families,” said Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), who typically flies home on Thursdays and returns to Washington on Tuesdays. “Marriages suffer. The Democrats could care less about families — that’s what this says.”

Markos Moulitsas predictably fires back at Kingston’s charge:

Actually, it says that our elected officials will have to actually work for their salaries. I had no idea that they were such proponents of a 3-day workweek. I’m sure they’ll be writing legislation to give the rest of us that right, what with them being all “pro-family” and all.

Apparently, it also says that there’s a law against members moving their families to Washington D.C.

Of course there is no law against moving family members to DC. But, aside from the expense of doing that, there are political considerations, namely that political opportunists like Kos will use it as a way to attack you. Remember the vitriolic attacks against Rick Santorum?

Santorum did move his family to DC because he wanted to be close to his young kids. But he received nothing but criticism from the Kos crowd. Witness this post from Daily Kos in which Santorum was criticized for exactly this issue:

If you are not a resident of the state, you aren’t allowed to run for the U.S. Senate…

…Rick Santorum needs to convince the voters of Pennsylvania that he lives among them and not just an out-of-towner who used to live here when he was first elected.

Someone from Kos recommended in an email that we try to find out information about his wife’s case in Virginia. The Kos(sack, sian, mopolitan) suggested that in my claims, the court records would start with something like:

Jane Doe (Karen Santorum), of Leesburg Virginia blah blah blah. I agree. Let’s find out where she claimed as her home.

I am not opposed to a five day work week. Neither am I opposed to a three day work week (hey, more often than not the less time for legislating the better off we are). But I do think Kingston has a point about families.

New citizenship test focuses on understanding American concepts

December 1, 2006 at 8:56 am

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have come up with 144 new questions for immigrants applying to become AMerican citizens. The questions, which will be narrowed down to 100, are unlike questions on past tests. The New York Post reports:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services director Emilio Gonzalez said the purpose of the new test is to ensure that immigrants really understand “the very values that make this country what it is.”

“The goal is to get away from rote memorization of what could be construed as trivial questions to something more meaningful,” he said.

The current test is a multiple-choice exam that asks questions like “What are the colors of the U.S. flag?” “Where is the White House located?” and “How many branches are there in the U.S. government?”

The new exam asks questions that include:

* “What does ‘We the People’ mean in the Constitution?”

* “What major event happened on Sept. 11, 2001?”

Imagine that…actually requiring folks who want to be Americans to understand the big ideas behind our nation. The Post story goes on to quote Heritage’s Matt Spalding:

Matthew Spalding, director of the conservative Heritage Foundation’s Center for American Studies, liked the new questions, saying they shifted away from mere facts to concepts.

“That’s the key to teaching the kinds of ideas that will help immigrants assimilate,” he said.

On Warren and Obama

December 1, 2006 at 8:34 am

This story from yesterday’s Washington Post was the bubbling up of a lot of criticism that has been leveled against Saddleback mega-church Pastor Rick Warren for inviting Barack Obama to speak at his church about the AIDS issue.

Today, Hugh Hewitt comes to Warren’s defense:

Rick’s a friend, so you can discount this if you’d like, but it seems to me that setting aside political differences –even on crucial issues like protecting the unborn– is certainly appropriate when the focus is on the prevention of a deadly disease and relief for a epidemic devastated continent.

Warren has done far, far more for the lost and the least than 99.9% of Americans, and extending an opportunity for Senator Obama to speak at a conference on AIDs is not a mistake to corrected but instead an example to be followed.

UPDATE: Some good thoughts here.

Regarding evangelicals

November 8, 2006 at 8:08 pm

It is time to stop stereotyping them, says Joe Loconte and Michael Cromartie.

Warner continues to hold up chaplain prayer provision

September 20, 2006 at 9:54 am

The Washington Times:

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John W. Warner is blocking a House defense bill provision that would give military chaplains more freedom to pray as they see fit, saying he wants to put the matter off until 2007, a stance that angers House Republicans and conservative groups.

“It’s so important. Should two or three members of Congress try to resolve it when there’s many people who want to be involved?” Mr. Warner, Virginia Republican, said yesterday.

He said he hasn’t taken a position on the language itself, but will “strongly recommend” House and Senate hearings on the dispute early next year.

Conservative bloggers are picking up on the story:

A blogger on redstate.com yesterday afternoon posted a comment that read: “What Does John Warner Have Against Jesus? Excuse Me, I Meant J***s.”

Mr. Warner said that he is being “besieged” by bloggers and phone calls but that he takes issue with anyone who questions his faith.

More here.

UPDATE: Representative Todd Akin blogs about this issue here and Representative Steve King does so here.

Prayer in the military

September 18, 2006 at 3:28 pm

The inclusion of an amendment offered by Representatives Jones and Hunter to the Department of Defense Authorization bill is a hot topic of debate between members of a House-Senate Conference Committee this week.

Language in the House version of the bill declares, “Each chaplain shall have the prerogative to pray according to the dictates of the chaplain’s own conscience, except as must be limited by military necessity, with any such limitation being imposed in the least restrictive manner feasible.”

But some members of the Senate Conference Committee want this language struck from the bill that funds the military. The dispute has attracted tremendous public interest because of the recent court martial of Navy Chaplain Lieutenant Gordon James Klingenschmitt, who was found guilty of disobeying an order by appearing in uniform and praying in the name of Jesus at a March 30th news conference outside the White House.

Hill sources point to Senate Armed Services Chairman John Warner as a main obstacle to the inclusion of the House language.

It would be disappointing to see this language stripped out, as it appears to be just plain common sense. Asking a Chaplain who is a Christian not to utter Christ’s name when he is doing his job is ridiculous.

UPDATE: Red State has more.

UPDATE: I had the sponsors of this amendment listed incorrectly above.  The amendment was orchestrated by Rep. Todd Akin. Both Jones and Hunter subsequently suported it.

Lileks: We are still the same

September 11, 2006 at 10:16 am

An NRO symposium asks if 9/11 changed us…Blogger and writer James Lileks thinks not so much:

Half a decade later the changes seem small, and perhaps that’s a blessing. If 9/11 had been followed by 10/17, 11/02, 12/24, the Smallpox Epidemic of ’02, the EMP blackouts of ’03, and so much promiscuous anthrax distribution that mailmen tottered around in Hazmat suits on the hottest day of July, America would look quite different. But the other shoe didn’t drop — or rather, Richard Reid was KO’d before he could light it — and consequently we don’t look at the paper for news about the latest attack. We look at the ads in the paper for news about plasma-TV sales.

If 9/11 had really changed us, there’d be a 150-story building on the site of the World Trade Center today. It would have a classical memorial in the plaza with allegorical figures representing Sorrow and Resolve, and a fountain watched over by stern stone eagles. Instead there’s a pit, and arguments over the usual muted dolorous abstraction approved by the National Association of Grief Counselors. The Empire State Building took 18 months to build. During the Depression. We could do that again, but we don’t. And we don’t seem interested in asking why.

The good news? We returned to our norm: cheerful industrious self-directed Americans who think in terms of fiscal quarters, not ancient grievances, and trust in Coke and Mickey to spread our message of tolerance and prosperity. The bad news? Same as the good. Or perhaps it’s the other way around.

Hitchens gives Maher’s audience the finger

August 26, 2006 at 12:58 pm

It’s hard to fault Christopher Hitchens for his outburst yesterday on Bill Maher’s show. Here we have Hitchens explaining a deadly serious situation wherein Iranian President Ahmadinejad has for all intents and purposes made clear his desire to bring about a third world war when he is interrupted by Maher. While explaining the warped worldview of the maniacal Iranian who thinks the messiah is about to return Maher interjects, “so does George W. Bush, by the way.”

Then Maher’s acolytes of moral equivalence who warm the seats in his studio burst into doting applause.

Hitchens proceeds to correctly call the audience “frivolous” because they will clap at any senseless blather that seeps from their high priest Maher’s mouth, and then he loses it.

“F*&^ you, f%$ you,” says Hitchens as he gives the audience the middle finger.

Dealing with Bill Maher is frustrating enough, I suspect being subjected to the idiotic scorn of his legions of lemmings is downright maddening.

Watch the train reck unfold here.