What the Cool Kids are Doing

July 31, 2006 at 2:44 pm

While some teens are wasting their time playing the choking game this summer (or is that last summer?), others are immersing themselves in conservative culture.

The New York Times reports,

Young people with old books is a common sight on the conservative circuit, and perhaps a growing one. While the movement has long sought to transmit its intellectual heritage to its young, that mission shows signs of new urgency amid fears of ideological drift.

Everywhere young conservatives turn there are conferences, seminars and reading lists that promote figures from the movement’s formative years. Along with Kirk, they include such canonical names from the 40’s and 50’s as Friedrich A. Hayek, Frank S. Meyer, Milton Friedman and William F. Buckley Jr.

The entire article is worth a read.  Its main flaw, however, is its focus on what could be called “mainstream” organizations.  The real fun is in the camps and organizations that fly under the radar–like this Randian camp for kids. 

Camp Indecon offers opportunities and experiences unlike any other summer camp.  For example:

Last year, we had a fifteen-year-old girl with a Catholic upbringing who came to camp for the first time. Turned out one of the sixteen year-old boys was very much attracted to her, and she to him, and one evening they got into a discussion in which he explained what Objectivism was.

Later, he won her heart with a compelling explanation of the Objectivist Center-Ayn Rand Institute schism.

–Larry Scholer

Urban Transformation

July 27, 2006 at 10:27 am

La Shawn Barber has thoughts on yesterday’s Urban Transformation conference at Heritage.

Moral Reconstruction: A model for urban transformation

July 26, 2006 at 1:33 pm

This afternoon I am attending a conference here at the Heritage Foundation focusing on inner city revival. The conference boasts a stellar panel and can be watched live here.

Heritage has teamed up with the BOND organization to host this conference. Below is a description of the conversation:

Our nation’s Gulf Coast Region continues to face serious and ongoing problems in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. This Town Hall style Conference will focus on solutions to these vexing policy issues. Transformation of the human spirit, however, is a key ingredient, because the destruction of this spirit is at the heart of the great breakdown witnessed during and following in the wake of these natural disasters. Our conference will seek to outline options and identify solutions that could serve as a model for rebuilding, not only the Gulf Coast, but also for transforming America’s inner cities and urban areas.

Updates and observations later…

Child Custody Protection Act

July 24, 2006 at 2:50 pm

As the Senate nears the start of debate on the Child Custody Protection Act — a bill that prohibits the transportation of minors over states lines for the purposes of having an abortion by anyone other than that minor’s parents — it is worth noting the amendments that will be put forward by opponents of the bill.

Senator Barbara Boxer has an amendment that would nullify the law in the case of incest. But the Boxer amendment fails to define incest and essentially creates a situation wherein a boyfriend could transport a minor across state lines for an abortion as long as said minor tells the doctor she is a victim of incest. The amendment might be less laughable if their was a requirement that the incest have been reported to law enforcement officials.

Boxer’s amendment also fails to acknowledge that the Child Custody Protection Act includes a judicial bipass mechanism that could waive the law in certain cases.

Senator Diane Feinstein is offering an amendment that exempts clergy from the law. Essentially, any member of the clergy could transport a minor across state lines for an abortion without notifying parents. That sure sounds nice, but anyone who wants to become a member of the clergy needs only to spend five minutes filling out forms online at the Universal Life Church. After that…presto…they are clergy and are no longer subject to this law.

Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center wins hearts of conservatives

July 21, 2006 at 11:42 am

Rave reviews from most conservatives for this new movie based on 9-11…Michelle Malkin has the roundup.

Snow defends Administration stem cell veto

July 19, 2006 at 9:36 pm

Tony Snow did a good job defending the President’s veto of the stem cell research bill today. His spin is that this won’t hurt the President politically…I hope he is right because the President did the right thing…but I am skeptical that there will not be political repurcussions. Read Snow’s defense in the extended section. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s official…Bush vetoes

July 19, 2006 at 2:12 pm

President Bush is on television right now explaining why he will veto the human embryo destroying stem cell research bill recently passed by Congress.”It crosses a moral boundary that our society needs to respect, so I vetoed it,” said Bush who was flanked by children of all ages. This line drew rousing applause from those present.

Good work Mr. President. Now prepare to weather the political firestorm.

UPDATE: Speaking of the political storm, here come the headlines…this one from USA Today: Bush Readies First Veto; Dashing Hopes of Millions.

UPDATE: The White House this afternoon released a stem cell policy fact sheet. It is pasted in the extended section. Read the rest of this entry »

Schumer takes on the faith community

July 19, 2006 at 1:35 pm

K-LO over at the Corner notes some ridiculous comments by Chuck Schumer yesterday on the Senate floor during debate on the stem cell issue:

Chuck Schumer on the Senate floor earlier today: “There is a group of people in America of deep faith. I respect that faith. I’ve been in enough inner city black churches, working-class Catholic parishes, rural Methodist houses of worship, small Jewish synagogues to understand that faith is a gift. The trouble with this group, which I call the theocrats, is they want their faith to dictate what the government does. That, in a word, Mr. President, is un-American. This exactly what the founding fathers put down their plows and took up muskets to fight.”

The story here is not just Schumer’s reckless use of the word “theocrat,” the real story is the vast array of people of faith that he is apparently comfortable tarring with his slander. For Schumer, anyone whose faith means enough to them that they are willing to fight for certain principles in the public square is “un-American.” Unfortunately, this is par for the course for the liberal from New York. Last week he claimed moderate Americans “hate creationism” this week anyone who practices faith is a “theocrat” seemingly more worthy of a home in a Taliban-like government than one here in our democracy.

UPDATE: Rick Santorum’s response to Schumer on the Senate floor was excellent. Be sure to read it in the extended section. Read the rest of this entry »

Veto time

July 19, 2006 at 10:11 am

Via The Note:

Five and a half years into his White House tenure, President Bush gets to try a new aspect of the job today.

At 2:15 pm ET, President Bush is expected to make remarks on stem cell research policy in the East Room where he is expected to explain to the American people why he plans to make good on his veto threat of the bill that passed the Senate yesterday aimed at expanding federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

House marriage vote fails

July 19, 2006 at 9:33 am

The House of Representatives yesterday failed to garner the requisite 2/3 majority to pass a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union between one man and one woman. After the vote House conservatives held a press conference with an upbeat message: they will keep trying.

Dana Milbank, in an otherwise miserably snarky and sanctimonious column quotes Mike Pence:

By election-year calculations, that was a victory. “I view today’s vote as a successful failure,” Pence announced at a defeat rally after the vote.

More from the Washington Times:

“Be assured that this issue is not over,” said House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Illinois Republican. “We will continue to send a message to the American people that preserving and protecting marriage is a priority.”

In September 2004, the measure failed 227-186 in the House. It needed 290 to pass. The Senate rejected the amendment on a 49-48 procedural vote last month.

Republican leaders pushed the issue as part of a focus on values, putting lawmakers on record four months before the midterm elections. Supporters say it would protect families from what they call “activist judges.”

“We will be tenacious because we believe that marriage is worth standing for,” said Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, Colorado Republican, who sponsored the measure. “When you can make marriage mean anything, eventually it will mean nothing, to the detriment of society.”

Back to the Milbank column for a moment. Despite the fact that it is a pathetic missive written by a “journalist” with a clear anti-values bias, it echoes the criticism that is inevitable:

Democrats and a couple of sympathetic Republicans wondered whether, with the House planning to spend just five more weeks in session for the rest of the year, their colleagues were fiddling while Beirut burns.

“We have a conflagration in the Middle East, we have raised the debt ceiling four times to $9 trillion, and this is how the Republican congressional leadership chooses to spend its time?” demanded an agitated Rep. James Moran (D-Va.)…

Milbank goes on to actually make an astute observation:

…so much of the legislative agenda this year is about making points, not policy. The Senate yesterday passed legislation to expand embryonic stem-cell research, even thought it faces a presidential veto. While the House was debating marriage yesterday, a Judiciary subcommittee held a hearing titled “Should We Embrace the Senate’s Grant of Amnesty to Millions of Illegal Aliens and Repeat the Mistakes of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986?” Tomorrow, the House takes up legislation to protect the Pledge of Allegiance.

Again, I wrote about this yesterday and don’t want to harp too much on it. But it does seem that the floor schedules in the House and Senate this year so easily lend themselves to this criticism. Skeptical observers will always say “there they go again…checking the box.”

My Heritage Foundation colleague Mike Franc today commented in a Bloomberg article about the scheduling of these issues that are not likely to become law:

Michael Franc, vice president of government relations at the Heritage Foundation, a public policy research group in Washington, said the long odds against the provisions becoming law make it questionable the effort will pay off at the ballot box.

“Some of these songs have been played and played and played over and over again, and now it’s getting pretty stale,'’ Franc said.

In no way am I trying to diminish the importance of the marriage issue. I believe it is a central debate that we must have and that to a large degree the future health and vitality of our culture depends on the outcome of the debate. But timing and optics are terrible right now because it adds another arrow to the quiver of opponents of marriage.

UPDATE: Patrick Hynes dismisses the blatant political attacks from the likes of Jim Moran and others but notes:

The problem for Republicans, as I see it, is that twenty months have passed since that fateful 2004 election, dominated by moral values voters as it was, and Republicans are just now sitting down to work on moral values issues. This certainly gives credence to the idea that the GOP is a party of much pandering and little accomplishment.

Agreed.

Senate passes stem cell package

July 18, 2006 at 4:59 pm

Moments ago the Senate passed three stem cell bills. The two alternative stem-cell bills that do not destroy human embryos passed unanimously. HR 810, which is opposed by pro-lifers and will be vetoed by the President passed 63-37.

Bush’s stem cell policy

July 17, 2006 at 3:41 pm

Just in case there was any question on where the Bush Administration stands on the stem cell bills being debate in the Senate today, there is a newly released Statement of Administration Policy on the issue. The SAP makes it crystal clear that the Alternative Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapies Enhancement Act and the Fetus Farming Prohibition Act of 2006 enjoy the President’s support, while the human embryo-destroying H.R. 810 faces a certain Presidential veto when Congress passes it.

The SAP is pasted in the extended section.  Read the rest of this entry »