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August 2005 Archives

August 5, 2005

It Take A Family

My friend Eric out in DC had this heads up on Santorum's latest:

Senator Rick Santorum, one of the Catholic conservative heavyweights, whom we see every day at Mass, has published the book we've all been waiting for: It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good. The title is, obviously, a shot at Hillary Clinton's "It Takes a Village to Raise a Child." We just got Santorum's book and have been reading. Excellent.

He opens with a distinction. He acknowledges that there are conservatives who are just cheap, who want individualism and big business and dog eat dog. He calls them "cheap liberals"--the same values, except they don't even try to take care of the poor. Santorum's conservatism, however, is about the common good, about a way that really helps the poor. It's about valuing "littles" (family, small business, churches, etc.) over Bigs (big business, big universities, big government, etc.). And it's about common sense solutions for the littles rather than Big beauracratic dogmatism. He associates this common good conservatism with President Bush.

Susan Torres: A Gianna of Our Time

Susan Torres gave birth to her daughter Susan Anne Catherine 13 weeks prematurely this week, but weighing in at 1 lb. 13 ounces and measuring in at 13.5 inches, it looks like the little girl will make it.

Premature births are fairly normal procedures in this day and age, but there was something different about Susan Anne Catherine. Her mother had been declared brain dead 3 months earlier.

Read all about it at the family's website here.

August 7, 2005

Shall We Unconfirm Stevens?

As Senate Democrats rifle through the minutiae of John Roberts’ life looking for…well, whatever they might find that would defeat his nomination to the Supreme Court, news outlets are reporting today an object lesson in perspective by current Justice John Paul Stevens. Stevens was appointed in the late Jurassic period and has been an agent for judicial oligarchy in faithful service to the lunatic fringe ever since. Lately he has been heard shooting off at the gavel before a no doubt cooing American Bar Association on the evils of capital punishment.

It seems the Beneficent One’s beef with the Constitutional process that results in death sentences is that it is not reliable. He cites two (ahem) fatal flaws to our current system: we cling with illiberal enthusiasm to the anachronous use of juries, and we have made the dubious decision in many states to hold judges accountable via the election process. Juries and elections? What is this, 1787? This will not do.

Of course, Stevens’ march through American jurisprudence has been akin to Sherman’s march through Georgia, and there amid the smoldering detritus of capital punishment, abortion regulation, federalism and the rest one can see that Steven’s real complaint is the legislative process itself. He would have punishment meted out by unaccountable judges without bothering with juries, and the justice of the punishment would be determined by these same judges without regard to the will of the people.

Stevens’ remarks were particularly critical of statements to juries by victims’ families. Stevens said such a statement "serves no purpose other than to encourage jurors to decide in favor of death rather than life on the basis of their emotions rather than their reason." Ah, savor the irony. Justice Stevens, wrapped in the bloodstained banner of the abortionists, demands that we choose life!

But like a Stevens majority opinion, I digress. I only wish to point out: If John Roberts had cast comparable aspersions on any pet issue of the left, such as affirmative action, his confirmation would be toast. Is there any question that Stevens has been ruling on capital punishment cases based not upon his understanding of what the law is, but what he thinks it should be? It seems we either must acknowledge the elephant in the Constitutional living room by admitting that the Supreme Court is a political branch of government featuring individuals with political philosophies, or we must admit that John Paul Stevens should be unconfirmed and shown the door.

August 9, 2005

The Incredible March of the Penguins

I know, the idea of an entire movie about penguins doesn't excite most people, but having seen the film this weekend, I must say it is one of the best films I have seen in the last few years.

I first read about the making of the film back in early June, and put it on my to see list then, expecting to have to track it down in an independent theater on a Monday morning, but now that Warner Independent Pictures is distributing The March of the Penguins, I hear they are even running trailers on TV.

The film is cinematically beautiful, and moves at an enjoyable leisurely pace, striking a good balance between Morgan Freeman's narration and letting the images tell the story. With special effects, set design, and costumes by the creator Himself, March of the Penguins does not disappoint. My wife has been making penguine noises ever since!

Here is a brief synopsis

Continue reading "The Incredible March of the Penguins" »

Planned Parenthood Super Heroes Wimp Out

The Planned Parenthood Affiliate out in San Francisco (Planned Parenthood Golden Gate) posted an animated short the other day "A Superhero for Choice" that revealed their true colors. Read all about it at The Dawn Patrol.

Apparently the superhero's life was short lived, as the short was pulled from the site today. Yet another testament to the power of the blogosphere, and the extent to which Planned Parenthood et. al. is increasingly out of touch with mainstream America.

The Super Legislature Campaign Trail

With President Bush's recent announcement of John Roberts candidacy in the upcoming U.S. Superlegislature race, opponents are already launching their negative camapign ads.

NARAL unveiled their new campaign yesterday, joing the efforts of moveon.org to derail the Roberts nomination.

In fact Google already has 5,400 web pages indexed with the phrase "oppose john roberts." On the other hand "support john roberts" garners about 11,000 pages, so it looks like his opponents have some work to do before the big Senate election.

I haven't seen the latest polls from the Senate, but with the votes spread out over all 50 states, you can expect a national get out the vote effort. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if some states try to cast three or more votes in this election!

The Sandra Day O'Connor Civics Quiz

It says here that a recent poll suggests Americans don’t know dookey about their government. Not to fear, however. The American Bar Association is on the case. They have asked the impartial and always lucid Sandra Day O’Conner to co-chair a civics education commission. A worthy endeavor, to be sure, and who better to tell the American people how the system really works than someone who has spent the last quarter century mauling the Constitution?

In the spirit of community education, we here at the Seventh Age offer the following quiz for anyone who is a little foggy on how all this wacky government stuff works.

Stare decisis
a. a famous painting by Van Gogh
b. an unreleased Abba album
c. The principal that appropriate precedent decisions are to be followed by the courts
d. The principal that appropriate precedent decisions are to be followed by the courts, except when ideologically inconvenient

Independent judiciary
a. what the Declaration of Independence established
b. the political philosophy that claims the Supreme Court should have its own armed forces
c. the principle that federal judges should be free from direct coercion by other political entities
d. the principle that federal judges can invent the law without being shackled to the stodgy old Constitution

Judicial review
a. listening to the Beatles' "Hey Jude" over and over again to listen for backward masking
b. Looking back over the Supreme Court’s most recent term to take note of what new individual rights have been invented
c. The concept that the Supreme Court holds the power to judge the constitutionality of acts of the legislative and executive branches
d. A potent system of total political domination

Separation of powers
a. Keeping the Supreme Court’s executive, legislative and judicial pronouncements filed correctly
b. When legislative power is stripped from Congress on its way to the Supreme Court
c. The principle that the branches of government should be co-equal and none too powerful
d. A dangerous idea that could potentially leave the people in charge of government

a. A nasty cerebral infection caused by reading old founding-era documents
b. The formal worship of Alan Greenspan as a deity
c. The purposive division of political power between the central government and the States
d. The affliction that killed Alexander Hamilton

a. basically like an emanation, but different
b. an oversized umbrella used by Supreme Court justices to protect their spiffy robes
c. a super power that allows the Supreme Court to see in the dark
d. An astronomy term dealing with light and shadow that has absolutely no relation to law

a. basically like a penumbra, but different
b. the glow that certain Justices get when they rhapsodically utter the phrase, “sweet mystery of life”
c. Cartoon parodies of the Supreme Court
d. A chemistry term dealing with isotopic gases that has absolutely no relation to law

Executive privilege
a. the President gets to go to the bathroom without asking the Supreme Court
b. what female interns learned about at the Clinton White House
c. the withholding of information by the executive on the ground that such revelations would hamper effective governmental operations and violate the separation of powers
d. the Supreme Court will not use foul language when they eviscerate executive authority

Congressional deference
a. Congress shall bow and say "Boom sha-ka-la-ka" when mentioning the Supreme Court
b. There's no deference for those bums
c. The quaint concept that the judiciary should give substantial weight to Congressional findings
d. The Congressional process of referring controversial issues to the Supreme Court

a. A lobbyist for the orange growers association
b. Belonging to the founding generation
c. Principle that the Constitution should be interpreted according to its meaning at the time it was ratified
d. A bigoted, misogynistic, oppressively heterosexual Scalia zombie from Planet White Guy

Legislative Process
a. Working out the details of the Supreme Court’s edicts
b. Running for reelection to Congress
c. Enacting laws according to the will of the people
d. What we used to have before the Supreme Court seized power

Rule of Law
a. when smarmy British thespians possessing no talent whatsoever seize power in a coup
b. A principle of jurisprudence which states that for every legislative action, there is an opposite and wholly disproportionate reaction from the Supreme Court
c. Concept that we are ruled by codified laws which have been consented to, and not by the whim of individuals
d. Concept that we are better off ruled by the whim of brilliant judges, because there’s no telling what the ignorant masses will consent to

Living Constitution
a. Sequel to “Night of the Living Dead Constitution”
b. A Village People song done for Sesame Street featuring Snuffalufagus composing Constitutional amendments
c. Belief that the Constitution evolves over time according to judicial decisions which repudiates Article V
d. Belief that the Constitution is really just an emanation from the penumbra of the sweet mystery of life

Three branches of government
a. Federal courts, state courts, local courts
b. Animal, vegetable, mineral
c. Legislative, executive, judiciary
d. Judiciary, media, academy

Limited government
a. What we’re left with after the Supreme Court seizes power
b. A government with serious drawbacks that judges need to rectify
c. A government where substantial liberty is left to the people
d. A government without a supreme judiciary

Supremacy Clause
a. What the Supreme Court uses to shred the Constitution
b. Santa Claus’ direct supervisor in the Supreme Court building
c. The principle that the Constitution should take precedence over local and state law
d. The principle that the Supreme Court should take precedence over the Constitution

Checks and Balances
a. The toys that Supreme Court law clerks play with when not rewriting fundamental laws
b. The elaborate systems of code words, trap doors and pulleys that the Supreme Court uses to hide the fact that John Paul Stevens actually died several years ago
c. The practice of power among co-equal branches of government enabling each to resist encroachment
d. An educational diversity activity for the executive and legislative branches to keep them out of trouble while the Supreme Court runs the country

August 15, 2005

The Amazing Human Brain

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by itslef but the wrod as a wlohe.

August 16, 2005

A Troubled Iraqi Constitution?

A common rejoinder bellowed from the Left to the claim that Coalition forces in Iraq are helping to build democracy is that the Iraqis don’t want democracy, that they are not “ready” for it. This strikes a person as fundamentally racist, echoing as it does the claims of recalcitrant Southerners after the Civil War. Can it be that only certain races are “ready” for democracy? Borrowing tortured analogies from science has become a staple of what passes for liberal discourse (see “social Darwinism,” “living constitution,” etc.), but looking back at Western Civilization does give an impression of evolution. The concepts that legitimate government rests on consent and that individuals have inalienable rights did not spring forth instantaneously but grew over time, passing through several unworkable stages (hereditary monarchy and plebiscite communes) to the point of the American Revolution, itself an incomplete manifestation of what we hold dear.

It is philosophically correct to say, as President Bush and many others have, that all people yearn to be free. However, reading reports of the Iraqi constitutional struggles casts a pragmatic pall over such platitudes. It is not unreasonable that Iraqi representatives should be having difficulty hammering out the relation of the central government to the regional governments. Nor should it be surprising that the exact allocations of oil revenue are proving problematic. In the old days in this country, before the Supreme Court Putsch, our elected representative used to struggle with issues of federalism and revenue all the time. Also, Iraq is a heterogeneous culture, which adds an additional layer to the proceedings. There are Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds all with interests to protect. One is reminded of the British diplomat at Versailles (whose name escapes me) who, when asked about the prospects for the newly created nation of Czechoslovakia, muttered that Czechoslovakia was not a nation, but a sausage.

However, it appears that one of the main sticking points in Iraq centers on the rights and liberties of women under the coming regime. Assuming that Islamic law is given a prominent role in the new constitution, women will become second-class citizens. Ayaan Hirsi Ali makes some sobering remarks in today’s Opinion Journal(hat tip NRO’s Corner) regarding what women can expect under Islamic law. If her understanding is correct, and the Iraqis are unable to mitigate these seemingly medieval attitudes toward women, can it plausibly be said that they are not ready for democracy? Do Iraqis get a pass on this since it is their religion that dictates their attitude towards women? If half of the population is at once discriminated against and limited from dissenting, can it be said that the new Constitution rests on consent?

August 17, 2005

Jim Caviezel does World Youth Day

Passion of the Christ star Jim Caviezel is off to Cologne, Germany to celebrate World Youth Day with almost a million other Catholics and Pope Benedict XVI.

Follow his experience, as recounted by his traveling companion Fr. Willy Raymond, CSC over at Coragio

Hat Tip: Clayton Emmer

Teachers Take Back to School Shopping Into Their Own Hands

If you're looking for backpacks, notebooks, pens, and folders, you better check in with your local teachers union, as they are now the self-proclaimed authority on where you should buy your school supplies.

As if indoctrination in the classroom wasn't enough, the unions are now out to discourage people from buying their back to school supplies at Wal-Mart.

Two of the state's largest teachers unions are urging their members not to buy back-to-school supplies at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., accusing the nation's largest retailer of unfair labor practices.

Both the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and the St. Paul Federation of Teachers, which together represent about 9,500 teachers and other school employees in the Twin Cities, say the retailer pays substandard wages and has a high percentage of workers without health care insurance.

The local unions are following the lead of the 2.7 million-member National Education Association, the nation's largest teachers union, and the 1.3 million-member American Federation of Teachers, which last week held rallies in 30 cities demanding that Wal-Mart boost its wages and expand health benefits.

The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers may go a step further. The 5,000-member group is considering a resolution not to reimburse its members for any school supplies bought at Wal-Mart.

Read it all in yesterday's Star Tribune.

Of course the interesting thing is Target is just as bad as Wal-Mart according to some reports.

As the two articles referenced above illustrate, at the end of the day this is just another union attempt to force unionization on retailers whose employees continue to reject it.

August 30, 2005

Scalia’s Contribution to the Roberts Confirmation Madness

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has never been one to mince words about the state of American jurisprudence. Yesterday provided a tasty reminder of his wit and his wisdom. Speaking after a lighthearted reenactment of the (in)famous Lochner v. New York case, Scalia offered some remarks on the politicization of the Supreme Court.

"I am questioning the propriety - indeed, the sanity - of having a value-laden decision such as this made for the entire society ... by unelected judges," he said of abortion, capital punishment and other recent judicial pronouncements. Enabled and encouraged by liberals, the Court continues to legislate morality and now, rather than fearing judicial supremacy, Congress accepts it and hopes only to ensure “moderate” usurpation.

Quoth the eminent jurist: "Now the Senate is looking for moderate judges, mainstream judges. What in the world is a moderate interpretation of a constitutional text? Halfway between what it says and what we'd like it to say?"

Indeed. Few people in the media or the Senate are makign this much sense as the Roberts circus approaches. I may have to join Jason in championing Scalia for Chief Justice when Rehnquist retires.

August 31, 2005

I am not in favor of execution but...

I wouldn't feel at all bad if these thugs were rounded up and put out of their awful misery. I think what's happening in New Orleans is a cautionary tale about the depravity lurking beneath the surface of our culture and what might happen if some sort of economic collapse or massive terrorist attack should befall us. We are so dependent upon things completely out of our individual control, that many "normal" Americans might devolve into an imitation of Lord of the Flies. I shudder. Check this out from the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Children's Hospital under siege
Tuesday, 11:45 p.m.

Late Tuesday, Gov. Blanco spokeswoman Denise Bottcher described a disturbing scene unfolding in uptown New Orleans, where looters were trying to break into Children's Hospital.

Bottcher said the director of the hospital fears for the safety of the staff and the 100 kids inside the hospital. The director said the hospital is locked, but that the looters were trying to break in and had gathered outside the facility.

The director has sought help from the police, but, due to rising flood waters, police have not been able to respond.

Bottcher said Blanco has been told of the situation and has informed the National Guard. However, Bottcher said, the National Guard has also been unable to respond.

Via Amy Welborn's Open Book

About August 2005

This page contains all entries posted to The Seventh Age in August 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

July 2005 is the previous archive.

September 2005 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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