January 28, 2005

More Disclosure Required

As an example of how conservative columnists shouldn't expect to satisfy the left simply by disclosing any government sources of income, here is The Daily Outrage from The Nation, where today's outrage from Ari Berman is that William Kristol and Charles Krauthammer had the audacity to speak about President Bush's inauguration speech on Fox News without disclosing that they were consulted. Horrors!

I didn't note it yesterday, but in Eric Alterman's post, his point about not disclosing having sex with animals because no one has asked about it seems to undermine his conclusion that everything should be disclosed. The reason people don't ask about sex with animals is because it's irrelevant (unless one is an apologist for the act), and many of the things that the left are demanding be disclosed are also irrelevant, things like the case noted above, where a person consulting on a speech has to admit it before being allowed to comment. The disclosures are getting to be bigger than the news. It's not just that conservatives are being held to different standards than liberals, it's that there are no standards at all. These attacks from people like Ari Berman and Eric Alterman are practically speaking, ad hominem attacks, similar to efforts to discredit John Lott's research (on gun rights) for being funded by the Olin Foundation. This is actually a favorite attack from the left. Don't attack an argument for its reasoning, attack it for who is saying it, or paying for it. Now this isn't to say that we should ignore the source of all we read or hear - it's wise to be suspicious of propaganda, however just because an argument comes from an ideological opponent doesn't make it ipso facto wrong, and that's the mistake the left is making in judging people like Maggie Gallagher, John Lott, William Kristol, and Charles Krauthammer.

Speaking of disclosure, I'd just to rant for a bit about double standards. I've never noticed any particular outrage from the left about PBS receiving government funding and not disclosing how much of that money goes to pay its news anchor, Jim Lehrer. Shouldn't Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg disclose how much money she is given for being a speaker for the National Organization for Women? And shouldn't she recuse herself from abortion-related cases for that reason alone? I've never heard the New York Times complain about that (the LA Times noticed it however), though there was plenty of outrage that Dick Cheney spent a day duck-hunting with Justice Scalia.

Finally, some links on the subject I've read today:
In National Review, Jonathan Adler notes that the media have missed the real payola story. How about disclosure from NGOs for how much government money they get to "research" their causes (which invariably demand more government money to address those causes)?

Newsmax notes the names of several journalists who were on the Clinton payroll during the Clinton administration.

And finally, I guess I should disclose this to please Eric Alterman:
I hereby disclose that I received government-provided funds through a job I had with a defense contractor back when Ronald Reagan was President. I do not consider this a conflict of interest, but just in case you do, now you know.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 12:11 PM | Comments (1)

January 27, 2005

Defending Maggie Gallagher

David Frum defends Maggie Gallagher's actions, saying there is nothing wrong with a knowledgable person working for the government.

I've looked at this story now for more than a day without commenting, and have concluded that Mrs. Gallagher has done nothing wrong. She has done research on marriage, and been paid for it. Some of that work was for the government, and some was for herself and the organization she represents. I'm sure there are a lot of people who work for liberal think tanks and also worked for the Clinton administration. Should she have disclosed it? She admits it would have been proper to. But to attack her credibility because she didn't is pure nonsense. Even if she had disclosed it, her attackers would have still been looking for something else to attack her for, as Eric Alterman all but admits here (a question that would actually be relevant for Princeton University's Peter Singer to answer). You can never disclose enough to please your critics.

This sounds to me like a case of one side, namely those who want to tear traditional marriage down, making up new rules as the game is played, rules that apply only to the other side, similar in tone and practice to those who insisted on getting money out of politics, until that money came from a liberal.

UPDATED: link to Eric Alterman's post added after noticing it on Opinion Journal's Best of the Web.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 01:40 PM | Comments (0)

January 25, 2005

Memogate Revelation

Remember how about a year ago, Manuel Miranda was forced to resign from his job as a staffer for Senator Frist when it was found out he had read documents written by Democrat Senators urging obstruction of judicial nominees? And the files were publicly available. There were no computer restrictions on the computer resources, and Mr. Miranda notified the administrators who setup the network of this before the documents were publicized. I remember reading David Corn (sorry, cannot find link. Will update post if I find it) in The Nation that it was the equivalent of someone taking a file from the computer I use at work at my desk. Corn was wrong - my computer is password-protected under a corporate security policy, and if I share any of my resources, I cannot claim that anyone who has legal access to them is guilty of stealing them.

Now it has been found out that Democrats have been reading Republican-written memos for years. (full text of Congressional memo here) How did they get away with it? Because the network was never made secure by its administrators, and if a computer network's resources are shared (in this case shared among both Democrat and Republican personnel), then people who have legal access to those shared resources cannot be accused of wrongdoing for reading those files. At least that's the way it was when the Democrats were doing the "document perusal". But let a Republican staffer read a Democrat-written memo and all hell breaks loose.

Manuel Miranda deserves his job back, and the text of the memos, which deal with the subject of liberal special interest groups unduly influencing the judicial nominating process, deserve special consideration.

UPDATE:
David Corn's reaction to Memogate in The Nation
Manuel Miranda's statement

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 12:19 PM | Comments (0)

January 20, 2005

Abortion marketing and lies

David Kupelian tells how the abortion industry sold itself. (Hat tip: Dawn Eden)

It's ironic that pro-abortion anti-gun liberals rant and rave about the gun industry making millions of dollars for a killing industry and completely ignore that the abortion industry does the same. It's also ironic that the right to bear arms is explicitly stated in the Second Amendment, and treated as non-existent by gun control groups and the ACLU ("Our job is to conserve America's original civic values - the Constitution and the Bill of Rights" - except Amendment #2-Ed.), while many (but not all) of the same groups, including the ACLU, insist that abortion is a rock solid basic human right, and a non-revokable constitutional right at that, due to stare decisis. As if a decision by the Supreme Court could not ever be overturned. If that were true, we'd still have slavery, segregated education, and sodomy being illegal which were all established by previous Supreme Court decisions, all of which were literally overturned by later decisions, and without any complaints from the same people who insist that Roe vs. Wade is untouchable.

Also, in a related column, Chuck Colson exposes some abortion myths, the first of which is that abortion is first and foremost a woman’s issue, or one has to be pro-abortion in order to respect womens' rights. Susan B. Anthony was a pro-life feminist, and there are others today, along with pro-life Democrats and pro-life libertarians. In fact, since libertarians respect individual rights for all people, it isn't a question of whether pro-abortion is a libertarian / or non-libertarian position. It all boils down to answering the question, "Is the unborn child a human being in possession of unalienable rights, the same as which I have?" If an honest libertarian answers that question affirmatively, they will be pro-life.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 10:12 PM | Comments (1)

Inauguration Day

The Inaugural Speech

My favorite paragraph:


Some, I know, have questioned the global appeal of liberty - though this time in history, four decades defined by the swiftest advance of freedom ever seen, is an odd time for doubt. Americans, of all people, should never be surprised by the power of our ideals. Eventually, the call of freedom comes to every mind and every soul. We do not accept the existence of permanent tyranny because we do not accept the possibility of permanent slavery. Liberty will come to those who love it.

I like this paragraph because I've heard some people say that freedom isn't all that important - there are other things more important, such as controlling population growth, saving the environment, or stringent economic equality. I note that these people, one prominent example being Michael Moore, are usually in a position of freedom or opportunity for themselves, whereas they would gladly deny it to others.

UPDATE: Added a link on Michael Moore's name, for the news I just read about one of his bodyguards being arrested for carrying an illegal handgun. I wonder if it's because of what Clint Eastwood said.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 09:44 PM | Comments (0)

January 12, 2005

Senator Hatch on changing the filibuster rules

Senator Orrin Hatch makes a strong case for revising Senate rules on cloture. He notes that the 60-vote cloture rule has not always been so, such rules have been changed in the past. I've always opposed the filibusters, though I haven't spoken out for the "nuclear option" where the rules are changed to eliminate that possibility in the case of judicial nominations. Senator Hatch has just about swayed me however, but I don't see how a Senate whose 45 Democrats are so dedicated to obstructionism will let it happen.

As Senator Hatch says, the argument that doing away with the filibuster amounts to "rubberstamping" the President's appointments is nonsense. Each Senator still has a "yes" or "no" vote in a roll call. If they want to defeat a nomination, they should do it with 51 votes, not 41.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 09:49 PM | Comments (1)

No inauguration boycott for me!

Boycott the inauguration? Not me! I was originally thinking of taking the day off and going down to Washington -- then I saw the price for a ticket, and I don't think I could get close to it without one. The clincher however, was when I heard of this "do nothing, buy nothing on Jan 20" campaign. When I heard about that, I decided that not only will I go to work that day, I'll also write a check out to a faith-based charity. I'd go shopping, but the whole idea of boycotting, or anti-boycotting, can go only so far. I'd only buy something I'd need anyway, the same as what the boycotters will be doing on Friday or Saturday. No one will have missed their business once the week is done.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 09:33 PM | Comments (2)

Democrats for Life

Last November, I wrote, in this post, "I wish the Democrats would also reconsider their fanaticism for abortion." One of my commenters said it was the most absurd statement she had ever heard. Oh really?

What are the Democrats saying now?
Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are both backing Tim Roemer, a pro-life Democrat, for leadership of the DNC. Of course, there is dissent from the usual quarters, such as Planned Parenthood. But Planned Parenthood is not a proxy for the Democratic Party, even though they've effectively tried to make it so. Pro-life Democrats, Democrats for Life of America, are finally being heard by the party.

UPDATE: PunchTheBag, writing at In The Agora, notes that Senator Ted Kennedy wants abortion to be rare. Problem is, that viewpoint is based on the desire that abortion be unnecessary due to widespread use of contraception, not on actual respect for an unborn, yet living, human being.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)

January 05, 2005

Rebecca's First American Christmas

One thing that surprised us a little bit is that Christmas is actually observed in China, although only in a secular version. Lots of Santas, snowflakes, and Christmas trees, but never a nativity scene. However, in our hotel elevator in Beijing, we did hear an instrumental version of Silent Night over the loudspeaker, which is more than you'll hear in some New Jersey school districts.

Of course, since we observe Christmas as Jesus' birthday first and foremost, she got full exposure to Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the angels and shepherds, and the Wise Men -- and then a Christmas tree, Santa, and presents.

Here are some pictures from her first American Christmas: (click following link to view)

The pajamahadeen!
1stXmas.jpg


The brand new drawing toy!
With loud annoying animal noises too! Great for the car!
Unwrapped.jpg


Thank you, Barbara & Adam (our neighbors)
Doggie.jpg

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 10:15 PM | Comments (0)

Gotcha Day!

Today is the first anniversary of Rebecca's Gotcha Day!

One year ago, there we were in China, we adopted our little girl, who was so happy she screamed (well, perhaps that scream was really more in terror).

Also, her second birthday was on Sunday, and here are a couple of pictures. (Click following link to view)


The Birthday Girl!
BirthdayGirl.jpg


I get a wish for those candles being blown out? Yeah right!
WishGranted.jpg

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 09:52 PM | Comments (1)