BMEWS
 
Sarah Palin is the reason compasses point North.

calendar   Monday - October 29, 2007

Core Beliefs

From the American Thinker, we have a list of core beliefs of both conservatives and liberals.  Interesting opinions put forth.

I’ve recently read two articles that have as their theme the fact that liberals, while currently riding the anti-War, anti-George Bush juggernaut, are defined by negativity and, in fact, offer no new ideas to replace the doctrines and people they seek to defeat.  In that regard, modern liberalism (or, as liberals have restyled the movement, Progressivism) is a political movement akin to the person who rips down an ugly house, but has no idea how to rebuild a new one, leaving the former residents homeless.  Nevertheless, for all their anti-this and anti-that attitude, Progressives at least have the virtue of offering an ostensibly powerful and well-funded united front to swing voters who are often confused or disinterested.

Conservatives seem to face the opposite problem.  They’re awash in ideas, but can’t seem to cobble together a platform of ideas that appeal to the largest numbers of people.  Instead, they’re like high school cliques, with the Pro-Life crowd holding itself aloof from the Hawks, who, in turn, want nothing to do with the Fair Tax group.  Cliques are great, of course, if you actually belong to one, but to the American voters, looking at these disparate groups that can’t seem to find a common bond, they don’t look like a great bet to win either the White House or Congressional in 2008.

Since I would like to see a Conservative win in 2008, it occurred to me that it would be a useful exercise to examine myriad hot button issues to find core beliefs that will appeal to the greatest number of conservatives.  That is, I wanted to find lowest common denominator beliefs that, I think, still define the way most Americans think.  You can layer on the details later, but I do believe that there are certain conservative ideas underlying most issues that will resonate with the greatest number of voters. 

Obviously, since I’m just one person, I couldn’t undertake this task alone.  I started a post with my idea about Conservative and Progressive beliefs regarding core issues.  I then asked my readers to contribute, which they did, intelligently and vigorously.  I’ve now worked their ideas and mine into this article, and hope to take it to the next step, with contributions from the larger pool of readers available here - or, at least, with a larger group of people thinking about positive, unifying ideas to counter the relentless nihilism that characterizes today’s Progressives.

So, without further explanation or ado, and in no particular order, here’s the list:

He then goes on to compare and contrast the Conservative and Progressive beliefs on a number of topics:


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 10/29/2007 at 06:35 PM   
Filed Under: • PhilosophyPolitics •  
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calendar   Friday - October 26, 2007

What Happened to the First Amendment?

Apparently I missed this, but Stephen Colbert is possibly plannign to throw his hat in the ring for the Presidential election?  I’m not sure if this is a crank to promote the show or a serious bid, but wither way, it brings up an interesting question:  if he does, is it illegal for him to promote his canidacy on his show?

John Hawkins has a link to Rick Hansen who thinks through this cunundrum.

Does Viacom Get the Media Exemption for Stephen Colbert’s Promotion of His Candidacy on the Colbert Report?

Allison Hayward says yes, and Cliff Jones, in comments to her post, agrees. I’m leaning towards no, but the issue is not a slam dunk.

Here’s the relevant law. A corporation cannot fund the express advocacy of a candidate for federal office out of its treasury funds. So General Motors could not run a newspaper ad saying “Vote for Colbert for President.” The same rule applies to labor unions. The funding has to come from its political action committee.

But there’s an exemption in the law for “any news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication, unless such facilities are owned or controlled by any political party, political committee, or candidate.”

He goes through a couple of examples, showing that a serious media personality like Bill O’Reilly would be less plagued by this question than a goof candidate.  He ends with this comment, which sets up my discussion:

Given the dearth of caselaw and useful FEC commentary on this question, we might well ask two questions to figure out how this case should come out. First, what is the purpose that the ban on funding from corporate treasury funds is meant to further? Second, given that purpose (or purposes), what is the justification for the media exemption. I imagine that many of us would answer those questions differently---and the answers we give could provide better guidance on how to treat a question like Viacom’s promotion of a Colbert candidacy.

This is my main problem with the McCain/Feingold law.  It completely disembowels the First Amendment.  Let’s review what that amendment actually says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The relevant parts for this question are: or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;

Now I am of the mind that not everything qualifies as free speech.  I’m torn about calling someone burning a flag free speech.  I can see how it might be, but its not totally clear to me.

What is clear, however, is what the intent of these clauses was.  They were to prevent the government from squelching people from talking about the government.  I can’t think of something more plain than supporting or dissenting with a political candidate as speech or press.  When a radio host speaks for or against a politician, or a newspaper writes a story about a politician, or a blog claims support or disdain for a candidate...that is actual free speech.

Back to Hansen’s first question: “What is the purpose that the ban on funding from corporate treasury funds is meant to further?” Is it to protect a right?  Is it to bolster freedom?  Is it to protect politicians?  You can argue that companies have a great deal more money to spend compared to the individual, but does that really change the intent of the constitution?  You may not like the fact that your voice is not as loud a BigCorp’s, but does that change the constitution?

Should any form of speech be regulated by the government when it comes to politics?  Obviously, slander and libel are exceptions, but I’m talking about real, honest support or disagreement with a person’s politics and policies.  If they are running for, or hold, a public office, shouldn’t anyone be able to give their opinion about them in any public forum?


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 10/26/2007 at 01:05 PM   
Filed Under: • PhilosophyPolitics •  
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calendar   Thursday - October 25, 2007

Insensitive, but…

Quoting Tam, quoting herself.

It makes one look like a savage to say so, but if your house burns down, blows over, or floats away, it’s not the job of the federal government to fix it for you. Charity is one thing, but federal tax dollars coerced at 1040-point from a single working mother of two in Dubuque (and then filtered through a morbidly obese federal agency) to rebuild your bungalow in Destin Orange County is not charity, okay? It’s extortion.

I’ve argued this over and over.  The Federal Government has specific, enumerated functions.  Bailing everyone out of every bad situation they find themselves in is not one of them.  Yes, I greive and mourn for those affected by disaster.  In fact, I’ve been down to Mississippi twice already helping in the cleanup effort, spending my vacation time and money to do it.  I spent a week in the back hills of Kentucky this spring helping rebuild a ministry that helps those who are down and out. 

I’m sorry, but making things all better for people after they loose possessions is not the job of .gov.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 10/25/2007 at 01:00 PM   
Filed Under: • EditorialsPhilosophy •  
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calendar   Monday - October 22, 2007

The Lightning

Great essay by the Geek this morning.  Go give it a read and let me know what you think.

Here’s an excerpt to whet your whistle:

Whether America remains free and prosperous will be determined by whoever controls The Lightning; which is some critical portion of war suitable energy resources.

And it damned well better be us.

Let’s talk a little while about The Lighting, so that we understand what it really is. There are a lot of high yield energy resources on the planet; nuclear, coal, gas, oil and oil distillates, hydraulics, and a pile of what are currently low yield types, such as wind, geothermal, solar, and the like.

All war is logistics, and all logistics is resource allocation and delivery, and it all takes energy.

In order to prevail, the warfighters, their support supplies, their weapon systems and their munitions must be delivered to the theatre and positioned such that they can effectively used to defend or take and hold their objectives.

Of these energy types, most are simply not suitable for war. They may be useful for economic and private consumption, perhaps, but not useful for war.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 10/22/2007 at 01:10 PM   
Filed Under: • PhilosophySelf-Defense •  
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calendar   Wednesday - September 26, 2007

Book In Progress

Mrs. DuToit has started a writing project and would like some eyes to look it over and give feedback. 

The funny thing is that I have been avoiding/dancing around the morality topic for some time now.  There is a reason for that (beyond what I posted below).

I’ve been writing a book--of the non-fiction variety.  I think I’ve mentioned it in passing, but never the subject or title.

As with all book writing, keeping up with it is difficult.  Unless you have a publisher (and I don’t) there is no deadline.  Perhaps I can kill two birds here.  I do not want to delve too deeply in the religious subject, without a great deal of background.  I would also like to impose on myself some sort of schedule for writing this book. 

There won’t be progress every day.  There may be hot and cold periods.  I don’t want to rush it, but I do want to put some pressure on myself.

If you decide to follow the progress, your input would be appreciated.  Proofing, of the grammar sort, will come later.  If something is unclear/vague, that is what I would like to hear about

Raising Moral Children


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/26/2007 at 10:42 AM   
Filed Under: • Philosophy •  
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calendar   Tuesday - September 25, 2007

Due Process is Such a Bother

Saw this linked over at Tam’s.

Turn It Up; Lose Your Wheels

A new Rockford, Illinois law allows police to seize the automobiles of owners who play their stereos too loud.

But it gets worse.

There is no requirement that a police officer responding to a complaint objectively measure sound levels with electronic equipment or even personally witness an alleged offense. Instead, the ordinance states that “hearsay evidence shall be admissible” and that property will be seized upon the assertion of probable cause.


The only way to protest the seizure is to prove you weren’t driving your car at the time virtually anyone could have lodged a complaint against you. But look at what you have to go through to get it back:

If a motorist believes his car has been unlawfully towed on a Friday after 5pm, he may challenge the taking by “depositing a written request for a hearing in the silver drop box located behind city hall,” according to the ordinance. The city must then respond by the following Wednesday. If the registered owner was not driving at the time the car was taken, he will be mailed a letter within ten days. After this time he is given less than fifteen days to request a hearing. The city may then wait another 45 days to schedule a hearing while storage fees accumulate up to $1100.

A hearing officer designated by Rockford will decide under a preponderance of evidence standard whether it is likely the motorist is guilty, in which case the hearing officer’s employers will collect the fine and fee revenue from the motorist. If the vehicle’s owner does not receive the mailed notice or cannot pay the fees within 30 days, the city will confiscate the vehicle permanently.

So, this give us an interesting dilemma.  On one hand, no one (of reason) like to hear the BOOM, BOOM, BOOM of someone’s base invading their space, be it their car or home.  On the other hand, HEARSAY AS PERMISSABLE EVIDENCE????  And then you could loose your car for months, having the burdon of proof on you that you did nothing wrong.  Then, even when you’re found “not guilty”, you have to pay storage fees. 

Holy Jumping Catfish Batman.  I don’t like the smell of this at all.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/25/2007 at 07:00 PM   
Filed Under: • CrimePhilosophy •  
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calendar   Friday - August 31, 2007

To Each His Own

I believe in the Capitalist economic model.  That is, you are free to conduct trade as you see fit, within the law of course, but don’t expect everyone to buy, or even like, your stuff.

WordWeb is a free dictionary program you can download and use.  Looks like it has some neat features and some good testimonials.  Then you get to the license agreement.  That is, what you are willing to agree to if you want to use their software.

WordWeb may be freely used only by people who meet the conditions below.

Global greenhouse gas emissions are currently around 5 tonnes per person per year, and need to be reduced by about 80% have a good chance of avoiding catastrophic warming. Most computer users are responsible for far more emissions than is sustainable. For example one medium distance return flight can be equivalent to over 1 tonne of emissions1: more than an average person should be emitting in an entire year. A typical SUV causes about twice as much warming per mile as a typical normal European car: 10,000 miles of travel in an SUV is responsible for about 5 tonnes of emissions. Offsetting emissions is no substitute for direct cuts.

You may use the program free of charge indefinitely only if

- You take at most 4 flights (2 return flights) in any 12 month period
- AND you do not own or regularly drive an SUV (sports utility vehicle).

If you do not qualify you must uninstall the program after the 30-day trial period or purchase WordWeb Pro. The licence is designed to provide a small incentive for people with massively unsustainable emissions to cut down.

Whenever a user no longer meets the above requirements, and they have installed the product for more than 30 days, they must uninstall the product or purchase WordWeb Pro; otherwise it is software theft.

Yeah, good luck with that.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 08/31/2007 at 04:18 PM   
Filed Under: • Odd-StrangePhilosophy •  
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calendar   Tuesday - July 03, 2007

Where The Hell Is Matt?

Why have I not heard of this before?

Matt is a 30-year-old deadbeat from Connecticut who used to think that all he ever wanted to do in life was make and play videogames. He achieved this goal pretty early and enjoyed it for a while, but eventually realized there might be other stuff he was missing out on. In February of 2003, he quit his job in Brisbane, Australia and used the money he’d saved to wander around the planet until it ran out. He made this site so he could keep his family and friends updated about where he is.

A few months into his trip, a travel buddy gave Matt the idea of dancing everywhere he went and recording it on his camera. This turned out to be a very good idea. Now Matt is quasi-famous as “That guy who dances on the internet. No, not that guy. The other one. No, not him either. I’ll send you the link. It’s funny.”

The response to the first video brought Matt to the attention of the nice people at Stride long-lasting gum. They asked Matt if he’d be interested in taking another trip around the world to make a new video. Matt asked if they’d be paying for it. They said yes. Matt thought this sounded like another very good idea.

At the end of 2005, Matt left on a 6 month trip through 39 countries on all 7 continents. In that time, he danced a great deal.

Matt dances very badly, but most people don’t seem to mind.

Matt is not rich. Matt also doesn’t have some magical secret for traveling cheaply. He does it pretty much the same way everybody else does.

This is awesome. Yes, Matt dances badly, but the idea of a young man venturing out on his own and dicovering the world is a dream many of us share.  The fact that a corporate sponsor picked him up, with pretty much no restrictions, and let him continue his journey, only adds to the magic.

I’ve been to a couple of the sites he danced in, and watching the videos made me want to get back on a plane.  smirk


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 07/03/2007 at 06:30 PM   
Filed Under: • CelebritiesPhilosophy •  
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calendar   Monday - June 11, 2007

Three Kinds of People

Dr. Mike Adams talks about a subject we have brought up before, but in his classic, to-the-point style.

When I was growing up my father used to say there were two kinds of people in this world. When I would ask him “What time is it?” he would say “There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who ask what time it is and those who wear watches.” He had so many variations on the theme that I eventually decided there really were two kinds of people in this world: Those who dichotomize and those who do not.

But, later, with the help of Lt. Col. David Grossman, I decided there are three kinds of people in this world: Sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs.

I suspect all three are represented to some degree on this humble part of the internet.  I would like to think we have a skewing toward sheepdog.  In fact, I would like to think I am one of the sheepdogs, but I wonder, even with the training and practice, how I will perform under the stress of the situation.  How do you really know until you are tested?


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/11/2007 at 11:10 AM   
Filed Under: • Philosophy •  
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calendar   Sunday - June 10, 2007

The Creation Museum

At our annual Home School convention this weekend, the keynote speaker, who also presented a number of workshops, was Ken Ham.  If you don’t know about Ken, he is a Christian apologist who founded Answers in Genesis.  He teaches creation science straight from Scripture and belives (as I do) that the foundation of all Scripture is found in Genesis 1-11.  He was a fantastic speaker and we ended up spending a pile of lucre at his booth.

He has recently opened the Creation Museum in the Cincinnati area (actually, in Petersburg, KY).  The pictures and descriptions he gave us made it sound like a great place to visit. 

Are there any BMEWS members out there that have been there and can give us a field report?


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/10/2007 at 10:35 AM   
Filed Under: • PhilosophyReligion •  
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calendar   Sunday - May 27, 2007

Partners

If Ambulance Driver is not on your daily read list, it should be.

Today, he writes about one of his partners.

“How long has he been down?” Pardner wants to know as he strips off his uniform. He sits on the bumper of the rig and hurriedly takes off his duty boots. Not bothering with buttons, he yanks his uniform shirt over his head, tee-shirt with it. He drops his duty belt, pager and radio still attached, on the grass behind the truck, almost an afterthought. It wouldn’t be the first pager he has taken into the water with him.

“¿Cuán largo ha estado él bajo el agua?” the game warden asks the kid. The little boy, wet and shivering under a rough woolen blanket, sniffles a response.

“Maybe fifteen minutes,” the game warden translates, defeat in his eyes. It’s understood that the game warden isn’t going in. He wants to, but he’s too old. If he obeyed his instincts, did what his manhood screamed for him to do, he’d have gone in.

And then we’d have two bodies to recover instead of one, and the game warden knows it. I know it, too. That’s why I’m not going in, either.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 05/27/2007 at 10:39 AM   
Filed Under: • MedicalPhilosophy •  
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calendar   Tuesday - May 22, 2007

The Big Idea

The Skipper is feeling no-so-good today, and I’m buried in paperwork up to my nostrils.  So, for your reading pleasure I give you the incomperable Bill Whittle

Go thence and read.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 05/22/2007 at 06:06 PM   
Filed Under: • PhilosophyPolitics •  
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calendar   Friday - May 18, 2007

The Bloomberg Gun Givaway

If your a gun owner and live in Virginia, you are probably aware of Phillip Van Cleave and the Virginia Citizens Defense League (www.vcdl.org)

This organization has been fighting for gun rights in Virginia for years, successfully helping to change laws to restore gun ownership to its rightful place.  New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg does not Virginia and its gun laws.  He feels no one should have a gun.  So he started his own effort to shut down gun sales in Virginia by hiring private individuals to conduct “straw purchases” in Virginia gun stores.  That is, he conspired to commit federal felonies so that he could “prove” Virginia gun dealers were flooding New York with illegal guns.  Let me be perfectly clear, he was not acting in any capacity as a law enforcement officer, but rather as a citizen of another state, making illegal purchases of guns in Virginia.  He and his hired cronies committed federal firearms violations.

He then sued a number of these gun shops, saying he would drop all charges if they submitted to him and allowed squads of his men to come in and have free access to their records at any point to make sure they were complying with the law. (as an aside, they already were complying with the law)

VCDL got involved to help out two of the shops that would not cave to Bloomberg’s blackmail.  Anyone who bought more than $100 worth of merchandise in one of these stores got a ticket to a drawing for a new firearm.  This was a way to bring business to these two stores to help them fight the lawsuit as well as draw public attention to Bloomberg’s blackmail scheme.  At the last minute, the Virginia authorities stated that the givaway may be illegal since entrants had to purchase something to be entered.  Van Cleave was not phased, he simply got two more guns and vowed to give them away at last night’s meeting, giving tickets to anyone who showed up (except Bloomberg and his family)

A buddy and I drove the three hours to DC to attend the meeting, but arrived too late to get into the room.  The fire marshal was enforcing a strict limit of 150 in the meeting room.  So here’s a picture through the window of Mr. Van Cleave talking to the crowd (and assembled media):

image

The crowd outside was enthusiastic, watching through the windows of the meeting hall.

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Of course, you can’t have a gun rights event in DC without the loons showing up.

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Since we were driving back after the event, I did not get to see any of the coverage, but here is the Washington Post article about it.

‘Bloomberg Gun Giveaway’ Draws Hundreds

By MATTHEW BARAKAT
The Associated Press
Friday, May 18, 2007; 7:40 AM

ANNANDALE, Va.—Openly armed firearms enthusiasts packed a normally sedate government building, hoping to win a pistol or rifle and at the same time send a defiant message to gun-control advocates, especially New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The Virginia Citizens Defense League, a gun-rights group, organized Thursday night’s “Bloomberg Gun Giveaway” in large part to thumb its nose at Bloomberg, who accuses some shops of allowing illegal purchases of firearms that later were used in crimes in his city.

The city has filed federal lawsuits against more than two dozen shops, including six in Virginia.

Two guns were awarded Thursday, a Para-Ordnance pistol and a Varmint Stalker rifle, each worth about $900. The winners did not immediately receive the weapons _ they will still be required to undergo federal and state background checks.

The first winner, Jay Minsky, responded with an obscene hand gesture when asked what message he hoped to send to Bloomberg.

“If he doesn’t like people in New York having guns, he should deal with New York,” said Minsky, who grew up in Brooklyn. “Just keep out of Virginia.”


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 05/18/2007 at 11:52 AM   
Filed Under: • PhilosophyPolitics •  
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calendar   Thursday - April 19, 2007

Fighting Back is not an Option

We’ve heard the meme already: “If only they would have fought back”.  I’ve said it myself.  Why didn’t someone, or a group of someones, rush him and make the carnage stop?

Dafydd ab Hugh has written an extraordinary piece examining this question.

I wonder if we can survive as a civilization?


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/19/2007 at 03:32 PM   
Filed Under: • Philosophy •  
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
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