Sunday, December 30, 2007

I'm Inclined To Agree With This...

Via Althouse:

Well, of course, it was bad of the little girl to lie, but little kids lie. Making a spectacle out of disgracing a 6-year-old is disgraceful. After failing to check the very checkable fact that made the company think of her essay as the best, it should have quietly resolved the matter with the girl's family — probably by sending her on the trip anyway — and given the prize — the honor of winning plus the trip — to someone else.

I'm not sure about letting her go on the trip anyway, but I do agree that it's a bit out of bounds to pile on this girl. She's six. Not sixteen, not twenty-six, but six. As suggested in the comments, I think her mom had a hand in this, and at the very least should take the blame for not vetting her daughter's work (Don't you need parent's permission for these things, anyway?), not to mention the judges, for not vetting properly.

This ought to have been discreetly, and this girl shouldn't be subjected to this, as this goes well beyond the realm of a moral lesson.

I have to wonder though, are young girls that hung up on Hannah Montana, as to even allow such a situation like this to arise?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto Assassinated

This story has been developing all day, but it's clear that Bhutto was attacked during a speech. She was shot in the neck and the chest, and the assassin apparently blew himself up. She survived the bombing, but died of the gunshot wounds. Tragic all around. A sad day for Pakistan, and a sad day for us all.

HT: SF for the link

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

But This One Here Was Actually Good

This isn't really an ad per se, rather, it's a message to the troops. I thought this was good. HT and thanks to the WWE.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Speaking of Christmas Ads,

This one from Hillary probably wasn't the best choice:

HT: Althouse

I mean, whatever your opinions on those issues, the ad was just awful. I'm with Ann, in that it's almost a self-parody.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Yeah, That's A Good Point!

In response to this news of the couldn't-have-happened-sooner-enough departure from the 2008 Presidential race of Tom "Let's Wall Up The Whole Frickin' Country" Tancredo (HT: Fern over at Stubborn Facts), I admittedly used some harsh words. Let it be said, that cavemen deserve better:

Hitchens and Huckabee

Although it is triple-marinated in insufferable anti-religious contempt, Christopher Hitchens' Slate piece on the right of people to consider religious views when judging candidates is nonetheless correct on the constitutional question:

As so often, the framers and founding fathers meant what they said, said what they meant, and risked no waste of words. A candidate for election, or an applicant for a post in the bureaucracy, could not be disqualified on the grounds of his personal faith in any god (or his disbelief in any god, for that matter).

He reminds us, though, that:

However, what Article VI does not do, and was never intended to do, is deny me the right to say, as loudly as I may choose, that I will on no account vote for a smirking hick like Mike Huckabee, who is an unusually stupid primate but who does not have the elementary intelligence to recognize the fact that this is what he is. My right to say and believe that is already guaranteed to me by the First Amendment. And the right of Huckabee to win the election and fill the White House with morons like himself is unaffected by my expression of an opinion.

Like I said, chock-full of anti-religious poison, but on the facts of Article VI, he's right. I have the right to consider someone's faith (Or lack of faith) when judging a candidate, and be quite vocal about doing so. Just because the government cannot impose a religious test, that doesn't mean the people can't. Contra Dennis Prager, Keith Ellison had every right to swear on the Koran, but voters do have the right to consider his adherence to that book when voting for him. Many will consider Romney's Mormonism, or Rudy's Catholicism. Hitchens will doubtless ask himself "does this candidate hate God as much as I do, and is he as self-absorbed and arrogant about it as I am?"

The wisdom of such considerations depends on your perspective, but let me add my view: I'm a Christian. Huckabee's faith isn't a problem for me (although he is a socon Republican, so I have issues with many of his policies). My problems with Romney have nothing to do with his Mormon faith, although there are questions he will have to face.

Back to Huckabee for a moment, while I totally understand the concern of improperly mixing religious and politics, I don't see what the big fuss is about on Huckabee's new Christmas ad, with the "floating bookshelf cross" in the background. It's a Christmas ad, and Huckabee has never hid his Christian faith. I'm not naive enough to think that he didn't know it was there, or at the very least the camera guy didn't know or plan it), I just don't see the big deal.

Before anyone asks, I'm not stumping for Huckabee. Being that he's a pretty conservative guy, chances are I'm not going to vote for him, but he seems like a decent man, and the pile on is getting silly.

There is a thought that I'm planning to expand on, about a possible anti-Huckabee conspiracy coming from the right, masking as a critique of hypersecularism, but that comes later.

HT: Althouse and Stubborn Facts

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Congress vs. The First Amendment (And The Plain Meaning of Words)

Over at Stubborn Facts, Tully has been providing extensive coverage of the continuing progress of an utterly-wrongheaded bill that will essentially limit press freedom to the established and well-paid journalistic elite, and strip away those freedoms from the average citizen.

This bill started off innocently enough, but in the legislative factory, a nefarious change was made. Here's how the bill started out:

(2) COVERED PERSON- The term `covered person' means a person engaged in journalism and includes a supervisor, employer, parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of such covered person.

...(5) JOURNALISM- The term `journalism' means the gathering, preparing, collecting, photographing, recording, writing, editing, reporting, or publishing of news or information that concerns local, national, or international events or other matters of public interest for dissemination to the public.

All good in the hood so far, right? Even righty Mike Pence supported this bill at first. But here's the problem. Look at what happened:

(2) COVERED PERSON- The term `covered person' means a person who regularly gathers, prepares, collects, photographs, records, writes, edits, reports, or publishes news or information that concerns local, national, or international events or other matters of public interest for dissemination to the public for a substantial portion of the person's livelihood or for substantial financial gain and includes a supervisor, employer, parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of such covered person.

See what happened? Now the bill only protects you if you're a paid journalist, and journalism is a substantial part of your livelihood. In other words, the average blogger is left out.

This bill, HR 2102, passed the House in October. Tully brought it to the forefront again, after coming across this, which uses some of the most absurd reasoning I've seen in a while, and tries to make the case that citizen journalism is dangerous:

Supporters of "citizen journalism" argue it provides independent, accurate, reliable information that the traditional media don't provide. While it has its place, the reality is it really isn't journalism at all, and it opens up information flow to the strong probability of fraud and abuse. The news industry should find some way to monitor and regulate this new trend.

It seems that Congress has already started on that.

Hazinski continues, with this nugget:

This is like saying someone who carries a scalpel is a "citizen surgeon" or someone who can read a law book is a "citizen lawyer."

Umm, no, it's not, you idiot. First off, there is no constitiutional right to be a lawyer or a surgeon, and the field of journalism is so different from law and medicine, that your analogy is rendered beyond ridiculous.

The underlying argument here, and the underlying argument in the change in the bill, is a belief that the press has special freedoms granted them by the Constitution. The Founders didn't give freedom to the press, they gave the freedom of the press, to the people.

I wrote on this awhile back, when the NYT tried to justify their leak of the SWIFT terrorist banking story.

This bill needs to die in the Senate, and quickly.

HT again to Tully over at SF.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Hugo Chavez vs. Time

Hugo has apparently decided that time itself is thwarting his plans, so he's decided to create a whole new time zone.

"I don't care if they call me crazy, the new time will go ahead," he said.

OK, then. You're craaaazy.

HT: Althouse, who has a cool new profile pic.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Not To Overreact Here,

but I'm inclined to agree with Eric Scheie, and wonder if perhaps it really isn't the best way to show your commitment to working-class and poor people, by broadcasting a debate on a channel that only people with a lot of money can watch?

This is another one of those things that the GOP will seize on, and while ultimately irrelevant, doesn't reflect well. I mean, what is the thinking behind this anyway? Did HDNet pay the DNC big bucks for this or something?

It all seems silly. I just can't figure out what they were trying to accomplish.

HT: Althouse

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The People Say No to Hugo

Hugo Chavez's plan to solididy himself as a dictator (even more than he already was) has failed, as the people of Venezuela rejected his referendum that would have made him President for life, carved up what was left of the Constitution, and seized even more executive power, and made him the next Fidel. The Chavistas will doubtless continue to misread this, and blame the U.S., but I think Marc Cooper nails it in one strike:

The real answer is that Hugo Chavez lost because a majority of Venezuelans decided he had taken them far enough off, thank you very much, and simply did not want to cross the threshold into an uncertain and prolonged chapter of personal dictatorship and political darkness. Good for them. Let's hope they can make it through the next six years of Chavez' current term.

Indeed. The people wanted democracy. Chavez, after grabbing more and more power, after shutting down the opposition press (with apparent approval from some over here), and his continued authoritarian expansion, couldn't force the people to choose dictatorship. He may call them traitors, but it won't work. Let's just hope and pray Venezuela survives the rest of his term.

BTW, Tully over at my second home Stubborn Facts has consistently provided extensive coverage of this issue, and Chavez's antics in general.