Saturday, July 10, 2004

What are the chances he'll actually introduce himself?
From a Kerry campaign email: "This speech will be John Kerry's most important of the campaign, as he introduces himself to the nation and lays out his vision for a stronger America."

Should be a short speech if he continues to introduce himself the way he has thus far...
"Hi. My name is John Kerry. I served in Vietnam. Vote for me for president."

Thursday, July 08, 2004

A Guy Who Gets It
CNN.com - Cosby foots college bills for top grads
Bill Cosby understands what's wrong with America, and seems to care enough to do his part to fix it.
You may be aware of the two speeches he gave recently criticizing the state of the African American community, and blaming that group for most of its own problems. He has effectively demanded that the community pony-up and straighten itself out, instead of looking to blame both the past and outside groups. (A selection of these comments along with analysis and a conversation with Cosby himself can be found at National Public Radio.)

The fact of the matter is, he's right, and he's wrong. There is a lot of history that put blacks at the bottom of the pile to begin with, in this country and around the world. There are also a lot of groups that still keep them down, as well as a lot of continuing circumstances that accentuate the problem. But he's also got a really good point.

There are plenty of poor minorities that show surprisingly high rates of success coming out of the same neighborhoods as the 50% of black men who drop out of high school, and the 2/3 who are under some form of supervision by law enforcement. He's right that many (particularly urban) African Americans speak a language that bears little resemblance to the English that most people speak. He's right that parents aren't teaching their kids to value education the way they should be. He's right that kids are wearing designer shirts and playing video games in houses where there often isn't enough to eat.

And he's right that these are circumstances that cannot (and should not) be fixed through government. It's a refreshing change from the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons of the world, and I hope people listen to him. Listen to the NPR bit and let me know what you think.

But the point of the article above is that Cosby isn't merely spouting off--he has the will to step up and change things. He's found two kids that came out of this environment and succeeded on their own, and he's putting them through college. Let's hope that more Americans follow his lead; let's hope that people with means feel the duty to help people who've earned the same by circumventing the circumstances that would otherwise preclude success. Right on, Bill.

Beautiful
Fahrenheit 9/11 - The Filthy Critic (via Andrew Sullivan)

UPDATE [7/8/2004 - 19:28]: LILEKS weighs in with extremely satisfying results.

Oh, Peggy, I do love you so...
OpinionJournal - Peggy Noonan: "By the way, I continue to be impressed by how Mr. Kerry plays Vietnam. He served four months in Vietnam, and everyone thinks it was years. It's like a guy showing up on the History Channel talking about the Pacific war, and breaking into tears as he remembers the bombardment. Gray head, sagging face, old aviator glasses. And then the interviewer says 'Tell us how long you were there?' And the old guy chirps, 'Oh, four months! Scratched my arm, got my ticket punched, and got out of Dodge!' If Mr. Kerry had not led with his weakness--if he had not boldly gone forth from day one presenting his candidacy as one of a Vietnam hero--the whole subject would at this point in the campaign be not a theme but an embarrassment. "

Abortion and Nuance Continued
As usual, someone has said it better than I could:
Boston.com / News / Politics / Presidential candidates / It's time to quiz Kerry: "So, Kerry's conscience is not at odds with church teaching, just with his voting record? By any measure, that is an odd definition of conscience. Forget church teaching for a moment. Conscience is a moral concept, as well as a religious one, after all. If you believe that life begins at conception, doesn't your conscience compel you to vote in concert with that belief? Just as, if your conscience tells you capital punishment is state-sanctioned murder, you would vote against the death penalty? Or if you believe that gay marriage is a fundamental civil right, you would vote against a constitutional amendment to ban it?
I, and I suspect many others who support legal abortion, had mistakenly assumed that, on this very personal issue, Kerry's conscience was at odds with the teaching of his church. His consistent record in favor of abortion rights, family planning, and reproductive freedom was, I thought, a courageous reflection of an independent mind."


'Nough said, at least for now.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Today's Essay Topic: Abortion and Nuance
So, John Kerry announced that he believes abortion is, in fact, murder. His words: I oppose abortion, personally. I don't like abortion. I believe life does begin at conception...I can't take my Catholic belief, my article of faith, and legislate it on a Protestant or a Jew or an atheist. We have separation of church and state in the United States of America.

Yes, we do have separation of Church and State, and I thank God every day that we are afforded such freedoms in this great nation. Here's the problem, though, John: murder is different. I'm not going to defend my views of abortion here (for those who don't know, I also believe that life begins at conception, or at the very least we don't know when it begins, and I'm not willing to take the risk that abortion might be murder. Therefore, I think we should stop it.), but I'll deal exclusively with the Senator's.

If you believe that abortion ends an existing life, then you believe abortion is murder. If you then campaign on a woman's right to have an abortion, then you are campaigning on a woman's right to commit murder. It's that simple. So, one of two things becomes possible. Either: Kerry doesn't actually believe that life begins at conception, and he's just saying it to try and win some votes on the right, OR: Kerry thinks murder should be legalized. OK, he probably doesn't think murder is alright, but at the very least he has no real concern for human life. Either way, this isn't so much a nuanced view on abortion, as it is total (pardon my French) bullshit.

Maybe someone can explain it to me, but murder isn't about separation between Church and State. If you truly believe life begins at conception, intuitively meaning you believe abortion to be murder, fighting it isn't about imposing your views on others, it's about stopping others from committing a wrong.

Oh, and by the way, John, if you're not supposed to impose your views on others, then your reasons for taking my money to help the poor the ways you want instead of letting me do it my way had better have nothing to do with a religiously based desire to help the less-fortunate. If it does, then the fact that you don't want to use your religious beliefs to physically save lives, but you do use them to save lives in a less-clear manner (like welfare), disgusts me.

I rambled a bit, but if I didn't make my point that this "life begins at conception but a woman has a right to choose just the same" position is untenable, or if you just don't agree, post a comment and maybe we can clear up the disparity.

Happy Birthday
to President George W. Bush. May your days be happy and plentiful.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Read it, you might learn something worth knowing...
Star-Spangled Stupidity