Friday, July 30, 2004
And as president, I will bring back this nation's time-honored tradition: the United States of America never goes to war because we want to, we only go to war because we have to.
I know what we have to do in Iraq. We need a president who has the credibility to bring our allies to our side and share the burden, reduce the cost to American taxpayers, and reduce the risk to American soldiers. That's the right way to get the job done and bring our troops home.
Let there be no mistake: I will never hesitate to use force when it is required. Any attack will be met with a swift and certain response. I will never give any nation or international institution a veto over our national security. “ John Kerry, acceptance speech, July 29, 2004.
I am pretty sure that Kerry believes what he said last night, but I think this makes him a minority in the Democratic Party. In order for him to win he will have to energize the Democratic base, which has swung further and further to the left over the years. He may believe in what he says, but the people who will elect him, by and large, do not, and in order to govern he will have to concede to many of their wishes. Nowhere, I think, will he have to concede more than on the issue of national security, since this issue is the cornerstone of the Bush Presidency his supporters loathe so much. Kerry, to use a historical analogy, in much the same position as George McClellan, the Democratic candidate in 1864, who repudiated the anti-war plank in his party’s platform that year, saying that he would never negotiate with the Confederacy. The plank stayed in the Democratic platform, despite his protests, and Lincoln, for one, understood the consequences of a McClellan victory, even if McClellan did not.
"This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this Administration will not be re-elected. Then it will be my duty to so cooperate with the President-elect as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration; as he will have secured his election on such grounds that he cannot possibly save it afterwards." Abraham Lincoln, in a memorandum, August 23, 1864.
Thursday, July 29, 2004
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
The fire turned out to be a false alarm; a technical glitch in the system set off the alarm; but what struck me as I waited outside for the all clear signal was the large number of health professionals, doctors and nurses alike, who passed the time smoking cigarettes. Do these people really think that their professional responsibilities actually buy them a pass on that whole smoking causes cancer thing? Do they think their years of medical education exempt them from the harmful effects of tobacco smoke? They must think so because these all of these guys smoke like a bad chimney.
Monday, July 26, 2004
For those of you not from New York, let me explain how things work here. First, there is the Governor, who at this time is George Pataki, a Republican from Peekskill, which is in Westchester County, in the New York City suburbs in the lower Hudson Valley. Then there is the Majority Leader of the State Senate, Joseph Bruno, who is a Republican from Saratoga Springs, which is to the north of Albany, where most of the voters are trees, and finally, there is the Speaker of the State Assembly, Sheldon Silver, a Democrat from the Lower East Side of Manhattan, which I am sure I don't have to tell you, is in New York City. These three guys decide everything there is to decide in New York and if they disagree with one another, which is usually the case, absolutely nothing gets done.
Now, since state legislatures must apportion seats according to population, the State Senate is almost always controlled by upstate Republicans, the Assembly almost always controlled by downstate Democrats; the office of governor is up for grabs since that office is voted by everyone in the state; the pols couldn't find a way around that, but I'm sure given enough time and energy they will. There are more state senators than Joe Bruno, of course, and a lot more assemblymen than Shelly Silver, but let's face facts, folks, they don't count. They are there just for show. You could ship department store dummies up to the state capitol building in Albany and no one would know the difference (by the way, the New York State Capitol is one of the most beautiful in the nation. If you're ever in Albany you might want to see it; there's been major restoration done on the building). They especially don't count if they are the wrong party in the wrong house; there are few things more utterly pointless than a Republican assemblyman or a Democratic state senator. These people are, whatever their individual good qualities may be, the political equivalent of the appendix. What's more, senate and assembly districts are drawn up by, you guessed it, by the leadership of the Senate and the Assembly, who make absolutely sure that nothing is done to challenge the status quo. In New York, strange as this may seem elsewhere, incumbent politicians regard re-election as one of their civil rights and the election laws are arranged in such a way that no politician will ever be challenged by anyone, anywhere, at any time. This may be one of the reasons that New York State has not passed a budget on time in twenty years and why the usual question around budget time in Albany is not whether the budget will be passed on time but rather how late it will be this year.
Frankly, I am looking forward to the day when the New York State budget for a given fiscal year gets hung up until the next fiscal year. I hear you laughing out there, but if you knew what politics are like here, you'd know that this is entirely within the realm of possibility. What is not within the realm of possibility is that any of the Brennan Center's recommendations will ever be implemented by the leadership of the state legislature; these guys will hardly sponsor their own political emasculation. Trust me on this one.
Thursday, July 22, 2004
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
The shrieks of protest from the hard Left are the shrieks of religious believers who have been told, absolutely and beyond the possibility of doubt, that there is no God. Religions generally have the good sense to promise Paradise on the other side of the grave, where the possibility of someone proving empirically the falsity of faith-based contentions about an afterlife are minimal to the point of nonexistence. Socialism tried to impose Paradise in the actual breathing living world, where it was eventually shown for the fantasy it always was. Someone has to be to blame for this. Once upon a time it would have been the Jews; now it's the United States. Also, I found this article via USS Clueless, and Mr Den Beste has some good things to say about it that you might want to read.
Monday, July 19, 2004
Once upon a great time ago in America, motorists paid a deep and abiding respect to stop signs, even if they didn’t mean it; you never knew if there was a motorcycle cop up ahead just waiting for you to run past the sign without stopping. And so you stopped, if only for fear of getting a ticket. But nowadays people do not fear the police and do not stop, running the stop signs whenever they choose. This failure to stop at stop signs was once a sign that the offending driver was a dangerous radical, a condition to avoided like the plague or athlete’s foot in this our Great Republic. Radicals who refused to stop at stop signs were seen as malignant underminers of the very fabric of modern American society. But no more. First comes the disrespect for stop signs, followed close on by refusing to stop at red lights and then ignoring the directions of traffic officers. Such a breakdown in automotive morality can only lead to accidents and general mayhem replacing General Motors on the nation’s highways. Anarchy will rear its ugly head, as the struggle to get to the supermarket to buy a gallon of milk becomes a hellish Hobbesian highway battle of everyman against his fellow man. I don’t even want to think about what it’ll be like on the roads if there’s a sale at Shop-Rite. Driver education classes throughout the land will be permanently cancelled, replaced by a good luck card from the state, a set of keys, and a complete set of The Road Warrior movies as instructional videos.
What brought on this massive surge of disrespect for the fundamental decencies of motoristical behavior? Conspiracy theorists abound, as they are perhaps wont to do, but I think the basic mistake was the introduction of the right turn on a red light. Once the states abandoned the basic formula of red=stop in favor of the right turn concept it was only a matter of time before the inevitable shaving of the law’s parameters began. Stop became stop, please, and then stop, but only if you want to, and finally stop, why? Once the pattern was set the long slide into chaos ensued, as any observer with half a brain could have figured out for themselves. Now the very authorities that approved the right on red abomination wonder why their transportation dicta are ignored by the great mass of motorists; it is evidently too hard for these dolts to understand that by diluting the power of the stop sign they were also diluting their ability to effect what occurred on American roads. Only a return to red=stop, backed up by a intense police effort and a blizzard of tickets, will return the stop sign to the honored position it once held in American life, a position that was needlessly sacrificed to a silly fashion.
Thursday, July 15, 2004
Friday, July 09, 2004
Thursday, July 08, 2004
The other problem I have with everyone knowing is that everyone feels the need, no, not the need, but the obligation, to tell me that something I am about to eat is not good for me. People who wouldn't dream of commenting on my political opinions feel no compunction whatever about having an opinion about my lunch. Lunch has become something akin to a baseball game, with color commentary of what I am eating paired with a play by play of how my Subway Veggie Delite is probably no good for me unless I chew each and every bite at least thirty-two times in order to extract every last bit of nutrition out of the vegetables. And, you know, I used to like lettuce, both romaine and iceberg, but now just looking at a head of the damn stuff gives me a case of the chills. I can't even cheat a little bit; maybe a Yodel here or a Ring Ding there; all the storekeepers in town know about my problem and will be the first to rat me out to my family if I so much look at a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and then once the family knows the news will be all over town before supper time. If I want to cheat I'd have to drive all the way over to Danbury, where no one knows me or cares to, and where I can buy a Hershey's bar without the censure of the entire town coming down on my head.
Of course, I could always turn to the streets, to the dark and dangerous trade in junk food for diabetics. I could meet a sugar pusher in some dark alley and pay twenty dollars for a bite of a Yodel the pusher stole from some kid on his way to school the day before. Then when I have ruined my life with junk food and pizza, when even my pusher will no longer sell me an M&M (chocolate, not peanut), I could go through the twelve steps of Sweeteners Anonymous, recognizing that only the intervention of a higher power can save me from my craving for sugar, cornstarch, and partially hydrogenated fats from anyone of several vegetable oils, and I will return with joy in my heart to a regimen of jabbing my fingers and abdomen with sharp objects. As long as I don't have to eat anymore damn lettuce, I'll be fine.
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
"Many of you are well enough off that ... the tax cuts may have helped you," Sen. Clinton said. "We're saying that for America to get back on track, we're probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."
The common good as determined by whom? Who is the we in this statement, and who is the you? And who determined that Senator Clinton is one of the we who gets to decide? Unless I miss my guess, Senator Clinton is saying that she, among others, to be sure, will not return to the taxpayers of this country money that belongs to them in the first place, and that she is doing this because she has something better to do with it in mind. But what really grates here is her assumption that the money is hers to begin with, that the taxpayers exist solely to provide her and the rest of her statist chums with funds.