People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

On This We Agree

Roanoke Times opinion page editor Dan Radmacher cites From On High this morning as well as - interestingly enough - one of my regular commenters who goes by the nom de guerre "WD" in a plea to not tarnish the news media because of a few bad apples and because of a few instances of distortion and/or outright deceit. I guess he was thinking about Dan Rather. And Stephen Glass. Franklin Foer. Mary Mapes. Adnan Hajj ...

In his op/ed this morning, Dan (Radmacher) writes:

A free press is vital to a functioning democracy. We all know that. But a free press doesn't matter if no one trusts it.

Of course, speaking of the press as a monolithic entity is a mistake. Newspapers, broadcast news and various outlets on the Internet are all part of the press, all part of how today's citizenry informs itself.

But what happens if I don't trust your media, you don't trust mine and the guy down the street doesn't trust anybody's?

I don't believe any medium should get a free pass. Slap us around when we make a mistake or don't live up to the high ethical standards we set for ourselves. But don't discount an important and accurate story because of the perceived sins of an entirely different news organization.
The degree to which the mainstream press should be considered suspect depends on how closely one has watched the members thereof and their work over the years. And on the various and sundry polls that continue to suggest that the members of the media are monolithic in their personal views of conservative vs. liberal political positions (a sweeping majority are liberal to crazy liberal).

Dan is right, of course. Be wary but try to avoid sweeping generalizations.

It would be nice, though, if Dan practiced
what he preaches.

Who Should We Believe ...

... when it comes to guns and crime statistics?

The Washington Post and some professor of emergency medicine ...

... or a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who, before joining AEI, was a senior research scholar at Yale University’s School of Law, and before that, also held positions at the University of Chicago, Stanford University, UCLA, the Wharton Business School, and Rice University. Who additionally was the Chief Economist at the United States Sentencing Commission in 1988 and 1989, and who has published more than ninety articles in academic journals, including the Journal of Law and Economics and the Journal of Legal Studies. And who is the bestselling author of More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, and whose current book, The Bias Against Guns: Why Almost Everything You’ve Heard About Gun Control Is Wrong, was just released by Regnery Publishing in March 2003. *

A medical doctor or the leading statistician on the subject in the world. Hmmm. tough decision.

- - -

* Quoted (with a bit of editing) from Free Republic.

Food For Thought

What's Obama's vision for America?
Obama's America is Canada
Washington Times editorial

What kind of "change" does Barack Obama want? He seeks to transform America into Canada. Mr. Obama is not proposing "new politics," but is a champion of the well-known, already enacted policies in the Great White North. His proposals are more reflective of Canadian values than American national ideals.

For example, Mr. Obama's economic plan consists of attempting to redress the disparities of wealth in the United States. He also wants to help the middle class, whom he states has been "squeezed" in the last decade. He rails against overpaid CEOs and an economy that is "out of balance." He will therefore impose higher taxes on those who make more than $250,000 per year, he will increase the capital-gains tax, he will cut taxes for the middle class and ensure that low-income seniors pay no tax. In other words, he will make America a more temperate nation — one in which the lows for those who do not succeed on their merits are not so low, and the highs for those who soar, are not so high. Mr. Obama's policies will result in stifling initiative and rendering America less meritocratic. This economic plan will have detrimental long-term effects, as has occurred in Canada. Canada suffers from a large "brain drain": Every year, many of the most talented, dynamic and enterprising individuals flock to America in order to escape the stagnation and limitations imposed on them by their government.

Mr. Obama is also proposing a host of government programs. He is suggesting increased spending for ... (link)
Why can't Obama just move to Canada where he - and we - would be better off?

Why Blogs Are Superceding The Mainstream Press

Intelligence for one thing.

Don Surber on crime rates, gun ownership, and the dolts who bring down the big bucks in the media:

Just ask me

Question: Did the murder rate really triple under the Washington, DC, gun ban?

Answer: Yes. The murder rate was 26.8 homicides per 100,000 people in 1976, when the ban became law. That would be its lowest rate for the next 30 years. It peaked at 80.6 homicides per 100,000 people in 1991.

Question: What’s the highest the murder rate has been in gun happy West Virginia in that time?

Answer: 6.9 homicides per 100,000 people.

Question: So why did Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post write: “The practical benefits of effective gun control are obvious: If there are fewer guns, there are fewer shootings and fewer funerals. As everyone knows, in the District of Columbia — and in just about every city in the nation, big or small — there are far too many funerals. The handgun is the weapon of choice in keeping the U.S. homicide rate at a level that the rest of the civilized world finds incomprehensible and appalling.”

Answer: Ignorance.

Question: So why did Colbert King of the Washington Post write: “If D.C. street thugs are pleased by anything, it’s probably the fact that five of the justices — a slim majority, but that’s all it takes to win — have come around to seeing things their way.”

Answer: Ignorance.

Question: So why did E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post write: “In knocking down the District’s 32-year-old ban on handgun possession, the conservatives on the Supreme Court have again shown their willingness to abandon precedent in order to do whatever is necessary to further the agenda of the contemporary political right.”

Answer: Ignorance.
Surber gives these ignoramuses the benefit of the doubt by suggesting that they are simply ill-informed. Ignorant of the facts. History, however, tends to suggest that they just aren't all that bright. After all, the information Surber cited is readily available on the internet, if King and Dionne, and all the others knew how to find it. If they knew how to access the internet. If they knew what the internet was.

Ignorance, as far as I'm concerned, is a poor excuse for what these guys get away with.

So It's Okay ...

... to remind voters that Barack Obama has a middle name of Muslim origin? Do these people really want to go down that road?

Obama Supporters Take His Middle Name as Their Own
By Jodi Kantor, The New York Times

Emily Nordling has never met a Muslim, at least not to her knowledge. But this spring, Ms. Nordling, a 19-year-old student from Fort Thomas, Ky., gave herself a new middle name on Facebook.com, mimicking her boyfriend and shocking her father.

“Emily Hussein Nordling,” her entry now reads.

With her decision, she joined a growing band of supporters of Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, who are expressing solidarity with him by informally adopting his middle name. (link)
I don't know if I'd put too much emphasis on the trend. These are, after all, the kind of nitwits who'd have gleefully voted for the other Hussein - the one who slaughtered 300,000 of his countrymen - had he come to them with bullshit about hope and change and unity and ...

So Much For Healing

Can the man who - some say - is a unifier unify his own party? That may require a bit of magic even The Messiah can't conjure:
Bill Clinton says Barack Obama must 'kiss my ass' for his support
By Tim Shipman and Philip Sherwell, London Telegraph

Bill Clinton is so bitter about Barack Obama's victory over his wife Hillary that he has told friends the Democratic nominee will have to beg for his wholehearted support.

Mr Obama is expected to speak to Mr Clinton for the first time since he won the nomination in the next few days, but campaign insiders say that the former president's future campaign role is a "sticking point" in peace talks with Mrs Clinton's aides.

The Telegraph has learned that the former president's rage is still so great that even loyal allies are shocked by his patronising attitude to Mr Obama, and believe that he risks damaging his own reputation by his intransigence.

A senior Democrat who worked for Mr Clinton has revealed that he recently told friends Mr Obama could "kiss my ass" in return for his support. (link)
Ah, the spirit of reconciliation. Suppose a fistfight is inevitable?

How The Heller Case Translates

David Kopel:
One aspect of the Heller majority opinion that has not yet attracted the attention of commentariat, but may be greatly important of the long run, is the presence of natural law.

Heller reaffirms a point made in the 1876 Cruikshank case. The right to arms (unlike, say, the right to grand jury indictment) is not a right which is granted by the Constitution. It is a pre-existing natural right which is recognized and protected by the Constitution:

“it has always been widely understood that the Second Amendment, like the First and Fourth Amendments, codified a pre-existing right. The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it ’shall not be infringed.’"

Self-defense has generally been highly regarded by the American public, and it can be argued that self-defense is the epitome of an unenumerated Ninth Amendment right.

Heller moves self-defense from the shadowy limbo of the Ninth Amendment into the bright uplands of the Second Amendment. It is now beyond dispute, in an American court, that self-defense is an inherent right, and that it is protected by the United States Constitution.
Seems we have been arguing that point all along. Still, it's comforting to know that the right to keep and bear arms is now chiseled in stone.

Why Even Go?

If you're planning on attending the Democratic national convention in August, you might want to pack some food to take with you. It appears that all you'll be allowed to eat once you get there, unless you fend for yourself, are leaves and twigs:

Democratic convention to be no-fry zone
By Scott Shepard, Cox News Service

Denver — Warning to Southern delegates to the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver this August: it will be a no-fry zone.

As part of the effort to make the August 25-28 convention the greenest ever, the Democrats' guidelines for food catering include one that strikes at the heart of Southern cuisine: no fried food.

No fried chicken. No fried catfish. No fried green tomatoes. No fried okra. No fried anything. In promoting healthy eating habits, the Democratic guidelines say every meal should be nutritious and include "at least three of the following colors: red, green, yellow, purple/blue and white."

"It's the new patriotism," says Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, the driving force behind the greening of the Democratic convention. (link)
And if people want a burger one night while in convention? Too bad.

It's forbidden.

Call it the new patriotism.

NRA Goes On The Offensive ...

... demanding implementation of the Supreme Court's groundbreaking Heller ruling at once:
NRA Files Second Amendment Lawsuits In Illinois And California Following Supreme Court Ruling

Following up on yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling that the Second Amendment protects a private right to possess firearms that is not limited to militia service, the NRA today filed five lawsuits challenging local gun bans in San Francisco, and in Chicago and several of its suburbs.

“The Supreme Court held yesterday that the Second Amendment right is exercised individually and belongs to all Americans,” said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox. “These lawsuits will ensure that state and local governments hear those words.”

The San Francisco lawsuit challenges a local ordinance and lease provisions that prohibit possession of guns by residents of public housing in San Francisco. NRA is joined in that suit by the California Rifle and Pistol Association and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

The Chicago case challenges a handgun ban nearly identical to the law struck down yesterday in Washington, D.C. The other Illinois suits challenge handgun bans in the suburban towns of Evanston, Morton Grove, and Oak Park.

All five suits raise the issue of the application of the Second Amendment against the states through the Fourteenth Amendment, known in constitutional law as “incorporation.”
It's high time the "right of the people" was put back into the Constitution. Here's to speedy and sweeping success, guys.

Last Dance, Barry

He can try to have it both ways. And wait for the media to provide the necessary cover. But Barack Obama is in the major leagues now. And his ducking and weaving - with that confident swagger - won't cut it any longer.

Investor's Business Daily:

Obama: Riding Tall In The Straddle

Gun Rights: Obama claims he believes the Second Amendment says you can own a gun but that local communities can still opt out of the Constitution. What will he say as his political hometown is sued by the NRA?

While campaigning in Pennsylvania earlier this year, Barack Obama was having breakfast with his Democratic Senate colleague Bob Casey. A reporter asked Obama about Jimmy Carter's trip to see the terrorist group Hamas. Obama responded: "Why is it that, like, I can't just eat my waffle?"

There's going to be another waffle Obama's going to eat as he tries to explain his simultaneous support for the District of Columbia gun ban he called constitutional and the Supreme Court decision in the Heller case that said it wasn't. Obama has developed an almost Clintonesque ability to take both sides of an issue.

That ability will be put to the test as gun-rights groups sue to overturn similar gun bans in Chicago and nearby suburbs. Hours after the high court's 5-4 ruling was made public Thursday, the Second Amendment Foundation and the Illinois State Rifle Association sued Chicago and its mayor in an effort to overturn the city's 26-year-old ban on handguns.

Reacting to the Heller decision, Obama said he'd uphold the rights of gun owners, rights denied by the D.C. and Chicago bans, saying: "I know what works in Chicago may not work in Cheyenne. We need to work together to enact common sense laws."

But such bans don't work anywhere, and Obama once thought the D.C. ban was both common sense and constitutional. (link)

Is it any wonder that Obama now refuses to hold town hall meetings, or that his staff is shielding him from contact with the public?

Hope and audacity got you here, pal. But it's now going to require that you tell us where you stand on the issues. In clear and concise terms. The days of mealymouth are over.