Monday, August 23, 2004

Small Steps in the Right Direction 

Rep. John Boehner (Rep. OH) has an article defending the performance of charter schools from attacks from the New York Times and the teacher's unions. Boehner could have pointed to an article from the Cincinnati Post in 2000 detailing that all but one of Cincinnati's charter schools have overwhelming minority enrollment in them, belying the quality of education of Cincinnati's schools. Mr. Boehner's point is that charter schools take more at risk kids under their care and with greater accountability (and generally fewer resources) than public schools, come out with the same results.

I myself am in favor of charter schools because they do represent a small step in the right direction, namely wresting control of education of children away from the state. The problem with charter schools though is that the state is still in charge of who is allowed to form said schools and who isn't. The state still maintains a large degree of control over the charter schools. Vouchers are a further step in the right direction, but as David Koyzis points out, education is or at least should be the responsibility of parents, not the state.

Note: thanks to the Evangelical Outpost for finding this thoughtful and intelligent man and for being an inspiration to me in creating this blog.

Random Thoughts 

I was pondering why George Soros has been so vehement in his criticisms of the administration and why he is going to such great legnths to unseat an incumbent president. The answer lies ultimately in one's political proclivities, but part of his passion may be fueled by a steadily declining dollar as the markets have some doubts about our ability to defend ourselves in a hostile world and finance a growing federal government's debt and adventures. Larry Kudlow makes mention of the need to boost the U.S. currency here. If I remember rightly, Soros made a lot of his fortune playing the currency market. If some of his contracts and bets were wrong because of various Bush policies, then part of his anger would be justified. Of course, his seeming prescription to the problem of people wanting to kill us really isn't much of a solution at all. I just put this thought out on the water for one and all to consider.

On other matters, one movie that I would recommend for the adults in my audience is "Intolerable Cruelty" starring George Clooney and Catherine Zeta Jones. Clooney is a high powered divorce attorney who falls for Jones' character after beating her in the courtroom once he "discovers" that she is in love with someone else. The movie has many ironic turns it and the material, language and some situations in the movie make this adult viewing necessary. The movie is a satirical comedy on marriage, but Clooney and Jones just throw themselves into the movie and have a good time, carrying the flick all the way.

One thing this movie has that many movies these seem to lack to me is a true sense of old fashioned style. The stars in this movie (especially Zeta-Jones) look great with great outfits. I liked the film's unserious take on a hot button topic and its sense of style. On a scale of one to five with five being the best, I would give this film a solid 4.

Once again, please feel free to give some kind of feedback (positive or negative) and bring a friend next time you visit.

Unable to Kerry the Load 

When I was growing up in Colorado, my friend and I played what we thought was a witty game of "you know you're having a bad day when..." where we would try to be funny in filling the blank. In that spirit, you know the Kerry-Edwards campaign has NOT had a good week when Bob Dole is piling on about Kerry's wounds. I'm sure the lukewarm reception here in Cincinnati this past week probably didn't help matters much either. If you listened to the Hugh Hewitt show on Friday, Peter Beinart of the New Republic was clearly agitated that this story is relevant right now. Of course Hugh responded on his website that Bush's drunk driving story the last weekend of the 2000 cycle shouldn't have been that important but it was. Welcome to politics in August ladies and gentlemen.

If you have comments positive OR negative, please let me know with some feedback. Come back and bring a friend with you.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

The Keyes to the Senate 

I have read some of the reaction to Allan Keyes accepting the Illinois GOP nomination for Senator on sites such as realclearpolitics.com and I know that there are some who are dissmayed that Keyes was the choice and that he actually accepted the nomination despite coming from another state and being a four time political loser. I agree with Jonah Goldberg's take that it is bad for democracy when a nomination could just up and change the way the powers that be decided it to. I think that a party should stick with either homegrown talents or should stick to no choice at all. I think there is no dishonor in not fielding a major candidate when your first choice went down the way George Ryan did. While I think Barak Obama is an overrated leftist state senator (see here), I don't think that nearly as much damage to democracy can be done with this choice as was done by the Democrats in New Jersey when Bob Torricelli (the torch) flamed out in a bribe taking scandal.

Chances are at this point that Keyes will go down in flaming defeat in November and the fellow who would have probably won the race regardless of whoever the Republicans threw out there will most likely win. In Keyes, Obama has a challenger who can match his charisma and rhetorical abilities. This is probably why Keyes was brought in: to rough up and challenge full bore Obama's charm and charisma.

I disagree with GOP strategist Mike Murphy's allegation that choosing Keyes set the state party back five or six years. Two things need to be said on this front: first, the Illinois GOP was already in trouble with candidates who had skeletons in their closets and had shown political inneptitude before this year. Bringing in Keyes merely allows the party to go on a political bender into the wilderness before calmer, cooler, smarter heads prevail. Second, Mike Murphy has precious little room to talk with his latest stunts named Rick Lazio and John McCain. Memo to Murphy: you should have learned from your colleague Mark Mellman: When given the choice between phony Democrats and the real deal, voters will choose the real deal. With his obsession with appealing to Democrat voters on Democrat issues, Murphy has tried unsuccessfully to dress moderate (Lazio) and even conservative (McCain) politicians in Democrat drag. Sorry, but seeing grown men in drag doesn't look good in real life and it looks just as bad in politics.

I remember Phyllis Schlafly talking one time about her two runs for Congress. She said the first time she ran, she didn't stand a chance of winning, so she went for broke and simply went after the incumbent philosophically and what have you. She rather enjoyed herself and enjoyed discussing larger issues of the day in a way didn't enjoy in a much closer race some twenty years later. I think Keyes is in that situation. He has nothing to lose. If he loses the election, so what? he packs his carpetbag and goes back to Maryland or settles down in Illinois to be a gadfly back home to Obama. If he wins, then he finally breaks through and gets electoral office in DC.
Finally, I LOVEthe line Keyes says about Obama's supporting partial birth abortion. It is obtuse to say that Obama has chosen the rationale of the slavemaster in violating basic human rights by supporting partial birth abortion, but it takes the rhetoric of the left and fires that gun right in their face. At the very least, the race should be entertaining for political spectators like myself to watch. If only I had C-SPAN....

You Call This Perspective?! 

Ron Paul is a libertarian Republican from Texas whose "Texas Straight Talk" columns are posted on Razormouth.com, and as such are read by my wife and I on a regular basis.
Mr. Paul has, in his latest column, seemed to misjudge the nature of the threat posed by the islamo-fascists abroad. He says at the end of his latest piece
Every new security measure represents another failure of the once-courageous American spirit. The more we change our lives, the more we obsess about terrorism, the more the terrorists have won. As commentator Lew Rockwell of the Ludwig von Mises Institute explains, terrorists in effect have been elevated by our response to 9-11: “They are running the country. They determine our civic life. They shape our private life. They decide how public resources are spent. They may dictate who gets to be the next president. It should be obvious that the government doesn’t object. Not at all. The government benefits, by getting ever more reason for ever more money and power.”

Every generation must resist the temptation to believe that it lives in the most dangerous time in American history. The threat of Islamic terrorism is real, but it is not the greatest danger ever faced by our nation. This is not to dismiss the threat of terrorism, but rather to put it in perspective. Those who seek to whip the nation into a frenzy of fear do a disservice to a country that expelled the British, fought two world wars, and stared down the Soviet empire.

Liberty is lost through complacency and a subservient mindset. When we accept or even welcome automobile checkpoints, random searches, mandatory identification cards, and paramilitary police in our streets, we have lost a vital part of our American heritage. America was born of protest, revolution, and mistrust of government. Subservient societies neither maintain nor deserve freedom for long.

What baffles my mind is that Mr. Paul and his fellow libertarian travelers in arms (including a certain attorney mentioned down below) have a real dilemma on their hands. It seems that they utterly fail to see the real danger posed by the terrorists abroad. It isn't so much that they're seeking control, as much as they are seeking death. What blows my mind is the fact that terrorists WANT TO KILL US!!! Mr. Paul and his fellow libertarians have a warped view of human nature. Hatred, malice, envy, greed, murder are all things the Scripture tells individuals in the early church to put off from themselves because they are a new person in Christ. It is because these islamofacists are of a different religion, they have absolutely no compunction whatsoever with killing as many people as possible and they don't even mess around with honoring civil liberties, in fact, they seek to use our very freedom against us to harm us. What Mr. Paul doesn't do and he SHOULD is to address the question of how does one give the state the tools it needs to apprehend those who would harm us and at the same time, how does one maximize civil liberties at the same time. Answering this basic question hasn't been done by the libertarians and is one reason why I can't join their ranks. The police state needs constant and vigilant oversight to keep its power in proper perspective, but I also want the government to apprehend those who would or have done us harm.
Until libertarians start to address man's completely fallen nature and until they start to answer this simple question of governance, they will continue to be lost and wandering prophets crying in an irrelevant wilderness.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Random Thoughts 

One of the most powerful films I have seen recently is the World War II prisoner flick To End All Wars. The movie is intense in its portrayl of Ernest Gordon's account of British POWs captured during the fall of Singapore being forced to build a rail line through the jungles of Burma. It is one of the few films that shows the working of the Holy Spirit in the hearts and minds of men in real time.

This film is violent in quite a few places with prisoners being shot, tortured, and even crucified, but this is to be expected in the course of warfare and when man's true nature is put to the test. I would highly reccomend this film because it is a quality film and a compelling story.

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