Monday, April 25, 2005

unpaid endorsement time 

For my 5th wedding anniversary, I ordered a dozen red roses to celebrate the occasion. I called their 1-800 number and talked to a professional and curtious customer service agent. The roses arrived in time for our anniversary and they were in great condition. The blooms opened up beautifully and would have lasted longer had we not lost one of the packages of plant food that came with the flowers. I was impressed with the service and most of all, I was impressed with the quality of the flowers. If you have a need to buy flowers, please seriously consider making a purchase from proflowers.com. Great service. Great flowers.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Thoughts on the new Pope 

Here are some essentially random thoughts that I have had recently concerning the new pope Benedict XVI:

--His pick was certainly surprising to me. I expected him to be seen as too old and doctrinaire to be a successor to the charismatic and mystical John Paul II.

--I wish him good health and God's wisdom in guiding a large diverse body of believers worldwide.

--I wonder if Benedict will continue the ecumenical overtures that his predecessor started? I expect Pope Benedict to be very conservative theologically. I just wonder if his theological conservatism will lead him to embrace or ultimately reject those with whom Rome has had disagreements with in the past.

--Hugh Hewitt asked one caller to his show whether young people will be attracted to a 78 year old pope. Answer: If he embraces Catholic youth the way his predecessor did, then the answer will be yes, young men and women will be attracted to this pontiff, particularly as has intended to hold forth against the "tyranny of relativism", a position that will yield much unanticipated and unexpected fruit in the future.

--As a protestant, I am fearful that this new pope will not be interested in true and honest dialogue and orthodox eccumenism. These fears are probably based in much ignorance, but they are there. While I am fearful of certain events unfolding or not unfolding, I am nevertheless overcome with happiness and excitement for my Roman brothers and sisters. As it stands right now, the legacy of John Paul II will remain intact for some time. May the Lord grant this wise and thoughtful man wisdom and strength for the coming journey.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Doing something half right 

Cincinnati City Council recently voted 6-3 not to impose a total ban on indoor smoking. Instead, they merely codified regulations that the city's bureaucracy imposed until the courts threw them out. I don't agree with the premise that second hand smoke is necessarily deadly and I think a smoking ban is a wrong set of priorities for a city to pursue. The issue and the vote can be about here.

Most of the support of a ban on smoking is based upon the figure that the American Cancer Society put out that says 50,000 people die because of secondhand smoke each year. While I have yet to find any dissection of that statistic, common sense tells me that that number is impossibly high to reach. I view second hand smoke as a nuisance and ought to be left to individuals to decide where and how they will interact with second hand smoke and the like.

The other aspect of public smoking bans is the inverse way things get turned around. It is annoying as all get out to see cities in this country be more concerned about whether or not someone is smoking than whether or not they are terrorists in our midst. I have never understood the jihad against smokers and I don't think I ever will. The city fathers here went for a half measure and given the current politically correct zeitgeist in many of our cities, it was the best that could be obtained.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

More on Judicial Nominations 

I have two more thoughts on the whole judicial nominations battles currently being waged over the Senate. The first comes from a naive editorial from the Cincinnati Post that urges a compromise on the so-called "nuclear option". They first make the lame argument that it's "only" 10 nominees that have been blocked by Senate Democrats. My response is that it may "only" be 10 nominees, but these have been blocked repeatedly and are some of the same judges that conservatives would like to see on the appellate court level. Most of these nominees have also been blocked, even though the left denies this left and right, because of their religious convictions and beliefs. If there are nominees that are egregious in their use of their faith in making decisions, then fine, lets have a vote and lets have the full Senate either approve or reject them. As it stands, the Senate has done nothing. That isn't right and the Democrats continue unwarranted and unprecedented blocking maneuvers.

The editorial naively suggests that the Democrats listen to reason and accept Frist's offers of compromise. This is naive because asHugh Hewitt points out in a Weekly Standard column, the intellectual leaders in this fight on the left are not interested in compromise and since the Democrats do their bidding slavishly, the Democrats are not interested in compromise either.

Speaking of Mr. Hewitt . . . I wonder if he will concede the point made by the folks at National Review Online that Arlen Specter really DIDN'T have the proper temperament to be committee chairman in such a partisan atmosphere? How could conservatives expect a Senator to fight for their beliefs when he already agreed with the "mainstream-ness" of the nominees? How could conservatives expect Specter to fight for pro-life judges when he considered Roe v. Wade to be "inviolate"? I think that we would have had better results with a true believer (John Kyl) instead of a draftee (Specter).

Manning the Barricades 

Ed Morrisey at Captain's Quarters has a VERY provocative polemic here. His argument is a very simple one and easy to understand. The "Republican leadership" in the Senate continues to dither and stall when it comes to changing the rules to the Senate to make judicial appointments off limits to filibusters. They have considered it and moved ever . . . so . . . slowly towards actually pulling the trigger that the base has grown restive and frustrated at the pace of things. Mr. Morrisey's post captures the feelings of the base very well.
Mr. Morrisey has cooled his jets a little and is backing up his case here and here.

In the first of the two posts linked to above, he makes the case that promises made should be promises kept. Breaking promises on important matters like the status of the President's judicial nominees is a sure fire way to send a party back into minority status. The second post deals with conversations that he has had with someone close to the process and how the dithering by the GOP leadership has led to tarnished reputations and worn out nominees and hurt families. While Mr. Morrisey is making a very powerful case for vengeful action now, I have only one major caveat with his posts. Mr. Morrisey would do well to look at the success of The Club For Growth and a line from one of the parenting books my wife and I have read and reach the same conclusion: pick your fights very carefully and win them every time. The Club's success isn't in that they went after every Connie Morrella in sight, their success was that they went after wayward Republicans who could have easily afforded to do better and by inserting their own strong candidates into open races where the GOP establishment wanted a more "congenial" candidate. Go ahead and withhold funds from the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Go ahead and support Democrat opponents of liberal GOP incumbents. Go ahead and do all of these things, but please do so in a way that does not damage those who have fought the good fight.

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