Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Short Legislative Review

The 2008 Oregon Legislature “not-so-special” Special Session has finally ended. More money was spent, and government now does more things. But the most ominous legislation passed, at least in my view, was a HJR (House Joint Resolution) stating that everyone has a “universal right to health care.”

There are a lot of places that this could go, and I don’t like any of them. Whether it be regulation of insurers, state subsidies of insurers, or blatant socialized medicine, the road to government intervention is health care is now wide open. When government guarantees rights, it feels the need to do something to protect them. Unlike any other right, however, this one is going to cost money.

The Liberty website will be updated soon, on which you can check out my column “The Matter of Rights,” which more clearly lays out why these notions of entitlements as rights are bogus.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Watch out for Darth Vader, he'll getcha!

Perhaps this is why the original Star Wars movies are so popular and have such staying power--they can be easily explained by a multi-tasking three-year-old. For your protection, I'm giving this video a severe cuteness warning.

Monday, February 11, 2008

"Feelings, Nothing More Than Feelings..."

The question: Can you name one accomplishment in the political career of Barack Obama?

The answers:

"Umm, well he can speak really well! That's not a political accomplishment? Oh...well, he's black! Did I mention he's black? That's an accomplishment isn't it?...That's true, I guess he didn't really have any control over that..."

Or my personal favorite, from the first video--

Yellow-Shirted Man (with smug tone): "He's a great oratater like Jesse Jackson!"

Questioner (exasperated): "What is that?!?"

All this goes to show that Obama's run a fantastic (although vague) campaign. All his supporters seem to know or care about him is that he is...well, a well-spoken black Senator. Nobody opposes Barack Obama because he is a great speaker, because he's black, or because he's a Senator.

No, I think it's something a little more substantial--like say, oh I don't know, maybe being the most liberal Senator in Congress? Wisely, Obama has spoken very little about his policy views. So until the candidates for each party are chosen, it looks like the Obama campaign is going to continue to be all about that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you hear, "Yes, we can!" and "Fired up, ready to go!"

Barack Obama: Pro-hope (as well as the requisite 'audacity' that accompanies it), Pro-dreams, Pro-future, and also very much in support of generic "good feelings."

Friday, February 8, 2008

Romney's Speech at CPAC

Here is the transcript, and here is the video:

Many have expressed concern over Romney's authenticity and whether he really believes any of the conservative principles he touted to voters during his campaign. The only way I can see it after this speech is that either: 1)Mitt Romney believes what he says, and he is committed to conservatism and America or 2)Mitt Romney is a liar on the level of Bill Clinton, saying anything to get elected, even to the point of lying in his withdrawal speech.

I think, after hearing and reading this speech, Romney is a fantastic American and I hope that he finds a place to prove his talents for these next four years.

UPDATE: A sentimental look at what might be in 2012...

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Ultra Mega Gargantuan Monstrous Behemoth Tuesday!

You know what day it is! It's Mitt's last chance to turn things around, and a major test for the Democrats to see if Sen. Obama's message of change is more "changey" than Sen. Clinton's message of change.

I've got class for a few hours today, but I'll keep updating the results as they come in and I get a chance.

My hopes: Mitt stops the bleeding and an enraged McCain says something stupid, while Hillary stomps Obama

My predictions: McCain "straight-talks" his way to the nomination, and Hillary stomps Obama.

We'll see....

UPDATE (9:40 am):
Lizards for Mitt!
Robotic Jack Nicholsons for Hillary!

UPDATE (3:45 pm):
NRO has early exit poll results. Some numbers and general trends:

California- McCain 40%, Romney 36%, Huck 10%
This state is critical for Romney. Whether he wins or not, he at least needs a significant chunk of delegates to even think about continuing after today. Jim Geraghty reminds that these are preliminary results, without a district-by-district breakdown, and likely without 3 million absentee ballots. This might get a lot closer.

Missouri- Romney 36%, McCain 32%, Huck 25%
This was also a big state for Romney. It will be a major surprise if he holds on for the win here.

Georgia- Huck 34%, Romney 31%, McCain 30%
While I don't know the strategic importance of Georgia, I think it will be exciting to see how it turns out with all three candidates so close.

New England- McCain wins pretty handily. No surprise there. Liberal is as liberal does.
**Massachusetts, Romney's home state, is an obvious exception, but Delaware apparently is also going Mitt's way.

The South- Not counting the ones mentioned above, Huck is leading in most Southern states, followed by McCain and Romney, respectively. McCain has a slight lead over Huck in Oklahoma, though Romney is close enough that he might be able to stage a comeback...

McCain's winning his home state of Arizona, but only by five points...

UPDATE (4:10 pm):
Georgia is currently too close to call for the Republicans, but Obama smoked Clinton by about 3 to 1. Come on, Hillary! Can't you cry again, or something? Don't let Obama beat you. You know what must be done...

Also, from the Drudge Report, more early exit poll numbers:

OBAMA: Alabama: Obama 60, Clinton 37... Arizona: Obama 51, Clinton 45... Connecticut: Obama 53, Clinton 45... Delaware: Obama 56, Clinton 42... Illinois: Obama 70, Clinton 30... Massachusetts: Obama 50, Clinton 48... Missouri: Obama 50, Clinton 46... New Jersey: Obama 53, Clinton 47...

CLINTON: Arkansas: Clinton 72, Obama 26... California: Clinton 50, Obama 47... New York: Clinton 56, Obama 43... Oklahoma: Clinton 61, Obama 31... Tennessee: Clinton 52, Obama 41...
There are a couple close states there, but it looks like most Democrats have decided one way or the other. I also notice that Obama seems to have a lot more states behind his name. What else could explain it but....the audacity of hope.

Well, my hopes were apparently too audacious because neither Mitt nor Hillary are winning out and out, but where there's a clever marketing strategy, there's a way:

UPDATE (6:30 pm):
Jim Geraghty has a list of called states:


McCain: NJ, IL, DE, CT

Romney: MA

Huckabee: WV, AR, AL


Hillary Clinton: AR, OK, TN

Barack Obama: IL, GA

Guess I was wrong about Delaware being for Mitt.

UPDATE (11:15 pm):
Well, my predictions were kind of right. McCain "straight-talked" his way through the day, and Hillary leads Obama, but she certainly didn't stomp him. She may be stomping her feet right now, as Obama did fairly well today. Things are much closer for the Democrats because (as far as I can tell) each state gave out delegates proportionately rather than 'winner-take-all' like many of the Republican primaries did.

As of now, here are the delegate counts:
Clinton: 668
Obama: 557

McCain: 514
Romney: 177
Huckabee: 122

The winner-take-all states explain the much bigger difference in the GOP numbers. To borrow a nearly worn-out phrase, I Hate Huckabee. Clearly, he fancies himself a vice president. It would be tempting to vote against a McCain-Huck ticket simply out of spite. Must...resist...cultural suicide...

Alas, it seems this spells the end for our hero Mitt Romney. We hardly knew ye.
There are only three words that can express my disappointment and shame:

Game over, man!

Monday, February 4, 2008

"To me, this is not any different from marriage"

Well, it's official now. The state of Oregon now allows homosexual 'domestic partnerships,' affording to same-sex couples the same legal benefits given to traditional married couples.
U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman, a supposedly conservative judge, lifted the judicial stay on enforcement of the law passed by the Oregon State Legislature that was originally to go into effect this past January.

From the Wikipedia page linked above:
Like California, Oregon's legislation has no ceremony requirement. All marriage and civil union legislation require a ceremony, whether religious or civil, to be considered valid. In California and Oregon couples are only required to register their domestic partnerships through the submission of a paper form. Additionally, the Oregon statute contemplates that the domestic partnerships are only valid in the state of Oregon. All other marriage and civil union laws assume the validity of such relationships in every other jurisdiction. These changes may have been placed to avoid any conflict with the Oregon constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
Clearly this legislation doesn't violate the letter of the same-sex marriage ban in the Oregon constitution, but I think it would be difficult to argue it doesn't violate the spirit of it. I don't know how this law can really be pleasing to either side of the debate, as to conservatives and traditionalists it represents a poor-man's version of gay marriage, while for gay rights activists it should represent....a poor-man's version of gay marriage.

The only requirement for obtaining a legal 'domestic partnership' is that the couple must fill out a form and file it with a County Clerk, kind of like going to the DMV, or filing your taxes--you know, those other mundane things the government makes you do.

For gay rights activists, who like to claim that there is no qualitative difference between heterosexual and homosexual relationships, this should be an absurdity. The 'partnership' has been designed to confer the rights of married couples onto homosexual couples, but in a watered-down version, sort of the gay-rights equivalent of "separate-but-equal," if you will. If I were a gay-rights activist, I would settle for nothing less than full legal recognition of homosexual marriage. Anything less would seem like a condescending 'gift' from the legislature: "Sure, you can get a domestic partnership, but you'll never be able to receive full marriage benefits." If homosexual and heterosexual relationships are interchangeable and do not differ (which, of course, is not true), then it is essentially discrimination to offer gay couples anything less than marriage.

As one article points out, this domestic partnership law creates inequality. Though it claims to create something different from marriage, heterosexual couples are not allowed to enter into a domestic partnership, they can only be married (I would imagine that members of the same family are not allowed to be domestic partners either). This puts Oregon in the awkward position of creating marriage laws based only on who people are having sex with, which is especially problematic since American culture since the 1960s has been trying to prove that who we have sex with doesn't matter at all.

My girlfriend's brother once made the point that if he and his brother lived together, combined their incomes, and then sought the legal benefits of marriage (or 'domestic partnership'), they would be denied, even though as brothers they would likely be more committed to supporting each other than most other couples (gay or straight). This example reinforces the point that these laws are merely vehicles for 'normalizing' homosexuality. Some may try to say there is a difference between marriage and civil unions, or marriage and domestic partnerships. Ultimately, however, the question comes down to: are homosexual relationships the same as heterosexual ones? If they are the same, as gay-rights activists claim, then I have a hard time seeing how the legal benefits of marriage could be denied to anybody: two men, two women, three men and two women, two brothers, a fraternity, a man and his dog, etcetera etcetera ad nauseum.

Exit question: Is this the future of Oregon? Man's best friend, indeed.

"White Privlege" -More Like White Patronizing

Instead of hiring a writer with a differing perspective to balance out the pages of the Forum section, Daily Barometer Forum Editor Ashley Slocki has decided to hire someone who thinks like everyone else in her department. Sara Gwin recently made her debut, and her most recent column amounted to “I’m sorry I’m white”

In a nod to self-deprecating, hand wringing white guilt, Gwin takes a number of instances at McKay High School (a majority black high school with a principal who, according to a former student, recruited black students who had been expelled from other Salem area high schools for violence or weapons charges) and cobbles them together into “institutionalized racism.” Gwin also seems to feel guilty that she managed to succeed and that she wasn’t able to “deny those rights.”

Gwin speaks of “eradicating racism.” As a pragmatist, I can tell you, straight-faced, that this idea is impossible. And while we by no means live in a perfect society (as there is no such thing), the idea that a person achieved simply because they were of one race or another is entirely fallacious. Gwin makes modern American society sound like pre-WWII American society, and with the exception of a few old codgers, we have changed so much.

I think I grew up in a pretty color-blind society, and I’m glad I came to one here at Oregon State. Gwin looks for racism, even when it’s not racism, and is willing to typecast all of you as God-awful racist thugs in order to prove a point. I look around me and am sure that I did not succeed because of my race, or even my gender, but because of my merits. As I reread her article, I am convinced that one of those merits is that I am better at picking opinion writers than Ashley Slocki. The Forum Section continues to sink to new lows in one-sidedness and quality of content.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes! Everybody sing along!

In case you haven't heard enough of the candidates all calling themselves the "candidate of change," here's David Bowie to help us lighten things up a bit.

The Giants? Really?

I mean, I knew they had a great defensive line, and a powerful running game. But after the game ended, it finally hit me.

The Giants? Really??

What happened to this football season? The Cowboys, Packers, Patriots, and Jaguars all had great seasons, heck even the Browns won ten games. But where was I when the Giants became not just a Super Bowl-caliber team, but the National Champions?

Oh well. I'm happy for Michael Strahan--he's put in a lot of work to get that ring. I bet Tiki Barber is pretty steamed though...

Say hello to the Super Bowl MVP, Tiki:

Friday, February 1, 2008

Why We Will Win

This picture has been around for a long time, but I just stumbled upon it again. This is proof that no matter what the Democrats, the Europeans, or the Islamists say, we are on the right side in this war. The right side, and the winning side.

Michael Yon, the photographer, deserves all the credit in the world for his fantastic work.

UPDATE: Compare and contrast...