Congress is gearing toward the passage of an expansion to the federal hate crime law that would encompass attacks motivated by the victims' gender or sexual orientation. The president - for only the third time in his presidency - has threatened to veto it.
With strong backing from the Democratic majority, it looks like President Bush has yet another bill coming to his desk that doesn't fit his agenda. It will only be the third one to be sent back to Congress, but the president is currently at a perfect 2-2, having successfully defeated the recent troop-funding bill that called for a withdrawal timetable, and last year's federally funded stem-cell research bill. It is likely he'll go 3-3 if the Democrats can’t get enough Republicans to back the "Hate Crimes Prevention Act."
Today the conservative National Review Online posted an editorial echoing the fears of opponents that the strengthen law would obstruct free speech (emphasis added):
Many proponents of hate-crimes laws profess to have no desire to move against free speech. But we fear that it may be a short jump from prosecuting "hate crimes" to prosecuting "hate speech." It is true that the law routinely looks into defendants' motives, and that some motives tend to draw tougher sentences than others. But our social divisions, especially over homosexuality, make it especially dangerous for the law to inquire into defendants' prejudices—and "prejudices." We want to deter and punish crimes against blacks, women, homosexuals, and everyone else. But we do not want to open the door to legal punishment for harboring incorrect thoughts about controversial issues—especially when those incorrect thoughts are part of the historic teaching of our major religions.Yes it sounds like the National Review just admitted religion is possibly responsible for the so-called homophobia that inspires crimes against homosexuals and that the preservation of traditional religious teachings (albeit "wrong") justifies the potential consequences.
It's not the easiest position to defend but it's the right one and there are plenty of reasons to oppose federal hate-crime legislation. The "Hate Crimes Prevention Act" sounds like a good idea when you read it, but if our current murder prevention laws don't prevent people from committing murder, can we really expect this legislation to change the minds of the perpetrators who are going to do it but for racist reasons?
But the "Hate Crimes Prevention Act" shouldn't just be opposed because it's not going to prevent anything, it should be opposed primary because Congress has no business legislating our thoughts - however bigoted they may be. Punishing someone harder for committing a likewise offense as someone else but for "hateful" purposes is a violation of the First Amendment's free speech clause and maybe even the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause, and would probably not pass constitutional muster with the Supreme Court.
Such legislation would artificially inflate the value of some classes by denying justice to others; say, by making the punishment harsher when the victim (in a rare circumstance) is of a different color or sexual orientation. And because the majority of crimes are intra-racial and between members of the same sexual orientation, the "Hate Crimes Prevention Act" only intends to serve a minority of victims.
To be sure, we do have ways of punishing criminals based on their motives and other factors that led them to committing the crime. After a decision to convict in a criminal trial the jury gets to weigh the mitigating and aggravating circumstances of the crime and sets the punishment accordingly. Sometimes the law restricts how much freedom juries and judges have but they usually have the discretion to tack on additional punishment, especially when the crime is particularly heinous.
The "Hate Crimes Prevention Act" and similar laws are fruitless, unnecessary, and will only increase President Bush's veto winning streak.
UPDATE: The House has passed the bill by a vote of 237-180.
Posted by Aggressive-Voice at 3:44 PM
The same man who said the defeat of a bill last year that would have allowed concealed-weapon permit holders to carry guns on campus "will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus" is still an active mouthpiece after yesterday's tragedy at Virginia Tech - where it was hardly safe.
Larry Hincker, associate vice president for university relations, said at a recent news conference that "police are having difficulty finding information" about Cho Seung-Hui, the recently identified 23-year-old shooter from South Korea who killed 32 people yesterday before turning the gun on himself.
"He was a loner," Mr. Hincker said.
Somebody should tell Mr. Hincker that there have always been Cho Seung-Huis on college campuses and there are many more ticking time bombs just like him waiting to go off. Should we still feel safe knowing that?
Representative Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah County, who introduced last year's bill that would have allowed students to stop Seung-Hui in his tracks should reintroduce his much-needed legislation. Then, regardless of its outcome, we can all hear what else Larry Hincker has to say on the matter.
My article yesterday presents the case for guns on campus.
Posted by Aggressive-Voice at 1:20 PM
As we take the time to mourn the terrible tragedy that occurred today on the campus of Virginia Tech , brace yourself for the countless TV pundits now flooding the airwaves and cable news programs with their opinions on how the availability of guns is compromising the safety of college campuses. But what you won’t hear much of - if at all - is the defeat of a bill that would have allowed students to carry guns to school, and a spokesman from Virginia Tech who had the audacity to call his campus “safe” as a result of the bill’s defeat.
It was a massacre today; 33 dead in what is being called the worst shooting incident in American history. And of course the liberal media and anti-gun reporters are all over it - blaming such tragedies and the ones before today on the availability of guns.
But let's for a second draw this theory out to its logical conclusion and realize that it's the EXACT opposite. We want to blame everything on the availability of guns yet 32 innocent students and faculty members died today because there were NO guns on campus...except for the ones being wielded by the killer of course.
And with gun control that's what you’re going to get every time: a defenseless populace in the crosshairs of a deranged killer who magically finds himself in possession of a gun despite a ban or law saying he can't have one.
Last year the Virginia House of Representatives killed House Bill 1572, a proposal drafted by Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah County, on behalf of the Virginia Citizens Defense League that would have allowed students and employees to conceal weapons on college campuses.
Anti-gun advocates were giddy over the bill's defeat. In a statement made shortly after that should make all Americans sick today, Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker said with a smile: "I'm sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly's actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus."
Just how safe, Mr. Hincker? So safe that because your students can't bring guns onto campus more than 30 of them had to die today? Well it looks like one person decided he wasn't going to follow the toothless law and couldn't have been any more successful in his plan to kill as many people as possible.
But Mr. Hincker isn’t alone of course. The selfish Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police were also against the bill. And why not? By the very nature of their job they're allowed to protect themselves.
And if you've been following the timeline of events, protecting themselves is about all the police in Virginia know how to do, despite two hours in between the first and much deadlier second shooting.
About one year ago a Virginia Tech student was disciplined for bringing a handgun to class, regardless of the fact that he had a concealed handgun permit. You see, even though this student was qualified to carry a handgun and was seen by the state as someone who could conceal one in most places, a ridiculous and deadly policy allowed for him to be punished because he was forbidden to carry one on campus.
Opponents of legislation that would allow law-abiding students and employees to bring guns onto campuses have no rational arguments to make in opposition but can only harp about how the availability of guns makes the environment dangerous. We don't know if there's any truth to that claim, but we do know just how dangerous it is on college campuses without that much needed legislation.
NOTE: Michelle Malkin is all over the anti-gun bias in the news.
Posted by Aggressive-Voice at 9:52 PM
An aggressive nationwide movement to force schoolgirls into the clinic for vaccination against a virus that causes cervical cancer has come to a halt - at least for now - in Texas.
Republican Governor Rick Perry had signed an execute order requiring that sixth-grade girls be vaccinated against some strains of human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus that causes most cases of cervical cancer. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in four U.S. women ages 14 to 59 is infected with it.
But the Texas House voted 118-23 last Wednesday to approve a bill that would keep the vaccine off the list of required shots for school participation and instead make them voluntary. The measure now goes to the state Senate where a majority of members are co-sponsoring an identical bill.
If the governor decides to continue angering his conservative base and veto the bill that would oppose his plan and make the vaccines optional, the 118 votes against him would be more than enough to override it.
In New Mexico, Democratic governor and presidential hopeful Bill Richardson is expected to sign a bill this week that would make it mandatory for girls in that state to be vaccinated long before nearing high school, and talk of similar laws is brewing in other states.
In plain language, these laws state: HPV is a sexually transmitted virus, and even though not every child is sexually active we want to vaccinate them anyway because we have no faith in them or their parents.
But aren't we supposed to discourage underage girls from a premature sexual lifestyle? How do we explain to them that they must receive a vaccination against a virus that they can only get from having sex, but at the same time tell them about the importance of abstinence?
Or have we just thrown in the towel and accepted that in today's time most young school girls are sexually active? It's nothing short of shameful that there exists a lobby taking the defeatist road and failing to acknowledge the fact that requiring schoolgirls who do abstain from sex before losing interest in their Barbie doll collections are being insulted and treated as untrustworthy.
We don't distribute clean needles at homeroom because, let's face it - there's a drug problem in our schools and a lack of clean needles exposes our youth to HIV. But we do shoot them up with vaccines because underage sex is sadly a more acceptable practice than drug use. We wouldn't dare consider a "safe needle program" in middle schools, but vaccines that protect the sexually active is deemed okay because it's inevitable.
Ironically, it's the liberals and champions of abortion and "Women’s Rights" that are most supportive of legislation that would require young girls to receive a vaccination with inherent medical risks (albeit smaller than the benefits) unless they or their parents take proactive steps to waive it.
Are we no longer screaming that government has "no right to our bodies" because it's a "woman's choice?" If not, tell that to the thousands of schoolgirls who will be marched into clinics next year with their sleeves rolled up without choice if they want to continue their studies.
Vaccinations should always be optional, especially those that only benefit the sexually active. Forcing everyone to be vaccinated sends the wrong message, just as handing out clean needles would be too.
Posted by Aggressive-Voice at 3:59 PM
Some nutball Democrat (Sally Lieber) in California doesn't like the discipline of "spanking" and has introduced legislation that would ban parents from doing it to their own children who are under the age of three. Unfortunately for her a new poll finds most California residents oppose the bill:
(CBS 5 / KCBS) SAN FRANCISCO Do parents have the right to spank their children? It is a controversial issue, and while a Bay Area lawmaker wants it addressed in Sacramento -- a majority of those surveyed for a new CBS 5 poll expressed opposition to a spanking ban.Not only is enforcement unclear, but so is the definition of "spanking." I cannot imagine how you would make this an objective law. Would even the slightest tap on the rear be illegal?
A poll of 500 Bay Area adults conducted for CBS 5 by Survey USA on Thursday found 57% would oppose such a bill, while only 23% would support it. The poll, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4%, showed 11% undecided.
The proposed law would make spanking a child under 3 misdemeanor child abuse, an extenstion of current corporal punishment laws.
Violators could spend a year in jail, and pay up to $1000 in fines. Enforcement is unclear.
But rather than debate how we can make this a good law, let's just scrap it all together and allow parents to raise their own kids how they see fit. What’s next: banning parents from serving dessert before Johnny eats his peas?
Give me a break.
Posted by Aggressive-Voice at 8:36 PM
Season six of 24 kicked off tonight with a two-hour premiere and will continue tomorrow with another two hours on Fox. The plot once again revolves around terrorism and a bit of political discourse was injected into the first hour as the president's cabinet debated brining back internment camps but for Muslims.
In one scene an Islamic kid was assaulted by a white neighbor after his father was arrested by the FBI for ties to terrorism. Turns out the kid himself is working for the bad guys.
More commentary after tomorrow's two episodes.
Posted by Aggressive-Voice at 11:36 PM
We can only hope the United States is still far from membership to a harmful intergovernmental organization such as the European Union whose insane overreaching social policies has claimed another victim (emphasis mine):
A MAN died after two ambulance crews could not be sent to his aid -- because they were on EU-enforced lunch breaks.No position that serves the interest of public safety should ever be tied to mandatory "rest breaks," but that is the case in countries that are members of the European Union. It is one of many policies that strap resources for the sake of uniformity across Europe and often cause more harm than good.
The victim collapsed in a betting shop, five minutes from his local ambulance station. But under the barmy European Working Time Directive, exposed by The Sun last month, crews couldn't be disturbed.
A paramedic was sent in a car and realised the unnamed man was having a heart attack. He dialled 999 but an ambulance did not arrive for half an hour. By then, the patient had died on the floor in Edmonton, North London.
Last night London Ambulance Service chiefs ordered a full probe. The EU rules -- which have angered staff -- mean crews in the capital can be called out only in the last ten minutes of their 30-minute breaks. Otherwise, they are banned from helping, even if there is a road crash outside their building.
Other UK ambulance services have chosen to opt out of the rules.
A London spokesperson said last night: "We can confirm crews were on a rest break at the time. Our sympathies are with the patient's family."
In addition to these "rest breaks" employees controlled by EU policies are limited to working 48-hours per week, even if the overtime work no longer allowed is essential to a comfortable living.
This is why I oppose the smoking bans and trans-fat bans, and whatever ban comes next week at the orders of some regulatory body that has no basis for getting involved in affairs best handled by those who are affected by them.
Yes, employees should be afforded lunch breaks during their duties, but in an effort to secure a midday rest hour the safety and wellbeing of others has been severely jeopardized.
Posted by Aggressive-Voice at 3:11 PM
We know the stuff in them will inevitably kill us, but who doesn't occasionally indulge in a handful of hot and crispy French fries or a box of icy-glazed donuts? New York doesn't care if you do, just as long as those delectable treats don't contain any artery-clogging trans fats by July 1 of the new year. Is this law against trans fats necessary?
As a follower of the trans fat threat long before it became a widely known fact that said hydrogenated oils are potentially worse than saturated fats, I knew it would be a matter of time before they would be legally unwelcome in public restaurants.
But even as the first city to ban trans fats in public establishments, NYC is hardly the driving force behind the movement to eliminate trans in the food we consume. When the public became aware of trans fats a few years back, companies began finding new ways to prepare their products without compromising taste - and with much success.
Can you tell the difference between an Oreo today and one you enjoyed five years ago? How about a Doritos chip? Did you even know a difference existed? With companies making the transition on their own why are city legislators trying to get involved when they clearly don't have to?
Universal followed Disney having just announced that hey will begin phasing out trans fats from there theme park menus in 2007. Before you know it you won't be able to find a product with trans fats anywhere.
The point is that government intervention is not always necessary. When it does step in the consequences can be worse than the problem it tries to resolve. In an effort to protect the public from the dangers of secondhand smoke, countless restaurants and businesses found themselves closing down after devastating smoking-bans sent smokers home early with fuller wallets.
In Florida the law is extremely tough on restaurant owners and one friend of mine in particular really felt the crunch. Apparently Florida legislators and those in other states believe they should be able to decide how private restaurants should be run, even though no one is ever forced to go into one and inhale secondhand smoke. You know what you're getting into when you venture into an establishment frequented by smokers.
Similarly, you know what you're doing every time you chomp into a greasy hamburger. And by all means if that's what you want to do then you should be allowed to do it. Fortunately companies are smoothly switching from trans fats to healthier oils with not much of a cost adjustment, and patrons are hardly noticing.
Most are doing it voluntarily, and so far the NYC trans fat ban hasn't resulted in any businesses closing down. But we should not be comfortable with the government prying itself into the restaurant industry. Now it's a trans-fat ban, but what will it be tomorrow? Portion restrictions, carb limits? I wouldn't be surprised by any of it.
Posted by Aggressive-Voice at 10:31 PM
In a somewhat surprising 9-0 decision, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals erred when it ordered a new trial for a murder defendant whose victim's relatives wore buttons with the victim's picture on them at his trial.
The Ninth Circuit believed Mathew Musladin was denied his right to a fair trial because the buttons were prejudicial, and because they were in plain view of the jury, the said buttons may have influenced the jury's verdict.
Without deciding if the buttons could have indeed had that effect, the Supreme Court reversed the lower court's decision because the Ninth Circuit didn't apply a legal principle the Supreme Court had adopted.
In a way the High Court dodged the issue because it didn't set a clear principle or standard for wearing buttons at a defendant's trial. The likely reason is because the opinion's author - polarizing Justice Clarence Thomas - might not have had enough votes on his side had he tried to convince them that it's reasonable in most or all circumstances to wear buttons at a defendant's trial.
Instead, Justice Thomas utilized the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which states that a writ of habeas corpus "shall not be granted" by a federal court unless a state court issued a decision "that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States."
Taking that avenue the justices determined that the Ninth Circuit was wrong in granting habeas corpus because the state court that tried and convicted Musladin didn't run contrary to federal law.
Musladin was convicted in 1994 of killing his estranged wife's boyfriend, Tom Studer. At his trial, Musladin's lawyer objected to the buttons that were worn by the victim's family. The judge however, said the buttons presented "no possible prejudice to the defendant."
A California appeals court agreed and upheld the conviction because they saw the buttons as nothing more than a sign of "normal grief" by the family. The first federal court to look at the case also upheld the conviction, until it finally got thrown out when it got to the predictably liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals based in San Francisco.
I am positive Justice Thomas would have written a broader decision if he could have that would have permitted buttons at trials because victims' relatives have a right to grieve in public. The decision to wear those buttons should be allowed if they aren't prejudicing the jury or influencing the outcome of the trial.
But waiting in the wings were Justices John Paul Stevens, Anthony M. Kennedy and David H. Souter who wrote separately and did not sign Justice Thomas's opinion because they wanted to explore the possibility that such buttons could be a problem in the courtroom.
With Justice Kennedy being viewed as the critical swing vote on a lot of cases that stand 4-4 before his vote, the more conservative justices such as Thomas have to be careful in their writings if they don't want to lose him. And in the attempt to appease Justice Kennedy the justices sometimes have to write narrowly enough to also satisfy the remaining members of the court.
Should the Supreme Court eventually get to decide if wearing buttons in court is permissible? I see no problem with them. A jury is going to see the grieving family anyway, and if that doesn't influence their verdict I don't see how the addition of an attached button is going to either.
You can read the decision here.
Posted by Aggressive-Voice at 4:07 PM
And just like that the boneheaded decision to take down the “Holiday” trees at Sea-Tac airport was reversed:
SEATAC, Wash. (AP) -- Christmas trees are going back up at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.This is of course good news. Airports are hardly a cheery place to be at - especially on Christmas Eve/Day -- and the inclusion of a few harmless plastic trees symbolizing the most popular holiday on Earth is a sensible way to brighten the mood.
Pat Davis, president of the Port of Seattle commission, which directs airport operations, said late Monday that maintenance staff would restore the 14 plastic holiday trees, festooned with red ribbons and bows, that were removed over the weekend because of a rabbi's complaint that holiday decor did not include a menorah.
Posted by Aggressive-Voice at 11:09 PM
Michelle Malkin reminds us that 25 years ago today Mumia Abu-Jamal, an Islam convert, shot and killed a Philadelphia police officer in cold blood and was subsequently convicted and sentenced to death. The death sentence was later thrown out on appeal but Abu-Jamal remains in prison serving a life term.
For reasons that still boggle my mind Abu-Jamal is a celebrated hero with a street named after him in the French city of St. Denis. I guess being a member of the Black Panther Party automatically makes you a political prisoner, but in my mind he's just another dirt bag off our streets.
Posted by Aggressive-Voice at 9:10 PM
Unfortunately this Christmas I will be one of countless Americans having to spend part of it in the sky, but the good news is I won't be going through Sea-Tac Airport which has caved in to the demands of a few citizens who didn't like the presence of "Holiday" trees in the airport because they didn't "represent all cultures and religions."
Having to fly on Christmas alone will be depressing enough for some people, and now they will be robbed of the last sense of the holidays because Sea-Tac has taken down its trees down indefinitely. So anybody who wants to say there is no War on Christmas is obviously not paying any attention to stories like this.
I will personally do my part and raise a complaint or two if the airports I'm at on Christmas are as bare as Sea-Tac.
Posted by Aggressive-Voice at 8:47 PM
ABCNEWS landed this exclusive interview with the Chief Justice of the United States. In it he talks about his new role as the highest judge in the land as well as how he conducts business at the Court. It's a good interview for those looking for a little more insight into a man we still hardly know.
My favorite part: He didn't join the hippy protesters during his student years at Harvard. That says a little about what we should expect from a judge whom many still see as moderate.
Posted by Aggressive-Voice at 5:26 PM
Disclaimer: The following is a paid review for a promising new site called ReviewMe.
While perusing the internet for political stories to discuss I came across a friend's site who talked about ReviewMe, a new site that allows advertisers to pay well-established bloggers to honestly review their sites for maximum exposure.
Becoming a member is extremely easy and takes virtually seconds to establish an account. Bloggers who wish to solicit reviews for money must submit their blog for evaluation. Once the details are entered such as title, description (plus keywords), RSS feed and URL, your site is immediately evaluated and accepted or declined based on your overall popularity on the web. ReviewMe looks at your Alexa and Technorati ranking, as well as the number of RSS subscribers you enjoy. Reviewers may have up to six blogs to review on. The more popular your blog the more money you can earn.
While reviewers may be inclined to write favorably because they're getting paid, ReviewMe's policy explicitly states that reviews must be honest and not unfairly influenced. This is a good requirement and advertisers should be aware that they can't pay for a positive review unless it's earned.
The only problem I foresee is the ratio of paying advertisers to paid bloggers. For this new concept to work there must be a generous number of advertisers willing to pay bloggers (mostly amateurs) to review them.
To advertise you simply go to the website and chose which blogger you would like to review you. Each site's popularity is listed for you to consider.
Posted by Aggressive-Voice at 5:17 PM
There's no doubt I appreciate his timeless musical contributions to the world, but I must say there are fewer political opinions I value less than those of singer/songwriter Elton John. As a homosexual who feels religion spurs hatred toward gays, Sir Elton has taken the hypocritical path to the issue and proclaims we must not tolerate religion, because - like him - it lacks tolerance.
LONDON (AFP) - Religion should be outlawed because it lacks compassion and promotes hatred of homosexuals, gay pop star Elton John said in an interview.Every rational person understands that religion in no way advocates "hatred" towards gays. But then again, it might not be as clear as it should be until we define "hatred" and how it applies to this debate.
"I think religion has always tried to turn hatred towards gay people. From my point of view, I would ban religion completely," he was quoted as saying.
To many people, any opposition to sex-same marriage constitutes hatred. To this class of radicals, anyone who believes the institution should be limited to one man and one woman is a bigot. As a result we will never make any progress because we refuse to see where these people are coming from. We refuse to be, well, "tolerant" of conservatives who value marriage to a certain degree that does not allow for exception to the rule.
It's a two-way street, this tolerance concept is, and rather than contribute meaningfully we are witnessing the hypocrisy of a gay man who craves tolerance so much that he has turned his back just like the supposed enemy of tolerance: religion.
But religion is not the culprit. Ignorance is. A person who would be violent toward a gay man just because of his sexuality is suffering from something other than being religious. Homophobes who are uncomfortable around gays aren’t so because Jesus told them to fear queers, but because they don’t know how to act any other way.
Saying we should ban religion is taking the low road, disgraceful, and borderline fascism. The rules may be a little different in Europe, but here in America the right to be religious is essential to calling our nation a free one. I have no more respect for the person who is hostile toward religion or spirituality than the person who abhors alternative lifestyles.
Posted by Aggressive-Voice at 12:21 AM
I hope we don't see more of this as a result of the Democrats winning Congress:
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Student leaders at a California college have touched off a furor by banning the Pledge of Allegiance at their meetings, saying they see no reason to publicly swear loyalty to God and the U.S. government.If only these idiots would realize that swearing loyalty to God is exactly how we go about not swearing an uncomfortable level of loyalty to the U.S. government. But they malign the Pledge as if it were a conservative conspiracy to force Christianity upon hoi polloi.
The move by Orange Coast College student trustees, the latest clash over patriotism and religion in American schools, has infuriated some of their classmates -- prompting one young woman to loudly recite the pledge in front of the board on Wednesday night in defiance of the rule.
Adherence to an organized religion is not at all what the Pledge is about. We say "one nation under God" to recognize our independence from a mortal leader with absolute authority over us. So if you have a problem with our government or President Bush in particular, reciting the Pledge is a great way to express it!
Kudos to Christine Zoldos, the 18-year-old political science major who didn't cower to the liberal ignorance in California and ignored the ban. It's good to know there are patriots in all parts of the country.
I'm getting tired of the endless assaults on the Pledge of Allegiance, and I hope the new Democrat-controlled Congress will take a stand against the ideological extremists on their side of the political aisle by publicly supporting the Pledge, especially in our schools where morality is most needed.
Posted by Aggressive-Voice at 4:35 PM
Embattled Republican Senator George Allen of Virginia may have caught a break with the revelation of a few "interesting" passages posted on the Drudge Report this week from the fiction novels of his Democratic opponent, Jim Webb.
With control of Congress at a boiling point and an election less than 10 days away, Democrats are optimistic about taking over the House and/or Senate with two years of the Bush administration left remaining.
One race that's absolutely critical is in Virginia, where current Senator George Allen is fighting off bogus charges of racism and cultural insensitivity. Lucky for him however when his campaign discovered this little gem among others written in various fiction novels by Jim Webb:
"A shirtless man walked toward them along a mud pathway. His muscles were young and hard, but his face was devastated with wrinkles. His eyes were so red that they appeared to be burned by fire. A naked boy ran happily toward him from a little plot of dirt. The man grabbed his young son in his arms, turned him upside down, and put the boy's penis in his mouth." (Lost Soldiers; Webb, Jim pg 333).Webb was quick to respond, saying "I actually saw this happen in a slum in Bangkok when I was there as a journalist." It does appear that this rather unusual behavior graphically depicted in "Lost Soldiers" is practiced in certain cultures. So who are we to judge?
But then there's the book "Something to Die for" and this line:
"Fogarty...watch[ed] a naked young stripper do the splits over a banana. She stood back up, her face smiling proudly and her round breasts glistening from a spotlight in the dim bar, and left the banana on the bar, cut in four equal sections by the muscles of her vagina."Did he witness that as a reporter too?
Surely this is all small beer and has nothing to do with Webb's qualifications or suitability to serve in the Senate. After all, Ted Kennedy has made a fine career for himself in Washington...and he killed a woman.
You can read more of Webb's good stuff as well as his defense over at Drudge Report. It isn't anything to get all worked up over, but as a George Allen supporter I certainly don't mind watching Webb's downfall.
Posted by Aggressive-Voice at 2:12 PM
After previewing the latest scuffle between Fox's Bill O'Reilly and the hot-headed talk-show host David Letterman, one must wonder why O'Reilly was ever invited in the first place.
According to the NY Post, it gets ugly, fast:
Am I right about one thing: You guys over there at Fox and guys like Rush Limbaugh, you guys know it's all just a goof, right? You're just horsing around. You're doing it 'cause you know it'll be entertaining?" Letterman adds he's never seen O'Reilly's show because, "I dial up Fox and it's always 'The Simpsons.' "So Letterman has never watched O'Reilly's show. He has never read his latest book, or any of them. But he has a rather unfavorable opinion of him. Classy. And he's not alone. The best-seller at Fox has spent the better part of last year using his massive influence to get weak-on-crime states to pass tougher laws against child predators - laws which used to be laughable, and yet he has become one of the most detestable figures in the media.
O'Reilly tries to lighten the mood by telling the audience he and Letterman are "on the same bowling league" and asks whether he'd appear on "Dancing With the Stars."
"Bonehead!" snaps Letterman, who then starts shaking his fist and waving his arms at O'Reilly as the subject turns to the war in Iraq. "Let me ask you a question - was there more heinous, more dangerous violence taking place [before America invaded] Iraq, or is there more heinous, dangerous violence taking place now in Iraq?"
"Oh, stop it," O'Reilly scolds the host. "Saddam Hussein slaughtered 300,000 to 400,000 people, all right, so knock it off…It isn't so black and white, Dave - it isn't, 'We're a bad country. Bush is an evil liar.' That's not true."
"I didn't say he was an evil liar," Letterman shoots back. "You're putting words in my mouth, just the way you put artificial facts in your head!"
Letterman admits he hasn't read O'Reilly's new book, "Culture War," because "I looked at it. I said, 'What is it, a book on sailing?' "
Posted by Aggressive-Voice at 9:40 PM
The Supreme Court issued its first significant ruling of the term last Friday, deciding unanimously that Arizona could put its new voter-ID rules into effect for the Nov. 7 election. The law states that voters must present proof of citizenship when registering to vote and identification when they cast their ballots, despite claims that Proposition 200 -- approved by Arizonian voters in 2004 -- is unfair to minorities.
A similar law was struck down in Georgia by a lower court not too long ago, one that bought the claim that requiring proof of citizenship is burdensome to minorities.
Friday's ruling however is unlikely to affect nation-wide election law, as the decision was not based on the legality of such a law but instead on the time-restrictions Arizona faces before heading to the polls.
"Given the imminence of the election and the inadequate time to resolve the factual disputes, our action today shall of necessity allow the election to proceed without any injunction suspending the voter identification rules," the court said in its unsigned opinion.
If the Supreme Court ever does decide on the merits of such laws that restrict voters from casting a ballot without proof of identification, I am confident the Roberts-led group with Samuel Alito in his first full term will rightfully uphold them as constitutional.
Democrats argue that requiring a photo-ID is tantamount to racial discrimination because poor minorities supposedly have a hard time acquiring identification. Never mind that you can get one at no cost if you lack the financial means, and in some cases the district in which you reside will provide free transportation to get you that ID.
There may be some truth to the notion that these initiatives to restrict voting (almost exclusively by Republicans) is done to keep Democratic-voting minorities away from the polls, but to say it's unfair to require everyone to possess a photo-ID because black people don't have the resources to get one is insulting.
The real reason why these laws must be in place nationwide is simply to prevent voter fraud. As the nation awaits an upcoming election that can significantly alter the makeup of Congress, it is imperative that the results are as legitimate as possible lest we repeat the 2000 election hangover.
In Arizona's case, Proposition 200 was designed to prevent illegal aliens from voting. Considering that illegal aliens shouldn't even be in this country in the first place, keeping them away from the polls is the logical conclusion to this scenario.
Voting in a federal election is a privilege bestowed upon American citizens who wish to exercise the greatest freedom afforded to them. It should not be cheapened by political activists who are afraid people won't show up to vote because they don't have a measly ID card.
Posted by Aggressive-Voice at 4:11 PM