Saturday, October 8

Harriet Miers: A Personal Endorsement

After listening to various opinions, and evaluating the facts we know so far, I am cautiously endorsing Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. I posted a round up of key opinions here. These are my reasons.
  1. The negative stories that have come out, such as donations to the Democrats, have been reasonably addressed by those that know Miers best.
  2. Those who have spoken of her faith, character, and commitment to values are trustworthy people who know her well and know her personally.
  3. As Dr. Dobson asserts, Bush has not gone wrong on his nominations, so I am trusting he is making a solid choice in Miers. Also, I am taking into consideration Dr. Dobson's trustworthy opinions, and the facts he is privy to regarding Miers.
  4. She is professionally qualified. While I believe there could have been more qualified nominees, I cannot pretend to understand or know the political battle that these nominees face, and have to acknowledge that Bush may be making the smartest choice--a qualified, solid originalist conservative who can pass through the Senate.
I am not advocating blind trust of Bush or the party line, nor am I advocating ignorance of the issue of qualifications. I am saying that looking at over all information, with what I know today, I am in favor of her nomination.

I liked what Marvin Olasky had to say:

Will her compass needle turn to Washington's heavy metal once a lifetime court position is in hand and constraints are off? No one knows for sure but it seems unlikely. Mr. Hecht says she's not a social butterfly who will be swayed by Washington dinner table conversation: "She goes to the dinners she's supposed to go to. She's not on the social circuit."

Her administration colleague says she's not going to pay much mind to the good reviews she could receive from top law journals and Ivy League law professors if she were to move leftward. Ms. Miers has never run in those circles and "of the hundreds of people I knew in the White House, she's almost uniquely unaffected by Potomac fever." That's because, her friends say, she's centered on Christ.

Her friends point to her Christ-like service. Rob Mowrey, 53, an attorney who worked with Ms. Miers at their Dallas law firm and has known her since 1979, talks about how in the 1990s, with an aged mom suffering from dementia, "Harriet moved her mother not only into her own house but into her bedroom, because her mother would wake up in the night and be distraught if she wasn't right there."

Judge Kinkeade praises Ms. Miers as "a great lawyer with perfect ethics" who's willing to sacrifice herself for others. When the Texas Lottery Commission was a corrupt mess, he says, the non-gambling Ms. Miers agreed to clean it up; the judge says, "I wouldn't have taken that job if you put a shotgun on me." He says she led the fight years ago to get Dallas lawyers to do pro bono work, and led by example by volunteering to help Exodus Ministries, a Dallas organization that helps ex-prisoners to get a life outside jail.

Also, I have taken into careful consideration the endorsement by Hugh Hewitt, who understand the issue better through his experience as a lawyer and someone how has been inside the White House.

Harriet Miers isn't a Justice Souter pick, so don't be silly. It is a solid, B+ pick. The first President Bush didn't know David Souter, but trusted Chief of Staff Sunnunu and Senator Rudman. The first President Bush got burned badly because he trusted the enthusiasm of others.

The second President Bush knows Harriet Miers, and knows her well. The White House Counsel is an unknown to most SCOTUS observers, but not to the president, who has seen her at work for great lengths of years and in very different situations, including as an advisor in wartime. Leonard Leo is very happy with the choice, which ought to be enough for most conservatives.

As I wrote last night, Judges Luttig and McConnell are the most qualified nominees out there, but I think from the start that the president must have decided that this seat would be given to a woman, and it is very hard to argue that she is not the most qualified woman to be on the SCOTUS for the simple reason that she has been in the White House for many years.

Finally, probably the strongest influence on my decision to endorse are Dr. James Dobson's words.
"We welcome the president's nomination of Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court. He pledged emphatically during his campaign to appoint judges who will interpret the law rather than create it. He also promised to select competent judges who will 'not use the bench to write social policy.' To this point, President Bush's appointments to the federal bench appear to have been remarkably consistent with that stated philosophy. Based on the information known generally about Harriet Miers, and President Bush's personal knowledge of her, we believe that she will not prove to be a lone exception.

"On the other hand, one cannot know absolutely about matters of integrity and philosophy until a jurist is given the tremendous power and influence of their position. As Lord Acton said: 'Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.' Sadly, that seems to have happened to Justices Souter and Kennedy. All we can say now is that Harriet Miers appears to be an outstanding nominee for the Supreme Court.

"We look forward to learning more about her at the confirmation hearings."

Make sure to listen to his radio show. You can podcast through OnePlace.com here. I am confident she will be confirmed by the Senate.

Tags: , , , News, Current Affairs, Religion, Media, Culture, ,

Delphi on the Battle over Ref. C: Pro Side Needs More Money To Win

Solid analysis by Mile High Delphi on the Ref. C & D campaigns.
Some members of the Colorado political prognosticati believe that since the Vote Yes on C and D campaign has out raised the Vote No on C side (by dramatic margins in fact) then Referenda C and D have a better chance of passing. Looking back at the most recent off year election it appears that the Pro C side may quickly face diminishing returns, especially as extra issue groups, such as the Backbone Issues Committee and the Independence institute, pile on.

As things currently stand now, the main anti C issue group Vote No; It's Your Dough has spent $129,550 as of 10/03. This doesn't take into account hundreds of thousands of dollars in adds by ally groups.

As of 9/19 (they are late on filing their 9/19 report) the main pro C issue group Vote Yes on C & D has spent $3,141,000. That is a margin of 24-1.

However, estimates are that the Independence Institute has purchased $400,000 of radio ads that basically blast Referendum C, and that the allied issue groups have probably spent another $250,000. The best estimate we have at this time is that the total amount the allied groups has spent is probably close to $750,000. That brings the margin down to 4-1, not enough to pass an initiative in an off year.
The point is that money doesn't do everything. To me, it is evident that the truth about C & D is getting out there, and people know better. History has shown us that allowing the government to spend more money does not mean better return on that investment. The money is better spent if it's left in the pockets of the citizens.

Here is the final word from Mile High Adelphi--real good news for "vote no, It's your dough" campaign.
If you are a supporter of Referendum C you need to understand this, right now C probably is a 5-1 or a 6-1 underdog. Absent a huge GOTV and a media blitz in the last few weeks of the campaign (read as outspending the allies by a factor of 10-1) C will lose.
Tags: , Education, Politics, News, Economy, Finances, TABOR, Economics, Policy,

Reality TV 'Candidate' to Become Real-Life Candidate

Graet story via Citizen Link. They are reporting that Park Gillespie, the political reality TV show winner, is running for a real-life congressional seat. You can see his campaign web site here. We need more candidates like him--people who are willing to stand up for what is right, and speak out regardless of political correctness. I hope he does well and wins.
An evangelical Christian and public-school teacher who took the top prize in the Showtime reality series "American Candidate" last year is planning a real-life run for Congress.

Park Gillespie, whose upset victory on the cable-TV competition show about a mock race for the White House was fueled by the phone-in votes of Christians nationwide, is poised to announce his candidacy for South Carolina's 5th House District -- a seat currently held by longtime Democratic Congressman John Spratt.

Gillespie, who will run in the Republican primary next June for a spot on the November 2006 ballot, said he plans to be as uncompromising in advocating for Christian principles in his real campaign as he was in his make-believe one.
Tags: Politics, News, Current Affairs, Entertainment

Quote of the Day: Pretended Patriotism

In light of the discussion on immigration, I thought this was a relevant quote. I can say that both the left and the right can be accused of pretend patriotism. We should ask ourselves what is the correct posture in regards to patriotism? As we have seen among some reader's comments here, some can take patriotism to an racist extreme. I don't think this is what George Washington would have called true patriotism.
"Guard against the postures of pretended patriotism."

George Washington, "Farewell Address," Sept. 17, 1796

Friday, October 7

Immigrants are Patriots Too

Many thanks to Adam's Blog for his comments, and his perspective on the subject of immigration. I must be clear--I don't pretend to understand the whole issue, and I don't know all the elements that relate to the challenge of immigration. As Colson says, this at times seems like a no-win problem.

Adam responds to Katie's Dad's anti-immigration, anti-Hispanic comments.

Katie's dad's anti-hispanic and anti-Cuban and not pro-immigration reform. In other words, his view of America is that its only going to be suitable for White Europeans, to hell with everyone else whose here. I see this country founded by English colonists, but each group that's come has left its mark: The Italians, the Scots, the Germans, the Blacks, the Asians, and the Hispanics. The miracle of America is that while this country was founded by White Europeans, freedom can work for any race of people.

My family's been here for four generations, and my mother's even more. My wife's family is so ingrained in this country that she can't trace her mother's side of the family outside of Ohio. They came for a better life, they came for hope, for freedom, and for opportunity and America kept working. As for Hispanics, they're here and most of them love their country, go to work, pay taxes, and live the same lives we all do.

They do more than that. Take a look at these names:

Nicanor Alvarez
Caesar Baez
Richard Arriaga
Robert Arsiaga
Cabral Banuelos

These men were Hispanic, they were not descended from English settlers or of European heritage, yet they all died serving our country in Iraq. If they were not Americans, who is? If they were not patriots, who of us can claim to be? The blood of Latinos, Blacks, and Asians has secure our freedom and security.

We must stem the tide of illegal immigration, but in doing so, we must speak with respect for of all our citizens and turn aside from those who would turn this into a racist vendetta.

It don't mean to carry this argument on and on, but immigration is an important subject. I appreciate the words of readers that have engaged on this subject and added their perspectives. I realize we all will probably not agree on every detail, but I would hope that most would see the need for truth and compassion as we address this problem. Truth first.

Tags:

Tuesday, October 4

Allard Under Fire for Comments on Crime & Illegal Immigrants

I have to stand by Allard on this one. Illegal immigration is a liability to this country, and to law abiding immigrants. Damascus Road has more:

Senator Wayne Allard, Republican senator from Colorado, has recently come under fire regarding his remarks concerning higher crime rates and their relationship to illegal aliens. As usual, Democrats and immigration activists are lining up for their chance at whacking on Allard. However, even though the “loyal opposition” won’t ever admit it, Allard has the facts on his side.

In Los Angeles, 95 percent of all outstanding warrants for homicide (which total 1,200 to 1,500) target illegal aliens. Up to two-thirds of all fugitive felony warrants (17,000) are for illegal aliens.

• A confidential California Department of Justice study reported in 1995 that 60 percent of the 20,000-strong 18th Street Gang in southern California is illegal; police officers say the proportion is actually much greater. The bloody gang collaborates with the Mexican Mafia, the dominant force in California prisons, on complex drug-distribution schemes, extortion, and drive-by assassinations, and commits an assault or robbery every day in L.A. County. The gang has grown dramatically over the last two decades by recruiting recently arrived youngsters, most of them illegal, from Central America and Mexico.

• The leadership of the Columbia Lil’ Cycos gang, which uses murder and racketeering to control the drug market around L.A.’s MacArthur Park, was about 60 percent illegal in 2002, says former assistant U.S. attorney Luis Li. Francisco Martinez, a Mexican Mafia member and an illegal alien, controlled the gang from prison, while serving time for felonious reentry following deportation.

Tags: Politics, Current Affairs, California, Homeland Security, Mexico, Immigration, ,

PorkBusters: Questions for Colorado Sen. Allard and Salazar

A few days ago I wrote about sending Sen. Allard an email asking for comments on cutting pork. That was posted here. I didn't even get an auto responder on that, but that's not a problem--I'm still holding out for an actual response.

Of course, I realized after-the-fact that the best thing to do would be to get a regular snail-mail letter to their local office. I also took several reader's comments to heart, and wrote the same letter to Sen. Salazar. The letters where hand-addressed, so there is no confusing it with junk mail, and I basically ask them both the same question--what are you doing or going to do to reduce pork spending in the State of Colorado.

You can find the letter for Sen. Salazar here, and the letter for Sen. Allard here(PDF format).

For those without PDF readers, here is the basic body of the letter, after the more personalized introduction, of both letters. Of course, I am a conservative, and a registered Republican, so I naturally expressed slightly different sentiments regarding their views and positions (see pdfs).
I am writing in regards to a national campaign against pork initiated through various bloggers in support of cuts in wasteful spending to support Katrina relief. Through various web sites, it has come to my knowledge that there is $105,973,000 in pork spending just in the state of Colorado. The full list I referred to is shown here: http://www.cagw.org/

I would like to have your official response in regards to what you and your office are doing to reduce excessive spending at the Federal level, and what your commitment and actual specific work is in regards to cutting, or reducing these specific spending items? More than a general response, I would like to hear what bills you are working on to eliminate pork, what spending you are cutting (or have cut I the recent past), and what your commitment is for the future.

Please know that I will be posting your response, or lack of, on my blog, and linking to it at N.Z. Bear's PorkBusters page for public and media review.

Thank you ahead of time for your valuable time and work in responding to my question.

Best Regards,

Josue M Sierra
Zip Code:
I stepped out at lunch time today to mail the letters, so let's wait and see what sort of response I get. You should notice I have added the porkbuster's logo on my side bar.

I would like to invite CO readers or anyone who could help me identify specific pork spending for the State of CO and provide some details. While I have gone over the lists provided, I am not personally familiar with any of those projects, so I can't really comment to extensively.

Information is power--if you work for the State of CO, or the Federal government, email me. If you want to remain anonymous, I ascribe to the journalist's code of ethic, and will protect your identity if you fear repercussions.

Technorati tag:

Female Immigrant Entrepreneurs in U.S. Grown 190%

Via IconCulture:
The Immigration Policy Center reports that the number of female immigrant entrepreneurs in the U.S. has grown nearly 190% since 1990. Since 1980, the number has soared by 468%.

AUSTIN BUSINESS JOURNAL 9.9.05
Tags: Politics, Current Affairs, California, Immigration.

Immigration: The No Truth Zone

Talking about the subject of immigration, I think Chuck Colson said it best. I think I posted on this column before, but I am posting it again in light of the recent attacks and lies regarding my position on immigration. If people are determined to misunderstand me, and are blinded by their own prejudice, so be it--I think I have been open and clear.

This article comes via townhall.com and was published on Aug 22, 2005.

Consider this my official position on immigration--as a US citizen, born in this country, and as a Christian called to compassion and truth. For extreem secularist--this is a statement made from a Judeo-Christian worldview, and should be read as such. If it would be offensive, you may want to skip this article.
by Chuck Colson (bio)

There's an issue that refuses to go away even though many politicians wish it would. Since it engenders great passion on both sides of the political divide both parties view it as a "no-win" issue: For every one potential voter you please, you're likely to alienate another one.

While many Americans oppose what is happening, most have come to rely upon it and probably wouldn't want to live in a society where it's eliminated altogether.

The issue I'm referring to is illegal immigration.

There are an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States. The majority of these come from Mexico and Central America. Contrary to the stereotype, however, they are not all farm workers or domestics. Nearly one-third of them own their own homes, and many have U.S.-born children. In other words, they have roots in this country. Many of them provide cheap labor, which we all benefit from.

But none of this changes the fact that they are here in violation of U.S. law. Nor should their success make us feel better about our porous borders.

Illegal immigration and the borders that make it possible is the subject of two competing proposals in the U.S. Senate. One bill would require illegal immigrants to report to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, pay a fine, and be deported back to their home countries. Once there, they would be eligible to apply for a "guest-worker" program.

A competing proposal would also offer illegal immigrants entry into a "guest-worker" program. But this proposal would also grant them legal residency and the possibility of citizenship. Some think goes too far.

As hard as this issue is for our leaders, it's even harder for Christians. We're commanded to be good citizens who are committed to the welfare of the city in which God has placed us to live. The porous borders that have enabled 11 million people to settle in this country illegally raise obviously dangerous security concerns. Those same borders allowing people to seek a better life for their families allow terrorists to come in to destroy us. We need to tighten border security. And we must oppose blatant disregard for the law. If immigration laws are too restrictive, the answer is to amend them, not ignore them.

But along with these concerns, we also need to recall God's command to welcome the foreigner and sojourner in our midst. The Scriptures tells us that hospitality toward the aliens in its midst is the hallmark of a good society. In fact, extending the hand of friendship toward those who are different from them is a way the people of God distinguish themselves from their unbelieving neighbors.

While this kind of hospitality doesn't require that Christians advocate open borders, it does require us to be salt and light in the debate over immigration reform. At the very least, we should work to elevate the level of discourse and prevent the demonizing of the "other" in our midst.

And we ought to remind our fellow citizens who are so angry about immigration that it is our desire for cheap labor that has contributed to the problem. It's bad enough that illegal immigration is a "no-win" issue; it should not be a "no-truth" issue, as well. And in the end, we must, as Christians, treat everyone in our midst with godly compassion.
Tags: Politics, Current Affairs, California, Homeland Security, Mexico, Immigration, ,

Gubernatorial Race in Colorado: Zogby Tracking Poll

Interesting data via the Wall Street Journal. Here is what they had to say:
"With term-limited Gov. Bill Owens set to step down, this race promises to be a shootout...Should the Democrats nominate liberal Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald, Rep. Beauprez is the GOP's best hope for defeating her. The more conservative Bill Ritter, Denver's district attorney (sic), would be a more formidable opponent and is in a close race with all three Republicans. If Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper -- who has said he has no intentions of running for governor -- enters the race, he is poised to defeat any GOP challenger handily."
Here's the other races presented by the WSJ:

Bob Beauprez vs. Bill Ritter
Beauprez: 43.6%
Ritter: 39%

John Hickenlooper vs. Marc Holtzman
Hickenlooper: 48.2%
Holtzman: 36.1%

Bob Beauprez vs. Joan Fitz-Gerald
Beauprez: 45.4%
Fitz-Gerald: 38.6%

I really have not been following the race enough to comment on the candidates or the polls. I would love to read comments by CO residents that may know more.

The Wall Street Journal has more data on other State races. It's worth a read.

Hat tip Coyote Gulch and Colorado Pols for the link.

Referendum C & D Quote for the Day

Vote no on Referendum C & D.
In advocating more government spending, supporters of Referendum C often claim that there there is simply no fat to cut in the state budget, so taxpayers need to give up their refunds for the next five years. This is simply not true.

Monday, October 3

Ethnic Arrogance and Racism? A True American Has Trouble With Immigrants

It seems I have managed to get the attention of a real direct descendant of an American colonizer--you know, one of those pilgrims pioneer people you read about in the history books. (just being sarcastic) Katie's Dad over at American Kernel doesn't think well of me, and of immigrants, it seems. Truth be told, I was never looking to pick a "fight" (I mean that very loosely), but welcomed the discussion that would open my eyes to a rich history I only know from reading. So, I think I will try to respond to some of the acusations, and clarify my position on some issues.

Perhaps I should be clear on my position on immigration, and some basic related principles:
  1. Immigrants should be encouraged, and even required in many cases, to quickly learn the English language. No bilingual education should happen, except in teaching it as a second language.
  2. Residency and citizenship should require extensive study of American history and mores. Citizenship should be a special privilege granted only to those immigrants that have lived and contributed to our nation for an extensive period of time. I do believe it is to easy for non-US born to gain citizenship these days.
  3. Promoting division (ex. M.E.C.H.A., or NCLR), self-determination, or other such racially based values and divisions, as well as violence (extremist Muslims) should not be tolerated! If you don't like the United States, and its values, then go back to where you came from. This nation is one nation, not because of ethnicity or race, but because of common values and mores.
You see, I think we agree on a lot more than you give me credit. I realize I may be ignoring something, or perhaps mis-communicating some issues. That is why I engage in discourse.

Forgive me for being naive, and perhaps idealistic--I simply don't get people like Katie's Dad. Truth be told, as the son of immigrants, I have felt very much welcome in the United States. I find I have a lot to offer, and truly consider myself an American (no hyphen). I look forward to years of dedicated citizenship. I am not a multiculturalist, or at least not in the traditional definition of the word.

I do believe one's past can ad value, flavor if you would call it, but that an immigrant should set their eyes on their future, and culturally embrace the nation that has welcomed them. I, for example, read history of Cuba. I do so, that I may learn from the mistakes and the good things of my ancestors. If I where to ignore where I come from, how am I to know where I am going. I also choose to NOT embrace values that go against my core moral values. For example, just because abortion is legal in this nation, does mean that I would encourage immigrants to embrace this more. By no means! Instead, Latinos who have a strong Catholic moral upbringing should stand firm on these values, and live them out in conjunction with the American way of life--hard work, liberty, practice of one's faith, and family.

So, read for yourself what he said.
There's nothing wrong with and quite a lot right with the restrictive 1924 immigration policy that gave birth to our "greatest generation" by assuring assimilation, promoting common mores, upholding American values, and, most importantly, doggedly insisting that those who came here shared our common language. You espouse a cleft, multilingual-multicultural society of the sort that has never been successful on this earth.

So, yes Josue, you are soft...just like so many of those who fled Cuba instead of fighting for freedom. I know that's going to seem harsh to you, but having lived as a derogatorily-labeled "Anglo" in Miami, I can testify only to what I experienced first-hand to be fact. There's a lot of talk from you folks, but no action. The whining of those who spring from your easily corruptible culture now falls on increasingly irritated, deaf ears outside Miami-Dade. If one quarter of Miami's "refugees" had the cojones to stay and fight, you wouldn't have Castro to complain about today. That's not to say ya'll wouldn't be jawboning sorrowfully at El Centro Vasco about some other corrupt regime you let come in to replace Fidel's.
Did he just call Cuban exiles cowards, and easily corruptible? Wow. I don't claim to know any better, but I will stand by my core faith that you, sir, do not represent true American values, mores and attitudes. Any culture has its flaws, and the Cuban people have certainly made their share of political mistakes in choosing their leadership.

Am I wrong? Would a true American, a descendant of a colonist or pioneer please write in and comment? Am I way off here?

I should point out, if it where not for immigrants, we would still be 13 colonies, surrounded by French, Spanish, and British kingdom countries. So, Katie's Dad, while your ancestors where the first to establish this great nation--something I owe a debt of gratitude--it is immigrants who made it grow into the nation it is today. It is immigrants who accepted and adopted these foundational values--values they did not invent, but simply built upon--that made our nation what it is today. And yes, I have to say that many crime and evil has been committed by immigrants, but I do not believe these are any worst than the evils that lie within and are committed by every man, regardless of who were his ancestors.

I invite all my readers, immigrant or not, to share your views, perspective, and experiences on immigration. If I am missing something, I need to hear about it.

Tags: Politics, Current Affairs, California, Homeland Security, Mexico, Immigration, ,

Harriet Miers Nomination News, Headlines Conflicting

Headlines via DrudgeReport.com. Drudge is calling it "The Big Gamble." It says a lot.
BUSH CHOOSES WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL HARRIET MIERS FOR SUPREME COURT...

Miers Led Bid to Revisit Abortion Stance...

Had Stormy Tenure at Texas Lottery...

LIMBAUGH: 'A PICK MADE FROM WEAKNESS'...

TIME: Bush Makes a Safe Supreme Court Pick...

Harriet Miers: Profile of a Tireless Competitor...

CONSERVATIVE GROUP SUPPORTS...

CONSERVATIVE GROUP OPPOSES...

William Kristol: 'I'M DISAPPOINTED, depressed and demoralized'...

AFP: REACTION MIXED...

BUSH COURT PICK GAVE MONEY TO GORE?...
Tags: , , , News, Current Affairs, Religion, Media, Culture,

Harriet Miers Nomination Opinions Round-Up

The news is buzzing about Harriet Miers nomination. As far as I am concerned, the jury is still out, and may well be out even after she is confirmed--assuming she is confirmed. I'll have to second Olasky's words, "I'm in the 'we report - you decide' camp."

This nomination, in combination with Roberts, will have a huge impact in a thousand ways for the future of our country. I have to agree with Dr. Dobson in that no one can really "know absolutely about matters of integrity and philosophy until a jurist is given the tremendous power and influence of their position." Let us all hope that Bush is keeping his promise to nominate originalist judges who will "not use the bench to write social policy." It's all on his word at this point.

Here is the round-up:
Rush Limbaugh:
"This is a pick that was made from weakness. There was an opportunity here to show strength and confidence, and I don't think this is it. There are plenty of known quantities out there who would be superb for the court." More Maha Rushie quotes

Hugh Hewitt:
Harriet Miers isn't a Justice Souter pick, so don't be silly. It is a solid, B+ pick. The first President Bush didn't know David Souter, but trusted Chief of Staff Sunnunu and Senator Rudman. The first President Bush got burned badly because he trusted the enthusiams of others.

The second President Bush knows Harriet Miers, and knows her well. The White House Counsel is an unknown to most SCOTUS observors, but not to the president, who has seen her at work for great lengths of years and in very different situations, including as an advisor in wartime. Leonard Leo is very happy with the choice, which ought to be enough for most conservatives.

As I wrote last night, Judges Luttig and McConnell are the most qualified nominees out there, but I think from the start that the president must have decided that this seat would be given to a woman, and it is very hard to argue that she is not the most qualified woman to be on the SCOTUS for the simple reason that she has been in the White House for many years.

Marvin Olasky:
(WorldMagBlog has good posts on both pro and con views on the nomination)

People are asking whether I support the Miers nomination. OK: I wish W had chosen one of the judges with a clear, on-the-record, conservative judicial philosophy, and then been willing to fight it out. In the absence of a clear record, it's important to know who a SCOTUS nominee's friends are. Since Nathan Hecht is a good friend of Miers and also a good guy, that's significant. So is the opposition of other thoughtful conservatives. Overall, this time, I'm in the "we report - you decide" camp. We'll put on this blog, and in World when we go to press on Thursday, views by credible people on both sides.

Dr. James Dobson: (Statements via U.S. Newswire)
"We welcome the president's nomination of Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court. He pledged emphatically during his campaign to appoint judges who will interpret the law rather than create it. He also promised to select competent judges who will 'not use the bench to write social policy.' To this point, President Bush's appointments to the federal bench appear to have been remarkably consistent with that stated philosophy. Based on the information known generally about Harriet Miers, and President Bush's personal knowledge of her, we believe that she will not prove to be a lone exception.

"On the other hand, one cannot know absolutely about matters of integrity and philosophy until a jurist is given the tremendous power and influence of their position. As Lord Acton said: 'Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.' Sadly, that seems to have happened to Justices Souter and Kennedy. All we can say now is that Harriet Miers appears to be an outstanding nominee for the Supreme Court.

"We look forward to learning more about her at the confirmation hearings."

Tags: , , , News, Current Affairs, Religion, Media, Culture, ,

Op-Ed Against Referendum C & D: Vote No, It’s Your Dough

Here is an op-ed from Jon Caldara. Consider this is my official opposition statement on Colorado's C & D. It's really basic economics, and should be rather easy to understand for anyone willing to step away from left-wing ideologies and political agendas, and seek what is best for the economy overall.

Caldera makes a very good, fact-based, common sense argument as to why there is no reason why the State should be seeking more money, and why C & D really amounts to nothing more than a tax increase.
C stands for Cash. D stands for Debt. It is as straightforward as that.

Ref. C is a massive tax increase, plain and simple. If passed it would cost a family of four over $3200 in the first five years alone. But that’s just the beginning. Since it ratchets up the state’s spending and taxing baseline permanently, it is a forever tax increase.

And Ref. D would put the state further into debt, committing our children to repay the billions of dollars spent by politicians today. D lets them charge up our kids’ credit cards.

Ref. C takes not just some, but all, of your excess tax refunds for the next five years. C means, “No Refunds for You.” With gas prices so high and the cost of living on the rise, Colorado families need the relief their tax refunds bring. Bureaucrats shouldn’t steal those refunds.

Where will all this tax money go? We really won’t know. The tax spenders peddling this hike make it sound as though every penny is guaranteed to go to the programs you care about in your neighborhood. But read the actual language of the tax increase. You’ll find that your money goes into the state’s general fund. The politicians will be able to spend your money any way they want.

This is worth repeating. None of this tax increase is guaranteed to go where its promoters claim it will. Unlike a constitutional amendment, the empty promises of Ref C and D can be changed with a simple vote of the politicians.

Don’t give the politicians a blank check.

If Ref C is such a great idea, it is worth asking what would have happened if it were passed say, five or so years ago? You might remember the late “go-go” 90’s. Colorado’s economy, along with the nation’s, was on fire. Tax revenue was rolling into the state coffers, far more than what government needed to keep up with population growth and inflation. Fortunately our Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights required that excess money be returned to the taxpayers.

In all, about $3.25 billion was refunded to taxpayers before the recent recession. That’s around $3200 per family of four. And as it turns out, that saved our state budget. Many other states, like California, just kept all the excess revenue and put it into new programs. And as Ronald Reagan once said, “There is nothing closer to immorality than a government program.”

When the recession then hit, those states with bloated budgets were in big trouble. California found itself with a $35 billion deficit. And because of that, they a recalled governor.

Thanks to the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, Colorado was spared that trauma. TABOR kept the state’s budget from ballooning. It is no wonder why dozens of other states now want to emulate our TABOR. Referendum C would eliminate this safety net that saved Colorado’s fiscal fanny.

Now the backers of C want what happened in California to happen here. They want the state’s budget to grow, unchecked.

You may have read in the papers this week that economists predict another recession is just a couple of years away. If true, the last thing we want to do is gorge the state with a tax and debt increase.

The tax spenders try with a straight face to say that C isn’t a tax increase. But that doesn’t pass the giggle test. If it is not a tax increase, why do we have to vote on it?

They like to say that C merely “allows government to spend the money it already collected.” That’s like the store clerk saying “can I keep the money I have already collected,” after you handed him a $20 bill for a $15 purchase. If the clerk doesn’t give you the change for your purchase, the price of your purchase goes up. If the politicians don’t give you back your tax refunds, your taxes have gone up.

The tax spenders also like to claim there have been massive cuts in state government. What cuts? This year’s state budget has reached an all-time high of $15 billion with increases in every line item. The state had enough money to give ALL state employees across-the-board pay raises. Hardly something that could be done if the state were really in “crisis.”

Even during the recent recession, Colorado’s budget grew! And when C and D fail this fall the state budget is still slated to increase.

To you and me a budget cut means we actually get less money than we did last year. To a bureaucrat a budget cut means he didn’t get as large of an increase as he wanted.

Ref. C does nothing to address the reason why some state programs were recently squeezed from the part of the budget called the General Fund – Amendment 23. Amendment 23 is a mandate for increased spending in k-12 education every year, no matter what’s happening to the rest of the budget. And while Higher Ed got squeezed in the last few years, K-12 funding went up.

Isn’t it amazing that the ads for this tax increase try to pull on your heartstrings by showing pictures of teachers and school kids terrified of budget cuts. But by the state constitution (Amendment 23) there can’t be ANY cuts to education spending, only guaranteed increases.

Some people will do anything to pass a tax increase, including trying to scare you.

In order to support this forever tax increase, not only must you believe that Colorado will never again see another economic downturn, but you have to believe that the state is running as a lean, mean governing machine, with no waste or efficiency to be found.

In a year where CU professor Ward Churchill got a merit pay raise, that’s a little hard to swallow.

The state has some serious opportunities to save cash; including securitizing the billion dollars we are owed by the tobacco settlement, selling off any of the state’s 120 vacant and unused properties or the $330 million in receivables.

Are we in a budget “crisis?” Let’s do this Jeff Foxworthy style. You know you’re not in a budget crisis when the Department of Transportation spends $600 on oil changes.

You know you’re not in a budget crisis when the state spend $5000 on a piece of artwork entitles “12 Dildos on Hooks.” And yep, and that’s what it was all right.

You know you’re not in a budget crisis when the state bought Viagra for registered sex offenders. And they did.

You know you’re not in a budget crisis when CU spends over a half million dollars buying liquor.

You know you’re not in a budget crisis when private corporations get millions in direct corporate welfare. The Department for Economic Development gave $97,000 to Red Robin Hamburgers, $450,000 Echostar, $144,000 to Kodak, and the list goes on and on.

The state is hardly starving. Voters should reject this sky-is-falling plea from tax hungry politicians and rich special interests.

They don’t deserve a blank check. Do what’s right for your children and your family. Vote No, it’s your dough.

By Jon Caldara
Tags: , Education, Politics, News, Economy, Finances, TABOR, Economics, Policy,

Sunday, October 2

Freakonomics, Abortion, and the Bennet Debacle

This via RedState.org.
From last month's First Things:

Six years ago, economist Steven Levitt and law professor John Donohue sparked a brouhaha with their claim that abortion is probably the greatest crime-prevention measure ever invented. Now that argument has received renewed currency in the bestselling book Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Levitt and his co-author Stephen Dubner. In recent years there has been a 30- to 50-percent drop in crime, and many explanations are offered: new policing methods, more than two million people behind bars, the drop-off in the use of crack, and on and on. But a careful analysis of the data, say Levitt and company, indicates that the biggest factor, far and away, is that the millions of young men most likely to commit crimes were killed early on. A refreshing note of candor in the current discussion is that nobody is denying that all those fetuses killed in the womb were really human beings. So it seems the question of when human life begins has been settled once and for all. The dramatic decline in crime began eighteen years after Roe v. Wade, and a few years earlier in those states that liberalized their abortion law. Of course, most of the commentaries steer away from a too-explicit reference to race, although everybody is aware of the astonishingly inordinate incidence of crimes committed by young male blacks and the equally inordinate incidence of abortions procured by black women.
I don't agree that abortion had anything to do with the reduction on crime rate at all! Besides the fact that it is a utilitarian way to see things, and morally reprehensible, abortion does not change the choices made for those that yet live. If there has been reductions in crime rate, the reason lies elsewhere--not abortion. If anything, eliminating abortion and helping women choose life will elevate our nation on the moral scale, helping, I'm sure, to reduce crime rates overall.

RedState.org has more on the Bennet debacle, and how it reveals the incredible liberal hypocrisy.
The conundrum arises for liberals when it comes to their outrage over this because their anger at Bennett's statements is a tacit admission that life is being destroyed in the womb. Bennett was talking about aborting black "babies" and the liberals got all upset about it. But why? If those black "babies" in the womb are nothing more than "tissue and fluid," are not really "babies" at all, then why act so outraged over Bennett's statements at all?
UPDATE and BUMP: Captain Ed has a interesting analysis of Bennett's comments.

When one looks at the entire context of the remarks made by Bennett in discussing the Freakanomics argument that three decades of abortion lowered violent crime in America (an argument that suffers by the fact of the violent death of 43 million feti, wouldn't one think?), it should be obvious to reasonable people that Bennett neither argues for aborting black babies nor does he agree with the Leavitt and Dubner hypothesis. Anyone who spends time with Bennett, either listening to his radio show or reading his works, knows that Bennett is no racist.

However, he makes one mistake in his reductio ad absurdum argument that he should have avoided, one which gives fuel to the entire argument: he assumed that lowering the African-American population would result in a lower crime rate, without any other conditions being met. Here's Bennett's statement:

But I do know that it’s true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could—if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.

Do we know that the crime rate would go down, any more than if we aborted every white baby in America? No, we do not, and that mistaken assumption creates the much smaller but legitimate criticism of Bennett's remarks. At the heart of that assertion, Bennett has to assume that all other things being equal, blacks are more likely to commit crime than non-blacks as part of their innate nature, and not as part of an environment.

First mistake: using blacks as an example. Had he said "poor", he would have been much closer to the mark. The poor do not have an innate compulsion to commit crime either, but the environment in which they enter the world creates more pressure towards criminal behavior. That does not hold true for "all black children" -- only for those born into that environmen
Tags: , Politics, Current Affairs, Black News, News and politics