Tuesday, August 29, 2006

New Conservative Blog - Worth Checking Out

A new South Dakota blog has popped up this week called Prairie Conservative. It's run by Greg Belfrage and Kristi Golden, the regular host of KELO AM and a frequent guest host, respectively.

It's a conservative blog, so I know I won't like some of what they post, but so far the content seems to be smart and of high quality. About on par with SDWC. And Greg seems like a nice guy so I think he's a good addition to the SD blogosphere.

And I absolutely love the "News You Can't Use" feature. Without it I would've completely missed the article about Marines showing the South Park movie to Saddam Hussein. If you haven't seen the movie, Saddam is a character who gets killed by wild boars, then goes to Hell where he becomes Satan's abusive boyfriend. Then, as Saddam tries to start the apocalypse and take over the world, he's defeated by a 4th grader.

The thought of Saddam watching that movie just makes me smile.

Sibby Defends Racist

Ever since Senator George Allen of Virginia uttered his infamous "macaca" comment, Sibby has been defending him over and over.

When the story first came out, he spent quite a bit of time defending Allen on Mount Blogmore. He treated it like some liberal plot and then somehow turned the discussion into an abortion argument.

His lastest attempt is reprinting the text of a WorldNetDaily article with the comment "The hypocrites still can't forgive" preceding it.

What's to forgive? Allen claimed ignorance. He tried to claim that he doesn't know what it means and that he made the word up and that he had heard his campaign staff use it and he even said it was a slang term for "mohawk" (which may or may not have been the hairstyle of the person he called "macaca"). So he lied several times to try and save face instead of apologizing. He eventually did apologize, kinda, when he realized his other tactics weren't working.

That's the guy Republicans want to be President? A guy who "used to keep a Confederate flag in his living room and a noose in his law office."

They sure are working hard to spin this story. They're even attempting to put the blame on Sidarth, the kid who was called "macaca" and welcomed to America (even though he was born here). Because apparently it was Sidarth's fault that Allen said a horribly racist slur and implied that he was an immigrant just because of the color of his skin.

Way to go Republicans! It's no wonder that you're losing minority voters.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

How Many Planets Do We Have?

Last week I heard that scientists were planning to reclassify the qualifications of being a planet. They were doing it with the eye towards adding new planets to our traditional nine. And there were three specific objects that they planned to give planet-status: Ceres (between Mars and Jupiter), UB313 (nicknamed Xena) and Charon (Pluto's moon).

I thought that was a great idea. As we learn more about the solar system, it seems logical that our traditional definition of what a planet is will grow and expand.

But then I checked Google News this morning and discovered that not only was that proposal rejected, but Pluto has now been downgraded and is no longer a planet. What the heck happened? How did we go backwards? Their main objection seems to be that the proposed definition would allow to many objects to be classified as planets and we could have up to 200 planets. So what? That's progress.

For as long as I've been alive, Pluto has always been a planet. Now the 76 year history of the planet Pluto is just swept under the rug as if making it a planet had been a mistake. That's crap. I don't want to sound like a religious conservative, but I'm just going to stick fingers in my ears and say "I'm not listening" to those scientists.

Professor Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology brought some common sense to the discussion in a radio interview:
"The analogy that I always like to use is the word 'continent'. You know, the word 'continent' has no scientific definition ... they're just cultural definitions, and I think the geologists are wise to leave that one alone and not try to redefine things so that the word 'continent' has a big, strict definition."
That works for me. Just as there are seven continents, there are nine planets.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Activist Judges

While on the subject of Amendment Evil, I wanted to talk about something I saw in one of David Kranz's columns last week. He showed what a Minnesota district judge, George Harrelson, wrote about South Dakota's J.A.I.L. Amendment (aka Amendment Evil). What caught my attention was his opinion of the people who are always complaining about "judicial activism."
Activist Judges: "I must be one of those activist judges. In the 23 years
that I have been a judge, the caseload has more than doubled, and at the end of
a lot of days, I feel like I have been rode hard and put up wet. Of course, when
you hear about the 'activist judges,' someone is usually complaining about
rulings of a Supreme Court (often in Massachusetts or California) that they
don't agree with. Problem is, trial judges, such as myself, are required to
follow laws or prior court rulings even if they are not popular.

"In the past, when citizens or groups of citizens were unhappy with a law
or court ruling, they would pressure their legislators to pass a different law
or a constitutional amendment. Recently, a new technique has emerged -
intimidate the judge. People are being urged to 'hold the judge accountable.' If
you don't like what the judge did, get rid of the judge," Harrelson says.

"When a judge starts to worry about who they will please or displease with
a ruling, then we cease to be a government based on law," Harrelson
So the people who are always screaming "activist judges" when they don't like the judge's decision are just bullies. And the Amendment Evil people are just trying to make it easier to bully judges and manipulate the justice system how they see fit. I thought as much.

Amendment Evil

I don't spend much time talking about Amendment E, which we will be voting on in November, because PP and Tim are doing such a fantastic job exposing the clowns who brought this crap to South Dakota. But it's good for anyone to comment, if for no other reason than showing Bill Stegmeier that almost everyone in the state things J.A.I.L. is a horrible idea.

I spent this last weekend hanging out with a bunch of friends on our annual lake trip. We got to talking about politics one day and someone brought up Amendment E. I don't remember how we came to it, but we all settled on calling it "Amendment Evil." Don't you think that just fits?

And I was very happy to see Judge Max Gors' decision about the ballot description for Amendment Evil. I was glad that Gors put a stop to Stegmeier's lies about who has judicial immunity and who can be affected by Amendment Evil. And I really loved that the Argus included Gors' "money quote":

Glasford also maintained that the attorney general should have used the word "accountability" in his description. Gors rejected that with a flourish, writing, "The attorney general could have said with a straight face that the real purpose and effect of the proposed JAIL amendment is to destroy justice in South Dakota by harassment of public decision makers with lawsuits, but he did not. His actual description is quite tame."
Oh my, anyone smell smoke in here? Because I think the Amendment Evil people just got BURNED!

But there was something in that article that horrified me. The lawyer for Amendment Evil is from Canton. What were you thinking Ms. Glasford? Don't you have some standards in who you accept for your clients? Sheesh.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Mel Gibson

I'm very late on commenting about this topic. My comment is simply this: Who the heck cares? He's a celebrity. Celebrities, just like any other human, do stupid things sometimes. The only reason it's news is because he's a popular actor.

I admit that I haven't been following the story that closely, mostly because I don't care. The stir seems to be something about anti-Semitic remarks. Whatever those remarks were, they were wrong and I'm sure he feels bad about it. But I've seen people use those remarks to justify their belief that his The Passion of the Christ movie was anti-Semitic.

I personally didn't think the movie was anti-Semitic, but I guess I was more focused on how lousy it was at adapting the story.

I don't know. It seems like a bit much to get up in arms over a crappy movie.*

So when stuff like this happens in the future, just remember this: It was just a celebrity. Not anything important.

*I'm sure Bob Ellis or someone will blast me about the "crappy movie" part. I just think it was depressing that it focused on every single bit of suffering Jesus went through while it left out little things like hope and love and the promise for the future of humanity (which I believe is the important part of the story).

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Liar Liar Pants on Fire!

It always amazes me how the "good, moral, Christian" members of the pro-life movement will lie and cheat to get their point across.

For example: In Sunday's Argus Leader, there's a letter to the editor from Linda Schauer, SD state director of the Concerned Women for America.

I applaud President Bush and Sen. John Thune for supporting research that does not destroy human life through the use of embryonic stem cells.

We continue down a slippery slope when we regard human life as a commodity. It's just wrong to kill some humans to be used as research material to benefit others. Furthermore, it is not prudent to federally fund research that holds little promise of cures when adult stem-cell research has already cured or improved patients representing over 70 ailments.

Unlike treatment with embryonic stem cells, treatments using adult stem cells do not produce cancerous tumors and the serious complication of rejection is eliminated. We need to direct our dollars toward proven success.

Sen. Tim Johnson cites the frozen embryos conceived through in vitro fertilization as "medical waste." Would he consider it ethical to experiment on death-row inmates or would he have approved of the Nazi experiments on humans? Of the 400,000 frozen embryos, only 2.8 percent have been tagged for research by their biological parents. The rest are awaiting implantation by the parents or made available for adoption. More than 100 frozen embryos ("Snowflake" kids) have been adopted.

Government should not fund unethical and unsuccessful research.

Wow. Let's count how many times she broke the "don't lie" commandment.

1.) "Furthermore, it is not prudent to federally fund research that holds little promise of cures when adult stem-cell research has already cured or improved patients representing over 70 ailments."

This number has been drastically inflated to make adult stem cells seem better than embryonic stem cells. Truthfully, the only current treatment that uses adult stem cells is when they take them out of bone marrow when leukemia patients have chemotherapy. That's to prevent the chemo treatments from killing those adult stem calls along with the leukemia. Once the treatments are over, the inject the adult stem cells back into the bone marrow.

The current research with adult stem cells shows a lot of promise in potential treatments for 8 or so ailments. And they are very close to using adult stem cells to improve patients with heart/muscle damage and blindness.

So not only are pro-lifers lying about how many ailments adult stem cells can help with, but they are implying that they can cure/help them right now (which isn't true).

2.) "Unlike treatment with embryonic stem cells, treatments using adult stem cells do not produce cancerous tumors and the serious complication of rejection is eliminated."

Saying that embryonic stem cells cause tumors is an outright lie. Pro-lifers using this argument are saying this to deceive the public. There is no evidence that embryonic stem cells cause cancer or any kind of tumor. Just because they don't like embryonic stem cell research doesn't mean that can make up things about it.

The part about rejection is more truthful, though the chances of rejection are probably no greater than a heart transplant or something.

3.) "Sen. Tim Johnson cites the frozen embryos conceived through in vitro fertilization as "medical waste." Would he consider it ethical to experiment on death-row inmates or would he have approved of the Nazi experiments on humans?"

Here she compares Sen. Johnson with Nazis. That's just mean. Whenever you bring up Nazis in your argument, it shows how weak the argument is.

4.) "Of the 400,000 frozen embryos, only 2.8 percent have been tagged for research by their biological parents. The rest are awaiting implantation by the parents or made available for adoption. More than 100 frozen embryos ("Snowflake" kids) have been adopted."

This part confuses me. It seems to be her answer to Johnson's "medical waste" remark, but she just throws it out there without making a point. I found an article that talks more specifically about those embryos:

The team tallied a "conservative" total of 396,526 embryos.

About 3 percent were earmarked for research; 2 percent for destruction and a like number for donation to women; and 1 percent for quality-assurance studies. Most of the rest -- about 87 percent of the total -- were reserved for ongoing fertility efforts.
It seems that 2% of that 400,000 is earmarked for donation to other women, which is where the Snowflake babies have come from. What I find interesting is that the pool of embryos for donation to women isn't the same thing as the pool earmarked for research. President Bush and anti-abortionists would have us believe that the Snowflake babies are coming from the research pool when, in fact, they are not.


I don't mean to pick on Mrs. Schauer. I'm sure she's a very nice lady. I just thought her letter was a good illustration of one of the things that's wrong with the pro-life movement. If they want to claim that their side is the side of good, faithful Christians, then they need to stop lying and cheating to get their way.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Is Increasing Minimum Wage Worth It?

The latest twist in the minimum wage issue was that the Republicans in Congress added a provision that would reduce the estates/death/Paris Hilton tax to it.
It ultimately didn't pass. Shocker.

What was brilliant about it was, like a lot of other Republican ideas, they could show support for raising minimum wage without actually having to raise the minimum wage. They knew it would fail like this, but it allowed the Republicans to look like they wanted to raise the minimum wage. Brilliant. Evil, but brilliant.

But my question was: Would it be worth it reduce taxes for the uber-wealthy if we can finally get the Republicans to support a minimum wage increase? It's kind of like signing a deal with the devil, but if that's the only way to get it done... isn't it worth it?

As much as I don't want to support anything that benefits Paris Hilton (because she's destroying America), it might be worth it to get a minimum wage increase. I think raising the minimum wage is very important. If the Republicans will only do it if we agree to their stupid, morally corrupt ideas, then I think we should go for it.

Since it didn't pass, this discussion is pretty moot. But it's something to think about for next time. Hopefully by then the people in control of Congress will want to raise the minimum wage for no other reason than it's a good idea for American citizens. Crazy, I know.

Catching Up

I had such big plans for the blog this summer, but real life keeps getting in my way.

So I'm going to catch up on the news (like the stem cell debate, minimum wage and the various polls about SD issues) and hopefully start the Haggard Entertainment section.

I hope you'll keep sticking with me.