Monday, June 30, 2008

Bernard Nathanson's Aborting America

Bernard Nathanson is a most interesting man. He probably performed more abortions than any American alive before he had a change of heart. He was at the founding, if you will. Nathanson shows how the abortion lobby (for lack of a better term) targeted the Catholic church on one hand and convinced the woman’s movement that abortion should be a central tenet of its agenda on the other. (Prior to the second edition of Betty Friedan’s book, abortion was seen as anti-women. The suffragettes, women like Sojouner Truth and Susan B. Anthony, were solidly anti-abortion. They were part of the movement that past the laws outlawing abortion, most of which were enacted during the late nineteenth century.)

Eventually Nathanson came to the conclusion that what he was doing was evil. His intellectual and moral conversion was such an amazing turnaround that it would seem to be a miraculous confirmation of the power of prayer. (For every publicized case of violence at an abortion factory, there are the unpublicized tens of thousands praying for those involved in abortion: the women, the babies, the doctors, and the nurses.) His later conversion to Catholicism is perhaps even more shocking. Any novelist would reject as unbelievable a plot in which a leading Jewish intellectual atheist, Dr. Death himself and a mastermind of the abortion industry’s propaganda strategy, recants his beliefs, starts making pro-life movies, and ultimately becomes a Roman Catholic.

If you ever get a chance to speak, do hear him. But beware, his views are dangerous to the conventional wisdom!

Friday, June 27, 2008

On ne saurait faire une omelette sans casser des oeufs.”

On ne saurait faire une omelette sans casser des oeufs.” Translation: “One can’t expect to make an omelet without breaking eggs.”

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Obama Is for Change: Does That Include Changing His Record?

Say a baby is born live from an abortion. The odds are against it, but it happens. Should the hospital preserve this victim of an "unsuccessful" abortion? Most of us out of common decency would answer, "yes."

A bill was submitted in Illinois to require the dictates of decency in the situation. Senator Obama was in the Illinois legislature at the time. Obama spoke against the legislation in 2001 and 2002 and single-handedly defeated it in committee in 2003.

A citizen spoke to him a few years later about the bill after he had left the state senate. Obama told him, “I would have voted for the Born Alive Infant Protection Act in Illinois had it been worded the same as the federal bill. I think that’s the position the Democrats should take.”

According my source, "There’s just one thing he forgot to mention: Obama had stopped his committee from adding the federal wording."

Actions speak louder than words.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Actions Speak Louder than Words

Bill Clinton told us that he wanted abortion to be "legal, safe, and rare." Am I too cynical to note that he did little or nothing to make abortion "rare?" Adoption was not promoted. Chastity was not praised, much less promoted. The President had no clothes.

Senator Obama is sounding much the same.

He has announced a group called Catholics for Obama. Will McGurn has analyzed the make-up of this august body and his analysis is enlightening. He finds the best way to characterize these senators, governors, and congressmen is as "NARAL Catholics." NARAL is the National Abortion Rights League. If you think of it as some idealistic group of do-gooders, read Bernard Nathanson's inside account of NARAL's cynical beginning.

Here is how McGurn describes Obama's positions: "In a speech before Planned Parenthood, he declared that the right to an abortion is at stake in this election, and vowed that he would not yield on appointing judges that would uphold Roe v. Wade.

"Mr. Obama is for using tax dollars to fund abortions, and against restrictions on partial-birth abortion. In the Illinois Senate, he voted against legislation protecting a child who was born alive despite an abortion. In sum, if you want to know what Mr. Obama's policies mean, it's this: taxpayer-funded abortion on demand."

Perhaps you think McGurn is a right wing ideologue, he does write for the Wall Street Journal, that running dog of capitalism. What does Planned Parenthood say of Obama?

Planned Parenthood is America's largest company in the abortion business. Its New England branch endorsed Senator Barak Obama, the junior senator from Illinois: Nancy Mosher, the head of the New England affiliate [of Planned Parenthood], said "approving the decision to support Obama, who supports abortion funding at taxpayer expense and without any limits, was easy."

“Senator Obama has a long and consistent record of standing up for [abortion]," Mosher continued.

The head of Planned Parenthood of New England, said her group will work with the national organization to "educate voters about John McCain’s unacceptable record in regard to" abortion.

"In 25 years in Washington, John McCain has earned a zero percent voting record from Planned Parenthood," she said. "Senator McCain has also denounced Roe v. Wade as ‘bad law.'”

How do you make legal abortion "rare?"

Encourage adoptions, reduce red tape, promote a culture of life.

Senator McCain does not wear his personal life on his sleeve to borrow a metaphor from the Bard. Is he in favor of adoption? Ask Bridget, the daughter Mother Teresa ordered his wife Cindy to adopt. She is about eighteen years old now and very much a McCain. You can read an interview that touches on her in Dadmag.

Actions speak louder than words.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Aussie Airs

Slim Dusty has beeen called Mr. Australia. Here he is sing A Pub With No Beer and Waltzing Matilda.

John Williamson's True Blue is fair dinkum.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Peggy Noonan's Old America and New America

To what extent are you in sync with Peggy Noonan's Old America and New America?

Brave New World?

Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal, June 14, 2008; Page A11

And so it begins, the campaign proper. You probably guessed that there would be no letup in this relentless year, no break between the primaries and the general election, that both candidates would stay on the screen. You were right. They will not leave, and go, and rest. They feel they can't, it's inch by inch, slow and steady wins the race. This robs them of the power of disappearance. You disappear and then come back and people say, "Hey, look at that guy." They listen anew after a break in the drone.

Not this time. And maybe never again.

For Barack Obama this week, a Beltway setback. He chose for a key position a D.C. insider who got fat working the system. This was a poor decision by the candidate of change. "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss." But Jim Johnson was removed with dispatch, and the country didn't notice. Beltway bottom line: Mr. Obama the cool customer had a problem, removed the problem, has no problem.

John McCain had a worse time, with the famously awkward speech in front of the background whose color was variously compared to snot, puke and lime Jell-O. He was scored for not being adept with a teleprompter. The press knocked him, essentially, for not being smooth and manipulative enough. But if he were good at the teleprompter, they'd complain that he's too smooth and scripted.

The press will be nice to him again. When he's 17 points down.

It should not count against a man that he has not fully mastered the artifice of his profession. Then again, he should have nailed the prompter by now. Such things show a certain competence. Voters are slower to trust you with big things if they see a lack of skill in small things. In this vein, a suggestion. Podiums always seem to swallow Mr. McCain. He has limited mobility with his arms because of his torture in Vietnam. It restricts his ability to gesture. And he is not a big man. He often looks like he's flailing up there: I'm not waving, I'm drowning! His staff should build a podium for him, one that fits, and take it wherever he goes. For a seal, the great state of Arizona, which he has represented in the U.S. Senate for 22 years. Let him master the podium five months out. Other masteries will follow.

The lay of the land? Mr. Obama is ahead 47% to 41% in this week's Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, and no one is surprised. Everyone knows he's ahead. Everyone knows this is a Democratic year. But I think there are two particular subtexts this year, or perhaps I should say texts. One, obviously, is youth versus age. This theme is the clearest it's been since 1960, when the old general who'd planned the Normandy invasion found himself replaced by a young man who had commanded a rickety patrol torpedo boat in World War II. You know that on some level, at some moment, Dwight D. Eisenhower looked at John F. Kennedy and thought: Punk.

But 2008 will also prove in part to be a decisive political contest between the Old America and the New America. Between the thing we were, and the thing we have been becoming for 40 years or so. (I'm not referring here to age. Some young Americans have Old America heads and souls; some old people are all for the New.)

Mr. McCain is the Old America, of course; Mr. Obama the New.

* * *

Roughly, broadly:

In the Old America, love of country was natural. You breathed it in. You either loved it or knew you should.

In the New America, love of country is a decision. It's one you make after weighing the pros and cons. What you breathe in is skepticism and a heightened appreciation of the global view.

Old America: Tradition is a guide in human affairs. New America: Tradition is a challenge, a barrier, or a lovely antique.

The Old America had big families. You married and had children. Life happened to you. You didn't decide, it decided. Now it's all on you. Old America, when life didn't work out: "Luck of the draw!" New America when life doesn't work: "I made bad choices!" Old America: "I had faith, and trust." New America: "You had limited autonomy!"

Old America: "We've been here three generations." New America: "You're still here?"

Old America: We have to have a government, but that doesn't mean I have to love it. New America: We have to have a government and I am desperate to love it. Old America: Politics is a duty. New America: Politics is life.

The Old America: Religion is good. The New America: Religion is problematic. The Old: Smoke 'em if you got 'em. The New: I'll sue.

Mr. McCain is the old world of concepts like "personal honor," of a manliness that was a style of being, of an attachment to the fact of higher principles.

Mr. Obama is the new world, which is marked in part by doubt as to the excellence of the old. It prizes ambivalence as proof of thoughtfulness, as evidence of a textured seriousness.

Both Old and New America honor sacrifice, but in the Old America it was more essential, more needed for survival both personally (don't buy today, save for tomorrow) and in larger ways.

The Old and New define sacrifice differently. An Old America opinion: Abjuring a life as a corporate lawyer and choosing instead community organizing, a job that does not pay you in money but will, if you have political ambitions, provide a base and help you win office, is not precisely a sacrifice. Political office will pay you in power and fame, which will be followed in time by money (see Clinton, Bill). This has more to do with timing than sacrifice. In fact, it's less a sacrifice than a strategy.

A New America answer: He didn't become a rich lawyer like everyone else—and that was a sacrifice! Old America: Five years in a cage—that's a sacrifice!

In the Old America, high value was put on education, but character trumped it. That's how Lincoln got elected: Honest Abe had no formal schooling. In Mr. McCain's world, a Harvard Ph.D. is a very good thing, but it won't help you endure five years in Vietnam. It may be a comfort or an inspiration, but it won't see you through. Only character, and faith, can do that. And they are very Old America.

Old America: candidates for office wear ties. New America: Not if they're women. Old America: There's a place for formality, even the Beatles wore jackets!

* * *

I weigh this in favor of the Old America. Hard not to, for I remember it, and its sterling virtues. Maybe if you are 25 years old, your sense of the Old and New is different. In the Old America they were not enlightened about race and sex; they accepted grim factory lines and couldn't even begin to imagine the Internet. Fair enough. But I suspect the political playing out of a long-ongoing cultural and societal shift is part of the dynamic this year.

As to its implications for the race, we'll see. America is always looking forward, not back, it is always in search of the fresh and leaving the tried. That's how we started: We left tired old Europe and came to the new place, we settled the east and pushed West to the new place. We like new. It's in our genes. Hope we know where we're going, though.

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary, on Opinion Journal.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

If the Ivy League Tuition Is Not Enough, How About Legal Costs

A Dartmouth composition professor threatened to sue her students for disageeing with her in class. Hear about it on the Wall street Journal:

Monday, June 09, 2008

There is Was a Horse Named Sequence

You must know my love of medieval sequences (are there any other kind?) Well there is a horse named Sequence that was born in 1946. Now that was a great year!

She was Gold Digger's mom and Prospector's grandma. Thus she was Smarty Jones' great great grandma. Since Prospector is the leading study in the U.S., she is in a lot of family trees.