Sunday, October 19, 2003


I mentioned yesterday the story from The Guardian about a moronic “briefing note” that allegedly emanated from someone in the White House. I note that the U.S. Embassy in Australia has denied that it was issued under White House authority: “The White House issued no such memo”

Nice to have friends: China too now seems to like Australia.

I think this says it all about gun control: “Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.), along with 22 Democrats and 40 Republicans as co-sponsors, has introduced legislation to guarantee residents of Washington their Second Amendment right to bear firearms in their homes and businesses. The legislation seeks to lift Washington's gun ban - one of the strictest in America - which forbids law-abiding citizens from possessing handguns. (Even rifles are allowed only on an extremely limited basis.) "The District of Columbia is a failed laboratory experiment for gun control," Souder says. "It has one of the most comprehensive bans on firearms in the nation, and it also has one of the highest violent-crime rates in the nation. "In fact, in 2002 it had the highest per-capita crime rate of any city in the nation. This is not a coincidence. The simple fact is, when law-abiding citizens are forbidden by their government from protecting themselves, they become easy prey for those to whom a gun ban is just one more law to break."

Your friendly bureaucratic protector: “The FDA goes through this sort of backtracking from time to time. They did it with artificial sweeteners, for example, back in the 1970's. First they banned a sweetener called cyclamates, convinced by the testimony of a few rats that it was a carcinogen. Then the tests came back and it turned out that cyclamates were substantially less likely to cause cancer than saccharine, its main competitor at the time. Red-faced, the FDA put cyclamates back on the approved list..... The cyclamates, Alar and silicone breast implant cases represent the human tendency toward a superstitious fear of the new and strange, a tendency which persists even in these enlightened times”

This article points out that making education ever more available to more and more people at lower and lower cost to them is basically a bottomless pit. Education is such a popular cause however that nobody seems to know how put a stop to the crazy spiral involved. That most of the extra credentials earned are meaningless bits of paper and that some of them actually reduce a person’s employability, nobody wants to admit: “Americans, it seems, have never been better educated. Between 1970 and 2000 the number of individuals enrolled in institutions of higher learning increased from about 8.5 million to 15.3 million. Likewise, from 1971 to 2001, the percentage of 25- to 29-year olds in the United States holding at least a bachelor's degree rose 71 percent. So why, as Congress prepares to reauthorize the federal law governing higher education, are policy makers so unhappy?"

According to the national convention delegate surveys... "60% of first-time white delegates at the [1992] Democratic convention in New York City either claimed no attachment to religion or displayed the minimal attachment by attending worship services 'a few times a year' or less. About 5% of first-time delegates at the Republican convention in Houston identified themselves as secularists." That’s a huge gap -- 60% versus 5% being irreligious. The USA really is in the middle of a religious war with only the conservatives defending the rights and values of traditional Christians. I guess competing religions do tend to be intolerant of one-another and there is no doubt that socialism has many of the characteristics of a messianic religion. Stanley Kurtz has a particularly persuasive treatment of Leftism as a religion in National Review.

Jeff Jacoby explains why the “Nobel” Peace Prize is just a political football. It is not even awarded by the same country that awards the other Nobel prizes.

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