Doug Archives

The Angry White (Fe)Male Vote

Many of the pundits watching the 2000 election returns kept referring to the voting bloc they labeled "angry white males", who were supposedly bringing Bush the victory.  For 2008, we may have to modify the tag for the potentially election-changing group; angry white females.

The woman who shouted "McCain in ’08" at the Democratic rules committee was speaking for a multitude. After mounting for months, female anger over the choreographed dumping on Hillary Clinton and her supporters has exploded — and party loyalty be damned. That the women are beginning to have a good time is an especially bad sign for Barack Obama’s campaign.

"Obama will NOT get my vote, and one step more," Ellen Thorp, a 59-year-old flight attendant from Houston told me. "I have been a Democrat for 38 years. As of today, I am registering as an independent. Yee Haw!"

A new Pew Research Center poll points to a surging tide of fury, especially among white women. As recently as April, this group preferred Obama over the presumptive Republican John McCain by three percentage points. By May, McCain enjoyed an eight-point lead among white women.

If Obama’s going to be the unifying candidate, he’s got his work cut out for him.  Yes, I’m sure that some of this intensity will die down by November, and he’ll certainly get that convention bounce, but in an election that most, including me, thought would be a walk-away for the Democrats, Obama has a lot longer way to go that he could have ever imagined.

[tags]Hillary Clinton,Barack Obama,John McCain,angry white females,US presidential election,Democrats[/tags]

Who’s More Honest?

I looked at the “charitability” of conservatives and liberals when Arthur Brooks came out with his study in 2006. He noted that conservatives were more charitable with their time and money than liberals.

Today we have a piece about multiple polling groups finding a correlation between the political spectrum and the honesty spectrum. But before I get to the data, I want to address the issue I have when I say “I hate polls”, which I’ve said quite a lot.

I’ve covered this a bit before, but it bears repeating. When we poll people on topics that they have little to no experience in, the poll is meaningless; no more than, as SCO contributor Mark Olson calls them, a cricket race. “Consumer confidence” numbers are as much (or more) a measure of economic news reporting as they are about how a person feels (itself, an ephemeral measurement). “Who would you vote for”, on the other hand, is certainly something each person can know about themselves for sure. Now, that may change over time, but no one else knows you better than you at this moment. It’s not a good measure of who you’ll vote for 6 months from now, but it’s accurate enough for the here and now, much more so than deciding how the economy is going based on feelings.

With that out of the way, on to the results.

Is it OK to cheat on your taxes? A total of 57 percent of those who described themselves as “very liberal” said yes in response to the World Values Survey, compared with only 20 percent of those who are “very conservative.” When Pew Research asked whether it was “morally wrong” to cheat Uncle Sam, 86 percent of conservatives agreed, compared with only 68 percent of liberals.

(Maybe that’s why liberals are all for tax increases. They figure the conservatives will do most of the paying.)

Ponder this scenario, offered by the National Cultural Values Survey: “You lose your job. Your friend’s company is looking for someone to do temporary work. They are willing to pay the person in cash to avoid taxes and allow the person to still collect unemployment. What would you do?”

Almost half, or 49 percent, of self-described progressives would go along with the scheme, but only 21 percent of conservatives said they would.

When the World Values Survey asked a similar question, the results were largely the same: Those who were very liberal were much more likely to say it was all right to get welfare benefits you didn’t deserve.

The World Values Survey found that those on the left were also much more likely to say it is OK to buy goods that you know are stolen. Studies have also found that those on the left were more likely to say it was OK to drink a can of soda in a store without paying for it and to avoid the truth while negotiating the price of a car.

And on the article goes, with more and more examples in the same vein. Buy why is this? Well, this is an opinion piece (because the MSM would never touch this with a 10-kilometer pole), so the writer, Peter Schweizer, a Hoover Institution fellow and author of a new book on this subject, actually does some analysis and gives us his take, but based on data, not just out of thin air.

Now, I’m not suggesting that all conservatives are honest and all liberals are untrustworthy. But clearly a gap exists in the data. Why? The quick answer might be that liberals are simply being more honest about their dishonesty.

However attractive this explanation might be for some, there is simply no basis for accepting this explanation. Validation studies, which attempt to figure out who misreports on academic surveys and why, has found no evidence that conservatives are less honest. Indeed, validation research indicates that Democrats tend to be less forthcoming than other groups.

The honesty gap is also not a result of “bad people” becoming liberals and “good people” becoming conservatives. In my mind, a more likely explanation is bad ideas. Modern liberalism is infused with idea that truth is relative. Surveys consistently show this. And if truth is relative, it also must follow that honesty is subjective.

Ideas, indeed. Post-modern deconstruction of traditional values did not originate from conservatives. And this is even more important, considering what year it is.

Sixties organizer Saul Alinsky, who both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton say inspired and influenced them, once said the effective political advocate “doesn’t have a fixed truth; truth to him is relative and changing, everything to him is relative and changing. He is a political relativist.”


Cardinal Donald Trump Speaks

"You’re fired."

The firebrand pastor of St. Sabina parish was removed from his duties there Tuesday, according to a statement released by the Archdiocese of Chicago.

In the statement, Cardinal Francis George says he asked the Rev. Michael Pfleger, 59, to "take leave for a couple of weeks from his pastoral duties." The statement said Pfleger "does not believe this to be the right step at this time." "While respecting his disagreement, I have nevertheless asked him to use this opportunity to reflect on his recent statements and actions in the light of the Church’s regulations for all Catholic priests," George said.

Are we to take it that this is the very first time Rev. Pfleger has spewed this kind of vitriol?  Kinda’ doubt it.  Just like Obama’s recent leaving of Trinity UCC, this seems more like a case of being unable to avoid ignoring the issue once it hit the national stage. 

What a hassle, those internets.

[tags]Rev. Michael Pfleger,Barack Obama,Cardinal Francis George,Catholicism,St. Sabina[/tags]

Congratulations, America!

It’s (mostly) official.  Barack Obama has clinched the Democratic presidential nomination, based on the number of convention delegates who are either pledged to him or are super-delegates that say they’ll vote for him.  Partisanship and politics aside, this is a fantastic day for America, having the first black candidate for the White House. 

I believe this isn’t so much a step on the journey as it is an indication — proof, if you will — that those steps have already been taken.  I’m proud of our country, and frankly I’d have been just as proud had Hillary Clinton been the first woman to lead a major party ticket.  That she was a viable candidate the entire way through the primary season also speaks to our progress on that journey.

(And now, let the games begin. >grin<)

[tags]US presidential campaign,Barack Obama,Hillary Clinton[/tags]

Losing Religious Freedom in England

Speaking about one’s religion is both a free speech and religious freedom issue.  Both are being chipped away at in England.

A police community support officer ordered two Christian preachers to stop handing out gospel leaflets in a predominantly Muslim area of Birmingham.

The evangelists say they were threatened with arrest for committing a "hate crime" and were told they risked being beaten up if they returned. The incident will fuel fears that "no-go areas" for Christians are emerging in British towns and cities, as the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, claimed in The Sunday Telegraph this year.

The Bishop’s charges were denied vehemently, but it turns out he was right.

The "police community support officer" who accused them of the crime threatened to arrest them.

A police community support officer (PCSO) interrupted the conversation and began questioning the ministers about their beliefs.

They said when the officer realised they were American, although both have lived in Britain for many years, he launched a tirade against President Bush and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr Cunningham said: "I told him that this had nothing to do with the gospel we were preaching but he became very aggressive.

"He said we were in a Muslim area and were not allowed to spread our Christian message. He said we were committing a hate crime by telling the youths to leave Islam and said that he was going to take us to the police station."

The police department wouldn’t apologize, and just gave the PCSO training in hate crime and communication.  One would have hoped this training would have come before putting hit out on the street.

Unmentioned in the Telegraph article but picked up by the Daily Mail; the PCSO himself was Muslim.  In addition, there was a threat of violence, and the actual constable on site backed up the PCSO

The community officer is also said to have told the two men: ‘You have been warned. If you come back here and get beat up, well, you have been warned.’

A police constable who was present during the incident in the Alum Rock area of Birmingham is also alleged to have told the preachers not to return to the district.

Presumably, this is not a Jihadi, just a (literal) Muslim-on-the-street (PCSOs are not official police officers) saying that Christians talking about their faith in a Muslim area are, in general, going to get beat up, in a "that’s just the way it is" attitude.  If this is the kind of "law enforcement" that the police themselves are backing up, I fear for the freedoms in Britain.

[tags]England,freedom of religion,freedom of speech,Islam,Christianity[/tags]

C. S. Lewis on Tyranny

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” — C.S. Lewis

[tags]C. S. Lewis,tyranny[/tags]

Obama v. Trinity

Barack Obama, after having to distance himself from his own pastor, had to distance himself from a guest speaker as well, Father Michael Pfleger. But he was more that just a guest.

Father Michael Pfleger, a fiery liberal social activist and a white reverend at an African-American church — St. Sabina’s Catholic Church on the South Side of Chicago — is a longtime friend and associate of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, having known him since the presidential hopeful was a community activist. In September, the Obama campaign brought Pfleger to Iowa to host one of several interfaith forums for the campaign.

Their relationship spans decades. Pfleger has given money to Obama’s campaigns and Obama as a state legislator directed at least $225,000 towards social programs at St. Sabina’s, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Pfleger, as you probably know, mocked Hillary Clinton’s crying, and suggested that her continued fight in the primary was because of racism. Of course, someone could turn that around and say that Obama’s continued fight was because of sexism. Neither is accurate, I imagine, but the accusation was outrageous enough that Obama had to distance himself from yet another speaker at his church.

In addition to the verbal distancing, Father Pfleger became the next person to be scrubbed from Obama’s “Faith Testimonials” web page, following Jeremiah Wright. (Seems that web page is a precarious place to be featured. They’re disappearing faster than political dissidents in the old Soviet Union.)

Which then led him to the, no doubt difficult, decision to leave the church after over 20 years. But even as he did so, he was hoping more people weren’t paying attention to his connection to Pfleger.

“I suspect we’ll find another church home for our family,” Obama said.

“It’s clear that now that I’m a candidate for president, every time something is said in the church by anyone associated with Trinity, including guest pastors, the remarks will imputed to me even if they totally conflict with my long-held views, statements and principles,” he said.

“I have no idea how it will impact my presidential campaign but I know it was the right thing to do for me and my family,” he said.

“This was a pretty personal decision and I was not trying to make political theater out of it,” he added.

His association with Father Pfleger, as noted, goes back far, far longer than the Father’s recent appearance at Trinity. This isn’t someone “associated with Trinity”; it’s someone associated with Barack Obama. Again, this is a question of who one chooses to associate with, and combine this with close ties with former, and unrepentant, member of the Weather Underground, calls into question Obama’s judgement.

And this judgement extends to his choice of church. I don’t want to paint all members and guest speaker with a single, broad brush, but I do want to note that he’s attended this church for more than 20 years. Is it really reasonable to assume that this incendiary rhetoric just started in the 5 months since the Iowa caucuses? I find that hard to believe, so if it’s worth quitting the church over now, why wasn’t it worth quitting over years ago?

(Scott Ott, who writes the humorous ScrappleFace blog, has a serious piece at called “Dear Sen. Obama, Join My Church” that speaks perfectly to this issue.)

Obama’s statement gives the impression of not wanting to have to answer to every person standing in the Trinity pulpit. This is most certainly not the problem. The problem is the people in that pulpit who have over the years been his spiritual leaders by choice, and who have longtime relationships with him. Was this parting of the ways a political move or not? If it wasn’t, he’s projecting a false impression of his ties and expecting us to believe this vitriol is new to him. If it was political, then his explanation is disingenuous; this was much more a political decision than a personal one. Either way, this doesn’t speak well for Obama.

[tags]Barack Obama,Trinity United Church of Christ,Jeremiah Wright,Father Michael Pfleger,religion[/tags]

Ferraro on "Democrats’ Sexism"

Geraldine Ferraro discusses how the protracted and nasty Democratic primary season has split the party, enough for her to be concerned about November.

LAST YEAR at the beginning of the presidential primary season, Democrats were giddy with excitement. Not only did we have an embarrassment of riches in our candidates but we had two historic candidacies to enjoy. Once and for all our country would show that racism and sexism were not part of our 21st-century DNA.

Here we are at the end of the primary season, and the effects of racism and sexism on the campaign have resulted in a split within the Democratic Party that will not be easy to heal before election day. Perhaps it’s because neither the Barack Obama campaign nor the media seem to understand what is at the heart of the anger on the part of women who feel that Hillary Clinton was treated unfairly because she is a woman or what is fueling the concern of Reagan Democrats for whom sexism isn’t an issue, but reverse racism is.

As you may know, Ferraro is a Clinton supporter, so her criticism needs to be looked at through that lens. But the main issue here I think is that identity politics hath wrought this on the Democrats themselves. Frankly, I’ve not seen the sexism or racism Ferraro alludes to. I have read criticism of Obama from Clinton-supporting sites like TalkLeft, and I’ve read (rather nasty) criticism of Clinton from Obama-supporting sites like Daily Kos.

What I have seen are complaints that the Clintons are corrupt liars, Obama doesn’t have broad enough appeal within the base, jabs against folks in Appalachia, and other such sniping, but not sexism or racism. In fact, Ferraro’s column later notes that some are requesting an investigation in whether or not it actually happened.

Read the rest of this entry

Short-term Mission Trip, Part 1

My three eldest kids are going to each be doing a short-term missions/ministry trip this summer.  One is going to Costa Rica later in the summer, which will be the subject of "Part 2" later.  The other two are going to Waveland, Mississippi to work with the Christian Life Center, a relief ministry of our church, the Christian and Missionary Alliance.  The CLC’s focus is on the reconstruction of homes post-Katrina and development programs for the needy.  A joint effort by two nearby churches, the CLC was one of the first relief groups into Waveland after Katrina hit.  (Their history page is here.)

In addition to bringing clothing to donate to the CLC’s thrift store (and thus clearing out a bit of space in our garage), the kids from our youth group are going to be working for a week on service projects in the area and helping with gospel outreach as well. 

Please pray for their safety, their witness, their work and their personal spiritual lives.  Thanks.

[tags]religion,Christianity,missions,Waveland,Mississippi,Christian Life Center,Christian and Missionary Alliance,Katrina[/tags]

The Carbon Credit Scam

Jim Lindgren at The Volokh Conspiracy notes a few studies showing that the carbon offset program set up by the United Nations is what amounts to a scam.

Leading academics and watchdog groups allege that the UN’s main offset fund is being routinely abused by chemical, wind, gas and hydro companies who are claiming emission reduction credits for projects that should not qualify. The result is that no genuine pollution cuts are being made, undermining assurances by the UK government and others that carbon markets are dramatically reducing greenhouse gases, the researchers say.


A working paper from two senior Stanford University academics examined more than 3,000 projects applying for or already granted up to $10bn of credits from the UN’s CDM[clean development mechanism] funds over the next four years, and concluded that the majority should not be considered for assistance. "They would be built anyway," says David Victor, law professor at the Californian university. "It looks like between one and two thirds of all the total CDM offsets do not represent actual emission cuts." . . .

Should we really be shocked that a left-wing scheme to "do something" turns into a Make Money Fa$t scam?  (Hint: No.)  It’s just become another tax, which, one wonders, if that wasn’t the plan all along.

[tags]environment,United Nations,global warming,climate change,carbon offsets,Stanford University,David Victor,clean development mechanism[/tags]

A Stinging Rebuke

Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) slaps his party on the back of the head and tells them to wake up.

As congressional Republicans contemplate the prospect of an electoral disaster this November, much is being written about the supposed soul-searching in the Republican Party. A more accurate description of our state is paralysis and denial.

Many Republicans are waiting for a consultant or party elder to come down from the mountain and, in Moses-like fashion, deliver an agenda and talking points on stone tablets. But the burning bush, so to speak, is delivering a blindingly simple message: Behave like Republicans.

Unfortunately, too many in our party are not yet ready to return to the path of limited government. Instead, we are being told our message must be deficient because, after all, we should be winning in certain areas just by being Republicans. Yet being a Republican isn’t good enough anymore. Voters are tired of buying a GOP package and finding a big-government liberal agenda inside. What we need is not new advertising, but truth in advertising.

Becoming Republicans again will require us to come to grips with what has ailed our party – namely, the triumph of big-government Republicanism and failed experiments like the K Street Project and "compassionate conservatism." If the goal of the K Street Project was to earmark and fund raise our way to a filibuster-proof "governing" majority, the goal of "compassionate conservatism" was to spend our way to a governing majority.

Indeed, Republicans, with control of the purse strings to incredible riches that is the constant lure in a centralized government as huge as ours, turned into the very things they criticized; spendthrifts.  In doing so, they further exemplified one of the major problems with government trying to "do something".  Each party essentially winds up promising money for votes.  A smaller central government, not nearly as flush with cash, would be required to stick more closely to its constitutional boundaries.  Instead, regardless of the party, government has, in recent administrations, decided that it knows better how to be "compassionate".

But, as Senator Coburn notes, it’s not "compassion".

Compassionate conservatism’s starting point had merit. The essential argument that Republicans should orient policy around how our ideas will affect the poor, the widow, the orphan, the forgotten and the "other" is indisputable – particularly for those who claim, as I do, to submit to an authority higher than government. Yet conservatives are conservatives because our policies promote deliverance from poverty rather than dependence on government.

Compassionate conservatism’s next step – its implicit claim that charity or compassion translates into a particular style of activist government involving massive spending increases and entitlement expansion – was its undoing. Common sense and the Scriptures show that true giving and compassion require sacrifice by the giver. This is why Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell his possessions, not his neighbor’s possessions. Spending other people’s money is not compassionate.

Precisely.  Read the whole thing, especially if you’re a Republican.

[tags]Senator Tom Coburn,Republicans,compassionate conservatism,K Street Project,small government[/tags]

Just a Gaffe

The whole dust-up over Barack Obama’s Memorial Day gaffe about his uncle helping liberate Auschwitz (which was really liberated by the Russians) should not be a big deal.  Republicans should not be trying to take some sort of advantage with this.  Honestly, in US political life, this sort of thing has never been a big deal.

Just ask Dan Quayle.

[tags]Barack Obama,Dan Quayle,Auschwitz,Memorial Day[/tags]

The "Uniter"

Hat tip to Instapundit for the bit from Kurtz’s "Reliable Sources":

And if you went to the Internet — you know, we all know about the false Muslim e-mails that go around about Barack Obama. But if you ever saw the language, the vulgarity, the vitriol that is hauled at Hillary Clinton by liberal Democrats, by the liberal blogs, largely by, frankly, Obama supporters, you’d be appalled. I mean, you’d punish your children for this.

Is that the sound of a united Democratic party?  Or is this?

Twenty-four percent (24%) of White Democrats nationwide currently say they’ll vote for the Republican candidate, John McCain.

That’s assuming that Obama gets the nomination.  Now, it’s just a poll, subject to the winds of change between here and November, but that doesn’t sound to me like Obama is uniting anyone, if a very significant portion of his own base will jump ship.

The Democratic primary has been nasty and protracted; not good for their eventual nominee. 

[tags]Barack Obama,Democrats,presidential election[/tags]

Global Warming Update

It seems that there has been quite a lot of news that has, again, gone unreported by much of the mainstream media. An editorial in the Washington DC Examiner last Thursday noted a number of data points that are all trending in the same direction. (As you read this, please place your tongue firmly in your cheek. This is the script I used for my segment in the most recent Shire Network News podcast, in which we use satire and humor to get our points across.)

New data produced by more than 3,000 sophisticated ocean buoys scattered across the world’s oceans indicate average water temperatures have been decreasing since 2003, not increasing as would be the case in Gore’s globally warming world. NASA’s Josh Willis, who studies the output of the sophisticated buoys that take temperature readings from thousands of feet below the surface, says the significance of the new data is unclear.

Of course, it’s unclear. Now, if the data had shown that the ocean was warming, the significance of the new data would have been immediately clear, and Al Gore would have held a press conference by now.

The average land temperature of the globe dropped precipitously last year, according to the Hadley Center for Climate Prediction. The temperature drop — more than enough to “wipe out most of the global warming of the past 100 years,” according to the online technology publication Daily Tech — was also recorded by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Somehow, this must all be Bush’s fault. Or Karl Rove’s. Either way, it seems rather, shall we say, convenient that this happened so close to an election year? Things like this simply do not happen during a Republican administration.

The severity of this global temperature drop was reflected in the fact the average U.S. temperature in January was lower than the average for the previous century, according to the U.S. Climactic Data Center. Also, the Canadian Ice Service reports the Arctic ice pack is 10 to 20 centimeters thicker in many places this year than it was in 2007.

Well so what? All this means is that the ice floes those poor polar bears are floating on are 8 inches thicker.

Professor Oleg Sorokhtin of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences is advising people “to stock up on fur coats” because he expects an extended period of global cooling, an assessment that is echoed by Kenneth Tapping of the U.S. National Academy of Science’s National Research Council. Both scientists contend solar activity explains most of the temperature variation in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Solar activity affects Earth’s temperature? Yeah, right. And ocean currents affect fish migration. Puhleeze. (Besides, we can’t tax the Sun. Yet.)

A peer-reviewed study published recently in the journal Nature suggests there will be no global warming until 2015, due to the effects of the Meridional Overturning Circulation, a giant oceanic conveyor belt that moves warmer water into the North Atlantic in a 70- to 80-year cycle, according to the London Telegraph.

Oh, for goodness sake, so they are going to bring up ocean currents! Solar cycles, weather cycles, ocean cycles, yadda yadda yadda. This is global warming we’re talking about! What does history have to do with it?


In any event, if you’re waiting for these items to gain prominence in the news reporting of the day, hold not thy breath.

[tags]environment,global warming,climate change,Josh Willis,Hadley Center for Climate Prediction,Goddard Institute for Space Studies,U.S. Climactic Data Center,Canadian Ice Service,Oleg Sorokhtin,Russian Academy of Natural Sciences,Kenneth Tapping,U.S. National Academy of Science’s National Research Council,Meridional Overturning Circulation[/tags]

The Foreign Policy About-Face

Joe Lieberman, on his party and how it dealt with enemies:

Beginning in the 1940s, the Democratic Party was forced to confront two of the most dangerous enemies our nation has ever faced: Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. In response, Democrats under Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy forged and conducted a foreign policy that was principled, internationalist, strong and successful.

This was the Democratic Party that I grew up in – a party that was unhesitatingly and proudly pro-American, a party that was unafraid to make moral judgments about the world beyond our borders. It was a party that understood that either the American people stood united with free nations and freedom fighters against the forces of totalitarianism, or that we would fall divided.

This was the Democratic Party of Harry Truman, who pledged that "it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures."

And this was the Democratic Party of John F. Kennedy, who promised in his inaugural address that the United States would "pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of freedom."

And then came the late 1960s, and it turned upside-down.  Or, perhaps more correctly, inside-out.  Read the whole thing.

[tags]Joe Lieberman,Democrats,foreign policy[/tags]

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