Archive for February, 2004

Gatlinburg

Friday, February 27th, 2004

I’m off to Gatlinburg for the weekend. Be back Sunday!

The Passion of the Christ

Thursday, February 26th, 2004

I saw The Passion of the Christ tonight (or, technically, last night), and I think my column next week will be about it. Unlike many individuals, I decided to be fair enough to actually see the film before I made any judgements on it. I must say that it is a very good film, and I encourage everyone to see it before judging. I’ll be writing more about this soon.

Abortion in Tennessee

Wednesday, February 25th, 2004

A proposed amendment to the state constitution would limit abortion rights in Tennessee to only those allowed by the Federal government, and no more. This amendment was proposed by Senator David Fowler (R-Signal Mt). The bill must be passed by both houses of the legislature twice (second time by a 2/3 majority), then be OKed by a majority of the number of voters who vote in the next governors race. The bill is largely in response to a Tennessee Supreme Court ruling in 2000, which stated the Tennessee State constitution provided for even more abortion rights than outlined by Roe v Wade

I personally support this amendment. The 2000 ruling was clearly a case of judicial activism run amok. I have read the state constitution, and abortion is not mentioned anywhere in it. It’s a shame that non-elected officials feel the need to impose their will on Tennesseans instead of simply doing their jobs (which is to interpret the constitution).

It’s hard to say what this bill’s chances are. If it can make to the ballot, I believe it can get a majority of the vote. Getting 2/3 of the legislature, where both houses are dominated by Democrats, will be difficult. Still, it did pass the committee 11-0, which bodes well for the bill.

I wrote this column about abortion last year. I recognize that it is a polarizing issue. In one of my classes the other day, one of my professors made a good point about it. He said that Roe v. Wade was a bad ruling because it led to a polarized public on the issue. A good, pro-choice liberal, he argued that some sort of compromise could probably have been reached if not for this ruling. I agree to some extent. It’s clear that such a compromise would be preferable to the current situation. However, those of us (like me) who see abortion as the taking of a human life, would not condone it except in very certain situations.

Some might argue that it’s none of my business what a woman does with her body. Fair enough. Speaking as a former fetus however, I think that protecting the weakest among us (the unborn) is a Higher Calling for many. I sincerely hope that Fowler’s amendment is passed.

Nader for Prez

Tuesday, February 24th, 2004

Can’t say I’m disapointed that Ralph Nader is running again. I don’t know how many votes he’ll skim off of Kerry, but here’s hoping it’s a lot!

Incidentally, I once had a dog named Nader. He used to dig holes in the yard. You can make your own jokes here.

I’m Southern

Tuesday, February 24th, 2004

So Chapman has a link on his blog to this dialect quiz, and, being addicted to quizes like this, I decided to take it. Turns out I’m 79% Southern.. Pretty strong, but not as strong as Chapman. Must be his Melungeon heritage!

Weekend in Charlotte

Friday, February 20th, 2004

I’m off to Charlotte for the weekend. See you later!

Happy V-Day, Credit Where Credit is Due, and a Response

Thursday, February 19th, 2004

I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy V-Day! What? You’ve never heard of V-Day? Well, take a look at this. Our tuition and tax dollars at works, folks!

I also want to congratulate my good pals Adam Groves and Elizabeth Lovell. Adam has been named campaign operations director for Billy Stokes, a candidate for State Senate. Elizabeth’s Mock Trial team had an impressive showing at regional competition, and now advance to nationals. Best of luck to Elizabeth.

Finally, there was a letter-to-the-editor from Tim Parker critiquing my my last column. Parker claims that President Bush “…used the fear of the nation to advance his own political agenda to dismantle a guy that went after his ‘daddy,’” and goes on to state that. “If this becomes his greatest achievement as president, he will be a forgotten leader very soon.” No proof is offered of these assertions, of course.

Anyway, since I have two tests this week, I better hit the books. Wish me luck!

Lincoln Day and Southern Pride

Thursday, February 19th, 2004

I just got back from the Knox County Lincoln dinner. It was a fun time, all the movers and shakers were there. Jamie Hagood and Billy Stokes were there campaigning in what is shaping up to be an outstanding race.

The highlight of the night was Tom Delay’s speech. Delay is a great speaker who can fire up anyone. His trip to Knoxville wasn’t exactly smooth however, as Adam Groves explains.

In other news, I’d like to recommend Will Hamilton’s column from yesterday dealing with Southern Pride. Good stuff!

Presbyterian Propaganda

Wednesday, February 18th, 2004

For those of you who don’t know, I am a member of a Presbyterian (PCUSA) congregation. Though my congregation is largely traditional, the PCUSA has the well-deserved reputation for being one of the most liberal denominations in the country. Just take a look at the homepage of their Washington Office and see how they lobby congress for abortion on demand, anti-war causes, universal healthcare, and higher taxes.

I could spend days going through the PCUSA’s website, pointing out all their radical causes and condescending attitudes toward those who might not agree. However, this month’s edition of Presbyterians Today, “the award-winning general-interest [i.e. liberal interest] magazine of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.),” contains two articles which are particularly priceless, and which merit a response.

First is Vernon Broyles’s column, which basically amounts to an ad homenim attack on President Bush (which is what most of his columns amount to). Broyles uses the a Bush quote from 1999, and states, “What a difference a couple of years makes. While our posture before the world is not isolationism, it is unilateralism.” Maybe Broyles missed September 11, 2001 (actually, no he didn’t; in response to the attacks he said, “…while it may seem politically helpful to call them [the terrorists] ‘barbaric’ in their acts against the ‘civilized’ world, it is appropriate to ask why the incineration of several thousand people in the attack on the World Trade Center was a ‘barbaric act of terrorism,’ while the incineration of hundreds of thousands of civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki are seen as a ‘necessary act of war by a civilized nation.’”).

Broyles’ charge of unilaterialism no doubt comes straight from DNC Talking Points. In reality, the coalition put together to evict Saddam Hussein is one of the biggest coalitions ever assembled in world history. Broyles seems to be using the “Big Lie” theory utilized by Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister: repeat a lie enough times, and people will believe it. Broyles apparently missed the commandment prohibiting bearing false witness.

The other article I’d like to address is this month’s edition of “As I See It”. James E. Atwood, the author, seems to be motivated by pure intentions, instead of the pure partisan cynicism of Broyles. Atwood, however, is very wrong. First, he bluntly states, “Frankly speaking, our country has an abominable record of balancing an individual’s right to have a gun with the public’s right to expect a safe society in which to pursue life, liberty and happiness.” Unfortunately, he completely misses the point here. According the United States Constitution, Americans have a right to posses arms. End of story (I’ve written about this). Constitutional issues aside, the public’s right to expect a safe society is damaged by the restriction to posses firearms. Law-abiding citizens would not be able to protect themselves from criminals. If someone breaks into your house, what are you going to do? Call the police? Yes, calling the police is a good idea, but they probably cannot get there in time to save your life.

Atwood then informs us, “In one 18-year period alone, 1979-1997, more United States citizens died in peacetime at the barrel of a gun than service men and women on the battlefields of all of our country’s wars since 1775.” Unbelievable. The History News Network lists the number of American deaths in every war since 1775. Here are the numbers:

American Revolution: 25,324
War of 1812: 2,260
Mexican War: 13,283
Civil War: 498,332 Union, 364,821 Confederate
Spanish American War: 2,446
World War I: 116,516
World War II: 405,399
Korean War: 54,246
Vietnam: 56,244
Panama: 23
Gulf War: 148

So from this (incomplete) list of deaths, I am going to use my calculator to calculate a total number … and that number is 1,539,042. Note that this does not include those who have died in Afghanistan, the second Gulf War, or those killed in skirmishes with the Indians, so the actual number would be higher. But for the sake of argument, let’s just use this number. Apparently, Atwood would have us believe that over 1.5 million people died from guns between 1979 and 1997. This is obviously bogus. I think it may have come from a 1999 press release from Hand Gun Control, Inc. (now The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence). This release stated that during that period, there were 651,697 gun deaths. I’m no math whiz, but I think 651,697 is considerably less than 1.5 million. Inexplicably, the press release claims that there have been 650,858 American war deaths, which is actually fewer than died in the Civil War. Atwood also neglects to mention that of those 651,697 gun deaths, more than half (334,870) were suicides. Does he really believe that restricting guns will prevent suicide?

“Unfortunately the gun lobby, with deceit on its lips and deep pockets of money contributed by its single-issue constituency, has captured the votes of nervous legislators who listen only to the boisterous hue and cry of no more than 20 percent of our population,” continues Atwood. Hmmm… I wonder if Atwood believes that groups such as The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence don’t wield considerable political power. Or that they always cite correct statistics, and have no agenda. If he does, I have some oceanfront property here in Knoxville to sell.

Atwater next claims, “Yearly polls indicate 70-80 percent of the American people, including gun owners, support bans on the sale and possession of assault weapons, mandatory background checks on all guns sold, and closing gun show loopholes.” As a Political Science major, I feel at liberty to point out a concept from Poli Sci 101: In a democratic form of government, politicians do what a majority of their constituencies want. Sure, there are certain areas (such as abortion, the death penalty, and war) where there are splits in decision, and thus politicians will likewise have different views. However, if 80% of Americans support a bill, it almost certainly will be passed (unless it’s ruled unconstitutional by a court – and even then, with the support of 80% of Americans, a Constitutional Amendment would be a definite possibility).

“Mixing a gun with martinis or a ‘few cold ones’ is a tragedy waiting to happen,” says Atwood. He’s absolutely right. But I’m going to go with the obvious here and state that mixing a “few cold ones” with an automobile is also a tragedy waiting to happen. Does he support banning automobiles?

Atwater concludes with a statement which can only be described as insane, “But many [church members] have left our fellowship because they consider the church irrelevant to their daily life. Many have left because the church lacked the courage to stand up and speak out on life and death issues such as the fact that 80 people a day are dying at the barrel of a gun. ” This is pretty strange since at the beginning of this very article he states, “General Assemblies of the Presbyterian Church and other mainline denominations have for decades sought a balance by supporting hunting and sports shooting but pleading for the regulation of instruments that are designed, manufactured and sold for the purpose of killing human beings.” So the church lacks the courage to stand against guns, yet it has done so “for decades”! It should also be noted that the Presbyterian Church and other so-called Mainline Denominations have been losing members for decades as well. Perhaps we can conclude that Atwater has it exactly backwards: Church members are leaving the church BECAUSE it was trying to take away their Constitutional Liberties.

It’s really unfathomable to me that people can actually support gun control. Guns actually save lives every year, even though the media never report it, and in some cases even cover it up (during a recent shooting at Appalachian School of Law in Virginia, the shooter was stopped by other armed students – thought this fact went almost completely unreported). One of history’s most obvious lessons is to fear the government which takes away your firearms. Those living under Hitler and Stalin learned the hard way. Atwood and his ilk need to stop thinking about utopian society, and join us in reality.

Beacon Endorses Sharpton

Monday, February 16th, 2004

The Daily Beacon has endorsed Al Sharpton – in a sort of tongue-in-cheek way. The Beacon does not believe that Kerry has much of a chance against President Bush. I’m not so sure. I certainly think that Bush has a strong record to run on, and that he is the odds-on favorite, but he had best not get overconfident, and he better get his base out to vote. Many of them are alienated by him.

Having said that, I support him and think he will win. I will be casting my vote for Dubya.