Archive for February, 2004

3,000 Hits!

Monday, February 16th, 2004

My blog has now received 3,000 hits over the past three months, which I think is not too shabby.

Thanks to everyone for their visits and feedback. I greatly appreciate it all!

Another Ba’athist Captured

Sunday, February 15th, 2004

Another member of Saddam’s regime has been captured. So now 45 of the deck of 55 are now in U.S. custody. Think the Dems will be bringing this up?

Bredesen and TennCare

Saturday, February 14th, 2004

Governor Phil Bredesen has announced that how he handles TennCare will be the defining issue of his administration. I’m glad to see the governor is taking the problem seriously. There’s no chance he’ll do what I think should be done (scrap the program completely), but hopefully he will get a handle of the program, which is taking far too much of the state budget. I personally think Bredesen has done a relatively good job so far. How he handles this situation will go a long ways towards solidifying my opinion (as well as most of Tennessee’s opinion) of him.

Flynn Delivers Punch

Wednesday, February 11th, 2004

Daniel Flynn, author of Why the Left Hates America, spoke at the UC yesterday, an event sponsored by the UT Issues Committee. As expected, Flynn gave a very provocative speech. He explained that the title of his book is Why the Left Hates America, not Why Democrats Hate America or Why Liberals Hate America. He described who the left is: those who attend “peace” rallies waving Soviet flags. He played some audio from interviews with protesters, in which these “advocates for peace” defended North Korea’s “right to possess nukes.” Another protester compared America to a “stuck up little bitch” that “broke a nail” on September 11, 2001.

In this respect, I think Flynn is absolutely right. Many of the people who attend such rallies do seem to hate their own country. I attended a so-called “peace” rally on the UT campus last March, and saw many of the same characters. One protester draped himself in the American flag. One of the speakers, whose name escapes me, harped on the slave trade, and argued that the fact that Americans enslaved other Americans some 150 years ago meant we had no right to liberate Iraq. John Nolt, a Philosophy professor, declared that Operation Iraqi Freedom would be “Oil War III.” Oil War II was Gulf War I, of course. What was Oil War I? Why, World War II, of course! His reasoning? The U.S. placed an oil embargo on Japan, giving them no choice but to attack us. I’m glad that Flynn distinguished these individuals from other liberals. He was also careful to point out that opposing the war did not mean one hated their country either (Flynn himself opposed the Iraq war).

Flynn argued that liberals compare America to a “Candyland” ideal, not to any other nations. When compared to other actual nations, American does well. But ironically, he indicated, the greatness of America leads many to place the bar too high. Whereas those in North Korea or Cuba would be content just to be able to openly practice their religion and speak their minds, Americans take these rights for granted. Thus their idealized nation is much better than that of those in Saudi Arabia or Zimbabwe. If America is as racist as Noam Chomsky argues, how do you explain Haitians and Cubans risking everything to get here? Don’t they know how bad we are? Finally, Flynn closed by quoting the great Jeanne Kirkpatrick, “Americans need to face the truth about themselves, no matter how pleasant it is.”

As expected, most fireworks occurred during the question and answer session. I would say that the makeup of students there was about 2/3 conservative versus 1/3 liberal, but many of the liberals challenged Flynn’s assertions. One young man asked Flynn to explain the 2 million prisoners in a “free society” (uh, because they’re criminals?!), arguing that this was more than anywhere else in the world. Flynn rightfully dismissed this foolishness as “BS.” Others attempted to equate Bush’s support of marriage between a man and a woman as “bigotry,” another fallacious argument, since marriage is, by definition, between a man and a woman.

Attendance was high for this event. Not quite as many people were there as attended Tucker Carlson last year, but the building was more full than it is for most Issues Committee events. This bodes well for more conservative speakers in the future.

Afterwards, I got to talk briefly with Flynn, who is a very nice fellow. I had actually sort of talked to him during his speech, since I was the one who knew that New Jersey was the only state to allow women to vote prior to 1800 (I think he liked my orange jacket). I’m really looking forward to his next book, due out later this year.

I really enjoyed this event. It’s great to get some diversity of opinion among Issues Committee events. As someone who has been critical of them in the past for excluding conservatives, I must give them credit for bringing Flynn (and Tucker Carlson last semester).

Tennessee Primary Results are in!

Tuesday, February 10th, 2004

Just as I suggested, John Kerry won the Democratic primary here in Tennessee. The loss has proven to be too much for Gen. Wes Clark, who is now dropping out of the race. And so now we’re down to Kerry, Dean, Edwards, Sharpton, and Kucinich. Here’s hoping Dean runs as a Green!

Tennessee Primary

Tuesday, February 10th, 2004

Today is Tennessee’s primary. I’m going to go out on a limb and predict Bush will win the Republican primary here. On the Democratic side, things might be a little more interesting. John Edwards and Gen. Wesley Clark have been waging war here for the bid, but John Kerry continues to lead in the polls.

The Daily Beacon’s two liberal columnists, Le Evans and Thomas Walker appear to support Edwards, though Walker shows some sympathy for Kucinich.

The student body appears fairly strongly Republican, according to a nonscientific SGA poll of 244 respondents. According to this poll, 49% of respondents say they are likely to vote Republican in the 2004 Presidential Elections, versus only 38% likely to vote for the Democratic nominee (13% were undecided). Evans and Walker may be in good company however, as John Edwards did lead among those planning to vote in the Democratic primary, with 30%. Kerry came in second with 26%, Clark third with 19%, and Howard Dean fourth with 14% (17% are undecided).

Should make for an interesting primary. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to watch it blow-for-blow, as I will be attending an Issues Committee sponsored lecture by Daniel Flynn, author of Why the Left Hates America. I don’t necessary agree with the title of his book (which Flynn admits is just to get a rise), but I did enjoy the book. The lecture starts at 7:30, so I encourage everyone to attend.

Happy Birthday, President Reagan!

Saturday, February 7th, 2004

I would like to join the rest of America by wishing Ronald Reagan a very happy (albeit belated) birthday. President Reagan turned 93 yesterday. In my opinion, he was the greatest president on the Twentieth Century. If not for him, the world would be a very different (and much worse off) place. God Bless You, Mr. President!

Free Speech at UT

Wednesday, February 4th, 2004

There has been a mini-scandal which has surfaced at UT during the last few days concerning free speech on campus. It started when a number of students attending the UT/Florida game last Saturday held up flyers of Florida forward Matt Walsh’s girlfriend’s Playboy pictorial, as the Daily Beacon reports. There were about 1,500 of these flyers, which were censored so as to cover the “offending parts” with the strategically placed slogans “Hey Walsh” and “Go Vols.” The UT police attempted to confiscate the flyers from students, including Ross Butler, who threw them into the air. He was then ejected from Thompson-Boling Arena. The university has since acknowledged they were wrong to confiscate the flyers.

Not surprisingly, this incident has caused some debates on the pages of the Daily Beacon. My fellow columnist Trevor Higgins’ column on Monday argued that the police were wrong to confiscate the flyers, squelching basic First Amendment rights, earning him the kudos of student Dan Shelton, though today’s letter column included a letter from student Chad Phillips supporting the removal of the flyers.

This entire situation is obviously complicated. On the one hand, these flyers are in bad taste, but on the other, did they really rise to the level to warrant confiscation? Where should the line be drawn? Let’s say the flyers had clearly shown the actual picture of Walsh’s girlfriend completely nude. Should that be allowed? On the other side of the spectrum, let’s say a fan held up a sign mentioning her appearance in Playboy. Should that be allowed?

I would say that Ross Butler should have been removed for his failure to obey the police officer. He should have either complied or left the premise, and filed a complaint. However, I do think the flyers should be allowed. They contained no fowl language or offending flesh. Sure, they might be in bad taste, but nothing was shown in them which can’t be seen on prime time network TV. Thus, I believe it was wrong to confiscate them. Had they depicted nudity, then they would be deemed obscene, in which case the police would have been totally in the right to remove them. But they were not. If UT is serious about increasing interest in their men’s basketball games, then they should respect the student’s right to have a good time, instead of harassing them.

My Ideal President

Monday, February 2nd, 2004

Since everyone else is doing it, I finally decided to do a SelectSmart.com Presidential selector, to see which candidate measured up to my views the closest. Here’s how it went:

1. Your ideal theoretical candidate. (100%)
2. Bush, President George W. – Republican (73%)
3. Libertarian Candidate (56%)
4. Phillips, Howard – Constitution (37%)
5. Gephardt, Rep. Dick, MO – Democrat (35%)
6. Lieberman, Senator Joe, CT – Democrat (32%)
7. Kerry, Senator John, MA – Democrat (30%)
8. Edwards, Senator John, NC – Democrat (29%)
9. Kucinich, Rep. Dennis, OH – Democrat (29%)
10. Dean, Gov. Howard, VT – Democrat (27%)
11. LaRouche, Lyndon H. Jr. – Democrat (20%)
12. Green Party Candidate (17%)
13. Sharpton, Reverend Al – Democrat (15%)
14. Clark, Retired General Wesley K., AR – Democrat (12%)
15. Hagelin, Dr. John – Natural Law (11%)
16. Socialist Candidate (10%)
17. Moseley-Braun, Former Senator Carol, IL – Democrat (9%)

Bush to Probe Iraq Intelligence

Monday, February 2nd, 2004

President Bush has decided to call for a probe into prewar Iraq intelligence, to see where the intelligence went wrong. I personally think this a good thing. It’s best for America to find out where the problems were, and why American (as well as British and Israeli) intelligence failed, if indeed that is the case (which it may not be). Most members of both parties, who aren’t blinded by ideology, agree that such a probe is necessary. It could, of course, give the Democrats something to pound the president on, but it’s a safe bet they’ll hate him no matter what he does. I’m glad to see he is doing the right thing for our country by calling for this investigation.

I continue to believe that removing Saddam Hussein from power was worth it, with or without WMDs. My column this week will address this fact.

The President’s critics continue to hammer him, however: “The bottom line for them (the Bush administration) is to delay the day of reckoning about their use of the weapons-of-mass-destruction information. David Kay can blame the CIA and say ‘Oh, I made all these comments based on what I heard from the intelligence community.’ President Bush can’t do that. He’s the boss,” said former Secretary of State Madeline Albright. This is quite a turnaround from what she was saying in 1998, “Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face.”