Archive for April, 2005

South Park Conservatives

Friday, April 29th, 2005

I just finished reading South Park Conservatives by Brian Anderson. One of the better books I’ve read about the youth conservative movement, this book chronicles the reasons why young Americans are gravitating towards conservatism (constantly being barraged by liberal propaganda from the media, entertainment, and academia), and the political philosophy of most “South Park Conservatives” (hawkish on defense, libertarian-leaning on most social issues). A quick read and wholly entertaining, I recommend this book.

Academic Bias

Wednesday, April 27th, 2005

Is having this syllabus a problem? Todd Yarborough thinks so, and I am inclined to agree.

TennCare Turmoil Continues

Wednesday, April 27th, 2005

Gov. Phil Bredesen has yet more news on TennCare:

Gov. Phil Bredesen announced Tuesday that he had struck a deal with one set of lawyers representing TennCare enrollees that would protect 100,000 of the sickest patients from planned enrollment cuts.

“There is no question it is a heavy weight to be thinking about taking away health insurance from people, including some people that really need it,” Bredesen said. “There are people who are frail, and there are people who are vulnerable … and we need to find some ways to continue to help these people.

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“The governor does not promise protection to a single one of the 323,000 people losing coverage,” he said. “The fine print makes clear that the only sure thing is that the governor is demanding a removal of the constitutional rights of 1.3 million Tennesseans.”

The proposed settlement faces a number of hurdles, requiring the blessing of two federal judges and officials with federal Medicaid, which provides two-thirds of the funding for the health care program for the poor, disabled and uninsured. Lawmakers also need to approve portions of the deal.

Another possible sticking point is the price tag, which is $100 million beyond what the governor proposed for TennCare next year. Going forward, it would require $25 million a year more than planned because the agreement also calls for such cost-cutting mechanisms as a hard prescription limit of five per enrollee, including two brand-name prescriptions.

So in other words, it’s just more of the same. Bredesen has yet to offer a real solution, and, until he does, we’ll continue to get news stories like this.

British Election News

Tuesday, April 26th, 2005

British Prime Minister Tony appears to be in good shape, despite skepticism over the war in Iraq:

Labour has stretched its lead over the Conservatives to double figures, according to a new opinion poll.

The NOP poll for the Independent puts support for Labour at 40%, against 30% for the Tories and 21% for the Liberal Democrats.

If repeated on May 5, the results would give Tony Blair another big majority.

The poll found that a majority of voters (60%) want British troops out of Iraq by the end of the year.

Some 49% of those interviewed thought Tony Blair was wrong to take Britain to war, against 32% who believe he was right.

The survey also found 63% agreed with the Conservative policy of a strict annual quota of immigrants allowed into Britain.

But 38% said the believed the party was using immigration as an excuse to raise the issue of race.

It would appear that Blair is in a position similar to that President Bush was in last year: moderately popular, facing weak opposition. The Tories have been in bad shape for a long time, and are unable to capitalize on Blair’s woes. The Tories strategy of attacking Blair on Iraq may be helpful in wooing swing voters, but it does not please certain elements of the Tory base, which supported the intervention in Iraq in higher numbers than did Blair’s own Labour Party.

Feds Nab Mobsters

Tuesday, April 26th, 2005

A major bust in Chicago has netted 14 men, including several believed to be in the upper leadership of crime families in the city of Al Capone.

Summer Reading

Monday, April 25th, 2005

In my final column of the year, I thought it might be a good idea to suggest some books that will make great reading material over the summer. Regardless of whether or not you agree with their points, these books certainly can expand your mind.

“Atlas Shrugged” – First of all, there is this Ayn Rand’s classic novel. What would happen if the creative minds of the world went on strike? What happens when collectivism completely overrules individualism? And who is John Galt? You will find the answers in this book, first written in 1957. Though over 1,000 pages long, it has the ability to hold the reader’s attention from start to finish. This work (particularly Galt’s speech) is considered the basis of Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism.

“1984″ – Probably George Orwell’s most famous work, “1984″ is a nightmarish vision of a future in which the state has taken total control. Originally published in 1948, it’s difficult to read this novel and not notice that some of Orwell’s fears are becoming reality.

“Animal Farm” – Another great work from Orwell, this novel is the story of a group of barnyard animals who overthrow their abusive, corrupt farmer and institute a government in which they are all equals. Of course, this utopian state does not last very long, and the society quickly devolves into yet another tyranny. Representing the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, the symbolism is amazingly easy to pick up, and the story itself is engrossing.

“Modern Times” – This outstanding history of the world from the 1920s until the 1990s is a must read for anyone interested in history. Written by British historian Paul Johnson (who also wrote the equally outstanding “A History of the American People”), this book also cuts through much of the politically correct garbage that clouds history, and also gives one a good idea of what is needed to confront the future.

“The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror” – Former political prisoner and Israeli statesman Natan Sharansky explains why freedom is the natural longing of all mankind, and why promoting democracy abroad is in the best interests of all Americans. As a former prisoner in the Soviet Union, Sharansky knows a thing or two about oppression. Even though the book is critical of President Bush at times, Bush has embraced it. And so will anyone who reads it with an open mind.

“Intellectual Morons” – Another good recent book by Daniel J. Flynn. Here, Flynn takes on sacred cows of both the left and the right and exposes how, when one blindly adheres to a single ideological bent, they can be manipulated into believing or doing almost anything. If you know someone who seems to have a fanatical streak, pick up this book for them.

“Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth” – Recent UCLA graduate Ben Shapiro takes on the modern politically correct American campus in this brilliant expose on academic bias. Drawing on his own personal experiences in addition to many well-documented cases, Shapiro will convince all but the most zealous leftist that academic bias is a serious problem that must be addressed. If you are undecided on the Academic Bill of Rights, you owe it to yourself to read this book.

“The New Dealers’ War: FDR and the War Within WWII” – Historian Thomas Flemming is something of a radical. This book takes on the Roosevelt Administration with a ferocity few ever have. Well researched and easy to read, Flemming exposes FDR as a leader far short of what his legions of admirers would have us believe. Though I can’t say I agree with Flemming on everything, this is definitely an eye-opening book that presents a look at history that you won’t often hear, especially in the university.

“How I Accidentally Joined the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy (And Found Inner Peace)” – Reformed leftist Harry Stein comes out of the closet as a conservative, and looks back on his days as a radical, and explains his gradual realization that he was a conservative – whether he liked or not. Hilarious from start to finish, this book is easy to read and will leave you smiling.

Before I sign off, I want to wish everyone a wonderful summer, and thank you for reading my columns. I encourage everyone to visit my blog at http://johnnorrisbrown.com/blog (one last shameless plug) for continuing wisdom!

Our Friends, the Saudis

Monday, April 25th, 2005

Nina Shea has some sound advice for President Bush concerning our friends, the Saudis:

The Saudi state’s propagation of Wahhabi extremism is more than hate speech; it is a totalitarian ideology of hatred that can incite to violence. The fact that this ideology is being mainstreamed within our borders through the efforts of a foreign government demands President Bush’s urgent attention in today’s conversations with Prince Abdullah. With his remarkable State of the Union address that challenged Saudi Arabia to democratize, the president turned a new page in U.S. policy. Some in American policy circles argue that religious freedom, however, is too sensitive to raise. It’s too important not to; the first topic on the president’s agenda should be the expansion of religious freedom in the kingdom – for Muslims, as well as the captive Christians.

I could not agree more. For years, it has been apparent that Saudi Arabia is not a friend to us. This fact has become all the more obvious in the time since 9/11. From imprisoning reformers and those who dare practice any religion other than Wahhabi Islam, the Saudi royal family has proven itself to be one of the most tyrannical governments on Earth.

There is little doubt that the reason we put up with them is because they control so much oil. If not for this resource, we probably would have cut ties with them long ago. Liberals have long criticized Bush for his close relationship with the ruling family, and for once they are right. There is absolutely no excuse for the Saudi’s actions. Befriending Crown Prince Abdullah is like befriending Charles Manson, except that Abdullah has far more blood on his hands.

Natan Sharansky has argued that promoting democracy in the kingdom is in our best interest. Some pessimists fear that a democratic Saudi Arabia might elect rulers even more hostile to the West. If this happens, it will be because of our own support of the corrupt family. Consider this: the most pro-American civilian populations in the Middle East can be found in nations that are (or were until recently) most hostile to America. There is a strong pro-America and pro-West movement in Iran. Most Iraqis have embraced democracy. Yet nations like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, with more or less pro-West leaders, harbor the most hatred for America among the populace. Coincidence?

The answer, of course, is to condemn the tyrannies and demand that they embrace freedom. If we do so, the hatred of America will dissipate. It won’t happen all at once, but it will happen.

One of the great blunders of Gulf War I was that we did not demand anything from the Saudi and Kuwaiti governments in exchange for help. What if we had demanded that they become democratic constitutional monarchies in exchange for our protection. They would have had little chance but to accept these terms. But then, that would be “meddling” and the “international community” might not appreciate it.

Still, it is not too late to effect change in the Middle East. But President Bush must consistently exercise his demand for freedom among friend and foe alike.

Another GOP Cave?

Monday, April 25th, 2005

This is rather disapointing. In exchange for TWO of Bush’s seven contested judicial nominees, Republicans are supposed to end efforts to ban the judicial filibuster? Come on, Senator Frist, show some backbone and force real filibusters!

UPDATE: Thomas Sowell has some thoughts.

UPDATE (4/26): Senate Republicans have rejected this “offer.” Thank God!

Great Moments in my College Career

Sunday, April 24th, 2005

This is one of my funniest memories of all time, and just one of many reasons why I’m going to miss Bethany…

Schaeffer to Leave UT

Friday, April 22nd, 2005

UT quarterback Brent Schaeffer is leaving UT, reports WBIR. Schaeffer had gotten himself into some trouble with the law as well as some academic woes which probably would have permanently put him behind the QB contest. We shall see where Schaeffer transfers to.