Thursday, April 27, 2006

Take it around behind the barn and kill it with an axe

To borrow a phrase from P.J. O'Rourke in "Parliament of Whores" on farm subsidies, the title of this post is precisely what we should do with each of these government programs.

I'm not kidding. Completely. Immediately. With no wind down time, as painfull as it might be.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

This is super-cool

For all you 10 regular readers out there, please go check out this website. It is a biography of my grandfather, Rear Admiral Paul E. Pugh, the 6th CO of the USS Kitty Hawk, the world's first "super carrier." The bio calls my grandfather "Captain" Pugh. Though he was a Captain when he was the Kitty Hawk's CO, he earned two stars since then and retired in 1974 as a Rear Admiral.

Though the Kitty Hawk is considerably smaller than the Nimitz class carriers - like the USS Ronald Reagan and USS Abraham Lincoln, to name just two - it is still on active duty. Indeed, it is the longest serving aircraft carrier in the U.S. fleet. It is presently stationed in Japan - another unique feat - as it is the only U.S. aircraft carrier with its home port in another country - i.e., "permanently forward deployed."

Though my grandfather's bio stops with his stint as the Kitty Hawk's CO, he did lots of cool things after that. Hopefully, they'll update the website (I've offered to help them with the additional biographical information). The coolest thing in the bio now is the acknowledgement that "Captain Pugh was the first United Nations pilot to shoot down two MIG-15's." That would be the beginning of the Korean War, flying an F-86 Sabre Jet. What the website doesn't make clear, which it should, is that he shot down those two MIG-15s on the same day, meaning that he was the first U.N. pilot to shoot down a MIG-15, period.

Gramps is 86, doing relatively well, and living in Oceanside with Grandma, who is doing extremely well at age 84 (still golfs 2-3 times a week).

Monday, April 17, 2006

What to do about Iran?

After reading Mark Steyn's marvelous column on the Iran situation . . . wait, not "after," actually "during" . . . I gathered my thoughts as to what I would do if I were President of the United States. My solution is the correct answer. Indeed, the answer is so abundantly obvious that it is only because of the age we live in, and its wholesale rejection of logic, reason, facts and evidence, that Bush does not do this. What is my plan?

Let's start with the latest rally presided over by Iran President Ahmadinejad, as Steyn recounts: "Our enemies cannot do a damned thing," he crowed, as an appreciative audience chanted "Death to America!"

Near as I can find, al-Presidente Ahmadinejad himself has not publicly called for "Death to America" but he has called for the destruction of America's ally, Israel, and warned the U.S. to "undo" its creation of Israel or face serious consequences. In my mind, same difference.

So, were I POTUS, I would send a nice letter to al-Presidente reading as follows:

"Dear President Ahmadinejad:

We in the United States have heard your declared intention to violently destroy our friend and ally, Israel. We have also heard your warnings to the United States to either un-create Israel ourselves, or refrain from stopping your country and its allies from attempting to violently destroy Israel, or we will suffer violent consequences. The United States will not have ultimatums threatening war put to us. The United States considers your ultimatum a declaration of war. When war is declared against the United States, we accept only one result from the hostile nation - unconditional surrender. You have 24 hours to inform us of your unconditional surrender."

If Iran doesn't surrender, then we invade. Not just drop bombs from afar, full-on invasion. No doubt, doing this would annoy France, Germany, most of the UN, and all the other America-haters out there. But I pose this simple rhetorical question in rebuttal: If Iran is so wholly unworried about the UN and European Union's toothless rhetoric, why should the United States be worried about what those same feckless nations say about us?

Not another Iraq occupation, you say? Not if I were POTUS. What I would do in Iraq right now is the same thing I'd do in Iran. Once we had deposed the leaders and hopefully sentenced them to death or long prison terms next to Manuela Noriega, I'd put a choice to the Iranian/Iraqi people. Either democratize and instill a friendly regime, or we'll simply claim your oil, land and other resources as spoils. In other words, if you don't want us to be occupiers, we are giving you that option. If you don't take it, then we have no choice but to protect ourselves. After all, it was your country that started it.

Just to be clear where I stand, I think we will succeed in democratizing Iraq and I think we'd have even more success democratizing Iran if we simply deposed the mad mullahs and al-Presidente Ahmadinejad. I think Iraq would stablize much sooner if we whacked the Iranian mullahs and invaded their country. Why? Well, much of the Iraqi insurgency is coming from, and being funded by, Iran. That would stop nearly overnight if we invaded Iran and froze their assets.

Friday, April 14, 2006

More Ninth Circus nonsense

Today, the Ninth Circuit found a constitutional right to be homeless. This nonsense opinion, purporting to rest on the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, essentially finds that being homeless is generally "involuntary." Hogwash. In the Ninth Circuit's defense, there is some precedent from the U.S. Supreme Court finding other actions to be "involuntary" that clearly are not - the Ninth Circuit's opinion relies mostly on Byron White's concurrence in Powell v. Texas, 391 U.S. 514 (1968).

In Powell, old Wizzer accepts the nonsense that an alcoholic is wholly, completely, utterly powerless to stop drinking, as if immobilized and hooked up to a feeding tube of Jack Daniels. First, alcohol is not addictive physiologically any more than, say, gambling or knitting are "addictive." Obsessive/compulsive people may have a harder time resisting the urge to gamble or knit, but that does not make it impossible, just harder. The same is true of drugs with physiologically addictive effects, such as withdrawal symptoms. It is not impossible to stop, just harder. Hard does not equal impossible.

So, bolstered by this sociologically constructed, non-scientific and illogical nonsense about "involuntary" actions, the Ninth Circuit seamlessly concludes that being homeless is generally involuntary. Bullshit!!!! Stay in school! Get a job! Show up on time! Don't have kids if you're not married!

The Ninth Circuit's nonsense is summed up by this breathlessly stupid sentence, devoid of any supporting argument: "Even if Appellants' past volitional acts contributed to their current need to sit, lie, and sleep on public sidewalks at night, those acts are not sufficiently proximate to the conduct at issue here for the imposition of penal sanctions to be permissible." See slip opinion at pp. 43-44. The only support for this sweeping statement - that past acts of homeless people . . . aw, heck, let's use the correct terminology famously and bluntly stated in Pulp Fiction: "bums" . . . that the past acts of bums leading them to become bums, no matter what, are not sufficiently "proximate" to their present predicament (not “status” or “condition” or other incorrect euphemisms used to equate being a bum with catching the flu) – is an unelaborated citation to footnote 2 of Wizzer’s Powell concurrence.

The Ninth Circuit seems to be using the word “proximate” not in its legal sense of “causally related” (which is fitting since the Ninth Circuit abandoned the law long ago) but in its more general sense, meaning “close in time.” This is the only explanation for the Ninth Circuit’s conclusion because the first part of the sentence expressly admits causation, i.e., “even if Appellant’s past volitional acts contributed to their current need to sit [etc.].”

This is America. I feel extremely justified in saying that nearly all bums are bums voluntarily. Not “voluntarily” in the sense that they actively desired that outcome and worked to accomplish that goal, but “voluntary” in the sense that it was perfectly within their ability to prevent their predicament, yet they made bad choices with the foreseeable result of winding up bums. Yes, it is harder for some people to avoid being bums than others, but that is the case with everything. For some people, no doubt, it is very hard. For those in especially hard predicaments, charity is warranted (which private and individuals and organizations have provided and will continue to provide). Just don’t insult my intelligence by claiming being a bum resulted from the same passive, random chance as multiple sclerosis or leukemia.

Update: Jack Dunphy of NRO must read this blog because he said everything I said. I was first, though.

No backbone at Notre Dame?

As a Notre Dame alumnus, this article troubles me. Apparently, Notre Dame's new President, Father John Jenkins, who once expressed doubts about allowing "The Vagina Monologues" and a "Queer Film Festival" on campus, has capitulated to faculty pressure and allowed both to proceed apace.

I haven't seen The Vagina Monologues, but I don't see anything wrong with frank discussions about women's sexuality. Speaking from experience, women at Notre Dame have a much lower level of knowledge about their own sexuality and body parts than the women of, say, UCLA (my undergraduate school). They could use the education. A satisfying sex life is absolutely crucial to the success of a marriage, which is something Notre Dame should want to promote.

If The Vagina Monologues promotes pre-marital or extra-marital sex, then that is another story. Both are contrary to Notre Dame's mission as a Catholic university and advocacy of either shouldn't be allowed on campus, any more than Notre Dame should allow its campus to be used as a forum to advocate any other ideas contrary to the Catholic faith. Read WFB's "God and Man at Yale" for the argument why private universities are free to, and indeed should, have a mission. This is, of course, not censorship, because promoters of The Vagina Monologues are perfectly free to rent theater space in South Bend and put on their play off campus.

The Queer Film Festival, I have no trouble saying without knowledge of what films are being shown, should not be shown at Notre Dame. Catholicism considers homosexual acts to be a sin (not the mere inclination to homosexuality). I feel confident that the Queer Film Festival does not show movies depicting Catholicism's view of homosexuals - that the mere inclination is not sinful but acting on it is. I highly doubt there is a movie about a homosexual struggling to remain celebate, and succeeding, along the lines of Catholic teaching.

Now, whatever your view on these substantive issues - pre-marital sex, extra-marital sex, homosexual acts - you have to admit that Catholics find them sinful. You therefore should also concede that Notre Dame should not be allowing its campus to be used by those who would preach and promote doing sinful acts. I presume both The Vagina Monologues and the Queer Film Festival promote acts the Catholic Chuch deems sinful. Hence, Notre Dame should not offer its campus facilities to either.

Why is Notre Dame allowing them both to be shown, then? It appears from Professor Solomon's article that faculty pressure is the main culprit. Professor Solomon asserts that barely 50% of Notre Dame's faculty are Catholic. That alone I don't see as too problematic as long as they adhere to the same moral values. An Orthodox jew would not tolerate the advocacy of pre- or extra-marital or homosexual sex any more than a Catholic would or should. The problem is with faculty members who do not hold these same moral values (even if they purport to be Catholic).

What to do? Hire faculty members who hold Notre Dame's moral values. Fire those that don't. Simple.

I'll happily report that this problem is virtually non-existent at the Law School, where the professors overall have a high degree of competence, sanity and moral values. Indeed, I have no problem saying Notre Dame Law School is the premier law school in the country because it is the premier conservative law school in the country. Since conservatism is right, and liberalism wrong, the other more highly "ranked" law schools - all dominated by liberal professors - are teaching the law wrongly. You can't be a premier law school in my book when the majority of your professors believe Roe v. Wade was correctly decided. That's like claiming that your physics department is number one even though your professors all teach that the earth is flat and stacked upon the backs of an infinite regress of turtles. Roe v. Wade is equally silly.