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The official blog of the National Center for Public Policy Research, covering news, current events and public policy from a conservative, free-market and pro-Constitution perspective.

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Monday
Mar212005

Backcountry Conservative: Popping the Question

Congratulations to Jeff at Backcountry Conservative and his fiancee, Jenn, upon their engagement.

May you have very many happy years together.

Sunday
Mar202005

Everything I Know Is Wrong: Groundbreaking Mercury Restrictions From Bush EPA

I appreciate this post on the Bush Administration's mercury regulations by Sean at the Everything I Know Is Wrong blog.



A note on Sean's observations in this post on the new autism study: Because so little is truly known about the cause of autism, yet (mercifully) research levels are increasing, we're going to see many announcements of exciting new leads into the cause of autism. It may be inevitable that some of these new leads will be exploited by environmental alarmists in support of whatever they may be lobbying for at that particular moment, but very many of these researchers are nonpolitical. We just have to evaluate every study on its merits -- the hard way.

Sunday
Mar202005

Government-Run Medicine: Care Promised, But Not Necessarily Delivered

A chilling report on the state of government health care in Canada...

Toronto - A letter from the Moncton Hospital to a New Brunswick heart patient in need of an electrocardiogram said the appointment would be in three months. It added: "If the person named on this computer- generated letter is deceased, please accept our sincere apologies."

The patient wasn't dead... But many Canadians claim the long wait for the test and the frigid formality of the letter are indicative of a health system badly in need of emergency care.

U.S. residents who flock to Canada for cheap flu shots often come away impressed at the free and first-class medical care... But tell that to hospital administrators constantly having to cut staff for lack of funds, or to the mother whose teenager was advised she would have to wait up to three years for surgery to repair a torn knee ligament.

"It's like somebody's telling you that you can buy this car, and you've paid for the car, but you can't have it right now," said Jane Pelton. Rather than leave daughter Emily in pain and a knee brace, the Ottawa family opted to pay $3,300 for arthroscopic surgery at a private clinic in Vancouver, with no help from the government.

The average Canadian family pays about 48 percent of its income in taxes each year, partly to fund the health-care system...

Yet another warning about the dangers of socialized medicine by a right-wing think-tank?

No. This report comes from the Associated Press.

Read it all here.

Saturday
Mar192005

Social Security: The Galveston Option

If you have heard of the Galveston, Texas alternative to Social Security and wondered what it was about, here's a very succinct summary from USA Today, written by the man who oversaw its adoption. It begins:

The current debate about reforming Social Security reminds me of the discussions that occurred in Galveston County, Texas, in 1980, when our county workers were offered a different, and better, retirement alternative to Social Security: They reacted with keen interest and some knee-jerk fear of the unknown. But after 24 years, folks here can say unequivocally that when Galveston County pulled out of the Social Security system in 1981, we were on the road to providing our workers with a better deal than Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal...
24 years ago, I was just leaving college. I probably should have moved to Galveston.

Read the entire piece here.

Friday
Mar182005

ANWR Victory

Congratulations to Senator Ted Stevens.

Friday
Mar182005

College Scholarships for Students

I'm late to noticing this, but Michelle Malkin has rightly applauded a university that is awarding scholarships to students who have lost a parent in U.S. military combat.

State legislatures around the country should consider adopting such a policy for their state colleges and universities. The impact on the budget of any state would be negligible, but the help to these families, immeasurable.

Friday
Mar182005

Five-Year-Old Girl Arrested

This seems extremely silly.

Friday
Mar182005

Apologies

Sorry about the light-to-nonexistent posting. The Ridenour household has been facing the flu bug, but I think it now has been vanquished.

Too bad the same can't be said for all the laundry that piled up...

Friday
Mar112005

Washington Post: Yushchenko Treated by U.S. Doctors

I'd say this explains the mystery about why, back in December, Ukraine's president (then candidate) Viktor Yushchenko visited a Viennese clinic not known for its expertise in dioxin poisoning.

Friday
Mar112005

Not a Fan

I guess this guy isn't a fan...

Ms. Ridenour:

While searching for news articles on US - French relations I stumbled upon your website. I guess I should describe it as your repugnant and ill-informed website.

That you would bash the French so brutally shows you have no conception of who the French really are and how they think. But then, as I read on, I discovered you also believe that global warming is just a big myth. Ah, I get it!

Time machine, take me back to the 1950's please! I suppose you still watch 'Leave it to Beaver' and think that George W. Bush is a great president, too! (And there's an Al Qaeda member behind every corner! Fait attention!)

As an American living in France for the last several years, I have found the French to be a wonderful, thoughtful, intelligent, honest, and realistic people. Which is a lot more than I can say about the millions of American sheep that are being lead to the slaughter unquestioningly. What an ignorant country America is; the average person couldn't tell you where France is, but they can sure tell you exactly what the French are like and why they hate them!

You can disparage the French all you want, and they will just smirk, because they really don't care. And quite frankly, I'd rather side with a people that know the horrors of war and try to avoid it, than with a country that promotes lies to create wars to make money and further a dubious agenda for world domination, aka The New World Order.

So, to use an a shared French and American phrase: Dans ton cul! Because that is where the inane and insipid propaganda you espouse belongs.

Sincerely,

T.A. Cameron

Saturday
Mar052005

Little Foot

What a picture!

From Dr. Jack Wheeler's To the Point website, where Jack is arguing that, given the seriousness of his illness, the importance of the job and the heaviness of the workload at a time of many judicial vacancies, Senator Arlen Specter should take a leave of absence as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee until he recovers from Hodgkin's disease.

Addendum, 3/7/05: I seem to have fallen for a hoax. "Anonymous" has set me straight (he wasn't really anonymous, but I removed his name and professional affiliation -- which was impressive -- at his request before publishing excerpts from two emails I received from him today). The excerpts, and the link, are instructive:

Just thought I'd drop a quick note to you about your posting from Dr. Jack Wheeler and the picture of the baby's footprint through her mother's abdominal wall...

As a board certified Ob/Gyn physician, I have to tell you that there is absolutely no way that this picture is real. It brings home a very real point which is that there is a baby human inside of a pregnant mother. But it is not real.

There are many reasons why it cannot be real:

1) The uterus is a thick muscle. It is at least an inch thick at that point in pregnancy. Try poking a baby's foot through a steak that's an inch thick and see if you can get any definition from an image on the other side. There is such a thing as an abdominal pregnancy where the baby is freely floating within the abdomen in nothing but an amniotic sac protecting it (with the placenta attached to inconvenient places like over the aorta). Even then, see number two.

2) In addition to the thick muscle called the uterus, even the skinniest person has, at a very minimum, at least one to two inches of tissue between the outer layer of skin and the inside of the abdomen. There is the layer of skin and subcutaneous fat, there's the fascial layer (that is the connective tissue that holds the internal organs in place, and then there's the muscles (rectus abdominus, the washboard / 6-pack muscles - though they do thin considerably during pregnancy), and finally the pre-peritoneal layer with fatty tissue (less in skinny people) with its peritoneum.

3) How in the world would they time that picture and get it just right? They would have to have been photographing her stomach for whatever reason and just got lucky? I guess that part is at least plausible, but realistic?

4) I have looked up online at the urban legends website. Here's a link to more discussion on it: http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl_fetus_footprint.htm

It's my professional opinion that this cannot be real. For what it's worth.

Thanks for the website. I really enjoy it!

"Anonymous"

...Again, I agree with the principle that this is used for (supporting a pro-life position). So in some ways I did not want to de-bunk it only because I don't want it to lose its power. But it can't be a real photo.

That being said, by the same token I HAVE seen and done ultrasounds on hundreds if not thousands of women who are pregnant and can tell you that as early as 8 or 9 weeks you can see movement and limb buds. There is no doubt in my mind that a "fetus" at the end of the first trimester responds to pain and light. During the mid trimester (16-24 weeks) I have done amniocentesis on patients and had the baby roll onto the amnio needle. It's really startling to have them jump (and you feel it through the needle). Don't let anyone tell you that they feel no pain when they are "D&E'd" in the second trimester. It's truly barbaric.

Sorry, folks! And, to close this post, let me add that Jack Wheeler's an old friend and great guy, so I suspect he had no idea the photo is discussed on an urban legends site. And, thanks to "Anonymous" -- it is an honor to have you as a reader of this blog!

Saturday
Mar052005

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Which would be worse: Incarceration or being forced to hand over your money against your will to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.?

It is not an academic question in Westchester County, New York, as Walter Olson explains.

Saturday
Mar052005

Shame on Andrew Greeley, Anti-Democrat, and Anyone Who Shakes His Hand

This March 4 Chicago Sun-Times op-ed by Andrew Greeley disgusts me.

Consider just two sentences:

I am suggesting that for President Bush to come to the edge of Russia (Slovakia) and preach about democracy to Putin is rude, crude and undiplomatic. It is an insult to Putin and to Russia and to the Russian people.
First, Slovakia is a sovereign nation. It is not "the edge of Russia." Would you refer to Canada as "the edge of the United States"?

Second, diplomacy achieves nothing, save perhaps the digestion of canapes.

Third, it is not rude to question Putin's commitment to democracy when Putin's commitment to democracy is questionable.

Fourth, and most important, standing up for the right of the Russian people to govern themselves and enjoy full civil rights is not an insult to the Russian people.

What is an insult to the Russian people is something Greeley says next:

Putin seems by all accounts to be popular with his people. He is the strong leader that Russians have always wanted...
Greeley's bizarre belief in Putin's popularity aside, Greeley is saying the Russian people don't really want full self-government.

Why not spell it out, Andrew? Just call them "untermenschen" -- sub-humans -- people not quite wanting or deserving of the full political and civil rights Americans demand and deserve.

Too harsh? Spot-on, actually. The Nazis coined the term untermenschen not just for Jews, but also for Gypsies and Slavs. The Russians are Slavs.

Coincidence? I think not.

The deliriums of the lectures we received from the pinko left from the Cold War days still echo in my mind: The Russians aren't like us. They don't like freedom the way we do. You are wrong to try to force it on them.

That's what Cold Warriors used to be told -- well, scratch the past tense, since Andrew Greeley's still doing it. Is the world better off now because America and the West won the Cold War?

Based on what he has written here, I very much doubt Andrew Greeley thinks so.

Oh, and by the way, Andrew: You are wrong when you claim conservatives don't believe the Cold War is over. We know it is over.

The reason we can be sure is that we're the ones who won it. Not your sort, Andrew. You lost. Get over it.

Friday
Mar042005

Sentence of the Day

"There is no evidence that the modern Court follows election returns, at least not American ones."

- Deacon, writing on Power Line, March 4

Friday
Mar042005

INDC Journal: Fisking Amy

I usually visit INDC Journal a few times a week.

I guess I should make it by there more often, because when I went by last night, I found Bill was in part two of a multi-day, multi-part fisking of one of my recent posts (the one in which I said reports of a pending split in the conservative coalition are overblown and perennial) that began on February 28.

Bill's first fisk is here; his second is here. More to come, apparently.

The comments -- of which there were 137 when I last visited -- have much to recommend them in terms of vigorous and, more often then not, informed debate about the role of government.

I'll respond at some point, but not tonight. Several of the commenters responding to Bill are doing it so well, I'm content to read their thoughts for a while.

Thursday
Mar032005

Mark Tapscott: Wake Up Conservatives!

Regarding the news going round the blogosphere that the federal government would soon regulate blogs: Mark Tapscott predicted this in 2003.



(I, too, been warning bloggers to expect the heavy hand of government regulation, if I may say so myself.)



Mark also updates the federal shield law story. Mark is far more sympathetic to the notion of journalists having these special rights than I am, but with that caveat, I recommend his blog for this topic.

Thursday
Mar032005

MMR & Autism: A Conversation

Those interested, dispassionately or otherwise, in the "what causes autism?" mystery will find an interesting conversation in the comments to this post in the Crooked Timber ("Out of the Crooked Timber of Humanity, No Straight Thing Was Ever Made") Blog.

Thursday
Mar032005

Morganatic Marriage

Ed Haislmaier writes to add some scholarship to my post about solving the civil marriage conundrum faced by Prince Charles and Mrs. Parker-Bowles:

...there is a long-standing word for what you are proposing - "morganatic." Here are two definitions listed on dictionary.com:
morganatic adj. Of or being a legal marriage between a person of royal or noble birth and a partner of lower rank, in which it is agreed that no titles or estates of the royal or noble partner are to be shared by the partner of inferior rank nor by any of the offspring of the marriage. [New Latin morganaticus, from Medieval Latin (matrimonium ad) morganaticam, (marriage for the) morning-gift, of Germanic origin.] morga nati cal ly adv.

Source: The American Heritage(r) Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, (c) 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

morganatic adj: (of marriages) of a marriage between one of royal or noble birth and one of lower rank; valid but with the understanding that the rank of the inferior remains unchanged and offspring do not succeed to titles or property of the superior [syn: left-handed]

Source: WordNet (r) 2.0, (c) 2003 Princeton University

Thus, the effect of your proposed Act of Parliament would be that any (purely) civil marriage entered into by a member of the British royal family would be automatically deemed a morganatic marriage.

Thursday
Mar032005

Who, Me?

Jeff at Protein Wisdom highlights the words "quite arrogantly" with a link to a post on this blog.



Well, thanks for the link.

Wednesday
Mar022005

Blog Alliance for Social Security Reform

I've just joined the new Blog Alliance for Social Security Reform.



Drop by the Alliance's blog, which promises to cover all the skirmishes as the battle for true Social Security reform moves forward.



(If you're a blogger who might like to join the Alliance, visit here for more information.)