Saturday, May 31, 2008

What is meant by the term "Creationist;" and to whom does it apply?

Here's a fairly interesting discussion on the meaning and accuracy of the term "creationist" that I ran across while doing a search of the term after having read and pondered Lawrence Auster's (simplistic) definition in this VFR article in which he explains to Mencius Moldbug why it is that he is definately not a creationist.

For the record Auster defines the word creationist thusly:

A creationist is someone who bases his view of evolution on the Bible.

Compare Auster's complaint about being inaccurately labeled a creationist with Aschlafly's initial post on the topic of discontinuing the term's use at "Conservapedia":

The word "creationist" is often used to express bigotry, which itself is a reason to discourage use of it. But the term is also misleading because:

it implies that either one is or is not a creationist, when in fact many lack a clearcut opinion

it implies that anyone who believes in creation is a creationist, when in fact the term doesn't mean that

it implies that it is a belief system rather than a logical and scientific conclusion

I suggest that Conservapedia stop using the term except where absolutely necessary.

As to the points made by Schlafly,

(1)if conservapedia is going to follow this advice and discontinue the use of terms because certain individuals use them disparagingly toward others, then I'm afraid that the acceptable vocabulary at conservapedia will become so limited as to make any kind of meaningful discussion on virtually any topic of importance quite literally impossible.

(2)If a person lacks a clearcut opinion about creationism, biblical or otherwise, then isn't that person ipso facto not a creationist? Until he forms a clearcut opinion on the subject, he remains, insofar as the term creationist describes one's view of an explanation for the existence of the physical universe, outside the parameters of anyone's definition of the term, does he not? In other words, contrary to Schlafly's belief that the term is misleading on that basis, a person most definately is or is not a creationist, irregardless of what the term actually and really denotes, and irrespective of whether some people use it to express bigotry. The options here seem to me to be exhausted; either one is a creationist (whatever the term means) or one is not a creationist. The grey area of not having formed a clearcut opinion on the subject puts one squarely in the not-a-creationist camp.

But since there is some confusion as to what the term signifies and to whom it should apply, what about Auster's definition, is it accurate? Is a creationist, as he says, someone who bases his view of evolution [exclusively] on the Bible? My understanding of the term has always been that it primarily refers to theists who believe the biblical account that the physical universe had a beginning (which we refer to as creation) and a beginner (which we refer to as God or Creator). So the term creationist, to my understanding, describes a person who believes in a Creator and a creation event which resembles that spoken of in the book of Genesis. Auster's definition seems to carry the implication that a creationist is someone that has read the biblical account of the creation event, and determined not to consider any alternative views that would seem to conflict with the literal interpretation of the Genesis account. But that's not what the term means is it?

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

I have to hand it to John Savage

And I admit that when I first read his post, Cuisine and Symbolism, I thought to myself "boy, he's really stretching it." Boy was I wrong! I don't have an explanation for why that was my attitude after a first reading of the entry, but I can tell you that after having read it again it's definately not my attitude now.

In a comment to the post I mentioned that I'm bothered by the growing number of "European looking, squared off organ donors" that I'm seeing on American highways these days. But why does this bother me? If this is what some people want to drive, it's no skin off my nose is it? Maybe it's that deep down I understand that there's a fundamental change (not for the good) taking place in this country, and I'm associating the tendency toward this aesthetically ugly, cheap, foreign looking vehicle, with the degradation of our values and mores, which it seems to me have become themselves cheap and ugly and foreign.

Anyway, do be sure to read John's post. And do not neglect to read the comments, which are very good. And if you have a mind to, see if you can come up with a term to replace "emty-shellism." John suggests "vacuism," but for some reason that I can't quite put a finger on, I don't think it works. I think what might be required is to come to some sort of an agreement on what constitutes the West's "fundamental nature." I know there's a school of thought out there that says the fundamental nature of the West is to continually improve or get better, i.e., evolve (this is the school of thought that says that the U.S. Constitution is a "living, breathing document" and whatnot). Thus, the addition of certain ingredients which were formerly incompatible with the West (due to its comparably primitive evolution) are now become compatible through chance occurance and random mutations. Proof positive that the West's fundamental nature (which can't be changed, only adjusted in scope) is indeed to improve or get better, and that any resistance to it is not only wrong, but futile. Or something like that.

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The case for having a "large" family

The following is simply a reprint from Vanishing American's excellent May 22 entry, Large families?, with a few of my own comments interspersed throughout.

What are the advantages of having a large family? What are the disadvantages? Can a large family be raised on a single income in today's economy? Are people with large families irresponsible, environmentally and otherwise? These are just a few of the questions VA touches on in her post. VA writes:

Caveat: the following is not meant to disparage anybody who has few or no children. I am speaking in generalities and I trust that nobody will take offense at anything I say here.

TM: Likewise. However, if you do take offense to something VA says, and I agree with, I have to tell you that in my opinion, having already encountered it many times before I'm sure, it's likely a personal problem. Each of us has his or her own little quirks that in the grand scheme of things don't amount a hill of beans. Let's not make a mountain out of a mole hill, okie dokie.

VA continues:

In the recent discussion, the question of family size and number of children came up. Now, the most common reason we hear for encouraging large families these days, is the Mark Steyn-esque argument that we need to outbreed the Moslems. I think that's one of the least compelling, and the worst reasons, for having large families. First, can we, who are a dwindling number globally, out-reproduce the teeming Third World? Remember we are far outnumbered, and also keep in mind that this teeming Third World is knocking ever more insistently at our doors and windows. Those who are not already in our midst are on their way or planning to be on their way or trying to find out how they can get here, wishing to be somewhere in the 'rich world', as they call it in The Economist. So hoping to outpace the Third World in reproducing is a far-fetched hope.

There are better reasons for having large families, the best being that we love children and want to welcome as many as we can take care of into our already happy lives. And for Christians, we view kids as God's gift to us, and we want to raise them to know and love and serve and give glory to God.

As members of a large extended family called our nation or people, we want to raise our children to carry on the life of that group, and to continue our ways and our heritage into the future. Our children are the future for our particular line, and for our people.

Who should not have a large family, or perhaps any children? Those who don't want children, who are not prepared financially to care for them, or who are in some way not good candidates.

People should not reproduce carelessly and should not have children by accident.

TM: I agree with VA in the first instance. I have no personal interest in trying to "outbreed" the Moslems or anyone else. That we need to, if we need to, is just incidental to any good reasons for having a large family. Raised as I was in a moderately large family, as well as in a community where this was more the rule, than the exception, and having come away from that experience with an outlook more favorable than not to the experience, my wife and I determined early in our marriage that we and a relatively large family were more or less made for each other. This decision between my wife and I was made secretly and independently of anyone else, and as I said, very early on in our marriage.

I only have one disagreement with what VA wrote above worthy of note -- her use of the term "kids." Many moons ago (as my native ancestors might have put it) I was corrected for using the term, and I've never forgotten that invaluable lesson. A very prominent, influential, well respected individual said to me in response to my usage: "sheep have kids, human beings have children." Amen! The words we choose have impact and meaning in ways that simply escape us at times. I can't tell you how many times I've been in discussions with people where I emphasize the word "children" in place of their word "kids", and I notice an almost immediate dignified and reverential tone, which was not there before, come into their speech, and a new light come into their eyes. It's as if they'd never really thought of their children as dignified human beings with independent value, but as just so many dependent offspring (sheep) who happen to have the same bloodline and live in the same pasture. I could say a lot more, but in the interest of keeping this entry within limits, I won't. I would simply say that if you doubt me, try it for yourself next time you're in conversation with someone about their children.

VA continues:

But apart from all this, what are the advantages of big families?

Over the last 30-35 years, we've seen the triumph of the leftist-feminist idea that large families are harmful to women, who are thereby made nothing but domestic slaves to husband and children. Even many 'conservative' women believe this, and say as much. Once, only leftist feminists said and thought such things; now it's considered common wisdom among 'conservatives', sadly.

The other attitude that has won out since the counterculture days is the 'zero population growth' attitude, that somehow people having large families are irresponsible and backward and selfish, while having few or no children is the sure sign of an enlightened, environmentally responsible person.

Somehow, this ethic is never applied to the Third World peoples, whether they are at home in their native countries or whether they are here in our countries, breeding large families, at public expense.

Another argument that has been widely accepted is that couples cannot afford large families because today's world makes childrearing and stay-at-home mothering out of reach of 'average' people. I say this is not as true as we think; it's all a matter of priorities. It's only economically unfeasible for some people because they choose to spend their resources on pricey toys and gadgets, extensive travel, dining, and many other non-essentials while ruling out the 'expensive' family.

This is very much a 'live for today' attitude, which is at odds with conservatism or tradition.

Today we have much higher standards in terms of what we think is an acceptable standard of living. Many think poverty means having only one car, or living in a modest home rather than a McMansion, or shopping at a lower-price retailer (and I don't mean Wal-Mart) rather than having the trendiest, most up-to-date of everything.

In other words, many of us are spoiled and self-indulgent.
Most of us, myself included, could cut out a lot of the frills and nonessentials and thus have more money for the essentials. In this day of rising gas prices, and tightened budgets, we will probably have to cut out the fat.

Where do I start? I can assure you that my wife does not feel, nor has she ever felt, for more than a fleeting moment, like a "domestic slave" to myself and the children. Indeed, this is one of those things that I've run across many many times during our marriage. People automatically assume that my wife would be much happier if she had a career and weren't burdened with the necessity of taking care of six children. I don't know how it is exactly that they come to these conclusions, but I assume that it's mainly driven by the impulse that since they're happier with one or two children and a career, or they think they are (I'm not sure how they know they're happier), then she would be. Little do they know that she wants to have more children, and I do not. Selfish individual that I am, I don't particularly care for the idea of raising children in my senior years. Aside from the biological problems with having children past a certain age, I simply don't think midaged and elderly people are equipped (in any number of ways), on the average, to properly raise children. Simply stated, God has good reasons for limiting our productive childbearing years to a youthful average, and I don't question them. I simply try to understand them to the best of my meager abilities.

As to the "environmentally irresponsible" attitude about having a large family, I'd really rather not discuss it. I'm not out to make any enemies, so I think it's better that I not address it, if you know what I mean. Suffice it to say that the vast majority of people I know who have fewer children than I do use more, a lot more, of the earth's resources, among other things.

VA writes:

But are there real arguments to be made for large families?
I grew up in a fairly large family of five children.

My parents were from large families, of thirteen and eight children, respectively.

Here's what I know from experience and observation about large families:
The children of large families are given more responsibility, usually through necessity, and they have to pull their weight and do their part. This encourages a work ethic and a mature attitude at an earlier age, as well as giving them confidence in what they can do.

They learn the idea of accommodating and getting along with others among a group of siblings.

Kids in a large family are each others' company and entertainment, as well as emotional support. You learn to interact with peers through interacting with your sisters and brothers. Granted, it's not always a bed of roses, but neither is life in the larger world. It teaches you a sense of reality.

"The great advantage of living in a large family is that early lesson of life's essential unfairness."
- Nancy Mitford

Older children in the family act as role models (in positive ways, and sometimes negative ways). Older siblings can sometimes be an inspiration either to do good things, or an example to avoid, by bad example. Having younger siblings helps us learn childcare skills and responsibility, which prepare us to be parents in our turn.

Having many siblings tends to teach us not to be as materialistic, because resources are spread rather thinner in large families, and we learn to have regard for others and their wants and needs as well as our own.

Children in larger families have a less exaggerated sense of their own importance; in a larger family you are not going to be doted upon by your parents or grandparents as much as if you were an only child. You thus attain a sense of perspective about yourself and your value. You don't get the idea that the sun rises and sets on you, in a large family. It isn't all about you. There are other people to be considered, and everybody has to take their turn, and learn to wait.

I've noticed that many 'only children' have more trouble relating to peers, or that they tend to be more idiosyncratic, more inclined to be loners. That can be good or bad, but from an outsider's perspective, it seems rather lonely to be an only child. Friends somewhat take the place of siblings, but friends can and do come and go. They are not always there for life, as siblings usually are.

Now I can hear the arguments that 'brothers and sisters aren't always close; many times they can't get along, and even loathe each other.' That's as may be; no doubt it happens, but I don't see that in really well-functioning, loving families much. I didn't see any of that kind of conflict in my Dad's family; the bond between him and his brothers and sisters, and their loyalty to each other, overrode any squabbles they had, which were few.

Blood is, as the old saying has it, thicker than water. Friends can fall out and part ways forever, (and yes, so can family members) but especially with a large family, even if you are estranged from one or two of your siblings, there are plenty of others there for you. Large families present better odds of having supportive, loyal family members who will stick by you.

The same is true of parents and children. My beloved Grandma, with thirteen children and dozens of grandchildren and who knows how many great-grandchildren never lacked for someone to care for her at the end of her life. She did live a long and healthy and active life, and her health failed only at the very end. She was always surrounded by people who loved her as only family members can love.

Of course we can love those who are not kin. But there is a special kind of accepting, enduring, unconditional love that is found among close kin. We can see it also between loving spouses and among certain very close friends, but the family circle is the main source of such love, and after all, it's within the close family unit that we first learn love, acceptance, cooperation, self-sacrifice, and compassion. We also learn patience, and contrariwise, we learn how to stand up for ourselves, if we have contentious siblings.

The family is a microcosm of the larger world out there. It can prepare us to succeed and prosper, given the right conditions. Even a less-than-ideal family can teach us useful lessons.

And surely having large families, with many caring relatives is better for society, especially when seen from a conservative or traditional perspective. In the future, given the prevalence of small families, there will be many, many older people who will rely on nursing home care, and on the ministrations of strangers and the government to help them as they become infirm.

In past eras, when there were large families, siblings shared in the care of the elders when they could no longer take care of themselves, and there was less need for the old folks to be warehoused in nursing homes as they aged and their health failed. Usually, one of the many children could take in the ailing parent and care for them at home.

From a conservative point of view, smaller families and many childless adults will one day mean many frail elderly having to be cared for by the state and by strangers in the relatively near future. If our ideal is smaller government, and a shrinking of the 'nanny state', small families are counterproductive. The presence of strong (and large) family support systems means far less need for entitlement programs and institutions for the elderly.

Likewise, the leftist-feminist agenda has created a need for more day-care centers and has led to a tendency to put toddlers in 'pre-schools' at earlier ages, in the care of the school system.This contrasts to the customs of the past. When I was a child, most of us did not leave our mothers until age six, when we were required to start first grade. Now, at age six, most children are already veterans of the 'system', and fully acculturated to the public school institution.

So the smaller family tends to mean more isolation, early in life and late in life, with the reliance on the rather impersonal institution rather than the loving bosom of the family.

There are many reasons why the left pushed the idea the desirability of few or no children, and of the 'village' raising our children, as opposed to parents and the extended family having control over their children's upbringing. Overall, the agenda has weakened the family and home and the influence thereof, in favor of the influence of the state and debased popular culture.

And speaking of debased popular culture, has anybody noticed how much our popular culture tends to disparage and ridicule the family unit, especially the traditional family? Many sitcoms and movies tend to portray 'dysfunctional' families with obnoxious, boorish parents and malicious siblings. The family is treated very roughly in our entertainment media. I think this is intentional.

People in a society with mostly small families and a weakened family unit are often people with few close ties, people who are rootless and disconnected and more prone to alienation and anomie. They might be possibly more inclined to find 'surrogate families' in weird places, like cults, or political causes, or perhaps simply to remain permanent adolescents, doing adolescent things into middle age or beyond. We often read the standard excuses made by liberal sociologists and journalists about how fatherless kids, (of whom we have many now) or kids with weak family bonds, join gangs, and find their support system there. We are social animals, and people who lack the most primal connections will either tend to find some substitute, or perhaps just become isolated. There does seem to me to be a larger number of isolated, lonely people in today's America, compared to the past.

On WikiAnswers, someone asked about the advantages and disadvantages of a large family. The only response was this:

"If someone decides to have a large family that's their business, however having a large family you better have a good salary or both parents working as the cost of having a large family today is expensive. With a small family the costs are less."

Is this what it really comes down to, dollars and cents? It isn't possible to count everything in economic terms. Doing so, or even attempting to reduce everything to the naked economic calculations, shows a kind of soullessness that is the unique product of our spiritually impoverished time.

Our parents and grandparents raised families, often large families, in less prosperous times than ours. If they did it, so can those today who want families.

It all comes down to priorities.(emphasis mine)

“He that raises a large family does, indeed, while he lives to observe them, stand a broader mark for sorrow; but then he stands a broader mark for pleasure too.” - Benjamin Franklin

TM: With respect to this last lengthy section of VA's entry, as I said in a comment to the post, "I couldn't agree more with everything she said." My experience, both during my childhood (when we were much poorer and had much much less than my family has now), as well as during my adult years which has been primarily devoted to properly raising a large family (by today's standards), is essentially the same as VA's. Indeed, as people who know me well can attest, I've made the exact same arguments in the exact same terms time and time again. To my mind, and by my experience, it must be much more difficult to raise children right in a small, as opposed to a large family. I'm not saying that a large family necessarily assures that the children will turn out better, just that it must be, and is (I know) more difficult -- it must require a great deal more conscious effort to resist both a personal impulse, as well as the impulse of the extended family (grandparents primarily) to indulge them, to enforce proper discipline, and so on and so forth -- to "raise them in the way they should go" so that "when they are old, they will not soon depart from it."

Once again, I could go on and on and on about the advantages of having a large family, not just to myself and the children, but to society at large. But as VA rightly notes, it's all a matter of priorities. One thing that cannot be denied is that we now live in a debased culture full of self-absorbed, self-indulgent people. And I'm willing to wager that the vast majority of this culture of self-absorption and self-indulgence are the product of small, not large families. Any takers?

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Outstanding Blog Award

Months back, as you'll recall, there was given out in the circle of which this blog is a proud yet inferior (in a number of ways) part, the "Excellent blog award." Indeed, this blog even received the award, not once but twice, from two highly respected bloggers. While I very much appreciated Webster's being considered an "Excellent" blog, and worthy of this award, I also knew at the time that it would be difficult for me to continue to live up to this billing, particularly in the immediate future, given time constraints, intellectual constraints, and so on and so forth. Basically I feared, having made the cut on two separate lists, that I was going to let some people down. We can argue about whether that fear turned into a self fulfilling prophesy, or whether it was just reality based, i.e., knowing one's own limitations. But I would say it was the latter.

Now, not to put undue pressure on anyone, but I would like to personally recognize and acknowledge the outstanding efforts in support and defense of traditional conservatism which I see on display day in and day out at one particular traditionalist blog, namely, Vanishing American. And to formalize this acknowledgment, as well as my personal appreciation for her sacrifices, her steadfastness and resolve, her dedication to the cause of traditionalism, and etc., I would like to offer, with sincere gratitude and great respect, Webster's first presentation of the (soon to be coveted) "Outstanding Traditionalist Blog Award."

If any of you should like to take it further and pass out the award to other worthies, I am not opposed. However, I would recommend that you consider the spirit in which the term "outstanding" is here used and for which it was chosen, and let that be your guide.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Oklahoma businessman saddled with $51,000. fine; illegal employees deported

That is $1,000.00 for each illegal Mexican immigrant his company knowingly had under its employ. Do try (hard as it may be for some) to look over the fact that this man is 77 years old, and consider the relevant facts of the case:

U.S. District Judge Ronald A. White sentenced Cook's company to three years of probation and imposed a $51,000 fine for furnishing phony Social Security information for his employees.

In a separate courtroom, minutes later, Cook, 77, and his shop foreman were sentenced to pay $6,000 each in fines for misdemeanor convictions of employing illegal aliens and conspiracy to employ illegal aliens.


Both men admitted that they conspired to get around immigration laws.

I'm pretty sure that when these individuals were conspiring to get around immigration laws by furnishing their illegal employees with phony documentation and whatnot, they also knew the risks involved. You know how the adage goes.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

What's to be learned from negative stereotypes, and what's happened to all the Americans?

This is a subject that's been weighing on my mind for a couple of weeks now. Ever since I heard the story of a respected friend who was blind-sided and subsequently beat up by two individuals of a particular ethnicity (hint: there are, according to official government estimates, somewhere on the order of 12 to 20 million of 'em here who are illegal).

Stereotype numero uno: This particular ethnicity is prone to run in packs, and they are purported to consider one-on-one physical confrontations as "no bueno" for themselves. hmmm.

So as the story goes, there was this get-together at a friend of the friend's house. A friend of the friend of the friend invited a couple of low-life vagabonds to the "party." At some point a friend of my friend, seeing the stereotypical "thieves" written all over these two, announced to the room that nothing had better go missing from his house. There were a few unfriendly words tossed about, and the two finally left. Later in the night after most everyone else had left, the two returned, announcing their presence with a well aimed rock through a window. My friend and the two others in the house rushed to and opened the door, to find one of the individuals standing at the edge of the street goading my friend to come to him. As my friend (ill-advisedly, but nonetheless) walked off the front porch and aggressively approached this individual, the other sprung from his hiding place at the corner of the house, hitting him with a blow to the side of the head which knocked him down and more or less temporarily immobilized him. Then the two began to kick my friend in the head and the upper torso.

Rule numero uno: Never, never, never allow an opponent to goad you into taking an aggressive posture in his territory; there's always some reason, advantageous to himself, that he's calling you to him. If you don't believe me, try this: Calmly reply to his invitation: "No; you come here." Nine times out of ten he won't. Guaranteed.

Where were the other two, you may be asking. Well, as I understand it, they remained comfortably on the porch as spectators. Neither the fact that my friend was blindsided by the hidden one, nor that once down he was attacked by both prompted either of them to action of any kind, in word or deed. I'm no tough guy, but I can assure you that the outcome would have been much different had I been there. And that's a fact! Sometimes you just put it all out there with no regard to personal safety or well being. Anything else is ... unAmerican! And you can quote me on that.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Is the GOP lost or found?

Over at VFR Auster has put up an article concerning how the GOP has lost its way; how that it has abandoned its conservative principles (and its conservative base), adopting instead liberalism thinly veiled in conservative lingo.

Auster writes:

Give people greater liberty? How the heck does liberty fit into this list of nanny-state programs promising to supply people's every material need? The answer is that the Republican pols are trying, in their sincere, pathetic way, to get with the statist swing of things established by Hillary and Obama, while still sounding Republican notes. And the commenters at the NRCC site are having none of it. Cole's pronouncement is greeted by the electronic equivalent of hundreds of tomatoes being thrown at him. The commenters want the GOP to be--surprise--a conservative party, not an imitation Democratic party.

It's as though the Republican leadership and the Republican grassroots are in different worlds. The elite remain encapsulated, speaking to specialists who tell them what to say. These losers never try to relate to reality with their own minds. The idea never occurs to them. Reality is not something they live in and try to understand; it's something they seek to manage from a distance, with the help of political technicians. That's the only way to make sense of their spectacular cluelessness. Didn't the uprising against the comprehensive immigration bill last year tell the Republican leaders anything? Don't they leaders understand that conservative voters want the federal government, first and foremost, to protect the nation's basic existence and liberties, not to help people balance work, children, and care for elderly parents?

Have you ever noticed that the more urgently the GOP pols try to come up with a good set of policies, and the louder they trumpet their latest set, the sillier the policies get? It's because they're lost. They're lost because, as said above, they lack their own, independent view of reality, based on their own experience, thinking, discussion, and reading, and so they are dependent on outside and artificial sources, such as opinion polls and consultants, to tell them about it.

While I agree with most everything Mr. Auster says, I would simply ask how it is possible for the elected (GOP or otherwise), directly dependent on electors with insanely minimal qualifications as they are, to adhere to any principles even remotely "conservative?"

Once more, our founding fathers exhibited great wisdom in devising a system of government in which power was distributed, not only among the several branches, but among the several spheres of government; a system in which the electors had to meet stiffer qualifications, and even so, were not directly responsible for electing certain of their representatives. And etc...

I actually think that the GOP has finally found its place in liberal dominated America. Just an alternative liberal party for all those dependents who aren't particularly fond of the other one and those that represent it ... for whatever reason.

There's never a shortage of dependents in a dependent, entitlement society. It seems the GOP is finally beginning to truly understand this concept and apply it. Thus the GOP is competing with the Democrats, not on superior principle and ideas, but on who can pass out the most freebies to their prospective constituents while at the same time treating them with a dignity which they have not earned and do not deserve. What I'd like to know is how the GOP thinks it can win in such a competition? Or does it?

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

What's the status of H.B. 1804? (part 2)

Back on March 6, I attended an immigration seminar held at the local Vo-Tech center. The purpose of the seminar was to inform local Oklahoma businesses of the stipulations in the law and how to comply with them.

There was a great deal of good information given during the seminar. For instance, I learned for the first time of the national E-Verify system for confirming the employment status of a prospective employee. As per section 7 of the law, after July 1st, 2008, Oklahoma businesses and contractors may not enter into contract with any government entity unless such company is registered with E-Verify. The specific provision reads as follows:

SECTION 7. NEW LAW A new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 1313 of Title 25, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

A. Every public employer shall register with and utilize a Status Verification System as described in subparagraphs a or b of paragraph 1 of Section 6 of this act to verify the federal employment authorization status of all new employees.

B. 1. After July 1, 2008, no public employer shall enter into a contract for the physical performance of services within this state unless the contractor registers and participates in the Status Verification System to verify the work eligibility status of all new employees.

2. After July 1, 2008, no contractor or subcontractor who enters into a contract with a public employer shall enter into such a contract or subcontract in connection with the physical performance of services within this state unless the contractor or subcontractor registers and participates in the Status Verification System to verify information of all new employees.

This section of the law was, as of March 6, being challenged in the Oklahoma courts on behalf of the Oklahoma Chambers of Commerce. I have no knowledge of any resolution to this dispute, of any court injunction or anything of the sort.

Another section of the law is also under review by the courts as part of the same lawsuit. Namely, Section 9, which reads:

SECTION 9. NEW LAW A new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 2385.32 of Title 68, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

A. If an individual independent contractor, contracting for the physical performance of services in this state, fails to provide to the contracting entity documentation to verify the independent contractor's employment authorization, pursuant to the prohibition against the use of unauthorized alien labor through contract set forth in 8 U.S.C., Section 1324a(a)(4), the contracting entity shall be required to withhold state income tax at the top marginal income tax rate as provided in Section 2355 of Title 68 of the Oklahoma Statutes as applied to compensation paid to such individual for the performance of such services within this state which exceeds the minimum amount of compensation the contracting entity is required to report as income on United States Internal Revenue Service Form 1099.

B. Any contracting entity who fails to comply with the withholding requirements of this subsection shall be liable for the taxes required to have been withheld unless such contracting entity is exempt from federal withholding with respect to such individual pursuant to a properly filed Internal Revenue Service Form 8233 or its equivalent.

C. Nothing in this section is intended to create, or should be construed as creating, an employer-employee relationship between a contracting entity and an individual independent contractor.

This and one other lawsuit (filed on behalf of another entity which I failed to note) challenging the constitutionality of the law on grounds of unfairness and discriminatory practices comprise the two remaining challenges which currently stand in the way of full enactment of all provisions of Oklahoma's H.B. 1804, due to take effect, as per sections 7 and 9, July 1, 2008.

Other than the preceding useful information, the remainder of the time allotted to the presentation of the seminar basically amounted to a lot of complaining about the insolence exhibited by the Oklahoma Legislature when it was advised (by the presenter of the seminar) that this was a bad law for Oklahoma and its pursuit must be abandoned. Thankfully Randy Terrill and the body of the Oklahoma Legislature roundly rejected this advice, noting that "our constituents are demanding this piece of legislation be enacted," an answer which the speaker implied was untruthful. Apparently he isn't aware of all the polls taken on the question which consistently result in a 70% favorable attitude toward the law among legal citizens of Oklahoma -- the only kind that matter.

If memory serves I've covered most of the information gleaned from the seminar. However, if something I've missed comes to mind, I'll add it as an update.

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What is the connection between Arizona, Oklahoma, Tennessee, sardines, a pickup truck, me and a Muskogee teen?

A couple of weeks ago while at a mall in Muskogee, Ok., I was approached in the parking lot by a young black teenager who was selling newspaper subscriptions to the Muskogee Phoenix. Without going into a lot of detail, I was impressed with young man's ambition, and his willingness to approach me and to answer my questions; questions such as "since I'm not a resident of Muskogee, what is the benefit to me of subscribing to the Muskogee Phoenix newspaper?" In the end the young man talked me right out of my money and into a subscription to said paper, where yesterday I discovered in Tuesday's edition this story about the arrest of 19 transient illegals who happened to pull into the wrong driveway at the wrong time, and obviously in the wrong state.

You know the moral of the story.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Local enforcement of immigration laws works!

As I've said countless times, I firmly believe that the best, most effective (in a variety of ways) method of dealing with the immigration problem in this country is to leave it to the states and the local communities to do the vast majority of the "heavy lifting" for themselves. Do note that I didn't say "allow" them to do it, but leave it to them to do for themselves. In other words, get out of the way and let them govern themselves. They will. Case in point? Recent happenings in the border state Arizona. Here's the entirety of the article from the Intellectual Conservative:

Striking changes in Arizona as illegal immigrants flee the state
by Rachel Alexander

Arizona is leading the nation in local enforcement of laws against illegal immigration. As illegal immigrants leave the state, the state's most serious problems such as traffic congestion and the expense of teaching English Language Learner classes are dissipating.

Since Arizona's local law enforcement began enforcing illegal immigration laws and an employer sanctions law went into effect, illegal immigrants have been fleeing the state in large numbers. The effects have been far-ranging. Commuters are reporting fewer vehicles on the freeways, shortening their rush-hour commutes. What had become a serious transportation problem in Arizona is losing its urgency. English Learner Language (ELL) students started dropping out of school. This helped end a confrontation between the state legislature and a liberal federal judge who had ordered the state to spend more money on ELL classes.

Fewer illegal immigrants are using hospital emergency rooms, so waiting times have decreased. Although the rest of the country is in an economic slump, unemployment is going down in Arizona, from 4.5% in January to 4.1% in March. Day laborers loitering outside of Home Depot and other stores have mostly disappeared, ending months of confrontation between illegal immigrant sympathizers and protesters. Desert lands near the border are returning to their pristine condition and the wildlife is coming back. Identity theft and car thefts are decreasing. No one showed up on May 1 to march in immigrant rallies.

With illegal immigrants leaving, the state will see huge savings as fewer illegal immigrants use social welfare programs and the cost of arresting, prosecuting, incarcerating and deporting them decreases. Arizona is facing one of the worst budget deficits ever, looming as high as $2 billion in 2009, but the situation may resolve itself.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas are leading the local law enforcement efforts in Arizona against illegal immigration. Arizona is also home to State Representative Russell Pearce, who is responsible for spearheading possibly more laws against illegal immigration than any other state representative in the country. It is also home to Chris Simcox, President of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps. Other counties around the state are beginning to follow the lead of Maricopa County, signing agreements with I.C.E. to permit their law enforcement agencies to arrest illegal immigrants. Cochise County Attorney Ed Rheinheimer intends to prosecute illegal immigrants for trespassing on public lands. Mesa mayor Keno Hawker recently wrote an op-ed in the East Valley Tribune praising Sheriff Joe Arpaio's sweeps of illegal immigrants. Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik bypassed the Pima County Supervisors when they refused to authorize him to add two Border Patrol agents to his border crime unit, and added them anyways.

Although Arizona's Democrat Governor Janet Napolitano has vetoed most illegal immigration bills since 2002 when she entered office, Arizonans have bypassed her by sending initiatives directly to the ballot. In 2004, voters passed four illegal immigration measures with over 70% yes margins. A law targeting drophouses was signed into law earlier this month. An even stricter employer sanctions measure is currently underway to be on the ballot this fall.

Arizona's illegal immigrants are fleeing to sanctuary cities like San Francisco and states with less enforcement and laws prohibiting illegal immigration like Nebraska, Iowa, and Maryland. Since one out of every 10 illegal immigrant is a felon, the result is felons are disproportionately moving to these places.

Granted there are benefits that immigrants bring to our country. But those benefits are outweighed by the negatives when the immigrants cross illegally. There are too many rules, laws, traditions, and practices in society that conflict with illegal immigrants trying to make a living. Arizona's experiment may end up resolving the illegal immigration problem satisfactorily for all, because once the fiscal expense of illegal immigrants is brought down, revising the laws to permit more immigrants to enter the country legally will become more attractive and realistic.

Of course I'm of the opinion that legal immigration is also a huge problem in this country, not just illegal immigration; that if the effects of illegals fleeing the state of Arizona are as good as reported in the story, then it's reasonable to assume that greatly reducing the number of "legal immigrants" to this country would also have very positive short and long term effects (an opinion which doesn't seem to be shared by the writer, but I understand, it isn't pc to favor restrictions on legal immigration.). And of course I'd like to see this done as well at the state and local level in accordance with the tenth amendment, U.S. Constitution.

My hat goes off to the people of the great state of Arizona! Now to resolve that Muslim prayer issue in the Arizona House chambers...

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How familiar are you with Webster's?

For those of you who've tried it before, the problem with a certain link in my blogroll is now fixed. Also, I've added a couple of new links, one to the blogroll, one to the "links of interest" section. Do you know what they are? :-)

My apologies for the inconvenience of the problem link in question, and for the delay in fixing it.

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I figured as much

The first time I heard anything of the now famous "57 states" Obama gaffe was in the subject line of an email I received from ... someone, which I never opened and just deleted immediately. My normal everyday policy being, while checking my inbox, to just delete anything and everything that the subject line informs me is likely going to be a great waste of my time. In this particular case the subject line, as I recall it, read something like "Does Barack Obama really think there are 57 states?", or something to that effect. My immediate reaction was, like I said, to just delete it and not give it another thought.

Today was the first time I've ever seen the actual Obama quote that (I guess, though I do not understand why) everyone's raving about. I've offered my theory of what Mr. Obama actually meant to say with the underlying reason for it in a comment to the tread. Feel free to correct me if you think I'm wrong. But please don't try to convince me that Mr. Obama actually thinks (or thought until very recently) there are more than 50 states in this union. That would be a huge waste of my time, though I probably wouldn't delete the comment.

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Is Michelle Malkin "spreading distortions" about the liberal McCain?

While I'm not a follower of Michelle Malkin's blog, it did seem to me to be a pretty serious charge to level against her that she's "spreading distortions" about Senator McCain. According to Mr. Auster, Malkin propagates two distinct distortions:

Distortion no. 1: Malkin gives the impression to her readers that McCain's "Big Vision" speech is referring to the here-and-now, as opposed to some future date.

Distortion no. 2: Malkin makes Senator McCain's immigration stand sound weaker than it actually is via selectively quoting McCain out of context.

As I said, I'm not a follower of Ms. Malkin, nor am I particularly fond of her. If anything I'm really just neutral toward her, but I disagree with the premise that she engages in spreading distortions about Mr. McCain in either case.

Regarding the first distortion charge, it seems to me that the title of her article about McCain's speech gives the exact opposite impression than that which Auster ascribes to the article itself. In addition, if the title of the article were not enough, Malkin says in the body of the text, and Auster quotes her as saying:

The bulk of the speech is a "look back" as if it were 2013 and McCain's assessing all his progress as president. You know it's pure fantasy because of this line: ...

How could anyone with a pulse read that and come away with the impression that McCain's speech was referring to the here-and-now? Is it Malkin's responsibility to take greater pains than she has here to ensure that every nitwit out there understands the clear meaning that this line conveys? I think not.

As to the second charge of spreading distortions, I addressed it in a comment to the VFR article. And Mr. Auster responded.

By the way, it occurs to me that by labeling them as I did in the body of this text I may have given some of you the impression that I'm the one accusing Ms. Malkin of propagating distortions about Senator McCain's speech. If that's the impression you got, I strongly suggest that you re-read the entirety of this entry (pay particularly close attention where I've added emphasis), including the title, as well as following the link provided to the VFR article. Thanks s'much!

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Monday, May 5, 2008

Good Question

There's a new blog in town, an Irate Tireless Minority of one, namely "Call me Mom." In her entry from Friday, May 2nd, Mom poses a good question, "Who is doing the wrong thing here?"

Mom writes:

Some of the knowledge was not so welcome. One of the other attendees was a high school teacher for a rural school. She was clearly fully integrated into the "these poor illegals are all victims of our cruel and oppressive system" mode, so I won't go into most of what she said. The part that struck me was relating to the future of the children of illegals. She was incensed that there were no programs for them to get social security numbers. She said these children often don't see any point in graduating from high school or going on to college because without social security numbers they can't get jobs and they can't attend college. (At least not most colleges) Now in my mind, the mind of the presenter and her mind this was linked to the growing gang problems we have been seeing. (Legally unemployable youth who are already criminals by their mere presence here turning to lives of crime? Say it isn't so.)

Several months back while Mike Huckabee was still in the presidential race, I was listening to a broadcast on a local Christian radio station where Dick Bott of Bott Radio Network was interviewing Mr. Huckabee. The question was posed to Governor Huckabee concerning his state's educational programs for children of illegal Hispanics. Governor Huckabee's answer consisted of the same basic premise of the Wisconsin school teacher that Mom refers to in her post -- "no government programs for illegals equals a life of crime and poverty, and endangers our society," or something to that effect. I hate to sound harsh (not really), but I simply could not disagree more! The message this purely liberal attitude conveys is this: if people are deprived of government assistance of any sort, the great likelihood is that they'll turn to a life of crime as a result. Correct me, but isn't this kind of attitude and spirit; this dependent criminal mentality, incompatible with America?

In my humble opinion, this attitude turns the whole "cause-effect, internal to external" relationship on its proverbial head. In other words, these people -- these liberals -- reason from effect to cause, from external to internal, which is clearly ... bassackwards.

Anyway, y'all go check out Mom's blog. It's pretty cool.

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