Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Lincoln v. Douglas

I will be attending the debate. I can't wait: it will be like Christmas in October.

Selfish Hedonists

Just when I thought I couldn't get any more fired up (see here and here), the Archpundit finds this:
After Keyes told the hosts that homosexuality is "selfish hedonism," he was asked whether Mary Cheney is a "selfish hedonist." "Of course she is," Keyes replied. "That goes by definition. Of course she is."
Given that the basis for Keyes' position is that sex is about procreation and not pleasure, and that sex belongs only in marriage (for instance, see his speech Sunday), it seems to me that all of the following are all selfish hedonists:
married couples using contraception single people having hetrosexual sex single and married people having homosexual sex married people who had sex before they were married anyone who has ever engaged in self gratification and possibly even, anyone who has ever enjoyed sex
And I'm sure I missed a few. So, to in no way belittle the particularized hatred and vitriole that gays and lesbians have suffered from Alan Keyes, but the "selfish hedonists" tent looks to be a big tent. And far more welcoming than the Republicans "big tent." Update: I'm watching the comments on this one. I know I missed a few people on the list above, but I'm not looking for additions.

The Clinton Sermon

In case you haven't seen this yet, it's a good antidote to the Keyes' "What would Jesus Do?" lecture: Clinton at Riverside Church in NYC on Sunday. (You can also watch it on C-Span.) Some highlights:
Politics and political involvement dictated by faith is not the exclusive province of the right wing. Religious values can include commitment to the common good, concern for the poor and vulnerable, the middle class families, the preservation of our God-given environment, unity over division, and for truth in campaign advertising. . . . And don’t let somebody [say] you’re not a good Christian because your views on certain issues don’t fit the party line on the values voters crowd. And remind them that all have sinned and fallen short of God's glory and all of us see through the glass darkly.
Update: I'm watching it on the c-span link now. Much better on video than on paper (or screen).

Remember the good old days

Remember the good old days when Keyes pretended that he didn't speak for God?
I have never based my public and political views on any claim to "speak for God." August 15, 2004
Yet today:
And I think it behooves someone of the Christian faith to ask themselves would Jesus allow himself to be represented in that action? As a matter of fact, we know he wouldn't.
Of course, we knew that's what he thought all along. At least he's being honest--he really does he think he speaks for God. Is it possible for a person to be more arrogant? And, seriously, is Keyes talking about Jesus from the Bible? Because here's what I read that Jesus said:
Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with Father who is in heaven. Do not judge lest you be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged: and by your standard of measure, it will be measured of you.
An update: One more Bible verse in light of the comments about Mary Cheney being a selfish hedonist. "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." Update 2: I neglected the option of calling Keyes a liar about the whole "born alive" act stuff. But the Archpundit does that well.

What would Jesus do?

Here's as much of this Tavis Smiley interview from NPR today as I can stand to transcribe: Smiley starts by asking Keyes if there is any question that no one has asked him. Keyes answered that yes, he wanted to know why no one is asking him how he is going to "get the Roman Catholic vote," in a state that is highly Roman Catholic. So, Smiley obliges him and asks him. Here's Keyes' response:
I think I plan to get it by appealing to the clear conscience of Catholic as well as Christians in general because the stands I take on the issues are in fact the stands that are required by the moral conscience that is shaped by the precepts of Christianity. And, uh, I think that is a really important element in this election that is everyone is overlooking in this election. The simple fact of the matter is that we are dealing with a moral crisis in this country. ... We all know that the crisis is rooted in these moral factors and I think that we all recognize as ordinary people just living our lives as we do that our moral conscience is shaped by our religious faith. If you don't bring that faith to bear when you are judging about areas that have moral content then you are betraying your faith. So it becomes a serious challenge to me as a Roman Catholic Christian to others whatever may be their background or denomination simple questions like would Jesus Christ allow himself to be represented by somebody who is willing, as Barack Obama is for instance to allow a baby who is born alive . . . to die like garbage. And I think it behooves someone of the Christian faith to ask themselves would Jesus allow himself to be represented in that action? As a matter of fact, we know he wouldn't. Because we know that when we are thinking the way that we are supposed to be thinking we are asking ourselves "what would Jesus do?" We know that Jesus would not let a helpless child die simply because someone else wanted to take its life.
I'm so angry, I can't reply yet. Update: Darn. I just spent all that time typing that, when Keyes already had it on his website. Update 2 (2 hours later): Still angry. Did he really have the gall to say that Jesus would not vote for Obama? Did he really say that I'm betraying my religious faith if I vote for Obama? Did he really say that being a Christian means voting for Keyes?

Why is Keyes so grumpy?

Why is Keyes so grumpy? It may be the low-carb diet.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say complex carbs, such as potatoes, rice, whole grain breads, lentils, beans and pasta, are best for stabilizing mood. So if you are already prone to mood changes, a low-carb diet may make you cranky. Judith Wurtman, Ph.D., a research scientist in MIT's Department of Brain and Cognitive Science, says low-carb diets can inhibit the synthesis of brain serotonin, which is made after the consumption of carbohydrate foods. "Many people eat carbs as a form of self medication because, as we discovered years ago, the resulting increase in brain serotonin improves mood. We call these people carbohydrate cravers and without carbs, they tend to feel very grumpy, angry and even anxious. They experience symptoms similar to PMS," she says.
The Lowdown on Low Carbs (Same info here)

Daily Herald on Keyes

Here's the Daily Herald's take on Keyes yesterday. A few highlights:
My fear is that Keyes' theatrics and many of his out-of-the-mainstream views will overshadow any real debate on the issues and cost the party more erosion," wrote [DuPage County Board Chairman Bob] Schillerstrom, responding to a Daily Herald survey of Illinois Republican delegates. "Marriage is not about them," said Keyes of gays. "I'll put it very simply: Marriage is about procreation and child rearing. That's the essence of it. To embrace an understanding of marriage that in principle excludes procreation would be to destroy the meaning of the institution." Keyes has criticized President Bush's policies on education, taxes and immigration but has been praising the president this week as the best candidate to continue the war on terror. Keyes refuses to back away from previous criticism of convention speakers like Sen. John McCain (an "arrogant liberal"), California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (on the "evil side") and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (wouldn't vote for him because he supports abortion rights). When asked if enough money will be there to air TV ads against Obama, Keyes wasn't divulging secrets: "This is for me to know."

Monday, August 30, 2004

Radio Row

An article about Keyes' media-filled day from the Chicago Tribune. At the risk of sounding like a Keyes defender, I loved the use of the "some say" in here:
Some say that's a sign he's not really interested in being the next senator from Illinois, but instead is capitalizing on an opportunity to promote his conservative policy positions to a national audience.
Yeah, wasn't Keyes supposed to be spending the day "effectively communicating to the people of Illinois," Uh, maybe not:
One of Keyes's last stops was an interview with Darrell Ankarlo of KLIF in Dallas.
"Keyes told Kirby Wilbur, an on-air personality for 570 KVI Talk Radio Seattle."

Alan Keyes Is No Harold Stassen

Alan Keyes Is No Harold Stassen (washingtonpost.com) So I know, this is completely unrelated to the RNC; however, for about 3 days, this was the top result when googling news about Alan Keyes and it cracked me up every time I read it, so I'm posting it. In sum, the letter writer says:
Your Aug. 9 editorial regarding new Illinois GOP Senate candidate Alan Keyes compared Keyes to Harold Stassen. This comparison is grossly unfair to Stassen.
Which reminds Truth Girl that she was present at the vice-presidential debate where Lloyd Bentsen told Dan Quayle that "you sir, are no John Kennedy." Unfortunately, she is ashamed to admit that her leanings were far more conservative at the time and she actually had a bit of a crush on Quayle. (Truth Girl has also decided to refer to herself in the third person whenever she refers to her conservative background as an attempt to distance herself from her not-so-distant past.)

A little more on the war

From the comments in reference to Keyes revisionist history presentation about the war in Iraq:
Keyes was lying from his first sentence. The UN weapons inspectors weren't "kicked out of the country" -- they left because we announced that we were going to start bombing in 48 hours. It's amazing that people like Keyes can offer completely fictional accounts of recent historical events which everyone over the age of two was around for, and rooms full of people applaud and say "amen." I'm the kind of guy who often walks into a room and forgets what he came for, but even I remember about the weapons inspectors. To say that the UN had no "eyes and ears" in Iraq in 2003 is to completely contradict obvious facts. Is Alan Keyes a serious pothead, or does he just think that everyone who watches the Quentin Road Bible Hour is? Dave Palmer
As I've had more than one person mention to me: how is it that the same people who are so obsessed with preventing the abortion of pre-viable fetuses are willing to buy into a false premise that has caused the death hundreds of viable adult American soldiers and thousands of viable children and adult Iraqis?

CLTV Interview

So, Keyes mentioned something that I thought was new on CLTV. Keyes mentioned the rising cost of health care and health insurance because of the cost of malpractice insurance. Fascinating that he actually talked about something other than abortion for 15 seconds.

Keyes on CBS2

Amazing. Keyes managed to take a question about the protestors in New York and tie it back to Obama and abortion by saying that both are "people who've adopted an extremist approach." And when asked about why he isn't speaking at the RNC, he said "these days getting in and out of the floor takes quite a bit of time and we didn't want to use the chunk of time that it requires to get a moment's photo op. We thought it better to be effectively communicating to the people of Illinois." Uh, look at where Keyes will be tonight:
10:00-10:30p EST: ABC's Talk Show Row hosted by Sam Donaldson and Gil Gross; on Convention Floor 11:30p or 12:00a EST: Greta Van Sustern Show at the Republican Convention; on Convention Floor
And this morning (unless he was just standing in front of a screen), he was on the convention floor. Update: Although Keyes says that he will be communicating to the people of Illinois, that does not apparently include the Illinois delegation to the RNC. From the Chicago Tribune:
Illinois Republican Party Chairwoman Judy Baar Topinka said she wasn't sure what Keyes had scheduled this week or when he would meet up with his party. "He has his own agenda. He doesn't necessarily work within the confines of the Illinois Republican Party," she said. "So, we really don't know what Mr. Keyes is doing, when, until he alerts us. He lets us know--when he feels so moved to let us know--where he is. "I don't know if it's a good thing," for the party, she added. "It certainly seems to be his way."
Update 2: So, this morning he may not actually be on the floor, but just in the press area. Not sure how security works there, also not sure what the story is for tonight. CNN was on the floor during the DNC, it looks from the description that they will be there tonight.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

No time for his own party...

Keyes said he didn't have time to speak at the RNC, but he apparently has time to talk on every single talk radio show. His schedule tomorrow from the Illinois Leader: MONDAY, August 30
Republican National Convention, New York 7:30-7:35a EST: Interview with Antonio Mora or Mike Flannery, WBBM TV-2/CBS, Chicago; live sit-down from CBS box at Madison Square Garden. 9:05-9:10a EST: Interview with Tonya Francisco on CLTV, Chicago; topic: GOP Convention and ALK's race 10:00-10:15a EST: Interview on WLS radio, Chicago 4:00-4:30p EST: Inside Politics, CNN, details forthcoming 5:00-5:05p EST: Interview with ABC News Chicago, ABC skybox at Madison Square Garden; topic: campaign & convention; tentative 10:00-10:30p EST: ABC's Talk Show Row hosted by Sam Donaldson and Gil Gross; on Convention Floor 11:30p or 12:00a EST: Greta Van Sustern Show at the Republican Convention; on Convention Floor
Should be plenty to report on tomorrow!

Birmingham, Alabama

Turns out both Keyes and Obama were in Birmingham, Alabama this morning, reported the Birmingham News.
Both men running for the U.S. Senate in Illinois are scheduled to appear in Birmingham, with Republican Alan Keyes appearing Sunday at the Mountaintop Community Church in Vestavia Hills and Democrat Barack Obama attending a fund-raiser Monday at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. It's a strange coincidence in what has been a strange political race.
Keyes was there to speak at a church; Obama for a fundraiser:
Keyes, who has run unsuccessfully for president twice, was booked in December to speak at Mountaintop Community Church, a nondenominational evangelical Protestant, mega-church. Paul Podraza, the church's media director, said Keyes is one in a series of guest speakers who have included John Croyle and will include former NBA star A.C. Green in September and supermodel Kim Alexis in November. Podraza said the speakers were chosen to draw people to church who might not normally consider it and because the speakers are not only in the public eye but they also talk about their Christian faith. Hosts for Obama's Birmingham fund-raiser include former Birmingham Mayor Richard Arrington; Ginger Avery, executive director of the Alabama Trial Lawyers Association; state Sen. Hank Sanders of Selma; and Alabama New South Coalition Director Toni Smalls.

Oh My

The Archpundit sends us to a Walter Jacobsen interview with Alan Keyes. Listening to it, I don't know why Obama would agree to any debates. There is no point in arguing with a crazy man.

Obama's speech prior to the Iraq war

Of course, another example of someone who figured out that there wasn't a justification for the Iraq war before we ever went to war, is Barack Obama. From his website, is a link to the speech Obama gave on October 24, 2002. The best known quote is, obviously, this one:
I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.
On Hussein, Obama said:
Now let me be clear – I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity. He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him. But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history. I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the middle east, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Queda.
If you've never read it, read the speech now. If you've read it before, read it again. It's that good.

More on the Iraq war

The Archpundit sends us to the Keyes' collection of streaming video of his recent interviews. Of course, recently having gotten fired-up again about the Administration's lying about the weapons of mass destruction, I was struck by the applause that Keyes received when he said at Quentin Road Baptist Church (my transcription, so mistakes mine):
The U.N. had been kicked out of the country and had no eyes and ears to tell them what was happening to the weapons of mass destruction... since they [the U.N.] were blind and had no proper intelligence and since according to what the President had in his hands, we were not blind and neither were the British and others and we did have such intelligence, why on earth would you go to a blind body and ask them whether you need to do something about that which you clearly see? [APPALAUSE] I think the very suggestion is illogical, and so in this particular instance it was a mistake to ask them a question because they didn't have the means to answer the question and gave our friends, if we can still call them that, our friends in Europe [LAUGHTER] a chance to misbehave. . . . And we especially should not go to the U.N. with a question that we know the Europeans never want to know the answer to . . . We have to provide leadership. We have to provide leadership. And thatm by the way, is especially true when we have been heinously attacked. And when we must live with the knowledge that they will die by the tens of thousands or hunderds of thousands once again if we are not able to just respond to danger, but to anticipate and preempt that danger. Terrorism can not be defeated after the fact, it must be defeated before it strikes. And that's why we are looking to improve our intelligence capabilities. And that's why the President would have been irresponsible not to look at the intelligence in his hands and move against the potential danger in Iraq. [applause] (and an "Amen" from the minister.)
Except of course, that's just not the truth. There was no connection to al-Qaeda in Iraq. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. There was bad U.S. and British intelligence, and the U.N. weapons inspectors were right. (See, among other articles, The Economist, U.S. edition, July 17, 2004, p. 23). So, why is Keyes still saying there was? And why are people still applauding? Why does anyone still believe there were WMD's? Why does anyone still believe there was an Iraqi connection to al Qaeda? Update: a link to a New Yorker story about the faulty intelligence.

Slavery and Race

This has been bothering me ever since Keyes said it on NPR's Fresh Air:
Slavery is not a RACIAL issue. It's an issue of human justice! And that means that when someone is enslaved, in violation of the fundamental premise of human dignity, we are turning our backs on our decent humanity.
I don't disagree that there have been slaves who weren't black and that slavery is an issue of human justice, but I knew that that were definitely people using race to defend slavery. Here's a sampling from Thomas Jefferson from his Notes on the States of Virginia:
The first difference which strikes us is that of colour. Whether the black of the negro resides in the reticular membrane between the skin and scarf-skin, or in the scarf-skin itself; whether it proceeds from the colour of the blood, the colour of the bile, or from that of some other secretion, the difference is fixed in nature, and is as real as if its seat and cause were better known to us. And is this difference of no importance? Is it not the foundation of a greater or less share of beauty in the two races? Are not the fine mixtures of red and white, the expressions of every passion by greater or less suffusions of colour in the one, preferable to that eternal monotony, which reigns in the countenances, that immoveable veil of black which covers all the emotions of the other race? Add to these, flowing hair, a more elegant symmetry of form, their own judgment in favour of the whites, declared by their preference of them, as uniformly as is the preference of the Oranootan for the black women over those of his own species. The circumstance of superior beauty, is thought worthy attention in the propagation of our horses, dogs, and other domestic animals; why not in that of man? Besides those of colour, figure, and hair, there are other physical distinctions proving a difference of race. They have less hair on the face and body. They secrete less by the kidnies, and more by the glands of the skin, which gives them a very strong and disagreeable odour. This greater degree of transpiration renders them more tolerant of heat, and less so of cold, than the whites. Perhaps too a difference of structure in the pulmonary apparatus, which a late ingenious 30 experimentalist has discovered to be the principal regulator of animal heat, may have disabled them from extricating, in the act of inspiration, so much of that fluid from the outer air, or obliged them in expiration, to part with more of it. They seem to require less sleep. A black, after hard labour through the day, will be induced by the slightest amusements to sit up till midnight, or later, though knowing he must be out with the first dawn of the morning. . . . This unfortunate difference of colour, and perhaps of faculty, is a powerful obstacle to the emancipation of these people
Obviously, Thomas Jefferson was a confused soul on the issue of slavery, but to deny that race had anything to do with slavery is simply false.


An interesting article from Voice of America discussing the Illinois Senate Race and why Americans care about "carpetbagging" when people in other countries with other systems of government don't:
[Michael Krassa, a Political Science professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne] says in many parliamentary systems, like the ones in western Europe, voters take a "national" approach to the idea of representation. They expect their leaders to look out for the interests of the nation as a whole. But in a federal system, like the one in the United States, voters tend to take a more local, or even personal, approach to representation. Theoretically, everyone in Congress is looking out for the interests of the nation. But voters here also expect their leaders to exhibit special loyalty to the states and districts they represent, getting tax breaks and roads and defense contracts for the people who live there. And the feeling is that in order to have that loyalty, a person has to have lived in the state he represents.

Today's speech

The text of Keyes' speech from the Lincoln memorial yesterday is now posted on his website.

A conservative critique of Keyes

I found this critique of Keyes' position of reparations by a black conservative who feels very sold out by Keyes. He starts by tracing Keyes' prior stance on reparations, then states:
So how now can Keyes look people in the eye who’ve stuck by him amidst four failed candidacies and television show and expect us to look the other way on this, especially when we dare not cross him when it comes to betraying his “convictions?” Every black conservative needs to take a time out and slowly remove the knife Alan Keyes has firmly planted in each of our backs. When I go to colleges this fall and try to articulate a different point of view on politics, I’ll have to be prepared when Alan Keyes’ words are thrown in my face. Since Keyes now calls for some kind of payback, my opinion will certainly be taken as a joke when compared to someone of his former stature. For that reason I will have to distance myself from Alan Keyes for the time being. After writing this, I know I’ll be persona non grata with the Keyes folks, but I do this because that’s what standing on one’s principles means, and I refuse to be spun. What he’s doing is essentially talking down to an audience he must feel is gullible and beneath him. That goes against everything I believe as a black Republican.

Archpundit on Keyes on Homosexuality

This is an excellent post from the Archpundit which includes this comment:
Consensual sexual relations are just that--consensual sexual relations. The sort of argument Keyes makes is unserious and quite silly. If he is the serious intellectual he claims to be than he would be aware that while many popular arguements over homosexuality discuss whether it is uncontrollable, most serious discussions moved beyond that to a point of asking what interest the state has bothering with private consensual sexual behavior. Based on such an arugment, his argument is meaningless.
Archpundit also makes the following point about genetics and choice:
The argument on the genetics is rather troublesome anyway--given someone could be predisposed to certain behavior that hurts others and society would take action to restrain that person regardless of whether it is in their control or not. How we restrain them might be different, but we still confine them or otherwise deal the behavior. For a man of 'great intellect' his reasoning is quite poor. There's something about the style that makes many believe he is somehow brilliant when he his actual argument is quite shoddy, but very theatrical.
Personally, I've watched too many friends struggle with the difficulty of coming out in a culture that has told them that they wrong, sinner, perverts, etc., to ever think that anyone would merely "choose" to be gay. Some of the most hurtful types of organizations are those that try to make people into "ex-gays." Keyes spoke at one in March, 1999.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

a b movie?

From the Archpundit:
The Phony Polls Keyes on Fox
KEYES: The phony polls where they won't even release the sampling data that they used? I think it's quite clear that the media is attempting to manipulate and influence the outcome of the election, and that's one of the reasons these polls are so destructive of the quality of our electoral process. WALLACE: And if you get shellacked? KEYES: Get shellacked? That's not even on the table. A matter of fact, the Democrats are running so scared, and my opponent has been running scared since I stepped into the race. I think it's just the opposite. We are building up the kind of momentum that has struck fear into the heart of both Obama and the Democrats in Illinois.
I'm sorry, but can someone get him some lines that don't sound like he is in a bad B movie?
The B movie analogy is far better than mine, but I'm adding mine anyway. Has anyone seen that really awful show called "Crossballs" on Comedy Central where actors and comedians pretend to be experts are argue things like drugs are good for kids, that insulting people helps them lose weight, and new ideas are needed for christianity like calling your priest during your sin? I hate the show, but I think Comedy Central should save themselves some money and skip the actor for a night and just have Keyes come on.

Getting Keyes on the ballot

From Daily Kos, a bit of a dispute in getting Keyes certified, now resolved.

More from comments

First, although Eric Zorn credits me for pointing out that Obama didn't have opposition at the time of his keynote address, it was actually one of those "anonymous" commenters. Then, Trigg from Random Act of Kindness, wishes to argue a technicality:
Actually, Obama was chosen to speak before Jack Ryan dropped out. And regardless, he did have an opponent at the time even though him and his campaign refused to ackowledge his opponents. So much for common courtesy and a belief in the principles of democracy, let alone free and equal elections. Just more typical snobbish, elitist behavior.
But here's the chronology: June 25, 2004: Jack Ryan issues his withdrawal statement. July 27, 2004: Obama delivers his keynote address. July 29, 2004: Jack Ryan files his withdrawal papers, finally. As for other opposition, I have a link to Jerry Kohn's website and have respect for libertarians. However, stating that Obama had no opposition is simply a statement that reflects political realities of the two-party system. I have nothing to do with free and equal elections, as perhaps certain secretaries of state do. As for being an elistist snob, using the David Brooks standards, I want to state that even though I live in the city, I can name four NASCAR drivers, have a CD rack full of country music and have eaten my share of Olive Garden. There's no way I'm more than a 4.5 on the "elistist snob" scale.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Uncovered--a Personal Review

In attempt to connect this review to Alan Keyes, I'll open with this from Alan Keyes on Williams & Whisman (WJBC 1230 AM)(Bloomington).
KEYES: Well, meaning no offense, have we forgotten that we're at war, that we're involved in the most insidious war I think this country may ever have faced, and that the decision to go into Iraq was to open a front in that war, based on intelligence that suggested that Saddam Hussein was in fact looking to develop weapons of mass destruction, had the contacts to put them in the hands of terrorists? You know, I am opposed to any policies that would have us acting as the policeman of the world--but don't tell me that a president who acts in the wake of an attack like September 11th to preemptively prevent terrorists from using even more harmful weapons against our people is acting in some routine fashion. We do not live right now in routine times. We are in the midst of a war. And a president who did not in fact act to defend the lives of our people against the threat that his intelligence was indicating existed would be irresponsible. Thank God President Bush is not irresponsible.
I just returned from Uncovered: The War on Iraq and I loved it, but at the same time it made me feel stupid. It fills in the gaps that Michael Moore assumes that we know in Farhenheit 9/11: that there were no WMD's. It takes many of the "facts" that were proferred by the Bush administration in favor of the war, and systemtically shows that they weren't true. Ultimately, for me this was more personal than Farhenheit 9/11, because I fell for the lines, for the WMD justification for the war. And buying into the rationale, when others didn't and I shouldn't have, makes me feel dumb. In 2000, I couldn't decide who to vote for, but at that time, I lived in a solidly Republican state, so I didn't think my vote really mattered and I never really decided. After September 11th, 2001, I agreed with those who thought the President did a great job of uniting the country, etc. After Afghanistan, came talk of Iraq and I was initially skeptical. I was out of the country and, thus, particularly embarassed by international response when I heard the phrase, "this is the man who tried to kill my dad." I remember listening to the state of the union address. I was still a little skeptical, but impressed by the details given. But then, Colin Powell gave his speech to the U.N. I read the whole thing, I even wanted a copy of the powerpoint slides. I respected Colin Powell and trusted him, so I came closer to supporting the war effort. Then, as the kicker, the media that I was always told was "liberal" bought into the imminent threat argument. So I was sold. I wanted more of an international coalition, but I believed the President and his administration. I remember saying to a friend, "I trust the government. They have access to intelligence that we don't, so if they say there is an imminent threat, there is." When it turned out that there were no WMD's, I felt betrayed. At that point, I gave up on the Bush administration and the Republican party. So watching the movie, my feelings were really ones of embarassment. How could have others have figured out that the whole WMD thing just wasn't true? The movie brought me almost to the point of tears realizing that my own lack of skepticism, (combined with plenty of other people's), resulted in a war on a country who posed no imminent threat. (As an aside, I recognize that there are other post-hoc reasons being tossed about as justifications. But those weren't the ones proferred at the time, and they weren't the ones that I was sold on.) To those of you who protested on Lake Shore Drive, I respect you. Whatever it was that made you skeptical, I wish I had had it. But I have it now.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

One Electorate Under God

Not sure how much longer this link with a review of One Electorate Under God will stay free on nytimes.com, but it's worth reading. I have the book on order; it looks like it has potential. It is a collection of essays that response to two presentations, one by (Catholic) Mario Cuomo and one by (evangelical) Representative Mark Souder, at at an event sponsored by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Some of the most intriguing summaries of the essays include:
Advocating, in effect, a very loose version of "natural law," a tradition historically associated with his Roman Catholicism, Mr. Cuomo spelled out two moral principles that he asserted "would occur to us if we were only 500,000 people on an island without books, without education, without rabbis or priests or history, and we had to figure out who and what we were." These two principles - respect for one another and collaborative improvement of the world - nicely captured Americans' perpetually competing concerns for individual freedom and for community, he said, and "are shared by most if not all our nation's religions." To which Mr. Souder replied that "the notion of a natural law common to all religions" was a particular worldview itself, and one at odds with his Christian faith. ... One of the book's most overtly religious and even theological essays came not from a theologian but from John J. Sweeney, the president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. Alongside his practical plea for religious attention to the needs of working families and the role of labor unions, Mr. Sweeney offered a capsule theology of work, rooted in the sacraments and a doctrine of "God's ongoing act of creation."

Keyes & Bush

Keyes is on WGN saying that it would be a good move for Bush to campaign with him (Keyes). Shall we take odds on Bush coming to IL and allowing a photo op with Keyes?

More 2nd Amendment comments

More 2nd Amendment comments from the So-called Austin Mayor which, among other things tracks the types of weapons that current infantry members are authorized to carry. Go there, he has the links to all the weapons, which Keyes apparently thinks that we all, with appropriate training should be authorized to carry.

The Guardian's take on the Senate Race

For whatever reason, I'm always fascinated with the foreign take on our little Senate race. There's this from the Guardian with a reference to Fahrenheit 9/11:
There is a striking moment in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 when members of the Congressional Black Caucus petition Congress to re-examine the 2000 election results. One by one, African Americans from the lower chamber, the House of Representatives, approached the dais and explained that, in light of the large number of black voters who were turned away from the polls in Florida, the results were invalid. In order to have their grievance tabled and discussed, they needed one senator to support them. The motion fell because not one of the 100 senators, two for each state in the union, was prepared to back them. Not one senator was black. Come November 3, that will change. For the first time in American history, both the main candidates in a senate race are black. In the election to replace the Republican senator Peter Fitzgerald, of Illinois, the Democrats are fielding Barack Obama, 43. His only gaffe during the Democratic party convention in Boston was to deliver a speech that was so well received that it threatened to overshadow John Kerry's. For the Republicans there is Alan Keyes, 54, an ultra-religious former ambassador to Unesco who stood in 2000 for the Republican presidential nomination.
And their take on Keyes:
Mr Keyes' brand of religious zealotry, maverick tendencies (last week he embraced reparations for slavery), and theatrical flourishes (he has branded Mr Obama's pro-choice stance as "the slaveowner's position"), does not play well in midwest heartlands. Nor do his Republican affiliation and anti-affirmative action stances please African Americans.

More on the Keyes at the RNC

These quotes from the comments are too funny not to bring out:
"Alan Keyes does not need a prime time slot at the Republican National Convention to get his message across," Pascoe said. "Barack Obama needed to be pumped up by Democrats in Illinois and nationally because he is just so much hot air." Did they paint the office right before the Keyes campaign staff moved in? Did they forget to open the office windows before assembling some model airplanes? There must be some innocent explanation for all of them losing touch with reality. # posted by So-Called Austin Mayor : 11:11 AM
That last line -- Obama needs to be pumped up -- is incredible. Obama was chosen to give the keynote when he had no opponent, and it looked as if the GOP would only put up token opposition. Paint fumes can't explain it. I'm guessing that Jerry Rubin's 1968 threat to put LSD in the drinking supply might have been involved. posted by Anonymous : 4:34 PM
And I'm intrigued by this: Keyes doesn't have time to address the RNC on Monday afternoon, yet he has time to visit Hannity and Colmes the day after?

Party of the Year?

Why do I think that this just won't be that much fun?
Join Alan Keyes and supporters for a night of fun, relaxation, and networking at the Chicago Hilton and Towers. Doors open at 7:00pm, and Alan will speak at 8:00pm, followed by the President at 9:00pm. Food and drinks will be provided, and there is no cost to attend. Discounted rooms will be available if you request one by calling 866-578-8600 by Sunday, August 29th.
Interesting that Keyes has the time to talk to this group, but not the convention? And I wonder if Keyes will deliver this speech?

Gun Control Polls

Check out the Archpundit for all kinds of polling numbers and interpretation on gun control, including
Q2. Which ONE of the following THREE views on the issue of gun control comes closest to your own? Current gun control laws are too weak and don’t gom far enough to protect people 43% Current gun control laws are about right 35 Current gun control laws are too restrictive and interfere with Second Amendment rights. 18

Not quite the keynote address

From the Trib: Keyes turns down role at convention
Republican candidates for open U.S. Senate seats, including Keyes, were offered speaking roles next Monday afternoon at the convention, said Dan Allen, a spokesman for the Republican National Senatorial Committee. "Given the extraordinary time commitment as a result of the extraordinary security precautions that are in place, we simply couldn't fit it into his schedule," said William Pascoe, Keyes' campaign manager. Some Senate candidates have declined to give short speeches Monday afternoon because of the time it will take to enter Madison Square Garden in comparison to the time they would spend on the podium, a GOP source said.
Then, my favorite quote:
"Alan Keyes does not need a prime time slot at the Republican National Convention to get his message across," Pascoe said. "Barack Obama needed to be pumped up by Democrats in Illinois and nationally because he is just so much hot air."
So Mr. Pascoe, are you saying that Keyes would have turned down a prime time slot? Didn't think so.

Quit giving them soundbites!

From Keyes' newsletter today:
The complete video of yesterday’s joint press conference on firearms legislation held by Alan and State Senator Ed Petka is available exclusively online at the Illinois Leader Check it out to hear the rest of the story that has been left out by the sound bite driven media.
Then quit giving them soundbites, Alan! You chose to speak in soundbites, so of course that's what the media is going to report. I tried to listen to whole thing, unfortunately the quality was poor and I could hear best when Keyes was yelling. But the question that started the "soundbites" was something like "how will you answer the accusation that will probably come from the Obama camp: that you will arm the whole country with firearms?" That is when Keyes replied with "The accusation that Alan Keyes would arm the whole world is not I think nearly as damning as the truth that Barack Obama would only arm half the world. The criminal half. I frankly find this prospect to be hell itself."` In answer to a question about accidental shootings, Keyes continued talking until he got to a speech that firearms laws aren't about safety, but about freedom, taking away rights from the people. Then, he launched into the rationale unless the common people are armed, you are advocating a return to medieval, acristocratic government. The Uzi question came a question or two after Keyes said that the common people, with proper training, had the right to the same weapons as infantry soldiers. Admittedly, the media got a lot more interested in the press conference after Keyes started getting riled up, but if he doesn't want the media to report soundbites, he needs to quit making it so easy!

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Brady Campaign Asks If Keyes is Serious

The Brady Campaign asks:
The text of the release:
Alan Keyes, the Maryland resident running for the Illinois Senate, said yesterday that machine guns should be legal. Not semiautomatic assault weapons, mind you -- the guns that were outlawed 10 years ago. Mr. Keyes is for legal machine guns, which came under extraordinary federal regulation in the 1930s after the guns were misused by another guy named Al - Al Capone. The manufacture of new machine guns was banned under the McClure-Volkmer Act of 1986. Keyes' comments, published today in the Chicago Sun-Times, were made at a press conference in which he was criticizing "ideological extremism" of his opponent. "Alan Keyes sees a country where every American should be armed to the hilt with the most deadly firepower imaginable," said Jim Brady, an Illinois native who served as President Ronald Reagan's press secretary. "I cannot fathom how he could come up with such a notion. It's insane." There are only five days left when Congress is in session before the expiration of the Assault Weapons Ban - a law that President Bush pledged he'd renew as a candidate for President in 2000. If the ban expires, Alan Keyes will be able to fire semiautomatic assault weapons to his heart's content - but there's no current legislation that will give him his machine guns.

Which amendment will Keyes tackle next?

So, how about a little contest to guess which Constitutional amendment Keyes is going to tackle at his next press conference? (And seriously, it seems obvious to me that he called this press conference because he hadn't been in the paper much recently.) We've covered the 1st, the 2nd, 10th (federalism), 16th (income tax) 17th (election of senators). So, about the 18th (prohibition) and 21st (and its repeal)? Although Keyes says he likes an occasional drink, it might be fun to see him tackle prohibition. Or there's the 19th (equal protection) or the 13th (banning slavery)? I could see him tackling the 22nd (term limits for the Presidency) with that whole "as the founders intended" argument. Any other guesses?

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Keyes: We'd be safer with Uzis

From WLS:
Guns are no more dangerous than cars and America would probably be safer if more people walked around carrying Uzis like they do in Israel. "You walk around the streets of Israel and you see every other person carrying arms and Uzis and so forth and believe me, you do not feel less safe on that account," said Alan Keyes, (R) U.S. Senate candidate.
Although we've known this was Keyes' opinion all along, make sure to watch the video to hear Keyes say this with a straight face. Then, there's this:
"The accusation that Alan Keyes would arm the whole world is not I think nearly as damning as the truth that Barack Obama would only arm half the world. The criminal half. I frankly find this prospect to be hell itself," said Keyes.
So a million things could be said, but I'm going with this: What about federalism? If Keyes doesn't think the First Amendment should be incorporated upon, or apply to, the states and local governments, why should the Second Amendment? In other words, if a local government enacts a law prohibiting gun ownership (as Wilmette did), why does Keyes want to overrule it? Shouldn't federalism prevail? Additional information about the application of the Second Amendment to the states from findlaw.com:
Whatever the [Second] Amendment may mean, it is a bar only to federal action, not extending to state or private restraints.
With the footnote to "state" adding:

Footnote 2] Presser v. Illinois, 116 U.S. 252, 265 (1886). See also Miller v. Texas, 153 U.S. 535 (1894); Robertson v. Baldwin, 165 U.S. 275, 281-282 (1897). The non-application of the Second Amendment to the States is good law today. Quilici v. Village of Morton Grove, 695 F. 2d 261 (7th Cir. 1982), cert. denied, 464 U.S. 863 (1983)(emphasis added).

.In the end, from gun control to running for Senate, apparently federalism is only important to Keyes when it comes to establishing a Christian state. Update: I should add, though, that the Illinois Constitution in Section 22 has a "RIGHT TO ARMS" provision that provides "Subject only to the police power, the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Presumably, it has subsequently been interpreted by Illinois state courts to uphold laws such as the Wilmette law. Illinois also has a religious freedom provision that provides that "No person shall be required to attend or support any ministry or place of worship against his consent, nor shall any preference be given by law to any religious denomination or mode of worship." Again, whether state or federal law, Keyes seems to want to pick and choose his amendments. Update 2: Just for the record, Keyes makes no mention of the Illinois constitution, just the federal one.

From the Keyes Newsletter

The Keyes campaign has finally started to send out email updates, and from them we have:
From the newspaper that brought Illinois the famous and erroneous "Dewey defeats Truman" headline, the Chicago Tribune published on Sunday more fiction in the form of a poll on the Illinois U.S. Senate race. As Dr. Keyes discussed Sunday morning on Fox News' "Fox and Friends," he gives no weight to such polls, which are often easily manipulated, particularly when -- as with the Tribune -- the methodology of the poll was not provided. ... Don't believe the phony polls and the left-wing media demagogues.

Can someone explain this?

From the San Jose Mercury News (subscription required):
"It was a scripted performance at the Democratic convention," said Keyes. "I will put it bluntly: His behavior suggests he is unfit to be standing there with those senators. I have proven my fitness. In the presidential debates I stood with Senator (John) McCain, with Senator (Richard) Luger and Senator (Orrin) Hatch and Senator (Phil) Gramm. I won their respect and it was clear to people all over the country that I belonged in their company. And I think the real question isn't about the debates. The real question is, is this guy ready?"
I'm not sure I get this (which is, of course, nothing new when it comes to Keyes' quotes). Debating with U.S. Senators makes one qualified to be a U.S. Senator, whereas being a state Senator doesn't?

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Keyes' Thoughts on Religion

This article was in the Sun-Times today summarizing an interview between Cathleen Falsani and Alan Keyes. It is obviously the companion piece to Obama's similar interview, published in April. It is definitely a thoughtful piece, thoughtful interview and responses. However, most bothered by this response:
Was he saying God is on his side -- the side of the righteous -- and not on that of his Democratic opponent, Barack Obama, a man who professes the same Christian faith? "Well, professing is the operative word," Keyes says, in a moment of snarkiness conspicuously absent from the rest of the interview.
Was that necessary? Who is Keyes that thinks that he can pass judgment on someone else's spirituality?

Nixon's Affirmative Action

In his defense of reparations, Keyes has been raving about Richard Nixon's affirmative action plan, for instance, this from Crossfire:
Well, the unfortunate truth is that people don't listen to what I say, and I'm not surprised. I have never said that I'm against Affirmative Action. I have said that I am for Affirmative Action and against quotas. Affirmative Action is a Republican idea. It was invented under Richard Nixon. It was not intended to establish a quota.
I was curious what Nixon's stance actually was. I linked to an article earlier and I want to list a few highlights from the article entitled, "Richard Nixon and the origins of affirmative action" by Dean J. Kotlowski. First, he opens with a quote from Fortune magazine which stated "[i]ncredible but true, it was the Nixonites who gave us employment quotas." Nixon endorsed a revised version of the Philadelphia Plan (a plan put forth during the Johnson administration). The LBJ version awarded contract to companies that set targets for hiring minorities, but it was later dropped after the U.S. Comptroller viewed the plan as racial quotas and a violation of the Civil Rights Act. In 1969, Nixon defended the use of numerical goals and endorsed a revised version of the Philadelphia Plan. The Philadelphia plan required "federally assisted contractors on projects exceeding $500,000 to show good faith in hiring minorities" and "establish[ed] numerical 'ranges' for employment of African Americas." The AFL-CIO found "the plan's emphasis on quotas and deadlines unacceptable."
Did the Philadelphia Plan establish quotas? Absolutely not, said officials in the Labor Department. [George] Shultz and [Assistant Labor Secretary Arthur] Fletcher distinguished between racial quotas that compelled employers to hire a set number of African Americans and goals that simply established numerical ranges for minority employment. Under a quota system, employers who failed to hire a specific number of minorities would face immediate sanctions, while a policy of numerical ranges only punished contractors who failed to demonstrate a good faith effort to meet their goals. Accordingly, Labor Department Solicitor Laurence H. Silberman and Attorney General John N. Mitchell found no conflict between the Philadelphia Plan and the Civil Rights Act. At any rate, such practical men as Shultz, Fletcher, and Silberman probably were more interested in opening skilled jobs to minorities than in splitting hairs distinguishing between quotas and goals.
After the initial adoption of the plan, it seems that Nixon's committment to affirmative action may have waned, but he remembered his administration's struggle with it into the 1990's.
In 1990, Nixon warned President George Bush against attacking racial quotas as Senator Phil Gramm, Republican of Texas, had proposed. Since the 1950s, the former president explained, the "civil rights label on the Republican party was indelible," Therefore, he counseled, "there is no [political] reward for going after the anti-quota vote."
In a review of Kotlowski's book on Nixon, a reviewer adds these comments to the debate over Nixon's affirmative action contributions:
Nixon's accomplishments were significant and no doubt would make many a contemporary Republican shake his head in dismay. There was no "rollback" of previous progress on civil rights issues. Affirmative action took strong root. Furthermore, critically or disastrously depending on your viewpoint, it was the Nixon administration that took the fateful step that transformed minority participation from an aspirational goal to an enforceable target. Ambivalent as he was, Nixon inaugurated himself Quota King by introducing the groundbreaking Philadelphia Plan for federal contracts. (Who was his point man on the project? Surprisingly, the future Reaganite George P. Schultz.)
Until beginning this minor research, I had no idea of the types of affirmative action that the Nixon administrative had undertaken, so I found this to be fascinating insight into Nixon. However, coming back to Keyes, it seems that saying that the Nixon plan had "no quotas" is an overstatement, or at least a hotly debated point. Also, as Nixon was adopting a plan that LBJ had been forced to drop, the contention that Nixon "invented" affirmative action seems exaggerated.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Poll Results

So, as I suspected, I had no chance to blog while away for work and now I'm on a trip home to a red state (and even picked up some red state paraphernalia). In fact by the time I return to Illinois, I may start to consider myself a carpetbagger. But, I finally got a chance log on and there was the wonderful news from the Tribune, that the polling numbers were "nearly two-thirds of voters indicating support for Democrat Barack Obama and less than one-quarter backing Keyes, according to a new Tribune/WGN-TV poll." Although I'm sure most of you have seen these numbers by now, nor are terribly surprised by them, I just wanted to point out a few of my favorites:
Conservatives said they recruited the outspoken Keyes as someone who could eloquently make the case that Obama, a Democratic state senator from Hyde Park, was too liberal to represent the state. But the poll showed that more than half of voters said they mostly agreed with Obama's stance on issues, while less than one in five said they agreed with Keyes. Even voters who described themselves as fairly conservative preferred Obama to Keyes by a margin of 49 percent to 40 percent.
Keyes has made opposition to abortion a centerpiece of his campaign, forcefully decrying it as a sin and equating abortion rights advocates like Obama to slaveholders. But the survey found that only 28 percent of Illinois voters want to see restrictions on abortion tightened, while 61 percent said they either liked the status quo or thought restrictions should be loosened. The rest said they didn't know
Despite the controversy that led Ryan to drop off the ballot, black voters still had a far higher opinion of him than Keyes, with 25 percent saying they viewed the former GOP candidate favorably.

Friday, August 20, 2004

More Abortion Debate

Eric Zorn's dialogue regarding the "live birth" abortion bill is now all archived here.

Dressed For Success

Given Truth Girl's love for religious themes and debate, it would be entirely inappropriate for me to not highlight Keyes' visit to the Illinois State Fair yesterday. Keyes made his best attempt to blend in well with the crowd by sporting only the most appropriate attire. From the trib. Keyes swept through the fairgrounds in a green shirt, tan slacks, tennis shoes and a necklace with a gold crucifix and a miniature version of the Ten Commandments--something he calls the "Boss and the Rules." He stopped at a Republican event in a tavern called Franny's, where he did not imbibe. "I do have one rule, because I do occasionally take a drink of beer and wine," he said. "I never do so when I have to speak, because I want to make sure that the spiritedness of my speech is entirely mine." Keyes certainly followed his rule when he spoke on August 18th. From the Trib: Responding to a question about proposed expansion of O'Hare International Airport and construction of an airport in the south suburbs, Keyes said he hasn't made up his mind on the projects but a "political mess" partly explains their lack of progress and the stench in the air. "It's a little bit like you're standing in a room, and off in the corner of the room there is a deeply smelly toad that is filling the room with a nasty odor," he said. "And everybody's holding their cocktails, and they're wearing their ties and they're fastidiously not talking about the smelly toad. But the room is filled with the stink of it." Entirely Keyes indeed.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Keyes on Scarborough-More of the Same

Running commentary on Keyes on Scarborough Country: The same attack on the "live birth" abortion. Again, the carpetbagging defense. Something I hadn't heard before: Keyes just said that because Hillary was a First Lady, there were "overtones of intimidation" involved in her running in New York. Joe Scarborough isn't buying the federalism argument. Funny: Alan just called Joe Scarborough, "Chuck." I wonder if "Chuck" is who actually handled the taped interview? Or did Keyes just forget? New name for Obama: "Blustering braggard." I'm going to start collecting them. Then, they seemed to cut the Keyes recording short. Perhaps the media is also getting tired of Keyes rambling.

A Brief Lull

Just as things are getting interesting...I am being sent out of town by my paying job. In a worst case scenario, I will have no free time. In a best case scenario, I won't have access to a personal computer. You may, however, see postings from my sidekick and research analyst, the Truth Tornado. Feel free to comment away in my absence.

Name calling

From a story about Keyes' visit to Wheaton on Friday:
He said voters can see through Obama's record and discover that he is beyond liberal, socialist or communist. He called Obama a hardline Marxist. In reference to accusations that he's ultra-conservative, Keyes said, "That's just name-calling."


I've been afraid to deal with it so far, but Eric Zorn wasn't. See more comments at his blog.

Losing more friends

This from the Illinois Leader:
The response from conservatives was immediate. "Who downstate will now vote for Keyes?" wrote IllinoisLeader.com reader Randall Mead of Springfield today. "I certainly won't."
The article also includes an extended explanation by Keyes of his position on reparations. In which references Nixon's affirmative action policy as:

the original and proper concept of affirmative action developed under Republican leadership during the Nixon years.

I'm currently in the midst of this article on Nixon's affirmative action policy. Very interesting.

But I like this quote from the article best:

[Jack Roeser of Family Taxpayers Network] continued, "Keyes is a man of ideas, and I expect he gets into discussions like this that are proper in their proper place, but that he would never vote for reparations. The problem with American politics is that people don't get into deep discussions."

So, the idea I take away from that is I should vote for someone who advocates one set of principles but votes for another?

More Crossfire Comments

Transcript is up here. For Paul Begala's first question he had read a quote by Mike Murphy critizing Keyes, then asked Keyes to respond to it. Keyes declined to answer statement that Murphy was "some pro-abortion Republican" and adding that it "wasn't a real question." He also stated that

some people seem to think that casting a name-calling session in front of somebody constitutes asking a question.

Ummm. Might you be referring to yourself, Mr. Keyes? So, Begala asked Keyes a "real question" the second time around. He echoed So-Called Austin Mayor's question about whether in by stating that on September 11th God was telling America to "wake up", Keyes was saying that God wanted the September 11th attacks to occur. Keyes avoided the question merely repeating the same line about both abortion and terrorism both taking innocent life. Check out the transcript. Tucker Carlson called Keyes out on both his reparations stance and whether his selection as a candidate was an affirmative action selection (Is Keyes losing friends faster than he can make them?).

Give them an incentive to work. Give people an incentive to own businesses without taking pennies out of anybody else's pocket, you're able to create an environment where people are encouraged to work and put a strong foundation under themselves instead of putting money in a democracy to dominate their lives that undermines the moral foundations of their families and destroys their economic incentives.

I repeat my earlier question. How does not requiring one entire set of taxpayers to pay taxes not cost me a penny? More on this later...

Keyesian Mathematics

On Crossfire today, Keyes said that slaves were taxed at a 100% rate. I would just like to point out the mathematical improbability of such a tax rate. Rate rate is computed by dividing tax paid by income (and taking it times 100 to expres as a percentage). However, when slave income is $0, the denominator is zero and the result is what mathematicians consider "undefined." When Keyes loses, perhaps he can get a job here.


Keyes has apparently changed his mind about reparations: From the Trib:

Prompted by a reporter's question, Keyes gave a brief tutorial on Roman history and said that in regard to reparations for slavery, the U.S. should do what the Romans did: "When a city had been devastated [in the Roman empire], for a certain length of time--a generation or two--they exempted the damaged city from taxation."

Keyes proposed that for a generation or two, African-Americans of slave heritage should be exempted from federal taxes--federal because slavery "was an egregious failure on the part of the federal establishment."

In calling for the tax relief, Keyes appeared to be reaching out to capture the black vote, something that may prove difficult to do, particularly after his unwelcome reception at the Bud Billiken Day Parade Saturday.The former ambassador said his plan would give African-Americans "a competitive edge in the labor market," because those exempted would be cheaper to hire than federal tax-paying employees and would "compensate for all those years when your labor was being exploited."

From the Sun-Times

On another issue, Keyes on Monday said he supported reparations for descendants of slaves -- an apparent switch in his position.

Keyes suggested descendants of slaves should be exempt from paying federal income taxes. But in a March 27, 2002, transcript of his show "Making Sense," Keyes -- who wants to abolish the federal income tax for everyone -- suggested that reparations were an insult.

"You want to tell me that what they suffered can actually be repaired with money?" Keyes asked at the time.

Keyes, through a spokesman, said late Monday he does not support reparations if other people's money is used. "If you couldn't get the income tax abolished totally, that [exemption for slave descendants] is incremental progress," spokesman Bill Pascoe said.

I think I almost feel sorry for this spokesman having the reconcile the contradictory positions. But the explanation leave me thinking that the Keyes people seem a little confused about the nature of taxes. Isn't "other people's money" still being used with a tax exemption? Isn't difficult to give one group a tax break without someone else having to pick the tab? How does this connect with his anti-affirmative action stance? Is this again a race v. heritage distinction? And I agree with the Trib, I think the booing at Bud Billiken may just have gotten to him. Update at 9:05 a.m. So, having contemplated this for a half hour, I'm still thinking about it--I suppose mostly because I've never decided on my personal stance on reparations. But thinking about Keyes' inconsistencies, I just don't get the difference between a tax exemption and making reparation payments. Update at 9:30 a.m. I told you I can't keep thinking about this. The whole cheaper workforce thing? Is he suggesting that an African-American could apply for a job and the employer could intentionally pay him less because the employee doesn't have to pay taxes? This is just too odd.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Illinois in play?

He really is delusional:

So, people are rallying already. They have been flooding the phone lines, they've been coming forward, they're organizing independently, we're getting contributions, so, yes, I think this is going to make a difference, and to tell you the truth, I think that it puts Illinois in play in the presidential election. (emphasis mine)

From another Sunday interview (Steve Malzburg, WABC, New York).

God is Not a Republican--Or Democrat

This link arrived today from Sojourners. I wonder what size ad (entitled "God is Not a Republican or Democrat) they are aiming for? I've linked to them before, but here's the principles that they set forth in this ad:
  • We are not single-issue voters.
  • We believe that poverty - caring for the poor and vulnerable - is a religious issue.
  • We believe that the environment - caring for God's earth - is a religious issue.
  • We believe that war - and our call to be peacemakers - is a religious issue.
  • We believe that truth-telling is a religious issue.
  • We believe that human rights - respecting the image of God in every person - is a religious issue. We believe that our response to terrorism is a religious issue.
  • We believe that a consistent ethic of human life is a religious issue.

As is expected of evangelicals, they post Bible verses that support each principle.

Scarborough-No time for Keyes

Keyes got bumped off of Scarborough Country. We're going to have to wait for tomorrow for:
Barack Obama's got the lead in Illinois, but challenger Alan Keyes tells Joe why he thinks he can beat the Democrats' rising star.
But that will conflict with both the Amazing Race and Nip/Tuck, so someone else may just have to cover this one...

A little more on Peroutka

So, I realize Peroutka is a little off-topic from Keyes, but there is a piece from Christianity Today's weblog, criticizing the Washington Post piece and calling Peroutka the "Christian Right's Nader." Weblog points us to Peroutka's criticism of James Dobson. What if the religious right split? Could there really be a religious right's Nader? I disagree with the headline, though, of "The Antiabortion, Antiwar, Pro-Jesus Party." There's very little mention of Jesus in the Constitution Party's platform, other than in the preamble. Isn't the focus more on the Ten Commandments, than on the "love your neighbor as yourself" platform that Jesus preached. Just a thought... And Keyes and Peroutka have shared a stage before. Does being the Republican IL Senate candidate mean that Keyes has to support Bush?

Why not the Constitution Party?

A friend sent this Washington Post article to me about the Constitution Party's candidate, Michael A. Peroutka, who sounds a lot like Keyes.
Peroutka tells audiences that his campaign is divinely inspired and that his party seeks to remake the United States into a Christian state, one that no longer adheres to the separation of church and state. "This is a spiritual battle," he said. "It's fought out in culture, it's fought out in politics, it's fought out in the economy. But it's a spiritual battle. It's a question of who is lord."
Peroutka is being watched by the Southern Poverty Law Center:
Some ideas at the heart of Peroutka's campaign have also drawn the attention of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights law firm that tracks hate groups. Mark Potok, editor of the center's monthly intelligence report, said his group took note when Peroutka received a rare national endorsement from the League of the South, which he describes as a coalition of hard-line, "neo-Confederates" who espouse racist, anti-gay and anti-immigrant ideas.
I haven't done a complete comparison, but so far the Constitution Party's platform looks very similar to Keyes' positions (one collection of Keyes' views is here, but I haven't checked all of them to vouch for their accuracy). They both even have the same fascination with Judge Roy A. Moore (former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice who installed the Ten Commandments statue, then fought against its removal).
Earlier this year, he said, former Alabama chief justice Roy S. Moore -- famous for fighting to keep a reproduction of the Ten Commandments in the courthouse -- considered a run. When that fell through, Peroutka emerged as a consensus candidate.
For one of Keyes' speeches supporting Moore, go here. So, the question is: why did Keyes should run as a Republican and not as a Constitution Party member?

Sunday, August 15, 2004

More from Bud Billiken

From the Sun-Times
Cheers erupted from the crowd as Obama's float passed.

"Tell Obama he's got our vote 'cause he's a Democrat and I like his principles and his values, and he's got a strong family core," said Lastagia Roberson, 28, of Springfield.

"Besides being very charismatic, his background and his stands speak for itself," said Chuck Arceneaux, 48, of Richton Park. "I think he'd be a fine representative of the people, not only black people, but all people."

The crowd was mostly quiet and ambivalent toward Keyes, a former presidential candidate and radio and television commentator from Maryland, as he passed. Some booing followed him.

"Tell Alan Keyes to go back to Maryland," said Lena Sullivan, 43, of Carbondale, who was booing. "He's not even from here. He knows nothing about Illinois."

A This Week Recap

I am constantly impressed by how diplomatic Barack Obama is. George Stephanopoulos tried to set him up, asking which was your reaction, "I can't be this lucky" or "I can't believe this is happening to me." Obama smiled and replied with
"I decided, that with his announcment, that our fate is in our own hands. And so, there are going to be some trying moments. Mr. Keyes is voluble and he's opinionated and so there's going to be a healthy discussion as a consequence of this. But what I am absolutely certain of is that if you compare his vision and my vision, that the voters are, I think, a lot more interested in the things that I have to say."
Keyes was basically in his usual preaching mode, trying to explain the difference between him and Hillary Clinton and dropping abortion into every other sentence. I got my hopes up when he said that his lease is month to month. Do you think there's any chance that he'll only go one month? Then, there's the race aspect. When asked if he was picked because he was black, Keyes raised his voice and replied "I don't know and it's not my business to explain." He said that because he's in the race, "race isn't on the table," but then went on to try to prove that he was more black than Obama. "My ancestors toiled in slavery in this country," (emphasis Keyes') which all, of course, led into the standard abortion tirade, beginning with Barack Obama "claims an African-American heritage yet stands against the very things that were the basis for the oppression of my ancestors" and ending with the word "slaughter." Perhaps the best straight line came from Stephanouplous who voice-overed "as always with Alan Keyes, there is a struggle between the the statesman and the showman" before Keyes began singing. Keyes has apparently moved from comparing himself to political figures, like Lincoln, to comparing religious characters, this time to David (of the Old Testament). Obama, in the rebuttal piece, I think brings up an excellent point when he says that Keyes position on abortion is not in the mainstream with even those who are also disturbed by abortion. I actually think that Alan Keyes' over-the-top rhetoric can harm the pro-life movement. There are a lot of kind pro-life people who actually care about women and girls with unexpected pregancies. By spouting vitrole in the direction of those who may be considering abortion, you fail to acknowledge the difficult decision that chosing to have or not have an abortion actually is. In response to Stephanouplous' repeating of Keyes' "I'm blacker than you are" statement, Obama responsed. "I don't know if he's is trying to say that he's more qualified on the hierarchy of victimhood ... but that's something we'd have to explore further." I really hope we don't have to explore this more. And of course, I appreciated the dialogue between Stephanouplous and Obama regarding religion in the Democratic party. After Stephanouplous repeated the statistics that the biggest divides are between church-goers and non-church-goers with regular church-goers voting Republican by 20%. Obama said "we [the Democratic Party] made a mistake when we bought into the idea that 'only secularism could express tolerance.'" On a personal level, Obama stated that "My faith is one that admits some doubt. ... God doesn't speak to me alone." Then, shifting back to role that he thinks that religion would play in a society, Obama stated that "the only way that I can live with people of difference views and faiths, is if we have a civil society that is in fact civil. Obama's soft-spoken manner in conversation was easily contrasted with Keyes', particularly where Obama was almost calling Keyes out. In my favorite line, Obama said that the difference between himself and Keyes is that "Keyes ... feels the certainty of a prophet. Someone who's got a direct line into what God thinks. ... I have to struggle a little bit more and admit that certain human fallibility and not assert my unyielding confidence that I always know the truth."

Bud Billiken Day Parade

The Chicago Tribune describes the Bud Billikin Day Parade with the following:
Keyes, an African-American, was greeted with a resounding chorus of jeers and boos that bordered on outright hostility.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

George Stephanopoulos in IL

ABCNews is reporting that tomorrow on This Week with George Stephanopoulis:

George Stephanopoulos goes on the road to Illinois, where the Democrats' rising star, U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama, was challenged this week by two-time presidential candidate Alan Keyes.

A Religion Map-new Red/Blue States

Since Keyes favors state or community established religions, I thought it might be interesting to see what that map would look like. Here's one from Valparaiso University that shows religious dominance by county. It's not really surprising, but there are definitely states that would have to go with the "community approach" as they lack a dominant religion. And given Baptist propensity towards splitting denominations over theological issues, I would doubt that it could simply be said that the South would be "Baptist." This map shows religious adherents by county. Actually, I found many of the maps kind of interesting:

More crazy things

So, everyone else is keeping up with the crazy things faster than me, like this from the Archpundit: Keyes wants to end popular election of senators So Keyes doesn't quit talking about his respect for the Constitution, yet he would repeal one of the amendments? The Bill of Rights were amendments, would he repeal them, too? Or are the only "bad" amendments those from the 20th century? Now that I think of it, that would get rid of the income tax, too. Eric Zorn sends us to the Illinois Times for this story which has an extended biography of Keyes and a summary of Keyes' constant playing of the "race card." I'm not the only one calling Keyes crazy:
Even the Weekly Standard, a conservative magazine edited by Keyes' Harvard roommate William Kristol, calls the choice of Keyes a "fiasco" in an online article by Republican consultant Mike Murphy. "I'm certain Ambassador Keyes is now busily printing up some 'Crazy Times Demand a Crazy Senator' yard signs," Murphy wrote.
And this is why the Republican Party was clearly also crazy for picking Keyes:
Why would Republicans (who rejected Jim Oberweis because his anti-immigrant ads were perceived as too bigoted) choose a candidate with a long record of extreme statements against gays and lesbians, against abortion rights, against free trade, and even against moderates in his own party?
For the record, I don't consider all members of the religous right crazy. But I do think Alan Keyes is and I'm definitely not the only one. There's also this from suck.com in 2000, clearly written by someone who had never met an evangelical Christian before in his life.

Hollywood Entertainment

I was going to post on Alan Keyes' speech entitled: "Today's Entertainment: Are We Having Fun Yet?", but then my copy of US Weekly arrived and I read it instead.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Obama on public morality

The Archpundit links to this summary of Obama's Fresh Air interview:

Obama said he would be "entirely happy to engage with him on some of the issues that he's concerned about, issues of abortion and gay rights and wanting to have the Ten Commandments posted in a federal courtroom."

"But what I'm going to insist on is that we discuss issues not only of private morality but also of public morality, because I think there are moral questions posed when we have one out of three African-American males in prison and there are moral problems when entire communities are devastated because the plant closes and is moving overseas," Obama said.

"There are moral problems posed by all those stakeholders in Enron when nobody's policing them and that's going to be as big a topic as issues like gay marriage in this campaign if I have anything to do about it," he said.

I should have known Obama could argue this far better than I ever could. I look forward to the debates.

Why so much religion?

Because once you declare that "Victory is for God," you set yourself up for questioning about whether quite possibly God wouldn't have a different opinion on your politics. I'll return to various ways of thinking about the intersection of politics and religion in a later point. Update at 9:21 a.m. I wanted to clarify: I, in no way, think that I have any knowledge of what God actually thinks. In fact, I can't even decide what I think about religion, so I certainly don't know what God thinks. Neither have I reached any conclusions about what I think the role of religion should be in the public sphere. All I wanted to point out is that if one choses to use Christianity as your platform, you should be aware that reasonable Christians disagree as to what that platform should be.

Keyes on AIDS in Africa

If your are here, you have probably seen this quote from Keyes. In the January 11, 2000 GOP debate, Keyes was asked whether the U.S. should spend $300 million of its [at that time] surplus to fight AIDS in Africa, Keyes answered:
You know, I think that one of the things that I'm hearing in this discussion, and it's the premise of your question, I guess, which is typical is that the way you measure compassion is by how much money we're going to throw at some problem, regardless of whether the problem is susceptible to being dealt with with all the money. After all, asking whether we should spend $300 million to cure an incurable disease is kind of an academic point, and you should realize that. Especially when the spread of that disease is rooted in what? Is rooted in a moral crisis. Is rooted in a pattern of behavior that spreads that death because of a kind of licentiousness, not only in Africa, but right here in our own country and around the world. I think that this whole discussion is based on a premise that reveals the corruption of our thought. Money cannot solve every problem. Sometimes we need to look at the moral root of that problem and have the guts to deal with it.
The problems with this answer are numerous: First, the question asked by Tim Russert was not if the money should be spent to "cure" AIDS, but to fight AIDS. Keyes' thinking on AIDS apparently can't picture a scenario where money is spent to prolong life, improve the quality of life of those with AIDS, or even to prevent AIDS. The lack of optimism in calling AIDS "incurable" also troubles me. Other diseases have been thought incurable and proved ultimately proved curable. See, e.g. leprosy. (And in case you don't go to the WebMD link, there's an relevant statement that "[f]or many years, [leprosy] was considered a mysterious disorder associated with some type of curse, and persons with the disease were isolated and ostracized.") But you don't get to "curable" without a little effort. If Keyes had taken either argued that the government should not be involved in healthcare or in healthcare overseas, I could grasped his point. But rather he opted for a morality stance. Even assuming that there is a moral element to the spread of AIDS (and to the extent that means that homosexuality is a choice, I strongly disagree), there are many infected with HIV/AIDS who had no ability to prevent infection. For example, children can receive HIV through their mother; women acquire HIV through rape (pdf) or forced participation in the sex industry. Further, the effect of AIDS is not limited merely to those infected with the disease. It extends to orphans and other family members left behind without an income source--by 2010, Saharan Africa is estimated to be home to 50 million orphaned children. It affects the economies of the countries overwhelmed with the disease. Any morality objection to fighting AIDS is at best oversimplified. I realize that Keyes has said that morality problems lead to economic problems, but I think that raises a question about the definition of morality. If a Keyes-defined Christianity was the law of the land (or at least a state/community), why doesn't it operate on the principles of compassion that Christianity clearly calls for? Compassion that requires caring for the sick and dying, the widows and orphans, and even sinners (as Keyes would chose to define them)? And yes, compassion does occasionally require money. To put it another way, if a church-established religion would result in the supposed "don'ts" of Christianity, why would it also not incorporate the "do's." In another theological query, if under the doctrine of original sin, the sin of Adam and Eve introduced disease into the world, shouldn't Keyes consider all diseases to be morality diseases?

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Christian Coalition at the RNC

If Keyes hasn't been asked to speak, he's got company. This MSNBC article states that neither James Dobson, Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell nor Pat Robertson have been asked to speak at the Republican National Convention:
Some prominent evangelical Christians say they have not been invited to participate in or attend the Republican National Convention less than three weeks before the event is to begin. . . . [Ralph] Reed, a former executive director of the Christian Coalition, said that the Republicans had used no such strategy and that conservative Christians would have a central role at the convention, which is set to begin Aug. 30.

States Establishing Religion

With thanks to the Archpundit for pointing me to this link, in an interview with the SBC Baptist Press, Keyes acknowledged the direction in which a state (or community) established religion could go:

With such a constitutional interpretation, Keyes acknowledged, Catholicism likely would dominate in the Northeast and Protestantism down South. With a growing Muslim population, a state could even have state-sanctioned Islamic symbols and schools."

I don't think it would be likely, but it would be possible," Keyes told Baptist Press.

I guess I'll give Keyes points for consistency, but beyond the academic argument, didn't a little thing called the Taliban illustrate the practical problems with a state-established religion? Is the distinction between a state in the United States different from a country, even if Afghanistan is smaller than Texas?

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Constitutional Originalism

Alan Keyes' view of the Constitution seems plainly originalist. Problems with an originalist perspective that are hotly debated among legal scholars, of which I am not. However, a few links to some of those scholars are in order: Michael Dorf writes about originalism and the problem of "changed circumstances" citing examples from Supreme Court decisions in 2001.

In Kyllo v. United States . . . , the Court will soon decide whether using a thermal imaging device to detect heat emerging from a home constitutes a "search" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. What did eighteenth century English and American cases have to say about thermal imaging? The very question is preposterous.

Indeed, Atwater [Atwater v. Lago Vista, dealing with a warrantless arrest for a seatbelt offense] itself presents a case of profoundly changed circumstances. Automobiles did not exist in the eighteenth century. One might be tempted to look to analogies, such as the horse and buggy, but the horse and buggy played a different role in eighteenth-century America from the role played in modern America by the automobile, to put it mildly.

A critique by Cass Sunstein of liberal originalism concludes with:

No less than the conservative originalist, the liberal originalist does not avoid the most serious problem with all who claim to have a fix on what the Constitution really means," which is their unfortunate habit of invoking the text and the history of the Constitution when their own judgments and their own preferences are playing an inevitable role.
Of course beyond the legal problems with the theory of originalism (either liberal or conservative) are the problems with Keyes' proposition that the original intent was "Christian" as he defines it.


Because they linked to me, I suppose I should link to them: Obama Truth Squad. I have no problem with their stated aim of exploring Obama's voting record. I do; however, have a problem with this button. Clearly, I was thinking of their website when I went with "Truth About Keyes." As Keyes doesn't have a legislative record, the "truth" that I am attempting to expose here is the historical accuracy behind many of Keyes' ideas. I am not able to track every media story about Keyes; I'll leave that to the Archpundit. My aim is more to spend time dissecting his thinking and the basis of his strongly held beliefs. But as I promised to follow the "crazy" things, it wouldn't be a blog entry today without linking to Keyes' singing today. It's not quite a mosh pit, but it will do for now.