Why Kay?

It used to be my job to stay abreast of developments in Texas politics and write about them. I have not been a resident of my native Lone Star State since 1988, so I may not be aware of some of the finer details these days. For example, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison is planning to run against Rick Perry for Governor of Texas. Why?

Hutchison’s campaign tag line is “I’m running for Governor because I love Texas and I know we can do better.” How? As states go, Texas is in pretty good shape. It has suffered less in the recession than most states, thanks to Perry’s protection of the rainy day fund. It has lost fewer jobs. So if it isn’t the economy, what is it? What does Hutchison expect to do better?

“On key challenges like property taxes, education, private property rights, transportation, utility rates, insurance rates and health care; we need results, not politics.” What sort of results? What has Perry not accomplished? Seems to me there may be differences with regard to some policies or projects, but Perry has gotten things done.

Most recently Perry has been in the news for standing up to the Obama administration. He has appeared at various TEA parties. Some people tried to distance themselves from him when he made remarks that suggested support for secession, though that raised his stock with me.

A couple of years ago Perry told a group of black ministers, “It’s a ridiculous notion to say you cannot legislate morality.” Perhaps he realises that all legislation is, in fact, morality.

And who would have thought back in 1985 when I was helping to coordinating efforts to get the Texas Board of Education to leave homeschoolers alone that one day a homeschool mom would be on the Board. Word is that Perry is considering her for board chairperson and the liberals are frothing at the mouth. Yep, another tick in the Perry column.

Except for voting in favour of the federal bailout, Hutchison is rather conservative. NARAL don’t like her, though National Right to Life only rate her at 75%. The NEA rate her at 36%, which is a little high for my comfort but still no sell-out to their liberal education agenda.  The environmentalists don’t like her, so that’s good.

But as conservative as she may be, the only reason for her to run for governor is that she wants to. She’s always wanted to be governor and at 66 she’s no spring chicken. In fact, if elected she will be the oldest Texas governor inaugurated to a first term. So this is her last shot, really.

Is that reason enough to send Rick Perry back to Haskell County? I don’t think so.

The Responsibility Handed Down by Apollo

I have been used to getting visits to my blog every day from searches about the Moon landings because of the short piece I wrote one year ago today. While everybody focuses on the the big round numbers when it comes to civic anniversaries, I have kept focus on the achievements of the Apollo program even through the leaner times. With everybody writing for the last week or more about the 40th anniversary of the first lunar landing, I doubt very many people will pass this way.

I have been caught up in the hype as well, taking advantage of the various Internet opportunities to remember Apollo 11. I have used We Choose the Moon from the JFK Presidential Library. I have read along with the transcripts of the mission tapes from NASA as I listened to the real-time (+40 years) streaming audio. The BBC News Channel covered the news briefing today in Washington DC attended by Walt Cunningham, Jim Lovell, Dave Scott, Buzz Aldrin, Charlie Duke, Tom Stafford, and Gene Cernan. Even as I am writing this, the Ron Howard documentary In the Shadow of the Moon is on Channel 4.

Neil and Buzz may have been the first to walk on the Moon, but the Apollo program was full of firsts. The entire program could have been completed (instead of cutting out the final three missions) and they would not have run out of firsts. Sadly, TV audiences get bored so Congress started thinking about how much more money it could appropriate to more worthy causes, like blowing up villages and rice paddies in Vietnam controlled by people with the wrong political ideas. Why continue to advance the edges of scientific understanding on a cosmic scale when you can buy more napalm?

Buzz Aldrin’s new memoir was timed to come out at the same time as the 40th anniversary. He has been making the rounds on a promotional tour, using the opportunity to push his view that we should leave the Moon behind and go straight to Mars. When I watched today’s briefing, I saw just how forcefully his pushes this idea. Most of the other living Apollo astronauts seem to favour returning to the Moon as a staging point for perfecting base-building on a non-terrestrial body before going on to the Red Planet.

As much as I want to see missions to Mars in my lifetime, and as smart as Buzz is, there is still so much to be learned from our only known natural satellite. We need to go own the Moon, so to speak. Not in the legal sense – I think the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 is a good thing (not to be confused with the unratified Moon Treaty of 1979 which is completely bonkers) – but use of the Moon needs to be fully established. It would be so much more useful than that floating white elephant known as the International Space Station. The Moon has resources to be tapped that could make a dramatic difference to life on Earth without there being any chance of damaging the Moon itself.

I was struck by once again by Jim Lovell’s revelation that from the Moon you can put the whole Earth behind your thumb. Other astronauts have talked about how tiny and fragile it looks from 240,000 miles away. Writing 3,000 years ago, the singer-songwriter David ben Jesse could not have imagined the how much more meaningful his words would become in December 1968 when Bill Anders took the famous Earth-rise photo from Apollo 8.

earthrise

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?

That God cares about a tiny blue planet suspended in space is amazing enough. That out of all the universe He came down and became man and shared in our suffering is mind boggling. That we have the technology to go beyond this planet to explore the wonder and value of His creation is a responsibility that should not be ignored.

When a Deal Is Not a Deal

The Atlantic Coast Conference has has reneged on its deal to host three post-season tournaments in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Inspired by the National Association for the Advancement of Cultural Poverty (the only thing I can imagine those initials represent), the conference has pulled out because South Carolina flies a Confederate flag at the Statehouse in Columbia. The legislators of the State of South Carolina did not decide to fly the flag after the ACC committed to the BB&T Coastal Field in Myrtle Beach, motivating some sort of response. In fact, it was after being bullied by the NAACP nine years ago that the flag was removed from the capitol dome and flown elsewhere on the grounds as a compromise.

Nonetheless, the National Association for the Annihilation of Constitutional Patriotism (I imagined another possible meaning of the initials, given that this was why the South had to raise arms against the Northern aggression in the Recent Unpleasantness) insists that anyone and everyone boycott South Carolina. It seems in more ways than one that when it comes to the NAACP, a deal isn’t a deal.

It is unfortunate that the NAACP has been able to bully the NCAA into meaning No Cooperation from African Americans and the ACC into Against Caucasian Culture. But that’s what they do. It’s based on the Marxist idea that you can’t advance one part of the population without pulling down another. That must be what it stands for: Neo-marxist Anger Against Conservative Politicians.

The ACC cannot blanket boycott South Carolina because Clemson University is one of its member institutions. However, what it does is consider each athletic venue on a case-by-case basis. It has given the NAACP veto power over any location it doesn’t like. The NAACP objects whenever an event is scheduled anywhere in the Palmetto State.

“Our baseball committee and institutional administrators awarded the championships to Myrtle Beach with the understanding that the event had the blessings of all parties within the state of South Carolina. It has become clear this was not the case,” commissioner John Swofford said. “It’s unfortunate that this miscommunication occurred, and since the original announcement, we have had productive conversations with members of the NAACP,” he added. “In the end, given the conference’s commitment to diversity, equality and human rights, our institutions have determined that this change should be made.”

This is open admission that the NAACP is a party that has to bless the actions of the ACC. Never Act Absent our Consent Party – I think we’ve sussed out the meaning of the initials now. The voiceover over near the end of college sports telecasts should now say, “Rebroadcast or retransmission in any form without the express written consent of the NCAA and the NAACP is strictly prohibited.” It is also a statement that South Carolina is not committed to diversity, equality or human rights because it recognises the historical realities of mid-19th century and doesn’t sweep them under the rug of revisionism.  The role of the ACC is also to take a political viewpoint and demand conformity to the mantras of the Left.

The deal that brought the ACC baseball tournament to the Grand Strand area of South Carolina would have benefited the people of Horry and Georgetown counties. Horry County is over 15% black. Georgetown County is nearly 40% black. Has walking out on the deal benefited them? National Association for the Advancement of… well no, clearly not. It obviously doesn’t stand for that.

China Hides the Truth About the Uyghurs

Some time ago, in a previous blogging identity, I raised the problems of the Uyghurs in East Turkistan (known as Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region by the occupying Chinese). I noted how the Chinese government was using the fact that the Uyghurs are Muslim to build up resentment against them in the West. It is much easier to do this with regard to East Turkistan than it is with Tibet, because nobody hates Tibetan Buddhists just for being Buddhists.

After all, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is only autonomous to the transplanted ethnic Han population who rule it. For the Uyghurs, complete autonomy from Beijing is exactly what they want. Outside communist doublespeak, “complete autonomy” is another term for independence. Yet Xinjiang has long been one of the most tightly controlled regions claimed by the Chinese government.

Here’s how things work in East Turkistan. Chinese officials claim that 156 died in violence that erupted from protests (originally about how Uyghur workers had been killed in a toy factory in Guangdong province) on Sunday and that most of those killed were Han. Chinese officials – never a very trustworthy lot – then arrested 1400 Uyghurs. About 200 Uyghur women, understandably unhappy about the 1400 arrests, decided to protest to appeal for the freedom of the detainees. They were confronted with riot police.

On Tuesday, some of the Han population in Urumqi (the capital of East Turkistan) then rampaged through the Uyghur parts of the city with clubs and machetes, smashing up businesses.

As is their common practice, the Chinese authorities don’t want the outside world to get unfiltered information. They shut down internet service and international telephone service in Urumqi. I think it is a good idea to fear a government that fears the truth.

The only just resolution to the current violence and more importantly to the suppression of the Uyghur people is true autonomy. They should have the right of self-determination.  When the left in the US and elsewhere complain about what they perceive to be right-wing American imperialism I marvel at the short-sightedness of not seeing the true imperialism of their fellow socialists, the Chinese government. I am also ashamed of the governments of other nations in the world (especially the US and UK) for not taking a stronger stand. No one wants to offend the Chinese government.

Ain’t Nothing But a Hound Dog

Our puppies are now six weeks old. They have been interesting to watch over the last few weeks, as they have found their feet and cut their teeth. Without any sort of instruction or training, they began to fight each other. They will spar until one yields, usually in some sort of pain. They other thing is that they like meat. Again, no one had to tell them to like dead flesh. They will eat other things, but they like meat.

Dogs are predators. They like to kill things. That’s the way they are made. I marvel at the so-called animal rights activists and supporters who do not support the right of dogs to kill. In this country they have ineffectually banned fox hunting and hare coursing. (The hunts continued despite protestors causing criminal damage and sending videos to the police. The police have openly stated they will not enforce the ban of foxhunting, though they still chase hare coursers occasionally.) In the case of fox hunting, fox can be killed after being chased by hounds, but they must be killed by humans. Likewise it is legal to shoot a hare; you just can’t send a dog after it.

This is because there are people who enjoy watching the dogs do what dogs do. It is not the prey that is banned – only the predator. We are supposed to feel that there is something wrong with watching the natural course of predator vs. prey – unless we are watching wild animals on a David Attenborough documentary, of course. So it’s okay to watch an alligator kill a kangaroo or an orca chomp down on a seal, but not a hound chase down a fox.

I also think it is hypocritical to spay or neuter a dog. So many of those who support animal rights also support human reproductive rights (both causes being favourites of the Left). It seems unnecessarily cruel to an animal to take away their reproductive organs merely as a human convenience. If you don’t want puppies, keep the bitch away from a dog.

We breed and sell sighthounds. Many people breed them as show dogs. They try to develop certain qualities in them that appeal to the poncy prima donnas at Crufts and other dog shows, with just the right colour, height, and grooming. We don’t breed show dogs. We breed dogs that can do what dogs do best. We only sell them to people who let them use their natural ability and instinct. They see (with a peripheral range of about 270°), they run really fast (up to about 45 mph), and they kill. And they love it. That’s the way God made them.

Because I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and, doggonit, people like me!

Al Franken has been declared the Senator-elect from Minnesota. Franken, whose previous contributions to the political arena have included such thoughtful books as Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot, will now be the 60th Democrat in the Senate. If possible, he will tilt the chamber further to the left.

It will be interesting to see how he gets along with colleagues across the aisle. It was only a couple of years ago that he wrote, “Republicans are shameless dicks. No, that’s not fair. Republican politicians are shameless dicks.” I’m not seeing a lot of bi-partisanship there.

Hopefully he’s given up violence as a means of controlling free speech. Back in 2004, he body-slammed a demonstrator at a Howard Dean rally. He justified his actions by saying, “I’m neutral in this race but I’m for freedom of speech, which means people should be able to assemble and speak without being shouted down.” Apparently that means people who assemble and agree with the man on the stump. After all, he didn’t say people should be free to assemble and speak without being knocked down. It’s a good thing he’s in the quieter Senate rather than in the more robust House of Representatives. There should be less opportunity for body slamming the opposition.

I agree with most pundits that being the filibuster-breaking 60th senator is not going to be significant. Filibustering is not a frequent tactic. What is significant is that the President has another ideological comrade in the Senate.