Bloggers Unite for Darfur Action
For the US government to take immediate action on Darfur, the American people will have to demand it. For regular updates on the situation and for ways you can help, visit this great blog: Coalition for Darfur.
Walking Down the Middle of the Road... an ideablog in search of new ideas, different perspectives and vibrant debate from a centrist point-of-view
For the US government to take immediate action on Darfur, the American people will have to demand it. For regular updates on the situation and for ways you can help, visit this great blog: Coalition for Darfur.
A Rand Corp. study released earlier this week claims that making preschool available to every 4-year-old in California would generate $2 - $4 dollards in benefits for every dollar spent by reducing special education needs, juvenile arrests and the number of children held back a grade. The study also claims that high-quality preschool program would create a more qualified, internationally competitive workforce and foster economic growth.
Preschool education is an increasingly common experience for the nation's young children, with 66 percent of U.S. 4-year-olds and 43 percent of 3-year-olds enrolled in some type of program during 2001.
But there are wide variations in enrollment rates based on factors such as a child's race, family income and parents' education. Enrollment is lowest for Hispanic children. While just 36 percent of 4- and 5-year-olds in California whose mothers have not completed high school are enrolled in early education programs, 65 percent of children whose mothers have a college degree attend preschool.
First, a disclosure. Writers at The Yellow Line have been known to spend time in casinos. We see nothing morally wrong with the occasional vacation to gamble in Vegas or Atlantic City. What we do think is wrong is the explosion of casinos and slot machine parlors all over the country.
Gambling revenues, once a mere trickle, have become a critical stream of income in a number of states, in some cases surpassing traditional sources like the corporate income tax and helping states lower personal income or property taxes.
Some 70 percent of gambling losses in Delaware's three "racinos," racetracks with video slot machines, come from visitors from Pennsylvania and Maryland. But Pennsylvania legalized slot machines last year and the Maryland Legislature is debating a bill to legalize gambling there.
When the President presented his Fiscal Year 2006 budget proposal to Congress this past February, he stressed that crime, including violent crime, is at a 30-year low. Yet, clearly, as this story from the Associated Press points out crime in America is out of control.
In the event that the UN fails to act or fails to act quickly on the genocide in Darfur, should the United States send in our own peacekeeping force? If President Bush and our Congress found cause to invade Iraq, they should have no problem sending (at the very least) a peacekeeping force into Sudan. The facts:
International investigators suspect [Sudan] has become a financial hub for the terror network since September 11; al-Qaeda operatives have reportedly spirited large amounts of gold into Sudan.
Sudan has also harbored members of the Baghdad-based Abu Nidal Organization, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the Palestinian groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Lebanese group Hezbollah, and others. These terrorists do not carry out attacks within Sudan but plan and support terrorism elsewhere. Hamas and Hezbollah have reportedly maintained training camps in Sudan. The National Islamic Front, the strict Islamist party that governs much of Sudan, does not consider any of these groups terrorist organizations.
There is a genocide underway in Sudan (see this site ). And it appears to be worse than even originally thought. The AP is reporting:
More than 300,000 people have died as a result of the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region, British lawmakers said in a report, a figure more than four times greater than an official UN estimate.
For the second time in a week the UN Security Council postponed a vote on a French proposal to try [in the ICC] suspected war criminals who are accused of orchestrating the Darfur genocide in The Hague.
The United States would allow the International Criminal Court it fiercely opposes to try perpetrators of atrocities in Sudan's Darfur region if it can ensure Americans would not be prosecuted by the court.
The Yellow Line usually doesn’t quote other blogs, but we couldn’t let this post from the ever-nutty Daily Kos go without comment. For those of you who don’t know, The Daily Kos is the most influential left-wing blog.
Overwhelmingly, liberal bloggers identify themselves directly as Democrats…But among bloggers on the right, it always seems that great pains are taken to make it clear that they are "independents" or "libertarians" - these are people who usually endorse much of the GOP agenda and reliably vote for Republicans.
What does it mean? …are Democrats simply prouder of the Democratic party and what it stands for - for all the handwringing of "where do we stand" could it be that the donkey triumphs over the pachyderm? I think so.
Yes, there are many who see the [Democrats] as the lesser of two evils, and in their hearts would prefer Dennis Kucinich or Ralph Nader, but overwhelmingly I've found bloggers on the left have no problem saying "yep, I'm a Democrat.”
Reader DD writes:
The author [of We’re Right to Be in Iraq] writes "In the case of Iraq they have lied to the International community, their own citizens, and broken international laws since well before the first gulf war. Whether the answer is WMD, Human Rights Violations, extreme embezzlement (Oil for Food), or simple deceit (Ministry of Information) the only response is to correct the wrong regardless of the price."
Trying to correct a wrong at any price is not reasonable. Are we really protecting children by using force? Do our actions actually set a good example for the children of the world? As a country we are very bad about selling what good we do for the world. Maybe if we spent more time promoting our good we would not have to use force so often.
I am not saying that we should never have been in the region but at this time it was wrong. It is that our leaders had a very bad plan and reasons to attack. I feel very sorry for the troops that are over there and wish them a safe return. I pray that this war will produce good results. At this time the costs have been to high.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell has spoken out on the “how and whys” of the Iraq war. According to this AP story, Powell agrees that we did the right thing going into Iraq, but criticizes the lead up to the war.
Most of you have probably heard that several IMAX theaters in a dozen US cities are refusing to show any movies that endorse the theory of evolution. Well, today, the head of the Association for the Advancement of Science has publically ridiculed these theaters’ decision.
The suppression of scientifically accurate information as a response to those with differing perspectives is inappropriate and threatens both the integrity of science and the broader public education to which we all are committed..
While it’s true that the how and why we went to Iraq are ultimately less important than whether or not being there is the right answer, we can’t lose sight of the means even as we support the ends. We should expect our government to be honest with us and the Bush Administration was not nearly candid enough in the lead up to war. Iraq had no connection to 9/11 and yet the administration fed that misconception. The probability that Iraq had nuclear weapons was nearly nonexistent, and yet we heard “mushroom cloud” rhetoric.
A reader writes:
"The War in Iraq - Support our Troops, but question how we got there"
For me I think the question is not how or necessarily why we got started, but is it the right answer? How and why are questions that need to be answered by people who, when they see injustice, they consider it someone else's problem. For example, I am not that child's father and do not need to instruct him that what he is doing is wrong. I see someone breaking into a house and do not need to act to correct it because it is not my house. For the past 20 years we have allowed terrorists to pick at us because they perpetrated acts in other people's homes, other countries. We felt as a nation the expense of correcting the child was too high. Is what we are doing in Iraq the right thing?
I think doing the right thing and correcting injustice, protecting the children of the world and teaching them how to coexist is our duty as the most privileged nation in the world. In the case of Iraq they have lied to the International community, their own citizens, and broken international laws since well before the first gulf war. Whether the answer is WMD, Human Rights Violations, extreme embezzlement (Oil for Food), or simple deceit (Ministry of Information) the only response is to correct the wrong regardless of the price.
I have had a chance to travel and see not the worst the world has to offer, but I have seen some poor situations. I hope that when I see someone doing something wrong I have the conviction to act to correct it. I think as a nation we have finally taken that step. I am proud that we have. We are building schools and creating stability in a region where there was no hope for anything before we acted.
I would also add that while terrorists have picked at the US for the past 20 years on foreign soil, they recently brought it into our house. It is the saddest thing that it took that escalation to compel us to act and do what has always been the right answer. We ask our police, fire, and teachers to correct the wrongs of children of all ages on our soil everyday, why shouldn't our elected officials do the same? As the world continues to get smaller and the human race grows its homes closer and closer together we will need to continue to help protect our neighbor's interests even if they can not chase the crook themselves.
As reported in the New York Times, Colorado’s highest court overturned the death sentence for a man because the jury’s consultation of the Bible was ruled to be improper.
The Bible, the court said, constituted an improper outside influence and a reliance on what the court called a "higher authority."
The judicial system works very hard to emphasize the rarified, solemn and sequestered nature of jury deliberations. Jurors must deliberate in that atmosphere without the aid or distraction of extraneous texts.
Luke 6:27, 37 -- Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.... Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven..
Yee-haw, here we go. The AP is reporting that the 2006 Republican gubernatorial primary race is heating up in Texas as current Governor Rick Perry and assumed-challenger Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson are dueling it out over that critical Texas issue: Hillary Clinton.
Last week, Perry's campaign circulated a video that showed the conservative senator speaking kindly of Clinton, and now a 1993 letter has emerged in which Perry called Clinton's health care reform efforts "commendable."
Our icons are being demeaned. Cowboys are no longer heroes for our children, but subject to derision. We are being laughed at instead of respected in the rest of the country. What has happened to our glorious heritage? This is the great state of Texas! We are not wusses, we are Texans. "We will beat back the wussification of Texas if we have to do it one wuss at a time." - Kinky Friedman.
Yahoo News story headline: Raw Food Vegans Thin But Healthy Study Finds.
Raw food vegetarians believe in eating only plant-derived foods that have not been cooked, processed, or otherwise altered from their natural state.
Just released: the report from the commission studying the CIA’s failure to properly assess Iraq’s weapon capabilities. The NYT headlines Report Assails CIA for Failure on Iraq Weapons.
CNN reported that the Government Accountability Office will investigate whether the Bush administration violated any laws when it paid conservative columnist Maggie Gallagher $21,500 through the Department of Health and Human Services to help create materials promoting the agency’s $300 million initiative to encourage marriage. (Note: GAO is also investigating a Department of Education contract with syndicated columnist Armstrong Williams who was hired to promote the No Child Left Behind law).
Same-sex marriage is not the future. The set of ideas that lead a culture, a religion, a court to endorse same-sex marriage are simply not sustainable over the long haul.
The Yellow Line welcomed the formation of a bipartisan commission to examine problems with the U.S. election system. The Washington Post reported last week that former president Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James A. Bakers III will lead the bipartisan commission to examine problems with the U.S. election system. The Center for Democracy and Election Management at American University will organize the work.
According to The Pharmacists for Life International (pfli.org), which supports a pharmacist's right to deny birth-control pills:
PFLI's mission is to make pharmacy once again a life-saving profession, a mooring from which it has drifted.
The birth control pill impedes pregnancy by preventing the ovaries from releasing eggs (ovulation). If eggs aren’t released, sperm can’t fertilize them and pregnancy can’t occur. The pill also thickens your cervical mucus, making it difficult for sperm to enter the uterus and reach any eggs that may have been released.
On the fringes of social conservatism is a growing number of pharmacists refusing to fill birth control pills, as reported by the Washington Post.
There are pharmacists who will only give birth control pills to a woman if she's married. There are pharmacists who mistakenly believe contraception is a form of abortion and refuse to prescribe it to anyone. There are even cases of pharmacists holding prescriptions hostage, where they won't even transfer it to another pharmacy when time is of the essence.
The Yellow Line has avoided this issue a little too long. Both contributors are in agreement that we are there and that we should stay there. We need to support our troops to the fullest extent possible, with manpower and equipment. We should see this through to the end – an end that will, hopefully, see a stable and democratic Iraq.
demonstrates anew that the war was launched on the basis not of hard fact, but of speculation and untruths, especially about Iraqi motives and actions.
This weekend, The Washington Post ran a story covering the possibility of a complete overhaul of labor rules for federal government employees.
New personnel regulations at the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense will dramatically change the way 860,000 workers there are paid, promoted, demoted and disciplined. The plan is to spread the changes throughout all the land of federal government. No more automatic raises. No more simple pass-fail evaluations. No more Job for Life.
Everyone knows that the problem with Social Security is the impending retirement of Baby Boomers. But here’s something that’s not getting covered: this crisis is their fault.
Reader Jon Keen writes:
You mentioned in the Schiavo case, that "no state would let her die, even if she wanted to (it's called suicide)." It seems to me that any one of us can refuse medical help and the state is required to respect our wishes, in many cases suicide is not the term it is freedom of choice. I can envision a lot of scenarios, none of them pleasant, where my Medical Living will would kick in. I think I probably consider this a more pressing matter, a living will, because of the job that I am in [note: Jon is serving in the Air Force], but it can happen to any one of us in any circumstance. We spend huge amounts of money as a society each year on medical patients in declining health, a fair amount no longer capable of making the decisions themselves. I have heard that it is our largest health expenditure. Why not educate ourselves and make the decision before we are incapable, a simple living will, a short process would have solved all questions on her wishes in this situation. I would urge you to mention this to your readers before they are left without the capacity to choose. Hopefully none of us will be in that situation, but you should take the hour or so to make your requests known.
The Washington Post has a good article on the extensive security measures found throughout Washington, DC.
I wanted to leave this issue and write no more of it. But it’s transfixed the nation and troubled me for a week now and I feel a need to say a final word. After much thought, this is my belief: There are all kinds of brain damage from mild to severe. How brain damaged must a person be before we say "o.k., it's reasonable to let this person die." I don't know if we can draw that line. And if we can't draw that line, the only line left is the one between life and death (and I think we should live in a society that sides with life).
My previous post mischaracterized reader Rob's position on Ward Churchill. He clarifies:
I said straight out that my comments weren't about Churchill. Dude's a blowhard, no doubt. All I was merely saying was let's not even talk about Churchill in the same breathe as academic freedom. Should CU fire him? My answer is, CU should do whatever they want and not be subjected to the will of others outside the faculty senate or whoever else makes that decision. I will say, though, that if I were in charge, I'd determine whether he's still contributing to the advancement of thought and learning on campus. I don't know...I doubt many people do. My guess is that he's not because he's too busy being a blowhard. So I'd fire him. So no, I'm completely against tenure being a carte blanche to do whatever and say whatever. Academic freedom can exist without tenure, I assure you. Assuming this is true, what purpose does it serve? Every professor should be judged by his or her peers on how much they contribute to the mission of the college or university. Those who continue to do so stay...those too busy being blowhards can go.
Joe told you why he left the Republicans, now let me explain why I left the Democrats. The Democrats stand against the Republicans. But what do they stand for? Unfortunately, this void of ideas is being filled with a particularly disturbing group of far-left liberals.
Ceci Connolly of the Washington Post may have said it best here –
The reaction to Bush's silence was particularly bitter given his high-profile, late-night intervention on behalf of Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged Florida woman caught in a legal battle over whether her feeding tube should be reinserted.
Sister Sharon Sheridan, 73, principal at St. Mary's Mission School on the reservation, said this of the shootings: "You can't condone what happened here, but you sure can understand it."
Alan has asked me to join him in his quest to create a blog where those like him and I, who walk down the middle of the road, can come to express our views on politics, sports, and life. I thought I’d begin my formal contributions to The Yellow Line with a little about myself….
I'd like to be the first to welcome a new voice to The Yellow Line. My good friend Joe Weedon has agreed to partner with me in my crusade to forge a center-voice in American politics and will begin submitting posts soon. While I began life as a Democrat and Joe began as a Republican, we have often noted a surprising similarity in our viewpoints. Joe's thoughts and ideas will be a welcome addition to The Yellow Line.
whoooaaaa whoaaaaaaa and whoa there big fella...
First, I want to start out by saying, this isn't about Churchill...this is about academic freedom and the point of higher education.
No one has the right to teach at a large, public institution...you have to get hired...which isn't easy at a large, public institution
Let's remember that this isn't grade school...these aren't children absorbing whatever comes out of an authority figure's mouth. These are adults (albeit young, silly, irresponsible adults) to whom these institutions are suppose to teach critical thinking. There's a reason why they're called professors and not teachers.
In a university setting...what's the difference between a professor that says "racial purity is essential to the nation" versus one who says "is racial purity essential to the nation?" I would argue that its not much of a difference at all but I have a feeling you would allow for the latter question but not the first.
Well, the University of Colorado has decided to keep Ward Churchill on its teaching staff as reported here.
Their preliminary report found that while "crude and strained," Churchill's comparison of Sept. 11 victims to a top Nazi is protected by the First Amendment as are any calls he made for violence against the United States.
One of the things I’ve suggested is that it may be that more 9/11s are necessary.
I want the state gone: transform the situation to U.S. out of North America. U.S. off the planet. Out of existence altogether.
Jack McCallum at Sports Illustrated recently wrote this article about great NBA franchises. Spurs were, of course, #1. But what caught my eye was this comment:
They [The Spurs] are integrated into the lifeblood of the community more than any other franchise in the NBA, probably as much as any team in any sport.
O.k., no one liked it when the Phantom Menace started with a discussion of taxes. But this article is very interesting. Apparently, there has been some discussion amongst the Bushies about creating a Valued Added Tax like they have in Europe. Here’s the idea:
Graetz's idea, in its simplest form, is to exempt all households with less than $100,000 a year from paying income taxes. Income over $100,000 would be taxed at 25 percent.
To replace the revenue lost by the large exemption and lower tax rate, Graetz would institute a value-added tax on most goods and services at a rate of 10 percent to 14 percent.
Take, for instance, an SUV with a sticker price of $30,000 and a value-added rate of 10 percent.
Ford might buy its steel and other materials for $8,000 plus $800 in sales tax. Then, for the finished SUV, a dealer might pay $25,000 plus $2,500 in tax. Ford would take an $800 credit for tax already paid and send $1,700 to the government.
A buyer then pays $30,000 for the SUV and $3,000 in taxes. The dealer collects the $3,000, takes a credit for the $2,500 worth of taxes already paid, and sends $500 to tax authorities.
The government takes in a total of $3,000 in tax -- the same amount, by the way, it would under a 10 percent retail sales tax. One big difference is that every step of the manufacturing process has been documented.
Joe W writes:
Can't believe you're letting the Schiavo issue die (poor choice of words) this easily. I, as one of 200 registered republicans in my Washington DC precinct, can't believe the hypocrisy of the republicans on this issue. Individual liberty, personal choice, LIMITED government…. except when we talk about issues relating to life and death. Abortion, death penalty, Terry Schiavo. As a society, we should, as the President says, err on the side of life (which is why I find the whole conservative position on the death penalty so amusing). However, this case is an amazing power grab by the right of the political spectrum aimed to fully cement a new "base" for the republican party (and, the fact that I now consider this the base of the party is why I will probably officially change my registration to an independent).
Second, there are areas of the city where you can have a back yard (as small as it is) and where children are welcomed by strangers. Although, I'll admit that carrying Mel to your place the other night, we did get a few stares.
Reader Rob “Nofrowns” Jackson writes:
Is there a middle ground for every issue? I assume not. Can one be middle ground on capital punishment, for instance?
Well, no sooner does The Yellow Line write about the challenges of having a child in the city than does the New York Times publish this article. Yep, The Yellow Line is already driving the national debate.
Officials say that the very things that attract people who revitalize a city dense vertical housing, fashionable restaurants and shops and mass transit that makes a car unnecessary - are driving out children by making the neighborhoods too expensive for young families.
After interviewing 300 parents who had left the city, researchers at Portland State found that high housing costs and a desire for space were the top reasons.
While I was watching CNN News Night last night, there were live shots from outside the facility in which Terri Schiavo is being cared for (or, more correctly, being watched over).
Not quite the stuff of an HBO sitcom, but I think I just amused a number of people. Jen’s at the hospital tonight, so I’m the grown-up on call. It’s raining. Aidan is in a foul mood. And the dog had to be walked. After briefly considering the consequences of not walking Bruce, I opted to throw on the Baby Bjorn and hit the streets.
Conservatives are mobilizing to get Cheney to run for President in ’08. See this Washington Times Op-Ed.
A glance at today’s major papers and blogs reveals an endless array of opinions about Terri Schiavo. The worst of them, as always, come from the fringes—some believing it would be an act of unforgivable evil to let her die, others claiming that anyone who wants Schiavo to live is a crazy religious zealot (or, in the extremist lingo of the loony left: is an American Taliban).
Welcome to The Yellow Line blog. If you’re reading this first post, you almost certainly already know me. So I’ll skip the introduction and get right on with the question everyone is asking: why “The Yellow Line?” Well, The Yellow Line refers to the stripe that runs down the middle of the road, just as I hope this blog will find a middle-ground between all the partisan and ideological bluster littering the so-called blogosphere. There’s a lot of us out here who have strong convictions AND moderate views. There’s no need to be a “winger” to have firm beliefs.