Monday, April 30, 2007

Put This One In The Books

And so we come to the close of another month. Time to flip the calendar, turn the page, cross off the old and look forward to the new.

May should be a good month. I have a couple of exciting things to look forward to in the coming month - more activism and even a homeschooling conference, all of which I'll share with you right here. Hopefully, my partners in this space will see their time free up and they can join in the fun.

I'll close out this last post of the month with an observation on the Democrat debate that happened last week (also known as the "Idiot Parade."). Hillary Clinton can raise all the money she wants, and her attack dogs and consultants can be as good as they are, but none of that changes the fact that she's a shrill, harsh, and personally unlikable candidate.

I'm no fan of him (you can read more here on the subject), but I think Obama is going to foil her grand plans. Most people outside of NY state don't realize this, but Hillary isn't all that experienced at much of anything, other than political survival. Barack is a better speaker and is personally much more appealing as a candidate, and I think this will bear itself out as we get closer to 2008. That said, these are Democrats we're talking about, so if I'm wrong, I'll attribute it to irrational people behaving, well, irrationally.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Incomparable Victor Davis Hanson

I'm a huge fan of VDH. From his last book, A War Like No Other, to his frequent guest appearances on the Hugh Hewitt show, Hanson routinely acquits himself as one of the truly clear thinkers out there.

So imagine my delight when I got my issue of Imprimis in the mail - the great speech digest of Hillsdale College - and Hanson is this month's speech. Check out the link to Imprimis above for Hanson's thoughts on the possibility of a nuclear Iran.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Happy Birthday

I'm a little early, but in case I don't get a chance tomorrow...

Thanks to all who have chimed in, stopped by, and made my world a little more rewarding in the past year. Tomorrow, 4/26/07, marks the first "year in business" for the American Federalist Blog.

Like any worthwhile endeavor (so I tell myself), it takes a lot of hard work to make it successful. Thanks to everyone who has shared their time and talents in this space. Thank you for your friendship. I do appreciate it, thank you all.

Here's to the second year! May we all continue to grow and in little ways, every day, make the world a brighter place.

I remain your faithful servant,
A. Hamilton, aka The Monarchist

P.S. I'm nearly halfway through State of Emergency and will have some insights on that in the coming week, time permitting.

Governor Kulongoski, Stunt Man

I saw this today and I couldn't pass it up.

It appears the Governor of Oregon decided to live off of food stamps for a week. His purpose? To "raise awareness about the difficulty of feeding a family on a food stamp budget."

Now I understand that sometimes, bad things happen to good people. I understand how hard it is to feed a family when you're poor or a single parent because that's how I grew up. My mom, bless her, worked more than one job to send my sister and me to Catholic school. Most dinners were Kraft Mac and Cheese or the old standby, PB&J.

But here's my thinking on this. As much as they continue to bring it up to this day, the Left absolutely missed the lesson to be learned from Hurricane Katrina: that government can't take care of people very well, no matter how much we'd like it to.

Likewise, I wonder if anyone who supports Governor Kulongoski will get the real lesson from his week on food stamps. Namely, maybe the problem isn't lack of money for the government to give to people in need, but that the government shouldn't be in the charity business at all.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Worth a Look

I was recently turned on to a rather interesting organization here in Illinois called The Sam Adams Alliance; check them out here.

This appears to be a grassroots organization designed at connecting local leaders who are interested in accountable government, among other things (imagine that, you're thinking).

I'll find out what I can and will be happy to share this with you, if it interests you, "off-blog" if you will. E-mail me through the link under my profile if a review of the site tickles your fancy. I'm not sure if they've got chapters or satellites going outside the Chicago area, but I'll be happy to find out and let you know.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

AFB Book Review

I just finished Rodney Stark's excellent The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success, and I recommend it without reservation.

From the jacket summary: "...Stark advances a revolutionary, controversial, and long overdue idea: that Christianity and its related institutions are, in fact, directly responsible for the most significant intellectual, political, scientific, and economic breakthroughs of the past millennium."

And might I say he does a masterful job of debunking several myths along the way to clearly supporting this theory.

Some of my favorite parts of the book? In assessing the rise of free market economics in the Italian city-states (P. 84), he asserts that "relatively democratic regimes" are a "necessary precondition for the development of capitalism."

He devotes some considerable space to the idea of "religious economy" (P. 198). He describes a "market" of current and potential adherents, organizations seeking to attract or retain adherents and how this dynamic has an economic aspect to it. An interesting historical perspective exists when one considers state churches as "monopolies" and how this affected cultural developments - like any monopoly, firms become lazy and inefficient.

Lastly, he quotes a book by David Aikman (P. 235) to illustrate "that Christianity remains an essential element in the globalization of modernity." The conclusion itself delivers this message powerfully in the words of a leading Chinese scholar who spent years studying the West: it is our religion that is the heart and soul of our culture, and the foundation of our success.

Amen to that.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Tragedy at VA Tech

I have nothing to add to the discussion other than this:

As the day's events unfolded, I anticipated that it wouldn't be long before the Left - here, the media - started chiming in on the tragedy and thinly suggesting that this might not have happened if we had gun control laws (much in the way there wouldn't be obesity if there were spoon control laws). And wouldn't you know it? I was right, much to my dismay. You can read the whole Reuters article here, but I'll copy the pertinent op-ed section from the article...

"More than 30,000 people die from gunshot wounds in the United States every year and there are more guns in private hands than in any other country. But a powerful gun lobby and support for gun ownership rights has largely thwarted attempts to tighten controls."

I think that might be a direct quote of Michael Moore.

And sadly, one of my co-workers blamed it on Republicans and their support of automatic weapons (yes, actually said that). Under other circumstances I might have argued, but seeing as how people died, I decided not to politicize a tragedy. But that's just me.

I will add this too: please pray for everyone affected by this horrible disaster. May the Loving Grace of the Lord assuage their grief.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Our Big Challenge

I had a thought earlier today while sitting at the local township GOP meeting. It's a thought I've had before, and surely this is the Holy Spirit smacking me on the back of the head.

As we were being numbed into unconsciousness by the inane pontificating of our State Representative (name withheld to protect the guilty), I was again reminded that if I could have 10 or 15 Moms or Hargises, I could take over the state of Illinois. We're really men among boys (if you don't mind the gender-specific nature of that analogy, Mom).

At one point, the State Rep said that he thinks no one wakes up glad that other people don't have health insurance and we just need to be smart about finding ways to insure the uninsured. I was floored. Since when is health insurance a civil right? Why not life insurance? Car insurance?

Five words. Say 'em loud and proud with me:

Not yours to give, pal.

So here's my request. Call it a favor. If we're going to have any luck in stemming the tide of idiocy and socialism which seem to be marching hand-in-hand, we need to start finding other "Moms and Hargises." If you know some folks who seem to have their heads screwed on right, see if they might like what passes for original thought here. I even took a trip back to the old Patriot Post today to see if there's any thinking going on there. It appears that there indeed is some (although it's clearly not me - check out my gaffe in my subject line).

I'd have mentioned the Outlaw, too, but he seems to be MIA or something. Josey, if you're out there, drop me a "what's up" sometime.

A Must-Read

I've deliberately been avoiding the free speech/Don Imus issue. I don't have anything in the way of original commentary to add to the volumes that are out there.

But Laura Ingraham mentioned this piece last week that was orignially in the Kansas City Star. Whitlock used to work for ESPN, hence the link to the sports page of the Chicago Tribune.

Enjoy, and if you're reading this, thanks for the lead, and a hat-tip to PW.

P.S. Isn't it interesting that conservative women are both smart and so darn good-looking, btw? Is it wrong for me to enjoy linking to Laura's website?

P.P.S. I mean, have you seen Rosie O'Donnell? Yikes.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Township Update

Every year all the Townships in Illinois hold their annual meetings on the same night. This night was Tuesday April 10.

Given my obsession with the concept of balanced government, you can only imagine my chagrin upon learning that certain Leftist groups were going to attempt to take control of the meeting (my Township, and all of the Townships in DuPage County, for that matter) and force a referendum onto the next ballot asking in a very long way this simple question: should the US begin an immediate withdrawal of its forces from Iraq? Actually, given my obsession with the concept of balanced government (and the respectful balancing of powers among the respective spheres) as you can imagine, learning this nearly sent me into shock.

Fortunately, the Township GOP had enough people there to make sure the meeting wasn't railroaded into utter stupidity. They made their motion; it was seconded and went up for a vote. The nays carried the day.

While I have very large, very difficult-to-surmount issues with the Republican party, it is important that we remember that they're not actively rooting for the defeat, humiliation and/or destruction of the United States. It remains our job to make the party better, or start over. Until that day, we've got to support the only sane option out there.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hugh Hewitt

So I was on my way home from the gym tonight, and as usual, I was enjoying the Hugh Hewitt show. Check out his interview of E. J. Dionne through this link.

Anyway, "Glenn from Texas" calls in, and I swear he sounded just like Webster! ;) Glenn made a great point: someone has a gun to your head; do you want intervention before or after they pull the trigger? Would that the Left recognized this simple fact of the struggle with Islamofascism. Only a fool would want intervention after the trigger has been pulled, and yet, that's the equivalent to what the appeasement crowd would have us do in our foreign affairs.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday 2007

While the American Federalist Blog is routinely focused on politics and overwhelmingly the things of this world, let's take a break from that today and spend some time reflecting. Here's one of my all-time favorites...

Isaiah 53:

1 Who would believe what we have heard? To whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

2 He grew up like a sapling before him, like a shoot from the parched earth; There was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him, nor appearance that would attract us to him.

3 He was spurned and avoided by men, a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity, One of those from whom men hide their faces, spurned, and we held him in no esteem.

4 Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, While we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted.

5 But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, Upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed.

6 We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way; But the LORD laid upon him the guilt of us all.

7 Though he was harshly treated, he submitted and opened not his mouth; Like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers, he was silent and opened not his mouth.

8 Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away, and who would have thought any more of his destiny? When he was cut off from the land of the living, and smitten for the sin of his people,

9 A grave was assigned him among the wicked and a burial place with evildoers, Though he had done no wrong nor spoken any falsehood.

10 (But the LORD was pleased to crush him in infirmity.) If he gives his life as an offering for sin, he shall see his descendants in a long life, and the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him.

11 Because of his affliction he shall see the light in fullness of days; Through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear.

12 Therefore I will give him his portion among the great, and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty, Because he surrendered himself to death and was counted among the wicked; And he shall take away the sins of many, and win pardon for their offenses.

May we always be thankful for the Gift given us by the Father.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Amazing Race

Seems like every time I check the news online or turn on the radio, I hear about the record-setting fund raising that is going on for the Presidential race in 2008. Which is like 20 months away still, or darn close to it. Dire predictions abound for those candidates who aren't pulling in the big dough.

I'm not buying it. Yes, I know that money can be exchanged for goods and services (where would I be without Homer Simpson to educate me?). Yes, I know that money will buy ad time and commercials for politicians to hammer the opposition. But since when has money ever voted? Isn't that still up to regular folks like you and me?

There's sort of a self-fulfilling trap that people can fall into here, and the real guilty party is the media. When headlines sensationalize the $25 million+ raised by both Hillary and Obama, the impression is created that it takes money - and really, that's the important thing - to become Chief Executive. People then begin to narrow the field in their own mind on who is and who isn't a viable candidate.

Here's the thing. A candidate who exhibits excellent character, strong support for the Constitution and can communicate with regular people (thus, being him- or herself a regular person) would make a darn-near unbeatable choice for office.

Then, there's this magical thing called the internet (put aside for a moment your natural objections about something invented by al-Gore. I have a strong hunch he didn't actually invent it. Yes, I know he says he did, but trust me on this one.). If the candidate and their ideals were both strong enough, a grass-roots base would spring up that would get the word out to potential voters. The internet can be a powerful, playing-field leveler to help the "little guys" fight big donor-sponsored candidates.

My point, I guess, is this: we're told an awful lot by the media who is and who isn't a viable candidate. Maybe we ought to consider the source.

Hat tip to Mom, for your comments on a prior post about the media. I was reflecting on your comment with respect to all the noise about fundraising when I picked up this train of thought.