Friday, November 7, 2008

Uncivil War

Ever since John McCain picked Sarah Palin to be his running mate there has been an "uncivil war" brewing in the Republican party. Elite Republican pundits like David Brooks ("Palin is a cancer on the GOP"), Peggy Noonan, Kathleen Parker, and others have been sniping at Palin as soon as she uttered her first "You betcha'". Now that the election is over McCain staffers are taking their shots as well. David Frum thinks the staffer responsible for the leaks is Nicolle Wallace.

In any event, one might wonder what's going on here. It seems that there's a struggle taking place between two factions of Republicans, the conservatives and the moderates. Palin is a hero to the former so the moderates are trying to short-circuit any influence she may have as the GOP seeks to reformulate itself for 2010. Sarah Palin is a force of nature and this scares the moderates who act as if they believe that the best way to serve the country is to remain in the minority.

It's odd that attacks from the McCain camp on Palin are much more personal and vicious than anything they were willing to say about Bill Ayers or Jeremiah Wright. They completely ignored Obama's associations with some pretty sordid characters, they completely ignored the chuckleheaded string of remarks by Joe Biden, they never commented on Obama's geographic shortcomings or the fact that he thinks there are 57 states in the union. All of that was out of bounds during the campaign, but now they want to hammer Palin for not understanding African geography and for answering her door in a bathrobe.

No wonder they lost.


When Human Life Begins

Robert P. George addresses himself to the faux question of when human life begins in a recent National Review article. It is, as George points out, a question about which there is, in fact, no mystery. To pretend there is simply obfuscates a matter about which there is no confusion at all. George begins:

When does the life of a human individual begin? Although the question is of obvious importance for our public policy debates over abortion and embryonic-stem-cell research, politicians have avoided it like the plague. Of late, though, things seem to be changing. Recently some of our nation's most prominent political leaders, from the Speaker of the House to both contenders for the office of president, have weighed in on the question.

Faced with the complicated and not-very-widely-known facts of human embryology, most people are inclined to agree with the sentiment expressed by Speaker Pelosi, who has stated "I don't think anybody can tell you when... human life begins."

Yet is Speaker Pelosi correct? Is it actually the case that no one can tell you with any degree of authority when the life of a human being actually begins?

No, it is not. Treating the question as some sort of grand mystery, or expressing or feigning uncertainty about it, may be politically expedient, but it is intellectually indefensible. Modern science long ago resolved the question. We actually know when the life of a new human individual begins.

Read his response to the question at the link, and thanks to Jason for passing the article along.


Capt. John Ripley, RIP

Most heroes are people whose deeds are unheralded and largely anonymous. When we come across accounts of incredible bravery we want to do what we can to let the world know about it. Byron passed along a story by Keith Pavlischek written on the occasion of the death of a Vietnam vet named Capt. John Ripley who received his country's second highest award for valor. You can read how he earned the award here.

It's worth a minute or two of your time.