This one is interesting if only because it’s happening in my backyard.  Via The Secular Right, a state legislator (technically, a whole committee, via a Connecticut General Assembly procedure) has introduced a bill that would effectively strip administrative control of Connecticut’s Roman Catholic parishes away from their bishops and transfer it to a board of lay-parishioners.  The boards would have control over all administrative, financial, and legal matters of their parishes.  All religious matters would remain the purview of the bishop.

Who introduced it exactly, and for what reason, were a little fuzzy at first, but further investigation by the Greenwich Time reveals that it was apparently requested by members of a Darien chruch after their former priest stole $1.4 million to spend on lavish luxaries for himself, such as limousines, vacations, fancy clothing and jewlery, and a condo.  The bill is said to be introduced by State Senator Andrew McDonald, a Democrat.

There’s no question in my mind that the bill is unconstitutional, and if the General Assembly is smart, it won’t even make the floor.  It’d completely undermine state/church separation.  A vendetta by one church’s members over a bad apple of a priest shouldn’t change things for everyone else.

I’ve spent a little bit of time these past couple months lecturing liberals for their whining about President Barack Obama’s foreign policy.  They didn’t pay attention to his campaign, I said, hoping that all his tough talk about Afghanistan and Pakistan was just that: talk.

Now, as much as I don’t want to, I feel the time has come to turn my attention toward the moderates who voted for Obama and are now suffering buyer’s remorse after seeing the stimulus package and his budget.  So, as I said to the liberals: WERE YOU PAYING ATTENTION!?

One thing I noticed, particularly during the debates, is that Obama didn’t seem serious about cutting spending.  Just the opposite.  Despite that fact that we were going through some tough times, he had a long list of spending.  I didn’t tack McCain as too serious on the spending cuts, either, but Obama’s wish list seemed particularly lengthy.  I also found him fairly specific on his tax increase plans: $250,000 and above.

These are the kind of things that Obama talked about often and with great certainty, so I’m not entirely sure how these moderates missed them.  Or maybe they noted what he said but hoped that it was all rhetoric, just like the liberals on his Afghanistan and Pakistan foreign policy.  Yet, aside from a couple things, I’ve thought Obama to be pretty honest with his intentions.  It was this honesty that led him to tell Joe the Plumber to his face that he was going to tax people making more than $250,000, and to do what even John McCain couldn’t and say that an attack on Pakistan’s tribal region wasn’t off the table.

If you’ve been keeping track, you’ll notice that since the election both of these things have happened.  Hey, I also thought that a bunch of Obama’s policy initiatives made sense too, but if you got so wrapped up in the hope talk that you ignored what he was saying on policy, maybe that says more about you than it does about Obama.

Ah nothing like my lunch hour during a work-at-home day to blog.

So I finally got an opportunity to listen to Rush Limbaugh’s speech at CPAC.  I haven’t heard much Rush before, so going into it I was prepared to hate it all.  Coming out of it, I didn’t hate it, but also didn’t find much to which I could nod my head.

To me, his overarching message was basically that of “remain steadfast to core conservative principles,” “oppose bi-partisanship no matter what,” and “Democrats are destroying America.”  While I’m flexible on the first element, and might be able to somewhat believe the third (when you add Congressional Republicans to it), the second I believe is the wrong approach for conservatives.

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This article was cross-posted from Poligazette.  And before you ask, yes, I had a lot of fun writing it.

CBS News reports that radical eco-activist Marie Mason has been sentenced to 22 years on charges of arson, setting off an explosive fire in 1999 at Michigan State University’s Agricultural Hall.  Here’s the details:

At MSU, Mason and Ambrose targeted a campus office that held records on research related to moth-resistant potatoes for poor parts of Africa. Computers, file cabinets and desks were doused with a flammable liquid. Vapors contributed to an explosion, and the fire got out of control.

The explosion burned Mason’s hair and prevented her from finishing the message, “No GMO,” on a wall, a reference to genetically modified organisms.

“Pure luck” prevented the couple from being killed, Assistant U.S. Attorney Hagen Frank said. “Did that deter Ms. Mason? Not one bit. She celebrated it. Her community celebrated it.”

Someone innocent could have been killed, and Mason almost was.  Her husband, who turned informant for the FBI, was given nine years.

Of course, the actions are pretty disturbing.  But almost or as much as disturbing is where the apparent facts lead one reading the story.  Mason will serve time in a domestic prison.  Perhaps a high security prison.  And that’s unconscionable.  Because lets not forget: Mason is a terrorist.  And well, as we’ve been told, we can’t have terrorists held on U.S. soil.

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This article was originally posted on Poligazette.

Watching CSI: Miami on Monday, I was intrigued by a question: Do state mandated safety regulations trump free market choice in the medical field?  Or should consumers be allowed to choose to undergo a medical procedure that might cost less than what you could get at a hospital, even though it might not meet all the standard safety requirements?  For those of you wondering what in the world I’m talking about, I’ll see you after the jump, so CSI junkies don’t try and murder me.  For those of you on the RSS feeds, you have been warned: spoilers abound.

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This article was cross-posted from Poligazette.

Andrew Sullivan has been included on Forbes’ list of “25 Most Influential Liberals,” and he’s making a case as to why this just isn’t true:

For the record, I support a flat tax and, as my liberal readers know, find progressive taxation unjust and counter-productive; I’m skeptical of universal healthcare on European lines and have long defended a free market in healthcare and pharmaceuticals; I have no queasiness in fighting a war against Jihadist terror – in fact I have long been one of the most passionate supporters of  it. I just oppose the illegal use of torture, the creation of a de facto protectorate in violation of the Constitution, and war-making without prudence, strategy, foresight or any conception of winning the long war of ideas.

I’ve looked at Forbes’ list, and read their defintion of what makes a liberal, and I have to say, I found it somewhat lacking.

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This article was cross-posted from Poligazette.

Presidential candidates say a lot of things during their long campaigns.  Some of it only turns out to be rhetoric, others must pass through the halls of Congress, but don’t, and yet other promises are kept.  Still, with so many made during such a long period, it can be difficult to keep track of all of them.

Never fear, because the excellent Politifact is here to hold Barack Obama’s feet to the fire.  They recently introduced their “Obameter” that tracks about 500 promises made by Obama during the campaign.  So, if you wish to see progress, or non-progress made on his promises at any given point, you can simply go there and see the status of them.  Politifact has categorized their tracking into “Promise Kept,” “Compromise,” “Promise Broken,” “Stalled,” “In the Works,” and “No Action.”

I first discovered Politifact via some blog during the campaign season.  It’s published by the St. Petersburg Times, but fear not.  I’ve found the site to be quite even handed in its analysis.  So, I think it’s safe to put some trust in this meter system.

(H/T Patrick Appel at The Daily Dish)

The article was originally posted at Poligazette.

As Michael noted earlier today, President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order on Wednesday the essentially revoked Executive Order 13233, written by former President George W. Bush in November 2001. 13233 is particularly notable as it essentially made the incumbent president the just about nearly the only decision maker on access to records of former presidents, whereas in the order it replaced, 12667, it was more of a team effort involving the Attorney General, as well as the Counsel to the President, and other agencies.  It also extended Executive privilege claims and review of former records by the incumbent president to former Vice Presidents.

One can see why this would be a problem, of course.  While there are legitimate reasons for Executive privledge (national security and the like, but perhaps others), giving near unlimited control of review to one person means that that one person can decide to keep away a record that may not affect national security, but may be simply embarassing.  Perhaps details of a scandal from a former administation that never gained public light.  Could be anything, really.

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Yes, I say it now, though it’s not yet official.  I’ll be at work tomorrow morning when it all goes down, so I won’t have the opportunity to blog my best wishes them.  But it’s also applicable because this post is two-pronged.

First, I’d like to grant best wishes to the current President, George W. Bush.  Though I did not always agree with him, I think he did what he felt necessary to best serve the country. Some of those measures are, of course, debatable, but I won’t get into them here.  Yet, there is no doubt in my mind that he had done many great things, least of all keeping the country safe since 9/11.  He has been my President for eight years, and I’d like to wish him well in his future endeavors.

Second, I’d like to wish a successful term to the incoming president, Barack Obama.  There are trying times ahead, sir, and I look forward to seeing what solutions you and your team come up with to solve them.  I also look forward to respectfully opposing you where we disagree, because a good and healthy democracy necessitates the debate.  In less than 10 hours you will be my president and so I wish you good luck.

More thoughts later today.

The following is cross-posted from Poligazette.

Loyal opposition?  What loyal opposition?  According to Reuters, Senator Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, says there is little opposition to Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy Geithner from his side of the aisle:

“From talking to my colleagues on the Republican side, and I haven’t talked to all of them … I have not found people who are going to vote against him based upon just the income tax issue,” Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa told National Public Radio in an interview.

He said there was bipartisan agreement on Geithner’s qualifications for the job and the need for someone of his caliber “at a time when we have all the economic problems we have.”

As Michelle Malkin (rightfully) says: Screw up, move up: It’s the Washington way.