Saturday, December 29, 2007

HOI News' Top Story of 2007

Here's the story from HOI news. Sorry it took me so long to get it downloaded.

Again, two things strike us as funny: 1) That the whole story turned out to be about Whitney's blog and 2) that a comment I later corrected ("hundreds of hits") serves as the statistical justification for the story. Still, since the end of November through the end of December she is getting between one and two hundred hits a day during the week. And, just in case you were wondering, I don't think I've ever cracked one hundred.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

WHOI Ratings Shoot Through Roof While Airing Bennett Interview

Well, at least we were watching. It was kinda funny. The story ended up being about Whitney's blog! I had just mentioned the blog in an off-handed way, accidentally exagerating the number of hits on her blog even, but that became the focal point of the interview and story. We really weren't expecting that. I clarified later in the interview that it wasn't always "hundreds of hits a day", but that didn't make it on air. I had just been thinking of the hits she had the last several days with our latest announcement.

We'll try to post the video of the story of link to it soon.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The PK's

Austin made quite an impression this year at the Sunday Night Candlelights and Carols...but last year he was quite the ham as well....

Rush Does Not Heart Huckabee

E.J. Dionne has an interesting article in the Washington Post entitled "How Huckabee Scares the GOP." Here is what she says about the fracturing relationship between Evangelicals and the Republican machine:

"The rise of Mike Huckabee has put the fear of God into the Republican establishment. Its alarm has nothing to do with the Almighty.

"The Huckabee surge represents a break with what has been standard operating procedure within the GOP for more than a generation. Huckabee's evangelical Christian army in Iowa ignored the importuning of entrenched leaders of the religious right and decided to go with one of their own. "
"The former Arkansas governor has exposed a fault line within the Republican coalition. The old religious right is dying because it subordinated the actual views of its followers to short-term political calculations. The white evangelical electorate is tired of taking orders from politicians who care more about protecting the wealthy than ending abortion, more about deregulation than family values. "

"If you had to bet, you'd wager that the Republican establishment will eventually crush Huckabee. But the rebellion he is leading is a warning to Republicans. The faithful are restive, tired of being used, and no longer willing to do the bidding of a crowd that subordinates Main Street's values to Wall Street's interests."

And, the crushing has begun. Here is Rush today:

"RUSH: Yeah, that's why I haven't endorsed anybody. I'm waiting. I don't know how else I can do it. I realize that there are a lot of you out there: You got a candidate, and you think that if I got behind your candidate it would put 'em over the top, and you might be right. But, at this point, it's just an age-old belief that I have, and I remain true to my beliefs and principles. Now, some people have written me, "I hear you say this, but you're full of it. What about 2000 with Bush and McCain in South Carolina?" Special circumstance. You had a two-man race, and what was happening in South Carolina, McCain was going so far off the conservative reservation, so far off of it, that it was necessary to step in. Huckabee is getting close, I'm going to have to tell you. Huckabee's getting close to the same stuff. Huckabee is using his devout Christianity to mask some other things that are distinctively not conservative. He is against free trade. He's really doesn't believe in free market. Well, let me read what George Will wrote today. This is when I go along with "the DC-New York axis." But I just want to read from George Will's column, a paragraph today. "Huckabee's campaign actually is what Rudy Giuliani's candidacy is misdescribed as being -- a comprehensive apostasy against core Republican beliefs. Giuliani departs from recent Republican stances regarding two issues -- abortion and the recognition by the law of same-sex couples. Huckabee's radical candidacy broadly repudiates core Republican policies such as free trade, low taxes, the essential legitimacy of America's corporate entities and the market system allocating wealth and opportunity. [C]onsider New Hampshire's chapter of the National Education Association, the teachers union that is a crucial component of the Democratic Party's base. In 2004, New Hampshire's chapter endorsed Howard Dean in the Democratic primary and no one in the Republican primary. Last week it endorsed Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary -- and Huckabee in the Republican primary." It likes Huckabee on education."

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Truly Inspirational

Interview delayed until sweeps week

Due to overwhelming interest, WHOI has decided to postpone broadcast of the Bennett interview until next week. The decision was motivated by a desire to maximize ratings during the all important day-after-Christmas sweeps period. Or, it may have been postponed due to a reporter being ill.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I hope they get my good side...

Bennett TV is coming your way, perhaps, Thursday night at 10:00. WHOI channel 19 is doing a story on Guatemala adoptions and our family is scheduled to be interviewed tomorrow afternoon. If you watch it, just remember the camera adds 10 pounds.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

We're Out of PGN!

We're out of the final court in Guatemala! Our attorney will be getting her birthcertificate then we will set an appointment with the US embassy. We should be picking her up mid-January!

I'm sure Whitney will have some thoughts. I just wanted to beat her to the post, which I did by maybe 30 seconds.

Friday, December 14, 2007

"This is important"

The title is a quote from Whitney. She may have been being sarcastic.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What is Conservatism

The Heart of Conservatism

By Michael Gerson

WASHINGTON -- For many conservatives, the birthday of the movement is Nov. 1, 1790 -- the publication date of Edmund Burke's "Reflections on the Revolution in France." Burke described how utopian idealism could lead to the guillotine, just as it later led to the Gulag. He rejected the democracy of the mob and argued that social reform, when necessary, should be gradual, cautious and rooted in the habits and traditions of the community.

Some of Burke's contemporaries took these arguments further. "I am one of those who think it very desirable to have no reform," declared the Duke of Wellington. "I told you years ago that the people are rotten to the core." And this affection was returned. Wellington took to carrying an umbrella tipped with a spike to protect himself from protesters.

But there is another strain of conservatism with a birthday three years earlier than Burke's "Reflections." On May 12, 1787, under an English oak on his Holwood Estate, Prime Minister William Pitt pressed a young member of parliament named William Wilberforce to introduce a bill for the abolition of the slave trade. Wilberforce's research found that the holds of slave ships were, according to one witness, "so covered in blood and mucus which had proceeded from them in consequence of the (dysentery) that it resembled a slaughterhouse." Enslaved Africans on the ships attempted to starve themselves to death, or to jump into the ocean. Wilberforce thought this suffering a good reason for reform.

A later conservative, Lord Shaftesbury, fought against conditions that amounted to slavery in British factories, rescued child laborers from chimneys and mines, and worked for improved sanitary conditions in British slums. In 1853, for example, the citizens of Dudley, England, had an average age at death of 16 years and 7 months. "I feel that my business lies in the gutter," said Shaftesbury, "and I have not the least intention to get out of it."

Both Wilberforce and Shaftesbury considered themselves Burkean conservatives; Wilberforce was a friend of Burke's, and a fellow opponent of the French revolution's wild-eyed utopianism. Wilberforce and Shaftesbury were gradualists, not radicals. They hated socialism and rejected the perfectibility of man.

But both were also evangelical Christians who believed that all human beings are created in God's image -- and they were deeply offended when that image was degraded or violated. Long before compassionate conservatism got its name, the ideas of compassion and benevolence were central to their political and moral philosophy.

Other conservatives dismissed these reformers as "saints," prone to "fits of philanthropy." But according to historian Gertrude Himmelfarb, these saints and others like them achieved "something like a 'conservative revolution' -- a reformist revolution, so to speak -- that permitted Britain to adapt to industrialism, liberalism and democracy without the violence and upheavals that convulsed the Continent."

And Burke himself had a foot in this tradition. He was an early opponent of slavery, supported reforms to help debtors and opposed discrimination against Irish Catholics. He accused reactionary conservatives of defending "their errors as if they were defending their inheritance." He was deeply critical of those who refused to act because they thought nothing could be accomplished. Burke has been quoted as saying, "Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who does nothing because he could only do a little." In many ways, Burke was a bridge between conservatives of tradition and conservatives of moral passion.

This history is directly relevant to modern debates. In some conservative quarters we are seeing the return of Burkeanism -- or at least a narrow version of it. These supposed Burkeans dismiss the promotion of democracy and human rights as "ideological," the protection of human life and dignity as "theological," and compassionate conservatism as a modern heresy.

But the compassionate conservatism of Wilberforce and Shaftesbury is just as old as Burke, and more suited to an American setting. American conservatives, after all, are called upon to conserve a liberal ideal -- that all men are created equal. A conservatism that does not accommodate the "ideology" of the Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. will seem foreign to most Americans. A concern for the rights of the poor and vulnerable is not simply "theological"; it is a measure of our humanity. And skepticism in this noble cause is not sophistication; it seems more like exhaustion and cynicism.

A significant portion of Americans are motivated by a religiously informed vision of human dignity. For them, compassion is not merely a private feeling, but a public commitment -- as public as the abolition of slavery or the end of child labor. And they are looking, not for another Wellington, but for another Wilberforce.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Guatemalan Congress Approves Adoption Bill

So, the bill was approved by congress. The reports I'm hearing are positive, but I still haven't heard what ammendments were added to the bill to streamline the process for in-process cases. I truly hope that the passage of this law results in children in Guatemala being protected and provided for. I'm somewhat skeptical. Here's the AP story:

New Guatemala Adoption Law Approved

By JUAN CARLOS LLORCA – 47 minutes ago

GUATEMALA (AP) — Guatemalan legislators approved a new law Tuesday to tighten adoptions, while allowing pending adoptions — mostly to U.S. couples — to go through without meeting the stricter requirements.

The legislation had upset thousands of would-be parents who had invested their savings to adopt a child from Guatemala, which is second only to China in sending adoptive children to the United States. Many feared thousands of children would be left in limbo.

However, the law approved by Congress stipulates that pending adoptions, some 3,700 children already matched with prospective parents, will be allowed to move forward without being subject to the new rules.

The law, aimed at cleaning up an adoption process that critics say allows birth mothers to sell their babies, will take effect next year. It requires the signature of
President Oscar Berger.

"Starting Dec. 31, the business of adoptions is over," said lawmaker Rolando Morales, one of the measure's biggest supporters.

Adoptions in Guatemala are now handled exclusively by notaries who work with birth mothers, determine if babies were surrendered willingly, hire foster mothers and handle all the paperwork.

Notaries charge an average of $30,000 for children delivered in about nine months — record time for international adoptions. The process is so quick that one in every 100 Guatemalan children now grow up as an adopted American; Guatemala sent 4,135 children to the U.S. last year.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Please be praying...

The Guatemalan congress will be voting tomorrow (probably?) on legislation affecting in-process cases. It is very frustrating because the bill, like many aspects of this process, is unclear. We really don't know how its passage will affect in-process adoption cases. It requires in-process cases to register with an entity that doesn't yet exist. Please continue to pray for us and the people of Guatemala.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

23/6 SwiftKids: Hillary's Cookies

For those of you with longer than average political memories, here's a parody of the swift boat ads from 2004. What's funny is that some liberals seem to think these ads really are attacking Clinton.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

This is pretty amazing...

According to Rasmussen, Huckabee is surging...not only is he leading in Iowa...he's leading nationally.

This is great...

The church plant will follow this model.

Monday, December 3, 2007

KJV Only Advocate Stumps Romney

First of all, the way this question is asked had me rolling. It really reveals what CNN's sterotype of an evangelical Christian is: a KJV Bible thumper in Dallas, TX (and I mean THIS BOOK!).

Second, I love how Romney tries to answer, and in so doing looks like a souless suit on stage. And the pretty smile is great!

Fred Thompson Creeps Me Out

In case you missed it, here is the video Fred Thompson opted to run during the last Republican presidential "debate." It further solidifies my impression that Fred Thompson seems like a creepy old man. He's like that guy in the neighborhood that everyone is scared of and when you hit your ball into his yard it turns out that he really is mean and he keeps your ball instead of giving you a new one signed by Babe Ruth like James Earl Jones would do. Oh, and then he burns down your house.

Here is my non-professional assessment of the Republican candidates, in no particular order.

1. Fred Thompson: (see above). His attack on Romney and Huckabee was strange. There is a sense that Romney is a little spineless with no core convinctions except that he should wear that special Mormon underwear. It just seems that some Republicans are hopeful that he will be their spineless weasal for 4-8 years. So what good did it do Thompson to point it out again? His attack on Huckabee was pretty anti-climatic. I mean, Huckabee was in the public spotlight for decades and that's the clip they chose? Wow, that's hot stuff! Thomspon breaks Reagan's 11th commandment and in so doing so, looks very foolish.

2. Rudy Giuiani: He's shown little regard for commandments 1-10, so breaking the 11th was not that difficult. I can't believe that after the stunning-and well deserved losses-in 2006 due to ethical "lapses" that Republicans are looking to this guy to be their standard bearer. The stories will continue to pour in about his conduct as mayor and he won't make it much past Florida, I hope.

3. Mitt Romney: He's trying to fight a war on two fronts (Huckabee and Rudy G.). Social conservatives have put their hope in a false Messiah with this guy. He will continue to do what is politically expendient for himself until no longer in the public eye, a time which won't come soon enough to suit me.

4. John McCain: I actually like John McCain. I wish Republicans weren't punishing him for his "mistakes" on the immigration issue. He's a genuinely decent man who seems to have no shot to do anything significant in the primaries.

5. Mike Huckabee. Huckabee resonates with people because he can articulate his positions well. I personally like him the best of all the Republican candidates. Huckabee is able to explain his policies and decisions in ways I always wished Buh would. Of course, there is a fear that he would demonstrate all the fiscal discipline of a Bush administration (none). Personally, I think that his willingness to consider expenidtures and revenues simultaneously makes him more appealing, not less. Too often, Republicans want to just focus on cutting revenue and Democrates want to focus on increasing expenditures. (Greenspan's new book offers a scathing critique on the squandered opportunities of the 90s. I'll try to write a post on that soon.)