Miscellany

How Many Votes Has the Pope? John Paul II, George W. Bush and the Changing Catholic Voter

Substantively, Bush emphasized the issues upon which Pope John Paul II and he agreed, going so far as to borrow the pope’s “culture of life” sound bite to refer broadly to socially conservative positions on abortion, euthanasia, and marriage. Of course, the pope and the president disagreed vehemently on Iraq, the death penalty, and many aspects of economic policy. John Paul II once argued that “savage capitalism” is little better than “savage Marxism.”

Bush astutely chose to ignore such serious cleavages, emphasizing the pope’s socially conservative side. Conservative Catholic leaders were emboldened by the pope’s lead on social issues and, in turn, they encouraged traditionalist Catholics to support Bush and fellow socially conservative Republicans.

How Many Votes Has the Pope? John Paul II, George W. Bush and the Changing Catholic Voter

Miscellany

Law Trumps Life: How the Right went wrong in the Schiavo case

In her 2000 article, Emery concluded by asking, “Do [Democrats] really want elections that are infinitely reviewable, subject to challenge on every slight glitch, every hurt feeling, every bright sense of outrage? Do they think life can be fair without law?” Good question. In 2005, what do Republicans think?

Law Trumps Life: How the Right went wrong in the Schiavo case

Miscellany

Copyright reform to free orphans?

Determining the copyright status of out-of-date software programs and games, old sheet music and out-of-print books on histories of families and towns for genealogy research are a handful of the other scenarios that have baffled the public. Some fans of old-time radio would like to broadcast or perform old radio plays but can’t find the copyright owners. Amateur singers who want to record songs they’ve sung in church are turned away because the studio doesn’t have the staff to research who owns the various copyrights.

In the meantime, those who want to build on old creative works will work to track down whatever copyright owners they can find….

[Goodman] added: “At what point do you eliminate my ability to comment on popular culture because of copyright issues?”

Copyright reform to free orphans?

Miscellany

The WMDuh Report

Bush says today that he would have invaded Iraq even if he knew then what he knows today. This investigation is therefore a farce — designed once again to shift responsibility from the people who demanded corrupt intelligence to serve their ideological obsessions to those who were forced to provide it.

Our political process has become so degraded that the commissioners themselves can admit that they were forbidden from examining the one issue that still matters. As commission co-chair Laurence Silberman explained, “Our executive order did not direct us to deal with the use of intelligence by policy makers, and all of us were agreed that was not part of our inquiry….”

Much of the coverage of the report — which was, perhaps via divine intervention, drowned out by the deaths of Terri Schiavo and Pope John Paul II — gesticulated in the direction of this fundamental truth before returning to the agreed-upon story line that Bush was very, very angry about the fact that he received bad intelligence that led him to invade a country that presented no threat whatever and made him out to be a liar to the rest of the world. He was so mad, in fact, that the only person deemed to be responsible for this massive failure, former CIA director George Tenet, was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. (Everybody else involved was punished with a promotion and a raise.)

The WMDuh Report

Miscellany

Protect Patients From Politics

Medical and public-health organizations agree that medical marijuana can be beneficial. In 1999, the Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences, released a study commissioned by the White House that had found marijuana effective in combating pain, nausea and other symptoms afflicting patients with MS, cancer and other illnesses. The American Public Health Association’s policy statement summarizes the extensive research showing marijuana’s effectiveness, and adds: “Marijuana has an extremely wide acute margin of safety for use under medical supervision. … Greater harm is caused by the consequences of its prohibition than possible risks of medicinal use.”

Protect Patients From Politics