Carol Platt Liebau: February 2006

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

But Wait!

I thought it was only the Republicans who had ethics issues. Apparently not.

Nice Try

So much for Arnold's big spending plans. This story once again illustrates why it's a fool's errand to try to placate implacable adversaries.

KABC Tonight

I'll be on 790 AM KABC tonight with Al Rantel just a little before 7:00 pm to discuss the Anna Nicole Smith probate case.

ABC Needs "Shelf Life"

Here is a must-read piece about a charming, witty and all-around wonderful denizen of Hollywood, Rob Long. (Full disclosure: He also happens to be a friend of my husband's and mine.)

ABC has been looking at his new sitcom, "Shelf Life." They'd be nuts not to pick it up.

Watching the MSM

Thank goodness for Newsbusters. Apparently, a CBS poll that purported to find President Bush's approval ratings at all all time low (gasp!) was slanted toward Democrats (gasp, again!). Here's the item.

Why aren't any of us surprised . . . ?

Nonetheless, as the brilliant Kellyanne Conway points out, there's a message here that Republicans ignore at their peril.

(Democratic) Culture of Careerism

Paul Hackett -- who dropped out of the Ohio Senate race after, it seems, some fairly ugly behavior on the part of Democrats who originally urged him to run -- is bitter, at least judging from this piece. Can't really blame him, in light of the treatment he allegedly received.

Something Special About Hillary Clinton?

Here's a piece that thinks so. Could this be the reason that Karl Rove is "obsessed" with her?


How Well Do You Know Your Spouse?

See if you know the answers to these questions -- at least according to this piece in The Washington Post.

"The Meathead Tax"

The Wall Street Journal diagnoses the tax sickness afflicting California's economy, and rightly chastises Rob Reiner for having used tax money to lobby for his new universal pre-school initiative. Takeaway point:

Beware liberals promising to tax someone else in the name of helping "children." They'll end up taxing you, while they and their friends benefit.

Where Are the WMD?

This is an excellent round-up, with links, of pieces that -- taken together -- suggest not only that Iraq had WMD, but that Saddam also had links to Al Qaeda.

Happiness is Being a Republican

Well, not quite -- but Republicans are happier, in general, than Democrats are, according to this Pew poll. The accompanying article likewise notes that Republicans have been happier than Democrats every year since 1972, when the question was first asked.

The people at have been so exceptionally helpful and generous in response to an inquiry from me that I wanted to thank them publicly. Check out their site at (and note that I was neither paid nor asked to offer this endorsement).

It's a great resource.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Needing Some Perspective

How sad it is to hear the Republican governors whining about the President's "missteps."

Please, people, get a life. As this entry points out, in 1994 alone, Bill Clinton managed to help the Democrats lose control of the House, the Senate and ten governorships.

Of course it's best for Republicans at all levels to be on about trying to do everything they can to convince voters that they're the ones to support in November. But let's stop the whining -- it's unbecoming.

How Low Can You Go?

Stanley Crouch reveals the contemptible effort by Daman Wayans to copyright "the n-word," using "iggas" instead of "iggers."

I share his disgust at this maneuver, and at the lyrics of most of rap music, in general.

Weekly Column

Here's my weekly column -- discussing the complete and utter ridiculousness of having a song titled "It's Hard Out Here to be a Pimp" showcased at the Oscars.

The Best They've Got?

In the middle of a round-up piece, Howard Kurtz references CNN's ridiculous Jack Cafferty:

In a typical rant, Cafferty, a New York local anchor for two decades who now delivers his short bursts on "The Situation Room," said of the Bush administration: "Who cares if the Patriot Act gets renewed? Want to abuse our civil liberties -- just do it! Who cares about the Geneva conventions? Want to torture prisoners -- just do it! Who cares about rules concerning the identity of CIA agents? Want to reveal the name of a covert operative -- just do it!"

Before any legal charges were brought against Tom DeLay, Cafferty said of the Texas congressman: "Has he been indicted yet?" He told Wolf Blitzer that if presidential adviser Karl Rove is indicted, "he might want to get measured for one of those extra large orange jumpsuits, Wolf, 'cause looking at old Karl, I'm not sure that they'd be able to zip him into the regular size one."

And when Dick Cheney, after his hunting accident, granted an interview to Fox's Brit Hume, Cafferty said it "didn't exactly represent a profile in courage for the vice president to wander over there to the F-word network." ("Get your mind out of the gutter," he says now. "The F-word is Fox.")

Is this the best CNN can do? To find the crazy old uncle in the attic and train a camera on him? Good luck with that strategy.

Oh, and imagine the outcry if Fox hired someone, say, Michael Savage to sit and offer the same kind of extemperaneous and unfiltered "color commentary" on the air. That's the analogue to what CNN is doing with Cafferty.

Getting Something Right

Bill Frist is supporting the very tenacious and very principled Mitch McConnell to be his successor as Senate Majority Leader.

The Real Reason Summers Left?

In this Boston Globe story, it sounds as though several Harvard professors are suggesting that anti-semitism was a driving force behind the movement to get rid of Larry Summers.

I quite agree with the professor who urged the Globe to investigate.

The other thing that's noteworthy about the story is its glancing reference to a discussion between two professors that devolved into shouting and name-calling. Sadly, that's not at odds with my recollection of how a portion of the faculty acts on a frequent basis.

Clearly, knowing that one can't be fired has a deleterious impact on common courtesy.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Lure of Golden Hair

Here's an interesting story about the genesis of the "blondes have more fun" meme. Hint: It has to do with natural selection in prehistoric times.

Smear Tactic

The Episcopal bishop of Washington, D.C. should be ashamed. Here, he writes a piece essentially accusing traditionalists of homophobia.

He excoriates the primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria for throwing his influence behind a law that

criminalizes same-sex marriage in his country and denies gay citizens the freedoms to assemble and petition their government. The law also infringes upon press and religious freedom by authorizing Nigeria's government to prosecute newspapers that publicize same-sex associations and religious organizations that permit same-sex unions.

In doing so, the Episcopal bishop is quite right. The law sounds deplorable. Declaring gay marriage invalid -- as many states have done -- is quite different from criminalizing it (if that indeed is true; sadly, many left-wing Episcopal leaders seem to have a history of hyperbole).

That being said, simply because Nigeria's primate is supporting some objectionable laws in his own country doesn't render invalid his objections to the hijacking of the Episcopal Church by radicals. And the bishop's effort to insinuate that American Episcopal traditionalists are sympathetic to a systematic effort to deny homosexuals basic civil rights is unconscionable.

Speaking of intolerance, the bishop of Washington, D.C. should look to himself and his ideological soulmates. For they, too, are attempting to stigmatize any viewpoints with which they disagree -- within their own church.

Oppression is ugly, whether it is being visited upon homosexuals or traditionalists (albeit in a subtler, much less virulent form).

Needed: Better Communication

Donald Rumsfeld explains the importance of a strategic communications network to winning the war on terror.

Learning from the Conservatives

Conservative theologians are teaching their liberal counterparts learn how they have been so spectacularly successful in luring believers into their pews.

Note, in the story, that it's the liberal students -- the ones being helped -- who are confessing "deep fear of the Christian media" and expressing concern "that the views of some of the more liberal Christian students might be marginalized by their instructors" (my advice? Ttry a week as a conservative at an Ivy League university!).

So much for the famed liberal tolerance.

Boxer: Politics Above Principle

For once, the LA Times has it right, when it criticizes Barbara Boxer for indulging in bare-faced political opportunism at the expense of California's interests.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Czech It Out

One of the players on the Czech hockey team, which today won a bronze medal at the Winter Olympics, is Jaromir Jagr. To his credit, he loves America -- as this item notes, back during the Communist days, he carried a picture of Ronald Reagan in his school book, at personal risk.

He likewise had an American flag in his bedroom, as well as two decals of Old Glory on the windshield of his car in Czechoslovakia. He wears the number "68" to memorialize the Prague Spring, when a brave people's hopes of freedom were cruelly crushed by the U.S.S.R.

Today, he's a star player with the New York Rangers. America should be proud to have him here.

Apparently, he doesn't think as highly of Kruschev's "great deed" as William Taubman, who never lived under the jackbooted heel of Soviet oppression, does. Funny how that works.

The Real Speeches that Won the Cold War

Here's the man who made the speeches that won the Cold War.

Today in The New York Times, William Taubman argues (in a piece titled "How a Speech Won the Cold War") that Nikita Kruschev's "secret speech" denouncing Stalin "began a process of unraveling it that culminated in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union." According to Taubman, this was a "great deed."

And maybe it was. But the speech didn't win the Cold War. By delegitimizing the roots of Communism, it may, perhaps, have created a necessary condition for the fall of the Iron Curtain . . . but not a sufficient one. After all, this was long before the spread of Soviet imperialism and triumphs in Vietnam and Cambodia, the invasion of Poland and Afghanistan, beacheads in Nicaragua and El Salvador (that's the western hemisphere, mind you!), and much, much more. Don't forget that under President Jimmy Carter, things were looking pretty good for the U.S.S.R.; Carter had, in fact, denounced America's "inordinate fear of Soviet Communism" and noted that Russia would "continue to push for communism throughout the world and to probe for possibilities for expansion of their system, which I think is a legitimate purpose for them." This was about two decades after the speech that Tauman is lionizing as the beginning of the end of the Cold War.

In fact, there is no one speech that won the Cold War. There were many -- delivered by an American hero. And everyone knows it -- like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, author of the Gulag Archipelago, who told President Reagan, "I rejoice that the United States at last has a president such as you" (quoted in the May 27, 1991 edition of National Review). (For more, read Paul Kengor's God and Ronald Reagan.)

So even as Taubman celebrates the "great deed" of Kruschev denouncing Stalin, let's never forget: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!. That's more like the speech that won the Cold War.

"Bitches" and "Hos" at the Oscars

Apparently, it's A-OK for the words "bitch" and "ho" to be used during an Oscar broadcast -- they're lyrics in the song charmingly titled "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp."

But don't worry . . . the Academy still has standards. The words "f--k," "s--t" and a variation of the "n-word" are still verboten.

Ah, yes. The Academy Awards are such a lovely opportunity to showcase the finest American talent.

UAE Infiltrated by Al Qaeda?

According to this New York Post piece, there is a document from 2002 in which Al Qaeda notes that it has infiltrated the UAE government.

As the terrorist expert quoted in the piece points out, this has two implications: One, that the UAE government is to be commended for actually being a US ally in the war on terror despite Al Qaeda threats; and, two, that there are Al Qaeda in its ranks. To me, that makes it more of a shame that the port deals should be scuttled -- and more of a necessity.

It would be interesting to hear Thomas Friedman's reaction to this news. After all, Friedman writes that the opposition to the ports deal is "borderline racist" (of course). That's not true -- most who oppose this deal would be opposed if it were going to Denmark . . . that is, if Denmark were a breeding ground for white supremacists who had announced the intention of wagign war on America. But what does Friedman know anyway -- he criticizes Karl Rove for having quite properly pointed out that the Democrats are trapped in a pre-9/11 mindset.

Does anyone really think the lefties would be screaming about this port deal if it weren't politically advantageous for them? Of course not -- they, like Friedman, would otherwise be trying to claim that Americans are racists (the usual catch-all motivation liberals attribute to those with whom they disagree).

Friday, February 24, 2006

Deciding What Diversity "Counts"

Here, the Washington Post's Mike Wise eviscerates Bryant Gumbel for his ridiculous remarks about the lack of "diversity" at the Winter Olympics (I criticized him in passing for them, too, in this American Spectator column earlier this week).

As Wise points out, Gumbel apparently is defining "diversity" only by the number of African Americans at the Winter Games.

It's a little bit like Harvard -- which only cares about racial diversity, while conveniently ignoring or ostracizing those who hold beliefs not shared by the politically correct majority.

A Rising Political Star?!

Keep your eye on Lynn Swann. I think he has one of the highest Q ratings around.

If he can avoid mistakes early out of the gate, watch out, Democrats!

"God" Spelled Backwards . . .

Not Winston, but the same breed, with something of his wonderful tenacity and infectious joie de vivre. . .

Apparently, a dog story has taken the world by storm.

No surprise there. Our dog, Winston, has been one of the greatest blessings of my very blessed life. Every single day, he brings joy through his boundless enthusiasm, dogged (no pun intended) determination, charming idiosyncracies, and -- most of all -- his steadfast loyalty and affection.

How many humans say the same about our contributions to the world?

Just Right

Brit Gerard Baker understands exactly what's going on in the forced resignation of Larry Summers. Read his piece.

The Situation in Iraq

Victor Davis Hanson points out the nub of the issue when it comes to Iraq:

Again, the question now is an existential one: Can the United States — or anyone — in the middle of a war against Islamic fascism, rebuild the most important country in the heart of the Middle East, after 30 years of utter oppression, three wars, and an Orwellian, totalitarian dictator warping of the minds of the populace? And can anyone navigate between a Zarqawi, a Sadr, and the Sunni rejectionists, much less the legions of Iranian agents, Saudi millionaires, and Syrian provocateurs who each day live to destroy what’s going on in Iraq?

Here, at least, is one encouraging piece of news: The leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq has been killed.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

All Wrong

Richard Bradley (aka Richard Blow) writes one of the silliest pieces I've seen in the LA Times in a long time -- and that's saying something.

Bradley argues that Larry Summers was done in not because of politics, but because he was trying to make Harvard University more like Washington, whatever that means, and the Harvard faculty (presumably, bravely, in Bradley's view) was simply resisting politicization. In a nutshell, Bradley argues:

Summers was ousted not because of a clash of conservative versus liberal ideologies. After all, Summers was Bill Clinton's former Treasury secretary. He is a liberal.

Not by Harvard standards, pal -- by that measuring stick, he's a reactionary right winger (and so is Bill Clinton, for that matter). And Bradley's written a book about Harvard? Wouldn't trust much that it says . . . he doesn't know what he's talking about.

A Deadly (& Divisive) Canard

Over at National Review, Sally Satel and Jonathan Klick refute the canard that disparities in American health care are a function of racism.

Good for them. It's outrageous that race baiters would trash doctors so indiscriminately.

No Civil War in Iraq

We're all going to hear the Cassandras in the media bemoan the existence of an impending civil war in Iraq.

Over at the Fourth Rail, there is a list of the signs of a real civil war -- reassuring, in that many of the signs have not yet manifested themselves. (HT: Hugh Hewitt).

A Profoundly Silly Argument

Here, the New York Sun catches Hillary Clinton making a misleading -- and indeed dangerous -- argument against school vouchers. Give it a read.

As the piece points out, a fundamental flaw in liberal reasoning on school choice is as follows:

The argument can be made that the First Amendment is different from school vouchers because it involves private action rather than state funded action.The flaw in that argument is that it assumes the money belongs to the state rather than to the taxpayer from whom it was originally collected.

That's true, and it remind me of my days back working in the Senate. A tax cut was under discussion, and then-Sen. Carol Moseley Braun using phraseology like "if we give a tax cut" -- as though the money belongs to the government, who then bestows it on the people.

As Ronald Reagan was the first to point out, the liberals have that one backwards.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Mosque Bombing

In a move obviously designed to spark a civil war, terrorists attacked an important Shiite mosque.

These are the times that try men's souls. Let's pray that the Shiites refuse to be baited into a war that would destroy their country. And let's remember this when the terrorists try to claim that the fight is between Islam and the West. No, it's not -- it's between the forces of totalitarian evil, and freedom.

"President Bush Was Right"

As Investors Business Daily points out, evidence continues to emerge suggesting that there were, indeed, WMD in Iraq.

Absolutely Right (Upon Occasion)

P.S.: When I was at law school at Harvard, for most intents and purposes, Alan Dershowitz began to seem like a "sensible moderate." Doesn't that tell you all you need to know about the ideological skew there? No wonder they call it "the Kremlin on the Charles [River]."


There is one thing I'll say for Alan Dershowitz: He has a history of speaking out against the oppressive leftist hegemony over debate at Harvard University.

Today, he criticizes the hard left faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences for having forced Lawrence Summers' resignation, simply because Summers was insufficiently politically correct for their radical taste (he actually had the temerity to suggest to Cornell West, a star of the African-American Studies department, that West might be well-advised to stop making rap records and start producing a little more scholarship).

It's an article worth reading -- and over time, if Harvard's star starts to dim, Dershowitz may have been prescient in diagnosing the rason why.

Ah, Consistency

As Michelle Malkin points out, in their opposition to the UAE ports deal (opposition I share), the Democrats are racial profilers now. Never let it be said that they let consistency get in the way of scoring a few political points.

And for those not yet convinced that the ports transaction is a bad deal, FYI: Jimmy Carter has endorsed it. What else do you need to know?

Not So Fast

Dick Morris speculates that Al Gore's time may have come -- that he can win the presidency, based on the strength, among other things, of his environmentalist credentials.

Maybe Morris just couldn't come up with a topic for his column this week . . . or maybe not. Because over at The New York Observer, Roger Stone has had the same idea.

Here's the thing: All the historical Nixon/Gore parallels may be "neat" -- just the thing for a columnist to play with on a light week. But there are important differences between Gore and Nixon. For one thing, although the country was embroiled in a war in Vietnam circa 1968, that war never reached America's shores, a la 9/11. So being "anti-war" when the war is against terrorists who are invested in killing Americans on American soil is a whole different proposition than being anti-war when it seemed (to those who were, in my view, mistaken) that a war was being fought for abstract principles half a world away -- and casualties were a whole different order of magnitude.

Even given all that, as late as 1972, the openly liberal, anti-war candidate, George McGovern, didn't stand a chance. Why in the world would anyone think that Americans would trust Al Gore during a time of war, when they didn't trust him enough to elect him in a time of peace? Yes, he's now "reinvented" himself, as Morris and Stone point out, but how many times has that happened before?

Above all, to the normal American, Gore has come across as quasi-insane in recent years, with ever more extreme positions and intemperate denunciations of the President on every issue of the day. That's not to mention his outrageous allegations against his own country last week -- words that bordered on treason.

Sure, the Howard Dean netroots love Gore. But then again, they love Howard Dean -- the other top contender for most unbalanced Democrat. What else do you need to know?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Heaven Forbid!

Here is a story that boggles the mind. A convicted member of al Qaeda -- who was plotting to assassinate the President, mind you -- has lucked out with his judge.

Before Judge Bruce Lee will sentence the man, he wants to make sure that none of the evidence was obtained through warrantless eavesdropping -- lest it undermine the terrorist's constitutional rights. Yes, apparently that's the big problem . . . not what the terrorist was doing, but whether the information about it was obtained through a NSA wiretap.


A Crimson Coup d'Etat

Lawrence Summers has resigned as Harvard's president, against the wishes of an overwhelming number of students and faculty.

The moral of the story? The politically correct and intellectually honest need not apply.

There's no need to worry about Summers. He will go on to have a very lucrative and successful career in whatever he does. The loss is Harvard's.

Alleged Ohio Terrorists Indicted

For those who don't believe the terrorist threat in the U.S. is real, read this.

The SHamefully Politicized CIA

I've written here before about the arrogance and politicization of the CIA. Here, in today's LA Times, is a valuable piece that points out the wrongheadedness of and the danger springing from having a CIA that does little effectively -- besides play politics.

Summers Should Stay

Update: If this is true, it's a real loss for Harvard.

Once again, apparently some at Harvard are pressing for the dismissal of President Larry Summers.

Why? Nominally because he's too "blunt," apparently, and the eggshell egos can't deal with opinions with which they disagree -- especially if those opinions aren't couched in honeyed words.

Larry Summers is a smart man who is preventing Harvard from blowing away into some far-left solar system. Harvard needs him. And, as Professor Harvey Mansfield points out in the linked piece, if he is dismissed, it will be tantamount to allowing a small radical leftist faction to have de facto control of the university.

Poor, Overwhelmed Professors

So, according to this piece, university professors are feeling overwhelmed by the volume of email they receive -- and annoyed at the often rude tone that students take in it.

Just a few observations. First, many of the demands that the professors are complaining about sound about equivalent to what law firm associates put up with -- minus, of course, the status and respect (not to mention tenure). Second, a lot of professors themselves -- and the leftist ideologies they espouse -- are responsible for the erosion of respect for authority generally. And now they're upset that the cultural tone they've worked to inculcate is coming back at them?


Still More Evidence

On Iraq-Al Qaeda ties. The American Thinker has it here.

Why Do They Hate Us?

In today's American Spectator, I argue that's the question the press should be asking in the wake of its hysterical coverage of the Cheney birdshot accident.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Not So Mighty Memes

Over at Real Clear Politics, John Leo points out the damage to Democrats that can be done by the MSM spreading what amounts to little more than wishful thinking.

This column corresponds to my long-held theory that in some ways, Republicans actually benefit from the easier ride Democrats get from the press. Before every election, for example, Democrats get a spate of stories about how things are looking up for them, only to be disappointed in the execution. Republicans know that they have to do twice as well for their efforts to be reported on half as well.

As a result, Republicans get sharpened up, Democrats get lulled into a false sense of complacency.

Although Republicans get a rougher ride from the MSM in general, it seems that the old saying is true: What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

More Strategic Folly

Frank Gaffney points out yet more reasons why all of us should be very, very unhappy about the proposed deal to allow the UAE to manage six of America's most important ports.

Passing the Bar

This story recalled the nightmare days during the summer of 2000 when I was studying for the California bar.

Somehow, I passed on my first try, but it was an ugly, ugly experience. For some reason -- perhaps it's the sheer volume of the material or the infinite number of questions that can be asked -- failure always seems like the likeliest outcome (I was also convinced that I woudl fail the Missouri bar when I took it back in 1992).

In any case, I wish all the luck in the world to the hapless crew who are in the middle of the ordeal. Blessings on all of them.

Pundit Payola

Cathy Young is right. Pundits of all political stripes should be disclosing any payment they receive from an outside entities that have an interest in the area of the pundit's expertise or writing.

Likewise, all professional journalists should disclose when they use information supplied by a particular interest group for their "news" stories -- if for no other reason than that it allows a reader to gauge whether the reporter is gathering facts only from one (biased) side.

A New Twist to Saddam & WMD

Read this piece. It appears that we still have much to learn about the truth regarding Saddam and WMD. Among other important points:

John Shaw, former deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, . . . charged that Saddam's stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction were moved by Russian special forces into Syria and Lebanon. According to Mr. Shaw, former Russian intelligence boss Yevgeny Primakov came to Iraq in December 2002 in order to supervise "cleanup" operations to remove WMD production materials from the country. This operation, carried out by GRU military intelligence and Russian "spetsnaz," or special forces, troops, was designed to make it possible for critics of the war to be able to claim that Iraq had had no WMD.

Interesting how the Democrats played right into their hands.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Real Civil Rights Issue

Thankfully, Ruben Navarrette is up in arms over the unconscionable effort by some parents to litigate to obtain a high school diploma for their children, even if they fail the state exit exams (discussed previously on this blog here).

What's amazing, though, is that he's mostly angry at the parents for suing -- not at the schools for doing such a terrible job at educating California youth. And note that, in the first paragraph of the piece, he hastens to assure readers that he does not support vouchers.

Vouchers would empower parents to leave underperforming schools, not just sue them -- and we can't have that.

The ability to obtain a decent education -- whether in public schools or elsewhere, at the parents' option (just like the Clintons adn Gores have) -- should be the real civil rights issue of the day. Unfortunately, it isn't.

Morality, Environmentalism & Clear Thinking

As noted here, the MSM is willing to "use" bloggers for their own ends. Another variant on the same theme: Thomas Bray notes the approving press treatment of evangelicals -- as long as they are signing up for the liberal orthodox approach to global warming.

As Bray points out, morality requires clear thinking. It's one thing to be responsible stewards of the earth that God made for us. It's another thing to worship mother nature.

I Am An Aunt

God's most precious miracle was delivered to my twin brother and sister-in-law. What a joyous day!

In the words of Harry Warren, circa 1938:

Does your mother realize
The stork delivered quite a prize
The day he left you on the fam'ly tree?

Does your dad appreciate
That you are merely super great,
The miracle of any century!

If they don't, just send them both to me . . .

Real Men Wear Pink

Is this what press coverage in the United States has come down to -- a deconsruction of Vice President Cheney's decision to wear a pink tie last week?

A Lot of Tone-Deafness

Apparently Michael Chertoff today defended the decision to let a UAE company take over port operations in six major cities.

Incredibly tone deaf -- not only in political terms, but in terms of national security, as well. There are reasons to mistrust the UAE despite its prime minister's insistence that it's a US ally in the war on terror.

If an attack results from this boneheaded decision, it's over for the Bush Administration -- and for the otherwise well-deserved Republican political advantage on national security matters.

Cash for Kofi

Claudia Rosett notes that, as Kofi Annan picks up a $500,000 prize from Dubai, that he's telling the rest of the U.N. staff bureaucracy to "do as I say, not as I do."

Apparently, everything is different when you're the Secretary General.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Using the Bloggers

In the past, liberals have decried the alleged Republican "spin machine," wherein talk radio and conservative magazines present a story that then finds its way into the MSM (especially in the days when there was a President with a colorful sex life upon which the press was initially reluctant to report, for both taste and ideological reasons).

At least the conservative stories, for the most part, rose well above the level of irresponsible rumor. Here's an example of something quite different. The press is using wacky speculation from liberal blogs -- presented without even an attempt at producing a shred of evidence -- as a spring board to print unfair and incendiary allegations about the Cheney/Whittington accident, and then to purvey Cheney's drinking history back when he was 21.

Can you imagine how differently the MSM would spin a story about baseless speculation by conservative bloggers about the Clinton administration, had the blogosphere existed back then?

What's the Point?

That's what I'm wondering about this story -- basically, an account of how "Justice Ginsburg will go it alone as the only female justice."

Please. As the piece itself points out, Justice Ginsburg has been the "only woman" before -- and it's not like she's having to hold her own in a locker room full of naked, rowdy athletes. It's the Supreme Court, for heaven's sake.

Justice O'Connor has done it. Justice Ginsburg can do it. Both have done it in the past, as becomes any female pioneers in any field.

Stories like this just make women look weak and pathetic. Unnecessarily.

Friday, February 17, 2006


Posting will be light tomorrow morning, as I will be traveling. Check back in late afternoon!

Shame of the Bulldog

Yale University is hosting a sex week, featuring panels of porn stars, sex toys and other ridiculous elements. Not that other universities are immune -- I recall a porn star being a featured speaker at Princeton during my time there.

It's worth asking: What is the value of Sex Week? And what values does sex week promote? Are they likely to result in students having a greater respect for themselves, for each other, for relationships and for their own bodies -- not to mention a greater understanding of sexual morality?

Sadly, we all know the answer.

How far America's great universities have fallen.

Where's the Outrage?

Wonder how many Democrats are interested in this account, courtesy of Mother Jones, alleging that the Democratic power structure not only knocked Paul Hackett out of the Ohio Senate race -- it also tried to slime him.

This is only one topic among many that may figure into an internecine Democratic war, according to Red State.

Typical that objections to Democratic sliming come from the far left only when Chuck Schumer's behavior impacts Democrats, and not Republicans like Michael Steele.

When Truth (& Relevance) Don't Matter

This piece points out that Democrats have taken more money from lobbyists than Republicans have, over the last 15 years.

The facts belie one of the Democrats' recent attacks -- namely, that Republicans are uniquely and exclusively responsible for a "culture of corruption" in the nation's capital.

But as Daniel Henninger points out, truthfulness (or even the importance of an issue generally) isn't really the point for the Democrats. Their aim seems to be to behave so badly that the electorate votes out Bush and Republicans generally just to be rid of the bickering and controversy.

Obviously, it's a deeply cynical ploy. But it's a game that the MSM (which still has the biggest megaphone) seems all too willing to play.

Will it work come November? It depends -- especially on the perceived level of both the terrorist threat, and the Democrats' competence to address it.

And (as I've pointed out before), Republicans need to make sure that the country knows about the kind of moonbattery Democrats and their ilk stand for (as even today, actor Richard Dreyfuss calls for the President's impeachment). After all, is the body politic really willing to put people into power whose agenda includes trying to impeach the President during a time of war?

Please Rethink It!

Update: It's appalling that Republicans are letting Democrats like Hillary Clinton take the lead on addressing this issue.

Here is more from The Washington Times about the UAE firm acquiring six big American ports. Key paragraph:

The deadlock cinch here is that Dubai Ports World doesn't even have to be a willing collaborator to be a danger to the United States. All other things being equal, an Arabic company is easier for terrorists to penetrate than a British or American firm. In the least nefarious of scenarios, Dubai Ports World might not even know what happened until after some future attack. That would be possible even if the dockworkers are the same and even if most of the local management is exactly the same.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Reconsideration is Needed

The White House is being urged to reconsider a sale that would give a company in the United Arab Emirates control over significant operations at six American ports.

Perhaps the deal is fine. But it doesn't sound fine, from what we know now. Americans like me are willing to fork over their tax dollars, and support doing what needs to be done to fight terror. The least we are entitled to is an explanation of why American ports are being surrendered to the control of a country that may consider itself a partner in the war on terror -- but which is also "an important transfer point for shipments of smuggled nuclear components sent to Iran, North Korea and Libya by a Pakistani scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan."

Sleep On It!

That's what new research seems to suggest.

Demography = Destiny?

That's what Mark Steyn argues, and very convincingly, at that.

"Roses of the Prophet Muhammed"

They go well with liberty cabbage and Alsatians.

Feeding the Beast

Interesting analysis of the Paul Hackett debacle by UPI news senior analyst Martin Sieff. He worries (yes, worries) about the implications for the Democratic Party of its failure to embrace left wing antiwar types ranging from Hackett to Cindy Sheehan.

Seems to me that Sieff is giving away his far left roots here. There's a world of difference between Hackett -- an Iraq war vet -- and Sheehan, and to lump them into the same category is, frankly, an insult to Hackett. And a world of difference between shunting Hackett aside in favor of a career pol, and not wanting an anti-American moonbat like Sheehan to take on Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Even so, it's true that the Dems are going to have a problem feeding the angry netroots base that they've been delighted to nourish when the ferocity was directed at the President. And it serves them right.

Sour Grapes, Indeed

So now CNN's crazy old aunt in the attic, Jack Cafferty, is complaining because Dick Cheney was interviewed on Fox, by the tough but fair Brit Hume.

Let's put it this way, Jack: The Vice President wanted an interview that was fair and balanced. And on the breakaway cable news leader. Get it now?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

It's All Bush's Fault

Speaking for Itself

Cindy Sheehan, and all the lefties who think the world would have been better off with Saddam Hussein remaining in power, should take a listen to these tapes.

Not that it will convince them. Not that anything would.

An Instructive Contrast

One President sullies the Oval Office by allowing an intern to perform oral sex on him while he speaks with a member of the House of Representatives. He lies under oath, lies to the American people, and deliberately tries to mislead everyone as much as possible. Only after he is caught dead to rights does he apologize to anyone. Members of his party argue that what he does on his own time is his own business -- and that his manifest character flaws have no bearing on his ability to do his job.

The Vice President in the succeeding administration hits his friend with birdshot by mistake, and takes full responsibility, speaking to the press about the matter well within a week of it occurring. But the Democrats are livid about the matter. An accidental peppering of birdshot -- now that's something they can unite around!

Even before the interview, the office of Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) issued a statement accusing Cheney of being "unable, or unwilling, to level with the American people." Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) added: "Vice President Cheney had a chance to shoot straight with the American people, but he decided to stonewall and delay.

Interesting that intentional wrongdoing means so little to the Democrats -- and an apparently innocent accident means so very, very much.

The MSM's "Fantasy Island"

Anyone remember the silly '70's show Fantasy Island? From time to time, at the show's outset, Ricardo Montalban would say portentiously to his sidekick, "Perhaps, Tattoo, things will not work out quite as [the character at issue] suspects"?

That's precisely the position the MSM finds itself in with regard to the Cheney/birdshot incident, as Hugh Hewitt points out. It's unlikely that the incident is going to unfold in accordance with the agenda and wishes of David Gregory and the rest of his ilk (whatever happened to the old journalistic tradition of the press not becoming part of the story, anyway?).

An Outrageous Decision

No one who has the national security interests of Americans at heart can go along with the pernicious idea of having the American ports of New York, New Jersey, Baltimore and three others under the control of the United Arab Emirates.

The deal should be stopped, and now . . . And there should be some serious scrutiny of the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment, the Treasury Department-dominated group that approved the purchase.

Wrong for the Right Reasons

Amity Schlaes makes the excellent point that there's no reason to go after Hillary for her looks, hairstyle or general personality.

Her policies provide ample fodder for criticism -- especially her rigidly leftist ideology that refuses to recognize just how beneficial for New York the Bush tax cuts have been.

One Big Loser

This piece by Fawaz Gerges explains why Osama Bin Laden is losing the battle he started with the USA.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

"Polarization" and "Electability"

Dick Morris discusses the polarization factor and how it relates to some of the most oft-mentioned 2008 candidates.

Another way of thinking about polarization is as electability -- that is, polarizing candidates may be nominated, but they're unlikely to be elected. Kellyanne Conway -- one of the smartest women in politics, for my money -- has a different, and much-needed take on the topic here.

A Valentine from Jesse

Here, the ever-increasingly ridiculous and irrelevant Jesse Jackson argues -- in effect -- that people shouldn't attend funerals unless either they agreed with all the political views of the deceased or they're willing to be attacked politically.

Or, at least, that's his opinion about President Bush and the Coretta King funeral. How silly. What a great way to destroy the shreds of commonality and civility that still unite us.

While Jesse Jackson is bloviating about the funeral, he remains staunchly silent about the terrible troubles afflicting the African American community -- problems that might actually require some work, rather than speechifying in expensive suits and flying around on private planes.

Need something real to do, Mr. Jackson? Read this piece by John McWhorter -- "How Hip-Hop Holds Blacks Back" -- and then get to work.

I'm not holding my breath.

Hmmm . . .

Iraq War vet Paul Hackett, hailed by Democrats and the MSM for a surprisingly good showing against Republican Jean Schmidt for a Republican House seat next year has dropped his quest for a Senate seat in Ohio and is, he says, dropping out of politics.

Why? According to Hackett, Senator Chuck Schumer (head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee) and other politicos pressured him to give up the Senate race and run for the House. Apparently, the Democrats favor a career politico over the vet . . .

Wishing Doesn't Make It So

It's always amusing to see a died-in-the-wool MSM liberal try to report on Republicans and their "feelings" as Scot Lehigh does today in The Boston Globe.

Lehigh wouldn't be able to gauge Republican opinion if it smacked him in the face. First, he tries to lionize the attitudinizing Chuck Hagel, whose presidential potential is somewhere between permanently dormant and nonexistent (if Republicans want a GOP "maverick," they'll pick the real thing and go with John McCain, who at least has some charm to offset the arrogance).

Second, he asserts that Republicans are beginning to quail at the thought of putting permanent tax cuts in place because "Locking in tax cuts that disproportionately reward the well-to-do even as Congress pares back social programs for those of low and moderate incomes is too much for some of them to abide." Setting aside the fact that tax cuts can only "reward" those who actually pay taxes ("disproportionately . . . the well-to-do" under the current structure), the critique is internally inconsistent: The big problem, as Lehigh's idol Hagel puts it, is the unrestrained growth in government. So they're cutting programs but government growth is unrestrained? Riddle me that, Batman.

Lehigh's beloved "iconoclast," the accomplished Bruce Bartlett, has become such an over-the-top Bush critic that he is taken seriously by very few.

Finally, the "resistance from the president's own party" over "warrantless [international] eavesdropping" signals very little in terms of a sea change in Bush's relationship with Republicans. The issue, as the congresspeople see it, is a tussle between congressional and presidential authority -- and some of them are hot to defend their own prerogatives.

Lehigh may wish that the President had systemic and ongoing trouble from a great mass of those within his own party. But wishing doesn't make it so -- and neither do a few selective examples.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Could Someone Please Explain . . .

Update: As reader Jo reminded me, Vice President Cheney wasn't even shooting with buckshot -- it was birdshot.

Why the press is in such a lather about the Vice President accidentally hitting a hunting companion with some buckshot?

Seems to me that liberal anti-gun hysteria is rearing its ugly head. It'll be interesting to see what the Democrats have to say . . . especially the ones who, every few years, claim to be such great proponents of hunting.

Let's hear it, gentlemen. The red state hunters are listening.

Disgraceful Al Gore

Investors Business Daily has some well-deserved censure of Al Gore for his unpardonable remarks at a Saudi economic forum.

Weekly Column

In honor of Valentine's Day, my column this week consists of a few words in favor of men.

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

That's Howard Dean. He's calling for the Vice President to resign -- no, not because of the buckshot kerfuffle, but because Lewis Libby has testified that Mr. Cheney authorized him to leak Valerie Plame's identity. According to Dean, it means that "This vice president many not be vice president very much longer."

This is so silly that it's amazing even Howard Dean went with it. First, we're still waiting for any indication that revealing Plame's identity was a crime of any kind (note that the independent counsel has never alleged that it is). And if it's not, what's the problem with the Vice President authorizing Libby to reveal it?

Second, as the "president in waiting," the Vice President largely shares the responsibilities and the prerogatives bestowed on the President by the Constitution. Included within that are the "commander in chief" powers, which carry with them the responsibility to decide what information ought, and ought not, remain secret (read: classified). The President and Vice President can, essentially, declassify what they want, when they want in the course of undertaking their natioanl security duties. And so even if Plame's identity were classified -- and there's still no evidence she was covert -- what's the problem?

Episodes like this are so helpful in reminding the country that the Democrats simply aren't serious about national security, and can't be trusted with it.

No Cupids at the NY Times . . .

This piece, comparing Mrs. Clinton's speaking style unfavorably to that of her husband's -- isn't likely to up the "romance quotient" at the couple's Valentine dinner. . .

No doubt the piece made Hillary "angry".

Proving Too Much and Too Little

Writing in the Boston Globe, Cathy Young -- mistakenly in my view -- compares the behavior of American Christians with that of the Muslims rioting over the cartoon controversy. She argues that, although they don't call for violence, "[f]undamentalist Christians, traditionalist Catholics and ultra-Orthodox Jews . . . too often equate criticism (let alone mockery) of their beliefs with 'religious bigotry' or 'hate speech.' And they, too, often seek not simply to protest but to shut down offensive speech."

Well. Young's argument is, at once, overinclusive and underinclusive. Overinclusive because, even setting aside the very great distinction between those who call for violence and those who don't, not all ""[f]undamentalist Christians, traditionalist Catholics and ultra-Orthodox Jews" are guilty of the behavior she describes.

Much more significantly, her argument is radically underinclusive. Members of almost every group -- ethnic, gender, religious, even sexuality-based -- have engaged in the tactics she decries, some much more loudly and effectively than the groups Young targets. Certainly in the (blue) United States, Arabs, women, Muslims and gays would have much greater success at shutting down speech they deemed offensive than would the groups she criticizes -- and are no less eager to do so than Christians and Jews of whatever stripe.

The desire not to see one's "sacred cows" gored isn't restricted to people of faith alone. By framing her argument as if it is, Young does her readers a great disservice, and slanders groups that, quite frankly, are already slandered enough.

Happy Birthday to Us!

It's my birthday today . . . and my twin brother's.

How grateful I am for my life, and for all the wonderful people in it (and you know who you are . . . ).

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Sit Down and Shut Up

Al Gore is over in Saudi Arabia telling Saudis that the U.S. government committed "terrible abuses" against Arabs after the 9/11 attacks.

Al Gore does not speak for me. He certainly does not speak for the U.S. Government. His words are deeply pernicious, injurious to American interests and to the war on terror.

He needs to knock it off . . . now.

Oops! Missed Again!

There was, apparently, some excitement on the Vice President's recent hunting trip. Luckily, all is well.

The Pro-Choice Mind

Read this pitiful piece by a self described pro-choice feminist Christian, who has apparently had more than one abortion (at the end, she mentions that "I have had my abortions, and I have had a child.").

Of course the decision to have an abortion must be a difficult and agonizing one. But other than cases of rape, incest, life of the mother at risk or severe fetal deformity, it's worth asking: How, in an era of inexpensive, readily available and highly effective contraception, does an educated woman come to have several abortions?

The author argues that , there are, indeed, two lives implicated in the decision to abort -- "one born (the pregnant woman) and one not (the fetus)." But where, from that, does it ineluctably follow that "the born person must be allowed to decide what is right"? The interest in life between the mother and the unborn baby is equivalent, really, only in cases when the mother runs a chance of dying as a result of the childbirth (and in such a case, few reasonable people would challenge a decision to abort). In most cases, as inconvenient and unwelcome and potentially embarassing as a pregnancy might be, a woman's "life" is not literally at stake in the same way that an unborn baby's is.

But perhaps the saddest part of the piece as a whole is the anger underlying it. Where does that come from? How did it happen? And consider whether, perhaps, the author is more to be pitied than blamed.

A Soldier's Story

This piece by a valiant American soldier is yet another reminder of just how poorly the MSM has reported on the Iraq war.

Risking Feminist Wrath

A child development expert has changed his mind -- and believes that the optimal environment for the development of young children is the home, being cared for (ideally) by a parent.

He's calling for Britain to stop subsidizing day care, and instead put into place policies that would make it easier for a parent to stay home with young children.

And I say good for him.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

More Than "Hand to Mouth" Disease

Researchers are beginning to find more signs that there are physiological causes of obesity.

An Interesting Juxtaposition

In a piece today over at California Republica, Dennis Mountjoy discusses a bill that might be instrumental in curbing statutory rape.

Undoubtedly, the people opposing it raise some of the same "privacy" concerns that have informed this case in Kansas.

For my money, minors should have very few rights to "informational privacy" when it comes to sex, especially when they are at such young ages that sex is de facto abuse, or when a crime -- like statutory rape -- is involved. The goal isn't to "control" them, but to protect them from the disastrous consequences that can come from giving too much, too soon, even if the mistake is willingly made.

Even a Stopped Clock . . .

Is right twice a day. Tim Rutten is right even less often -- but his piece today, arguing that media's reluctance to show the Muslim cartoons is strangely at odds with its behavior toward other faiths.

I actually agree. Of course, Rutten presumably would say that it's OK to offend all religions, and I would say it's best to offend none, but still . . .

Note to Hillary: This Is How It's Done

Laura Bush, responding to some nasty comments from her predecessor, offers an object lesson in graciousness.

Sweet Taste of Freedom

Check out this ice cream. I've had it. It's good.

Sanctimonious Hypocrisy

Whatever would Coretta Scott King say? Just days after Jimmy Carter used her funeral to oppose President Bush's warrantless surveillance program against Al Qaeda, The Washington Times reports that "in 1977, Mr. Carter and his attorney general, Griffin B. Bell, authorized warrantless electronic surveillance used in the conviction of two men for spying on behalf of Vietnam."

What's more, the courts upheld it.

Carter lacks the grace to apologize -- but he should.

Friday, February 10, 2006

How "Revealing"

Vanity Fair's behaving like some high-brow nudie mag, but over at the LA Times, they don't care.

The problem isn't that the mag is features naked women and a giant breast, and bespeaks a frantic effort to seem artsy and titillating, all at the same time. The problem is that the women are naked but the men are clothed -- and that's just not fair!

Tells you a lot about liberal attitudes these days.


This is a picture of Madonna at the Grammys. Check out the outfit, the chains, the poles and the rest. Is this really necessary? Is this art? Is this a suitable example for young girls? What's the point?

Whatever her musical talents (a debate I'll leave to others), Madonna's other "contributions" to the culture have been sleazy dressing and hypersexification. There's little left that could really "shock" anyone anymore. But that doesn't mean she won't keep on trying . . . cheap thrills are, apparently, her stock in trade. Just how badly can any one woman crave attention?

Not The President

The Wall Street Journal takes on the FISA judges' unwarranted assumption of national security authority (discussed on this blog here yesterday) (HT: Hugh Hewitt).

Perhaps the Wish is Father To the Thought . . .

How they wish . . . The NY Times today runs a story titled "Conservatives Unsettled About Movement's Future." Of course, we've heard this before (here, for example, in January of 2004, before Republicans unified en masse for the re-election of George W. Bush, despite the much-touted "unity" of the Democrats).

The point is this: Conservatives need to reform the spending, and remember that they're supposed to be the party of small government. Likewise, some kind of understanding must be reached on illegal immigration (for the reasons why, see here and here).

But there's something amusingly short-sighted about the NY Times focusing on supposed conservative disunity when the competition is a party that can't reach either substantive consensus on the most important issue of the day -- the war -- or procedural consensus, as was demonstrated during the recent Alito "flopibuster".

This kind of MSM coverage explains a lot about why Democrats awaken so disappointed after every Election Day. They've been relying on stories like this one, believing that the Republicans are midway to meltdown, and that victory is nigh. Because the MSM does such a poor job of understanding, much less convering, mainstream red state America, they've never a clue of what's really going on.

Conversely, conservatives tend to underestimate their power and success, which explains some of the frustrating congressional timidity at times -- but it's a lot b etter than living in a NY Times/liberal/Democrat "but everyone we know agrees with us" bubble.

Squandered Potential for Good

In this story, President George H.W. Bush praises President Clinton's relationship with the black community, saying, "I thought President Clinton was maybe the best. It was his crowd. They talk about Bill Clinton being 'the first black president,' well when you walk into that church with 12,000 or whatever it was, I mean it was very clear who that crowd loved and respected."

What a shame. If Bill Clinton had more moral fiber, imagine all the good he could do, working off the speech he delivered back on MLK Day in 1993. He is respected in the black community, and could be an enormous force for positive change.

Unfortunately, it isn't in him. And it's more important to both him and Hillary to see her as President. Just about says it all.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

"Slow and Cautious"? Compared to What?

This story about the Danish reaction to the cartoon furor, from the International Herald-Tribune, is revealing.

Note this sentence: "But the prime minister avoided criticizing the Bush administration for its slow and cautious defense of an ally" ("slow and cautious" is apparently the newspaper's own bit of editorializing).

Then contrast that with this illuminating quote from today's LA Times:

"A lot of Danes have problems understanding what is going on and why people in those countries reacted this way," said Morton Rixen, a philosophy student, looking out his window at a city awhirl in angst and snow. "We're used to seeing American flags and pictures of George Bush being burned, but we've always seen ourselves as a more tolerant nation. We're in shock to now be in the center of this."

Sounds to me that if anything has been "slow and cautious," it's the "tolerant nation[s]" that are all too willing to put up with anti-Americanism, but then scream like stuck pigs when they're the ones under attack. Then, it seems, the US is expected to be "johnny on the spot" to stand up for the "tolerant nation" that was all too happy to see hatred of America flourish.

Wishful Thinking

Margaret Carlson is one of Hillary Clinton's chief media cheerleaders, so it's no surprise that she would be insisting that Republicans won't be able to back their assertion that Hillary is "angry."

But wishing doesn't make it so. Has Carlson ever heard one of Hillary's shrill, eardrum-breaking speeches? Sounds pretty angry to me.

Carlson also indulges in weak logic, invoking Hillary's political success in New York as evidence that she can be politically successful elsewhere. The fact is that Jesse Helms could have had a "60 percent approval rating" in conservative North Carolina -- but it wouldn't be proof that he could win a nationwide campaign. Same goes for Hillary in liberal New York. If she had won a Senate seat in South Carolina -- or even in Colorado -- then all bets would be off.

But for now, I'm not that impressed.

A Wish Granted

Here is an account of a little boy's visit with President Bush, thanks to the Make A Wish Foundation.

Just What We Need: More Firewalls

Read this Washington Post story, which describes the discomfort, in particular, of Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, one of the two head judges of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. She apparently told "government lawyers to create a better firewall [between information obtained through warrantless surveillance and evidence used to obtain warrants] or face more difficulty obtaining warrants." And note that she did this without consulting any other judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Ironic juxtaposition with this story, isn't it?

Who knows what information ended up saving LA from trauma -- and where it came from. Who cares? Certainly not all the people who are alive and well in LA today, and who otherwise might not have been.

It's a Republican Scandal!

That's what Harry Reid said on Fox News Sunday, back on December 18.

But then how, pray tell, does he explain this?

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid wrote at least four letters helpful to Indian tribes represented by Jack Abramoff, and the senator's staff regularly had contact with the disgraced lobbyist's team about legislation affecting other clients.

A Sorry Spectacle

Columnist Mary Mitchell offers some home truths about the disgraceful behavior at Coretta King's funeral.

"Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton"?

Here is a piece from The New York Times on the growing "closeness" between the Bushes and Clintons.

Doesn't bother me one way or the other. For those who are afraid it will somehow bolster Hillary's presidential chances, it's worth remembering -- how likely are the far-left wingnuts she needs to be impressed by a friendship with George W. "Evil Incarnate" Bush? And how likely is someone who otherwise despises Hillary to vote for her simply because her husband is friends with his predecessor and successor?

Seems to me that while the friendship may be good for the former President Clinton, it's not so good for the aspiring one. As the piece points out, it certainly doesn't prevent the RNC from pointing out the real problems of a Hillary Administration.

Almost a Target

Here is some chilling news about the Al Qaeda attacks that have been foiled by the Bush Administration -- including one on the US Bank Tower here in Los Angeles.

More here.

It's about time the President started telling people about his successes in preventing further attacks -- and thus reminding them that the threat of terror remains very real, every day, even as the Senate Neros fiddle on.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Standing in the Schoolhouse Door

As John Stossel points out, opponents of school choice fear spending education money on something that's not proven -- preferring, evidently, to spend it on something that's been proven not to work. Shameful.

But, in fairness, parents deserve their share of the blame -- as this LA Times story highlights. Apparently, some students and parents have filed a class action suit against the State Board of Education. The goal? To permit tens of thousands of California students who have failed the exit exam to get their diploma without regard to whether they passed the English and math portions of the exam.

Amazing -- parents suing to secure their children's "right" to graduate without even minimal skills. Why aren't they suing the State Board of Education for having failed to education their childrne, despite having been given 13 years to do so?

And it's too bad taxpayers don't have standing to sue -- I'd be first in line at the courthouse door to object to $100,000 of tax money having been spent per student, and, apparently, for nothing.

Me, Too

Like the former Archbishop of Canterbury, I, too, am ashamed of the Anglicans for voting to disinvest from companies whose products are used by the Israeli government in the territories.

Getting Her Due

Here is a well-deserved tribute to Phyllis Schlafly's prescience. And don't forget she also managed to raise five wonderful children.

Check It Out!

Sounds like the Iraq Survey Group -- charged with locating Iraq's WMD's -- may not have done as thorough a job as all of us had a right to expect.

If it turns out that there were WMD's in Iraq, is it all right to accuse the Democrats of having "lied" about their non-existence? (Of course not, but that's the logic they use when they assert that the President lied.)

Dressing for "Success"

Government employees in California are disgruntled because a dress code has been put in place.

Imagine the outrage: Employees of San Bernadino County are no longer being permitted to wear sweatpants to work! And come-hither heels are being banned. The outrage! The persecution!

More examples of the oppression include banning overalls, sports team gear and shirts that bare bellybuttons. According to the piece, "Tattoos that can't be covered by clothing must be covered by other means. Pierced ears and earrings for both sexes are allowed."

Who in their right mind could object to this? When at work, dress professionally. What people want to do on their own time is their own business; what they do on taxpayer time is the taxpayers' business -- and there's nothing wrong with expecting people to dress (and behave) appropriately.

Quite a Double Standard

The New York Times has a surprisingly reasonable "take" on the Muslim cartoon controversy. As this piece points out, would that they were as fair-minded when it comes to Christianity.

Some Noteworthy Nobel Nominees

How refreshing. John Bolton and Kenneth Timmerman have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for their roles in exposing Iran's plans to develop nuclear weapons. THey were nominated by Sweden's former deputy prime minister Per Ahlmark.

Odds are they won't win, of course -- but then again, that just saves them from the embarassment of being classified with "winners" like Yasser Arafat and Jimmy Carter.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Long, Windy & Meaningless

Here is a long and windy New York Times piece on the Democrats' problems.

Here's what it took words and words and words to say: Democrats are weak on national security. They have no ideas, just criticism. And they have no credible national messenger.

That's all, folks.

A Misleading "Feminist" Mystique

This is some irony. Writing in today's LA Times, feminist Susan Jacoby extols Betty Friedan, and laments the "igorance of the young" about feminism's supposed contributions. She writes:

Newspapers [running obituaries about Friedan] had to remind their readers that equal pay for equal work, sex-blind help-wanted ads, the right of pregnant women to keep their jobs, nondiscriminatory admission standards for professional schools and many other matters of simple justice were considered not only controversial but radical proposals in the 1960s.


"The Feminine Mystique" was written in 1963. Note that the Equal Pay Act was likewise passed in 1963, and the Civil Rights Act, which barred sex discrimination, was passed in 1964.

That was some quick work, if Friedan was responsible (ha). In any case, Jacobi's "radical proposals" of the 1960's were already enshrined in federal law before the decade was half over.

Jacobi's assertion that "history is a terrible thing to waste" would have signicantly more resonance if she, herself, weren't so sloppy with the historical facts.

No Occasion is Sacred

How typical that Jimmy Carter would use the occasion of Coretta Scott King's funeral to bash President Bush. And how amazing that the crowd of supposed "mourners" would allow the occasion to be debased into Wellstone Memorial II.

As for Carter, it's interesting that the least successful president in modern American history is the first to try to trash his compatriots. Here's the only question that really matters: Whom would you rather have in charge in the post 9/11 era -- Jimmy Carter, or George W. Bush?

Game. Set. Match.

Point of No Return

Thomas Sowell explains what's at stake, as self-important senators decide how many angels can dance on the head of the "domestic wiretapping" pin. His point is well taken:

With Iran advancing step by step toward nuclear weapons, while the Europeans wring their hands and the United Nations engages in leisurely discussion, this squeamishness about tapping terrorists' phone contacts in the United States is grotesque.

Living in Dreamland

The Boston Globe's Peter Canellos apparently feels that it's a realistic ambition for John Kerry to seek the presidency again.

Canellos reasons that the electorate may have had time to get used to Kerry's "quirks" -- in much the same way that "Ronald Reagan's bellicose rhetoric was less of a problem in 1980 than in 1976; George H. W. Bush's preppy expressions didn't rankle as much in 1988 as in 1980; and Bob Dole's grumpiness didn't raise as many red flags in 1996 as in 1988."

Interesting analysis, but ultimately wrong, in my view. First, Democrats aren't Republicans. They tend (in my experience) to have less tolerance for their losing candidates than Republicans do (think of the treatment of Michael Dukakis vs. that of Bob Dole, and of how much longer it took Jimmy Carter to be welcomed back to a convention than Gerald Ford). Second, when they got their "second chances," Reagan, Bush I and Dole hadn't already won the nomination and then been defeated by a hated opponent the way that Kerry was.

Finally, Kerry was never the first choice of most Democratic voters. He was the one they deemed most electable, in a cynical calculus that a decorated Vietnam veteran could get away most easily with being dovish on the war. Kerry isn't likable, he isn't relatable, and he isn't even consistent (except in pursuing his own self-interest).

It would be nothing less than shocking if he's able to gain any meaningful traction in 2008 at all.

Slander-Tongued Democrat?

Doesn't sound like Howard Dean is the only one with a foot-in-mouth problem. Harry Reid is afflicted with it, too.

Whatever the merits of the underlying bill (and it's worth noting that a lot of the asbestos litigation has been a travesty), seems like Reid's words are a poor choice for a party leader.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Whatever Happened to Decorum?

That's the point of my weekly column, which discusses the deplorable behavior surrounding President Bush's State of the Union Address.

Spinning the Economic News

Brent Bozell points out that both ABC and CBS ignored the fact that the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since July of 2001. Even more egregious was the LA Times' coverage: "Falling Jobless Rate Boosts Wages but Fuels Concern on Prices and Profits." There's always a "concern" when it comes to the Bush economy, isn't there? And the jump headline eliminated the positive reference to wage increases . . .

Interestingly, the Times piece begins as follows:

A strong job report Friday helped revive a troubling theme prominent during the economic boom of the late 1990s: What's good for workers may not necessarily be good for investors and monetary policymakers.

Yes, I remember hearing so much about that "troubling theme" from the LA Times during the heyday of the late '90's boom.

Disgraceful on Both Sides

Here is an item worth reading: Senator McCain has sent a most intemperate letter to Senator Obama, who has apparently reneged on a commitment to work on bipartisan reform.

Their behavior does neither any credit. Obama's disingenuousness is disgraceful -- but McCain's letter does nothing to change the minds of those who believe that his temperament problem is -- and perhaps should be -- an insuperable obstacle to his presidential ambitions.

A Rude Awakening

Exclusively at Real Clear Politics, Victor David Hansen discusses how the Muslim reaction to the Danish cartoons may -- finally -- have awakened Europeans to the creeping threat of Islamofascism within (and outside) their borders.

Just for the Record

For the Democrats' benefit, Attorney General Gonzalez explains what most Americans already understand.

Different Times, Different Opinions

There was a time, according to this piece by Andrew McCarthy, when Democrats, too, believed in a muscular presidency.

But now, apparently, the same authority that Walter Dellinger tried to claim for Bill Clinton constitutes placing the President "above the law." The two main differences? (1) There's a Republican in The White House; and (2) It's wartime, so the powers are actually needed.

Happy Birthday, President Reagan

America has already succeeded where so many historic attempts at freedom have failed. Already, we've made this cherished land the last best hope of mankind. It's up to us, in our generation, to carry on the hallowed task. It is up to us, however we may disagree on policies, to work together for progress and humanity so that our grandchildren, when they look back on us, can truly say that we not only preserved the flame of freedom, but cast its warmth and light further than those who came before us.

-- Ronald Reagan, March 23, 1982

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Bad Ads

Aside from the Budweiser ad with the little Clydesdale that wants to pull the beer wagon (and succeeds because, unbeknownst to him, two older Clydesdales are pushing the cart from behind), the ads for Super Bowl XL have, in my view, been a bunch of trying-too-hard surrealistic nonsense (all right, the Career Builder ad with the chimps was mildly amusing, too).

Dems: Blowing It

As Michael Goodwin points out, the Republicans' political secret weapon is . . . the Democrats.

Goodwin concludes his column by noting:

Just think: If Dems take the Senate, [Teddy] Kennedy's seniority would give him enormous clout and a committee chairmanship. You don't have to love Bush to say, no, thanks.

As I noted here, Republicans should remind the electorate that returning the House to the Democrats might mean sujecting President Bush to impeachment in a time of war. Similarly, returning the Senate to the Democrats would put the Labor and Human Resources Committee in the hands of Teddy K -- and turn chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee over to Patrick Leahy.

Insulting Underlying Assumptions

Gregory Rodriguez has some very interesting -- and well-aimed -- criticism of the DNC for having Mayor Villaraigosa deliver a response to the State of the Union Address in Spanish.

He's right: The decision reflects some insulting underlying assumptions.

Strange Choice, Bad Message

Here, the LA Times has run a story extolling the virtues of a "burlesque queen and fetishist," noting that she has "become fashion's 'It' girl."

Perfect. Glamorize activities like burlesque and fetishtic behavior; put it in what's supposed to be, presumably, a family newspaper. It's just a wholesome example for the young girls of Los Angeles.

No WMD In Iraq?

As Jack Kelly points out, it may be time for those who proclaimed that Iraq had no WMDs to start sweating.

How Ironic

Cindy Sheehan protests the supposed infringement on her First Amendment rights.

Of course, if she had our way, U.S. policy would only empower people like this.

You want to see speech rights taken away? Just check out the radical Islamofascists to whom Ms. Sheehan and her ilk would like to abandon Iraq.

Please don't misunderstand. I think it's wrong to publish cartoons that gratuitously insult members of any world religion. But it's even more wrong, in the wake of such an insult, for that faith's adherents to go on a spree of violence and destruction. Jeff Jacoby writes more on that topic today.

Setting the Record Straight

Today on Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace interviewed General Michael Hayden, the deputy director of national intelligence.

Here was the most revealing bit of dialogue -- learn it, love it, live it:

Q: Do you have a specific reason to believe that there is an Al Qaeda connection to every communication involving an American that you intercept?

A: Under this [NSA wiretapping program, derisively called "domestic spying" by Democrats and the MSM], that's the only justification we can use to target a specific communication: That a reasonable person -- in this case, an analyst, with all the facts available to him or her at the time -- has cause to believe that one or both of these communicants are Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda affiliates.

There isn't, apparently, some general computer that sweeps calls for particular words, and then suggests certain calls for human review. Instead, before a call can even be monitored, there must be a basis for beieving that one of the participants in the call is America's enemy.

Sounds good to me.

Principle Trumping Color

Salena Zito writes here about a fabulous group of Republican leaders, who just happen to be black.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Betty Friedan Dead at 85

Betty Friedan, author of The Feminist Mystique, has died. She was 85.

She is best known for convincing women that they had been "sold a bill of goods" and that they should rebel against becoming wives and mothers at the expense of seeking "a separate identity," i.e. entering the workforce.

Certainly everyone believes there should be equal opportunities for men and women, along with equal pay. But all these years later, it's worth wondering whether women like Betty Friedan -- and her ideological sisters-in-arms -- have sold women their own bill of goods. Increasingly, women are deciding that they can't "do it all"; many are choosing either to leave the workforce temporarily or permanently after they have children, and they joyfully embrace the life that Friedan so long ago characterized as stifling and unfulfilling.

Given the number of friends who have confronted the heartbreak and financial stress of infertility because they heeded the siren song of establishing careers at the expense of having children, it's hard not to conclude that the feminists established a mystique every bit as destructive as the order against which they rebelled. The stories of friends who were children during the "divorce revolution" of the '70's leads to the same discomforting conclusion. It turns out that women need men much more than fish need bicycles (to borrow from Gloria Steinem) -- and children need their fathers.

The "rethinking" of the social order precipitated by The Feminist Mystique may, in some ways, have been necessary. But so is a rethinking of the "new" social order it helped to establish.

Expecting More from Boys and Girls

This Washington Post op/ed demonstrates just how degraded the culture has become for middle school boys and girls.

It's a compliment to be called a "pimp" or a "slut." Foul-mouthed trash is legitimized.

Surely all of us, as a culture, should expect a little more from our middle-schoolers -- and should strive harder to set them a better example.

Fitzmas to be a Total Bust?

According to Clarice Feldman, it sounds like there are some pretty serious problems with Patrick Fitzgerald's case.

Oooh! They're in Trouble Now!

The IAEA has reported Iran to the UN Security Council -- a move that CNN this morning described as "serious."

Watch out for the "crisis" -- that is, when the UN Security Council sends Iran a strongly worded letter telling them that they absolutely, positively, completely and totally must stop building nukes! Pretty please with sugar on top!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Do You Get It Now?

Here is Senator Pat Roberts' noble -- but likely doomed -- effort to educate Howard Dean on the realities of the NSA wiretapping program.

Too Good For Their Money?

If there is one lasting impression from Bill and Hillary Clinton's years in The White House, it's that they weren't too squeamish about how they raised money -- remember the White House sleepovers, Johnny Chung, and all the rest?

Well, there's finally someone whose money simply isn't good enough for Hillary Clinton: Wal-Mart. Yes, she may have sat on their board of directors from 1986 from 1992 -- but presumably their policies were completely different then; or else, what was just fine with Hillary back then is suddenly an awfully big problem now.

It's interesting: Hillary Clinton will take money from Jerry Springer, who profits from presenting the trashiest, most degrading program on the tube. But a company like Wal-Mart -- itself in many ways an American "point of light" -- well, their money is apparently tainted, at least from Senator Clinton's (warped) perspective.

Too Good for Wal-Mart's Money?

If there is one lasting impression from Bill and Hillary Clinton's years in The White House, it's that they weren't too squeamish about how they raised money -- remember the White House sleepovers, Johnny Chung, and all the rest?

Well, there's finally someone whose money simply isn't good enough for Hillary Clinton: Wal-Mart. Yes, she may have sat on their board of directors from 1986 from 1992 -- but presumably their policies were completely different then; or else, what was just fine with Hillary back then is suddenly an awfully big problem now.

It's interesting: Hillary Clinton will take money from Jerry Springer, who profits from presenting the trashiest, most degrading program on the tube. But a company like Wal-Mart -- itself in many ways an American "point of light" -- well, their money is apparently tainted, at least from Senator Clinton's (warped) perspective.

Don't Count Her Out

John Podhortetz thinks the accounts of Hillary Clinton's political demise are wildly exaggerated.

I agree.

But It's a Republican Scandal!

The headline to this story says it all: "Tribes gave to Reid after hiring Abramoff."

Setting the Record Straight

Here is the truth behind the account about the judge who sentenced a pedophile to a 60-day sentence. Sixty days was the minimum, given to prevent the pedophile from withdrawing his plea (as he could have, had he received a sentence of more than 90 days).

I discussed this back in December on Baltimore's WBAL, based on the erroneous newspaper accounts at the time.