Carol Platt Liebau: December 2005

Saturday, December 31, 2005

A Word of Gratitude

As we bid farewell to 2005 and welcome 2006 with open arms, it seemed like a good time to reflect on the many people to whom I owe so much. Along with my husband, family and friends, there are so many others who have helped and encouraged me this year.

Chief among them is Hugh Hewitt, the "Godfather of the Blogosphere" -- who, even today, was kind enough to link to this blog as one of the up-and-comers of 2005. I began blogging at Hugh's urging, and he's been most generous in guiding, advising -- and even, occasionally, trusting me to guest-host behind his microphone (where I've had the pleasure of working with the invaluable Generalissimo and the fabulous Hewitt team). Hugh's wisdom and generosity of spirit are boundless.

Bloggers who have been exceptionally welcoming, kind and helpful include Betsy Newmark of Betsy's Page, Lori Byrd of Polipundit, and all the guys over at ConfirmThem. Tom and John at RealClearPolitics have made my day from time to time by linking to something I've written. And one of the nicest compliments I received this year came from the wonderful journalist Jack Kelly of Irish Pennants. I am grateful to all of them.

All through the year, Nick Winter over at The One Republic posts my columns and does a magnificent job spearheading two very active and important sites (California Republic is the other). It's been an honor to become acquainted this year with Wlady Pleszczynski over at The American Spectator. And any complaints I've had with The Los Angeles Times certainly do not extend to Gary Spiecker at Current, whose good humor and editing prowess have made working with him a pleasure.

Most of all, dear readers, I am grateful to you for reading this blog, emailing me, and engaging in the often-lively dialogue that transpires in the comments section! Your feedback and participation make this blog a true labor of love.

I wish you and yours all of God's blessings in 2006. Here's to a wonderful year!

Get Thee "Behind" Me!?

Is there anyone who's truly upset by the ridiculous antics of a dimestore Swedish provocateur? In a desperate bid for attention, a jeans-maker has put a satanic logo on the back pocket of a new line of pants.

After a hearty laugh, maybe Christians should coopt the whole affair, with a slogan like "If satan's logo is on my behind, he can kiss it."

"A Time of Hope"

Here is the President's New Year's radio address.

Last Vulgar Self-Promotion Moment of '05

Two gentle reminders: If you haven't already, do consider voting for me as your favorite conservative blogress here. Polls remain open until today at 3 (PST).

And don't forget -- I'll be hosting on AM 790 KABC tomorrow night from 6:00 until 9:00 pm.

"New Democrats" vs. New Democrats

As Ducan Currie points out here, it was a good year for the latter, not so good for the former.

A key quote:

[T]he past year saw historic elections not just in Iraq, but also in Palestine, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Egypt. The reformist germ even touched Saudi Arabia, which allowed municipal elections, and Kuwait, which granted women the right to vote and run for public office. According to Freedom House, the "modest but notable" advance of liberty in the Arab Middle East was "the most significant development" cited by its annual survey of world freedom in 2005. The top news, of course, came out of Iraq, where the number of Iraqis braving bombs and bullets to make it to the polls climbed from 8.5 million in January, to 9.8 million in October, to some 11 million in December.

In the words of another great warrior for freedom: "All in all, not bad. Not bad at all."

It's our responsibility to do our part -- however we can -- to make sure this march of freedom continues and expands in the new year.

Questions for My Liberal Friends

My former jurisprudence professor and former solicitor general Charles Fried lays them out in a piece from the Boston Globe.

He also makes a good point that's been lost in all the hyperbolic hubbub about the warrantless surveillance program -- that is, that it's most likely that the initial filtering of international communications is being conducted by computer, rather than by humans.

Implicit in his piece -- and in the entire warrantless surveillance debate -- is this question: Does a society that recoils at virtually all measures designed to deter attacks really expect to remain secure? For that matter, would it even deserve to?

Friday, December 30, 2005

Not So Bad

Amir Taheri takes up for a much-maligned year.

A Look Into the Leftist Mind

This hysterical, overwrought piece offers a pity-inspiring peek into the left-liberal mind.

As this poll reveals, we know who the pessimists are.

On KABC Sunday Night

I will be on AM 790 KABC this Sunday night from 6:00 pm until 9:00 pm.

Probing the Leak

Good. The Justice Department is going to conduct a leak investigation about the unauthorized disclosure of information that actually has damaged national security.

In other news, the child of the ridiculous Plame/Wilson couple told reporters that "my daddy's famous, my mommy's a spy." This was during an airport interview, mind you, that Joe Wilson offered a reporter. Interesting that this was the small child's take on the matter. Gives a peek, no doubt, into what he's heard at home.

Top Stories of the Year

Here is a piece setting forth the top 10 stories of 2005, in the opinions of the members of the Associated Press.

Note that Hurricane Katrina was #1. It's ironic, but at the same time, totally fitting that, as the facts increasingly reveal, the press' "big story" is turning out to have been reported with great inaccuracy and exaggeration. As this story points out, most of the assumptions the press made -- and propagated to the nation -- were wrong. In fact, the victims were not disproportionately poor and weren't disproportionately black, either.

Not that facts will get in the way of the press' continuining glorification of itself and its coverage of the hurricane. Wistful stories like these from yesterday's LA Times (here, noting the return of "advocacy journalism", and here, noting that reporters had "predicted" the disaster) indicate that the press considered its Katrina coverage -- angry, righteous and, oh yes, often inaccurate (but let's not talk about that last) -- to have been a high point. No wonder Anderson Cooper and the others can't seem to let go.

For a more solid look at the stories the MSM ignored or forgot, check out this piece from The American Thinker. While reporters were attitudinizing in the streets of New Orleans, these are some of the stories they "forgot" to cover.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Protecting the Franchise

It's amazing how much time and energy some will put into opposing a law that's aimed at protecting the franchise for everyone.

Certainly, reasonanble measures should be taken to ensure that those too poor to afford a $35 fee to obtain picture ID are able to do so. But having just witnessed a succession of Iraqi elections where people far poorer than Americans were willing to risk death, walk miles and incur other inconveniences just to vote, it seems to me that a requirement to show picture identification isn't too much to ask of Georgians.

Kicked Out of the Navy for "Jesus"?

Here, an incredible story of an evangelical Episcopal priest who claims he is being drummed out of the Army for seeking to pray publicly in Jesus' name. (HT: Newsbusters).

Update: For a very compelling, different perspective to this story, check out Corner of the Cosmos (HT: RA Adams of Maternal Optimist).

Marginalized Once Again

The Democrats' hue and cry over the President's warrantless surveillance has paid them great political dividends . . . NOT.

Check out this Rasmussen poll (HT: Tom Bevan at the Real Clear Politics blog). If I were (so unfortunate as to be) a Democrat, I'd be pretty worried that my party's stepped in it again -- having revealed itself as weak on national security, while reaping no political benefits for supposedly defending civil liberties.

With 68% following the story closely, fully 64% of Americans believe the National Security Agency (NSA) should be allowed to intercept telephone conversations between terrorism suspects in other countries and people living in the United States. Only 23% disagree.

Keep it up, Dems. You're marginalizing yourself once again.

A Gentle Reminder

If you have a moment, would you consider offering me your support in this online poll? For those who've already done so, thanks!

W Is Most Admired

Check out this piece about the Gallup poll of the most admired living Americans. Among men, W easily wins, with 19%; Bill Clinton is next at 5%.

But also note that, nothwithstanding a constant drumbeat of coverage like this, the President was the most admired man -- not only among Republicans -- but among independents, too. Yes, independents.

VDH Takes a Crack At the Movies

Victor David Hanson thinks they're vacuous, too. Read it here.

Now You Tell Us

As this piece points out, "torture" can, in some cases, be effective. That doesn't mean it's necessarily the right course, but it does mean that people like Senator John McCain and his wannabees (including Chuck Hagel and Lindsay Graham) should stop parroting the talking point that "torture never works" -- and certainly, there are instances when it shouldn't be taken off the table.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

"Thank You For Your Service"

A wonderful woman found the perfect way to deliver this message to a Marine. She paid for his engagement ring.

Dropping the T-Bomb

The New York Post raises the question of whether The New York Times is toying with treason. And makes a pretty convincing case.

Reporting Reality

The Chicago Tribune puts it all out there for everyone to see.

No, Virginia, the President didn't "lie us into war."

Media Myths of 2005

John Stossel exposes them here. In fact, life is getting better all the time, at least here in the USA.

And the invaluable Media Research Center has put together a list of the 10 biggest economic myths propagated by the media (in particular, check out the one about Hurricane Katrina -- a fitting complement to this piece).

More Hollywood Vacuousness

As if this weren't enough, today Max Boot points out the moral retardation of two current films, "Syriana" and "Munich."

Corrupt, But Not Missing

Benon Sevan, former head of the UN Oil for Food program, looks an awful, awful lot like a first-rate crook. As Claudia Rosett reports today, he's slipped away to Cyprus, where Kofi Annan seems content to let him stay.

Yes, John Kerry et al., US policy is always improved by the input of the UN -- because it's purer than the driven snow.

Voices in the Wilderness?

I have had the pleasure of meeting Michael O'Hanlon, who's a fellow at the Brookings Institute (and a Democrat). He's a very smart fellow, and the Dems would be well advised to pay attention to his warning (appearing today in this article) that the lefties may well be overplaying their hands on the Patriot Act and the warrantless surveillance issue.

Pollster Mark Penn apparently agrees.

And they're right to be worried about the political ramifications of some of the Democrats' recent behavior. When there's audio out there of Harry Reid shrieking gleefully, "We killed the Patriot Act!" and a critical mass of Democrats seem more concerned about whether America is spying on Al Qaeda associates in this country than whether American children are going to be incinerated by a terrorist bomb -- well, yes, it does contribute to the perception that perhaps the Democrats are not the most trustworthy party on national security issues, doesn't it?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Conservative Blogress Diva

Readers: I have been nominated as a "Conservative Blogress Diva," whatever that means. Alas, at the moment, I am losing -- and by a rather embarassing margin (apparently, there have been problems with the voting function, and that must explain it -- yeah, that's the ticket!).

If you have a moment, how about humoring me a bit by voting for me here?

Right On

Rivkin & Casey have provided an incredibly clear and thorough explanations of the President's warrantless surveillance policy. It's a must-read.

Shining Much Less Brightly

Here is one of the most outrageous stories of recent memory (Wesley Pruden comments here today).

Apparently, Wayne Newton and Robin Williams are having a hard time lining up Hollywood "talent" to go to Iraq to entertain the troops -- the troops, mind you, that provide them with the freedom to make huge sums of money for engaging in a pleasant occupation under pleasant conditions (resulting, all too often, in a trashy or silly product). (As you may recall, I've been critical of Hollywood's response to the War on Terror, generally).

Now, celebrities are afraid, so it seems, that deigning to entertain the troops will be construed as an endorsement of the war, and -- heavens! -- that wouldn't do at all. Might be bad for the career, or result in some odd glances at the fashionable cocktail parties.

Barbara Streisand, Alec Baldwin and all the rest of the summer soldiers and sunshine patriots needn't waste any of our time suggesting that they "support" the troops, if not the President. Obviously, they don't. If they did, they and the rest of the "stars" could stand a little inconvenience, or even a little threat to their trainer-toned (or not, in the case of Baldwin & Streisand) behinds.

Kudos to Jessica Simpson, Kelly Clarkson, country singers Mark Wills, Craig Morgan and Keni Thomas -- and Drew Carey, rock musician Henry Rollins, Gary Sinise, comedian Tom Green and model and Fox sports commentator Leeann Tweeden.

And, yes, kudos to Al Franken. He may be an idiot, but he's willing to go entertain the troops -- which is a lot more than one can say for most of his brethren on the left.

Monday, December 26, 2005

A Wonderful Life -- In Iraq

Here's a piece worth reading -- about our modern day heroes in Iraq.

It's All Bush's Fault

Holiday spending was up by 8.7%. Not exactly the sign of a sluggish economy.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas, Dear Readers!

Wishing you and yours every blessing this Christmas!

Below are the words to one of my favorite Christmas hymns. Joy and peace to you all.

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play.
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of Peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how as the day had come
The belfries of all Christendom
Had roll'd along th' unbroken song
Of Peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair, I bow'd my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song,
Of Peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep;
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With Peace on earth, good will to men."

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Eve

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'"

Luke 2:8-14

Remembering Our Troops This Christmas

Here is a lovely letter from a soldier to his little girl, one long-ago Christmas Day.

When say your Christmas prayers, please spare a thought for the men and women in uniform who are sacrificing so much for our freedom and security (to help even more, look into Soldier's Angels in the New Year). It's hard not to hear the words to "I'll Be Home for Christmas" -- knowing its history as an American favorite during World War II -- without feeling a lump in the throat. May God bless each one of them and their families this Christmas, and always.

And God bless us every one.

A Moment For Reflection

As we begin to celebrate one of the holiest days on the Christian calendar, let's pause for just a moment to consider this piece by William Kristol, which calls for all of us to remember why President Bush took every means he could to ensure that further Al Qaeda attacks in the wake of 9/11 could be detected and prevented.

Consider all the families who lost loved ones on that terrible day -- who will, tomorrow, be observing Christmas or Hannukah without them for the fifth time. It's easy, now, in a country feeling more secure by the day, to dismiss the measures that have, quite possibly, thwarted attacks that would otherwise have meant even more families spending holidays without their loved ones.

Here's a pre-Christmas roundup on the warrantless surveillance issue: The Justice Department letter can be found here; an excellent legal analysis by Powerline's John Hinderaker here. Hugh Hewitt interviewed liberal law professor Cass Sunstein, and the transcript is over at Radioblogger (Sunstein's own analysis of the issue is here).

Friday, December 23, 2005

Filling Trent Lott's Stocking

How deposed Majority Leader must have loved this. The "weakest majority leader in perhaps 50 years"!? Somewhere, Lott is smiling with glee.

And as for The White House, perhaps it's another example of "be careful what you wish for."

A Good Defense

It's about time that the Justice Department defended the surveillance program that the Bush Administration has been using to defend us against Al Qaeda.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Get to Work, Senate!

The House approved a five-week extension of the Patriot Act. Not enough to get the job done, but enough to go home for Christmas without leaving America totally unprotected.

We'll be keeping our eyes on them through February 3.

Debate on the Larry Elder Show

I am about to debate Bill Press on the Larry Elder show, being guest-hosted by Al Rantel, on AM 790 KABC.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Dems' Impeachment List

Barbara Boxer is apparently seeking counsel on whether President Bush has committed an "impeachable offense" by authorizing warrantless electronic surveillance of those with ties to Al Qaeda for national security purposes.

It's always a good thing when Barbara Boxer seeks guidance, because so far, there's been scanty evidence that she can figure out anything on her own.

The problem is that she's listening to moonbats like John Dean, who, having been a vocal critic of the Iraq war and the President -- aside from his own illegal behavior -- is hardly a reliable guide on anything. Even his calls for the President's impeachment are not new . . . and he's at it again.

Boxer, Dean and their ilk demonstrate just how little they care about the war on terror. Just imagine how it would encourage, delight, embolden and inspire Al Qaeda to see President Bush impeached for his efforts to deter their attacks, and distracted by the political garbage emanating from their willing handmaidens on the left!

I say to the Democrats: Go for it -- impeach Bush, and see how the public feels about the President's efforts to keep them from being attacked, vs. your efforts to protect the potential attackers. While you're at it, don't forget to impeach Carter ("Attorney General is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order"); Reagan (who also signed an executive order allowing warrantless searches of "a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power"), and, of course, Clinton.

And in the impeachment articles, don't forget every legislator or judge who allowed the surveillance to go forward while believing it to be illegal (including the grandstanding Clinton appointee who now finds it prudent to resign from the FISA panel), who would also merit impeachment, having acted as accessories to the President's alleged lawbreaking.

Indeed, keeping silent in the face of the supposed rampant illegality is itself a failure of a senator or judge's oath to protect and defend the Constitution; those who attempt to escape blame by asserting that they remained silent in the face of the alleged illegal acts for "national security reasons" only emphasize the lack of judgment and total disregard for national security that The New York Times -- and the official who leaked to it -- displayed in publishing the story in the first place.

Fun w/Jamie & Smash

Had a great time this morning, here in my home town of St. Louis, at 97.1 FM, the radio home of Jamie Allman and Smash, hosts of "Allman and Smash in the Morning", (along with their fearless producer Max and Becca, too).

It's been a treat to appear as an occasional guest blogger on their show -- even more fun to be in studio with them. Their site has been linked on my blogroll . . . and don't be afraid -- they're much less scary in person than you'd think from that Santa and elf picture currently on their home page!

The Party of Pessimism

According to a Rasmussen poll, reported upon here, fully 40% of Democrats believe the US is losing in Iraq. Maybe they're actually listening to their own talking points.

And maybe they'd feel just a little bit better if they'd actually come up with a few policy ideas, instead of simply complaining.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Dems' Alito Strategy - Deja Vu

Haven't we heard this before? The Democrats want Judge Alito's papers from the days when he worked in the Solicitor General's office.

As you'll recall, they tried this gambit with the John Roberts nomination, and fortunately, The White House didn't accede to the unreasonable demands.

Nor should they here -- as both Democratic and Republican solicitors general have agreed, releasing internal documents from that office would compromise the effectiveness of its functioning.

Even so, the visions of trying to predicate a filibuster on the Administration's refusal to release the documents, a la Miguel Estrada, must be dancing like sugarplums in the Democrats' heads.

Not that it's likely to work with a higher profile Supreme Court nomination.

For an Excellent Roundup

Check out Irish Pennants. Here's the best part:

By DAVID BURNHAM, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES (NYT) 1051 words Published: November 7, 1982

A Federal appeals court has ruled that the National Security Agency may lawfully intercept messages between United States citizens and people overseas, even if there is no cause to believe the Americans are foreign agents, and then provide summaries of these messages to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Jonathan Alter might want to look into it.

Sauce for the Goose . . .

Why weren't the Democrats upset when news came out that the Clinton Administration claimed that the president had "inherent authority" to order warrantless physical searches -- including break ins at the homes of US citizens -- for foreign intelligence purposes, as Byron York reports?

In the meantime, Justice Kerry has already deemed the warrantless surveillance to be unconstitutional. Talk about "lame."

Just one more reason to be glad about November of 2004. Can you imagine if that guy were in charge?

Alter Owes the President an Apology

Left wing Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter owes the President an apology. In this regrettable column, he charges that the President was desperate to stop the NY Times from reporting the surveillance only by because "he knew that it would reveal him as a law-breaker." Actually, Alter only speculates, writing, "[O]ne can only imagine the President's desperation."

Alter refers breathlessly to "National Security Agency eavesdropping on American citizens without a warrant, in what lawyers outside the administration say is a clear violation of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act." Well, actually, only some lawyers outside the Adminstration say so. Others (see here, here, and here), including the Supreme Court justices in the majority in United States v. United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan et al, 407 U.S. 297 (1972), apparently disagree with Alter's "lawyers."

Perhaps Alter should also have check out this. He might have known that the special FISA court has "held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information."

Alter needs to brush up on the law and the facts before embarassing himself by setting his partisan rants to paper. A little more fact-checking and a little less imagination would serve him well.

One final point: Alter argues, in response to the President's assertion that exposing the program has helped America's enemies, "there is simply no evidence, or even reasonable presumption, that this is so." Why? Because he doesn't know of any examples? That's the point of classified information. Look into it.

Anonymous Sources Work Both Ways

The New York Times can't be too happy with this piece from today's LA Times. Based on two anonymous "sources" at the paper, it reports that The Times did actually believe that the national security implications of releasing the stories about the domestic surveillance were serious enough that they resisted calls from some of their own reporters to disseminate the story before last year's presidential election.

Doubtless now they believe that the dangers posed to America by its enemies have completely subsided . . .

Or else, given that one of their own reporters was about to release a book with the information in it, The Times -- pressed by pride and, perhaps, greed? -- decided to go ahead.

This story makes the NY Times look too impressive on ANY count.

Catching On

According to this column by Ron Brownstein, at least some Democrats apparently feel that they need to attack Bush "where his strength is," i.e. on national security. No wonder Republicans welcome this fight!

As Dick Morris likewise points out today, the wiretapping story is more likely to hurt Democrats than Republicans; the Dems come across as more concerned about civil liberties for terrorists than about protecting the American people.

Not all of the change can be attributed to national security issues alone (the economy has also helped), but it's no surprise that the President's approval numbers are up. Hope the White House handlers have noted how much it helps to have the President out front defending his beliefs and policies.

Monday, December 19, 2005

A Couple of Points Well Worth Noting

First: From today's Wall Street Journal, on the topic of certain ignorant senators (yes, that's you -- Feingold, Graham, Biden) assuming that the warrantless surveillance authorized by the President has violated the law:

FISA established a process by which certain wiretaps in the context of the Cold War could be approved, not a limit on what wiretaps could ever be allowed. The courts have been explicit on this point, most recently in In Re: Sealed Case, the 2002 opinion by the special panel of appellate judges established to hear FISA appeals. In its per curiam opinion, the court noted that in a previous FISA case (U.S. v. Truong), a federal "court, as did all the other courts to have decided the issue [our emphasis], held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information." And further that "we take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President's constitutional power."

Second: The invaluable Jack Kelly points out ridiculous grandstanding in the war on terror: McCain's egomaniacal ban on torture that isn't, and the heightened danger America now confronts (for example, our inability to conduct the same kind of roving wiretaps on terrorists that are routinely visited upon drug lords) because of the Democratic filibuster of the Patriot Act. (Special thanks to Republican Senatorial Hall of Shamers Larry Craig, Lisa Murkowski, Chuck Hagel and John Sunnunu for helping them pull this one off. Care to explain what you're doing to make us safer?)

The Real Straight Talk Express

That would be the president's press conference this morning. Thank heaven the President is finally getting out and speaking up. The more they hear him, the more the American people will support him.

He was relatively patient with silly questions -- like one effectively asking if he really cares about African Americans. And he was firm in reiterating what he has always said: No artificial timetables for bringing the troops home. How many times, and how many ways, need he articulate this point before the press gets it?

In any case, it's about time that this underappreciated and misunderestimated man made his case -- because it's a good one. His passionate determination to defend the American people was evident. Where do the Democrats' passions lie?

Feingold's a Fraud

As Hugh Hewitt points out, Russ Feingold seemed to think that the President had plenty of "inherent powers" as Commander in Chief back when Congress authorized him to take all necessary actions to respond to 9/11.

What a difference four years without attacks -- and a presidential bid -- make.

The Democrats' National Security Trap

John McIntyre of Real Clear Politics speculates that the Democrats have been lured into a national security trap of their own making. In my view, he's totally right.

Americans are sensible people. They know that in war, mistakes and misjudgments sometimes occur -- but if errors must happen, they infinitely prefer a bias in favor of protecting Americans rather than the people who might want to kill us. Unfortunately for the Democrats, their hatred of President Bush has led too many of them to criticize every aspect of his efforts to fight terror -- and thus reinforced their image as weak on defense and soft on terror.

Obviously, that problem won't be helped by the Democrats' cowardly and calculating decision to take no official position on the big issue of the day -- the war in Iraq (and, by extension, the war on terror), as I point out today in my weekly column.

Remembering the Children

Apparently, a new strain of thought is emerging among feminists, to the effect that they should more actively tell women who have chosen to leave the workforce that they are making the "wrong" decision. Cathy Young discusses it here.

What's interesting about both the theory and the linked article (perhaps because of space constraints) is its emphasis on adults -- what makes them happy and fulfilled -- and scarcely a mention of the children. Doesn't having at least one stay-at-home parent make them happy and fulfilled? And shouldn't that count for something?

Hate Me, Love Your Country

Part of John Podhoretz's excellent summary of the President's speech last night -- The Road Home. Check it out.

Speaking the Truth

Would that Dr. George Carey were still Archbishop of Canterbury (the highest position in the Episcopal Church). As set forth here, he recently referenced a "worrying hostility towards Christianity and all religions by a minority of people in leadership today who want to privatise religion, push it to the boundaries, not allow a voice in the public arena, and go the way of France."

Of course, unlike the USA, Britain has an official state religion -- so its resolution of competing values may be somewhat different than America's. But kudos to Lord Carey for speaking so forthrightly on the issue.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Newsflash: Media Bias is Real!

Who'd 'a believed it? Read the summary of the UCLA-led study here.

Among the interesting tidbits: "Special Report with Brit Hume" -- cited often by liberals as an egregious example of right-wing bias -- is one of the most balanced news shows on the air today. Guess it just seems so right-wing because it's so unusual in the MSM world: There are, reportedly, only two right of center news entities -- "Special Report With Brit Hume" and The Washington Times.

Only two. So much for the paranoid liberal fantasy that conservatives are "taking over" the media.

A Clear Statement of Principle

Some look at the challenges in Iraq, and conclude that the war is lost, and not worth another dime or another day. I don't believe that. Our military commanders do not believe that. Our troops in the field, who bear the burden and make the sacrifice, do not believe that America has lost. And not even the terrorists believe it. We know from their own communications that they feel a tightening noose -- and fear the rise of a democratic Iraq.

No, only the Democrats believe it.

Tonight, President Bush set forth, once again, his principles and his policy. The fact is that there are but two options: Victory and defeat. The terrorists cannot defeat us in Iraq -- they can win only with the help and complicity of those here in the United States who would lie about our mission and its successes.

The principle? Iraq's people deserve the opportunity to share in the blessings of freedom -- and with that opportunity will come the chance to reshape the Middle East as a democratic, prosperous and peaceful region, resulting in a more secure and peaceful world. The policy? Keep training the Iraqis so that their people can continue to assume more and more responsibility for their country's defense.

At the Heart of the Issue

Today, the Washington Post editorializes against the surveillance program that came to light last week.

As part of its piece, the Post writes:

The tools of foreign intelligence are not consistent with a democratic society. Americans interact with their own government through the enforcement of law. And in those limited instances in which Americans become intelligence targets, FISA exists to make sure that the agencies are not targeting people for improper reasons but have sufficient evidence that Americans are actually operating as foreign agents.

The problem is that this law -- and the Post's thinking -- is clearly geared to a pre-terrorism age, before lives could be placed in imminent risk through a threat that recruits domestic agents to carry out its work. Part of the problem is that there isn't necessarily "probable cause" to believe that every phone number in Osama Bin Laden's cell phone belongs to a terrorist. But it would be stupid, negligent and wrong not to check it out. It's the kind of thinking like that above -- where bright-line, facile distinctions are drawn between matters "domestic" and "foreign" -- that resulted in the famous Clinton "wall" . . . and culminated in 9/11.

But although it seems to assume Administration guilt, at least The Post limits its criticism largely to policy, rather than making sweeping statements that the program was clearly illegal (hello, Russ Feingold!). Here's why the Post is right in doing so:

The Fourth Amendment, according to the Supreme Court (Lewis Powell writing) forbids "domestic security surveillances . . . conducted solely within the discretion of the executive branch." Fine. But as Powell also noted, that holding didn't apply to "the president's surveillance power with respect to the activities of foreign powers, within or without this country." (See United States v. United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, 407 U.S. 297 (1972)).

In other words, the Administration couldn't conduct wireless surveillance of conversations between Tim McVeigh and Larry Nichols, but conversations between Osama bin Laden and the American Taliban in Califoria are fair game, given that the latter is acting as an agent of a foreign power.

Moreover, in enacting the Foreign Intelligence Service Act or any other law, Congress cannot -- however much it wants to -- diminish the President's Constitution-given powers to act as Commander-in-Chief of the United States. The Administration has argued before, with merit, that the President has inherent power (as Commander in Chief) to conduct wireless surveillance of foreign powers and their agents. Should Congress attempt to limit those powers, it's violating separation of powers principles. It can't limit the President's powers by statute, any more than it could by statute decide, for example, that the Supreme Court won't have original jurisdiction over any controversy between two states (another power bestowed by the Constitution).

All the self-righteous big mouths proclaiming the illegality of the President's activities had better think twice, and speak with a little more caution. It's far from clear that anything wrong has gone on from a legal standpoint -- and certainly not from a policy perspective.

And as for a political matter, if the choice is between protecting Americans acting as Al Qaeda agents and protecting the rest of us from them, well, that's an easy choice, at least for the sensible majority in this country.

A Little Riddle

Courtesy of the brilliant Mark Steyn: What do Abu Musab al Zarqawi and Howard Dean have in common? They're both foreigners who have not the slightest interest in the Iraqi people.

Here's more. After referencing "Brokeback Mountain," Steyn writes:

And the point is, even if I was in the mood for a story about two rugged insecure men who find themselves strangely attracted to each other in a dark transgressive relationship that breaks all the rules, who needs Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger when you've got Howard Dean and Abu Musad al-Zarqawi?

Read the whole column. It's laugh-out-loud funny, and has the added advantage of being true.

So Who's Lying, Harry Reid?

Today on Fox News Sunday (transcript will be forthcoming), Harry Reid denied any links to Jack Abramoff -- insisting plaintively (and angrily): "This is a Republican scandal!"

So who's lying -- the Washington Post or Harry Reid?

Reid's other comments during the program raise some pretty serious doubts about his credibility. Repeatedly, he insisted that there was only one Iraqi battalion that had been fully trained.

Perhaps he should have checked with his colleague Saxby Chambliss, who was in Iraq last week. There, Chambliss and other senators heard from Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, who told them that 30 Iraqi battalions are fully trained and equipped.

So who's lying -- General Casey, or Harry Reid?

If Republicans "misspoke" with such abandon on national news shows, the MSM would melt down in outrage.

Russ Feingold: ACLU Moonbat

On Wolf Blitzer's show, Russ Feingold has accused the Bush Administration of "playing fast and loose with the law" -- citing its approach to "military tribunals", "torture" and "secret prisons."

It is, Feingold vapors, "a frightening pattern."

Not to me. We're fighting people who are hacking off Americans' heads with butter knives, and have no greater wish than to see a mushroom cloud over Manhattan or L.A.

Everything done should be done within the law (or the law should be changed) -- but frankly, it's more "frightening" to think of Democrats like Russ Feingold being put in charge of the war on terror than any measure the Bush Administration has yet implemented.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Do You Believe In Santa Claus?

I do. As many of us recall, back in 1897, eight year old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote The New York Sun to ask if Santa really existed. Here, in part, is the answer:

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light which childhood fills the world would be extinguished. . . .

[T]here is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest man that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. No Santa Claus! Thank GOD! He lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Read the whole thing here.

Understanding the Blessing of Freedom

Funny how those who have lived under totalitarian regimes can appreciate the blessings of freedom more than many of those who've never lived without it.

Common Sense Often MSM Casualty

The heading to this post parodies the headline of this story: "Liberties Often War Casualties."

There, Ron Fournier argues that "Eavesdropping without warrants, redefining torture, building loopholes into the Geneva Conventions and the USA Patriot Act will be parts of Bush's legacy" — as if that's a bad thing.

For starters, he needs to get his facts right. The Geneva Conventions has never covered those who target innocents and wear no uniform. In fact, it's the left that has tried to "build a loophole" into the Geneva Conventions -- one that will protect terrorists.

As for "redefining" torture, what is Fournier talking about? Again, it's the left that's tried to ensure that the definition of "torture" will be stretched to encompass any activity that results in "discomfort" to America's enemies. Measures like sleep deprivation and psychological coercion should trouble no one when they're trained on people who want to kill us; stronger measures are appropriate, as well, when American lives are at stake. (Senseless, ignorant abuse a la Abu Ghraib, of course, is never appropriate).

We've already covered the "eavesdropping without warrants" -- 30 or so instances where the President authorized or reauthorized such measures, covering people inside the United States who have been determined to have "a clear link" to al-Qaida or related terrorist organizations. These measures may well have resulted in the detection of plots against our homeland; as John notes cogently over at Powerline, "The President takes lawful measures to protect Americans against terrorist attack, with the knowledge and consent of Congress and the courts. Some scandal!"

As for the Patriot Act, passed in the wake of 9/11 with an overwhelming bipartisan vote, if I were President Bush, I'd be proud to stake my legacy on it.

Who are these people in the MSM and in politics who want to undermine or eliminate every weapon we have for fighting the war on Islamofascist terror? It's imperative that we take names and hold them to account. For their complete and craven misunderstanding (or worse) of the war on terror will be part of their legacy.

I Must Be Dreaming . . .

The New York Times deems Iraq's election day "a glorious success."

What next? Ted Kennedy and Jesse Helms spend Christmas together? Hillary Clinton inviting Ken Starr for tea?

ISO: Some Perspective

"The blacker you are, the worse it is for you. . .. At the end of the day, white America dominates and rules. And it's racist."

That's the word from rapper Mary J. Blige.

The rest of the article reveals that she never finished high school, has struggled with substance abuse and characterizes her family as "angry, hateful, jealous, ignorant, prideful people." So with a terrible home life, a tough past and few marketable skills, she has managed to become impressively rich and famous -- commanding the kind of attention that allows her to be a trend setter for the "ghetto fabulous" style and spout off to reporters from The Guardian.

Yes, that white dominated America has been pretty cruel to Mary J. Blige.

The News That's Unfit to Print

So the New York Times (belatedly, and conveniently in the wake of the successful Iraqi elections) and the Democrats (predictably) and some grandstanding Republicans (shamefully) are denouncing the President's efforts to keep all of us safe. They're terribly upset that the President has reauthorized, around thirty times, the interception of international communications of people inside the United States who have been determined to have "a clear link" to al- Qaida or related terrorist organizations.

This tender concern for the rights of domestic terrorist contacts are not allayed by the fact that the program has been reviewed every 45 days, using fresh threat assessments, legal reviews by the Justice Department, White House counsel and others, and information from previous activities under the program.

And while they're busy denouncing the President, they conveniently overlook the fact that members of Congress, including Jay Rockefeller, the Democratic head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, have been aware of the program for some time -- and that the program had been tweaked to address their concerns and those of government lawyers and others.

As Michelle Malkin points out in her dissection of the Times piece, the program has been instrumental in catching bad guys -- and exploiting the information contained in the cell phones and computers of terrorists captured overseas. Note also the obstruction that can result from a footdragging judge (The Times story points out that, "The judge questioned whether information obtained under the N.S.A. program was being improperly used as the basis for F.I.S.A. wiretap warrant requests from the Justice Department."). Yes, well, while she's thinking that over, the U.S. is losing valuable intelligence.

All the hysteria would be understandable if there were even a scintilla of evidence that somehow the program was being manipulated for political or partisan ends, a la Hillary Clinton's FBI files escapade or the Clinton administration's "coincidental" audits of women who made allegations against the then-President.

The New York Times has done a big favor for America's enemies -- having tipped them off that the next time they're thinking about blowing up the Brooklyn Bridge or exploding bombs in the subways, don't discuss the plot in a phone call. Helpful for the terrorists, not so good for the Americans potentially in harm's way.

How ironic that so many of the moral titans denouncing the President's efforts may well have been protected by them. Of course, when the bad guys decide to destroy some New York landmarks, they won't include the NY Times building. The people in there are more valuable to Al Qaeda alive than dead.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Moral Grandstanders

Amazing that so many liberals are more worried about the comfort of suspected terrorists than the safety of their fellow Americans.

But sadly, it's apparent that moral posturing is a bipartisan failing.

Profiles in Courage

The Democrats' agenda for 2006 has taken a powder. The party is refusing even to take a stand on the most important issue of the day: Iraq.

Now that's leadership, no?

An Easy Choice

Apparently, Wal-Mart and Target are locked in heated combat for Christmas shoppers this year. (Note to liberals: This competition results in lowered prices, which makes it easier for poor people to stretch their dollars).

I'm solidly in the Wal-Mart camp. I support the stores who share my values and are willing to support the causes I care about -- like the Salvation Army.

More Accountability

The New York Times today gets the vapors over a program which, according to its defenders, has been a "critical tool in helping disrupt terrorist plots and prevent attacks inside the United States."

Apparently, the NSA was monitoring some domestic phone calls that were believed to be "tied" to Al Qaeda phone numbers in the days after 9/11 (when the left still remembered what having a terrorist attack on American soil was like).

Who's upset about this monitoring, and who wants to weaken the government's intelligence gathering efforts? Again, we just want to know, so that if an attack comes, we'll be aware of exactly who enabled it.

And speaking of accountability -- not only has the publication of the Times article jepordized ongoing investigations, it's also tied to a book release. Not that the giants of journalistic ethics at the Times informed us of this fact.


One further thought: Who, exactly, is leaking this classified information? Isn't the alleged leaking of classified information the "big crime" that has had the left wing shrieking for months? And isn't it just as wrong when it's revealing a program that has helped protect America from terrorist attacks, as when it reveals the identity of a once-covert CIA desk jockey?

Playing With Fire

Some senators are blocking reauthorization of the Patriot Act -- and working hard to weaken its protections because of their concern for "civil liberties."

At least it makes for easy accountability. If America is hit again, we'll know exactly who cared more about protecting potential terrorists -- and correspondingly less about protecting Americans.

One More Comment On Hiltzig

As I noted here, last Tuesday, Hugh Hewitt invited the LA Times' Michael Hiltzig onto his show for two hours. Hugh simply questioned his guest -- genial but tough --and allowed Hiltzig to reveal himself as rude, arrogant and, frankly, less-than-forthcoming.

You can judge for yourself; Hugh has linked a transcript and audio from his site. What's most interesting, however, is Hiltzig's repeated refusal to disclose for whom he voted in the 2004 election. Writing to Patterico,
he asks peevishly, "Do you really think you can know everything about my perspective and outlook just by knowing how I voted for president?"

That, of course, isn't the point. No one piece of information tells anyone "everything" about anyone else's perspective. The more interesting question is why Hiltzig feels so compelled to withhold the information. Apparently, he doesn't trust that his readers are intelligent and sophisticated enough to take the nformation, process it and assign to it the proper weight.

How typical: Perhaps the liberal media would meet with more success if it weren't so patronizing of its consumers' intellects.

Conference Call with Senator Frist

On a conference call, Senator Bill Frist is reaffirming that he doesn’t believe it will be necessary, but he’s got the constitutional option on the table and will invoke it if need be. He plans to have the nomination to the floor by January 20th — maybe earlier, but certainly no later.

How 'Bout a Little Perspective

Dr. Alan Stone of Harvard is horrified -- horrified! -- by reports that doctors at Guantanamo Bay may have participated in efforts to impose psychological or physical pressure on detainees in order to obtain information that could save American lives. Even "coercive methods based on psychiatric evaluations that reveal the fears, concerns, and anxieties of the detainee" should be off the table, he apparently believes.

Otherwise, it's a violation of medical ethics, he informs us.

Any comments from Dr. Stone on the practice of partial birth abortion?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

A Different View of Wal-Mart

According to this Pew poll, a lot of Americans seem to like Wal-Mart just fine.

Any comment, John Zogby?

Why Voting Democrat is Dangerous

Morton Kondracke explains -- and spells it out for the apparently clueless: It's a bad thing to seem weak in the face of threats from abroad.

A key quote:

With a few exceptions, the Democratic Party has put itself in the position of being invested in U.S. defeat in Iraq. The main body of party leaders seems so hostile to Bush and his policy that it wants to be vindicated by collapse.
It's a terrible place for a political party to be - in effect, rooting for its own country's failure.

More on C.S. Lewis

Ever since I read this (makes a great Christmas gift, btw!), I have been a C.S. Lewis devotee.

Here is an interesting overview of the great man's life.

No Point to Hillary's Triangulation?

Deborah Orin argues today that Hillary Clinton's strategy of "triangulation," borrowed from her husband, isn't working for her in a polarized, post-9/11 political world.

That's a problem for Hillary. Ironically, she's always been seen as being more of a "conviction politician" than her husband -- but her convictions have come across as scarily left wing (socializing 1/7 of the U.S. economy?!). Having convictions is of no help if they're out of the mainstream, and shared by leftist moonbats that frighten the rest of the country.

Hence the efforts to triangulate. The only difficulty with this strategy is that it suggests to Hillary's friends on the left that she's a power-hungry hypocrite. And those on the right don't need any convincing.

As Tom Bevan points out today, Hillary Clinton may be a victim of her own ambition.

We Want the Truth

What are the Democrats so afraid of?

It's not like we're going to get the story from the MSM -- it's time for the pajamahadeen to saddle up and ride!

"It's a National Wedding Day"

Surprisingly fair and positive coverage of the Iraqi elections -- including a quote from an Iraqi that headlines this post -- by the LA Times.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

It's Purple Finger Day in Iraq

The brave people of Iraq are headed to the polls to determine their own political destiny. Blessings on every Iraqi patriot who has braved the threats of the terrorists in order to exercise the franchise -- and on every American (starting with George W. Bush) whose courage, determination and perseverance has made this day possible.

Morning glow by your light
We can make the new day bright
And the phantoms of the night
Will fade into the past
Morning glow is here
At last!

"Morning Glow", indeed.


That, at least, is the left's reported strategy against Samuel Alito -- to try to paint him as the second coming of Robert Bork (or, more accurately, the second coming of the caricature of Robert Bork that was purveyed to Americans in the days before conservatives had learned how to fight back, when the Senate was controlled 55-45 by Democrats, and with a Reagan Administration weakened by Iran-Contra).

Good luck to them. Chicken Little (and how aptly that name fits the "cut and runners" in the other party!) can't continue to claim that the sky is falling again and again and again without suffering a credibility problem. Which is precisely what the Democrats have.

It seems pretty significant that the left has to cast back to 1987 for a template of a successful derailing of a Supreme Court nomination. Because that's the first (and, really, the only) time they were successful in accomplishing it.

A Prayer for Iraq

Early voting has already begun; tomorrow will come the official elections for Iraq's parliament.

The price for this momentous event has been high: American and Iraqi blood, sweat and tears. The reward likewise is great: The knowledge that people who once lived under the hob-nailed boot of a dictator are free to determine their own destiny -- reshaping the Middle East and helping to secure our national safety at the same time.

Not bad. Not bad at all.

Photo of the Year

Michael Yon's photo is up for photo of the year. View and vote here (HT: MK Ham over at Hugh Hewitt's blog).

Good Job, Virginia!

Here is a piece well worth reading by Virginia A. Fischer, a Harvard sophomore and math major.

She points out that the goodies being distributed to women on campus in the wake of President Summers' "insensitive" remarks on women in the sciences do very little to remedy the situation that gave rise to the furor, i.e., the status of women in the sciences.

She also notes that the new "women's center" will be a perfect place for women to -- you guessed it -- celebrate their "innate differences." Sharp cookie.

One point of difference: Virginia writes that "Undeniably, there are substantive inequalities between the opportunities available to women and men . . .." In context, it's clear that she means that women are disadvantaged. Hardly. One can only guess that a bright female math major like Virginia will be pursued (if one may use that word) for jobs, fellowships and other sinecures that her male counterparts could only dream about.

Even so, great piece. And good luck to her -- especially if the campus atmosphere in the Ivy League hasn't changed since the late '80's. I remember writing a column for The Daily Princetonian, challenging the use of the moniker "Women's Center" to describe what was, in truth, the Left-Wing Feminist Center. The torrent of abuse was impressive -- which confirmed my sense that I had hit the nail on the head. Ah, those happy college days.

How the Left Thinks

As soon as Washington's Democratic Party chairman got wind of it, it came down. But how revealing is it that there are some in that party who would post a sarcastic parody of the popular Christian symbol of the fish on the state party web site?

When Democrats Take Power . . .

During the New Jersey gubernatorial campaign, Jon Corzine promised flatly that he would not raise the gas tax: "There will be no gas tax hike in a Corzine administration, particularly after we've seen a $1.50 rise in the price of gasoline. I'm proposing we have a tax holiday."

Now the campaign is over, and he is, of course, "reconsidering".

It's worth remembering: When Democrats are in power, not only are our families not safe, given their position on national security; our pocketbooks aren't safe, either.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Sound of Dogs Laughing

Here's a story about it. Would that they felt like laughing all the time!

Victory for Orthodox Episcopalians

Good news. A judge has ruled, yet again, that the Diocese of Los Angeles cannot bully orthodox Episcopal churches and threaten to seize their property, just because the churches are seeking to maintain their freedom of conscience by refusing to toe ECUSA's (flawed) party line.

Dem "Wise" People?

Today, both E.J. Dionne and Helen Thomas issue a clarion call to Democrats: Move left on the war. Show "leadership." People agree with us. They'll listen.

Yeah, that's the ticket.

The Republicans should be very, very grateful for these people. Talk about living in a bubble. Is there anywhere outside of Manhattan, the Beltway, and San Francisco where there's a secret hunger for American defeatism?

We should only hope the Democrats listen to these "wise people."

(Update: Obviously, Dionne and Thomas aren't paying attention to these numbers.)

Hewitt Unleashed - On Air Now

Come into my parlor, said the spider to the fly.

Or, to use a different metaphor, remember what Aslan did to the White Witch? Tune in right now and listen to it happen again.

For starters, Hugh's guest has just asserted that he has "no way of knowing" whether Ho Chi Minh was evil. Perhaps he should check with some of the South Vietnamese.

In the words of Orin Hatch: "I tell you, what a jerk."

Knowing the Good News

94% of Americans believe that God exists, according to the new Gallup poll (summarized in this piece).

Pity the 1% who are sure that no God exists. Their universe must be a bleak one, indeed.

What a Nobel Peace Prize is Worth

Yasser Arafat. And (though certainly not in quite the same nefarious league), every third world dictator's favorite president, Jimmy Carter (not to mention Castro's, Kim Jung Il's and the late Leonid Brezhnev's). Now Mohammed El-Baradei.

Given this company, how much is a Nobel Peace Prize really worth?

How the Christmas Wars Began

My weekly column from The One Republic has been picked up by Human Events here.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Military Recruiting Up

What say the profdessional pessimists to this? Doesn't look like the armed forces may be so "broken" after all.

Stop the McCainity

Had a lovely lunch with Lorie Byrd and her charming daughters this afternoon. Speaking of Lorie, she's spitting fire over the suggestion that McCain may be getting a "second look" from some on the right who see him as the GOP's "only hope."

Give me a break. McCain is unpalatable to any traditional conservative for the reasons that Lorie outlines so eloquently. What's more, anyone who believes that he's the party's "only hope" must be smoking something. The GOP has a number of advantages -- not the least that of an opposition party run by appeaser-moonbats. If the Iraq situation stabilizes, the economy continues to do well, and the Republicans in Congress bring themselves to act like the Republicans of 1994 (i.e. cut some spending!), there's no reason for desperation.

And even if there were, a pro-tax, free-speech-limiting, grandstanding, showboating, MSM-favor-currying candidate is not the answer.

P.S. Don't write me about not "respecting" McCain. I honor his service in Vietnam. And though I applaud his courage there, I don't think that it earns him automatic and perpetual deference in the political arena.

The Glorification of the Moderates

Notice how the press loves to glorify the moderates? Another example comes today with the story about how the "moderates" are insisting on civility in the debate over Iraq.

Not that the story covers it, but let's remember how the debate came to be so uncivil. Anyone remember some Democrats calling President Bush a "liar"? Saying the country was taken to war based on lies? Asserting we couldn't win?

Only in the last few weeks, as Republicans have begun to dispute these outrageous and false charges has the press begun to become concerned with "civility" in our discourse -- the same way it was worried about incivility when Republicans sought to hold Bill Clinton to account, but has been notably silent while deranged liberals natter on about Bushitlerchimp.

An example in the story itself:

"One side uses the word lie, the other side implies treason," said Jamieson, director of the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center.

Well, there's a big difference between saying something and implying it, as a preliminary matter. But if Bush & Co. "lied" in order to send our troops to die in a foreign war, as increasing numbers of Democrats have beeen claiming, wouldn't that be tantamount of accusing him of treason, too?

Here's why the press loves moderates: They can use Republican moderates as a basis for claiming its conservatives are "extreme" (and that's a game that McCain, Lugar et al. love to help them play). And then they can ignore the Democratic moderates (Joe Lieberman, and his hardly-covered optimistic remarks about Iraq spring immediately to mind).

What's not to like?

You Can't Kill the Magic Lion

Writing in The Times of London, Minette Marrin correctly (if hardly originally) points out the hypocrisy of those "enlightened" secularists who claim the mantle of tolerance and diversity -- yet get the vapors over "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe," a film with explicitly Christian themes.

I saw the movie yesterday, and marveled at the way it had brought the book to life. Aslan, the White Witch, the talking animals and all the rest came to glorious life -- and the allegory behind Aslan's sacrifice and resurrection couldn't have been clearer. The movie had the ring of truth -- a truth deeper than the supposed "insights" we are supposed to glean about the "human condition" from dreadful (but celebrated) films like "American Beauty" or "Crash."

Funny that it is so threatening to so many. And funny that Minette Marrin would choose to condescend so to CS Lewis and his audience of believers and non-believers alike ("I now find the Narnia stories crude, cobbled together in a clumsy pastiche and sometimes distasteful or sententious."). Can s/he produce something of such incandescent loveliness and eternal truth, or is s/he merely limited to sniping from the sidelines?

Don't mind the secular fundamentalists who, as Minette Marrin puts it, are "desperate to kill the magic lion;" don't mind even the "sophisticates" like Marrin, who want to defend the rights of the beknighted to see the movie but are desperate not to be too closely associated with its Christian message. They are more to be pitied than blamed.

And, above all, don't worry -- the "magic lion" cannot really be killed. Remember?

A Sad "Mental Legacy"

Researchers at University of Oslo have found that the mental trauma resulting from abortion is both real and long lasting.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Dean: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Donald Lambro points out that Howard Dean's statements have succeeded in dividing the Democratic Party. More accurately, actually, they expose the divisions of long duration that have been within the party.

Almost makes you believe in karma, doesn't it?

Abolish the CIA

It's inept. Politicized. Arrogant. Jack Kelly lays it all out here.

How ironic that the agency's political allies are those on the left side of the political spectrum -- who once were committed to the CIA's destruction. Maybe they succeeded better than we knew.

Setting the Reapportionment Record Straight

Here, Ken Starr and Ronald Cass effectively rebut one of the Democrats' arguments against Judge Alito, noting that the judge's doubts about the Supreme Court's reapportionment jurisprudence are legitimate, and in fact mirror contemperaneous statements by the Democrats' new darling, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Sex and Religion

In this week's Sunday LA Times, I write about two things you're never supposed to discuss at a dinner party: Sex and religion -- in the context of their contrasting statuses in the public square.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Another Argument Against Commutation

Obviously, if justice didn't require Tookie Williams execution in accordance with his sentence, it would be wrong simply to go ahead as a disincentive to threats of gang violence.

In a case like this one, however, an argument in favor of the execution should be the hints of "civil unrest" in the event of Williams' execution that have been emanating from the gang bangers. It's worth considering the fact that, if the sentence is commuted, some in the gangs may believe that their threats helped carry the day. That's hardly a recipe for ongoing social order.

Notice, too, that Nobel Peace Prize nominee Williams hasn't called for calm in the event that his execution goes forward.

The Typical Pro-Choice Fallacy

Writing in today's Los Angeles Times, one Meghan Daum, a proud and self-proclaimed pro-choicer, comments on a column published last week in The New York Times; its author had argued that fathers (married or not) should be able to obtain injunctions preventing women carrying their children from having abortions, if the men are willing to assume full responsibility for the children (once they're born, of course).

It's a meaty argument; one could argue that if a man is so committed to being able to claim parental rights to a child, he ought, at least, to be willing to commit to marrying the child's mother. (And conversely, one could argue that a mother who wants support should be willing to marry her child's father). But whatever the merits of the argument, at base is the fact that the NY Times op/ed piece posits the existence of a father who wants to exercise his "choice" to save the life of his child.

Daum, however, carries the argument one step further:

Since we're throwing around radical ideas about abortion rights, let me raise this question: If abortion is to remain legal and relatively unrestricted — and I believe it should — why shouldn't men have the right during at least the first trimester of pregnancy to terminate their legal and financial rights and responsibilities to the child?

Well, there is a certain logic to her position. After all, if a woman has the right to abort her child, why shouldn't a father be given the right to abandon his? The one consideration missing from the equation is, of course, the child. Let's not worry about what's best for the child -- i.e., having a father (or, at the very least, having some financial support from an absent one). Let's worry only about what the "father" and "mother" want, whatever it means for the child.

The piece reveals the ultimate pro-choice fallacy: Concern is directed exclusively at the "rights" of the adults -- and the lives (much less the legitimate claims) of the babies (born or unborn) count for nothing.

Episcopal Decline

Here's a story about the Episcopal Diocese of Newark. It's self-consciously "liberal," -- and its membership has declined even more radically than that of the Episcopal Church as a whole. Is this a coincidence?

Hardly. Every decent Episcopal church will teach about the "social justice" of the gospel -- i.e., taking care of the poor, loving one's neighbors, turning the other cheek, etc., etc. But the difference -- as far as I can tell, having grown up in a theologically conservative Episcopal Church, and now having been exposed to the far more liberal varieties -- is that in the former, the way that the gospel lessons are to be applied to current political controversies is left to the congregant. In the liberal churches, one is forced to confront the political proclivities of the rector speaking from the pulpit, Sunday after Sunday after Sunday. Trust me, it gets tiresome.

The linked piece seems to believe that the problem with the Church is its seminaries' emphasis on theology, and the corresponding paucity of "church management" instruction that budding rectors receive. I disagree. The problem is that liberals have overtaken the Episocpal Church to such a degree that it's lost any sense of a communal identity -- and few Episcopalians can really tell you what their church, as a whole, really stands for.

After all, on the left, there is John Shelby Spong, a retired bishop who has rejected most of the central tenets of Christianity -- yet remains an influential voice within the Church. On the right are those who belong to the traditionalist American Anglican Council. So official church doctrine is . . .?

How can anyone be persuaded to join any organization of any kind if those issuing the invitation can't define what the organization is about?

One of the wonderful things -- originally -- about being an Episcopalian is that there was slightly more doctrinal flexibility than in say, the Catholic Church. Sadly, radicals like Spong took that flexibility and exploited it to the point where traditional Church teachings are ignored, if not derided. And now, the Episcopal Church has, in many instances, strayed so far from what it's supposed to be about that it's lunacy to think that a better church "welcoming committee" is going to solve the problem.

And, by the way, Newark has lost more Episopalians than most, over the years. John Shelby Spong is the retired Bishop of Newark. Coincidence? You decide . . .

Squeaky Wheels Get the Grease

Jaundiced amusement can really be the only proper reaction to stories like this one, where those who wish to observe Christmas in the public square are being treated like provocateurs.

For years, atheists and non-believers have tried to foist a falsehood on society -- that, somehow, it is deeply "offensive" for those who are not practicing Christians to have to encounter anything that reminds them that some (in fact, the overwhelming majority) are celebrating a religious holiday.

Now some pushback has come from the other side. And it's about time. It's wrong to send a message to children, and to society generally, that religion is something that should be kept exclusively "private" -- like undressing or going to the bathroom.

Public expressions of other faiths don't bother me -- menorahs and dreidls and all the rest are welcome, as far as I'm concerned. What bothers me is the sanitized, a-religious reality that some militant non-believers have tried to force on America, which is, after all, a nation founded on religious principles.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Prayers for Lady Thatcher

Her daughter says that Lady Thatcher's short-term memory is failing. Well, whatever she remembers (or doesn't), we could never forget her. She's a true icon.

Moving the Court to the Left

Arnold Schwarzenegger has chosen a "centrist" to replace Janice Rogers Brown on the Supreme Court.

His choice, Carol Corrigan, asserted that, "I think I would probably be a centrist anyplace I found myself." Really? What does that mean? She would be a "centrist" on the conservative Fourth Circuit and on the liberal Ninth?

Surely she doesn't mean that her views are defined by those around her -- and that they shift to remain in the "center" of every group in which she finds herself?

No Simian Social Constructs

Who needed monkeys to prove that boys and girls are innately different?

Worth a Thousand Words

Stay tuned. More coming tomorrow.

Retreat and Defeat: Not an Option.

AmSpec Piece

Here, in the American Spectator, are a few of my thoughts on the rumors of Arnold Schwarzenegger running for reelection as an independent.

Speaking Truth to Panic

The indispensable and brilliant Norman Podhoretz lays it all out here -- why the public discouragement with Iraq, the reasons for the sniping from old time foreign policy establishmentarians, and all the rest.

One note about the press: Podhoretz cites statistics gathered by Arthur Chrenkoff that dramatize just how skewed coverage of Iraq has been. Here are a few of them:

*1,992 stories about suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks.
*887 stories about prisoner abuse by British soldiers.
*761 stories reporting on activities and public statements of insurgents.
*357 stories about the antiwar movement and the dropping public support for involvement in Iraq.
*217 stories about concerns for fairness and validity of Iraqi election (low security, low turnout, etc.).
*182 stories about American servicemen killed and wounded in operations.

And on the other side:

*16 stories about security successes in the fight against insurgents.
*7 stories about positive developments relating to elections.
*73 stories about the return to Iraq of stolen antiquities.

Podhoretz's piece is a must-read.

Just a Matter of Trust

Last week, the MSM was saturated with the story that an independent poll conducted by John Zogby had demonstrated that 56% of Americans believe that Wal-Mart is "bad for America." (See here and here and here).

But as Joel Mowbray points out in today's Washington Times, well -- not so fast.

Most of the stories about the poll do mention that it was commissioned by the anti-Wal-Mart (i.e. pro-union) outfit "WakeUpWalmart." What they don't mention -- perhaps because the press release accompanying the poll didn't tell -- is that:

(1) Pollster Zogby has received about $90,000 to testify in favor of individuals suing Wal-Mart;

(2) The press release accompanying the poll was drafted by his client, WakeUpWalmart, but was placed on the Zogby web site and distributed over its wire; and

(3) The poll questions were drafted "in consultation" with WakeUpWalmart.

Shouldn't any of this information have been made public in conjunction with the poll? Makes it hard to trust Zogby work in the future, doesn't it?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Tomorrow's To-Do List

(1) Wear something red.

(2) See "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." How I loved the book when I read it in the autumn of my fourth grade year! Aslan, here I come!

Depressing News

New research suggests that sexual experimentation leads to depression in adolescent girls. Another triumph for the proponents of female sexual "liberation."

Some commenters to this post seemed to think that my criticism of feminism was not logically linked to the new status quo where young girls are almost expected to be sexually active.

Well, here's how it works. The feminists (and cultural liberals generally) were convinced that females of all ages were being oppressed by hegemonic, phallocentric male domination, wherein men were anxious to keep women chaste because they were seen as "property" (their daughters, wives, etc.). So the feminists pressed for sexual liberation.

The sexual "liberation" has trickled down even to middle-school-aged girls -- and behold the results: Not just heartache, not just the potential for STD's, but an enhanced risk of depression (not to mention the less-than-chivalrous treatment that today's "bitches" and "ho's" endure at the hands of some men and boys alike).

Perhaps we've "come a long way, baby" -- but sometimes, where we're headed doesn't look all that great.

If Wishes Were Horses . . .

According to this story from Reuters, Senate Judiciary Committee Arlen Specter wishes that fellow senators and interest groups would wait for the Alito hearings before reaching a conclusion on the nomination. Well, senator, dream a little dream for me.

Either Specter is incredibly naive or hopelessly stupid. Why does he think that the President wanted the hearings before Christmas? To avoid the drip, drip, drip of the disinformation campaign being orchestrated by People for the American Way (and their ilk), along with their willing handmaidens in the U.S. Congress.

Yesterday, Hugh Hewitt eviscerated the author of an incredibly misleading "analysis" piece about Judge Alito's career. But that's just the beginning of the smear campaign that the Democrats are planning -- counting on the complicity of their friends in the MSM.

Chastity Rings

Here is an interesting piece from The New York Times about the growing popularity of chastity rings, symbolizing their wearers' commitment to abstain from sex until marriage.

The commitment is a good and praiseworthy one. It does seem to be a shame that everyone has gotten so used to talking about sex all the time that it's deemed necessary for virgins to make a public statement about their status -- but if it prevents the heartache, and the emotional, psychological and even physical damage that can result from giving too much too soon, well, then I'm all for it.

Someday, I'd love to meet the people who oppose abstinence education for teenagers (no, not instead of education about basic sexual facts, but certainly as the recommended course of action, and absolutely instead of the glorification and validation of premarital and underage sex). Do they really think that teen sex is a good thing that's worth fighting for?

"Tookie"'s Non-Apology Apology

Here is Stanley "Tookie" Williams' apology -- for having started the bloody Crips street gang. Note that he nowhere expresses regret for the four innocent lives he personally took, 29 years ago.

Stanley Crouch lays it on the line:

The hard fact is that since 1980, street gangs have killed 10,000 people in Los Angeles, which is three times the number of black people lynched throughout the United States between 1877 and 1900, the highest tide of racial murder in the history of the nation.

Wonder if the same group calling for commutation of "Tookie"'s sentence would feel the same way about the leader of a white lynch mob? Especially the founder of a "lynch mob" that caused the death of 10,000 over a 25 year period?

I'd have no problem seeing a monster like that executed. And I have no problem with the execution of "Tookie" Williams.

Needing the 411 From the 9/11 Commission

Two pieces today -- by Michael Smerconish and Andrew McCarthy point out the egregious lapse of the 9/11 Commission -- namely, its failure to investigate Able Danger, the intelligence operations unit that may have been prevented by government lawyers from passing information it had on Mohammed Atta to the FBI back in 2000.

You can bet that if this "oversight" had occurred on a Republican administration's watch, the MSM would be all over it. Funny how much less interesting it is when a Democratic administration's judgment is at issue . . .

Another problem, of course, is the fact that the old-time press establishment -- professional tut-tutters like David Broder -- love "bipartisan commissions" of the 9/11 variety, where all of us are supposed to sit down and reason together in the spirit of good faith and patriotic fellowship.

The only problem? The Democrats on such commissions are, too often, hard-core partisans (paging Richard Ben-Veniste, Jamie Gorelick, Tim Roemer and Bob Kerrey), while the Republicans are often those of the '70's, liberal, "me-too-but-less" variety (yes, I'm talking to you, Tom Kean) -- or else good men who are, perhaps, less invested in the political debates of the moment than their Democratic counterparts (the names Fred Fielding, John Lehman and Jim Thompson come to mind). And so the Republicans regularly get fleeced in these sorts of undertakings.

Before the 9/11 Commission has the audacity to "grade" any other government entity, perhaps it should come clean about Able Danger -- and what, if anything -- the Commission knows about it.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Man's Best Friend, Indeed!

Dogs understand us better than any other creature.

And now, it seems, they aren't just going to keep us healthier -- they are going to help us find ways to prevent diseases.

All this -- and better manners than many humans, too! Winston, take a bow.

Good Press for Mark Warner

The MSM is looking for a Democratic presidential contender to love -- and right now, soon-to-be retired Virginia Governor Mark Warner seems to be the man.

Here's a not-so-bold prediction: If this keeps up, pretty soon we'll be seeing some pretty nasty stuff about Warner start to come out, courtesy of the Clinton smear machine.

Thanks, Mark

Mark Tapscott over at Tapscott's Copy Desk had kind things to say about my husband's piece in The Wall Street Journal. Check it out.

Pearl Harbor, Circa 2005

Sharp commentary, courtesy of Sacred Cowburgers.