Carol Platt Liebau: April 2007

Monday, April 30, 2007

Yeah, That's Leadership

Here is a Washington Post story on Hillary's pollster, Mark Penn, that's quite revealing.

Armed with voluminous data that he collects through his private polling firm, Penn has become involved in virtually every move Clinton makes, with the result that the campaign reflects the chief strategist as much as the candidate.

In other words, a Hillary Clinton presidency promises a return to governance by polling that was so prominent in her husband's two terms. Such an approach is somewhat weaselly to begin with -- aren't these people elected to do more than slavishly follow public opinion? -- but becomes particularly pernicious in an age of terrorism.

We all know what happened because Bill Clinton famously decided that it wasn't politically advantageous either to acknowledge or confront the terrorist threat. Do we really want a repeat of all that?

On Barack Obama's Faith

Here is a piece from The New York Times discussing Barack Obama's religious background.

What's interesting is the the fact that there are, quite clearly, strong Muslim ties in Barack's past and among his family. The Christian church to which Barack now belongs likewise contain some elements of controversy -- in fact, the piece ends with both Barack's pastor and Barack himself acknowleding the need to "distance" themselves should Senator Obama win the nomination.

It will be interesting to contrast the handling and discussion of all this information with the way Mitt Romney's Mormonism has been addressed. Funny -- when it comes to Obama, I haven't yet heard the reminders from people like Jacob Weisberg that "certain religious views should be deal breakers in and of themselves" even after critics have raised questions about whether elements of the theology preached at Barack's church contain "anti-white and separatist" elements.

If indeed that's the case, wouldn't it be profoundly wrong for people like Mr. Weisberg to dismiss Governor Romney on the grounds that he thinks Mormon theology is "based on such a transparent and recent fraud" but is willing to accept Barack Obama despite evidence -- if it emerged -- of theological racism in the church he has embraced?

What a Bunch of Babies

If Republicans reacted this way every time a MSM columnist criticized one of their leaders, they'd be in a perpetual state of outrage.

Good heavens. Democrats don't seem much to care if America loses the war in Iraq, but they are all fight when David Broder criticizes Harry Reid. Strange priorities, no?

Townhall Column

My column discusses the extent to which American toleration of Rosie O'Donnell's crassness is a sad comment on our collective standards of decorum.

No War on Terror?

Perhaps the leftists -- who are so eager to dismiss the Islamofascist threat -- should read about the terrorist attacks Al Qaeda has contemplated, and its interest in acquiring nuclear weapons for detonation in the United States.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The New Traditionalism?

Who would have thought that family breakdown would top the list of concerns for those between 16 and 22?

The Problem with McCain

John McCain's interview on Fox News Sunday (transcript here) highlighted one of the reasons he just isn't cutting it in Republican circles:

WALLACE: How would you fight the War on Terror differently than it's being fought now?

J. MCCAIN: I would probably announce the closing of Guantanamo Bay. I would move those detainees to Fort Leavenworth. I would announce we will not torture anyone.

I would announce that climate change is a big issue, because we've got some image problems in the world. . .

WALLACE: Senator, you talked about torture. Former CIA Director Tenet now says that the intelligence that they got from harsh interrogation techniques against some of these big Al Qaida types, like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — the intelligence they got from them using, reportedly, things like water-boarding, extreme temperatures, was more valuable than all the other CIA and FBI programs.

Were you wrong? I mean, this is the CIA, former CIA director, saying this. Were you wrong to limit what CIA interrogators could do?

J. MCCAIN: A man I admire more than anyone else, General Jack Vessey, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, battlefield commission, told me once — he said, "John, any intelligence information we might gain through the use of torture could never, ever counterbalance the image that it does — the damage that it does to our image in the world."

I agree with him. Look at the war in Algeria. Look, the fact is if you torture someone, they're going to tell you anything they think you want to know. It is an affront to everything we stand for and believe in.

It's interesting to me that every retired military officer, whether it be Colin Powell or whether it be former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — everybody who's been in war doesn't want to torture people and think that it's the wrong thing to do. And history shows that.

We cannot torture people and maintain our moral superiority in the world.

. . .

WALLACE: But when George Tenet says...

J. MCCAIN: I don't care what George Tenet says. I know what's right. I know what's morally right as far as America's behavior.

. . .

WALLACE: ... when George Tenet says we saved live through some of these techniques...

J. MCCAIN: I don't accept it. . .

The weakness of Barack Obama's response -- when asked how, as President, he'd react to a terrorist attack -- has been duly noted. But, in fairness, here's John McCain seeming to say that one of the ways he'd fight the war on terror is by paying more attention to global warming!

What's more, his answer about the torture of terrorist detainees -- and his ridiculous willingness to move them into prison populations in the heart of the United States -- showed all the sanctimony and condescention that drives Republican voters crazy. "I know what's right. I know what's morally right as far as America's behavior" -- well, it must be wonderful to be that morally superior, mustn't it? What would he tell people whose lives have been spared through the information we obtained from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? That they just weren't worth it?

Reality Bites

As I pointed out in the post immediately below, liberals are beginning to dispute even the existence of a war on terror -- or, if there is one, whether it's actually worth combatting robustly.

But as Michael Goodwin points out, reality bites. Amid all the uproar of George Tenet's efforts to vindicate himself of any errors in the run up to the Iraq war, his warning about terrorist nukes has gone largely unremarked upon.

If, Heaven forbid, a large scale attack were launched on a major American city, what would the left then have to say about the importance of fighting the war on terror?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Where the Liberals Are Headed

John Edwards doesn't believe there's actually a war on terror -- or at least, not one worth fighting. And LA Times columnist and UVA law professor Rosa Brooks thinks that America should just lie back, relax and accept the inevitable when it comes to terrorist attacks. That's better, in her view, than facing the loss of civil liberties -- although none of the leftists who raise the civil liberties bogeyman are actually able to point out any concrete erosions of freedom.

Who would have ever thought it would come to this, in the days following 9/11?

Petraeus Speaks

The Weekly Standard has printed excerpts of General David Petraeus' Pentagon briefing to reporters.

Even as the Democrats try to pretend that retreat is an option, and that we could significantly draw down troops if we restricted our mission to fighting al Qaeda, Petraeus notes:

Iraq is, in fact, the central front of al Qaeda's global campaign and we devote considerable resources to the fight against al Qaeda Iraq.

Oh, and what's more:

We do definitely see links to the greater al Qaeda network. . . . There is no question but that there is a network that supports the movement of foreign fighters through Syria into Iraq. . . . The Iranian involvement has really become much clearer to us . . .


Typically, in fact, still we believe that, oh, 80 percent to 90 percent of the suicide attacks are carried out by foreigners.

So much for the Democrat mantra of "it's a civil war."

Strange Bedfellows

Funny -- radical cleric Moqtada el Sadr and the Democrats see eye to eye when it comes both to President Bush and the issue of withdrawing American troops from Iraq.

Does it ever give the Democrats pause that their policies are wholeheartedly embraced by America's enemies?

Friday, April 27, 2007

What's In a Name?

Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda have established something called the Women's Media Center, in an effort to influential coverage of issues important to women.

At risk of being cynical, it's hard to believe that they're actually going to try to represent females with my views. Why not be more honest, and call it the "Feminist Women's Media Center" or the "Liberal Women's Media Center"?

A Troubling Question

Were there Islamofascist overtones to the identity (Ismail Ax) adopted by the Virginia Tech killer?

Environmental Hypocrisy

Al Gore -- yes, he of the energy-swilling Tennessee mansion -- showed up at the Tribeca Film Festival to lecture and chide everyone about global warming. Perhaps his time would have been more productively used urging the Democratic presidential contenders not to fly privately to their own debate last night.

Just Not Getting It

Linda Hirshman seems to think that even mothers with small children can be induced to stay in the workforce if the tax code is changed.

Even if forcing women to march off to work and hand over their little ones to a crowd of "child care providers" were a good idea (which it isn't), Hirshman's theory overlooks one important point: The fact that many of the women leaving the workforce to care for children actually want to do it.

After all, a young female law partner may realize that she's easily replaced -- almost anyone can draft that document or argue that case. There's only one place she's truly indispensable . . . as the mother of her own children.

Hirshman writes:

New mothers with husbands in the top 20 percent of earnings work least, the report notes. . . So they also have more freedom to leave their jobs. But why do they take the option? It’s easier in the short term, sure, but it’s easier to forgo lots of things, like going to college or having children at all. People don’t — nor should they — always do the easier thing.

This is radical feminist myth-making at its worst. Is it really easier to stay home with one's children -- and tend to the needs of others 24/7 -- than it is to put on some fashionable clothes and head out of the house to hobnob with adults all day while earning money for doing so?

Ask some stay at home moms, Linda. Perhaps they can set you straight.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

First Democratic Debate

Well, it wasn't terribly memorable, and given that few besides hardcore political junkies are paying attention, its impact is likely to be limited. It was interesting to see Barack Obama trying to get his sea legs; the short answer format was most likely to be helpful to him, at least if the "rap" on him (that he isn't offering a lot of policy depth) is true. Hillary seemed capable and prepared, but likewise hard- and somewhat tired-looking; she needs to work on her voice, which too often sounds bossy and shrill.

With the rest, it was pretty much what one might expect; honesty points go to left wing nutcake Dennis Kucinich, for pointing out that the only principled position the Democrats can take is to de-fund the war. In sense, he's actually right: Voting to refund the war (even with a deeply irresponsible and dangerous deadline) is, in fact, a bit like reauthorizing the war all over again.

The Joy of Common Sense

The Washington Supreme Court has held that radio talk does not constitute an in kind political donation.

Happily, the First Amendment still holds, even in the era of McCain-Feingold.

"Acceptable" Religious Bigotry

Hugh Hewitt chronicles some of the repugnant anti-Mormon bile being spewed by denizens of the left who are obviously uncomfortable with Mitt Romney's apparent potential.

As I noted in my Townhall column last month, the left's efforts to impose "religious tests" on conservatives of all stripes is a pernicious development -- and certainly not something the Founding Fathers would have approved.

No Love Lost

Suffice it to say that David Broder can't stand Harry Reid -- in my view, for good reason.

Just about every point Broder makes in his column is valid. If I were going to quibble, however, I would take exception to Broder's gratuitously nasty reference to Reid as "the leading light of Searchlight, Nev." Ronald Reagan was born in Tampico, Illinois, Abraham Lincoln near Hodgenville, Kentucky. One needn't hail from a major metropolis to become a leader of vision, sophistication, and principle.

It's just too bad that "vision, sophistication, and principle" aren't words that even the most besotted left-wing kool-aid drinker would ever exploy to describe Harry Reid.

The Disgraceful Upturned Middle Finger

The invaluable John McWhorter points out how the Great Society's radical and reflexive anti-authoritarian impulses have yielded a culture that's profoundly pernicious for black youth. Ironically, as he notes, the gains of the civil rights era have likewise contributed to the problem. As McWhorter puts it in one particularly felicitous phrase, "[T]he civil rights movement freed blacks into an America that had just made the upturned middle finger into an icon of higher awareness." How true -- and how profoundly sad.

In fairness, affluent whites are also to blame, either by tolerating (on the part of adults) or aping (on the part of teens themselves) some of the most destructive behaviors. Middle class white adults understand that their teens can indulge a taste for gang-bang culture secure in the knowledge that once the phase has passed, college, a good job and a secure future lie ahead. But underprivileged youth has no such luxury, and when those who should know better simply turn a blind eye, or worse yet, exploit or praise ugly behavior as "authentic blackness," it's shameful.

Finally, McWhorter's article reveals the widespread reluctance among blacks to help police officers even with black-on-black murders. This fact called to mind an interesting exchange on yesterday's Dennis Prager Show. A caller noted LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's initiative to stop gang violence by increasing the police presence in the most dangerous neighborhoods. By the Democrats' reasoning, the caller observed, the police would simply withdraw from the neighborhood and allow the gangs to fight it out among themselves.

Needless to say, that shouldn't happen -- either in Los Angeles, or in Baghdad.

A Voice of Reason

Writing in today's Washington Post, Senator Joe Lieberman, one of the few Democrats not content to surrender to the terrorists, observes:

[T]he suggestion that we can fight al-Qaeda but stay out of Iraq's "civil war" is specious, since the very crux of al-Qaeda's strategy in Iraq has been to try to provoke civil war.

The current wave of suicide bombings in Iraq is also aimed at us here in the United States -- to obscure the recent gains we have made and to convince the American public that our efforts in Iraq are futile and that we should retreat.

When politicians here declare that Iraq is "lost" in reaction to al-Qaeda's terrorist attacks and demand timetables for withdrawal, they are doing exactly what al-Qaeda hopes they will do. . .

This seems so clear as to be obvious -- but either it isn't to the Democrats, or they are so blinded by Bush-hatred and their own domestic political ambitions that they don't care.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Stand on Principle

Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis has resigned as chairman of the board for the Cardinal Glennon Children's Foundation because the foundation has invited Sheryl Crow -- an avid abortion rights supporter -- to sing at its benefit. This is a big deal -- it's a big St. Louis foundation, and needless to say, Archbishop Burke is a prominent member of St. Louis' religious and civic leadership.

I don't share the precise view of the Catholic Church on abortion (I believe in exceptions for rape/incest/life of the mother/severe fetal deformity), but I do admire the Archbishop's willingness to stand for principle. Funny -- if Don Imus had been invited instead, many on the left would laud a leader for having had the integrity to refuse to participate. Yet when the celebrity is someone who merely supports the "right" to kill unborn babies for any reason (or no reason at all), one need not expect any kind words from the left.

Owning Defeat

In this must-read op/ed, the Wall Street Journal points out just how wrong -- and craven -- the Democrat policy of retreat 'n defeat really is:

Mr. Reid's strategy of withdrawal will only serve to enlarge the security vacuum in which Shiite militias and Sunni insurgents have thrived. That's also true of what an American withdrawal will mean for the broader Middle East. Mr. Reid says that by withdrawing from Iraq we will be better able to take on al Qaeda and a nuclear Iran. But the reality (to use Mr. Reid's new favorite word) is that we are fighting al Qaeda in Iraq, and if we lose there we will only make it harder to prevail in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Countries do not usually win wars by losing their biggest battles.

Good Riddance

Rosie O'Donnell is leaving "The View" after a single controversy-filled year.

It's about time. Her remarks -- and her attempts to dominate the show -- were ignorant, appalling, and often downright bizarre. ABC can do better, as can the rest of the "View" panel . . . including Barbara Walters, whose championing of O'Donnell raised the question of whether she was willing to trade credibility for audience share.

What Do the Dems Say Now?

Does the news that Osama Bin Laden is orchestrating militant attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan impact Demorats' haste to surrender in Iraq?

Assessing the Greater Danger

Even as Iran and North Korea grow ever closer to possessing nuclear weapons, US "nuclear weapons experts" are challenging the Bush administration's assessment that the American nuclear arsenal needs to be updated. Notably, their reasons seem to be primarily political.

Liberals like to scoff when conservatives observe that they seem to be more afraid of their own country than of other undisputedly rogue nations. But this seems to be another example of that sad phenomenon.

Hardly "Rude-y"

If this is the best the MSM can do to disparage Mayor Giuliani, well, he's sitting pretty.

In a story headlined "It's Rudy-y again: Ex-mayor erupts over question about rights," the New York Daily News describes an incident in which the mayor disputes the characterization of someone at a townhall that Americans have lost their rights. The exchange was obviously heated, but there was nothing rude about it -- at least from Giuliani's end.

The fact that the newspaper headline nonetheless chose to characterize it that way suggests that someone over there isn't a Giuliani fan. That's fine. But even if the mayor had slipped a bit over the "rudeness" line in defending the fact that law-abiding Americans' liberties haven't in fact been meaningfully abridged -- despite the paranoid assertions of the left -- that's hardly likely to hurt him with Republican primary voters.

What's more, it might even help him maintain his image as an honest, straight talker, and not the kind of politician who panders to every nut who wants to try to make a point.

Degrees of Wrongness

This was wrong.

But this is even more wrong.

Let's hope we hear at least the same passion when it comes to denouncing the latter behavior that we heard about the former.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Don't Confuse Us With the Facts

Nancy Pelosi can't find the time to meet with General Petraeus. Harry Reid will meet with the general, but has announced in advance that he won't believe him if General Petraeus reports there has been progress in Iraq.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the leadership of the Democrat Party.

Not Exactly a Shocker

Children with religious parents are better behaved and adjusted than those without them, according to a new study.

The kids whose parents regularly attended religious services — especially when both parents did so frequently — and talked with their kids about religion were rated by both parents and teachers as having better self-control, social skills and approaches to learning than kids with non-religious parents.

This is, of course, hardly a shocker. It stands to reason that behavior will be better when a child comes from a climate where the Golden Rule is, in fact, a rule, rather than a simple recommendation.

Obviously, the Constitution forbids the establishment of a religion, but studies like this one ineluctably suggest that behavior in schools might be better if, in fact, faith in general weren't so unwelcome there.

More of the Same

What happens when the majority party is bereft of ideas at home, and bereft of guts abroad? It tries to launch a scandal offensive. Let's just hope that the Republicans don't give them -- or their compliant friends in the MSM -- any grist for that mill.

What a Ham

Local radio in Los Angeles was discussing this story today -- apparently, some schoolchildren put a ham sandwich on a lunch table where some Muslim Somali children were eating. The action is being treated as a "hate crime."

Obviously, assuming that the perpetrators knew about the Muslim aversion to pork products, the act was cruel and inappropriate, and obviously deserving of reprimand, especially given that part of what schools are supposed to do is to help socialize children. But we're sliding down a slippery slope when we start designating non-violent (though obviously offensive and wrong) behavior as "hate crimes." Would it be a "hate crime" for a child deliberately to eat a ham sandwich at the same table as the Muslim children? Is it a "hate crime" to express support for the Holocaust in the presence of Jewish people?

The problem with any hate crimes legislation whatsoever is that it punishes thought, rather than behavior. If we begin adding non-violent behavior to the list of what constitutes "hate crimes," then after a while, we are punishing thoughts and non-violent actions, which could lead to some very troubling outcomes.

Thinking Ahead

The deaths of American servicemen (and women) is always bad news. Note, however, that even under the Democrast' formulation -- troops would be in Iraq to fight Al Qaeda -- the same events could have transpired.

The larger question is how, after excoriating the President's team for supposedly having no "plan" for the aftermath of combat operations -- the Democrats can continue to urge withdrawal with nary a thought for the chaos and turmoil that would inevitably follow.

Do they really think bombings like this would stop if Americans left, or do they just don't care if Al Qaeda continues to try to turn Iraq into the new Afghanistan?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Profoundly Un-Serious

The Democrats' decision to send a military appropriations bill with a timeline for defeat to the President -- despite their certain knowledge that he will veto it -- is revealing.

It shows how profoundly unserious they are, not only when it comes to the war on terror, but with respect to ensuring that our men and women in uniform have what they need. And if any more evidence were needed, note this unbelievable tidbit from Michael Barone:

What’s curious is that congressional Democrats don’t seem much interested in what’s actually happening in Iraq. The commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, returns to Washington this week, but last week Pelosi’s office said “scheduling conflicts” prevented him from briefing House members. Two days later, the members-only meeting was scheduled, but the episode brings to mind the fact that Pelosi and other top House Democrats skipped a Pentagon videoconference with Petraeus on March 8.

Well, who wants real facts to interfere wtih propaganda, right? Disgraceful.

Words of Wisdom

Democratic pollster Doug Shchoen attempts to talk sense to the Democrats. The question is whether they'll listen -- or whether they're continue to overinterpret the supposed "mandate" they received last November, much as the Republicans misinterpreted the meaning of their (much more) sweeping victory in 1994.

RIP Boris Yeltsin

No doubt he made many, many mistakes, but I will always remember Boris Yeltsin standing astride a tank to oppose an attempted coup by Communist hardliners in the summer of 1991.

He was far from perfect, but it's nonetheless sad to hear that he has died. He was as good a friend to democracy and liberty as Russia has had. May he rest in peace.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Good Lord

Is there any surer a sign of theological atrophy and weakness than churches deciding to tinker with theological language? Who are these people who can't believe in/worship/become close to God if the word "Lord" or "Father" (or some other newly-designated politically incorrect term) is used in connection with Him?

These word-quibblers would like everyone to believe it's a revulsion to hierarchy that motivates them . . . but it's easy to suspect that, rather, it's a perverse form of arrogance that's reluctant to pay humble tribute to anyone and anything greater than themselves, as understood in traditional terms.

In other words, it's not about Him -- it's about them.

A Significant Distinction

A proponent of partial birth abortion has written an op/ed that's noteworthy, not only for its insouciant attitude toward a procedure that involves partially delivering an unborn child and then sucking its brains out, but also for its misleading denunciation of the ban on the procedure. Here are two examples:

Last week, the US Supreme Court removed intact D & E -- a variant procedure now called "partial-birth abortion" by its opponents -- from the list of options that women and their doctors have to terminate a pregnancy after the first trimester.


If the Bush administration and a conservative Supreme Court can ban one procedure, then it can ban other abortion procedures . . .

First of all, the US Supreme could "removed" nothing. It simply declined to override legislation that banned -- not abortion -- but only one particularly barbaric method for it.

Second, it may be convenient to attribute the legislation to "the Bush administration and a conservative Supreme Court," but, in fact, it's Congress that passed the legislation, a measure supported by 70% of Americans.

Perhaps the author of this piece, a doctor, needs to review the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm.

It's the Authenticity, Stupid

Odds are that Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination -- but it won't be a cakewalk, thanks to Barack Obama.

What's the root of her problem? An apparent lack of authenticity, evidenced by her "southern fried drawl" that's trotted out for southern or African American audiences. It sounds ridiculous, it sounds condescending, and it undercuts the image of stability, authority and leadership that any successful presidential candidate -- especially a woman -- must demonstrate.

What's more, I am a woman -- and I'm already tired of Hillary talking (as she does in the linked clip above) of how "proud" she is to be a woman running for president. "Proud"? Is one's gender, combined with the fact that one happens to be running for the nation's highest office, a matter of "pride"? And if so, how?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A Much-Needed Wake Up Call

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff points out the obvious: We are at war.

Note to Democrats: Just because we wish we didn't have to be at war with the forces of Islamofascist terrorism doesn't mean they're not at war with us. Think about it.

Calling Hillary on Her Hypocrisy

Colbert King calls Hillary to account for, rushing to condemn Don Imus' remarks on the one hand while reaching into rapper Timbaland's pocket with the other.

It's always entertaining to watch liberals caught in the web of their own political correctness -- hesitating to condemn the "poetry of the streets" when misogynist filth emanates from an African American rapper, but denouncing the usages when others adopt them. Hillary ought to check out the vocabularies and attitudes of many young people in suburban white America, where, thanks to the silence of "leaders" like her, a lot of the worst of hip hop has become part of youth culture.

So Much for the "Civil War"

As this AP story points out, Iraqi insurgent groups have begun fighting against Al Qaeda in Iraq. So much for the left-wing trope of "civil war" that the Democrats have been trying to use to undermine American support for the war.

As the story notes:

At least two major insurgent groups are battling al-Qaida in provinces outside Baghdad, American military commanders said Friday, an indication of a deepening rift between Sunni guerrilla groups in Iraq.

Too bad the AP headline writers chose to go with the misleading title "Iraqi insurgents now fighting each other."

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Real Problem with Wolfowitz

As this piece points out, there's no "scandal" at the World Bank -- except the lengths that some of its bureaucrats are willing to go to in order to thwart Paul Wolfowitz's anti-corruption initiatives.

A Disturbing Claim

The Wall Street Journal's Melanie Phillips has a story in the UK Spectator about a man who claims to have found Saddam's WMD bunkers:

Saddam’s WMD did exist. [Dave Gaubatz] should know, because he found the sites where he is certain they were stored. And the reason you don’t know about this is that the American administration failed to act on his information, ‘lost’ his classified reports and is now doing everything it can to prevent disclosure of the terrible fact that, through its own incompetence, it allowed Saddam’s WMD to end up in the hands of the very terrorist states against whom it is so controversially at war.

Even if this worst-case scenario is true, the American people should know about it. Any anger directed at the Administration for having "lost" the WMD would, in my view, still be preferable to anger at the Administration for having allegedly gone to war "for no reason," as the conflict's adversaries like to put it.

Thompson's Tort Trouble

Ramesh Ponnuru points out that Fred Thompson has not been a wholly reliable advocate of tort reform.

This, by itself, is nothing more than what it is. What's troubling, however, is when it's combined with Thompson's support for campaign finance reform. Conservatives need to be careful -- very careful -- that they're not putting their eggs in a basket that may turn out to be more troublesome than they suspected.

And on that note, it would be reassuring to hear more from Thompson's doctor about his medical condition -- past, present and projected future.

As Good As It Sounds?

It's enough to make any conservative nervous when the foreign policy and/or Washington establishments start praising Condi Rice's initiatives to "talk" with some of our adversaries in the Middle East.

It just never seems like a good sign when those who attack President Bush's foreign policy for its "moralism" start praising the Secretary of State. Here's hoping she hasn't been captured by the Foggy Bottom establishment.

Trouble for Gonzales

When even erstwhile allies like Byron York evenhandedly pan the Attorney General's performance, there's obviously trouble.

Perhaps it's time for the AG to think about how much longer he wants to drag out what seems to be increasingly inevitable -- not because of what happened to the US attorneys, but for the obvious incompetence in handling it. Paying a bigger price for "procedural" mistakes than for "substantive" ones is the oldest Washington story in the world, and it looks like it may happen again.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Pretty Pathetic

The Democratic Senate majority leader proclaims the war in Iraq to be "lost". How his words must have thrilled Al Qaeda, and worse yet, demoralized our fighting men and women who are risking their lives every day to make the surge work.

No wonder Americans have shown great reluctance to trust the Democrats when it comes to national security matters -- their suspicions are well-founded.

What's Truly Unconscionable

The LA Times predictably condemns yesterday's Supreme Court decision as "unconscionable."

What's truly unconscionable is that the newspaper would oppose a reasonable piece of legislation that both outlaws a barbaric procedure which is never medically necessary and which was also supported by 70% of Americans at the time of its passage.

In the Times' world, apparently, the Supreme Court solons are supposed to tell us that it's unconstitutional to prohibit plunging scissors into the base of a baby's neck in order to kill it. Hey, that's "choice," at least as the Times sees it.

Extremism at its finest . . .

The "Lessons" of Virginia Tech

Barbara Oakley, a professor of engineering at Oakland University, has an interesting perspective.

NBC's Decision

Together on air this morning with Jamie Allman, we discussed NBC's decision to release the video of the Virginia Tech killer.

NBC anchorman Brian Williams himself conceded that going on the air with the video had been a "sick business", but regrettably, NBC did it anyway.

Other than the sensationalism of it, there was no reason to do so. After all, the piece had little "news value" -- it shed no more light on the killer and what he had done than, say, releasing a transcript would have. What's more, it helped the killer realize his objective of achieving notoriety of a certain kind, and suggested to other would-be Chos that iconic status can be attained in the wake of a heinous crime, so long as the killer plays his PR cards right.

Finally, the rantings (Cho's ramblings shouldn't be dignified with the term "manifesto") offer no real insight to what happened. They indicate a symptom of what was the real cause of Cho's actions -- his mental illness or evil, take your pick. It seems that much of the public is disgusted by NBC's decision, and rightly so.

Update: A psychiatrist in this piece from ABC News opines that the video should not be on the air.

All You Need to Know

The AP points out that Democrats are courting Al Sharpton. What that means is that they are welcoming a charlatan and a race-baiter into their midst, all in the effort to win.

It's also worth remembering that when one makes electoral decisions, it's not just the chosen candidate him/herself that's being brought to power. It's also all those the candidate has "courted" -- so just know that if a Democrat wins The White House, Al Sharpton also wins big.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Good Day for the Unborn

The Partial Birth Abortion Act has been upheld by today's Supreme Court opinion. It's a good day for the unborn -- and for America -- when a gruesome procedure, under which babies are half born and then their brains sucked out, is outlawed (except when the life of the mother is at stake).

Note that the physician "credited" with developing the partial birth abortion procedure has said it is never medically necessary. So has Everett Koop and a coalition of other physicians. The American Medical Association endorsed this legislation almost ten years ago.

Upcoming Radio

I'll be on Al Rantel's show tonight from 7:00 to 7:30 pacific time, debating Bob Mulholland.

Then, tomorrow morning, I'll be live in studio from 8 am to 9 am central for an hour on the Allman in the Morning show.

Another Blow to "Comparable Worth"

More bad news for the feminist economic grievance caucus. A new study shows that men, in fact, do work as much as women do.

The Truth About Taxes?

Mark Mellman claims that Americans no longer worry too much about the size of their tax bills:

That waste provokes more anger than the size of our tax bills. A Fox News poll put the question directly: “What bothers you more — how much you pay in taxes or how your taxes are spent?” Only 12 percent emphasized the amount paid, whereas 71 percent cited waste as the primary villain.

Maldistribution of the burden is taxpayers’ other prime complaint. Two-thirds told Gallup this month that “upper income people” pay too little in taxes, while 71 percent complained about corporations paying too little.

Let's take the second one first. No wonder Mellman, a Democrat, is so thrilled -- it sounds like the liberal policy of blaming the rich is working, and to heck with the facts. As this report demonstrates and even the New York Times has conceded, "the rich" pay the overwhelming majority of taxes in this country. The top 25% pay 83% of the taxes, and the top 1% pay 37% of taxes in this country. But hey, economic illiteracy help the left.

Second, the question “What bothers you more — how much you pay in taxes or how your taxes are spent?” strikes me as somewhat flawed in the drafting. The fact that people are more offended by waste or poor allocation of their money than the gross amount they have to pay suggests that they'd be willing to pay the same amount (or even, perhaps, more) if doing so would actually solve pressing problems for them and for the country. That doesn't strike me as a surprise -- and, if anything, contradicts the age-old leftist trope that people are "selfish" because they don't want to pay more in taxes.

In any case, the Democrats ignore the high tax issue at their own political peril. If contentment with high taxes is contingent on government effectiveness and efficiency, it's going to be a long time coming.

A Shameful Blame Game

Heard a clip of Keith Olbermann trying to blame the Virginia Tech murders on the fact that the President and Congress (the Republican Congress, of course) didn't renew the assault weapons ban first put in place in 1994.

As this blog quite correctly points out, the high capacity magazine used by the Virginia Tech killer wasn't even covered by the ban.

And once again, the same old question: Is Keith Olbermann outright duplicitous, or just ignorant?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The "Nonscandal" of the Century

Investors' Business Daily speaks a few home truths about the upcoming testimony of Attorney General Gonzales.

Calling All Moderates

This piece points out, quite correctly, the centrality of moderate Muslims to fighting the Islamofascist threat.

It would seem that great insight into this important topic could be offered by the documentary that PBS doesn't want you to see.

The Problem of Standards

This story perfectly illustrates the reason that the culture has reached the lowest common denominator. Apparently, a school in New Orleans has been trying to maintain some standards with regard to what is appropriate attire for prom dresses, i.e., not too much cleavage or nudity, etc.

As school officials enforced the ban -- having notified all members of the school community in advance -- some outraged parents rushed to the prom to complain about their daughters despite their inappropriate attire.

Anyone wonder why it's so hard for schools to promulgate and then follow through on standards ranging from education to behavior to dress? Because some parents make it impossible for standards either to be set or maintained -- and then the kids pay the price.

Update on Virginia Tech Murders

Here are more of the details of this sad and horrific story. So far, the killer has not been linked to any terrorist groups.

Later on, when such discussions are appropriate, it will be worth point out that the murderer was here on a student visa. Why does that matter? Only because this one person's evildoing doesn't mean that the international student visa program should be abolished, any more than it means that guns should be outlawed for everyone.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Not Yet a Time for "Healing"

Dennis Prager has it absolutely right -- it is not yet time for "healing" (with all the psychotherapeutic overtones that the term conveys).

What's more, as Prager points out:

And why is it always referred to as a "tragedy"? Virginia Tech wasn't hit by a cyclone. That would be a tragedy. This was evil. Call it that.

We have embraced emotion-numbing, righteous-rage-denying, morally neutered, therapeutic language. It is as much a part of our national crisis as are the acts of evil we refuse to identify as such.

I made the same point shortly after 9/11 when the attack was being called a "tragedy." Sometimes, it's hard not to conclude that the people who want to obfuscate and designate everything a "tragedy" are those who are profoundly uncomfortable with the concepts of good and evil. Designating events like today's murders a "tragedy" is just another way of eliminating the moral element (and the element of choice and any element of "judging") from what is indubitably an evil act.

Wrong as Usual

It's always unsettling to have first-hand knowledge of anything and then read about the same topic in the LA Times. The reason? There are consistent omissions, distortions or inaccuracies that make one wonder about the other stories in the paper.

Take this piece from Saturday. We're told that mostly conservative talk radio show hosts are upset about Imus' firing, and John & Ken and John Ziegler are referenced, with Dennis Miller being applauded as slightly more "solomonic" about the matter.

For starters, it's worth pointing out that Imus was a liberal, and the bulk of his guests were, too. But for some reason, that never appears in the piece. Would the Times have been so reticent had a conservative talk show host, say, Rush Limbaugh, or a show with predominantly conservative guests found him/itself in the same situation? I doubt it.

What's more, in a segment on last Thursday's Hugh Hewitt show (run immediately before Dennis Miller's on the day the Times people would have been listening), Hugh hosted a symposium of sorts on the issue with Dennis Prager and Michael Medved. Although their positions varied slightly in different ways, none of the three were breathing fire about Imus' fate, and all agreed that the relevant comment had been inappropriate and wrong.

Why not report that? Because the thoughtful nature of that exchange doesn't fit in with the template, so beloved of the Times, of angry conservative talk radio.

A New Twist

Prayers go out to all those affected by the shootings today at Virginia Tech. Wonder how long it will take the Democrats to politicize the tragedy, and start arguing that banning guns would have prevented it (although, in truth, it could likewise be argued that wider dispersal of guns among the law-abiding might have cut it short).

Interestingly, it's being reported that two bomb threats were been agaisnt Virginia Tech last week. Could there be more to the story?

Townhall Column

My Townhall column is here. It discusses the fact that many of America's "leaders" haven't done a good job in teaching young people how to think about or react to remarks like that made by Don Imus.

A Good Leader

Here a worthwhile profile on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. After several years with the hapless Bill Frist in charge, it's good to have a tough guy back at the helm.

Widening Culture of Dependency

More than half of all Americans receive significant income from a government program. It's like a Democrat's dream!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Contrary to the Myth . . .

One of the left's favorite tactics is to try to pathologize the military. They're sick, they've got PTSD, the list goes on.

Well, the Rand Corp's new study dispels at least one preconception, finding that the divorce rate among the military is no higher than it was 10 years ago -- and that, counterintuitive as it may sound, deployments actually improve some marriages.

And She Wants to be President?

Here's an interesting exchange from a Hillary Clinton town meeting:

A woman who had traveled from New York asked Sen. Clinton if she had read the report given to her in 2002 on intelligence and the Iraq war.

Clinton said she had been briefed on the report, and the woman screamed back, "Did you read it?!" Notably uncomfortable, the Senator repeated that she had been briefed. This exchange went back and forth about three times.

The woman sat down and Clinton explained, "If I had known then what I know now, I never would have voted to give this President the authority." Clinton also said she believed she was giving the President the authority to send U.N. inspectors to Iraq.

Whoops! This is the best that the "smartest woman in the world" can do? What happens if she gets elected? She gets bamboozled by Ahmadinejad and then tells us that she "believed" she wasn't giving Iran authority to develop nukes?

Painted into a Corner?

Martin Schram makes a rather obvious observation that's been offered on this blog as well -- that Democrats are, once again, revealing themselves as fundamentally weak and unserious about national security, in a way that may well come back to hurt them in national elections.

What's interesting is that they're likewise eroding the sense that there's any larger principle than sheer political gain at stake in what they're doing. Here's an incredibly revealing quote from Harry Reid:

We're going to pick up Senate seats as a result of this war.

Those sorts of concerns must explain how Reid could call for more troops in Iraq as recently as December, yet be at the vanguard for withdrawing funding a scant four months later. Concerned about the national security of their country? Willing to put partisan differences aside to beat a pernicious terrorist foe? Not this bunch.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Telling It Like It Is

Dick Cheney calls out the Democrats on their feckless, flaky "leadership" in the war on terror. And unlike all the hysterical denunciations emanating from the fever swamps on the left, he marshals nothing but uncontrovertible facts in his favor.

A must-read.

The Pay Disparity Myth

Hillary Clinton and Tom Harkin are pushing legislation to ensure that women and men are paid equally.

No doubt, everyone agrees that women and men should receive equal compensation for equal work. And that's what the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972, among others, were designed to address. If the problem remains, surely everyone agrees that such legislation should be enforced more thoroughly.

That's not what Clinton and Harkin are after, however. They apparently want some version of "comparable worth" legislation, where the government targets certain training programs at women (so much for the gender equality that ERA backers are after!), interferes in the labor market to set compensation rates -- actually a form of back-door socialism. What's more, the feminist myth that women earn 77 cents on the dollar because of nothing more than old-fashioned sexism is just that, a myth: See here and here and here.

If Clinton and Harkin really cared about women's quality of life, they would have supported flex-time legislation originally sponsored by Senator John Ashcroft. That's an idea that would give working moms want they want most: More time with their families. The Clinton/Harkin effort is nothing more than the newest feminist effort to get more women out of the home into the workforce.

Friday, April 13, 2007

A Message That's Being Overlooked

Clarence Page has some very kind things to say about Rutgers' women's basketball team -- and no doubt the accolades are well deserved.

But I wish that someone who has credibility with these girls would remind them that, although what Don Imus said was terribly offensive and wrong (and now well-punished), what he said has no power to hurt them -- except what they give it. One ignorant, ugly and bigoted comment from a shock jock, or anyone for that matter, does nothing to change who they are, what they've done, and what they're about -- and the proper response isn't deep hurt, anger, sorrow, humiliation, but rather, a disgusted shrug of the shoulders that dismisses Imus' comment with the contempt it richly deserves.

It's not hard to muster great indignation at the comments themselves, but it's important to communicate to young people of all races that the outrage springs not from a sense that the comments themselves have the ability to affect them in any meaningful way, but rather from a collective sense that community standards have been unacceptably violated. And our sympathy for the innocent victims of an ugly smear shouldn't tempt us to pander to the sense of victimization that far too many race-panderers are eager to cultivate.

I don't admire much of anything Hillary Clinton says, but she did muster my grudging respect for this exchange with a reporter from USA Today:

Contemplating possible slings and arrows on the campaign trail, she said, "So what, people are going to say something bad about me?" She burst out laughing. "I mean really. I mean look. I understand how contentious American politics is. And why? Because there are big things at stake."

Clinton said she doesn't take attacks personally or lie awake fretting. "I'm sorry to tell you this, I do not … Maybe because I've been at it for so long.

That's the kind of attitude that makes women strong -- not the kind of victimization piffle that National Organization for Women (ha!) President Kim Gandy peddles when she whined to the LA Times about Imus' comments:

We made it clear that these were not mere words, that they had an impact and changed people's lives.

Hillary Clinton is speaking at Rutgers. Will she have the guts to help the young women build the kind of strength she obviously have -- or, a la Kim Gandy, will she succumb to the condescending temptation to pander to young women of another race, thereby helping dig them into a pit of victimization?

The Hierarchy of Victimhood

Terry Moran apparently feels that the Rutgers basketball players -- who were incontestably the targets of a vicious and ugly smear -- are more entitled to sympathy and compassion than the three young white Duke students who were named as rapists by a government official, prosecuted accordingly, and saddled with $1 million in legal costs.

Why? Because race and gender trumps everything else, even the facts, for a lefty.

Chivalry: Dead or Alive?

IWF's Charlotte Hays pays tribute to the gallantry of the men who gave their lives to save women and children aboard The Titanic.

Flailing at a Straw Man

EJ Dionne flails at a straw man this morning, arguing that Democrats have no "obligation" to participate in debates on Fox.

Well, of course they don't. No one has an "obligation" to appear in any particular media forum, although there's an argument to be made that Democrats are foreclosing an opportunity to reach a new audience by blacklisting Fox. No need to worry that Republicans are going to pull the same trick and refuse to appear on any left-leaning network; if they did, they'd have nowhere to go but Fox. It's the modern analogue to Anatole France's famous formulation that both the rich and the poor have the right to sleep under bridges . . .

What's ironic about Dionne's piece is that it represents the media mentality that actually spawned Fox's success. He's happy to assert that Fox News leans to the right -- but does it do so more than CBS (former home of Dan Rather), ABC, NBC, CNN and MSNBC lean right? That's a difficult claim to support. In fact, Fox's most popular shows include a fair representation of voices from both the left and the right -- unlike many of the networks, where people like David Gergen and Patrick Buchanan are deemed the in-house conservatives, at least in the relatively rare instances when the network actually goes in search of a non-liberal voice.

Dionne conveniently ignores the long and storied history of network liberal bias -- but the troubling thing is that, chances are, he doesn't even perceive the bias to exist. As Bernard Goldberg has pointed out, for most members of the media establishment, left-leaning organs like The New York Times or CBS just seem middle of the road . . .

A Different Scapegoat

Sports writer Shaun Powell asks the African-American community where, exactly, Don Imus might have learned the word "ho."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

McCain & the War

Betsy Newmark has some excellent observations about John McCain's recent speech.

What's also worth pointing out is that McCain essentially said that he'd rather lose the presidential race than have America lose the Iraq war. Think about it: Is there a single Democratic presidential candidate -- heck, a single Democrat other than Joe Lieberman, period -- who could credibly say the same thing?

Before Breaking Out the Champagne . . .

This article alludes to the fact that Hillary Clinton lost the straw poll for President.\

Before conservatives break out the champagne, it's worth realizing that this may not mean much. Although it signals significant discontent with Hillary among the netroots, she's betting that she can hold off John Edwards and Barack Obama long enough to win the nomination. Then, she calculates, her more "nuanced" view on the war will serve her well in a general election, where either of the others might be seen as too far left.

And depending upon whom the Republicans choose, this calculation may not be entirely off-base.

Fred Thompson's Cancer

I like Senator Thompson, and if he chooses to run, would welcome him to the race. Of course, at this point, I'd almost be willing to vote for a chimp on the Republican ticket, under the well-grounded assumption that the primate could run a more muscular and less craven foreign policy than the typical Democrat.

Even so, I think Thompson's admission that he has suffered from lymphoma is, perhaps, a bigger stumbling block than many Republicans would like to concede. It strikes me as very important that all medical facts be put on the table right now. Unlike prostate cancer or skin cancer -- which are relatively common, which means voters have some familiarity with them and are able to evaluate the relapse risks -- there's less general knowledge about lymphoma, and frankly, to me, it seems significantly more serious.

Senator Thompson ought to let his doctors come out and do a full and complete press conference, and then permit Republicans to decide whether his health is solid enough to be worth taking a chance on. Because unless the facts are put out there squarely and surely, Democratic operatives will be very capable of exploiting public fears about the senator's health should Thompson win the nomination. And God forbid he suffers a relapse after becoming the Republican nominee -- not only would it be a tragedy for him and his family, but also for the country insofar as it would effectively hand the White House keys to the Democrats without much of a fight.

The Real Duke Scandal

Vincent Carroll rightly excoriates the deplorable, despicable and cowardly behavior of the Duke faculty toward the three unjustly accused students.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Just Wondering . . .

The news that the Duke students have been exonerated of rape allegations made against them last year and that Don Imus' show no longer being simulcast on MSNBC creates an interesting juxtaposition.

If Mike Nifong isn't disbarred and stripped of his post as a state prosecutor, it will turn out that one remark by Don Imus -- admittedly repugnant and outrageous -- against the Rutgers women's basketball team will carry a heavier penalty than a spurious lawsuit that carried the full weight of state law enforcement, cost students their reputation (and a year of school, in some cases) and reportedly more than a million dollars each in lawyers' fees.

What's more, if, indeed, Nifong isn't removed, what will the liberals say? It will turn out that evil "corporate America" will have manifested more racial sensitivity than an entity that many liberals consider the great engine of truth and justice, i.e., the government.

. . . Where Credit Is Due

I disagree with many of John McCain's positions -- on the Bush tax cuts, the Gang of 14, illegal immigration, campaign finance "reform," to name a few. He's not, frankly, a very good Republican.

But he is a great American, and this Wall Street Journal editorial explains why.

In Iraq

In the Wall Street Journal, Professor Fouad Ajami sets out his acute perceptions of the situation in Iraq. In Washington? Despair. In Baghdad? Cautious optimism.

Notably, he writes:

The nightmare of this [Iraqi] government is that of a precipitous American withdrawal. Six months ago, the British quit the southern city of Amarrah, the capital of the Maysan Province. It had been, by Iraqi accounts, a precipitous British decision, and the forces of Moqtada al-Sadr had rushed into the void; they had looted the barracks and overpowered the police. Amarrah haunts the Iraqis in the circle of power--the prospect of Americans leaving this government to fend for itself.

Once again -- what is it the Democrats think will happen if they succeed in forcing a premature American withdrawal?

An Inapt Comparison

New York Magazine is trying to tout Keith Olbermann as "the left's Limbaugh."

Reading the comparison, it's hard not to stifle a laugh -- it's a bit like calling Nancy Pelosi "the left's Margaret Thatcher." After all, Rush Limbaugh's strength has been trafficking in truth served up as entertainment. There are legions of Limbaugh-haters who would love nothing more than to expose his "lies," but they're rarely given anything to work with.

Keith Olbermann routinely flirts with moonbattery (see here and here and here, for example), and relies on such pathetic little tricks as naming various Americans "the worst person in the world" (yep, that's right, worse than Kim Jong Il, Osama bin Laden and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad).

Rush is a happy warrior; Olbermann is a hate-filled loon. If he's the best answer the left has to Limbaugh, we're sitting pretty!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Politics at PBS

Remember the liberal outrage over the perception that evil Republicans were trying to "push" PBS to the right? How outrageous, we were told, to try to inject politics into the journalistic purity that is the Public Broadcasting Company.

Predictably, there is significantly less outrage on the left over PBS' efforts to suppress a documentary subsidized by US taxpayer dollars about Islamofascist terrorism. Note the shifting rationales emanating from PBS for its treatment of the documentary. And note the silence from the left end of the political spectrum. Apparently, politics at PBS are only a problem when they're not liberal.

Want the real story behind the story? Check out Hugh Hewitt's interview with Frank Gaffney.

The Shame of Littleton

Shame on the two women in Littleton, Colorado, who are trying to prevent a statue of a local hero -- a Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan -- from being erected. Jack Kelly has the whole disgraceful story here.

Do these women not understand that people like this SEAL are the ones who make it possible for them to be craven wimps who nonetheless get to live in freedom?

Brain Chemistry, Sex and the Sexes

Here is a piece from the New York Times, indicating that sexual preferences are, for the most part, genetically determined. Obviously, the intent of the piece is clear -- to elicit sympathy for gay rights by suggesting that homosexuality as genetically hard-wired as, say, eye color.

There's no doubt, as I've written before, that gays carry the full weight of God's glory, and if they are sinners, well, so are the rest of us. Even so, it's likewise worth pointing out that there are other types of behavior that have a genetic component -- and yet society doesn't hesitate to object to them when and if they are harmful to a culture as a whole. This isn't to equate homosexuality with other, obviously undesirable sexual behaviors like pedophilia or undesirable tendencies generally, like a predisposition to alcoholism. Rather, the point is that identifying a genetic predisposition to a particular form of behavior isn't game/set/match when it comes to evaluating how much social support that behavior should have (although, again, everyone is entitled to respect and compassion on a personal level).

The linked piece likewise includes this intriguing admission:

It is a misconception that the differences between men’s and women’s brains are small or erratic or found only in a few extreme cases, Dr. Larry Cahill of the University of California, Irvine, wrote last year in Nature Reviews Neuroscience.

Question: Why is it OK to discuss brain chemistry differences as they pertain to the sexes in the context of homosexuality or sexual behavior -- but then the radical feminist claim that men and women are essentially the same is accepted so uncritically so often by so much of the elite media?

More on the Fox News Pullouts

It's worth asking: Why do many Democrats think it's perfectly OK to engage in "dialogue" with people like Bashir Assad and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- but feel compelled to draw the line at Fox News?

Tells one a lot about whom they consider to be America's "true" enemies, doesn't it?

Monday, April 09, 2007

Spurning Fox News

According to Politico's Ben Smith, now Barack Obama, too, intends to withdraw from the debate jointly sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus and Fox News.

This strikes me as curious. After all, the major part of Obama's message has been that Americans need to unite and find a better, more civil way to conduct politics. But what kind of example does it set when he, himself, refuses to speak to his fellow Americans simply because the debate is being broadcast on a news network that he doesn't favor? It's one thing for John Edwards to behave this way -- he's counted on reaching out to the crazy netroots and the unions. It seemed that Barack was trying for a more mainstream appeal, but Americans could hardly be blamed for finding an element of hypocrisy in his appeals for civility and harmony even as he slights those with whom he perceives there to be disagreement.

What's more, it strikes me as a thumb in the eye to the Black Caucus. Don't get me wrong -- I don't think that Barack Obama should be specially obligated because of his race to appear in a CBC-sponsored debate. But his absence does set a precedent, and certainly makes it easier for other candidates to ignore CBC-sponsored events in the future. What's more, it does nothing to dispel many of the doubts that African Americans have voiced about him -- at a time when Hillary Clinton will be working harder than ever for support in the black community.

It's almost enough to make one wonder if Barack doesn't feel ready to debate. What other reasons could there be for a decision that seems to fit neither with his persona nor with his political interests?

Hardly a Pointless Question

In the LA Times, Andrew Bacevich argues that the question, "What is your plan for Iraq?" is as pointless as it is futile. In his view, the Iraq war has been lost and the only question is whether President Bush's successor will admit it.

Bacevich obviously misunderstands both the importance of the question and the ongoing threat of Islamofascist terror. It is important to know what plan each presidential candidate has for Iraq, because his (or her) approach is indicative of how seriously they take the war on terror generally and how committed to a US victory they are. People who are willing to give the surge time to work are people who take national security seriously; those who want to pull out immediately or on a defined date are those who either haven't thought or don't care about the ramifications of such a course on US national security.

Bacevich writes:

Candidates who still find merit in an open-ended global war on terror should explain how we prevail in such an enterprise. Given the lessons of Iraq, what exactly does it mean to wage such a global war? Where can we expect to fight next, and against whom? What will victory look like?

His formulation is revealing. No one finds "merit" in an "open-ended global war on terror." But the fact is that this is a war that wasn't started by the US, nor is it one that can be eliminated by the US simply insisting either that it can't be won or that it doesn't really exist. The threat will stalk us until we address it. Ironically, Bacevich seems to demand a theoretical framework for understanding the war on terror -- which President Bush offered -- but is unwilling to do what it takes (starting by winning in Iraq) to make that vision a reality.

In fact, it's fair to ask Bacevich and his ilk a few questions of their own. To echo his own words, those who simply want to surrender in the Iraq war and the war on terror generally should explain how we remain safe after pursuing a course that emboldens our enemies and seems to vindicate Osama Bin Laden's assessment of the west as decadent, fat, lazy and weak. Given the lessons of surrender (from Lebanon through the Clinton years), what does it mean if we simply turn a blind eye to Islamofascist aggression? Where can we expect to be hit next, and by whom? What does "peaceful coexistence" with people who want to kill us and change our way of life look like?

Anyone Surprised?

Iran continues apace with its march to acquire nukes. Of course, the reaction of the international community over the past week had to embolden it -- as the UN couldn't muster the will to issue anything more than the most tepid expression of disapproval over its act of aggression directed at the British sailors, and the US House adjourned without weighing in at all.

As the topper, Nancy Pelosi's trip to Damascus sent a signal to the Iranians that there's nothing to fear: However badly they behave, there will still be Democrats slavering to postpone the day of reckoning by engaging in further "dialogue" with them.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Price of Arrogance

It's long been obvious that Hillary Clinton's character has an unpleasant side -- whether it's the accounts of her mistreatment of Secret Service agents or her condescending remark equating being a full-time wife and mother with baking cookies and hosting teas.

Now, it seems that arrogance has had a price when it comes to her fundraising. The Clinton camp tried to strongarm supporters into donating exclusively for her, and the strategy has backfired.

Abstinence? Heaven forbid!

Well, finally we know that there's at least one reason that the states will turn down federal money: Because accepting the funds would require teaching abstinence to young people. As the LA Times puts it:

[S]tates are turning down millions of dollars in federal grants, unwilling to accept White House dictates that the money be used for classes focused almost exclusively on teaching chastity.

It doesn't seem to indicate that the states can't use other money to teach children how to have sex or how to use contraceptives -- it's just that, with the federal money, abstinence must be taught. Of course, whether such funding or dictates are appropriate from the federal government is a whole other issue . . . but suffice it to say that it's par for the course for there to be plenty of strings put on every federal grant that states receive. Only here, for some reason, do certain (mostly blue) states find the accompanying requirements unduly intrusive.

So what's the terrible message that the states are being harshly required to convey? As the Times puts it, "Students are to be taught that bearing children outside wedlock is likely to harm society and that sexual activity outside marriage is 'likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects.'" Is this untrue?

No doubt, it's important for children to be educated about sex, and, frankly, there's nothing wrong about learning about contraception, depending on the way it's done. Part of the problem is that, these days, "comprehensive sex ed" becomes little more than a way that groups like Planned Parenthood and educators who ascribe to its philosophy convince young people that having sex is normal and expected of them -- and that refraining from doing so is freakish and weird. The abstinence programs are important in large part because they level the playing field.

Setting the Record Straight

This morning, on "Meet the Press," Tim Russert concluded the program by noting that Alger Hiss' stepson, Timothy Hobson, has recently surfaced, disputing Hiss' guilt. Hiss, himself, did the same throughout his life, despite having been convicted of perjury for denying that he passed classified documents to Whittaker Chambers (he was never prosecuted for spying for the USSR only because the statute of limitations for that offense had run by the time he was indicted).

Perhaps it's not surprising that such claims would receive a mention on "Meet the Press" because defending Hiss was a lifelong cause celebre for credentialed members of the leftist elite, who simply refused to acknowledge that Whittaker Chambers had pretty much airtight proof of his claims that Hiss was a traitor.

Russert ended the segment by announcing airily that "Almost 60 years later, and the debate over Alger Hiss continues." Remarkably, Russert completely neglected to mention that the Venona Cables have pretty much laid to rest any controversy over Hiss' guilt.

David Ignatius, writing in The Washington Monthly about the Venona intercepts, notes that

The evidence against Hiss, as laid out in the cables the Soviets were sending home, is quite devastating. Hiss' 1950 perjury trial showed that he had passed documents to a Soviet military intelligence (GRU) ring headed by Chambers during the '30s, when Hiss was a rising young star in the State Department. The Venona intercepts add damning evidence that Hiss continued helping the Soviets during the 1940s.

Even PBS -- hardly a conservative mouthpiece -- has conceded:

In 1996, shortly after Hiss's death, a collection of Venona decrypts was declassified. One of the messages, dated March 30, 1945, refers to an American with the code name Ales. According to the message, Ales was a Soviet agent working in the State Department, who accompanied President Roosevelt to the 1945 Yalta Conference and then flew to Moscow, both of which Hiss did. The message goes on to indicate that Ales met with Andrei Vyshinsky, the Commissar for Foreign Affairs, and was commended for his aid to the Soviets. Analysts at the National Security Agency have gone on record asserting that Ales could only have been Alger Hiss. (emphasis added).

It's understandable that Hiss' family would continue to defend him, even against all the evidence. But Tim Russert should have told his audience all the facts they needed to evaluate Hobsons claims on the merits.

He Is Risen!

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Wooing the Feminist Elite

Hillary Clinton, no doubt reeling from Barack Obama's undoubted appeal among African-Americans and fundraising prowess, is going after the women's vote.

That, in itself, is understandable. What's a bit disturbing -- and revealing -- is her eagerness to embrace the radical feminist elite, represented by the National Organization of Women.

And for those who don't get what NOW is all about, or the kind of leftists that Hillary is courting, read this account by the incomparable Charlotte Hays of NOW's 40th birthday.

And check out NOW's website. There's a reason that it's known as one of the most anti-family organizations in America.

Underreported Progress

I don't support John McCain's presidential bid; even so, he is right in this piece to point out the signs of progress that have been overlooked, downplayed and ignored by the MSM.

The problem is: Is he already moving away from this assessment? Or just trying to have it both ways?

Friday, April 06, 2007

Thanks, Nancy

The Wall Street Journal nails the Democrats' true intentions: To try to establish their own partisan foreign policy while they wait for the President's term to be up. As a result, they send mixed message of weakness to America's adversaries, signaling that President Bush lacks domestic support -- which, in turn, emboldens our enemies and makes it more difficult for any American pressure to succeed.

It's impossible whether to know that they're too shortsighted to understand or too misguided to care, but what the Democrats should understand is that this game hurts them, too, in the only realm they seem to care about, i.e., politics. By provoking bad behavior by our adversaries, they make bolder enemy action more likely, which -- in turn -- may prompt the American people to turn to the leaders they trust to defend them with vigor. And that isn't the Democrats.

Record of Shame

Caroline Glick puts it well:

The footage of the British hostages thanking Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for his hospitality and forgiveness, like the footage of US Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi covering her head in a scarf while on a visit to Damascus was enough to make you sick.

Frankly, none of the western world has much to be proud of when it comes to standing up to thug-state intimidation. The problem is that a culture that's too afraid -- or morally relativistic -- to defend itself can't survive, and perhaps, doesn't even deserve to.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Hey, Not Everyone Was Critical!

Sure, Vice President Cheney may not have approved of Nancy Pelosi's ignorant attempt at conducting shuttle diplomacy; okay, the Washington Post excoriated her for it, too.

But not everybody hated what Pelosi tried to achieve -- leaders of assorted terrorist groups were absolutely thrilled.

I guess it all comes down to whose opinion matters, doesn't it?

A Principle for All Seasons

Once upon a time, Democrats wouldn't have dreamed of eliminating funds for soldiers in the field.

Ah, how times change.

Convenient Oversights

As Joel Mowbray points out, what the American people aren'tbeing told about the Iraq war is nothing short of stunning.

The MSM ignores every optimistic sign or statistic, and dwells relentlessly on the negative. As Mowbray points out, while the press is quick to trumpet every mistake in the execution of the war, it is considerably less likely to look to its own mistakes.

An Essential Distinction

In today's LA Times, Michael Tanner and Michael Cannon make an essential distinction that's too often overlooked by those rushing to achieve "universal healthcare":

Simply saying that people have health insurance is meaningless. Many countries provide universal insurance but deny critical procedures to patients who need them.

What's more, here are some facts that are surprising to those whose knowledge of the "health care crisis" comes only from reading the MSM news accounts:

[I]n reviewing all the academic literature on the subject, Helen Levy of the University of Michigan's Economic Research Initiative on the Uninsured, and David Meltzer of the University of Chicago, were unable to establish a "causal relationship" between health insurance and better health. Believe it or not, there is "no evidence," Levy and Meltzer wrote, that expanding insurance coverage is a cost-effective way to promote health. Similarly, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine last year found that, although far too many Americans were not receiving the appropriate standard of care, "health insurance status was largely unrelated to the quality of care."

Not Only "Counterproductive" but "Foolish"

The Washington Post quite rightly excoriates Nancy Pelosi's fumbling, bumbling embarrassing stab at serving as an adjunct secretary of state.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A Disgrace (To Her Country & Her Gender)

It's not enough that Nancy Pelosi wanted to offer "photo op" credibility to the leadership of Syria -- that's right, the people who run an acknowledged state sponsor of terror, who have been linked to the assassination and attempted destabilization of Lebanon, who coddle Hezbollah, and throw in their lot with Iran.

Apparently it's not even enough that she dons a hijab -- a symbol to many women around the world, including in the Middle East, of oppression.

No, she can't even get it right when she attempts to convey a "message" from Israel to Syria, thereby forcing the Israeli Prime Minister to put out a clarification that exposes her incompetence or her duplicity. It's really doesn't matter whether Pelosi was deliberately deceitful or just hopelessly naive and inadequate -- it's still a pretty ugly scenario.

If a sexist mastermind had striven to create a national leader that would dissuade Americans from ever putting a woman in the commander-in-chief's chair, he couldn't have done better than Nancy Pelosi.


Today, a CNN story discussed Rudy Giuliani's support for federally funded abortions and the following:

Giuliani also vowed to appoint conservative judges to the bench, though denied such a promise was a "wink and a nod" to conservatives in support of overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision on abortion.

"A strict constructionist judge can come to either conclusion about Roe against Wade," he said. "They can look at it and say, 'Wrongly decided thirty years ago, whatever it is, we'll over turn it.' [Or] they can look at it and say, 'It has been the law for this period of time, therefore we are going to respect the precedent.' Conservatives can come to that conclusion as well. I would leave it up to them. I would not have a litmus test on that."

Depending on how thinly one slices the jurisprudential baloney, one could argue that it's "conservative" to adhere to stare decisis (a lot of liberals adopted this argument in the Bush years) -- but it certainly isn't the hallmark of a strict constructionist. By the "stare decisis uber alles" logic, of course, Plessy v. Ferguson would have been left untouched, and blacks and whites would continue to live under the "separate but equal" doctrine, not only a wrong but also a morally repugnant result.

The fact that Giuliani is hedging his bets like this is enough to make conservatives nervous, and frankly, it should. Of course Republicans have never imposed pro-life litmus tests to their Supreme Court nominees in the way that Democrats have insisted on strict adherence to pro-choice orthodoxy, but what's unfortunate about Giuliani's remarks is that they may demonstrate a somewhat protean quality to his insistence that he would nominate justices in the mold of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito.

Republicans hear that and belief that Giuliani is supporting the concept of strict constructionist judges. Now, it's hard not to wonder if Rudy is just talking about people who are conservative politically or temperamentally -- but not necessarily judicially.

Wake Up Call for McCain

Over at Politico, Mike Allen writes that John McCain is retooling his fundraising and campaign spending apparatus amid concerns about the relatively paltry amount he raised last quarter.

Good luck to him. What he doesn't understand is that the primary problem isn't the fundraisers or campaign spenders -- it's his history of taking delight in shoving a thumb in the eye of Republican party regulars. One could almost argue that it shows remarkable contempt for their intelligence to signal contempt for them and many of their key issues -- campaign finance legislation, immigration, tax cuts -- over the past several years and then simply expect them to turn around and offer their unqualified support.

Republicans would still support McCain despite these lapses if he were the only choice out there. But unfortunately for him, Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani exist, and are fine choices themselves.

What a Great Guy!

Wait for the burst of positive press that will come for Ahmadinejad in the wake of the news that the 15 British hostages are being freed.

Needless to say, the praise is unwarranted -- Iran had no right to take them in the first place, as there's absolutely no evidence they were in Iranian waters. But that won't stop the MSM, because -- as we all know by now -- the only really bad, dangerous man in the world is George W. Bush. Everyone else, from Bashir Assad to Ahmadinejad himself, is just an incipient peacemaker. Right.

If We Don't Say It, It Isn't Happening

The House Armed Services Committee has now banned the phrase "global war on terror" from the 2008 budget.

How typical of the leftist mindset: If we don't acknowledge it, it simply doesn't exist. Let's hope our Islamofascist enemies agree, but what are the chances of that?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Unbelievable Appeasers

It's so moronic as to be almost a parody: An alleged news piece in today's LA Times opines that

It seemed like a good idea at the time: Increase the military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Iran to get the country to bow to the international community on its nuclear enrichment program and curtail its alleged troublemaking in Iraq.

But now, with 15 British sailors and marines held captive and Tehran threatening to withhold its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, that strategy has apparently backfired.

Where does the appeasement end? Note that there has been nothing but the "dialogue" and "negotiation" so beloved of the left with Iran, with less than nothing to show for it. All that's been done is to offer the kind of diplomatic carrots and sticks that, we are told, should solve all the world's problems. And yet, now, the left is apparently insisting that even those measures are simply too harsh. What's the upshot? Should the US allow crazy mullahs and one of the world's wackiest regimes to destabilize the entire Middle East, threaten Israel, and possibly pair terrorists with nukes, and simply stand aside nary a whimper of protest?

What's more, what's this about "Tehran threatening to withhold its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency"? Has it occurred to either Borzou Daragahi or Ramin Mostaghim -- the supposed "journalists" who authored this piece -- that Tehran's cooperation with the IAEA or the international community hasn't really been quite all one might hope, even up to now?

And has it occurred to them that the Iranians' behavior might be a sign that the pressures being imposed are getting to them? Or, in the alternative, that perhaps not quite enough pressure has yet been applied?

Of course not. In some quarters, there's only one narrative. US and George W. Bush: bad. Every other America-hating, insane regime in the world: misunderstood.

A Headline that Says It All

"Pelosi Receives Warm Welcome in Syria." Well, of course she did. Pelosi is apparently content for America to be weakened militarily, and so is Bashir Assad. Their objectives are largely the same -- so why wouldn't this enemy of the west be welcoming her warmly?

Realistic But Not Hopeless

General Barry McCaffrey, President Clinton's erstwhile drug czar, has a realistic but not hopeless assessment of the war in Iraq -- and urges support for the mission and for General Petraeus. He -- unlike so many in the cut 'n run coalition -- know what's at stake if we admit defeat.

He likewise notes:

[T]here is no question that Iran has provided the Shiites with leadership from the elite Quds Force of its Revolutionary Guard and with highly lethal EFP (explosively formed projectile) bombs, which are a major cause of U.S. casualties. The Syrians have provided sanctuary to Saddam Hussein Baathists. The Syrians also have ignored or aided the passage of 40 to 70 jihadists a month into Iraq. (Most of them are suicide bombers who are dead within two weeks.)

Yes, the Iranians, the people with whom Democrats seek "dialogue" and the Syrians, to whom Nancy Pelosi is, unforgivably, paying her respects this week. All that need be said is summed up in the New York Post, which notes: "[T]he sad reality is that Pelosi is sending Assad the same message she and her Democratic colleagues in Congress have sent the terrorist insurgency in Iraq: Just wait until President Bush leaves office and a Democratic administration will hand you what you want on a platter."

No wonder Al Qaeda in Iraq cheered the Democrats' victory.

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Right Decision

The Supreme Court has ruled that it won't hear detainees' cases. Good news -- it will, quite rightly, keep terrorists' litigation out of US civilian courts.

Marriages of Convenience

This story, about women divorcing their husbands, is somewhat startling. Although divorce is an unqualified blessing in cases of infidelity, cruelty, abuse or other wrongdoing, it's amazing to read about females who decide to junk marriages of many years' standing for reasons like the following: "I loved my husband, but I was not in love with him like you should be in love."

Apparently, these people don't remember that they took an oath -- not just to each other but before God -- to love, honor and cherish until death parts them. Did they mean what they pledged, or was it all just about getting to wear a white dress and be the center of attention for a day?

Such behavior strikes me as wrong . . . whether it's the husband or the wife who's bailing out of the union just for kicks.

Democrats' True Priorities

Debra Burlingame puts it best -- lawsuits first, security second.

Democrats are opposed to protecting American travelers from being the target of a lawsuit when they make reasonable, good-faith report of suspicious terrorist activity. In other words, they are willing to "chill" the very people upon whom authorities must depend in order to identify and apprehend those who might be intending to launch terrorist attacks on mass transit or elsewhere.

Tells you a lot about Democratic priorities, doesn't it?