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Friday, August 05, 2005

VOTING RIGHTS — AND RESPONSIBLE VOTING: With key provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act due to expire in 2007, get ready to watch the civil rights establishment use the legacy of Martin Luther King to argue for policies that contradict the spirit of King's commitment to equal opportunity before the law. America's grievance hustlers are keen to see Section 203 renewed, ensuring that ballots in languages other than English be provided in districts where large numbers of voters haven't taken time to master the de facto national language of the United States. Failing to provide non-English ballots supposedly violates their "voting rights."

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Thursday, August 04, 2005

TEAM ROBERTS: Now that John Roberts is on record as believing precedent is important in "promoting the stability of the legal system," it’s time for the Roberts confirmation team to stop setting the wrong kinds of precedents for future Supreme Court nomination hearings. So far, team Roberts is allowing the game to be played on the left’s playing field — which bodes badly for Roberts as well as future conservative nominees.Read more »
THE CARLSON/SHARPTON THING: What's with Tucker Carlson bringing in Al Sharpton as a regular commentator on Carlson's semi-new TV show? I can get the idea that curmudgeon conservative Carlson may want to mix it up with a cantankerous liberal; fine by me. But aren't there some feisty liberals who aren't rascist-demogogue-hustler- buffoons? Rich Lowry gets it right:
[Sharpton] wants to be remembered as the guy with the funny lines rather than a racial provocateur who smeared an innocent man during the Tawana Brawley hoax and built his New York notoriety on race hatred. "We will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business," Sharpton said in a 1995 Harlem controversy over a Jewish storeowner who had a conflict with a black rival neighbor. A protester in that case eventually shot his way through the store and burned the place down, killing eight people.
AIR AMERICA SCANDAL: Are you now or have you ever engaged in first-rate journalism? Michelle Malkin has the right to answer yes, but she's too busy actually being a hard-hitting journalist to bother. With her usual impeccable instincts for a story, Michelle has been all over the growing financial scandal that may yet rock Air America off the air. Go here for all the sources you need to get a hold of this story by the nape of its neck.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

SOWELL ON GITMO: Thomas Sowell thinks we're focusing on the wrong prisoners on the favorite island paradise of Jack Nicholson, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, and Noam Chomsky:
Will even the bloody terrorist attacks in London put a stop to the media's hand-wringing because they don't think we have been nice enough to some of the cut-throats who are locked up in Guantanamo? The media have never shown any such interest in how prisoners are treated anywhere else on the island of Cuba, such as in Castro's prisons.
I keep wondering why we're warehousing al Qaeda prisoners at Guantanamo. No, here's what I'm actually wondering: Why do we take al Qaeda prisoners, period? During WWII, Germans who donned British uniforms as a way to deceive British soldiers were lined up and executed on the spot when captured. Why isn't this standard procedure in the battle against Islamic extremists (and not because they violate the dress code)? I'm reminded of what Reagan said when asked about the preferred outcome of the Cold War: "Victory." Reporters thought he was kidding; history says he was right. Al Qaeda has one mission and only one mission: to kill as many Americans as possible, anywhere in the world, anytime, no distinction between combatants and civilians. Let's stop taking prisoners. The appeasement left will say that's adopting the tactics of the enemy. Precisely: a commitment to victory. "But it would inflame the terrorists." Like they're not already maxed out in the motivation-to-destroy department. What I'm advocating is not called torture. It's called the death penalty. In the spirit of George Lakoff, we might call it "assisted martyrdom." So long as we get clear on the need to fight this fight to win.
REPORTING BY RACE: CBS News has finished training its first two participants for its "journalists-of-color training program." Do we need any additional evidence of what's wrong with race-based hiring? No matter how talented these minority reporters and producers may be — and let's assume they're at the top of their game — does anyone doubt that they'll be pegged by their media colleagues as racial hires for the rest of their careers? "Hey, don't look now — here comes our official [fill in the demographic group here] guy...
HACKETT'S UPSET VICTORY: That's how liberals are spinning Republican Jean Schmidt's narrow defeat yesterday of Democrat Paul Hackett in Ohio's second congressional district. I can understand Democrats' desire to claim any kind of victory anywhere, given their long-term losing streak, but you've got to smile at this kind of chutpah from Kos, here and here:
There is no doubt about it - tonight's results represent a tidal wave in Ohio (and perhaps national) politics. In 2004, the Democrat running in OH-02 lost by 44 points. Tonight, the Democrat, Paul Hackett, lost by a mere 4 points - just 4,000 votes out of over 114,000 cast. That's one-eleventh the prior margin, and that's fighting against one of the most corrupt state Republican parties in the land. ...Indeed, this is probably the only district in Ohio in which Paul would've lost.
Let's see now. Democrat Hackett runs for Congress and assiduously avoids mentioning his party status throughout the campaign. Kerry-like, he supports finishing the mission in Iraq but says we never should have gone in, and says he'll go back if asked to. Hackett runs a TV commercial featuring President Bush. He declares his support for gun ownership rights. He favors tax increases but avoids mentioning it. In short, he runs as a de facto Republican and loses by a close margin in a special election where the turnout dynamics favored Hackett's upstart candidacy (and where the GOP turnout was down compared to the past two elections). This is a "Democrat victory"? The claim would make sense if Hackett had run on the national Democratic platform and had come close to pulling off a victory. Also: the claim that Hackett would have won in any other other district is ludicrous on its face. I was born and raised in Ohio's 4th congressional district, and the day a Republican loses that seat is the day you might as well leave your to-day list at home because the end of times will have begun.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

LIVING WITH PROFILING: David Gelernter asks good questions:
Are we eager enough to prevent the crime in question to stop people (like bulky-backpack wearers or travelers who appear Middle Eastern) who we know might be guilty but almost certainly aren't? Are we willing to impose this inconvenience on innocent people who fit the profile to find a few guilty ones? If the goal is to pre-empt "ordinary" crimes (theft or robbery) that hurt only a few individuals, the coldblooded answer is probably no. If the goal is to pre-empt a terrorist attack that might hurt the nation, the answer ought to be yes.

Monday, August 01, 2005

HILLARY'S PROBLEM IS HILLARY: So say a growing number of liberal Democratic activists who would be delighted to see her make it to the White House but don't believe she can. Here's how a diarist on the left-wing Daily Kos describes Hillary's deficits:
Her voice is flat. Her affect is flat. Words that might be dramatic and inspiring coming out of the mouth of someone who understands the cadences of great speechmaking sound instead like a shopping list where every item has exactly equal interest and concern. Every phrase of every sentence more or less the same. No variations in pitch. No tension and release. No peaks and valleys. Flat. She is saying almost all the right things, painting a lovely picture of Blue America, but she doesn't look or sound very excited about it. She threw all the spaghetti on the wall, mentioning all the progressive hot button issues, everything including the kitchen sink, with a little of that infuriating opportunistic DLC centrism along for the ride, but there was no focus, no overarching point, no sense of building up to something significant... Bottom line: Hillary Clinton has no ability to inspire. When she speaks, she doesn't even appear to be interested in her own words.... Can everyone please just stop talking about her as a presidential candidate?
HOWARD DEAN IS JUST A NUT: How else to explain his latest eruption:
"The president and his right-wing Supreme Court think it is 'okay' to have the government take your house if they feel like putting a hotel where your house is."
First, Bush hasn't put anyone on the court. Second, it was the conservative justices (Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas, and O'Connor) who dissented in Kelo vs. New London. Third, it's the court's liberals who think there's a "constitutional" basis for a municipality to take private property for the economic advantage of a private company. Fourth, look for Hillary and Bill to begin quietly orchestrating Dean's removal as DNC chair, to be replaced by someone with sympathies for Hillary's latest makeover as a centrist. Fifth, Dean won't go easily or quietly. Sixth, aren't train wrecks fun to watch, especially in slow motion?
WHY HARRY REID: In case you were wondering why (other than seniority) Senate Democrats chose non-entity Harry Reid to replace Tom Daschle as their leader, Elsa Walsh has the goods in this week's issue of The New Yorker. Excerpt:
Like L.B.J. and other Southwestern politicians, such as Barry Goldwater, Reid has a habit of using language that his critics say is inappropriate for a Senate leader. “I think Senator Reid often says what we’re all thinking but perhaps are afraid to say,” Senator Edward Kennedy says. Reid has called Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve chairman, a “political hack,” said that Clarence Thomas was an “embarrassment,” and labelled Bush a “loser” and a “liar.” He surprised the Democratic operative Jim Johnson, who was conducting John Kerry’s search for a running mate, by sharply criticizing a long list of potential candidates, including John Edwards.
CREDIBILITY, KENNEDY-STYLE: The senior senator from Massachusetts is aghast that John Bolton has received a recess appointment because "it only further darkens the cloud over Mr. Bolton's credibility." Right — when I want credibility, Ted's my guy.
He [Kennedy] said he took a wrong turn and drove his car into eight feet of water. He got of the car, returned to the party and brought two other men to the scene of the accident. When they were unable to rescue the girl, he told the others he would call the police. He did not. Instead, he returned to his motel, spoke to an employee there, began making telephone calls to associates and went to sleep. All that time Mary Jo Kopechne remained in the car. Possibly she could have been saved. The captain of the Edgartown, Massachusetts scuba team believes she may have stayed alive in an air pocket for several hours. The next morning the car and the girl’s body were found. When Kennedy finally completed an accident report, he didn’t even know her name, referring to her simply as “Miss Mary ___.” There was a conflict on what time the accident had occurred. A sheriff said he had seen Kennedy’s car hours after Kennedy said the accident occurred. The senator said he based his estimate on the clock of the rented car he was driving. When it was determined the car didn’t have a clock, Kennedy changed his story.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

ATKINS EATS IT:
Atkins Nutritionals Inc., the company that promoted low-carb eating into a national diet craze, filed for bankruptcy court protection Sunday, a company spokesman said.
Can we stop with the food fads already? Don't get me wrong: I know plenty of people who lost weight on Atkins' very low carbs approach ... each time they tried it. Yep: They did the diet, lost the pounds, regained the pounds, returned to the diet. Back in the late 70s, Nathan Pritikin gave America advice directly opposite that of Atkins: consume lots of carbohydrates: especially whole grains. We responded by getting phobic toward all fats; onset diabetes increased, and the nation as a whole put on the pounds. After all the Oprah episodes, it seems that the 40-30-30 (40% complex carbs, especially vegies and fruit; 30% protein; 30% fat, emphasizing Omega oils) is the most sane way to go for most of us. As for weight loss, what was true 100 years ago appears to still be true: Burn more calories than consumed; exercise. If I can think of a way to make that complicated and formulaic ("Only eat protein while standing on your left foot") and hard to understand ("...every third hour, except when...") but crucial to heed ("The future of your metabolism and self-esteem depend on following my plan"), I'll get to work on a diet book.
TALK RADIO THEATER: Steven J. Bosell is telling radio listeners exactly why he’s filed a lawsuit alleging "malicious weather fraud." A building contractor from Corona, California, Bosell says he’s suing the County of Riverside for false advertising because their Chamber of Commerce brochures neglected to inform him about the extreme summer heat. Having moved west from Tennessee after reading the pitch, Bosell wants to get reimbursed for his $800 a month air conditioning bill. First-time listeners to Phil Hendrie’s syndicated talk-radio program might smile and think, "What a nut." They might feel sorry for the host, who's probably just doing his best to manage a phone interview with an impaired guest booked by an inept producer. Some might sympathize with the host's attempts to explain to the guest why his legal claim is absurd. Hard-core listeners of Hendrie's Monday through Friday syndicated program know something else about Steve Bosell. They know he's a frequent guest and a perpetual litigant — and by the way, an invention of Hendrie. Literally. Host Phil Hendrie plays Bosell, live. In fact, Hendrie is the entire cast of the show. An amazing comic talent, this guy seamlessly changes his voice and uses sound effects to present a procession of bizarre alter egos (around 40 in all) who harbor deeply-held convictions that are at once bizarre and strangely plausible. Bosell’s periodic lawsuits triggers predictable outrage from real-life callers who call the show outraged, thus delighting Hendrie insiders: his longterm listeners. In a previous appearance, Bosell explained why he sued the Riverside Parks and Recreation Department for putting a blue dye in their public pool activated by the presence of urine. Bosell was embarrassed when, leaving the pool after urinating, the blue evidence was everywhere. For laughing at him, Bosell included his wife April and their minor children as defendants. "I am not afraid to use our court system,” Bosell tells Hendrie. “I will not be publicly embarrassed nor humiliated by anyone!" Yes, we’re talking comedy here, folks. That said, it’s worth nothing that real-life talk show host G. Gordon Liddy once recited a Bosell lawsuit as proof positive that the United States urgently needs to rein in its trial lawyers. Hendrie's screeners do their best to ensure that callers who make it onto the show are actually people who believe the guest they object to is real — as opposed to regular listeners eager to "crank" the host. Hendrie himself takes the view that there will always be enough callers who can't quite figure out the gag, even though Hendrie openly confesses — on the air — that he does the voices of everyone but the callers. Says the LA Weekly:
Hendrie has said he is not worried that exposure might ruin the show by tipping off potential callers — he believes you cannot overestimate the stupidity of the AM-radio audience, and his work is enduring testament to that fact. But his point is not to expose simple stupidity. His “guests” are sophisticated parodies designed to incite the easy anger of the self-righteous, whom he expertly lures by creating characters who run roughshod over their pieties — the sanctity and safety of American children, the meaning of patriotism, kindness to animals. He likes to create characters who have thinly veiled ulterior motives, which he reveals little by little, as if in a well-constructed one-act play. Listening to Phil Hendrie combines the pure, illegitimate pleasure of making prank phone calls with an intense, stoned reading of Marshall McLuhan. Hendrie’s show is a scathing and wholly original critique of what passes as dialogue and debate in vast portions of our culture. He uses the AM-radio call-in audience as “found objects” to reveal their own prejudices and susceptibility to manipulation, and he in a sense bestows on them an eloquence they themselves do not possess. Hendrie takes the average, depressing predictability of the average American psyche and somehow makes it into joyful comedy.
The host devotes some segments to his own views as a longtime Democrat who woke up after 9/11 and voted for Bush for pretty much the same reasons as Dennis Miller. (Ann Coulter's a fan, and she once made an appearance — as herself.) The show can be heard on about 100 stations. If you're not within radio hearing distance, you can pay a nominal monthly fee to get a "backstage pass" to listen live online and make MP3s for all your friends. As a longtime Hendrie fan, I've had a ball giving CDs to friends who believe (like Liddy) the show's on the level.
"When I first started listening, I thought it was completely real. It made me so angry that I tried to call in," said Romeo Reyes, a lab scientist at Loma Linda University Medical Center. "Now I listen to see what people's reactions are and I just laugh."
STEM CELL DIVISION: Frist changes his mind. The Weekly Standard holds fast.
WHENCE COMES TERROR: In the immediate wake of 9/11, it became a commonplace to say we now need to pay attention to dangers coming our way from far distant shores. After recent events in London, it's clear we need to see that the danger is disturbingly near. Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank discuss The Dangers of Tolerance. Key thought:
Britons now realize that Islamist terrorism can be homegrown. What's more, the attacks have focused attention on the extent to which Great Britain has become an exporter of Islamic terrorism in recent years, by providing refuge to Islamist radicals from throughout the Middle East. British-based radicals have taken advantage of the country's tradition of free expression to encourage young Muslims to join Osama bin Laden's jihad, providing the spiritual inspiration--and, in several cases, the manpower--for attacks and attempted attacks, not only in Europe and the United States, but back in the Middle East, as well.