Monday, March 31, 2008

Mark Steyn on Hillary Clinton & 2008 on National Review Online

The other day I gave a talk and a Democrat in the audience demanded that I disassociate myself from the sleazy attacks of some Republicans who've been referring to "Barack Hussein Obama." I said I'd be happy to disassociate myself from (Clinton supporter) Bob Kerrey who's been floating the whole nudge-nudge-Hussein-the-secret-Muslim thing, and to disassociate myself from (Clinton supporter) Bill Shaheen who's been pushing the Obama-spent-most-of-the-Seventies-selling-cocaine rumors, and to disassociate myself from (Clinton supporter) Andrew Young who's boasted that Bill Clinton has slept with more black women than Obama. And golly, after I'd got through disassociating myself from all the Democrat sleaze about Obama, I had no time to peddle any sleaze of my own.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Pajamas Media » Blog Archive » Harvard’s Segregated Gym

On February 4, 2008, in an act of segregation disguised as "collaboration," Harvard University set the clock back fifty years by agreeing to ban men from a popular university gym for six hours each week to appease Muslim women. Harvard University spokesman Robert Mitchell stated to me that this was done at the behest of a group of women "whose religion does not allow them to remove their burqas and/or hijab in the presence of men."

The Harvard College Women's Center, which represents on its website that it supports "women that challenge, motivate, and inspire," quickly endorsed the policy of segregation. Its director, Susan Marine, told CNN, "It's just not possible for [the women] to be in a mixed environment."

America has a history of having segregation laws on the books. From the end of the Civil War until 1965, America's "Jim Crow" laws mandated that one group of people — American blacks — had separate facilities for activities including sleeping, eating, worshiping, and exercising apart from another group of people, American whites. But state-sponsored school segregation was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1954, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 annulled all remaining acts of segregation. Title IX, spearheaded by Patsy Mink, the Rosa Parks of the legislation, put an end to male/female inequity at the college level — certainly where federal funding was concerned.

Just like America's former "Jim Crow" laws, Sharia law mandates that one group of people — Muslim women — have separate facilities for activities including sleeping, eating, worshiping, and exercising apart from another group of people, the world's population of men.

Sharia law allows Muslim fathers to force their daughters into prearranged weddings, sometimes with a family member, when those daughters are still children, sometimes as young as nine. Sharia law allows women to be stoned to death for adultery. And Sharia law is why men and women can't work out in the same environment in a Harvard University gym.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

John McCain Wants You

A libertarian argument against McCain...

Where there are threats to national greatness, there are activities that Mr. McCain insists the federal government should curtail. And the most maverick individuals among us are destined to bear the brunt.

Nowhere is this dynamic more apparent than in Mr. McCain's signature issue: the corrupting influence of money in politics. His solution, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, placed onerous restrictions on citizens who have no affiliation with sitting politicians.

When people raised First Amendment objections to the law, which prohibits citizen advertisements that so much as mention a federal candidate's name within 60 days of an election, Mr. McCain responded, "I would rather have a clean government than one where quote 'First Amendment rights' are being respected that has become corrupt." When the Supreme Court questioned the law's constitutionality, he complained in a legal brief that ads were targeting "candidates in close contests — and almost invariably in a partisan manner."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Roger Clegg on Barack Obama & Race on National Review Online

But, to the extent that there is anything brave that needs to be said in this area, it is this point: Racism today is less a cause of our problems than it is a symptom of them.

Illegitimacy, drug addiction, and crime are not just problems for minorities, but we know that these problems are worse for our urban black poor than for other groups. We must admit that it is this disproportion that accounts for most of the remaining racism that exists in our country. 

The best way to get rid of the remaining racism is to get rid of the pathologies afflicting so many low-income, urban communities. To the extent there is a problem in race relations in this country, it is a problem about the assimilation of these African Americans — more so, really, than Latinos, and certainly more so than Asians — into the larger American culture.

Let me be even more blunt and specific: The biggest domestic problem America faces today, and certainly the biggest problem that the African-American community faces today, is that seven out of ten African Americans are born out of wedlock. The racial disparities — and any resulting racism — we see all stem principally from this sad fact. When you grow up in a home without a father, you are much more likely to grow up poor and remain poor, and to get into trouble with the law, and to do poorly in school.

Yet we African Americans could go from seven-out-of-ten to zero-out-of-ten in nine months without spending a dime, if we made up our minds to. Why don't we? 

I don't want to end on a down note. The glass is at least seven-eighths full. As I said, the real problems we face are not racial, and are not limited to one racial group. We should work together to address these problems. And we should be proud of the way America now treats all its racial groups; do our part to judge our fellow citizens by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin; and do what we can to help local communities as they fight the problems that are our real enemies.

Victor Davis Hanson on Wrong on Wright on National Review Online

The speech and Obama's subsequent interviews neither explained his disastrous association with Wright, nor dared open up a true discussion of race — which by needs would have to include, in addition to white racism, taboo subjects ranging from disproportionate illegitimacy and drug usage to higher-than-average criminality to disturbing values espoused in rap music and unaddressed anti-Semitism. We learn now that Obama is the last person who wants to end the establishment notion that a few elite African Americans negotiate with liberal white America over the terms of grievance and entitlement — without which all of us really would be transracial persons, in which happiness and gloom hinge, and are seen to do so, on one's own individual success or failure. 

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Obama's Speech was Brilliant -- and sad

First, I have to say Obama's speech was brilliant. He performed well and accomplished what he needed to do. Let's remember, he was addressing first and foremost the superdelegates who will put him over the top for the Democratic nomination. The only way he could fail to win would be if Hillary convinced the party big shots that Obama was unelectable. The Pastor Wright controversy gave her an opening, but Obama slammed the door shut with his speech. There is no way any Democrat is going to say that he can't vote for Obama because of his association with Wright. Obama wins, Hillary loses.

The second question is: how does this play for the general election? Here, I think he did just well enough to win, but passed up an opportunity to make history along the lines of Martin Luther King Jr. He could have tried to put the issue of race in politics behind us, but he wants it both ways. Race still matters, blacks are understandably unsatisfied, whites should feel guilty. But with Obama's leadership we can all come together as good liberals and get past race so that we can concentrate on the real issues of class and wealth. Not exactly what I was hoping to hear.p/ppObama essentially came out for the "Right to Hate America". Pastor Wright's statements are wrong, but we can appreciate where he's coming from: "Hate you can believe in" might be a good slogan. Wright has the audacity to hate America for her sins, and Obama seems to accept that as a necessary path to salvation. Obama plays a dangerous game where he tries to love the sinner without condemning the sin. He makes it sound like Wright's diatribes against America are part of the truth, just incomplete. Obama will supply the missing pieces when he and his followers create a more perfect Union./ppConservatives are naturally upset by some of Obama's moral equivalencies. Many of us will remember this as the speech where Obama threw his white grandmother under the bus by comparing her private off-color remarks to the rantings of Reverend Wright. He implies that we're all embarrassed from time to time by what our ministers, priests and rabbis might say. I suppose for liberals, it must be uncomfortable to hear a Catholic priest preach against abortion rights or a Jewish rabbi assert Israel's right to defend herself. But politics trumps religion so we have to let some things slide.

The point is that Trinity United Church of Christ was part of Obama's political base. He needed their support to get started in Chicago. He doesn't want to drop them at this point because that would look bad to Democrats. But if necessary, he can denounce Wright when the time is right during the general election campaign. The race is now Obama's to lose.

Dick Morris - Wright's Rantings Won't Sink Obama

Dick Morris takes a cynical (and I'd say, correct) view of Obama's handling of the Pastor Wright controversy...

Will the Gospel According to Jeremiah Wright sink the Obama candidacy? Not very likely.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Calls Mount for Olympic Ceremony Boycott

Moves to punish China over its handling of violence in Tibet gained momentum Tuesday, with a novel suggestion for a mini-boycott of the Beijing Olympics by VIPs at the opening ceremony.

Personally, I will be boycotting the broadcast of the opening ceremonies on August 8.

Linda Chavez on Barack Obama & Race on National Review Online

Perhaps Sen. Obama didn't hear Rev. Wright's most outrageous sermons, but it's difficult to believe that he was unaware of the controversy surrounding Afrocentrism when he chose his church. The radical views of Afrocentric educators have been widely covered in the mainstream press and in books by the late Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Diane Ravitch, and others. Rev. Wright's hateful jeremiad against "the U.S. — KKK — A.," and a government that "gives [black men] drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America . . ." has its antecedents in rants by other prominent Afrocentrics, among them Leonard Jeffries, a City College of New York professor who has been involved in his own controversies for anti-Semitic statements, and Maulana Ron Karenga, the inventor of Kwanza who was convicted of torturing two female members of a violent black separatist movement, United Simba, which he founded in the late 1960s.

Rev. Wright's extremist rhetoric clearly resonates with many blacks, including churchgoers. In one poll of black church members, more than one third said they believed AIDS was a form of genocide against blacks. Rev. Wright echoed this claim in one of his inflammatory sermons, "The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color. The government lied." A 1990 poll taken by the New York Times/CBS found that 10 percent of blacks in New York City thought the AIDS virus was "deliberately created in a laboratory in order to infect black people," while another 19 percent thought the theory might possibly be true, a finding that was confirmed in a similar poll by Newsweek/Gallup in March 1990. And the paranoia among blacks has only gotten worse, according to a 2005 study by Rand Corporation and Oregon State University, which showed that half of African Americans surveyed believed that AIDS is man-made, more than one quarter said it was created in a government lab, and 12 percent claimed that the virus was spread by the CIA.

Sen. Obama claims to want to cross America's racial divide and bring Americans, black and white, together, a theme he reiterated in Tuesday's speech. But Trinity United Church of Christ's vision statement is all about racial identity, promising "a congregation with a non-negotiable commitment to Africa" and "committed to the historical education of African people in Diaspora." Sen. Obama cannot disown Rev. Wright's disturbing words while remaining a member of an institution whose stated mission implies the promotion of a racist ideology.

Jonah Goldberg on Barack Obama & Race on National Review Online

Yes, he refused to fully denounce Wright, but he managed to seem like he was grounding his refusal in love and personal loyalty while still making it clear that Wright's words were unacceptable. In effect, he says he loves the sinner but hates the sin. In this age where politicians throw their inconvenient passengers under the bus after the first pothole, this was refreshing even if it was intellectually wanting.

In short, there was wonderful stuff to be found in Obama's address. You can be sure the mainstream press and the Democratic faithful will leap at the opportunity to coronate Obama for his statesmanship and brilliance the way a man dying of thirst plunges into the cool water of an oasis. The Wright story is over for everybody but the so-called forces of divisiveness.
For all the wonderful rhetoric and tantalizing promise of Obama and his speech, there's not much that is actually new here. This was largely a restatement of Jeremiah Wright's indictment of America, delivered in University of Chicago parlance instead of South Side Chicago diatribe. 

The old baggage has been replaced with shinier suitcases, but the contents are the same as ever. Black America's problems can be solved by spending more money on the same old Great Society programs. Any talk about black America's problems that takes the eyes off that prize is a "distraction." And, yet again, white Americans can prove their commitment to racial justice by going along with more big government. My hope for something better proved too audacious in the end.

Thomas Sowell on Barack Obama & Race on National Review Online

There was no way that he didn't know about Jeremiah Wright's anti-American and racist diatribes from the pulpit. 

Someone once said that a con man's job is not to convince skeptics but to enable people to continue to believe what they already want to believe.

Accordingly, Obama's Philadelphia speech — a theatrical masterpiece — will probably reassure most Democrats and some other Obama supporters. They will undoubtedly say that we should now "move on," even though many Democrats have still not yet moved on from George W. Bush's 2000 election victory.

Like the Soviet show trials during their 1930s purges, Obama's speech was not supposed to convince critics but to reassure supporters and fellow-travelers, in order to keep the "useful idiots" useful.

Best-selling author Shelby Steele's recent book on Barack Obama (A Bound Man) has valuable insights into both the man and the circumstances facing many other blacks — especially those who were never part of the black ghetto culture but who feel a need to identify with it for either personal, political or financial reasons.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Noonan on McCain

One always wonders with Mr. McCain: What exactly does he feel passionately about, what great question? Or rather, what does he stand for, really? For he often shows passion, but he rarely speaks of meaning. The issues that summon his full engagement are issues on which he's been challenged by his party and others. McCain, to McCain, is defined by his maverickness. That's who he is. (It's the theme of his strikingly good memoir, "Worth the Fighting For.") He stands up to power. He faces them down. It's not only a self image, it's a self obsession.

But it has left him seeming passionate only about those issues on which he's been able to act out his maverickness, such as campaign finance and immigration. He's passionate about McCain-Feingold because . . . because people don't understand how right he is, and how wrong they are. He's passionate not about immigration itself but about how he got his head handed to him when he backed comprehensive reform, about which he was right by the way. He's passionate about Iraq because America can't cut and run, as it did in Vietnam, to the subsequent heartbreak of good people, and heroes. But this is not philosophy, it's autobiography.

Issues removed from his personal drama, from the saga of John McCain, don't seem to capture his interest to any deep extent.

The reason I'm voting against McCain is that he will take great pride in snubbing the conservatives whenever he gets the chance.  Obama might take the same actions, but he won't do it to spite the conservatives. Losing to Obama won't weaken the Republican party as much as electing McCain would.

The Obama Bargain - Shelby Steele

Read the whole thing:

How to turn one's blackness to advantage?

The answer is that one "bargains." Bargaining is a mask that blacks can wear in the American mainstream, one that enables them to put whites at their ease. This mask diffuses the anxiety that goes along with being white in a multiracial society. Bargainers make the subliminal promise to whites not to shame them with America's history of racism, on the condition that they will not hold the bargainer's race against him. And whites love this bargain -- and feel affection for the bargainer -- because it gives them racial innocence in a society where whites live under constant threat of being stigmatized as racist. So the bargainer presents himself as an opportunity for whites to experience racial innocence.


Thus, nothing could be more dangerous to Mr. Obama's political aspirations than the revelation that he, the son of a white woman, sat Sunday after Sunday -- for 20 years -- in an Afrocentric, black nationalist church in which his own mother, not to mention other whites, could never feel comfortable. His pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, is a challenger who goes far past Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson in his anti-American outrage ("God damn America").

How does one "transcend" race in this church? The fact is that Barack Obama has fellow-traveled with a hate-filled, anti-American black nationalism all his adult life, failing to stand and challenge an ideology that would have no place for his own mother. And what portent of presidential judgment is it to have exposed his two daughters for their entire lives to what is, at the very least, a subtext of anti-white vitriol?

What could he have been thinking? Of course he wasn't thinking. He was driven by insecurity, by a need to "be black" despite his biracial background. And so fellow-traveling with a little race hatred seemed a small price to pay for a more secure racial identity. And anyway, wasn't this hatred more rhetorical than real?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Steyn on Obama's Pastor

In tight spots in the colonies a century back, Cecil Rhodes used to buck up his men by telling them that each had been an Englishman and therefore had won first prize in the lottery of life. Today, to be born an American is to win first prize in the lottery of life. One understands why that might not seem obvious to black people of a certain age: Condi Rice, for example, has childhood memories of a segregated south and racial violence. But that's what makes Obama's association with Wright so significant. He's not from Alabama. He's a biracial middle-class Kenyan-Kansan Hawaiian-born Indonesian-raised Columbia and Harvard graduate who chose to immerse himself in the most corrosive and paranoid end of a racial-grievance ghetto mentality that is nothing to do with him, his family or his upbringing. He doesn't have the same excuse as a Jackson, Sharpton or Farrakhan. 

My impression is that twenty years ago, Obama wanted to associate himself with "authentic African-Americans" -- black Americans who were, you know, descendants of slaves.  This was his way of dealing with the "Is he black enough?" question within his local community.  Seems like it worked out OK until recently.  Sure, it looks bad now.  Actually, it is bad, and Obama deserves criticism for not facing the issue when he was elected to the Senate.  But why didn't this come up during his Senate race?  Reverend Wright has been around for a long time.  Didn't the press in Illinois notice some of these outrageous statements back then?  Obama wants to be a unifying politician.  That means leaving racial separatists behind.  If he makes the right choice now, I say better late than never.  Many conservatives were slow to accept civil rights, but they got past it and these days most conservatives are strongly in favor of color-blind equal rights.  Many so-called "civil rights activists" have been promulgating racism as a basis for their political advantage.  Maybe, Obama's run for the presidency will force him to leave the race-baiters behind.  If that happens, it would be a good thing.  If it doesn't, it may be another twenty years before we get another chance to move past race in politics.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Saddam and al Qaeda

As several of us have noted countless times, there are influential elements of the Intelligence Community who are unmovably vested in the absence of a meaningful relationship between Saddam Hussein's regime and radical Islam.  By some calculated leaks to friends in the mainstream media, they've once again managed to put an Orwellian spin on an important study, claiming the new Pentagon report on Iraq's terror shows, as the New York Times and ABC put it, "no link" between Saddam and al Qaeda.  They are trying to write the narrative before anyone can read what the report actually says.

What it says is breathtaking.  Today's required reading should be Steve Hayes's post over at the Weekly Standard's blog and Eli Lake's article in the New York Sun.  There is simply no doubt that there were serious ties between Saddam's Iraq and al Qaeda elements — most especially, Egyptian Islamic Jihad (run by al Qaeda's No. 2, Ayman Zawahiri, who merged formally EIJ into al Qaeda in 1998).

Obama and the Minister -

In a sermon delivered at Howard University, Barack Obama's longtime minister, friend and adviser blamed America for starting the AIDS virus, training professional killers, importing drugs and creating a racist society that would never elect a black candidate president.

The Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., pastor of Mr. Obama's Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, gave the sermon at the school's Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel in Washington on Jan. 15, 2006.


After Newsmax broke the story of the award to Farrakhan on Jan. 14, Mr. Obama issued a statement. However, Mr. Obama ignored the main point: that his minister and friend had spoken adoringly of Mr. Farrakhan, and that Mr. Wright's church was behind the award to the Nation of Islam leader.

Instead, Mr. Obama said, "I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan. I assume that Trumpet magazine made its own decision to honor Farrakhan based on his efforts to rehabilitate ex-offenders, but it is not a decision with which I agree." Trumpet is owned and produced by Mr. Wright's church out of the church's offices, and Mr. Wright's daughters serve as publisher and executive editor.

Meeting with Jewish leaders in Cleveland on Feb. 24, Mr. Obama described Mr. Wright as being like "an old uncle who sometimes will say things that I don't agree with." He rarely mentions the points of disagreement.

The "crazy old uncle" defense probably won't fly during the general election.  If Obama wants to transcend racial issues, he's going to have to sever ties with this minister eventually.  Bill Clinton had his "Sister Soulja moment", and I'm sure Obama is smart enough to know what he has to do.  But he'll wait until after the Democratic nomination is secured -- if Hillary will let him.

One of Obama's Earmarks Went to Hospital That Employs Michelle Obama

Dan Riehl notes, via Amanda Carpenter, that in the list of earmarks he requested, $1 Million was requested for the construction of a new hospital pavilion at the University Of Chicago. The request was put in in 2006.

You know who works for the University of Chicago Hospital?

Michelle Obama. She's vice president of community affairs.

As Byron noted, "In 2006, the Chicago Tribune reported that Mrs. Obama's compensation at the University of Chicago Hospital, where she is a vice president for community affairs, jumped from $121,910 in 2004, just before her husband was elected to the Senate, to $316,962 in 2005, just after he took office."

Looks like that raise was worth it.

NRCC Says Ex-Treasurer Diverted Up to $1 Million

The former treasurer for the National Republican Congressional Committee diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars -- and possibly as much as $1 million -- of the organization's funds into his personal accounts, GOP officials said yesterday, describing an alleged scheme that could become one of the largest political frauds in recent history.

For at least four years, Christopher J. Ward, who is under investigation by the FBI, allegedly used wire transfers to funnel money out of NRCC coffers and into other political committee accounts he controlled as treasurer, NRCC leaders and lawyers said in their first public statement since they turned the matter over to the FBI six weeks ago.

"The evidence we have today indicated we have been deceived and betrayed for a number of years by a highly respected and trusted individual," said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), the NRCC chairman.

The committee also announced that it has submitted to banks five years' worth of audits and financial documents allegedly faked by Ward, some of which were used to secure multimillion-dollar loans. It is a violation of federal laws to obtain loans through false statements; the crime is punishable by up to $1 million in fines and 30 years in prison.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Pajamas Media: I've Seen My Share of Spitzers: The View From an Escort Service

But why would a rich, powerful and handsome man pay for extra-marital sex? Aren't there tons of women waiting to throw themselves at him for free? Yes, there are. But those women always want something: they want attention, intimacy and romance. They want to enjoy the high of sleeping with a powerful man. Escorts don't want or care about any of those things. At least one of the articles about the 22 year-old escort who slept with Spitzer implied that she didn't even know who he was. Based on my experience, I think it's highly unlikely that she knew or cared. She was in it for the money, and she had as much to hide as he did.
One high-powered New York attorney explained it to me like this: "Of course I love my wife. Escorts have nothing to do with that. She comes to my hotel room and I don't have to know her name, because they all use fake names like Amber and Kimberly. I don't have to worry about how she feels or what she wants. It's a simple exchange: I give her a thousand bucks, we have a good time for a couple of hours, she goes away and we never have to see each other again."
A thousand dollars is nothing for these men. Money has little value; because no matter how hard they try they will never be able to spend their hundreds of millions. And if you are about to say that for a thousand bucks those girls must supply the best sex in history, then you really do not understand this world. Because it is not about sex; it is about power. And the simple act of ordering up an anonymously pretty 22 year-old girl to do your bidding in the salubrious confines of a luxury hotel suite is an act of power.

Obama reacts to race baiting from Clintonistas

Interesting Obama defense from this commenter. The Obama campaign needs more of this stuff, and less of the calling people racist. Here's a bit: "One of my roomies -- total arch conservative -- was on law review with him, and said he was a totally great guy. I think one of the reasons is that he treats everyone with respect and consideration. he treats conservatives as friends he disagrees with, not as satanic enemies like Hillary and most of the left do. And that matters a lot." Again, the Obama campaign should remember this and not rise to Hillary's bait, which is predicated on making him come across like a traditional Angry Black Candidate.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Roger's Rules: Why you shouldn't let Eliot Spitzer get away with being called a hypocrite

My own feeling is that there are so many reasons to dislike Eliot Spitzer that I would hate the issue of hypocrisy to obscure his many other, more heinous faults. In fact, I am not entirely sure Mr. Spitzer rises to the level of the genuine hypocrite.
This indeed is one reason that hypocrisy, among all the vices, is regarded with particular disdain and horror by egaliatarians. A hypocrite publicly upholds noble values and standards of behavior even though he knows he may sometimes fall short of the conduct they require. He does this because he recognizes that those values are worthy of support and commendation even if he cannot always embody them.
What's wrong with Eliot Spitzer is not so much that he praised good things and did bad ones. Most of the items he championed in his various moral campaigns were, when you looked behind the rhetoric, of dubious value. Really, he was a power-hungry, regulation-crazed functionary whose chief sin was to harness the power of the state to destroy his enemies and aggrandize himself. Had he been a little more hypocritical he might have been less dangerous.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Jonah Goldberg on the Spitzer case

Spitzer's been caught. Maybe he was caught "unfairly" in the sense that the law against his behavior is asinine. But fair ain't got much to do with it.

Again, I can sympathize with a utilitarian argument for legalized prostitution — even if I don't subscribe to that view. But I can't subscribe to the view that just because prostitution should be legal that therefore society has to say not only is prostitution morally acceptable but that married men visiting hookers is just fine too.

This is one area where I most profoundly disagree with cultural libertarians. The more the state gets out of the business of policing the sin, the more the rest of the society needs to get into the business of condemning it.

Opposing view: No 'freedom to keep secrets' - Opinion -

Glenn Reynolds (of Instapundit fame) writes:

The Constitution merely protects the freedom of speech and publication — not the freedom to keep secrets, which is what journalists are asking for when they seek special privileges of non-disclosure. Increasingly, journalists seem to be focusing on what not to tell us. In doing so, they're usually pursuing their own interests, not the First Amendment's or their readers'.

The other problem with journalist "shield" laws is that journalism isn't a profession; it's an activity, one now engaged in by many. With the proliferation of blogs, podcasts, YouTube videos and the like, anyone can be a journalist. But if anyone could assert a journalistic privilege not to disclose sources, the work of the courts would be far tougher.

Efforts to limit the privilege to "professional" journalists, on the other hand, quickly transform into a sort of guild or licensing system for the press — ironically, something that the First Amendment clearly prohibits.

I agree with all that and add that the right to a fair trial trumps any "shield" law.  If sources want to stay anonymous, they should contact the press anonymously.  That means the responsible press will have to rely more on named sources, which is a good thing for everyone.  Unnamed sources belong in the gossip columns and rumor sites.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Mark Steyn on Liberal Guilt on National Review Online

Senator Obama would be the first son of a British subject to serve as president since those slaveholding types elected in the early days of the republic. As some aggrieved black activist sniffed snootily on TV, Barack isn't really an "African-American" — unless by "African-American," you mean somebody whose parentage is half-American and half-African, and let's face it, no one would come up with so cockamamie a definition as that.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Daylight Saving Wastes Energy, Study Says -

For decades, conventional wisdom has held that daylight-saving time, which begins March 9, reduces energy use. But a unique situation in Indiana provides evidence challenging that view: Springing forward may actually waste energy.

Up until two years ago, only 15 of Indiana's 92 counties set their clocks an hour ahead in the spring and an hour back in the fall. The rest stayed on standard time all year, in part because farmers resisted the prospect of having to work an extra hour in the morning dark. But many residents came to hate falling in and out of sync with businesses and residents in neighboring states and prevailed upon the Indiana Legislature to put the entire state on daylight-saving time beginning in the spring of 2006.

Indiana's change of heart gave University of California-Santa Barbara economics professor Matthew Kotchen and Ph.D. student Laura Grant a unique way to see how the time shift affects energy use. Using more than seven million monthly meter readings from Duke EnergyCorp., covering nearly all the households in southern Indiana for three years, they were able to compare energy consumption before and after counties began observing daylight-saving time. Readings from counties that had already adopted daylight-saving time provided a control group that helped them to adjust for changes in weather from one year to the next.

Their finding: Having the entire state switch to daylight-saving time each year, rather than stay on standard time, costs Indiana households an additional $8.6 million in electricity bills. They conclude that the reduced cost of lighting in afternoons during daylight-saving time is more than offset by the higher air-conditioning costs on hot afternoons and increased heating costs on cool mornings.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Jonah Goldberg on Hillary Clinton on National Review Online

For the first few debates, Hillary insisted there were little to no substantive differences among the Democratic contenders. Over time, voters took her word for it and decided that in a year when Democrats are likely to win and in a race where the policy differences are trivial, they'd rather vote for the candidate who inspires them about the future than the candidate who wearies them with memories of the past. 

This points to why Clinton must have a special hatred for Obama. Perhaps not for the man but certainly for the phenomenon. Obama would have been an impressive candidate in any field. But only in a contest where Clinton sucked up most of the oxygen could Obama thrive in such rare air, accomplished as he is in deflating his lungs with outbursts of rhetoric suitable for Olympian heights. Clinton may be a fighter, and she may have claimed to be named after legendary mountain climber Sir Edmund Hillary. But she was raised to fight in the trenches and unsurprisingly gets altitude sickness at the oratorical heights where Obama thrives. 

There's one last problem with Clinton's positioning as the experienced candidate in the race. She is not all that experienced. 

Last week, the Clinton campaign belched out an argument that felt hackneyed when used by Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale. A Clinton TV ad asks voters which candidate they'd want in the White House at 3 a.m. when a crisis erupts. The tested-and-ready Clinton is supposed to be the obvious answer. But obvious to whom? How has she been tested? Such is the Clinton campaign's overweening sense of entitlement that when a reporter asked what crises Hillary has actually handled, the Clintonites had no answer at the ready. 

Democrats Fret Long Battle

Apparently, Rush Limbaugh's strategery has worked.  He wanted to keep Hillary in the race by supporting her in Texas and Ohio so that the Democrats would have to fight it out all the way to the convention.  But it still looks look like a long shot for Hillary.  Her Hail Mary play seems to be to try to convince the superdelegates to go for her if she promises to bring Obama on board as her VP.  I can't see much in that deal for Obama.  He's young enough to make a few more runs on his own -- without carrying the baggage of a close association with the Clintons.  And I think it would be a disaster for him to try the reverse deal by inviting Hillary to be his running mate.  That's the only way I could imagine McCain winning in November.

I'm still betting on Obama to go all the way and to win comfortably in November over McCain.  But it will be fun to see what tricks the Clintonistas try to pull off in the next couple of weeks.

She still trails Obama.

Her only hope is that a solid majority of the nearly 800 superdelegates support her over Obama. Party rules allow them to act independently, but it's almost unfathomable that these political animals would not ratify the results from primaries and caucuses.

These folks know better than to defy the wishes over voters. No doubt they'll notice that six in 10 Democratic voters told pollsters Tuesday that so-called superdelegates should vote based on results of the primaries and caucuses rather than for the candidate they think has the best chance to win in November.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Citgo Boycott


The Bush administration may be trying to ignore Hugo Chavez, but some local gas station owners are moving to protect themselves from the backlash against the Venezuelan president's anti-American rhetoric. Calls by some across the country to boycott gasoline sold by Venezuelan-owned Citgo are cutting into sales, prompting some station owners to move to other suppliers. [...] Calls for boycotts of Citgo were heard in states from Massachusetts to Florida following Chavez's U.N. visit. Shortly after the U.N. speech, 7-Eleven stores announced they would cancel a 20-year contract with Citgo that supplied 2,100 stations. Several Internet sites also are devoted to promoting the boycott.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Natural Born Foolishness

Good summary judgment on last week's story questioning McCain's eligibility for the Presidency:

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised when frivolity goes mainstream.  This morning's New York Times carries an article raising the issue whether John McCain, born in the Panama Canal Zone while his father, a Navy [officer], was stationed there, is a "natural born citizen" under Article II of the Constitution and therefore eligible to be president.  Of course he is.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

William F. Buckley | 1925-2008 - Los Angeles Times,0,5847963.photogallery?index=3

Buckley's admirers included Ronald Reagan, who sought his counsel during his campaign and presidency. Reagan called Buckley "perhaps the most influential journalist and intellectual in our era."

(follow the link above to find more Buckley pictures from the LA Times)

An Emotional Goodbye From Charlie Rose

Follow the link to a moving video from Charlie Rose on WFB...

Mark Steyn on William F. Buckley, Jr. on National Review Online

The idea that William F. Buckley represents a civilized conservatism lost to uncouth savages will no doubt become received wisdom in the same way that, upon his death, Ronald Reagan's success was universally ascribed by the media to an avuncular geniality wholly alien to the vengeful knuckledraggers of the Bush era. But Bill was lethal with opponents on the opposite team and on his own side, dispatching a liberal Republican like his own Senator, Lowell Weicker, to the trash can of history and purging conservatism of its crackpots so thoroughly that conspiracy theories, principally a hallmark of the right in the Fifties, were by the Sixties the more or less sole province of the left, where they've remained ever since.

In his speech at the National Review 50th-anniversary gala, he did me the great honor of reading out a passage of mine from the birthday issue that happened to have tickled his fancy. I am a considerably less elegant writer and listening to Bill reading my rough-and-tumble prose in his languid vowels was a bit like hearing Maria Callas sing "Yes, We Have No Bananas." But the column he gave me in his magazine is called "Happy Warrior," and we have at least that in common: He was a very happy warrior, a great twinkling beamer full of merriment who relished taking on the conventional opinions of a complacent establishment against all the odds. Forty-nine years ago, he wrote, "We must bring down the thing called liberalism, which is powerful but decadent, and salvage a thing called conservatism, which is weak but viable." It is an unending struggle because, while the facts of life are conservative (as his friend Margaret Thatcher put it), liberalism is eternally seductive. But, as they will tell you in the capitals of post-Communist Eastern Europe, the world is better off because William F. Buckley Jr. stood athwart history and changed its course.

McCain Endorsement Angers Catholic League President

The president of the Catholic League today blasted Sen. John McCain for accepting the endorsement of Texas evangelicalist John Hagee, calling the controversial pastor a bigot who has "waged an unrelenting war against the Catholic Church."

You make the call

"I would encourage you on March 5 to call Sen. Clinton at 3 a.m. and ask that question."

-- Obama adviser Richard Danzig, after a reporter asked whether Clinton should drop out of the presidential race after Ohio and Texas vote on March 4.