Friday Digest

Digest

Jan. 4, 2002

Quote of the week…

“We look back on 2001 with sadness and with pride. We must look forward with determination and with resolve.” –President George W. Bush

On cross-examination…

“Just exactly what is it about displaying national pride that could possibly be offensive to foreigners who are among us as a matter of privilege? Why would anyone be offended at our cause against terrorism? And, if they are, should we defer to their misguided thinking?” –David Limbaugh

Open Query…

“Politics is bloodsport, but what’s so wrong with that?” –Joel Mowbray

(We think this refers metaphorically to character assassinations, but we aren’t all that sure. This could refer to Afghanistan!)

The BIG lie…

“[President Bush] stands on the verge of winning a war with the military that Bill Clinton bequeathed him. …[Although] some might wish to give the young Bush administration and its impressive secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, primary credit for the performance of American forces in Afghanistan, it is still Bill Clinton’s military that has actually been winning this war.” –Brookings Institution’s Michael O'Hanlon in the New York Times

O'Hanlon must have attended that recent “removing the stain” from the Clinton legacy meeting! “Bill Clinton’s military”? Don’t ask, don’t tell!

News from the Swamp…

Congress is in holiday recess, but even though they are not currently writing bad laws, there is still plenty to be concerned about.

Tom Daschle and his Sociocrats continue to hold the U.S. economy hostage, hoping that extending the economic slump will boost their election prospects this November. Meanwhile, President Bush is taking his modest economic stimulus proposals to the people in the form of town hall meetings – particularly in Democrat strongholds on the Left Coast. But the Sociocrats are reaching deep in to their political black bags and pulling out their familiar class warfare themes – appealing to the worst of human traits, like unmitigated greed, at a time when President Bush continues to appeal to the best of American traits – generosity and patriotism.

Mr. Bush really ought to kiss his first-year crush on bipartisanship goodbye and draw clear distinctions between conservatives and our Sociocrat nemeses! 2002 is an election year, and the Democrats are already at hammer and tongs to split the conservative base most supportive of the president’s party. First, they plan to blame Mr. Bush’s modest economic conservatism in the form of tax cuts for the return of deficit spending.

Then, the Democrats, ostensibly in the name of “tolerance,” are planning an intolerance campaign demonizing Christian conservatives as being “like the Taliban.” As Newsweek’s Howard Fineman comments, “The theory goes like this. Our enemy in Afghanistan is religious extremism and intolerance. It’s therefore more important than ever to honor the ideals of tolerance – religious, sexual, racial, reproductive – at home. The GOP is out of the mainstream, some Democrats will argue [this] year, because it’s too dependent upon an intolerant ‘religious right’.” Yes, this has been tried before – quite unsuccessfully until now, we note – but the problem for Mr. Bush is that he has within his administration a handful who actually believe and have spouted this Leftist rot about Christian conservatives. And quite a handful they may prove, if he cannot curb their tongues when the Leftmedia press them to denounce Mr. Bush’s most reliable allies (and by extension denouncing Bush himself)! Stay tuned, as this war of words should be interesting.

Not surprisingly, the New York Times has already gotten its Democratic Party marching orders, with a front-page reference last week to Islamic radicals as “the religious right.” Foreign correspondent Douglas Jehl discussed the Saudi royals’ dealings with radical Islam, saying: “Choosing accommodation over confrontation, the government shied away from a crackdown on militant clerics or their followers, a move that would have inflamed the religious right, the disaffected returnees from other wars [besides the one in Afghanistan] and a growing number of the unemployed.”

Even more worrisome in The Federalist’s estimation, though, is that Congress is champing at the bit to write more extraconstitutional legislation. House Speaker Dennis Hastert warned, “We have a lot to do when we get back. We are going to come back and focus on education issues. We have a lot of work to do with Medicare. We want to do a prescription drug bill. A lot of those plans were kind of sidetracked since the September 11th business, but we will have a full plate as soon as we get back.” Expect them to also chew on campaign-finance legislation, a patients’ “bill of rights,” Mr. Bush’s faith-based initiatives, a minimum wage increase, and hate-crimes legislation when they return Jan. 23rd. Hang onto your wallet, and grab your copy of the real Bill of Rights!

Judicial Benchmarks…

In the halls of justice on the right, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist demonstrated why he’s head Supreme, chiding the Senate Demos for holding up Mr. Bush’s nominees to judgeships in 23 courts of appeal and 14 district courts: “During times such as these, the role of the courts becomes even more important in order to enforce the rule of law. To continue functioning effectively and efficiently, however, the courts must be appropriately staffed. This means that necessary judgeships must be created and judicial vacancies must be timely filled with well-qualified candidates.”

In the halls of injustice on the left, on Monday an Illinois appeals court ruled that the families of a Chicago police officer and four others killed by gang members can file public-nuisance lawsuits against gunmakers and gun sellers of specific firearms used in those crimes – but not gunmakers or distributors generally. The Illinois State Rifle Association termed the ruling a “sweetheart New Year’s gift” for Chicago Mayor and gun-confiscationist Richard Daley, noting further that the same logic, applied to other industries, would also render useful products illegal. “For example, manufacturers of hypodermic syringes must know that their products will be used to inject illegal drugs,” ISRA said, suggesting this will help “jump start … Daley’s stalled attempt to ban civilian firearm ownership.”

And down Texas way, the state is appealing to the Supremes over a 5th District Appeals Court decision that the trial of Calvin J. Burdine, convicted of murder in 1984, was fundamentally unfair because his court-appointed lawyer, Joe Frank Cannon, experienced “consistent unconsciousness” in the courtroom. Cannon is now deceased, and medical problems could have caused his frequent naps. This case may define “competent lawyering,” if this is at all possible!

On the Left…

More effluent from “Most Ethical Administration”: Now a political thumb-sucker, former toe-sucker Dick Morris is spilling the beans on how his client Bill Clinton passed on the chance to take out Osama bin Laden before he caused more damage to our country. Morris stated, “Everything was more important than fighting terrorism. Political correctness, civil liberties concerns, fear of offending the administration’s supporters, Janet Reno’s objections, considerations of cost, worries about racial profiling and, in the second term, surviving impeachment, all came before fighting terrorism.”

And former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was nearly incredulous at reports Sudan had offered to hunt down bin Laden and turn him over to the U.S., but Bill Clinton declined the offer for “legal reasons”: “Here we have a president who defended perjury, had the meaning of the word ‘is’ changed to fit his own definition, yet he couldn’t find a lawyer to find a way to take out bin Laden? Instead, we fire 66 missiles in one day with no follow-up campaign, which weakened our prestige in the Middle East. When I look at what the Clinton administration said – and did – it was astounding.”

The Commissars…

Remember the fight over water at the Klamath Basin, in which family farmers promised the water were left high and dry once claims arose that sucker fish and coho salmon were endangered? The federal government just installed a new security system there, to the tune of $90,000 for a new fence, video cameras and motion detectors. And a recently released report on the contentious battle, from authors at Oregon State University and the University of California, argues – almost laughably – that a “quiet strain of racism” against local Indian tribes runs “quietly beneath the surface” and is partly responsible for the conflict over this western water. (Recent heavy snowfalls may alleviate the farmers’ drought by next growing season. And we certainly hope so….)

From the department of military readiness…

Been wondering about how our stocks of weapons are holding up, given the levels of munitions dropped in Afghanistan? Well, according to Central Command, our ordnance has been used but not used up. However, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper admitted, “We’re doing OK right now, but I am taking steps to increase the production rate, and we are looking at another increment to increase the production rate even more, so we don’t have any shortages.” Oops!

From the department of military correctness…

Two quick items: Puerto Rico’s anti-bombing lawsuit to stop use of Vieques as a training range was dismissed this week, with U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler declaring that although the political issues were complicated, “the legal issue [of use of the facility], in contrast, is simple and straightforward.”

And it now looks like Guantanamo in Cuba will be the detention location for captured al Qaeda terrorists. If only Maximum Red Leader Fidel Castro next door were next on the terrorist target list! Well, we can dream, can’t we?

From the states…

As usual, California lawmakers this year are leading the Left lemmings over the westward cliffs! A sampler of outrageously bad laws now in effect in the Gray State: Gay marriage “lite” is on the march, with so-called “domestic partners” legally defined now as homosexual cohabitants or unmarried heterosexual couples with one partner over 62, granted such benefits heretofore reserved for spouses as adoption, medical decision making, and sick leave; Prenuptial agreements are now regulated, requiring written records, attorney representation or waiver and seven-day “cooling off” periods; “Threats” against abortion clinic workers and clients are now crimes; Nearly all firearms must be sold with state-approved trigger locks; Illegal immigrants who are long-term residents will be exempt from higher out-of-state college tuition fees charged U.S. citizens from other states; Employers are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of illegal employee conduct outside the workplace, and from requiring employees to speak English only, unless for “business necessity”; Unemployment benefits will rise. Minimum wage hourly rates rose 50 cents, an 8 percent raise, to $6.75, $1.60 higher than the federal minimum wage rate. Magnificent timing, with energy bills skyrocketing over the past year, and hitting hardest at such location-dominant industry sectors as restaurants…; And minimum wage and other workplace protections are now guaranteed to sheepherders.

Memo to residents of other states: If your own representatives attempt to emulate California’s, please recall … recall!

The “Dumb and Dumber” Department…

A week before the busy Christmas travel days, passenger Lolita Austria, en route to Chicago from San Diego’s Lindbergh Field Airport, picked up the wrong carry-on bag from the X-ray screening area and unwittingly boarded her flight with a hand grenade. As the plane taxied from the gate, Austria opened the bag, the metallic object rolled out, and according to passenger Torbert Rocheford, “It was rolling around on the floor.” The grenade turned out to be a fake, labeled “FAA X-ray test object, contains no explosives,” which belonged to an airport security company that had been running a security test at the time. The airliner’s captain taxied the plane back to the terminal, bomb-sniffing dogs inspected the cabin and cargo hold, passengers went through security again, and the flight was delayed two and a half hours. Another passenger, Fred Bode, commented, “You didn’t know whether it was a big joke or what.” The airline security company failed to notice disappearance of either the bag or the dummy grenade. Some security test!

Culture comment…

The lifestyle diversity bug apparently bit Coke. Asked about an ad redrawing cartoon characters Brutus and Popeye as homosexuals, the aptly named Doug Daft blathered, “At Coca-Cola, we believe that diversity is not merely about compliance … it is about values; it is about relationships. Taking advantage of diversity is a critical key to who we are and to our business success. … We all must, recognize, respect, value and celebrate the uniqueness of all members of our organizations as we embrace diversity as one of our fundamental values. … Realizing the full potential of diversity is essential to our business…from the communities we serve, to the decisions we make every day about our operations. Diversity has a direct impact on The Coca-Cola Company. … Respecting and benefiting from diversity in our businesses and in our communities is not only a guiding principle but also a core value of The Coca-Cola Company.”

Hasn’t Coke heard what the straight Popeye said? “I yam what I yam, and that’s all that I am…!”

Faith Matters…

A recent World Magazine article discusses fears that the 9-11 attacks could catalyze efforts to coalesce a meaningless one-world religion, citing statements by world leaders, including Mr. Bush, that favor Islam and ignore contradictions between the Islamic view of Allah and the Judeo-Christian God.

On the frontiers of science…

This week’s issue of science journal Nature reports researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, discovered a new method of lie detection involving sensitive measures of facial blushing. A high-definition heat-sensing camera could spot increased blood flow around lying eyes that matched or beat conventional lie detectors. “The thermal imaging technology detects subtle changes in metabolism in parts of the body. When an individual is exposed to the thermal imaging camera and is being deceptive, the computer detects the warming around the eyes,” said lead researcher Dr. James Levine. Applications of such technology, once refined, include airport screening of potential terrorists. Not to mention prenuptial agreements!

Around the world…

Freedom House released its year-end “freedom index” analysis of 192 nations around the world, based on civil liberties and political rights guaranteed to citizens. Of the 48 countries assessed as “not free,” which included Communist bastions Cuba and North Korea, another 28 were Muslim nations. Now, remind us again – what was that about Christian conservatives, who founded “free” nations, being “like the Taliban”!

Europe continued on its path toward bureaucratic integration, stagnation, and looming tyranny, as the new continental currency the euro debuted to transaction delays, ATM breakdowns and armed robberies in its first big shopping day, Wednesday.

Red China vaulted in “economic power” to the world’s sixth largest economy this year past, assuming the position formerly held by Italy. You will recall that China joined the WTO last month, and you may have heard that President Bush at year-end quietly signed legislation granting the Red Giant “permanent normal trade relations” with the U.S. Congress had previously used the annual reauthorization of such favored trade status to keep track of the Communist nation’s depredations against its citizens. This is the same Red China that reportedly continued supplying arms to al Qaeda after 9-11, and is improving the accuracy of its ballistic missiles! The ink was not dry on Mr. Bush’s signature, when the Chinese government sentenced to death Gong Shengliang, lead pastor of the South China Church, an underground Christian church the Reds branded “an evil cult.” Memo to Mr. Bush: How about an international “faith-based” initiative to protect our Christian brothers and sisters from death and suffering for serving Our Lord?

And last…

On Christmas Day in New York City, what morning television program was most watched? Nielsen ratings declared it was “Yule Log” on WPIX Channel 11, showing a yule log burning in a fireplace with Christmas songs in the background – which easily beat the next most watched program, ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Hey, we think a smoldering log is better TV than morning talkingheads any day of the year!

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