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Friday Digest

Digest

Aug. 3, 2001

Quote of the week…

“Therapeutic cloning crosses a very bright line, ethical boundaries that should all give us pause. This technique would reduce human beings to an industrial commodity.” –Rep. Tom DeLay

On cross-examination…

“What worth is all the confession and apology in this world or the next if it evaporates when confronted by evil? It has been observed before: The evils that befall the world are not nearly so often the product of bad people as they are the result of good people remaining silent when they should speak out.” –Paul Greenberg

Open Query…

“All of Washington is wringing its hands over the allegedly dwindling budget surplus. … The Left is on the political warpath armed with these new budget numbers. The strategy of Tom Daschle et al., is to run spending through the roof (with the complicit aid of a lot of big spending congressional Republicans), then to blame George W. Bush for imperiling Social Security with his ‘giant tax cut.’ Hold on here. How can the tax cut be blamed for slow economic growth and shrinking surpluses when we haven’t even gotten a dime of tax cuts yet? This is like blaming rain on umbrellas.” –Stephen Moore

The BIG lie…

“[In elective office], it is simply wrong for you to think about what your feelings are.” –Bill “Feel Your Pain” Clinton.

News from the Swamp…

In the Executive Branch, Mr. Bush received a report from former President Jimmy Carter, who had headed, together with former President Jerry Ford, a bipartisan commission recommending election reforms. The proposals hammered out by the commission are of dubious constitutionality (such as federalization of election standards) and dubious practicality (such as moving the presidential election to Veterans Day).

The commission’s report should go the way of the dimpled chad!

In the House of Commons, Majority Whip Tom DeLay has some concerns about the education bill soon to be voted on – what he now calls “that awful education bill.” “I think that the president is absolutely right in what he thinks should be done to our school systems’ accountability. Unfortunately, it shouldn’t be the federal government doing it. But, this is one of his big agenda items,” Delay said, explaining why he voted for a bill he has serious reservations about.

Memo to Mr. Bush: Don’t wound it…KILL IT!

And the House Wednesday passed much of Mr. Bush’s energy plan, largely intact, allowing oil drilling in Alaska, a cornerstone of the Bush plan, and rejecting steeper standards in automobile fuel economy (creating more “deathmobiles”).

Fallout from Gary Condit’s “straying” continues. “I intend…to go to the ethics committee and ask the ethics committee to immediately draft a rule…that makes it very clear that it’s unethical for a United States congressman to have a sexual relationship with an intern. …[Interns are not here] for the lovemaking purposes of U.S. congressmen,” Rep. Scott McInnis stated.

Only in Congress would an “ethics committee” have to draft such a rule. (“Le sens commun n'est pas si commun.”) Mark Twain sure had it right: “It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.”

In the House of Lords, Tom “Thumb” Daschle alerted Senators to expect a long weekend of work. But don’t expect action on Mr. Bush’s nominees! The Senate will recess, leaving unprocessed over half of the cabinet and agency nominations. At last month’s end, about 197 nominees had been processed and been confirmed, leaving 310 left behind. And Thursday, the Senate Commerce Committee rejected Mr. Bush’s renomination of Clinton pick Mary Sheila Gall to chair the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Although not a committee member, Sen. HILLARY! Rodham-Clinton led the fight in opposition.

Judicial Benchmarks…

In the halls of justice on the let, Demo Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, decreed that the words “so help me God” should be removed when it administering oaths to nominees during confirmation hearings.

On the Left…

From the “Je$$e Ja¢k$on” Files, the “Lyin’ King” must have a child support payment due! This week he threatened Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. executives with a boycott if they fail to meet his diversity demands (read: cash deposit). Jackson claims that Toyota is guilty of racist advertising, exclusion of blacks as dealers, board of directors, and advertising agencies. We just think he was led astray by the company’s former slogan: “You asked for it, you got it – Toyota!”

From the “Leftloony” Files, a California-based group, In Defense of Animals (IDA), is demanding a change in local laws to reflect the rights of animals. Specifically, it seeks a change of language to refer to pet owners as “guardians.” “This simple wording change is an effort to elevate the status of animals beyond that of mere property to that of living, breathing sentient individuals with needs and rights of their own,” IDA’s Web site explains. In July, Rhode Island passed a law establishing that pet “guardian” and pet “owner” are synonymous.

Apparently, IDA is trying to keep pace with PETA, which just launched a campaign to shame pet OWNERS into serving their quadrupeds vegetarian dishes. Personally, we think our hounds would prefer to dine on PETA members!

From the “Clinton Presidue” Files…

As we informed you last week, our former national embarrassment moved into his $354,000 office suite in Harlem, with an official opening celebration this week that fizzled … when only 500 celebrants showed up. Nevertheless, the Leftmedia waxed euphoric, in an orgy of Leftist self-congratulation. “I love you Harlem! Now I feel like I’m home,” proclaimed America’s first black president to his most loyal lemmings.

The only thing phonier that Clinton’s “blackness” was Chuck Schumer trying to clap hands in time to Ben E. King’s classic, “Staaaaaaand by me.” Meanwhile, the Black Panthers were staaanding out front with protest signs reading: “Bill Clinton = Gentrification. The White Take Over of Black Harlem.”

The Commissars…

Our sources with the Interior Department indicate a report that Colorado firefighters died when central government bureaucrats refused to let helicopters snorkel water from the Chewach River because it is habitat for endangered species – is not inconsistent with the “Bureaucrati Ignorami” they deal with daily. Firefighters Tom Craven, Karen FitzPatrick, Jessica Johnson and Devin Weaver died as a direct result of the unavailability of a water dump.

Evidently crops in Klamath basin are not all that’s dying to protect some fish.

Regarding your IRS overpayment…

“Charge!” seems to be a term no longer reserved for cavalry, as hearings before the House Government Reform subcommittee focused on Navy credit cards used to purchase such necessities as pizzas, Palm Pilots, thin monitors, DVD players, flowers and pet supplies. Some of what appear to be questionable expenditures will undoubtedly prove entirely justifiable. However, the program, designed to permit discretionary spending up to $2,500 without paperwork, involved issuing the cards also without checks of the creditworthiness of recipients – and a systemwide audit is in the offing. (The Pentagon counts a total of 1.8 million credit cards in circulation, held by military and civilian employees, and used last year in about 10 million transactions accounting for $5.5 billion in charges.)

From the department of military readiness…

Last weekend, Puerto Rico voters indicated, by a 68 to 30 percent margin, that they favor ousting the U.S. Navy from its Vieques training range. The referendum is nonbinding, and not of much import since Mr. Bush recently announced a May 2003 date for the Navy’s withdrawal. But the near impossibility of finding a close approximation of the facilities is of grave import to the Navy’s training under realistic conditions. (Did someone mention Cuba?)

From the department of military correctness…

That telltale headgear just won’t go away quietly, as the Pentagon has found itself stuck with more than 618,000 Chinese-made black berets senior defense officials prohibited from official Army issuance in May, after a congressional and veterans uproar. The $4 million worth of beaux chapeaus are now shelved in a Pennsylvania warehouse, awaiting a decision on how to get rid of them without the embarrassment of having soldiers buying and wearing them anyway as cheap replacements – and all while there is a current ammunition shortfall! (If you’ll recall, as The Federalist informed you earlier this year, the choice to override “buy America” laws for defense manufacturing, and award contracts for the berets to Communist China, grew out of Gen. Eric Shinseki’s decision to re-outfit the new, proud “Army of One” with the berets by the service’s June birthday.) Surely the Pentagon can unload them to “Lewinsky Fashions, Inc.” And perhaps the style-minded Ms. Lewinsky could create one of her signature purse designs to match!

From the states…

In the People’s Republic of California, Gov. Gray Davis gingerly and with little fanfare signed a bill allowing two further infringements of Californians’ right to keep and bear arms. The bill deals with adults whose firearms are taken by minors, changing from 16 to 18 years the definition of “minors” who may not be permitted “access” to the weapons, and creating a new crime of holding the adult owner responsible when a minor takes the adult’s illegally stored gun to school. Interestingly, Davis warned off gun confiscationists, that he still holds the view “additional gun control legislation is not needed,” which means even with the lowered threat of “lights out” in the state’s energy fiasco, he is not eager to silhouette himself as a political target by eroding Californians’ self-defense rights more than this.

And in North Carolina 700 protesters filled the state house gallery in Raleigh in defiance of a new state tax hike proposal. The protesters, attending what they called the “Tar Heel Tea Party,” threw tea bags on the chamber’s floor. Responding to the state legislators’ claim that spending has already been cut, John Hood of the Locke Foundation remarked, “When the politicians say they cut spending to the bone, if I were you, I’d ask to see the bone.”

In economic and business news…

The Small Business Survival Committee has released its annual survey of the best states for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Western and Southern states ranked among the top 10, along with New Hampshire. According to the sixth annual “Small Business Survival Index 2001,” the top five “most entrepreneur friendly” states are Nevada, South Dakota, Washington, Wyoming, and Florida. Texas was sixth, followed by New Hampshire, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. It is worth noting that half of the top ten friendly states are in Dixie.

The “Dumb and Dumber” Department…

From the “BureaucRATi Ignoramus” Files comes the recent revelation that Palm Beach County election officials erased the computer files that served as the only record of how each ballot was cast on Election Day last year. The physical ballot cards are still on file, but with all the handling, mishandling, and chads-play that went on in the recount saga, the computer files were the only accurate record admissible in the annals of historical record. Florida law bars government officials from destroying public records and specifies criminal punishment for those who do so intentionally. Susan MacManus, a political science professor at the University of South Florida, responded, “Maybe they were trying to erase a bad memory.”

From the “Say Again” Department…

“[The Red Chinese] still do not practice human rights to the standards that we think are appropriate, and they undertake proliferation activities that are troublesome to us,” said Secretary of State Colin Powell in conjunction with his Asia tour. “But at the same time, it is a nation that need not be seen as an enemy.” Tell that to the patriots across the Taiwan Strait!

Culture Comment…

The Parents Television Council released a study this week on the content of “family hour” network programming. The PTC reports – like you don’t already know – that the content of foul language and sexual themes is now more pervasive than ever. (Somebody get Sen. Joe LIEberman on the horn.)

Speaking of sexual themes in network programming, the FBI has arrested CNN executive producer Alan Audet after he used a chat room to invite what he believed to be a 13-year-old girl for a sexual encounter. He was actually communicating with members of the FBI’s Innocent Images Task Force.

Faith Matters…

In news from the “Village Church” bulletin, pastors from Modesto, California, the hometown of Gary Condit, refused to condemn the congressman’s infidelity and prevarication. Quoth Reynaldo Mora, pastor of the Centro Comunitario Hispano Vino Nuevo, “The Bible commands and demands forgiveness.” But Jesus also said, in another famous adultery case, “Go and sin no more.”

On the frontiers of science…

A team of psychology researchers reported in this week’s publication of the journal NeuroImage that multitasking substantially degrades the performance of even activities utilizing divergence regions of the brain. The researchers, led by Marcel Just of the Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University, compared brain activity for language comprehension and spatial rotation, performed separately or simultaneously, finding that the brain apparently has limited resources to divide among concurrent tasks.

We guess this means your Federalist Editorial Board must shut down our tiddlywinks round-robin or risk more than one mistake in each issue….

On the frontiers of junk science…

Time magazine’s latest cover articulates discovery of every evolutionist’s wildest dreams: “How Apes Became Human.” Turns out, a graduate student unearthed bone fragments in Ethiopia, which Time breathlessly proclaims, by reason of homology, must be man’s ancestor … on the basis of absolutely incontrovertible evidence from merely a single toe bone. Evolutionary doctrine has already done so much for modern civilization! Why, in America, Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, cited Darwin as good justification for infanticide.

Around the world…

The Middle East is bubbling – and could boil over. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice admitted this week that Iraq’s “Saddam Hussein is on the radar screen for the administration.” Iraqi forces have been increasingly aggressive in firing missiles at U.S. planes in recent days, and President Bush is reportedly contemplating a major strike against the Iraqi dictator’s chief military assets. Other reports suggest that Iraq has improved its capabilities for moving troops in the region, and some analysts indicate Saddam has assembled forces near the Jordanian border with Iraq.

What makes the situation even more combustible is the fact that Israel may also be contemplating continuing action against Palestinian terrorists. Earlier this week, Israeli helicopters pinpointed offices of the militant terror group, Hamas, killing eight senior leaders Israeli spokespersons described as responsible for multiple bomb attacks on their citizens. Fueling the conflict in their inimitable way, the Leftmedia – and especially CNN – are serving up distortions in the form of sham “moral equivalency,” by falsely referring to Hamas as a “political” organization, and their leaders as “political” leaders. One of The Federalist Editorial Board members in Tel Aviv reminded us this week to spread the truth, that Hamas members are “terrorists– blatant, gruesome murderers, and proud of it.”

CNN and their ilk are responsible for boosting the organization’s legitimacy and credibility by interviewing such violent murderers, and by misusing the word “political” to cover over the cause of terror.

Memo to CNN: Hamas is a “terrorist” organization! Truth in labeling!

And last, if you were waiting for the other shoe to drop in California’s energy deregulation fiasco … thunk! With the state government contracting for energy purchases on behalf of citizens, you had to count on questionable dealings somewhere. The office of Gov. Gray Davis hastily canceled consulting contracts with five energy “experts” who negotiated state power contracts while at the time owning stock in energy companies they were dealing with. The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the five. And now, Davis press secretary Steve Maviglio has acknowledged that he purchased stock on June 20th in energy firm Calpine, which has been awarded a 20-year contract to supply electricity to the state.

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