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Friday Digest

Digest

Aug. 10, 2001

Quote of the week…

“They are willing to be the guinea pig.” –Dr. Panayiotis Michael Zavos, lead entrepreneur of a Kentucky-based infertility treatment laboratory, who has imminent plans to offer 200 couples human cloning for pregnancy.

(But they are human….)

On cross-examination…

“If human life is worth so little, why are we so concerned with the poor and underprivileged?” –Paul Craig Roberts

Open Query…

“A decline in courage may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West today. The Western world has lost its civic courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, in each government, in each political party and, of course, in the United Nations. …Must one point out that from ancient times a decline in courage has been considered the beginning of the end?” –Alexander Solzhenitsyn

The BIG lie…

Sen. Ms. Hillary (Mrs. Bill Clinton) Rodham-Clinton blamed the Bush(43) administration for the economic downturn which began nine months before hubby Bill left office. “It just took six months to go back in the wrong direction, to begin to dissipate that discipline and that hard work that it took to move us out of deficits.” No, Ms. H, the current economic decline began seventeen months ago – according to all but the most nescient of economists. Oh, and for the record, all economists agree that the economic expansion of the ‘90s began the last year Mr. Bush(41) was in office.

Madame Clinton’s prevarication coincides with the Leftmedia criticism of President Bush’s month-long “vacation” – like all the president of the United States does, when not in Washington, is lounge around in pajamas.

News from the Swamp…

It’s recess! And Congress and President Bush headed out of town and back to the hustings.

As we are fond of noting, “Nobody’s life, liberty or property is safe while Congress is in session.” True, but to conclude that when Congress is in recess, life, liberty or property is safe, is a dangerous inference. That would only be true if all the bureaucrats left town!

In the Executive Branch, Mr. Bush received his freshman midterm report cards, and the Leftmedia were all abuzz. The Democrats, of course, were not impressed. “We’ve got to go back and look at the Bush tax cut, which I think … [is] one of the most serious mistakes the federal government [has ever made],” Sen. Joe Lieberman solemnly intoned, joining head Senate Demo-gogue Tom Daschle in blasting what, arguably, has been Mr. Bush’s biggest accomplishment – the tax cut.

Sounds to us like their karaoke version of that '80s oldie, “the Reagan deficit,” in which congressional Democrats promise budget caps, break their word, then blame the Republican president for the ensuing red ink.

That said, we aren’t much impressed either with Mr. Bush’s performance to date. He has been too eager to lead a “bipartisan parade” – whether or not it is truly bipartisan … and whether or not it marches where the country ought to go.

From the education bill, which was stripped of parental free choice (vouchers) but laden with central government controls (national testing standards and anti-hate crime provisions), to the faith-based initiatives bill (likely to be stripped of any faith-based content), to the tax cuts (stripped of any hard horizon provisions), Mr. Bush’s accomplishments, once sausaged out of Congress, are far less conservative than the Leftmedia portray.

In Waco, Texas, earlier this week, Mr. Bush said, “As far as I’m concerned, the federal government will be a welcoming agency – will put money up to allow faith-based programs to compete side-by-side with secular programs – all aimed at making sure America is the greatest country possible for every single citizen.”

Of course, if Mr. Bush was really serious about funding faith-based initiatives, he should have offered a tax credit package so individuals could decide where to “invest” in their community’s faith-based organizations – without their money being “filtered” through the central government’s coffers!

As former Congressman John LeBoutillier summed up, “Being president should mean setting the agenda – not reacting to the agenda of your opponents.”

“[Conservatives] fear that instead of solidifying his base the president is taking it for granted and has set out to woo…moderates,” notes friend of The Federalist Lyn Nofziger. “Unfortunately, the road to the center, as other Republicans have found out, is not always the road to victory. …It is important that conservatives make their voices heard before the damage is done and then, just maybe, it won’t be done at all.”

On the Hill….

Before leaving town, Rep. Henry Hyde, chairman of the House International Relations Committee, announced that he will support Rep. Ron Paul’s “American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2001” (H.R. 1146), calling for U.S. withdrawal from the United Nations.

Judicial Benchmarks…

In the halls of justice on the right, in California, the state’s Supremes ruled, 5-1, that gun manufacturers cannot be held liable for criminal misuse of the firearms they make. The ruling overturns a lower appeals court decision that had allowed the novel theory of liability to go forward. (Still on the docket in San Diego Superior Court is a suit by 12 California cities and counties against gun makers and retailers, alleging inadequate supervision of sales leading to criminal possession of guns.)

In the halls of injustice on the left, the eco-nuts are back at it, filing federal suit in Oregon to strip Klamath Basin farm families of what little water Interior Secretary Gale Norton had ordered released. They argue now that bald eagles, now summering far from their Pacific Northwest winter habitat in the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, deserve the water more. “The eagles need water now, and we will not stand by and watch our country’s national symbol be harmed,” claimed Oregon Natural Resources Council spokesman Wendell Wood, surprisingly able to keep a straight face. The conservationists’ objective is clear: to bankrupt the family farmers, acquire the real estate at bargain prices, and transfer the land into nonproductive preserves.

Ben Franklin once wrote of eagles, “I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country; he is a bird of bad moral character; like those among men who live by sharping and robbing, he is generally poor, and often very lousy.” (By today’s standards, the scavenging Bald Eagle is a perfect symbol for the central government!)

On the Left…

From the “Je$$e Ja¢k$on” Files, the Sociocrat Sovereign, Senate Plurality Leader Tom “Thumb” Daschle, addressed King Je$$e’$ Rainbow Coalition convention this week, assuring all in attendance that “Unequal [economic] outcomes are not equal protection.”

Shades of Trotsky!

Speaking of “economic outcomes,” Toyota, extorted under threat of boycott from the King of Coercion, announced a multibillion-dollar diversity program. “The discussions with Mr. Jackson have given us the opportunity to look at things more closely and comprehensively,” said Toyota spokesman Mike Michels. Seems Ja¢k$on made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. No word yet on whether this latest shenanigan resulted in a lofty check to one of Ja¢k$on’s “charitable” entities.

Regarding your IRS overpayment…

“During the height of World War II, the tax collection from individuals was 9.4 percent of gross domestic product. Today income tax collection from individuals is an astounding 10.2 percent of GDP, nearly a full percentage point above World War II. More importantly, not just a little bit above World War II, but we have seen a 50-percent increase in individual tax collections in the last 6 years, from about just a little over 7 percent of gross national product to 10.2 percent now.” –Sen. Charles Grassley

From the department of military readiness…

On Vieques Island this week, protesters briefly delayed joint Navy-Marine exercises, scheduled to last through next week. The mock invasion training will involve 23,000 servicemembers. Puerto Rican fisherman and protester Jose Garcia complained, “This is a war that we have had with them for 60 years. My grandfather, father and my uncle all fought the same war, and the Navy hasn’t put us down. The fisherman are the biggest headache they have.” We kinda think Mr. Garcia has that war thing backwards and sideways.

From the department of military correctness…

Maybe some sense is finally re-entering the debate over mixed-sex training of military recruits! This week, a coalition of 14 pro-defense groups, together with the Veterans of Foreign Wars, sent a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld asking that the policy of coed training be reversed. The letter stated, “In our view, military policies should encourage discipline, not sexual misconduct. There is ample evidence that training men and women together complicates and detracts from the training mission.”

From the states…

In Berkeley, California, a group of Japanese children, visiting Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, were turned away Monday from a city hall meeting with Mayor Shirley Dean after self-confessed homosexual Councilman Kriss Worthington objected to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) policy barring open homosexuals as scoutmasters. Mayor Dean acquiesced, rescheduling and moving the meeting with the children, some as young as 10, saying, “This is not about discrimination and the Boy Scouts. It’s about making our foreign visitors feel comfortable.”

As Chuck Colson observed, such attempts at marginalizing the Boy Scouts have backfired, with “increased financial support for scouting over the past year. [And] attempts by local United Way chapters to strong arm them into changing the policy has resulted in more people designating the Scouts directly as the recipient of their contributions. …The media see dissension within scouting because their secular worldview can’t imagine intelligent people agreeing with a policy based on traditional Christian morality. …[But] this is one nation with two cultures.”

The good people of Tennessee, one of only nine states without an income tax, are demonstrating how to hold the line against new taxes. Governor Don Sundquist, a lame duck (second term) RINO who promised in his campaign for re-election, “No income tax,” now is aggressively demanding one.

Thousands of anti-tax protestors flocked to Nashville Tuesday, warning lawmakers against imposing a statewide income tax. Then Tennessee legislature voted to override Sundquist’s veto of the state budget, which means they’ll probably be called into special session this fall. Sundquist vetoed the state budget last month because it contained no income tax provision. Shades of Bush(41), except Sundquist had the good sense to break his promise in his second term!

The lethal “Kennedy Red” worm virus is spreading down the eastern seaboard. Once limited to the People’s Republics of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, two Kennedy spawn are putting down deep roots in Maryland. Mark Shriver, son of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, has raised about $750,000 for a congressional run from a suburban Washington district. And Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, daughter of Robert Kennedy, has raised more than $3 million for her campaign to become governor. Townsend noted, “I plan to be in politics for a long, long time.”

In economic news…

Columnist Don Bauder observes: “For many months, analysts have been saying, ‘Wait till next quarter.’ Now it’s next year. According to Thomson Financial/First Call, Wall Street expects no growth in Standard & Poor’s 500 operating profits in the fourth quarter of this year. Remember, the analysts are talking about S&P operating profits, which often depend on dubious accounting. …The Wall Street Journal reported that net income at the 1,700 largest U.S. corporations plunged by two-thirds in the second quarter, following a 46 percent drop in the first quarter. The Journal was counting items that companies consider one-time expenses and don’t include in operating income.”

In business news…

After years on the defensive, Bill Gates move to offense – against the proposed deal between AT&T and AOL Time Warner. Gates reportedly commands a $1 billion interest in AOL competitor Comcast, and $5 billion in AT&T. In addition, Microsoft is courting deals with other AOL competitors Yahoo! and Disney.

Court Jesters….

From the “Keen Sense of the Obvious” Department, we are shocked – SHOCKED! – to report that a Northwestern University law professor has discovered the American Bar Association was much more likely to approve Mr. Clinton’s judicial appointments than President Bush’s – 10 times more likely. Prof. James Lindgren notes, “Amazingly, a Bush appointee with good credentials … has a lower probability of getting the highest ABA rating than a Clinton appointee who has none of these credentials.” ABA President-elect Robert Hirshon replied, “I just don’t see bias.”

The “Dumb and Dumber” Department…

From the “Well, Duh” files, J.C. Penney stores were forced to pull T-shirts from shelves after customers objected to the shirts’ message – showing a decrepit mobile home and the words ‘Home Skooled.’ Company spokesman Tim Lyons said, “It wasn’t our intent to sell an item that is offensive.”

Memo to Mr. Lyons: Check the winning roster of the most recent national Spelling and Geography contests – home-schoolers winning both and taking the majority of the top five runners-ups! Perhaps the shirts should have displayed an NEA banner with the words, “Gummint Skooled”!

From the “Not Quite Ready for Prime Time” files: “I only did this (performance) for my mom,” said Grammy winning pop star Macy Gray, who was booed out of her hometown stadium after she botched her rendition of the Star Spangled Banner prior to Monday night’s Pro Football Hall of Fame Game. (Rumor has it her new publicist is Roseanne Barr.)

Culture Comment…

A Web address with the name of the Houston woman who drowned her five children received a final bid of $752,011 before eBay halted the auction. EBay officials stopped the auction for www.AndreaPiaYates.com, citing its new policy of prohibiting the auction of things associated with notorious crimes. EBay has a conscience!

Faith Matters…

In Afghanistan, the Taliban government has jailed, and could put to death, 24 Christian workers affiliated with Shelter Now International, a relief agency based in Germany. Their crime? Aside from providing food, blankets and tents to poor Afghanis, they are charged with “propagating Christianity.” (Two Americans are among the eight foreigners imprisoned.)

On the frontiers of science…

Calamitology plays both angles! Tired of hearing about global warming? Well, the big story this week is about global cooling (again).

“The dinosaurs walked the earth and it was much warmer than it is today and there were no humans back then driving around in SUVs,” commented Dr. Robert C. Balling, Director of the Office of Climatology at Arizona State University. “Historically, it’s been shown that major volcanic eruptions have a cooling effect on the planet for a year or two. If you go back and look at Krakatoa for example, back in 1883, I mean, these [eruptions] had a tremendous cooling effect on the planet.”

On the frontiers of silly science…

Animal behaviorist Patricia Simonet concludes in a recent study that dogs laugh when they play. Simonet identified a “laugh pant,” a breathy exhalation dogs exhibit while romping, that is as nuanced as the human range of giggles to guffaws. In related news, a pet supply survey found that half of pet owners spend more on Christmas presents for their furry friends than they spend for their in-laws.

No wonder dogs laugh….

Around the world…

In Iraq: Bombs away! After another incident of surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery fired on U.S. planes, Air Force pilots unloaded a significant quantity of ordnance on northern Iraq air defense sites.

And last, Holy cow! Or something like that…. During his 11-day train journey across Russia, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il revealed some hitherto unknown dining proclivities to Russian guests, including a menu item called “heavenly cow.” Turns out, Kim’s delectation going by this moniker is roast but not beef. One Russian invitee explained the term goes back to the days of Kim’s late father, Kim Il-sung: “As it is inappropriate to say that the leader, son and heir of Kim Il-sung, eats donkey, the dish received such an original and poetic name.” We suppose it tastes just like chicken!

Extend Liberty To The Next Generation!