Friday Digest

Digest

Sep. 7, 2001

Quote of the week…

“I keep it in a quart jar in my desk.” –Sen. Phil Gramm when asked if he had a heart.

On cross-examination…

“Why should a Hispanic Democrat abandon his lifelong loyalty just because Bush wants to convert the Republicans into the redundant party on immigration?” –Steve Sailer

Open Query…

“What happens when it’s deemed unseemly to point out how risible someone is?” –Mark Steyn

The BIG lie…

“This [lower budget surplus] is a result of the Bush budget and the Bush tax cut. Certainly, they’re the architects of our current economic condition, and I think we have to turn to them for leadership now as we find our way out of the box that has been created.” –Senate Demo Leader Tom Daschle on the Clinton/Gore recession.

News from the Swamp…

In the Executive Branch, the Bush administration’s first state dinner Wednesday, in honor of President Vicente Fox, featured pumpkin seed encrusted buffalo, Maryland crab, and peaches and raspberries in tequila. Dessert was mango and coconut ice cream with red chile pepper sauce. (Kick it up!) The grub was great, but calling the host “Bush administration” is really a stretch. Few of Mr. Bush’s senior executive appointments have been confirmed, Mr. Bush has not fired any of the old cronies, and, in effect, the “administration” is still, largely, Clinton/Gore.

In the House of Commons, you know your hard-earned dollars pay for congressional frivolities. Here’s one to contemplate: The U.S. Navy estimates that taxpayers footed over $250,000 for a July jet junket House Democrat leader Dick Gephardt and some companions took across Europe visiting Brussels, Berlin, Moscow, and London. Use of the Navy C-32 travel plane, a reconfigured Boeing 757 with 42 first-class seats and a stateroom, alone cost $231,426, while another $4,788.76 was spent for supplies, including a chocolate mousse tower, filet mignon, chicken stuffed with mushrooms, and suntan lotion. On returning to our shores, Rep. Gephardt pronounced, “Bush should present a revised budget that acknowledges the nation’s fiscal crisis…. The president should accept the responsibility for creating this alarming fiscal crisis….”

In the House of Lords, Sen. Ted Kennedy began hearings of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, criticizing the Bush administration decision to permit and fund but heavily limit embryonic stem cell research. “There are a number of extremely important questions that have been raised that may very well impede the kind of important progress that could be made with stem cell research,” Kennedy intoned. Appearing at the hearings to defend the administration’s regrettable proposals, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson announced a “groundbreaking” agreement with the WiCell Research Institute, holders of five of the 24 or 25 “fully developed” embryonic stem cell lines, on the assignment of patent rights that might be contested from the federally funded research.

May we point out, if those embryos were “fully developed,” they would be children!

Judicial Benchmarks…

In the halls of justice on the right, a Left Coast courtroom gets one right! On Tuesday in Sacramento, accused murderer Nikolay Soltys was charged not only with fatally stabbing his pregnant wife, three-year-old son, and four other relatives, but also with the murder of his unborn child. “Baby Soltys is a seventh victim and it’s appropriate that all victims be charged, and that’s what we have done,” commented Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully after the arraignment hearing.

On the Left…

In Florida, former Attorney General Janet Reno took preliminary steps toward a run for the governorship against sitting Gov. Jeb Bush. “I’ve spent the last three months talking to people all across Florida, and I think they share my vision for Florida – building the best educational system in the country, preserving our environment, managing our growth and standing up for our elders,” Reno commented this week.

Florida’s leading Demos were not exactly lining up behind her. “I don’t want to see this election turn into a Bill Clinton agenda and a Janet Reno agenda from the Clinton years,” said Hillsborough County chairman Mike Scionti. “It’s crazy. It’s the worst thing the Democratic Party could do.” Polk County Democratic chairwoman Sharon Becker added, “I haven’t spoken to any Democrat who says, ‘That’s wonderful news. Everybody says to a man, 'Oh, I wish she wouldn’t.’”

Reno further flapped that Floridians want a governor “who’s not afraid to make the hard decision, to stand up for those decisions.” We guess she must be referring to her decisions to provide long-lasting cover for Bill Clinton’s abject corruption of the Office of President, as well as her violations of the Constitution in ordering the unlawful seizure of Elian Gonzalez.

Memo to Jeb: We suggest you purchase plenty of billboard space on I-95, and post that memorable image of Reno’s INS thug with his MP-5 machinegun pointed at little Elian’s terrified face – over the caption, “Share my vision for Florida – Reno for Governor”!

News from the American Labour Party…

The National Labor Relations Board, still stacked with Clinton cronies, ruled this week that employees, whether union or nonunion, must wear the union logo on their uniforms at work. Commenting on Clinton’s board having been left in power, Stefan Gleason, V.P. of National Right to Work, remarked, “After eight months, the Bush Administration has yet to rein in the NLRB. It looks like the White House is asleep at the switch.”

The Commissars…

From the “Public Servants” Department: A Sociocratic practice (imported from Red China, perhaps?) is taking hold in our nation’s capital, with accusations the D.C. Fire Department is giving pregnant women an ultimatum. Kenneth Lyons, head of the union representing the District’s fire and EMS personnel, is charging that a supervisor “told one woman that she had a choice to make: keep the child or keep the job.” The woman complained that her supervisor, Samanthia Robinson, told her she would not be eligible for medical leave. Two other women have come forward with similar accusations.

Memo to the Beltway cadre of feministas: Where are your vocal protests concerning this violation of working women’s rights – or are you not really pro-CHOICE after all?

Regarding your IRS overpayment…

It may be missing! If you live in New England or certain parts of New York, and your tax return and payment were processed through Pittsburgh under a government contract with Mellon Bank, yours may be among the estimated 40,000 federal tax returns and payments totaling $810 million that were lost or destroyed at that facility. Of note, the Internal Revenue Service did not discover the error; the problem was detected only once taxpayers began complaining to Senators of their tax payment checks not clearing their banks.

From the department of military readiness…

We’re not ready! In a barnstorming tour of military bases across the country last week, the chairman of the House military readiness subcommittee, Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pennsylvania), concluded, “We have a recipe for disaster. If we don’t get a serious increase in readiness funding and have an awareness among the American people that we need to put the dollars on the table, then five or 10 years from now we’re going to see extreme problems in terms of our ability to respond to situations around the world. What we’ve seen so far … it’s mind-boggling and it’s scary.”

From the states…

In Vandalia, Michigan, two residents of the Rainbow Farm campground were shot to death after a five-day standoff. Campground owner Grover Crosslin and friend Richard Rohm were killed after a confrontation linked to drug and weapons charges. Vandalia Mayor Sondra Mose-Ursery said afterward, “I figured it was going to happen. [Crosslin] believed he should be able to do what he wanted on his own property.” (Did someone mention “Ruby Ridge”?)

In economic news…

The Public Service Research Foundation released a study showing a correlation between unions and high taxes. States with the highest tax levels also have the highest levels of union membership. “The average level of unionism in states with above average levels of state and local taxes is 14.6% [but] only 10.2% in the low tax states,” detailed PSRF’s president, David Denholm. The study also found plenty of evidence that nonunion wages are on par with union wages. “Clearly, unionism is more of a political than an economic influence,” Denholm concluded.

In business news…

Coming soon to a TV screen near you – Communist propaganda! And we do mean the real deal. Red China is reportedly close to agreement with AOL Time Warner and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, to permit restricted television broadcasts into Guangdong Province – in exchange for reciprocal broadcasting of Red propaganda from China Central Television into the United States. Back in 1993, Murdoch had it right when he said that unrestricted satellite broadcasting is “an unambiguous threat to totalitarian regimes.” Free flow of information always is … which is why the broadcasts will be heavily censored. Is it any wonder those of us opposed to so-called “free trade” with China incessantly repeat that such dealings are not changing China to be freer, but instead are corrupting Western deal-cutters right out of their freedom values?

The “Dumb and Dumber” Department…

Chandra Levy has been found … sort of. A Georgia state representative, Dorothy Pelote, claims that her psychic powers have given her contact with Ms. Levy. The Savannah Dumbocrat announced, “I want you to know that I can prophesy. I can communicate with the dead. The last person who visited me was – I don’t know if I need to call her name. Maybe I should not, because it’s a controversial death now. She’s missing. You know who I’m talking about. She has visited me. She has.”

Culture comment…

In the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, members of the legislature’s Election Laws Committee are debating a proposal that would allow resident non-U.S. citizens in Amherst, numbering around 3,500, to vote in local elections. Victor Morales, a native of Puerto Rico, says of the status quo, “It’s taxation without representation.”

Perhaps voting “rights” for resident aliens can be added to “phased-in access to earned regularization” legislation!

Faith Matters…

The Supremes are set to hear a case by the ACLU against the state of Virginia, in an attempt to overturn a lower court’s approval of the state’s “moment of silence” law, passed last year. Kent Willis, executive director of the Virginia ACLU, opined, “[the law] destroys the neutrality the state is supposed to have toward religion.”

Memo to Kent: We checked, and that old Constitution says “Congress shall make no law….”

On the frontiers of science…

Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, a physicians group dedicated to wise and well-trained exercise of Second Amendment rights, responded to an article appearing in the September issue of Injury Prevention, which was conducted by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, and which calls for licensing and registration of firearms as antidotes to criminal and juvenile misuse of guns. “It just doesn’t add up to good science,” DRGO director Dr. Tim Wheeler, a Southern California surgeon, concluded.

“For example, there was a 1997 Department of Justice survey of prison inmates that found that only 15 percent of their crime guns were obtained through legal retail outlets. So, I would wonder how could you keep criminals from getting guns by, as Johns Hopkins suggests doing, licensing and registering only 15 percent of the market. The answer is you can’t. …[T]here is no evil or mischievous thing that could be done with a gun that is not already against the law. And any further gun laws can only work against law-abiding gun owners and not criminals. The way you enforce the law against criminals is to apprehend and imprison criminals. And you leave the good people alone.”

Relatedly, a survey of police officers indicates that gun trigger locks may not be a safety feature after all. Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reported that 56 percent of the law enforcement officers they queried said that trigger locks should not be required, and they particularly objected to requirements they use the locks on their own firearms, as impediments to emergency access to their weapons. It’s like “putting an anchor on a life jacket,” one officer noted.

On the frontiers of junk science…

With the new academic year beginning, watch out for eco-indoctrination in government schools! “Environmental dogma has invaded the classroom,” observed Jeff Stier, of the American Council on Science and Health. “There is a lack of scientific method in place for [these environmental activism] textbooks themselves. They don’t go through a proper period of being processed. …To have a healthy environment, we need to have better educated students today. Promoting an environmental agenda does not promote science education. Rather, it promotes a political agenda…. Whenever you have activist groups appealing to educators to promote an agenda, there should be cause for concern.”

Around the world, but getting closer every day…

As we alerted you last week, the United Nations Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in Durban, South Africa, this week degenerated into a hash of Israel bashing … and the low-level delegations from the United States and Israel walked out. “I know you cannot combat racism by holding a conference that produces declarations that contain hateful language,” Secretary of State Colin Powell pronounced of Monday’s formal withdrawal from the confab.

And discussions of reparations for slavery did not fare much better. As political sage John O'Sullivan summed it up, “If reparations are to have any connection with historical justice, then those paying them should include the African states which are the successors of the pre-colonial African slave empires – and those receiving them should include the descendants of the officers and men of the Royal Navy who risked their lives (and sometimes died) to suppress the trade in human beings around the world. … Slavery is likely to be treated as a Western invention imposed on the Third World by colonialism – when in fact colonialism, whatever its other abuses, generally put an end to slavery. Similarly, Racism, Racial Discrimination, etc. are likely to be portrayed as purely white Western pathologies that are magically responsible for such evils as economic backwardness, poverty, and tyranny everywhere. For the whole point of conferences like that in Durban is to make the West, in particular the U.S., the defendant in a grand historical psycho-drama of Western guilt and Third World entitlement and of course to extract substantial fines from the wretched criminal upon conviction.”

Not to mention black captive slaves – many of them Christians – in the Sudan and other parts of Africa today….

And last, the central government briefly declared the Fresno Sanitary Landfill a “National Historic Landmark.” This is the same dump, which made a more dubious list of nationally recognized sites in 1989, when it was named one of the EPA’s Superfund cleanup sites. An Interior Department press release noted the dump has “national significance in American history and culture.” As soon as Secretary Gale Norton heard of this folly, she rescinded the designation. And Fresno, we should note, does not produce the real garbage that comes from “historic dumps” like Hollywood, Berkley, San Francisco.

It's Right. It's Free.