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The official blog of the National Center for Public Policy Research, covering news, current events and public policy from a conservative, free-market and pro-Constitution perspective.

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Good for Time Warner

Time magazine agrees that journalists aren't above the law.

Meanwhile, Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr. of the New York Times says, "We are deeply disappointed by Time Inc.'s decision...''


"The New President of Iran is a Terrorist"

From the Washington Times:

Americans held in the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Iran said yesterday they clearly recall Iranian President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad playing a central role in the takeover, interrogating captives and demanding harsher treatment for the hostages.

As soon as I saw his picture in the paper, I knew that was the bastard,' said retired Army Col. Charles Scott, 73, a former hostage who lives in Jonesboro, Ga.

'He was one of the top two or three leaders,' Col. Scott said in a telephone interview. 'The new president of Iran is a terrorist.'

The new president's hard-line political views and his background as a student radical in the Iranian Revolution are well known.

But recollections of Mr. Ahmadinejad's direct and personal role in the embassy drama promises to complicate the already rocky relations between Iran's new president and the Bush administration.

Donald Sharer, a retired Navy captain who was for a time a cellmate of Col. Scott at the Evin prison in northern Tehran, remembered Mr. Ahmadinejad as 'a hard-liner, a cruel individual.'

'I know he was an interrogator,' said Capt. Sharer...



Jeff Harrell says:

The war on terror is no more about Osama bin Laden than World War II was about Tojo.
Speaking of Hideki Tojo, his granddaughter Yuko Tojo, president of the Tokyo-based Environment Solution Institute, recently defended him on TV, claiming Japan was not fighting "a war of aggression" in the 1930s and 1940s.

Tojo's granddaughter claims the Japanese invasion of China was merely a defense of Japanese interests, and Japan's war against the United States was fought in its own self-defense.

(I pause a moment to recall the Rape of Nanking.)

Let us hope that, 60 years after we arrest bin Laden, his grandchildren are not still making excuses for his atrocities.

Let us further hope that, unlike Tojo, bin Laden doesn't ultimately bear responsibility for the brutal and wholly unecessary deaths of many hundreds of thousands of innocent people, very many of them children.

For more on the Rape of Nanking, go to here or here, if you can stand it.


Impeach Bush?

Rep. Zoe Lofgren explains that "lying about sex" (code term for President Clinton's perjury) "certainly" isn't an impeachable offense, but "lying to Congress" (which, she claims, President Bush has done) "might well be" impeachable.

Nonpartisan translation:

Lying to the judicial branch = not impeachable.

Lying to the legislative branch = impeachable.
But don't we have three co-equal branches of government?


Weare, New Hampshire: Vacation Spot of Freedom

Can't remember when I have enjoyed a press release more.


Ruling on Property Rights Could Create Housing Crisis, Project 21 Says


A conservative group is warning that the Supreme Court's "abusive" ruling allowing government to seize private property for purposes of economic development could lead to an urban housing shortage for minorities, the poor and young families.

The black leadership network Project 21 said it's a rare day when the NAACP finds itself agreeing with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas -- but that's what happened after last week's ruling in Kelo v. City of New London.

"If even they (NAACP and Thomas) can agree on the importance of private property protections, it's utterly astonishing to me that others can so blatantly put so many at risk to favor wealthy private interests," said Project 21 member Mychal Massie.

Like many other property rights advocates, Project 21 noted...

Read the rest here.


The Greatest American

The Discovery Channel's online poll is over, and the results are in.

I'm pleased by who won, but, considering that Oprah Winfrey appeared in the top ten -- this is for the "greatest American" of all time, living or dead -- I can't take the poll too seriously.


John Walton, RIP

I am sorry to learn of the death of John Walton in an air crash earlier today. He was quite active in the effort to improve educational opportunity for young people in America, and won a Silver Star for his service in Vietnam.

He will be missed.


Optional Attendance in U.S. Senate May Soon Be Official

From the June 27 Roll Call comes this:

As some party leaders are cracking down on absenteeism among their respective rank and file, a provision included in the Senate version of the legislative branch appropriations bill passed out of committee last week strangely enough makes it financially easier for Members to miss work.

Of course, nobody obeyed the old law anyway.

The proposed measure seeks to strike Title 2 Section 39 from the U.S. Code, a rarely used and mostly forgotten provision dating back to the pre-Civil War years that directs the Secretary of the Senate and Clerk of the House to deduct pay for each day a Member is absent from work except for illnesses.

Explaining that the 150-year-old measure hasn't actually been enforced since the 1860s, Jenny Manley, press secretary for Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), called the effort to strike the provision as it applies to the Senate "a clean-up provision. More of a technical provision than anything else."

Jim Specht, press secretary for House Appropriations Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), said although the committee had not considered whether a similar provision could be worked out on the House side, it would be an item to be discussed in conference...

There's more here (subscription required).

Backers of repealing the law say that when a Senator isn't on Capitol Hill, that doesn't mean he isn't working.


Flag Burning -- The Real Question

The Washington Post says in a Monday editorial that flag-burning should not be banned because

Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech. The great power of this principle is that it admits no exception: not for the most odious racism or Holocaust denial, not for the most insulting criticisms of those in high office, not for cone-shaped white hoods or hammers and sickles, and not for burning or otherwise defiling the Stars and Stripes.
Point 1: Speech involves flapping gums, not flames.

Point 2: Despite the Post editorial's claim, exceptions already are made to the First Amendment's protection of freedom of speech. Examples include defamation, causing panic/harm to others, incitement to crime, obscenity and sedition (advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government).

A more insightful Post editorial would have tackled the question: Does burning an American flag, by an American, in America, constitute sedition?

If it does, should we ban the practice, or consider it consistent with our revolutionary heritage?



British Prime Minister Tony Blair's son Euan has accepted an internship at the U.S. House of Representatives -- with a Republican Congressman.


It Is Easy To See Why He Broke Up With Her

If a person hasn't learned to get their temper under control by the time they are 78, I guess it is hopeless:

Furious that their romance was ending, a 78-year-old great-grandmother shot her 85-year-old ex-beau to death as he read the newspaper in a senior citizens home, police said. 'I did it and I'd do it again!' Lena Driskell yelled to officers who arrived at the home June 10, according to testimony. Police said she was wearing a bathrobe and slippers, waving an antique handgun with her finger still on the trigger.

She is accused of plotting the shooting of Herman Winslow because she was angry that their yearlong romance was ending and he had found another companion...


Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Kelo

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review got right to the point in an editorial about the Kelo case: If on this day you think your home is your castle, you are a damn fool.


Heartland Institute on Kelo Eminent Domain Case

The Heartland Institute reacts to the Supreme Court decision in the Kelo case:

The U.S. Supreme Court has given a major victory to urban planners, large property owners, and government in the Kelo decision announced June 23. The major losers are those who treasure private property rights and the respect for those rights set forth in the U.S. Constitution and those with the least political power to protect themselves.

The decision says, in essence, that where a government has a "carefully considered development plan" which is intended to lead to economic development, enhancing the tax base and creating jobs, it has the right to use the condemnation power contained in the U.S. Constitution to seize the private land and transfer title of it to private developers as long as the government pays “just compensation” to those whose land is seized.

The 5-4 decision was written by Justice Stephens and joined by Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Souter and Kennedy. Dissenting in strongly written dissenting opinions were Justices O'Connor and Thomas, whose opinions were joined by Justice Scalia and Chief Justice Rehnquist.

The case grew out of a plan by New London, Connecticut to develop its downtown with a Pfizer facility, a marina, a hotel and residential units and shops. In its way were working class middle class homes and homeowners, including some whose families had owned their individual properties for well over 100 years...

The press release continues here, and I recommend all of it.

I can't help but re-read, though, that part of the Heartland institute release which read: "In [the government's] way were working class middle class homes and homeowners, including some whose families had owned their individual properties for well over 100 years..."


Reality of Kyoto a Blow to New Zealanders

From comes this story:

New Zealand's government is being challenged to justify the country's continued participation in the Kyoto Protocol after it admitted that complying with the climate change treaty will cost taxpayers about one billion NZ dollars (U.S. $714 million).

The news has rattled New Zealanders, who previously were led to believe that participating in Kyoto would earn the country millions of dollars in carbon "credits."

The admission is a blow for a left-leaning, green-friendly government, which last month announced that one of the world's first carbon tax regimes -- entailing higher prices for gas, electricity and coal -- would come into effect in 2007.

The opposition center-right National Party has called for an immediate formal review of the country's participation in Kyoto, accusing the Labor government of a major policy blunder.

"They were so intent on looking good to their socialist friends in Europe that they forgot the enormous cost to New Zealand taxpayers," National leader Don Brash told lawmakers in Wellington...

Is it rude to say "I told you so?" Probably.


Press Statement: Endangered Species Act Can't Work Without Property Rights Protections

We've issued a press release about the letter 53 groups sent to house Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-CA).


Protecting Property Rights Protects Endangered Species

Husband David writes to share news of a letter he and others recently delivered to U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA), Chairman of the U.S. House Resources Committee.

This letter was sent to let him know how deeply committed many people -- including leaders of national and grassroots property rights, conservative and free market organizations -- continue to be to private property rights. It also is intended to let him know that we believe that the Endangered Species Act will continue to fail so long as it penalizes private property owners for good environmental stewardship.

We're continuing to encourage organizations to sign the letter and will update it frequently. Individuals are now welcome to sign the letter, too -- we'll just need you to send us your name, contact information, city and state.

And we welcome everyone to distribute the letter far and wide.


Climate Change: Cap-and-Trade is More Pain Than Gain

Efforts to encourage corporations to curb "greenhouse gas" emissions through a mandatory "cap-and-trade" scheme imposes a hidden tax on small businesses and amounts to a Kyoto-style rationing of energy use

At least, that's what we think.


Blacks Disproportionately Likely to be HIV-Positive, CDC Says

Project 21 has a new press release addressing the fact that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 47 percent of the over one million Americans who are HIV-positive are black.

The press release contains details about the CDC's statistics, released June 13, and comments by Project 21 members Lisa Fritsch and Malcolm Moore.


Regarding Lynching: We Are Today Victims No More

Project 21 issued a press release today on the U.S. Senate's apology for not passing an anti-lynching law.

The press release quotes Project 21 member Lisa Fritsch:

"I am all for the gracious acceptance of an apology that is due, or for apologizing when I am wrong. But just like giving credit where it is due, an apology only carries weight when it has meaning. And, in the case of the recent apology by Senator Mary Landrieu [D-LA] and her regretful cohorts on Capitol Hill, this apology doesn't amount to a hill of beans - at least not today.

"The lynchings of the past, while a sad place in history to recount, is exactly that - history. The best way to avenge this shameful history and make it relevant to us today is not to wallow in the apologies and regrets offered by senators who couldn't be in any way responsible for what occurred, but to supply our own closure by forgiving those who trespassed against us and moving on.

"History will offer all of us - every race, every nationality, group or peoples - some regrettable offense and transgression. From these traumas, we must heal if we are to move on. The best healing of these wounds lies in the power of our own spirit through our ability to forgive that which we cannot change. In this forgiveness, we can vow to change our future fate by not being the victim reborn of our past. With our opportunities today, we have the chance to avenge the past by making productive and fertile choices for an advanced and progressive future. In forgiving, we possess the power of a crusader. In seeking out apology from any place, however, we keep the posture of the victim. Instead, we can appreciate this truth: that while we may be born of victims, we are today victims no more."