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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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Tuesday
Jun012004

Warning: Chauvinists Won't Like This One

Read this post in the new Who Moved My Truth? blog, and then read the one directly below it.



Thanks to Dissecting Leftism for the pointer.

Tuesday
Jun012004

Affleck Versus Greenspan

This Employment Policy Institute essay by Craig Garthwaite on minimum wage increases struck me as hilarious. Or maybe it is not the essay itself -- worth a read in any case for those interested in the impact of mandatiory minimum wage increases -- but the very notion of Ben Affleck debating economics with Alan Greenspan. What a mental picture!



Thanks to Townhall.com for the pointer.

Sunday
May302004

Magic Needs to Conjure Some Sponsors

NCPPR executive director David W. Almasi reminds us that a black face is less valuable than green dollars when it comes to integrating auto racing:

Former basketball star turned businessman/investor Magic Johnson is the newest black face in auto racing after the announcement that he will co-chair the Executive Steering Committee of NASCAR's "Drive for Diversity" program. The program seeks to recruit minority drivers and race crew members as well as draw more minority fans to the sport. Last year, NASCAR stopped giving unrestricted donations -- thought to total near $250,000 -- to Jesse Jackson after The National Center's Project 21 African-American leadership network and the National Legal and Policy Center exposed Jackson's apparent hustling of NASCAR for money while doing little more for the sport than raising the level minority animosity toward it.



It's great that high-profile African-Americans such as Johnson and former football star Reggie White are involved in trying to diversify what has thus far been a sport that largely attracts white fans and participants. It's also great to have corporate support for NASCAR's diversity program. But the real support is needed in the bank accounts of minority drivers. It costs millions to race, and NASCAR cannot provide that money. Corporate sponsors need to get behind good minority drivers if the sport is to be truly diversified.



While Johnson should be congratulated for helping raise the profile of these NASCAR's diversity efforts, the unsung heroes are Domino's, Sunoco, Miller Brewing, the National Guard, Kodak, Lowe's MBNA and Centrix. These are that companies that are already supporting minority drivers. Dominos, in particular, is supporting all four drivers currently enrolled in the "Drive for Diversity" program. Way to go!

Sunday
May302004

Worth Noting

This point made was made on Right Wing News:

In Afghanistan, we were told going in that the war would be long, difficult, and perhaps even unwinnable... our defeatist press was crying 'quagmire' & 'Vietnam' as we bombed our enemies into oblivion.
It is a observation worth remembering.

Saturday
May292004

June 6, Perhaps

Late Friday evening I finally got around to glancing through the Washington Post, which we (predictably) get by home delivery. I almost skipped a Special Section of the May 28 edition published to commemorate this weekend's dedication of the new World War II Memorial on the National Mall.



I figured the special section would mostly be stuff for tourists. Wrong.



Among with maps to the festivities, ads saying thanks to veterans and stories about the memorial itself is a montage, World War II Remembered, of personal recollections of the war. These are short stories by regular folks, not all of them soldiers. Some of them brought tears to my eyes.



I'm picking one out almost at random to provide a sample of the stories they collected:

I was a paratrooper with the 17th Airborne Division at an airfield in France awaiting "Operation Varsity," the Allied airborne invasion over the Rhine River on March 24, 1945.



The afternoon before the drop, I had received a letter from my mother that upset me greatly. She sensed that I was going into battle. "Son, I want you to be merciful," she wrote. "Never forget that the young man you are fighting has a mother who loves him and prays for him, just as I love and pray for you."



Infuriated, I thought: "Mother, what are you trying to do, bring about my death? I am trained to kill or be killed!"



At 3 a.m. the following morning, we were fed a last meal before the long, rough flight. The Germans were expecting our attack. The flak and groundfire was were the most intense of any airborne invasion in the war. Once on the ground, I was pinned down in an open field by machine-gun fire from distant farmhouses. A group of our paratroopers coming out of the woods saved me by causing a pause in enemy fire. I then joined in charging the farmhouses, only to find that they had been hastily abandoned.



Bringing up the rear as we passed the last farmhouse, I heard noises coming from a cellar. Convinced that some of the enemy were hiding there, I lifted the slanted, wooden cellar door cautiously and was about to toss in a grenade when I remembered my mother's plea: "Be merciful!" Instead, I shouted down for the Germans to surrender and come out with their hands up. There was silence.



My second shout brought stirring.



The first to come up was an elderly grandmother. Then another woman appeared, followed by four or five little children, until 14 women and children stood before me. I shuddered at the thought of what I might have done, and the burden it would have placed on my life, had I not received my blessed mother's letter.



--John Kormann, Chevy Chase (MD)
Read these folks, if not today, then bookmark it to read later. On June 6, perhaps.

Saturday
May292004

Smiting August

James Lileks' Friday, May 28 Bleat is a must-read.



After rescuing Gnat from an evil shopping cart, in rapid-fire order he takes on Human Rights Watch, China, France, Germany, Russia, reveals director Roland Emmerich's Inner Michael Moore and caps it all with a coup de grace against the European Union.



It's a classic.

Friday
May282004

This Time, I Agree With Hollywood -- Sort Of

If viewing "The Day After Tomorrow" inspires you to take action, let it be this:



Go to the Envirotruth website and use the handy form to conveniently encourage Putin's Russia to stay out of the Kyoto Treaty.



The Hollywood left wants to spur us to take action. Let's listen to them -- this time.

Friday
May282004

"A Feeling of Fear is Spreading"

An Associated Press report on the case of Russian billionaire Mikhail Khodorkovsky contains worrisome details:

The 10-month investigation against Yukos -- the company Khodorkovsky transformed into one of Russia's largest oil producers -- and its shareholders is seen by many as retaliation for Khodorkovsky's political aspirations.



Ahead of December's parliamentary elections, Khodorkovsky openly backed several parties that opposed President Vladimir Putin. The businessman also became increasingly assertive on policy issues and publicly lectured the Kremlin for its weak stance on corruption...



"The authorities, as personified by Putin and his group, have two aims: to civilize society but also a slightly contradictory goal, to control it," said Igor Bunin, a political analyst with the Center for Political Technology. "With the help of the Yukos case ... authorities have eliminated the political and economic autonomy of Yukos, which in their opinion, presented a potential threat..



Analysts say the multi-pronged attack on Yukos may be an attempt to force Khodorkovsky to make a deal and give up his assets in exchange for a lighter sentence. He already resigned as head of the company last year in a futile attempt to shield it from the government's blows.



The alternative, the analysts say, could be a long drawn-out bankruptcy process that could cost Yukos' shareholders their billion-dollar fortunes -- and still end with Yukos in state control. Either way, analysts say, it would serve as an example to other business leaders...



Yevgeny Yasin, a prominent economic expert who served as economics minister in the 1990s, warned earlier this week that the Yukos affair should make all businesses -- and Russian citizens -- uneasy.



"A feeling of fear is spreading," he said.

Friday
May282004

How Dare He?

Our Ed Haislmaier, a board member and our health care and retirement security expert, suggested that we include this Boston Herald editorial, How Dare Al Gore Disgrace this Nation?, in the blog. Said Ed: "It's concise and well put." I agree. Here it is:

He never mentioned Nicholas Berg. Or Daniel Pearl. Or a single person killed in the World Trade Center. Nor did former Vice President Al Gore talk of any soldier by name who has given his life in Iraq. And he has the audacity to condemn the Bush administration for having "twisted values?''



Gore spent the bulk of a speech before the liberal group MoveOn.org Wednesday bemoaning Abu Ghraib and denouncing President Bush's departure from the "long successful strategy of containment.''



Yes, the very same strategy that, under Gore's leadership, allowed al-Qaeda operatives to plan the horror of Sept. 11 for years, while moving freely within our borders.



Gore even had the audacity to defend the perpetrators of the prison abuse - by name - while denouncing President Bush for "humiliating'' our nation.



How dare he. How dare a former vice president of the United States go beyond disagreeing with the current president's policies - a right of anyone in this free country - and denounce Bush as "incompetent.''



How dare Gore say that Americans have an "innate vulnerability to temptation... to use power to abuse others.'' And that our own "internal system of checks and balances cannot be relied upon'' to curb such abuse.



And this man - who apparently has so much disdain for the nature of the American people - wanted to be elected to lead it?



It is Gore who has brought dishonor to his party and to his party's nominee. The real disgrace is that this repugnant human being once held the second highest office in this great land.

Friday
May282004

Some People Don't Trust This Story

In the Reuters article today by Tom Perry entitled Governing Body, U.S. Pick CIA Link Allawi as Iraqi PM, the following paragraph appears:

"It was unclear how far U.S. officials or Brahimi influenced the choice of a long-time exile known to few Iraqis and whom people in Baghdad said was an outsider they could not trust."
Translation: I know very little about why the Governing Council picked Allawi, despite the fact that as a journalist that's exactly the sort of information I should have, but my inadequacy as a reporter is not going to stop me from inserting an editorial statement that undermines Iraq's transition to democracy.



Also, notice the phrase: "people in Baghdad." Could he have written it any more vaguely?

Friday
May282004

A Busy Vacuity, Hollow to the Core

Wow. Charles Krauthammer's opinion of the new World War II memorial certainly is harsh.

Friday
May282004

Kyoto is Anti-Environment

Check out the tremendously straightforward remarks by Russian economist and top Putin Advisor Andrei Illarionov on the Adam Smith Institute Blog.



The guy's a Russian Michael Crichton.

Friday
May282004

"Earthling, This Is the Last Chance to Purchase Your Safety..."

Just got an unusually amusing bit of hate mail:

I just read your critque of Gore's speech. What misleading crap. Of course since your rightwing idols are lying, cheating, fascist scum, it only stands to reason. Who ever heard of The National Center for Public Policy Research? This is just another ultra right conservative bullshit center that creates propoganda for right wing justification. Get a life.

David Everist
Signs of the Times Graphics
theeman@citlink.net

What's amusing about this is that if you put the author's email address into Google, you get a website offering to sell you vinyl Crop Circle Stickers (in a choice of thirteen attractive colors, no less) that you can use to deter aliens from abducting you.

The website says: "Earthling, this is your last chance to purchase your safety. Place these stickers on your car or notebook and maybe you won't be abducted."

This gentleman doesn't appear to be overly popular over at the John Kerry for President Blog. So I guess this letter is not a sign of an emerging belief in alien abduction among leftists generally.

That's a relief. We've got enough looney leftism already, what with Roland Emmerich claiming the Acropolis is turning into a ski lodge of the gods.

Addendum, March 11, 2006: Almost two years later, an indignant response arrives:

amy ridenour,

I am the guy you wrote about on May 28th 2004 calling me a "leftist Looney." You obviously don't know what you are talking about. I can now see why you get so much wrong. You make ridiculous assumptions regardless of the facts. I ran across your article about my "Crop Circle" vinyl designs site (which I took down for various other reasons) the other day when I Googled my name. I found it quite humorous since you got almost nothing right. You quoted my webmaster's sales catch phrase to humorously sell vinyl designs and took it to represent my political philosophy. LOL! No wonder you get so much wrong! I just like the crop circle designs and their formation is an idle curiosity to me and has nothing to do with my political philosophy. You are an idiot.

By the way, what do you think of your "Fuhrer" now that he has exposed his colors for the whole world to see? How long before you think he will be impeached and his entire administration held accountable for the crimes they have committed? As for my not being popular on Kerry's site so long ago, I only considered him the lesser of two evils and he would not be my choice for an alternative candidate in an obviously broken and corrupt system. All I can say is the Republican controlled Congress and their stolen 2000 and 2004 elections have gotten the people who voted for them just what they deserved.

David Everist

PS As far as aliens go, one of the only thing alien to the human race I can see anywhere is you and the people who think like you.

Thursday
May272004

Notes About Other Places

Daly Thoughts, the Blog of the Electoral College Breakdown 2004, has kindly linked to a post on this blog by my husband David Ridenour, our VP.



Dales' Electoral College Breakdown 2004, by the way, tracks the presidential polls based on what they predict about the Electoral College. It is a fast way to make sense of the poll data we get from the news. After all -- and as Al Gore would tell you -- the popular vote doesn't decide the presidency. Only the Electoral College counts.



Meanwhile, Sean at the always-worth-a-visit "Everything I Know Is Wrong" blog posted some very complimentary remarks about posts on this blog by our executive director, David Almasi.



Finally, as long as I am talking about other blogs, allow me to recommend this Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Happiness post to anyone who has wondered, as I have, about the news media's practice of referring to certain geographical locations as "holy cities" -- but not others.

Thursday
May272004

Silent Running

Peter Roff of UPI is reporting that The Center for Public Integrity has created

a new page on its website to monitor 527 political committees.

Wednesday
May262004

Under the Bridge

Peter Roff of UPI has reported that Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) has apologized for comparing some Republicans to the Taliban.

Wednesday
May262004

What is A German Soldier Worth?

This incident recounted in this Tasty Manatees blog story is unfortunate.



I have never been one of those who adhered to the convenient (for non-Germans) thought (pervasive in some quarters post WWII) that ethnic Germans were/are more likely to commit human rights abuses than other First World states and peoples. However, they're not less likely, either.



However, as Tasty Manatees notes, the Der Spiegel report alleging that Americans can't be trusted with POWs might not be entirely reliable. Der Spiegel has erred before.



This would be a good time for the German government to set the record straight.

Wednesday
May262004

Where Is Al Gore?

I've received an e-mail asking the question: Does anyone know an address for sending a letter to Al Gore?



If anyone does, send me an e-mail at info@nationalcenter.org and we'll share it.



ADDENDUM: I'm told Gore works at Metropolitan West Financial, LLC. They can be contacted at:



Metropolitan West Financial, LLC

11440 San Vicente Blvd., 3rd Fl.

Los Angeles, CA 90049

Phone: 310-979-6300

Fax: 310-979-6399



Gore also serves on Apple's Board of Directors:



Apple

1 Infinite Loop

Cupertino, CA 95014

Phone: 408-996-1010

Wednesday
May262004

Meaningful

Via the After Abortion blog comes a recommendation for this Dean's World blog post.

Wednesday
May262004

Explicit Toys

Executive director David W. Almasi finds some poor choices being made by one of America's largest toy retailers:

The Tom Cruise movie "The Last Samurai" received an R-rating largely because of its violent content. It's now on sale at Toys "R" Us. In a Sunday newspaper insert covering May 16-22, "The Last Samurai" was grouped with family-targeted movies like "The Haunted Mansion" and "Peter Pan" among the "hundreds of titles" to be found in Toys "R" Us stores at "Geoffrey's Box Office."



Online, Toys "R" Us is teamed up with Amazon. While the site is geared toward selling kid-friendly fare, it's still linked directly to Amazon's main site. As pointed out in an October 2003 National Policy Analysis, Amazon and other media and electronics stores routinely offer adult-themed videos for sale on-line without safeguards to keep them out of the hands of young people. Selecting the "all products" search field and typing in "Girls Gone Wild" (the infamous collections of girls exposing themselves on camera) on what was toysrus.com linked me to an Amazon catalog providing a selection of 78 DVDs and 44 video titles including "Dormroom Fantasies" and "College Co-Eds Mardi Gras." That's a problem.



Toys "R" Us is the largest toy retailer in the world, but it is losing out to Wal-Mart here in the United States. Wal-Mart refuses to stock some of Hollywood's racier titles like the Girls Gone Wild collection and even prevents people from purchasing R-rated DVDs at new self-serve check-outs without verification of age. That attracts family-oriented shoppers.



Any questions as to why some people prefer to shop Wal-Mart?