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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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Maybe I'm the last one to notice, but just in case I'm not, Google News now has a bar at the top permitting users to access the top stories from ten nations.

I just tried all ten. Interestingly, updates in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal was the Google News Overall #1 story just now for two nations (and only two nations): France and Germany.

Gloating, are we?


David Broder's Harsh Assessment

David Broder opines today that "the only thing that will save the country" is that the baby boomers eventually will die off.


Chris Matthews: Not Hardball But Hogwash

I let MSNBC's marketing scheme work in my case and as such I watched Chris Matthews' Hardball show tonight.

I'm not impressed. It is hard to be impressed by a man over 13 who intentionally messes up saying another person's name (Michelle Malkin's) just because he disagrees with her political opinions. Matthews did that tonight, and was unfair to Michelle Malkin in other ways, too. For instance, Matthews insisted repeatedly that he asked Malkin a question 12 times on Friday's show and Malkin didn't answer. The issue was not how often Matthews asked, but that he refused to listen to her answer. Better he had asked her once, and then shut up and listened to Malkin's reply. Then he could have asked a follow-up. (I admit this is a revolutionary suggestion on my part, but it just might have worked.)

In another criticism of his professionalism, I question why Matthews referred to Republican donors repeatedly as "Republican fundraisers." A fundraiser raises money, a donor donates it. Matthews is a political hack; he knows the difference. Having no other explanation, I can only conclude that using the accurate terminology just isn't important to him. Certainly, in this instance, it doesn't really matter, but if a "journalist" does not care about accuracy on small things that don't matter, how hard will he push for accuracy on matters that do matter, especially if they lead to conclusions he does not like?

Of course, I may be biased. First, I tend to hold people who claim to be journalists to fairly high standards on things such as word usage. (I seem to be a rare bird in this regard.) I also expect them to know more than diddly-squat about the subjects they are doing stories on. Second, this institution spent the first six years of its existence (we were founded in 1982) supporting Ronald Reagan's national security policy. We were fought tooth and nail by the Democrat Congress. Chris Matthews was Tip O'Neill's chief of staff during (roughly) that same period of time. I'm not exactly bitter about our experiences then, even though they were hard years (by office job standards), since we did win the Cold War. But I admit it is hard for me to look at his face on the TV and not remember so many of us having to fight so hard against domestic opposition in order to do so. To this day I don't understand why so many Democrats refused to be on the side of freedom.

I have not been watching Chris Matthews' show on MSNBC these last howevermany years. Some have told me Matthews' show was good during the Clinton impeachment trial because he, Matthews, reportedly did not make excuses for adultery and perjury, yet he was not reflexively anti-Democrat, either. If so, good for Matthews. But I would find it hard to regularly watch a show dominated by someone over 40 who seems to have a teenager's level of maturity, even if we had been on the same side of the climactic battle for world freedom that consumed nearly the entire 20th Century.


Strengthen the Good: Gulf Coast Community Foundation Of Venice Hurricane Charley Disaster Relief Fund

The new Strengthen The Good network of bloggers banding together to support worthy charities has selected its first charity for support: The Gulf Coast Community Foundation Of Venice Hurricane Charley Disaster Relief Fund.

I encourage folks to visit this link and evaluate this charity. If you like what you see, please consider a donation. Until $100,000 is collected, all gifts are being matched dollar for dollar, so everytime someone gives a dollar, the charity receives two.

Gifts can be made by credit card, PayPal or post office mail.


Campaign Free Speech

Project 21 member Deroy Murdock is making a good point on Joe Scarborough's MSNBC Show right now (blogger Hugh Hewitt is another guest), specifically: That so-called "outside groups" (of all political persuasions) have First Amendment free speech rights.

I'm with Deroy on this one. Let everyone speak. The voters are smart enough to separate the wheat from the chaff.

In my opinion, we should limit our campaign finance laws to full and prompt disclosure of all campaign contributions.


Abortion More Dangerous Than Childbirth, Stats Say

Abortion, apparently, is not just more dangerous than childbirth for the child. It is more dangerous for Moms, too.

Hat tip to Bill's Comments.


Is It Just Me? Part III

Husband David Ridenour, whose musings have been published here before, has a few more thoughts:

  • Prominent conservatives use expletives only when pushed to anger, while their liberal counterparts do so on purpose to project an "oh so cool" image. Yet, conservatives get more adverse publicity.

  • To borrow a joke attributed to former Rep. John LaBoutillier about the House Speaker under whom he served: What do Michael Moore and the federal budget have in common? They're both big, bloated and out-of-control.

  • When most Americans do the morally reprehensible, it is because they can't help themselves. According to his new book, when Bill Clinton does so, it is just because he can.

  • If higher prices reduce demand for and thus use of gasoline - something liberals claim to want - why are so many liberals lamenting high gasoline prices?

  • Seizing or destroying the enemy's command and control - which includes communication facilities - is key to winning war. So why, in our war against international terrorists - a war without borders - hasn't Al Jazeera been reduced to a pile of rubble?

  • Liberals preach sensitivity, compassion and self-esteem. Yet, they're the first to question the intelligence of conservative politicians - Ronald Reagan, Dan Quayle and George Bush, to mention just three. If these conservatives really are "stupid," isn't it insensitive to mention this? And shouldn't they be praised for rising above their limited talents? While we're at it, shouldn't we require government across the board to slow down and simplify so that such politicians aren't left behind? That's what we do with our school system. It's all about self-esteem, you know.

  • Sunday

    U.S.-French Relations

    A look at U.S.-French relations, circa 1944.

    A look at U.S.-French relations, circa 2004.


    New Overtime Rules

    When you hear some people talk, you could almost be convinced that the Bush Administration's new overtime policy is bad for workers.

    Here's what I wrote on this a few months ago, relying heavily on information from the Heritage Foundation. If you click the link, you'll see who really likes the old rules Bush is reforming (trial lawyers) and why they like them (confusing rules equal lawsuits equal cash cash cash -- for lawyers, not lower-income workers).

    Speaking of overtime and the Heritage Foundation, Heritage has a wealth of info up about this on its main webpage right now.

    Bottom line: The new rules are better than the old for workers and better for America.

    Now, if we really want worker flexibility (which a lot of working parents really, really like), we'll get the government out of the matter entirely, but that's a discussion for another day...


    Bush's Swift Boat Connections

    BeldarBlog examines the New York Times chart that attempts to show connections between the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and George W. Bush.

    The chart is amazing -- an amazing example of wacky journalism. I actually read parts of it a couple of times because I could not believe my eyes.

    For example, here's a key connection between SBVT and George Bush, according to the chart: One of Swiftee John O'Neill's law partners used to be married to a woman who was named to a state appeals court by George W. Bush when Bush was governor of Texas.

    Yes, that's one of a whopping six connections the New York Times has on the chart.

    Maybe there's a tighter connection in real life, but, if so, it's not on the chart.

    Beldar wonders why he didn't make the Times list. I'm wondering, too. I once lived in an apartment building owned by a company partially owned by someone who gave $25,000 to the Swift Vets, and I worked for the Republican National Committee 25 years ago.

    Coincidence? You decide.


    Asbestos Scandal

    Joe Perkins has a harsh yet informative op-ed in the San Diego Union-Tribune this week about asbestos litigation. Asbestos litigation is a topic that makes people turn away because they think it sounds boring...

    ...which is what those who are enriching themselves through it are counting upon.

    Says Joe:

    It is, arguably, the biggest racket in American history - asbestos litigation.

    It is bigger than bootlegging during the Prohibition era.

    Bigger than cocaine trafficking during the drug-addled 1970s.

    Bigger than securities fraud during the get-rich-quick 1990s.
    Read the rest. You won't be bored. I promise.


    Participate in a Poll

    If you've ever wanted to be asked to participate in a poll but never seem to be, click here.

    I don't know these folks, but I just took their media bias poll anyway.


    Saudi Incompetence

    Regarding this post about Saudi Arabia's PR campaign, Lionel Waxman writes to say:

    Is it possible the Saudis don't know any better? How many Americans do you think know better?
    He may have a point. They may not know better. Maybe it is a competency issue; not an honesty issue.

    Having said that, though, one has to be immensely incompetent to run an expensive ad campaign with false checkable information in it the way the Saudis did.


    Chris Matthews Theory

    Husband David has a theory about Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann. He thinks their over-the-top obnoxiousness (see Michelle Malkin's August 20 blog entry and other commentaries all over the blogosphere) is a attention-getting ratings ploy.

    No one, he figures, is this obnoxious naturally. So, it must be a calculated effort to create buzz and thus, perhaps, ratings points.

    Addendum: This theory seems all the more likely, since MSNBC spent a good bit of time tonight bragging that Chris Matthews is obnoxious (they worded it differently, of course).


    Elliot Spitzer: Your Personal Shopper

    TigerHawk has a good question about New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer and his new taxpayer-funded plan to help New Yorkers shop:

    If I were a New York politician other than Eliot Spitzer or a taxpayer in that state (actually, I am, come to think of it), I would want to know why this is the attorney general's job. If this is within the mandate of his office, what isn't?
    Hat tip to Professor Bainbridge.


    Extreme Weather & Global Warming

    Iain Murray has a good post on extreme weather events and global warming on The Commons Blog. Quoting Spiked's Brendan O'Neill, the post says, in part:

    Dr Mark Saunders, a weather expert at University College London (UCL), says we need to cool down. 'I don't think the weather we have seen is particularly unusual, to be honest. Somewhere in the world you will always get extreme weather events - whether it's a storm, a flood, or a drought. There are always people being affected by extreme weather. There is no study to my knowledge which shows that more people are being affected now, or that more people will be affected by freak weather this year than in previous years.'
    There's more in Iain's post.

    Back in 1998, husband David wrote a paper for us on this topic. Titled "Don't Like the Weather? Don't Blame it on Global Warming," the paper examined charges that mid-90s forest fires, heat waves, blizzards and hurricanes were indicators of global warming. Because the paper reviews a century's worth of trends on these extreme weather events, it remains one of the most popular downloads on the National Center's website even now, six years later.


    "America Was Built By European Garbage"

    Interesting theory about anti-Americanism by Europeans on Redhunter Thursday.

    I doubt it is the full explanation, but it is food for thought.


    Gergen's Curious Leadership Selection System

    David Gergen, speaking on Hardball, just referred to Ann Coulter as a "Republican leader."

    Is the standard now that every right-of-center pundit is a Republican leader and every left-of-center pundit a Democrat leader?

    I assume Gergen -- apparently a registered Republican but a "Democrat leader" by this standard -- thinks so.

    It used to be that one had to be elected to public and/or party office to be a party leader. Very quaint -- the party members actually had a say in who their leaders were.

    Under Gergen's system, the media picks the leaders -- whomever is a guest on a talking head show is annointed.


    Media Censors Poll

    Davids Medienkritik opines about silently deleting an online presidential poll showing John Kerry way ahead...


    US Basketball Team Stuns US Basketball Team

    More musings from husband David:

    What's next? The United States Olympic beach volleyball team will lose in an upset to the District of Columbia's beach volley ball team?

    Over the weekend, the US basketball team was reportedly defeated by Puerto Rico's basketball team.

    Did I miss something?

    The last time I looked, Puerto Ricans were full U.S. citizens. Were Puerto Ricans to move to any state in the United States, they could vote in federal elections like every other citizen. They'd also earn the "right" to pay federal taxes -- which may explain why they often don't.

    The "chief of state" in Puerto Rico is George W. Bush. In Puerto Rico, the United States controls nationality and citizenship; currency; foreign relations; commerce; military service; mining and minerals; social security; the postal system; and the list goes on and on.

    So what gives with the Olympics?

    Shouldn't the sports headlines have read: "US Basketball Team Stuns US Basketball Team"?