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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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Teresa Heinz, Environmental Defense & Pittsburgh's Cleanup

As reported by The Commons Blog, Teresa Heinz is claiming some credit for cleaning Pittsburgh. She says Pittsburgh is one of the cleanest cities in America.

Yet this EnvironmentalDefense report claims Pittsburgh is the nation's 18th dirtiest city.

Teresa Heinz is on their board, and is a major backer.

Which is it, Teresa? Clean or Dirty?

To be fair, Environmental Defense's ranking methods are wacky, so perhaps it is unfair to note Heinz apparently disagrees with the group's conclusions, even if we fairly place part of the blame for the group's wackiness on her shoulders. Pittsburgh is a much cleaner city than its industrial workhorse reputation leads some to expect, as it undertook a massive city cleanup known as Renassiance I from roughly the 1950s to early 1970s. So Heinz is right about the relatively clean air, although her unspecified role in the clean up must have been limited, as she did not even move to the United States until the 1960s.

But, back to the wackiness. Environmental Defense ranks cities not only according to the cleanliness of their air, but by the number of children who live there. The more kids as city has, the worse its ranking will be.

Why would such a large group do something so odd? Because it is trying to make a political point about asthma in kids. The more kids a city has, the more kids with asthma a city has, the more dirty air-related suffering is going on. That's the group's reasoning, anyway.

Personally, if I were doing such a ranking, I'd put the dirtiest city at the top of the list, the second dirtiest second, and so forth. But then, I lack imagination.

So whatever you do, if you are looking to move to the cleanest city in America, use some other group's ranking system to pick your next home. If you are looking for playmates for your kids, however, Environmental Defense may have just the data you need.


Cleveland Plain Dealer on Blogging

Check out this nice column about blogging in the Cleveland Plain Dealer by Kevin O'Brien.

Hat tip to Michael Ubaldi's uBlog.


National Guard Status: AWOL

A note from Mom, a regular listener to the Jerry Bowyer Show on WPTT in Pittsburgh:

On Tuesday, someone called the Jerry Bowyer show and told this story-

In the 1960s I was in the Air National Guard at the Pittsburgh airport. There was a very famous name on the roster and I asked if that person was really here. I was assured by all the others that he was. Occasionally I saw him, but more often he was not there. I would ask and was told he was in Europe, or he was away or he had other business. He wasn't there very much. His name was John Heinz.

So I guess John Kerry is calling his wife's dead first husband the same names he calls George Bush.



Shoes for Iraqi Kids

I didn't think a soldier stationed in Iraq who also is running a charity in this spare time would have additional time left over to write thank you letters to strangers, but I was wrong.

Back in July, I read this article on the Keystone Soldiers website about 1st Lt. Eric Sloan of Reading, PA. Lt. Sloan is collecting shoes for Iraqi children he sees walking barefoot in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees.

As readers of this blog know, my husband David and I have three four-year-olds. Keystone Soldiers made it clear that used-but-still-good kids' shoes would be welcomed by Lt. Sloan. So we gladly participated in the project, but we never expected to hear personally from Lt. Sloan. We did:

I wanted to thank you for sending the large box of sandals for donation to the children here in Iraq.

I started this idea when I was in Fallujah and would see all the children come in and out of my checkpoint without shoes on their feet. Well, I am in Baghdad now and have begun the process of starting the distribution process here. Your twenty pairs of shoes brings my total number received for the donation to approximately 500 pairs of shoes.

Thank you very much for your kindness. God Bless You!

Eric J. Sloan

1st Lt. U.S. Army
God Bless Lt. Sloan, I say.

I know some blog readers have perfectly good kids' shoes around the house -- shoes their owners outgrew. I hope some of you will drop by Keystone Soldiers to read more about Lt. Sloan's work. Dropping shoes in the mail is easy -- and you get a cleaner closet, besides!


Western Pennsylvania Floods

I spent so much time watching the news coverage of what Ivan was doing to our southern states that I completely missed the harrowing tales of what the storm was doing elsewhere, including my own hometown.

Visit here for a slide show of dramatic flood photos in Western Pennsylvania courtesy of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

President Bush on Sunday night declared 19 Pennsylvania counties a disaster area while Gov. Ed Rendell has activated Pennsylvania's National Guard. Looking at those photos, I sure can see why. If you watch the slide show you see photos as dramatic as an entire farm so submerged by flooding that only the barn roof is visible from the air.


The U.N.'s Steep Decline

Jim Phillips and Nile Gardner of the Heritage Foundation have torn apart Kofi Annan's jibe that the war in Iraq was "illegal."

A small sample of a piece that I recommend be read in its entirety:

Kofi Annan's ill-considered jibe undercuts efforts to stabilize postwar Iraq that have been endorsed by the U.N. Security Council. It stigmatizes the embryonic Iraqi government, while strengthening the hand of Iraqi insurgents and foreign terrorists determined to strangle democracy in Iraq and inflict a defeat on the U.S.-led, U.N.-backed security force in the country.... Annan's statement that the war was "illegal" is both false and spurious..."
Phillips and Gardner believe Annan's statement was, in part, designed to indirectly affect the U.S. elections. They add:
The U.N. Secretary-General's gratuitous comments were an extraordinarily undiplomatic and inappropriate intervention from a world figure who is supposed to be a neutral servant of the international community. They raise serious questions about Annan's judgment and his suitability to continue in his post... The U.N. is a world body in steep, possibly terminal decline, struggling for relevance in the 21st Century, and Mr. Annan's remarks only further underline his organization's growing impotence.
The Heritage Foundation was sounding the alarm about the U.N. decades before doing so was fashionable. We'd be wise to listen to what its experts say now.


Hot Cold

It is because of things like this...

To many, this suggests a global warming fingerprint: The accumulation of greenhouse gases -- principally carbon dioxide -- has driven world temperatures to new heights (2002 and 2003 tied for second place after 1998 as the warmest years ever).
...that I write things like this. Not to mention this.


A Complete Enemy

Captain Ed, blogging about France:

...disinformation operations are specifically designed to confuse and damage an opponent's intelligence services, placing them at a disadvantage against their enemies. Any time another country targets the US for such tactics, it puts American citizens at risk and when successful weakens our national security. But especially after 9/11, such activity cannot be seen as the actions of a friend, even an envious or concerned friend. Deliberate disinformation campaigns during wartime make clear that the aggressor considers themselves an antagonist to the US, if not a complete enemy.
Read the whole thing here.


Rathergate Must-Read

The Washington Post has a must see piece on page one in Sunday's edition on Rathergate.

Related and, if anything, even more interesting graphic in the Post can be found here.


Missionaries to Wal-Mart Territory

Ed Haislmaier sent this over:

Writing in the Charleston Daily Mail ("Missionaries to Wal-Mart territory: Liberals still think the message is fine; the audience, stupid"), columnist Chris Stirewalt demolishes the newly public expression of the 'voters are too stupid to elect liberals' theory. That theory -- which to date has usually been only quietly and privately expressed among our friends on the left -- is the natural corollary to the left's longstanding, and often publicly asserted, belief that conservatives are stupid.

Money quotes:
Left-wing America has reached a conclusion about the half of the country that refuses to put them in charge: Regular people are too stupid and brainwashed to vote in their own self-interest.
Thomas Frank's book "What's the Matter With Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America" has received accolades [from the left] for finally saying what so many had been thinking -- that the only reason liberalism lost was that conservatives were better at duping the rubes.
Like the avant-garde composer who creates a symphony so advanced and innovative that it sounds like a raccoon being tossed down the stairs in a steel garbage can, liberals know the problem is with the audience, not their work.
If the new idea for the left is to be even more condescending to voters, I don't suppose conservatives have too much to worry about.
Quick! Somebody syndicate Stirewalt before he gets away!


Project 21 Member Profiled

Project 21 member Kimani Jefferson has just been profiled in his local newspaper.

The paper profiles his conversion from an Al Gore voter in 2000 to Republican National Convention delegate (from Minnesota) by 2004.


Child Abuse

Jeez. You wouldn't think grown-ups would do this to a little kid.

Hat tip to Poisoning Pigeons.

Addendum: The Washington Times has more details.

(I just knew the thugs would turn out to be labor union guys.)

Addendum 2: I predict three-year-old Sophia Parlock may get to meet the President of the United States personally the next time he's in West Virginia...

Addendum 3: Michelle Malkin reports the union is apologizing (good for them) while Captain Ed doesn't think much of the story or of the Parlock family.

I love Captain Ed, but my instincts go the other way completely. I've been to, and organized, many many counterdemonstrations over the years. Folks who attend them are expressing their political views, and as long as they do so lawfully, they should be applauded for participating in the process. (Frankly, if a few more Americans had participated in counterdemonstrations in the 60s and early 70s a few million Vietnamese killed by the communists after we left might be alive today.)

I myself got slugged pretty effectively by a grandmother in Texas in 1980 after I unfurled a Reagan sign at a Jimmy Carter rally at the Waco airport. Some would say I should not have done it (in fact, that's what the Reagan people said later to me that very day; Jimmy Carter had some pretty graphic words, too), and now that I'm 24 years older I probably wouldn't do the same thing given the same circumstances.

Ultimately, however, what I did was harmless, and I went on to participate in probably over 100 more demonstrations and counterdemonstrations over the years with very little violence of any kind ever taking place. Violence at political rallies is the exception, not the norm, at political rallies in the U.S., so it is not surprising to me that citizens would expect to be able to wave signs without fear at an opposition-party rally. I can't call it irresponsible that one family tried.

Addendum 4:An update on the story from the Parlocks' local newspaper.


History Channel

I'm blogging while watching the History Channel's documentary "First Invasion: The War of 1812."

I thought I knew a good bit about that war but it turns out I missed learning about some good stuff, including more than one event helpful to Americans that was attributed to divine intervention (here's one blogger's take on a weather-related miracle, and a more disspassionate view of that same event), and some extremely impressive sacrifices by ordinary Americans to save the then-infant republic.

Although it isn't one of the miracles, in the Battle of New Orleans, 2,000 British troops out of a force of 10,000 veterans were killed or wounded by a ragtag American force that suffered 8 dead and 13 wounded. That sounds pretty close to a miracle to me -- at least, for our side.

I'll never listen to the Star Spanged Banner the same way again.


Quote of the Day

"Dan Rather does not like anyone in the Bush family that I know of, unless maybe one of the dogs."

-Bob Dole on the Tony Snow radio show, as quoted in the New York Times, September 17


Black Conservatives on "Voter Suppression"

Project 21 is calling claims of voter suppression by the NAACP, People for the American Way and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights a "smear-and-fear" campaign.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, run by its uber-leftist chairman, Mary Frances Berry, is holding a formal meeting on "barriers to the ballot box" September 17.

Says a Commission press release on the briefing:

Recent allegations [of barriers to the ballot box] include events in Florida, where many elderly black voters have been reportedly intimidated by police officers investigating alleged absentee voting fraud; in Texas, where students at the predominately black Prairie View A&M University were threatened with arrest by the local district attorney, who erroneously suggested they were not eligible to vote in the county in which the school was located; South Dakota, where some Native American poll workers and voters asserted that voting fraud investigations were racially motivated and only served to intimidate and discourage Indian voters; and in Chicago, where problems with voter identification and provisional balloting implementation reportedly had racial implications.
Says Project 21's Kevin Martin:
The same forces we saw in 2000 - those speaking of a concerted effort to disfranchise minorities - are once again making ridiculous allegations to make up for their lack of substance. They speak of voter suppression and intimidation, but they say nothing about the lax voter registration and identification rules that could lead to voter fraud.
For more, go here.


No Clownish Fluffball Enterprise

From Michelle Malkin's Love Letter to the Blogosphere today:

From This episode is also a powerful rebuke of the MSM's Wonkette-ization of the blogosphere--which enabled Old Media types to take comfort in gossip blogger Ana Marie Cox's bosom and minimize blogging as a clownish fluffball enterprise. They'll still visit her site for an occasional fix of penis jokes and fabricated rumors, but she'll no longer be in their daily must-reads, where she has been replaced by bloggers of substance who don't need to go slumming to command deserved attention from newsrooms across the country.
I recommend all of it.


Congratulations to Sean

Congratulations to Sean at the Everything I Know Is Wrong blog for receiving 50,000 visitors to his blog.

Sean just happened to check his Sitemeter just as his webometer hit 50,000.

Everything I Know Is Wrong and Captain's Quarters were two of the very first blogs I read regularly when I first started paying serious attention to the blogosphere in 2003, and I have continued to visit each of them nearly every day since.


Viacom's Responsibility

Peter Flaherty of the National Legal and Policy Center has a piece on the American Spectator website today saying it is time for Viacom board of directors, which has legal and moral responsibility for the actions of its subsidiary CBS, to get directly involved in setting the CBS scandal to rights.

The National Legal and Policy Center has placed on its website a list of contact addresses not only for CBS, but for individual members of the Viacom board of directors.

The members of Viacom's board include members of the cabinets of former Presidents Clinton and Carter and the president of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among others. The complete list is here.


Leave the U.N.

It is past time for the U.S. to leave the United Nations.


Rush Limbaugh's Storm

This wonderful short essay pays blunt tribute to Rush Limbaugh.