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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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Usher and Budden: Violence Isn't Art

Project 21's Kimberley Jane Wilson is asking why rappers Usher and Joe Budden insist on advocating violence towards women and unborn children in their song lyrics. Says Kimberley:

Some may feel compelled to jump to Usher and Budden's defense by saying the duo are just "keeping it real." Has no one noticed that no celebrity ever seems to keep it real by doing or saying something positive?
Read the whole thing.

Addendum: Who Moved My Truth? has interesting observations about this issue.


Lady Godiva's Return

As a reminder that there are other concerns in the world besides hotly-contested elections and Islamicist savages, consider this grave problem facing the citizens of Billings, Montana.


Regarding Serial Commas



This is a new blog, and it looks good. Sample of a screed about the link between Saddam Hussein and terrorism:

Those who reject the available evidence seem to think that the absence of a big dossier labeled, "My Support for Terrorism," by Saddam Hussein, means that nothing was going on.


Al-Qaqaa Tour

Patrick at Liberating Iraq just spoke by phone with a friend attached to the 101st Airborne's Division Command Staff, which spent two weeks last year using Al-Qaqaa as a temporary headquarters.

Patrick's friend describes what the 101st saw -- and didn't see -- there.


Corporations vs. Environmentalists

Looks like the moral high ground is with the corporations this time.


Independent Film Channel: Not Fair and Balanced

Executive Director David W. Almasi continues to channel surf, and sends over his comments:

Cable's Sundance Channel has a full slate of anti-Bush programming scheduled for the eve of the election. Now I see that the Independent Film Channel is following Sundance's lead with its own offering of liberal programs.

(And yet Sinclair is still taking it on the chin for airing just part of one documentary critical of John Kerry!)

The program descriptions belong to IFC, my comments are italicized:

Friday, October 29 at 10:00 pm and Saturday, October 30 at 1:00 am

"Fahrenheit 9/11: A Movement in Time"

A tribute to the most provocative documentary of our time. Featuring interviews with Mario Cuomo, Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Wyclef Jean, Bonnie Raitt, Michael Stipe and others.

Monday, November 1

8:00 pm

"The War Room"

Seminal documentarians D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus capture the behind-the-scene machinations of Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign through the eyes of George Stephanopoulos and James McCarville, the two volatile generals who orchestrated their candidate's march to the White House.

9:35 pm

"Soldiers Pay"

Originally shot by Russell as an extra for the special DVD release of his film "Three Kings," "Soldiers Pay" was later removed at the studio's request. "Soldiers Pay" presents viewpoints on the war in Iraq from all sides of the spectrum, including veterans, Iraqis who rose up against Saddam after the Gulf War, journalists, politicians, psychologists and a two-star general who led the U.S. Marines to victory in the Gulf War.

According to an article about the film, director Russell is "anti-war in general and anti-Bush in particular." After the film was dumped from the DVD, it played in limited release paired with "Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War" (which is, coincidentally, I'm sure, playing immediately prior to "Soldiers Pay" on Sundance Channel.

10:15 pm

"The War Room"

12:00 am

"Soldiers Pay"

And, in case you missed it the first two times, "The War Room" plays again on Election Day at 12:35 pm.


Heritage's Gardner: U.N.'s Defining Moment?

The Heritage Foundation's Nile Gardner takes a look at the role of the United Nations in the "missing" explosives controversy and speculates:

The 2004 Presidential election may be not only a defining moment in American history, but also a defining moment for the future of the United Nations.


Heritage Foundation on Russia Policy: Blunt Talk, Good Ideas

Those who have heeded my pleas that Americans need to pay more attention to Russia will find much of value in this new Heritage Foundation paper by Dr. Ariel Cohen.

In this paper, Cohen shares more than one very harsh reality about the inadequacy of Russia's anti-terror policy (read his assessment of how badly Russian security forces screwed up rescue efforts in Beslan) and Putin's ambitions toward Russia's neighbors. But the piece is not all gloom and doom. Cohen provides a roadmap for American policymakers who want to enhance U.S.-Russian cooperation in the war on terror while doing what Americans realistically can to to help foster prosperity and progress for people living in (and near) Russia.

Cohen also has very, very good sources. Check the footnotes on the paper -- he goes to the top.


Anti-Catholic Bigotry in Europe

The Times of London opines about the fact that devout Catholics apparently are ineligible for leadership roles in the European Union.


But if an EU citizen is to be debarred from public office for holding personal beliefs that are at odds with the prevailing social orthodoxy -- and to be debarred despite a categorical statement that he would not let those beliefs intrude upon policy decisions, or result in any form of discrimination whatever -- then it is not only "the European project" that is undermined; it is democracy itself.
I have long been opposed to the European Union, and not just for the obvious reasons. It has always struck me that a continent full of nations that have spent hundreds of years killing each other's citizens on the slightest of pretexts cannot repair their discord by vastly increasing the number and significance of the issues on which they are forced to agree.

I know the average European would rather swallow his own tongue than listen to an American, but American poet Robert Frost wrote something they should heed: "Good fences make good neighbors."

Europe needs more fences.


Breeding Nuclear Weapons

In just four succinct paragraphs, the Little Red Blog tells some harsh but necessary truths about Iran, the U.N., America, and the spread of nuclear weapons technology. A sample:

The real difficulty on this issue may not be the political willingness of the U.S. to stand before a menace, but rather the European and Russian willingness to side with the menace in search of greatly desired financial and political power. What we can be certain of is the U.N. is not going to be the final arbiter of justice nor is it likely to agree until it is too late that just action is needed.


Putin, Explained

From Moscow News, an editorial that explains Vladimir Putin and the Russian political situation:

A year ago Vladimir Putin proved that he was a bad politician but a good power-wielder and a worthy candidate for dictator, who was capable of taking tough decisions and would not allow anyone to mislead or intimidate him, who knew how to destroy his political opponents and to hatch conspiracies...

But at the same time he proved to have no idea about politics, as the art of maneuvering, compromise, observing a balance of interests, of trust and agreement.

Vladimir Putin sees politics as a secret raid aimed at achieving unnamed goals under the cover of the appropriate statements and formal procedures.

The future under Vladimir Putin does not bode well for Russia.

It is hardly likely that after all Putin has done over the past year he will get out of his entrenched position and, suspending all the secret attacks aimed at seizures, reshuffles and recruitments, enter into a dialogue with the political and economic entities operating in Russia. Putin ceased to see any sense in such a dialogue as soon as he ceased to see the difference between himself and the Russian state.
I know this is not about Bush v. Kerry, the MSM, or Iraq, the political blogosphere's favorite subjects du jour, but Russia matters. Read the whole thing.


The Paragraph Farmer

This is a well-written new blog.

Take, for example, this post in which supermodel Kathy Ireland, who used to be pro-choice, tries to convince Fox's Alan Colmes to be pro-life.

I've just added this new blog to my blogroll.


American Digest: Blogger's Head Explodes

Blogging satire may be in its infancy, but this is worth a look.


Daily Ablution Finds the Guardian Hilarious

The Daily Ablution blog, which played a key role in getting protest emails to the UK Guardian after a columnist there regretted, in print, a supposed shortage of presidential assassins, has found this hilarious correction (regarding a different story) in the Guardian:

We were wrong to say the musical Brooklyn had been 'roundly panned by critics' in our round-up of US theatre (Review, last week). The show had not actually opened when the piece was written.
Nice to know the paper's incompetence isn't limited to issues of life and death...


The Daily Recycler: NYTrogate

The Daily Recycler has the video of the NBC News report debunking the New York Times/CBS "missing explosives" story.

How did we ever live without The Daily Recycler?


Washington Post Best Blog Contest

The Washington Post has announced the winners of its "2004 Best Blogs Readers' Choice Award" contest.

While I congratulate National Review's The Corner for its victory in category after category, I think the Post would do well to limit each blog to a single category or have a much more open nominations process (I believe the Post itself picked the nominees), which would, most likely, have the same effect. When one blog wins 50 percent of the ten categories (National Review's The Corner), and another (Instapundit) receives two of the five remaining, it makes for an unnecessarily dull contest.

I'd add a few more categories, too. The Post contest focused on -- mostly -- electoral political blogs. There are other issues covered by many wonderful blogs -- health care/medicine, law, and family life, just to name a few. And quite a lot of personal blogs, some of which are quite excellent.

Personally, I'm very interested in politics, but very many people -- and bloggers -- are not. I hope these (possibly more well-rounded) individuals can be included in the contest next time.


Media Bias? What Bias?

NCPPR executive director David W. Almasi takes a look at his television schedule, and finds fodder for a conversation about equal time:

Sinclair Broadcasting took it on the chin for wanting to show a POW documentary considered by some to be overly critical of John Kerry. They claimed Sinclair was showing an overt bias and wanted to influence the election.

Perhaps these critics will now turn their scorn on cable's Sundance Channel. To follow is their scheduled Bush-bashing line-up for election eve (11/1/04):

7:00 pm


directed by Richard Ray Perez and Joan Sekler

As the pundits said repeatedly on election night 2000, "It all comes down to Florida." However, as documented in this film by Joan Sekler and Richard Ray Perez, incompetence and petty corruption were altering the final tally from the moment the Sunshine State's polls opened. Citing a suspicious pattern of irregularities, injustices and purges of African-Americans from the voter records, the filmmakers present a provocative piece of advocacy journalism that -- contrary to suggestions to "just get over it" -- prompts outrage.

8:00 pm


directed by Robert Greenwald

Filmmaker Robert Greenwald, creator of the 2000 election expose Unprecedented, considers the Bush administration's case for the Iraq War and finds among the alarmist rhetoric little supporting evidence to back it up. Revealing news clips and interviews with intelligence veterans -- including Scott Ritter, Clare Short and Joseph Wilson -- make the case that the Bush administration misled the world with dubious statements, empty innuendoes and unchallenged untruths. "A devastating analysis" - Senator Edward Kennedy.

9:00 pm


directed by Nonny de la Pena

Producer Robert Greenwald (UNCOVERED; OUTFOXED) and filmmaker Nonny de la Pena present a devastating account of the erosion of American liberties following the passage of the USA Patriot Act in 2001. First-hand testimony and commentary from noted public figures -- ranging from Professor David Cole and the American Civil Liberties Union's Anthony Romero to former congressman Robert Barr -- recount unprecedented searches, abusive ethnic profiling and covert surveillance of political organizations, enacted under the guise of national security.

10:10 pm


When Karl Rove gives a public interview, he projects an affable personality and downplays any speculation about his powerful influence in the Bush White House. But as recounted in this documentary by Michael Paradies Shoob and Joseph Mealey, the Texan political operative is far from a supporting player. Tracing Rove's rise to power, BUSH'S BRAIN alleges a shady history of campaign dirty tricks, including scurrilous smears against past Bush foes like Ann Richards and John McCain. "Darkly comical, seriously scary" - Variety.

11:30 pm


Humorist and best-selling author Al Franken and guests present a fearlessly irreverent commentary on the political events of the day in this daily program.


Regret The Error: Mistakes Happen

I've added several new blogs to my blogroll today, one of which has a unique reason to exist: It reports exclusively upon errors, clarifications and trends regarding honesty and accuracy in the North American press.

Interesting idea for a blog, and one which should keep the editor, Craig Silverman, quite busy.


All-Encompassingly: Iraq News

The All-Encompassingly blog compares one professor's description of his experience working with teachers in Karbala, Iraq, with CNN coverage of events in that city.