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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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Church Political Speech - What's Legal, What's Not

The James Madison Center for Free Speech and the Alliance Defense Fund have jointly published concise guides explaining what churches operating under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code can and cannot legally do in regard to political activity.

The guides, which also can be helpful to other non-profit organizations, are free to the public and available on the groups' websites. The James Madison Center and the Alliance Defense Fund, which are nonprofits, also assist churches, pastors and priests with related legal advice.


Bill Cosby on Parenting

Project 21 has a new press release out on the topic of Bill Cosby's latest forthright remarks that some, the Associated Press reports, call an "elitist attack on the poor."


Blog Quote in Smithsonian

Speaking of Joe Roche, despite all the mishaps I was eventually (at 4:30 AM! Thursday) able to catch Joe on the Michael Reagan show taped Wednesday. So it is time to mention Joe's other good news: Joe has been contacted by A&E Television Network, which is asembling a new permanent exhibit for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, A&E asked Joe to give for permission to include in the exhibit this quote:

"I'm not trying to sound like a big tough guy. I'm scared everyday and pray before every mission for our safety and success. This is a combat zone."
The exhibit, titled "The Price of Freedom," is to examine the role of the American military in war.

So Joe's having quite a month, quote-wise. And this one blog post by Joe is now doubly destined for the history books.



Doctors Can't Cure Everything

Galen's Log focuses its stethoscope on the malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit filed by the late actor John Ritter's family against the hospital that treated him at the time of his death.

Unlike blogger Galen, I'm no physician, but I have to suspect that world famous, ultra popular TV personalities such as Ritter generally get decent attention in medical facilities.

Needless lawsuits drive up medical costs for everyone. I hope the Ritter family thought long and hard about the merits of this lawsuit before filing it.


First Among Equals

Joe Roche was quoted in a page one Washington Post story Thursday.

I guess the Post, not a notoriously right-wing outfit, does not concur with the leftist souless wonders who think that when a soldier such as Joe relates his honest opinion it constitutes a "PR missive" (Daily Kos), call Joe a "phony" and a "professional propagandist" (Oliver Willis) or, like in April, claim Joe isn't real.

I guess I should not harp on this issue but I just can't believe people act this way toward our combat soldiers. While all Americans enjoy First Amendment rights equally, I can't help but think that those who put their lives on the line to defend those rights should be treated, ceremonially at least, as first among equals.



Bush's National Guard Service

Sean at Everything I Know Is Wrong puts Bush's National Guard Service in context.

Worth a read unless you are sure you know everything there is to know about the subject.


Joe Roche on Mike Reagan Tonight

Joe Roche will be a guest on Mike Reagan's national radio show this evening.

Joe's various emails from the front in Iraq have been quoted, linked to and re-posted by over 200 blogs since April, which I think is wonderful (more than wonderful). If any of you would like to listen in, you can visit Mike Reagan's website to find a station in your area or to listen in via Internet. Joe is to appear at either 6:30 PM Eastern or 7:30 PM Eastern. The website broadcasts the show live 6-9 PM Eastern and rebroadcasts the entire three-hour show at 9 PM Eastern and again at 1 AM Eastern.

This will be Joe's first radio interview, save some interviews he did with his college radio station when he was an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota. Given the prominence of Mike's show, Joe is starting at the top!

Joe's had some major good news since we last posted major good news about Joe last week. I'll post more about it after the radio broadcast tonight, so Joe has a chance to tell everyone about it first himself on the radio show, but here is a hint: Think Smithsonian Institution.

Addendum: Well, no "after the broadcast" for me. Because we had company for dinner I was unable to listen to the show during 6-9 PM nor during most of the 9-12 rebroadcast, so I relied on the Radio America website's information that it rebroadcasts the show at 1 AM. It doesn't. So I spent the rest of the night hooking up an XM radio home satellite system. Next time, I'll have options. Or at least I hope I will. I got the XM hardware up great, but their website says it is too busy to process new activation requests just now. More customers than they can handle, I guess.



Cold Global Warming

Some weather reports from around the globe:

Nebraska farmers are worried that one of the coolest summers on record will harm the state's corn and soybean crops. Minnesota and Wisconsin farmers are among the others who have worried about cool temperatures.

Iowans are seeing tourism revenues fall because of low temperatures.

Winnipeg is on track to have its coolest summer since at least 1872.

Chicago trees are shedding leaves too soon because of the cold.

St. Louis is having its coolest summer since 1985.

New Zealand doctors are complaining that record low temperatures there are causing a spike in influenza cases and other medical problems.

South Africa is seeing some record low temperatures.
Diehard global warming theory advocates are undeterred, however: "There's always the thought in my mind that global warming is at work, even when it's cool. It might cause an ice age. That has dampened my ecstasy about the nice cool weather."


Burn, Baby, Burn

The Washington Post reports that Americans waste $5.7 billion gallons of fuel annually by being stuck in traffic.

Meanwhile, many new highway projects are stymied because environmental organizations claim that building them will hurt the environment.


More Misleading Media?

Jeff Blogworthy and Joseph Farah say Alan Keyes didn't say what you think he said.


AP Accuracy: Piling On

Powerline is suggesting that readers send polite letters to the Associated Press, asking how the AP made its now blogfamous error reporting that a GOP crowd booed President Bush's well wishes for former President Clinton.

Powerline also provides another example of dubious AP reporting.

At the risk of piling on, here's my contribution to the AP reporting debate. A little dated now -- I wrote this five months ago -- but it reviews an AP story published in many newspapers worldwide that the AP managed to screw up royally.


National Geographic's Downward Slide

I'm glad to see these thoughts about the politicization of National Geographic on the Bill's Comments blog.

Ideally, National Geographic -- which we read at our home -- should be the kind of magazine one can share with confidence with one's children (please, no jokes about half-dressed natives!) for educational purposes. Once upon a time, it was.


"The Weak are Always Beaten"

New blogger David Limbaugh has some interesting quotes from Vladimir Putin regarding his own government's understanding of the global war on terror.


Leftist Souless Wonders (and Some Nice People to Thank)

Thanks to the nice people who have favorably mentioned President Bush quoting Joe Roche in their blogs, including the incomparable Michelle Malkin, The American Mind, Sparse Matrix, Enter Stage Right, The Insider Online, Who Moved My Truth?, Jeff Q&O and The Commons at Paulie World.

No thanks to the not-so-nice people, though, such as Daily Kos, who somehow thinks a genuine letter from a real soldier writing from actual combat is a "PR missive" just because we here at The National Center are conservatives and say so proudly. We have known Joe since he was a college student in the 1980s. We read an email he sent us and instantly knew it deserved to be shared with others, so we shared it. That's not PR, Kossy, that's patriotism. Yes, The National Center is a conservative foundation, just as Daily Kos is a left-wing something, but we know the genuine article when we see it -- more than we can say for the Daily Kos. How embittered do you have to be to read an uplifting letter from a soldier who is putting his life on the line for his country and for freedom and to bring liberty to the oppressed people of a foreign land and think "PR missive"? Do these people have no souls?

OK, another souless wonder: Oliver Willis. His comment about Joe (at least I think he is referring to Joe, the quality of his writing is such that the reference in the sentence is not clear): "What a phony." Joe spent 15 months in combat in Iraq (yes, he had a combat job there) in 2003 and 2004. What did Oliver "What a phony" Willis do?

One Joe Roche (or any one of the American servicemen and women fighting proudly alongside him) is worth a thousand of these little weasels.

Addendum: The Progress Report doesn't like Joe either, just because he's associated with us. They didn't actually bother to contact us first to determine the extent of his association, but their main page today says Joe "doubles as a scholar at the National Center for Public Policy Research - a far right-wing organization..." Well, not really. We did give Joe the title of "adjunct fellow" in 2000 when Joe was working in Israel because he sent us some interesting and useful information, but he has never been on our payroll. I suppose we could have taken the "adjunct fellow" title away when Joe joined the army after 9/11 and couldn't wear two hats, but somehow, it seemed churlish. For the record, Joe has never been on our payroll or been paid to write (or do anything else) for us.


President Bush Quotes Blog

OK, I admit, this blogger did not go to the Republican National Convention. We're not in Blogger's Corner. But there is a little bit that happened to us with regard to the convention anyway.

The President quoted this blog -- Army Specialist Joe Roche's April 7 entry -- in his acceptance speech.

How cool is that?

President Bush's Acceptance Speech, September 2, 2004:

Our troops know the historic importance of our work. One Army Specialist wrote home: "We are transforming a once sick society into a hopeful place ... The various terrorist enemies we are facing in Iraq," he continued, "are really aiming at you back in the United States. This is a test of will for our country. We soldiers of yours are doing great and scoring victories in confronting the evil terrorists."

That young man is right -- our men and women in uniform are doing a superb job for America. Tonight I want to speak to all of them -- and to their families: You are involved in a struggle of historic proportion. Because of your service and sacrifice, we are defeating the terrorists where they live and plan, and making America safer. Because of you, women in Afghanistan are no longer shot in a sports stadium. Because of you, the people of Iraq no longer fear being executed and left in mass graves. Because of you, the world is more just and will be more peaceful. We owe you our thanks, and we owe you something more. We will give you all the resources, all the tools, and all the support you need for victory.

National Center April 7, 2004 Blog Entry of Spc. Joe Roche, writing from Iraq: A Soldier Assures Us: Our Progress is Amazing:
We are transforming a once very sick society into a hopeful place... The various terrorist enemies we are facing in Iraq are really aiming at you back in the United States. This is a test of will for our country. We soldiers of yours are doing great and scoring victories in confronting the evil terrorists.
Joe's a great guy. I'm thrilled for him, and expect he is -- or will be, if he hasn't learned about this yet -- rather thrilled himself.

The National Center will be sending an e-mail about this development to friends and supporters, but I just had to mention it on the blog first. Congratulations to Joe and, echoing the President, thanks to all the men and women of the Armed Services of the United States of America for your service and sacrifices.

For more about Joe, including a list of his writing as published by us and some photos of him, see here. For a hilarious screenshot of speculating (on 4/8/04 regarding the exact comments President Bush quoted tonight) that Joe isn't real, see here. Back in April, Joe wrote me that some of his fellow soldiers felt very, very insulted by's post. I think it is safe to say that, tonight, those soldiers need not feel insulted any longer. They definitely got the last word.



Our Conservative Future

The New Republic Online is running an interesting daily series by Alan Wirzbicki this week critiquing the Fox News Channel's coverage of the GOP convention. It is interesting because the author -- whom I had not heard of before -- does not seem to be a Fox fan, yet his assessment is mostly positive.

A short sample from the September 1 entry in the series:

...interestingly it's on Fox News, the most Republican-friendly of stations, where the difference between the convention's platform and podium is getting the most critical TV attention.

Fox's anchors have raised the issue early and often. Shepard Smith, one of the channel's talking heads, has been sounding practically like Terry McAuliffe. "Can moderates like a Schwarzenegger really be represented by a platform that is so far to the right?" Smith asked yesterday. "Are you just telling lies in these billion-dollar extravaganzas?" Meanwhile Bill O'Reilly interviewed conservative pundit Michelle Malkin, who complained that the Republican speaker's lineup had a "metrosexual" tilt. Even Sean Hannity was on the case, criticizing the GOP's golden boy of the moment, John McCain, from the right for his campaign finance reform bill. Fox, unlike CNN, was running the quixotic Log Cabin Republican advertisements yesterday, another sign that the network was the place where some version of an internal GOP conversation on touchy, intra-party issues was happening.
My opinion is that Fox's coverage of the convention rightly is picking up on the simple fact that conservatives are very much engaged in policy debates. This is true in D.C. and in state legislatures but also in private conversations, blogs, etc.

I could go on for a bit about why this is so, but I'll spare you. I'll just toss out one theory: Historically, conservatives were out of power for quite a while, and were for most of the 20th Century perceived as the least popular mainstream American ideology (even when the GOP was dominant, by the way). As a result, conservative politics tended to attract only people sincerely interested in conservatism. Who would join a conservative group or party just because it was popular? Just about nobody!

So the GOP, these days, benefits from having a large number of activists and members who truly care about policy. I'm just guessing, but I'll bet there are more people genuinely interested in policy at the GOP convention than were present in Boston. BUT -- and here is a major qualifier -- conservatism isn't unpopular anymore.

So, here comes the big downside: After 20 years pass, what kind of conservative movement/Republican Party will America have? Will it be populated by people who joined because they saw it as the best route to obtaining status and political power, or can the interest in policy somehow be maintained?

History leads me to conclude that the answer won't be pretty. But maybe I will be pleasantly surprised.


Schwarzenegger: Girlie Men

Hmmm, maybe Schwarzenegger didn't mean "girlie men" as a compliment after all...

Based on the response of the GOP convention delegates to his re-use of the phrase in his convention speech Tuesday, the average delegate isn't any more PC than he is.



One for the Steelers Fans Out There

Blogger Captain Ed, blogging at the Republican National Convention, just met Pittsburgh Steelers great Lynn Swann.


Club For Growth Blog

The Club for Growth now has a blog.

I wonder how long it will be before nearly every conservative and free market organization has one?


The Commons at Paulie World

The Commons at Paulie World is a relatively new blog that is really hitting its stride.