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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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Thursday
May062004

Will Moammar Gadhafi Go on International TV to Apologize for This?

Will Moammar Gadhafi go on international television to express regrets for, and a full investigation of, the treatment of these prisoners?



Will Le Monde run an anti-Libyan cartoon?

Thursday
May062004

Speaking of Hostile E-Mail...

I have the O'Reilly Factor on right now. The guest is Christopher Wolf, listed as representing the law firm of Proskauer Rose LLP.

Small world. Another person from that very law firm sent the black conservative group Project 21, which we sponsor, race-based hate mail the other day.

According to Google, Christopher Wolf wrote an essay published on GigaLaw.com entitled "Racists, Bigots and the Law on the Internet." The piece describes the legal limitations on prosecution for Internet hate speech and advises that the "best antidote" to hate speech is "more speech."

So, in the spirit of taking his advice, here's some more speech:

Dear Proskauer Rose LLP,

It is rude to call black conservatives "Uncle Toms."

Please inform your staff.

Thank you.

Wednesday
May052004

Apparently, We're Unpatriotic

I received a rather odd e-mail a few minutes ago. It is from a fellow who considers our entire organization unpatriotic, and wants us to know that his soldier nephew thinks we're "a bunch of assholes."

I gather the correspondent objects to our press release Amid the Nightline Controversy, Remember: Our Troops Are Doing A Great Deal of Good. He seems to think the press release is anti-soldier, and unpatriotic.

The press release begins: "Believing that it is the best way to respond to ABC broadcaster Ted Koppel, The National Center for Public Policy Research today has posted on its website an extensive list of the achievements of just one of the many U.S. units operating in Iraq. On his April 30 broadcast Koppel will recite the names of all the Americans killed in combat in Iraq. The list recounts the achievements of the 16th Combat Engineer Battalion, part of the 1st Armored Division, which has been in Iraq since the war started and remains on active duty there at this time. It was provided by Spc. Joe Roche, who serves with the 285-soldier unit."

This seems uncontroversial to me, but it really hit a nerve with this guy:

The National Center for Public Policy Research:

It amazes me that somehow you wish to draw controversy out of a simple reading of the soldiers who have died in Iraq. Shame on you for your simplistic opportunism to get press for your organization.

My deceased father George Massie Gividen, Jr. will be inducted into the US Ranger Hall of Fame this July. He served as a Marine before he was accepted at West Point. Among his many citations and awards from the Korean War are the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver,Star, Soldiers Medal, Army Commendation Medal, and 5 purple hearts. He then taught at West Point and served in the Civil Service until he retired a few years before he died. If he were alive, he, like me, would have sat through every minute of the Nightline program paying his respects to those soldiers who have died over there.

I spoke to my brother J. Richard Gividen, a retired Army officer. Though he missed it, he also wanted to see it. In fact I am sending him a copy. He also confirmed my father would have been glued to the television.

My nephew, SPC Dustin Schafer with the 2nd Brigade Recon Troop Iron Horse, just got back from Iraq about a month ago. He told me he is shocked that someone would not want people to know about those that have given their life in Iraq--in fact he was injured while his driver died in a Humvee accident. His words about you--"what a bunch of assholes." His friends in his unit share his sentiments.

As you can see my family is full of military people who all support the idea and spirit of this show. I teach government here in Texas and I tell my students daily the number of soldiers who have died. Why do I do this? Because I think they should know the sacrifice which goes on daily in their name. That at least for those couple of minutes they will soberly think and pay their respects. I do not see how an informed public is a bad public. Does this somehow make me a bad American? Does this make the members of my family bad Americans? I think not.

Maybe you need to reexamine your beliefs and see if you really are pro-soldier, and pro-American. From here in San Marcos and Fort Hood, Texas, and from Arizona you are not looking to patriotic. I will be sure to mention your group as a fine example of partisan politics over substance to my class. Thank you for your time.

J. Michael Gividen, MA
[street address deleted]
San Marcos, TX 78666

I made several comments about the Koppel broadcast in this blog, available here, here, here, and here, but none of them urge people not to know about or pay respects to our military war dead, or take the position that "an informed public is a bad public." And there was certainly nothing obviously partisan about anything we said about Ted Koppel. Heck, I watched the show myself -- I just wanted it balanced with something about what those men and women died for.

As I said at the time, the Nightline controversy really was much more about perceptions of Ted Koppel's entire body of work than it was about the soldiers and Marines. I'm not convinced even now that Koppel himself understands this, but the controversy over that broadcast played the useful role of making sure the broadcast could not be turned into an anti-war tool.

We do get rather a lot of hostile mail here. It is not the first hostile e-mail that has me perplexed, and I don't suppose it will be the last.
_____

Wednesday
May052004

"I Hope People Don't Lose Faith in Us": A Soldier Discusses the Prison Abuse Incidents

This letter about the prison abuse incidents, received May 4 from U.S. Army Spc. Joe Roche in Iraq, speaks eloquently without any need for further comment from me:

Dear Amy,

...about the abuse at the prison. I'm at a place right now where there are thousands of U.S. soldiers. I went to breakfast and dinner at the KBR dining hall here. It is huge, hundreds of soldiers gathered to eat. Around us are large-screen tvs, and yes, the news was mostly about the prison abuse.

Everyone is so angry. I mean, angry! It is as if those soldiers hurt us more than the enemies here in Iraq have. I don't think that if that RPG last week had hit and killed us in my hummwv, there would have been any of the damage done to our cause here that those soldiers have done. I remember when I worked for the University of Minnesota Police Department that when one police officer acted wrong and was captured on camera, anywhere in the U.S., it was as if all police everywhere were made the bad guys, blamed and hurt. Now I'm feeling that here.

I can't tell you of the outbursts by my fellow soldiers at those pictures. For one thing, it is mostly swear words and I don't want to write that to you. Amy, this is a powerful blow to us.

As you know, we have done raids and captured some of the top terrorists in Baghdad over the past months. My sister has some dramatic pictures of at least one raid. In all of those, we handled the enemy w/ respect. Our big bosses always pressed us on the Geneva Convention rules before raids, and we have taken many classes on ROEs (rules of engagement) and on the proper treatment of prisoners. There are rosters w/ all our names on them for these classes because dealing w/ prisoners is major concern of our leadership.

My battalion has caught car bombers, weapons' smugglers, and those laying IEDs to kill us. We've even captured in raids those who fired mortars at our base on Baghdad Island. And EVERY TIME, we treated them w/ respect and took care to give them full medical treatment, food and clothing.

Let me recount to you a story that [name and unit deleted] told Tom Ricks of the Washington Post when he visited last month. One day one of his best friends and another soldier were hit by an IED in a hummwv in front of him. They got the one soldier out who was badly injured, but the fire was so bad that they couldn't get his friend out. They don't know if he was alive as he burned, but they had to watch. Now, that street that this happened on was one where they had built schools, improved much infrastructure, many many projects to make it a better and safer place. ...When the IED blew, across the street were some of those very same neighborhood people cheering. They cheered as our fellow American burned and the other one was dragged out. Now, these are tankers, and they have big BIG guns, and all were ready to fire. The soldiers, all of them seeing the tragedy of the attack, and seeing the sick group cheering across the street, they all held their composure. No one fired a shot, no one did anything inappropriate. They did exactly as they were trained. They acted more professional and disciplined in a manner that I don't think many other people in the world could have. All because they cheered, those people were not to be engaged or harassed. That is what we live w/ out here. And Amy, our soldiers, your soldiers, they acted supremely better and more heroic for our country in that scene. Those scum will remember the restraint and composure of those Americans, even if today they are still infected w/ this sick hate of us. Contact Mr. Ricks if you can because [the soldier] gave him a powerful quote that he thought well accompanied that experience, and perhaps he can elaborate even more from [his] account.

So you can imagine how horrified and truly angry everyone is.

I guess that in any job, any profession, anywhere we will find bad eggs. It is just that it seems shocking that even, well, those soldiers there have hurt us.

Let me just say on a personal note that I hope all those people who have given us support and prayed for us will accept my assurance that your anger at the abuse it shared by us in my battalion, by many more soldiers around me that I'm encountering right now, and that no one should have any fear that such abuse is done by us. Frankly, I'm just shocked and angry. I hope people don't lose faith in us over this. Those soldiers are idiots, and have attacked our country in a manner perhaps more painful than our enemies have. No one committed and dedicated to this mission should feel that abuse is reflective of what we are doing. It is completely the opposite....

-Joe

Wednesday
May052004

Attack of Cucumber-Eaters, Part II

The cucumber-eaters have struck in the U.S.



Copying a similar group of crustless-sandwich munchers, self-described "former [U.S.] diplomats" (although the list of signers reveals the description isn't quite accurate) have sent a letter to President Bush complaining that U.S. policy in the Middle East favors Israel over the Palestinians.



The letter begins "We former U.S. diplomats applaud our 52 British counterparts who recently sent a letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair criticizing his Middle East policy and calling on Britain to exert more influence over the United States."



Isn't that just like a diplomat? Even when retired, they call upon our government to take orders from foreigners.



Check out the website of the sponsoring group, whose first two board members, Andrew I. Killgore and Richard H. Curtiss, signed the letter first and second. As a parlor game, see how many statements critical of Israel you can find on the main page alone. I'd suggest that old drinking game -- drink a shot for every one you can find -- but playing might kill you.



Browsing back issues of their publication also is instructive. My favorite article is "It's Academic! Saudi Arabia's Remarkable New Cabinet." Would that be the cabinet that stopped funding anti-Americanism and decided to let Saudi women drive? Er, no. Not quite that remarkable.



We'll hold off on calling a Saudi Arabian cabinet "remarkable" until one serves in a democratically-elected government.



Meanwhile, we've read through the very many media reports covering the release of this letter. None of them I read, including this mention in the Washington Post, this AP report, or this Saudi editorial, mention that the sponsoring group is ardently critical of Israel, although a report in Britain's Independent does at least quote the group's president, Killgore, saying, apparently critically, of George Bush and John Kerry, "They're both very dedicated Zionists, it seems to me." Fox News, predictably, did a better job of describing the group during the "roundtable" segment of Brit Hume's "Special Report."

Tuesday
May042004

"One of the Most Inspiring and Important Things to Us Has Been the Incredible Arrival of Care Packages..."

Frequent visitors to this blog know that a long-time associate of The National Center's, Joe Roche, joined the U.S. Army after 9/11, inspired by those events. He was assigned to the 16th Engineering Battalion of the 1st Armored Division, and has been in Iraq since the war started.

Joe has attracted some attention here in the U.S. because an essay he wrote about his experiences in Iraq was published by many metropolitan newspapers and Stars and Stripes in April, read aloud on-air by several of the most influential talk radio hosts in America, circulated by several organizations and numerous individuals to their own e-mail lists, posted on blogs, and much more.

A few days after Joe's essay began to be widely circulated, the 1st Armored Division received word that its 12-month deployment in Iraq would be extended at least three more months. As tough as that news was, something made it tougher: Most of the soldiers already had shipped their personal effects home. So a call went out for care packages.

On Sunday, for the first time since April 20, Joe had access to e-mail for about thirty minutes. He was able to write to tell us what we have been wanting to know: Had the American people responded to the call for care packages?

May 2, 2004

...Amy, you will be hearing from my commanders soon. What everyone has done to send us care packages has been quite overwhelming. So many items that were critically needed by soldiers arrived just in time. I simply cannot overstate this.

We arrived at our new locations, only to be moved further, and then to face the reality of starting up many things for ourselves. This includes latrines, showers, and of course the mission-essential matters. We've been going hard and strong almost non-stop. I cannot elaborate where or what we are doing amongst the 16th Engineers, though I wouldn't be surprised if some of the news gives you hints. All I will say is that our units are right where it is all happening, and some are in places that are harsh, spartan in the extreme, and extremely challenging just for each soldier to get through the day.

These units are setting up in conditions that would make most people forlorn. They are doing it great, and you would be very proud.

The thing I must impart to you right away, though, is that one of the most inspiring and important things to us has been the incredible arrival of care packages from people all over the country. It is overwhelming. The first day such critically needed items arrived such as socks and baby wipes. Then a massive load of packages w/ treats, leisure items like books and DVDs, and more hygienic essentials. The big bosses lined up the soldiers to walk through and take what they need. It was like everyones' birthday, as I watched the soldiers hauling things back to their rooms.

...I'm running out of time to be on the net.

Quickly I have to say that there is no time to respond to everyone. My commanders are stressing about this and are trying to find ways to convey the deep thanks we all have. Packages continue to arrive each day. It is beyond incredible!

Lastly, I want to make a personal thanks to all of you for sending prayers and best wishes. I'm aware of the news. On a daily basis, however, many many more things happen than you ever hear about. ...In the past 8 days, on convoys and missions myself, we have been attacked by an RPG, 3 IEDs and a mortar attack. It is a miracle, really, that NONE of us have been hurt. The RPG, for example, aimed right at my hummwv (w/ 8 soldiers) missed by hitting a barrier just a few yards away (blowing it to pieces). Two of the IEDs blew next to our vehicles, yet somehow no one was hit. And in that mortar attack, one landed in the middle of a group of our hummwvs, just 20 feet in front of me. Again, we are all amazed that no one has been hit.

This is your prayers. Thank you so much. Please keep strong and keep your heart in our mission. I know you have done more than is imaginable. ...My time is up on the computers. I must go...

-Joe

Joe's words speak for themselves. If you would like to join the many thoughtful people who sent care packages to the troops, please do so. You can see how much it means to them. We're not in danger of sending more than the soldiers need.
_____

Sunday
May022004

D.C. Fails New EPA Standards, But is Not at Fault

National Center research associate Eric Chapman clears the air about regional air quality rules:

A Washington Post article on April 16, 2004 "Air Quality in Region Fails EPA's New Test," identified the District of Columbia and several Maryland and Virginia counties as failing to meet new smog standards. The new restrictions in the Clean Air Rules of 2004, which were announced on April 15 by the Environmental Protection Agency permit ozone levels to average no greater than 85 parts per billion (ppb) over an eight-hour period. In contrast to the levels enforced in 1990 - 120 ppb per hour - the new levels are far more encompassing. Because its air quality is designated as moderate, the District and many of its surrounding counties have until 2010 to improve their quality of air. However, D.C., Maryland and Virginia aren't really the source of the problem.



In fact, most of the blame can be attributed to "transport" pollution, which comes in from Mid-western states. For example, emissions from Chicago, and other Midwest cities contribute to the rising ppb rates of cities on the East coast. "Transport pollution accounts for 70 percent of the pollution we experience during the worst days of summer," said Joan Rolfs, the chief of air quality planning for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. According to the EPA, 474 counties in the nation were in violation of the new requirement. Deadlines to meet the new emissions regulation range from 2007 to 2021. Those counties with the most severe problems, like Los Angeles County, are given the most time to apply and enforce new measures of control.



The potential economic consequences of attaining such measures might prove to be problematic. Jeffrey Marks, the National Manufacturers Association director of air quality, commented that, "many communities will find it difficult to eventually meet such standards without jeopardizing local economic growth." Touching on the issue of transport pollution as well, Marks notes, that, "more than half of the nation's manufacturing capacity is located in non-attainment areas that have been reducing emissions for years, even as emissions from neighboring communities and states continue to pose problems for them. Unless transport pollution can be effectively remedied, expect Washington D.C. and its surrounding counties to maintain high ppb levels.

Sunday
May022004

Criminals Invade Capitol Grounds, Police Do Nothing

National Center executive director David W. Almasi wonders just what the U.S. Capitol Police are there for if not to enforce the law.

On April 20, about 70 teenagers who are illegal aliens held a mock graduation ceremony on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol to protest that they cannot benefit from things like in-state college tuition benefits because they are not legal citizens. Despite their literally wearing their illegal status on the sleeves of their gowns, no arrests were made.



As naturalized citizen Yakov Smirnoff might say, "only in America."

Saturday
May012004

Worth a Look

This is a wonderful analysis of the attack on Tony Blair by 52 cucumber-eaters.



Thanks to the always-excellent Dissecting Leftism blog for the pointer.


Saturday
May012004

Wondering

The other day, Ted Koppel appeared on Sam Donaldson's radio show on the local ABC Radio affiliate to give his reasons for doing the television broadcast tonight.



Just now, Koppel concluded the broadcast by explaining the same thing. He seemed thoughtful. it seemed reasonable.



In fact, it seemed so good, I can't imagine why he didn't use that reasoning on the radio show the other day.



Unless he hadn't thought of it yet.

Saturday
May012004

More Enrons, Anyone?

To borrow a phrase from Senator McCain himself (no hard thing to do, as he appears in the news constantly, on a seemingly limitless variety of topics), I found Senator McCain's letter to the Sinclair Broadcast Group "deeply offensive."



I believe reasonable, patriotic people can differ about the degree to which the April 30 Nightline is appropriate, whether it was intended or will be perceived as a statement against the war, and/or whether the fact that it was scheduled for the first day of sweeps week instead of Memorial Day was influenced by a desire for ratings.



But the Senator doesn't appear to believe that reasonable people can disagree on this matter. He told Sinclair in his letter that "there is no valid reason" for Sinclair to "shirk its responsibility" by not broadcasting Nightline tonight.



First, the "no valid reason" comment is a gratuitous insult to everyone with concerns about the broadcast. Clearly, a lot of people believe there are valid reasons for concern. McCain dismisses them all. He doesn't bother to discuss any of the concerns; he simply declares them invalid. Coincidentally -- or not -- that's the same kind of condescending attitude for which Ted Koppel is known. It is insulting to be talked down to, regardless of who is doing it.



Second, Sinclair does not have a "responsibility" to broadcast whatever Ted Koppel wants them to broadcast. Because Sinclair believes the broadcast is unpatriotic, and our nation is at war, one can reasonably take the position that it would have been "irresponsible" for Sinclair to run it -- even if every other adult in America thought the broadcast was as American as apple pie. McCain essentially is saying that Sinclair executives have a responsibility to do something it believes is wrong.



It is an interesting world when a U.S. Senator lectures business executives for following their consciences.



(Sinclair's response to McCain is worth reading. It's on the main page of their website right now; probably temporarily.)

Friday
Apr302004

Maybe Bar Exams Should Have a Tolerance Test

From our mailbag today, to the black conservative group Project 21:

You call youselves "conservatives!" What do Black Americans have to conserve in America? You should be looking to be "progressives"? Black Americans need a lot more progress in order to gain as compared to the White Americans. We don't need to "conserve" things the way they are right now. GET A GRIP, YOU BUNCH OF "UNCLE TOMS."



Paulette Clarke PPClarke@proskauer.com

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Friday
Apr302004

The Good Men Do

On April 7, Spc. Joe Roche of the 16th Engineering Battalion, 1st Armored Division, wrote us an e-mail listing the accomplishments of his unit since the war began.

Joe told me to make use of it at an appropriate time. I think that is today.

With no further ado, then, Joe's letter:

In the next paragraph and going on a little you will see a summary of exact numbers and a general survey of what my unit, the 16th Armed Engineer Battalion, has done since arriving in Baghdad a year ago. I got this from the battalion commander, Lt. Col. John S. Kem. This information is put together by the battalion itself, so you can use this as exact....

This is a general survey of the accomplishments of one unit, the 16th Armed Engineer Battalion of the 1st Armored Division, operating in Baghdad. We have carried out raids, river patrols, cordon and search operations, traffic control points and searches and tunnel/bunker recons. Acting more in the role of infantry, we have also conducted combat operations, seized and established fixed sight security positions, numerous and constant recon patrols and well as security patrols.

Operating in Baghdad, we set up 16 forward operating bases in the city, placed barriers to protect embassies, hospitals, government buildings and major hotels. These included the Ministry of Oil, the Palestine Hotel and Sheraton Hotel. Thirty-two power substations scattered in the most dense parts of the city were extensively worked on and improved, as well as major power stations such as Taji and Al Mansour. We established 13 police stations. We also secured and re-constructed five banks in the main central banking district. We also set up the security measures and defenses at embassies such as the Turkish, Polish, Swedish and Japanese ones.

For empowering Iraqi self-governing mechanisms, we established a number of ICDC camps and conducted the training of them.

Our missions encompassed several major operations which still must remain unspecified, but were critical to major operations.

Several times we were the primary response force to major terrorist attack sites such as the United Nations compound, the Turkish Embassy, and other sites.

We removed more than 200 abandoned Iraqi military vehicles such as tanks and anti-aircraft guns, artillery guns, APCs and many other crafts. Accompanying such missions were Explosive Ordnance Disposal missions that secured the removal of 1902 tons of unexploded munitions. This involved clearing 726 sites and 190 weapons/explosives caches, sometimes well dug and concealed.

Constant and exhausting are the IED sweeps, searching for roadside bombs. This combined w/ a route clearance effort of trash removal, vegetation clearance and filling abandoned fighting positions that amounted to $73,000.

This list is huge and too long to recount in detail, but weapons cleared in such efforts included over 10,000 artillery pieces, over 4000 RPGs, around 5000 mortars, over 1200 grenades, even including large missiles, rockets and warheads. Realize that some of these items are now in use in IEDs (roadside bombs). Imagine if we had not cleared all this. As it is, we have located and neutralized 95 IEDs.

Our infrastructure missions included major bridging construction that opened up highways for Iraqi commerce and travel. Along w/ this, 24 kilometers of main roads and many more secondary roads were repaired and cleared.

In what may be the US Army's record accomplishment for any single unit carrying out humanitarian missions, we completed 224 neighborhood projects totaling nearly $5 million. Twenty-eight primary and secondary schools were repaired, built and improved. We also completed 67 projects to construct and improve Baghdad University and Mustansariyah University, which included 7 colleges, 3 dormitories, 250 renovated rooms, and many internet and computer labs, totaling around $1.5 million. This included restoration and improvement to the Museum of Natural History.

General infrastructure projects included 23 major ones that involved everything from major repairs to establishing security at a value of $140,000. Sewage projects covered 31 major items, 19 substations and 15 vehicle trucks totaling $1.97 million. We also completed 4 major water projects at $152,000 and $94,000 of irrigation systems.

All this was accomplished by our single unit in Baghdad's toughest areas while averaging around 285 soldiers. Many times we operated w/ units from Florida, Oregon, Utah, Puerto Rico, Kansas and Texas Reservists and National Guardsmen, as well as a couple other active army units.

We haven't heard from Joe in over a week. He predicted he would soon be without Internet access in an e-mail about his unit's new assignment he sent ten days ago.

We can, however, see from news reports today that some of the soldiers from the 1st Armored Division in which he serves are operating in Mahmudiyah, clearing roadside bombs.

Surely, work worth commending, even as Ted Koppel reads the names of the lost.

Thursday
Apr292004

If We've Lost Ted Koppel, We Still Have the Country

Observations about Ted Koppel's decision to read the names of U.S. troops killed in Iraq on his show Friday:

1) It is impossible to be sure about Koppel's motives in this instance, but Koppel is being judged not only on his decision to do this broadcast, but on his whole body of work. If many people had not already concluded that Nightline is biased, fewer would question his motives now.



2) Excluding private memorials, the proper, truly non-political time to memorialize the war dead is after the war is over. Recognition of the sacrifices made by those who died is right and proper, and necessary. Because it is important to do, it is likewise important to do it right.



3) Approving comparisons made by some of Koppel's plans to the listing of the names of the Vietnam War dead on the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in Washington D.C. often fail to note that the original design -- the wall with inscribed names of those American service personnel lost in the conflict -- was immensely unpopular with very many Vietnam Veterans. Matters were settled only after it was agreed that the Memorial also would include a nearby statue of soldiers doing their honorable duty. Koppel's show will have the "wall," but no "statue."



4) The perception that network anchormen played a key role in spurring America’s dishonorable departure from Vietnam makes those who rue those events especially sensitive to the possibility that history could repeat itself. Anchormen in particular should be aware of this dynamic. The patriotic public, however, should realize that no one with his finger on the pulse of the nation ever will say: "If we've lost Ted Koppel, we've lost the country."
Early on Friday, we will post another response to Koppel's decision: A list of the very impressive humanitarian accomplishments of just one 285-soldier unit that has been present in Iraq since the war began.

Thursday
Apr292004

Our Party, Under God

Roll Call today has an interesting story by John Bresnahan about Rep. Jim McDermott getting slammed by fellow Democrats for his failure to properly lead the Pledge of Allegiance:

Fallout from Rep. Jim McDermott's (D-WA) refusal to say the words "under God," or place his right hand over his heart while leading the Pledge of Allegiance on the House floor Tuesday morning continued Wednesday.



House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) was furious with McDermott and blasted his longtime colleague during a Democratic leadership meeting Wednesday, according to sources.



Hoyer argued that whatever McDermott's personal feelings were about the phrase "under God," that when he gave the pledge on the floor, McDermott was representing all Democrats, not just himself. In Hoyer's view, McDermott should have thought about what it would mean for the entire Democratic Caucus and not just himself before he spoke...



"There are a lot of people unhappy with McDermott," said a senior Democratic leadership aide...



The pledge was printed in the Congressional Record without McDermott's revisions...



McDermott's explanation for Tuesday's episode was laid out in a statement released by his office: "My thoughts were not where they should have been and I reverted to the Pledge as it was written and taught in the public schools throughout my childhood. The Pledge has indeed been amended since then and I will endeavor to concentrate on what I'm doing in the future and say the modern version."
There's more, but I think they'll want you to subscribe.

Wednesday
Apr282004

Michael King Must Be Popular

Either Jesse Jackson's anti-U.S. comments are attracting a lot of interest, or Project 21's Michael King has a lot of fans, or maybe both, but a discussion about Michael's appearance on Hannity and Colmes last night to discuss the comments had 209 posts the last time I looked.

Wednesday
Apr282004

When Will They Investigate?

A second complaint has been filed with the Senate ethics committee regarding Senator Ted Kennedy and memogate. Says Jeffrey Mazzella of the Center for Individual Freedom in a CNSNews.com report today: "'Certainly, Kennedy's office violated ethics rules of the Senate. The question now becomes, did Kennedy do so himself?"

Wednesday
Apr282004

Blood Libels

This April 28 editorial in the Financial Times begins:

In possibly the most stinging rebuke ever to a British government by its foreign policy establishment, 52 former ambassadors and international officials have written to Tony Blair telling him he is damaging UK (and western) interests by backing George W. Bush's misguided policies in the Middle East.
British history is replete with examples of stinging rebukes to its governments -- some of them quite painfully, even imaginatively, fatal. A stern letter by a bunch of bureaucrats, retired bureaucrats and and bureaucrat-wannabes wouldn't even make the top ten.



The letter, the paper reports, complains that the Blair-Bush policy has "inflamed Arab opinion to the point where it sees Palestine and Iraq as two fronts in a war of resistance against the west."



Yep. Present world tensions are all Bush's and Blair's fault. The fanatical Muslims were just minding their own business on 9-11, and Arab culture doesn't teach its otherwise often uneducated youth that Jews slaughter young Christians and Moslems in order to use their blood in pastries. Not.



No, that blood libel stuff didn't do any "inflaming" worth mentioning -- Bush and Blair are responsible. If only the people of the U.S. and Britain had elected thinking liberals in their last major elections instead of hard-hearted right-wingers like Bush and Blair... no, scratch that last bit of fantasy, too.



The 52 former ambassadors and international officials clearly have spent way too much time sharing cucumber sandwiches with petty dictators and not enough time with their history books. They not only missed the chapters about anti-Semitism, they entirely overlook the Crusades.



The Financial Times piece ends with the FT urging "London to co-ordinate its position more closely with its European partners."



Wouldn't those be many of the same folks Saddam was bribing?



They don't call it the Financial Times for nothing.

Tuesday
Apr272004

Project 21 to Discuss Jesse Jackson's Inflammatory Comments on Iraq on Fox's "Hannity and Colmes"

Project 21 member Michael King will appear on Fox's "Hannity and Colmes" tonight, April 27, to discuss Jesse Jackson's comments about U.S. policy in Iraq.

Tuesday
Apr272004

Notice They Don't Recommend Taxing Private Planes

A script for a radio broadcast I ran across in the course of my work:

Air Traffic Contributes to Global Warming



January 14, 1999



You've heard that cars add to global warming — they burn fossil fuels, so they pump out carbon dioxide. Well, there's another carbon dioxide culprit. Look to the sky on today's EnvironMinute. [:11]



That's right, airplanes are another major player in the global warming game. Planes pump about 660 million tons of carbon dioxide into your friendly skies each year. And thanks to increasing air traffic, that figure is going up by about 40 million tons annually. At that rate, you could see airplane emissions triple in the next two decades! Rather than add more heat-trapping gases to our global green house, let's just 'plane' cut back on carbon dioxide pollution. A tax on airplane fuel could encourage airlines to conserve fuel. Plus it could fuel the development of new, more energy-efficient planes. [:36]



The EnvironMinute is produced in cooperation with the National Safety Council and made possible by the Teresa and H. John Heinz III Foundation. [:10]