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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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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"?


Coalition of the Willing Dominating the Olympic Games

From husband David:

The Coalition of the Willing countries are dominating the Olympic games.

As of August 17, Coalition nations had amassed 90 medals, compared to only 67 for all other nations (over 40% from communist regimes).

Nineteen of the Coalition's medals have been won by the United States.

But hold on a minute...

If the United States did such a poor job building the alliance for Iraqi freedom, where did all the other 71 medals come from?

It's quite a mystery.

Better get U.N. Inspectors on the case.

Aug172004 Swift Boat Ad Moves On News Pages

I haven't actually counted the news articles, but it looks to me as though's new ad about the swift boat veterans ad is getting more establishment media coverage than the swift boat veterans got when they unveiled their ad.

If this trend keeps up, watch for conservatives to start attacking their own attacks on liberals just to get the establishment press to cover their original charges...


Frustrating Hurricane Reporting

This Reuters story doesn't make sense to me.

Referring to Florida residents hardest-hit by Hurricane Charley, on the one hand, Reuters reports:

Immediate needs such as water, food and shelter appeared to have been quickly met. Some 4,000 National Guard troops ferried supplies, erected tents for temporary shelter and patrolled against looting.

"We're very well taken care of, there's lots of everything," Kathy Tooker, 30, said. She and her four children were among some 500 people at a Red Cross shelter at the L.A. Ainger Middle School in Englewood.
On the other hand, the article goes on to say:
But frustration, fatigue and anger were beginning to set in. Some of the people at the shelter were wondering when they would get vouchers for food and housing...
The story seemingly is reporting both that the displaced residents have been given food and housing yet are frustrated that they do not have vouchers for food and housing...?

The story goes on to interview residents who want money from the federal government:
"It's tough.... Just trying to clean up. Tough to start over," said Anthony Jones, 42, whose two-bedroom mobile home in Punta Gorda was shredded.

Jones, speaking after a day of picking through his scattered belongings, said he was not insured and hoped for help from the federal government.
I realize what I am about to comment is going to offend some people, but why the heck did he live in a mobile home in hurricane country without insurance? And why should federal taxpayers who live in lower-risk states (many of whom bought insurance for their own homes despite -- in probably most cases -- lower risk of home loss) give him their heard-earned money? I do have sympathy for the fact that he lost his home, but I think this sounds like a case in which (if he can't afford to buy a replacement home) he should get himself a rental apartment and leave his fellow taxpayers out of it.

Back to the article. On the Reuters website, it is headlined: "Floridians Who Lost Homes to Charley Frustrated." Yet the only indication of frustration is the mysterious matter of wanting food and housing vouchers. The rest of the story is about officials expressing gratitude at the low loss of life and satisfaction that the food and housing needs of the displaced have been so successfully met.

I'm sure it is very tough for the hurricane victims. I'm sure it is even tough for those who evacuated and came home again, particularly those in poor health or who had to travel with small children. I'm also sure that most Floridians handled all this with grace under pressure and without expecting or requesting public funds. I bet most Florida homeowners actually have insurance. Why doesn't this Reuters story reflect this? Why must disaster reporting always seem make it seem like folks are up a creek without a paddle unless and until the federal government steps in?

The people of Florida, I bet, are way more self-reliant than this article lets on.


Inversion: Post Covers Recreation, Blogs Unearth News

The Washington Post devotes the cover story of its weekly magazine to blogging.

So is the Post finally aware that it is being outscooped by the blogosphere? Not so you'd notice. They wrote about a sex blog.

Meanwhile, Captain's Quarters blog is so far running rings around the Post and the rest of the establishment press on the swift boat story.


Conservative Clothing, Liberal Thinking

Two of the many things that struck me as I watched C-SPAN's rebroadcast of the 1971 debate between John Kerry and John O'Neill on the Dick Cavett show...

First, people dressed a lot better then. We make fun today of clothing styles of the 70s, but when the camera pans the audience, the men are in suits and the women in dresses.

Second, this country is a lot more conservative now.



Unique Truth

Ed Haislmaier says columnist Mark Steyn agrees with me about Gov. McGreevey's speech.



Best Olympic Picture.

Maybe best picture of the year.

Hat tip: Franco Aleman via Vodkapundit