Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Except for Millions of Murders, Communism Works Great in China

More dissatisfaction in the mailbag:
You can't be serious! Do you really believe all that crap about Russia! Do you even know if that is from a credible source, or are you doing like most Americans and pointing your finger before you even have an adequate understanding of the issue? I can't believe you actually put this stuff on the web, it just makes you guys look bad. To think that you guys are still freaked out because of the whole Cold war, Russia is evil idea. Come on, look a China, communism has worked fine for them and they are coming into the international market bringing great things that they are able to produce thanks to a communist government that a democracy could never produce. Please, in the future do your research before you put up articles like this one,, that are just plain stupid and baseless.

This e-mail sort of brought back memories for me. Back when we were fighting the Cold War -- at our institution during the 1980s, pretty much full-time -- we were constantly fighting folks who sympathized with Communism, or liked the Soviet dictator du jour more than they liked Ronald Reagan, or who claimed that women and minorities were better off in Russia than in the US, or that health care was better in communist states. You name it, there wasn't a bit of communist propaganda that wasn't swallowed by a whole lot of people, most of whom thought advocates of human rights in communist lands like us were hateful warmongers.

Once the West won the Cold War, most of these folks acted like they had solely been on our side the entire time. The hyposcrisy was so rampant, columnst Mona Charen has written an entire book on it, called "Useful Idiots."

That's what brings back memories for me with Reed's email. He defends communism. Unlike the others, though, and to his credit, he's open about it. How he can believe what he does about China escapes me, however.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:15 PM

Monday, September 29, 2003

Kyoto: Russia Still on Fence

Vladimir Putin jokes about global warming being good for a cold country while environmentalists accidentally admit something we've said many times: The Kyoto global warming treaty's terms are harder on some countries (us) than others (Russia, among others).

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:13 PM

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Russia Won't End Accord With Iran to Build Reactor

Just what the Middle East and the World needs: A terrorist state with nuclear weapons.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:24 PM

Why Don't They Care?

A depressing bit of information from the Heritage Foundation: Most of America's senior citizens aren't bothering to find out what's going on in the Medicare debate.

One snippet from the information in the Heritage Foundation WebMemo by Derek Hunter:
* 68 percent of seniors surveyed by the Kaiser Family Foundation didn’t know whether there were any differences between the House and Senate bills, though there are significant differences.

* Only 34 percent of seniors have a favorable impression of the current Medicare proposals in Congress.

* Even though such a high percentage of seniors admit to having too little knowledge of these bills, 54 percent of them think Congress should enact this legislation this year.
Why don't they care? And why do more seniors want the bill passed than actually like it?

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:54 PM

Thursday, September 25, 2003

French Want It Both Ways

A lawyer quoted on Canadian TV has a good point about France:
International lawyer Anne Baefsky said the French are playing a very dangerous game. "They want to have it both ways," she told CTV's Canada AM.

"They started off their speech saying that the President undermined multilateralism, and yet they are the ones standing in the way from a resolution on Iraq at the Security Council."

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:50 PM

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

So Much for Religious Freedom in the New Russia

So much for religious freedom in Russia. Vladimir Putin says Pope John Paul II can't visit Russia unless the Russian Orthodox Church agrees. Hardly likely!

For more on events in Russia on the eve of the Bush-Putin summit starting this Friday, consider visiting our new website on disturbing trends in Russia. If you agree with us that President Bush should have a stern talk with Mr. Putin about the importance of freedom and the rule of law, consider signing our online petition on the site.

We also have a bulletin board on which you can discuss Russia-related issues with others.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:54 PM

Sunday, September 21, 2003

But, Your Honor, Throwing Firebombs Makes Me Feel Morally Superior

Ted Rall explains why targeting Molotov cocktails at vehicles like the one we use to tote our three three-year-olds is a good tactic for environmentalists here.

An excerpt:
The idea is to make SUVs as unfashionable, and as scary to own, as fur became after the PETA-inspired spray-paint attacks of the '80s... It's unfortunate that drivers must worry that their SUVs are being targeted by insulting stickers and Molotov cocktails, but one thing's for sure: It couldn't be happening to a more deserving group of people.
The Nazis thought killing for political ideology was OK, too, and make no mistake, people who think they have the moral right to use firebombs will eventually kill -- by accident or intent -- if they are not stopped.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:45 PM

Saturday, September 20, 2003

The Ecoterrorist Beast

Environmental terrorists may have struck again in San Diego, says this September 19 AP report about four homes being destroyed and two damaged in a coordinated arson attack.

We've just this evening posted a new paper by senior fellow Bonner Cohen. Bonner says there have been about 600 ecoterrorist attacks in the U.S. over the past seven year, and predicts that these out-of-control environmental activists will kill someone if stronger action to rein them in is not taken soon. "The beast of ecoterrorism walks among us," he says.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:02 AM

Friday, September 19, 2003

Almost, My Eye

My favorite quote today, by Jay Nordlinger as cited by Jennifer Harper in the Washington Times Inside Politics column: "Donald Rumsfeld is almost a riot of manliness."


Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:13 AM

Thursday, September 18, 2003

A Day to Appreciate Cars

A problem with public transportation: the federal government is closed today because Washington's subway system is closed. This Washington Post article has details.

At 1 PM, it is sprinkling lightly here in DC; it's a bit breezy but nothing remarkable. If this region suffers weather-related problems, they aren't expected until tonight at earliest. At minimum, the government could have been open a half-day, and workers such as waiters and taxi drivers who make their living from government trade could have earned some money today. But the main point is that because the city is so dependent on public transportation, the decision on closing essentially was out of the federal government's hands.

Our Capitol Hill office is open, by the way.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:05 PM

A Liberal's Definition of...

...unilateral is "anything done without United Nations approval."

How else to explain their continuing insistence that U.S. actions in Iraq, conducted in concert with and with the support of thirty countries, is "unilateral"?

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:13 AM

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Drivel Watch

From a fawning interview of Madeleine Albright in the current (Sept. 22) issue of Time magazine comes this whopper:
Time interviewer J.F.O. McAllister: "Bush's foreign policy started as 'anything but Clinton' in almost every area - the Middle East, North Korea, China. Now events have pushed it back much closer to your approach. Do you ever succumb to schadenfreude?"

Albright: "No, I'm much too kind and generous a person."
1. Bush's foreign policy was never defined by opposition to Clinton, but by Bush's belief in certain foreign and defense policy principles. One need not be one of Bush's supporters to realize that Bill Clinton is not the axis around which the world revolves. (100 years from now no one will be referring to a Clintonian foreign policy -- unless it evolves as a term for deciding national security issues on the basis of domestic political considerations.) The much more accurate -- and politically and psychologically interesting -- story is the extent to which George W. Bush's foreign policy differs from his father's.

2. One wonders what the interviewer was smoking when he said Bush now is using a foreign policy approach closer to Clinton's. In what way? Throwing money at North Korea to get North Korea to pretend it isn't building nukes? Believing that Saddam Hussein has WMDs but not caring enough to insist even that UN inspectors be allowed to do their work? Worrying more about polls than about the threat posed by Osama Bin Laden?

A side question: if Bush’s foreign policy has evolved into one like Clinton’s, why were all the Democratic candidates for President so scathingly opposed to it in the debate the other night? Quick answer: Because it hasn’t.

Mercifully, the interview wastes but one page, leading to the Time letters-to-the-editor page. First subject up there: U.S. policy in Iraq. Seven letters against, three in favor.

I guess we should be grateful for the three.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:21 PM

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

A Lot of Money for Nothing

Another note from Mike Catazanzaro of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee:
Is the Lieberman-McCain climate change bill a good idea? Union members certainly don't think so. On September 9, a coalition called 'Unions for Jobs and the Environment' circulated a letter in opposition to S. 139, the Climate Stewardship Act of 2003. The Teamsters, Boilermakers, Electrical Workers, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, the Utility Workers Union, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, the United Transportation Union, the Transportation and Communications International Union, the United Mine Workers, and Marine Engineers all urged senators to vote against the bill, denouncing it as "a bad idea."

Along with pointing out that there are no "off-the-shelf technologies to reduce CO2 emissions," the UJAE said passing S. 139 would be "tantamount to adoption of the Kyoto Protocol"--a treaty, the unions note, that was officially rejected by the AFL-CIO in 1997--because it would cost "American jobs and economic opportunity."

"It is vital to the health of the U.S. economy," the unions wrote, "that the diversity of fuel use be maintained. Currently, most electricity is generated with coal, followed by nuclear, natural gas, and hydro.

"We are concerned that the burden created by S. 139 would fall disproportionately on coal, thereby making the economy more dependent on other fuels, particularly natural gas--a commodity experiencing substantial price escalations. Viewed in this context, S. 139 is simply a bad idea."

It should also be noted that, in addition to its devastating economic impact, Lieberman-McCain would do nothing for the environment. Just look at Kyoto, which is more far-reaching than Lieberman-McCain. Altero Matteoli, Italy's minister for the environment and territory, said on July 7 that, "Within the framework of [Kyoto], we will manage to reach a 2 percent reduction in emissions at best, but we all know that we need to halve greenhouse emissions world-wide by 2050 in order to prevent further damage to climate."

Now, even if one concedes that man-made greenhouse gas emissions are the overwhelming causes of global warming, according to Matteoli, the world would have to reduce emissions by 50 percent to have any effect. Put another way, the world would need 25 Kyotos (or a lot more Lieberman-McCains) to reduce temperatures to an acceptable level (whatever that may be). The Energy Information Administration said one Kyoto would cost the U.S. economy $400 billion annually. Even using (at a minimum) a linear calculation--which is dubious--that's a lot of money for nothing.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:34 AM

Monday, September 15, 2003

UN Warns Israel Not to 'Remove' Arafat

The U.N. has warned Israel not to remove Arafat.

What are they going to do about it? Everyone knows the U.N. is impotent.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:45 PM

Federal Court Postpones California Recall Election

This decision seems dumb. The country has lived with punch card machines for over 100 years. In the event of a tight election, the cards could simply be inspected carefully by hand.

I also admit that I am tired of hearing about the California recall election, and would like to see it over with. Purely selfish motive, I admit, but I suspect it is a sentiment shared by many other residents of the 49 states that are not California.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:09 PM

Hush Rush Redux

The left, specifically and a handful of Republicans, apparently including former Senate majority leader Trent Lott, are attempting to increase government regulation of the news media.

Part of the effort includes a reinstatement of the so-called "Fairness Doctrine," which puts so much red tape on broadcasters who express on-air opinions that the modern-day talk radio industry could well be crippled if the doctrine is reimposed.

Rush Limbaugh explains it all here.

In addition, Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform has a website dedicated to stopping reimposition of the fairness doctrine.

A few years ago the left launched another attack on talk radio in the form of the innocent-sounding "Lobbying Disclosure Act," which could have been used to force talk radio hosts and in some cases listeners to register with the federal government as "lobbyists" if they expressed an opinion on a bill before Congress. We learned about this from Rep. Tom DeLay, who now is the House Majority Leader, and, using what was then the latest in communications technology, faxes, alerted hundreds of talk show hosts. They informed their listeners, and the Capitol switchboard was flooded with calls. That bill was not approved.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:32 PM

Indigenous People Tell Environmentalists to Stop Cultural Genocide

The era of evicting indigenous people from ancestral lands to make way for protected nature areas and parks will have to end, conservationists were told yesterday.

Pygmies, Bedouins and Bushmen, among others, said they would no longer accept being brushed aside by governments and environmentalists in the name of protecting world heritage sites.

Communities which feel betrayed by the conservation movement have mobilised to turn the 10-day world parks congress which opened in Durban yesterday into a platform for their grievances.

The conference is intended to focus on endangered species and the rise in trans-frontier parks, but 120 disgruntled indigenous groups are expected to seize much of the attention...
There's more. Read about it in the Guardian.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:24 AM

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Tort Reform Sidelined

Thanks to a single misplaced letter, the landmark tort reform legislation which has been making its way through the House and Senate has been redirected to the Food and Drug Administration...
Don't get your hopes up -- tort reform is as stalled as ever, or nearly so. But this spoof is still good for a laugh.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:01 AM

Friday, September 12, 2003

France at Trough Again

I don't want to pay more compulsory taxes, but I would make a voluntary contribution to make sure the United States doesn't have to bribe France to help the Iraqi people. Anyone with me?

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:58 PM


Has anyone else noticed that, according to Hillary Clinton and others, what the EPA did in relation to Ground Zero is considered the direct responsibility of the White House, but when the EPA released a report on the environment in the waning days of Christie Todd Whitman's tenure there, the New York Times, Bill O'Reilly at Fox, the Boston Globe, the AP and many, many others were incensed that the White House was nominally involved in EPA affairs?

Can't have it both ways, guys.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:24 AM

Thursday, September 11, 2003

The EPA and Ground Zero

Mike Catanzaro over at the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has sent over a few excerpts from New York Times editorials of today and September 8 regarding the 9-11/EPA/contaminated air controversy:

From September 8:
The Environmental Protection Agency and the White House Council on Environmental Quality have been sharply criticized for playing down the potential dangers of exposure to ash, smoke and dust generated by the collapse of the World Trade Center. The inspector general of the E.P.A. has criticized the agency for making overly reassuring statements that could not be supported by any evidence in hand, and blamed the environmental council for pushing the E.P.A. to eliminate caveats and accentuate the positive. Our own sense is that much of the criticism is retrospective nitpicking of decisions made in the midst of a crisis...
From today's editorial:
And most residents and workers downtown - while they may well have suffered from the dust at the collapse and periodic wafts from the smoke plume - were largely spared the prolonged exposure that usually raised the greatest health concerns.


But at the same time, the new research underscored how quickly the smoke and its elements dissipated into the atmosphere. The plume was so hot from the intense fires, which smoldered for three months after the attacks, that only sporadically, scientists said, did it touch down anywhere beyond ground zero. Hot air rises, and it went up fast.

What that presents, the scientists said, is a kind of good-news-bad-news formulation. Many ground zero workers and volunteers who labored without respirators - a common sight in the early weeks of rescue and recovery - were exposed to a chemical stew that was probably worse, and certainly more complex in its elements, than previously imagined. And most residents and workers downtown - while they may well have suffered from the dust at the collapse and periodic wafts from the smoke plume - were largely spared the prolonged exposure that usually raised the greatest health concerns.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:18 AM

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Greed, Lawsuits and Some 9/11 Families

The 9/10 entry on Gregg Easterbrook's new blog entitled "Grief Does Not Justify Greed" deserves to be read by everyone.

It is about families of some 9/11 victims suing because the payments American taxpayers generously offered to them (but not to other American victims of terrorist attacks) aren't big enough.

I almost didn't post this recommendation because I'm still steamed about an awful piece Easterbrook wrote about those of us who drive SUVs in the January New Republic. However, this blog essay is just too good for me not to recommend it.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:57 PM

Military Families Call on Congress to Pull Troops out of Iraq

I'm sorry to say this, but I believe the people at this press conference should be ashamed of themselves.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:23 PM

Monday, September 08, 2003


President Bush's speech on Iraq Sunday evening showed his leadership and courage in dealing with the war. We're going to need to see that side of George Bush if a good Medicare bill is to be approved this year.

Without presidential leadership of the selfless and gutsy kind, we're likely to see either no bill at all or one that doesn't do much. Either way, the big job would be postponed -- again -- and the more we postpone it, the tougher it gets.

Fortunately, the President knows this, and since this summer, he and his aides have heard an earful about the need for the President to be personally involved in this issue.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:29 AM

Friday, September 05, 2003

Black, Hispanic Activists to Protest Treatment of Bush Judicial Nominees

There will be a rally protesting the unfair treatment of this Adninistration's judicial nominees in front of the offices of People for the American Way on September 8 at 10 AM, says the African-American leadership group Project 21.

Its been said that Miguel Estrada would have been confirmed by now if he were a white male.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:12 PM

Wake Up, Senate

....Another federal program [is] an excellent model for sorely needed Medicare reform.

It’s the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program or FEHBP. It covers 9 million federal employees and retirees and routinely offers up to two dozen health plans, all of which have prescription drugs. And it’s not some new-fangled program, either. It’s been around since 1960, five years before Medicare started.

The House calls for a pluralistic FEHBP-like system to be in place by 2010. But the Senate does not. Instead, it offers a one-size-fits-all prescription drug entitlement that will cost $432 billion in the first 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

FEHBP is a good model because it works. Why senators ignore it, we’ll never know.
-Heritage Medicare Malady #38, September 5

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:24 PM

Meanwhile, ABC Still Refers to These Bozos as "U.S. Allies"

Gerhard Schroeder says calls within Germany for Germans to join forces in Iraq trying to help Iraq become a stable democracy make him "want to puke."

Jacques Chirac, however, thinks a few oil contracts are worth a puke.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:23 PM

Thursday, September 04, 2003

JFK Used Audits to Silence His Critics

Journalist John Berlau takes an in-depth, and to me, fascinating look in Insight magazine at the extent to which the Kennedy administration used IRS audits to harass and silence critics.

The National Center for Public Policy Research has been audited twice in our 21-year history. Bill Clinton was president both times.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:41 PM

A Thought

Let's mandate that the health care plan for U.S. Senators and Congressmen be the Medicare system.

That way, our legislators will be highly motivated to fix it and to keep it stable, and they'll have first-hand experience with any of its weaknesses, now and in the future.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:52 PM

From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Why Is Big Labor Afraid to Let Union Members See Their Books?

America's labor unions are fighting tooth and nail against a proposal that would make their books transparent. Why? In this piece by David Kendrick of the National Legal and Policy Center, union officials seem to be admitting that they want their financial accounts kept secret because union members wouldn't like what's in them -- and, besides, opening the books might show that unions have violated campaign finance laws.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:08 PM

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Sue, Sam and Social Security, a Cautionary Tale

Sue, Sam and Social Security, a cautionary tale by Scott Burns in the Houston Chronicle (brought to my attention by the Cato Institute's

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:22 PM

Will Drug Reimportation Lower Prescription Drug Prices?

A more libertarian take on the drug importation debate from the Oakland, California-based Independent Institute's Ariel Dillon.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:17 PM

9,000 Not Dead

Another interesting and informative e-mail just now from Mike Catanzaro of the staff of the U.S. Senate on Environment and Public Works:

Euro-climate alarmists are stewing over the heatwave sweeping the continent. There's much handwringing about how all of this is being caused by (what else?) global warming. The following is an excerpt from an op-ed piece in London's Daily Telegraph (August 10, 2003) by Bjorn Lomborg, who debunks the causal linkage between global warming and extreme weather. And as for the notion that a warming world necessarily results in more people dying, Lomborg shows why such thinking is bunk:

"But it is simply not correct to claim that global warming is the primary explanation of the kind of heatwave we are now experiencing. The statistics show that global warming has not, in fact, increased the number of exceptionally hot periods. It has only decreased the number of exceptionally cold ones. The US, northern and central Europe, China, Australia and New Zealand have all experienced fewer frost days, whereas only Australia and New Zealand have seen their maximum temperatures increase. For the US, there is no trend in the maximum temperatures - and in China they have actually been declining.

Having misidentified the primary cause of the heatwave as global warming, we then tend to make another mistake: we assume that as the weather gets warmer, we will get hotter and more people eventually will die in heatwaves. But, in fact, a global temperature increase does not mean that everything just becomes warmer; it will generally raise minimum temperatures much more than maximum temperatures. In both hemispheres and for all seasons, night temperatures have increased much more than day temperatures. Likewise, most warming has taken place in the winter rather than the summer. Finally, three quarters of the warming has taken place over the very cold areas of Siberia and Canada. All of these phenomena are - within limits - actually quite good for both agriculture and people.

The idea of comparing this with weapons of mass destruction is, to put it mildly, misleading. Yes, more people will die from heatwaves - but what is forgotten is that many more people will not die from cold spells. In the US, it is estimated that twice as many people die from cold as from heat, and in the UK it is estimated that about 9,000 fewer people would die each winter with global warming. But don't expect headlines in the next mild winter reading '9,000 not dead.'

It is a typical example of the way that we ignore the fact that climate change has beneficial effects as well as damaging ones, allowing ourselves to be scared witless by every rise in temperature. All the same, you may say, isn't it true that the effects of the weather extremes we do experience are getting more serious? Yes it is - but the explanation for this is simply that there are more people in the world, they are wealthier, and many more prefer to live in cities and coastal areas. Accordingly, extreme weather will affect more people than before and because people are more affluent, more absolute wealth is likely to be lost."

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:57 PM

Monday, September 01, 2003

From the Peanut Gallery

An e-mail from Tom McCarty, who gives his affiliation as
"What Conservatives Think....." Didn't know that was in the job description.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:45 PM

Copyright The National Center for Public Policy Research