Thursday, September 30, 2004

Foreign Policy Debate Question

We put a full-page ad in the Washington Post this week. It asks a question of President Bush and Senator Kerry -- a question we dearly hope each will answer during their foreign policy debate tonight.

As I don't believe paper ads in the Post are reproduced on the Post's website, I made a pdf copy available here.

If you have the paper edition of Tuesday's Washington Post, you can find the ad on page A5.

Addendum: Jim Lehrer asked the question (thanks!) as the final question of the debate. Both men expressed concern about trends in Russia, but in my humble opinion, neither said enough about what he would try to do about them. Still, the even discussing the matter in a forum of such prominence puts pressure on Putin, who would prefer that we look the other way.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:13 AM

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Criticizing Politicians

The staff of Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) is circulating on Capitol Hill an article by Jonathan Rauch from the September 24 National Journal about free speech problems within McCain-Feingold.

It's a scary read. I excerpt a bit:
Fix The McCain-Feingold Law. Oops -- Can I Say That?

by Jonathan Rauch

Now it is official: The United States of America has a federal bureaucracy in charge of deciding who can say what about politicians during campaign season. We can argue, and people do, about whether this state of affairs is good or bad, better or worse than some alternative. What is inarguable is that America now has what amounts to a federal speech code, enforced with jail terms of up to five years.

An exaggeration? Judge for yourself. Consider the sorts of cases the Federal Election Commission now finds itself deciding:
Item -- In June, the FEC ruled that the Bill of Rights Educational Foundation, an Arizona nonprofit corporation headed by a conservative activist named David Hardy, could not advertise Hardy's pro-gun documentary (The Rights of the People) on television and radio during the pre-election season. The FEC noted that the film featured federal candidates and thus qualified as 'electioneering communication.' Hardy, according to news accounts (I could not reach him by phone or e-mail), yanked the film until after the election.

Item -- On September 9, the FEC ruled that a conservative group called Citizens United was not a 'media organization' and therefore could not use unrestricted money to broadcast ads marketing a book and film critical of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. 'Not everyone can be a media organization,' said one FEC commissioner.

Item -- Also on September 9, the FEC ruled that the Ripon Society, a Republican group, could run TV ads touting the anti-terrorism efforts of 'Republicans in Congress' because no political candidate was referred to in the ads.

Item -- That day, the FEC also ruled that a Wisconsin car dealership, called the Russ Darrow Group, could continue using its own name in its car ads during the election season. Russ Darrow Jr., the patriarch of the company and father of its current president, was running for Senate in Wisconsin (he lost in the primary). The FEC found that the dealership's ads were not 'electioneering' because they did not feature the candidate himself.
Set aside how you or I might have decided any of these cases. Focus on the fact that federal bureaucracies -- the FEC and ultimately the federal courts -- are now in the business of making such decisions. 'That's where we've gotten to today,' FEC Chairman Bradley Smith, a critic of the law, said in an interview. 'Can a car dealership run ads?...'"
There's lots more.

Addendum: Thanks for the comments on this post, Sean, with which I heartily agree. The Supreme Court decision was flat wrong, Bush should never have signed this legislation in the first place, and those Congressmen who think themselves above criticism should be ashamed of themselves.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:42 PM

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Winning the Debates

Chris Matthews just said on MSNBC that "history shows if you want to be elected President, you have to win the debates."

Guess he didn't read the Daly Thoughts take on the matter.

Frankly, Matthews' notion is rather silly anyway. "Winning" is subjective. The term is tossed about inaccurately, as if campaign debates were akin to college debate competitions in which having the most substantive answer actually means something.

Mostly, we look back on various debates and remember specific remarks or rebuttals -- snapshots that confirm or upset the public's preconceived notions about a particular man. People who remember President George H.W. Bush looking at his watch in 1992 probably don't remember the topic under discussion, but remember a public perception that the first President Bush was disengaged from policy -- a feeling the watch episode confirmed (unfairly, in my view). What was it that President Jimmy Carter said that caused Governor Ronald Reagan to say "There you go again?" Few recall, but it was the moment in which millions of voters grasped that Reagan wasn't the sort of guy to intentionally start World War III.

A presidential or vice presidential candidate who shows up for a debate without doing his issues homework (a rare circumstance, but it has happened) can lose his party votes, but a candidate with the most informative and wise answers to policy questions -- perversely -- may not win any.

Voters often just like to "size up the guy."

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:01 PM

Monday, September 27, 2004

Do Presidential Debates Matter?

The Daly Thoughts Blog editorializes:
In each [presidential election from 1960-2000], there has been a clear winner in the debates. Yet in every case except 1980, the debates did not change the race.
If you disagree, read it. You might change your mind.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:01 AM

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Presidential Debate

I am quite skeptical of the notion that the country needs a presidential debate commission.

As far as I am concerned, if the candidates want to debate in their boxer shorts perched atop Mount McKinley, its their call. They are the ones who won their party's respective nomination, not the members of some obscure commission.

Besides, would the candidates really choose a worse venue than the Commission did: Southern Florida during a very active hurricane season?

But possibly commission members haven't heard of the hurricanes. They've missed some other major news, too: The late former President Ronald Reagan is still listed as an honorary co-chairman of the commission on the group's website.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:50 PM

Friday, September 24, 2004

Is the Canadian Health Care System Better Than America's?

Is the Canadian health care system better than America's?

I take a stab at the question here.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:08 PM

Combat Arms

This is wonderful.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:22 AM

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Suddenly England

I love it when spot-on new phrases are coined.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:42 PM

Whinny, Your Honor

A justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has rendered a dissent in the form of a song set to the tune of the jingle from the "Mr. Ed" TV show.

Fittingly, the case was over whether one could be charged with drunken driving for being inebriated while on horseback. The original Mr. Ed character was, according to TV Land, a "hard-drinking equine."

Frankly, it sounds to me as if the justice was a little soused himself.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:34 PM

Teresa Heinz, Environmental Defense & Pittsburgh's Cleanup

As reported by The Commons Blog, Teresa Heinz is claiming some credit for cleaning Pittsburgh. She says Pittsburgh is one of the cleanest cities in America.

Yet this EnvironmentalDefense report claims Pittsburgh is the nation's 18th dirtiest city.

Teresa Heinz is on their board, and is a major backer.

Which is it, Teresa? Clean or Dirty?

To be fair, Environmental Defense's ranking methods are wacky, so perhaps it is unfair to note Heinz apparently disagrees with the group's conclusions, even if we fairly place part of the blame for the group's wackiness on her shoulders. Pittsburgh is a much cleaner city than its industrial workhorse reputation leads some to expect, as it undertook a massive city cleanup known as Renassiance I from roughly the 1950s to early 1970s. So Heinz is right about the relatively clean air, although her unspecified role in the clean up must have been limited, as she did not even move to the United States until the 1960s.

But, back to the wackiness. Environmental Defense ranks cities not only according to the cleanliness of their air, but by the number of children who live there. The more kids as city has, the worse its ranking will be.

Why would such a large group do something so odd? Because it is trying to make a political point about asthma in kids. The more kids a city has, the more kids with asthma a city has, the more dirty air-related suffering is going on. That's the group's reasoning, anyway.

Personally, if I were doing such a ranking, I'd put the dirtiest city at the top of the list, the second dirtiest second, and so forth. But then, I lack imagination.

So whatever you do, if you are looking to move to the cleanest city in America, use some other group's ranking system to pick your next home. If you are looking for playmates for your kids, however, Environmental Defense may have just the data you need.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:03 AM

Cleveland Plain Dealer on Blogging

Check out this nice column about blogging in the Cleveland Plain Dealer by Kevin O'Brien.

Hat tip to Michael Ubaldi's uBlog.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:00 AM

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

National Guard Status: AWOL

A note from Mom, a regular listener to the Jerry Bowyer Show on WPTT in Pittsburgh:
On Tuesday, someone called the Jerry Bowyer show and told this story-

In the 1960s I was in the Air National Guard at the Pittsburgh airport. There was a very famous name on the roster and I asked if that person was really here. I was assured by all the others that he was. Occasionally I saw him, but more often he was not there. I would ask and was told he was in Europe, or he was away or he had other business. He wasn't there very much. His name was John Heinz.

So I guess John Kerry is calling his wife's dead first husband the same names he calls George Bush.


Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:48 PM

Shoes for Iraqi Kids

I didn't think a soldier stationed in Iraq who also is running a charity in this spare time would have additional time left over to write thank you letters to strangers, but I was wrong.

Back in July, I read this article on the Keystone Soldiers website about 1st Lt. Eric Sloan of Reading, PA. Lt. Sloan is collecting shoes for Iraqi children he sees walking barefoot in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees.

As readers of this blog know, my husband David and I have three four-year-olds. Keystone Soldiers made it clear that used-but-still-good kids' shoes would be welcomed by Lt. Sloan. So we gladly participated in the project, but we never expected to hear personally from Lt. Sloan. We did:
I wanted to thank you for sending the large box of sandals for donation to the children here in Iraq.

I started this idea when I was in Fallujah and would see all the children come in and out of my checkpoint without shoes on their feet. Well, I am in Baghdad now and have begun the process of starting the distribution process here. Your twenty pairs of shoes brings my total number received for the donation to approximately 500 pairs of shoes.

Thank you very much for your kindness. God Bless You!

Eric J. Sloan
1st Lt. U.S. Army
God Bless Lt. Sloan, I say.

I know some blog readers have perfectly good kids' shoes around the house -- shoes their owners outgrew. I hope some of you will drop by Keystone Soldiers to read more about Lt. Sloan's work. Dropping shoes in the mail is easy -- and you get a cleaner closet, besides!

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:21 AM

Monday, September 20, 2004

Western Pennsylvania Floods

I spent so much time watching the news coverage of what Ivan was doing to our southern states that I completely missed the harrowing tales of what the storm was doing elsewhere, including my own hometown.

Visit here for a slide show of dramatic flood photos in Western Pennsylvania courtesy of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

President Bush on Sunday night declared 19 Pennsylvania counties a disaster area while Gov. Ed Rendell has activated Pennsylvania's National Guard. Looking at those photos, I sure can see why. If you watch the slide show you see photos as dramatic as an entire farm so submerged by flooding that only the barn roof is visible from the air.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:27 PM

The U.N.'s Steep Decline

Jim Phillips and Nile Gardner of the Heritage Foundation have torn apart Kofi Annan's jibe that the war in Iraq was "illegal."

A small sample of a piece that I recommend be read in its entirety:
Kofi Annan's ill-considered jibe undercuts efforts to stabilize postwar Iraq that have been endorsed by the U.N. Security Council. It stigmatizes the embryonic Iraqi government, while strengthening the hand of Iraqi insurgents and foreign terrorists determined to strangle democracy in Iraq and inflict a defeat on the U.S.-led, U.N.-backed security force in the country.... Annan's statement that the war was "illegal" is both false and spurious..."
Phillips and Gardner believe Annan's statement was, in part, designed to indirectly affect the U.S. elections. They add:
The U.N. Secretary-General's gratuitous comments were an extraordinarily undiplomatic and inappropriate intervention from a world figure who is supposed to be a neutral servant of the international community. They raise serious questions about Annan's judgment and his suitability to continue in his post... The U.N. is a world body in steep, possibly terminal decline, struggling for relevance in the 21st Century, and Mr. Annan's remarks only further underline his organization's growing impotence.
The Heritage Foundation was sounding the alarm about the U.N. decades before doing so was fashionable. We'd be wise to listen to what its experts say now.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:08 AM

Hot Cold

It is because of things like this...
To many, this suggests a global warming fingerprint: The accumulation of greenhouse gases -- principally carbon dioxide -- has driven world temperatures to new heights (2002 and 2003 tied for second place after 1998 as the warmest years ever).
...that I write things like this. Not to mention this.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:24 AM

Sunday, September 19, 2004

A Complete Enemy

Captain Ed, blogging about France:
...disinformation operations are specifically designed to confuse and damage an opponent's intelligence services, placing them at a disadvantage against their enemies. Any time another country targets the US for such tactics, it puts American citizens at risk and when successful weakens our national security. But especially after 9/11, such activity cannot be seen as the actions of a friend, even an envious or concerned friend. Deliberate disinformation campaigns during wartime make clear that the aggressor considers themselves an antagonist to the US, if not a complete enemy.
Read the whole thing here.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:41 AM

Rathergate Must-Read

The Washington Post has a must see piece on page one in Sunday's edition on Rathergate.

Related and, if anything, even more interesting graphic in the Post can be found here.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:25 AM

Friday, September 17, 2004

Missionaries to Wal-Mart Territory

Ed Haislmaier sent this over:
Writing in the Charleston Daily Mail ("Missionaries to Wal-Mart territory: Liberals still think the message is fine; the audience, stupid"), columnist Chris Stirewalt demolishes the newly public expression of the 'voters are too stupid to elect liberals' theory. That theory -- which to date has usually been only quietly and privately expressed among our friends on the left -- is the natural corollary to the left's longstanding, and often publicly asserted, belief that conservatives are stupid.

Money quotes:
Left-wing America has reached a conclusion about the half of the country that refuses to put them in charge: Regular people are too stupid and brainwashed to vote in their own self-interest.
Thomas Frank's book "What's the Matter With Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America" has received accolades [from the left] for finally saying what so many had been thinking -- that the only reason liberalism lost was that conservatives were better at duping the rubes.
Like the avant-garde composer who creates a symphony so advanced and innovative that it sounds like a raccoon being tossed down the stairs in a steel garbage can, liberals know the problem is with the audience, not their work.
If the new idea for the left is to be even more condescending to voters, I don't suppose conservatives have too much to worry about.
Quick! Somebody syndicate Stirewalt before he gets away!

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 5:07 PM

Project 21 Member Profiled

Project 21 member Kimani Jefferson has just been profiled in his local newspaper.

The paper profiles his conversion from an Al Gore voter in 2000 to Republican National Convention delegate (from Minnesota) by 2004.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:11 PM

Child Abuse

Jeez. You wouldn't think grown-ups would do this to a little kid.

Hat tip to Poisoning Pigeons.

Addendum: The Washington Times has more details.

(I just knew the thugs would turn out to be labor union guys.)

Addendum 2: I predict three-year-old Sophia Parlock may get to meet the President of the United States personally the next time he's in West Virginia...

Addendum 3: Michelle Malkin reports the union is apologizing (good for them) while Captain Ed doesn't think much of the story or of the Parlock family.

I love Captain Ed, but my instincts go the other way completely. I've been to, and organized, many many counterdemonstrations over the years. Folks who attend them are expressing their political views, and as long as they do so lawfully, they should be applauded for participating in the process. (Frankly, if a few more Americans had participated in counterdemonstrations in the 60s and early 70s a few million Vietnamese killed by the communists after we left might be alive today.)

I myself got slugged pretty effectively by a grandmother in Texas in 1980 after I unfurled a Reagan sign at a Jimmy Carter rally at the Waco airport. Some would say I should not have done it (in fact, that's what the Reagan people said later to me that very day; Jimmy Carter had some pretty graphic words, too), and now that I'm 24 years older I probably wouldn't do the same thing given the same circumstances.

Ultimately, however, what I did was harmless, and I went on to participate in probably over 100 more demonstrations and counterdemonstrations over the years with very little violence of any kind ever taking place. Violence at political rallies is the exception, not the norm, at political rallies in the U.S., so it is not surprising to me that citizens would expect to be able to wave signs without fear at an opposition-party rally. I can't call it irresponsible that one family tried.

Addendum 4:An update on the story from the Parlocks' local newspaper.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:38 AM

History Channel

I'm blogging while watching the History Channel's documentary "First Invasion: The War of 1812."

I thought I knew a good bit about that war but it turns out I missed learning about some good stuff, including more than one event helpful to Americans that was attributed to divine intervention (here's one blogger's take on a weather-related miracle, and a more disspassionate view of that same event), and some extremely impressive sacrifices by ordinary Americans to save the then-infant republic.

Although it isn't one of the miracles, in the Battle of New Orleans, 2,000 British troops out of a force of 10,000 veterans were killed or wounded by a ragtag American force that suffered 8 dead and 13 wounded. That sounds pretty close to a miracle to me -- at least, for our side.

I'll never listen to the Star Spanged Banner the same way again.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:37 AM

Quote of the Day

"Dan Rather does not like anyone in the Bush family that I know of, unless maybe one of the dogs."

-Bob Dole on the Tony Snow radio show, as quoted in the New York Times, September 17

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:11 AM

Black Conservatives on "Voter Suppression"

Project 21 is calling claims of voter suppression by the NAACP, People for the American Way and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights a "smear-and-fear" campaign.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, run by its uber-leftist chairman, Mary Frances Berry, is holding a formal meeting on "barriers to the ballot box" September 17.

Says a Commission press release on the briefing:
Recent allegations [of barriers to the ballot box] include events in Florida, where many elderly black voters have been reportedly intimidated by police officers investigating alleged absentee voting fraud; in Texas, where students at the predominately black Prairie View A&M University were threatened with arrest by the local district attorney, who erroneously suggested they were not eligible to vote in the county in which the school was located; South Dakota, where some Native American poll workers and voters asserted that voting fraud investigations were racially motivated and only served to intimidate and discourage Indian voters; and in Chicago, where problems with voter identification and provisional balloting implementation reportedly had racial implications.
Says Project 21's Kevin Martin:
The same forces we saw in 2000 - those speaking of a concerted effort to disfranchise minorities - are once again making ridiculous allegations to make up for their lack of substance. They speak of voter suppression and intimidation, but they say nothing about the lax voter registration and identification rules that could lead to voter fraud.
For more, go here.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:16 AM

Thursday, September 16, 2004

No Clownish Fluffball Enterprise

From Michelle Malkin's Love Letter to the Blogosphere today:
From This episode is also a powerful rebuke of the MSM's Wonkette-ization of the blogosphere--which enabled Old Media types to take comfort in gossip blogger Ana Marie Cox's bosom and minimize blogging as a clownish fluffball enterprise. They'll still visit her site for an occasional fix of penis jokes and fabricated rumors, but she'll no longer be in their daily must-reads, where she has been replaced by bloggers of substance who don't need to go slumming to command deserved attention from newsrooms across the country.
I recommend all of it.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:34 PM

Congratulations to Sean

Congratulations to Sean at the Everything I Know Is Wrong blog for receiving 50,000 visitors to his blog.

Sean just happened to check his Sitemeter just as his webometer hit 50,000.

Everything I Know Is Wrong and Captain's Quarters were two of the very first blogs I read regularly when I first started paying serious attention to the blogosphere in 2003, and I have continued to visit each of them nearly every day since.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:32 PM

Viacom's Responsibility

Peter Flaherty of the National Legal and Policy Center has a piece on the American Spectator website today saying it is time for Viacom board of directors, which has legal and moral responsibility for the actions of its subsidiary CBS, to get directly involved in setting the CBS scandal to rights.

The National Legal and Policy Center has placed on its website a list of contact addresses not only for CBS, but for individual members of the Viacom board of directors.

The members of Viacom's board include members of the cabinets of former Presidents Clinton and Carter and the president of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among others. The complete list is here.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:03 PM

Leave the U.N.

It is past time for the U.S. to leave the United Nations.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:13 PM

Rush Limbaugh's Storm

This wonderful short essay pays blunt tribute to Rush Limbaugh.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:44 AM

Well And Truly Broken

This says exactly what I think about Dan Rather's comments as reported the Washington Post today.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:40 AM

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Ingraham v. O'Reilly

Congratulations to talk host Laura Ingraham, who gave Fox's Bill O'Reilly a much-deserved earful on his program tonight.

Laura did her homework and she didn't back down. O'Reilly tried a few tricks (such as telling her he didn't regard her as as right-wing as Rush Limbaugh -- he mistakenly thought it was a compliment), but Laura wasn't buying any of it.

Fox will run the O'Reilly Factor three more times between now and dawn. If I find a transcript or a copy online I'll post it here.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:04 PM

Just Kidding

It is amazing to me that satellite pictures of the United States seem to include state border lines.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 5:14 PM

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

No Jews or Christians Allowed

Can this possibly be legal?

Hat tip to Little Red Blog.

Addendum: I just telephoned Six Flags Great Adventure in NJ. I asked if what I had heard was true, that I must be a Muslim to be eligible to visit the park this Friday. I was told that the park is closed on Fridays. Seeing the loophole, I asked: "So the park is not open this Friday?" The Six Flags employee hesitated a second and then told me the park would be open this Friday, having been reserved by and for the use of a private group.

As it was after 9 PM when I called I was speaking to security personnel rather than to personnel in executive offices. If someone else has the full scoop on this I'd love to know it and will link to it if it is online, but if no one does I will call Six Flags tomorrow and ask them for their side of the story, and then post what I learn here.

Addendum #2 dated 9/15: WorldNetDaily is now reporting that Six Flags says the park will not be used exclusively by Muslim groups on Friday and that one of the Muslim organizations is backing off claims that the park will be "exclusively for Muslims" on Friday. The details in the WorldNet Daily story don't conform to what I was told by security personnel when I called Six Flags, but World Net Daily's source is the vice president of public relations for Six Flags, so unless other evidence surfaces, I'm going to assume she knows what she is talking about.

So, as the story stands now, there will be no religious test for entry into the theme park this Friday.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:06 PM

Dementia and Voting

The Washington Post expresses page one concern that people with dementia are voting.

Says the Post:
While many states have laws governing who is eligible to vote, attempts to disenfranchise voters with dementia could face constitutional challenge.
Change the could in that sentence to would -- if necessary, I'd challenge such a move myself.

There is absolutely no way doctors and caregivers can judge who is capable of making an informed decision. If a person can't vote -- literally can no longer understand how to physically cast the vote -- that's one thing, because that is an objective standard not determined by the judgement of a third party, but no third party should be able to take away someone's citizenship rights based on a medical opinion.

But taking the vote away from people who can't even pass one of Jay Leno's sidewalk civics tests, now that's a voting reform I can get behind.

Addendum: One of my must-read blogs, The Commons at Paulie World, rightly (in my view) corrects the Post's use of language in the quote above. I was glad to read the correction, because weak editing by big-budget, prestigious and (to be blunt) often self-important news publications is one of my pet peeves.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:08 AM


People are laughing about Batman at Buckingham Palace, but the campaign for enhanced fathers' custody rights in Britain is apparently quite a huge issue.

More here.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:35 AM

Monday, September 13, 2004

What If

I had a fun experience today that I hope happens to many other bloggers.

I was reading a thoughtful essay about the author's perceived change in the quality of Andrew Sullivan's blog on the What If? blog today and, to my surprise, found at the end of the essay a compliment of this blog. Thanks, Peggy!

In a much more serious vein, What If? has posted a haunting 9/11 pictorial remembrance essay. Brace yourself before you click the link.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:58 PM

Helping Autistic Kids

The Strengthen The Good project for this month is The Brent Woodall Foundation For Exceptional Children.

Even if you have no plans to donate to this charity, I urge you to go to the Strengthen the Good webpage and read the moving story of how and why it came to be created.

The Brent Woodall Foundation For Exceptional Children helps children with autism, a neurological/learning disorder of varying severity. Autistic children greatly benefit from specialized educational techniques. The Brent Woodall Foundation For Exceptional Children, in addition to serving children directly, helps teach parents how to raise autistic children to their true potential.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:08 AM

NAACP Backs Down

Blogger and Project 21 member Michael King is reporting on his Ramblings' Journal blog that NAACP CEO Kweisi Mfume is going to "apologize personally" for an incident in which the national NAACP reportedly pressured the Ohio NAACP to rescind a speaking invitation to U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige.

Mfume denies, however, that the national NAACP played any role in the matter.

Project 21 condemned the snub of Paige on Friday.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:00 AM

Care Packages

I recommend this touching update on the story of soldier Chad Drake of the 1st Cavalry Division, killed in action last Monday.

Spc. Drake's family was harassed by a pro-oppression rally in Dallas two days after this death.

We've been recommending that an appropriate response to this might be to send a care package and/or a thank you note to the 1st Cavalry Division, now posted in Baghdad.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:00 AM

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Blogger Jammies!

I definitely agree with Bear: It is time to develop this year's hottest Christmas gift -- Blogger jammies! (OK, maybe not hottest in all circles, but I bet they would sell well in Minnesota.)

Says Jonathan Klein of CBS on bloggers: "A guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas."

Let make sure some of these jammies are pink nighties, so when people in jammies are running rings around his well-dressed ace reporters, Jonny will recall that not all bloggers are guys.

We had concluded that the one thing upon which CBS News remains absolutely reliable was its adherence to political correctness.

Guess we were wrong.

Addendum:: Reader Mark writes in to suggest that young female bloggers, particularly those too young to know what a Selectric is, might like to wear something modelled on this rather than nighties. Nice try, Mark!

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:27 AM

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Holiday Shuffle

An interesting idea. I believe I agree with it.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:35 PM

Attention CBS...

...this is what research looks like.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:26 AM

Sometimes, It Is Handy to Be Old

When bloggers talk about the likelihood that the Texas National Guard bought "extra balls" for their "Selectrics," does anyone under thirty have any clue what the bloggers are talking about?

My question sheds no light on the forged vs. not forged issue (sorry!), but I'm wondering anyway.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:24 AM

No, the Post Isn't Missing - Click on "Hat"

Hat tip to and the American Digest.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:17 AM


If you like James Lileks' Tales of Gnat (I do), you'll love The Saga of the Tasty Marker on Recycled Electrons.

Speaking of The Bleat, read this from the 9/10 edition:
Blogs haven't toppled old media. The foundations of Old Media were rotten already. The new media came along at the right time. Put it this way: you've see films of old buildings detonated by precision demolitionists. First you see the puffs of smoke -- then the building just hangs there for a second, even though every column that held it up has been severed. We've been living in that second for years, waiting for the next frame. Well, here it is. Roll tape. Down she goes. And when the dust settles we will be right back where we were 100 years ago, with dozens of fiercely competitive media outlets throwing elbows to earn your pennies.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:02 AM

Friday, September 10, 2004

Annoy a Leftist Today

Blogs of War reports that the family of a 23-year-old 1st Cavalry Division soldier, Chad Drake, who was killed in action Monday, was harassed Wednesday by "peace" activists at a "Service of Mourning & Remembrance for 1000 U.S. Military War Dead in Iraq" sponsored by the Dallas Peace Center.

The family, probably misled by the name of the event and possibly by the fact that the group claims to work for "reconcilliation," mistakenly thought the point of the gathering was to honor U.S. war dead.

Instead, according to an e-mail sent by a family friend to the Dallas NBC affiliate, the mother of the dead soldier was "harassed and yelled at, booed and hissed, told her son died for nothing."

"Reconcilliation" traditionally is a left-wing code word for oppression. (If you doubt it, substitute "oppression" next time you hear a leftist say "reconcilliation," and see if the sentence doesn't instantly become more accurate.)

Our website's Joe Roche page has an address for care packages for the 1st Cavalry Division. Annoy a leftist today and honor Chad Drake's memory by sending something -- some paperbacks, a DVD, perhaps some cookies -- to these brave men and women. As important as the gift -- probably more important -- is the knowledge that most of us appreciate them.

Addendum: I corrected the incorrect link for the Joe Roche page with the care packages address. My apologies for the error!



Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:16 PM

NAACP Taking Sides?

Project 21 is wondering why the national NAACP reportedly forced the Ohio NAACP Chapter to rescind a speaking invitation at this weekend's Ohio NAACP state convention to Secretary of Education Rod Paige.

The group appears to be allowing a surrogate speaker for Senator Kerry, but not for President Bush.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 5:39 PM

Florida: Brace Yourselves

Sorry Florida, says Reuters. The hurricanes are normal.

In fact, says the report, given its location, Florida has been very lucky not to have had more hurricanes over the last forty years.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 5:24 PM

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.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 5:11 PM

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."

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:09 AM

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.



Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:29 AM

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.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:09 AM

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.



Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:00 AM

Thursday, September 09, 2004

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.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:25 AM

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

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.



Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:00 PM

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

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."

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:23 PM

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.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:57 PM

Monday, September 06, 2004

More Misleading Media?

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

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:46 PM

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.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:20 AM

Sunday, September 05, 2004

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.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:58 AM

"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.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:04 AM

Friday, September 03, 2004

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.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:44 PM

Thursday, September 02, 2004

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.



Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:27 PM

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

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.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:34 PM

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