Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Los Angeles Times: Hurricane Flattens Mississippi Coast

This Los Angeles Times story about Katrina devastation really brings home just how awful the post-Katrina situation is in Mississippi.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:43 AM


Neither the New York Times nor the Washington Post found itself able to editorialize about Katrina's devastation without making wholly irrelevant digs at President Bush for being on vacation before Katrina hit Mississippi and Louisiana.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:40 AM

Endangered Species and Military Bases: A Call for Eco-Sanity

Peyton Knight, who joined The National Center's staff Monday as our new director of the John P. McGovern MD Center for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs, is making a plea for eco-sanity on our military bases.
Our brave men and women in harm's way have enough burdens to shoulder these days-without being hamstrung by environmental ideologues.

According to the Associated Press:
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld warned Monday that procedures designed to protect the environment can sometimes jeopardize U.S. troops and should be balanced against military needs.
Yet over the weekend, the White House was busy "playing environmental matchmaker, encouraging odd couples such as the Nature Conservancy and the Pentagon as they team to save wild birds and military ranges," according to the AP.

The fact is, environmental organizations have been wreaking havoc on U.S. military preparedness, using the Endangered Species Act, for years.

For instance, due to its unique terrain and coastline, Camp Pendleton in Southern California is regarded as one of the best places to train U.S. Marines. Unfortunately for the military, it is also home to the California gnatcatcher, the San Diego fairy shrimp, the tidewater goby, and more than a dozen other species listed as "endangered" or "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act.

To comply with endangered species regulations, our men and women in uniform, when training at Camp Pendleton, must make pain to avoid treading in certain areas.

If they don't, they could find themselves subject to penalties and fines.

Considering that about 25 percent of all species listed under the ESA are found on military bases, the conflict between the ESA and military prepardness may only grow deeper.

Unfortunately, Congress missed its chance to exempt crucial military training exercises from the long arm of the ESA two years ago, when related legislation was derailed in the Senate. Perhaps now is the time to reenergize this effort.

Rather than play environmental matchmaker, Congress and the White House should promote eco-sanity on military bases. Considering the tremendous sacrifices our troops make on a daily basis, it is not too much to ask that they be afforded the best training possible. After all, their lives are on line.
Welcome aboard, Peyton!

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:23 AM

Monday, August 29, 2005


Let's keep everyone in the path of Katrina in our prayers.

Addendum: Michelle Malkin has information on private relief efforts, and how to help the victims of the storm and flooding.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:45 AM

Jesse Jackson: First Amendment? What First Amendment?

In light of Pat Robertson's publicly-expressed view that the U.S. government should "take... out" Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, Jesse Jackson says the Federal Communications Commission should ban discussions of assassinating foreign leaders on U.S. "airwaves."

Robertson's comments, of course, were were on a broadcast of the "700 Club," owned by a non-profit institution, not a broadcast network. In other words, the First Amendment applies.

So, Jackson, supposed civil rights leader, wants to violate our civil rights.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:23 AM

Sunday, August 28, 2005

On John Roberts and Martin Luther King: No Apology Necessary

Says Project 21's Mychal Massie:
I neither apologize for nor shrink from my comments comparing the beliefs of Judge John Roberts, James Madison and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. To suggest that I have in some way discredited Dr. King is simply the knee-jerk, apoplectic hysteria of those who find fault with anyone not espousing their leftist mantra of self-segregation and special rights. As a result, much of what Dr. King stood for has been undermined by their lies and pathetic misrepresentations.

John Roberts has worked to ensure people are not judged by the color of their skin, but rather by the content of their character. Is that not exactly what Dr. King espoused so eloquently? Judge Roberts's rulings and beliefs are rooted in the same document - our Constitution - that both Dr. King and Madison so gallantly defended. It is the left that strives for an America governed by quotas and special rights for perceived oppressed special classes. It is the left, not Judge Roberts, Dr. King or James Madison, who seek to control what persons may say, how they may think and how our children are taught.

Dr. King's agenda was for blacks to be able to sit at the lunch counter of their choice and for black children to attend desegregated schools. He marched for the rights of blacks to participate freely in elections and be able to purchase and live in homes they could afford. He was attacked and jailed in his quest to ensure that all Americans received equal treatment. I defy those feigning insult to cite one example of Judge Roberts not supporting those ideals.
Project 21's Cherylyn LeBon adds:
In my experience as a former senior counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, John Roberts's record demonstrates that he is a careful, diligent and thoughtful lawyer who provided his clients with sound legal advice on civil rights issues. In private practice, Roberts has shown that he has an ability to see all sides of various civil rights issues and has the ability to recognize the complexity of current law in this area. John Roberts is a fair and thoughtful attorney, and I hope that his upcoming hearing in September will reflect these same qualities.
To read the backstory, go here.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:17 AM

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Homeschooling Revolution on Camille Paglia

Quite a quote about the Bible from the one-of-a kind Camille Paglia.

Speaking of Camille Paglia, about ten years ago a driver taking a sudden shortcut across a sidewalk at the Dulles International Airport outside Washington nearly ran me over. I only got a quick glimpse of the driver as I dashed behind a concrete pillar, but she looked exactly like Camille Paglia. Drove the way she talks, too.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:47 PM

Friday, August 26, 2005

Joe Roche: Antidote to Defeatism

Joe Roche has a must-read article in today's Washington Times:
I'm very proud to be a soldier of the U.S. Army because of the war on terror and our missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm not alone either. I'm surrounded by soldiers who are re-enlisting and volunteering to go to units that are deploying. In fact, despite all the negative news and protests, I see everyday that our military is actually doing very well.

This is quite obvious, except for the fact that most of the media seems asphyxiated with defeatism. The message from most journalists would lead you to believe that we soldiers are getting out, that no one is joining anew and that we want to stop fighting. This simply isn't true.

Yes, recruitment is lower, but the caliber of those who are signing up and the rates of re-enlistment are both extremely high. All 10 of our major combat divisions are ahead of expectations for retention of soldiers. In my unit, there are soldiers who specifically went active duty from the reserves because they want to go to Iraq or Afghanistan.

Before September 11, a lot of soldiers were happy to just enjoy the benefits. Since that day, those soldiers have left. That is fine and not the disaster that defeatist reports are making it seem. Such soldiers were never the types to want to go on long deployments and face combat. Yes, they were heroes for signing up and being in a job that could go that direction, but they had other priorities that made their service contingent on enjoying the benefits rather than serving in war.

That changed on September 11. Now, just as we are told to expect when joining, we are going to combat and many soldiers are getting injured and killed. This is our job, and it is what we know can happen. I don't know why the media insists on trumpeting the idea that all of us are tired and worn out and just want to stop fighting. I don't, and I am not alone.

The fact is that we are not experiencing casualty rates anywhere near past conflicts, nor for that matter as bad as during peacetime. There were weeks in Vietnam when 350-400 Americans died, and in other wars thousands would die in single battles. Nothing like that is happening now.

From 1983 to 1996, more than 18,000 soldiers died. That averages to more than 1,300 a year, far more than have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan each year. Yes, that was mostly from accidents, drunk driving and other mishaps. Yet, while protesters in Crawford, Texas and elsewhere would have you think that our military can't survive with the low casualty rates of this war, I wonder why they were willing to accept the much higher peacetime casualty rates of the past? We lost around 3,000 innocent people on September 11, and with four years of war and the toppling of two regimes, we haven't lost that many in combat.

Injuries are high, but they are nothing compared to past conflicts. And most striking is how many are recovering well. I have been to both of the major military hospitals involved in this war, Landstuhl in Germany and Walter Reed in Washington, and I can tell you that there are many soldiers who have lost limbs in Iraq and Afghanistan and who want to return to their units and get redeployed.

Like I said earlier, though, the striking fact I see every day is that the soldiers who are joining now are of much higher caliber than those who joined before September 11. The senior commandant of the Marines recently testified before Congress that the same is happening with them. There maybe fewer than before, but those that do show up are willing and dedicated to being deployed and going to combat. These are also the types who are re-enlisting more than ever before. In fact, re-enlistment is up to 130 percent of expectations in some divisions.

My wife is in the National Guard. Theirs is an interesting experience right now in that there have been more casualties by accidents and reckless behavior off-duty than in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why are protesters not upset about that? Sadly it appears that much of the media are obsessed with defeatism. Even the message of the protesters - contradictory, false and confused as ever - is made front-page headline news every day. The few people they can exploit to push this defeatist agenda are made to appear to speak for all of us. That just isn't true.

Contrary to all the bad news, I see everyday that our soldiers are motivated and eager to contribute and participate in our nation's military missions. This is a very proud and important time to be serving. Considering that out of a population of 285 million, less than one-tenth of one percent are going to war right now, and considering the huge impact we are having on the world, this is a wonderful time to be a soldier in the U.S. Army.

-Sgt. Joe Roche is with the 12th Aviation Battalion and stationed at Fort Belvoir.
Long-time blog readers will recognize Joe's writings, some of which are archived here.

Joe made a particular splash last year with this piece. I counted later and found that it was reprinted, quoted or linked to by at least 286 blogs, read on the air by many talk show hosts (including Rush Limbaugh and Kirby Wilbur), quoted by President Bush in his acceptance speech at the 2004 Republican National Convention, and included in a display at the Smithsonian Institution. (I really need to post a photo of the Smithsonian display in this blog.)

Most important, Joe's writings, combined with the support of talk hosts, bloggers, businesses and what we call ordinary Americans (as if any American were "ordinary"!), resulted in many care packages being sent to soldiers and Marines fighting abroad.

Anybody who thinks one man can't make a difference never met Joe Roche.


Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:37 PM

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Questions for Hugo Chavez

Let me get this Hugo Chavez thing straight.

A businessman and religious broadcaster (Pat Robertson) who ran for president 17 years ago against the current president's father more-or-less calls for the assassination of Chavez, who himself is allied with Fidel Castro, a man who kills his political enemies. Despite apparently supporting political assassinations when Castro does it, Chavez does mind when he himself is the putative target, so he responds with a threat... retaliate by selling oil to lower-income Americans at below-market prices.

This is a retaliation? It sounds like a favor.

If Jimmy Swaggart were to be mean to Jacques Chirac, would Americans get a cheese discount?

There's another thing about the story about Chavez's ire that caught my eye:
The Venezuelan government is asking for assurances from the U.S. government that Mr. Chavez will be adequately protected when he visits New York for a special session of the U.N. next month.
Say what?

If Chavez thinks Pat Robertson's assassination advice to the U.S. government is something to worry about, isn't the U.S. government the last entity in the world to which Chavez should appeal for security?

Let Fidel do the honors, I say.

Besides, why should the U.S. provide security to anyone visiting the United Nations? If you aren't man enough to walk down the streets of Manhattan, ask your own government for security, Hugo. Or ask those oil-for-food scandal guys you are visiting. Why should the American taxpayer pay any of your travel bills?

If you really want to retaliate against America, Hugo, do it in a big way: Steal the U.N. right out of New York. We'd be so humiliated. Go ahead -- I dare you.

Addendum: E-mail correspondent Kathryn Atkinson takes issue with the notion that Fidel Castro has killed political opponents:
I was rather confused, which political enemies has Castro killed? Salvador Allende? Nasser? Oh no that was the you lot. Your article is uninformed propaganda and quite frankly retarded. Hugo Chavez will be in New York and like George Galloway in the senate will hit your flagging, increasingly unpopular neo-con government for six. I'm also confused about this Christianity lark "it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven" George Bush is a Christian? judging by that biblical quote surely socialism is an inevitable by-product of Christianity. Please can you explain this glaring contradiction to me, it would be much appreciated. Go ahead -- I dare you.
I print an occasional e-mail like this because it is important to remember that some people still believe Castro's propaganda.

Addendum 2: Now I'm getting hostile mail from Fidel lovers. What's with you people? The man's a monster. He's not even sexy. What gives?

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:27 AM

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

African-American Leaders Call Press Conference to Discuss Record of Judge John Roberts

Project 21 Member Mychal Massie is participating in a Thursday press conference at the National Press Club in Washington on the record and beliefs of Supreme Court nominee Judge John Roberts.

Says Mychal:
John Roberts is the type of jurist who represents the beliefs of great Americans such as James Madison and Martin Luther King, Jr. Roberts is someone who can be relied upon to administer our Constitution as it is written and not how he or his political benefactors think it should be.
Other prominent African-American leaders expected to appear with Project 21's Massie include Niger Innis of the Congress of Racial Equality, Robert Woodson of the National Council for Neighborhood Enterprise and Phyllis Berry Myers of the Center for New Black Leadership.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:23 PM

U.S. Fish and Wildlife's Service's New Math

Husband David Ridenour has a question:
Q: When does 90 days equal 3,074 days?

A:When the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is doing the counting.

The FWS recently issued a "90-day finding" on a petition to delist the slackwater darter, or etheostoma boschungi, from the Endangered Species Act's "threatened list." The petition had been filed by the National Wilderness Institute on February 3, 1997.

The FWS is supposed to make such 90-day findings within, well, 90 days.

It missed the mark by 2,984 days. In other words, it took the FWS more than 34 times the amount of time it was supposed to take.

By this standard, President Bush would still have about 136 years left on his second term (or about 269 years left on his two terms combined).

This occurred because -- the FWS notes -- delisting is its lowest priority under the agency's Listing Priority Guidance, at tier 4.

Apparently, saving taxpayer money and making sure it doesn't use its funds to save species that are either fully recovered or completely extinct isn't important over at the Fish and Wildlife Service.

If we're going to use new math, how about this? We'll fund the FWS... at 1/34 of its current level.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:43 PM

Monday, August 22, 2005

Sad But Amusing

Sad but amusing, by way of the Cato Institute's "Cato Policy Report":
In my State of the City Address, I said that in order to be a GREAT city -- THIS city needs to excel in three areas: Education, Public Safety and Jobs.

This downtown Phoenix Campus of ASU is the catalyst for the first -- and the foundation for the other two. Because without education, there are not many jobs. And without education their is a lot more crime.

-"Mayor's Message" from Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, April 21, 2005
I confess, however, that while typing the above I misspelled "education" twice.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:34 PM

Ivory-Billed Woodpeckers' Excellent Timing

From husband David Ridenour:
On April 28, researchers, including representatives of the environmentalist group The Nature Conservancy, announced the discovery of an Ivory-Billed Woodpecker along the Cache River in Arkansas. Before the "discovery," the bird had been believed to be extinct since 1944. It nonetheless continued to be protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.

The discovery occurred at the very time that the Fish and Wildlife Service was working through a back-log of petitions for delisting species submitted by the National Wilderness Institute (NWI) back in 1997. One of the petitions called for the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker to be delisted due to extinction.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:02 AM

Stem Cell Breakthrough?

A page one Washington Post story Monday says researchers have learned to create embryonic stem cells from skin cells.

Says the Post:
The approach... is still in an early stage of development. But if further studies confirm its usefulness, it could offer an end run around the heated social and religious debate that has for years overshadowed the field of human embryonic stem cell research.

Since the new stem cells in this technique are essentially rejuvenated versions of a person's own skin cells, the DNA in those new stem cells matches the DNA of the person who provided the skin cells. In theory at least, that means that any tissues grown from those newly minted stem cells could be transplanted into the person to treat a disease without much risk that they would be rejected...
Read the entire Post story here.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:01 AM

Saturday, August 20, 2005

John Roberts' Sly Wit

Once Judge John Roberts becomes Justice John Roberts, if the comments in this Washington Post piece are any indication, we're going to have some fun when we read his opinions.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:02 AM

Friday, August 19, 2005

No Pundit Intended: To Kill An American

Despite the title, a heart-warming post.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:28 PM

Endangered Species Reform and Immigration: When Travel is Illegal, Only Illegals Will Travel

Does a proposal to reform the Endangered Species Act intersect with the immigration issue? Husband David thinks so:
A draft of an Endangered Species Act bill that reportedly will be introduced by Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA) next month includes a provision that could sharply restrict how and where Americans travel.

The bill, known as the "Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act," would extend the ESA to cover certain so-called "invasive species."

"Invasive species" are generally defined as plants, animals, fish or other organisms that have spread beyond their normal geographical range.

People can spread invasive species by inadvertently picking up seeds of plants on their clothes and dropping them in areas where the plant doesn't normally grow.

Because invasive species can be spread through such activities as hiking, biking, driving, horseback riding and boating, among other activities, including an invasive species provision in the Endangered Species Act could give federal authorities new powers to restrict our travel.

Interestingly, the debate over invasive species and whether to include them in the Endangered Species Act comes at a time when the issue of weakness in U.S. border security is receiving increasing attention.

One wonders if immigrants crossing our border illegally - who, presumably, would be as likely as anyone else to inadvertently transport seeds of invasive species - would be covered by the new regulations.

If so, would the federal government enforce them?

That's doubtful, given that we can't even manage to enforce our border.

When travel is made illegal, only illegals will travel.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:10 AM

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Mark Tapscott: Promoting Open Government

Mark Tapscott is a real leader when it comes to promoting open government.

Mark's op-ed for Knight-Ridder Tribune, available here on the Heritage Foundation website, explains the advantages of beefing up the Freedom of Information Act, how it can be done and who in Congress is on the job.

Mark's blog, meanwhile, always has the latest on this important issue, plus lots more. For example, did you know that Hell froze over?

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:29 AM

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Liberty Matters: Property Rights May Be a Major 2006 Election Issue

The Liberty Matters News Service, writing August 5, had some good news for property rights advocates:
The Supremes' decision in Kelo v. New London in June has had some unforeseen results; people in all walks of life have suddenly realized their homes are not secure from government seizure and are taking steps to correct the problem. 'A property rights revolt is sweeping the nation, and Alabama is leading it,' said Republican governor Bob Riley, as he signed the nation's first bill to prohibit local governments from seizing private property to turn it over to other private interests. The Kelo decision has been a wake-up-call for those who have long considered property rights concerns to be 'red state' issues. 'A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found that Americans cite private property rights as the current legal issue they care most about.' Donald Lambro, writing for the Washington Times said; '[T]he property rights movement, which had been somewhat moribund before the court acted, has spawned what many political strategists expect to be a major issue in the 2006 election cycle.'

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:13 PM

General Electric Thinks Regulation Needed for Innovation?

As long as I am writing about the National Journal's coverage of global warming, here's a perplexing quote from the chairman and CEO of General Electric, Jeffrey Immelt (2004 salary: $8.5 million), as reported in the National Journal cover story "Heating Up," by Margaret Kriz (8/6/05 issue):
We think that real targets, whether voluntary or regulatory, are helpful because they drive innovation. We believe in the power of market mechanisms to address the needs of the environment.
Aside from the weird construction ("the environment" can't have "needs" -- it is what it is), sentence two is okay, but sentence one is a stunner. The CEO of General Electric thinks more government regulation on General Electric is a positive thing?

This article says Jeffrey Immelt is "trying to revivify the culture of innovation at GE" (is "revivify" a word?). If so, that government should regulate GE more intensely is a doggone odd way to do it.

Why can't GE innovate for the old-fashioned reason -- because it likes profits?

Immelt's quote reminds me of the scene in the movie "Animal House" in which pledges to the geek fraternity, while being paddled, are forced to say "Thank you, sir, may I have another?"

I was raised in a Westinghouse family. We never did understand those GE people.

Addendum: Apparently, revivify is a word.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:02 PM

National Journal on Global Warming

I received the following not long ago from a staffer at NationalJournal, a publication to which I subscribe.
Dear Amy,

I wanted to bring to your attention the attached article in this week's National Journal, "Heating Up."

In the article, Margaret Kriz emphasizes the growing demand for action to limit greenhouse gas emissions as the key players realize global warming is real and very dangerous.

I thought this issue might be of interest to you, and I hope you find this type of coverage valuable to your work...
Based on this e-mail, raise your hand if you think National Journal provides neutral, unbiased coverage on global warming.

My hand is down.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:40 PM

Where's the Deterrent?

This story, from the CrosSwords blog, is appalling.

Apparently, the District of Columbia held an innocent man in its jail for 670 days after a judge ordered him released.

The man's lawyer says the reason was "sloth and incompetence." The District has settled a large sum on the victim. The AP coverage of this I found in the Wahington Times said nothing about what happened to the employees who allowed this to occur. This Washington Post story contains more details but also neglects to discuss disciplinary action.

Government payouts of cash are nice for the victim (who might well have preferred to have two years of his life back), but are no deterrent against future wrong-doing. Governments raise their money through taxes. If you or I (anyone except the very rich) had to pay someone a large sum because we had treated them unfairly, we'd feel it. Government doesn't feel it.

Addendum: More searching found a different Washington Post story about this case ("Warnings Of Wrongful Jailing Went Unheeded," by Carol D. Leonnig); one that does discuss who was at fault in more detail, and what happened to them as a result.

Very, very little happened.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:10 PM

Comparable Worth, Judge John Roberts and Why It is Not Radical to Oppose the Overturning of Our Capitalist System

Despite what some may be led to believe from the rather hysterical news coverage Tuesday, then-29-year-old Associate White House Counsel John Robert, Jr. was right, and feminists and some Members of Congress were (and in some cases remain) wrong on the issue of "comparable worth" (sometimes misleadingly called "pay equity").

News services, too, are wrong to run headlines that imply that Roberts opposed "gender equity" when he opposed adoption of "comparable worth" proposals designed to allow government to set wage rates throughout our economy.

Comparable worth, simply put, was nothing less than an attempt to use the pretext of equal rights for women as a means of putting judges, bureaucrats, legislators and trial lawyers in charge of private and public sector wage rates.

Equal rights means equal rights, not guaranteed equal outcomes.

Fortunately, comparable worth as a serious public policy idea died a well-deserved death back in the 80s (though some on the left continue to promote the idea, mostly in an echo chamber). Unfortunately, the idea was so utterly annihilated, it seems most conservatives now don't even recall the proposal, which made it rather difficult for them to explain on short notice today how lousy it is, and why John Roberts was right to compare it to Marxism.

I explained what comparable worth advocates believe, why it is so radical, and how comparable worth (if adopted) actually would hurt women in this National Center "What Conservatives Think" publication back in 2004. "Comparable worth" was considered a dead idea even then, but some on the left kept trotting it out, as if it were a pro-woman, pro-fairness initiative, instead of a radical restructuring of our entire economy.

Here's what I wrote:
The left-wing has complained about so-called "pay equity" for years. As the U.S. Senate's Republican Policy Committee has pointed out, however: "The average wage gap between men and women is 26 cents (and falling). But this figure does not account for factors unrelated to sex discrimination that affect income: age, education, occupation, number of years in the workforce, and experience. Controlling for these factors shows women are actually paid 98 cents for every dollar earned by a man. The remaining 2-cent adjusted wage gap could be caused by sex discrimination, but it could also be caused by measuring errors, unaccounted for differences between men and women, or a combination of these factors. The 2-cent adjusted wage gap could also be more than made up for by the non-monetary benefits of female-dominated jobs, including better supervisors, fewer risks, easier commutes, and more flexible hours. Former Congressional Budget Office Director June O'Neill writes, 'When earnings comparisons are restricted to men and women more similar in their experience and life situations, the measured earnings differentials are typically quite small.'"

If there is a pay equity problem, however, the left's solutions are far worse than any problem. Proposals such as those introduced in Congress by Rep. Rose DeLauro and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton in the House and Senator Tom Daschle in the Senate would create a flurry of lawsuits and much work for trial lawyers and government employees. Conservatives suspect this is no accident.

It is worth noting that wage discrimination on the basis of gender already is illegal. The government has structures in place to assure that a woman doing the same job as a man receives the same compensation. What the left seeks is a government mechanism to assure that persons in female-dominated professions are paid as much as people in male-dominated professions.

The philosophical issue involved is this: Liberals believe it ultimately is the responsibility of federal government to assure "fair" wage rates, while conservatives believe this is neither true nor wise. Wage rates are properly negotiated between employer and employee. Employers who do not provide adequate compensation will find themselves with a shortage of workers. Any other standard is subjective.

Another way to put it: The left believes both government employees and trial lawyers have a superior ability to set fair wage rates than do traditional supply and demand mechanisms. The right disagrees.

Ironically, because the law of supply and demand ultimately can never be repealed, pay equity laws (also called "comparable worth" proposals) are likely to increase unemployment rates for women by raising wage rates in female-dominated professions beyond what the market will bear.
What's amazing is not that young John Roberts opposed having the government set wage rates, but that anyone who calls herself or himself a capitalist, let alone a Republican, disagrees.

Note this passage in an August 16 New York Sun article by Josh Gernstein referring to Rep. Nancy Johnson, Republican of Connecticut:
Ms. Johnson's office offered a more pithy rebuttal to the nominee's memo. "We don't think equal pay for equal work is a radical concept," said a spokesman for the congresswoman, Brian Schubert. "Women and men doing comparable work should be paid fairly and equally."
Does Mr. Schubert understand that comparable worth proposals mean the government, not the private sector, would set wage rates? I wonder.

Addendum (8/18): This August 18 article by Robert Parry, author of the book "Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq," and a former AP and Newsweek writer, is a perfect example of how not to write about Judge John Roberts and comparable worth. Despite Mr. Parry's apparently impressive credentials as a reporter, Parry apparently had absolutely no idea what "comparable worth" proposals were designed to do when he wrote his screed. As such, Parry makes the mistake of assuming that Roberts' opposition to handing government the power to set public and private wage rates necessarily means that Roberts, when he worked in the Reagan Administration, thought women deserved to be paid less (for the same work) than men. Parry says Roberts is on the wrong side of history. In fact, Parry is on the wrong side of accuracy.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:36 AM

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Cindy Sheehan, Bill Broyles and the Lessons of the Pacific War

In response to my post asking folks to e-mail me if they know of any cases in which a family member of someone killed in World War II protested against FDR comes the following reply from the former editor-in-chief of Newsweek and screenwriter Bill Broyles (who also is a Marine Vietnam combat veteran).

This happens to be the only email I so far have received that provides actual information about World War II-era war protests, though plenty have written to lecture me, saying Cindy Sheehan has a right to protest the present war (a point I have never disputed).

Mr. Broyles's letter, in full:
First, there were many protests. After the battle of Tarawa anguished families called the Marine Corps "the greatest instrument for the slaughter of young Americans ever invented." See James Bradley's fine book, "Flags of our Fathers."

Second, FDR didn't invent reasons to send those Americans off to war. As you may or may not recall, Japan attacked us. Count the number of Iraqis involved in September 11, please; and also perhaps list the number of nuclear weapons or any weapons of mass destruction found there.

Third, how many of YOUR relatives are in Iraq right now? Or are you one of those elitist right-wing jerks who loves the war so long as other people's sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives are fighting it?

And BTW, my son is in Iraq on his third tour right now.

So before you go making snide remarks about a mother whose son made the ultimate sacrifice for his country, why don't you yourself sign up and go over there, you love the war so much.

Bill Broyles
Response:Thanks to Mr. Broyles for the information on protests regarding Tarawa. I checked the recommended book. The edition I have does not contain the quote referenced (perhaps another edition does), but it does refer to newspaper editorials condemning the loss of life on Tarawa ("This Must Not Happen Again") and says "one mother wrote a commander, 'You killed my son on Tarawa.'"

It continues:
[Time War] Correspondent [Robert] Sherrod worried that Americans would not have the stomach for the sacrifices the Marines would have to make to conquer the Pacific. To him it was obvious that the Japanese strategy was to dig in on every island in the Central Pacific to inflict horrendous losses in the hope that America would give up and negotiate a peace. The Japanese were counting on civilians to blanch at the human cost of advancing on Japan and for the Marines to falter in the face of fanatical Japanese defenses. Yet, howevermuch civilian support may have been in doubt, [Marine General Holland 'Howlin' Mad'] Smith had no doubts about the bravery and determination of his Marines.
The parallel to the present situation is obvious.

I have not, at least yet, made any serious effort to find the editorials referenced in Bradley's "Faith of our Fathers," but if anyone who reads this is familiar with them, I would be interested to know if the editorials questioned the way the battle (or Pacific War) was being fought or if any influential newspapers or media commentators of the time, citing U.S. casualties, called upon FDR to withdraw U.S. troops from the Pacific.

As for Bill Broyles' second point: While the notion that President George W. Bush invented reasons for going in to Iraq is debatable, it is not debatable that FDR had options. FDR did not have to propose that Congress declare war on both Germany and Japan after Pearl Harbor (Yes, Mr. Broyles, I have heard of Pearl Harbor); FDR and his successor had the option, too, of seeking something less than unconditional surrender from our Axis enemies.

I wonder: Did any of FDR's contemporary critics ever refer to FDR "inventing" reasons to attack Germany (Germany had no ability to seriously attack the U.S. mainland, after all -- the contemporary equivalent of having no WMDs)?

If so, perhaps FDR's defenders noted approvingly that President Roosevelt wanted to plant a stable democracy in central Europe and bring safety, human rights, prosperity and hope to millions. Perhaps, FDR's defenders said, Roosevelt was right to decide the U.S. should finish a war against a nation the U.S. had fought not long before -- in a war the U.S. and its many allies won in combat, but without winning a full, just and lasting peace?

As to the personal, Mr. Broyles: Two members of my extended family are presently of an age to be eligible for military service. Of the two, one has served two tours in Iraq with a combat unit. I myself at 45 am too old to enlist and was too young for Vietnam. I did seriously consider a military career when entering college, but abandoned the notion as women were then ineligible for combat and I could not pass the vision test (I checked). We were at peace at the time anyway. Birthdate-wise, the war our family had folks eligible for was World War II. Everyone in our family who was eligible joined up for that one, including the women. We do our part.

Addendum and Mea Culpa, 8/17: An e-mail correspondent has kindly reminded me that, in World War II, Germany declared war on the U.S. before the U.S. declared war on Germany. He's quite right.

Addendum, 9/26: Steven Gay of Bank of America apparently finds the addendum above, and my mea culpa of 8/17, inadequate. Mr. Gay writes on September 26:
Regarding the statement, "FDR did not have to propose that Congress declare war on both Germany and Japan after Pearl Harbor." Get it straight. FDR did NOT declare war on both Germany and Japan. He declared war on Japan only, on December 8. On December 11, Germany declared war on the United States. FDR, that same day, informed Congress, and asked Congress to "recognize" that a state of war existed between Germany and the United States.
Okay, mea culpa again, if that helps. I hadn't realized America's leading financial institution, as it calls itself, was so touchy about our entry into World War II.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:58 AM

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Varifrank on Cindy Sheehan

Varifrank's essay on Cindy Sheehan, what's she's going through, and how we should regard her message, is the best I've seen anywhere.

Hat tip: Explicitly Ambiguous

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:12 AM

Hounded at Death by the Greenies

Not every news story has quotes this odd:
It is not enough to be a corpse anymore. Now, you have to be a politically correct corpse.
Yes, folks, you can spend up to $15,000 to be buried the eco-friendly way.

What I found most intriguing in this story about the "little boutique cemeteries with a social justice component" is the brief mention that embalming is done by a freelance embalmer named "Dead Ed" who works on -- believe it or not -- a bicycle.

Others, however, may be more interested in learning more about $5,000 eco-friendly coffins made of recycled newspaper and non-toxic glue. To a greenie, paradise. To me, peewee art gone grotesque.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:50 AM

Cindy Sheehan's Apologist Allies

I see in the Washington Post that Cindy Sheehan is using the same PR agency the Nicaraguan Sandinistas used.

Perhaps understandably, Fenton Communications doesn't brag about its work promoting Nicaragua's pro-Castro, anti-U.S. communist government. At least, not on its website.

For those who don't remember the Sandinistas, here are remarks by then-President Ronald Reagan about the Sandinistas' torture of dissidents, their pro-Soviet military activities, their personal financial corruption and more. Read it while remembering that Fenton Communications stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the Sandinistas, and now Cindy Sheehan stands with them.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:35 AM

Friday, August 12, 2005

Funniest Blog?

I think if a careful tally were to be taken, The Shape of Days just might officially be named "Most Sarcastic Blog." Or funniest. Or both.

But: That cute little boy pictured at the top right of The Shape of Days sure knows some naughty, naughty words.

(Yes, Jeff, I did see the last sentence of this post.)

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:54 PM

War Protest Question

408,306 Americans were killed in World War II. Does anyone remember a case in which the family of one of them protested subsequently against FDR, U.S. participation in the war, or the way the war was being conducted?

I'm wondering: Did this simply never happen, or did it happen a) without media coverage, or b) without me having ever learned of it?

I would appreciate an e-mail from anyone who knows the answer.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:32 PM

Social Security's Birthday

Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey says the Social Security program turns 70 this week.

It seems a lot older than that.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:33 PM

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Mick Jagger, This One's For You

New to the blogroll, listed under "Interesting Websites": The United States Central Command (more commonly referred to as CENTCOM) Home Page.

I received an e-mail today from CENTCOM asking to be listed on our blogroll (I'm guessing other bloggers did, too). I would have said "yes" anyway, but in light of Mick Jagger's recent dig at those who are protecting his sorry existence, I'm extra enthusiastic about doing this today.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:56 PM

Another Dope Heard From

You're full of s--- too, Mick.

Hat tip: The American Mind, Matt Welch at, Classical Values and the Marshall Blog.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:03 AM

David Limbaugh on Mario Cuomo's Damning Admission

David Limbaugh referees a debate held on "Meet the Press" between Professor Douglas Kmiec and former New York Governor Mario Cuomo. Says Limbaugh, in part: is axiomatic that those who don't play by the rules are always suspicious that the other side won't either. Since liberals have routinely exploited the judiciary to implement their policy agenda they fear conservative-oriented judges might do the same. Actually, they're horrified at the prospect that conservative judges might simply reverse precedent established through liberal activism, such as Roe.

Mario Cuomo gave voice to this liberal fear during the debate. Kmiec asserted that Pope John Paul II's admonition to public officials to work legislatively to limit abortion did not apply to judges, because they are not legislators. Cuomo vehemently disputed this, saying, 'The law today, as we all know, is Roe against Wade. That was made by judges and it can be overturned by judges. To say that the [pope's] rules that apply to legislators shouldn't apply to judges is, it seems to me, wrong.'

Quite a damning admission by Cuomo. That he so adamantly rejected the legislative-judicial distinction reveals that he fully embraces the idea that courts are a third policymaking branch...
About ten years ago, Mario Cuomo had a national weekly talk radio show. In an attempt to give the liberal point of view a fair hearing, reasoning that Cuomo was one of liberalism's leading lights, and figuring that three hours per show gave Cuomo a chance to really present the liberal POV, I made a point of listening to every show.

This, unfortunately, soon became a painful experience. Cuomo patronized nearly every caller, and gave answers, when challenged, that often were self-contradictory. He convinced me only that liberalism is a dead philosophy -- which soon proved to be the fate of Cuomo's radio show, as well.

I wonder: How many liberals can even correctly define the term "strict constructionist"? It might be fun to ask a few.

Meanwhile, I recommend David Limbaugh's entire piece. Unlike Mario Cuomo, David Limbaugh understands the Constitution.

Addendum: MSNBC has posted the transcript of the August 7 debate between Doug Kmiec and Mario Cuomo. ( As an aside, for those who are interested, the transcript also contains a debate between two autism experts, Dr. Harvey Fineberg of the Institute of Medicine and David Kirby, author of "Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic: A Medical Controversy," regarding the state of scientific evidence relating to the cause and treatment of autism.)

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:03 AM

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Ghost Stories

Thoughts of Loy is telling ghost stories with a twist.

Hat tip: The Paragraph Farmer.

Addendum (later): If you stop by Thoughts of Loy, stick around to read this post. It starts out as a gripping and inspiring war story, but if you take the time to read the comments, it becomes a discussion of the role of divine Providence in pivotal battles of world history.

Sometimes I read blogs and am amazed they can be read for free.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:30 PM

Monday, August 08, 2005

Embryonic Stem Cells, James Dobson and David Brock

Jeff Blogworthy praises James Dobson and David Brock in the same post.

It's a good, thoughful post, too.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:03 PM

Night Writer: Scary Humor

The Night Writer has a post on the British health care system that manages to be both funny and scary at the same time.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:02 PM

Harry Belafonte Attacks Black Conservatives Again

Marc Morano's story about singer Harry Belafonte's name-calling (again!) has to be read to be believed.

A sample paragraph:
When asked specifically who was a "black tyrant" in the Bush administration, Belafonte responded to this reporter, "You." When this reporter noted that he was a Caucasian and attempted to ask another question, Belafonte abruptly ended the interview by saying, "That's it."
Harry Belafonte strikes me as a man with a great deal of anger, but not much intellectual depth.

Addendum: Apparently, Belafonte's hate speech was par for the course at this event. Read this second piece by Marc Morano to see reality-show "judge" Greg Mathis attack conservatives, Republicans, the Supreme Court, Congress and the Bush Administration in worse terms than Belafonte, and singer Stevie Wonder fret about "mother earth."

The event was sponsored, reports, by Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. Participants included the National Urban League, The Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the NAACP, and the AFL-CIO.

Several Members of Congress shared the podium, including House Democrat leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Charlie Rangel, Rep. John Conyers and Rep, Maxine Waters. Lee, in her speech, called the war in iraq "immoral" and claimed the last two presidential elections were stolen. The quotes of other Members of Congress, as quoted by Morano, were only slightly less inflammatory.

An irony: The rally supposedly was called to support an extension of the Voting Rights Act, which requires certain states to get approval from the U.S. Department of Justice before making certain election law changes. The speakers, however, spared little in their vitriol for President Bush and his Administration -- which includes, of course, the U.S. Justice Department. If the Bush Administration is so bad, why are these activists spending their time and money promoting an extension of the Administration's power?

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:12 PM

Godspeed Peter Jennings

I am sorry to learn of the death of Peter Jennings earlier this evening (here's an ABC News message board for those who wish to post thoughts).

He and and his viewers experienced a lot of history together. As a result, though I never met him, I feel as though I did.

Godspeed Peter, and God bless your family.

For more extensive blog coverage, try Michelle Malkin, La Shawn Barber and Michael King's Ramblings' Journal.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:55 AM

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Safety Second

From Scripps Howard:
Backpacking into the wilderness? Don't look for any amenities, says a federal judge, who nixed plans by the National Park Service to rebuild aged and collapsed shelters in alpine wilderness areas of Washington state's Olympic National Park. The Park Service said the three-sided shelters are safety measures for hikers stranded in unexpected snows, but U.S. District Judge Franklin Burgess declared they're not allowed under the 1964 Wilderness Act, which declared that wilderness should remain wilderness.
Possibly an amendment is called for.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:26 AM

Friday, August 05, 2005

Beyond Words

I think I had better stop reading blogs. I seem to be seeing more stories about adults mistreating children than I can handle. (Hat tip: The Night Writer)

I think I will not comment further at all on this one, because I do not trust myself to be anything near to civil. I am very tempted, however.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:55 PM

New York Times Claims Moral Superiority; Claims It Only Would Hurt Kids When Really Important

RightPundit shows that the Executive Editor of the New York Times, Bill Keller, has claimed the New York Times would not harm the Roberts children "gratuitous[ly]."

Yep, the Times hurts kids only when it really thinks it is important to hurt them. Never gratuitously. I'm sure the children won't mind, then. Sheesh.

Keller also claims some moral superiority because, he says, he is an adopted parent. I bet anyone Keller wouldn't have the guts to enter a room full of adoptive parents right now and explain how it is that the Times is perfectly willing to investigate their children anytime the parents get a noteworthy job offer. If he had the guts, he could see if the "I'm one of you" defense buys him anything more than a resounding "then you should know better!" before someone pops him one.

Let's remember, too, why the Times wants Roberts investigated: Nearly everyone there fears he might vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:59 PM

New York Times: Going After the Kids Who Got Away

Why are we surprised that the New York Times is preying on Judge Roberts's two small children by trying to investigate and publicize their private adoption records? As the children are adopted, there is a good chance they escaped abortion by only the narrowist of margins. (Had they been conceived by parents unable to care for them on New York's East Side, they probably would not have survived.)

The Times, of course, ardently supports abortion.

The kids were fair game to the Times a few years ago; the Times probably figures, why not now?

Frankly, if I had a dog I wouldn't give it the Times to pee on. Dogs, which tend to nurture their young, deserve better.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:45 PM

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Americans for Tax Reform Reagan Legacy Poll

Americans for Tax Reform is alerting folks to an online poll being conducted by Washington D.C.'s all-news radio station asking if Washington should re-name 16th Street "Ronald Reagan Boulevard."

I voted yes. After all, the number 16 in honored in many other places.

Americans for Tax Reform has a long-standing project to honor former President Reagan in various ways. This web page on the Americans for Tax Reform website explains their work to preserve the Reagan legacy in some detail.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:21 PM

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

On Disciples of Christ: New Republic Begs to Differ

After posting this praise for the Disciples of Christ by Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) as part of our "Congressional Action" series, I came upon another view in my e-mail box.

Martin Peretz of The New Republic is incensed at the Disciples of Christ for:
...jump[ing] in to the recent St. Vitus dance mania of some of its brethren, the United Church of Christ, the Presbyterian Church, and the Anglicans (both here in the United States and in Great Britain), in pouncing on the State of Israel as the primary villain in world politics...

In this, they are following the lead of the National Council of Churches...

It is a macabre spectacle watching these communions denounce Israel, the most consistent target of helter-skelter Arab and Muslim terror in the world, with victims virtually every day...

The Disciples and the United Church, the most recent players in the "Israel shouldn't protect itself" school of international politics, have called on the Jewish state to dismantle its security barriers around the West Bank...

Members of the high-minded general assembly of the Disciples of Christ declined to hear a talk by Tzippi Cohen, a young woman who survived the 2003 suicide bombing at Cafe Hillel on Emek Refaim Street in a neighborhood mostly made up of students and growing families, before they voted...
There's more, but a paid subscription is probably required and is not recommended. The New Republic tends to mix its fact and fiction pieces without labeling, so you never know what you are getting when you read it.

Still, Mr. Peretz might want to have a sit-down with Senator Rockefeller. It seems the former has a few things for the latter to consider.

Addendum: Gerry Daly recommends this Balloon Juice post for more.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:34 PM

The American Thinker: Solving Border Problems

The American Thinker has thought of a way to solve some of our border problems.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:17 PM

Peter Brookes: Bush's Unheralded Success

Peter Brookes of The Heritage Foundation lauds what he calls "the Bush administration's most unheralded foreign policy success."

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:20 PM

Monday, August 01, 2005

Winning the Cold War: Victory 'No Biggie' to the Left?

Slate reports that Matthew Yglesias says the following about the conservative response to the London bombings in the new American Prospect:
Attacks are welcome because they allow the right to recapitulate its finest hour [emphasis added], the days and weeks immediately following 9-11, when Bush's popularity reached historic highs and liberals were too cowed to criticize conservatism on any front.
What about winning the Cold War strikes Yglesias as second rate?

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:40 PM

Integrity -- Isn't There Only One Kind?

Why do journalists use the phrase "my integrity as a journalist"?

Bob Novak uses it in his much-discussed column last weekend, for example, and Google has hundreds of examples of the phrase being used by others.

Is a journalist's integrity supposed to be superior to integrity possessed by lesser persons?

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:25 PM

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