Sunday, January 30, 2005

Disturbing Data on The U.S. Education System

The deteriorating American education system has been an area of concern among conservatives for many years. The self-serving National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers, along with American liberals bent on keeping the nation’s youth imprisoned in ineffective government schools, have succeeded only in lowering the level of education our young people receive. And that holds true not just in the horrible urban schools of our major cities, but in small town America and in every state in the union.

Andrew J. Coulson, senior fellow in education policy for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a research and educational institute headquartered in Midland, Michigan, published the following results of international testing of students in the fourth- and eighth-grade levels in a recent column on the education system:

Among eighth-graders, the top five nations in combined mathematics and science performance were Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan. Among fourth-graders, the top four nations in combined mathematics and science performance were Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong (Korea did not test students in the fourth grade).

How did the United States perform compared to other industrialized nations — that is, the top 40 nations in terms of per-capita income? At the fourth-grade level, American students were nine points above the average in science and 11 points below it in math, putting them almost dead average overall. At the eighth-grade level, American students were four points below average in science and 24 points below average in math, putting them clearly, but not abysmally, below the rich-country average.

While we teach our children how to use condoms, how to be politically correct, how to feel good about yourself when you fail, and in some schools why homosexuality is an okay lifestyle, reading, writing and arithmetic seem to be considered passé. Mr. Coulson’s data show that our once high position in the world is slipping.

Columnist Walter Williams, himself a university professor, offers the following in support of my allegation that our educational system is quickly falling apart.

Here are some test questions.

Question 1: Which of the following is equal to a quarter of a million? (a) 40,000 (b) 250,000 (c) 2,500,000 (d) 1/4,000,000 or (e) 4/1,000,000? Question 2: Martin Luther King Jr. (insert the correct choice) for the poor of all races. (a) spoke out passionately (b) spoke out passionate (c) did spoke out passionately (d) has spoke out passionately or (e) had spoken out passionate. Question 3: What would you do if your student sprained an ankle? (a) Put a Band-Aid on it (b) Ice it (c) Rinse it with water.

Having reviewed the questions, guess which school grade gets these kind of test questions: sixth grade, ninth grade or 12th grade. I'm betting that the average reader guesses: sixth grade. You'd be wrong. How about ninth grade? You'd still be wrong. You say, "OK, Williams, I can't believe they're 12th grade test questions!" Wrong again. According to a School Reform News article "Who Tells Teachers They Can Teach?" those test questions came from tests for prospective teachers. The first two questions are samples from Praxis I test for teachers, and the third is from the 1999 teacher certification test in Illinois. And guess what. Thirty-one percent of New York City public school teachers fail teacher certification tests.

If this trend continues, and the education establishment remains successful in thwarting reform initiatives like school vouchers, competition, tuition tax credits, and accepting poor candidates as teachers and setting low expectations for students, the United States will be in real trouble.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Pegging the Democrat’s Behavior

Some Senate Democrats, – a group my friend Bill Berdine calls “Boxer, Byrd and the Brotherhood” – appalled many of us conservatives with their pitiful display of petulance, small-mindedness, and mean-spiritedness during the confirmation process for Dr. Condoleeza Rice as Secretary of State.

As he so often does, Wesley Pruden perfectly describes this shameless display in today’s column in The Washington Times on Hillary Clinton as the hope and promise of the Democratic Party.

The old bulls (and a superannuated heifer or two) occupied themselves this week by ganging up on the uppity colored girl from Alabama who doesn't understand that her proper place is one of eternal supplication for the largesse of liberals. They called her a liar, an ingrate and a deceiver, making pluperfect fools of themselves, while Hillary Clinton was showing everyone how she intends to seize Republican bread and conservative butter, stealing the Republican mantra of family, faith and freedom, even finally putting an end to the endless abortion war by winning it.

Hillary, in fact, is emerging as the bright light in a party of dim bulbs, a fading galaxy of has-beens reeking of halitosis and stale underwear. But for the reinvention of Mrs. Clinton, it was a week of Democratic public-relations hell. Thirteen of her Democratic colleagues in the Senate, including some of the party's most brittle icons, spent their days putting a face on the party that could take decades to erase: a gnarled old Ku Klux Klansman stumbling through a litany of lamentation for a day dead and gone, a puffy cut-and-run lady killer (so to speak) drowning (you might say) in nostalgia for what might have been, and the long-in-the-tooth prom queen, green eyes flashing with envy and rage, throwing tomatoes and eggs at Condi Rice and managing only to leave themselves exposed as pathetic jokes smeared with rotten yolks.

Some Democrats tried to look away in embarrassment bordering on mortification. "If you feel Condoleezza Rice is not qualified to be secretary of state," Joe Lieberman told them in a voice burdened with rue and remorse, "then of course you must vote against her. But if you are -- and I hate to use the word 'just' -- but just upset about some of the things this administration has done in Iraq, but if you feel otherwise that what we are doing now is all we can do to make the situation better, then I appeal to you to vote for Dr. Rice." Most Democrats, including their leader, did just that, leaving the 13 soreheads seething in the shade of their own indifference to a very special moment in the nation's history.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Media Lying by Omission

Sometimes someone explains something so well that you marvel at it. The column by Thomas Sowell printed below is one such explanation.

Have you ever noticed that news of the war in Iraq almost always focuses on the number of American and Iraqi military personnel or Iraqi civilians killed, and fails to mention the number of Muslim "insurgents" who were dispatched to their just deserts of eternal life with 72 virgins?

If you don't know why the media do this, or even if you do know, you should read Thomas Sowell's column.

Fourth estate or fifth column

Thomas Sowell

January 25, 2005

There are still people in the mainstream media who profess bewilderment that they are accused of being biased. But you need to look no further than reporting on the war in Iraq to see the bias staring you in the face, day after day, on the front page of the New York Times and in much of the rest of the media.

If a battle ends with Americans killing a hundred guerrillas and terrorists, while sustaining ten fatalities, that is an American victory. But not in the mainstream media. The headline is more likely to read: "Ten More Americans Killed in Iraq Today."

This kind of journalism can turn victory into defeat in print or on TV. Kept up long enough, it can even end up with real defeat, when support for the war collapses at home and abroad.

One of the biggest American victories during the Second World War was called "the great Marianas turkey shoot" because American fighter pilots shot down more than 340 Japanese planes over the Marianas islands while losing just 30 American planes. But what if our current reporting practices had been used back then?

The story, as printed and broadcast, could have been: "Today eighteen American pilots were killed and five more severely wounded, as the Japanese blasted more than two dozen American planes out of the sky." A steady diet of that kind of one-sided reporting and our whole war effort against Japan might have collapsed.

Whether the one-sided reporting of the war in Vietnam was a factor in the American defeat there used to be a matter of controversy. But, in recent years, high officials of the Communist government of Vietnam have themselves admitted that they lost the war on the battlefields but won it in the U.S. media and on the streets of America, where political pressures from the anti-war movement threw away the victory for which thousands of American lives had been sacrificed.

Too many in the media today regard the reporting of the Vietnam war as one of their greatest triumphs. It certainly showed the power of the media -- but also its irresponsibility. Some in the media today seem determined to recapture those glory days by the way they report on events in the Iraq war.

First, there is the mainstream media's almost exclusive focus on American casualties in Iraq, with little or no attention to the often much larger casualties inflicted on the guerrillas and terrorists from inside and outside Iraq.

Since terrorists are pouring into Iraq in response to calls from international terrorist networks, the number of those who are killed is especially important, for these are people who will no longer be around to launch more attacks on American soil. Iraq has become a magnet for enemies of the United States, a place where they can be killed wholesale, thousands of miles away.

With all the turmoil and bloodshed in Iraq, both military and civilian people returning from that country are increasingly expressing amazement at the difference between what they have seen with their own eyes and the far worse, one-sided picture that the media presents to the public here.

Our media cannot even call terrorists terrorists, but instead give these cutthroats the bland name, "insurgents." You might think that these were like the underground fighters in Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II.

The most obvious difference is that the underground in Europe did not go around targeting innocent civilians. As for the Nazis, they tried to deny the atrocities they committed. But today the "insurgents" in Iraq are proud of their barbarism, videotape it, and publicize it -- often with the help of the Western media.

Real insurgents want to get the occupying power out of their country. But the fastest way to get Americans out of Iraq would be to do the opposite of what these "insurgents" are doing. Just by letting peace and order return, those who want to see American troops gone would speed their departure.

The United States has voluntarily pulled out of conquered territory all around the world, including neighboring Kuwait during the first Gulf war. But the real goal of the guerrillas and terrorists is to prevent democracy from arising in the Middle East.

Still, much of the Western media even cannot call a spade a spade. The Fourth Estate sometimes seems more like a Fifth Column.

©2005 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

The Inaugural Bawl, Take Two

The Inaugural Bawl is an embarrassing display of partisan politics, lack of self-discipline, whining and moaning, and shameless self-promotion by Democrats or Leftists who are unable to accept that George Bush won re-election by a significant margin. For their foolish action, beneath and beyond the call of duty, these petty people may be earn the Inaugural Bawl Award for performance below the acceptable level of decent human beings.

Barbara Boxer

Questioning Condoleeza Rice about her past involvement in the Bush administration and her future role as Secretary of State is not improper. Using veiled language to call her a liar, and holding up an approval in the Senate that is all but certain is tawdry, cheap, and silly. Senator Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, removed all doubt that she is a petty and petulant Lefty in the confirmation hearing for Condoleeza Rice last week.

For this cheap display of partisan politics, motivated by her inability to accept the results of the election, Barbara Boxer (D- Cal) gets the Inaugural Bawl Award.

John Kerry

Poor John Kerry. He, too, cannot accept the fact that he lost the election. Rather than gracefully return to his role in the Senate, after getting directions on how to find the room, he just had to show his derriere in the confirmation vote of Condoleeza Rice by first stating that she is no doubt qualified, and that President Bush certainly is within his right to choose her for the job, but that he just has to vote against her confirmation.

For his continuing wishy-washy performance, wanting it both ways, and for his sour-grapes performance on the Rice nomination, John Kerry wins the Inaugural Bawl Award.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Of Polls and Mandates

Now that the election has been decided and the President sworn in, Mr. Bush’s opponents are busy trying to prevent him from doing what the people elected him to do. They do this by twisting facts to suit their purpose, using polls to back them up. Consider the following from The Washington Post:

“President Bush will begin his second term in office without a clear mandate to lead the nation, with strong disapproval of his policies in Iraq and with the public both hopeful and dubious about his leadership on the issues that will dominate his agenda, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. … Fewer than half of those interviewed -- 45 percent -- said they preferred that the country go in the direction that Bush wanted to lead it, whereas 39 percent said Democrats should lead the way.”

The preceding illustrates why polls should often be taken with a grain of salt, and why the Post article deserves to be ignored. While only 45 percent of those surveyed said they approve of the direction George Bush wants to take the country in this particular poll, 52 percent of American voters voted for Mr. Bush over Democrat John Kerry. Obviously, the poll does not reflect the popular vote of just two months ago.

I can’t find a report of the poll results reported by Tim Russert recently, but the poll asked a question similar to this: “Do you believe President Bush has a mandate” to reform Social Security. The response was that only a small percentage – around 40 percent – thought Mr. Bush had a mandate.

But that is the wrong question. Whether people think he has a mandate is a vastly different question than asking if they approve of what he is going to do. It stretches credulity to believe that 52 percent of the voters voted for Mr. Bush, but don’t really approve of the initiatives that he ran on.

Again, this illustrates the uselessness of some polls.

As for having a mandate, the word is defined as a command or an authorization given by a political electorate to its representative. So, exactly at what point is a win a mandate? If not 52 percent, then 55 percent? Or 60 percent?

And if George Bush did not get a mandate from the people, what is he supposed to do? Since he only out-polled John Kerry by three percent, or 3.5 million votes, should he govern differently than he would if he had gotten 55 percent? Should he govern sometimes as George Bush, and at other times like John Kerry?

The entire argument about mandates is a silly distraction. Whoever is elected President is the President, and he had better govern aggressively, not wave in the wind.

Somehow, I believe George Bush will pay no attention to these piddling efforts to derail his second term, and I think everyone ought to be pleased that the man who won won’t allow himself to be manipulated.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

A Cultural War With Muslims?

Four members of an Egyptian immigrant family were found bound and their throats slit in their Jersey City home recently, and many of the hundreds of mourners gathered at the family's church were chanting for justice and decrying the killings as a crime of religious hatred. However, police would not discuss motives and said they were still searching for clues in the slayings of the family.

According to members of his church and other acquaintances of the father, Hossam Armanious, someone in an Internet chat room, presumably a Muslim, had threatened him with murder during an argument about Christianity and Islam.

Law enforcement officials have said that money had been stolen from the house. Mr. Armanious' pockets had been turned out and his wallet was empty. There was no cash in the house, police said. All that was left was a penny, leaving open the possibility that the murders were related to a robbery.

Officially, it is not known who killed the family, or what the motive was. And it is best not to jump to conclusions in such emotionally charged instances.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t form opinions about the crime, and also use available information to create scenarios based upon possible motives and perpetrators.

The killings are said to be similar to others where the motive was the result of a conflict between Egyptian Coptic Christians, like the Armanious family, and Muslims. And if it is true that a Muslim participant in an Internet discussion threatened Mr. Armanious with death, then there is a legitimate possibility that this was a killing of a Christian family by Muslims. If that is true, then my earlier prediction of a possible full-on war on Christians by Muslims has a little more evidentiary support.

It’s plain that Muslims want to kill Americans, evidenced both by their actions in the 9-11 attacks, in Iraq and other places, as well as by their doctrine that allows the killing of “infidels,” defined as everyone other than Muslims.

If such things as terrorist acts that kill Americans in either large or small numbers, attacks on our soldiers in Iraq and other places, and now -- potentially -- the murders of individuals or families over such small issues as a difference of opinion about religion, then the Muslims are more serious about wiping out the infidels than most of us likely realize.

Some day, and I don’t know how far away that day is, Muslims may themselves become the target of acts of violence, because non-Muslims have been taught by such acts as the Jersey City murders that the Muslim culture is an extremist, murderous, fanatical one.

When people believe that it’s “kill or be killed,” look out.

Friday, January 14, 2005

N.Y. Stock Exchange Bans Jesse Jackson

Friday, Jan. 14, 2005 11:32 a.m. EST
From NewsMax
The New York Stock Exchange refused this week to allow the Rev. Jesse Jackson to hold his annual Wall Street Project fund-raising event on the Exchange floor, and is also rebuffing the one-time civil rights leader's annual demand for $100,000.

In years past, business leaders and top government officials came out in droves to support the Jackson event, especially during the Clinton era – with many of them ponying up six-figure sums in the name of "minority business outreach."

In 1998, the debut year of the Project, Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin, Securities and Exchange Chairman Arthur Levitt and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, along with Donald Trump, showed up to support Jackson's so-called "diversity agenda."

But as Investor's Business Daily noted earlier this week, with Jackson friend Richard Grasso no longer running the Big Board, the Wall Street Project gravy train has chugged to a halt.

"Truth is," said IBD, "Jackson's been losing clout and credibility for some time. He's no longer a star, no longer untouchable." Even former Jackson shakedown conquests like Toyota and NASCAR are beginning to distance themselves from the reverend.

"The NYSE cutoff is a dramatic step that puts the individual companies that bankroll Jackson on the spot," noted Peter Flaherty, president of the National Legal and Policy Center, in comments to

"It is a lot harder for the Verizons and PepsiCos to argue that there's nothing wrong with supporting Jackson's groups."

The Inaugural Bawl

January 20, 2005 will be a big day in the U.S., as George W. Bush will be sworn in for the second time. Every four years on this date, our most recently elected President is sworn in. It should be a time of celebration for every American, for it signals that our system still works.

There are nine different balls in Washington for this celebration, eight of them in the D.C. Convention Center. The ninth will be held in the National Building Museum.

A tenth, the Democratic Inaugural Bawl, will be held wherever there is a Democrat that can’t get past the shock of having lost the election. Make no mistake: There are lots of Democrats that fall into that category.

This time, the election wasn’t close, and the political opposition can’t claim that Katherine Harris or the Supreme Court stole the election from them.

Or, can they?

From charges of rigged election computer programs that changed Kerry votes to Bush votes in Florida, to bad vote counting and phantom voters in Ohio, and the Iraq-is-Vietnam crowd, and the U.S.-is-stingy faction ... There’s almost no end to the whining, moaning and gnashing of teeth over the results of this election.

In order to make some point or other, one group plans to boycott on the 20th. That’s right, they aren’t going to buy anything from anyone on that dark day, in the hopes of … what? Do they think it will have any effect beyond punishing the businesses and employees that they hurt? Of course not. It’s just one more symbolic gesture that the Left so frequently mistakes for meaningful action.

Another group plans to protest President Bush’s intention to honor a two-century-old tradition of having a prayer offered. Isn’t it interesting that these people, who don’t want a prayer during the Inauguration ceremonies, are going to the Inauguration where they may hear the prayer instead of staying home where they wouldn’t be subjected to it?

The National Guard may have to be mobilized in Florida to deal with the outpouring of grief from those affected with PEST (Post-Election Selection Trauma), when GWB raises his right hand. Others will be appalled with where he puts his left hand.

On a day when the entire nation ought to put political bickering aside and celebrate the governmental process that keeps the United States in its position as the greatest nation on Earth, there are still those who think their petty political motives are more important than anything else.

Maybe at some point before the political season begins for the 2008 election, things will settle down. But don’t hold your breath.

Monday, January 10, 2005

The Straight Scoop (from Charlie Daniels)

This piece was written back in 2002, and is still relevant today.

I've just returned from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba Naval Air Station base where we did three shows for the troops and toured several locations around the post visiting with some of the finest military personnel on planet earth. The kids seemed to really enjoy the shows and especially liked "This Ain't No Rag, It's A Flag" and "In America." We had a great time with them.

We saw Camp X-Ray, where the Taliban detainees are being held only from a distance, but I picked up a lot of what's going on there from talking with a lot of different people

The truth of the matter is that this operation is under a microscope. The Red Cross has an on site presence there and watches everything that goes on very closely. The media is not telling you the whole truth about what's going on over there. The truth is that these scum bags are not only being treated humanely, but they are probably better off health wise and medically than they've ever been in their lives. They are fed well, able to take showers and receive state of the art medical care. And have their own Moslem chaplain. I saw several of them in a field hospital ward where they were being treated in a state of the art medical facility.

Now let's talk about the way they treat our people. First of all, they have to be watched constantly. These people are committed and wanton murderers who are willing to die just to kill someone else. One of the doctors told me that when they had Taliban in the hospital the staff had to really be careful with needles, pens and anything else which could possibly be used as a weapon. They also throw their excrement and urine on the troops who are guarding them. And our guys and gals have shown great restraint in not retaliating. We are spending over a million dollars a day maintaining and guarding these nasty killers and anyone who wants to see them brought to the U.S.A. for trial is either out of their heads or a lawyer looking for money and notoriety. Or both.

I wish that the media and the Red Cross and all the rest of the people who are so worried about these criminals would realize that this is not a troop of errant Boy Scouts. These are killers of the worst kind. They don't need protection from us, we need protection from them. If you don't get anything else out of this soapbox, please try to realize that when you see news coverage much of the time you're not getting the whole story, but an account filtered through a liberal mindset with an agenda.

We have two fights on our hands, the war against terror and the one against the loudmouthed lawyers and left wing media who would sap the strength from the American public by making us believe that we're losing the war or doing something wrong in fighting it. Remember these are the same people who told us that Saddam Hussein's Republican guard was going to be an all but invincible enemy and that our smart bombs and other weapons were not really as good as the military said that they were.

They also took up for Bill Clinton while he was cavorting around the Oval office with Monica Lewinsky while the terrorists were gaining strength and bombing our Embassies and dragging the bodies of dead American heroes around the dusty streets of Somalia. It's a shame that we can't have an unbiased media who would just report the truth and let us make up our own minds.

Here I must commend Fox News for presenting both sides much better than the other networks. They are leaving the other cable networks in the dust. People like being told the truth.

Our military not only needs but deserves our support. Let's give it to them

The next time you read a media account about the bad treatment of the Taliban in Cuba, remember what I told you. Been there done that.

Footnote: I got an email from a rather irate first cousin of mine the other day who has a daughter who's a lawyer and she seemed to think that I was painting all lawyers with the same brush. Please understand that I'm not doing that at all. That would be like saying that all musicians were drug addicts. There are a lot of good and honest attorneys out there. I happen to have one of them. But it seems that they never get any airtime. It's always the radicals who get their opinions heard, who fight the idea of the military tribunals and cite The Constitution and the integrity of America as their source of justifying their opinions. Well, first of all The Constitution says "We the people of the United States", it doesn't mention any other country.

And secondly as far as integrity is concerned, I don't think some of these folks would know integrity if it bit them in the posterior.

What do you think? God Bless America.

Charlie Daniels

Source: Charlie Daniels Web site

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Enemy Combatants and the Constitution

I confess to having a problem with the concept that persons captured in situations in which it is definite or likely that they were trying to kill or harm Americans, military or otherwise, and who are not American citizens, be treated with kid gloves.

I do not believe that the Geneva Conventions should cover Muslim terrorists, given the Conventions’ description citing “High Contracting Parties,” the repeated use of terms implying that parties covered by the Conventions are members of a national military or national paramilitary force and the clear implication that military or paramilitary forces do, indeed, represent a national government.

Clearly, the murderous cowards who prey on innocent civilian men, women and children – to whom the term “terrorist” applies – do not fall within the parameters of the Geneva Conventions. Further, their allegiance is not to a nation, but to a culture that transcends national boundaries, and that is intent upon destroying any way of life that is different from Allah’s dictates for Muslims.

I believe that coercing information from these vermin is not a violation of their rights, since these creature are not American citizens, and do not have the same rights as American citizens.

I think that much of what has been criticized at Abu Ghraib as torture is, in fact, not torture. When an individual is genuinely believed to have information that might be important in protecting the safety and lives of American citizens and military personnel, rules requiring that that individual be treated “politely,” and that the individual cannot be made uncomfortable in an attempt to gain information to prevent harm to American citizens are stupid in the extreme.

Frankly, I don’t care what happens to them, even though it has been shown that actual torture – rather than the treatment of the captives there – generally doesn’t produce positive results. Besides, nearly everything that happened at Abu Ghraib pales in comparison to beheading prisoners, of which the murderous Muslims are so fond.

However, I also confess to having been persuaded by Judge Andrew Napolitano, in his book, Constitutional Chaos: When the Government Breaks Its Own Laws, to rethink my position. He makes a compelling case that the U.S. Constitution requires that everyone detained by our government for any and all reasons must be treated humanely and receive justice swiftly.

At issue in most of the cases cited is the right of habeas corpus, which is defined as: “One of a variety of writs that may be issued to bring a party before a court or judge, having as its function the release of the party from unlawful restraint [my emphasis].”

Judge Napolitano charges the government with not only improperly incarcerating and holding both immigrants and citizens, sometimes keeping them incarcerated without formal charges for months or years, but with intimidating their lawyers, as well.

“The government’s latest effort at making it a crime for an attorney to represent zealously a client accused of terrorist acts is completely inconsistent with the constitutional principles contained in the First and Sixth Amendments, which guarantee the right of free speech and right to counsel, respectively," he said. "It is a direct challenge to the Constitution that the government has gone as far as prosecuting lawyers for doing their jobs.”

He goes on to say that “[a]s children we were taught that tyranny can’t happen here. Doesn’t the Constitution guarantee rights to the worst among us, and didn’t the president and his lawyers in the Justice Department swear an oath to uphold the Constitution? Not when it comes to national defense, the government has argued. But doesn’t national defense mean defense of our values as well as our real estate? Not if the defendants are dangerous, according to this Justice Department. But isn’t everyone who has been arrested – even a jaywalker – entitled to counsel? If the government doesn’t file charges, it absurdly argues, the defendant doesn’t need a lawyer.”

He states a little later that "[t]he American system of justice is the best and most equitable in the world because of its fidelity to the rule of law in which an independent judiciary enforces everyone’s due process rights. But when prosecutors seek victory through illegal threats – rather than through fair negotiation or through the slow methodical presentation of evidence to a jury – they corrupt the cause they seek to advance.”

If, in the attempt to save ourselves from the terrorists, we abandon the procedures and protections the U.S. Constitution requires for all persons suspected of breaking our laws, we save the terrorists the trouble of ripping our nation apart by doing it for them.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Notable Quotables 2004

Dear Friend,

The Media Research Center is pleased to report to you the winners for the Best of Notable Quotables 2004: The 17th Annual Awards for the Year’s Worst Reporting. A panel of 43 radio talk show hosts, magazine editors, columnists, editorial writers and media observers chose the winners for this year, which are listed below.

If you like this report, take action and forward it to a friend. In 2004, the liberal media pulled out all the stops to advance their agenda. Let’s spread the word of just how bad they were—in their own words!

Thank you for your support in fighting liberal media bias. May you enjoy a great New Year!

L. Brent Bozell
President and Founder

Winning Quotes in MRC's Annual Awards
for the Worst Reporting

Quote of the Year

"What drives American civilians to risk death in Iraq? In this economy it may be, for some, the only job they can find."
-- Dan Rather teasing a report on the CBS Evening News on March 31, the day four American civilians were killed and mutilated in Fallujah, Iraq.

Blue State Brigade Award (for Campaign Coverage)

"He [John Kerry] also could make a virtue, it seems to me, of the so-called flip-flopping. The greatest flip-flop in American history is Lincoln, [who] in his first Inaugural was not for emancipation and then two years later he was. Is that statesmanship or is that a flip-flop?"
-- Newsweek Managing Editor Jon Meacham during live pre-debate coverage on MSNBC, September 30. [66 points]

GI John Award (for Saluting John Kerry's Vietnam Record)

"Okay, time to do morning papers....Stars and Stripes starts it off: ‘U.S. Troops Control Most of Fallujah,' the headline. 'U.S. Officials Believe Most Insurgents Have Fled the City.' Look at this picture here, if you can. 'Troops' Bravery Honored in Iraq.' These are all Purple Heart winners. Someday, one of them will run for President and someone will say they didn't earn the Purple Heart. Welcome to America."
-- CNN's Aaron Brown on the November 10 NewsNight displaying a front-page photo of a line of U.S. troops in Iraq receiving their medals. [63 points]

Darth Vader vs. "The Sunshine Boy" Award

"One of the obstacles for Dick Cheney tonight is the fact that he has become a dark figure....There are those who believe that Dick Cheney has led this administration and this President down a path of recklessness, that maybe his approach, his dark approach to this constant battle against another civilization, is actually the wrong approach for ultimately keeping America safe."
-- NBC White House reporter David Gregory during live convention coverage on MSNBC about 8:30pm EDT on September 1, about two hours before Cheney spoke at the Republican convention. [53 points]

The Madness of King George Award (for Bush Bashing)

"Even if Mr. Bush wins re-election this November, he, too, will eventually be dragged down by the powerful undertow that inevitably accompanies public deception. The public will grow intolerant of partisan predators and crony capitalists indulging in a frenzy of feeding at the troughs in Baghdad and Washington. And there will come a time when the President will have no one to rely on except his most rabid allies in the right-wing media. He will discover too late that you cannot win the hearts and minds of the public at large in a nation polarized and pulverized by endless propaganda in defiance of reality.... "Even now the privates patrolling the mean streets of Baghdad and the wilds of Afghanistan make less than $16,000 a year in base pay, their lives and limbs are constantly at risk, while here at home the rich get their tax cuts -- what Vice President Cheney calls 'their due.' Favored corporations get their contracts, subsidies and offshore loopholes. And even as he praises sacrifice, the President happily passes the huge bills that are piling up onto children not yet born...."
-- PBS's Bill Moyers on his weekly newsmagazine Now, March 26. [73 points]

Bedazzled in Beantown Award (for Democratic Convention Coverage)

"John Kerry working himself literally into a sweat. Or as my high school English teacher would prefer, into a high state of perspiration. An almost literal thunder inside the hall, shaking the Fleet Center in a way that it seldom shakes, if ever, even during a Celtics basketball playoff game or a Bruins hockey playoff game. These Democrats, as the speech built, having what amounted to maybe a three-thousand-gallon attack about every three minutes, united in a way the Democratic Party has not been for about half a century."
-- CBS's Dan Rather moments after John Kerry's speech to the Democratic convention, July 29. [72 points]

Bitter in the Big Apple Award (for Republican Convention Coverage)

"You and Olympia Snowe, the other Senator from Maine, are known as moderate Republican women. You have no place in this convention. The [Republican Party] platform does not seem to speak to a lot of women in this country. It's anti-abortion, it does not expand stem cell research, and other social issues in which women have some interest, for example, gay unions, is firmly opposed to that. Do you think that this platform and this party is doing enough to reach out to moderate women across the country?"
-- Tom Brokaw to Senator Susan Collins on his 4pm EDT MSNBC show Brokaw in New York, August 31. [47 points]

Captain Dan the Forgery Man Award

"The story is true. The story is true....I appreciate the sources who took risks to authenticate our story. So, one, there is no internal investigation. Two, somebody may be shell-shocked, but it is not I, and it is not anybody at CBS News. Now, you can tell who is shell-shocked by the ferocity of the people who are spreading these rumors."
-- Dan Rather in a September 10 sidewalk exchange with reporters, denying rumors that CBS would investigate whether or not the "memos" were forged. [62 points]

Damn Those Conservatives Award

"You have made so many offensive comments over the years. Do you regret any of them?" "You seem indifferent to suffering. Have you ever suffered yourself?"
-- Two of the questions posed to National Review founder William F. Buckley by the New York Times Magazine's Deborah Solomon, July 11. [83 points]

Kooky Keith Award (for Keith Olbermann's Conspiratorial Rants)

"John Dean, who was at the center of the greatest political scandal in this nation's history, has produced a book with perspective, and that perspective is simply terrifying. The bottom line: George Bush has done more damage to this nation than his old boss, Richard Nixon, ever dreamt of....John Dean, joining us here in the studio...." "The feeling that I had been left after reading Worse Than Watergate was that this could have been the historical, essentially, prequel to George Orwell's novel 1984, that if you wanted to see what the very first step out of maybe 50 steps towards this totalitarian state that Orwell wrote about in his novel, this [President Bush's policies] would be the kind of thing that you would see...."
-- MSNBC's Keith Olbermann to former Nixon aide John Dean on his Countdown program, April 5. [56 points]

Media Hero Award

"The best reaction shots were those of Ted Kennedy, whose stature seems to grow right along with his nose year after year after year. Kennedy has now reached a grand moment in the life of a Senator; he looks like Hollywood itself cast him in the role. Seriously....Kennedy looked great, like he was ready to take his place next to Jefferson on Mount Rushmore. He gives off the kind of venerable vibes that some of us got from an Everett Dirksen way back when."
-- Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales in a January 21 Style section review of the State of the Union address. [69 points]

Bring Back Saddam Award

"The Sami sisters, ages 17, 15 and 11, listen to Madonna and Britney Spears. They read Agatha Christie novels and watch movies starring Russell Crowe. They also rarely venture outside their upscale home in central Baghdad out of fear of explosions and violence....Their teenage world was simpler when Saddam Hussein was in power. Back then, they said, they hung out with friends at the Pharmacists Club, a swanky place with a swimming pool to which their father, the vice president of Iraq's Pharmacists Union, belonged....Iraq's new freedom -- or chaos, depending on your point of view -- has imprisoned the girls."
-- Chicago Tribune's Deborah Horan, May 24. [59 points]

Real Reagan Legacy Award

"Before Reagan, people sleeping in the street were so rare that, outside of skid rows, they were almost a curiosity. After eight years of Reaganomics -- and the slashes in low-income housing and social welfare programs that went along with it -- they were seemingly everywhere. And America had a new household term: 'The homeless.'"
-- Reporter Kevin Fagan in the San Francisco Chronicle on June 10, five days after Reagan's death. [69 points]

Debbie Downer Award (for Economic Doom & Gloom)

NBC's Carl Quintanilla: "They're calling it the middleclass blues....the feeling that happy days aren't quite here yet..." Woman: "I've never been in a, like, depression, but I think this is pretty close to it." Quintanilla: "The numbers, of course, say different. A million new jobs added since February, gas prices back below $2, the cheapest in a month. Enough to give comfort to some....But overall, the price of life in America is up from last year, everything from hospital visits to tuition. Last month alone, milk prices made their single biggest jump since World War II."
-- Report aired on NBC's Today, June 16. [35 points]

Barbra Streisand Political IQ Award (for Celebrity Vapidity)

"People don't realize that by voting Republican, they voted against themselves....I worry that some people are entertained by the idea of this war. They don't know anything about the Iraqis, but they're angry and frustrated in their own lives. It's like Germany, before Hitler took over. The economy was bad and people felt kicked around. They looked for a scapegoat. Now we've got a new bunch of Hitlers."
-- Singer Linda Ronstadt, as quoted by USA Today reporter Elysa Gardner in a November 17 profile. [64 points]

Politics of Meaninglessness Award (for the Silliest Analysis)

"When you tell me, 'Let the states decide,' that scares me, okay? I've got a little map here of [the] pre-Civil War [United States], free versus slave states. I wish you could see it in color and large. But if you look at it, the red states are all down in the South, and you have the Nebraska Territories, the New Mexico Territories, and the Kansas Territories. But the Pacific Northwest and California were not slave states. The Northeast was not. It looks like the [Electoral College] map of 2004."
-- Former World News Tonight/Sunday anchor Carole Simpson, who travels the country for ABC News to talk to high schoolers about how to consume news, at a November 8 National Press Club forum shown on C-SPAN. [62 points]

Good Morning Morons Award

Katie Couric: "Time magazine's Person of the Year issue hits news stands today and this year it honors the American soldier. Jim Kelly is Time's Managing Editor and veteran war photographer James Nachtwey was embedded with the Army's First Armored Division in Baghdad and took the remarkable images in this week's issue. He was also wounded while on assignment. Gentlemen, welcome, good morning, nice to have you both. I was so, I have to say, just personally, I was so pleased to see this....Tell me why you all decided to honor the American soldier? Wondering why there's no woman on the cover, too?" Time's Jim Kelly, pointing to cover: "This is a woman." Couric: "Oh, there you go, oh sorry....I couldn't tell because of her helmet."
-- Discussing a Time cover showing three U.S. soldiers in combat gear, NBC's Today, December 22, 2003. [65 points]

Admitting the Obvious Award (for Acknowledging Liberal Bias)

"Let's talk a little media bias here. The media, I think, wants Kerry to win. And I think they're going to portray Kerry and Edwards -- I'm talking about the establishment media, not Fox -- but they're going to portray Kerry and Edwards as being young and dynamic and optimistic and all. There's going to be this glow about them that some, is going to be worth, collectively, the two of them, that's going to be worth maybe 15 points."
-- Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas on the July 10 Inside Washington. [67 points]

1,000 Hits

Today, my site crossed the 1,000 hits mark since I started counting in late November.

This is a milestone, if only a small one.

Thanks to all who visit.

Friday, January 07, 2005

The U.S. Response: Too Late and Never Enough

So, President Bush didn’t react quickly enough after the tsunami disaster, and embarrassed the U.S.?

And President Bush’s reaction when it did come was “stingy,” and embarrassed the U.S.

These are today’s criticisms of Mr. Bush by the Left in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world.

The Left solves each and every problem by throwing money at it. That’s the easy way, the “caring” way. Its solution to the tsunami would have been to immediately give $1 billion, or some equally foolish act designed as much for effect as for actually helping.

It really doesn’t matter what Mr. Bush does, the Left will find cause to criticize him. He’s not quick enough or he’s too quick, his actions are too little or too much, and his goals are all wrong. It’s pitiful to watch people so consumed with envy and political ambition that they can only snipe and nit-pick. That, however, is the sum and substance of the Democratic Party and liberalism in the United States.

Several other nations are jealous of or despise the United States. “Old Europe” has forgotten what the U.S. did for it in WWII. Much of the world forgets the generosity of the U.S. year after year when disasters strike. “What have you done for me lately?” is the dominant attitude, and “lately” means “today.”

Despite this, the United States leads the world in helping out in times of emergency and tragedy year after year. Because of the opposition to the war in Iraq, the United States’ popularity has dropped dramatically around the globe, as the anti-war faction both in and out of the media often tells us. Nowhere and by no one is this unpopularity reflected by hatred so much as in the Muslim world, where a generation of young Muslims has been taught to hate the U.S. from the time they can walk and talk. Now we have taken to wondering if the tremendous outpouring of generosity and direct help will have a positive effect on the perception of Americans by Muslims who are the direct beneficiary of our generosity?

“But Christians and Jews at the White House are whistlin' Dixie (ever so discreetly, of course) if they think the vast outpouring of American tsunami aid will win any hearts or change many minds,” writes Wesley Pruden in The Washington Times. “The sight of Marines dropping food and clothing from the air, or of Navy corpsmen consoling children with shots and pills,” he continues, “can make Americans feel good about themselves for doing what good Christians and observant Jews know they ought to do. Gratitude in the wake of a tidal wave, on the other hand, is as scarce as a dry shirt and pants,” he concludes.

So the only sensible thing to do is to ignore the fools and ingrates, and go on about our business of being the most generous, most courageous, most successful nation in the world.

Thanking Allah for Christians and Jews

Wesley Pruden of The Washington Times is one of my favorite writers. He does not mince words, and is a master at choosing just the right ones to express his ideas. The following column is not only an example of his gift with words, but expresses a point of view all Americans ought to agree with, or at least to know about.

By Wesley Pruden

Published January 7, 2005

A devout Muslim in Indonesia or Sri Lanka, listening to the growl in his empty belly and watching the sky darkening with American rescue helicopters, might offer a prayer of gratitude to Allah for Christians and Jews.

The rich and oily Middle Eastern kingdoms, fiefdoms and oligarchies have donated only pittances for tsunami relief, like alms tossed to beggars at the village gate. The greedy rulers are no doubt grateful to the imams who are telling their mosques that most of those who drowned, Muslims as well as vacationing infidels, deserved to die because they were only on the beaches to "fornicate." Islam is not about grace, amazing or otherwise.

Saudi Arabia first said it would donate $10 million, about what King Fahd might spend when he takes his wives and concubines to Paris or New York for a week of shopping and imbibing the forbidden pleasures of the satanic West. He raised it to $30 million when certain chagrined Muslims made grumbling noises about what can only be called Arab piggery. All told, the four big oil states, which collect $15 billion in oil revenues every month, agreed to spend $70 million to assist brother Muslims.

But Christians and Jews at the White House are whistlin' Dixie (ever so discreetly, of course) if they think the vast outpouring of American tsunami aid will win any hearts or change many minds.

The sight of Marines dropping food and clothing from the air, or of Navy corpsmen consoling children with shots and pills, can make Americans feel good about themselves for doing what good Christians and observant Jews know they ought to do. Gratitude in the wake of a tidal wave, on the other hand, is as scarce as a dry shirt and pants.

Nevertheless, the learning curve along Pennsylvania Avenue looks to be a steep one. The well-meaning Colin Powell told reporters after his inspection flight over hell, as he described the scene of death and destruction in Indonesia, that he's a cockeyed optimist. "I hope that as a result of our efforts, as a result of our helicopter pilots being seen by the citizens of Indonesia helping them, the value system of ours will be reinforced [in the minds of the Muslims]."

Alas, not likely. Gratitude and politics, like oil and water, rarely mix short of a tsunami. Muslims may like the taste of the groceries, particularly on an empty stomach, and may even admire the American efficiency in delivering the groceries, but after decades of being poisoned by embittered imams and other merchants of hate, the Islamic masses are not likely to do much admiring once their hunger abates.

"It's not because [Americans] are not generous enough," James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, tells the San Francisco Chronicle. "It's because [American] generosity of spirit has not applied to the issue that's most problematic for them. It's not responsive to why people in the Arab world are furious with America. The region has its own tsunami."

Most of the Muslims who died under the waves were not Arabs, of course, but it's the Arabs who have poisoned the masses against modern civilization. Islamic hatred of America is mostly about Israel, for "one-sided" support for Israel's life-or-death defense against the Palestinian campaign to kill the Jews.

Even in Indonesia and Malaysia, where a generation ago Muslim and "infidel" lived together in an easy and companionable way, resentment has been nurtured by Islamist agitators, Jew-baiters and America haters. Al Jazeera, the network of Osama bin Laden's jeremiads against civilization, is working now to establish a broadcasting service in Kuala Lumpur to broadcast to South Asia from the Malaysian capital.

The rich Islamic governments are too absorbed in their own indifference to notice the suffering of others. Without the generosity of Christians and Jews, in America and elsewhere, a lot of Muslims would be starving this morning. The Europeans, even the French, have surprised themselves with their generosity. The Israelis are sending food and medicines to those who revile them, no questions asked. The value of American aid, including military and private charities, will run into the billions. The compassion circus keeps expanding.

Gratitude is not necessary. God will bless us, every one. That's enough for any Christian or Jew.

Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Times

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Sometimes Wisdom Comes from Unexpected Places

Not long ago, my son Ryan, who’s 18, and I were having a bonding session involving cigars and watching Larry the Cable Guy.

Now, if you’ve not seen Larry, or if you’ve seen him only in the company of Jeff Foxworthy and a couple of other “southern” comics, Larry may set you back on your heels when you catch his solo stand-up performance. He’s a bit sharp and crusty in his humor, but he certainly is entertaining, once you accept his perspective.

Larry treated us to some “red-neck” humor. But the term “red-neck” is a loaded term, and it will take your eye off the ball if you let it.

Larry said, among other profound things: “If guns kill people, then I can blame misspelled words on my pencil.”

Ol’ Larry nailed it. The so-called “rednecks” get a bum rap, not that some who are so identified aren’t truly obnoxious. But the term is broadly applied, and frequently it is used to demean people who don’t deserve such treatment. Like Larry, and, like a whole lot of Americans who don’t fit the elitist view of what Americans should be.

Just like every other sub-group in America, “rednecks” have their good points as well as their bad ones. They’ve been ridiculed in redneck jokes for years.

I recently got the same basic email about rednecks from two friends. One of them started out this way: “If I had to stand before a dozen terrorists who threaten my life, I'd choose half a dozen or so rednecks to back me up.” That says a lot, all by itself. But the rest of the message says even more about the type of people who are branded “rednecks.” These people represent a culture that values home, family, country and God, and that isn’t bad.

You might be a redneck if:

· It never occurred to you to be offended by the phrase, "One nation, under God."

· You've never protested about seeing the Ten Commandments posted in public places.

· You still say "Christmas" instead of "Winter Festival."

· You bow your head when someone prays.

· You stand and place your hand over your heart when they play the National Anthem.

· You treat Viet Nam vets with great respect, and always have.

· You've never burned an American flag.

· You know what you believe and you aren't afraid to say so, no matter who is listening.

· You respect your elders and expect your kids to do the same.

· You'd give your last dollar to a friend.

A few more from Straight Face Test:
  • You might be a redneck if "Christmas" is not a four-letter word to you.
  • You might be a redneck if you actually know where Muskogee is.
  • You might be a redneck if you respect older people and value their lives.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Career Counseling

My advice for people seeking a career: psychology. At the rate we’re going, there just won’t be enough psychologists in the world in a few years.

Americans are a “complex” people. We have this complex, and that complex, and the other complex. Everything that appears slightly abnormal today, however mild, is some sort of psychological disorder.

When kids don’t pay attention in class, or act up in class, they aren’t lazy or undisciplined. They have Attention Deficit Disorder, or they have Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, or they have some other named disorder. They require analysis or drug therapy.

The other day on TV, there was a segment on a newsfotainment show about how to deal with a five-year-old and his screaming temper tantrums. The solution recommended to the parents of this brat was therapy, in which the child was isolated with the therapist for some period of time, and when the kid threw a screaming fit, the therapist would “work the child through the tantrum,” a process that took about twenty minutes. They gave us no idea of how much this cost the parents, or of how successful this approach to taming a screaming five-year-old was.

When I was growing up – back in the Dark Ages of black and white TV, when we were ignorant of the multitude of psychological disorders that plagued mankind – when a kid behaved like that, first a stern warning, then swiftly applying a hand to the backside usually took care of it pretty quickly. From experience I can tell you that a five-year-old is developed enough to understand the words “be quiet” and “stop screaming, or you’re going to get it.” But these days, therapy sessions are required. Maybe drugs.

As I have aged, humans have discovered an ever-growing number of psychological disorders deserving treatment. Nearly everything has a disorder named for it. Just after the election, a rash of PEST (Post-Election Selection Trauma) disorders appeared. People who refused to accept the reality that their candidate had lost suddenly needed therapy.

The Boca Raton (Fla.) News reported that “[m]ore than a dozen traumatized John Kerry supporters have sought and received therapy from a licensed Florida psychologist since their candidate lost to President Bush.

“Boca Raton trauma specialist Douglas Schooler said he has treated 15 clients and friends with ‘intense hypnotherapy’ since the Democratic nominee conceded… ‘I had one friend tell me he’s never been so depressed and angry in his life,’ Schooler said. ‘I observed patients threatening to leave the country or staring listlessly into space. They were emotionally paralyzed, shocked and devastated.’

“Schooler’s disclosure comes after the weekend discovery of a Kerry volunteer’s corpse at Ground Zero in New York City. Georgia resident Andrew Veal, 25, reportedly killed himself with a shotgun blast to the head due to Kerry’s loss and a girlfriend problem.

“Some mental health professionals in South Florida said Monday they have already developed a new category for the Kerry-related stress reactions. Because Palm Beach County voted heavily for Kerry, the therapists said, many residents hurt themselves by so anxiously expecting the Massachusetts senator to win – especially those who maintained unrealistic recount hopes after their candidate’s concession.

“’We’re calling it ‘post-election selection trauma’ and we’re working to develop a counseling program for it,’ said Rob Gordon, the Boca-based executive director of the American Health Association. ‘It’s like post-traumatic stress syndrome, but it’s a short-term shock rather than a childhood trauma.’”

Whether you’re a five-year-old brat, a kid who doesn’t pay attention in class, or a John Kerry supporter who can’t accept the results of the election, there is a psychosis for you in the vast land of psychological disorders. You are the victim of something or someone, and you deserve specialized help. In fact, victimhood is itself becoming a psychosis.

Wesley Pruden, The Washington Times Editor-in-Chief, describes America’s victimhood crisis in this paragraph addressing one of the nations great newspapers’ view of life:

The Washington Post's “view [is] of a world where all news is bad, the sun shines only on the rich, the rain falls only on the frail, and everyone is a victim — of homophobia in Peoria, AIDS in Afghanistan, an outbreak of teenage pimples in San Diego, a tsunami in Sri Lanka, the scarcity of vegetarian restaurants in Topeka, a woman who got winked at in Cleveland, a shortage of condoms in St. Paul. Some days there are so many victims there's hardly any room for the news on Page One.”


Hypersensitivity to certain attitudes like those described earlier has resulted in the easily excitable believing these attitudes are full-blown psychoses requiring clinical personnel and therapy in abundance. This sad development really devalues actual psychological disorders like post-traumatic stress syndrome experienced by American military personnel stationed in Viet Nam. Sorry, folks, but a soldier suffering post-traumatic stress syndrome and a John Kerry supporter who can’t accept defeat are not equivalent.

I believe that America’s pioneers, the ones who pushed through the wilderness to the Pacific, and who experienced real hardships, would be doubled over laughing at how psychologically frail Americans have become.

No wonder the country can’t take on terrorism without going through spasms of delirium and guilt over it.

But this foolish hypersensitivity and blowing things so wildly out of proportion will some day be our downfall if we don’t soon get a grip, develop a thicker skin, fire the thought police, and go back to being Americans in the mold of those courageous and ingenious folks who put this country together.