Special Report

Special Report

The Return of the General

By 4.2.15

In what surely has been the most hotly anticipated vote in an African country in many years, General (ret.) Muhammadu Buhari, who some thirty years ago ruled Nigeria with an iron fist as head of a military regime, decisively defeated the incumbent, Goodluck Jonathan. The large and populous (175 million) West African country voted, and expects to see a peaceful transition of power, in difficult conditions — an Islamic terror campaign in the north and an abysmal economic crisis — which should be cause for at least some bitter-sweet satisfaction. The only words from the U.S., however, through the mouth of its highest diplomatic officials, are to the effect it better stay on the free-and-fair straight and narrow, or else. This rather sanctimonious — to put it mildly — attitude is reflected in U.S. press coverage, which has concentrated on General Buhari’s severe 20-month period at the helm in the early 1980s, while largely ignoring the lousy performance of Jonathan’s administration (and practically all its predecessors, democratic or military).

Special Report

Another Win for Secularism

By 4.1.15

Any meaningful concept of religious freedom within public life continues to shrivel under the mau-mauing of the cultural left. It appears that Indiana’s attempt to protect religious freedom will now occasion a hapless diminution of it, as cowed Republican politicians seek to appease secularist bullies by amending the new law to their satisfaction.

The coming amendment will apparently make it clear to Christians and other religious who own businesses that they may not opt out of providing services at gay weddings. Under existing Indiana law, they can opt out in many parts of the state. So in a cruel irony that testifies to the power of the cultural left, Indiana’s version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act will end up making the religious more vulnerable to lawsuits.

Special Report

The Herod Procedure: After Birth Abortion Arrives

By 3.31.15

You could call it “The Herod Procedure.” In case you missed?

This was the headline and lengthy sub-headline in London’s Daily Telegraph:  

Killing babies no different from abortion, experts say

Parents should be allowed to have their newborn babies killed because they are “morally irrelevant” and ending their lives is no different to abortion, a group of medical ethicists linked to Oxford University has argued.

Yes, you read that right. Here’s the opening of the story:

The article, published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, says newborn babies are not “actual persons” and do not have a “moral right to life.” The academics also argue that parents should be able to have their baby killed if it turns out to be disabled when it is born.

Special Report

A Third Way Past Student Loans

By 3.31.15

RALEIGH, N.C. — As lawmakers debate various proposals to ostensibly solve the $1 trillion student-loan crises in America—lower student-loan interest rates or forgive loans altogether being two—clear-thinking individuals should catch a vision for alternatives.

In two decades, imagine a post-secondary education arena in which a majority of students avoid the need for student loans in the first place. Or, if loans are necessary, have a job upon graduation sufficient to pay them off. Novel concepts? Perhaps. But they shouldn’t be.

Special Report

Obama’s New Israel Outing

By 3.27.15

Much as I hate to say it, the time has come to create a set of Obama versus Netanyahu jokes. This clearly has the makings of an enduring genre of gallows humor. Here is one I wrote, to begin mining this rich vein of comical gold.

After snubbing Netanyahu over several White House visits by refusing to invite him to dinner, Obama suddenly reverses course and offers him something to eat. Netanyahu consults his security team, but they advise against accepting, since the food may be poisoned.

“Why won’t you eat?” Obama asks. “You know I am a Roosevelt Democrat and I believe the government should feed everybody…”

“I know,” counters Netanyahu. “I have nothing to fear but the fare itself…”

Presumably things are not quite that bad between Obama and Netanyahu, but this exaggeration highlights the reality. Not only is there no love lost between Barack and Bibi, but there seems to be hate found on Barack’s side. (Ironically Netanyahu’s old nemesis, the man who beat him head to head for Prime Minister in 1999, was named Barak.) This is nothing new either. In one form or another it has gone on for years.

Special Report

Murder on the Fly

By 3.26.15

Suicide is prohibited by the Torah, but the Talmud shows great sensitivity when people end their lives in the wake of overwhelming loss. One episode recounted there (Hullin 94a) involves a man who accidentally sold his costly barrel of wine for the price of olive oil. There were some oil drippings on the cover of the barrel and he had mislabeled it as the much cheaper liquid. When he realized he was wiped out financially, he hanged himself.

The rabbis’ response was to caution the public not to drip oil on wine barrels.

Another story involves a dinner party in which the adult guests were given a special dish the children of the family were not permitted to share. Some of the guests felt bad for the little boy coming in and out of the room looking longingly at their food, so they slipped him a few pieces. The father was not privy to these transactions so when he spotted the kid with the goodies in his hand he gave him an angry whack. Somehow the blow caught him the wrong way and the boy was killed. The distressed father could not face what he had done, so he killed himself. The mother, broken by her sudden loss, jumped off the roof as well.

Special Report

How Bibi Warded Off Obama: The Inside Scoop

By 3.25.15

The political season is upon us once again. Ted Cruz, who launched his career as the unelectable senatorial candidate from Texas has now announced as the unelectable presidential candidate from the Senate. After him the deluge. Candidates will come out of the woodwork and turn on the waterworks. This in turn will generate loads of legwork and footwork in support of the candidates’ handiwork — done by campaign strategists, analysts, and pollsters.

Where have these hardy souls been since November, when they were scattered across the country guiding governors and senators and representatives through the midterms? They have been in another country! A country that holds fair and open elections and has a vibrant political debate at the heart of its culture. A country that has maintained a special friendship with the United States and American People since its inception in 1948. A country named Israel.

Special Report

Blowing Sunshine Up Their Skirts

By 3.25.15

TAMPA — At first glance, an amendment to Florida’s constitution obliging the state to promote solar power and allowing homeowners and businesses to generate solar power on their property, in cahoots with a solar power company, might not do much harm. But it easily could do harm if it leads to even more taxpayer-financed subsidies to an industry that is long on promises but short on kilowatt-hours generated. It could do harm if it leads to requirements that utilities buy more pricy solar power and pass the cost on to their customers. This is what has happened elsewhere — we’ve seen this movie before.

The beneficiaries of such an amendment, being pushed for the 2016 ballot by a group called Floridians for Solar Choice, Inc., would be the hard-left, anti-free market environmental movement, bent on putting an end to fossil-fuel generated power, and the solar power industry, seeking a larger share of the energy market and more of the tax breaks and subsidies without which expensive solar power could not exist. It’s hard to imagine how such an amendment would benefit Floridians with no grudge against fossil fuels or with no skin in the solar power game.

Special Report

Doing His Duty

By 3.25.15

At one time, Catholic archbishops made news by defying Church teaching. Now they generate headlines by simply following it. Nowhere is this more true than in San Francisco, where the Left feels entitled to impose its liberalism on Church officials.

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has been subject to regular hazing from the Left for merely upholding Church teaching. His latest high offense is that he expects teachers at San Francisco’s Catholic schools to refrain from anti-Catholic activism and anti-Catholic teaching.

“As effective professionals in a Catholic School setting, we all — administrators, faculty and staff — are required and expected to avoid fostering confusion among the faithful and any dilution of the schools’ primary Catholic mission,” he said in February. “Therefore, administrators, faculty and staff of any faith or of no faith, are expected to arrange and conduct their lives so as not to visibly contradict, undermine or deny these truths. To that end, further, we all must refrain from public support of any cause or issue that is explicitly or implicitly contrary to that which the Catholic Church holds to be true.”

Special Report

Starbucks and USA Today Can #RaceTogether By Themselves

By 3.23.15

Rarely has there been such condemnation of a still-gestating corporate policy as the past week’s kerfuffle over Starbucks’ “Race Together” initiative. Rather than instigate a “national conversation about race” — as if race-weary Americans need more of that right now — news of the plan united critics and comics on the right and the left in going after Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz’s plan to have baristas write “#RaceTogether” on patron’s cups of hot liquid in order to goad us into talking about an important issue.

Conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg and liberal PBS television anchor Gwen Ifill don’t agree on much, but they agreed on this.

Goldberg: “If I don’t have my coffee in the morning, I get a headache that feels like a Hell’s Angel is trying to press his meaty thumb through my forehead. This is not the most propitious moment to engage me in a conversation about my ‘race journey.’”