Special Report

Special Report

A Methodist Boycott of the Holocaust Museum?

By 5.23.15

Recently a longtime United Methodist official, lamenting that Israel’s Independence Day obscured the Palestinian “Nakba” or catastrophe, urged boycotting the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. until the Palestinians have their own Holocaust museum.

Here’s the quote from Janet Lahr Lewis, “Advocacy Coordinator for the Middle East” at United Methodism’s General Board of Global Ministries in New York, and “Peace with Justice Associate” at the church’s General Board of Church and Society in Washington, D.C., in an article originally appearing in but now seemingly removed from the online weekly newsletter of the latter agency:

Special Report

Seven Brothers: A World War II Story

By 5.23.15

This time last year for The American Spectator, I wrote about the five Bailey brothers of World War II: Dick, Jim, Fonnie, John, and Fred. They were from Western Pennsylvania, my neck of the woods. All served in World War II. We’ve all heard of the Ryan brothers in “Saving Private Ryan” and perhaps the Sullivan brothers in the old black-and-white film “The Fighting Sullivans.” And we know from these movies that the U.S. military resolved to never again take the risk of exposing so many of one mother’s sons to the risk of death in one war.

And yet, there they were, all five Bailey boys. Not one was granted a desk job on the home-front. All five volunteered for combat after Pearl Harbor and all five faced—Europe, the Pacific, Northern Africa; by land, by air, by sea.

Imagine: Five brothers in one war.

Special Report

Where the Truth Wanders

By 5.22.15

On the night of April 9, 2015, masked men belonging to an anti-Russian militant group launched an audacious nighttime raid in the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. Their targets were not pro-Russian partisans, but rather three Soviet-era statues of Bolshevik heroes, including the Red Army commander Nikolai Rudnev. A week later, a similar nocturnal razzia was carried out against a monument to Vladimir Lenin that had theretofore graced the campus of Kharkiv’s National Technical University.

Special Report

Charter Schools: The New White Ruling Class?

By 5.21.15

Raleigh, N.C.

Bereft of arguments to discredit charter schools on their merits, education bureaucrats are resorting to one of their favorite go-to arguments in a jam—accuse the opposition of racism and re-segregation.

Although this renewed offensive is unfolding on a national scale, North Carolina has become an epicenter for the conflict, as school-choice advocates and education establishment interests cross swords. The battle came to a head recently when a Duke University study claimed that charter schools don’t live up to their promise of attracting and retaining minority students.

Special Report

Paul Shaffer: Television’s Man From Thunder Bay

By 5.19.15

It has been a long time since I watched The Late Show with David Letterman. Last I remember tuning in was to see Sixto Rodriguez perform a couple of years back. In recent years, I have been turned off by his increasingly strident left-wing posture and his vicious attacks on Sarah Palin on her children. He would apologize for his June 2009 “joke” about the then 14-year old Willow Palin being knocked up by New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, but as it turns out, the apology was insincere.

The only reason I will watch Letterman’s final show is because of the man who has been by his side for the past 33 years — Paul Shaffer.

Special Report

Equal Opportunity for All Through Educational Freedom

By 5.18.15

Economist Stephen Moore, in a May 1, 2015 editorial in the Wall Street Journal, “President Obama, Are You Listening,” raised this question: “The scenes of Baltimore set ablaze this week have many Americans thinking: What can be done to rescue families trapped in an inner-city culture of violence, despair and joblessness?” His answer should lead us to start a grass-roots movement to convince political leaders in the state capitals and the U.S. capital to offer all parents, not just the wealthy, equal opportunity through educational freedom. How? Follow Mr. Moore’s advice:

Republicans should seize this issue. And when unions mobilize to kill school choice, the GOP should fight side by side with these inspiring students and parents to expand it across the country. The Education Department’s spending for K-12 education will soon reach $50 billion. How about a GOP plan that would take that money from the bureaucracy and distribute five million vouchers of $10,000 each to the lowest-income Americans—like those who live in Baltimore?

Special Report

The Train-Wreck Ghouls

By 5.15.15

Mere hours after Train 188 from Washington to New York City jumped the rails and killed eight, the Democrat spin machine stood atop the wreckage and cranked up its familiar rant about Republican neglect of America’s infrastructure.

The Washington Post’s Philip Bump opened with a piece Wednesday morning assailing Republicans for Amtrak’s “funding problems” (it was chartered as a for-profit agency, directed again by Congress to turn a profit in 1997, has never seen a drop of black ink and has soaked up some $45 billion in the four decades since inception) on the basis that Republicans don’t ride its trains.

Then came the parade of leftist politicians.

We failed them,” said Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) of the dead, before there was a firm body count.

Special Report

Senate Flushes Fast Track

By 5.13.15

As if either President Obama or Hillary Clinton needed a reminder that the most powerful person in the Democratic Party is now Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth “I’m a Cherokee” Warren, on Tuesday Senate Democrats followed the lead of the scourge of capitalism by filibustering “fast-track” trade promotion authority (“TPA”) legislation designed to allow the Obama administration to negotiate and more easily enact international trade agreements, particularly the Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”) which would liberalize trade between the United States and eleven Asia-Pacific region nations.

Both the policy and the politics are complex.

Special Report

Finding the First Amendment

By 5.11.15

A draw-Muhammad cartoon contest is staged in Garland Texas. Two ISIS terrorists show up with automatic weapons intending to massacre the assemblage. A single guard guns them down with a pistol, narrowly averting mass carnage.

The post-attack response, even including conservative stalwarts, is to condemn not just the would-be assassins, but the speakers and the cartoons presented at the conference. Yes, critics say, of course the speakers have First Amendment free speech constitutional rights, but they offended Muslims around the globe. They asserted that such “hate speech” is not protected by the First Amendment.

Repair, then, to the text of the First Amendment—as the lawyers say, in pertinent part: “Congress shall make no law… abridging freedom of speech, or of the press.…” About a century ago the Supreme Court began selectively “incorporating” specific clauses of the Bill of Rights to apply also to the States, including all the First Amendment.

Special Report

Constitutional Rights for Transgender Prisoners: Kulturkampf or Coup D’état?

By 5.6.15

Cultural attitudes can change rapidly in this digital age, at least on some issues, among some demographic segments. For example, Millennials (born after 1980) tethered to their smart phones mimic the latest trends in music, fashion, and lifestyle displayed by their peers on blogs or social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube), or streamed by opinion outlets such as Reddit, Huffington Post, and BuzzFeed. (Few young people read traditional newspapers or subscription periodicals.) Comedy Central’s The Daily Show has largely replaced cable or network news for coverage of current events, to the extent that twenty-somethings pay attention at all. Thus, it is not surprising that Millennials’ opinions on many subjects—influenced by a generally secular and nihilistic worldview—diverge significantly from those of their parents. A 2014 Pew Research Center poll found that 68 percent of Millennials (age 18-34) supported same-sex marriage, compared to 48 percent for the Baby Boomer generation (born from 1946-1964).