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Media Matters

The Media’s Litmus Tests

By 4.22.15

The media’s dissection of political arguments is primarily demagogic, turning not upon their intrinsic merits but upon whether or not they conform to “mainstream” expectations as defined by the media. Any position outside what it deems the mainstream is automatically invalid. In this mindless atmosphere, politics grows more and more narrow and dangerous. Objective reality becomes irrelevant to any discussion and politics is reduced to a chase for the latest poll and strategic deception.

In this atmosphere, even the mildest moments of conservative truth-telling become occasions for the media to hurl accusations of sexism, racism, and homophobia. Of course, the media’s definition of what’s mainstream is conveniently elastic. It would never declare Hillary Clinton’s support for late-term abortions “outside the mainstream.” Nor would it describe Democrats who now want the military to champion transgender soldiers extreme. But it will routinely describe even the most toothless Republicans as aliens to mainstream opinion.

Reader Mail

Conservatives and Patent Reform Continued: Rick Santorum Responds

4.22.15

Comprehensive patent legislation is bad for small business and entrepreneurship in America, and conservatives should join me in supporting only targeted change to deal with abuse of the system. Gary Shapiro, whose organization represents giant technology companies, declares that H.R. 9, the so-called “Innovation Act,” would “protect small businesses and innovation… through transparency” in patent litigation. But Shapiro’s critique of my views misses the point entirely: H.R. 9 would have serious unintended implications for an entire innovation ecosystem in which small businesses and entrepreneurs thrive.

Campaign Crawlers

All Aboard the (Magical) Mystery Machine

By 4.21.15

Early last week, as Hillary Clinton’s monster Mystery Machine van rumbled its lonely way down I-80, stopping only occasionally to interact with carefully selected peasants and purchase overpriced Mexican food, someone on Twitter pointed out that the only way Hillary’s Quixotic quest to endear herself to her countrymen made sense was if you thought about it like this: sometime, in the not-so-distant future, someone with a lot of love to give and a healthy sense of masochism creates an approximation of a bordering-on-geriatric female. He dresses her in a pantsuit, fluffs her bleached hair into a bowl cut, gives her some programming guidelines, and sets her out into the world on a quest to understand and appreciate humanity until she can finally feel their emotions, just as if she was born a real boy (or girl — I’d hate to be considered sexist).

Another Perspective

Dear Hillary

By 4.21.15

Dear Hillary,

I read with interest and not a little consternation Maureen Dowd’s advice to your in her April 18 column in the NYT. She is undoubtedly very smart. This time, though, her advice wasn’t terribly useful. It can be summed up as: Use the Goldilocks strategy. Be not too masculine, be not too feminine, be just right.

Special Report

Earth Day 2015: Federal Lands Edition

By 4.21.15

The massive federal land holdings in the western United States continue to irritate many folks living west of the 100th Meridian. According to Holly Fretwell of the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) and Montana State University, nearly half of the western states is owned by the federal government including over 60 percent of Alaska and approximately 80 percent of Nevada.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Park Service (NPS) are the federal agencies controlling these lands.

A Further Perspective

Chaos in the Primaries

By 4.21.15

Painful as it is to realize that both the Democrats and the Republicans will still be holding their primaries a year from now, that is one of the high prices we pay for democracy.

Seldom does the initial “front-runner” in either party’s primaries end up being the actual candidate when election day rolls around. However, even if we cannot predict the outcomes of the primaries this far in advance, we can at least start trying to understand the candidates, the almost candidates and the people who are running just for the publicity.

One of the curious things this early in the process is that, while the Republicans’ three freshmen Senators — Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul — have all had interviews on various television talk shows, veteran politician Hillary Clinton has been hiding out from real interviews by hard news reporters, as if she is afraid to be cross-examined.

Main Street U.S.A.

Cashiering Andy Jackson

By 4.21.15

Andrew Jackson was sort of a rough-and-tumble president, undoubtedly, but the United States, in the 1820s and ’30s, was sort of a rough-and-tumble country. Notice how refined and civilized we’ve gotten since then, to the point that a coalition of lady activists is ready to pull President Jackson’s mug off the $20 bill, substituting — well, that’s yet to be decided.

New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s notion is that whoever we come up with for a replacement needs to be female, there being no other females on our paper currency. An online poll suggests Eleanor Roosevelt, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and — get ready — Wilma Mankiller, a former chieftains of the Cherokees.

Mankiller’s promotion to greenback celebrity — viewed apart from her titillating name — would be seen, most likely, as an act of overdue retribution. According to one kick-out-Jackson activist, our country’s seventh president “engineered a genocide” by conspiring with Congress to drive the Cherokees, at bayonet’s point, out of the Southeast and into Oklahoma.

The Nation's Pulse

An Afternoon With Carol Burnett

By 4.21.15

One of the most endearing qualities of Carol Burnett’s comedy is her willingness to answer questions from her audience. The spontaneous nature of these exchanges demonstrates her ability to work a room and shows Burnett at her funniest. Hillary Clinton could learn a thing or two from her.

Burnett, who will turn 82 next week, can still connect with an audience as she demonstrated this past Sunday afternoon at Boston’s Symphony Hall. Unfortunately, due to a cold she was unable to do her trademark Tarzan yell. She also needed to sit down midway through the show. But this did not diminish her spirit nor her wit, which remains razor sharp. When an audience member asked Burnett what drew her to comedy, she quipped, “My face.” This brought much laughter and there was a lot more from where that came.

Politics

The Smear of Congressman Bill Shuster

By 4.21.15

It was a smear. A political hit job. 

The headlines were everywhere, particularly here in the home state of Pennsylvania’s Congressman Bill Shuster. Shuster, who represents the state’s 9th District, serves as the chairman of the powerful U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. 

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette headlined the story this way:

Legislation tainted by Rep. Bill Shuster’s relationship with airline lobbyist, critics say

The Allentown Morning Call gasped

PA Congressman Bill Shuster admits to ‘personal relationship’ with airlines lobbyist

Ben Stein's Diary

Obama’s Jet Lag Diplomacy

By 4.20.15

Sunday
Now, here’s a continuing problem. Once again, someone has created false, fake Facebook “posts” ostensibly but not really from me. This has been going on for years. I don’t even have a Facebook page. I never made one. I don’t know how to make one.

But some evil person made one years ago that has a photo of my wife, falsely says that’s me, and says I live in a “domestic partnership,” while in fact I have been married since 1968.

Some wicked liar made up a post of me saying I was gay about two years ago. This led to a barrage of e-mail saying how great it was that I was gay!!! But it wasn’t true.

Then there have been other fake “posts.” Today’s are about yours truly supposedly saying that there are such things as “chemtrails” of chemicals sprayed into the air by some mysterious entity to make us stupid. I never said any such thing and I don’t believe it.

There’s also some fake “post” of me supposedly saying Chelsea Clinton should be the next ambassador to Libya. I have seen this one floating around the Internet, but I never said it or sent it.

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