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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.

London Calling

‘Binge Britain’ Has Ended — Get Over It

By 5.19.15

A certain amount of amnesia is required if you are to believe everything the “public health” lobby tells you. Alcohol is frequently in the media but the only story relating to drink that is genuinely newsworthy is the steep decline in drinking that has occurred in the last decade. Britain has been witnessing its biggest fall in alcohol consumption since the 1930s. This trend was ignored for a long time, but once it became clear that it was not a statistical blip the truth began to seep out.

The BBC, which has never seen an anti-alcohol press release it doesn’t like, asked in 2011: “Why is alcohol consumption falling?” After years of fretting about “24 hour drinking” and “pocket-money prices,” it admitted that “behind these stories is an unexpected truth — Britons have been drinking less and less every year since 2002.”

Knowing What We Know Now

The Times: JFK Was Responsible for Saddam Hussein

By 5.19.15

Knowing what we know now, who was responsible for Saddam Hussein in the first place?

Ivy Ziedrich, a 19-year-old University of Nevada student, is in the news for lecturing Jeb Bush on ISIS. As reported here in the Guardian,Ms. Ziedrich, a College Democrat, rejected Bush’s statement that the Obama withdrawal from Iraq had created ISIS. Not so, indignantly insisted Ziedrich. “Your brother created ISIS,” she snapped. How did that happen? Why, because George W. Bush invaded Iraq, defeated Saddam, and unemployed all those Saddam loyalists so they needed something to do. 

Said Ivy: “It was like somebody crashing their car and blaming the passenger.” The driver of the car, in her view, being George W. Bush and Obama — who failed miserably to stabilize Iraq and has now widened the war immeasurably — being the innocent passenger.

The Obama Watch

‘Just Asking’

By 5.19.15

In a recent panel discussion on poverty at Georgetown University, President Barack Obama gave another demonstration of his mastery of rhetoric — and disregard of reality.

One of the ways of fighting poverty, he proposed, was to “ask from society’s lottery winners” that they make a “modest investment” in government programs to help the poor.

Since free speech is guaranteed to everyone by the First Amendment to the Constitution, there is nothing to prevent anybody from asking anything from anybody else. But the federal government does not just “ask” for money. It takes the money it wants in taxes, usually before the people who have earned it see their paychecks.

Despite pious rhetoric on the left about “asking” the more fortunate for more money, the government does not “ask” anything. It seizes what it wants by force. If you don’t pay up, it can take not only your paycheck, it can seize your bank account, put a lien on your home and/or put you in federal prison.

So please don’t insult our intelligence by talking piously about “asking.”

The Right Prescription

Can Dr. Price Cure GOP Cowardice?

By 5.18.15

The Supreme Court is probably about to hand congressional Republicans a once-in-a-lifetime chance to eradicate the Obamacare contagion from the body politic, but the GOP has been typically timorous concerning whether to take advantage of this opportunity. A refreshing exception to this poltroonery has been Tom Price, chairman of the House Budget Committee. Price, who practiced medicine in Atlanta for twenty years before coming to Congress, has not only introduced an eminently viable replacement for the imploding health care “reform” law, but has also said he won’t support proposed legislation that would temporarily extend Obamacare subsidies that SCOTUS deems illegal.

Buy the Book

A Top-Down History of World War II

By 5.18.15

American Warlords: How Roosevelt’s High Command Led America to Victory in World War II
By Jonathan W. Jordan
(NAL Caliber, 624 pages, $28.95)

The most horrific and world-changing event in history traveling under one name is World War II. Some call it “the good war,” not because there was anything good about it, but because, compared to other armed conflicts, if featured a good deal of “moral clarity.” Meaning you can tell who the good guys and the bad guys were. (True, though even here there has to be a good deal of moral sleight-of-hand when it came to the Soviet Union.)

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?

Another Perspective

Put Harriet Tubman on the $20 Bill

By 5.18.15

Washington’s latest symbolic battle is looming. America’s money celebrates its early political leaders, white males all. There’s now a campaign to provide for greater currency diversity. The group Women on 20s held a poll on what woman should be added: the victor was famed antislavery activist Harriet Tubman, who narrowly beat out First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Finishing further behind were Rosa Parks, the Civil Rights heroine, and Wilma Mankiller, the first female Cherokee chief.

Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time that a woman appeared on America’s money. Suffragette Susan B. Anthony graced the ill-fated dollar coin that was little used and quickly forgotten. The Native American Sacagawea later did the same and suffered a similar fate.

The Treasury Department is authorized to choose figures for America’s money. The administration has almost total discretion, since all that matters is that the person be dead. President Barack Obama indicated his interest in showcasing more women, encouraging feminist groups to rev up their political engines.

Another Perspective

‘Christian’ Paths to Amnesty

By 5.18.15

I understand the ideological, political, economic, and perhaps even ecclesiastical scramble over immigration “reform,” with various parties exhilarated or terrified at the prospects for gain or loss. I understand the daunting practicalities of it all and calls for emergency compromise. (Exigencies can birth strange policies, including cooperation with one mass murderer, Stalin, to stop another, Hitler.) But I’m having difficulty accepting the “Christian” case for some form of amnesty, offered (albeit by good folks) at the expense of the respect for law taught in Romans 13:1-7. The more they plead, the less convinced I find myself.

As an aside, I’ve been surprised at how those who work with Hispanics confide matter-of-factly in me their indifference to the illegal status of their flocks and their indignation at efforts to harass them. I suppose it’s a compliment of sorts, their attributing to me a certain level of sanctification, which certainly would bring me in line with their “Christlike” position. Alas, I’m not there yet, and here are 26 factors:

A Further Perspective

Waterboarding Worked

By 5.18.15

Dianne Feinstein of California arguably used to be the CIA’s best friend on the Democratic side of the Senate. I think it’s fair to say that San Francisco voters were not enthusiastic about her pro-intelligence posture during the George W. Bush presidency. One thing DiFi has going for her, though, is that it’s hard even for critics to not crack a smile at her famously idiosyncratic stubborn streak. She’s old-school. She makes up her mind and digs in deep. And then something else sticks in her craw.

As Senate Select Committee on Intelligence chairwoman during President Barack Obama’s first six years, Feinstein did lock horns with CIA brass — and it was over the Bush years. She is on a crusade to convince America that Bush-era coercive interrogation techniques were wrong — a respectable position — but also produced no intelligence, which is hard to believe.