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By 7.18.14

In a column for the Washington Examiner, John L. Casey joins the herd that has gigged Republicans generally for being climate-change “deniers,” and Marco Rubio specifically for his recent climate comments, which were in fact the very soul of reasonableness. 

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Buy the Book

Prosecutorial Injustice

By 7.18.14

Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice
By Sidney Powell
(Brown Books, 456 pages, $28.95)

The performance of the U.S. Department of Justice in the Ted Stevens and Enron prosecutions were hardly its finest hour. In fact, as Sidney Powell demonstrates, those efforts were marked by unethical tactics facilitated by vague laws that were used to charge conduct that was not criminal. Notwithstanding the outrageous prosecution tactics, some of the prosecutors who played fast and loose with their constitutional duty to disclose information to the defense have been promoted, leaving personal and corporate wreckage behind them.

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Special Report

What About That Australian Study About Same-Sex Parenting?

By 7.18.14

The latest “research” about same-sex parenting was published in Australia to considerable fanfare because it “found” that children’s well-being with homosexual parents was as good or better than with heterosexual parents. Any problems faced by the children were attributed to the “stigma” associated with homosexual parenting. The lead author, Simon Crouch, claimed in the Conversation, “It is liberating for parents to take on roles that suit their skills rather than defaulting to gender stereotypes, where mum is the primary caregiver and dad the primary breadwinner. Our research suggests that abandoning such gender stereotypes might be beneficial to child health.”

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Another Perspective

They Shoot Illegals, Don’t They?

By 7.17.14

There is a way to deal with the children, teenagers, and adults who are crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico into the United States.

Shoot them.

It is simple. It is straightforward. It is efficient. It is politically, strategically, legally acceptable. I am not sure about morally, but who is sure about anything morally these days?

There is no law that says the Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona National Guards cannot be mobilized to protect the hundreds of miles on our southern border that are violated daily by illegal immigrants. Reports differ, but recent estimates have close to a hundred thousand entries since the beginning of this year, most of them, we are told, from Central American countries.

There is no law, and no political wisdom, that says that if persons refuse direct orders to halt at a border crossing, you cannot stop them forcibly. It is widely acknowledged the world over that national sovereignty includes the right to defend recognized international borders.

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Politics

Showdown in Las Vegas

By 7.17.14

The letter was polite. A simple request for dialogue — a “productive conversation” — with the NAACP at its upcoming 105th convention in Las Vegas. Dialogue between black conservatives and representatives of the historic group that was once a beacon in the fight for civil rights.

The March letter went to Lorraine C. Miller, the interim president of the group, and was signed by Deneen Borelli, the prominent black conservative, on behalf of empower.org and FreedomWorks. Borelli cited the national black unemployment rate in February (12 percent) and noted it was double that for whites. The unemployment rate for black teens between ages 16 and 19 — a particularly mindboggling set of statistic, 32.4 percent — was cited. Last but not least was the drop in black homeownership from 50 percent to 43 percent, a sharp contrast to a rise of 73 percent in white homeownership.

The suggestion was made to have a panel on economic empowerment with representatives of the NAACP and a group of black conservatives including Borelli and the Reverend C.L. Bryant. Along with the inevitable booth, a staple of these kind of gatherings.

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A Further Perspective

Gutting the First Amendment

By 7.17.14

Supporters of campaign finance laws have been apoplectic since the Supreme Court struck down a ban on corporate political ads in Citizens United. Having lost another big case this year in McCutcheon v. FEC, they now want to write their views directly into the Constitution.

Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment that would let government limit contributions to candidates and spending by and on behalf of them. The House will take up a similar proposal soon. To see where this amendment would lead if enacted, consider that the law in Citizens United prevented a group from distributing a film that criticized Hillary Clinton during her last presidential bid. During arguments in the case, the government’s lawyer admitted that the law could apply to books as well.

At the core of this effort is the very dangerous view that freedom of speech isn’t an inalienable individual right—a right to say what you want regardless of what others think—but a privilege that we exercise at the sufferance of “the public.”

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Political Hay

Border Chaos Changes Election Year Politics

By 7.17.14

In a Gallup poll released Tuesday, the percentage of Americans who say that immigration is the nation’s most important problem reached 17 percent, the highest level in eight years and the second-highest ever recorded by that polling organization.

It’s easy to scoff at the fickleness of the American public, taking a long-term problem such as immigration (legal or otherwise) from rating as most important by 5 percent of the population to 17 percent of the population in just a few weeks, notwithstanding the images of young unaccompanied children flooding into Texas. After all, border security and immigration didn’t suddenly become three or four times as important as it was just a month ago. It’s just that the symptom has alerted people to the disease of a lawless situation encouraged by a lawless president and an ineffective immigration system.

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Special Report

Power Failure

By 7.17.14

Ten years ago next week, the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States issued its final report, known as the 9/11 Commission Report, documenting the events leading up to the day that a determined adversary exploited vulnerabilities in our system to kill three thousand Americans and cause $2 trillion in localized and global economic damage.

Among the most notable of the 9/11 Commission’s findings was the following observation:

The most important failure was one of imagination. We do not believe leaders understood the gravity of the threat. The terrorist danger from Bin Ladin and al Qaeda was not a major topic for policy debate among the public, the media, or in the Congress. Indeed, it barely came up during the 2000 presidential campaign.

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Conservative Tastes

Removing the Magic from Mozart

By From the July/August 2014 issue

Recently, my wife and I attended a performance of Mozart’s Magic Flute—which is what German speakers call a Singspiel opera, written in the vernacular and intended for a popular audience. In this it was unlike the others among Mozart’s most famous operas, which were written to Italian libretti and intended for a more aristocratic public—though most were also performed in popular, vernacular versions. The Washington National Opera was staging it in an English translation by one Kelley Rourke, who, besides having the ear for rhyme of your average rap or hip hop artiste—which is to say, hardly any ear at all—managed largely to extract any residual sense of sex difference from the opera’s tale of a young prince’s quest to find and rescue a young princess from imprisonment by (so he is told) an evil sorcerer. You might almost call it magic.

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Ben Stein's Diary

Amid the Drought

By 7.16.14

Tuesday–July 15, 2014–L.A.
Again, there were the tiniest hints of rain. Again, no real rain fell. We are in big trouble here in California. Yes, we can go a while without rain. But this has been many years with no rain and it’s a disaster. I love L.A. and I would hate to see it dry up and blow away.

Why didn’t the authorities plan for this foreseeable crisis by making immense desalinization plants ? Or colossal aqueducts? They did nothing. There was no planning at all for a true disaster.

Amazing. We are being told to plan and change our ways of life for climate change fifty years from now but the powers that be cannot change the way we get our water for a catastrophe unfolding right before our eyes. Something is wrong here.

Speaking of something wrong… two days ago, as I was leaving a restaurant in West Hollywood, a man named Robert who works for me and with me, called me and in a shaky and horrified voice told me his mother had just died.

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