Not long after he was elected in 1980, President Reagan was confronted by a militant public employees union that put the nation's commercial air travel in jeopardy by striking.
Reagan responded by giving the striking members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) 48 hours to return to work or be fired. When the smoke cleared two days later, more than 11,000 of the striker were handed pink slips.
Go here for the History Channel's audio clip of Reagan delivering his ultimatum to PATCo. Go here for a detailed history of a short-lived strike that provided Reagan with an opportunity to demonstrate to all, including the Soviets, that he meant business.
Pick at random an urban planner, environmental activist or mainstream media journalist, then ask him or her what is the most significant cause of suburban sprawl and odds are excellent that the answer will include the automobile.
Cars give people freedom to move about at will and one of the first things they do is their autos to flee the central city's congestion, pollution, noise and alienation.
Where do they end up? Living in a suburban development, of course, with a yard to mow, flowers, a backyard for the kids to play in, privacy from nosy neighbors, two cars in the garage and rest of the usual features of a typical home. It's the American Dream, right?
According to our modern day "experts, however, suburban sprawl naturally follows because all those people who fled the central city to live in the suburbs still have to have services provided by grocery stores, schools for the kids , churches for the family, bowling alleys, restraunts and, sooner or later, offices to work in, plus roads to get there.
Two weeks of vociferous criticism from homosexual activists not only succeeded in backing Ford away from its recent decision to restrict advertising some of its products from gay publications but forced the automaker into expanding such marketing efforts and all but begging for forgiveness for being politically incorrect on the issue.
The cave could not be more complete, according to this description in The New York Times:
"Ford's announcement, which gay advocates immediately praised, also included other steps to broaden the automaker's relations with gay consumers and repair damage from the initial decision to stop advertising.
If the question posed by the title of this post seems a little macabre, it nevertheless must be asked, thanks to either the FBI or Joel Hinrichs, Sr., father of the University of Oklahoma student who blew himself up just outside the school's football stadium during the OU-Kansas State game Oct. 1.
Hinrichs Sr. told The Sunday Oklahoman that, when he was informed by investigators Oct. 15 of an alleged suicide note left by his son, the FBI also showed him "photos of his son's headless body." (I can't provide a link to the Oct. 16 article because it is only available via a paid search of the paper's digital archives.) Hinrichs Sr. said he plans to cremate his sons remains when they are finally turned over to him by federal authorities.
But in the FBI's search warrant documents unsealed last week by a federal judge, we find a completely different description of the condition of Hinrichs' body following the explosion that killed him while sitting on a bench during the second quarter of the game.
It may not get much play in the MSM, but the Catalogue for Philanthropy's latest National Generosity Index finds a clear majority of the most generous states are in the Bible Belt where evangelical Christianity is strongest and household income is lowest. The least generous states are mostly in areas in which evangelicals are least common, but household incomes are highest.
Here are the Top 10, including six that are the heart of the Bible Belt and two more that are strongly influenced by it. The dollar figure in parenthesis is the U.S. Census Bureau's latest available (2004) household income figure, followed by the state's national ranking for that factor. The B indicates Bush carried in 2004. K indicates Kerry carried in 2004:
1. Mississippi ($31,642)(50)(B) 2. Arkansas ($32,983)(49)(B) 3. South Dakota ($38,472)(42)(B) 4. Oklahoma ($35,357)(45)(B) 5. Tennessee ($38,794)(41)(B) 6. Alabama ($36,709)(43)(B) 7. Louisiana ($35,110)(48)(B) 8. Utah ($47,074)(17)(B) 9. South Carolina ($39,837)(38)(B) 10. West Virginia ($31,504)(51)(B)
Now take a look at the second 10, which includes another six that are either clearly part of the Bible Belt or strongly influenced by it:
Now, scan the Bottom 10 least generous states, which includes eight Yankee states where Southern Baptists are as scarce as common sense at a Michael Moore fan club meeting:
41. Michigan ($44,905)(21)(K) 42. Hawaii ($53,554)(7)(K) 43. Colorado ($48,198)(14)(B) 44. Minnesota ($50,860)(10)(K) 45. Connecticut ($60,528)(2)(K) 46. Wisconsin ($45,315)(20)(K) 47. Rhode Island ($48,722)(13)(K) 48. New Jersey ($61,359)(1)(K) 49. Massachusetts ($55,658)(5)(K) 50. New Hampshire ($55,580)(6)(K)
The states with the lowest household income are in the Bible Belt and that is where people are the most generous givers to charitable causes. Every one of the Top 10 most generous was carried by President Bush in the 2004 presidential election.
The most secular states with the highest household incomes are the least generous. Nine of the 10 least generous were carried by Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee.
The latest Audit Bureau of Circulation reports continuing declines virtually across the board in the number of daily newspaper readers. Notable among the losers in the top 20 dailies is The Washington Post with a 4.1 percent drop. Other big losers include The Boston Globe at 8.25 percent and The San Francisco Chronicle at a whopping 16.58 percent.
But it's not just the readership that is leaving the mainstream dailies, it is the advertising dollars that follow circulation. Did you know Google will sell more advertising this year than any daily newspaper or new network? Check this out from U.S. News & World Report's new report on "The New Media Elites:"
"And that's big bucks. Internet advertising is up by 26 percent this year to $14.7 billion (out of total advertising of $278 billion) and is expected to top $26 billion by 2010, according to research by Forrester Research. "Google alone sold $6.1 billion in ads this year, double that of last year and more than any newspaper chain, magazine group, or television network. By 2006, its ad revenues are projected to top $9 billion, which would put it fourth among American media companies in total ad sales and ahead of such giants as NBC, Universal, and Time Warner."
We are witnessing the death of the dinosaurs of the mainstream media and their replacement with Internet-based citizen journalism.
Closing meetings of public bodies is and should be anathema to journalists and all others who care about the public's right to know and the First Amendment's guarantee of a free press, but journalists hardly uttered a peep when Democrats closed the Senate this week.
Normally, journalists are out front in battles to force politicians and bureaucrats at the local and state levels to open their meetings to reporters and members of the public.
So why the silence among the nation's journalists about Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, forcing the U.S. Senate to kick reporters and spectators out, bolt the doors and dim the lights for a closed session Nov. 1 on prosecuting government officials for leaking information about war and peace to ... journalists?
Actually, silence is not quite accurate. Two professional journalist organizations took strong stands condemning the closed session. The first of those stands came within hours after the Senate's closed session when Lucy Dalglish, Executive Director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, condemned Senate Democrats, observing that "the best way to combat secrecy and obfuscation is not more secrecy."
After reading the RCFP statement, I asked the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists, Investigative Reporters & Editors and Radio and Television News Directors Association if they planned to say anything about the closed session.
I've been reading all of the pro and con commentary in the Blogosphere and the MSM from fellow members of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy and, while I sympathize mainly with those who believe Bush has missed an historic opportunity by not nominating a Brown, McConnell or Luttig, it appears to me most everybody is missing the fundamental point.
That point is this: As long as the Senate GOP leadership refuses to confront head-on the Democrats' abuse of the filibuster and end it, the Democrats have a veto if they choose to use it. And choose it they will for any nominee short of one with an undeniably perfect record - John Roberts - or one with no record at all, Harriet Miers.
Bush knows all hell would break loose politically if he nominated a candidate from the Old Guard wing of the GOP who would satisfy the Senate Democrats. Such a move would likely spark a revolt among the GOP's conservative infrastructure (note, it's not just "the base"). The resulting Senate GOP majority of one or two and a paltry five or six in the House would mean Bush would twiddle his thumbs for the last two years of his White House residency.
So faced with a certain filibuster, which would quickly become bitter and impassable so long as the Senate GOP continued to shake in its boots and be terrified at the prospect of actually confronting the Democrats, Bush has only two choices.
Nobody expects the GOP majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee to vote the Miers nomination down and barring a miracle, her utter lack of written commentary anywhere in the known world deprives the Democrats of the usual ideological reasons to vote no. About all they have left is arguing that she lacks the appropriate "judicial temprament" or that she is another Abe Fortas presidential crony. Those last two dogs just won't hunt, as Slick Willie might say.
Put simply, with Frist and the Senate GOP leadership, we get a Roberts or a Miers. There is no in-between.
University of Oklahoma President David Boren seems determined to have everybody believe Joel Henry Hinrichs III was merely a disturbed young man who decided to commit suicide by blowing himself up within 100 yards of a stadium containing 84,000 screaming fans of Sooner football.
Sorry, I don't buy it, at least not yet. Here's why: First, The Daily Oklahoman is reporting authorities found a large cache of bomb-making materials in Hinrichs' apartment. The cache is so big that the Oklahoman quoted one of the officials on the scene as estimating a full 24 hours would be required to cart away all of the material.
Suicide victims don't normally accumulate a large amount of bomb-making material in their homes. People intent on blowing up other people do.
Second, the proximity to the stadium suggests Hinrichs' target was the crowd, perhaps as people were leaving the game. But being an OU student, he presumably would have access to the student seating section and could have gone from that area to anywhere else in the crowd he chose.
What better place to detonate a bomb guaranteed to both kill and maim many, as well as incite terror and possibly a stampede that would kill and injure more people? My guess is Hinrichs was kept from reaching his target by a premature detonation. Add the proximty of the Micro-Biology building and you may have the potential for a kind of bio-bomb that could have guaranteed utter chaos in and around the stadium.
Third, why was Boren sufficiently familiar with Hinrichs to so quickly issue an opinion about his motive in the bombing? When he resigned in November 1994 as a senator, Boren was chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He left the Senate just as the Democrats lost their majority in the GOP sweep of 1994.
Add to his Senate years the presence of an active and long-established Muslim student presence on the OU campus stemming from the school's excellent Petroleum Engineering program, and it stands to reason that Boren has been privy to intelligence briefing as head of the school. Is that how he knew of Hinrichs?
Fourth, Hinrichs appears to have a fresh beard, which is characteristic of new Muslim male converts. His father told The Oklahoman his son was a quiet, intellectual type, but he had no idea what might have incited him to take his own life. We can only assume the father also didn't know of the bomb-making material in his son's apartment. Perhaps we are dealing with a recent or a secret convert?
Finally, if Hinrichs was just a disturbed guy who decided to kill himself with a bomb 100 yards from a crowd of 84,000 people instead of simply putting a bullet through his temple, slashing his wrists or some other traditional way of doing away with oneself, why is the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force now the lead agency in the investigation?
Go here to read the latest dispatch from The Oklahoman.
Federal District Court Judge Richard J. Leon ruled Tuesday that the privacy rights of illegal aliens convicted here of crimes, including the most serious felonies, are more important than the public's right to know data needed to assess how the government is complying with the law that requires such aliens to be escorted out of the country upon their release from jail.
The ruling is in the case of CEI Washington Bureau Inc. v United States of America Department of Justice, Civ. No. 03-2651 (RJL). CEI is Cox Newspapers Washington Bureau, which earlier this year asked Leon to overturn a Justice Department denial of a Freedom of Information Act request for data, including the names, dates of birth and their FBI case numbers of several hundred thousand illegal aliens.
The aliens had been convicted in domestic courts of various crimes, including many of the most serious felonies such as rape and murder, and had served time in local or state jails. Federal law requires that federal officials meet such aliens on their release from jail and escort them out of the country.
Chuck Simmins takes a bit of time off from his labors in chronicling private sector support for Hurricane Relief efforts to take a U.S. Census Bureau data-based look at poverty in America under presidents Reagan, Bush I, Clinton and Bush II.
Simmins finds, among much else, that wage parity between men and women has never been greater than it is now under Bush II. Neither Simmins nor I can recall seeing a news release from the National Organization for Women noting that fact and giving Bush credit.
Simmins' post, which you can read here, is significant for another reason - It illustrates the value to bloggers of having the Computer-Assisted Research and Reporting (CARR) skills that are taught at the Heritage Foundation/Media Bloggers Association Database 101/201 CARR Boot Camp this Friday and Saturday in the Bloomberg Training Center of the Erik Friedheim Library of the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Editor & Publisher reports on a cozy little deal made by The Washington Post and The New York Times in which the two MSM giants let each other know in advance what their most important product - the Front Page - will be, every day.
"As part of a secret arrangement formed more than 10 years ago, the Post and Times send each other copies of their next day's front pages every night. The sharing began as a courtesy between Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. and former Times Executive Editor Joseph Lelyveld in the early 1990s and has continued ever since. "'It seemed logical, because for years we would always try to get a copy of each other's papers as soon as they came out,' Downie tells E&P. 'It made sense to both of us to make it simpler for everybody.' Lelyveld, who left the Times in 2001, declined comment."
In any other industry, this would be called "collusion" and the Times and Post editorial pages would be in high dudgeon, demanding anti-trust investigations by the Department of Justice. Go here for the full E & P report.
Can you imagine what the outrage would be if it were Microsoft and Apple exchanging their product plans every day? Or GM and Ford?
What else have the Post and Times decided to play nice with each other on? After all, it wasn't that long ago that the two papers co-owned The International Herald Tribune. Have they divided up national advertising accounts? Agreed on who would cover which government agencies aggressively? Coordinated recruiting operations? Exchanged lists of favored politicos and lists of those targeted for tough treatment?
What would you do if you opened up your morning newspaper or turned on the local television news and found grisly photos of one of your parents, or a brother, sister, uncle, cousin or a close personal friend? You would be outraged. And rightfully so.
But some of my colleagues in the mainstream media claim they can’t report properly the terrible aftermath of Hurricane Katrina unless the Federal Emergency Management Agency allows them to photograph dead bodies up close and personal.
Their claim came in response to FEMA’s refusal to allow journalists to accompany recovery teams searching for victims of the disaster.
"It's impossible for me to imagine how you report a story whose subject is death without allowing the public to see images of the subject of the story," said Larry Siems of the PEN American Center, according to a Reuters story.