In schools and colleges across America, teachers and professors recall the "Free Speech Movement" of the hard left at Berkeley in the 1960s. But today's left often shreds that idea in its own intolerant behavior. At Michigan State University, British Nationalist Nick Griffin was shouted down from a speech on the danger of radical Islam. The Lansing State Journal reported: "Hurling obscenities and using chants to interrupt his address, rambunctious student organizations forced Griffin to abandon his speech and allow an informal question and answer session." This liberal quote is a classic:
"We have all come from different backgrounds," said Authra Khreis, 17, a pre-med student and a protester. "We should accept one another. I don't think he should be allowed to speak. You can use free speech until you hurt another person."
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it -- George Satayana.
Well and good. But becoming a prisoner of the past presents dangers, too. Stay tuned for an example of how reliance on a corollary of Satayana's rule went horribly wrong for the U.S.
Maureen Dowd's column of this morning "W.M.D. in Iran? Q.E.D." is the latest example of what passes for MSM wisdom on Iran. The argument, in a nutshell: we attacked Iraq over ill-founded concerns about WMD and got bogged down. So perish the thought of using force to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
In her interview tour of left-wing, Bush-hating Web sites, Valerie Plame threw a bone to Firedoglake (the one that refers to Joe Lieberman as "Rape Gurney Joe" for not forcing Catholic hospitals to provide "emergency contraception" for rape victims). She also granted one to BuzzFlash.com, which just this week awarded its "Wings of Justice" Award to Pete "Bush Is Amused by Soldiers Dying" Stark. She amused them with lines like "I want a t-shirt that says, 'I was slimed by the Republican administration.' You can make a lot of money on that."
But the really interesting section of the interview is her continuing hatred for The Washington Post. (On NBC and elsewhere, she compared the Post editorialists to Pravda, the hoary state propaganda newspaper of the Soviet Union.) Here, the BuzzFlash guru and Plame take turns bashing the Post:
News item: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, right, is confronted by CodePink member Desiree Sairooz, her hands painted red, as she arrives to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2007, before the House Foreign Relations Committee
Army Captain Mark L. Stoneman took issue with the Washington Post placing an article regarding the Medal of Honor ceremony for the late Lt. Michael P. Murphy, a Navy Seal killed in action in Afghanistan, on page A4, when the Post devoted prime real estate on the front page to a profile of Democratic strategist Joe Trippi (emphasis mine).:
I was disappointed in your coverage of the posthumous presentation of the Medal of Honor to Navy Seal Lt. Michael P. Murphy [news story, Oct. 23].
While Ann Scott Tyson did a good job of covering the ceremony itself, it would appear that her editor felt that such an event deserved only a few column inches and some perfunctory context of the actions for which Lt. Murphy was recognized.
This insult was compounded by your decision to bury the story on Page A4. While I understand that the fires in California and the tension between Turkey and Kurdish rebels were the two big stories of the day, you cannot tell me that a feature article about one of presidential candidate John Edwards's campaign strategists is more newsworthy than the presentation of only the third Medal of Honor since Sept. 11, 2001.
Stoneman was referring to a front-page profile of former Howard Dean Internet strategist and current John Edwards adviser Joe Trippi. The story by staffer Chris Cillizza is a feature in a profile series entitled "The Gurus."
The Trippi profile was hardly a time-sensitive front-page story. Capt. Stoneman went on to note a double standard in Post coverage of the military:
The radical-left Pacifica Foundation's radio stations -- in Berkeley, Los Angeles, Houston, Washington, and New York -- draw about a million dollars a year in federal grants through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. What they put on the air can be some pretty strange brew.
On Friday's "Democracy Now" show -- as they led into a discussion of how viciously demagogic and racist were the opponents of New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's plan to grant driver's licenses to illegal immigrants -- a rapper blaming the 9-11 attacks as government-detonated was aired. It caught my attention because you seldom hear the words "popping and locking" followed by "Wolfowitz doctrine." The rapper is named Immortal Technique.
Major National Public Radio moneybags Garrison Keillor is up to his usual rhetorical tricks over at Salon, putting on the sardonic tone like a pair of his red sneakers about George Bush's waste, fraud, and abuse in Iraq:
I suppose that $8 billion is not so much considering that the war will cost $200 billion this year alone, and yet one is curious to know why the G-men can't find out where it went, at a time when the Current Occupant is so very concerned about keeping medical benefits away from undeserving children. Hundreds of millions paid to the gunslingers of Blackwater, but an American family with a seriously ill child has to tap-dance backward through a gantlet of government forms to prove they really, really, really are desperate.
As the old adage says, the little thieves get hung and the big thieves get richer and richer. When it comes to larceny, it pays to be ambitious.
In March, Sports Illustrated published a lengthy cover-story dealing with how global warming was changing the face of sports including World Cup skiing which was forced to cancel one of seven events in Europe last season due to the absence of snow.
Also that month, the New York Times published an article addressing how "the chaos of their calendar this season changed many [World Cup skiers] to climate-change activists."
Deliciously, just seven months later, a new World Cup season began this weekend in Solden, Austria, with absolutely marvelous ski conditions.
Think SI and the Times will be reporting the postponement of the end of skiing as we know it?
While you ponder, the International Herald Tribune reported Friday (emphasis added):
As media regularly accuse every scientist skeptical of man's role in global warming as being on the payroll of Big Oil, you almost never see a news report addressing the funding of those responsible for spreading climate alarmism.
This all changed Thursday when the Seattle Post-Intelligencer published an op-ed by the John Locke Foundation's Paul Chesser detailing how one environmental advocate receives funds from largely liberal donors to encourage state governments to impose strict regulations on all things speculated to be causing global warming.
Chesser's fabulous exposé began (emphasis added throughout, h/t James Dellinger):
As the popularity of personal web profiles continues to skyrocket, their utility as a demographic research tool has increased dramatically, both as a means of studying the general public but also to study the ideological bent of the self-described mainstream media.
On the second point (see below for a discussion of the first) a recent study of Facebook profiles of BBC employees finds, surprise surprise, that Britain's taxpayer-funded network is utterly dominated by socialists:
A survey of BBC employees with profiles on the site [Facebook] showed that 11 times more of them class themselves as "liberal" than "conservative."
Critics seized on the figures as evidence that the supposedly impartial corporation, paid for by the licence fee, is dominated by liberals. [...]
For general debate and discussion. Possible talking point:
How's real estate doing in your area? Where I live in Northern California, the middle-income and higher areas are doing just fine. It's the lower income sections, where apparently more sub-prime mortgages were issued, that are seeing declining prices and large inventories. What are you seeing? Is it as bad as the media are making out?
On Wednesday's "Early Show," Harry Smith gushed over Bill and Hillary Clinton and how two "idealistic kids" transformed themselves into "political rock stars." Smith also took pains to point out that the Clintons are a "still-young couple." Over on ABC, Clinton-fan Kate Snow fawned over Bill and Hillary for being "masters at turning bad news into good." In general, she seemed to be impressed with the 2008 candidate's ability to spin the American public.
NBC, predictably, kicked off the media blame game and assigned the cause of the California fires to, you guessed it, global warming. "Nightly News" host Brian Williams wondered, "Are these fires somehow a result of climate change?" CBS echoed a similar theme on "60 Minutes." CNN also used the tragedy in California to speculate about global warming. A CNN special, "Planet in Peril," which aired this week, failed to mention that one of the climate change scientists featured also happened to be funded by George Soros.
On last Sunday's Face the Nation, CBS host Bob Schieffer really tried hard to pull back the curtain on Mitt Romney's Mormonism. He pressed on that issue much more so than he would press Hillary Clinton on her Methodism, or Barack Obama on growing up with an atheist mother. For his part, Romney seemed to answer every question about his faith with diversion, suggesting Bob dial up the Home Office in Utah. But Schieffer ended the program expressing his satisfaction, that he knew Romney a little better and that someone's private faith is really not much of a public issue. MRC's Kyle Drennen put together the persistent exchange:
Bob Schieffer: "And good morning again. Surveys show that nearly one American in five is a white Evangelical Christian and almost 60% of those are Republicans. So when a conservative Evangelical group gathered here this weekend, Republican presidential candidates trooped in hoping to win the group's straw poll. Rudy Giuliani stressed his belief in God. Fred Thompson promised his first act as president would be to pray for guidance, John McCain talked about being a prisoner of war in Vietnam, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who is also a Baptist minister, stressed values over politics. But it was former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, a Mormon, who narrowly edged Huckabee to win the straw poll. Romney's people called it a big boost and for sure it was a surprise.
For the sake of the readers, and their own critical integrity, it's important that newspaper film critics review a movie first as a work of art, and then perhaps assess the political or cultural or moral messages within. A critic can love a film's message and hate its execution, or vice versa. But in Friday's Weekend section of the Washington Post, the critical reaction to two message films -- one vaguely pro-life, and one dramatically pro-gay -- seemed to be based strongly on political criteria. "Bella," the pro-life film, was panned as an "endless" fiasco, and the pro-gay film was "moving...superbly thought out."
When you know, practically from the beginning, what's going to happen at the end of a movie, what do you do with your time in between? Offer to buy everyone in the theater popcorn while you sit this thing out? Check cellphone messages? Catch up on lost sleep?
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Friday shows the approval rating for all members of Congress sits at a dismal 22 percent, while 75 percent of those surveyed disapproved of the way Congress is handling its job.
The report indicates that just over 600 Americans were asked the following question: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job? The current poll results, as well as those of a year ago, were listed as follows: Oct. 12-14, 2007 (Approve-22%; Disapprove-75%; No opinion-3%); and Oct. 6-8, 2006 (Approve-28%; Disapprove-63%; No opinion-9%).
Following these results, however, is an extensive list of polling data on congressional approval ratings going back to April 1974 (presumably the oldest polling data available). The historical polling data is labelled "GALLUP CNN/USA TODAY/GALLUP TRENDS." It should also be noted that the polling is not listed on a monthly or yearly basis. Some years had monthly results on the poll question, while other years (particularly in the 1970's) listed as few as one poll per year.
In a political act loaded with cultural symbolism, Senator Hillary Clinton endorsed an effort to earmark a million taxpayer dollars for a museum in Bethel, New York celebrating the circus of 1969, the Woodstock music festival. Other senators smelled the pork and successfully voted to remove it.
The tie-dyed, drug-soaked post-war babies that populated that muddy plain are now approaching Social Security age, and the aging hippies that made their way into the establishment want to imbue the notorious excesses of their youth with respectability. The New York Times said the Bethel complex would be "what Cooperstown is to baseball" – a hippie Hall of Fame.
I liked that music. I still do. Then as now, I simply ignored the cultural and political messages. Many others didn’t.
The bohemian worldview of Woodstock Nation is in some ways dominant, and in some ways passe in our popular culture. Hallucinogenic drugs are no longer the rage, but the "free love" spirit of "if it feels good, do it" still runs strong, especially in our entertainment world. And yet, burbling beneath a noisy culture of sexual excess and self-love, there’s a quiet undercurrent in our movies carrying subtle, and even obvious pro-life themes.
News item: Maria Shriver is shown in this 2004 file photo in Berkeley, Calif. Shriver said she won't resume her TV news career after witnessing the media spectacle surrounding the death of Anna Nicole Smith.
“[T]he California wildfires are leveling entire communities, leaving homeowners with nothing,” CNN “American Morning” host Kiran Chetry said. “But, what the fires don’t take, the insurance companies just might. A bad and costly situation for homeowners may have just gotten much worse.”
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, delivered a startling and historic two hour speech on the Senate floor Friday about "recent developments which are turning 2007 into a ‘tipping point' for climate alarmism."
The Senator cautioned that bills being proposed by various members of Congress "come at a time when the science is overwhelmingly taking away the basis for alarm." These "so-called ‘solutions' to global warming...will have no measurable impact on the climate," and "will create huge economic harm for American families and the poor residents of the developing world who may see development hindered by unfounded climate fears."
Despite CNN “American Morning” anchor John Roberts asking tough questions about tax increases from liberal Democrat Rep. Charles Rangel’s tax bill, but an onscreen graphic read “Major Tax Reform,” suggesting the network viewed it differently.
Business & Media Institute Director Dan Gainor appeared on the Fox Business Network October 25 to talk about business contributions to victims of the Southern California wildfires:
Every time there's a disaster, when we had Katrina and now with this disaster - [Businesses] immediately take out all the stops. Already I've seen at least $4 million contributed from charity from Wal-Mart, from Bank of America, from Disney, from Target, the business community steps up right away. When we had Katrina, there was like $70 million contributed within days ... and almost no coverage at all.
A few might be starting to catch on - CNN did mention contributions of Home Depot, MasterCard, Verizon, Sprint and Wells Fargo on the October 26 "American Morning."
The Nazi comparison is often cited too casually particularly on "The View" where Joy Behar compared former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to Hitler. The October 26 edition was no exception.
In an unusually deep and interesting conversation about forgiveness, Whoopi Goldberg, who took the redemption side, pulled the Nazi comparison to 21st century America. Apparently those who want an aggressive War on Terror and wish to crack down on illegal immigrants are no better than those who tried to wipe out an entire race. (Video available here.)
GOLDBERG: Well, I think because one of the things that happens when you get nationalism whipped up in a country is people start going "yeah it's them, it's not us, it’s them, it’s not us, let's go get them!" We saw it happen. We saw it happen here.
It's time for a TGIF edition of one of our favorite games: WIARHSI. For you beginners, that's "What If A Republican Had Said It?"
What if a Republican had said, in explaining why schools in Iowa are performing better than those in Washington:
There's less than one percent of the population of Iowa that is African American. There is probably less than four of five percent that are minorities. What is in Washington? So look, it goes back to what you start off with, what you're dealing with.
After weeks of saying nothing, the editors of the New Republic magazine have stepped out of their batcave to inform the world that they still believe in Scott Beauchamp's "reports" from Iraq.
For his part, Beauchamp is starting to look more and more like Memogate's Bill Burkett, the Texas moonbat who repeatedly told different versions of his story to Dan Rather and Mary Mapes:
Beauchamp’s refusal to defend himself certainly raised serious doubts. That said, Beauchamp’s words were being monitored: His squad leader was in the room as he spoke to us, as was a public affairs specialist, and it is now clear that the Army was recording the conversation for its files.
A story from Mexico-based reporter Elisabeth Malkin on Friday's front page trawls for sympathy for poor Mexicans who come to the United States illegally to find work. Malkin went to the town of El Rodeo to find that "Mexicans Miss Money From Workers Up North." (That would be the United States.)
At first glance this would seem to be a problem for Mexico. After all, who are we to interfere in another country's internal affairs, the Times editorial page might argue, as it has on myriad issues in the past.
"For years, millions of Mexican migrants working in the United States have sent money back home to villages like this one, money that allows families to pay medical bills and school fees, build houses and buy clothes or, if they save enough, maybe start a tiny business.