America can display a strange sexist standard on child sexual abuse. When an adult woman assaults a teenaged boy, Hollywood laughs this off as a teen dream come true. The topic was great fodder for ‘90s teen shows like “Dawson’s Creek” with not a drop of judgment inserted, proving that when Hollywood pleads it’s only “reflecting reality,” it’s really only reflecting its own reality.
Mary Kay LeTourneau started assaulting her student Vili Fuulaau when he was 12 and she was 33. When they married ten years later – and after she served seven years in jail -- the nuptials were celebrated on air by "Entertainment Tonight." The couple remains shameless. They've repeatedly hosted a "Hot for Teacher Night" at a Seattle nightclub.
Today, MTV panders to its teen audience with this same "hot for teacher" fantasy. Recently, their scuzzy British teen soap "Skins" repeatedly hinted that the young female teachers were carrying around barely submerged desires for the teenaged boys. Now the second season of MTV's teen comedy "The Hard Times of R.J. Berger" has centered an entire episode on a female teacher and a boy having loud sexual intercourse in a janitor's closet.
Count me among the abstainers. I won't be watching over-the-top media coverage of Friday's wedding between Prince William and the "commoner" Kate Middleton.
After the "wedding of the century" of William's mother and father in 1981 and the ensuing drama that led to their divorce in 1996 and, eventually, her death on Aug. 31, 1997, the wedding of their son is unlikely to match the earlier nuptials in pomp or circumstance.
While inspecting the body politic, one encounters one clear sign that liberalism is dead. It is the condition of our political discourse. Polite commentators note that the dialogue is "rancorous." Some say toxic. Actually, it is worse than that. It is nonexistent.
From the right, from the sophisticated right, there is an attempt to engage the liberals. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan just did it by presenting a budget that cried out for intelligent response. President Barack Obama's response was to invite Ryan to sit in the front row for his "fiscal policy" speech at George Washington University. There Obama heaped scorn on an astonished Ryan and his work. He did not even mention Ryan's name. This is what Obama calls an "adult" debate?
Last weekend, David Ignatius in his Washington Post column made a vital contribution to the debt and deficit debate: "Take the deficit pain now. It's a truth of economics and life that if you have bad news coming, take the hit early and get it behind you. You can't start building until the debris is out of the way."
Ignatius offers various examples from history (e.g., Fed Chairman Paul Volker's 1979 interest rate hikes that caused the recessions of the early '80s, but broke the inflation psychology and (I would add, with Ronald Reagan's policies) built the foundation for 25 years of prosperity.
The RINO (reverend in name only) Terry Jones is like his fellow RINO, Fred Phelps, but in political drag.
Jones, the "pastor" (PINO?) of the tiny and inconsequential Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., was jailed last week in Dearborn, Mich., "following a jury trial that found he was likely to create a 'breach of the peace' for plans to protest outside the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn," according to the Detroit News. Jones and his associate Wayne Sapp were taken into custody after they refused to post a $1 "peace bond." A judge then barred Jones and Sapp from entering the property of the Islamic Center -- the largest mosque in the U.S. -- for three years. The two posted bond and were released, but they promised to return on Friday.
Confirmed: "Drain the swamp" is Washington-speak for "Let it fester." While House ethics watchdogs dither, it's shady business as usual for ethics scandal-plagued Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters.
Last summer, the House Ethics Committee charged the entrenched California congresswoman with three violations related to her wheeling and dealing on behalf of minority-owned OneUnited Bank in Los Angeles. The panel accused Waters of bringing discredit to the House for using her influence to seek and secure taxpayer-subsidized special favors for the failing financial institution.
Eight months have passed since the House ethics panel charged Waters. But to date, there has been no action. No trial. No consequences.
Smugglers are heroes of sorts. The essence of what a smuggler offers is: "Government tyrants want to either prevent or interfere with peaceable voluntary exchange among individuals. I can reduce the impact of that interference." Let's look at smuggling, keeping in mind that not everything illegal is immoral and not everything legal is moral.
Leading up to our War of Independence, the British, under the Navigation Acts, had levied taxes on a wide range of imports. One of those taxes was on molasses imported from non-British islands. John Hancock, whose flamboyant signature graces our Declaration of Independence, had a thriving business smuggling an estimated 1.5 million gallons of molasses a year. His smuggling practices financed much of the resistance to British authority. In fact, a joke of the time was "Sam Adams writes the letters (to newspapers) and John Hancock pays the postage."
In the Bush years, poll results that showed the American people losing confidence in their president were featured routinely on the front page of major newspapers like The Washington Post. But when the Post discovers Obama’s ratings collapsing, you need a search party to find where inside the paper they’re buried.
On April 26, the Post offered three stories on polls, each with bad news for Obama. The only one mentioned on the front page (in the very bottom right-hand corner) was a Post/ABC poll showing “rising gas prices are leading Americans to drive less, and hurting the president’s popularity.” Then the reader would have to travel to page A-12.
“Hurting” is an understatement. Only 39 percent of those who called gas prices a “serious financial hardship” approve of Obama’s performance as president. Among independents who found hardship, 67 percent disapprove of Obama. Ouch.
The governing class in Washington has no excuse for not having addressed our spending issues and formulating a comprehensive federal debt retirement plan before we approached another debt ceiling threshold.
At every possible opportunity, politicians convince themselves that it's always better to kick the can down the road — Democrats because they aren't remotely serious about debt reduction, Republicans because they're afraid of their own shadow.
"I am so glad not to be in high school anymore," Mary Hardy tells me.
The wise college sophomore was responding to an article I asked her to read about adolescent girls dressing badly.
As in, like sluts.
Mary tells me: "My parents never let me dress like that and I am grateful -- only now -- to them because the boys in high school, although they did not say it, did respect me more especially at the dances, where no one tried to come up and 'dance' with me in the manner they did with the other girls, whose bodies were mostly exposed."
For the Christian faithful, the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday is sacred. It’s a time of reflection and prayer and fasting. It is Holy Week. It deserves the strongest respect.
But our secular media culture does not bend a knee – or even shut a mouth. Instead, Holy Week means it is time to grab the spotlight with the most indulgent forms of spiritual irreverence and mockery. Start with the infantile Lady Gaga. She released a new single titled "Judas."
Her primary lyrical "thought," if you can call it that, is "I'm just a holy fool, oh baby he's so cruel / But I'm still in love with Judas, baby." She says "Jesus is my virtue," but "Judas is the demon that I cling to."
Everyone but the blind and reckless agrees that the United States faces a dire financial crisis. But only one of the two major political parties is offering a plan that has a reasonable chance of averting this crisis and restoring the nation to financial health.
Obama's ever-changing proposals, allegedly designed to tackle the problem, simply could not work. One of the following must be true: He doesn't agree that the crisis is grave, doesn't understand that his policies can't work, doesn't have the same vision about America as most of us, or doesn't intend for his policies to work. Some people believe he's intentionally damaging America, because they believe he's too smart not to know that we face a crisis and that his policies can't work.
Don't be fooled by The Donald. Take it from one who knows: I'm a South Jersey gal who was raised on the outskirts of Atlantic City in the looming shadow of Trump's towers. All through my childhood, casino developers and government bureaucrats joined hands, raised taxes and made dazzling promises of urban renewal. Then we wised up to the eminent-domain thievery championed by our hometown faux free-marketeers.
America, it's time you wised up to Donald Trump's property redistribution racket, too.
Trump has been wooing conservative activists for months and flirting with a GOP presidential run — first at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington and most recently at a tea party event in South Florida. He touts his business experience, "high aptitude" and "bragadocious" deal-making abilities. But he's no more a standard-bearer of conservative values, limited government and constitutional principles than the cast of "Jersey Shore."
In bridge, a trump card is held in reserve for winning a trick. In politics, Donald Trump is anything but reserved and appears to think he might trick enough voters to win the next presidential election.
There's plenty to draw on when critiquing a possible Trump candidacy. His multiple marriages (three) and affairs provide fodder for the media and contrast poorly with President Obama's "family values" image as husband of one wife and father of young daughters, whom he clearly loves.
Why is it that Donald Trump is a creditable candidate with a significant segment of Republican voters? In some polls, he runs ahead of all Republicans save Mitt Romney, and all I have heard him say is that he wants to see our president's birth certificate. Imagine if he would ask to see budget cuts from the president or revenue enhancements.
Frankly, I would like to see President Barack Obama's birth certificate, too. But on the other hand, I have in hand a copy of a notice of our president's birth printed Aug. 13, 1961, from The Honolulu Advertiser. That has to count for something, no? According to the notice, he was born Aug. 4, 1961, but there are a lot of other things about him I would like to know. For instance, I would like to see those aforementioned budget cuts and the revenue enhancements.
Ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching. President Obama's perpetual campaign cash-o-matic machine kicks into high gear again this week as the celebrity-in-chief heads to Hollywood for several high-priced fundraisers. But while the Democrats' 2012 re-election team stuffs its hands into every liberal deep pocket in sight, questions about the Obama 2008 campaign finance operation still fester.
Last week, the laggard watchdogs at the Federal Election Commission announced an audit of the Obama 2008 campaign committee — which raised a record-setting $750 million. White House flacks are downplaying the probe as a "routine review."
If future historians look back on the ruins of the American economy after a U.S. bond crisis struck in the second decade of the 21st century, many causes will be noted. Obviously, it will be seen that for decades before the catastrophe, the U.S. was spending vastly more than it could afford on government health and retirement programs.
And, just as after the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor and Sept. 11, 2011, blue-ribbon commissions will be incredulous that all the telltale signs of the coming disaster were in plain view, yet were ignored.
The average American, as parent, student and taxpayer, has little idea of the academic rot at so many of our colleges. Save for a tiny handful of the nation's colleges, what distinguishes one college from another is the magnitude of that rot.
One of the best sources of information about our colleges is the New York City-based Manhattan Institute's quarterly Web magazine, Minding the Campus, edited by John Leo, former columnist for U.S. News & World Report.
Conservatives who really wanted to see at least a spending “haircut” for NPR or public broadcasting in the underwhelming budget deal for 2011 might have suggested at least some symbolic victory for conservatives. Here it is: Fire David Brooks as the alleged conservative or Republican “counterpoint” on PBS and NPR on Friday nights. We could hire Donald Trump to announce it from the boardroom.
Or keep him, but banish forever, for once and for all, the notion that he is a man of the Right.
After President Obama’s budget speech at George Washington University, Brooks wrote a column for The New York Times declaring: “It doesn't take a genius to see that Obama is very likely to be re-elected.” Republicans may try to reform entitlements, but “voters, even Republican voters, reject this.” Obama “hit the political sweet spot with his speech this week. He made a sincere call to reduce debt, which will please independents, but he did not specify any tough choices.”
I am beginning to wonder whether President Obama is so cocky about his 2012 re-election prospects that he thinks he doesn't even have to be serious in his budget plan offerings.
Unfortunately, the nation's unfunded liabilities aren't so casual as the president; they are growing by more than $10 trillion per year, which means that our looming debt crisis becomes far more problematic with each passing day.