masthead-highres

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Fact Checking The O'Reilly Factor

In his "talking points" editorial on Wednesday's O'Reilly Factor show, Bill O'Reilly said: "We have failed to impose fuel standards on vehicles because auto companies don't want that."

First of all, we do have fuel standards on vehicles.

Second, those standards kill 2,000 Americans every year.

In 2002, the National Academy of Sciences released a report, "Effectiveness and Impact of CAFE Standards 2002," pointing out that since CAFE standards were imposed in the U.S. in 1975, an additional 2,000 deaths per year can be attributed to the down-sizing of cars required to meet the fuel efficiency standards.

For more information or to take part in an online poll on the subject, visit The National Center's Fuel Economy page.

I watch the O'Reilly Factor most evenings. Environmental issues are not his strong suit. A global warming "talking points" commentary from his show last year was an especially silly exercise.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:20 PM

The Best Quotes From The Last 52 Thomas Sowell Columns on TownHall.com

Right Wing News has a fun page online: The Best Quotes From The Last 52 Thomas Sowell Columns.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:44 PM

USS Clueless - Anything but Clueless

A worthy essay on European attitudes toward Americans on the USS Clueless blog. A small sample of an essay that is worth reading in its entirety:
Saddam thought that the French and Russians would be able to prevent America from invading Iraq. The "Arab Street" thought that America was fundamentally cowardly, and would never be willing to make the sacrifice in blood needed to truly fight and win a war. The Baathist insurgency in Iraq thought that a few weeks or at most months of ongoing attacks against American forces there would cause America to give up and pull out. The last 30 months has been one long tale of all the ways in which "the world" has proved how little they truly understand us.

And now it seems that the Europeans believe that if Kerry is elected then the nightmare will be over, and the long-delayed "respectful equanimity" between America and Europe would take place. Which is to say that America would finally come to its senses and acknowledge the superior wisdom and sophistication of the Europeans and start following Europe's lead.

As Vinocur says, they're bound to be disappointed.
This isn't, by the way, an essay about Bush v. Kerry, or who will win in November. It is about the fundamental nature of most Americans, regardless of who wins in November.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:18 PM

If You Read This, You Might Get Mad

The RightNation blog has a nice commentary today on one of the few genuine good ideas for energy generation (as opposed to all the unfeasible ones the environmentalists toss about).

It happens to link to a very good paper (and one written to be understandable to laymen) by Dr. George S. Stanford that we had the honor to publish in 2001, which is how I found out about it.

Warning: If you read these links you might get made at those who oppose nuclear energy.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:48 PM

Air America Radio: It is Not About Bush, But Rush

Sean at the Everything I Know Is Wrong blog has a great post on liberal talk radio today. Short message: Talk radio is a business. Read it, and the link to a Boston Globe article by talk host Jay Severiin that Sean recommends. It is worth it.

Today is Debut Day for the newest liberal talk radio experiment, Air America Radio. You can listen in live through their website or via XM, or on six stations nationwide.

You can listen in, that is, if you'd rather hear Al Franken than Rush Limbaugh (or Bill O'Reilly's radio show, or many others, for that matter).

Most on the right are derisive of this new venture. Bill O'Reilly scoffed at the mere six-station startup number last evening. I don't scoff at that -- every venture has to start somewhere. But I still don't expect it to succeed. Here's one reason why. Al Franken named his show "The O'Franken Factor" as a take-off on "The O'Reilly Factor."

Let me put it this way: Why should we listen to a mere imitator? Left or right, people devoting three hours of their time to listen to someone else talk want to hear something original. Rush Limbaugh is an original. Bill O'Reilly is an original. Gordon Liddy is an original. Mike Reagan is an original. Neal Boortz is an original. Sean Hannity is an original. Glen Beck is an original. And so on. Any one of the regular listeners to one of these shows could, if given a written show transcript with all the names taken off, identify the show. That's because they aren't carbon copies of each other, and none of these hosts spends all day -- as some on the left allege -- reading GOP talking points. They work hard. They teach us a lot. But they also are showmen.

You see what I mean. Each of these successful talk hosts brings something valuable and unique to their microphone. Plus: Personality, Humor. First-rate research. Perspective. And more. Perhaps Al Franken can and will deliver all that, but to do so he needs to do better than naming his show after someone else's.

I've also heard (from Laura Ingraham, another deservedly successful conservative talk host) that Franken says he has a one-year contract and that's no coincidence. He's implying he's doing the show to influence the November election. If so, his show's failure is preordained. It takes time to build an audience and dedication as well. If Franken only cares enough to give it a year, nothing much will come of his effort. Even Rush Limbaugh took longer than a year to get established, and he wasn't competing for audience with NPR.

As Jay Severin put it in the Globe, Franken doesn't need to beat Bush. He needs to beat -- or at least slightly compete with -- Rush.

I'll listen in to Air America, some. If for no other reason, I want to hear some of the whoppers Robert F. Kennedy Jr. of the Natural Resources Defense Council inevitably will spout on his show, which is one of the other ones on this network. Comic relief.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:11 PM

More on the Dream Act

Chris Kelly responded to my appeal for more information about the Dream Act. He suggests these links:
Blogs for Bush: Overrated Rove

Federation for American Immigration Reform: The "DREAM Act": Hatch-ing Expensive New Amnesty for Illegal Aliens

Lonewacko: America's Favorite Transcontinental Blogger: Even more on the Karl Rove harassment
Thanks, Chris!

Addendum: A link on one of these pages, Tasty Manatees: Tax-Funded Attacks Against White House Employees?, is provides extremely interesting additional information and commentary on the demonstration on Karl Rove's property.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:49 PM

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Lies!

This email today is pretty amusing, considering that the article he criticizes mostly relates dry details about CO2 in the atmosphere. But a lot of global warming theory advocates (assuming that is what this gentleman is) have very, very thin skin. You have to wonder why, since many of them claim to be absolutely sure their beliefs are accurate.
Hi Amy

I just read your article Global Warming: Why Can't the Mainstream Press Get Even Basic Facts Right? I was really impressed! I started looking at your sources and how you used your information. I am amazed at how much effort you put into your lies! I have never seen anyone go to these lengths to try to misrepresent the facts about something. I am using your paper to in my class. It should be interesting to see everyone's response to such elaborate subterfuge.

I just have one question, how do you live with yourself when you do something like this? I feel sorry for you and I will pray for you.

Rick

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:42 PM

Monday, March 29, 2004

Since the Washington Post Wouldn't Tell Me, I Did My Own Digging

Doing some of my own research (see blog entry immediately below), I found this description of the "Dream Act" (S. 1545) on the website of the the National Immigration Law Center.

The legislation reportedly is sponsored by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Richard Durbin (D-IL), and has a companion bill in the House, HR 1684. It does indeed apply to illegal aliens.

Here is a brief description of the bill from the National Immigration Law Center website:
"DREAM 2003 sets up a two-stage process for applying for legal status. Immigrant students who have grown up in the U.S., graduated from high school here, and can demonstrate good moral character would initially qualify for "conditional lawful permanent resident" status, which would normally last for six years. During the conditional period, the immigrant would be required to go to college, join the military, or work a significant number of hours of community service. At the end of the conditional period, those who meet at least one of these requirements would be eligible for regular lawful permanent resident status.

If enacted, DREAM 2003 would have a life-changing impact on the students who qualify, dramatically increasing their average future earnings-and, consequently, the amount of taxes they would pay-while significantly reducing criminal justice and social services costs to taxpayers."
An additional note of interest: The National Immigration Law Center lists the following sources of financial support on its website:
The California Endowment
California Wellness Foundation
Annie E. Casey Foundation
Ford Foundation
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Emma Lazarus Fund - Open Society Institute
Joyce Mertz-Gilmore Foundation
Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
Norman Foundation
David and Lucile Packard Foundation
Rosenberg Foundation
San Diego Foundation
State Bar of California - Legal Services Trust Fund Program
U.S. Department of Justice - Office of Special Counsel
Notice that last one.

The National Immigration Law Center didn't sponsor the attack on Rove's house, however. (Nor is there any word that Senators Hatch and Durbin were present.) That was done by a group called National People's Action. I could not find any information about who funds them on their website, but there is an amusing old story in the Houston Business Journal about the group protesting at then-Senator Phil Gramm's house. They were mad because the Senator wanted to 1) amend the Community Reinvestment Act to exempt rural banks from rules covering urban lending and 2) permit the law to assume that banks in long-term compliance with the CRA are still in compliance during the period between mandatory CRA inspections, unless evidence of non-compliance is presented.

This reasonable point of view led National People's Action to throw flyers all over Gramm's yard.

National People's Action says it is a coalition of organizations. It is clear that some of their members receive tax dollars, but that doesn't necessary mean tax money flows to National People's Action. It could just as easily be funded by banks afraid of pickets, or the usual left-wing foundations.

Ironically, the DREAM Act would apply to illegal aliens of "good moral character," yet its supporters broke the law at Rove's house to promote it.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:47 PM

What Did the Protesters at Rove's House Want, Anyway?

Since folks do seem to be willing to send me e-mail, I wonder if someone out there can fill me in on something.

Specificially, is this Washington Post story so biased it is incomprehensible (from a policy standpoint), or am I the only one who doesn't get it?

Here's the gist. Protesters went to Karl Rove's house and banged on his doors and windows, scaring his child and a neighbor child. The protesters were seeking Rove's support for legislation that would let "immigrants who have lived in the United States for at least five years to apply for legal resident status once they graduate from high school."

According to the article, the demonstrators want to attend state-subsidized colleges and universities at the in-state rate, yet they don't qualify as state residents since they aren't legal residents of the U.S.

So, possibly, this is a story about a bunch of foreign nationals illegally residing in the U.S. pounding on Rove's house demanding that our taxpayers help them pay for college.

But is this accurate?

Or could it be that the minor children of foreign nationals who are living here legally are considered "undocumented" (as they presumably were minors when their parents obtained residency permits), so when they finish high school they are uneligble to attend their local state schools at in-state rates?

I've read the Post story several times, and I just can't tell. I suspect the former is true, but the Post couldn't bring itself to use the term "illegal alien," preferring such terms as "undocumented student immigrant." But I am only guessing.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:53 PM

Visit from the Real World

I get a lot of e-mail, much of it hostile (some of that, amusingly so) and a lot of it uncreative (I received some very thoughtful pieces disagreeing with me on outsourcing, and about as many thoughtful pieces agreeing, but mostly folks just told me they hoped my job would soon be outsourced). I get some that is mystifying, too, such as hostile letters from people affected by mesothelioma (angry at me for advocating reforms that would put more money in the pocket of victims and less in lawyers' pockets -- go figure), and many, many letters from people who don't bother to give any reason at all why I am wrong about something -- I just am.

But I also get a lot of really great mail from people I don't know who share experiences and insights that I have never had. I really enjoy these letters. Here's one from today. Nothing really major, but interesting insights, nonetheless, about how some of Washington's regulations work in the real world outside the beltway.
Re: The Mercury Article

Amy:

Mentioned, but not highlighted in the article was the point that all the recent hubbub about mercury in fish was just another load of crap dumped on the gullible public by the major newsmongers.

It constantly amazes me with the widespread availability of so much information through the use of the Internet, so many people still depend on the TV to furnish them with their world outlook.

On a related matter: the terrible fear of mercury has led to another situation that I encountered a few years ago and still have not been able to resolve. At the time, I busied myself as a remodeling contractor. A small commercial job included readying an office suite for new tenants. I found there and removed several heavy un-marked plastic bottles. Later, I opened them and found that they contained salvaged mercury. To date, after contacting many scrap metal facilities, I have not been able to find anyone who would take this product off my hands. I envisioned making a fair sum from salvage, but the material is still in storage.

This situation is like so many government programs that are for my personal safety and well-being. A product is virtually outlawed, but no vehicle is available to dispose of legally held items. Less troublesome items that come to mind are old tires and banned pesticides. During my travels, I still find that I can buy DDT and chlordane. Both of these items have been banned for years, but I can still occasionally get them at garage sales and estate sales.

I don't recall ever using DDT, but we found chlordane very effective at ridding the homeplace of huge red ant beds in the days of my youth. It was also very good at eliminating termites. Since it is no longer used, a termite treatment for a house in my area (which 40 years ago didn't even have termites) now lasts about 5-8 years according to exterminators that I have contacted. With the chlordane, it would last anywhere from 20 years to indefinitely. And with it, you not only got rid of termites, but all household pests like roaches and mice and brown recluse spiders.

Thank you for allowing me to vent a bit,

Dan

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:14 PM

A Really Ugly Shade of Green

John Leo has a very interesting op-ed on the current Sierra Club internal elections today, posted on TownHall.com.

The National Center is completely uninvolved with the Sierra Club election (officially and unofficially), but we do hope that whomever gets elected starts telling the Sierra Club staff to start putting footnotes on all their public documents. Sometimes I really wonder where they get their stuff.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:18 PM

Senator Kennedy: Above the Law?

The Center for Individual Freedom has begun running ads that question whether Senator Ted Kennedy "obstructed justice" in the Michigan affirmative action case.

The print ads, a pdf copy of which is available through the link above, begins: "Obstruction of Justice? Senator Kennedy, You Have Some Explaining to Do. It's Time for You to Come Clean on Memogate."

The ad then lists five facts about this matter, and ends with the question: "Senator Kennedy, is it FACT that you OBSTRUCTED JUSTICE in the most important Civil Rights case in more than 25 years?"

Senator Kennedy almost undoubtedly will ignore this. So will other Senators, including Republicans. Manual Miranda, however, does answer questions.

Double standard.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:10 PM

In MoveOn.org's Commercials, Clinton's EPA Chief Springs the Mercury Trap She Left for Bush

The left thinks ahead.

That's one of the points made in our new Ten Second Response alert, Clinton's EPA Chief Springs the Mercury Trap She Left for Bush.

The piece examines MoveOn.org's new commercials blasting Bush on mercury, and how the left thought four years ahead of time in order to have the opportunity to blast Bush (unfairly, in our opinion) on this now.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:17 AM

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Spin from the Spin Critics

Spinsanity has an announcement this evening:
"We are proud to announce the upcoming release of our first book, All the President's Spin: George W. Bush, the Media and the Truth, which will be published in August by Touchstone/Fireside, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

All the President's Spin will provide the definitive non-partisan account of the Bush administration's unrelenting dishonesty about public policy. The book will demonstrate how the White House has broken new ground in using misleading sales tactics to promote its policies and manipulate the media.

Of course, the President is not the only dishonest national politician, but he is surely the most influential. Bush's tactics threaten to change the nature of the presidency and further corrupt American political debate. That is why, rather than attacking his policies or ideology, our book will examine the public relations strategy the Bush administration has used to advance that agenda - its origins, how it works, and why it has been so effective at spinning the media.

In short, this is not a partisan book..."
Uh huh.

To be fair, Spansanity goes on to say that it intends to continue critiquing Democrats and liberals and "we may well write books or articles focusing exclusively on liberals or Democrats, who have become increasingly aggressive in their rhetoric in recent months." But reality is reality. They chose to criticize just one side -- and to release the book in August of a presidential election year.

Spinsanity's spin doesn't obscure the truth: It is taking sides.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:51 PM

Friday, March 26, 2004

Richard Clarke's Nuremburg Defense

Husband David has thoughts on Richard Clarke:
Trying to explain away the inconsistencies between his February 2002 statement to the media in which he trumpeted the Bush Administration's extensive early efforts to combat terrorist threats and his just-released book, which suggests the opposite, Richard Clarke claims he didn't really mean what he said in 2002 because he was instructed by his superiors to make the comments.

In other words: He was only following orders.

That defense didn't work in Nuremburg. It shouldn't work now.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:37 AM

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Is Al Gore to Blame for 9/11?

From VP & hubby David Ridenour:
Liberals claim that the Iraq war has been a needless distraction from the war on international terrorism.

But the real distraction was those 36 days in late 2000 when it wasn't clear who would lead the United States.

It's bad enough that Al Gore took part in an administration that for eight years did little to address the threat from Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, but by insisting on recount after recount - none of which changed the results - Al Gore prevented President-elect George Bush from getting his team in place quickly.

Eight months in office? What eight months in office?

George Bush may have been sworn in on January 20, 2001, but many of his key people weren't confirmed by the Senate until months later. Paul Wolfowitz, for example, wasn't confirmed until March 12, 2001 - less than six months before the terrorist attack. For less senior, yet very important positions, the delay was even longer. This may explain why so many Clinton Administration holdovers were still on the job, many months after President Bush took office.

In addition to delaying President Bush from assembling his team, those 36 days of uncertainty sent a message to international friends and foes alike: America is in disarray.

Even Richard Nixon - a man who ultimately was forced to resign in disgrace - knew the risks of sending such a dangerous message. Despite significant evidence that voting irregularities in Illinois and elsewhere had subverted
the will of the people, Nixon conceded defeat rather than contest the results.

If we're looking for someone to blame for 9/11, I'd say Al Gore is the best candidate.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:07 PM

Response to Madeleine Albright

From today's Washington Post on the "critical event" that gave America the backbone to fight terrorism:

"...the critical event was not simply Sept. 11, 2001, which changed the public's perceptions, but also the 2000 election, which changed the commander in chief. President Bush came into office convinced that the casualty phobia of his predecessor had made America a tempting target, a paper tiger. When terrorists struck the twin towers and the Pentagon, Bush interpreted it as proof that America looked weak."

I recommend the entire piece as an excellent response to former secretary of state Madeleine Albright's testimony yesterday.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:05 AM

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Press Conference to Address State of Medicare

Conservative and free-market groups will participate in a joint press conference Tuesday on Medicare.

The press conference is timed to coincide with the release of the newest Medicare Trustees' Report.

Our press release, linked above, explains some of The National Center's concerns with the current Medicare program, besides financial instability.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:05 AM

Monday, March 22, 2004

Why Can't the Press Get Even Basic Facts Right?

We've got a new Ten Second Response online today, asking the question: Why can't the mainstream press get even basic facts right about global warming?

It is in response to an AP story that ran internationally this past weekend that really gets some things wrong.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:03 AM

Sunday, March 21, 2004

And You Thought the U.S. Government Opposed Terrorism

Speaking of union extortion, here's a National Review Online piece by Deroy Murdock explaining how it is that, under federal law and the laws of at least 15 states, unions are allowed to commit violence.

Meanwhile, as noted in the post below, union dues may be deducted from one's federal taxes just as if they were a contribution to an charitable orphan's hospital.

Shameful.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:21 AM

Is this Fair?

I spent this evening completing our family's tax returns. While completing them, I learned to my surprise that union dues are tax-deductible. Unions, however, work on political campaigns.

Why should institutions receiving tax-deductible donations be allowed to use the money to work on federal campaigns? Isn't this corrupt?

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt foundation. As a result, donations made to us are tax-deductible. As a further result, the National Center is not allowed to involve itself in political campaigns. (That's why you never see discussions of the presidential race in this blog.)

Is it fair that one set of rules applies to us, and another to the AFL-CIO?

Perhaps we should investigate reorganizing ourselves; calling ourselves a union, and re-naming contibutions made to our work "dues." There might be a way to do it, nice and legal.

Alternatively (because if it works for us it ought to work for every group out there), the country could stop forcing taxpayers to subsidize the AFL-CIO and the Teamsters and their ilk. It is bad enough that in many states it is legal for unions to force people who don't want to to either join them or make payments in lieu of dues. The rest of us shouldn't have to pay tribute as well.

Note: Just in case the fact that I learned about this issue while completing our tax returns misleads anyone, let me state for the record that no one in this family belongs to a union.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:10 AM

Saturday, March 20, 2004

It's Alive

Sean at the Everything I Know Is Wrong blog recommends a National Review Online piece by Frank Gaffney on the Law of the Sea Treaty.

Sean is right to do so. This issue really is a big deal. Twenty years ago or more, it was one of the issues The National Center (then in its infancy) tackled.

We thought we killed the monster then, but it was only sleeping.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:03 AM

Friday, March 19, 2004

Outsourcing: Don't Mexicans Eat?

I have a piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer and Providence Journal (free registration required), among other places, today on the outsourcing issue.

The outsourcing issue is an interesting one in that it often pits liberals against the notion of job creation in the Third World. I'm as loyal an American as they come, but since when is job creation in India or Mexico a bad thing (especially when it leads to more prosperity here)?

I was a guest on Carole Arnold's talk show on KOMA in OPklahoma City a few weeks ago, booked to discuss outsourcing. A listener of the show called to voice opposition to outsourcing, saying -- and I am not making this up -- that people in Mexico don't need jobs the way we Americans do. His logic was that jobs pay less in Mexico, all things equal. Since a Mexican might make less money than we would for the same work, he reasoned, he needs the job less than an American needs his. Very tortured logic, and backwards, as it happens, because labor tends to be cheap in places where there is an oversupply of it. (Not to mention the fact that Mexicans need to eat, clothe themselves and have a roof over their heads just as much as Americans do.)

But this is the "logic," and the heartlessness, of the outsourcing debate.

Note: I've been getting some e-mails on the outsourcing issue (some of them quite thoughtful) and we have placed a few of the fun e-mails from critics on our Letters from Critics page.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:43 PM

If Bush Genuinely is Bad on the Environment, Why Can't the Left Critique Him Fairly?

If Bush genuinely is bad on the environment, why can't the left critique him fairly?

I really wonder this, as our new Ten Second Response e-mail alert makes clear.

Is the environmental left not really convinced that Bush truly is bad on the environment? Because if they are convinced, why do they seem to need to go over the top so often when they criticize him?

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:50 AM

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Let's See if Andy Rooney Blasts This

We know where NCPPR executive director David W. Almasi DOESN'T shop:
Can there be a "three strikes" law to protect our society from those with chronic poor judgment? If one can be passed, please put the executives of Urban Outfitters at the top of the list.

The comedian Gallagher once suggested issuing drivers pistols and darts with an attached "stupid" flag. If someone cut them off in traffic, a driver would shoot at their car with a stupid dart. If a cop saw a car with more than five stupid darts, the driver would be pulled over and ticketed for being an idiot.

If it were a car, the "trendy" teen-oriented Urban Outfitters store would be covered with stupid darts.

First, it enraged the African-American community by selling a Monopoly parody called "Ghettopoly" that replaced properties like Park Place with "Tyron's Gun Shop" and rewarded players for getting people hooked on crack. Next was an overpriced jersey reading "Voting is for Old People" that caught the ire of political science professors at Harvard.

Ghettopoly was discovered in October of 2003. The jersey was a story last month. You'd think the firm's executives would have learned by now. They didn't. Apparently trying to capitalize on "The Passion of the Christ," UO is now under fire for selling a paper doll-style "dress up Jesus." It is magnetic, and you can dress the Jesus figure -- hanging from the cross -- in a Hawaiian-themed outfit, a devil costume or a ladies' sundress, among other options. You can also change the sign above his head to read "hang in there."

In a news report from an NBC affiliate in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, UO officials say the stocking of this item -- which some people, unsurprisingly, find offensive -- "reflect[s] a diversity of opinion among its customer base."

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:27 AM

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Letters in Response to the Question: Are Tax Cuts for the Rich Bush's Top Priority?

A sample of letters received this morning in response to our latest What Conservatives Think on Bush's tax cuts:
I fully concur with the President's successful efforts to curb federal taxes; at my income level which is lower-mid-stream, my tax rate has been reduced to ten percent from fifteen and my taxable income has been substancially reduced as a result of readjustments to the standard deduction and dependent exemption.

Unfortunately all the positive effects that the tax reduction has produced are more than offset by what I consider reckless spending and further expansion of the power of the central government by our "conservative" Republicans. The people are directly taxed a bit less and indirectly regulated a great deal more; ultimately the increased regulations and break-budget spending will cause a covert, massive increase in taxes....

Richard A. Morgan


I have not done a careful analysis, but on the surface it appears evident that the Bush tax cuts made the income tax more progressive, not less progressive as the President's critics portray.

You might want to take a look at this issue.

[Name Withheld on Request]


Conservatives always assume one thing. That tax cuts stimulate the economy. By that logic, they are assuming that by recieving a tax cut, people will spend more. Does that make sense? If you recieved five thousand dollars right now, would you go out and spend it all? Reagan proved one thing: Trickle down economics does not work. Jobs have been lost at an alarming rate, and the economy is in the gutter thanks to Bush's tax cuts. The wealthiest Americans have saved millions in taxes thanks to Bush, but those millions arent just dumped back into the economy. People have a propensity to save as well as a propensity to spend. The wealthy tend to save more money bc they can afford it. It is the middle class and poor who spend nearly a much larger proportion of their income to stay afloat. This is economics 101, the buying power of the public is the greatest way to stimulate the economy, and by cutting taxes for the rich, that buying power is reduced and defecits are created.

Mark David Richardson
My thoughts: The first two writers make good points. In response to the third, if I were given an extra $5,000 right now, I would deposit it in my kids' college fund, so for the next thirteen years it would be used by business as capital to create jobs.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:24 PM

Are Tax Cuts for the Rich Bush's Top Priority?

We've got a new edition of What Conservatives Think online today, answering Jesse Jackson's charge that tax cuts for the rich have been the Bush Administration's highest priority.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:34 AM

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

NCPPR executive director David Almasi points out the selective secrecy of the liberals:
What exactly is the liberal policy on secrecy and propriety? From their actions, it appears to be "Do as I say, not as I do."

When Clarence Thomas appeared to be a shoo-in for confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, the liberals had no problem with the release of the classified files - allegedly leaked by an aide to then-Senator Howard Metzenbaum (D-OH) - that made Anita Hill a household name and nearly torpedoed the Thomas nomination. Likewise, the stolen "Pentagon Papers" of the Vietnam era were important enough for the Washington Post and New York Times to face off against the government for the right to print these classified files in their entirety.

When the shoe is on the other foot, things are different. Of late, it first was the discovery of a Senate Intelligence Committee memo - authored by liberal staffers - that laid out a plan to conduct an investigation on intelligence methods used in the war on terrorism and the justification for the liberation of Iraq in a manner that would be the most damaging to the Bush Administration as the President runs for re-election.

This outrage was largely forgotten when 13 memos leaked from the Senate Judiciary Committee were published in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Times and the web site of the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary. The memos, written during the period when liberals ran the Committee, indicate that liberal special interests virtually controlled the judicial confirmation process during that time. In one memo, it's implied the NAACP successfully delayed a confirmation in an attempt to influence the verdict in the University of Michigan affirmative action case. The allegation was made stronger since the head of the NAACP's legal group resigned shortly after a complaint was filed against her with regard to the memo's content.

The liberal reaction to the memos? It wasn't shame or regret over the content, but anger and the thirst for revenge that they became public knowledge. Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) played into this strategy. He focused on the leak and not the content of the memos. Every time he and other Senate leaders gave into a demand, the liberals made a new one. The Senate sergeant-at-arms had his staff confiscate computers, interrogate Republican staffers and recently released a report on the findings.

The report was released last week, but the findings were less than damning on their main target: Manny Miranda. A former counsel to Senate Majority Leaders Bill Frist (R-TN), Miranda resigned at the insistence of Hatch. Since the report didn't produce the hoped-for repercussions, the Senate liberals are asking for the Justice Department to conduct a criminal investigation.

When the sergeant-at-arms' report was released to the press, it was supposed to be edited to protect the identities of some staff members who were interviewed. An unedited version, however, was handed out. Those who question the impartiality of the sergeant-at-arms suggest the release was intentional so as to hurt the reputation of Republican staff members cited in the report. In the future, those staffers can harbor a lingering concern that their involvement in the investigation, as cited by the report, may keep them from getting a job even though they were not involved in any wrongdoing. Despite efforts to collect all of the unedited reports, copies still exist in the public domain.

This sets the stage for the newest case of liberal selective secrecy. The uncensored report is available online at the Calpundit blog. Blogger Ken Drum endorsed Democrat Wesley Clark for President, and his blog is rife with Democratic campaign links and liberal commentary. While he is appalled by the leak of the Judiciary Committee memos, he has no apparent problem with subverting the Senate's desire to keep parts of their report secret. While an edited version of the report exists online (like the one we've linked to), Drum is contentedly spilling secrets.

Drum isn't a high-profile figure like a U.S. senator and the unedited sergeant-at-arms' report is not the Pentagon Papers, but Drum still functions as an important cog in the liberal political machinery. President Bush, Senate Majority Leader Frist and Chairman Hatch should keep him and his actions in mind the next time they consider giving in to another liberal demand for power on the judicial issue or anything else.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:50 PM

Kudos to Wal-Mart

NCPPR executive director David Almasi gives a positive update on the fight to keep questionable material from kids:
A few months ago, I wrote a commentary on how easy it is for children to anonymously buy illicit DVDs such as those from the "Girls Gone Wild" series through Internet web sites. At the time, I credited Wal-Mart - one of the larger sellers of DVDs and CDs - for not being a part of this problem. I'm happy, by way of embarrassment, to say they are equally as diligent at their brick-and-mortar stores.

I hate shopping at Wal-Mart, but it's the place to go on a weekend when you need a bird feeder and a headlight lamp. As it is also a place with impulse buys everywhere, I found myself fishing through the big box of $5.50 DVDs. One reason in particular I dislike Wal-Mart is the check-out area is never big enough to accommodate the ever-present long lines. You can imagine my thrill to discover my local store now has self-serve check-out. Since I had just a few items and there was no wait at the time, I anticipated a speedy exit. Not so.

I had picked out an R-rated DVD. Wal-Mart has instituted a safeguard at the self-serve check-out that requires the employee overseeing the area to verify the age of the purchaser. Unfortunately for the line growing behind me, that employee was AWOL.

To my comfort, the customer immediately behind me was a regular and not mad. As I slinked out with my purchases, I was nonetheless thankful that Wal-Mart is keeping up its commitment to its shoppers and the community by not turning a blind eye to whom it sells its wares. In the case of DVDs, they are rated for a reason. Just as a theater box office has the duty to turn away underage customers from R-rated films, Wal-Mart is doing it's part by making sure the same policy is administered when the film is available for home viewing. Good job!

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:40 PM

Saturday, March 13, 2004

They Could Have Closed Their Eyes

One of the Britons freed from Guantanamo Bay incarceration complains of mistreatment. One of the complaints is that U.S. soldiers brought prostitutes to the camp and paraded them naked in front of the detainees, some of whom are devout Muslims.

I am not overly inclined to take the word of an accused terrorist who is not cooperating with authorities, but it occurs to me that even if this part of his story is true, all the prisoners had a defensive weapon against being forced to look at naked women: they could have closed their eyes.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:02 PM

Political Overtones

We issued an alert setting the record straight on the Superfund "polluters pay" vote in the Senate this week.

Like most environmental votes, this one had political overtones. We're trying to separate the politics from the facts.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:06 AM

Friday, March 12, 2004

Mother is Charged in Stillborn Son's Death

As some readers know, I'm the mother of three, two of whom are twin boys, age three.

I was thinking about the woman who apparently let one of her twins die on purpose while I was playing with one of the twins tonight. I was trying to imagine life without one of the boys, if, arbitrarily, I'd just decided to have one of them killed, or let one of them be killed, before they were born.

It sent chills through me even to think that such a thing could be legal.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:17 PM

Attorney Fires Back in Judicial Memo Case

More from Manuel Miranda on the GOPUSA/Talon News website.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:54 PM

Send Flowers

InstaPundit just suggested sending flowers to the Spanish Embassy. His blog has the necessary address.

We just did it. The Spanish people should have some tangible proof that the American people care about what they are going through.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:19 AM

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Kabuki Watch

Manuel Miranda has a fun piece on National Review Online.

He doesn't pull his punches.

Thanks to Everything I Know Is Wrong for the pointer.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:05 PM

Deadbeat Watch

Among the paragons who are shocked, just shocked, that some Judiciary Committee staffers read some non-password protected computer files of other Judiciary Committee staffers may be some who are stealing food and services from the taxpayers.

According to a March 10 article in Roll Call (paid subscription required), the U.S. Senate Restaurants "experienced more than $678,000 in sales losses in fiscal 2003. While that amount is significantly less than the $1.2 million loss posted in fiscal 2002, it is still nearly double the losses of $351,000 and $388,000 reported in fiscal 2001 and 2000, respectively."

The audit says "if losses from operations continue, the [restaurant] fund will continue to require [taxpayer-supplied] financial support to maintain operations..."

That's the first interesting point: That taxpayers have been subsidizing the Senators' food. Now it gets even more interesting:

"The audit also shows that those customers allowed to run a tab -- Senators, former Senators and certain officials -- often fail to pay their bill on time. In fiscal 2003, the restaurants billed $189,545 to the 'customer accounts' of which than $88,000, about 47 percent, was paid back within a 30-day period. Nearly $27,000 in charges remained outstanding after 60 days and an additional $65,000 remained outstanding after 90 days."

(That wording is a little confusing. Comparing the text to a chart in the newspaper, it appears that the $27,000 figure refers to accounts 60-90 days old and the $65,000 figure to accounts 90 days or more old.)

So, there are Senators, former Senators, and "certain officials" who haven't paid their resturant bills in months.

My suggestions:

1) Name them all. In public.

2) Dock pay/pension payments for unpaid bills over 30 days old from now on.

3) File charges for "improper retrieval." (See "Wuss Watch" below)

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:23 PM

Wuss Watch

Since when is "improper retrieval" a federal crime?

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:00 PM

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Asbestos Exposed

Senior Fellow Dana Joel Gattuso has a great new Tech Central Station piece, Asbestos Exposed. Remember this money quote next time you see one of those tear-jerker asbestos commercials put on by the trial lawyer industry: "...as many as 90 percent of all asbestos claimants are without injury."

Who benefits from this system? Lawyers. Those who genuinely are ill are finding the money pot empty, because too many lawyers love money more than they love justice.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:31 PM

Polluters Do Pay

A timely note from Will Hart of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee:
Under the guise of deficit reduction and cleaning up the environment, Senate Democrats this week are offering a so called "Polluter Pays" tax amendment to the Budget Resolution. In reality this amendment would levy a massive direct tax on business and an indirect tax on consumers, regardless of whether or not they have ever been connected to a Superfund site or any environmental cleanup. This is NOT a tax on "polluters."

FACT:

The "polluter" already pays! When there is an identifiable and viable "polluter," consistent with the law, those companies are held liable for cleaning up or paying for the cleanup of that site. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency's focus on making sure that the polluter does in fact pay resulted in 87% of new cleanups borne by Potentially Responsible Parties in 2003 --exceeding the Agency's historical 70%. Federal Government spending on the Superfund program is directed at cleaning up "orphan" sites, those sites where there is NOT an identifiable and viable party.

Advocates of reinstatement of the Superfund tax will likely also bombastically decry "cuts" in the Superfund budget as another reason to implement the tax. Their reasoning on this point is mythical as well and based on an inaccurate GAO report which fails to reflect that Congress continues to provide level funds to ATSDR, NIEHS, and Brownfields, but from separate appropriations. For Fiscal Year 2005, the President requested $1.4 billion for the Superfund, a $124 million, or 10%, increase over the 2004 Consolidated Appropriations level. This increase reflects a 48 % boost targeted for the Superfund's remedial program, which will allow 8-12 additional construction starts in 2005 and a similar number of additional completions by 2006.

In addition, the original Superfund tax was more than 50% paid for by the oil and gas industry through revenues brought in by petroleum excise taxes including the Refinery Crude Oil and Importers Petroleum Products Tax, the Chemical Feedstocks Tax, the Imported Chemical Derivatives Tax, and the Special Environmental tax on Corporate Alternative Minimum Taxable Income - even though those industries accounted for far less percentage of the sites. In a time of already drastically increasing fuel and energy costs amid a rebounding economy, one wonders why Democrats would even consider heaping on top these kinds of additional costs which get passed on directly to the American consumers through higher prices at the gas pump.

If members of Congress are sincere in their support for the Superfund program, they should support the President's budget request, not levy a burdensome tax increase on businesses and consumers that would hurt or economy and create job loses for potentially thousands of hardworking American citizens. Reinstating this tax at the same time complaining about U.S. job losses is exactly the same type of Democrat double talk we are getting more and more accustomed to. On one hand they claim to promote U.S. jobs, but then try to push through unfair taxes that only hamstring struggling businesses.
One might almost say that some of these folks who want to hamstring business are "Benedict Arnolds."

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:18 PM

Postal Pet Peeves

A frustrated NCPPR executive director, David Almasi, provides an example of the Law of Diminishing Returns in action:
When we moved into our current Capitol Hill office in 1998, The National Center's mail was picked up at 10 am, 3 pm and 5 pm. Somewhere along the line, the 10 am pick-up was eliminated. Now that's been consolidated into one afternoon pick-up at 4 pm. Two days ago, they didn't even take everything that was left out.

Also during that time, the price of postage rose twice.
My related personal pet peeve is that the USPS has changed The National Center's zip+4 code three times since 1998. We've since phased out using it on much of our materials in order to save funds and staff time on reprinting printed materials with new addresses when we did not even move. But somehow, I don't think that's the end goal the Postal Service had in mind.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:20 PM

Invest in USA

Sean over at the Everything I Know Is Wrong blog posted Project 21's press release of today on a logical and, for once, bi-partisan way to get more investment into the U.S. economy: reduce tax policies that encourage U.S. businesses to keep their foreign-made profits out of the U.S.

Unfortunately, we had a typo in the press release that made its argument seem less compelling than it truly is. We wrote: "According to a study by the financial services firm J.P Morgan, Chase and Company... the enactment of legislation reducing the tax rate could bring $300 million of that profit back into the U.S. economy..."

The actual figure is $300 BILLION, not million.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:13 PM

But Your Honor, They Made Me Fill Out That Tax Form

A note from husband David about lawsuits and personal responsibility:
The lawsuits against fast food companies, which blame the "enablers" rather than the fry-inhaling, super-sized coke slurping public responsible for their ever-expanding waistlines, raise some interesting questions.

If people are no longer responsible for their own actions, does this mean tax evaders can blame the IRS for their crime? The IRS does, after all, provide the tax forms.

Or, does it mean that if an individual runs over a trial lawyer, the trial lawyer is to blame for presenting an all too tempting target?
On that last point, he's just kidding, folks.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:08 PM

A Case of Putting the Cart Before the Horse?

In testimony before Constitution Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, NAACP Washington Bureau head Hilary Shelton said her group opposes a Federal Marriage Amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

It's perfectly fair for the NAACP to oppose such an amendment, but what about its opinion of the notion that led to its introduction In the first place: gay marriage? "The NAACP has not taken a position on that question," Shelton says.

Why? Maybe because, according to a recent CBS poll, 58 percent of surveyed blacks said they'd likely vote against a candidate who disagreed with them on the gay marriage issue. And most of that 58 percent opposed it.

Poll results from Wirthlin suggest the NAACP's apparent strategy of trying to keep both sides happy isn't going to work. Wirthlin found that 62 percent of black Americans support the Federal Marriage Amendment. And it's more popular among the lower income demographic that the population as a whole.

Here is Project 21 member Horace Cooper's take on the NAACP's maneuver:
Finally it's clear just how out of touch the NAACP is. Rather than focusing on issues of importance to improving the plight of blacks - education, housing and job training - they are wasting time pursing an elitist left-wing agenda. This position clearly does not reflect the sentiment of black America nor of the rank-and-file membership of the NAACP.

As Daniel Patrick Moynihan thoroughly documented, the breakdown of the family has led to poverty and crime in the inner city. It is inconceivable that a group which purports to exist to help blacks is placing its moral authority behind such an extremist counter-culture platform. This venerable organization has lost its moral roots. When the NAACP supports obstacles to marriage and family rather than protections, something sad has happened.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:24 AM

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Benedict Arnold-Enablers

A note from husband David:
It seems to me that the liberals are Benedict Arnold-enablers. Or, to put it another way, they didn't fall -- they were pushed.

The reason manufacturing jobs are going overseas is more complicated than simply the cost of labor is cheaper there -- though, the trade unions' enormous power here is a big factor.

The costs of opening new plants in the current regulatory climate are enormous -- so enormous, in fact, that industry has an incentive to keep old and inefficient plants in operation as long as possible. At a certain point these plants can no longer compete with new, state of the art facilities built abroad. They then have to look overseas for their manufacturing needs.

Remember the experience of Shintech. They wanted to in-source jobs, but weren't allowed to.

Outsourcing is not a decision a company makes lightly. There are enormous costs associated with building new facilities, even when they are built abroad. There is also a lot more risk: Companies risk losing their investments to nationalization or damage due to political instability. Plus, there often are additional costs associated with getting finished products back to the U.S.

Even with all these costs and additional risk, many companies have concluded that their best interests are served by moving overseas. This should be a wake up call to everyone that something is wrong.

Liberals have backed virtually every item of the labor and environmental movements' big government agenda that put these perverse incentives in play.

Liberals wanted only clean industry -- they're getting it.

Liberals wanted only high paying jobs -- they're getting them too.

The trouble is that they're exporting all the remaining industries and jobs overseas in the process.
I agree with this, but would add another consideration: Our tort system. The big trial lawyers give liberal politicians and their allies cash, in exchange for which the left blocks legal reforms that would guarantee the rights of victims to receive fair treatment but reduce huge payouts to trial lawyers. Tort costs are definitely a consideration when businesses consider outsourcing.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:10 PM

Nice

The Washington Times has written a nice editorial today about Project 21 and the NAACP.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:51 PM

Monday, March 08, 2004

How Did Memogate Happen, Anyway?

An extremely interesting analysis of the technical aspects of "memogate" from the Three Years of Hell to Become the Devil blog.

The piece is worth reading on its merits, but note that the author received training in computer network systems administration at the U.S. Senate.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:01 PM

A Key Point

From husband David:
British PM Tony Blair recently gave a speech defending his position on Iraq and challenging the notion that he or anyone else suggested that the threat from Iraq was "imminent." He cited numerous quotes of his own that suggested just the opposite.

But perhaps most important, he said that they -- Blair and Bush -- never would have taken their case to the U.N., much less taken the time to gain approval of a resolution, if they had believed the threat was imminent. They would have been obligated to act immediately.

This is a key point, I think.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:18 PM

Black Conservatives Commend NAACP for Reversing Position on Image Awards

Project 21 is commending the NAACP for seeing the light about nominating persons who are under indictment for Image Awards.

Thanks to Mychal Massie of Project 21 for his January appearance on Fox's O'Reilly Factor, which got the ball rolling in the effort to change the NAACP's position.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:44 AM

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Just for Fun: Our Critics Speak

Just for fun, we've posted a few samples of letters from some of our more emotional recent critics.

Don't read it if you don't like bad language, though!

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:21 AM

Friday, March 05, 2004

Guilty?

Hubby David Ridenour has an observation about Martha Stewart's conviction for lying to government investigators: Based on the Clinton perjury case, wasn't it determined -- by the U.S. Senate no less -- that it is OK to lie?

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:05 PM

Missing the Point

Sean has important observations on his Everything I Know Is Wrong blog today about the MSNBC story about the Bush Administration and Abu Musab Zarqawi, terrorist mastermind.

This is a story to read all the way through.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:27 PM

Lessons Learned?

An angry rant from NCPPR executive director David W. Almasi, and, he hopes, some lessons learned by the White House:
When it comes to getting conservative policies in place, going along to get along is never a winning strategy.

First, President Bush signed the McCain-Feingold campaign regulations into law against the warnings of conservatives. Relax, Bushies said with a wink, it won't stand up to the inevitable Supreme Court challenge. They were wrong.

Then came Ellen Weintraub. Who? She's now a commissioner of the Federal Elections Commission. When Tom Daschle submitted her name for consideration, conservatives warned Bush not to nominate her. Not only was she a lawyer for one of the most liberal law firms in D.C., but she is also the wife of Senator Feingold's legislative director. On potential conflict of interest concerns alone, she should have been passed over. However, after Senator McCain placed holds on all Bush Administration nominations to force action on Weintraub, Bush installed her by recess appointment in December of 2002.

That's when recess appointments were still OK. Actually, when they benefit liberals, they're always considered OK.

Now, the Weintraub appointment is coming back to haunt the White House. At stake is over $300 million in money amassed by liberal "527" political groups that desperately want to defeat Bush in November. The FEC is poised to enact regulations to make these groups adhere to the spirit of McCain-Feingold by only spending smaller "hard money" donations rather than the large Soros-sized donations that are the loophole to the "soft money" spending ban. Weintraub is shocked and appalled that the FEC is acting so close to an election, and is threatening to make her swing vote a potential death blow to the Bush campaign. If the FEC rules aren't enacted, Bush stands to be outspent three to one in the general election.

It's clear the liberals aren't pulling punches. Judicial nominees could be the most important legacy of President Bush, yet many of his best nominees sit stalled in the Senate as a liberal minority continues to sucker punch the Constitution with a series of obstructionist filibusters. An option has been outlined in which these nominees could receive up-or-down votes on the floor of the Senate, but fears of retribution are keeping Senate leaders from exercising this "nuclear option." Considering their past mistakes on McCain-Feingold and Ellen Weintraub and the increasingly formidable challenge to his re-election, perhaps Bush and his supporters in the Senate should consider bold action to ensure there even is a Bush policy legacy.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:55 PM

Thursday, March 04, 2004

The Senate Chases Motes

The Straw Man Fallacy: When a person ignores another person's actual point-of-view and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that point-of-view for the purpose of rebutting a different, usually weaker, argument.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has posted the comments of Senator Patrick Leahy at last month's Judiciary Committee meeting.

The Senator blasts our organization and those who are working with us, as well as a huge number of conservative activists and others, inaccurately describing what we believe, have said and are calling for in the matter of the Judiciary Committee's "leaked" computer memos. Then he attacks his false description of us.

A straw man argument at work.

It is something else as well: A diversion for purposes of a cover-up. As long as the topic is about the way the Republican staffers learned what the Democrat Senators were doing, the Democrat Senators don't have to explain themselves.

Partisanship, however, isn't the only issue here. Maybe not even the biggest one.

Senators of both parties, when confronted with allegations of potential improprieties and illegalities in their midst, instead are focusing on the selfish issue of keeping their own correspondence private. Correspondence that had been drafted by government employees working on government computers in government offices, which, lacking any national security aspect, really should never have been private at all.

The Senators are saying we taxpayers don't have a right to expect the investigation of improprieties if the improprieties came to light in a manner that infringes upon their privacy in the workplace.

Never mind that we're paying them to do that work.

And it is our country they are steering in those memos.

Note the terminology when Patrick Leahy tosses invective at conservative organizations who call for an evenhanded investigation. We're not just "extreme, partisan, right-wing activists," but "extreme, partisan, right-wing activists from outside organizations."

The term "outside" is no coincidence.

They resent us not only because we're "extreme right," but because we're not in the Senate club, and what we are saying is inconvenient.

But I won't end this essay without addressing Leahy & Co.'s charge that we outside "extremists" don't care what GOP staffers do, even if it is illegal, as long as the staffers were "on our side."

Leahy is lying about this, unless he's too ignorant to know better.

Conservative activists are not calling for authorities to ignore any illegal acts by GOP staffers, in the event there were any. What we are requesting is an appropriate level of attention to equal or perhaps more serious charges against the Democrat Senators and their subordinates.

The charges against the GOP staffers essentially amounts to a charge of reading the mail on someone else's desk -- at least, as far as the public's been told after months of investigations, a reported half million taxpayer dollars spent and no charges filed. Maybe there's more. An investigation is underway.

The charges against the Democrat Senators and staffers amount to subverting the Constitution by packing the courts (clearly, it's still the party of FDR) and allegedly, according to one person who has seen the memos, other serious activities, such as bribery. No investigation of these allegations appears to be forthcoming.

In the Sermon on the Mount, a man who outranks even Senators asked: "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"

The Senate chases motes.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:56 PM

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Supposed Red Collar Worker Gets Me Hot Under Collar

My husband David has coined a new term: "red collar worker." It is to refer to those persons who want to be cared for cradle-to-grave without breaking much of a sweat, figuratively or otherwise, in the workplace.

It is perhaps appropriate that he coined the term after I told him I had gotten hot under the collar after receiving an e-mail complaining that my recent "What Conservatives Think" newsletter piece on overtime regulations did not adequately represent the point of view of the AFL-CIO.

The sender of the e-mail claimed to be a blue collar worker, but his e-mail contained one of those warnings ("The information transmitted is intended only for the person or entity to which it is addressed and may contain confidential, proprietary, and/or privileged material. Any review, retransmission, dissemination or other use of, or taking of any action in reliance upon, this information by persons or entities other than the intended recipient is prohibited...") one usually only sees on e-mails from lawyers and other professionals. Still, blue collar or not, I won't reprint his message here, since he went to the trouble of including the legalese guarding future generations from exposure to his opinions. But I think everyone can gather what points he made from my response:
Dear Madam:

You are correct that our newsletter is not an unbiased source of opinion representing the left-wing AFL-CIO, and I believe it would be difficult for us to be any more clear about the fact that we don't represent the left than by naming the publication "What Conservatives Think."

As to the issue at hand: The AFL-CIO doesn't have any problem with low income workers getting more money, as long as professionals making large sums also are treated as if they are blue collar workers. With the decline of the manufacturing sector, organized labor needs to recruit from among those it historically as derided as "management," or risk becoming an anachronism.

Or more of one.

Furthermore, the AFL-CIO is closely allied with trial lawyers who benefit financially from the fact that the current regulations are difficult to understand. Organized labor is involved with these lucrative lawsuits. In other words, they are in this for the money. I am not.

I quoted the first paragraph of the main page of the AFL-CIO's page of complaint about this legislation in my newsletter. I did not "quote shop" for something to make them look bad. Furthermore, I put a note at the bottom of the piece to permit interested persons to easily go to a government chart comparing the old rules with the new ones. Anyone who wants to decide for themselves if the AFL-CIO is more correct than conservatives are about this can easily draw their own conclusions.

As far as who would be hurt by opposing what the Department of Labor wants to do: How about children? The old laws actually prohibit flex-time in some circumstances and thereby prohibit employers from giving flex-time to parents who want to work more one week than the next in order to attend a kid's soccer game or nurse them through an illness. I ask you: what business is it of the federal government to stop an employer from giving flex-time to a Mom or Dad who wants it so they can be a better parent while still earning enough to provide for their families?

Short answer: It isn't their business.

And, finally, why not cover everyone with the overtime rule? Because if salaried employees aren't allowed to work long hours to create businesses that need workers, no one will hire the people who blame big business for all their woes.

Amy Ridenour

P.S. You no doubt suspect "big business" paid for our work on this. It didn't. Nor did small business. We believe what we write, and received no money on this issue from anyone.
(Note to blog readers: If the "Dear Madam" has thrown you off, that's just something I write when a man sends me, Amy, a letter beginning "Dear Sir.")

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:33 PM

Monday, March 01, 2004

Is Bush Trying to Eliminate Overtime?

The AFL-CIO says yes here.

I say no here.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:01 AM

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