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Showing posts from January, 2008

No Romance Between Blumenthal and Clinton

Mark Davis of Channel 8 News, wise in the ways of provocation, created a momentary stir awhile back when he asked Sen. Hillary Clinton whether she had ever dated Connecticut’s Attorney General Dick Blumenthal while the two were students together at Yale. The question hit the usually scripted Hillary between the eyes, and she seemed for a moment genuinely surprised. But she quickly recovered, flashed her signature toothy smile, and momentarily dodged the question, which she thought “very personal.” Then she said “No, we were friends. We’ve been friends for a long time, and I think he’s a great public servant, and he’s done such an amazing job for the people of Connecticut, and I look to relying upon him and having his advise going in to my campaign and into the White House.” Asked the same question, Blumenthal said, “I never had the nerve to ask her, especially after Bill was involved.”

Not NOW: Camelot’s Defection

The reaction in the New York sector of the feminist jungle to Sen. Edward Kennedy’s defection from Sen. Hillary Clinton has been somewhat intemperate. “Women have just experienced the ultimate betrayal,” according to the National Organization for Women’s New York chapter: “Senator Kennedy’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton’s opponent in the Democratic presidential primary campaign has really hit women hard. Women have forgiven Kennedy, stuck up for him, stood by him, hushed the fact that he was late in his support of Title IX, the ERA, the Family Leave and Medical Act to name a few. Women have buried their anger that his support for the compromises in No Child Left Behind and the Medicare bogus drug benefit brought us the passage of these flawed bills. We have thanked him for his ardent support of many civil rights bills, BUT women are always waiting in the wings. “And now the greatest betrayal! We are repaid with his abandonment! He’s picked the new guy over us. He’s joined the list

The Great Left Wing Conspiracy

Behold – the great left wing conspiracy to overthrow the Clintons begins to unfold. John Kerry on the Clintons: “Well, I think you had an abuse of the truth, is what happened. I mean, being an ex-president does not give you license to abuse the truth, and I think that over the last days it's been over the top. Things have been said about Barack Obama's positions that are just plain untrue. It was said in Nevada, it's been said about Social Security, it's been said about Yucca Mountain, and it's been said in South Carolina. I think it's very unfortunate, but I think the voters can see through that. When somebody's coming on strong and they are growing, people get a little frantic, and I think people have seen this sort of franticness in the air, if you will. My sense is, Barack Obama offers a better opportunity to pull America together than any other candidate in the race.” The New York Times catches Ex-President Bill Clinton in a revealing Freudian slip


What divides the Congress is the attempt by some to transform SCHIP into an expensive precursor of universal government mandated health care -- Senator Trent Lott National health care is a fraction of the cost and has much better outcome [than our present system] -- Noam Chomsky Last week the House of Representatives failed to override the President’s veto of the SCHIP bill for the second time. He objects because the bill is a step towards more socialized medicine, because it is too expensive, because it is supposed to be for poor children but allows adults and families with income at 400% of the poverty level ($83,000) to enroll. . Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and John Edwards call for universal coverage, which is well received. Listening to the presidential candidates debate, the audience may believe that there is only one type of insurance, universal, and that it is free. But universal is not free and not the only choice. The issue is not settled, only ignored by

Rowland Rising, Two

The response to Rowland’s re-entry into the political sphere has been both predictable and uninspiring. Bill Curry , a Hartford Courant columnist and gubernatorial wannabe who was bested by Rowland, seized the occasion to engage in some ego-stroking chest thumping. “In 2002,” Curry began his column, “I held a press conference to show how John Rowland broke the law to award no-bid building contracts to his pals… The story didn’t make the front page of any newspaper, nor did any bother to editorialize on it.” There are reasons for this. Curry’s press conferences were sparsely attended because only his mother and his fast friend Colin McEnroe thought he had a good chance to beat Rowland. Newspapers generally are not in the habit of bathing prospective losers in ink, a policy that rightfully should be and has been abhorred by others – for example, me -- in below the salt newspapers that Curry would not likely notice. Then too, it was not obvious at the time that anyone in politics – exc

Where the WMDs Went: Told You So

According to a recent CBS News report , “Saddam Hussein initially didn't think the U.S. would invade Iraq to destroy weapons of mass destruction, so he kept the fact that he had none a secret to prevent an Iranian invasion he believed could happen. The Iraqi dictator revealed this thinking to George Piro, the FBI agent assigned to interrogate him after his capture.” Not often do political commentators have a chance to say “ I told you so .” But I told you so, way back in May 2007. And then again in September of 2007.

Rowland Rising

Convincing businesses to move to depression lite Connecticut may be a punishment more exquisite than any suffered so far by ex-Governor John Rowland . The coming recession will not make the job arranged for him by Waterbury Mayor Michael Jarjura any easier, and it will spur on his critics who just might consider passing in the legislature a one strike and you’re out bill for delinquent politicians, provided they are a) Republicans who are named b) John Rowland. A bill so limited just might pass the sniff test of Democrats who cannot abide three strikes and you’re out legislation for violent criminals. The Hartford Courant, at least editorially , has given a green light to the appointment. Rowland, like any other ex-felon, deserves a chance to make good, the paper averred in an editorial: “Mr. Rowland has a second chance. We hope he uses it wisely and well.” But the Courant also warned, “The job does carry liabilities. Mr. Rowland's administration set the standard for political cor

Republican Prospects: The McCainiacs

The Republican mythology of the upcoming presidential election has put Fred Thompson center stage as the sole true conservative candidate; Rudy Giuliani , John McCain and George Romney are moderate Republicans. Thompson’s withdrawal therefore represents a setback for conservatives. The dirges are only just now beginning. When Bill Buckley, running for mayor of New York, was asked what he would do if he actually won, he responded that he would string a net around one of the floors of the New York Times building. Nets are being strung, and the left in the United States may now safely expel its held breath: There will be no conservative candidate for president this year. Not everyone on the right is down in the dumps. Political commentator and classicist David Hanson, author of “A War Like No Other,” an account of the Peloponnesian War, has written favorably about McCain , producing cat calls from his usual cheering section. McCain, Hanson says, is no Ronald Reagan. But he reasonably

Will The Real Black President Please Stand Up

When Toni Morrison said that Bill Clinton -- who appeared to have some trouble staying awake during a stirring address on Martin Luther King Day -- was the first black president, she was using a metaphor, which meant roughly that Bill was simpatico with black ambitions. Poets use metaphors all the time. Who wudda’thunk back then that today another Clinton, Hillary, would be running for president against a non-metaphorical black man? Sometimes, life pitches us an astounding curve ball. Obama, surprisingly slow on his feet during this debate, probably should have said that the black experience seen from the inside is often different than the same experience seen from the outside, and that would have been an end of it. The truly odd and wonderful thing about America is that we are having the discussion at all. Obama is running for president; he’s black; he’s good. Very likely Hillary’s success or failure will turn on other questions: Do we want another presidential dynasty; will eith

Coming to a State Near You: the Abolition of Freedom of Speech

The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard once said that he would rather be quickly shot than to be trampled to death by geese. That is exactly the way human rights are lost – not in one fell swoop, but by a slow insidious process of attrition, hardly noticeable at all. The right of freedom of speech in Canada and elsewhere has now come under attack by an aggrieved group that – marvelous irony – is using the state, normally the guardian of the constitutional right of unfettered speech, to suppress free speech. Ira Levant has already felt the tread of geese on his back, and now it is Mark Steyn’s turn. Steyn , the author of “America Alone: The End of the World as We Know it,” is also a prolific, international conservative political commentator who has written for such publications as National Review, The New York Sun and The New Criterion. Last month, according to a story in the Jan 14 edition of the Washington Times , Steyn became the subject of “a CHRC (Canadian Human Rights C

Feminists Anesthetize Mr. Hardball

A group of feminists have stuck a sock in Chris Mathew’s mouth, extracting from the MSNBC blabbermouth what one might call an apology in full. On January 17th, a day that will live in infamy, Mathews said about presidential candidate and feminist Hillary Clinton, the long suffering wife of runabout Bill Clinton, that the reason Hillary Clinton is a senator and a candidate for president "is that her husband messed around." This provoked an acidic response from a bevy of feminists: Gloria Steinem, president of the National Organization for Women Kim Gandy, president of the National Women's Political Caucus Lulu Flores, president of the Women's Media Center Carol Jenkins and president of Feminist Majority Eleanor Smeal. David Brock – the author of scathing attacks on Hillary when he was writing for The American Spectator who has long since bent his knee to feminism -- was also a signatory to the letter. Mathews, said the group representing new-age feminist inquisitors,

Zell’s a Hoot

Sam Zell has just purchased a large chunk of the Times Mirror empire, the Tribune company, and is threatening to make The Hartford Courant profitable. Ordinarily, commentators at the liberal Courant, once a cog in the wheel of Times Mirror, are suspicious of profits, usually earned by grasping billionaires who relish grinding the faces of the poor. But hard times in the news business have convinced even the most aggressive amature Naom Chomskyites that as their profits go, so go their paychecks. So, the folk down there at the Courant – and other information outposts attached to the paper by media umbilical cords – are understandably anxious. Zell, dressed in his signature cowboy boots, addressed these nervous nellies at the Bushnell Memorial, and the day after his address, all present were attempting to decipher his oracular pronouncements. What, for example, can be read into those cowboy boots? Of late, especially in the European press whose fertile ground Arthur "Pinch"

Oddments: Perot's Bumper Sticker, "Pinch's" Paper

In the midst of a report on Ross Perot’s distaste for John McCain, Jonathan Alter of Newsweek reports that “Perot isn't a Hillary hater, but he's not a fan either, relating the bumper sticker he received that reads: ‘Monica Lewinsky's Ex-Boyfriend's Wife for President.’” The New York Time’s anti war push Writing in National Review Online a few years ago, Stanly Kurtz opened a window on the mindset of New York Times owner Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger Jr.: “Pinch Sulzberger was a political activist in the Sixties, and was twice arrested in anti-Vietnam protests. One day, the elder Sulzberger asked his son what Pinch calls, ‘the dumbest question I've ever heard in my life.’ If an American soldier runs into a North Vietnamese soldier, which would you like to see get shot? Young Arthur answered, ‘I would want to see the American get shot. It's the other guy's country.’ Some Sixties activists have since thought better of their early enthusiasms. Pinch ha


During the 1960s, . . . the most influential thinker was Italian communist Antonio Gramsci . He grasped that the most effective means of overturning Western Society was to subvert its culture and morality. Instead of mobilizing the working class to take over the world, the revolution would be achieved through a culture war, in which the moral beliefs of the majority would be replaced by the values of those on the margins of society. And this would be brought about by capturing all of society’s institutions—schools, universities, churches, the media, the legal profession, the police, voluntary groups—and making sure that this intellectual elite all sang from the same subversive hymn-sheet. In Britain , Gramsci’s revolutionary aims have been accomplished to the letter -- Melanie Phillips, Londonistan How about in the U.S.? Schools . Madrassas are schools for young Muslim boys whose learning consists of memorizing the Koran. Radical Muslims look to graduates of madrassas fo

This Is The Way Liberty Is Slain, By A Death Of A Thousand Cuts

Defenders of freedom of speech may want to mark January 11, 2008 on their calendars, for it was on that date that Ezra Levant, publisher of the Western Standard magazine, answered a complaint before a quasi-legal Canadian authority, the Alberta Human Rights commission, concerning cartoons he had published that originally appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten . The cartoons represented the prophet Mohammed, some in an unflattering light, and at the time, to put it mildly, they created quite a stir in the Islamic world. Before the Alberta Human Rights Commission, Levant declared that the re-publication of the cartoons in the Western Standard was “the proudest moment of my public life.” He said, “I would do it again today. In fact, I did do it again today. Though the Western Standard, sadly, no longer publishes a print edition, I posted the cartoons this morning on my website .” Not everyone, of course, felt similarly. The original cartoons inspired attacks on the Norwegian a

Freedom Of Speech

Ezra Levant defends his decision to print cartoons before agents of the state. His response to interrogatories by the Alberta Human Rights Commission should be shown in every journalism class in the (as yet) free West: Video 1 , Video 2 , Video 3 The entire interview may be found here . Ezra Levant's site may be found here . A full account of these incidents from a moderate Muslim perspective may be fond here .

Obama, MLK and The Clintons

One of the shrewdest commentators of the American scene is British transplant, now an American citizen, Christopher Hitchens , whose sole blind spot is religion. Hitchens is a militant atheist. Here is Hitch on the Republican field: “Only one of these men has any poetry about him. John McCain, the white-haired old lion in winter, embarking on his last hurrah, quixotically indifferent to money or polls, can still bring a lump to the throat. Stubbornly loyal to his comrades in uniform, adamant for victory in Iraq, he commands a certain respect of the kind that professional image-builders can only dream of. This may not turn out to be the year for old lions, but it’s nice to know, amid all the moisture and bogus emotion, that the country can still produce them.” And on the Clintons: “The first-time voters started to gravitate to Obama in ever-bigger droves, as did a surprising percentage of the women. This was simply not the time or the place for a politician to be appearing cynical or

The Museum Of Russian Icons

When I said to Mr. Gordon Lankton “Not every man has an opportunity to  live  in his dream,” he smiled disarmingly and later, as my wife Andrée and I were examining an icon of Saint Paraskeva, he wandered over and said, I don’t mean to interrupt you, but do you know her?” The icon was of an imposing lady draped in Roman dress. “She is one of my favorite characters,” he said. “Because she is the patron saint of commerce?” Lankton is no stranger to commerce. Twenty years ago, when everyone was moving West, he went East – to Russia , where he saw and was captivated by Russian Byzantine icons. His painstaking collection, a work of love, now fills a museum of his own making. Legend has it that Lankton’s wife, troubled by a metastasizing collection that was filling every corner of her house, gave her husband an ultimatum: Either the icons go, or I go. Thus are museums are born. “No,” he answered, “not because she is the patron saint of commerce. Saint Paraskeva was a Rom

Hillary, Obama and the Media

The jury sitting on the meaning of the Iowa and New Hampshire canvasses is now in. The Journal Inquirer Following Hillary Clinton’s New Hampshire win, the editorial page editor of the Journal Inquirer unburdened himself in the form of a “Memo to Barack: This will not be easy.” The editorial makes the following points: • Barack has had to fight for what he is and has, while Hillary has had both her senate seat and her senate re-election “handed to her.” • Hillary was President Bill Clinton’s “consort.” The words “wife” or “First Lady” apparently are not in the editor’s lexicon. • The Clintons were not civil to the newly elected George Bush. The editorial page editor, who has been around for awhile, was uncomfortable with early Polls after Iowa showing Barack defeating Hillary by 10 percentage points. • “You mess with the Clinton’s at your peril.” • “The Clintons see the presidency as their due - their property. Theirs. Their whole campaign has been: Restore the monarchy.” •

Error Theory And The Nation

The notion that President George Bush should have committed more troops earlier on in the Iraq war to suppress jihadists runs up against something called “error theory.” All this is highly speculative, but worth thinking about. Out Of The Mouths Of (Progressive) Children The Nation , not a neo-conservative publication, is at least asking the right questions: “But there are other crucial and less frequently mentioned topics to address: how will the next administration deal with a resurgent Russia, a rising China and a Latin America that has rejected the Washington/IMF neoliberal agenda, forging closer regional ties in its place? How will the United States handle rapidly growing world demand for oil and gas as reserves approach their peak? Is it a mistake to view the world primarily through the lens of Islamic extremism? How should the United States relate to Saudi Arabia and other autocratic Gulf states, and how should the United States address the Israel-Palestine conflict? How sho


Obamamania is foaming and bubbling in America’s stew pot of opinion and commentary. George Will , no progressive, views Obama as the only adult in a squabbling classroom of fossilized politicians caught in the imprisoning amber of yesteryear: “Barack Obama, who might be mercifully closing the Clinton parenthesis in presidential history, is refreshingly cerebral amid this recrudescence of the paranoid style in American politics. He is the un-Edwards and un-Huckabee -- an adult aiming to reform the real world rather than an adolescent fantasizing mock-heroic ‘fights’ against fictitious villains in a left-wing cartoon version of this country.” Dick Morris , certainly not a progressive and no longer a boot licking Clintonite, agrees: “Suddenly, the Clintons have become old before our eyes. They are, as if by magic, now part of the past, no longer inevitable in the future. It took Obama and Huckabee to put them there, but they have become the couple that can’t stop thinking about yesterda

Dodd, The .02 Percenter

The conquering hero, US Sen. Chris Dodd , returned this week from the field of battle after having won .02% of the Iowa straw poll vote. He was warmly received by his friends in the Democrat Party, minus US Sen. Joe Lieberman, who were at some pains to account for what reporters are calling his dismal showing. In blogdom, where Dodd is esteemed because of his adamantine opposition to the war in Iraq, the reaction to his poor showing was sympathetic and understanding. Home state Democrat politicians friendly to Dodd were churning out excuses to account for his rather dramatic loss; in the Iowa straw poll, Dodd won only 1 of 1,781 reporting districts, a total of 4 votes. US Rep. Joe Courtney, who won office in a squeaker election against former Republican Rep. Rob Simmons, thought Dodd peaked too late in his campaign. Near the end of his campaign, Dodd waged a successful filibuster to block amnesty for those telecommunication companies that gave the administration of President George

The Dodd Debacle

Post Iowa, it’s all over for the losers but for the gnashing of teeth. US Sen. Chris Dodd’s gnashing, as was to be expected, was eloquent, his concession speech prettily put together. The most aggressive anti-war presidential candidate in the running, Dodd received less than 1% of the Iowa caucus vote. He did better at DailyKos, the Huffington Post and, blog sites devoted to running the white flag up in Iraq and skedaddling. One of the polls at one of these anti-war cookie cutter sites rated Dodd in the high twenties. Dodd probably will be remembered, if he is remembered at all, as the William Jennings Bryant of the anti-war movement. The rest of the country will move on.

The Hillary vs Obama Hit Job

The Iowa caucuses are important because the line up after Iowa will set the direction of Big Media predictions. They will provide the frame for political narratives until the next primary. Iowa is the first horse race determiner in the nation. Appearing on Charlie Rose, David Yepsin , the Des Moines Register’s political columnist, has set the ball rolling. Obama has managed to position himself as an agent of change by resurrecting motifs used by the inexperienced Bill Clinton in his first presidential bid. Perhaps the most interesting Yepsin comment concerns Barak Obama’s positioning; in political horse races, positioning is determinative. “Barack Obama’s message this year is pretty much the one Bill Clinton was using in the 1992 about the need to change,” Yepsin noted. If Mrs. Clinton comes in third in Iowa, that would be very damaging for her because, “it would energize all her challengers.” If Obama wins, Yepsin speculated, “you could see a repeat of what we saw when John Kerry