Archive for February, 2011


The Washington Post has a helpful interactive map providing an overview of the ongoing unrest in a dozen countries throughout the Middle East, with tabs for Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen.

Any of these uprisings could end badly of course, but the possibilities are exciting.  Can there be any doubt that these Mideast insurrections are feeding on each other’s energy?  And, would any of them be happening if it were not for the successful toppling of the baddest Mideast despot of them all?

Plenty of commentators have written about vindication for Bush’s “freedom agenda” for the Middle East.  I don’t know that I have much to add to the current situation, but I do want to boast about discussing this more than two years ago.

From “Bush, Reagan, Moral Clarity and the Politics of Evil“:

For better or worse, Bush’s legacy will always be inextricably tied to the war in Iraq. This means, as I’ve written before, there is a chance Bush will be remembered years from now as the man who planted the first stable democracy in the heart of the Arab Middle East. If some day Islamic fascism joins Soviet communism in the category of defeated ideologies, a President’s clarity about the United States as a bulwark against evil may again be a large part of the reason.

I’m just sayin’…

The Softer Side of Governor Awesome

TigerHawk is my go-to blog for coverage of New Jersey’s Governor Awesome, and I love watching clips of Christie speaking to voters like adults.  Whether he’s describing his own state as a “failed experiment” or jousting with his favorite piñata, the teacher’s union, it’s refreshing to watch him.

The alternate narrative, since there always has to be one, is that Christie is a bully. Here’s the Star-Ledger, in an editorial entitled “Christie’s Bully Act Getting Old“:

Some find Christie entertaining, but his combativeness is counterproductive and breeds the kind of hate speech that plaques [sic] the nation.

To be fair, the editorial was a month before the Arizona shooting turned “hate speech” into the overused meme of the year.  The perception of bullying is something Christie will have to keep in mind.

Anyway I clicked the button on TigerHawk’s latest discovery and settled back to see if Christie was going to “plaque” the nation.  I got a little wary when a Newark mother started talking about her struggles to get educational help for her dyslexic son Isaac — I hoped Christie wasn’t going to go on the attack.

Well, he did, but not against the mother.  He gave her more than two minutes to tell her story, including the tidbit that the state and federal governments together are providing $85 million to Newark alone for students with learning disabilities, yet the public schools told her there was nothing they could do for her son.

Christie weighs in at about 2:20 in the video, asking the woman to give her contact information to his staff.  Then he says, “But with all due respect to you and Isaac”…

Uh-oh…

“… this is the problem I’m trying to fix… The state sends in excess of 800 million of income tax  money every year to the Newark school system.  In excess of 800 million dollars.  It is outrageous to me, it makes my blood boil, that someone from the Newark school system would tell a mother, who is spending three or four hours a night trying to work her son into success, that we can’t do anything for them.  It’s outrageous…. Newark has twice the amount of administration of the average school district in New Jersey.”

Boom! Governor Awesome.

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George Will Has Obama’s Back on Egypt

George Will is often out of step with other conservatives. Sometimes I’m glad of this, and sometimes I’m not. He speaks wisdom in his latest column, taking on the Righties who use every news peg to try to bash President Obama.  (Some elements of the Left, of course, are equally guilty of this tendency.)  Here’s Will today:

Those Americans who know which Republican will win next year’s Iowa caucuses can complain about those who did not know that when a Tunisian street vendor set himself on fire, he would set a region afire. From all other Americans, forbearance would be seemly.

It also would be amazing, because there is a cottage industry of Barack Obama critics who, not content with monitoring his myriad mistakes in domestic policies, insist that there must be a seamless connection of those with his foreign policy. Strangely, these critics, who correctly doubt the propriety and capacity of the U.S. government controlling our complex society, simultaneously fault the government for not having vast competence to shape the destinies of other societies.

There are plenty of good and valid reasons to be critical of the Obama administration. But blaming Obama for Egypt is no more valid than the contention that somehow President Bush should have prevented 9/11.

Dog Bites Man: MoveOn.org Twists the Truth

The folks behind the scurrilous “General Betray Us” ad have latched on to another issue to distort.

One of the cool things about Facebook is that it provides a painless way of gaining exposure to alternate points of view.  Liberal FB friends sometimes inspire me to rethink my own assumptions.  Other times, like this, they provide low-hanging fruit for a blog post.

Here’s the text that caught my eye this evening, in a link posted by a liberal friend I respect:

pol.moveon.org

Republicans want to change the law so only certain types of rape “count.” Date rape? Not rape anymore.  Drugged? Nope. Show the GOP “no” means “no” — sign the petition demanding Congress oppose this horrible legislation.

The first clue that an interest group is pulling a fast one is when they post an online petition about a bill but don’t give a link to the actual text of the legislation. Here it is: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.3:. Turns out it’s not a bill about rape, it’s an anti-abortion bill, and it makes no effort to define rape, let alone re-define it.

MoveOn has spun its web of deception out of the text of Sec. 309, which reiterates the long-standing rape exception to the ban on federal funding for abortion. The bill uses the term “forcible rape,” an undefined term that inevitably will be clarified in committee if the bill gets that far. But the idea that the bill excludes statutory rape or date rape springs solely from the fevered imaginings of the Left.

BTW, the only reason I posted a screenshot of the “Republicans want to change the law” screed — rather than just linking to it — is that Move On seems to have scrubbed that text from its site.  But if anything, the text the group is using now is even more dishonest:

Right now, federal dollars can’t be used for abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or when the woman’s life is in danger. But the Smith bill would narrow that use to “cases of ‘forcible’ rape but not statutory or coerced rape.”

Nope.  The “not statutory or coerced rape” text is quoted from a New York Times editorial.  The legislation makes no reference to statutory rape.

If I were in Congress I would vote against this bill, because I’m pro-choice. But I’m not an absolutist, and I have to say I think prohibiting federal funding for abortion — so that abortion opponents don’t have to pay for what they oppose — is a reasonable compromise to reach in a society that is so deeply conflicted about abortion.  It could well be, in fact I think it’s likely, that the drafters of the legislation used the term “forcible” rape for clandestine purposes.  But that’s what committee markup sessions are for.  It’s a long way from that single word in an 1,800-word bill to the declaration that “Republicans want to change the law so only certain types of rape ‘count.’”

Update: No surprise