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In lieu of dealing with deficit, Senate Dems demonize House GOP

On Tuesday, via the New York Times blog (but not, at least according to this google search, their print edition), we learn:

Moments before a conference call with reporters was scheduled to get underway on Tuesday morning, Charles E. Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate, apparently unaware that many of the reporters were already on the line, began to instruct his fellow senators on how to talk to reporters about the contentious budget process. . . .  Mr. Schumer told them to portray John A. Boehner of Ohio, the speaker of the House, as painted into a box by the Tea Party, and to decry the spending cuts that he wants as extreme. “I always use the word extreme,” Mr. Schumer said. “That is what the caucus instructed me to use this week.”

Can you imagine how much media it would have gotten if Schumer’s Republican counterpart, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, was caught on a similar call insisting that Republicans call Democratic proposals “extreme”?

Now, what makes all this interesting is that given candidate Barack Obama’s concession to conservative ideas in the presidential campaign and the bipartisan agreement President Obama entered into last falls to extend the tax rates established by his Republican predecessor, the only way Congress can reduce the deficit is by cutting federal spending.

The Republican House, attempting to finish the work left undone by the preceding Democratic Congress, passed a budget for the balance of the current fiscal year, cutting $61 billion in federal spending.  The Democratic Senate has yet to pass a budget.  So, instead of trying to reach a compromise with his partisan adversaries in the other chamber of Congress, Mr. Schumer, under marching orders from his caucus, is seeking to demonize Republicans who have started making tough decisions on spending. (more…)

Left using anti-gay whisper campaign in WI Supreme Court race?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:00 am - March 31, 2011.
Filed under: Misrepresenting the Right

Sending me a tweet from Wisconsinite Beacher Grrl, Bruce alerted me to a post suggesting that a disingenuous ad by the liberal Greater Wisconsin Committee to attack the state Supreme Court’s Chief Justice David Prosser (facing off against assistant state attorney general JoAnne Kloppenburg in an election next week) represents an effort “to perpetuate unfair stereotypes and use anti-gay bigotry to help their cause“:

The ad relates to a criminal investigation over 30 years ago. A criminal case wasn’t prosecuted because of a lack of sufficient evidence. Interestingly, the case hasn’t been raised against the incumbent during 30+ years of public life since then, but its being raised now. That should make you suspicious off the bat. The ad perpetuates bigoted stereotypes that connect homosexuality with pedophilia. It’s 2011. Let’s lay it out there for those who don’t get it. Pedophiles are bad because they are pedophiles, regardless of whether they abuse children of the same or the other gender. For years, bigots commonly attacked homosexuals by suggesting they were pedophiles. In reality, abuse of perhaps millions of innocent, little girls by predatory uncles or male neighbors over the years is just as abhorrently wrong. . . .

Here, the left is playing on an age-old, despicable and unfair stereotype used against gays for years. It is dependent upon ignorant (or just evil) bigots having an inability to distinguish between homosexuality and pedophilia. Archie Bunker himself could have written the ad. The ad accompanies an organized whisper campaign about the incumbent . . . .

Here is the Archie Bunker logic: The candidate is not married. The candidate didn’t prosecute a case 30 years ago against a male priest accused of pinching a boys rear end (literally). Candidate doesn’t appear to be taking orders from the Church, therefore, said candidate must be “one of them” and we can’t have “one of them” on the State Supreme Court (where candidate has served admirably the last ten years).

Now, I’ll grant there is some circumstantial evidence here, but the case for a whisper campaign is compelling.  And you can bet we’d be hearing a lot more about it if a social conservative group had released a similar ad against a liberal jurist. (more…)

Inapposite comparison of world without ENDA to era of Jim Crow

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:18 am - March 31, 2011.
Filed under: American History,Big Government Follies,Freedom

Every now and again, a reader will make a somewhat critical comment which helps make our point. And yesterday, in commenting on my piece chiding Log Cabin for backing the Employment Non Discrimination ACT (ENDA), Vast Variety did just that:

Unfortunately, when the majority of society finds it acceptable to discriminate then a business that discriminates will not suffer in the marketplace. Ask any African American you lived through the Jim Crow laws in the South if the businesses that discriminated against them suffered in the marketplace.

Southern businesses which discriminated against blacks in the era of Jim Crow didn’t suffer in the marketplace because those heinous and unconstitutional (as per Justice Harlan’s “Great Dissent” in Plessy v. Ferguson) laws mandated that private enterprises discriminate.  If a businessman tried to gain a competitive advantage by dealing with black people the same way he dealt with whites, a rival could turn to state institutions to prevent that entrepreneur from acting in the interest of his own enterprise — as he saw it.

So, let’s contrast the Jim Crow era with the past forty-odd years, the era when gay people started becoming increasingly open about their sexuality.  While many companies did indeed discriminate against “open homosexuals,” the state did not mandate that they do so.  Indeed, as more and more gay people started coming out, private companies began to reach out to gay people, adopting non-discrimination policies of their own accord, developing marketing campaigns to reach out to our community and offering domestic partnership benefits to same-sex partners of their employees. (more…)

Thirty years ago today . . .

. . . a mentally imbalanced young man made an attempt on the life of the greatest domestic policy president of the last century.  While assassins have attempted to shoot our chief executives at least since Andrew Jackson, Ronald Reagan was the first to survive being hit by an assassin’s bullet.  Had medical technology been better a hundred years before the Gippper took office (or had White House physicians been more competent), the president with the finest undergraduate education in American history, James A. Garfield, would have completed his journey to Williams College for his twenty-fifth reunion and gone on to serve two full terms.

Shot on July 2, 1881, Garfield lingered, in extreme pain, until September 19 of that year, dying not from the bullet wound, but an infection, possibly caused by unsterilized medical equipment.

Ronald Reagan broke the curse of his predecessors elected in “0” years.  Every president since William Henry Harrison elected in a year ended in “0” would die in office.  Like Garfield, Lincoln was shot, but the Great Emancipator did not linger for several months.  William McKinley, elected in 1900, also died of a bullet wound.  Warren G. Harding, elected in 1920 and Franklin Delano Roosevelt elected in 1940, suffered a number of health problems which accounted for their untimely demises.  John F. Kennedy was the first Democrat to die from an assassin’s bullet.

Ronald Reagan broke that curse.  And for that, we are forever grateful to the team of competent physicians at George Washington University Hospital.


UPDATE:  Over a Powerline, Steven Hayward offers a more comprehensive report on the shooting and its aftermath.

Americans increasingly disapprove of Obama’s leadership and agenda

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:56 pm - March 30, 2011.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,We The People

The “president’s polling numbers,” Jim Geraghty reports quoting Quinnipiac:

American voters disapprove 48 – 42 percent of the job President Barack Obama is doing and say 50 – 41 percent he does not deserve to be re-elected in 2012, both all-time lows, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Looking more deeply into these numbers, Ed Morrissey “officially” calls “the post-New Year bump in Barack Obama’s job approval ratings finished:

Quinnipiac’s Peter Brown notes that the post-election bump has entirely dissipated, and puts the blame on Obama’s handling of “the budget deficit, the economy, foreign policy, health care, and energy policy.”  That leaves out the Lily Ledbetter Act, of course, as the White House will surely point out in a press release, but otherwise comprises just about every priority issue voters have. It shows in the crosstabs, where Obama only gets a 39/50 job approval among independents.

At the same time Gallup reports that “Obama’s ratings on being a strong and decisive leader are down a total of 21 percentage points since taking office” while only “36% say he has a clear plan for solving the country’s problems”.  It won’t help him to back the big-government policies beloved by his party as a poll by the Tarrance group shows that Americans oppose the kinds of policies he has put forward to solve those problems:

“The American worker is also seen as receiving a hit from more regulation, with 59% agreeing that ‘additional federal regulation on businesses put the average American worker at risk of job loss.’  Also, a majority (56%) agree that ‘additional environmental regulation has a negative impact on local communities through tax increases and job loss,’” according to a write up from the pollster.

Americans, the pollster found . .

. . .  also believe regulations have an impact on their pocketbook. (more…)

California GOP shows some spine

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:30 pm - March 30, 2011.
Filed under: California politics,Noble Republicans

While I have praised California’s once and current Democratic governor, Jerry Brown, for his attempts to cut the state’s bloated budget, I have faulted him for not seeking solutions to the structural problems which, in large part, account for the constant flow of red ink from Sacramento.  While he has moved to trim myriad extraneous expenditures and gratuitous perks, he has not sought to reform policies which empower a key constituency of his party, public employee unions.

As a result, in order to balance the budget, he has had to resort to raising taxes through referendum.  But, to get that referendum on the ballot, he needs a two-thirds vote in the state legislature which means, he has to rally a few Republicans to his cause.  Well, he got none.  Yesterday, the governor announced that “he halted negotiations with legislative Republicans over a deal to place taxes on the ballot to help resolve California’s remaining $15.4 billion deficit.”

“Yesterday, I stopped the discussions that I had been conducting with various members of the Republican party regarding our state’s massive deficit,” Brown said in a statement this afternoon. “The budget plan that I put forth is balanced between deep cuts and extensions of currently existing taxes and I believe it is in the best interest of California. Under our constitution, however, two Republicans from the Assembly and two from the Senate must agree before this matter can be put to the people.”

“Each and every Republican legislator I’ve spoken to believes that voters should not have this right to vote unless I agree to an ever changing list of collateral demands,” the Democratic governor added.

Senate Republicans on Friday released a list of major policy changes they wanted as a condition of voting for Brown’s budget proposals. The move was widely seen as disruptive to talks, but the governor had reached out to three Senate Republicans this weekend in hopes of salvaging a deal before deciding to call off talks.

One of the three, Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, blamed trial lawyers, unions and “other stakeholders” for being unwilling to negotiate on pension cuts, a long-term cap on spending and regulatory changes. (more…)

Well, in recent days, Log Cabin had started sounding like Republicans

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:43 pm - March 30, 2011.
Filed under: Freedom,Gay PC Silliness,Log Cabin Republicans

In the past few months since R. Clarke Cooper took over at Log Cabin Executive Director of Log Cabin, the group actually started sounding like Republicans, standing up for fiscal responsibility and clarity in world affairs.  Cooper did something that two of his predecessors seemed reluctant to do, criticize Democrats.  He didn’t seem as eager as they to curry favor with the gay left.

But, now Log Cabin has joined the unhappy Barney Frank in signing on to a big-government piece of legislation at odds the conservative idea of freedom.  Today, the ostensibly Republican outfit issued a release calling “for the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)“:

“Americans know that advancing employees by merit is what wins for business. Passing ENDA will take discrimination off the table, and ensure that the best of the best are hired, promoted and retained in their jobs.  . . . Discrimination should have no place in our workforce, and where it exists, it undermines American productivity, innovation, and our ability to compete,” said R. Clarke Cooper, Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director.”

Now, I agree that private employers should not discriminate against gay people, but it is not the government’s business to tell them as much.  Yes, indeed, Americans know that advancing employees by merit is what “wins” for business.  And that is why most employers don’t discriminate against gay people.  Once again, government shouldn’t be telling entrepreneurs how to run their enterprises.

They don’t need a nanny state to tell them as much. If a company discriminates against quality gay people, it will suffer in the marketplace, with a lower caliber of worker and a reduced efficiency of operation.

Alas that Log Cabin cannot put forward a conservative position on gay issues and still feels instead it just has to join the gay groups in looking for solutions to the perceived problems in our community.  With increasing social acceptance of gay people, with more and more corporations adopting non-discrimination policies and offering domestic partnership benefits, ENDA is a solution in search of a problem.  And conservatives would do well to oppose it.

ASSIGNMENT (to help our critics understand what freedom means): Could California Gay Bar Be Required to Serve Man Wearing “I Hate Fags” T-shirt?

In Memoriam Farley Granger

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:40 pm - March 29, 2011.
Filed under: Movies/Film & TV

One of the most attractive men to appear in movies in the 1940s and 50s has died:

Farley Granger—whose boyish handsomeness made him a matinee idol in the 1950s, and lent a crucial air of naivete to his lead roles in the Alfred Hitchcock classics Rope and Strangers On A Train—has died of natural causes. He was 85.

Brilliant in both those roles, which Brian Juergens dubbed as “passive” and “gay-tinged”, he never really had the opportunity to deliver such complex performances or to appear in movies which we readily remember today.  Perhaps, 1950s audiences were just not read for the intense, introspective and sensitive image he projected on the screen.  In many ways, he was ahead of his time, yet he leaves behind two great performances in Hitchcock films.  At least that director recognized his screen potential.

While this heartthrob never identified as “gay” and indeed, shunned the label, he all but acknowledged his homosexuality in a 2007 interview, “I’ve lived the greater part of my life with a man, so obviously that’s the most satisfying to me.

RELATED: Rope as a measure of gays’ cinematic progress

There’s always a villain for the left
(Haven’t you been following their attacks on conservatives?)

In quite possibly the best movie about movies, the 1941 classic Sullivan’s Travels, the title character, when asked how “the girl” fits “into the picture”, responds, “There’s always a girl in the picture. What’s the matter, don’t you go to the movies?

Just as a movie’s gotta have a girl, some on the left just gotta have a villain.  Whether it was Herbert Hoover from 1932 until the rise of Richard Nixon or that cantankerous Californian himself in the 1970s, Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, Newt Gingrich in the 1990s and then George W. Bush and Dick Cheney until Sarah Palin stole the show in 2008, members of the vast left-wing conspiracy have been looking to advance their cause by denigrating a Republican politician.

And now with the Koch brothers, they’ve found a new team to vilify.  While these guys share Reagan conservatives’ commitment to free markets, the billionaires are more libertarian than conservative.  But, no matter, as Matthew Continetti reports in his must-read article, The Paranoid Style in Liberal Politics, in the Weekly Standard:

During the fight over health care and cap and trade in 2009 and 2010, liberals went looking for baddies against whom to mobilize public opinion. The Kochs’ wealth and political involvement made them an obvious choice. Reflecting on the ferocity of the onslaught that ensued, Charles [Koch] told me, “I didn’t anticipate the hatred, the advocacy of violence.” He must not have been paying attention.

Back in 2005, when Republicans controlled the federal government, liberals had asked themselves, Where do we go from here? They’d long studied what they called the “counter-establishment,” the array of conservative foundations, think tanks, and media. These institutions, liberals concluded, had pushed America to the right. What the left required was the mirror image of the Olin and Bradley foundations, the Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute, The Weekly Standard andNational Review, talk radio and Fox News Channel. The left needed to build a “counter-counter-establishment,” a “vast left-wing conspiracy” to combat the “vast right-wing conspiracy” that had impeached Bill Clinton and elected George W. Bush.

Jane Mayer’s August 2010 New Yorker article, “Covert Operations”, “became a sort of Rosetta Stone for Koch addicts. It was the template for any liberal wanting someone to blame for all the trouble in the world. Mayer had unlocked the secrets of the Kochtopus.”  (Emphasis added.)  And some liberals just have to have someone to blame.


Was Obama’s Heart in his “Weird” Libya Speech?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:30 am - March 29, 2011.
Filed under: Obama Watch,War On Terror

When I followed the 2008 campaign on the television monitors at my gym, I had the sense the then-junior Senator from Illinois would go far.  Barack Obama came across well on TV.  And in today’s politics, that type of presence puts a candidate head and shoulders above the rest.

If you judged the president’s remarks last night on Libya not by his words, but by his appearance on television, well then, his speech on Libya last night was a failure.  I watched it while at the gym.  He seemed uncomfortable with this address, as if it were an unfortunate obligation of his profession, something that he had to do, but wanted to get over with it as quickly as possible.  His heart did not seem in it.

Glenn Reynolds who did see it offers a similar evaluation, “Eerily like a Bush speech, but without the conviction.”  While it may have sounded like a Bush speech, Ann Althouse noticed “the implicit disrespect for George Bush:

In this effort, the United States has not acted alone….

“When”, the diva asked, “did we act alone? Is he trying to make us misremember what Bush did?”  Not quite misremember, but instead remind us of the liberal talking point on Iraq, that W was a cowboy who went it alone when the facts (for those of us who remember them correctly) tell a much different story.

John Hinderaker also found the incumbent sniping at his predecessor by making a contrast which “made little sense“.  John offered the consensus view of speech’s conservative critics, that the president couldn’t “resist hedging his bets. Thus, tonight’s speech included a little bit of everything.”

In her excellent analysis of the speech, Jennifer Rubin notes that while Obama’s sentence, “the ability of our people to reach their potential, to make wise choices with our resources, to enlarge the prosperity that serves as a wellspring of our power, and to live the values that we hold so dear”, represents “the perfect encapsulation of Bush’s freedom agenda“, the incumbent “can’t bring himself to embrace the view of those conservatives, you know the ones who pushed to liberate Iraq.”

Victor Davis Hanson offers the best summation of the critiques I read: (more…)

If Bush Were President The Media Would Be Rabid, Part #4,796

Ah, the hypocrisy of our national media for its silence…

Vice President Joe Biden is known for putting his foot in his mouth. Now, his staff is allegedly stuffing reporters in closets.

A Florida newspaper reporter claims Biden’s staffers placed him in a storage closet last week to keep him from chatting up guests during a high-priced fundraiser.

Scott Powers, a veteran political reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, was the lone newsman assigned to cover the $500-a-head bash for Sen. Bill Nelson at the home of developer and Democratic bigwig Alan Ginsburg on Wednesday.

But when he showed up at the posh Winter Park mansion, a “low level” staffer hustled him into a storage closet and stood guard outside the door, Powers told The Drudge Report.

The staffer told Powers he could come out when the veep arrived to give a speech.

“When I’d stick my head out, they’d say, ‘Not yet. We’ll let you know when you can come out,'” Powers told Drudge.

During the wait, while the 150 guests noshed on caprese crostini and chicken Caesar wraps, Powers waited patiently, sipping bottled water and killing time at a makeshift desk set up amid the clutter.

“Sounds like a nice party,” he emailed his editors, along with a picture of the temporary prison, the Orlando Sentinel wrote on Wednesday.

After about an hour and 15 minutes, Powers was let out to listen to Biden and Nelson speak.

If Bush were President, Katie Couric would be broadcasting live tonight from aforementioned closet.

It’s too bad our once valued media has sold itself to the Liberal Devils….. again, Part 4,796.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Sarah Palin: bringing out the adolescent in liberal pundits

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:24 pm - March 28, 2011.
Filed under: Blogging,PDS (Palin Derangement Syndrome)

There must be some kind of a trigger in certain liberals’ psyches that whenever they encounter a conservative argument they can’t understand — or at odds with their vision of what conservatives should be saying — they respond attacking their favorite right-wing demons, be they George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin or the Koch Brothers.

And they seem particularly vicious when dealing with Mrs. Palin — and other attractive conservative women.

This morning when I woke to check the commentary to a piece I had posted in the wee hours of the morning, I found that instead of addressing the point of the post, a memorial tribute to prominent Democratic politician who had shown class, dignity and grace on the public stage, particularly in the twilight of her life, one of our perennial critics responded not by acknowledging the qualities of Geraldine Ferraro but instead by attacking Sarah Palin.

I found these attacks particularly ironic, given that when I crafted the post, I had intended to reference Ferraro and Palin’s joint appearance on FoxNews as an example of the Democrat’s class, but chose to exclude it, fearing it might detract from the tribute I wished to offer Mrs. Ferraro.  A number of our readers also noted the irony, with Sonicfrog finding the critic’s response “priceless” and Sean A wondering about some liberals’ obsession with Sarah Palin:

Obsessed? Don’t be silly, of course liberals aren’t obsessed with Sarah Palin. Clearly a post entitled “In Memoriam Geraldine Ferraro” demands a response that attacks Sarah Palin.

Sarah Palin has really become the official left-wing panty buncher.  Jennifer Rubin finds that it’s not just Sarah Palin.  Other conservative women cause liberal pundits to get their panties all in a bunch, spurring them to act “like college freshmen catcalling from the balcony of their fraternity house“.

What is it about attractive and outspoken conservative women that drives certain left-wingers bonkers?

“Obama Ghraib” and the MSM

Remember all the stories the mainstream media devoted to “what is being dubbed as the “Kill Teams” – rogue elements of US forces accused of intentionally killing unarmed Afghani civilians.” Jazz Shaw sure does, but he points out that they hardly gave this story the attention they devoted to the horrific photographs of prisoner abuse at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison now nearly seven years ago.  And he hints at one reason behind the media’s apparent disinterest in this story:

The real question here crossed my mind while watching more than an hour of television coverage of this story this morning, as well as reading the Rolling Stone article which is more than eight pages and I don’t know how many thousands of words long. Many names are mentioned, ranging from the individual soldiers involved and their direct supervisors all the way up to General McChrystal. But one name seems to be conspicuously absent from all of this coverage. Can you guess who it is? I’ll give you a hint… his initials are B.H.O.

When I suggested this to a friend this morning he responded by saying, “I don’t really agree that it’s right to hang every act of soldier misconduct on whomever is president. If a soldier gets drunk on leave, drives drunk, and kills a motorist, is it the president’s fault?”

It’s an important point. The president is definitely not responsible for every single action by every soldier acting badly such as in the example he cited.

He’s right.   The president is not responsible for the rogue actions of the bad apples in our armed forces.  Yet, during Iraq, our mainstream media spent weeks trying to tie the abuse at Abu Ghraib to the then-president even though the Army had begun an investigation of the crimes long before the photographs became public. (more…)

Anarchists Rallying Against Budget Cuts

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:31 pm - March 28, 2011.
Filed under: Politics abroad,Random Thoughts

Noting the prominent position anarchists played in the recent London riots, Glenn Reynolds asks a question which crossed my mind as well:

But if you’re protesting against government budget cuts, can you really call yourself an anarchist?

Obama’s War for Oil?

Log Cabin Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper is not the only one contending that our normally loquacious “Commander-in-Chief owes an explanation to the American people” for the Libya operation.  In her column on Friday, Peggy Noonan noted the same thing:

I cannot for the life of me see how an American president can launch a serious military action without a full and formal national address in which he explains to the American people why he is doing what he is doing, why it is right, and why it is very much in the national interest. He referred to his aims in parts of speeches and appearances when he was in South America, but now he’s home. More is needed, more is warranted, and more is deserved. He has to sit at that big desk and explain his thinking, put forward the facts as he sees them, and try to garner public support. He has to make a case for his own actions. It’s what presidents do!

Read the whole thing.  The Athena of punditry is back on her game.  Her words must have resonated with the administration; not too long after they appeared on the Wall Street Journal’s web-page, the White House announced that the president would be delivering a speech today on the Libya operation.

Noting the “firestorm of criticism about President Obama’s failure to lead on Libya and his refusal to articulate his goal(s) for the war,” Jennifer Rubin found it odd when the administration made the announcement in a “late afternoon ‘news dump'”, trying “to slip his about-face by the media before the weekend”.   Normally, presidents, she remarked, can’t wait to get their message across.

Maybe the reason this president is speaking out only reluctantly on Libya is that he really doesn’t have a message.  He chose to act, not out of principle, but out of fear, fear that Gadhafi’s survival would mean continued tension in Libya, with ever higher oil prices.  And he knows that if gas remains at or near $4 a gallon, his reelection prospects would look particularly bleak.  In short, this is all about keeping oil prices down.   (more…)

In Memoriam Geraldine Ferraro

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:25 am - March 28, 2011.
Filed under: Civil Discourse,Strong Women

Oftentimes a defining characteristic for a public official is not how he wields power and conducts himself when in office, but instead how he concedes defeat and exits the public stage.  Some, like former House Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill choose to exit the stage without the voters tossing them out and and do so with grace and dignity.

That Democrat set a pattern that all federal legislators should emulate, returning to the jurisdiction which elected him, where he wrote his memoir (a quite good one at that), enjoyed being a grandfather and watching the Red Sox play ball (among other things).

Although his former House colleague did not exit the stage as willingly as he and while she continued to play a role in her party’s politics even after her defeat, Geraldine Ferraro conducted herself with no less dignity on the public stage than did O’Neill.  Indeed, in her final years, as a regular guest on FoxNews, she did much to promote her party’s agenda to a more conservative audience — and show that one could defend liberal ideas without insulting or otherwise belittling conservative individuals.

She, like other liberal regulars on FoxNews, including former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, mastered the art of civil discourse in the sound-byte format of discussions on a TV news network.  She showed considerable respect for her ideological adversaries — and demonstrated an understanding of their ideas, all the while speaking her mind.

When she died on Saturday, politicos, reporters and pundits cited her many accomplishments, including the one event which earned her a place in the history books, her nomination as the Democratic candidate for the Vice Presidency in 1984, the first woman to serve on a major party’s ticket, it is important also to remember how nobly she conducted herself long after that nomination thrust her into the national limelight, particularly in the twilight of her life.

She provided an example that all public figures should emulate.  On both sides of the political aisle.  A true stateswoman she.

UPDATE:   Michael Barone offers a nice tribute here.

How states with pro-public employee union policies suffer

In contrasting Texas’s explosive population increase in Texas with the lackluster growth in California, Michael Barone offers some statistics on how how each states’ public policy impact their economic growth:

Public policy plays an important role here — one that’s especially relevant as state governments seek to cut spending and reduce the power of the public employee unions that seek to raise spending and prevent accountability.

The lesson is that high taxes and strong public employee unions tend to stifle growth and produce a two-tier society like coastal California’s.

The eight states with no state income tax grew 18 percent in the last decade. The other states (including the District of Columbia) grew just 8 percent.

The 22 states with right-to-work laws grew 15 percent in the last decade. The other states grew just 6 percent.

The 16 states where collective bargaining with public employees is not required grew 15 percent in the last decade. The other states grew 7 percent.

Sometimes, I think that Democratic politicians and their allies don’t see the link between the policies they advocate and the deficits their states are experiencing, not to mention between said big-government policies and the economic health of their various jurisdictions.

Libya operation could use George W. Bush’s coalition-building skills

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:01 pm - March 27, 2011.
Filed under: Bush-hatred,Leadership,War On Terror

Isn’t this,” Jennifer Rubin asks, “proof that George W. Bush’s rap as a ‘unilateralist’ is bunk?

President Barack Obama has touted his emphasis on multilateralism in the U.S. military intervention in Libya, but, for political, operational, and legal reasons, Obama’s “coalition of the willing” is smaller than any major multilateral operation since the end of the Cold War. The Cable compiled a chart listing all the countries that contributed at least some military assets to the five major military operations in which the United States participated in a coalition during the last 20 years: the 1991 Gulf War (32 countries participating), the 1995 Bosnia mission (24 countries), the 1999 Kosovo mission (19 countries), the 2002 invasion of Afghanistan (48 countries), and the 2003 invasion of Iraq (40 countries), at the height of the size of each coalition. As of today, only 15 countries, including the United States, have committed to providing a military contribution to the Libya war.

. . . .

Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said that the administration’s effort to build the coalition was hampered by its stated desire to hand off the leadership of the Libya intervention to NATO.  

“[I]f you [focus on the handoff], you don’t deserve a lot of credit for leadership,” he said. “Obama in his deference to [getting out of the lead] has not only wanted other countries to do as much as they could, he has essentially forgone his responsibility to build the coalition.”

Is that scholar from a left-of-center think tank thus saying that we’d be better off with the type of leadership George W. Bush provided?

So much for transparency

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:42 pm - March 27, 2011.
Filed under: Biden Watch,Democrats & Double Standards

Can you imagine how much media this would have gotten had the most pro-gay Vice President in U.S. history done this: Vice President’s staff lock journalist in a closet for hours during a fundraiser to stop him talking to guests:

The White House website proudly says ‘President Obama is committed to creating the most open and accessible administration in American history.’

But try telling Vice President Joe Biden’s staff that, after they held a local reporter in a closet for hours after he was invited to cover a Florida political fundraiser because they did not want him talking with the guests.

As the unaware $500-a-head invitees dined on caprese crostini with oven-dried mozzarella and basil, rosemary flatbread with grapes honey and gorgonzola cheese, grilled chicken Caesar and garden vegetable wraps, veteran reporter Scott Powers was locked away.

Doug Powers reminds us that it “wasn’t even two weeks ago that White House spokesman Jay Carney said journalists should be protected and allowed to do their work.”

On lesbian bed death and ex-gays

Several years ago when volunteering at Outfest, I ended up the sole male in a conclave of lesbians.  When the conversation turned to sex, I learned a new term, “lesbian bed death.”  A young woman in the group who quite enjoyed, shall we say, intimate encounters with members of her own sex, denounced those older ladies who don’t have such encounters as regularly as did she.

When she became older, she vowed, she would continue to be as active as she then was.  She seemed almost angry at her older counterparts for not partaking as much as she did.  I interjected that maybe, as she aged, she would come to value other things more.  But, she was adamant. She would remain sexually active throughout her life.  As should all women.

Now, I had never previously heard the term — and would later learn the notion has often been discussed, its conclusion has also been disputed:

But where did this idea of “lesbian bed death” come from? Thank sociologist Pepper Schwartz, who, in her 1983 book American Couples, asserted that lesbians have less sex and intimacy than other couples. Although her methodology and results were later challenged, the idea of lesbian bed death has taken on a life of its own, with damaging results.

Despite the shibboleth that women’s sexuality is something wild that has to be controlled, and the stereotype of lesbians as the asexual mirror-image of horndog gay men, the truth lies somewhere in between: Lesbians who have been sleeping together for decades manage to keep their love lives spicy. Besides, the lesbians who are in long-term relationships would argue that all couples get tired of marathon sex.

As I pondered this notion that summer when it seemed I was exclusively managing theaters screening women’s films with overwhelmingly female patrons, I noted that most of the older lesbian couples seemed perfectly happy.  If a healthy sex life is conducive to human happiness, then clearly these women had such a life.

Perhaps, some of those (apparently) happy couples did indeed suffer from bed death.  Could it be that at a certain stage in the relationship, physical intimacy is no longer necessary to maintain emotional intimacy, that is, they didn’t need sex to remain connected?

Or, simply put, I was asking if a committed couple could indeed find happiness without having an active sex life? (more…)