Monday, February 21, 2011

Gov. Scott Walker Sits Down With Heritage and Answers the Tough Questions

From our friends at The Heritage Foundation:

Teachers’ unions and representatives of every liberal interest group in the country may have taken over the streets of Madison for demonstrations, marches and speeches, but inside the Wisconsin governor’s mansion its chief tenant remains calm and resolute. The Badger State’s budget will be balanced, Gov. Scott Walker (R) assured The Heritage Foundation in a one-on-one interview. The stakes in Wisconsin are high not just here, but across America.

“I’ve said all along the protesters have every right to be there, but I’m not going to let tens of thousands overload or overshadow the millions of people in Wisconsin, the taxpayers of the state, who want us to do the right thing and balance the budget,” Gov. Walker told us.

Fourteen state Senate Democrats fled to Illinois last week, preventing a quorum and blocking passage of Walker’s budget repair bill. But that doesn’t dissuade Gov. Walker. He told Heritage he would prefer to see the stalemate last indefinitely rather than compromise on his principles.

For the strength to stand so firmly, Gov. Walker said he draws on his past experience as Milwaukee County executive—a fiscal conservative leading a county that voted overwhelmingly for President Obama in 2008 by a margin of 67% to 32%.

The political role model Gov. Walker looks up to is also important, as it is none other than President Ronald Reagan. Of Reagan, Gov. Walker said, “He knew who he was, he knew where he was going and he did what he had to do to get there.”

Reagan was no stranger to bold and difficult decisions, and Gov. Walker said he was prepared to follow in the former president’s footsteps for as long as he served in office.

In 1981, about six months after taking office, Reagan defined the tenor of his administration with his own bold decision to fire more than 11,000 air traffic controllers who ignored the president’s orders to return to work. Reagan emerged victorious, his presidency emboldened by the conflict.

The stakes were high for Reagan then—he risked an enormous public backlash by disrupting commercial air travel—and they’re high for Gov. Walker now. In many ways, Wisconsin will be the prototype for other deficit-laden states whose leaders attempt to balance their budgets.

Gov. Walker is aware of just what Wisconsin—and the rest of the country—stands to gain or lose with the ultimate outcome of this debate. That’s precisely why he insists the outcome be a balanced budget. For that, he’ll endure personal insults, the comparisons to deposed Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak and Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. He’ll face days of chanting outside his window and threats to his safety.

In fact, Gov. Walker is not merely enduring—he’s “feeling good,” he said. He’s even found something in common with the protesters: They share the same taste in music. The songs blaring over the loudspeaker take him back to his college and high school days.

The music’s not the only aspect of the protests Gov. Walker appreciates. He’s also grateful they’ve remained peaceful—even this weekend, when his supporters turned up to counter the protesters. Maybe that’s why Gov. Walker seems so grounded even in the midst of the churning: He’s appreciative of, rather than worried about, what the protests signify—that the people of Madison, those on both sides of the issue, care enough to come to the Capitol to debate.

But that’s where he draws the line, promising to remain committed to his principles in the face of adversity. “We have to be clear and realistic about our challenges,” he said, “but optimistic about our solutions.”

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Wisconsin Doubleheader on Sunday Morning!

Rep. Paul Ryan on "Face The Nation" and Gov. Scott Walker on "Fox News Sunday". Two of the R.C. Blog's favorites....

Joe Bonamassa "Dust Bowl" Album To Be Released In March

The world's No. 1 guitarist and blues man Joe Bonamassa is set to release his latest studio album "Dust Bowl" on March 22. You can pre-order the new album by clicking on the album cover link below.

This is Bonamassa’s ninth studio release on his own J&R Adventures label, which he created with longtime manager Roy Weisman. Dust Bowl was produced by Kevin “Caveman” Shirley (Black Crowes, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin) making it their sixth collaboration in five years. Shirley most recently produced Bonamassa’s 2010 release Black Rock, which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Blues Chart and #39 on the Top 200.

Dust Bowl was recorded in sessions at Black Rock Studios in Santorini, Greece, Ben’s Studio in Nashville, TN, The Cave in Malibu, CA and The Village in Los Angeles, CA. It combines the gritty, blues-based tones of Bonamassa’s first albums with the fluid, genre-defying sounds he’s mastered in the years since and adds a dash of country from Joe’s collaborations with the best of Nashville including legends Vince Gill and John Hiatt.

“Dust Bowl,” Shirley explains, “is very firmly rooted in the Blues, but definitely explores the outer reaches of the genre and showcases Joe’s amazing virtuosity as he digs deep into his psyche in some lengthy and blistering guitar solos.”

“This is the best album we’ve ever done,” adds Bonamassa. “I’m finding more inspiration in storytelling in my 30s, in writing songs that are about something more profound than ‘my baby left me.’ I like albums that are made with the right intentions and sound organic and a little rough around the edges, like a great band playing live in the room, and that’s what we accomplished with Dust Bowl.”

On the John Hiatt/John Porter-penned “Tennessee Plates,” Hiatt duets with Bonamassa and Vince Gill lends his signature guitar stylings. Gill also plays on “Sweet Rowena,” a song he composed with frequent writing partner Pete Wasner. Arlan Scheirbaum, Beth Hart and Blondie Chaplin play on the Michael Kamen/Tim Curry track “No Love On The Street,” and Glenn Hughes sings on the Paul Rodgers-penned “Heartbreaker.”

The album opens with Bonamassa originals “Slow Train,” an old-style British Blues song, and title track “Dust Bowl,” the album’s first single. “The title track of the album just describes my life. It really fits my voice, it fits me as a solo artist and just has a really nice feel to it.” Other standout originals include “Black Lung Heartache,” “The Last Matador of Bayonne,” and “The Whale That Swallowed Jonah.”

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Madison Disgrace

Column by Larry Kudlow on National Review Online:

The Democratic/government-union days of rage in Madison, Wis., are a disgrace. Paul Ryan calls it Cairo coming to Madison. But the protesters in Egypt were pro-Democracy. The government-union protesters in Madison are anti-democracy. In fact, Democratic legislators are fleeing the state so as not to vote on Gov. Scott Walker’s budget cuts.

The teachers union is going on strike in Milwaukee and elsewhere. They ought to be fired. Think Reagan PATCO in 1981. Think Calvin Coolidge police strike in 1919.

Governor Walker is facing a $3.6 billion budget deficit, and he wants state workers to pay one-half of their pension costs and 12.6 percent of their health benefits. Currently, most state employees pay nothing for their pensions and virtually nothing for their health insurance. That’s an outrage.

Nationwide, state and local government unions have a 45 percent total-compensation advantage over their private-sector counterpart. With high-pay compensation and virtually no benefits co-pay, the politically arrogant unions are bankrupting America — which by some estimates is suffering from $3 trillion in unfunded liabilities.

Exempting police, fire, and state troopers, Governor Walker would end collective bargaining for the rest. Unions could still represent workers, but could not get pay increases above the CPI. Nor could they force employees to pay dues. And in exchange for this, Walker promises no furloughs for layoffs.

So, having lost badly in the last election, the government-union Democrats have taken to the streets. This is a European-style revolt, like those seen in Greece, France, and elsewhere. So it becomes greater than just a fiscal issue. It is becoming a law-and-order issue.

President Obama, who keeps telling us he’s a budget cutter, has taken the side of the public unions. John Boehner correctly rapped Obama’s knuckles for this. If the state of Wisconsin voters elected a Chris Christie-type governor with a Republican legislature, then it is a local states’ rights issue.

Obama should stay out. And Governor Walker should stand tall and stick to his principles. Otherwise, a nationwide revolt of state-government unions will destroy the country as well as its finances.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wisconsin Govenor Scott Walker Goes After State Public Unions

The RC Blog proudly supported Scott Walker for governor of Wisconsin almost two years ago and predicted that he would quickly become not only a star in the Midwest, but one in the nation.  He has not disappointed.

He rocked Madison with Friday's announcement that the Wisconsin legislature would take up a bill that he supports that disbands the state's public unions and requires state employees to contribute more to pensions and health insurance.  With a vote in the Wisconsin Senate expected today, the WI Democratic members left the state! There are also mass revolts in the streets of Wisconsin.  This all comes on the heels of his decision to send Federal funds for high speed rail from Milwaukee to Madison back to Washington, which roiled Dems nationwide.

Over the past 48 hours, Gov. Walker has been vilified by the press and seems to have taken the title as "Most Hated U.S. Conservative" by the Mainstream Media from Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli.  Thumbs up to Gov. Walker in his attempt to fix the state's budget and put Wisconsin on better footing for the future.  Unions nationwide have been a core component of our nation's fall over the past 25 years.  They have outlived their usefulness.

We continue to support and applaud Governor Walkers efforts.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Reagan vs. the Progressives

By Paul Kengor on The American Spectator:

America this week marks the centennial of Ronald Reagan's birth. Born February 6, 1911, Reagan lived a remarkable life, with a presidency of utmost consequence, winning, among other things, 44 states in 1980 and 49 in 1984, plus a Cold War against a truly Evil Empire. Oh, yes, he also won a long battle -- less recognized -- against progressives. It was a crucial battle -- even less understood -- that began for Reagan, with fascinating twists, back in Hollywood. The Reagan centennial is a golden opportunity to consider what happened there and to draw lessons for what America faces with progressives today.

In the 1980s, the progressives Reagan faced called themselves "liberals." In the 1940s, when Reagan first encountered them, as a liberal himself, they weren't shy about calling themselves progressives. More telling, Reagan was shocked to find that many of those spearheading "progressive" groups and causes weren't really progressives but were communists exploiting progressives, their labels, and their organizations. Understanding this is no mere historical curiosity; no, for Reagan, it was a life-changing wake-up call, initiating a personal-political transformation that, ultimately, and dramatically, led to the presidency and victory in the Cold War. That path included Reagan handing the progressives their biggest setback since the founding of their movement -- a setback they're striving to "change" and "reform" right now.

Before considering Reagan's conversion, it's key to understand what was happening with Hollywood's progressives in this period. Many "progressives," especially following the surge by Communist Party USA (CPUSA) during the Great Depression, were actually closet communists lifting the progressive label to dupe progressives. This was done quite cynically and successfully, whether ordered and orchestrated from CPUSA headquarters in New York, from CPUSA's branch office in Los Angeles, or from Comintern headquarters in Moscow. It's fascinating, and would be hilarious if not so sad, that the Soviets even referred to Joe Stalin as a progressive. The Soviet Ministry of Education framed Stalin as "the great leader of the Soviet people and of all progressive mankind."

Similarly, in Washington, some self-proclaimed "progressives" serving President Franklin Delano Roosevelt were actually communists penetrating and influencing the administration: Lauchlin Currie, Harry Dexter White, Harold Glasser, Alger Hiss. Even FDR's most trusted adviser, Harry Hopkins, may have been a closet communist masquerading as a progressive. That's the conclusion of some experts who have dissected the Venona transcripts.

The communist pilfering of the "progressive" label was evident in a major Congressional report in December 1961, the most in-depth investigation of communist front groups ever done. Titled, "Guide to Subversive Organizations and Publications," the investigation went back to the early 20th century. Probably the most popular title listing in the 994-page cumulative index is the word "progressive."

That brings me to Hollywood, where the exploitation of the progressive label was especially rich, and where communists truly desired to hijack the motion-picture industry. Progressives would be central to that plan.

Consider the group, Progressive Citizens of America (PCA), which was thoroughly penetrated. One liberal actor exploited was the great Gene Kelly, a pleasant, patriotic American. Kelly was enlisted as a progressive prop to stand in front of a giant American flag and lead the Pledge of Allegiance. He rallied the progressives in reverential renditions of "America." In one sorry display, the all-American boy was cast to provide the introduction at PCA's initial meeting in Los Angeles on February 11, 1947. The evening's theme was established before Kelly spoke, as a large screen flashed photographs of bombed Hiroshima, with rolling footage of the dead and maimed. That evening, PCA board members would be elected. On the ballot were secret hard-line Hollywood communists like John Howard Lawson and Dalton Trumbo, as well as non-communist liberals like Edward G. Robinson, Humphrey Bogart, John Garfield, Gregory Peck, Lena Horne, and Melvyn Douglas.

Take another sorry case, where Katharine Hepburn was the opening speaker at a May 19, 1947 Progressive Party Rally at Hollywood Legion Stadium. Draped in a long, flame-red dress, the liberal New Englander read a speech scripted by Trumbo -- and so admired by People's Daily World that it reprinted the entire text.

This manipulation was old hat for the comrades, who found no shortage of progressives to do the bidding of Stalin.

Alas, into this waded an actor named Ronald Reagan, mid-30s, politically passionate. As a committed FDR liberal, Reagan was susceptible to the conniving of communists. He was targeted immediately after World War II, a quick victim of several front-groups. He was very "naïve," Reagan admitted later, "blindly and busily" joining "every organization I could find that would guarantee to save the world." He was "an active" but unwitting participant "in what now and then turned out to be communist causes." The deceived Reagan assumed these folks were "liberals, and being liberals ourselves, [we] bedded down with them."

Most redeeming about Ronald Reagan is that when he learned, he really learned. By October 1947, he was testifying before Congress on communist infiltration. Later still, he would explain: "The communist plan for Hollywood was remarkably simple. It was merely to take over the motion picture business … [as] a grand world-wide propaganda base." Before TV and mass production of foreign films, said Reagan, American movies dominated 95% of the world's screens, with an audience of "500,000,000 souls" around the globe. "Takeover of this enormous plant and its gradual transformation into a communist gristmill was a grandiose idea. It would have been a magnificent coup for our enemies."

In Reagan's view, those were the stakes, prodded by a "master scheme" to "line up big-name dupes to collect money and create prestige." Progressives were central to the plan. Even at the height of party membership, CPUSA never had more than about 100,000 members; it couldn't advance without progressives.

Americans needed to wake up, as had Reagan.

Of course, the rest is history. Reagan began a historic march to the presidency that, by the 1980s, threatened to squash the progressive long march that preceded him. He had splendid success, but one thing about progressives -- which Reagan understood -- is their patient ability to work slowly, incrementally, with victories not necessarily at the ballot box but in other influential facets of American life, like education. They waited and waited, until, in November 2008, enough oblivious Americans, especially moderates and independents, were duped like Reagan once had been -- and voted into office a progressive-in-chief campaigning under the banner of "change." Some things never change.

We must learn what Ronald Reagan learned: The progressive left isn't going away, ever-awaiting the next step in the evolutionary chain. It's an ebb and flow, but always creeping toward centralization; or, what Reagan called "creeping socialism." We must awaken, providing progressives with more setbacks. Most of all, we must not to be fooled, misled, duped, certainly not more than once. Ronald Reagan's life, and path, is a history and life lesson for all of us.

Reagan at 100 -- Super Bowl XLV Tribute Commercial

Watch President Reagan's Centennial Celebration Events Live!

Both tonight at tomorrow, there are a number of events surrounding President Reagan's 100th birthday that can be watched online.

Saturday, February 5, 2011 -- 7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
The Reagan Foundation will stream live A Concert for America -- A Tribute to Ronald Reagan.  The concert is comprised of live music and in-person and video tributes from world leaders and prominent individuals whose lives were impacted by the legacy of President Reagan.  The evening's lineup includes The Beach Boys, Lonestar, Lee Greenwood, Fred Thompson, Jerry West, and video tributes from George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.

Sunday, February 6, 2011 -- 10:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
The Reagan Foundation will stream live President Reagan's official birthday celebration.  The program includes a 21-gun salute, a F-18 flyover, keynote remarks by Secretary James Baker and the official laying of the presidential wreath on President Reagan's memorial site.

Click here to watch these events....

Feulner on Reagan at 100

It's been more than six years since our nation bid farewell to Ronald Reagan, born 100 years ago this month. Yet it seems at times as though he never left.

Consider how Reagan's name surfaced repeatedly after the most recent State of the Union address as pundits - both liberal and conservative - weighed the speech's effectiveness. His Photoshopped image is on the cover of Time, his arm draped around President Obama.

"If Obama has bounced back from the drubbing his party took at the polls last November," Richard Norton Smith writes in the magazine, "it is in no small measure because he has been acting positively Reaganesque as of late."

Acting, perhaps, but not governing. It's worth reminding ourselves as we mark the centennial of Reagan's birth what he accomplished - and how.

It's important to do this in part because much of what passes for praise of Reagan is veiled criticism. Reagan is hailed, for example, as a great communicator. And with good reason: Few politicians could match his rhetorical skill and his ability to articulate great themes that resonated with the American people.

But that's where many on the left stop. What they really seek to emulate is not his policies or his agenda. They hope that if they study his methods, a little of his "magic" will rub off on the liberal policies that have proved such a hard sell over the past two years. Dress the liberal agenda in Reaganesque terms, and the electorate is yours, right?

What condescending nonsense. It wasn't just Reagan's ability to communicate that endeared him to millions of Americans. It was the fact that he was articulating their most deeply cherished beliefs. It went well beyond the optimistic outlook - which, although welcome, is something any president can attempt. It was because he spoke in direct terms that avoided the usual buzzword approach we get from Washington.

He used that approach to say what many Americans thought: Taxes are too high - let's cut them. Inflation is too high - let's tame it. The Cold War can be won, not managed, and the world made safer for everybody - let's do it.

The fable of the left (the hard left, anyway - many others are coming around) is that this was all smoke and mirrors. But the facts tell a different story. Starting from the "stagflation" mess his predecessor handed him, Reagan created a genuine economic miracle. After a three-stage tax cut and a reduction in government growth, our economy began to expand - by 31 percent from 1983 to 1989 in real terms. Americans of every class - rich, middle-class and poor - saw their wealth increase.

It was our nation's longest peacetime expansion in a long and prosperous history. By decade's end, we had added the economic equivalent of a new Germany to our gross national product. Inflation was cut by two-thirds, interest rates by half. Unemployment dropped to the lowest level in 15 years.

Even before the end of his first term, the signs of distinct progress were unmistakable. Small wonder that Reagan's famous "Morning in America" campaign resonated with so many voters, leading to a landslide re-election in 1984. Starting from the "stagflation" mess his predecessor handed him, Reagan created a genuine economic miracle.

People loved him for it. That's why so many politicians, both Republicans and Democrats, seek to portray themselves as latter-day Reagans. To decide whether they deserve this mantle, however, consider this quote from his farewell address:

" 'We the people' tell the government what to do; it doesn't tell us. 'We the people' are the driver, the government is the car. And we decide where it should go, and by what route, and how fast."

Only a politician who agrees with this - and governs accordingly - can be considered Reagan's true heir.

Ed Feulner is president of the Heritage Foundation (

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Classical Virtues of Ronald Reagan

From our good friend, Dr. Lee Edwards at the Heritage Foundation, who wrote this piece on earlier this week...

The best political leaders embody the classical virtues of courage, prudence, justice, and wisdom. President Ronald Reagan had all these qualities and in abundance.


When he was shot on March 30, 1981, President Reagan seemed to spend most of his time reassuring everyone that he was not seriously hurt, although the bullet had stopped only one inch from his heart and the doctors were very concerned about his substantial blood loss. As he was wheeled into the operating room, he noted the long faces of his three top aides—James Baker, Ed Meese, and Michael Deaver—standing in the hall and asked, “Who’s minding the store?” When a distraught Nancy Reagan made her way to him, he lightly said, “Honey, I forgot to duck.”

Both conservative and liberal commentators lauded Reagan. “The president’s imperishable example of grace under pressure,” wrote George Will, “gave the nation a tonic it needed.” “Everybody knows,” wrote James Reston of The New York Times, “that people seldom act in the margin between life and death with such light-hearted valor as they do in the movies. Yet Ronald Reagan did.”

It also takes courage to challenge an enemy like the Soviet Union when the stakes are high. There was vehement Soviet opposition to his Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), but the President did not budge. At the Reykjavik summit, when both sides were very close to a far-ranging agreement on nuclear weapons, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev pressed hard for laboratory testing only of SDI. Reagan refused. His steadfast commitment to SDI convinced the Kremlin that it could not win, or afford, a continuing arms race and led to an end of the Cold War at the bargaining table and not on the battlefield.


Rather than dispatching American combat troops to trouble spots, Reagan assisted pro-freedom anti-Communist forces in Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Angola, and Cambodia. National security analyst Peter Schweizer estimates that the cash-strapped Soviets spent $8 billion a year on counterinsurgency operations against U.S.-backed guerrillas. The accelerating Soviet losses in Afghanistan demoralized the Kremlin and the Red Army, hastening the collapse of the Soviet empire.

At home, Reagan practiced the politics of prudence by relying upon his “70 percent rule”: If he could get 70 percent of what he wanted in the face of opposition, he would take his chances on coming back and getting the other 30 percent later. He wanted his 25 percent tax cut to take effect immediately in 1981 but agreed to phase it in over three years because the cuts were across the board. He was that rare politician who knew when to bend a little and when to stand firm.


Although it was not politically correct, President Reagan steadfastly defended the rights of every American—from the moment of conception to that of natural death. For him the sanctity of life was not a slogan but a fundamental principle to be honored. When in 1983 he wrote “Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation” (an essay for Human Life Review later published as a book), he became the first sitting President to write a book while in the White House.

His Administration sought not only to put America’s financial house in order and rebuild the nation’s defenses but also to put America’s moral house in order by protecting the unborn and allowing God back into the classroom.


President Reagan had the ability to foresee what others could not. In the early 1980s, liberal intellectuals such as Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and John K. Galbraith were lauding the economic accomplishments of the Soviet Union. At the same time, Reagan told the British Parliament that a “global campaign for freedom” would prevail over the forces of tyranny and that “the Soviet Union itself is not immune to this reality.” By the end of the decade, as he predicted, Marxism–Leninism was dumped on the ash heap of history.

In late 1981 and all of 1982, when his tax cuts had not yet kicked in and the U.S. economy still lagged, President Reagan reassured his worried aides and counseled them to stay the course. He had faith in the American people, who, if they could be “liberated from the restraints imposed on them by government,” would pull “the country out of its tailspin.” In the closing days of 1982, America began the longest peacetime economic expansion in U.S. history up to that time, creating 17 million new jobs during the Reagan years.

Ronald Reagan’s trust in the people and his love of freedom were rooted in two documents—the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. From his very first national speech on behalf of Barry Goldwater’s presidential bid in October 1964 to his farewell address to the nation in January 1989, Reagan turned again and again to the wisdom of the Founders. Indeed, more than once, he sounded like one of them.

Reiterating the central role of the American Revolution, the President said: “Ours was the first revolution in the history of mankind that truly reversed the course of government, and with three little words, ‘We the people.’”

We tell the government what to do, he said; it doesn’t tell us. This simple and yet revolutionary idea of “We the people,” he explained, was the underlying basis for everything he had tried to do as President.

Classical Virtues

The President reassured the men and women of the “Reagan Revolution” that they had made a difference. They had made America—that “shining city on a hill”—stronger and freer and had left her in good hands.

The city never shone brighter than when it was led by Ronald Reagan, who exemplified the virtues of courage, prudence, justice, and wisdom.

Lee Edwards, Ph.D., is Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought in the B. Kenneth Simon Center for American Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

Planned Parenthood Busted Again!

Live has done it again! You must watch this video as two undercover operatives from Live Action catch a Planned Parenthood manager in New Jersey doing what we all know Planned Parenthood does. It is both sickening in terms of how they treat minors and promote abortion and infuriating to know that Planned Parenthood receives more than $300 million annually from U.S. taxpayers. There are some new members of the 112th Congress trying to put an end to their federal funding. Let’s hope and pray it can get accomplished!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

MRC Report Released Recalling Hateful Rhetoric Directed at Reagan

As the nation prepares to pay tribute to former President Ronald Reagan on the 100th anniversary of his birth, it is amazing to consider that his success at turning the U.S. away from 1960s-style liberalism was accomplished in the face of a daily wave of news media hostility. The media’s first draft of history was more myth than reality: that Reagan only brought the nation poverty, ignorance, bankruptcy, and a dangerously imbalanced foreign and defense policy.

The Media Research Center has assembled a report documenting the “objective” national media’s most biased takes on President Reagan, his record and his times, including 22 video clips and matching MP3 audio:

I. Reagan the Man: Reporters often agonized over why the American public liked Reagan, that they couldn’t see through the White House spell and see Reagan in the contemptuous light that the media did.

II. The Reaganomics Recovery: Reagan’s policies caused a dramatic economic turn-around from high inflation and unemployment to steady growth, but the good news was obscured by bad news of trade deficits, greedy excesses of the rich, and supposedly booming homelessness.

III. Reagan and National Defense: Ronald Reagan may have won the Cold War, but to the media, the Reagan defense buildup seemed like a plot designed to deny government aid to the poor and hungry, and was somehow the only spending responsible for “bankrupting” the country.

IV. Reagan and Race: Using their definition of “civil rights” — anything which adds government-mandated advantages for racial minorities is “civil rights” progress — liberal journalists suggested that somehow Ronald Reagan was against liberty for minorities.

V. The Reagan Legacy: The media painted the Reagan era as a horrific time of low ethics, class warfare on the poor, and crushing government debt.

To download a PDF copy of the MRC report, click here.

Monday, January 31, 2011 Confirms Virginia AG Cuccinelli's EPA Claim

On January 17, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli was speaking at a political rally about a number of the EPA's job killing regulations.

In that speech, Ken said:

"[Tailpipe emissions rules], if fully implemented with all the regulations that go with it, they will keep the temperature from rising nearly five one-hundredths of a degree Fahrenheit by 2050."

Since his speech, the regional and national media has taken issue with AG Cuccinelli's statement and claimed that it is false, as the press has done with many of his other statements regarding the environment and EPA. 

Thankfully,, a non-partisan fact-check organization started by the St. Petersburg Times to help find the truth in American politics, completed a review of AG Cuccinelli's statement and confirmed its validity.

PolitiFact said:

"The EPA said the reductions would be between 0.011 degrees Fahrenheit and 0.027 degrees Fahrenheit and would occur by 2100. The agency's claim is even more modest than Cuccinelli suggested."

What's the big deal with this?

According to PolitiFact: "The agency says these new rules would add about $950 to the price of each new car but that the higher price would be offset by lower fuel costs over three to five years."

Let's recap:

The EPA wants to impose $950 per car in regulatory costs - to affect a change of, at most, .027 degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2100.

Click here to see the entire PolitiFact article.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

FactChecking President Obama's SOTU Address

From our friends at regarding last night's SOTU:

We found no outright false factual claims in Obama's State of the Union address, but we did note some that were arguable, and some promises that may prove unrealistic.

* He called his Race to the Top initiative "the most meaningful reform of our public schools in a generation." That's debatable. Some independent experts say Bush's No Child Left Behind program had a greater impact.

* The president set a goal of generating 80 percent of the nation's electricity from "clean" sources by 2035. That's ambitious. The first large-scale "clean coal" plant has yet to begin operation. And Obama counts nuclear energy as a "clean" source, despite the unresolved waste issue.

* He set a goal of giving 80 percent of the U.S. population access to high-speed rail in the next 25 years. But the U.S. only has one high-speed rail line in operation now.

* He said his new health care law will slow rising health care costs. But the office of Medicare's chief actuary estimates the law won't have much impact on costs, and there will be a slight rise in total spending as more people gain coverage under the law.

* He said "exports are up" since he set a goal of doubling them in five years, which is true. But the rise so far falls short of the pace required to meet his goal.

Teach Your Children Well

There is a new tool available to teach others -- especially kids -- conservative principles.

"All great change in America begins at the dinner table.  So, tomorrow night in the kitchen, I hope the talking begins.  And children, if your parents haven't been teaching you what it means to be an American, let them know and nail them on it.  That would be a very American thing to do." -- Ronald Reagan

Whether you need a refresher course in the principles of conservatism or you are teaching them to others, especially your children, "What Am I Conservative?" by Melanie Angell Elliott is an alluring choice.

The book contains a series of 24 principled and well-reasoned sections, each based on a particular tenet of conservatism.

You'll identify with the principles and use them to craft a conservative ideology.  It's certainly no tome -- quick quotes from famous conservatives and the Founding Fathers induce a brisk yet enlightening reading pace. 

If you have a family, this book is perfect -- you can ready a chapter per day with your children or use it as a refernce to counter liberal teachings at school.

To order "Why Am I Conservative?", click here.

President Obama Delivers a "Mr. Compromise Goes to Washington" SOTU

Following last November's tidal wave that destroyed the Liberal monopoly in Washington, President Obama delivered his most centrist speech of his presidency last night at the State of the Union address.  He appealed to the public that he has the right answers for our country, beyond those proposed by the far right and far left in office.  He delivered himself as "Mr. Compromise".

He proposed discretionary cuts to the operations of the federal government, consolidation and elimination of similar federal programs, health care tort reform, and holding teachers accountable -- all traditional Republican ideals.  Sadly, these were all issues that he either spoke against or ignored during his first two years in office.  In the next few months, President Obama will submit his FY 2012 budget and government reform packages to Congress.  We'll watch closely to see if his words last night match the words on the draft legislation.

Based on his centrist promises made last night, the re-election campaign (Obama '12) is now underway.  He knows that he needs to run a different campaign than the one that got him elected into office.  The American people have voted against his radical reform measures taken during his first two years.  It will be interesting to see how attractive it is to the far left, whom he has now abandoned, the African American community, who voted in record numbers for him in 2008, and the broad independent voting base.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ryan's Rule

From today's National Review Online:

Under a new rule, Paul Ryan can set budget levels for 2011.

All eyes will be on President Obama this evening as he delivers his much-anticipated State of the Union address. But it’s a momentous day for House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) as well. Not only has he been tapped to deliver the GOP response to Obama’s speech, but by the time the president arrives at the Capitol, the House almost certainly will have passed a rules resolution giving him unilateral authority to roll back the budget to 2008 levels. This, as you’ll recall, was a central component of the GOP’s “Pledge to America.”

To be clear, the rule itself does not cut spending; it merely gives Ryan the ability to set limits that the House Appropriations Committee must respect when it passes a spending resolution for the remainder of fiscal year 2011. These limits are usually set by a “concurrent” resolution — that is, one passed by the House and the Senate but not approved by the president — but Congress failed to pass one last year. Defense spending and entitlements are not included. And of course, to take effect, a spending resolution that passes the House under Ryan’s policy will also have to go through the Democratic Senate and President Obama.

But today’s vote on the rule will force all House members to go on the record on spending cuts and — because most Democrats will likely oppose the measure — set up a contrast between the two parties ahead of the president’s address. It will also serve to highlight Ryan’s remarks. All considered, today will mark the opening salvo of the showdown over the budget.

Predictably, House Democrats are up in arms over the new rule. They say that in addition to excluding the Senate from the budget process, it puts too much power in the hands of one person. And not just any one person. Ryan’s reputation as a perennial budget hawk has many on the left in a frenzy over the prospect of deep spending cuts. Many are already sounding the alarm over entitlement programs, which Ryan dared to single out for reform in his much-maligned (by the Left) “Roadmap for America’s Future” — despite the fact that, again, these are not included in Ryan’s new budget powers. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said that simply by selecting Ryan to give the SOTU rebuttal, House Republicans were “doubling down on their disastrous plans to gamble Social Security funds on Wall Street and dismantle Medicare.” The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein predicted that elevating Ryan in such a way could come back to haunt the GOP by highlighting the “Roadmap,” which Klein called a “timebomb” for Republicans.

As for the vote itself, Democrats contend that it is little more than a publicity stunt — an attempt to steal the president’s thunder on the day of his address. Rules Committee ranking member Louise Slaughter (D., N.Y.) chided Republicans for trying to “cut spending with a press release.”

Republicans, on the other hand, point out that similar authority was given to the budget chairman in 1999, after Congress had similarly failed to adopt a budget resolution the previous year. “It strikes me as an odd communications strategy for House Democrats to devote considerable time and energy to draw attention to their own historic budget failure,” Ryan spokesman Conor Sweeney tells National Review Online. “They oversaw an unprecedented breakdown in the budget process for fiscal year 2011, and are now complaining that fiscal year 2011 has deviated from the normal budget process.”

In a hearing last week, House Rules Committee chairman David Dreier (R., Calif.) emphasized that Republicans, contrary to some Democratic claims, would not be “gutting” any programs simply by returning to 2008 levels, and that the new rule was “merely the very first step in an ongoing effort to bring our federal budget back into the black.”

The House Appropriations Committee must draft a spending bill to fund the government for the remainder of fiscal year 2011 (through September) once the current continuing resolution expires on March 4. Appropriations chairman Hal Rogers (R., Ky.) has welcomed the new rule. “As I have said before, it is my intention to craft the largest series of spending cuts in the history of Congress,” he said in a statement. “My committee is working diligently on this right now.”

Another looming deadline is February 15, when President Obama is due to release his budget for fiscal year 2012. That’s when Ryan will get his first crack at drafting his own annual budget. The bulk of the budget fight will consist of efforts to reconcile these competing proposals. “I expect our numbers will be slightly lower than his,” Ryan joked at the National Press Club earlier this month. Another obvious point of contention will be Republican efforts to exclude from the budget any funds slated for the implementation of Obamacare.

Today’s vote, Obama’s address, and Ryan’s response will lay the groundwork for the struggle ahead. In fact, a war of words is already underway, as early reports indicate the president will be discussing the need for “investments” in areas such as infrastructure, clean energy, and education. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) says that’s a “code word for more spending,” but added that Republicans are eager to hear what Obama has to say. After a series of moves suggesting that the White House intends to embrace the political center, they hope to find out just where he stands on fiscal issues. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) called the speech “a trust-but-verify moment” for the GOP. Either way, don’t expect an overabundance of applause lines designed to appeal to Republicans.

Of course, a bitter fight between the two parties over budget cuts is to be expected. But there have also been signs of a conflict brewing within the GOP itself. The conservative House Republican Study Committee released a proposal last Thursday that would cut a whopping $2.5 trillion over the next decade. The plan would cap federal spending at 2006 levels — significantly lower than 2008 levels — and was seen by many as a direct challenge to the House Republican leadership. “This is the day we stop kicking the budget can down the road and get our fiscal house in order,” Rep. Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.) said at a press conference introducing the plan.

The Rules Committee has already made efforts to shore up its proposal. The resolution the House is voting on today includes an amendment from freshman member Rep. Tim Scott (R., S.C.) that changes the original text authorizing Ryan “to reduce spending through a transition to non-security spending at fiscal year 2008 levels.” It now reads: “. . . to fiscal year 2008 levels or less.”

The measure is certain to pass the House, so Democrats will quickly turn their attention to Ryan’s response to the president. Now that his party is in the majority, the new budget chair will be under much greater scrutiny. On the left, he’ll be criticized no matter what — he’ll either “destroy the middle class” by cutting too much, or break campaign promises by cutting too little.

Conservatives, meanwhile, are thrilled to have Ryan in charge of setting spending limits and responding to the president. Republicans believe that few are better suited than Ryan to make the case for — and then implement — fiscal prudence.

— Andrew Stiles is a 2011 Franklin Fellow.

Abortion Debate Returns, But Now in a Pro-Life Nation

Great piece from Chris Stirewalt at

The abortion debate has returned with vigor to Congress after many years of dormancy, and the result may be different this time around. That's because while Washington wasn't watching, America became a pro-life nation.

House Republicans are taking up the issue in a variety of ways. First, they're looking to close the loophole in President Obama's national health-care law which they say could provide federal subsidies for elective abortions.

They're also looking to strip funding for Planned Parenthood, as part of their general move for budget austerity. And we can expect more moves on this front in the weeks to come.

Part of this is Republicans doing the bidding of the people who put them back in the majority. Pro-life groups are a huge bloc of the Republican coalition and activists demand results in exchange for all the help they provide. Even if the GOP doesn't succeed in changing laws right away, it's good base politics.

And for all the talk about the 2010 elections being all about taxes, spending and the size of government, the issue of abortion played an unmistakable role on both sides.

Of the 22 pro-life House Democrats who voted for Obama's health-care law, despite concerns among pro-life groups about the federal subsidy loophole, only five returned to Congress this year. Some would have lost or retired anyway, but there's no doubt that the issue, and the pressure from pro-life groups, turned some races.

For many swing-state voters, especially moderate, Catholic Democrats, abortion is a make or break issue. John Kerry's 2004 presidential defeat in Ohio could be attributed to Catholic voters who preferred his policies to those of George W. Bush on almost every issue, except that one.

One of the other notable trends of 2010 on abortion was the number of Democrats who used the issue as part of a bid to paint their Republican challengers as "extreme." Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado rallied socially liberal Denver suburbanites to his side by running ads casting challenger Ken Buck as an abortion hardliner. House candidates across the country used the same approach to varying degrees of success.

And while Republicans will continue to be at risk of the extremist label, especially in suburban districts, the last decade shows a remarkable shift in public attitudes on abortion.

FOX News polls show a 20-point shift on the subject in the past 14 years. In 1997, 50 percent of respondents considered themselves "pro-choice," while 40 percent considered themselves "pro-life." In the poll out last week, the numbers were reversed. Half of the respondents said they were "pro-life," while only 40 percent embraced the "pro-choice" label.

Gallup has been tracking the issue since the 1970s, and what their polls reveal is that in the 37 years since the Roe v. Wade decision, Americans became at first more and more pro-choice but, starting in the late 1990s, moved against the concept of elective abortions.

The high-point for the pro-choice movement was in 1990 when Gallup found 31 percent thought abortion should be unrestricted, 53 percent thought that it should be allowed under only certain circumstances and 12 percent thought it should always be illegal.

In Gallup's last poll, taken in the summer of 2009, only 21 percent were pro-choice absolutists, 57 percent thought the practice should be limited and 18 percent favored a total ban.

So how did America become a pro-life nation?

Part of it is generational. For Baby Boomers, the right for a woman to choose to have an abortion was a central battle in the fight for gender equality. The issue was all tied up with the Equal Rights Amendment, women's liberation and other political fights of the 1970s. Being pro-life was equated with being anti-equality.
For the children of Baby Boomers who were not there for the creation of this confusing political hybrid, the issue doesn't seem to fit. Plus, equality isn't as grave a concern for women today. The battles of previous generations seem like remote concerns.

Part of it is also technological. The ultrasound machine has had a huge effect on the debate over when life begins. The mysteries of "quickening" and gestational development have given way to 3-D pictures of little people with little fingers and little toes. Proud parents get these pictures framed and keep them on their desks now.

Add to that the revolutionary advances in care for premature births and in-depth studies of fetal development and you have badly damaged the case that abortion does not end a life.

Social conservatives are usually on the losing end of societal trends. Gay marriage seems increasingly likely and gays will soon serve openly in the military.

Social conservatives have lost their stands against no-fault divorce, gay adoption, smutty television shows and other bright-line social issues. America has a more permissive culture than it did 10 years ago and history tells us that it will likely be even more permissive in another decade.

But on abortion, it is possible that in the long term, the right may win the battle. One day, Democrats may have to do on abortion what they have done in the past decade on gun control and cede the issue.

Chris Stirewalt is FOX News' digital politics editor. His political note, Power Play, is available every weekday morning at FOXNEWS.COM.

Father-Daughter Conversation....

A bit of light humor provied by Kip P.:

She was deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch conservative, a feeling she openly expressed. Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his.

One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the need for more government programs.

The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth and she indicated so to her father. He responded by asking how she was doing in school.

Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn't even have time for a boyfriend, and didn't really have many college friends because she spent all her time studying.

Her father listened and then asked, "How is your friend Audrey doing?" She replied, “Audrey is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. She is so popular on campus; college for her is a blast. She's always invited to all the parties and lots of times she doesn't even show up for classes because she's too hung over.”

Her wise father asked his daughter, “Why don't you go to the Dean's office and ask him to deduct 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0. That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA."

The daughter, visibly shocked by her father's suggestion, angrily fired back, “That's a crazy idea, how would that be fair! I've worked really hard for my grades! I've invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work! Audrey has done next to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked my tail off!”

The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, “Welcome to the conservative side of the fence.”

Friday, January 21, 2011

RSC Proposes Welcomed Changes to Federal Budget

Much praise from the R.C. Blog to Rep. Jim Jordan and the rest of the Republican Study Committee for yesterday's budget proposal to eliminate more than $2.5 trillion in non-security discretionary spending by the federal government. 

The proposal does what Republicans have been talking about for two years -- "repeal" of remaining stimulus funds (now $45 billion), privatizing Fannie and Freddie ($30 billion), repealing Medicaid' FMAP increase ($16.1 billion), and what they estimate at $330 billion in discretionary spending cuts. Highlights of these projected annual savings:

- Cutting the federal workforce by 15 percent through attrition, and do this by allowing only one new federal worker for every two who quit.

- Killing the "fund for Obamacare administrative costs" for $900 million

- Ending Amtrak subsidies for $1.565 billion

- Ending intercity and high speed rail grants for $2.5 billion

- Repealing Davis-Bacon for $1 billion

- Cutting annual general assistance to the District of Columbia by $210 million, and cutting the subsidy for DC's transit authority by $150 million.

Reforms that go after their own perks:

- Cutting the Federal Travel Budget in half, for $7.5 billion

- Cutting the Federal Vehicle Budget by 1/5, for $600 million

- Halve funding for congressional printing - $47 million annual savings

- Ending the death gratuity for members of Congress

And cuts that get revenge for Juan Williams: $445 million from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, $167.5 million from the NEA, and $167.5 million from the NEH.

For a copy of the Spending Reduction Act, click here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

EWTN Acquires National Catholic Register Newspaper

EWTN Global Catholic Network today announced that it has signed a letter of intent to acquire the National Catholic Register, the nation’s leading Catholic newspaper.

“I am very pleased and excited that the Register will now be a part of the EWTN family,” said Michael P. Warsaw, the Network’s president and chief executive officer. “All of us at EWTN have great respect for the Register and the role it has played throughout its history. It’s a tremendous legacy that deserves to not only be preserved, but also to grow and to flourish.”

“I believe that EWTN will be able to provide the stability that the Register needs at this time as well as to give it a platform for its growth in the years ahead. We’re proud to be able to step in and carry on both the Register’s name and its tradition of faithful Catholic reporting on the issues of the day,” noted Warsaw.

Under the terms of the transaction, no cash will be exchanged between the parties. EWTN will take over the ongoing operational expenses of the Register and will assume the paper’s future subscription liabilities.

The acquisition of the Register is the latest in EWTN’s efforts to expand its news presence in the global Catholic digital and multimedia market. At the start of 2010, EWTN entered into a partnership with the Catholic News Agency (CNA), a Denver-based independent Catholic news media outlet with bureaus in North and South America and Europe. Under that agreement, EWTN and CNA are sharing news resources and have created a joint news service found at That arrangement was recently expanded to include a new original Spanish-language news service, EWTN Noticias, ( launched in January 2011.

EWTN Global Catholic Network provides multimedia services to more than 140 countries and territories. The Network transmits nine separate television channels in several languages to audiences around the world. It also operates multiple radio services including a network of hundreds of AM and FM stations, a Sirius satellite radio channel, and a global shortwave radio service. EWTN’s main website,, draws more than 20 million unique visitors annually.

The National Catholic Register ( grew out of Denver’s Catholic Register, which began on Aug. 11, 1905. Under the leadership of Msgr. Matthew Smith, the Register System of Newspapers was developed, with the first national edition appearing on Nov. 8, 1927. It was acquired by the Legion of Christ in 1995. To find out more about the Register, go to:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dick Morris: There are No Politics In Murder

Another great article on the Left's immediate blame of the Right for Saturday's tragic killings....

Published on on January 10, 2011

The conventional wisdom of the media establishment that strident and outspoken political debate catalyzes violence is an absurdity! Telling people to "kill pigs" as the sixties radicals did, in fact, encouraged violence. But vigorous political debate and strongly or even passionately held views have nothing whatever to do with the decision of some nut to kill a Congressman or a president.

Fantasies about Jodie Foster, instructions from Son of Sam, or delusions of omnipotence all can cause violence, but heated political debate doesn't. To stigmatize strongly articulated opinions on the left or the right and blame them for the insane attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is outrageous.

Oklahoma City was an act of political terror, incited by resentment against federal tactics at Waco. It was not some speech that ignited Timothy McVeigh but a massive act of violence.

Ft. Hood was an act of political terror. No speech incited the attacks, but a culture of violence spawned throughout the Islamic world. The same is true of the shoe bomber, the Detroit airplane bomber, the Times Square bomber and, indeed, the terrorists of 9-11.

Neither the left nor the right should confuse political terrorism with the random insanity of a crazed gunman. The attack on Giffords had as little to do with ideology as the attack on the students of Virginia Tech or Columbine High School.

Daniel Greenfield makes a key point:

There has not been a single act of Muslim violence in the last two years that the media was willing to identify as motivated by Islam. Each and every time they had to be dragged kicking and screaming, past their cover stories, through groundless claims that the attackers were motivated by psychological problems, bullying, imaginary medical conditions or financial problems-- to some adjunct of the truth. And at the same time over the last two years, each prominent act of violence by non-Muslims was followed by an attempt to identify the attacker or attackers with mainstream Republicans in a cynical attempt to demonize and criminalize the political opposition.

But what if the killer had been a political conservative? What if he had attended Tea Party rallies or - for that matter - been active in or a left-leaning union? Would the killings have made the movement fair game? Would it be right to cast aspersions on tens of millions of nonviolent citizens exercising their democratic rights in the name of discouraging violence?

Since the shootings, I have gotten e mails from the BBC and Sky TV in the UK and Der Spiegel in Germany requesting interviews. How much they would like to link conservative opinions with the attempted assassination of a Congresswoman! Suddenly, they are all ears.

But their attempts at linking this insane killer to any political movement are ridiculous and preparatory to an abridgement of free speech.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Will: The Charlatans' Response to the Tucson Tagedy

Following the tragic events of this weekend in Tucson and the reaction of the Left's political hacks and media operatives to immediately place the blame on the laps of the "gun-crazy Tea Partiers", George Will posted the following op-ed in today's Washington Post.  It says it better than I could ever hope to communicate it...

The Charlatans' Response to the Tucson Tragedy
By George F. Will
Monday, January 10, 2011

It would be merciful if, when tragedies such as Tucson's occur, there were a moratorium on sociology. But respites from half-baked explanations, often serving political opportunism, are impossible because of a timeless human craving and a characteristic of many modern minds.

The craving is for banishing randomness and the inexplicable from human experience. Time was, the gods were useful. What is thunder? The gods are angry. Polytheism was explanatory. People postulated causations.

And still do. Hence: The Tucson shooter was (pick your verb) provoked, triggered, unhinged by today's (pick your noun) rhetoric, vitriol, extremism, "climate of hate."

Demystification of the world opened the way for real science, including the social sciences. And for a modern characteristic. And for charlatans.

A characteristic of many contemporary minds is susceptibility to the superstition that all behavior can be traced to some diagnosable frame of mind that is a product of promptings from the social environment. From which flows a political doctrine: Given clever social engineering, society and people can be perfected. This supposedly is the path to progress. It actually is the crux of progressivism. And it is why there is a reflex to blame conservatives first.

Instead, imagine a continuum from the rampages at Columbine and Virginia Tech - the results of individuals' insanities - to the assassinations of Lincoln and the Kennedy brothers, which were clearly connected to the politics of John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald and Sirhan Sirhan, respectively. The two other presidential assassinations also had political colorations.

On July 2, 1881, after four months in office, President James Garfield, who had survived the Civil War battles of Shiloh and Chickamauga, needed a vacation. He was vexed by warring Republican factions - the Stalwarts, who waved the bloody shirt of Civil War memories, and the Half-Breeds, who stressed the emerging issues of industrialization. Walking to catch a train in Washington, Garfield by chance encountered a disappointed job-seeker. Charles Guiteau drew a pistol, fired two shots and shouted "I am a Stalwart and Arthur will be president!" On Sept. 19, Garfield died, making Vice President Chester Arthur president. Guiteau was executed, not explained.

On Sept. 6, 1901, President William McKinley, who had survived the battle of Antietam, was shaking hands at a Buffalo exposition when Leon Czolgosz approached, a handkerchief wrapped around his right hand, concealing a gun. Czolgosz, an anarchist, fired two shots. Czolgosz ("I killed the president because he was the enemy of the good people - the good working people. I am not sorry for my crime.") was executed, not explained.

Now we have explainers. They came into vogue with the murder of President Kennedy. They explained why the "real" culprit was not a self-described Marxist who had moved to Moscow, then returned to support Castro. No, the culprit was a "climate of hate" in conservative Dallas, the "paranoid style" of American (conservative) politics, or some other national sickness resulting from insufficient liberalism.

Last year, New York Times columnist Charles Blow explained that "the optics must be irritating" to conservatives: Barack Obama is black, Nancy Pelosi is female, Rep. Barney Frank is gay, Rep. Anthony Weiner (an unimportant Democrat, listed to serve Blow's purposes) is Jewish. "It's enough," Blow said, "to make a good old boy go crazy." The Times, which after the Tucson shooting said that "many on the right" are guilty of "demonizing" people and of exploiting "arguments of division," apparently was comfortable with Blow's insinuation that conservatives are misogynistic, homophobic, racist anti-Semites.

On Sunday, the Times explained Tucson: "It is facile and mistaken to attribute this particular madman's act directly to Republicans or Tea Party members. But . . ." The "directly" is priceless.

Three days before Tucson, Howard Dean explained that the Tea Party movement is "the last gasp of the generation that has trouble with diversity." Rising to the challenge of lowering his reputation and the tone of public discourse, Dean smeared Tea Partyers as racists: They oppose Obama's agenda, Obama is African American, ergo . . .

Let us hope that Dean is the last gasp of the generation of liberals whose default position in any argument is to indict opponents as racists. This McCarthyism of the left - devoid of intellectual content, unsupported by data - is a mental tic, not an idea but a tactic for avoiding engagement with ideas. It expresses limitless contempt for the American people, who have reciprocated by reducing liberalism to its current characteristics of electoral weakness and bad sociology.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Reading of the Constitution on the House Floor

This morning, starting at 10:30 a.m., the U.S. House of Representatives will read, in its entirety, the U.S. Constitution.  What a novel idea!

I almost threw up listening to FORMER Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pontificate on the Senate floor yesterday about how his life has been devoted to defending the Constitution and how he treasures a copy of the document provided to him by former Senator Robert "KKK" Byrd.  Give me a break!

Perhaps we could get the Supreme Court justices to read the Constitution at the start of its next session.  Perhaps reading and hearing it will remind at least four of the justices what they are supposed to do.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Americans spend 6.1 billion hours on their taxes

More proof that something needs to be done about the current tax code.  Hopefully, the 112th Congress will begin to address this problem.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Filing taxes takes too long, costs too much money and is far too overwhelming a process for taxpayers.

That's the message from national taxpayer advocate Nina Olson, the watchdog charged with monitoring the Internal Revenue Service.

"There has been near universal agreement for years that the tax code is broken and needs to be fixed," Olson said in statement that accompanied her annual report to Congress released Wednesday."Yet no broad-based attempt to reform the tax code has been made."

Olson said the need for reform is clear.

Her analysis of IRS data shows that taxpayers and businesses spend 6.1 billion hours a year complying with tax-filing requirements.

"If tax compliance were an industry, it would be one of the largest in the United States," the report says. "To consume 6.1 billion hours, the 'tax industry' requires the equivalent of more than three million full-time workers."

Olson is a government official whose job is to highlight for Congress the most serious problems facing taxpayers. While it's probably not news for most Americans that the tax code is confusing, the report also points to serious problems with IRS enforcement of the code.

What A Great Day!

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