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The Numbers



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Obviously, Krugman is peeved with the good economic news. But he’ll surely fall back on the news that productivity is so high. Normally and rightly this is a good thing, but lately folks like Krugman argue that productivity growth is a sign that we’re working existing laborers like dogs rather than hiring new ones.

Harvard Bound



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I’m off to Cambridge for an environmental law conference at Harvard Law School. As part of the conference, Assistant Interior Secretary Lynn Scarlett will debate Clinton Administration Interior Solicitor John Leshy over the Bush Administration’s environmental policies this afternoon at 4:30. I am one of three panelists who will comment upon the debate at its conclusion. Details here.

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Read This: Project Jonah & More



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As you may have heard, the NRO Store is back, with more than ever. But we’re looking to stock up even more and want your direction. First off, JONAH & COSMO merchandise. What would you want a sweatshirt with the G-Man and his dog to say? To look like? How about some Derbyshire items? What else would you like to see—to buy, perhaps for stocking stuffers or treats for yourself? Any new quotes welcome, too, generally. But we really want to get your requests for Jonah and Cosmo items, especially, straight away–so send ‘em in! E-mail [email protected] with any and all suggestions. Thanks! Will share some of them will you as they roll in–and all of them with “THE SUITS.” (Please put “NRO Store” in the subject line.)

Web Briefing: December 27, 2015

Sharpton Backs Vote On Brown



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The Rev. Al Sharpton called upon Senate Democrats not to filibuster the nomination of Justice Janice Rogers Brown to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the WT reports. While stressing he disagrees with her politics, Sharpton insisted “she should get an up-or-down vote.” When told of Sharpton’s comments, Wade Henderson, director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, was stunned: “I don’t believe it. That can’t be true, . . . It would be shockingly surprising.”

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More Good Econ News



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WASHINGTON, Nov 6 (AFP) – The number of Americans lodging new
claims for jobless benefits plummeted unexpectedly last week to a
near three-year low, the government said Thursday.

New claimant numbers plunged 43,000 to 348,000 in the week
ending November 1, the lowest level since the week George W. Bush
was inaugurated president on January 20, 2001, the seasonally
adjusted data showed.

A four-week average of new claims dropped 10,000 to 380,000, the
lowest since March 10, 2001.

Full Kroc



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A reader has tipped me off to something called the Joan B. Kroc Center for International Peace Studies at Notre Dame. It is, of course, one of those places that refuses even to consider the notion that a strong national defense just might possibly have something to do with peace. Kroc apparently has supported her little campus commune with $70 million–paid for by your Big Macs and Happy Meals. Writes my correspondent: “When I found out about that little tidbit, I wrote off McDonald’s from not only my diet, but my posterity’s as well.”

a Righteous Brother Has Died



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Dean Blew It



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His “apology” yesterday was not only weird and oddly insincere-sounding, it also was patently dishonest. Anyone who watched the CNN debate on Tuesday night — as recounted in yesterday’s G-File knows that Dean wasn’t trying to “start a discussion.” He was trying to defend his position and he did it badly. Once he conceded that the confederate flag is a “racist symbol,” he no longer had any defense. Mainstream defenders of the confederate flag don’t say “damn straight, it’s racist.” They say the flag stands for heritage and tradition etc. Dean wanted it both ways, he wanted to say the flag is a badge of bigotry while at the same he wanted those who wear that badge to vote for him. This allowed Sharpton to — rightly — condemn him for wanting racists in his column and Edwards to — rightly — condemn him for claiming that Southerners are nothing but a bung of ignorant redneck bigots. Dean can claim this was an attempt at starting a “discussion.” But that’s all nonsense. He messed up and now he’s trying to spin it away.

Criticism Vs. Fiction



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On AOL last night, I noticed one of the main screens asked if Ronald Reagan is above criticism because he is sick. One talking-head debating Michael Reagan yesterday said something like, So can we not criticize him after he dies either? That’s evidently the theme of a segment on the Today Show this morning. (Katie: “Is Ronald Reagan untouchable?”) Have we forgotten The Reagans people admitted they made stuff up?

Npr Shell Games



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To see an old example of the shell games NPR plays to hide the extent of their taxpayer support, we dive into the old MRC dumpster of Notable Quotables:

NPR anchor Linda Wertheimer: “Your tax dollars are not going to fund it. National Public Radio is funded by dues from member stations.”

Caller: “It’s not entirely funded by private donations. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting funds National Public Radio.”

Wertheimer: “…No it doesn’t. Which of us works there? I do. No it doesn’t.”


– Exchange from C-SPAN’s Journalists Roundtable, September 9, 1994.

vs.

“About those ‘dues from member stations,’ to which Ms. Wertheimer referred: According to the 1993 audit, NPR received $28,147,648 in such dues — the money local public radio stations pay for NPR services. But where do the stations get the money for dues? Well, some of it, 16 percent on average comes from none other than CPB. A portion of that money is actually earmarked for national programming like NPR’s.”


– Washington Times editorial, September 21, 1994.

Even these figures the WashTimes used are NPR’s official numbers, only less publicized. Here’s the reality: NPR, like the rest of public broadcasting, wants maximized funding. It wants Joan Kroc’s millions, and then it will still want YOUR millions. They still have to shell out $225,000 for Bob Edwards every year, after all.

Mommy Peacebucks & Npr



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John, this donation ought to be seen in the same light as if Richard Mellon Scaife left $200 million to NPR. That would be seen as a scandalous attempt to politicize NPR and change its “nonpartisan” character, an attempt to pressure public radio into a dangerously partisan direction. Joan Kroc is hardly seen as a Scaife, although she has been not only a major funder of the Democrats, but also spent the 1980s endowing “peace” groups striving to keep “peaceful coexistence” with the Soviet empire afloat.

As for the Post’s attempt at explaining NPR economics, that is classic public-broadcasting smoke and mirrors. Too bad we couldn’t have the new Wall Street public-accounting sharks at the SEC try to explain how the NPR books are a politicized jumble.

What a Kroc



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Joan Kroc–the widow of the founder of McDonald’s–has bequeathed $200 million to National Public Radio. It’s being called “the largest monetary gift ever received by an American cultural institution.” I do like “Morning Edition,” but I can also think of a few American cultural institutions that I’d support with that kind of money before giving it to that bastion of media liberalism. Kroc, as you may have guessed, was a big-time Democrat. This Washington Post story says that NPR gets less than 1 percent of its budget from the government (though “member stations” get about 15 percent of theirs from federal coffers, via the Corporation for Public Broadcasting). In light of the Kroc gift, can we finally quit using tax dollars to pay for some of America’s most biased journalism? Pretty please?

Angrycons



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Is anyone else hearing from conservatives who are
furious that so many Republican senators appear to be rapidly “moving
on” following the disclosure of the memo from the Dem side of the
Intelligence Committee? Are Jon Kyl (and Zell Miller) badly outnumbered
by a Republican caucus that doesn’t have the stomach for a fight worth
fighting? One furious conservative observer: “I hope there’s something
I don’t know to explain the roll-over. Have they gotten a commitment to
confirm a half-dozen judges?” Uh, no.

David Gregory On Nbc



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Video image from the partial-birth-abortion-ban signing, sea of white male senators and representatives shaking the president’s hand (similar to this). Gregory voiceover: “Strikingly, not one female politician was on hand at the signing of the law.”

MEMO TO WHITE HOUSE: That could have been preventing (even though there are soooo many bad female pols, there are also good ones you could have gotten up there….or other women.) I suspect we will see that white male image replayed often in the next 360-something days.

“They Call It Partial-Birth Abortion”



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Tom Brokaw’s tease during the local news right now for his broadcast. Who are they? Anyone but him? Anyone but the arrogant?

Giving Them Zell Over The Memo



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More Iraq



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Also, an encouraging story in Washington Post today about how the 1st Armored Division is becoming adept at coaxing intel from the locals. The troops really have to operate like beat cops:

Instead of Force, Friendly Persuasion
Armor Division in Baghdad Attempts Makeover Into Intelligence Gathering Unit

“With its armored vehicles sitting in parking lots, the 1st Armored Division is reinventing itself on the fly, grooming neighborhood informants and sending paid sources deep into Baghdad’s teeming neighborhoods, CIA-style, to collect information on Islamic militants and Iraqis loyal to former president Saddam Hussein and his Baath Party.

Foot patrols knock on doors posing as water and sewer survey teams; they are actually gathering information. Military intelligence officers, who normally study an enemy’s armored order of battle, send sources out with global positioning system devices to record precise locations of targeted homes.”

Buy The Tribes



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From my amateur’s perspective, I’ve been eagerly looking for suggestions for how we can improve the security situation in Iraq beyond the truism that “we need better intelligence.” The one that seems most convincing is buying off the tribes in the Sunni Triangle. The Wall Street Journal has an excellent report along these lines today (excuse the long post, but I think it’s an important story).

The story tells of Col. Hector Mirabile, who captured Kurdi Rashid for his anti-coalition activities. But Mirabile released Rashid to co-opt his brother, an influential sheik in the region: “The price of Mr. Rashid’s freedom was a stop to the daily roadside bomb attacks on the colonel’s troops. So far, the bargain is holding. ‘All of a sudden, there is miraculous peace in my little area. I haven’t had a bomb in a week,’ Col. Mirabile said, sipping sweet tea. ‘Here, it’s not like a Western system… It’s all bartering and favors.’”

Mirabile is operating in a long tradition, the Journal reports: “It’s how the Ottoman and British occupiers kept peace, and it’s how Saddam Hussein operated, too, often freeing political prisoners at the request of powerful Sunni tribes and rewarding chieftains with cash and gleaming limousines.

The Sheiks here in Anbar can be unsavory characters. Many owe their fortunes to smuggling with Syria and Saudi Arabia, as well as to outright extortion and thievery. Bolstering their power goes against the grain of the occupation government’s longer-term effort to transform Iraq into a showcase of Western-style democracy and civil society.”

The story continues: “As Col. Mirabile spends his days going from sheik to sheik, he’s making progress figuring out tribal etiquette and Iraqi eating habits. He’s adept at compressing rice and meat into a ball with his fingers at the standing tribal banquets, where there are no forks or plates. And, as a sign of progress, he points out that when he is offered tea now the tiny glasses overflow and stand in a saucer full of spilled liquid. ‘If it’s just barely full, it’s a sign of disrespect,’ he said. That’s how the glasses often looked in the beginning.

Above all, Col. Mirabile says, he has learned that cash is king. Discussions with tribal leaders quickly turn to requests that reconstruction contracts be steered the tribe’s way . . . Using a special cash fund the U.S. military puts at the disposal of units, Col. Mirabile has spent $700,000 on projects in the city. ‘Since ‘Lawrence of Arabia,’ not a damn thing here has changed.’”

By all means, let’s get more sheiks on the payroll. It seems an alien tradition, but I’m not sure it’s that different from how the House Transportation Committee operates….

Pba Ban Blocked



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A federal judge has issued an injunction. The victory press releases had barely gone out…

President’s Pba Ban Remarks



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Thank you very much. Good afternoon. I’m pleased that all
of you have joined us as the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 becomes the
law of the land. (Applause.) For years, a terrible form of violence has been
directed against children who are inches from birth, while the law looked the
other way. Today, at last, the American people and our government have
confronted the violence and come to the defense of the innocent child.
(Applause.)

I want to thank you all for coming. Many of you have worked long and hard
to see this bill come to fruition, and we thank you for your efforts.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you, Mr. President. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: I see some members of my Cabinet have come. I appreciate
the good work of the Attorney General, John Ashcroft. (Applause.) Secretary of
the Department of Health and Human Services, Tommy Thompson, is here. Thank
you, Tommy. (Applause.) There are a lot of members of the Senate and House
here today, I want to thank you all for passing this important legislation. I’m
glad you’re here. (Applause.)

The primary Senate sponsor is with us, Senator Rick Santorum. (Applause.)
Senator Orrin Hatch and Senator Mike DeWine helped, as well, in the Senate.
Thank you all very much. (Applause.) Steve Chabot was the primary House
sponsor, and Steve is with us. Thanks for coming, Steve. (Applause.) I’m
thankful that our Speaker is with us today. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate you
coming. (Applause.) The Majority Leader, Tom DeLay, as well. Thank you for
coming, Tom. (Applause.)

I’d like to mention three other members of the House. Henry Hyde is with
us today. Mr. Chairman, we appreciate you coming. (Applause.) Jim Oberstar is
with us. Jim, thank you for being here, sir, I appreciate you coming.
(Applause.) Bart Stupak, from Michigan, is with us, as well. Thanks for
coming, Bart, glad you’re here. (Applause.)

I appreciate His Eminence, Cardinal Egan, is with us today. Thank you very
much, sir. (Applause.)

In passing this legislation, members of the House and Senate made a studied
decision based upon compelling evidence. The best case against partial birth
abortion is a simple description of what happens and to whom it happens. It
involves the partial delivery of a live boy or girl, and a sudden, violent end
of that life. Our nation owes its children a different and better welcome.
(Applause.) The bill I am about to sign protecting innocent new life from this
practice reflects the compassion and humanity of America.

In the course of the congressional debate, the facts became clear. Each
year, thousands of partial birth abortions are committed. As Doctor C. Everett
Koop, the pediatrician and former Surgeon General has pointed out, the majority
of partial birth abortions are not required by medical emergency. As Congress
has found, the practice is widely regarded within the medical profession as
unnecessary, not only cruel to the child, but harmful to the mother, and a
violation of medical ethics. (Applause.)

The facts about partial birth abortion are troubling and tragic, and no
lawyer’s brief can make them seem otherwise. (Applause.) By acting to prevent
this practice, the elected branches of our government have affirmed a basic
standard of humanity, the duty of the strong to protect the weak. The wide
agreement amongst men and women on this issue, regardless of political party,
shows that bitterness in political debate can be overcome by compassion and the
power of conscience. And the executive branch will vigorously defend this law
against any who would try to overturn it in the courts. (Applause.)

America stands for liberty, for the pursuit of happiness and for the
unalienable right of life. And the most basic duty of government is to defend
the life of the innocent. Every person, however frail or vulnerable, has a
place and a purpose in this world. Every person has a special dignity. This
right to life cannot be granted or denied by government, because it does not
come from government, it comes from the Creator of life. (Applause.)

In the debate about the rights of the unborn, we are asked to broaden the
circle of our moral concern. We’re asked to live out our calling as Americans.
We’re asked to honor our own standards, announced on the day of our founding in
the Declaration of Independence. We’re asked by our convictions and tradition
and compassion to build a culture of life, and make this a more just and
welcoming society. And today, we welcome vulnerable children into the care and
protection of Americans. (Applause.)

The late Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey once said that: when we look
to the unborn child, the real issue is not when life begins, but when love
begins. (Applause.) This is the generous and merciful spirit of our country at
its best. This spirit is reflected in the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of
2003, which I am now honored to sign into law. God bless. (Applause.)

(The bill is signed.) (Applause.) Thank you, all. (Applause.)

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