Friday, March 31, 2006

ABC Suspends "Bush Makes Me Sick" Producer

News producer John Green has been suspended for one month for the anti-Bush messages he sent out via Blackberry email.

That took a while, but I'm glad to see that ABC acknowledged in some fashion that Green's actions were inappropriate.

The real problem, however, remains: the high number of network staffers who quietly share Green's feelings and slant their news coverage accordingly.

Behind the Scenes at In-N-Out Burger

The Orange County Register published a comprehensive article today on the history, inner workings, and future of one of Southern California's most beloved institutions.

Regarding recent corporate controversy, In-N-Out execs say they will not be expanding beyond California, Nevada, and Arizona -- in part because they fear a loss of quality control if they must open a separate "hub" to ship the deliveries of the fresh meat and produce which are such a big part of the company's success.

As the article notes in the conclusion, the company has remained a success while weathering a number of storms, including the untimely deaths of the founders' two sons. Hopefully they will also emerge as strong as ever after the current legal wranglings come to a conclusion.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Peggy Noonan on Patriotism and Immigration

Peggy makes an interesting point about how many current immigrants are being assimilated culturally and economically but not patriotically, "And if you don't do that, you'll lose it all."

I think this keys in on one reason the demonstrations earlier this week were so troubling: This country is so free that thousands of people here illegally could demonstrate without fear of reprisal, yet those same demonstrators thought so little of that freedom and our country that they would march with the flags of another country, or fly the American flag upside down under the flag of another country.

What a different sight it would have been if the marchers had been waving thousands of American flags, chanting "U.S.A.!" and singing our nation's patriotic songs. I think that probably would have changed the current immigration debate significantly.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Rob Reiner Resigns

Bill Bradley also reports that support for Reiner's Universal Preschool Initiative has been weakening.

(Hat tip: Hugh Hewitt.)

More on the resignation at The L.A. Times.

New Immigration Articles

Dick Morris suggests "How the GOP Can Survive the Immigration Debate" (above), while Kathleen Parker writes "When Illegal is Right, What is Wrong?"

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Thomas Sowell on Immigration, Part 2

Dr. Sowell is fired up. Here is his second column this week on illegal immigration.

Immigration Article Roundup

Tony Blankley (above) writes on "Mexican Illegals vs. American Voters," discussing the economic and political issues.

Ruth Marcus says "Karl Rove must be seeing Pete Wilson in his nightmares" and analyzes the negative impact the current debate may have on the Republican Party's attempts to court Hispanic voters. Marcus says that California's Proposition 187, which attempted to limit tax-paid benefits to illegal aliens, was "disastrous" for the California Republican Party.

Debra Saunders disputes the claim that immigration policies hurt California Republicans and calls it the "backlash myth."

Saunders also discusses the emergence this week of a new "victim class, illegal or 'undocumented' immigrants, who have flouted American law and apparently believe they should not have to pay the consequences of that choice."

Saunders concludes: "If Washington passes an immigration bill that grants citizenship to illegal immigrants and includes a phony temporary guest-worker program -- phony, because there is no way the government can or would remove workers after six years, as one scheme promises -- then the deception will be official. The message Washington will send will resound louder than ever: Forget immigration laws. Legal, illegal, no dif."

(Hat tip: Real Clear Politics.)

Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters: "The message given by the massive demonstration is that when the government fails to take action in enforcing its own laws and securing its borders, those who break the law start believing they have an entitlement to continue doing so. And why not? They learned that lesson in the amnesty program of the mid-1980s, when the Reagan administration and the Democratic Congress decided that offering those already here an easy path to citizenship would somehow deter further illegal immigration. They also promised strict border enforcement, but somehow Congress never really got around to implementing it. Twenty years later, we're talking about giving a free pass to the next generation of illegals.

"One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."

L.A. Police to Cite Truant Student Protestors...

...beginning on Wednesday.

I'd like to know why the students who stopped freeway traffic over the last two days, endangering their safety and that of others, weren't ticketed immediately.

Update: Michelle Malkin has a photo taken at California's Montebello High School, where students hung a Mexican flag over an upside-down American flag.

Free Republic also has a series of disturbing photos of the protest scenes at various Southern California high schools. As at my daughter's high school, these were not pro-United States patriotic rallies, but pro-Mexican rallies asserting the right of illegal aliens to live in their "homeland."

Wednesday Morning Update: Captain's Quarters reacts to the divisive pro-Mexico student demonstrations: "The increasing sense of entitlement for illegals in the area" is "enabling people to argue that the illegals are returning to their own land and that the US lacks the sovereignty to declare otherwise."

Governor Schwarzenegger on Illegal Immigration

Governor Schwarzenegger writes today in the L.A. Times that he supports a guest worker program. At the same time, he says "Granting citizenship to people who are here illegally is not just's anarchy."

The Governor, who of course is an immigrant himself, also discusses the importance of assimilation: "Above all, we owe it to our country and our immigrants to share our values. We should talk about our history, our institutions and our beliefs. We should assimilate immigrants into the mainstream. We want immigrants to not just live in America but to live as Americans."

I think many people would agree with that last point. One of the reasons the protests this week have been divisive is the allegiance of many protestors to Mexico, not the United States; they claim that because California and other states were once Mexican territory, they deserve to be here without following the rules.

No one that I know of opposes legal immigrants. After all, many (most?) Americans are descended from immigrants. My children's heritage includes ancestors from England, France, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Holland, and Canada -- mixed in with some of the "original" Americans, Cherokee Indians.

One of my complaints about the President's approach to illegal immigration is that he doesn't differentiate the issues: He speaks (including in his State of the Union address) as though some Americans resent "immigrants." That's not the case at all. Rather, we are distressed by illegal immigration and its attendant issues: stress on the infrastructure, lack of assimilation, security concerns, and having to deal with the arrogant resentment of those who broke the law to enter the country and believe they are perfectly entitled to be here.

The media and Democrats are all too happy to paint the Republican party as opposed to "immigration," which could hurt conservatives at the polls. I think it's extremely important that Republicans clarify the terms of the debate.

Immigration Protests Come to Local High School

My daughter called on her cell phone at lunch so I could listen in to the scene developing on the quad at her high school. Students were "demonstrating" and chanting with Mexican flags. In response, other students brought American flags out of classrooms and began cheering the United States. The pro-Mexico and pro-United States groups competed in attempts to drown each other out. School administrators intervened and removed the flags before things became more heated.

That, in a nutshell, is a big part of the problem we have. Many of those who want to make illegal immigrants legal are practicing divisive anti-American national separatism. They demand to be legal on their terms and question the legitimacy of the United States' borders. I don't think that would automatically go away and everyone would happily co-exist as American citizens if everyone were to be legalized overnight.

Power Line (linked above) points the way to a warning at Big Lizards which threatens that if we don't go forward with a "guest worker" legalization program, the Republicans may lose the House and then we'll really be in trouble. On the other hand, Mickey Kaus at Kaus Files thinks the GOP has found its winning issue for 2006.

Meanwhile, Cal Thomas asks "Whose Country Is This?" and Thomas Lifson writes at The American Thinker:

"Perhaps we need a two-tier solution. Maybe those whose identity and ultimate allegiance lies elsewhere can be offered temporary residence permits once they have made good on the back taxes they owe, have passed a background check for criminality, and agree not to burden our social welfare system with their needs. But if they do not buy into the entire package of citizenship, responsibilites and all, they do not deserve its rewards.

"Citizenship should be reserved for those who understand and are committed to American fundamental values, and who stand ready to follow in the footsteps of patriots. Anything less diminishes us and our precious gift of citizenship."

Michelle Malkin has a thought-provoking brief post on "jobs Americans won't do."

Update: Rush Limbaugh had some interesting comments today. In response to those who say it's impossible to enforce the law and deport those who are currently here illegally, Rush asks "What would happen if 40 or 50 million of us just stopped paying taxes?" Good point.

Rush also warned that the political parties are potentially ignoring the opinions of the vast majority of Americans on how to handle illegal immigration, in order to court the illegal alien voting bloc, "with the assumption it will vote monolithically." He said that while coveting the votes of illegal immigrants, politicians face the potential ire of voters.

Late Update: My daughter eats lunch with a very ethnically diverse group of students whose parents are recent immigrants from a variety of countries, including India, Korea, and Vietnam. She reports that her friends were uniformly angry at the pro illegal immigration demonstrators on campus today, because her friends' parents all followed the law, even when it meant family members being separated for a period of time before they could all enter the country legally. I think the point of view of those who have worked so hard to come here legally is an interesting angle which deserves more media coverage.

Beverly Cleary at 90

This week's Newsweek has a profile of children's author Beverly Cleary, 90 years young on April 12th. Cleary's birthday will be celebrated nationally with a "Drop Everything and Read Day." Her RAMONA books are going to be filmed.

Cleary's RIBSY was the first chapter book read by my youngest son. His older brother especially liked Cleary's HENRY HUGGINS and THE MOUSE AND THE MOTORCYCLE.

Oldest daughter enjoyed Cleary's books for older children, such as SISTER OF THE BRIDE and THE LUCKIEST GIRL.

As for me, Cleary was never a particular favorite, but I do have a vivid memory of my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Pearson, reading OTIS SPOFFORD aloud to the class. Mrs. Pearson was a wonderful reader and the books she read to us, including Fred Gipson's SAVAGE SAM, are my happiest memories of that schoolyear.

Cleary's autobiography of her growing-up years, A GIRL FROM YAMHILL, is also on my shelves.

Happy birthday to an author who has contributed a great deal to children's literature over the decades.

Rep. McDermott Loses Illegal Taping Case

An appellate court has ordered Rep. Jim McDermott to pay Rep. John Boehner over $700,000 for providing an illegally taped phone call between Boehner, Newt Gingrich, and others to the press. The costs included $60,000 in damages and $600,000 in legal fees.

This was the tape that was supposedly made by a pair of grandparents out Christmas shopping in 1996; they claimed to have picked up the conversation on their scanner and used recording equipment already in their car to tape the phone call. The couple, who were Democratic Party activists, turned the tape over to McDermott, who gave it to the press.

The Latest in "Home Cooking"

The New York Times has an interesting article on "meal assembly centers," where time-crunched moms and dads can prepare a couple weeks' worth of meals in a couple of hours.

The customer chooses menus online in advance and arrives to find all the ingredients chopped and organized; after preparing all the meals, they're then taken home and frozen until cooked. For a couple hundred dollars, someone else does the shopping, prep work, and cleanup. The centers provide simple recipes and advice which are helpful to those without much cooking experience who are interested in providing their families with more nutritious meals.

Cooking historian Laura Shapiro, author of SOMETHING FROM THE OVEN, says "The incredible popularity of cooking shows on TV shows that people are hungry to cook, hungry to be in the kitchen."

FEC Won't Regulate Political Blogs...

...other than paid advertising.

This is terrific news.

Now if we could do something about McCain-Feingold...

Thomas Sowell on Illegal Immigration

Dr. Sowell addresses this week's hot issue:

"The Bush administration is pushing a program to legalize 'guest workers.' But what is a guest? Someone you have invited. People who force their way into your home without your permission are called gate crashers."

He goes on to discuss several pro illegal immigration arguments, including from an economic perspective:

"How often have we heard that illegal immigrants 'take jobs that Americans will not do'? What is missing in this argument is what is crucial in any economic argument: price. Americans will not take many jobs at their current pay levels -- and those pay levels will not rise so long as poverty-stricken immigrants are willing to take those jobs."

The entire article is worth a read.

Monday, March 27, 2006

New Book From Hugh Hewitt

Hugh was absent from his radio show today as he's promoting his brand-new book, PAINTING THE MAP RED: THE FIGHT TO CREATE A PERMANENT REPUBLICAN MAJORITY.

Hugh's book BLOG: UNDERSTANDING THE INFORMATION REFORMATION THAT'S CHANGING YOUR WORLD was an excellent read. I'll look forward to learning more about his new book.

John Kerry: No Tomato Products?

Is there a deeper meaning to be read in John Kerry, who is married to Heinz Ketchup heiress Theresa Heinz, requesting that hotels never serve him "tomato based products"?

Student "Protestors" Block L.A. Freeways

Somehow I don't think thousands of students blocking the L.A. Freeways, while waving Mexican flags, is helping the cause of illegal immigrants.

I notice that the Times mentions the Mexican flags today, after trying to whitewash this weekend's story.

Monday Evening Update: Taxpayers had to foot the bill for today's student "protests," including free school bus transportation for the thousands of students who left campus as well as additional police services.

While the L.A. Times put the number of student walkouts at 22,000, the San Diego Tribune has the number at 36,000.

The Illegal Immigration Rallies, Continued

Michelle Malkin has more on the anti-American sentiments at this weekend's pro-illegal immigration rallies, including the burning of American flags, while Mickey Kaus notes that the Los Angeles Times has updated their weekend coverage to delete references to the presence of Mexican flags.

As has been discussed here and elsewhere, it seems very possible that this kind of separatist anti-American sentiment (which included posters with sayings such as "This is Stolen Land!") will have exactly the opposite effect intended by the protestors and will sway many Americans towards support of tougher enforcement of immigration laws.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

A Visit to Frank's House

A whimsical Sunday L.A. Times piece in which the author chronicles spending a night in one of Frank Sinatra's former Palm Springs homes. Worth a read for Sinatra fans.

Charter Homeschooling in California

The Orange County Register carried an interesting article today on a proposed charter school for Orange County. The Orange County Board of Education is considering approving the charter over the objections of the Newport-Mesa School District, which has argued the charter isn't needed since the district already provides educational services.

Of course, the entire point of charter schools is to provide educational options and competition for "regular" public schools, and the districts don't like seeing their funding drain away as students leave for charters. And in particular, Newport-Mesa objects to the charter because it's a school/homeschooling hybrid. I suspect the teachers' union sees a threat to jobs, among other things.

Public charter homeschooling is working well in other California districts. The proposed charter provides a different variation, with a mix of classroom activities and homeschooling. Some in the education establishment are threatened by the success of parent-led learning, and I suspect they hope to stop further growth of charter homeschools.

Charter homeschooling is in a curious position between public schools and homeschoolers, where on the one hand some public school "educators" see the concept as a job threat, and on the other hand many independent private homeschoolers worry it could ultimately lead to greater government regulation of independent homeschooling. While I think it's wise to be vigilant that the rights of independent homeschoolers are maintained, my take is that charter homeschooling will, in the end, lead to greater educational freedom for all. The more parents are willing to be involved, "think outside the box," and question the way the public school system has been run for decades, the more parents will demand options and the freedom to educate their children as they -- not the government -- see fit.

Michael Barone (and More) on Illegal Immigration

Michael Barone lays out the current issues. His concluding point, the importance of assimilation, really struck a chord with me.

I was contemplating how Americans might feel if this weekend's "pro-immigration" rallies -- which in reality were protesting pending legislation changing illegal immigration from a misdemeanor to a felony -- had focused on U.S. patriotism and the American flag and the immigrants' desires to be part of this country.

Instead, in many instances, the protestors draped themselves in the Mexican flag and chanted "Mexico!" Many of the protestors believe the Southern border of the U.S. is illegitimate. The demands to be here, under the flag of Mexico, may leave some U.S. citizens feeling invaded, rather than persuaded that the cause of the protestors is just.

Scott Johnson at Power Line writes: "I can't think of many things more likely to increase support for enforcing existing immigration law than the march of the illegals that took place in Los Angeles and elsewhere in the United States yesterday."

Ed Morrissey of Captain's Quarters has more thoughts on this. Rick Moore at Holy Coast has posted some commentary on this as well, in several posts over the weekend. Glenn Reynolds has also written on this topic at Instapundit.

Michelle Malkin has a lengthy post which concludes with the fascinating information that the felony provision is in the bill due mainly to Democrats.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

A Profile of Dr. Sowell

Opinion Journal has a good feature today on one of our favorite conservatives, Thomas Sowell. An enjoyable weekend read.

Baseball's Coming...

If it's spring, baseball must be just around the corner...

The L.A. Dodgers have completed a second phase of stadium renovations, including returning the seats to their original paint colors. The Dodgers' website has an interesting series of overhead photos chronicling how the seat colors have changed over the decades. We'll get to check out the stadium changes in person in May.

(Hat tip: L.A. Observed.)

Former Dodger pitcher Jerry Reuss has been added to the Dodgers broadcast team. Nothing against Jerry, but I'd sure be happy if we could return to the time when the broadcast team was just Vin, Ross, and Rick...I really miss Ross Porter.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Another Holiday Which Dare Not Speak Its Name?

As we drove down Katella Avenue toward Disneyland this afternoon, we passed Stanton City Hall, where we noticed a big sign advertising the city's Spring Egg Hunt. The hunt is being held on April 15th, Holy Saturday.

You don't suppose this is actually an Easter egg hunt in disguise, do you?

It seems that "spring" is becoming to "Easter" as "holiday" is to "Christmas."

Then there is this week's latest story of hostility to the most innocuous expression of religion in the public square, with the "Human Rights Director" for the City of St. Paul pulling a Happy Easter sign from public display so no one would be offended. Just whose rights was he protecting?

It was actually refreshing to notice gaily decorated pins saying "Happy Easter" at Disneyland, especially as they long ago started labeling even their Christmas tree ornaments as "holiday" ornaments, which strikes me as the height of absurdity. Is it really likely anyone buying a Christmas tree ornament would be offended by the word Christmas?

Spring Has Sprung at Disneyland

It was a beautiful spring afternoon today at Disneyland. A view from Main Street:

And near the Matterhorn:

Meanwhile, Al Lutz's latest report at MiceAge keeps hope alive for those of us who dream of seeing the return of the PeopleMover to Tomorrowland. Combined with the return of the submarines in 2007, Tomorrowland would no longer be a "ghost town."

More Red America Controversy

This time, unfortunately, centering on blogger Ben Domenech himself, who has been accused of plagiarism. Michelle Malkin has the details.

Red State offers a bare-bones defense.

We'll await developments.

Update: Ben Domenech has resigned from the Washington Post.

Well, leave it to the blogosphere to do its work and get the facts out quickly.

I hope that the Washington Post will try their blogging experiment again with a more reliable conservative writer.

Captain's Quarters has further thoughts. I agree with his conclusion: "I know too many excellent bloggers to imagine that Jim [Brady] cannot relaunch this successfully, in a manner that will bring credit to the Washington Post."

Thursday, March 23, 2006

New Conservative Blog (and Homeschooling) Attacked

As noted here earlier this week, the Washington Post has launched a new conservative blog, Red America. The blog is written by Ben Domenech, who also co-founded Red State.

Michelle Malkin noted yesterday the extremely uncivil (to put it kindly) comments posted at Red America by those who are outraged by the blog's existence. (Reader advisory: Some of the comments excerpted by Michelle are profane.) This reminds me of the incident in January when enraged liberals shut down another Washington Post blog's comments section with obscenities.

A curious trend has evolved over the last couple days, as the ranting in the blog's comments section has continued: there is a lot of anger directed at homeschooling. (Domenech was homeschooled.) A sample comment: "His mom admits home-schooling is a full-time job. Don't these women have lives? Don't they want lives?" Many more examples can be found in the Red State article at the subject link above.

In a nutshell, hands-on parents dedicated enough to teach their children all day are (to quote another comment) "evil."

Obviously these opinions are from people on the way-out fringe...but there are so many of them, it's quite sad.

St. Paul City Hall Removes "Happy Easter" Sign

Can't offend non-Christians, after all.

Whatever happened to respecting everyone's beliefs?

It sounds as though the lobby display, which had been put up by a secretary, was about as innocuous as you could get. No cross accompanied the Happy Easter sign -- just some eggs and a bunny.

It was a bit early for the well-intended sign, however, given that we're still in the middle of Lent. :)

Friday Morning Update: Power Line asks: "Can we still call it St. Paul?" :)

Real Ugly American Interviews Fred Barnes

The transcription of this interview is a good read. Fred answered a number of questions in detail. Also fun to read a bit about Fred Barnes and Brit Hume going through high school and college together. I believe the high school they attended was St. Albans.

Barnes' book REBEL-IN-CHIEF is in my "read soon" pile.

(Hat tip: Captain's Quarters.)

The College Application Game, Part 2

The College Board announced Wednesday it neglected to re-scan 27,000 SAT tests after initially discovering scoring problems. The number of students who received incorrect SAT scores, which were lower than they had actually scored, is now over 4,400. Over 600 students' tests were scored too high.

The Los Angeles Times discusses plans for reform at the College Board.

ABC News Producer: "Bush Makes Me Sick"

The producer also threatened to "puke" over what the President was saying.

So much for lack of bias among prominent members of the Mainstream Media...

Thanks to the Drudge Report for publishing this.

Florida Requiring 9th Graders to Declare Major?

I think it's cause for concern that Florida may try to lock 14-year-olds into a certain academic or vocational track at such a young's difficult to know for sure what you want to do with your life when you're beginning college, let alone when you're just beginning high school.

(Hat tip: Joanne Jacobs.)

Karen at Spunky Homeschool has a provocative post up suggesting that Florida's program is not about providing students with the best education possible, but is instead a step on the path to socialism: "It is none of the state's business what my child or any child wants to be when they grow up...This is social engineering with the goal of tailoring the children toward the needs of the state."

I'm not sure I'm ready to go that far in my criticism, but I do think this program raises serious questions and Karen's thoughts are worth keeping in mind as we watch such new educational "programs" develop. Potentially cutting off students' career options at a very young age -- including shuffling some kids into vocational work at the beginning of high school -- doesn't strike me as healthy, and also seems to run counter to traditional American ideals about this country being "the land of opportunity."

Slapping the Hands That Rescued Them

You've got to love the deep expressions of gratitude the "peace activists" have expressed toward the U.S. and British troops who rescued three of their members who were held hostage: "We believe that the illegal occupation of Iraq by Multinational Forces is the root cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping and so much pain and suffering in Iraq. The occupation must end."

Not one word of thanks to the troops who rescued the hostages appears in the press release from Christian Peacemaker Teams.

NYT Hoaxed Again

The New York Times seems to be publishing "all the news that's not fit to print"...

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Roberts Dissents With Conservative Minority

In a 5-3 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the police may not enter a home to search it if they only have consent from one of the homeowners. Chief Justice Roberts dissented, along with Justices Thomas and Scalia. Justice Alito did not participate.

The Chief Justice wrote that the case results in "a complete lack of practical guidance for the police in the field, let alone for the lower courts."

Excerpts from the decision are here.

Ed Whelan at Bench Memos writes that the decision provides "further evidence that he [Roberts] will be a great justice."

The College Application Game

The college application process can be exhausting, what with juggling multiple applications (see subject link) and AP classes and tests.

I can't understand students who apply to 20 or more colleges -- how will they ever winnow down the options?! -- but as a parent in the middle of the process, it certainly makes sense to me to apply to 10 or 12, especially for a strong student. By the time you've included applications to schools for a variety of financial and academic contingencies (less expensive state schools, a "reach" school or two, private colleges in commuting distance, and the schools that most interest the student), it adds up. My daughter's kept track of her college application deadlines and responses with an Excel spreadsheet. Quite a contrast with my own application to exactly one college!

I think the College Board auditing AP classes for quality and content may be a good idea. My daughter has had some AP classes that were very rigorous, while others, such as her current AP English class, are most definitely not being taught at college level. On the other hand, if a student is capable of passing an AP test without taking the course -- or after suffering through a poor class -- shouldn't credit be given where it's due?

Arnold Won't Replace Reiner

It appears the governor is putting friendship ahead of demanding high ethical standards from those holding state positions. And so Arnold's standing with many conservative Republicans will sink lower...

(Hat tip: Hugh Hewitt.)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Hillary Quiets Bill?

An interesting bit of political gossip from The New York Daily News:

"After being surprised by her husband's role in the Dubai ports deal, Sen. Hillary Clinton has insisted that Bill Clinton give her 'final say' over what he says and does, well-placed sources said."

I suspect that if it is accurate Bill has agreed to cooperate with Hillary in this manner, it's not so much because he wants Hillary to be elected President, but because he would be happy to return to center stage in the White House himself.

Washington Post Starts Conservative Blog

Red America has launched today at the Washington Post.

The blog will be written by Ben Domenech, a co-founder of Red State. His opening sentence: "This is a blog for the majority of Americans."

An encouraging MSM development.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Plamegate Update

Byron York has a very interesting article at National Review Online on the latest developments in the Scooter Libby case, including a summary of a motion filed by Libby's lawyers last Friday.

York, who has covered this case extensively, concludes: "In the end, if Libby's version of events is correct, not only did he not commit any crimes in the Wilson matter, but no one at the State Department or the CIA committed any crimes, either."

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Tonight's Movie: Comrade X (1940)

Clark Gable and Hedy Lamarr star in COMRADE X as an American reporter and a dedicated Communist, respectively, who are manipulated into marriage in Russia by Lamarr's father (Sig Ruman) in order to save her life. Gable's in danger himself, as he's been smuggling uncensored stories out of the country. It doesn't take the new couple long to warm up to each other, and soon they're heading for the border together in a hijacked Russian tank.

COMRADE X owes more than a little inspiration to the previous year's NINOTCHKA, including the presence of Sig Ruman in the supporting cast. The film reunited Gable and Lamarr, who had costarred in BOOM TOWN earlier in 1940. Lamarr is charmingly funny and the film really takes off once she enters the picture. The supporting cast includes Eve Arden. The film was directed by King Vidor.

COMRADE X is available on video and is part of the Turner Classic Movies library.

Update: COMRADE X is now available on DVD-R from the Warner Archive.

May 2016 Update: An extended review of the film and the Warner Archive DVD may now be found here.

Julia Child Autobiography Coming in April

Julia Child's MY LIFE IN FRANCE will be posthumously published early next month. The book was completed after Child's death by her grandnephew, Alex Prud'homme.

The April issue of BON APPETIT ran a charming excerpt describing Child's first-ever meal in France, including her introduction to shallots. The book chronicles her growing love for French food and years spent "mastering the art of French cooking."

In its starred review, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY calls the book "a valuable record." How wonderful it is that we still have more to enjoy with Julia.

FNC's Special Report Climbs in Ratings

U.S. News & World Report has a brief but interesting note pointing out that SPECIAL REPORT WITH BRIT HUME, which airs on Fox News Channel, is now No. 2 among all cable news shows, second only to THE O'REILLY FACTOR. The show is now viewed by one and a half million viewers each night.

Personally, I think SPECIAL REPORT -- especially the "Round Table" in the last third of the show -- qualifies as "can't miss TV."

If I could have dinner with anyone in Washington other than the President (grin), I'd without hesitation pick Brit Hume, who is razor-sharp smart, has a great eye for stories ignored by other networks, and maintains a terrific sense of humor to boot.

(Hat tip: Betsy's Page.)

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Tonight's Movie: Come Live With Me (1941)

COME LIVE WITH ME is a slight but enjoyable trifle starring two of Hollywood's most appealing actors, James Stewart and Hedy Lamarr. Lamarr plays a Viennese refugee who marries struggling writer Stewart "in name only" to avoid being deported. Matters are complicated by Lamarr's involvement with a married man, but all is set right when Stewart takes Lamarr to visit his grandmother on the family farm and they decide to embark on a "real" marriage for love. All is happily wrapped up in a brisk 86 minutes.

Lamarr was not only a great beauty, she has the unique distinction of being a co patent holder for ground-breaking "frequency hopping" technology during WWII. THE FILMS OF HEDY LAMARR by Christopher Young is an excellent chronicle of her Hollywood career.

The solid supporting cast includes Verree Teasdale, in her last film role, in an interesting turn as the understanding wife of Stewart's publisher, who also happens to be the married man involved with Lamarr, and Adeline De Walt Reynolds in her first movie as Stewart's philosophical, hardy grandmother. De Walt Reynolds was nearly 80 when this film was made and amazingly would go on to act for close to another two decades.

COME LIVE WITH ME was directed by MGM stalwart Clarence Brown, whose best films included THE HUMAN COMEDY and NATIONAL VELVET.

Here's a nice article on the film from the Turner Classic Movies website. COME LIVE WITH ME is not available on video or DVD, but next airs on TCM on March 28, 2006.

Summer 2010 Update: COME LIVE WITH ME is now available on DVD-R format from the Warner Archive.

December 2014 Update: Here is a review of this film as seen on the Warner Archive DVD.

NYT Altered Unflattering Cover Photo

The New York Times isn't having a good week. They are on rocky financial ground, and the online magazine Salon caught the paper "misidentifying" a prisoner in an Abu Ghraib photo.

Now the paper has been caught intentionally altering a photo of former Virginia Governor Mark Warner which appeared on the cover of their Sunday magazine. Warner was actually wearing a charcoal suit, light blue shirt, and dark blue tie, which the Times changed to an unattractive maroon and pink ensemble. The photo editor says they were attempting to achieve "dramatic effect".

Hmmm, so dramatic he'd look unelectable compared to Hillary?

Scott Johnson of Power Line has published extensive coverage at the title link and here.

Writing Recipes for the Modern Un-Cook

A rather fascinating article about the writing dilemmas facing today's recipe authors, inasmuch as many Americans who haven't spent much time in the kitchen growing up no longer know the meanings of words such as "braise," "saute," "cream," or "fold." These writers face a balancing act between encouraging cooking and completely giving up on using normal cooking "vocabulary."

I like the compromise arrived at in the forthcoming 75th Anniversary Edition of JOY OF COOKING: an extensive glossary. I confess I didn't know the meaning of "braise" myself until I started on a quest to expand my very basic cooking skills a year or so ago. Part of the fun of learning is to become familiar with terminology and gain competence in a new area, rather than having everything "dumbed down." I've found illustrated guides to be a great help unlocking the mysteries of dicing and deglazing.

As the JOY editor says: "When you learn to drive, you learn terms like 'brake' and 'parallel park.' Why is it okay to be stupid when you cook?" :)

Fashion Great Oleg Cassini Dies at 92

Cassini is most famous for designing Jacqueline Kennedy's White House wardrobe, which he chronicled in the wonderful book A THOUSAND DAYS OF MAGIC.

Cassini was once married to the beautiful actress Gene Tierney. Tragically, Tierney was exposed to rubella by a fan who broke quarantine to meet her, and Cassini and Tierney's oldest daughter was born with severe birth defects. (This incident is said to have inspired the plot of THE MIRROR CRACK'D.) Cassini and Tierney went on to have another daughter but eventually divorced, although they remained close. Cassini spoke movingly of Tierney in the BIOGRAPHY episode "A Shattered Portrait."

Cassini, titled a count at birth, was famously tossed over by Grace Kelly in the '50s when she decided to marry a prince.

Another obituary from The New York Times.

Welcome Back to Betsy Newmark

Betsy's Page disappeared suddenly early last week, apparently somehow "eaten" by Blogger. Along the way, a "squatter" also moved in on her URL. Blogger has now finally restored her website.

At Polipundit it was noted that among the blogs which disappeared from Blogger last week were two of the most prominent conservative blogs hosted by Blogger -- which is now owned by Google, a very liberal company. Coincidence, or cause for concern?

Friday, March 17, 2006

This Is Just...Great

Here's a feel-good story to read going into the weekend: Less than 15 hours after their Missouri home was destroyed by a tornado Sunday night, a family was standing in a brand-new home, built in a day by their Amish neighbors.

Coincidentally, my 11-year-old and I are reading Lois Lenski's SHOO-FLY GIRL this week, which is about a Pennsylvania Amish family. This book was one of my childhood favorites.

Author-illustrator Lenski excelled at telling the stories of children in different regions of the country, including COTTON IN MY SACK, JUDY'S JOURNEY, PRAIRIE SCHOOL, BAYOU SUZETTE, and her Newberry winner, STRAWBERRY GIRL.

Cooking: On Making Perfect Dumplings

After reading this exhaustive article on what makes a good dumpling -- complete with several recipes! -- I know what I'll be making for dinner one night this rainy weekend. :)

THE AMERICA'S TEST KITCHEN FAMILY COOKBOOK, which quickly became one of my favorite cookbooks after I bought it a few months ago, says the key to light dumplings is making them with warm milk and melted fat. I've made their recipe twice and had perfect results.

Howard Fineman of Newsweek "Gets Snippy"

NewsBusters reports on Howard Fineman's search for "unbiased readers."

Howard apparently doesn't like being called a liberal.

New York Times Struggling Financially?

Moody's Investors Service may be downgrading the NYT due to "high financial leverage, deteriorating operating margins and weak free cash flow available for debt reduction, combined with concerns over intensifying cross media competition, including the Internet..."

The MSM (Mainstream Media) continues to struggle for relevance and survival...

Justice Scalia on "Judge-Moralists"

Earlier this week Justice Scalia stated "Anyone who thinks the country's most prominent lawyers reflect the views of the people needs a reality check" and went on to suggest that it is the people, through their elected legislatures, who should decide the big issues of the day, not the courts.

Scalia went on to ask for the definition of "moderate": "What is a moderate interpretation of (the Constitution)? Halfway between what it says and halfway between what you want it to say?"

I love this man. :)

This Is Just...Sad

Kindergarten children in New York will be learning about HIV and AIDS, including that it's hard to "get well" from AIDS.

They won't be learning how AIDS is contracted, which is at least something positive, yet I would think the program may leave these 5-year-olds with a fear that they, too, could get AIDS.

The curriculum is described as "developmentally appropriate." How could it be appropriate to teach little children just out of preschool about a virus contracted in ways they can't begin to fathom?

Some days I can only shake my head.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I suggest watching this as part of your celebration.

Have a great day!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Excellent Reviews for Chief Justice Roberts

The Legal Times has published a very interesting article on Chief Justice John Roberts, who as Chief Justice already has a glowing reputation as both a conservative and a consensus builder:

"Without showing any sign of compromising his conservative views, Roberts has nonetheless written three unanimous opinions himself so far and presided over a Court that was unanimous in 21 out of 29 signed rulings issued. Just as significant, only six concurring opinions have been written this term -- a departure for justices long accustomed to writing separately to express even the slightest disgruntlement with the majority."

We can only hope President Bush has another opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court justice of the caliber of Roberts and Alito. Given Justice Ginsburg's opinions on the importance of foreign law when interpreting the United States Constitution, she can't retire too soon.

(Hat tip: Confirm Them.)

"Americans Will Do These Jobs"

Rich Lowry of National Review has written a fascinating column about the jobs which supporters of a U.S. "guest worker" program for Mexican workers insist that Americans won't do. Lowry provides a variety of statistics counteracting that argument and concludes that "There is indeed a niche for low-skill labor in America. The question is simply whether it should be filled by illegal or temporary Mexican workers, or instead by legal immigrants and Americans."

As I've written here before, I very strongly support and admire President Bush, but the issue of illegal immigration, amnesty/guest worker programs, and securing the borders in general has been his Achilles' heel. Lowry concludes with this significant point, with which I concur:

"In his second term, President Bush has become a master of the reverse-wedge issue — hot-button issues that divide his political base and get it to feast on itself with charges of sexism, xenophobia and racism. The first was Harriet Miers; then there was the Dubai ports deal; and now comes his guest-worker proposal, making for a trifecta of political self-immolation. There is still time for Bush to make an escape from this latest budding political disaster, but it has to begin with the affirmation that there are no jobs Americans won't do."

Reiner Broke Prop. 10 Campaign Promise

Daniel Weintraub of The Sacramento Bee writes that the official campaign ballot argument for Rob Reiner's Proposition 10 tobacco tax in 1998 was that the money would be spent locally on children's programs and was "not big government."

The irony is that while a majority of the money has been used at the local level, Reiner has been using some of those very "not big government" funds to sell the public on the need for big government -- his state-run "universal" preschool program.

Weintraub writes in another column about how Reiner is eroding public trust, as "the latest in a long line of public officials so blinded by their own belief in the goodness of their cause that they begin to believe anything done in the service of that goal has to be right, and any criticism has to be from the forces of evil."

Yep, as mentioned here Tuesday, it was all "for the children," so how dare anyone criticize.

Meanwhile, Hugh Hewitt points the way today to the brand-new website, Fire Reiner!.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Justice Ginsburg on Foreign Law

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently made a disturbing speech explicitly supporting the use of foreign law in interpreting the U.S. Constitution.

John Hinderaker at Power Line analyzes Ginsburg's speech in detail. It's a worthwhile, and troubling, read.

Eminent Domain: Church to be Bulldozed for Condos

Hugh Hewitt discussed this case with John Eastman today on the radio. The city of Long Beach, California, voted to condemn a Baptist church in order to turn the land over to condo developers.

The Long Beach Press-Telegram characterizes the condos as "an affordable housing development of condominiums and town homes."

Eastman, who represents the church, says the city has not proven the taking of the property is for "public use" and added that the condemnation violates freedom of religion.

Much more here, including an interview with Eastman.

If this is allowed to happen to the Filipino Baptist Fellowship, it can also happen to my church...and yours.

Driver's License Renewals by Mail to End

We can thank pervasive illegal immigration and falsified driver's licenses, plus terrorism concerns, for another of life's not-so-little inconveniences: beginning in 2008 we'll all have to stand in line at the DMV to renew our driver's licenses in person.

California says that in order to handle the increased DMV traffic, the state will likely more than double the current renewal fee of $26. Lovely.

NRO's New College Blog

This week National Review Online has added Phi Beta Cons to its blog lineup. This blog will be "keeping an eye on the politics of campus life."

As the parent of someone who will be a college freshman this fall, I'll be following this blog with particular interest.

Rob Reiner's "Press Conference"

Bill Bradley has a detailed rundown of Rob Reiner's press conference Tuesday in Sacramento, in which Reiner used what Bradley termed "the Sergeant Schultz defense, with Bill Clinton variant."

Not only does Reiner know virtually nothing about his commission's First Five ad campaign, he claimed "To this day I have not seen the ads."

That would make him about the only person in California not to have seen the ads, which I believe raises questions about Reiner's veracity.

(Hat tip: Hugh Hewitt.)

Update: Part of the San Francisco Chronicle subheadline on Reiner is "He Never Saw TV Commercial." Somehow I think those words will haunt Reiner.

The San Jose Mercury News today says "One of preschool's major objectives is to teach the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behavior. Rob Reiner needs a refresher course."


Williams and Sowell on Student Indoctrination

Walter Williams (linked above) and Thomas Sowell weigh in on classroom "freedom of speech" and political indoctrination of students.

As always, Williams and Sowell are very worthwhile reads.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Reiner Controversy Continues to Grow

USA TODAY ran a story today about the growing controversy in California over Rob Reiner's state commission spending public funds for his personal political project, the Proposition 82 "universal preschool" initiative. According to the paper, Reiner will hold a press conference today.

As Dan Walters recently noted in the Sacramento Bee, other prominent state officials have been forced to leave office for similar transgressions.

The Orange County Register carried an update on the investigation on their editorial page Monday.

The Bee's Daniel Weintraub published detailed info last week about Reiner's ad firm's pro-preschool strategy, which stated that the "goal for white men should be acquiescence, not activism." Can you imagine if that document said "black men" in such dismissive terms? Reiner would already be out of office.

Update: The Sacramento Bee reports that Reiner is lashing out at his critics: "Facing a state audit and possible criminal investigation of the state commission he chaired, movie director Rob Reiner on Monday said his opponents are targeting him for attacks to avoid discussing the merits of the universal preschool initiative he put on the June ballot." Reiner called charges that he used state tax revenue as a "slush fund" to advertise his initiative "ridiculous."

Reiner stated: "All I have done in my life the last 13 years is to try to make things better for children."

That's right, he did it "for the children," so we shouldn't criticize. How many times over the years have we heard that cliche from other Democrats?

President Meets Autistic Basketball Hero


My husband just wants to know why the coach didn't have this kid playing all year long. :)

New Chicken Cookbook

Last night I made a recipe from a wonderful cookbook I received for Christmas, THE NEW YORK TIMES CHICKEN COOKBOOK, which was published last summer.

We had the Casserole-Roasted Chicken with Shallots. It smelled great and tasted better. :) Recommended!

College Visit Time

Blogging has been light the last few days as we are deep in the midst of college visits with our eldest.

Thus far her favorites include Redlands (above) and Biola, a Christian college.

We'll be checking out more campuses as acceptances and financial aid packets come in over the next couple weeks.

Republicans Call Democrats' Bluff

Go, Senator Frist, go.

As Rush Limbaugh commented today, it's wonderful to see the Republicans meeting Democrat Russ Feingold's call for censuring or impeaching the President head-on.

Will New Hampshire Vote for Kindergarten?

Several towns in New Hampshire will vote today on whether to offer public kindergarten.

Something that struck me in this article was the pro-kindergarten mother whose own attempts to teach her son reading skills at home ended in "frustration and tears."

I can say from experience that teaching letter sounds isn't difficult -- if the child is developmentally ready. I can also say from experience that if the child isn't ready, it will be a frustrating experience until the child is a little older.

Sending her child to kindergarten wouldn't necessarily have been the magical panacea that mother believes...and why would a teacher whose time is divided between many children of widely varying needs and abilities automatically be assumed to have a greater likelihood of success?

The Nanny State

As part of its new "wellness" policy, Saddleback Valley School District here in Orange County may even ban the sale of treats which will be sold and consumed off campus. Goodbye, See's Candy fundraisers.

I think everyone likes the idea of setting a good example for healthy eating, but there is such a thing as "moderation." Forbidding the PTA from selling candy off campus -- where the buyers are most often, after all, adults -- is just silly, as is threatening to restrict students' birthday cupcakes.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Boys and Books

This Slate article on children's reading for boys struck some familiar notes for me -- my older son has definitely been one to primarily "read for information" from earliest childhood, absorbing nonfiction books with diagrams, charts, and stats on subjects such as construction, fire trucks, baseball, and NASCAR. As a young teen he still leans toward nonfiction reading, particularly books on WWII such as DAY OF INFAMY.

However, he also loved listening to Wilder's FARMER BOY when he was younger, and there have been other fiction books that have struck a chord with him along the way.

My younger son, meanwhile, loves biographies but is also hooked on chapter books by Beverly Cleary (like RIBSY) and Carolyn Haywood (HERE'S A PENNY) -- so although some generalizations about boys and reading may "fit" at first glance, I suspect it's very individual from child to child.

Measuring the Support for Preschool Initiative

The L.A. Times today headlines "Voters Widely Back Measure on Preschools."

However, if you read the actual article, the stat they use is that 66% of "Californians" back the measure.

An impressive (and worrisome) percentage, to be sure, but there is usually quite a difference between likely "voters" and "Californians." The more significant statistic is the percentage of likely voters who will actually vote for the initiative in June.

The Sacramento Bee reported last week that 55% of likely voters currently support Prop. 82, but the pollster expects that number to shrink as voters become more familiar with the measure.

Unfortunately, I suspect that there are enough California voters enticed by the idea of "free" preschool that the proposition will pass. I hope I'm wrong.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Ports Deal in the Rearview Mirror

Ed Morrissey wraps up a contentious couple of weeks by taking a look at the missteps in every corner as the ports controversy unfolded -- including attacks on the deal's critics as xenophobes and the White House unfortunately going into "Harriet Miers mode."

Friday, March 10, 2006

Podhoretz on the Ports Deal

John Podhoretz suggests that, as in the Harriet Miers matter, the President has, in the end, been aided by those in his party who disagreed with him.

"The president may have been right on the economic and foreign-policy merits of allowing the government-owned Dubai Ports World to manage stevedore operations inside the United States. But he was clearly wrong when it came not only to the politics of the deal, but also to its symbolic significance in the midst of the War on Terror."

I would add to that point that I continue to be troubled that many analysts I respect, including Larry Kudlow, Morton Kondracke, and Rush Limbaugh, continue to ignore the angle that the United Arab Emirates is actively engaged in a boycott of our ally Israel.

Rush Limbaugh today seemed to suggest that it's wrong not to allow Dubai to operate some of our ports since we allow China (through COSCO) to operate the Port of Long Beach in California. My take, as I've said here before, is that deal should never have been allowed to happen either. It's one thing to engage a Communist country economically, in hopes that free market capitalism and interaction between our nations will gradually impact China for the better. It's quite another thing to allow a company from a Communist nation to operate an American port.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

"The Clintons Pass in the Night"

Last weekend I wondered just how much the Clintons communicate with each other, given that Hillary claimed to be "unaware" of Bill's active support for the Dubai Ports deal she strenuously opposed. It raised the possibility that either the Clintons' marriage is as distant as many of us suppose it might be, or she was lying.

Dick Morris writes on this in today's issue of The Hill (linked above), commenting that the ports deal is typical of "Hillary’s dream of no accountability and Bill’s of being able to take both sides of an issue." Morris suggests Hillary is well aware of Bill's employment and is "desperately trying to distract attention from the Dubai dollars that flow into her family checking account from Bill’s political and business dealings with the Dubai crown prince."

(Hat tip: Wide Awake Cafe.)

Meanwhile, check out Michelle Malkin for the latest links on Dubai's withdrawal from the ports operation deal.

Political Correctness Ends School Concert

Rick Moore of Holy Coast tells the story of the cancellation of a districtwide school band concert which had been held annually here in Orange County. The concert was held in a church facility big enough for all the schools' musicians and their parents. It will not take place this year because a parent complained about the presence of a cross in the church and threatened legal action.

The "offended" family probably has no clue just how self-centered and destructive their behavior is. Very sad.

Rob Reiner Commission Will Be Audited

This is very good news indeed.

Daniel Weintraub of The Sacramento Bee reports that a memo prepared for the state's "First Five" commission laid out a plan to "create demand" for Reiner's plan for universal preschool using taxpayer funds: "Now, we will seek to persuade all adults in California that maximizing early childhood development benefits everyone, and that they should therefore support state efforts to provide universally available early learning programs."

The memo also warned that "People see the early years as primarily the responsibility of parents." Wow, what a scary concept!

As Weintraub writes: "The commission and its consultants saw the public funds they controlled as a piggy bank to pay for a re-education campaign aimed at furthering their own personal and policy goals. If that's not illegal, maybe it ought to be."

More from The Los Angeles Times.

Update: The Orange County Register says "It's time to kill Prop. 82," and calls on Rob Reiner to permanently resign from the First 5 Commission and withdraw his support for Prop. 82.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Hillary Supports Citizenship for Illegal Immigrants

Senator Clinton supports "a path to earned citizenship for those who are here, working hard, paying taxes, respecting the law, and willing to meet a high bar for becoming a citizen...I do support providing undocumented workers with the opportunity to earn legal status in this country."

Not only is she wrong to recommend that we reward lawbreakers, her argument that illegal immigrants pay taxes is lacking. They pay sales taxes, and in those cases where banks are offering loans to illegal immigrants who have Matricula Consular cards, they may be paying property taxes, but without a legal social security number illegal aliens are certainly not paying federal income taxes.

Nursery Rhymes Politically Incorrect

Children at some nursery schools in England are no longer singing "Baa, baa, black sheep," as the words don't fit the schools' "equal opportunities rules."

The children now sing "Baa, baa, rainbow sheep."

The reference to "7 Dwarves" has been deleted from "Snow White," and the ending of Humpty Dumpty was changed so that children wouldn't be upset.

This is so absurd it sounds like something from The Onion. What a great example of political correctness run amok.

(Hat tip: Joanne Jacobs, via Betsy's Page.)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

New Eminent Domain Controversy

A village in New York is considering using eminent domain to take over a privately held golf course and open it to all of the town's residents, which would then, the mayor has said, increase property values.

The mayor also says: "I consider a village golf course and recreational facility for residents a public use" and thus fair game under eminent domain law.

Hmmm, maybe my city should take over all the movie theaters in town and open them up for free public use...would free movies drive up our property values? Or maybe Anaheim should take over Disneyland for the free use of all its residents? What would that do to Anaheim's property values?!

These ideas sound absurd, but are no different than what the mayor in New York is proposing to do by having the local government forcibly take over a privately owned golf course.

"Professors of Pretense"

George Will on law school professors who said their free speech rights were violated because they weren't allowed to stop the free speech of others...namely, military recruiters.

The unanimous Supreme Court opinion in favor of military recruiters being allowed to speak on college campuses which accept federal funding was authored by Chief Justice Roberts, who is quoted at length in Will's column.

Bill Murchison also has excellent analysis on this subject. (Hat tip: Betsy's Page.)

The Passing of Dana Reeve

When I heard the sad news of the death of Dana Reeve, less than 18 months after the death of her husband, Christopher Reeve, my first thoughts were of her young son, now tragically orphaned.

Fox News reports that 13-year-old Will will be living with a close friend. What a very difficult life that young man has had.

Reeve is also survived by her father, two sisters, and two stepchildren.

MSM Spins Teacher Indoctrination Story

NewsBusters has some very informative posts up today about how the Associated Press and the Today Show have spun the story of the teacher caught on tape in an anti-Bush, anti-American rant in favor of the teacher, Jay Bennish.

TODAY host Matt Lauer's questions included how the teacher felt about the student's family shopping the tape to "conservative media outlets." Well, Matt, would TODAY have covered it? I think not.

Michelle Malkin noted the teacher's makeover before he appeared on TV. Check out the before and after photos.

Colorado's governor has praised student Sean Allen, leading the teacher's attorney to complain "The governor has demonstrated a lack of knowledge about the First Amendment for many, many years."

I'd like to know why Mr. Bennish and his attorney believe Mr. Bennish is entitled to First Amendment protection when he's on the taxpayers' payroll speaking to a captive audience of minor students whose only means of escape is private school or homeschooling.

Trader Joe's Opens in NYC

The popular gourmet grocery store Trader Joe's, which originated in California, opens its first store in New York City this month.

The New York Times has a fun article on the history of Trader Joe's and how it develops some of its unique "house" products.

WA Post Buries Katrina Tape "Clarification"

A great post at Captain's Quarters about the Washington Post burying a "clarification" to the falsified Katrina tape stories which made the rounds a few days ago: "The leading newspaper in the United States not only passed along obviously incorrect information without bothering to check the facts, but its editorial board then used that obviously incorrect information to jump on a tar-and-feathering campaign against the President -- for his incurious approach to checking the facts!"

Monday, March 06, 2006

NASCAR Hall of Fame...

...will be built in Charlotte, North Carolina, NASCAR announced today.

Charlotte, which is near the majority of current racing team headquarters, won out over Atlanta and Daytona Beach.

The new museum has been designed by the firm founded by famed architect I.M. Pei.

It is expected to open in 2010.

Charter Schools Treated Poorly in San Diego

Here in California, those in the existing educational establishment often are threatened by charter schools; charter schools are also public schools, but are freed from the usual "rules" and are able to be innovative and provide competition for "regular" schools. The regular schools don't like losing their students and state funding to charters, even if it means the students will receive a better education.

The San Diego Union-Tribune has published an editorial about hostility toward charters in San Diego which is disturbing, to say the least. The Union-Tribune refers to the district's recent anti-charter actions as "amoral."

Among other things, the new superintendent, Carl Cohn, "has said several times that he would never sacrifice teacher morale for student achievement."

Doesn't Cohn have that exactly backwards?

San Diego has a past history of being open to homeschoolers and charter schools, including the successful charter homeschooling program, California Virtual Academy of San Diego, which serves San Diego and geographically contiguous counties.

It sounds as though under Cohn's leadership, which began last fall, the atmosphere for educational innovation in San Diego may have grown considerably more chilly.

(Hat tip: Joanne Jacobs.)

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Captain's Quarters Live Blogging the Oscars

It's just too painful for a devoted film fan who's not a member of the far left wing to watch more than snippets of the Oscars these days -- I mean, how could I possibly care that a song called "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" won the Oscar? Hollywood seems to be doing its utmost to alienate mainstream America.

Reading Ed Morrissey's live commentary at Captain's Quarters makes a good substitute if you want to find out the winners -- and the show's high and low points -- without suffering through endless liberal platitudes and clips.

I do plan to turn the show on in time for the Best Actress category -- I'm very much hoping Reese Witherspoon wins for her portrayal of June Carter in WALK THE LINE. As much as I enjoyed Felicity Huffman in SPORTS NIGHT, I would be disappointed if she wins the Oscar for yet another of this year's "agenda" movies.

Update: I'm so very happy for Reese Witherspoon, a true class act.

Hillary "Unaware" Bill Works for Dubai?

We're always hearing what savvy politicians the Clintons are, but this latest sure seems to contradict that...the former President is advising the UAE on the ports deal while Senator Clinton campaigns against it.

Considering what a hot topic the ports issue has been of late, this story also raises questions about just how much Mr. and Mrs. Clinton communicate.

Traditional Marriages Happiest

Here's a least, it may be for some people: A recent study shows that the happiest marriages are those in which the husband is the primary wage earner, the couples worship together regularly and believe in marriage as a lifelong commitment.

The latter two factors in particular seem like such commonsense factors in marital success, it's almost amusing to have these longtime "traditional values" validated by a study.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Searching for AP's Katrina "Clarification"

Scott Johnson at Power Line is on the case searching for anyone who has actually used the AP's Friday night videotape story "clarification":

"The clarification does not turn up anywhere online except as noted here. Today's Washington Post carries an editorial condemning the Bush administration based on its own misreporting of the video story: "Caught on tape." The AP's timing of the clarification's release on a Friday night smacks of Clinton-style scandal management. I can't find the clarification in the Post or in any other newspaper."

More analysis from Randy at, who discusses the Friday night timing of the correction, and Gina Cobb, who notes: "Somebody needs to resign, and it isn't President Bush."

Afternoon Update: Kudos to USA TODAY which has noted the correction on the front page of its website, under the Katrina Update topic: "We don't normally work on the weekends, but the Associated Press has released a "clarification" of its headline-grabbing report earlier this week and we wanted to get it out as soon as we could."

Friday, March 03, 2006

AP Makes Friday Night Katrina Correction

Now that it's Friday night and people won't be paying so much attention, the Associated Press has seen fit to finally release a correction to part of their Katrina video story, clarifying that the President was warned about overtopping the levees, not breaching: "The Army Corps of Engineers considers a breach a hole developing in a levee rather than an overrun. The story should have made clear that Bush was warned about floodwaters overrunning the levees, rather than the levees breaking."

There's a huge difference in the two terms, and despite this clarification, the Associated Press has probably done the President some damage. It seems to me that the AP willfully ignored the actual facts for as long as possible in order to inflict maximum damage on the Bush administration.

In its correction the AP still refers to the video as "confidential," despite the fact the video has been widely available to the news media and is not a "new" discovery.

Update: John Hinderaker at Power Line notes: "I think this highlights, though, how hard it is for truth to catch up to error... The correction (or 'clarification') will never catch up to most of the tens of millions of people who heard the original story. The news business is all about impressions, and corrections, days after the fact, never take away the impression that the original story falsely created."

Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters: "After its report got picked up by every news source in the US, and after the discovery that these transcripts and videos never contained any warnings about breaches, the AP has finally decided to actually read the transcript and watch its video... This vaunted system of editors and fact-checking at Exempt Media outlets failed yet again, and yet again the hack job that emerged was intended to damage George Bush."

Saturday Morning Update: Welcome to readers of and Gina Cobb.

On Teachers and Technology

Rush Limbaugh commented today that he thinks we're on the verge of undoing liberal teachers' ability to indoctrinate students. He commented that the student who made the tape in Colorado, Sean Allen, was better-informed than his teacher and also knew exactly how to get the tape publicly disseminated -- he went to talk radio.

Thomas Lifson at American Thinker (linked above) thinks new recording technology will lead to classroom changes. This has also been an issue at UCLA.

The teacher involved, Jay Bennish, is suing saying that his free speech rights are being violated. Frankly, when the government forces our children to attend one particular school if they are in the public school system, I don't think a teacher has free speech rights; the students, after all, don't have the right to leave, unless they choose to go to private school or homeschool. Further, I don't believe the teacher should have an expectation of "privacy" in his or her classroom; minor students should be free to report anything said by a teacher to their parents or others. As Betsy Newmark, a teacher, says: "Teachers shouldn't say anything that they don't want the public to know that they said in class."

Ben Johnson at Front Page Magazine has further details and background on this teacher's history. Michelle Malkin has a number of links posted, including a video link of the student's appearance on HANNITY AND COLMES.

The Non-Confidential Katrina Tape

Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters has the latest untangling the AP's deceptive "Katrina video" story.

Ed links to a column by Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post, who confirms that this video has been in the possession of all the networks.

There is also another video being reported on today in which Governor Blanco tells President Bush, at midday on August 29, that the levees had not been breached -- hours after the National Weather Service received a report of a breached levee and issued a flash flood warning at 9:12 a.m.

Update: John McIntyre of Real Clear Politics believes that although Fox News and the blogosphere will help prevent the distorted videotape story from gaining the traction it might have in the past, President Bush will still be damaged because so many people still glean their news from headlines.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Tonight's Movie: The Romance of Rosy Ridge (1947)

I just watched this post-Civil War film for the first time. This is a somewhat unusual film for MGM -- a very rustic picture about struggling farmers also dealing with lingering post-war animosity in their community. Janet Leigh made her film debut as the poor but pretty girl who charms Van Johnson, a mysterious teacher "passing through" after fighting in the war, who insists on helping her family with the harvest.

I thought this movie was really special and surprisingly overlooked over the years; I had heard very little about it other than being Leigh's first film. (Leonard Maltin does give it three stars in his CLASSIC MOVIE GUIDE, noting the movie's "fascinating script.") In tone, look, and themes ROSY RIDGE reminded me of other films of its era to which I'm partial, such as ANGEL AND THE BADMAN, RACHEL AND THE STRANGER, and even a touch of John Ford's WAGON MASTER or MY DARLING CLEMENTINE. Like ANGEL AND THE BADMAN and RACHEL AND THE STRANGER, the action is propelled by the arrival of a stranger; most of these films also have the theme, to one degree or another, of a search for peace. Music and dancing also play an important role in several of these movies.

The excellent supporting cast included Thomas Mitchell, Dean Stockwell, and Selena Royle; the film was directed by Roy Rowland, who also directed the fine OUR VINES HAVE TENDER GRAPES.

Janet Leigh wrote movingly of the dreamlike experience of being cast and making her first movie in her autobiography, THERE REALLY WAS A HOLLYWOOD.

THE ROMANCE OF ROSY RIDGE is part of the Turner Classic Movies library. It does not appear to be currently available on video or DVD. (The MacKinlay Kantor novel it was based on is available via Amazon vendors.)

Highly recommended.

Update: This film is now available in a remastered edition from the Warner Archive.

Scary College Costs

Having recently completed the FAFSA ourselves and been astonished to learn that the government calculator believes that approximately 20% of our gross income should be available to pay for one child's college costs, we could certainly relate to this column from yesterday's USA TODAY:

"My response, undoubtedly like yours, was: 'Oh, riiiight.' 'Excuse me?' 'Are they insane?' 'There must be some mistake. I'll recheck my figures.'"

Williams-Sonoma Founder Still Working at 90

A very interesting profile of Chuck Williams, whose stores helped introduce Americans to French cooking methods and high quality cooking equipment. I would venture to say that Williams and Julia Child were two of the biggest influences to revolutionize American cooking in the second half of the 20th century.

Media Distorting Katrina Tape

Must-reads linked above and here, here, and here.

Looks like the media's trying to engage in some more agenda-driven news fakery...Bill Sammon said today on Brit Hume's show that the AP has engaged in "journalistic fraud."

Update: Brent Baker at NewsBusters has a description of the discussion today on Brit Hume's show. Among other things, Hume and Sammon made clear during the show that the AP was lying when it said it had obtained a "confidential video."

Homeschooling Growing Quickly

Homeschooling is estimated to have grown 29% in the last four years. More stats at the above link.

David Gregory Drunk on Radio Show?

Lots of interesting odds and ends in today's news, including the news that David Gregory called in to the Don Imus show from India, acting so bizarrely that it appears he may have been drunk.

Perhaps he'll blame it on jet lag?

Update: Well, the jet lag excuse didn't take long to show up on the 'Net.

Further Update: NBC News says Gregory wasn't drunk.

I've now heard the tape, and if he wasn't drunk, his giddy behavior was certainly not that of a professional representing NBC News in its best light.

If Scalia Slept During Oral Arguments... probably wouldn't have been buried in Paragraph 16!

Mary Katharine Ham comments at Hugh Hewitt's site.

Update: Justice Ginsburg's nap apparently lasted as long as 15 minutes.

Competition in Schools

If the U.S. had competition among schools, as John Stossel suggests, then perhaps students could avoid being subjected to things like this.

Update: Michelle Malkin has published a transcript of the tape made by the 16-year-old, Sean Allen. Sean spoke up to disagree with his teacher, who among other things referred to the United States as the "single most violent nation on planet Earth."

My daughter recently walked out on a Michael Moore documentary being shown in her AP Government/Economics class. I suspect this kind of far left indoctrination goes on in our high schools far more often than anyone realizes.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Andrew McCarthy on UAE Support of Hamas

McCarthy, after detailing the UAE's financial support of Palestinian terrorists, concludes:

"If there is to be anything left of the Bush Doctrine, the United States cannot allow a country in violation of our counterterrorism laws to play a critical role in admitting, storing and transferring shipments into our country. Nor can we abide a lucrative financial arrangement for a country that uses its wealth to underwrite organizations our law designates as terrorists."

Bennett & Blankley on the Ports Deal

William Bennett has co-written an opinion piece with Seth Leibsohn for National Review against the UAE ports deal. In laying out the reasons for his opposition, Bennett also addresses the recent name-calling of those who question the deal:

"This is not the stuff of 'nativism' or 'isolationism' or 'Islamophobia' — labels that have been thrown around too casually over the past two weeks. Many of us so labeled were among the first to call for the liberation of Iraqi Arabs and Muslims, and enthusiastically defended and supported the liberation of the Muslims in Afghanistan...and continue to support liberation for Iranians."

Tony Blankley also protests the "libel of the American people" and raises the issue that's been a big concern to me and which has been ignored by many commentators: that any company managing the ports will automatically have to have complete knowledge of our security process. He writes, in part:

"Some months ago...I had had extended conversations with senior executives of an American port management company. They had explained the close inter-working of the management team with the Coast Guard, Customs and local law enforcement in trying to secure the full import process... Based on that and other research...I understood that merely repeating the mantra that 'security is exclusively run by the Coast Guard, Customs and Homeland Security'...was somewhere between an incomplete and a deceptive statement. But for those with a limited knowledge of the topic and other policy axes to grind, once they were fed the mantra it was a short step to the nativist, Islamophobic charge."

Blankley adds: "Now that port security is finally being publicly debated, it is time to consider drastic improvements across the board." Exactly right.

Along those lines, it's informative to catch up with Mark Levin, who details how China came to control the port closest to my home, Long Beach, thanks to the very Democrats who are now using the UAE deal against President Bush.

Michelle Malkin on "Islamophobic" Attacks

I couldn't agree more.

Since when does sincere disagreement about whether the ports deal is good for our country's national security turn patriotic Americans into xenophobic, Islamophobic bigots? That kind of demogoguery coming from the right -- while the same parties look the other way at the UAE's anti-Semitic policies -- has been a great disappointment.

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