April 26_ 2010

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					April 26, 2010

Jennifer Rubin has news that some Dems are tired of the Obami's treatment of Israel.
Wow. Yes, Chuck Schumer – who’s angling for Senate majority leader if/when Harry Reid loses in
November — has had enough with the president’s Israel-bashing. ...

...one suspects that Schumer has gotten nowhere in private and is now forced to unload in public. It
seems that while Schumer cares what American Jews think, Obama is unmoved by quiet persuasion. ...


Kimberley Strassel knows what the real Republican divide is. And Pickerhead says, "We
don't need no stinkin' T party to take us back to the Trent Lott and Tom Delay show".
Marco Rubio appeared on a Sunday talk show this month to say something remarkable. The Republican
running for Florida's Senate seat suggested we reform Social Security by raising the retirement age for
younger workers. Florida is home to 2.4 million senior citizens who like to vote. The blogs declared Mr.
Rubio politically suicidal.

The response from Mr. Rubio's primary competitor, Gov. Charlie Crist, was not remarkable. His
campaign slammed Mr. Rubio's idea as "cruel, unusual and unfair to seniors living on a fixed income."
Mr. Crist's plan for $17.5 trillion in unfunded Social Security liabilities? Easy! He'll root out "fraud" and
"waste."

Let's talk Republican "civil war." Not the one the media is hawking, that pits supposed tea party fanatics
like Mr. Rubio against supposed "moderates" like Mr. Crist. The Republican Party is split. But the real
divide is between reformers like Mr. Rubio and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who are running on
principles and tough issues, and a GOP old guard that still finds it politically expedient to duck or
demagogue issues. As Republicans look for a way out of the wilderness, this is the rift that matters. ...


In the Corner, Jay Nordlinger has been looking forward to an article on baseball from
Charles Krauthammer.
I see that Charles Krauthammer has at last written his baseball column — and it is a real beauty. Lyrical,
smile-making, and sharp. Last fall, I interviewed him and wrote a piece for NR. Toward the end, it said,
Every columnist writes a ―soft‖ column now and then — a column about sports, or fashion, or maybe a
beloved former teacher. All summer long, Krauthammer was wanting to write a column about the
Washington Nationals, the baseball team. But he never had the opportunity, because ―Obama keeps
coming at me like a fire hose.‖ The president is always giving a conservative columnist something to
warn about, correct, or condemn.
Obama hasn’t taken a break, unfortunately. The Swedenization of America is a full-time job. (Is that hate
speech? An incitement to violence?) ...


And here is Charles Krauthammer's column on the Washington Nationals.
Among my various idiosyncrasies, such as (twice) driving from Washington to New York to watch a
world championship chess match, the most baffling to my friends is my steadfast devotion to the
Washington Nationals. When I wax lyrical about having discovered my own private paradise at Nationals
Park, eyes begin to roll and it is patiently explained to me that my Nats have been not just bad, but
prodigiously -- epically -- bad.

As if I don't know. They lost 102 games in 2008; 103 in 2009. That's no easy feat. Only three other
teams in the last quarter-century have achieved back-to-back 100-loss seasons. ...
...And for a losing baseball team, the calm is even more profound. I've never been to a park where the
people are more relaxed, tolerant and appreciative of any small, even moral, victory. Sure, you root,
root, root for the home team, but if they don't win "it's a shame" -- not a calamity. Can you imagine arm-
linked fans swaying to such a sweetly corny song of early-20th-century innocence -- as hard to find
today as a manual typewriter or a 20-game winner -- at the two-minute warning. ...


John Fund looks at voter irregularities in Wisconsin.
...Democratic leaders also worried that a popular amendment to require photo ID at the polls would have
been attached to their measure. Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle has vetoed three previous photo ID laws,
even though Democrats such as state Sen. Tim Carpenter of Milwaukee supported them saying he's
seen "eye opening" public support for the idea.

That backing is based on real evidence. In 2004, John Kerry won Wisconsin over George W. Bush by
11,380 votes out of 2.5 million cast. After allegations of fraud surfaced, the Milwaukee police
department's Special Investigative Unit conducted a probe. Its February 2008 report found that from
4,600 to 5,300 more votes were counted in Milwaukee than the number of voters recorded as having
cast ballots. Absentee ballots were cast by people living elsewhere; ineligible felons not only voted but
worked at the polls; transient college students cast improper votes; and homeless voters possibly voted
more than once.

Much of the problem resulted from Wisconsin's same-day voter law, which allows anyone to show up at
the polls, register and then cast a ballot. ID requirements are minimal. The report found that in 2004 a
total of 1,305 "same day" voters were invalid. ...


In the Hit and Run Blog from Reason, Radley Balko blogs on government failure. Read the
post for Balko's twists on the topic.
...I don’t promote government failure, I expect it. And my expectations are met fairly often. What I
promote is the idea that more people share my expectations, so fewer people are harmed by
government failure, and so we can stop this slide toward increasingly large portions of our lives being
subject to the whims, interests, and prejudices of politicians.

I will concede that there’s a problem, here. In the private sector failure leads to obsolescence (unless
you happen to work for a portion of the private sector that politicians think should be preserved in spite
of failure). When government fails, people like Dinauer and, well, the government claim it’s a sign that
we need more government. It’s not that government did a poor job, or is a poor mechanism for
addressing that particular problem, it’s that there just wasn’t enough government. Of course, the same
people will point to what they call government success as, also, a good argument for more government.
...


It appears that Obama is not going to help the Democratic candidate who wants to fill
Obama's Senate seat. Jennifer Rubin explains.
...There are good reasons for Obama’s reticence. For starters, Obama has enough sticky connections to
the Illinois corruption racket, so he’s wise to stay away from his former hometown. It seems he might, in
fact, have had a conversation with the former governor about that Senate seat and another with a union
official to relay his preferences to Blago. (If true, this is at odds with what Obama and his ―internal
review‖ related to the public when the Blago story first broke.) Blago’s lawyers are now trying to drag the
president in to testify in Blago’s case — which will be going to trial this fall. Yikes!
Moreover, Giannoulias is in deep trouble, and it’s far from certain that Obama can help him. After all, he
didn’t help Martha Coakley, Creigh Deeds, or Jon Corzine. Coming up short in his own state would
prove embarrassing and tend to confirm that he lacks political mojo. Sometimes it’s better to just stay
home. ...


John Stossel discusses why capitalism is good.
...I was glad to see the publication of "The 5 Big Lies About American Business" by Michael Medved.

"You can only make a profit in this country by giving people a product or a service that they want,"
Medved recently told me. "It's the golden rule in action." ...

..."This is the suspicion of the profit motive — the idea that if somebody is selflessly serving me, they're
going to treat me better than somebody who wants to make a buck," Medved said. But "(i)f you think
about it in your own life, if somebody is benefiting from his interaction with you … it's a far more reliable
kind of interaction than someone who comes and says I'm in this only for you. ...


Speaking of the good of free markets, today is an anniversary of Adam Smith's first book;
The Theory of Moral Sentiments. His namesake blog has the story.
On this day, in 1759, Adam Smith published The Theory of Moral Sentiments. It was an instant
sensation. Since the Greeks, philosophers had tried to work out the basis of human ethics: what it was
that made some actions good and others bad. Many, in the age of Enlightenment, thought there must be
some rational, logical explanation, and perhaps even some way of measuring the goodness or badness
of an action, almost mathematically. Such efforts did not lack ingenuity, but never met with great
success.

Smith's breakthrough was to see ethics as an issue of social psychology. ...



David Harsanyi comments on South Park creators stirring up more controversy.
...There is nothing inherently wrong with self-censorship, per se. If slighted groups have the ability to
mobilize crowds of people, generate enough negative press and economic pressure to induce a show to
rethink its content, hey, that's the way it works.

We're only talking about an animated show. But if those who bankroll satirists can be so easily
intimidated, shouldn't we all be troubled about the lesson that sends religious fanatics elsewhere? And
what does it say about us?...




Generally it's good to ignore Chris Matthews, but sometimes he's partisan to the point of
parody. When he is it's good to use him to kick off the humor section. Lately he has decided
to say the GOP voter's apparent decision to rid the party of RINO's (Republican's In Name
Only) like Arlen Spector or Charlie Crist is "Stalin-esque" suggesting the party is involved in
a purge. A couple of Corner posts deal with this. Jonah Goldberg polishes it off.
... But even here, as Matthews dilutes the meaning of Stalin-esque to nine parts water and one part 2%
milk, Matthews still comes out a buffoon. Because if you take out the murder, butchery, and genocide
from Stalin-esque, you're still left with a purge from above. And that is the opposite of what is happening.
Arlen Specter is a careerist hack who switched parties because — as he pretty much explicitly explained
— he thinks his career is more important than the will of the Republican party. Crist, too, is afraid not of
some metaphorical Commissar with a gun in his desk arbitrarily purging him, but of the voters in his
own party, voters he's counted on, voters he's raised money from, voters he's lied to.

It would be Stalin-esque (again in the very watered down sense) if Michael Steele unilaterally booted
Crist, et al., from the party over the objections of the rank and file. Instead, the rank and file are turning
on the long-anointed establishment candidates. This "purge" is a lot closer to what some romantics call
"democracy" than what super-geniuses like Matthews call "Stalin-esque."

Earlier in the month Matthews had complained about Rush Limbaugh describing the
administration as a "regime." Byron York disposes of that bit of Matthews hypocrisy.
... Perhaps Matthews missed all of those references. If he did, he still might have heard the phrase the
many times it was uttered on his own network, MSNBC. For example, on January 8 of this year,
Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak said that, "In George Bush's regime, only one million jobs had been
created…" On August 21, 2009, MSNBC's Ed Schultz referred to something that happened in 2006,
when "the Bush regime was still in power." On October 8, 2007, Democratic strategist Steve McMahon
said that "the middle class has not fared quite as well under Bush regime as…" On August 10, 2007,
MSNBC played a clip of anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan referring to "the people of Iraq and
Afghanistan that have been tragically harmed by the Bush regime." On September 21, 2006, a guest
referred to liberals "expressing their dissatisfaction with the Bush regime." On July 7, 2004, Ralph Nader
-- appearing with Matthews on "Hardball" -- discussed how he would "take apart the Bush regime." On
May 26, 2003, Joe Scarborough noted a left-wing website that "has published a deck of Bush regime
playing cards." A September 26, 2002 program featured a viewer email that said, "The Bush regime
rhetoric gets goofier and more desperate every day."

Finally -- you knew this was coming -- on June 14, 2002, Chris Matthews himself introduced a panel
discussion about a letter signed by many prominent leftists condemning the Bush administration's
conduct of the war on terror. "Let's go to the Reverend Al Sharpton," Matthews said. "Reverend
Sharpton, what do you make of this letter and this panoply of the left condemning the Bush regime?" ...




Contentions
Chuck Schumer Breaks with Obama on Israel
by Jennifer Rubin

Wow. Yes, Chuck Schumer – who’s angling for Senate majority leader if/when Harry Reid loses in
November — has had enough with the president’s Israel-bashing. First on sanctions:

We in the Congress, Senator Lieberman and myself, Senator Bayh, are working up our sanctions bill,
which even if the UN sanctions are weak, we could have unilateral sanctions by the United States, for
instance, if you cut of gasoline. Iranians do not produce their own gasoline, and by the way the Iranian
people are ready to rebel and overthrow this regime, and if we would squeeze them economically that
could happen.

But then he goes on a tear when asked why Obama is alienating Israel and American Jews:
[T]his is the question I talked to Rahm Emanuel about, and the President about this week. I told the
President, I told Rahm Emanuel and others in the administration that I thought the policy they took to try
to bring about negotiations is counter-productive, because when you give the Palestinians hope that the
United States will do its negotiating for them, they are not going to sit down and talk. Palestinians don’t
really believe in a state of Israel, they, unlike a majority of Israelis, who have come to the conclusion that
they can live with a two-state solution to be determined by the parties, the majority of Palestinians are
still very reluctant, and they need to be pushed to get there.

If the U.S. says certain things and takes certain stands, the Palestinians say, ―Why should we
negotiate?‖ So that’s bad and that should change and we are working on changing it. But the other two
are very good, according to both the Israeli government and the Israeli military and the U.S. government.
But we should make that known, why don’t they? I asked them to do just that, I said we should make it
public because it will, at least, give people who are supportive of Israel, Jew and non-Jew alike, a little
bit of solace.

Schumer then suggested that the Syrian engagement gambit had ―stopped‖ (he should check with
Hillary on that one) and that we had to apply pressure to Syria. But then he was back to the Palestinian
issue:

Let me just finish this dialogue about Israel for a minute. All we have to do is leave things alone, and you
might get the Palestinians more willing to sit down and actually discuss peace, because they would see
the contrast. When Biden was in Israel and there was this kerfuffle over settlements which is in Israeli
Jerusalem 20 minutes from downtown and should never have been an issue to begin with, but they
probably shouldn’t have made the announcement when Biden was there. But Israel apologized, and
when Biden left, and Biden is the best friend of Israel in the administration, everything was fine.

But then what happened is the next day Hillary Clinton called up Netanyahu and talked very tough to
him, and worse they made it pubic through this spokesperson, a guy named Crowley. And Crowley said
something I have never heard before, which is, the relationship of Israel and the United States depends
on the pace of the negotiations. That is terrible. That is the dagger, because the relationship is much
deeper than the disagreements on negotiations, and most Americans—Democrat, Republican, Jew,
non-Jew–would feel that. So I called up Rahm Emanuel and I called up the White House and I said, ―If
you don’t retract that statement you are going to hear me publicly blast you on this.‖ Of course they did
retract it.

Now what’s happened, and many of us are pushing back, some of the Jewish members will be meeting
with the President next week or the week after, and we are saying that this has to stop. You have to
have, in terms of the negotiations, you have to show Israel that it’s not going to be forced to do things it
doesn’t want to do and can’t do. At the same time you have to show the Palestinians that they are not
going to get their way by just sitting back and not giving in, and not recognizing that there is a state of
Israel. And right now there is a battle going on inside the administration, one side agrees with us, one
side doesn’t, and we’re pushing hard to make sure the right side wins, and if not we’ll have to take it to
the next step.

That’s simply remarkable, albeit long overdue. It tells me several things. First, Schumer, who is nothing if
not politically astute when it comes to New York politics, senses that there is no upside to sticking with
the president on this. One wonders how many constituents he’s heard from and who is threatening to
cut off the money flow to Democrats.

Second, one suspects that Schumer has gotten nowhere in private and is now forced to unload in public.
It seems that while Schumer cares what American Jews think, Obama is unmoved by quiet persuasion.
Third, Schumer and other pro-Israel Democrats now have a dilemma: what do they do when the
president refuses to sign on to petroleum sanctions? What do they do when the next round of bullying
starts up again? They’ve been painfully mute until now, which has no doubt encouraged the White
House. If Schumer is as outraged as he sounded on the radio, this will end.

We can hope this is an important step forward and will be followed by other Democratic lawmakers. Who
knows, in a week or so some major Jewish organization might actually pipe up with an equally bracing
evaluation of the Obami’s onslaught on the Jewish state.

One aside: Schumer also had this to say about the origin of his name: ―It comes from the word shomer,
which mean guardian. My ancestors were guardians of the ghetto wall in Chortkov, and I believe
Hashem, actually, gave me the name as one of my roles that is very important in the United States
Senate to be a shomer, to be a shomer for Israel.‖ Suffice it to say that if Sarah Palin ever said that God
had given a name to her with a mission in mind, the chattering class would go bonkers. But of course, it
is perfectly acceptable for liberals to get messages from God without cries of indignation echoing
throughout the media. That said, if Schumer takes his name to heart, albeit belatedly, and shows some
leadership in gathering other Democrats to his position (that’s what Senate leaders do, after all), there
will be reason to celebrate.



WSJ
The Real Republican Civil War
The struggle between Marco Rubio and Charlie Crist for the Florida Senate seat symbolizes the
rift between the reformers and the establishment in the GOP.
by Kimberley A. Strassel

Marco Rubio appeared on a Sunday talk show this month to say something remarkable. The Republican
running for Florida's Senate seat suggested we reform Social Security by raising the retirement age for
younger workers. Florida is home to 2.4 million senior citizens who like to vote. The blogs declared Mr.
Rubio politically suicidal.

The response from Mr. Rubio's primary competitor, Gov. Charlie Crist, was not remarkable. His
campaign slammed Mr. Rubio's idea as "cruel, unusual and unfair to seniors living on a fixed income."
Mr. Crist's plan for $17.5 trillion in unfunded Social Security liabilities? Easy! He'll root out "fraud" and
"waste."

Let's talk Republican "civil war." Not the one the media is hawking, that pits supposed tea party fanatics
like Mr. Rubio against supposed "moderates" like Mr. Crist. The Republican Party is split. But the real
divide is between reformers like Mr. Rubio and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who are running on
principles and tough issues, and a GOP old guard that still finds it politically expedient to duck or
demagogue issues. As Republicans look for a way out of the wilderness, this is the rift that matters.

And it's the divide playing out in Florida, even if that's not the press's preferred narrative. In
conventional-wisdom world, Mr. Rubio is the darling of an angry grass roots, surging at the expense of
the postpartisan Mr. Crist.
            Reformist Marco Rubio (left) vs. establishment Charlie Crist

And woe betide the GOP, goes the storyline. It is courting disaster, repeating its mistake in New York
23, nominating radicals who can't win elections. Never mind the grass roots never did drum Mark Kirk
(running for Illinois's Senate seat) out of the party. Or that Florida doesn't even fit this mold. Mr. Rubio, a
Jeb Bush protégé, is hardly too conservative for his state. A recent Rasmussen poll has him beating Mr.
Crist and Democrat Kendrick Meek statewide. Mr. Crist doesn't solve his Rubio problem by bolting the
party.

What has attracted independents and even Democrats to Mr. Rubio is his reformist agenda, which taps
into this week's Pew poll finding a historically low 22% of Americans trust government. It hasn't hurt that
Mr. Crist has provided a sharp contrast with a campaign that channels the mindset that lost the GOP its
majority.

On Social Security, Mr. Rubio is a supporter of Mr. Ryan's roadmap, which tackles entitlement and
budget reform. Mr. Crist took the typical Washington path of refusing to acknowledge reality and then
accusing his opponent of robbing granny. This is reminiscent of the GOP reluctance to embrace hard
issues like health-care reform when it controlled Washington. One result is ObamaCare.

Speaking of that law, Mr. Rubio condemned the takeover. Mr. Crist dithered. While Mr. Rubio slammed
the stimulus, the governor grabbed at its state bailout provisions since that was easier than cutting
spending. One of these sounds like the GOP of old; one does not.

Floridians may remember 2007, when Mr. Rubio, as speaker of the Florida House, championed
comprehensive tax overhaul. It was a bold idea to swap all property taxes for a flat consumption tax. The
reform lowered overall taxes; even Americans for Tax Reform applauded it. Mr. Rubio's reward was to
recently have Mr. Crist slam him for proposing a "massive tax increase." Now you know why
Washington never embraces anything more than a "tax commission."

Mr. Crist is best-known for launching a vicious campaign against property insurers in the wake of
Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Rubio pushed back, though it was unpopular. Now that the governor has
succeeded in driving that industry out of his state, things look different. This divide is similar to today's
GOP split over Wall Street, between those tempted to win points by punishing banks with overweening
regulation and those in the Ryan camp who have no love for big business but defend free markets.

If an angry public has done anything, it's been to embolden more of these reformers to run.
Pennsylvania Senate candidate Pat Toomey was a leader on Social Security reform in Congress. John
Kasich, running for Ohio governor, promises to overhaul the state's decrepit tax and regulatory systems.
In House races you see more candidates running on bold solutions. Yet for every budding Rubio there
remains an establishment GOP member who fights earmark bans, blanches at Medicare reform, and
just wants to get through the next election.

This divide is putting enormous pressure on the GOP leadership. It tastes victory this fall and is terrified
of blowing it. It watched President Obama sandbag Mr. Ryan earlier this year, holding up his roadmap
as an example of the terrors the GOP would impose on the nation.

At some point, GOP leaders are going to have to decide what the "new" GOP is. Principled opposition to
bad Democratic policy is a legitimate strategy for the midterms. Then what? Republicans will win seats
this fall. How long they remain in them will come down to which side—the establishment GOP or the
reformist GOP—wins what is the real Republican civil war.


The Corner
‘Soft’ and Good [Jay Nordlinger]
I see that Charles Krauthammer has at last written his baseball column — and it is a real beauty. Lyrical,
smile-making, and sharp. Last fall, I interviewed him and wrote a piece for NR. Toward the end, it said,
Every columnist writes a ―soft‖ column now and then — a column about sports, or fashion, or maybe a
beloved former teacher. All summer long, Krauthammer was wanting to write a column about the
Washington Nationals, the baseball team. But he never had the opportunity, because ―Obama keeps
coming at me like a fire hose.‖ The president is always giving a conservative columnist something to
warn about, correct, or condemn.
Obama hasn’t taken a break, unfortunately. The Swedenization of America is a full-time job. (Is that hate
speech? An incitement to violence?) We need Krauthammer on his own job, full-time — or nearly full-
time. A baseball column now and then is forgivable, especially when it’s a home run (not trying to be
cutesy here), as today’s is. We’ll even accept a chess column from him, oh, once a year. Because even
an indispensable Obamologist needs diversion.


Washington Post
For a Nats fan, joy is in the losing
by Charles Krauthammer

Among my various idiosyncrasies, such as (twice) driving from Washington to New York to watch a
world championship chess match, the most baffling to my friends is my steadfast devotion to the
Washington Nationals. When I wax lyrical about having discovered my own private paradise at Nationals
Park, eyes begin to roll and it is patiently explained to me that my Nats have been not just bad, but
prodigiously -- epically -- bad.

As if I don't know. They lost 102 games in 2008; 103 in 2009. That's no easy feat. Only three other
teams in the last quarter-century have achieved back-to-back 100-loss seasons.

Now understand: This is not the charming, cuddly, amusing incompetence of, say, the '62 Mets, of
whom their own manager, Casey Stengel, famously asked, "Can't anybody here play this game?" -- and
whose stone-gloved first baseman, Marv Throneberry, was nicknamed Marvelous Marv, the irony
intended as a sign of affection.

Nor am I talking about heroic, stoic, character-building losing. The Chicago Cubs fan knows that he's
destined for a life of Sisyphean suffering and perpetual angst. Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, may have said,
"Let's play two," but in 19 years he never got to play even one postseason game. These guys go 58
years without winning, then come within five outs of the National League pennant, only to have one of
their own fans deflect a ball about to settle into a Cub outfielder's glove, killing the play and bringing on
the unraveling.

The fan was driven into hiding and the fateful ball ritually exorcised, blown to smithereens on TV. Sorry,
that's not my kind of losing. Been there. I'm a former Red Sox fan, now fully rehabilitated. No, I don't go
to games to steel my spine, perfect my character, journey into the dark night of the soul. I get that in my
day job watching the Obama administration in action.

I go for relief. For the fun, for the craft (beautifully elucidated in George Will's just-reissued classic, "Men
at Work") and for the sweet, easy cheer at Nationals Park.

You get there and the twilight's gleaming, the popcorn's popping, the kids're romping and everyone's
happy. The joy of losing consists in this: Where there are no expectations, there is no disappointment. In
Tuesday night's game, our starting pitcher couldn't get out of the third inning. Gave up four straight hits,
six earned runs, and as he came off the mound, actually got a few scattered rounds of applause.

Applause! In New York, he'd have been booed mercilessly. In Philly, he'd have found his car on blocks
and missing a headlight.

No one's happy to lose, and the fans cheer lustily when the Nats win. But as starters blow up and base
runners get picked off, there is none of the agitation, the angry, screaming, beer-spilling, red-faced
ranting you get at football or basketball games.

Baseball is a slow, boring, complex, cerebral game that doesn't lend itself to histrionics. You "take in" a
baseball game, something odd to say about a football or basketball game, with the clock running and the
bodies flying.

And for a losing baseball team, the calm is even more profound. I've never been to a park where the
people are more relaxed, tolerant and appreciative of any small, even moral, victory. Sure, you root,
root, root for the home team, but if they don't win "it's a shame" -- not a calamity. Can you imagine arm-
linked fans swaying to such a sweetly corny song of early-20th-century innocence -- as hard to find
today as a manual typewriter or a 20-game winner -- at the two-minute warning?

But now I fear for my bliss. Hope, of a sort, is on the way -- in the form of Stephen Strasburg, the
greatest pitching prospect in living memory. His fastball clocks 103 mph and his slider, says Tom
Boswell, breaks so sharply it looks like it hit a bird in midair. In spring training, center fielder Nyjer
Morgan nicknamed him Jesus. Because of the kid's presence, persona, charisma? Nope. Because
"that's what everybody says the first time they see Strasburg throw," explained Morgan. "Jeeee-sus."

But now I'm worried. Even before Strasburg has arrived from the minor leagues, the Nats are actually
doing well. They're playing .500 ball for the first time in five years. They are hovering somewhere
between competent mediocrity and respectability. When Jesus arrives -- my guess is late May -- they
might actually be good.

They might soon be, gasp, a contender. In the race deep into September. Good enough to give you
hope. And break your heart.
Where does one then go for respite?



WSJ
Wisconsin and the Voter Fraud Agenda
Democrats are pushing to weaken ballot security at the state and national level. Have they
forgotten the 2000 election?
by John Fund

Milwaukee

An attempt to hijack the state's election laws and open the door for voter fraud failed at the last minute
this week in Wisconsin's legislature. But threats to ballot integrity continue in other states, and Congress
may rush to pass ill-conceived legislation this year that would only sow confusion and increase the
potential for chaos on a national level.

Wisconsin's story shows how high the stakes are. Late in March, a 72-page bill was suddenly introduced
and rushed forward with only abbreviated hearings. The bill would have given "nationally recognized"
community organizing groups access to the state driver's license database to encourage voter turnout.
After the infamous registration scandals involving Acorn in 2008, this was clearly a strange priority.
Requests for an absentee ballot in a single election would also become permanent (without requiring a
legitimate reason, such as infirmity), and the ballots would be automatically mailed out in future
elections.

Coercion and chicanery are made much easier by the excessive use of absentee ballots. Most of the
elections thrown out by courts—Miami, Florida's mayoral election in 1998, the East Chicago, Indiana's
mayor's race in 2005—involved fraudulent absentee votes.

Three decades ago absentee and early ballots were only 5% of all votes cast nationwide. In 2008, they
exceeded 25%. Wisconsin's bill would also have allowed voters to register on the Internet without
supplying a signature—thus removing a valuable protection against identity theft and election fraud.

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, a Republican, blasted the bill, saying it would "make
election fraud more likely" and "jeopardize the orderly administration of election laws." In the end,
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker admitted the bill was being rushed through too quickly
and adjourned the session without brining it up for a vote.

Democratic leaders also worried that a popular amendment to require photo ID at the polls would have
been attached to their measure. Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle has vetoed three previous photo ID laws,
even though Democrats such as state Sen. Tim Carpenter of Milwaukee supported them saying he's
seen "eye opening" public support for the idea.

That backing is based on real evidence. In 2004, John Kerry won Wisconsin over George W. Bush by
11,380 votes out of 2.5 million cast. After allegations of fraud surfaced, the Milwaukee police
department's Special Investigative Unit conducted a probe. Its February 2008 report found that from
4,600 to 5,300 more votes were counted in Milwaukee than the number of voters recorded as having
cast ballots. Absentee ballots were cast by people living elsewhere; ineligible felons not only voted but
worked at the polls; transient college students cast improper votes; and homeless voters possibly voted
more than once.
Much of the problem resulted from Wisconsin's same-day voter law, which allows anyone to show up at
the polls, register and then cast a ballot. ID requirements are minimal. The report found that in 2004 a
total of 1,305 "same day" voters were invalid.

The report was largely ignored, and just before the 2008 election the police department's Special
Investigative Unit was ordered by superiors not to send anyone to polling places on Election Day.

In January of this year, Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf, the city prosecutor overseeing
election issues, complained that the Milwaukee Police Department was stalling its investigation of voter
fraud in the 2008 election. "Sadly, [the prosecution of] several probable cases of genuine voter fraud
were harmed by that delay," he wrote in an email to a city elections official that was revealed by the
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. A spokesman for the Police Department responded that "we have
investigated every case that has been forwarded to us."

Wisconsin's bitter partisanship on election issues isn't found everywhere. In neighboring Minnesota, the
Democratic legislature and GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty cooperated this year in passing reforms to address
problems from the controversial 2008 recount that handed Democrat Al Franken a U.S. Senate seat.

The legislature approved several reforms proposed by the Center for the American Experiment, a local
think tank. They included clarifying what ballots should be included in recounts (to keep the issue out of
the courts) and moving towards centralizing absentee ballot counting.

Sadly, it looks as if Congress could follow Wisconsin's example instead. The Milwaukee Police
Department's report on the 2004 election concluded "the one thing that could eliminate a large
percentage of the fraud" would be to end same-day registration. Today, eight other states have some
form of Election Day voter registration: Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North
Carolina and Wyoming. Montana began Election Day voter registration in 2006, North Carolina in 2007,
and Iowa in 2008.

But Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold, a Democrat, has introduced federal legislation to mandate same-day
registration in every state, claiming the system has worked well in his state. Sen. Chuck Schumer of
New York is readying a bill to override the election laws of all 50 states and require universal voter
registration—which would automatically register anyone on key government lists. This is a move
guaranteed to create duplicate registrations, register some illegal aliens, and sow confusion.

We are in danger of forgetting the lessons of the 2000 recount debacle in Florida. Election laws should
be clear, simple, applied equally, and balance ease of voting with the need for ballot integrity. A
unanimous Supreme Court warned about the danger of loose election laws when it vacated a Ninth
Circuit opinion, which had enjoined the use of Arizona's new voter ID law on the grounds it would
disenfranchise voters.

The court made the obvious point that "disenfranchisement" is a two-way street. Fraud, it noted in
Gonzales v. Arizona (2006), "drives honest citizens out of the democratic process. . . . [V]oters who fear
their legitimate votes will be outweighed by fraudulent ones will feel disenfranchised."

What almost happened in Wisconsin this month—and could happen in Washington later this year—
would increase chances of future Florida-style meltdowns and further undermine confidence in our
election system.

Mr. Fund is a WSJ.com columnist and author of "Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our
Democracy" (Encounter, 2008).
Hit and Run Blog from Reason
On Rooting for Government To Fail
by Radley Balko

The American Prospect's Mori Dinauer is just a hair off in this post.

I don’t promote government failure, I expect it. And my expectations are met fairly often. What I promote
is the idea that more people share my expectations, so fewer people are harmed by government failure,
and so we can stop this slide toward increasingly large portions of our lives being subject to the whims,
interests, and prejudices of politicians.

I will concede that there’s a problem, here. In the private sector failure leads to obsolescence (unless
you happen to work for a portion of the private sector that politicians think should be preserved in spite
of failure). When government fails, people like Dinauer and, well, the government claim it’s a sign that
we need more government. It’s not that government did a poor job, or is a poor mechanism for
addressing that particular problem, it’s that there just wasn’t enough government. Of course, the same
people will point to what they call government success as, also, a good argument for more government.

It’s a nifty trick. The right does it with national security. The fact that we haven’t had a major terrorist
attack since September 11, 2001 proves that the Bush administration’s heavy-handed, high-security
approach to fighting terrorism worked! But if we had suffered another attack, the same people would
have been arguing that we need to surrender more of our civil liberties to the security state. Two sides.
Same coin.

That Pew poll is also a pretty good indication that the more government tries to do, the more poorly it
does it. Your usual caveats about correlation and causation apply, but the federal government certainly
didn’t shrink over the period the trust-in-government trend line has taken a nosedive. Note too that
during the Clinton administration, federal spending actually shrank as a percentage of GDP, and the
federal workforce shrank by nearly 400,000, leaving it at its lowest level since 1960. And wouldn’t you
know it, that’s one period in the last 50 years over which trust in the federal government took a sharp
climb.

But in general—yes—I think the fact that more people are realizing that government isn’t capable of
solving all of their problems is an encouraging trend. Because it isn’t.



Contentions
Obama Hides from Giannoulias
by Jennifer Rubin

Obama isn’t about to waste political capital on Tony Rezko’s banker. That’s the gist of this report:

Sen. Dick Durbin slipped into the West Wing last week to ask Rahm Emanuel for White House help in
saving Barack Obama’s old Senate seat. But he didn’t leave with any ironclad commitments. Durbin told
Emanuel that Democratic nominee Alexi Giannoulias could use some serious presidential intervention in
his uphill race against Republican Rep. Mark Kirk. At the moment, the White House seems open to the
idea of losing Obama’s old seat rather than putting the president’s prestige on the line for Giannoulias,
the brash and boyish Illinois state treasurer — and onetime Obama basketball buddy — whose
campaign has been rocked by the financial meltdown of his family’s bank.
There are good reasons for Obama’s reticence. For starters, Obama has enough sticky connections to
the Illinois corruption racket, so he’s wise to stay away from his former hometown. It seems he might, in
fact, have had a conversation with the former governor about that Senate seat and another with a union
official to relay his preferences to Blago. (If true, this is at odds with what Obama and his ―internal
review‖ related to the public when the Blago story first broke.) Blago’s lawyers are now trying to drag the
president in to testify in Blago’s case — which will be going to trial this fall. Yikes!

Moreover, Giannoulias is in deep trouble, and it’s far from certain that Obama can help him. After all, he
didn’t help Martha Coakley, Creigh Deeds, or Jon Corzine. Coming up short in his own state would
prove embarrassing and tend to confirm that he lacks political mojo. Sometimes it’s better to just stay
home.

It’s remarkable that a year and a half after Obama celebrated his victory before a throng in Grant Park,
he needs to hide from the Democratic candidate seeking to fill his old Senate seat. That’s as much a
comment on the shortcomings of Giannoulias as it is on those of Obama.



Jewish World Review
Myths About Capitalism
by John Stossel

I won 19 Emmy Awards by reporting a myth: that business constantly rips us off — that capitalism is
mostly cruel and unfair.

I know that's a myth now. So I was glad to see the publication of "The 5 Big Lies About American
Business" by Michael Medved.

"You can only make a profit in this country by giving people a product or a service that they want,"
Medved recently told me. "It's the golden rule in action."
Medved used to write about the movies, so he's familiar with the businessman as villain. I'll play a clip
from the movie "Syriana," in which an oil tycoon makes this ridiculous speech:

"Corruption keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why you and I are prancing around in here instead of
fighting over scraps of meat out in the street."

"What's interesting," Medved commented, "is that in the old days, Hollywood would have
businesspeople who were very positive: George Bailey, the Jimmy Stewart character, is a banker in 'It's
a Wonderful Life.'"

No longer. Today's movie capitalists are criminals or playboys. Apparently, Hollywood writers think it's
plausible that CEOs have lots of time to sip cocktails and chase women.

"In school, we all studied a book called "The Theory of the Leisure Class," which … indicted the leisure
class and these people who were out there exploiting other people and really had nothing to do except
sit on their yachts and go to their swimming pools and their vacations."

In real life, that's nonsense.

"The higher up on the income scale you go, the less leisure time you have. You make money in this
country by working hard."
Medved's second myth is that when the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. This is the old zero-sum
fallacy, which ignores that when two people engage in free exchange, both gain — or they wouldn't have
traded. It's what I call the double thank-you phenomenon. I understand why politicians and lawyers
believe it: It's true in their world. But it's not true in business.

"If you believe that when the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, then you believe that creating wealth
causes poverty, and you're an idiot," said Medved. "One of the things that I hate is this term 'obscene
profits.' There are no obscene profits … . (The current economic downturn shows) "that when the rich
get poorer … everybody gets poorer."

Myth No. 3: Government is more fair and reliable than business.

"Remember the last time you went into Starbucks, and then remember the last time you went into the
DMV to get your license," Medved said. "Where did you get better treated? And it's not because the
barista is some kind of idealist or humanitarian. She wants a tip. She wants you to come back to the
Starbucks … ."

But the left doesn't get it.

"This is the suspicion of the profit motive — the idea that if somebody is selflessly serving me, they're
going to treat me better than somebody who wants to make a buck," Medved said. But "(i)f you think
about it in your own life, if somebody is benefiting from his interaction with you … it's a far more reliable
kind of interaction than someone who comes and says I'm in this only for you."

Myth No. 4: The current downturn means the death of capitalism.

"Capitalism is alive and well," Medved said.

I'm also bugged when people argue that today's problems prove that capitalism "failed." What failed?
We had a correction. A bubble popped. But from 1982 to now, the Dow rose from 800 to 11,000. Had it
happened without the bubble, we'd say this is one of the great boom periods.

Medved added: "This is one of the biggest lies — the idea that because of capitalism, we're all suffering.
… Poor people in America today, people who are officially in poverty, have a higher standard of living in
terms of medical standards, in terms of the chances of going to college, in terms of the way people live,
than middle-class people did 30 years ago. It's an extraordinary achievement of technology and of the
profit sector."




Adam Smith Blog
The Theory of Moral Sentiments
by Eamonn Butler

On this day, in 1759, Adam Smith published The Theory of Moral Sentiments. It was an instant
sensation. Since the Greeks, philosophers had tried to work out the basis of human ethics: what it was
that made some actions good and others bad. Many, in the age of Enlightenment, thought there must be
some rational, logical explanation, and perhaps even some way of measuring the goodness or badness
of an action, almost mathematically. Such efforts did not lack ingenuity, but never met with great
success.
Smith's breakthrough was to see ethics as an issue of social psychology. It was not something inherent
in actions themselves that made them good or bad. It was how they affected other people, and how
other people reacted to them. Because we are social beings, Nature has equipped us with a powerful
empathy (Smith calls is sympathy) with other people. When we see them suffering, we are distressed;
when we see them overjoyed, we share some of their happiness. This natural empathy steers us
towards action which benefits our fellows, and causes us to approve of it; likewise it steers us against
damaging action, and prompts our disapproval of such action.

Writing exactly a hundred years before Darwin's Origin of Species, Smith lacked evolutionary theory; yet
he knew that, for some providential reason, Nature encouraged socially beneficial action. He knew that if
she had not, our species would not have lasted so long. He understood the mechanism, if not the
biology.

Smith's book made him famous. And rich: a prominent admirer of the book instantly hired him to act as
personal tutor to his ward, the young Duke of Buccleuch, with a salary payable for life. His travels with
the young Duke, and the thinking time that this new wealth gave him, enabled Smith to expand his ideas
on politics and finance into a new book, The Wealth of Nations. The rest is (economic) history.

Eamonn Butler is author of Adam Smith – A Primer.



Denver Post
Next on Cowardly Central
by David Harsanyi



Needless to say, Voltaire is not in charge of Viacom. So if you're interested in working as a part-time
censor for Comedy Central, all you need is a violent temperament, a demented ideology and a poorly
constructed website.

The popular animated show "South Park" — gloriously vulgar, sharply satirical and, one suspects,
offensive to vast swaths of the viewing public — is, if nothing else, impressive in its evenhandedness.

Yet, in this week's episode, a depiction of the Prophet Muhammad in a bear costume (don't ask) was
blocked with the word "censored" so the channel could avoid hurting the feelings of a few virtual New
York City Jihadists.

This homegrown radical group called Revolution Muslim (no thanks), warned the show's architects, Matt
Stone and Trey Parker, and they would "probably wind up like Theo van Gogh" because of the depiction
in the episode.

Van Gogh, for those unaware, was a Dutch filmmaker who documented (along with feminist Ayaan Hirsi
Ali) the abuse of women in the Islamic world. Consequently, Ali now lives in hiding and van Gogh was
last seen dead in the middle of an Amsterdam street — a thoughtful dissertation on Islamic tolerance
affixed to his chest with a knife. (If only the Dutch were less warlike, obviously, this never would have
happened.)

Comedy Central initially banned "South Park" from showing any depictions of Muhammad in 2006, as
Muslims consider a physical representation of the prophet blasphemous.
There is an appropriate response to this: Watch something else. Instead, the cable channel released a
statement: "In light of recent world events, we feel we made the right decision." The "recent world
events" was a reference to the plight of 12 editorial cartoonists who were trying to steer clear of van
Gogh's fate after they had drawn cartoons that offended Muslims.

So are weak-willed executives really worried about assassination attempts here in the United States?
What else could it be? Sensitivity?

"South Park" is the program that featured an image of Jesus Christ defecating on President George W.
Bush and the American flag. It's the program that featured the Virgin Mary gushing blood while
undergoing menstruation and Pope Benedict XVI inspecting her in a truly distasteful manner.

"That's where we kind of agree with some of the people who've criticized our show," Stone once
admitted to "ABC News." "Because it really is open season on Jesus. We can do whatever we want to
Jesus, and we have. We've had him say bad words. We've had him shoot a gun. We've had him kill
people. We can do whatever we want. But Muhammad, we couldn't just show a simple image."

For those who bellyache about the impending Christian theocracy, it might behoove them to be a little
more irritated at the thought of a television network censoring any depictions of a religious figure over
some implicit threats.

There is nothing inherently wrong with self-censorship, per se. If slighted groups have the ability to
mobilize crowds of people, generate enough negative press and economic pressure to induce a show to
rethink its content, hey, that's the way it works.

We're only talking about an animated show. But if those who bankroll satirists can be so easily
intimidated, shouldn't we all be troubled about the lesson that sends religious fanatics elsewhere? And
what does it say about us?

"South Park" might be offensive, but I assure you there would be few things more unpleasant than
watching a cable lineup dictated by the members of Revolution Muslim.



The Corner
Chris Matthews on Crist: 'This is Stalin-esque' [Robert Costa]
The MSNBC anchor weighs in on Crist and others:

MATTHEWS: Coming up what happens to Republicans who don't march to the right wing tune? Well
they're getting purged. This is Stalin-esque, this stuff.

...

MATTHEWS: Chris it seems to me we're getting into something here that I do think is particularly nasty.
Chuck says there's precedence, and there may well be, but here you see a party basically pruning itself.
Going around and saying, "Well we really don't like Arlen Specter. You go find something else to do. Go
be a Democrat." We see this with Charlie Crist perhaps being given the boot. Bob Bennett, a real
conservative, getting perhaps the boot out in Utah at some point in this process this year. And then of
course John McCain who was the Republican nominee for president last time around. All being treated
like, well, you know, like tissue rejection, like "You don't belong here."
The Corner
The GOP as Stalinist [Jonah Goldberg]
Lord knows, there's not a whole lot of reason to take Chris Matthews seriously. But for giggles, let's look
at his claim that the GOP is "Stalin-esque" because of the way Crist and McCain are having a rough
time in the primaries.

Now, obviously he's not talking about the GOP forcibly starving the Ukraine or anything like that. And
presumably Matthews isn't saying that the GOP has launched a series of show trials in which former
party members in good standing are tortured or threatened with the murder of their families into giving
false confessions (Crist: "In the Spring of 2009 I received secret payments by the running-dog Obama
administration . . ."). So I gather he means that the GOP is purging discordant voices within the party or
some such (that's the gist of the second quote from Matthews in the link above).

But even here, as Matthews dilutes the meaning of Stalin-esque to nine parts water and one part 2%
milk, Matthews still comes out a buffoon. Because if you take out the murder, butchery, and genocide
from Stalin-esque, you're still left with a purge from above. And that is the opposite of what is happening.
Arlen Specter is a careerist hack who switched parties because — as he pretty much explicitly explained
— he thinks his career is more important than the will of the Republican party. Crist, too, is afraid not of
some metaphorical Commissar with a gun in his desk arbitrarily purging him, but of the voters in his
own party, voters he's counted on, voters he's raised money from, voters he's lied to.

It would be Stalin-esque (again in the very watered down sense) if Michael Steele unilaterally booted
Crist, et al., from the party over the objections of the rank and file. Instead, the rank and file are turning
on the long-anointed establishment candidates. This "purge" is a lot closer to what some romantics call
"democracy" than what super-geniuses like Matthews call "Stalin-esque."



Washington Examiner
Rush Limbaugh, Chris Matthews and the 'regime' question
by Byron York

On Friday, I asked Rush Limbaugh for his response to President Obama's description of him as
"troublesome" and of his program as "vitriol." Limbaugh told me he does not believe Obama is trying to
do what is best for the country and added, "Never in my life have I seen a regime like this, governing
against the will of the people, purposely."

By using the word "regime," Limbaugh was doing something he does all the time: throwing the language
of the opposition back in their faces. In the Bush years, we often heard the phrase "Bush regime" from
some quarters of the left. So Limbaugh applied it to Obama.

Apparently some people didn't get it. On MSNBC, Chris Matthews appeared deeply troubled by the
word. "I've never seen language like this in the American press," he said, "referring to an elected
representative government, elected in a totally fair, democratic, American election -- we will have
another one in November, we'll have another one for president in a couple years -- fair, free, and
wonderful democracy we have in this country…. We know that word, 'regime.' It was used by George
Bush, 'regime change.' You go to war with regimes. Regimes are tyrannies. They're juntas. They're
military coups. The use of the word 'regime' in American political parlance is unacceptable, and
someone should tell the walrus [Limbaugh] to stop using it."
Matthews didn't stop there. "I never heard the word 'regime,' before, have you?" he said to NBC's Chuck
Todd. "I don't even think Joe McCarthy ever called this government a 'regime.'"

It appears that Matthews has suffered a major memory loss. I don't have the facilities to search for every
utterance of Joe McCarthy, but a look at more recent times reveals many, many, many examples of the
phrase "Bush regime." In fact, a search of the Nexis database for "Bush regime" yields 6,769 examples
from January 20, 2001 to the present.

It was used 16 times in the New York Times, beginning with an April 4, 2001 column by Maureen Dowd -
- who wrote, "Seventy-five days into the Bush regime and I'm a wreck" -- and ending with a March 6,
2009 editorial denouncing the "frightening legal claim advanced by the Bush regime to justify holding
[accused terrorist Ali al-Marri]."

"Bush regime" was used 24 times in the Washington Post, beginning with a January 22, 2001 profile of
Marshall Wittmann by Howard Kurtz -- who noted that Wittmann served as "a Health and Human
Services deputy assistant secretary in the first Bush regime" -- and ending with an October 6, 2009
column by Dana Milbank which quoted far-left antiwar protester Medea Benjamin questioning whether
the Obama administration "looks very different from the Bush regime."

Perhaps Matthews missed all of those references. If he did, he still might have heard the phrase the
many times it was uttered on his own network, MSNBC. For example, on January 8 of this year,
Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak said that, "In George Bush's regime, only one million jobs had been
created…" On August 21, 2009, MSNBC's Ed Schultz referred to something that happened in 2006,
when "the Bush regime was still in power." On October 8, 2007, Democratic strategist Steve McMahon
said that "the middle class has not fared quite as well under Bush regime as…" On August 10, 2007,
MSNBC played a clip of anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan referring to "the people of Iraq and
Afghanistan that have been tragically harmed by the Bush regime." On September 21, 2006, a guest
referred to liberals "expressing their dissatisfaction with the Bush regime." On July 7, 2004, Ralph Nader
-- appearing with Matthews on "Hardball" -- discussed how he would "take apart the Bush regime." On
May 26, 2003, Joe Scarborough noted a left-wing website that "has published a deck of Bush regime
playing cards." A September 26, 2002 program featured a viewer email that said, "The Bush regime
rhetoric gets goofier and more desperate every day."

Finally -- you knew this was coming -- on June 14, 2002, Chris Matthews himself introduced a panel
discussion about a letter signed by many prominent leftists condemning the Bush administration's
conduct of the war on terror. "Let's go to the Reverend Al Sharpton," Matthews said. "Reverend
Sharpton, what do you make of this letter and this panoply of the left condemning the Bush regime?"

Oops. Perhaps Joe McCarthy never called the U.S. government a regime, but Chris Matthews did. And
a lot of other people did, too. So now we are supposed to believe him when he expresses disgust at
Rush Limbaugh doing the same?

				
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