Sunday, February 13, 2005

Tidbits 2/13/05

Newt Gingrich on the New Contract with America The American way of life is vulnerable to five major threats as difficult as any America has faced. The first threat is that Islamic terrorists and rogue dictatorships acquire and use nuclear or biological weapons. The second is the effort to drive God out of American public life. The third is the possibility that America will lose the patriotic sense of itself as a singular civilization. The fourth is that America's economic supremacy will eventually yield to China and India because of our failing schools and weakening scientific and technological leadership. The fifth is that an aging America's demands on Social Security, Medicare, and related government programs will collapse the current system. Let not your heart be troubled, we’re America after all.

Superhero He's a fairly ordinary, middle-class fellow who doesn't act as though he wields near-godlike power. But he's nearly unstoppable, capable of besting any imaginable enemy, and yet he seems perfectly content with his lovely wife, three kids, and a nice house in the suburbs. He knows that the world contains super-villains who don't go away just because he wants a vacation. He knows the kind of suffering that could ensue without his intervention so when the forces of evil threaten the innocent, he throws caution to the wind and teams up with like-minded friends to fight for freedom! He's Mr. Incredible, the animated star of Pixar's latest box office super-hit, The Incredibles --- He's America.

Republicans Rejoice Republicans throughout the US rejoiced over the news that Screaming Howard Dean has been named head of the Democratic National Committee! In his acceptance speech Dean pointed out that his leadership will guarantee that the Democratic Party will carry Berkeley for decades to come. But anti-Deaniacs lamented that the Democratic Party died yesterday after a long, painful lack of direction. Born in 1792, it was the second-oldest political party in the world, after the Tories of Great Britain. But it suffered decline for years and finally succumbed to complications brought on by elitism and anger. The cause of death was officially attributed to an obstruction lodged in its leadership.

People 1, Lawyers 0 Tort reform got a big boost last week when the Senate approved a bill that would move large class-action lawsuits into the federal court system. By a surprisingly wide 72-26 margin, it approved a reform measure that would make it harder for attorneys to "shop" for favorable state courts that routinely hand out multi-million dollar awards to plaintiffs, often on the flimsiest of evidence. In 2003, tort costs gobbled up $246 billion, or 2.2%, of U.S. GDP, and tort costs are growing much faster than the economy. Litigation costs now total about $3,200 per year per family. But the actual cost — including companies' canceling projects for fear of lawsuits or doctors' driven from the profession by exorbitant malpractice premiums — is much, much higher. Way to go U.S. Congress.

Global Warming Economics At the World Social Forum in Davos a panel on global warming asked whether the Kyoto Protocol’s emissions-trading scheme is really a method of “privatizing the atmosphere.” Those evil politicians are trying to auction off our environment to the highest bidder. Emissions-trading on the carbon market is by far the closest that anybody has come to implementing Kyoto—the European Union is doing it unilaterally.

Easongate Who would have imagined that the downfall of one of the world's most powerful news executives would be precipitated by an ordinary citizen blogging his eyewitness report at Davos in the wee hours of the morning. It's simply stunning. The courage of Rony Abovitz cannot be overstated. This ordinary American raised his voice at an international forum attended by Europe's most influential America-haters and demanded that CNN executive Eason Jordan back up his poisonous assertion about the American military targeting journalists. The shock waves that have overwhelmed CNN started with a single blogger and reverberated worldwide. The despicable Jordan has resigned.

Culture War Here are three small news items from around the world you might have missed:
1) An unemployed waitress in Berlin faces the loss of her welfare benefits after refusing a job as a prostitute in a legalized brothel.
2) A British court ruled that a suspected terrorist from Algeria cannot be detained in custody because jail causes him to suffer a ''depressive illness.''
3) Jeffrey Eden, 17, of Charlestown, R.I., has been awarded an A by his teacher and the ''Silver Key'' in the Rhode Island Scholastic Art Awards for a diorama titled ''Bush/Hitler and How History Repeats Itself.''

It's an open question whether the West will survive this twilight struggle.
For the details see the great Mark Steyn’s article in the Chicago Sun-Times 2/13/05.

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