Best of the Web Today – September 27, 2007
By JAMES TARANTO
A Stand Against McCarthyism
By an overwhelming bipartisan vote, the House yesterday condemned MoveOn.org’s notorious ad attacking Gen. David Petraeus for seeking victory in Iraq. The vote was 341-79. All 79 “no” votes came from Democrats, though they were outnumbered by the 341 Dems who couldn’t stomach MoveOn’s character assassination. The Associated Press quotes one eloquent left-wing Democrat explaining his “aye” vote:
Wisconsin Rep. David Obey, a veteran Democrat, recounted how he left the Republican Party during the era of Sen. Joseph McCarthy, R-Wis., and said that lawmakers have an obligation to criticize their allies as well as their enemies when they go too far.
“I’ve got an obligation to be equally upset when that kind of juvenile debate emanates from the left,” Obey said.
Obey, like McCarthy, was reared in and represents Wisconsin. Let’s hope other Democrats follow Obey’s example and renounce MoveOn.org’s McCarthy-style character assassination. Otherwise he may have to switch parties again.
Terrorism: The Navel Response
Hillary Clinton may be the toughest guy in the Democratic presidential field, but an article in New York’s Daily News on last night’s New Hampshire debate reminds us of why the idea of putting her in charge of national defense still doesn’t sit entirely right with us:
Sen. Hillary Clinton scored with a Democratic audience last night by contradicting her husband’s belief that a terrorist could be tortured to foil an imminent plot–but what observers didn’t know is she was contradicting herself, too.
“It cannot be American policy, period,” Clinton (D-N.Y.) told debate moderator Tim Russert, who asked if there should be a presidential exemption to allow the torture of a terror chieftain if authorities knew a bomb was about to go off, but didn’t know where it was.
When Russert revealed ex-President Bill Clinton advocated such a policy on a recent NBC “Meet the Press” appearance, Hillary Clinton won huge applause from the Dartmouth College audience with a deadpan comeback:
“Well, I’ll talk to him later.”
She may have to give herself that talk, too.
Last October, Clinton told the Daily News: “If we’re going to be preparing for the kind of improbable but possible eventuality, then it has to be done within the rule of law.”
She said then the “ticking time bomb” scenario represents a narrow exception to her opposition to torture as morally wrong, ineffective and dangerous to American soldiers.
Some observers have disparaged President Bush as “The Decider” for being, in their view, too bold in confronting the terror problem. If Bush is succeeded by “The Navel Contemplator,” they may find themselves missing him.
Meanwhile, CNN has a video of Mrs. Clinton’s spouse, Bill Clinton, ranting against Republican criticism of MoveOn.org’s McCarthyite attack on Gen. David Petraeus. The distorted image of Mr. Clinton seems to be the result of CNN’s technical incompetence, but the feeling he conveys is unsettling: He comes across as hot-tempered and emotionally unstable. Not necessarily what we’d look for in a first lady.
The Enemy Bill Richardson Won’t Run From
New Mexico’s Gov. Bill Richardson is running for president, and his position on Iraq can be summed up in 20 words: get out, vamoose, flee, scram, skedaddle, don’t look back, bolt, beat it, go AWOL, quit, escape, run for your lives! He even says he wants to leave equipment behind, the better to bug out as fast as possible.
Some might see this as cowardly, because–well, it is cowardly. But CNN reports Richardson has found one enemy before which he will not shrink:
Richardson said if elected president he would decline the position of Honorary Chairman of the Boy Scouts of America because of that organization’s policy barring participation by openly gay males, he said at a Democratic presidential debate Wednesday night.
When asked if he would accept the position, Richardson said, “No, I wouldn’t, because I think as president I would commit myself, number one, that I will be a leader that prevents discrimination on the basis of race, gender and sexual orientation.”
And after all, what’s the point of protecting America from al Qaeda if you’re not going to protect America from the Boy Scouts?
Daily Kosling “georgia10” reports on how she spent last evening:
I watched the Presidential Debate in a small bar here in New Hampshire with some way cool bloggers and new friends. Putting the quizzical looks from other bar patrons aside (a debate on the big screen? whaaa? where’s my baseball?), it was your typical viewer experience. “Why did you accept the premise of the question!?!” we wondered aloud as we shook our heads in frustration. “That’s such a dodge,” we snickered. “He didn’t say what I think he said, did he??” “What a great answer!” was another phrase tossed about, and often, our applause, laughter, and groans filled the room.
Wow, if these people are “way cool,” we’d hate to meet someone georgia10 would consider a dweeb.
On Tuesday and again yesterday, we noted the scandal over Hoftsra Law School’s invitation to Lynne Stewart–disbarred and convicted of giving material aid to terrorists–to speak on “legal ethics.” The promotional materials for the conference where she’s speaking identify her as a “human rights” lawyer and omit any mention of her disbarment and conviction.
By contrast, consider this announcement from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn.:
Stephen Rondestvedt ’85, a federal felon and disbarred attorney who stole money from his clients, will be the featured speaker at an event that will highlight the consequences of white-collar crime, including prosecution, disbarment and disgrace. Rondestvedt will answer questions posed by Hank Shea, a former assistant U.S. attorney and distinguished senior fellow at the University of St. Thomas School of Law, and will take questions from the audience about his crime, its impact and lessons learned.
The announcement is straightforwardly headlined “Alumnus to Speak About Criminal Past.” If you’re going to have a felon as a featured speaker, that’s the way to do it.
Good news from Manchester, N.H.: “The boy tossed out of school Monday for having a comb that looks like a switchblade knife has had his sentence reduced,” the Union Leader reports;
West High School freshman Nathaniel Bordeleau’s suspension was dropped from 10 days to four, and he will be allowed back in school Monday, according to his mother, Heidi. . . .
The suspension change came out of a meeting yesterday mandated to determine if Nate, a special education student, has a disability that would mitigate his behavior.
Not baldness, we’d guess.
This Is Blatant Profiling!
“A Race With the Terrorists”–headline, Los Angeles Times, Sept. 27
Sorry, Not Wide Enough
“Antigay Stance Loses Support for Candidate”–headline, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, Sept. 27
‘A Fine Conscience I Turned Out to Be!’
“Cricket Great Denies Claims of Affair”–headline, Reuters, Sept. 25
You Mean Like on a Fixed-Rate Mortgage?
“Activists Want Rates on Adjustable-Rate Mortgages Frozen”–headline, Plain Dealer (Cleveland), Sept. 27
Back to the Future
“Limits Urged on Time Travelers Must Wait in Planes”–headline, Arizona Republic, Sept. 26
Good Thing They Weren’t 49ers Fans
“Cubs Fans Name Their Son After Ballpark”–headline, USA Today, Sept. 25
Now We’ll Never Know Who Won
“Bridge Collapse in Vietnam Kills Scores”–headline, Reuters, Sept. 26
They’re Still on the Metric System Out There?
“Time’s Running Out for L.A.’s Irksome Meters”–headline, Los Angeles Times, Sept. 27
News You Can Use
- “Court Won’t Declare Chimp a Person”–headline, Associated Press, Sept. 27
- “FDA: Kids Can Read Food Labels”–headline, Star Tribune (Minneapolis), Sept. 25
- “Stinky, Spoiled Makeup Is Bad for You, Too”–headline, Seattle Times, Sept. 27
- “Rat-Plagued Restaurants Reopen”–headline, Santa Rosa (Calif.) Press Democrat, Sept. 26
Bottom Stories of the Day
- “Lakers Are What They Are”–headline, Los Angeles Times, Sept. 26
- “Former Maconite Doesn’t Win Ugliest Couch Contest”–headline, Telegraph (Macon, Ga.), Sept. 25
- ” ‘Draft Ralph Nader’ Outfit Advertising on the Web”–headline, FoxNews.com, Sept. 26
- “BREAKING NEWS: Rob Reiner Endorses Hillary Clinton”–headline, LATimes.com, Sept. 26
No Taste for Accounting
Katie Couric’s “CBS Evening News” brings us this hard-hitting sob story:
For accountant Alex Guzzetta, not a day goes by when he doesn’t think about these numbers: $90,000 in student loan debt, $20,000 owed to the federal government and $70,000 to a private lender.
“A third of every hour I work is basically just going towards just maintaining the interest on my student loans. I’m not getting anywhere, they’re not getting any lower. I’m just buying time,” he tells CBS News correspondent Kelly Wallace.
Guzzetta maxed out in borrowing a fixed low interest federal loan and had to take out a private loan. He says he didn’t realize he’d wind up paying 10 percent in interest and a minimum of $535 a month for 30 years.
“They said ‘In six months, this is what your payment’s going to be,’ and when I saw that I nearly had a heart attack,” he said.
You can see why he went into accounting. He obviously has an aptitude for it. Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports on a doctor of tomorrow:
A Harvard student must be allowed extra break time during her nine-hour medical licensing exam so she can pump breast milk to feed her 4-month-old daughter, a Massachusetts appeals court judge ruled Wednesday.
Sophie Currier, 33, sued after the National Board of Medical Examiners turned down her request to take more than the standard 45 minutes in breaks during the exam. . . .
Currier already had received special accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act for dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, including permission to take the test over two days instead of one.
We hope John Edwards is elected president so he can make Dr. Currier his surgeon general.
(Carol Muller helps compile Best of the Web Today. Thanks to Jim Orheim, Bill King, Scott Wright, John Norquist, John Sanders, Kyle Kyllan, Ed Jordan, Craig Hildreth, Paul Strada, Harry Fair, Steve Karass, Jeff Stephens, Doug Black, John Nernoff, Danny Brown, Paul Wood, Andy Hefty, Stuart Creque, John Dorion, Matt Bradley, Bryan Fischer, Steve Biddle, Ken Pieper, Jack Archer, Greg Askins, Jeff Stricker and Greg Nelson. If you have a tip, write us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and please include the URL.)
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Today on OpinionJournal:
- Review & Outlook: Tehran has been told it will pay a price for killing Americans, but it never has.
- Eugene Volokh (from The Volokh Conspiracy): Jeffrey Toobin’s treatment of Justice Thomas helped sour me on “The Nine.”
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