Discussing Egypt & More on FOXNews.com Live

Friday morning, it was an honor to hang out down at FOX News discussing Egypt, Mubarak's then refusal to cede power and the like. Hours after my FOXNews.com Live appearance, Mubarek finally stepped down. What interesting times we live in. There's some great debate here regarding what's next for Egypt. Check it out:

Why I (Still) Love George W. Bush

Suck it up, haters. I love George W. Bush and I’m not afraid to admit it, nor am I hesitant to explain why. This piece is by no means an attempt to convince leftist adherents to abandon their false perceptions of America’s 43rd president (that’s a hapless task and I’m well beyond believing in my power to persuade people who base their stances on vapidity). Rather, I am penning this piece because I truly believe that a great disservice has been done to a man who gave his all to protect his nation – a man who, despite what critics say, was and is highly intelligent, capable and intrinsically-tuned in to the nation’s needs. Unfortunately, there is a leftist mindset that contends that Bush is an unintelligent buffoon who meandered his way into the White House. Not only is this incredibly simplistic, but it flies in the face of rational thought. One cannot become president – I repeat – one cannot assume the highest post in the nation — if he or she is certifiably idiotic. It takes intelligence, charisma and a sharp mind to survive reporters, primaries, debates and other electoral mayhem. Winning over the American public is a wretchedly difficult task. George W. Bush accomplished all of this, and more – twice (or for those who still believe that Bush “stole” the 2000 election we can contend that he accomplished all of this at least once).

No one is perfect; presidents aren’t immune to the fallible nature of the human spirit. Surely, President Bush made mistakes along the way. The mismanagement of the War on Terror. Increased government spending. The list goes on. There are certainly fair criticisms, as there would be for any leader. That in mind, many liberals fail to afford Bush the grace and gratitude he’s due. This, in itself, is disturbing, disrespectful and vehemently vicious all wrapped into a detestable package of partisan rot. The man kept America safe for the majority of his tenure. Shouldn’t that count for something?

While his national security record stands for itself (and I’ll touch upon it later), perhaps the most attractive attribute our former president demonstrated was his stellar character. Now, before those on the left cardiac arrest at the audacity of my compliment, consider, as an anecdotal, the admirable decision Bush made in the wake of President Obama’s historic victory. For the past 19 months, instead of responding to Obama and the Democrats’ childish attacks and incessant blame for everything from financial meltdowns to the very destruction of the American ideal, Bush has remained quiet, composed and observant. Rather that criticize, he has allowed Obama to govern as he see fits. Even the most ardent Bush-basher must admire the sheer class and composure that governed our former president’s silence.

Sharply contrasting the unity Bush fostered in the days following 9/11 and the classy sentiment through which he approached his successor’s presidency, Obama has exploited every opportunity to drive a partisan wedge into the heart of American electorate; he has continually blamed Bush and the Republicans for our nation’s ills. Yet, everyone with one cent’s worth of a brain knows that both parties have contributed to America’s dramatic and grandiose sociopolitical ills. Obama’s railing on against the Republicans has been reminiscent of a campaign stump speech stuck on repeat. It’s unneeded and, frankly, it’s un-presidential.

At the end of the day, George W. Bush possesses a level of class that is superior to both Clinton and Obama. Anyone who argues the contrary needs to remove the partisan blinders and learn some fair assessment skills. I’m not asking that you like the guy, but I am asking for you to give credit where it’s due.

After Bush’s stellar character comes his conviction. His belief in freedom colored his presidency and was often the focal point of his most contentious policy decisions. It was his conviction that led America (back) to the Middle East following 9/11. His tireless goal to democratize theocratic and radical regimes was rooted in a thirst for improved human rights and lasting peace and prosperity in a region that has been strewn with violence since the beginning of time. Feel free to agree or disagree with his decision to invade, then stay the course, but one fact is undeniable: George W. Bush protected domestic interests and American lives.

He refused to give up on the notion that America could and inevitably would make a difference in the Middle East. At worst, he was determined to finish the job he set out to complete in the first place. In the end, he kept his promise to Iraq, which is surely respectable. He’s a man of his word (another reason I admire him). Oh, and for my liberal detractors: Bush never lied about WMD; Saddam Hussein did.

Here in America, it was Bush’s conviction and determination that also made it possible for citizens to carry about their daily business without suffering any post-9/11 attacks at the hands of terrorist nutjobs. And for those Democrats and liberal elite who accused Bush and the Republicans of overstating the terror threat for political gain, I point you to the countless domestic plots we’ve seen since Bush left office. Terror was and continues to be a real threat. President Bush understood this and worked to his utmost to protect the public, while continuously refining the systems through which he accomplished the task.

Following Bush’s character, conviction and determination comes his leadership style. While many on the left contend that Bush was a puppet whose strings were controlled by Cheney and Co., this is figment comprised of “sheet inaccuracy.” Bush was decisive and at the helm; his decisions were controversial. When Bush left office, his approval rating was abysmal. It was at that time that the American public had become weary. Despite a lack of support from the American people on the War on Terror, Iraq and other policy decisions, the president pushed forward in light of his principles and ideals.

While we can agree that there are certainly downsides to this sort of leadership style, there’s also something admirable about it. When we elect officials, we place our utmost trust in them. A president must make tough decisions for the welfare and benefit of the people whom he represents. By these same standards, I must give President Obama credit for his tireless work. While I disagreed with the stimulus and the health care overhaul (as did the majority of the American public), I can respect the determination and goodwill through which he pushed those measures. Obama believed fully in both causes, as Bush did in Operation Iraqi Freedom and the War on Terror. In this regard, the presidents certainly share similarities in their leadership styles.

In the end, Bush was realistic in recognizing and reiterating the notion that radical Islamic fundamentalists hate America because of what she stands for. And let’s not forget President’s Bush’s historic assistance in fighting global HIV/AIDS, his accomplishments in the chronic homelessness arena and his attempt to reform Social Security. These are a few specific accomplishments our former president deserves accolades for. But most of all, President Bush has always had a way with the American people. He’s upfront, transparent and open. His recent media interviews reflect these sentiments and set him apart from other politicians. While I disagreed with some of his presidential actions and inactions, I can’t help but love the guy. Plus, I’ve yet to hear compelling reasons why I shouldn’t.

Wisdom When You Least Expect It

I'm abandoning political and social issues to blog a bit personally today.  It was an excellent weekend -- one willed with fun, laughter and a whole lot of wisdom.  I'm turning 27 tomorrow (Tuesday), so I spent Saturday and Sunday with friends and family.  We ate, drank wine (ate some more) and truly enjoyed ourselves!  After consuming way too much pizza and dozens of Candlelight's delicious wings (if you live in the NYC/Westchester area, you likely know these wings well), we played Taboo and laughed our ways into oblivion. On Sunday, my wife and my friend Bridget joined me in our backyard to try out my new helicopter from Brookstone (it's a remote-controlled unit that, in my view, is super cool).  Okay, I know what you're thinking -- this soon-to-be 27-year-old shouldn't be playing with children's toys.  That's neither here nor there.  I have a penchant for technology, regardless of the recommended age of usage.

Anyway, we headed outside, I turned on the remote control and before I had a second to collect my scruples the helicopter shot up over our big white fence and landed in our neighbor's backyard.  After trying to figure out how to conspicuously get the toy -- and failing -- I realized I had no choice but to knock on my neighbor's door.  So, I did just that.

Upon knocking, my neighbor and I got into a discussion about nearly every topic under the sun (and fortunately, she willingly let me into the yard to collect the helicopter).  My neighbor (we'll call her Ellen) ended up bringing some excellent words of truth to my ears.

See, Ellen suffers from a rare and painful disease.  She's also in her eighties (though she'd easily pass for 50).  Over the course of 45 minutes or so, Ellen shared many of the struggles she's had in her life, while I sat and listened patiently.  While this would typically be an extremely depressing experience, there was something captivating about the way she spoke.  Unlike so many others who have been scorned and battered, Ellen seemed happy.  Even in discussing various travesties, she was bubbly and seemed to have a very positive outlook.  She said,

You know, many people see me in pain.  Then, they see me the next day out working in the yard and they say, 'Ellen, what are you doing?! You were so ill yesterday! You need to rest.'  I tell them, 'Today is today and yesterday was yesterday.'"

See, it's Ellen's philosophy that we need to prevent ourselves from allowing the pain of yesterday to permeate our life experiences today.  This concept truly stuck out to me.  If God commands us to forgive and move on (which He does), Ellen's theory rings true.  However, it's often extremely difficult to simply move on and forget.  Furthermore, when we have a bad or painful experience, many of us (myself included) carry negative emotions for days, weeks, months -- even years.

In listening to her life's pain, Ellen described how she's used betrayal and disappointment to learn to take care of herself, while ensuring she becomes a stronger person. In the end, I was glad to hear Ellen's story and to soak in some of her wisdom.

Personally, I struggle with worry, though I know the promises God has made through Jesus Christ. Still, I worry about life circumstances I cannot control. Perhaps control, itself, is the issue. I know I am not alone in this struggle, but hearing Ellen's testimony of sorts made me more aware of my own deficiencies in the areas of forgiveness and reliance upon the Lord.

"Today is today and yesterday was yesterday" is an excellent philosophy.  Rather than dwelling on the worries and pain of yesterday, we should be ready and willing to move forward, with each day starting on a clean slate.  What started out as a lost toy in my neighbor's backyard ended in some unexpected wisdom. I always love when God gives us words of wisdom in, from and at the most unlikely of places.

In Case You Missed It: Be Quiet on the 9/11 Mosque

Time Magazine's Mark Halperin has an important public service announcement for Republicans: Do the right thing and drop any and all calls against the Ground Zero mosque. His convictions appear so strong on the issue that he literally correlates GOP "misuse" of the situation with jihadist victory. If you missed the insanity, you can find it here. While Halperin is not necessarily a liberal (controversy ensues on his views/this issue), his piece illustrates a common tactic of the left - reversing rational thought and framing it in such a way that the opposition is purposefully backed into an inescapable corner. Let's get a grip. Opposing the mosque has absolutely nothing to do with letting homicidal terrorist fools "win" and everything to do with exploring the moral compass through which the Cordoba Initiative has arrived at its decision to build near Ground Zero. The now infamous mosque project has become a sore for Democrats in a hotly contested election year. Perhaps this is one reason why Halperin pleads so mightily for Republicans to leave the issue alone. Unfortunately for the left, the GOP has little control over public perception on this issue. Americans disagree with the mosque's placement near Ground Zero, regardless of what conservatives say (or don't say, for that matter). Even Harry Reid is hip to this reality. Halperin seems to believe that Republicans are driving public perception; this is incorrect on all counts. The American people are outraged and they want answers, explanations and assurance that nothing is awry.

Aside from the aforementioned tenants, there are a number of irritating elements in Halperin's article. Of course, no words at all are devoted to questioning why the Cordoba Initiative has chosen to build a massive monument to Islam just blocks away from where the World Trade Center once stood. Halperin's article is limited to telling Republicans why they should silence themselves on the issue. Before I continue, allow me to clarify something. I'm all for religious freedom; I'm not attacking Islam, but I am questioning the intention, knowing the sensitivities involved, of planning to build a mosque at that location. Naturally, Halperin is more concerned with providing advice to Republicans than he is in actually getting to the bottom of the issue at hand -- why the Cordoba Initiative is obsessed with placing an Islamic beacon at the center of America's greatest travesty.

And another note -- I recognize that most Muslims are peaceful. That's not the point here. In the end, the Cordoba Initiative has every legal right to build, but the moral implications of doing so at, near or around Ground Zero are evident. Whether leftists agree, the vast majority of the public sees the move as insensitive; it is widely opposed by nearly every measure. Should plans for the mosque forge on, there will be a great deal of resentment, which will, in turn, damage reconciliation efforts. If those individuals who wish to build truly care about bridging divides between Muslim and non-Muslim Americans as they've stated, they'll choose another location. Wouldn't this spread the goodwill that Halperin seems to believe can only come if conservatives remain silent?

Aside from the asinine notion that conservatives should simply back away from questioning the mosque's moral implications, Halperin inserted a number of slaps, digs and generalizations. For instance, he claims that the GOP has avoided dealing with social issues, while focusing wholeheartedly on Obama's spending habits. In his letter to Republicans he writes,

Up until now, you have restricted yourself as much as possible to an economic message, eschewing social issues and foreign policy as you try to establish contrasts for the electorate between your brand and the Obama-Pelosi-Reid record.

Unfortunately for this political analyst/journalist, who has obviously paid little attention to conservative proposals, the GOP offered a detailed alternative to ObamaCare, which the administration and members of the leftist media brigade simultaneously ignored. But, the bombshell (allow me to channel Nancy Grace) comes at the end of the piece, as Halperin writes,

It isn't clear how the battle over the proposed center should or will end. But two things are profoundly clear: Republicans have a strong chance to win the midterm elections without picking a fight over President Obama's measured words. And a national political fight conducted on the terms we have seen in the past few days will lead to a chain reaction at home and abroad that will have one winner -- the very extreme and violent jihadists we all can claim as our true enemy.

Did you catch that, America? Holding a president accountable for his own words will literally hand victory over to our enemies. When leftists and their enthusiasts in the media are prepared to allow students to recite the pledge without designating the words "under God" unconstitutional, idiotic or bordering on the illegal, I'll take their advice on matters of religious freedom. Until then, I'll stick with the notion that the Cordoba mosque is perfectly legal, but overtly insensitive and morally damaging to reconciliation efforts. Moving the mosque would be a sign of goodwill and would do wonders for Muslim/non-Muslim relations in our post-9/11 world.

With that in mind, don't give up. Make your voices heard, but do so respectfully and without making Islam the target. Focusing on the Constitutional and legal rights of the Cordoba Initiative, while illustrating the moral conundrums the project will create is a viable and common sense way to treat this issue. Don't let Halperin or anyone else for that matter tell you otherwise.

(Originally published at HuffingtonPost.com)

Gasp: Special Props To Perez Hilton (Yes, I’m Being Serious)

This may be the first (and only) time I give Perez Hilton some credit.  Today, he posted a brief note about John Cusack’s disturbing Twitter “rampage” (as Perez describes it).  As you may recall, Cusack got into a scuffle with some conservatives the other night on Twitter.  He Tweeted the following:

“I AM FOR A SATANIC DEATH CULT CENTER AT FOX NEWS HQ AND OUTSIDE THE OFFICES ORDICK ARMEYAND NEWT GINGRICH-and all the GOP WELFARE FREAKS.”

How’s that for a dose of sanity?  A number of well-respected conservative pundits responded to Cusack and, of course, he belittled them.  Then, in a bizarre move, he blocked everyone who tried to engage him in conversation.  I was among those blocked after I sent requests for a fair interview with Cusack (one in which I pledged to allow him ample respect to describe his opinions).

Interesting how leftist celebs rail on and on about freedom of speech.  Then, when they’re challenged, they act out to silence anyone who disagrees with them.  Hypocritical isn’t it?  I will say this: Perez didn’t bury the story; he published it and posted the word “Cuckoo?” over Cusack’s picture (a truly ample description if you ask me).

Special props go out to Perez.  Cusack – get a grip!  Getting too political is a sure-fire way to lose fans and supporters. FOX News has more...

Human Events: Battling 'God' In The Public Square

This morning, my new article about the Pledge of Allegiance in America was published on HumanEvents.com.  Please take some time to read the piece, then share your thoughts (you may do so on this post or here).  Here's the intro to the piece:

The debate over the Pledge of Allegiance has intensified over the past decade, with atheists and their leftist enthusiasts insisting that the proclamation be banned from the public square. While these individuals claim that they have no problem with the Pledge’s general patriotic tenants, the words “under God” are the objects of their intense scrutiny.

Click here to read the rest.

Weaseling Our Way Out of Dead-End Situations

In life there are certain situations in which we may feel powerless, hopeless and trapped.  These dead-end situations leave us unsure of where to go, what to do or what the next proper step to take is.  Sometimes, it seems as though nothing can change the circumstances we find ourselves in.  I've faced this many times in my own life with friends, family and my faith.  This morning, I was reading Acts 12 and Peter's dead-end scenario truly stuck out and resonated with me.  If you have't read it, here's the main gist (verses 1-4):

It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword.  When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each.  Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.

Considering that James had already been murdered, the situation looked pretty grim for Peter.  But, just when Peter's life was placed on the chopping block, God sent an angel to the rescue.  The angel appeared in the cell, smacked Peter to wake him up, told him to grab his stuff, released his chains and guided him past the guards and away from the jail.

Talk about being saved by the bell.  In Peter's hour of need, God came through.  While we won't always be rescued by angels, the knowledge that God is in control and that He knows the best path for our lives should never escape us.  We may be faced with tough situations in which we must ensure some pain (not everyone has such a heroic and angelic rescue), but if we maintain our faith and knowledge that the Lord is at the helm, those dead-end dilemmas won't overtake our lives.  The Lord really can -- and often will -- rescue us in our hour of need.

Verse nine reads, "Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision."  We may not recognize that the Lord is at work in the midst of personal chaos (hindsight is always much more accurate than our perceptions while dealing with life's dramas), but we should remain faithful and follow God's calls, as Peter did in Acts.  What an awesome lesson to retain and practice.  Anything truly is possible with and through Christ.

Media Matters’ Vapid Response to Air America’s Crash

Last week, Air America announced its official closure and intention to file Chapter 7.  For those who had been following news surrounding the weeping willow of talk radio, this was no surprise.  While making a thin-kid splash with pseudo-celebrities back in 2004, the liberal network had a rocky history, replete with scandal, two bankruptcies and acquisitions.

Last week, Big Journalism’s James Hudnall reminded readers that Air America’s problems are not new.  According to Hudnall, “After a scandal involving misappropriated funds from black school children it promptly filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy two years later. Franken, Rhodes and Garofalo abandoned ship.”  (Come to think of it, perhaps that last part wasn’t so bad after all).

While Air America’s demise is surely a sad day for the precious few  who enjoyed leftist radio programming, there’s no need for liberal lamentations.  The left still dominates Hollywood, the university system and mainstream media, where adherents can find ongoing solace and a sympathetic informational stream – a triangular dominance of sorts.

What is most interesting about Air America’s silence is the clamor coming from angry liberals, particularly those at the painstakingly partisan Media Matters for America.  As can be expected, Media Matters’ Jamison Foser issued a statement that attacks conservative critics entitled, “The Right might want to hold off on gloating over Air America’s demise.”

After reading the title, I was sure I would understand exactly why, from Foser’s perspective, conservatives should withhold celebratory commentary; I was sadly mistaken.  In the brief posting, Foser attempts to offer two reasons why conservatives shouldn’t make the case that there is no viable market for “liberal news” – and fails miserably. According to Foser,

You can either claim that ABC/CBS/CNN/MSNBC/NBC/NPR/NYT/WAPO/ETC are “liberal media,” or that there is no market for liberal media — but not both.  Please pick one.  Thanks!

The Washington Times has been losing money for two decades.  In the early days of Fox News, Rupert Murdoch paid cable companies $11 per subscriber to carry FNC (and Rudy Giuliani pressured Time Warner to carry the outlet in New York City.)  Point being: conservative media outlets have succeeded not only because of market forces, as conservatives would have you believe, but because right-wing billionaires like Murdoch and Rev. Moon have been willing to subsidize them.

The simplicity present in this analysis is astounding.  First and foremost, research backs up the notion that outlets like CBS News and the New York Times are biased, but even if there were no scholarship to corroborate this notion, Foser’s argument makes little sense.  Most conservatives aren’t claiming that liberal media outlets can’t succeed (though the left has had a tough time pushing unabashedly liberal outlets to the top); they’re making the case that liberal radio, absent public monies, cannot stand on its own.  Those are two very different ideals.  Air America never picked up the steam needed to forge its way to victorious ratings.  Last week, the L.A. Times said it best:

The New York-based Air America kicked off in March 2004, aiming to be the antithesis of Rush Limbaugh’s and Sean Hannity’s shows. In comparison to the staunch, multimillion followings of those commentators, Air America didn’t quite hit the mark or even come close. An insufficient number of people tuned in.

Additionally, Foser’s statement that The Washington Times has lost money for decades is a silly corroborative comment.  Tell me Mr. Foser, how many newspapers are posting record profits these days?  Also, it’s curious that Foser would rail against Murdoch’s support for FOX News, a network the media mogul, himself, founded.  I suppose use of his own monies to invest in FOX’s future was morally reprehensible in comparison to the $875,000 that was transferred to Air America from the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Clubs – a publicly-funded, non-profit organization that served children and seniors – back in 2004.  After all, why filter the money to children in need when you can use it for political gain?

This loan arrangement was allegedly orchestrated by Evan Montvel-Cohen, Air America’s first chairman, while he was still the director of development for the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Clubs.  Apparently, Foser sees a larger moral problem with using one’s own monies (otherwise known as entrepreneurship) for the betterment of one’s business activities than he does with alleged financial shenanigans.  Interestingly, Cohen was subsequently arrested on unrelated charges. The New York Post has more:

Evan Montvel-Cohen was picked up by border-patrol officers at Guam International Airport on an outstanding warrant from Hawaii. He had been indicted there last month for money laundering and the theft of more than $60,000 from a Honolulu landscaping firm, prosecutors said.

Of course, all of that failed to make its way into Foser’s drivel.  Apparently, Americans are to believe that left-wing billionaires like George Soros do not exist and therefore cannot fund massive liberal think tanks and other related bastions of leftist garble.  According to DiscovertheNetworks.org:

…Soros and his Open Society Institute pour millions of dollars into the coffers of MoveOn, the Center for American Progress, and Democracy Alliance. In turn, these organizations funnel some of that money to Media Matters.

The notion that FOX News has become popular merely because billionaires are behind it is insane at best.  And just to be sure you caught the hypocrisy — did I mention that Media Matters is also alleged to have major investorsbacking its work as well?  Kettle or pot, Mr. Foser?

In recent times, Americans have come to trust FOX to break stories mainstream media simply refuse to touch; this carries over to special events, particularly those with partisanship at their core.  This is exactly why the Huffington Post reported on Massachusetts’ special election coverage constituting the network’s “…biggest night since Election Night 2008, averaging a staggering 6.161 million total viewers in primetime. For comparison, that’s almost double CNN (1.503 million total viewers), MSNBC (1.138 million total viewers), and HLN (668,000 total viewers) combined.”  People trusted FOX News to give adequate and fair information about Scott Brown more than they did the other networks.

The FOX News business model has worked.  Unfortunately, liberal talk radio has proven unsustainable – even in the New York City market.  Air America’s failure should serve as a lesson to the left, not another vapid opportunity to defend tattered pride.  If anything, FOX’s model has helped the left raise MSNBC’s insanely low ratings, as the network has added more leftist ideologues to its roster.  It will certainly be interesting to see where the left goes from here.

NY Times: ‘Urban Modern’ is the New ‘Liberal’

Perhaps nothing is more entertaining or educational than listening to an editor or journalist answer questions related to ideological perspective. From Dan Rather to Barbara Walters, the denial of agenda-driven coverage is rampant. While the playing field is beginning to level in the realms of news and politics, entertainment outlets virtually ignore conservative viewpoints. 

Last week, Gerald Marzorati, editor of The New York Times Magazine (a lifestyle magazine insert published by none other than the infamously left-leaning New York Times Co.) publicly answered a wide array of questions about the economy’s affect on the magazine, “the future of long-form journalism,” the magazine’s music coverage and ideological perspective, among other related subjects. 

While the Q&A was nothing spectacular, a question about ideological perspective stands out from the rest.  A reader identified as “Ron Mwangaguhunga” wrote:

 “The New York Times Magazine, I’ve been told by a former editor, considers itself “centrist” — playing stories straight down the center. Any comment?”

Before I go any further, let it be stated that there is nothing centrist about The New York Times, so to expect that one of its Sunday supplements would be produced in journalism’s traditional middle-of-the-road sentiment is practically nonsensical.  But, I digress.

While I do need to give props to Marzorati for publicly addressing the question, rather than tucking it away and ignoring its tenants, it’s important to pay attention to his response:

“Interesting. What you’re asking is: Does the Magazine have an ideology? At the risk of giving some of my colleagues hives, I think it does.”

Upon first reading this, I was jubilant!  Finally, someone at The New York Times Co. admits that there is some form of inherent bias present in its reporting.  But, my joy was quickly impeded by the Times’ own irrationality as I read on. Marzorati continued,

“Call it Urban Modern. That is, I think it reflects not a left-or-right POLITICAL ideology but a geographical one, the mentality of the place it is created: 21st Century Manhattan.”

Wait, what?  Can anyone identify what “Urban Modern” means? I’m pretty sure most rational Americans would associate this ideological umbrella term with “liberalism.”  Furthermore, if there wasn’t some sort of socio-political attachment inherently present in the term itself, why would Marzorati risk giving his colleagues “hives”?  Ask anyone living in 21st Century Manhattan (or anyone with a base idea of what it’s like to be a conservative living in the greater-New York area) and they’ll tell you that the social and political spheres (i.e. “the basic mentality”) are dominated by liberalism. 

While Marzorati’s willingness to share perspective with America is surely delightful, his inability to recognize his outlets overt ideological vice and his refusal to acknowledge disparity in the outlet’s overall coverage is less than appealing.  This is reflective of the fact that those journalists, whether they cover entertainment or politics, living in the New York area don’t even recognize the political and social slant under and through which they live – and subsequently write.

If The Times Magazine wants to cover lifestyle through a liberal lens, that’s fine.  But, the editor should at least understand and properly convey the magazine’s bias.  It’s time for entertainment and lifestyle outlets to acknowledge their slant.  Whether they choose to include the nation’s majority political perspective (conservatism) in editorial discussions is up to them.  Either way, admitting that they have a problem is the first step toward recovery.

Originally published on Big Hollywood.

Hussein’s Intentional Deceit Led to U.S. Invasion of Iraq

Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to completely deter, and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.” - Al Gore, 2002 In July, the FBI released summaries of more than 20 interviews and casual conversations the agency carried out with former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.  Aside from creating a more robust picture of the conditions that led up to the Iraq War, the discussions flagrantly expose Hussein’s motives in resisting U.S. pressure to cooperate with U.N. inspectors.  Furthermore, they provide an informative lens into his psyche during the months leading up to the invasion.

According to The Washington Times, “The new documents paint a picture of the Iraqi dictator in the final years of his life as arrogant, defiant and often delusional.” At points throughout the interviews, Hussein would often insist that he was still the president of Iraq.  He denied ties to the al Qaeda and insisted that “…Iraq does not have orphans walking the streets.”

While the aforementioned elements are offsetting, the most startling revelation was Hussein’s own admission that he purposely misled the world to believe that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD).  Even more alarming is the motivation he attributes to this self-proclaimed action.  In the interviews, Hussein told officials that, in the months leading up to the Iraq War, he feared a nuclear-equipped Iran more than he did any reaction from the United States.

George Piro, Saddam’s FBI interviewer, wrote, “Hussein stated he was more concerned about Iran discovering Iraq’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities than the repercussions of the United States for his refusal to allow UN inspectors back into Iraq.”  Thus, the reason for Hussein’s intended deceit - a trickery that led to intense regional and global instability - was rooted more in political posturing and survival than it was in his narcissistic desire to exponentially increase Iraq’s power in the Middle East.

Importantly, this admission raises a number of red flags.  Since 2003, American liberals have railed against the U.S. government, stating that former President George W. Bush purposefully misled the American people in his affirmations that Iraq possessed WMD.  According to those on the left, Republicans used weapons-based rhetoric as an excuse to initiate military operations in the region.  However, the release of these transcripts devalues this notion.

Teamed with the countless pieces of evidence contradicting Bush’s alleged purposeful deceit, Hussein’s own admission provides a basis for amplified understanding that sheds light on the bluffs and malfeasances that led the U.S. to invade.  It is with this information that a more rational understanding of U.S. operations can be processed.

Considering Hussein’s weapons bluff, it is not surprising that the United States was led astray.  When placing Iraq’s violently aggressive history and non-compliance into context, there was surely reason to believe that the nation was, indeed, illegally cultivating and harboring WMD.  In fact, politicians were candid about their belief that Hussein did possess weapons in the decade preceding the Iraq War.

Prior to the commencement of military operations in 2003, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Nancy Pelosi and others, from both sides of the political aisle, publicly stated Iraq’s threat to the international community.  Following Iraq’s use of chemical weapons on the Iranians and the Kurds in the 1980s and Hussein’s vocal hatred for the West, this caution on behalf of American political minds was fully justified.

However, when the war broke out, liberal politicians were suddenly less vocal about these dangers and, collectively, their tone changed dramatically in the years following its inception.  Nonetheless, their prior warnings about weapons are well documented and corroborate the fears and insinuations that reinforced U.S. rationale in striking Iraq.  On an episode of Larry King in 2003, President Bill Clinton said, “When I left office, there was a substantial amount of biological and chemical material unaccounted for.”

In a 2002 speech to the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, Al Gore reiterated Hussein’s insatiable lust for weapons when he said, “Nevertheless, all Americans should acknowledge that Iraq does, indeed, pose a serious threat to the stability of the Persian Gulf region, and we should be about the business of organizing an international coalition to eliminate his access to weapons of mass destruction.”

Hussein’s possession of WMD was universally accepted by Democrats and Republicans alike, as those individuals with access to privileged information - whether they were former presidents or members of Congress - all reached the same conclusion: Saddam Hussein either possessed or sought to possess dangerous materials.  This, teamed with Iraq’s refusal to cooperate with the international community when questioning about said materials began, inevitably led to U.S. military action.

The historical record now shows that it was Hussein, not George W. Bush, who manufactured and allowed the fester the idea that Iraq possessed powerful weapons of mass destruction.

"The Scorekeeper" on Red County!

I have officially joined forces for a new podcast with RedCounty.com!  Yesterday, we released the second episode of "The Scorekeeper." As host, I focus on the GOP's winner and loser of the week.  There can only be one on each side, so the competition is tough.  But, if we're going to talk about renewing the party, we have to delve deep to find the heroes who will help us progress and the zeros who are dragging us down!

Aside from my new weekly show (available every Monday), be sure to check out Red County's new, slick design, great content and the other four shows that come from some great conservative minds!  Click here to check out "The Scorekeeper" or surf over the Red County's main page.

The Morning After

On Monday, a Brooklyn judge ruled in favor of allowing 17-year-olds to obtain the morning after pill without a prescription.  And according to The New York Daily News, the judge ordered the federal government to consider providing the pill to women of all ages. The ruling came as the result of a lawsuit filed against the Federal Drug Administration by The Center for Reproductive Rights.  Apparently, over-the-counter for 18-year-olds wasn't good enough for CRR.  Perhaps the most ironic statement comes from the CRR Web site, where the group's president, Nancy Northup, released the following statement:

"Today's ruling is a tremendous victory for all Americans who expect the government to safeguard their health not undermine it."

And there's more:

"Emergency contraception is proven safe and effective and today, we have succeeded in expanding access to 17-year-olds and are one step closer to making it fully available to all women, including young women for whom the barriers - and the benefits - are so great."

It seems the main concern in this case is "science" over "policy."  Of course, the CRR was angry over Bush-era policy that restricted the dissemination of the morning after pill.  But regardless of ideological affiliation, why is it that an organization that claims to have such a deep concern for women advocate a measure that many believe to be dangerous to the health of the women who participate?

Even more disturbing is the idea that the pill should be made available to all women, regardless of age.  According to the Daily News, "One plaintiff in the suit demanded Plan B should be available for her 13-year-old daughter."

In reality, if one were to consider "science" over "policy," he or she would -- at the least -- mull over the social scientific issues surrounding young America.  Even a cursory look provides enough evidence to safely show that political opinion wasn't the only element at the heart of Bush-era restrictions.  In the end, placing a high value on over-the-counter, morning after solutions will have a common sense, negative affect over both women and society

In a world replete with promiscuity and teenagers who engage in sexual acts at younger ages than ever before, one would think that the use and promotion of the morning after pill would be handled with more caution.

In addition to the obvious sociological affects, biological science teaches that there may very well be bodily damages that accompany the use of the pill.  According to one source,

"There is concern that the very high dose of hormone taken in the 'morning-after' pill might 'kick-start' cervical cancer if a woman is already infected with human papilloma virus."

Some studies even show an increase in abortions as Plan B has become more accessible.

With sources citing findings that there very well may be sociological and biological damage to individuals and societies that expand the use of the morning after pill, why are the potential dangers being ignored?

Back in 1999, The Population Research Institute had this to say about the morning after pill's availability over the counter:

"OTC/MAP will cause a dramatic increase in rates of sexually transmitted diseases. In Washington State, and in Sweden, where MAP has been made widely available, rates of STD infections have been skyrocketing since MAP was introduced."

Let's hope the effects are nowhere near as bad as some have predicted. Send retardant? I think so.

In Defense of Meghan McCain: An Open Letter to Laura Ingraham

“Okay, I was really hoping that I was going to get that role in the Real World, but then I realized that, well, they don't like plus-sized models.  They only like the women who look a certain way.  And on the 50th anniversary of Barbie, I really have something to say.” - Laura Ingraham on Meghan McCain

 

Laura Ingraham – your insidious attack on Meghan McCain exemplifies, with surprising potency,  all that is currently awry within the Republican party.  As a young conservative who is active in the movement, I find it increasingly difficult to respect those of you who confront differing opinions with negative language, devoid of any substantive content. 

Rather than focusing on your take on the elements that comprise the heart of conservatism when responding to Meghan, you resorted to disrespectful and unfounded distractions (i.e. making fun of her weight, calling her a valley girl and insinuating she has no place within the party).  Where are the words of encouragement, theories and other prescriptions for future GOP successes?  Where is the logical presentation of ideas -- or, at the least, a sensical list that explains why, going moderate, is not going to work for the GOP? 

As we have endured losses in both the 2006 midterm elections and the 2008 presidential election, one would think that a united determination to mend the party would be undertaken – especially by those of you who have the power to encourage a mass conservative populace. 

With your millions of listeners, your star-power should be used for the good of the party.  Instead, your attack on Meghan shows that you're willing to use your notoriety to intimidate those who hold differing viewpoints.  While you have surely done much for the movement, this particular instance makes it difficult for me (and I'm sure many others) to see you in the same light.

You called Meghan a “useful idiot,” but it is you and the others who share in these tactics who are the “useful idiots.”  It was your choice to abandon logic in pursuit of ultra-liberesque, fourth-grade mockery -- not Meghan's. 

Yes, the media are predominantly liberal.  And yes, they target conservatives.  But in this case, criticism of your words is well-founded.  Surely we on the right have much to complain about when it comes to coverage, especially during political campaign cycles, but we cannot use the "media victim" card every time we make a mistake or say something off-color.  Since you made your comments, you have continuously blamed the media.  But, you're the one who's responsible. As conservatives, if we are going to hold ourselves to high standards of character and moral fabric, we're going to be judged -- especially by the media -- that much harder.

Your words were flat-out mean and unnecessary.  Liberals are giggling like schoolgirls, thinking, “Hey!  Look at those Republicans.  They lost the last two elections, their party is in disarray and the incessant infighting will enable us to Barack our way to the top again in 2010 and 2012!”  

Wake up, Laura.  Our nation and our party are at a great crossroads.  The result of the latter will have a lasting impact on the fate of the former.  As a conservative, I know the value of utilizing logic, statistics and when necessary – qualitative analysis – to verbalize and corroborate my theories and sociological viewpoints.  I thought you recognized this value as well.

Since when do conservatives need to resort to such lowly tactics to make a point?  We used to be the party of ideas.  We never heard Reagan call his leftist critics “plus-sized” while he single-handedly toppled the Soviet Union.  We certainly never heard Lincoln call Democratic slaveholders “valley girls,” (or whatever equivalent existed way back when) as he fought feverishly to restore the union.

Furthermore, as members of the ultra left have worked incessantly to push ideological diversity out of our schools and media, your comments aim to do the same, as you used body image and baseless insults to insinuate that someone whom you disagree with has no place in our party.

Laura, you don't have the right, nor the privilege to decide who may or may not be considered a Republican.  Our party will not progress until the ideologues who clog the system revert back to the sense and sound knowledge they once used to instill the conservative cause.

Additionally, how you can claim to care so deeply about image issues, while inadvertently making fun of a woman's weight is practically unfathomable.  I agree with Meghan: “There's no place for weight criticism of women in 2009.” 

All brands of Republican deserve a voice in the ongoing discussion about renewing the conservative cause.  If we, as conservatives, are going to call out liberal attempts to squelch free speech, it's important we do the same when we see conservatives waging baseless attacks on peers with whom they have ideological differences.  If we want to fix the party, members must be held to higher standards of transparency and accountability. 

If you want to intelligently refute Meghan's comments, go for it.  After all, I don't agree with all of the points she's been making.  That said, 2006 and 2008 showed us that we need a renewal.  If we don't let everyone weigh in, we're going to lose out on a vast marketplace of ideas.  Sure, we may not like every ideal we hear, but to act as though each perspective we disagree with lacks merit is to truly damage our party's growth and revitilization.

GOP Reformation in the Bronx

In a piece by New York Times reporter Katherine Bindley entitled, "In This G.O.P., the 'O' Stands for Optimism," Bindley highlights a new, yet unlikely union: the Bronx County Young Republican Club. Upon discovering the article, I was taken aback - first, by the Times' mention of a Republican cause (although it should be noted that the article is fairly short in length, which is unsurprising; it's the Times, people) and secondly, by the formation of a Republican group in one of the nation's most staunchly liberal bastions. Alas, there is hope for New York! The piece opens with the following:

"MUCH of New York was abuzz on Tuesday evening celebrating the inauguration of President Obama in Washington. But at Venice, a noisy Italian bistro in the Morris Park section of the Bronx, an improbable event was taking place at that moment: the first official meeting of a nascent Bronx County Young Republican Club."

According to the Times, Chance Haywood is the group's chairman. A real estate broker, Haywood has delved head-first into his leadership role. Unlike some Republicans, he recognizes the necessity of captivating hearts and minds for purposes of reviving the party and the formation of this union is a first step toward doing just that. Haywood recognizes what most Republicans are just starting to confront: The need to "stem the tide" of liberal dominance. This is especially important if the GOP wants to claim local victory in future races - races that Democrats continue to win.

Let's face it: In the war of ideas, Democrats' proposals are like instant spray tan: They come on strong, then fade away quickly leaving a less-than-pleasing residue. If we step up the ante, there's no reason we can't reclaim some seats.

Luckily, Haywood has brilliant plans for the club. According to the Times, future activities may include guest speakers and community events. But, perhaps the most exciting element will be the work that the Bronx County Young Republican Club does with local colleges and universities - the localities where we are seeing liberal indoctrination take prominence. It's time to restore ideological equilibrium to America's campuses.

Importantly, Haywood also recognized a fact that is becoming increasingly more obvious as the days progress: Obama's policies might lead to a renewal and rejuvenation of the Republican Party. As per the Times, he said:

"Hopefully, this time we'll stick to our principles a little better than we did the last time," he said. "Assuming we ever get the majority of the House again."

While the GOP suffered major setbacks in 2006 and 2008, a renewal is upon us. But Haywood is right - we need to concentrate on restating, then sticking to our values. It is extremely encouraging to see Haywood and others joining together to form cohesion in one of the most unlikely localities. This is a group we are sure to hear more from; the fate of our nation may depend on such activism. Now, let's work together to create and sustain other groups like it. It's time to renew our party.

White House Counsel Pick: Disgraceful At Best

Barack Obama has broken barriers with his history-making electoral victory and for that he deserves a congratulatory note.  But now that the seemingly endless campaign has wrapped, the adoration he was afforded by American media outlets hasn't subsided.

Unfortunately, mainstream media outlets are too busy basking in the glories of Obama's sweeping success to maintain even a base level of scrutiny. Of course, this inability to be objective did not suddenly emerge following Obama's victory; the media have been enamored by Obama since early 2007, as they have created and sustained what appears to be a lasting love affair.

While I can easily delve into a long-winded diatribe about the media's insane infatuation with Obama, I'm not sure that it would be necessary to do so.  After all, most polls show that the American people are more than aware of the media's leftist inclinations.

From August until November, the mainstream media lambasted Gov. Sarah Palin.  From the failure to quickly correct the erroneous (not to mention hateful) stories about Trig Palin's birth mother to the continued sexism that was prevalent in the majority of news stories, the media gleefully chiseled away at Palin's image.  Meanwhile, Barack Obama escaped without a scratch, as media outlets actually went out of their way to baselessly portray him as a reformer who is sure to bring "hope" and "change" to Washington.

Following suit with their pre-election adoration, the media have literally ignored the ironic picks Obama has made for his incoming admin posts.  The man who promised us "change" has thus far called upon Washington insiders (i.e. former Clintonians) to fill cabinet posts.  While this may be looked upon as a smart move in terms of nominating individuals who have a record of what some on the left call success, it exemplifies the "more of the same" attitude Obama has railed against so enthusiastically in his rhetoric.

Aside from the media's failure to critique this blatant fact, there is one pick, in particular, that has barely been vetted by the Fourth Estate.  On November 17th, the Politico reported that Obama will select Gregory B. Craig for the White House counsel post.  For those readers who are not familiar with the role of the White House counsel, the Politico explains:

"The White House counsel, among the most powerful members of the West Wing inner circle, serves as the president's lawyer, giving him legal advice and handling pardons and conflict-of-interest issues. "

While this might seem arbitrary to many Americans who are less than familiar with Craig, a cursory look at his past clientele is stunning.  According to the Williams and Connolly LLP web site (Craig is a partner at the firm),  "In 2000, Mr. Craig successfully represented Elian Gonzalez's father, Mr. Juan Miguel Gonzalez, in administrative and court proceedings involving Mr. Gonzalez's effort to regain custody of his son, Elian."  Yes, this is the same Elian Gonzalez who was sent back to communist Cuba after his mother died trying to bring him to the United States.

Additionally, Craig represented Kofi Annan, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, "...to defend his interests in the Volcker Commission probe of the Oil-for-Food scandal, which put billions of dollars into Saddam Hussein's pockets while providing cash for Annan's son, his deputies, and some allege Annan himself."

Despite the fact that Craig served on Obama's campaign, he also represented Bill Clinton during his impeachment trial (he deflected from Hillary Clinton's campaign during the primaries).

And it gets worse.  There are two clients who cause the others to shrink to mere obscurity.  The first -- Pedro Miguel González  -- is a fugitive who is under federal indictment for his alleged 1992 murder of Zak Hernández, a U.S. Army sergeant.  While The Dallas Morning News called upon Barack Obama to ask Craig to choose between the Obama campaign and representation of González, HotAir reports that there is no easy-to-find documentation on whether Craig did, indeed, drop the case.

The last client is indefinitely the most concerning.  Craig represented John Hickley, Jr., the man who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan.  Thanks to Craig, Hinckley was granted an insanity defense.

I must agree with HotAir's Ed Morrissey: This pick is disgraceful.  Can you imagine what would have happened if McCain (pending he won the election) chose someone with a similar past?  Mainstream media outlets would rampantly run headlines like "McCain Plans to Nominate Wannabe Presidential Assassin," "Many Call McCain Pick a Disgrace" or "McCain Pick Raises Eyebrows."  But, in this case, the presses are relatively silent.  Surprise!

While Gregory Craig has surely had a successful career and his talents in the legal realm should not be downplayed, the moral fabrics associated with the clientele he has willingly chosen fall short of the "hope" and "change" Obama has pledged to bring to Washington.  This pick is indefensible at best and the media ought to report on it more fervently.