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- June 2004 Article Archives
Is America flying apart at the seams? Observers of political rhetoric like to generalize about increasing polarization, especially a vast cultural and political divide between coastal urban 'blue state America' and inland, suburban, exurban, and rural 'red state America.'
Yet, according... More
There are certain times when it is incumbent upon polite citizens to shed their habit of equanimity, to stop conceding the benefit of the doubt, and to throw off the sometimes confining garments of decorum. This is one such time.
According to the
The Democrats and the Left seem hell—bent to topple President Bush at any cost.
Ted Kennedy says, boiled down to its essence, that Abu Ghraib prison is now under new US management that equaled that of Saddam. The last I heard, the prisoners are still alive and eating permitted... More
John F. Kerry likes to drone on about courage and leadership, recalling his long—ago wartime bravery, topics which have the potential to electrify audiences in the hands of a skilled orator. But his own candidacy, indeed his very lifestyle, betrays a pattern of entering into voluntary... More
Weir Thinking about it
It seems evident that the Democrats are going after President Bush with every attack dog in their canine arsenal. It's not enough that they have Ted Kennedy, the blustery bloviator from Boston, barking like a mutt with mange, and Al Gore playing the... More
Once again, the legal vultures at The American Bar Association are out to rid America of its foulest menace. No, not repeat offenders, but the far more insidious "tough on crime" legislation that has lead to a steady reduction in the crime rate for more than a decade (including a drop in murders... More
Michael Moore has been making a lot of money the past four years at George Bush's expense. If Bush is re—elected, Moore should continue to do very well making his propaganda movies and authoring his 'humor' books attacking the President. Bush in office is, after all, very good copy... More
As far as I know, the following story has not been picked up by the US media, and that is definitely a mistake. You will see why shortly. Out of all places, I found this amazing piece in one of the most virulently Anti—American newspapers in Paris,
Other than Coalition air strikes in Fallujah on the suspected hideouts of Jordanian—born terrorist leader Abu Musab al—Zarqawi, the previous week in Iraq had been relatively quiet. In fact, a Marine patrol entered Fallujah on June 14, without a shot being fired. This... More
Europeans earn less than Americans, by a large and growing margin. But they also work less. Substantially less. Shocking less, according to a study by Alberto Alesina, a professor of economics at Harvard. The... More
Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe believes that President George W. Bush sent American troops into battle in Afghanistan at the behest of the Unocal Oil Corporation, so that it would be able to build a pipeline there to carry oil from Caspian Sea wells drilled by Dick... More
The Baehr Essentials
While President Bush has promoted the "big bang" approach (overthrow of the Hussein dictatorship and its replacement by a democracy) to reform in the Arab world, his efforts have been derided by such... More
Olivier Guitta begins today an occasional feature, reviewing the Arab press for stories which might not have been picked up by the Associated Press or the New York Times, but which might nevertheless be of interest to our readers.
From the Qatari paper al... More
The November election in Berkeley just got a little more interesting. In addition to the expected tight race between Nader and Kerry for the favor of the city's eccentric voters, a citizen initiative
Guess which major newspaper:
— focuses on inside the beltway issues.
— relies on a contractual arrangement with a major wire service for reporting combat action in the War on Terror.
— has its own reporters rely almost totally on said wire service, while rarely... More
One could almost feel sorry for Al Franken. It must be difficult waking up in the morning and wondering if his paycheck will bounce. At forty thousand or so samoleans per week, according to the Wall Street Journal's
Weir thinking about it
Suppose there were a country that was a shining beacon of prosperity, a glittering diamond of opulence in an otherwise drab and poverty stricken hemisphere? Suppose further that this brilliant oasis of wealth was bordered by one of the most... More
We at Overstep... More
Genesis 12:3 in the Hebrew Bible contains a brief statement by the G—d of Israel: 'I will bless those who bless you, and to him who curses you I will curse; and all the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you.' This brief statement has profound meaning today for the Jewish... More
It has been another relatively quiet week in the Central Region, with most news from Armed Forces news services and other alternative news outlets emphasizing humanitarian and reconstruction efforts in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In particular, Afghanistan is becoming one of the most... More
Happy Father's Day
It was still dark outside and a morning hush muffled movement in the house as my oldest brother and I joined Dad in the kitchen. As always on those early Saturday mornings, Mom had packed us some sandwiches and was there to see us off before we left to go... More
Readers of certain spy novels, such as those of John Le Carre, are familiar with the art of misdirection in the realm of cloak—and—dagger secret operations. Truth itself is often fiction. Little, if anything, is what it seems.
No such subtlety for the 9/11 Commission. No... More
These days, Riyadh has become almost as dangerous as Baghdad. Recently, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has witnessed terrorist attacks along with the spectacular kidnapping of a US citizen. Al Qaeda has now lifted the veil on its real intentions, seizing power in Saudi Arabia, and acted upon its... More
The Baehr Essentials
President Reagan`s death and funeral appear to have lifted the current President and his party in all the new polls out this week. Less than two weeks ago, Senator Kerry jumped out to a six or seven point lead in two national polls, Gallup and... More
Nova Gorica, Slovenia
Yesterday I arrived in New Europe. Slovenia, the jewel of the former Yugoslavia and a recent entry into the EU, is prospering. Large new homes are being built in the hills. The casino is expanding. The Slovenian stock market was the best performer in Europe... More
Weir thinking about it
With all the murder, kidnapping, rape and larceny occurring in this country every day; with all the corruption and greed being unearthed in our major corporations; with all the friction between the races and the genders, some malcontent comes along... More
In a recent press conference on June 10, 2004, as he was leaving the G8 summit in Georgia, President Bush said that reform in the Middle East is not easy and will take time. He also pointed out that each nation in the Middle East would look different culturally and politically from the US,... More
A small but significant budget struggle is underway in the state of California, with labor unions, 'progressive' academics, and the Democrat—dominated state legislature on one side, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on the other. At issue is a four million dollar per year state subsidy... More
The family and I are spending a few weeks at a villa in rural Tuscany. Generations of artists hardly did justice to the Tuscan countryside. Ancient churches, towns, and fortifications abound. Art is everywhere. Michaelangelo was born about five miles from here. Also nearby is San Sepolcro,... More
In the past week or so, with the D—Day ceremonies in France, the unanimous UN resolution on Iraq, and the seemingly harmonious G8 Summit in Sea Island, relations between the US and its allies seem improving. An issue that would clarify our doubts is coming to the table next week:... More
Weir thinking about it
A recent ABC News special report had me wondering what country I'm living in. When I heard the opening remarks: 'Homicides have risen dramatically as street gangs continue to terrorize the public,' and 'People are refusing to leave their homes for... More
The Japanese prefer to communicate their most important messages indirectly, using subtle signals, with the true meaning visible only via implication. For this reason, key elements of important debates often soar right over the heads of foreign observers.
Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro... More
I'm not old enough to remember the mood of the country during World War II, but America's sentiments can be readily understood by viewing any of the movies made during the war against the Axis powers in Europe. Even during the 50's, a decade after the troops were back home, the films continued... More
The last week has seen the Armed Forces of the United States execute the week—long ceremonies honoring President Ronald Reagan in a flawless manner. We owe our gratitude to all of our service men and women who supported all of these events in Washington, DC and California. ... More
Their faces are smudged with dirt and mud, sandstorms have left them scarred and weary, they sleep sporadically and restlessly due to the constant peril, yet America's army of volunteers continue to advance against a deeply entrenched enemy and in doing so, lose some comrades along the way.... More
About three months ago, the French Jewish (it is unfortunately important to mention her religion) singer Shirel was performing at a gala attended by, among others, France's First Lady Mrs. Bernadette Chirac. Upon entering the stage and during her song, Shirel was welcomed by young Muslims... More
It seems that the Department of Defense and the Department of the Army have been quietly and professionally taking the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse investigation to its logical conclusion. Reuters
It happened sometime during the summer of 1975. I was working plainclothes duty out of the 105 Precinct in Queens, New York. My partner and I responded to a call of, 'Cries for help,' in an apartment building. When we pulled up on the scene, we saw a young woman climbing down a fire escape,... More
What if they had a national political convention, and the arena wasn't ready? The elaborate podium, with its mini—elevator to make every speaker tall enough to look authoritative, the network skyboxes, where Dan, Peter, and Tom deliver their usual profundities, and the press center, with... More
Terror attacks on US territory threaten the lives of millions, and must be taken with the utmost seriousness. But to some, this threat represents an opportunity to exploit a mountain of money coming out of the federal treasury, ostensibly to protect the American people. It is absolutely vital to... More
When violent, fanatical Muslims observe current events, they see a religion in recession culturally, economically, technologically, and militarily, and this brings shame, a strong cultural value in the Arab world and beyond. This historical fact of decline creates cognitive dissonance, because... More
Last October 16, Malaysia's then—Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad told a summit of Islamic leaders that the 'Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them.' He added, '1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews,' therefore Muslims must unite... More
Like so many others whose lives were changed profoundly by Ronald Reagan, I have been struggling, trying to find the proper words with which to express my feelings and beliefs about that singular man, that peerless leader. Why is this so hard, I asked myself? Because, as I finally... More
Ever since the news of his death reached me, I have been struggling with my thoughts and emotions. Ronald Reagan changed my life for the better, as he did for hundreds of millions. Some were liberated from Communist tyranny, while others of us were freed from confiscatory tax rates. All of us... More
He arrived late on the national political scene, but Ronald Reagan made up for it with 8 years as governor of the largest state and another 8 years as President of our country. Although he was never a superstar... More
A few weeks ago, President Bush began enforcing the Syria Accountability Act, signed into law in December, imposing economic sanctions on Syria for its continued support of major terrorist organizations and its occupation of Lebanon.
At the same time the European Union is on the verge of... More
While French President Chirac has been claiming for the past two years that France is not anti—Semitic, he nonetheless convened emergency talks with Jewish leaders in December 2003, to reassure them after the burning of a Jewish school. Right after this meeting, one of the... More
Perhaps blinkered by its focus on the immediate threats from the Middle East and North Korea, America is passively allowing a very dangerous course of events to unfold elsewhere, in another region vital to our national interests. Unless we awaken, and take action, we may someday find ourselves... More
It's not often that one gets to meet a national treasure. I had that opportunity recently at a private dinner in a hotel just outside of Dallas, Texas. First let me say, I think the world of President Bush, and I'm praying that he gets reelected. There are several other notables I admire in... More
The New York Times has reached a new low in its Middle East coverage. Not only does a 'news analysis' column today parrot a Saudi evasion of responsibility for the destructive consequences of state—sponsored Wahabbism, it helpfully misleads its readers about the true meaning of a... More
To the consternation of the left, military action in Iraq remains at a relatively low level as compared to the previous few months. This does not mean the danger has completely gone away, as evidenced by two Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks in Baghdad in the last two days that... More
Second Lieutenant Wesley C. Ross commanded Boat Crew #8, which consisted of 24 men from B Company, 146th Engineer Combat Battalion, 4 volunteers, and the augmented Naval Combat Demolition Unit (NCDU) 137, led by Ensign Harold P. Glean. Their mission: place explosives on mined... More
The finest television series ever produced is ending its fifth season tomorrow night, and once again I must turn to my boxed DVD sets of previous years, for comfort and artistic sustenance. My life will have a little less joy in it, until David Chase... More
Weir thinking about it
The HBO series, The Sopranos has captured huge ratings on television by appealing to a segment of society that cannot get enough sex and violence from "traditional" TV fare. Since network television has not yet been able to add vulgar four... More
In writing about Kipling, George Orwell said, "[Kipling] sees clearly that men can only be highly civilized while other men, inevitably less civilized, are there to guard and feed them."
When my best friend, a 33 year—old attorney decided to enlist in the Marine Corps Reserves, I... More
The Baehr Essentials
On Saturday, Smarty Jones will try to become the 13th winner of racing's Triple Crown, and the first to accomplish this since Affirmed in 1978. Smarty Jones is an unbeaten three year—old, and was an impressive winner of the Kentucky Derby... More
Weir thinking about it
The attitude most Americans have toward the French right now is certainly justified for reasons that don't need to be restated here. However, I'm not comfortable with the attitude many Americans display... More
[Editor's note: The month of May has come and gone, and along with it the always—predictable commencement speeches, encouraging students to commit themselves to social action for progressive causes, or in a few tasteless cases, to rants about the President. Below is something a... More
Weir thinking about it
As a former political prisoner, I have been asked on many occasions what has kept the mullahs' regime in power in Iran for twenty five years. After all, the overwhelming majority of Iranians loathe them; their oil—driven economy is in shambles, with a majority of the population below the... More
Now it is official. Unwieldy campaign finance reform (CFR) legislation may have opened Pandora's Box, and made political fundraising abuses, formerly forbidden, into perfectly legal practice. The cure, in other words, may be more toxic than the disease.
Due to a loophole in the 2002... More
How much would you pay for a new 'fourth generation' fighter jet subject to an 'official warning that its pilots should not fly in cloud'?
How about if I told you that it is to appear four years behind schedule?
And what if I added that some critics believe it is... More
Singaporeans are the most pragmatic people on earth, and they don't care a whit about political correctness. Living as they do in a Confucian city—state, Singapore's leaders are free to speak their minds on certain subjects, without worry about the niceties of pandering to the... More
I've always believed in the existence of monsters. During my 20 years as a cop in NYC, I met quite of few of them, many of whom are undoubtedly still doing time in prisons around the country. However, they were the garden—variety type of monsters: murderers, rapists, armed robbers and... More