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California’s upcoming GOP primary just got interesting. Former U.S. Rep. and decorated veteran Paul "Pete" McCloskey recently announced that he will challenge Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Tracy) in June.

President Bush went to Kansas yesterday to discuss a number of important issues facing the nation including the war in Iraq, and terrorist surveillance.

In a tough interview conducted by CNN's Wolf Blitzer live on the 7pm EST hour of Monday's The Situation Room, and re-played during Tuesday's 5pm hour, radical-left singer Harry Belafonte stood by his recent declarations that President Bush is both “the greatest tyrant in the world” and the “the greatest terrorist in the world,” as well as how the Department of Homeland Security is the "new Gestapo." Blitzer ridiculed Belafonte's ludicrous comparison: "But no one has taken you or anyone else, as far as I can tell, to an extermination camp and by the tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, even millions decided to kill them, which is what the Nazis did." Blitzer soon pressed: “Are you saying that President Bush is worse than Osama bin Laden?" Belafonte responded that "I'm saying that he's no better,” and proceeded to reiterate how “I do believe” that Bush is “a terrorist. I do believe that what our government does has terror in the center of its agenda.”

Blitzer read what the Raleigh News and Observer last week quoted Belafonte as charging: “When you have a President that has led us into a dishonorable war, who has killed tens of thousands, many of them our own sons and daughters, what is the difference between those who would fly airplanes into buildings killing 3,000 innocent Americans? What is the difference between that terror and other terrors?” Blitzer then asked: “Now that raises the issue of moral equivalency. Are you saying what the Bush administration, what the President is doing is the moral equivalent of what al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden ordered on 9/11?" Belafonte maintained that “I don't want to make those kind of comparisons,” but then ran through how “al Qaeda tortures. We torture. al Qaeda's killed innocent people. We kill innocent people.” (Complete transcript follows.)

Conservative Los Angeles radio talk-show host Hugh Hewitt says he received a bundle of mail this morning about Joel Stein's Los Angeles Times op-ed (Tuesday, January 24, 2006), the one in which he declared, "I don't support our troops." After reading Stein's column, Hugh understood his listeners' anger. So he did what a good journalist should do. He booked Stein for an interview.

For the third time in fewer than two weeks, the CBS Evening News on Tuesday night made sure that viewers realize how the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito would move the court “to the right.” (Neither ABC or NBC have shown such concern for alerting viewers as to the ideological direction of the Supreme Court.) Anchor Bob Schieffer recalled how “the President promised during the election to move this court to the right. And from what we heard in these hearings, what we've already seen with Judge Roberts on the bench, it is moving to the right, isn't it?" Jan Crawford Greenburg of the Chicago Tribune agreed: "That's right” and so “that means this court is poised for an historic shift to right on those key social issues like abortion, affirmative action, gay rights, the death penalty, and perhaps even questions of presidential power."

Last Wednesday (January 18), Schieffer proposed to Greenburg: “This court is moving to the right, isn't it?" Greenburg provided the same answer as she would six days later: "That's right.” She went on to point out how “President Bush said he was going to nominate conservatives like Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas.” And six days before that, on Thursday, January 12, as detailed in this NewsBusters item, Schieffer cued up Greenburg with an open-ended version of the same question: “How is he [Alito] going to make the court different than Sandra Day O'Connor, who he is going to replace?" Greenburg replied: “There's little question, Bob, that he would move this court to the right...” (Transcripts follow)

AND, Frey's Lies Grow in Size

A New York Times report today (HT Lucianne) by Edward Wyatt is shredding Oprah Winfrey's defenses relating to what has turned out to be a largely false book (third item at link), namely James Frey's "A Million Little Pieces."

It’s been apparent since the story broke about President Bush’s terrorism surveilance program that the media wanted to frame the debate as "domestic spying" and warrantless wiretaps, and nowhere has this been more clear than on CBS’s "The Early Show" this morning. In the span of 9 minutes, there were two stories regarding the subject, and four mentions of or references to this topic.

7:00 Story Tease:

A breakneck pace to change West Virginia’s mining laws, and kind words from the state’s governor about the cooperation of mining officials in revamping the Mountain State's mining laws didn’t deter CNN’s Anderson Cooper from pressing for even more stringent regulation when interviewing the state'schief executive on his evening news program.

Joel Stein of the Los Angeles Times wrote an op-ed today (hat tip to the Drudge Report) entitled “Warriors and Wusses.” In it, he made his feelings about the war in Iraq quite clear in the opening sentence: “I don't support our troops.” In the heart of his piece, he elaborated:

“But I'm not for the war. And being against the war and saying you support the troops is one of the wussiest positions the pacifists have ever taken — and they're wussy by definition. It's as if the one lesson they took away from Vietnam wasn't to avoid foreign conflicts with no pressing national interest but to remember to throw a parade afterward.”

Stein then had the audacity to suggest that America’s support for the troops is actually keeping them in Iraq longer: reports Rolling Stone is printing a magazine with Kanye West as a black Jesus on the cover: "The Passion of Kanye West." First impression: typical counter-cultural aging-hippie mag.

Ford Motor Company's recently-announced layoffs are the result of years of declining market share coupled with rising labor costs. But while the media have relayed information on Ford's declining market share, they've avoided discussing the role labor unions have had in driving up costs.

Searching for reasons behind layoffs, reporters skip $140 million paid yearly to former employees.

BBC reports (HT Instapundit):
Poll finds surprising optimists

Iraqis and Afghans are among the most optimistic people in the world when it comes to their economic future, a new survey for the BBC suggests.

...In Afghanistan, 70% say their own circumstances are improving, and 57% believe that the country overall is on the way up.

The Times again looks for holes in the strong U.S. economy, this time on the front page of Sunday’s special Job Market section, in a report by Eduardo Porter, “Pockets of Concern Slow a Strong U.S. Economy.” The caption to an accompanying chart emphasizes “A Weak Jobs Recovery.”

Times readers may find the article’s tone familiar. Here’s Porter from Sunday:

As Harry Belafonte proclaimed at Duke University that American policies were based on  "the demise of the poor," and Sen. Barack Obama declared on ABC that the GOP has "a very narrow agenda that advantages the most powerful," what about their own cozy fortunes?

Laura Ingraham noted today a report from the Wall Street Journal. Belafonte’s suffering from declining millionaire real-estate values: