NewsBusters Columns

"I wanted the music to play on forever.

Have I stayed too long at the fair?" -- Barbra Streisand lyric

The finding by the bipartisan House Ethics Committee that Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) is guilty of financial misconduct and the conviction of former Texas Republican Rep. Tom DeLay by a jury in Austin, Texas on charges of political money laundering brings a question: Are we getting the Congress we're paying for?

I'm with Louisiana Republican Governor Bobby Jindal, who told Human Events last week, "Make them part time; give them term limits. Don't let them become lobbyists. When they have to live under the same rules and laws they pass for the rest of us, maybe you'd see some more common sense coming out of Washington." Jindal, a former congressman, said once elected, too many lawmakers become entrenched in Washington and are transformed into the very people they campaigned against.



With Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas before us, we are reminded once again of the integrated ways in which our Creator has had a role in our culture from the beginning. But will it stay that way?

As far back as the Declaration of Independence, our Founders affirmed together, "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."

Almost 235 years later, however, some media caught how President Barack Obama twice omitted the words "by their Creator" when reciting the declaration in speeches over the past several weeks.

But I discovered actually seven presidential "Creator" omissions in just the past few months!

—On Oct. 21 at a rally for Sen. Patty Murray in Seattle:



One of my favorite television programs is "How It's Made" on the Science Channel. The documentary series shows "how the everyday objects people use become the things they are." From ketchup and flip-flops, to nail clippers and snare drums, to NASCAR engines, hydraulic cylinders and motor homes, the show takes viewers on wondrous autobiographical journeys of the mundane products we too often take for granted.

Though it originated in Canada and has become a global phenomenon, "How It's Made" is largely a tribute to individual American ingenuity and American entrepreneurs. The show's myriad episodes spotlighting U.S. inventions also serve as potent antidotes to the government-centric vision that reigns in the White House these days.



Super-genius political science professor Charles H. Franklin of the University of Wisconsin, Madison recently gave loud voice to a widely held liberal belief: Ordinary Americans, especially conservative ones, are stupid.

At a conference by the Society of Professional Journalists, alternative newspaper editor Bill Lueders asked Franklin why "the public seemed to vote against its own interests and stated desires, for instance by electing candidates who'll drive up the deficit with fiscally reckless giveaways to the rich."



Columnists who prize equality of the sexes in college athletics often scowl at how men’s athletic programs get more money and media attention. But a new frontier on the battleground of men’s and women’s athletics is upon us: When is a female jock really female, and a male really a guy?

Kye Allums, a shooting guard on the George Washington University women’s basketball team, has decided that she is a he. Changing her name from “Kay-Kay,” Allums is believed to be the first Division I college basketball player to go public about being a “transgender” person.

The obvious question is whether Allums would still be able to compete. You can’t have men playing in a women’s basketball program, and it’s more than awkward to have a man showering with the women in the locker room. Spurred by a track-and-field controversy four years ago, NCAA rules prohibit sexual reassignment surgery or hormone treatments for athletes to retain their eligibility. Allums, a junior, has pledged to forego those steps while she retains her eligibility for college basketball.



"When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?" So said John Maynard Keynes when a dearly held belief of his was confronted by new facts. He changed his mind and was not ashamed. I am an extreme empiricist. Show me the facts, and I shall make up my mind. Show me the new facts, and I shall change my mind.

Last week, goaded by Drudge's hordes, I took my stand against the opponents of the scan and the pat-down. I thought they were hysterics and very funny or provocateurs and obnoxious. Also, they inspired in me a few facetious sallies. That vulgarian John Tyner — who won himself a place in Bartlett's "Familiar Quotations for Slobs" by telling the patter-downers, "If you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested" — was too much. Junk? Speak for yourself, Mr. Tyner. I filed my column, dismissing the protesters and confident that the Transportation Security Administration, though essentially bureaucrats, was saving us from another 9/11. Then all hell broke out.



Sex sells, and the pope knows it. He saw the condom media frenzy coming.

In his book-length interview, "Light of the World," (with Peter Seewald) Benedict XVI warns of a "sheer fixation on the condom" that "implies a banalization of sexuality, which, after all, is precisely the dangerous source of the attitude of no longer seeing sexuality as the expression of love." He explains that "the fight against the banalization of sexuality is also a part of the struggle to ensure that sexuality is treated as a positive value and to enable it to have a positive effect on the whole of man's being."



As millions of us gather at tables to offer thanks during this uniquely American holiday (OK, Canada has one, too, but without our Pilgrims), most will express gratitude to God for freedom and material blessings. This year, as in every year since 1989 when she escaped with other "boat people" from communist Vietnam, Kim Vu will offer thanks borne out of a deep gratitude for what America has meant to her since she and so many others risked their lives for something they regarded as even more valuable: freedom.

A generation has grown up since the boat people caught the public's attention. To many in what has become a self-indulgent generation, it may be difficult to fathom how anyone could go to such lengths to achieve something too many of us take for granted.



Do federal, state and local governments have a right to intervene in our lives when it comes to choices affecting our health? Recently, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to forbid restaurants from giving gifts with meals that contain too much fat and sugar, a measure aimed at McDonald's Happy Meals. The reasoning of these tyrants is to prevent McDonald's from using toys to lure children into liking foods the board deems non-nutritious. Fortunately, San Francisco's mayor, Gavin Newsom, by no means a libertarian, has threatened to veto the measure saying, "Despite its good intentions, I cannot support this unwise and unprecedented governmental intrusion into parental responsibilities and private choices."



Our liberal scribes and pundits savaged the Bush administration as being a privacy-shredding, terrorist-suspect-abusing tyranny on the march. Now that President Obama is in charge, they lamely suggest that “the government” has failed, but with no president’s name attached in the blame game.

For years, the media insisted that the terrorist holding pen at Guantanamo was a horrific stain on our global reputation. It was a “cancer” (CBS’s Bob Schieffer) and the networks uncritically aired Amnesty International quacks denouncing it as “the gulag of our times.” Any denunciation had the words “Bush” and “Cheney” inexorably attached.

But now the outrage has died, and the story is being downplayed, since the Evil Bush is no longer the target. Take the case of Gitmo prisoner Ahmed Ghailani, who participated in the U.S. embassy massacre in Tanzania in 1998. When the federal judge crippled his trial in mid-October by omitting a witness, ABC and NBC skipped over it. “CBS Evening News” offered an anchor brief, with Couric calling it a "big setback for federal prosecutors." Nothing was attributed to the Obama administration.