A random walk among issues currently in the news...
Do you miss George Bush yet?
American-born Muslim Anwar al-Awlaki, likely al-Qaida's top English-speaking recruiter, may be the world's most dangerous man. He has inspired -- let's see: the alleged Fort Hood shooter, the Christmas underwear bomber, the Times Square bomber, and some of the 9/11ists. Hiding in Yemen, this terrorist counselor reportedly is a target for capture or assassination. Short of that, federal authorities are seeking to confiscate any financial assets he may have in the United States.
Not so fast, says his father. He and his son deserve legal representation -- and the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights have offered to provide it, pro bono. Leftists and their support groups never seem to cease getting high on helping those who want to harm -- even destroy -- the United States.
Kudos for Michelle Rhee, head of Washington, D.C.'s public schools. Earlier this year she told teachers in her system they would be held accountable for student test scores. Now she has fired 241 teachers (6 percent of D.C.'s 4,300 teachers) and put about 700 more on notice: If they don't improve next year, they'll get the axe, too. The teacher's union, of course, is outraged; it says the firings are unfair. But too many unionized teachers believe they should have lifetime tenure -- no matter how poorly their charges perform, no matter how little they know.
Could the report possibly be true that The Washington Post rejected a bid for its Newsweek franchise because of the bidder's insufficient leftism -- and so sold the liberal magazine to the 91-year-old husband of Democratic California Congresswoman Jane Harman? It's always best that failing magazines die in the arms of ideological family.
Despite the $135 billion the states received in stimulus money, the House has approved another $26 billion. Yet that may not be enough for states facing a combined $127 billion in deficits over the next two fiscal years. State governments are being crushed by federal spending mandates for Medicaid and schools, with more mandates to come from ObamaCare. Not only that -- public-sector unions are hammering state (and local) budgets with wage, pension, and benefit demands.
And as so often is the case, California leads the way. Here's Joel Kotkin of newgeography.com: Recently, the "California dream" for those seeking a better place to live "has been evaporating." Now the combined state/local tax burden there is the sixth highest in the nation. And "since the financial crisis began in 2008, the state has fared even worse ... California is in danger of becoming, as historian Kevin Starr has warned, a 'failed state.' "
Remember Ronald Reagan's phrase "It's morning in America"? Coming now may be a long dark night. Unemployment drifts at 9.5 percent, with underemployment (those who want to work but have stopped looking) in the vicinity of 20 percent. High minimum wages and high taxes put people out of work and keep them there; low taxes boost growth. President Obama and his congressional Democrats are talking about raising taxes, or at least letting the Bush tax cuts expire (which would be the same thing).
Chances are minimal that Obama will echo these Reagan remarks, made in the first summer of his administration when he proposed to cut federal income tax rates by 25 percent over three years: "This is not the time for political fun and games. This is the time for a new beginning. I ask you now to put aside any feelings of frustration or helplessness about our political institutions and join me in this dramatic but responsible plan to reduce the enormous burden of federal taxation on you and your family."
Not only that. (1) The country is about to get a Muslim mosque adjacent to Ground Zero in New York. (2) The White House winces at the use of jihad and terror and Islamist as counterproductive and insensitive. (3) Congressional Democrats want -- in the words of a Wall Street Journal editorial -- "to limit what corporations can spend on political campaigns, while not imposing similar limits on their union friends."
And (4) the citizenry is burdened with a Democrat-approved plan to socialize the nation's medicine -- a plan Americans generally favor far less than when it was passed, indeed a plan an astounding 71 percent of Missouri's voters rejected in a referendum this month. Voters in 111 of Missouri's 114 counties trampled ObamaCare. Noted St. Louis County State Senator Jane Cunningham, following the vote: We feel in Missouri like we are fighting for citizens all around the country (who think) we must draw a line in the sand between what are state and individual rights, and what are federal rights and responsibilities.
Maybe, given the way things are trending, some people are beginning to hanker for W. Could it be?