Media Log goes conservative!
I'll try to avoid going off on any Gregg Easterbrook-style benders.
But three stories in the news this morning put me on the "wrong"
side, and as we all know, three makes a trend.
1. Good for Jeb Bush.
Florida's governor reacted promptly to legislation authorizing him to
order that Terry Schiavo be fed. Here's
the Miami Herald story; but the New York Times actually
reporting on concerns that Bush and the Florida legislature have
interfered with the separation of powers by superseding a court
So what? This is a nasty, nasty
case. Schiavo, though profoundly brain-damaged, is not in a coma and
not on life support. Her husband claims she would want to die under
her current circumstances, but he has no proof. Moreover, her parents
desperately want her to live.
I'm not sure this breaks down
cleanly on liberal-conservative lines, but for the most part it
appears that the conservatives are with Bush and the liberals are
not. Well, here's one liberal who's with Bush.
2. A messy abortion-rights
debate. Congress yesterday finished work on legislation to ban a
late-term abortion procedure that opponents call "partial birth"
abortion. Click here
for the New York Times story.
There's no question that intact
dilation and extraction, as the procedure is more accurately known,
is gruesome. The real question is one to which I have no answer: is
it true, as opponents claim, that it is never medically
necessary for a physician to resort to this procedure, even to
protect the life or health of the patient? If they're right, I'm for
a ban; if they're wrong, then I'm not. Analyses I've seen over the
years tend to depend on the political orientation of those who are
But it strikes me as absurd and
offensive for liberals to stake their reputations on a full-throated
defense of this particular type of abortion. Senator Tom Harkin went
way overboard yesterday, saying, "Congress has turned its back on
America's women, their right to privacy, the right to choose.
America's women are now second-class citizens."
Those who voted against the ban,
like Harkin and Senator Barbara Boxer, probably did the right thing.
But there are enough moral qualms around this issue that they ought
to be lowering the rhetoric.
3. "Givers and takers."
Governor Mitt Romney yesterday distanced himself from remarks by his
chief budget aide, Eric Kriss, that the state's money woes are being
exacerbated by the presence of too many "takers" and not enough
I didn't hear Kriss give his
speech, so the nuances and full context are not available to me. But
according to an account
in this morning's Boston Globe, it seems that Kriss's remarks
were entirely analytical and, if he's right, go to the heart of a
Here are three key paragraphs from
the Globe story about Kriss's remarks, which he made at a
meeting of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce:
"Of course, all of us
receive some benefits -- like the roads and rails that brought us
all here this morning. But we all know that some -- most in this
room probably -- are net contributors, while others are net
beneficiaries. The ratio between givers and takers turns out to be
a critical variable of government," said Kriss, who was not
available yesterday to elaborate on his remarks.
"What ratio is sustainable?"
Kriss asked. He noted that when President Lyndon Johnson launched
his Great Society programs in the 1960s, the "sustainable" ratio
of givers to takers was thought to be 9 to 1 -- that is, 90
percent of the population should pay taxes to help the bottom 10
percent rise up by receiving government services.
"Forty years later, our ratio at
the state level is more like 3 to 1 -- 75 percent net contributors
and 25 percent net recipients -- and edging towards 2 to 1," Kriss
said, adding later: "And the trends are unsettling."
Why would Democratic legislators
and social-services advocates be "enraged" by these observations, as
the Globe reports? Why would Romney think he needed to disavow
them in any way? Kriss identified a real problem -- the carnage that
results when there are not enough people paying taxes and too many
people receiving benefits that are paid for through taxes.
The only way such a problem can be
solved is through growth -- a healthier economy and more jobs. That's
what liberals ought to be saying.
John Dennis's non-apology
apology. Why did WEEI Radio (AM 850) talk-show host John Dennis
even apologize? He now claims he never said what he said.
He and co-host Gerry Callahan were
back on the air yesterday, and the Globe quotes
Dennis as saying in part:
"There is my least favorite item of all -- that is, the constant and
inaccurate repeating of the phrase that John Dennis compared black
schoolchildren to a gorilla. I did no such thing. That reference
makes me sick to my stomach."
He did "no such thing"? Roll the
tape, one more time. Remember, Dennis was talking about Little Joe,
the gorilla who had escaped from the Franklin Park Zoo.
Callahan: "They caught him
at a bus stop, right -- he was like waiting to catch a bus out of
Dennis: "Yeah, yeah -- he's a
Callahan: "Heading out to
If Dennis doesn't understand that
he was comparing black schoolchildren to gorillas, well, everyone
Meanwhile, Herald columnist
Howard Bryant today has a fine, tough piece
(subscription required) on the hypocrisy of Callahan, who wrote a
Herald column a few days ago calling for Grady Little to be
fired, but who, personally, served just a two-week suspension for
pouring gasoline on Dennis's racist explosion. Maybe two weeks is sufficient -- but only if they change their race-baiting, gay-hating, women-mocking ways. Dennis's remarks, sadly, suggest that they still don't have a clue
Bryant's closing remarks: "As a
former Metco gorilla myself, I thank you, guys. To paraphrase your
old friend Louise Day Hicks, we know where you stand." (Bryant
apparently wrote these words before news of Hicks's