Chapman’s News & Ideas

Obama Giving Up; Really?

Leon Panetta, former CIA Director and Secretary of Defense, told Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC that he thinks that Barrack Obama and his White House team have “given up.”

Says Panetta, “…I have a feeling that the leadership and the president have given up on the big issues facing this country whether it’s immigration or a budget deal or infrastructure funding or trade or energy. There is a sense that you can’t deal with that.”

If that is true—that Obama has “given up”–and even if it becomes a widespread opinion, the country is in trouble during the coming two years. At a point when the media and other elites conclude that a leader is no longer interested in his job and is just running the clock (to use a basketball metaphor appropriate to our current Commander in Chief), they start to find fault with everything he does. There is a tipping point, and the November election, if Democrats lose the Senate, could be that point.

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Ebola Coverage Only Slowwwwly Improves

An article in the weekend Wall Street Journal by Scott Gottlieb and Tevi Troy provides sophisticated, knowledgeable advice on what the government should be doing about Ebola. However, the question I raised in a post on Friday (see below) has still not been addressed: where is the new coverage emphasis on finding and promulgating treatments and cures (as well as vaccines)?

Yes, there has been some modest coverage, as in the New York Times story today, in the very last paragraph of a story mostly about medical supplies getting held up in Sierra Leone, Adam Nossitger mentions Rick Sacra, an American aid worker who was successfully treated and released in September after isolation in a Nebraska Medical Center unit: “Sacra received an experimental Tekmira Pharmaceutical drug called TKM-Ebola, as well as two blood transfusions from another American aid worker who recovered from Ebola at an Atlanta hospital.”

So here we have two pregnant news items, badly neglected: 1) an experimental drug has been used and worked, and 2)blood transfusions from patients who have been cured also have been used, apparently with good results. Read More ›

Assignment Editors, Attention: Ebola Story Not Adequately Reported

All the coverage of Ebola seems to be about patients who have come down with the disease and about who else might have become infected. Governments say not to worry. Okay, fine. But where are the reporters following up on the fact that a couple of Americans who caught the disease in Africa came home and were treated–and apparently cured–with new, experimental medications? What are the medications that were used? Who is saying that there isn’t enough time to make new doses of them and who is examining the explanations? What would the cost be to run a crash program to produce the medications? What red tape needs to be cut,and by whom, in order to speed these medications into Read More ›

U.S. Will Split on ISIS

Sadly, there is a circularity to the issue of war since, say, Korea (1950-53). Initially, the public is supportive (“rally ‘round the flag”), but as time and the cost in blood and treasure mount, critics are heard. Eventually, the support disappears. Right now the public wants and demands action against ISIS and other Islamist terror threats. There is new realism that admits—as did not happen in the U.S. Government after 9/11 and especially since Mr. Obama’s ascension—that the threat is from Muslim extremists. But otherwise the script looks distressingly familiar.

Republicans already are taking on their Democratic foes in Congressional races for being uninterested in the terrorism problem until now. That is happening, for example, in North Carolina.

On the other end of the spectrum, left-wingers who couldn’t find a bad thing to say about Barack Obama in 2008 or ’12 are now grumbling about his turnabout on the terrorism issue. Frank Rich, formerly of the New York Times and now of New York Magazine, and a reliable windsock of progressive trends, is furious.

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New Nukes Are Good News

It took a while for the United State Government to turn the nuclear disarmament ship around, but now that seems to have happened. Disarmament was a theme of Barack Obama’s foreign policy, even after it became clear that Russia is not living up to past agreements, China’s military ambitions are growing, and Iran is still not agreeing to step back from developing the bomb.

A failure to stand up to Russia, in particular, is dangerous at this juncture. Not content to threaten Ukraine, the Kremlin is trying to cow the Baltics. At present, NATO is woefully unprepared to answer a sophisticated challenge.. At present, NATO is woefully unprepared to answer a sophisticated challenge. The propaganda war and what (before World War II) once was known as “salami tactics” of Russian intimidation have to be answered in a conventional manner, but with updates.

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Kiwis Re-elect Conservatives

John_Key_victory_speech_1

The good news from little Scotland is repeated in New Zealand this past weekend where the National Party won an unusually strong voter mandate (48 percent to the Labour Party’s 25 percent). The Internet-Mana Party that received a lot of international attention because it featured such endorsements as Edward Snowden and a figure called Kim Dotcom, got no seats in Parliament at all.

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Chapman Center (I Blush) Opens at Discovery Institute

Believe it or not, having a luncheon in my honor Monday was a bit like getting married; it was lots of fun, but a surprisingly tense occasion. Before 170 guests at Seattle’s Harbor Club, Discovery’s President Steve Buri and other colleagues formally announced the new “Chapman Center on Citizen Leadership.” KVI radio host John Carlson emceed. Dr. Steve Hayward, the Ronald Reagan biographer (among other literary accomplishments), spoke on leadership–citing lessons from Churchill and Reagan–and State Rep. Hans Zeiger, who formally directs the center, explained why we need financial help to make the program work.

A crowd gathers:

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Scientist’s Unethical Quote Fabrication

Neil deGrasse Tyson is supposedly a scientist of such renown that the Fox network decided to build a new “Cosmos” TV series around him. Fox was repaid–deservedly–by really bad ratings. The programs not only were boring but the boring also revealed one factual misstatement after another.

Tyson turns out to be a political propagandist for a particular secular agenda, not an objective observer of science. Similarly, Tyson just now has been called out by The Federalist for serial fabrications of quotations on George W. Bush. In a breathtaking takedown, Sean Davis reviews some of Tyson’s past inventions, and then focuses on a particularly obnoxious and sophomoric attack on Bush’s supposed ideas on the stars. If President Bush could be faulted on science issues, it is  not, as Tyson claims, for being ignorant and destructive, but for the misjudgment of  naming Tyson to a presidential science committee. How did someone as shoddy as Tyson slip by? Read More ›

New Court Victory for Free Speech

Twenty states have “false statement” laws that allow a government agency to adjudicate complaints of “lying” in political campaigns. A prolonged effort by the Susan B. Anthony List in Ohio has concluded with a court ruling today that nullifies a version of the “false statement” act in the Buckeye State, placing judgement about political truths and falsehoods back in the hands of voters, where it belongs. This win will reverberate around the country. Read More ›

Aye or Nay in Scotland

Photo by Judi Beck.

Scots are famously (or notoriously) tight; er, frugal. They may look at the upcoming referendum through the lens of Braveheart resentments going back hundreds of years (and to the recent Mel Gibson movie), but those old issues really don’t apply today in any meaningful spiritual sense, let alone a practical one. The smart vote is “No”, as the Scotsman newspaper just said on its front page. Read More ›