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Author Archive | Ashley Herzog

Is America an Idiocracy?

In 1951, Ray Bradbury published Fahrenheit 451, a futuristic novel in which books are burned, and the citizenry occupies itself by watching hours of TV on wall-to-wall sets. Contrary to popular belief, Bradbury says Fahrenheit 451 wasn’t about censorship or McCarthyism. It was about how TV undermines interest in reading and learning.

In 2006, Mike Judge released the film Idiocracy, in which the main character, Joe Bauers, undergoes a suspended-animation experiment and wakes up in the year 2505. He’s unable to communicate, because “the English language had deteriorated into a hybrid of hillbilly, valley girl, inner-city slang and various grunts.” The degenerate morons who occupy this brave new world amuse themselves with vapid, vulgar reality shows like “Ow, My Balls!” (Which, by the way, is exactly what it sounds like.)

Are you laughing? You probably shouldn’t. Fahrenheit 451 and Idiocracy aren’t dystopian fantasies—we’re already there.

In case you’re not convinced, Oxygen just announced* a new reality show featuring rapper “Shawty Lo,” his eleven children, and his ten “baby mamas.” According to ABC News, he “refer[s] to his children’s mothers with nicknames like Jealous Baby Mama, Baby Mama from Hell, and Shady Baby Mama. The show also introduces viewers to Lo’s 19-year-old girlfriend.”

Thankfully, some groups on the left and right protested, with the Parents Television Council deeming it “grotesquely irresponsible and exploitative.” Still, the fact that Oxygen believed there was an audience for a show with such a tawdry premise (and a star who calls himself “Shawty Lo”) is depressing enough.

The main consumers of this garbage? My generation, the 18-to-29 set. We have more opportunities for cultural and intellectual enrichment than any previous generation, but we don’t take them. As Mark Bauerlein revealed in his aptly named book The Dumbest Generation, less than 10 percent of young people attend plays, ballets, or musical performances, only 23 percent visited a museum in the last year, and a record low number of us read for fun.

So where are America’s teens and twenty-somethings? Parked in front of the TV, watching Jersey Shore.

You know, the reality show that added “smushing” and “gorillas” to our vocabulary. (Shockingly, the latter is not a reference to the cast members’ IQs.) In the 90s, the casts on early reality shows like The Real World had candid, intelligent discussions about everything from racism to gay rights to AIDS. They look like Rhodes scholars compared to the cast of Jersey Shore, who talk about…well, I’m not sure what, because the only episode I watched was a series of bleeps. The show doesn’t address any current events or any ideas—it’s a steady stream of drinking, fighting, and cussing.

And if you wonder where the increase in girl-on-girl aggression is coming from, tune into any of the Real Housewives series. The entire show revolves around materialistic, shallow women with bad plastic surgery cat-fighting and back-stabbing. As Ann Coulter put it, “Real Housewives is white trash pretending to be jetsetters.” And yet millions of viewers still tune in every week, admiring them, emulating them, and imagining this is how the wealthy and fashionable really live.

In August, more people tuned into TLC’s abomination Here Comes Honey Boo Boo than the Republican National Convention. In case you’ve somehow missed it, the show follows the adventures of “redneck” mom June and her four daughters (allegedly sired by four different men). This show is especially exploitative. In a recent episode, June’s teen daughter gave birth to a baby with six fingers. Instead of feeling sympathy for this poor child, the audience was supposed to snicker—all that was missing was the laugh track in the background. Laughing and leering at other people’s pain and misfortune is par for the course in this genre.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that researchers at the University of Michigan found today’s college students shockingly lacking in empathy, especially compared to their 1970s counterparts. They partially blamed the rise of reality TV for this trend.

“These shows may be profitable, but the primary basis for many of them seems to be to put people in painful, embarrassing or humiliating situations for the rest of us to watch — and, presumably, be entertained,” James Key wrote in USA Today. “This assault on our intelligence is not healthy for the soul.”

Not to mention it’s taking the place of activities that engage the mind, rather than rotting it.

If you don’t want America to become the country we saw in Idiocracy, turn it off.


* Editor’s note: On January 15, 2013, as a result of public pressure, Oxygen Network decided not to broadcast “All My Babies’ Mamas.” Read about it here.


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Girls With Guns

In my last column, “Good Guys With Guns,” I wrote about the Mayan 14 incident, in which a shooter was halted by an off-duty cop. I referred to the cop as a “good guy,” and my readers were quick to issue a correction: the good guy was actually a girl. Lisa Castellano shot the wannabe James Holmes after he ran into the Mayan 14 theater and began firing—and managed to snatch away his gun.

I don’t know about you, but Lisa Castellano is my new hero.

I’ve written about women and guns before, when I was the lone conservative columnist on the staunchly liberal Ohio University campus. As you can probably guess, readers sneered at the notion that guns serve a legitimate self-defense purpose. A self-described feminist activist claimed that women should be more afraid of “facing charges” for shooting an attacker than being raped or murdered. A male reader condescendingly suggested women should “carry mace.” I want better than that.

So did 18-year-old mom Sarah McKinley. On New Year’s Eve 2011, she was at home alone with her infant son, having lost her husband to lung cancer just a week earlier. When she heard two men trying to break in, she called 911—and grabbed her guns.

“My husband just passed away. I’m here by myself with my infant baby. Can I please get a dispatch out here immediately?” McKinley pleaded.

Twenty minutes went by with no police response. McKinley fired, killing one of the two men, both of whom were armed with 12-inch knives.

“It was either going to be him or my son. And it wasn’t going to be my son,” McKinley told reporters. “There’s nothing more dangerous than a woman with a child.”

As the mother of a 15-month old daughter, I second that.

In October 2012, 12-year-old Kendra St. Clair was also at home alone when a home invader kicked in her back door. Her mother advised her over the phone to hide in the bathroom. Luckily, the preteen grabbed her parents’ handgun first—and shot the intruder in the shoulder.

“When I had the gun, I didn’t think I was actually going to have to shoot somebody,” she told ABC News. “I think it’s going to change me a whole lot, knowing that I can hold my head up high and nothing can hurt me anymore.”

Now that’s girl power.

Two weeks ago, Abilene resident Lawanda Taylor was awakened at 2 am by a break-in. The intruder turned out to be her violent ex-boyfriend, who began assaulting her. Taylor managed to grab her gun and shoot her attacker in the side—likely saving her own life and the lives of her two children.

Last Friday, a Georgia mother spotted a strange man breaking into her home with a crowbar. She hid her 9-year-old twins in a crawlspace and called 911. When the intruder discovered the family, she shot him five times with her revolver.

Guns can’t and shouldn’t be used for self-defense? Tell that to these women and countless others who never make the news. Every two minutes, a woman in this country is sexually assaulted. Three are murdered every day—a third of them by boyfriends, husbands, or exes. Millions become victims of crimes like robbery.

“My wife is a hero. She protected her kids,” Donnie Herman, the Georgia woman’s husband, told reporters last week. “Her life is saved, and her kids’ life is saved… She did what she was supposed to do as responsible, prepared gun owner.”

I couldn’t agree more. America might be a dangerous place for women, but it’s less dangerous when they can defend themselves with a gun.

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Good Guys With Guns

The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

That statement, from NRA president Wayne LaPierre, was immediately turned into a laugh line by the press, deemed everything from “deadly spin” to “delusional” to “paranoid.” The New York Daily News proclaimed that anti-gun cranks—oops, I mean “mental health experts”—who had never met LaPierre had diagnosed him as crazy.

As someone who went to journalism school and has worked in media for years, I’m used to this. Left-leaning editors and reporters declare what “everyone” knows and “everyone” thinks, while pretending to be objective. Their preferred method of slanting the news is covering stories that bolster their worldview while completely ignoring others. Because whether the “good guy” is a police officer or a private citizen, LaPierre’s statement is absolutely true—and several incidents ignored by the media prove it.

Two days after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a San Antonio man burst into the Mayan 14 movie theater and began shooting, “sending panicked moviegoers rushing to exits and ducking for cover,” according to But instead of becoming the next James Holmes, the suspect was shot by an off-duty cop. Unlike the Aurora theater shooting, the incident ended with only two wounded—thanks to a good guy with a gun.

How many of you have heard the name “Mayan 14” before today? Is it any surprise that a network like CNN, which employs Piers Morgan, let this story slip under the radar?

When most Americans hear “school shooting,” they think Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook. They’re all incidents where the gunmen took a dozen lives or more. We rarely think of Edinboro, Pennsylvania; Pearl, Mississippi; or the Appalachian School of Law. Why? School shootings there were all halted by good guys with guns. They also had dramatically lower death tolls—one, two, and three, respectively.

At the Appalachian School of Law, the gunman was tackled by three men, two of whom had rushed to their cars to retrieve their guns. The media covered the story—but selectively edited the details.

“What is so remarkable is that out of 280 separate news stories in the week after the event, just four stories mentioned that the students who stopped the attack had guns,” wrote economist John Lott in his book More Guns, Less Crime. “In the other public school shootings where citizens with guns have stopped attacks, rarely do more than one percent of the news stories mention that citizens with guns stopped the attacks.”

The media deemed LaPierre’s “good guys with guns” line as a delusion of wannabe cowboys everywhere, who fantasize about Wild West-style shootouts with cartoon villains. Maybe they should go back and read one of my favorite Townhall columns of all time: Chicks Carrying Guns and Kicking Tail by Mary Katharine Ham.

Ham’s examples aren’t fantasies or hypotheticals. They’re true stories of women who chased away thugs, rapists and thieves with guns. The potential victims included elderly women and a pregnant mother of two, who shot an armed gunman who kicked in her door. A woman named Charmaine Dunbar was accosted by a rifle-toting gunman and shot him twice with her handgun. It turned out he was a suspect in six sexual assaults in her area.

As Ham put it, “This is the kind of women’s empowerment that gets me going.”

The mainstream media might have a bigger audience and more influence, but the conservative media should refuse to ignore these stories and countless others. Instead of letting the anti-gun camp control the debate, let’s turn “Mayan 14” into a household name.


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Liberal Lies About the Death Penalty

In July 2007, two career criminals, Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky, broke into the Connecticut home of Dr. William Petit. The pair beat Dr. Petit nearly to death with a baseball bat and tied him up in the basement, saying

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When Uncle Sam’s in Charge, No One Claims Responsibility

At first, Gene Cranick tried to control the fire behind his rural Tennessee home with a garden hose. But as the flames approached the house, he decided to call 911.

Firefighters from a nearby town, South Fulton, responded immediately, fully equipped to stop the blaze and save Cranick

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Barbara Boxer’s Abortion Lie

“How much time should she do?”

That question was posed by Newsweek columnist Anna Quindlen back in 2007. “She” is a woman who aborts a pregnancy; the “time” is the number of years she should spend behind bars for it.

Quindlen’s question suggested that women were regularly imprisoned for having abortions prior to Roe v. Wade—and if we elect Republicans, thousands of women will again be headed for the jailhouse.

It’s the myth that just won’t go away. On Tuesday, California Senator Barbara Boxer used it to attack challenger Carly Fiorina’s anti-abortion stance, saying it would “mean women in jail. That is so out of touch with Californians.”

Sounds scary. Boxer echoed a group called the Winning Message Action Fund, which released a video in 2008 titled “How Much Time?” In between images of crying and distraught women getting their mug shots, the narrator intones: “John McCain and Sarah Palin want to overturn Roe v. Wade, which protects a woman’s right to choose. If that happens, 21 states will immediately move to make abortion a crime. And women will be treated like criminals.”

It’s true that at least 21 states want to make abortion a crime. But the next statement is a deliberate lie. Women in this country have never been treated like criminals for having an abortion; only the person who performs it has.

If we take some pro-choicers’ claims at face value, thousands of women were rotting in prison before Roe v. Wade, tried and convicted of murder for having an abortion. In reality, only two have ever been prosecuted: a Pennsylvania woman in 1911, a Texan in 1922. (The charges against the Pennsylvanian were quickly thrown out.) This is insignificant as far as historical injustices go. In the 19th century, a dozen Americans were convicted of murdering people who later turned out to be alive. Our justice system has always been far from perfect, but contrary to pro-choice mythology, women seeking abortions aren’t among the victims.

Women have never gone to jail for performing self-abortions, either. Villanova Law professor Joseph Dellapenna looked into the matter for his book, Dispelling Myths of Abortion History, and concluded that no American woman had ever stood trial for inducing her own abortion. The last known prosecution happened in England in 1599.

Today, not one proposed abortion ban criminalizes the woman who has an abortion. In fact, measures like the infamous South Dakota abortion ban of 2006 made no mention of her—only of the person performing it. The doctor is the one subjected to jail time and fines. The doctor is the only person these laws aim to punish.

If pro-choice activists have faith in the movement, they need to do better than trotting out a scenario that never happened in this country and claiming it’s a historical reality on the verge of re-emerging. If they truly have the moral high ground, they have nothing to lose from being honest.

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The Feminist War on Common Sense

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. On college campuses, it usually culminates in a Take Back the Night march, an event promoting the idea that women should be free to go out alone at night without fear.

“Historically, women faced the anxiety of walking alone and that is why Take Back the Night began,” says. Or, as a letter to my old college newspaper put it, the event allows women to “take back what has been stolen from us—the ability to walk home by ourselves at night without feeling terrified. Men do not have the necessity to Take Back the Night, they already have it.”

Are feminists arguing that our society doesn’t spend enough time telling men not to do dumb things, like roam the streets drunk by themselves in the middle of the night? Maybe we should.

Crime statistics show that men certainly don’t “own the night.” In reality, they are three times more likely to be victims of assault by a stranger, and far more likely to be robbed, shot, or mugged. Men are carjacked twice as often. Men are 79% of all murder victims, and about three times as likely as women to be killed by a stranger. And while no one wants to blame the victim, we don’t hesitate to judge male crime victim’s choices. We don’t tell them, “Yes, go to the ATM on that isolated corner by yourself at three in the morning. If you get held up at gunpoint, it’s a societal problem!”

That’s because we know that robberies, muggings, and random assaults are crimes of opportunity—and certain behaviors make you an easy target.

But when it comes to stranger rape, feminists demand that we abandon all common sense. They went into hysterics when Bill O’Reilly aired a segment about Jennifer Moore, a young woman who was raped and murdered by a stranger. Apparently, O’Reilly was a “rape apologist” for noting that Moore was drunk and wandering the streets of New York by herself at 2 AM. The feminist line is that women are raped simply because they’re “in the presence of a rapist.” That’s true, but it begs the question: what kind of choices make you more likely to be in the presence of a rapist?

I can name a few off the top of my head. They include walking alone in the middle of the night, venturing into a shady area with no scruples whatsoever, and/or being too drunk to pick up on signs of danger. Nobody denies these are risk factors in other violent crimes, which more often affect men.

What do feminists hope to accomplish by demanding that women “take back the night”? For the rate of violent crimes against women to go up? For the murder rate to be 50/50? “Taking back the night” is one of those feminist ideas that sounds good on paper, but makes no sense when you start looking at the details.

Interestingly, women tell researchers they worry more about violent crime. Since we’re victimized less often, we’re probably better than men at assessing risk. What feminists call “living in fear,” I call being appropriately cautious.

Maybe, instead of demanding that women be able to walk alone at night, feminists should promote common sense—and encourage men to use it, too.

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CPAC is for Lovers

There’s nothing liberals love more than stalking conservatives with video cameras in the hopes of catching them saying something offensive. There are hundreds of YouTube videos dedicated to exposing “teabigots” and under-educated Republican voters. Therefore, it’s surprising that virtually no liberal blogs have posted a video from last weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference.

In the video, a panelist named Ryan Sorba takes the stage and attacks the American Conservative Union for inviting a gay conservative group to co-sponsor CPAC.

“I’d like to condemn CPAC for bringing GOProud to this event,” he says. “Civil rights are grounded in natural rights. Natural rights are grounded in human nature…the intelligible end of the reproductive act is reproduction.”

This video should have been blogging gold for liberals, who regularly inform us that the Republican Party is full of gay-bashing rednecks. But at the time of this writing, it was nowhere to be found on major liberal blogs.

Maybe it’s because the crowd responded to Sorba by booing him off the stage.

“Yeah, sit down,” Sorba says to a group of young guys as they shout back at him. “The lesbians at Smith College protest better than you do.” The much-reviled “angry white males” are indeed angry. They’re mad about Sorba’s nasty and unprovoked attack on a group of fellow conservatives.

If Sorba’s views are so welcome among conservatives—especially young ones, who appeared to make up a majority of the crowd—why was he greeted with angry heckling instead of cheers?

The lack of bigotry must be painfully puzzling to liberals. My fellow Ohio College Republican Jesse Hathaway, a white, Christian, “anti-choice” straight guy, sat on the panel with Sorba.

“Every single person on stage with him was fighting the urge to facepalm,” he told me. (Urban Dictionary’s definition of “facepalm”: A spontaneous reaction to an amazingly stupid statement, where the face of the listener meets with his palm in a smacking manner.”)

That sentiment isn’t just shared by college-aged conservatives. On HotAir, a site founded by Michelle Malkin, a blogger had this to say:

“We are all stronger together, and gay conservatives are as much an ally of the conservative movement as heterosexual conservatives are. We are stronger by emphasizing our important commonalities rather than our less important differences. Fortunately, it appears the attendees at CPAC ‘10 agree.”

Another video you won’t see on any liberal blog features Alexander McCobin, the founder of Students for Liberty and one of Sorba’s co-panelists.

“In the name of freedom, I’d like to thank the American Conservative Union for welcoming GOProud as a sponsor of this event,” McCobin said. “If what you truly care about is freedom, limited government and prosperity, then this symbol is a step in the right direction.” His remarks are met with applause. In fact, one of the only people booing is Ryan Sorba.

It looks like CPAC, and the conservative movement in general, isn’t a haven for haters after all.

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Rewriting History on Abortion

Yesterday marked the opening of the Susan B. Anthony museum in Rochester, New York—and instead of celebrating, a lot of feminists are miffed. The museum was purchased by a member of Feminists Choosing Life of New York, and pro-choice groups are accusing her of “hijacking Susan.”

Apparently, they want the famous suffragist’s views on abortion scrubbed from the historical record.

“There’s absolutely nothing in anything that [Susan B. Anthony] ever said or did that would indicate she was anti-abortion,” Planned Parenthood founder Gloria Feldt.

Absolutely nothing? A quick Google search disproves that in a hurry. In her suffragist newspaper The Revolution, Anthony wrote that “no matter what the motive, love of ease, or a desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed. It will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death; but oh! thrice guilty is he who, for selfish gratification…drove her to the desperation which impelled her to the crime.”

Anthony wasn’t the only early feminist to oppose abortion. Her views were shared by women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the feminist behind the historic Seneca Falls Convention and mother of seven children. (If Stanton applied for a teaching position in a women’s studies department today, she would probably be labeled a “Jesus freak” and promptly dismissed.)

“When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit,” Stanton wrote to her friend Julia Ward Howe in 1873.

Victoria Woodhull, the first female stockbroker on Wall Street, also became the first woman to run for President in 1870. An early suffragette with a flair for the outrageous, Woodhull personified the modern feminist slogan “well-behaved women rarely make history.” (She was repeatedly arrested and jailed for her political activities.) And she, too, opposed abortion.

“A human life is a human life and equally to be held sacred whether it be a day or a century old,” Woodhull wrote. “Wives…to prevent becoming mothers…deliberately murder [children] while yet in their wombs. Can there be a more demoralized condition than this? ”

Alice Paul, who authored the original Equal Rights Amendment, was willing to face arrests, harassment and physical assaults in order to win the right to vote. Later, when 1960s feminists began advocating the repeal of abortion laws, Paul asked, “How can one protect and help women by killing them as babies?” She considered abortion “the ultimate exploitation of women.”

It’s one thing for pro-choice feminists to admit they disagree with the early feminists’ position on abortion. It’s quite another to suppress the truth and stuff words in the suffragists’ mouths—words clearly contradicted by their own writings.

Some pro-choicers’ denialism is borderline comical. After the opening of the Susan B. Anthony museum, an opposition group launched a Web site dedicated to refuting Anthony’s anti-abortion stance.

“Feminists Choosing Life of New York, Feminists for Life of America, and Susan B Anthony’s List are engaging in a incessant campaign to align Susan B Anthony with their anti-choice cause and imply that Susan B Anthony was pro-life,” the site says. “One of the primary goals of is to provide accurate historical interpretation and context regarding Susan B Anthony’s written and verbal statements regarding the abortion issue.”

However, the site doesn’t provide a single source citing Anthony’s written and verbal statements. The “resources” section of the site is blank.

As my old boss used to say, “if you don’t like what the facts say about your ideology, you might want to rethink your ideology.”

As for who is “hijacking Susan” and rewriting history, pro-choice feminists might want to look in the mirror.

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Zero Tolerance Makes Zero Sense

Last Monday, at the request of her principal, 12-year-old Alexa Gonzalez was arrested and marched out of her middle school in handcuffs. She spent several hours in police custody, where she says she “started crying, like, a lot…I just thought I’d get a detention.”

Her crime? Writing “I love my friends Abby and Faith” on a desk in Spanish class. Principal Marilyn Grant denies any personal responsibility for the incident. She says the school’s “zero tolerance” policy requires her to have students arrested and charged for run-of-the-mill incidents.

“[Grant said] that it wasn’t their fault, that it was something they had to do,” Alexa’s mother told the New York Daily News. “She doesn’t consider it doodling.”

What does she consider it? Armed robbery?

Such is the nature of “zero tolerance,” a mindset that relieves public schools of the burden of common sense. Students caught with aspirin are treated like crack dealers. Normal, hormonal seventh-graders are treated like sex offenders. And heaven forbid your child throws a tantrum. In Florida, a kindergartner was handcuffed and shackled by three armed policemen, arrested, and put in the back of a cruiser—for crimes like “tearing papers” and refusing to sit still. As the American Bar Association put it, “theories of punishment that were once directed to adult criminals are now applied to first graders.”

There’s a distinctly anti-male agenda behind zero tolerance, which is no surprise given that groups like the National Education Association kowtow to militant feminists. Normal, healthy boys engaging in normal masculine activities are regularly treated like felons. Forget bringing a gun to school—in many districts, merely drawing a weapon is grounds for expulsion. That’s what happened to third-grader Raleigh Walker, who drew a picture of an army fort in class.

“The drawing wasn’t of a child pointing a gun at another child,” Raleigh’s father explained. “It’s a third-grader’s drawing of an Army guy, a relative.”

The school saw it differently, deeming it a violation of their gun-free policy. “We can’t tolerate anything that has to do with guns and knives,” the principal said before handing down a suspension.

Needless to say, sex abuse hysteria is written into many schools’ zero-tolerance policies. A Branson, Massachusetts, third-grader was suspended for “sexual harassment” after he kissed a girl on the cheek. In Oregon, seventh graders Cory Mashburn and Ryan Cornelison spent six days in jail before being charged with five counts of felony sex abuse. Their crime? Slapping a few female classmates on the butt. (The girls told police it was part of a mutual game called “Slap Butt Day.”)

While it’s bad enough that schools can deem a kiss “sexual harassment” and a joke “terroristic threats,” students have actually been arrested for saving lives. In Maryland, a sixth-grade girl was accused of “drug trafficking” after she shared her inhaler with a classmate suffering a severe asthma attack.

Unsurprisingly, zero tolerance horror stories rarely come out of private schools. Only a union-protected public school principal can display outrageous incompetence and then say “that’s just our policy,” as Alexa Gonzalez’s principal did.

A police spokesman said after Alexa’s arrest that “even when we’re asked to make an arrest, common sense should prevail.”

In our public schools, don’t count on it.

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Martha Coakley, Witch Hunter Attorney General

Martha Coakley is a crank.

If this were the year 1692 in Massachusetts, the Democrat Senate candidate would fit in perfectly with Puritan hysterics accusing innocent women of witchcraft. After all, she built her career by putting innocent people in jail—based on charges about as credible as those levied in the Salem witch trials. Not nearly enough has been said about Coakley’s unique mix of fanaticism and incompetence.

In 1990, a Massachusetts woman named Shirley Ann Souza had a dream that her parents and brother raped her. She was in therapy for “repressed memories,” the since-debunked theory that people can forget incidents of sexual abuse. She called her sister-in-law and announced that her parents were child molestors. Both women hauled their daughters to professional cranks (oops, I mean “child therapists”) who coerced the girls into making ludicrous accusations.

“During her testimony, seven-year-old Cindy revealed that her grandparents routinely locked her and her first cousin Nancy in a basement cage,” scholar Mark Pendergrast reported in 1996. “Six-year-old Nancy then told Judge Dolan how her grandparents had stuck their entire hands and heads into her vagina, where they would wiggle them around. They also abused her, she said, with a huge multicolored machine, as big as a room, which was kept in the cellar.”

There was no physical evidence that either girl had been abused. Although they claimed to have been raped by hands, machines and other large objects, their hymens were intact. Needless to say, the cage and enormous molesting machine were never found. But no matter: the Souzas were convicted and sentenced to 9- to 15-year prison terms.

The prosecuting attorney? Martha Coakley.

After ruining the Souzas’ lives, Coakley went on a personal crusade against Gerald Amirault, a former daycare worker jailed 18 years for child abuse. Amirault was convicted on the testimony of toddlers who claimed, after years of browbeating by child psychologists, that they’d been raped with swords, molested by clowns and robots, and tied naked to trees. As in the Souza case, there was no physical evidence and no witnesses, even though the alleged abuse took place in a crowded school.

While most Massachusetts voters know about Coakley’s role in the case, few know the extent to which the children’s testimony had been discredited by the time she went on her crusade. In the 90s, Cornell professor Stephen Ceci published numerous studies demonstrating the suggestibility of small children. In one study, he and his partner found that when they asked preschool kids suggestive questions—such as “can you show me how the doctor touch your private parts?”—more than half falsely claimed they had been molested.

In 2001, a parole board voted to release the obviously innocent Gerald Amirault. Instead of admitting the prosecution had been horribly wrong, Coakley said she was “disappointed” and hoped “the voices of the victims would be heard.” (There were no “victims.”)

Liberals love to sneer at superstitious and fanatical Christians. Republican governor Bobby Jindal has been mocked by the likes of “The Huffington Post” for allegedly performing excorcisms. Yet liberals have total confidence in a woman who prosecuted people based on dreams, bought into crank theories like “repressed memories,” and believed children’s stories of being molested with swords and giant machines. How, exactly, is she more rational than someone who believes in exorcism?

Nevermind her position on health care. An inept witch hunter like Martha Coakley shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the Senate.

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The bigotry of low expectations in D.C.

Democrats’ favorite method of shutting down debate is to accuse Republicans of secretly promoting racist agendas. Opposing socialized medicine is racist, stopping illegal immigration is racist, and—if you listen to liberal bloggers who wrote endless gasbag analyses of the incident—Rep. Joe Wilson yelling “You lie!” during President Obama’s speech on health care was racist. But forcing thousands of black kids to return to substandard public schools is apparently all good.

Two weeks ago, Democrats defunded the Washington Opportunity Scholarship Program, which serves a city that is 54 percent black and 20 percent impoverished. The high school graduation rate is 58 percent, one of the worst in the country, and in 2006, half of the public schools failed to meet basic federal education standards.

The Opportunity Scholarship Program offered poor children a quality education at half the taxpayer expense: $7,500 as opposed to the $14,000 Washington currently spends per student. In response to the Democrats’ decision, former DC councilman Kevin Chavous said, “This successful school voucher program—for D.C.’s poorest families—has allowed more than 3,300 children to attend the best schools they have ever known.”

Substandard education at twice the cost? It makes no sense—until you realize that Democrats only care about paying off greedy teachers’ unions, not quality education for poor black kids. In March, the National Education Association fired off threatening letters to members of Congress, claiming the voucher program was a “failure.” (This was an ironic accusation from a union whose members can’t get half of DC students to graduate from high school.) The NEA’s solution to failing public schools was the same as always: give teachers more money.

There is zero evidence that raising public school teachers’ salaries benefits children, let alone poor children in failing districts. Barack Obama knows this. In his book “The Audacity of Hope,” he recounts a visit to a poor, predominantly black school in Chicago. As he described it, “Their number one issue was this: Because the school district couldn’t afford to keep teachers for a full day, they let out every day at 1:30 in the afternoon. There was no time for students to take science lab or foreign language classes. ‘How come we’re getting shortchanged?’ they asked me.”

Here’s the answer: the average teacher at the school was making $83,000 per year, and over one-quarter were making more than $100,000. They didn’t think they should have to work for any less. With such exorbitant teacher salaries, it’s no wonder the school couldn’t “afford” to stay open.

The Democrats defunded the scholarship program over the objections of DC’s residents, 70 percent of whom support it. But what do the Democrats care? They’ve ensured that teachers’ unions will continue giving millions of dollars to their campaigns. Sasha and Malia Obama, apparently the only black children in DC entitled to a decent education, will still attend Sidwell Friends (annual tuition: $30,842). Meanwhile, public school teachers will be paid $80,000 to leave work at noon, shortchanging their already impoverished students.

Who doesn’t care about black people now?

Contact the Editor: Joel Johannesen
**Link to this article alone ** Posted under the categories(s): Ashley Herzog Joel Johannesen on TwitterFollow Joel Johannesen on Twitter

Illegals Are Not “Dying in the Street”

The latest holier-than-thou liberal trope is to claim that illegal immigrants will be “left to die” if our government doesn’t pay for their health care. A post at said that if illegals are excluded from a public health insurance plan, they’ll be left to “die on the street.” (Google “die on the street” to see just how many liberals have used this oh-so-original phrase when discussing illegals and health care.) Then, last week, a member at posted this gem:

“Me (to an anti-Obama, bible thumping Republican): Here’s my hypothetical question to you. Suppose an adult male is an illegal alien (undocumented worker) and he is gravely ill. This gentleman, uninsured, arrives at the hospital to receive care at our expense, should the hospital care for him? Now, before you answer I want you to think to yourself, ‘what would Jesus do?’”

I don’t know about Jesus, but I know what U.S. hospitals do. They treat the illegal alien and never see a penny in return. Liberals clearly get a thrill out of claiming that illegals are dying because evil Americans won’t pay for their health care. But there’s one little problem: they don’t know what they’re talking about.

Several years ago, a study commissioned by the U.S.-Mexico Border Counties Coalition found that in the year 2000 alone, illegals racked up $200 million in health care costs. According to the study, “California lost $79.6 million in care for undocumented immigrants, Texas lost $74 million, Arizona lost $30 million and New Mexico lost almost $6 million. The study also found that ambulance providers in the four states lost $13 million.”

Mexican ambulance drivers are known to cross the border and leave patients at U.S. hospitals, knowing our government will pick up the tab. (By the way, Mexicans are not so generous. In 2006, a U.N. human rights commissioner said that “Mexico is one of the countries where illegal immigrants are highly vulnerable to human rights violations…and are denied access to education and health care.”)

Americans are so generous toward illegals, they don’t have to be desperately ill to receive health care at our expense. Californians shell out almost $50 million a year to cover non-emergency care for illegals, including abortions ($3 million), cancer treatment ($25 million), and nursing home care ($19 million).

Illegals don’t even play by the rules of the socialist system liberals hope to create. They often work off the books and don’t pay taxes, and therefore don’t help foot the bill for other people’s health care costs. The socialist motto is “from each according to his ability”—except illegals, who can get away with contributing nothing to the health care coffer.

These facts don’t fit the liberal narrative, which is one of racist and cold-hearted Americans turning away desperately sick illegals at the emergency room. If that were true, why do Mexican ambulance drivers keep bringing them here?

Illegal immigrants are “dying in the street”? Maybe illegal immigrants in Mexico. When it comes to health care, the truth is that we give and give and give, and they take.

Contact the Editor: Joel Johannesen
**Link to this article alone ** Posted under the categories(s): Ashley Herzog Joel Johannesen on TwitterFollow Joel Johannesen on Twitter

Che Day

On the eve of the French Revolution, the aristocrats inhabiting the palace of Versailles enjoyed, “as an ironic lark, sporting the clothing of the working classes,” according to writer Charles Stenson. These pampered elites were undisturbed by the fact that their peasant getups mocked the real peasants, many of whom were dying as a result of the elites’ self-serving policies.

These clueless aristocrats have descendents in spoiled college kids who think it’s trendy to idolize Communist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Che’s face is emblazoned on T-shirts, he was glamorized by the movie “The Motorcycle Diaries,” and Time magazine described him as “a potent symbol of rebellion.” But few of the hipsters who admire Che realize what he actually stood for.

According to Cuban-American writer Humberto Fontova, during the first few years of Fidel Castro’s takeover of Cuba, Che was “second in command [and] chief executioner for a regime that jailed and tortured more political prisoners as a percentage of population than Stalin’s and executed more people as a percentage of population in its first three years in power than Hitler’s.”

Che wrote that “the solutions to the world’s problems lie behind the Iron Curtain”— and he was willing to kill anyone who threatened his Socialist Paradise.

Che’s stock trade was, in Fontova’s words, “the mass murder of defenseless men and boys.” In a typical incident (one you won’t see in “The Motorcycle Diaries,” which portrays Che as a sexually potent idealist who just wants to save the poor), he ordered the execution of a 17-year-old boy suspected of political subversion. When the boy’s mother, Rosa Hernandez, tearfully begged the Communists to release him, Che invited her into his office.

“Come on in, Señora,” Hernandez recalls him saying. As she listened, he picked up his phone and demanded that the Communists execute her son that night. Then Che’s minions dragged her away.

A former prisoner named Pierre San Martin described his experience in one of Che’s prisons to a Miami newspaper.

“32 of us were crammed into a cell,” he said. “16 of us would stand while the other sixteen tried to sleep on the cold filthy floor. We took shifts that way. Actually, we considered ourselves lucky. After all, we were alive. Dozens were led from the cells to the firing squad daily…One morning Che’s guards shoved a new prisoner into our cell. His face was bruised and smeared with blood. He was a boy, couldn’t have been much older than 12.”

The boy had fought back against Communists who arrested his father. Later, San Martin watched Che personally execute him: “Che raised his pistol, put the barrel to the back of the boy’s neck, and blasted. The shot almost decapitated the young boy.”

Unsurprisingly, Che’s bravado wasn’t on display when he was captured in Bolivia in 1967. Like plenty of Communist thugs before him, he went out like a coward. “Don’t shoot!” he whimpered. “I’m Che!”

In his book, Fontova visits Miami’s Cuban Memorial, which honors victims of the Castro regime. Elderly Cubans often go there to mourn relatives who died in prisons or in mass executions.

Fontova describes a common scene. “Still escorted by her grandson, the grandmother crosses the street slowly and silently. They run into a dreadlocked youth coming out of a music store. His T-shirt sports the face of her husband’s murderer. They turn their heads in rage to the store window. They see the mass-murder’s face again—this time on a huge poster…The poster reads, ‘Fight Oppression!’”

For young people who reject the real political oppression still brutally enforced in Cuba and other socialist hellholes, I encourage you to join Young America’s Foundation in observing “No More Che Day” on October 9th. No More Che Day is a day to remember victims of the Castro regime, from Che’s time to the present. (For more information, visit YAF’s student activism page at

Of course, rebuking a left-wing hero won’t go over well with your professors. But at least you’ll stand apart from the conformists who think the perfect complement to their iPods and fashionably disheveled hair is a T-shirt glorifying a mass murderer.

Contact the Editor: Joel Johannesen
**Link to this article alone ** Posted under the categories(s): Ashley Herzog Joel Johannesen on TwitterFollow Joel Johannesen on Twitter

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