William Katz:  Urgent Agenda








When Urgent Agenda began - and that was only two and a half months ago - I promised to defend the English language.  I've done too little in that regard, for which I offer apologies.  However, let me now try a bit of redemption and discuss briefly the misuse of a word.  The word is "understanding."

We're hearing that word every day.  Barack Obama's campaign, we're told, is an attempt at "understanding" across racial lines.  The intellectual elites tell us we must do more to foster international "understanding."  The multicultural industry informs us that "understanding" other cultures is the key to going to Heaven.

But what do they actually mean when they say "understanding"?

What they often mean, without telling us, is "approval."  The word "understanding" has been so abused and degraded that it often is a code word for appeasement.  "Understanding" across ethnic lines is noble, but the word is often employed to shut down discussion.  If we "understand," after all, we must not be "judgmental."  Only those who don't "understand" are judgmental.

A true, honest multiculturalist will say that "we must understand other cultures, and they must understand us."  But when have you ever heard the second part of that expression?  In multiculturalist eyes, "understand" means "no criticism."

So be on guard when you hear the word.  The definition of "understanding" may not be the one you would use.  A message is often being sent.  It is sometimes a dishonest message.

March 20, 2008.  Permalink


We've been covering the battle within the Democratic Party to seat Michigan and Florida at the party's Denver convention.  Both are being excluded because they held their primaries in violation of party rules.  Senator Clinton won both contests.

It is critical to Clinton that these states be seated.  It is critical for the Democratic Party as well, lest the convention look like a baseball season that excludes New York and Los Angeles.  And yet, there is deadlock.  Proposals are on the table for a revote, but the Obama people are trying to run out the clock, fearing Senator Clinton will gain.

I've said that Clinton must get tough.  Now that's happening.  It's not enough, but she's getting there:

DETROIT, March 19 -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) shifted her schedule to make a last-minute visit here Wednesday, demanding that the state's Democratic Party hold another primary vote or count the results of the earlier disqualified balloting, and she challenged Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) to live up to his claim that he cares about making sure people's votes count.

"This is a crucial test: Does he mean what he says or not?" Clinton said.

And later...

Clinton, adopting an increasingly indignant tone, described the voting controversy in both states as part of a question of democracy -- albeit one that just happens to address her deficit in pledged delegates. "Senator Obama speaks passionately on the campaign trail about empowering the American people. Today I am asking him to match those words with actions," Clinton said.

The key words here are "an increasingly indignant tone."  That is what Clinton needs, and she has to build from here to the ultimate statement:  "I will not accept a nominee of this party, chosen by a convention that excludes Michigan and Florida.  I cannot support that nominee.  That is not democracy."

Blunt?  Yes.  Home wrecking?  Yes.  Effective?  Maybe.  It would be Hillary's best shot, and she would have the support of the American people.  How many Americans would approve of a convention that excludes two of our largest states?  In effect, Clinton must declare the convention's choice "invalid" if it excludes Florida and Michigan.

This is, as I've argued here, a ticking time bomb.  Mr. Obama, who asserts that he wants a new kind of politics, lofty and above us all, can hardly go into a fall campaign with a two-states-excluded nomination.

Oh such fun.  Don't you love to see them fight in the mud?

March 20, 2008.  Permalink


I was wondering when this was coming.  Geraldine Ferraro, former Democratic candidate for vice president, was booted from the Clinton campaign for suggesting that Barack Obama was benefiting from his race, something that is demonstrably true.  Senator Obama mentioned Ferraro in his speech Tuesday.  Ferraro did not take kindly to the reference:

Former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro said today that she objected to the comparison Sen. Barack Obama drew between her and his former pastor in his speech on race relations Tuesday.

In the speech, Obama sought to place the inflammatory remarks of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright in a broader context, in part by placing them on a continuum with Ferraro's recent remark to the Daily Breeze that Obama is "lucky" to be black.

"To equate what I said with what this racist bigot has said from the pulpit is unbelievable," Ferraro said today. "He gave a very good speech on race relations, but he did not address the fact that this man is up there spewing hatred."


Ferraro said she had "no clue" why Obama would include her in his speech, and said Obama's association with Wright raises serious questions about his judgment.

"What this man is doing is he is spewing that stuff out to young people, and to younger people than Obama, and putting it in their heads that it's OK to say `Goddamn America' and it's OK to beat up on white people," she said. "You don't preach that from the pulpit."

Ferraro also said she could not understand why Obama had called out his own white grandmother for using racial stereotypes that had made him cringe.

"I could not believe that," she said. "That's my mother's generation."

Well, there's fight in the lady, that's for sure.  I generally don't agree with her when she appears on TV, but I think she's right this time.

March 20, 2008.  Permalink


Jim Geraghty, at National Review Online's "The Campaign Spot" reports on another Obama statement that may land him in hot water, if anyone is listening:

Obama Helpfully Clarifies That His Grandmother Is a "Typical White Person"
In Philadelphia this morning, Barack Obama confronted the remains of the Jeremiah Wright brushfire, the smoldering embers of this anecdote of his grandmother using racial stereotypes that made him cringe... and promptly spilled gasoline on those embers.

610 WIP host Angelo Cataldi asked Obama about his Tuesday morning speech on race at the National Constitution Center in which he referenced his own white grandmother and her prejudice. Obama told Cataldi that "The point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity, but that she is a typical white person. If she sees somebody on the street that she doesn't know (pause) there's a reaction in her that doesn't go away and it comes out in the wrong way."

The grandmother reference from the speech, as you'll recall:

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

You know, typical.

The more Obama stays on this issue, the worse it gets for him.  He is on the head of a pin.  If one more damaging revelation surfaces about a volatile association, he could go into free fall.  I'm guessing that association might be political, not religious.  Obama comes from the culture of the left, and there are plenty of people in those precincts to worry about. 

March 19, 2008.  Permalink


We know the party line:  There was no link between Saddam Hussein and terrorism.  Repeat it over and over.  The mainstream media expects you to learn it well.

The trouble is, it isn't true.

Ken Timmerman analyzes a recent US Govenment study, misreported by a press still determined to preserve the party line, and finds much that confirms a more deadly history, and some things that were strangely left out:

A much-publicized report released by the Pentagon last week details the extensive ties between the regime of Saddam Hussein and a wide variety of international terrorist organizations, including Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida.

“Despite their incompatible long-term goals, many terrorist movements and Saddam found a common enemy in the United States,” the report’s authors at the Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA) state.

But instead of reporting on this conclusion, most of the media accounts have focused on a single sentence that appears in the executive summary, stating that the report’s authors found “no smoking gun” or “direct connection” between Saddam’s Iraq and al-Qaida.

The United States Joint Forces Command, which commissioned the report from IDA, provided reporters late last week with a CD containing nearly 2,000 pages of supporting documents that purportedly formed the basis of the conclusions authored by Lt. Col. Kevin Woods and James Lacey in the 94-page redacted summary that initially was leaked to the press.

An analysis by Newsmax identified several documents with critical evidence of Saddam’s close ties to al-Qaida that were overlooked or ignored by the report’s authors, however.

Read the whole thing.  Timmerman is one of our best writers on the subject.  The MSM's reporting on Iraq has often been reckless and incomplete.  Most Americans know, for example, that we didn't find stockpiles - repeat, stockpiles - of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  What they don't know, because it's never been emphasized, is that we did find clear proof that Saddam intended to restart his WMD programs once the UN sanctions on Iraq were lifted, which probably would have happened in 2003/2004.  It is now five years later.  We can only imagine what the situation would be had we not removed Saddam from power.

March 20, 2008.  Permalink 


Finally, did you think you could get away with another week without the global warming industry scaring us once more?  Oh, the fear.  Oh, the panic.  Do not be deceived by the cold weather.  Pay no attention.  Damnation is coming:

OSLO: After the coldest start to a year in more than a decade, spring will bring relief to the northern hemisphere from Thursday. Bucking the trend of global warming, the start of 2008 saw icy weather around the world from China to Greece.

But despite its chilly start, 2008 is expected to end up among the top 10 warmest years since records began in the 1860s. This winter, ski resorts from the United States to Scandinavia have deep snow. Last year, after a string of mild winters, some feared climate change might put them out of business.

A lot of proof there.

The northern spring formally begins on March 20 this year. And an underlying warming trend, blamed by the UN Climate Panel on human use of fossil fuels, is likely to reassert itself after the end of a La Nina cooling of the Pacific in the coming months.

Likely.  Expected.  May.  Have you noticed that many of the forecasts for the next five days turn out to be wrong?

During the northern winter, snows also fell in unusual places such as Greece, Iraq and Florida. Experts say climate change will bring more swings as part of a warming that will bring more droughts, floods, heatwaves and rising seas. US ski resorts reported above average snowfall. "We’re 90% sure we will extend the season for at least a couple of weeks toward the end of April," said a spokesman for the Aspen Skiing Co in Colorado, Jeff Hanle.

I have no idea what that story is about.  But wake me when the end of the world comes.

I expect to be back tomorrow, unless I'm melted by the blazing sun. 

March 20, 2008.  Permalink