Quote-a-palooza

“The most sacred of the duties of a government [is] to do equal and impartial justice to all citizens.” —Thomas Jefferson

“If crime revives as an issue, it will be through liberal complaints about something that has reduced the salience of the issue—the incarceration rate. And any revival will be awkward for Barack Obama… Last July, Obama said ‘more young black men languish in prison than attend colleges and universities.’ Actually, more than twice as many black men 18-24 are in college as there are in jail. Last September he said, ‘We have a system that locks away too many young, first-time, nonviolent offenders for the better part of their lives.’ But Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute… notes that from 1999 to 2004, violent offenders accounted for all of the increase in the prison population… Obama sees racism in the incarceration rate: ‘We have certain sentences that are based less on the kind of crime you commit than on what you look like and where you come from.’ Indeed, in 2006, blacks, who are less than 13 percent of the population, were 37.5 percent of all state and federal prisoners. About one in 33 black men was in prison, compared with one in 79 Hispanic men and one in 205 white men. But Mac Donald cites studies of charging and sentencing that demonstrate that the reason more blacks are disproportionately in prison, and for longer terms, is not racism but racial differences in patterns of criminal offenses… James Q. Wilson, America’s premier social scientist, notes that ‘the typical criminal commits from 12 to 16 crimes a year (not counting drug offenses)’ and Wilson says that 10 years of scholarly studies ‘have shown that states that sent a higher fraction of convicts to prison had lower rates of crime, even after controlling for all of the other ways—poverty, urbanization, and the proportion of young men in the population—that the states differed. A high risk of punishment reduces crime. Deterrence works.’ It works especially on behalf of blacks, who are disproportionately the victims of crimes by black men.” —George Will

“Barack Obama’s recent call for responsible fatherhood is welcome, overdue—and misleadingly incomplete… In Obama’s words: ‘We know that more than half of all black children live in single-parent households, a number that has doubled—doubled—since we were children. We know the statistics—that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.’ Obama is right on all of the above, but the stats are even worse. More than 70 percent of black children are born out of wedlock. Since 1960, we’ve tripled the number of American children living in fatherless homes, from 8 million to 24 million. The population as a whole increased just 1.7 times during that period. What Obama fails to mention is that the problem of absent fathers, especially in the black community, is tied in part to well-intentioned social programs such as those the presumptive Democratic nominee intends to expand—domestic violence prevention and child support collections… Changing the system won’t be easy, but Obama is uniquely positioned to make a difference in the conversation. He should begin by saying that bringing fathers back into the family means ending the demonization of men and the culture’s trivialization of fatherhood. That would be a change we could believe in.” —Kathleen Parker

“With a few exceptions… when youth get involved in politics in large numbers, it is not a good thing… Having been a young person [in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s] and having watched as my university (Columbia) had its classrooms taken over and teaching interrupted by fellow students; having watched the sexualization of society that followed the ‘Make Love Not War’ generation; having watched America become obsessed with youth rather than wisdom as a result of the ‘Never Trust Anyone Over 30’ mantra of the ‘60s young people; having seen the myriad speech codes that arose, ironically, out of the ‘Free Speech’ movement at Berkeley and elsewhere; having watched pacifist-like doctrines decimate America’s moral compass; having witnessed a selfish preoccupation with an ever increasing number of inherent ‘rights,’ with a commensurate devaluing of inherent moral obligations, I, among many others, am not enamored of the ‘60s and ‘70s youth movement… [and] am not encouraged by the ecstatic reaction of young people to Barack Obama. The track record of politically excited youth movements in modern Western history is not a good one. And I see no reason why this will prove to be the first major exception.” —Dennis Prager

“It’s been at least five years since I’ve flown commercial, and for good reason: I don’t wish to be arrested for questioning actions by often arrogant, rude Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers. … According to the February 2002 Federal Register, people can be arrested if they act in a way that ‘might distract or inhibit a screener from effectively performing his or her duties… But it’s going to get worse. The TSA aims to have 500 ‘behavior detection officers’ (BDOs) in airports by the end of this year. The job of the BDOs will be that of examining passengers for ‘body language and facial cues… for signs of bad intentions.’ They look for what the experts call ‘micro-expressions.’ Fear and disgust are the key ones, he said, because they’re associated with deception. That would make me a prime candidate for scrutiny and possibly trouble because if I ever had to go through airport security procedures, I would have those ‘micro-expressions’ of disgust and fear of arrest… Americans have been far too compliant and that has given the TSA carte blanche to treat travelers any way they wish. I’m staying away. TSA has its rules and Williams has his, and one of mine is to avoid tyrants and idiots.” —Walter Williams

“It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now… Cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus.” —John F. Kennedy

“First, if I may, I’d like to establish the scope of the topic under discussion. For when we speak about the economy, we’re dealing with more than mere numbers, more than statistics about productivity and employment. We’re dealing instead with one of the most basic aspects of human existence: We’re dealing with the way the great majority of men and women spend most of their hours, most days, throughout the most productive years of their lives…I believe it’s important to remind ourselves that in dealing with the economy we’re dealing with human creativity. This insight has represented the underpinning of our economic expansion. We cut tax rates, reduced government regulation, and restrained Federal spending; and we unleashed the creativity of individuals and businesses. We gave them freedom to create; to keep the rewards of their own risk-taking and hard work; and to reach for new, bold ideas.” —Ronald Reagan

“There is only one way to drive down the rising cost of gasoline for the long term: significantly increase the domestic supply of oil. We are the only nation in the world with access to known oil deposits on our own land or off our shores that essentially refuses to tap those resources. The main stumbling block is a lack of political consensus, which is in especially short supply in an election year. Instead of coming up with real solutions to our growing energy crisis, the Democrats in Congress would rather rail against the oil companies. But oil company executives don’t set the price of oil—and taxing their companies more won’t do anything to lower the cost of gasoline at the pump… It’s time Congress put election-year politics aside and get serious about allowing domestic oil production to solve this crisis.” —Linda Chavez

“[W]e constantly hear we can’t drill our way to lower gas prices, but how does anybody know when we haven’t even tried? Despite enormous improvements in extraction technology, the amount of oil produced domestically in America went down in the last eight years. It went down in the 1990s. It went down in the 1980s. In fact, it’s been trending down since the 1970s, back when Barack Obama’s ‘new’ ideas seemed fresh coming from Jimmy Carter. Today, we produce about as much domestic oil as we did in the late 1940s, even though we keep finding, but not utilizing, more proven reserves. That hardly sounds like a country that’s been dedicated to ‘drilling our way’ to anything.” —Jonah Goldberg

“As we enter the second half of the campaign year, facts are undermining the Democratic narrative that has dominated our politics since about the time Hurricane Katrina rolled into the Gulf coast—most importantly, the facts about Iraq. During the Democratic primary season, all the party’s candidates veered hardly a jot or tittle from the narrative that helped the Democrats sweep the November 2006 elections. Iraq is spiraling into civil war, we invaded unwisely and have botched things ever since, no good outcome is possible, and it is time to get out of there as fast as we can. In January 2007, when George W. Bush ordered the surge strategy, which John McCain had advocated since the summer of 2003, Barack Obama informed us that the surge couldn’t work. The only thing to do was to get out as soon as possible. That stance proved to be a good move toward winning the presidential nomination—but it was poor prophecy. It is beyond doubt now that the surge has been hugely successful, beyond even the hopes of its strongest advocates.” —Michael Barone

“[Barack] Obama is the kind of leader who can bring us together. He may have the most one-sided, partisan voting record in the Senate, but that just shows how ready he is for a fresh start. He will take on the ‘special interests,’ like the farmers. He voted for the largest farm bill in history ($307 billion). Take that! Obama is going to set a new tone in politics. Yes, he did promise to abjure private financing of his presidential campaign if the Republican nominee would do the same, but as everyone can see, things have changed. Public finance would provide only $85 million, whereas Obama has raised more than three times that already. As the candidate explained so upliftingly, ‘It’s not an easy decision, and especially because I support a robust system of public financing of elections’ but ‘this is our moment and our country is depending on us.’ Somebody catch me, I may swoon.” —Mona Charen

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