Dispatches > The Buzz


Issue: "Rolling the dice," Aug. 4, 2001

ITCHY TAX FINGER: Dick Gephardt dropped hints about a post-2002 tax increase campaign. Donald Lambro reported in The Washington Times that the House Minority Leader plans to push for it if the Democrats regain the House next year and the budget deficit returns. "I believe that the Bush administration must work to keep this budget in the black despite an overzealous tax cut that threatens our prosperity," Mr. Gephardt said in a statement. At a fund-raising event he said "we did what was right in 1993" when Congress and the Clinton administration increased income and gas taxes. Mr. Lambro noted that Democrats made similar comments in 1999 about possible victory in 2000. GOOD IDEA, BAD CAUSE: Some liberals are protesting this year's mass tax refunds by pledging their refunds to favorite causes through websites like RejecttheRebate.com, GiveforChange.com, and MoveOn.org. Reason magazine's Sara Rimensnyder remarks that these campaigners don't see their own self-contradiction. Instead of handing over money to the government, they're allocating their funds as they see fit. "Indeed, these Web-based protesters don't seem to realize that their campaign doesn't demean Bush's policy," she writes. "In fact, if it's successful, it will be nothing short of a resounding affirmation of a timeworn conservative argument for tax cuts: Good things happen when you let people decide how to spend their own money." ONLY WE CAN DRILL: With energy prices still high, the Bush Administration wants to allow drilling in an Arctic wildlife refuge in Alaska. Democrats and liberal Republicans are fighting to save a congressional ban on such action. Columnist Doug Bandow points out that the environmentalists who don't want development on federal lands are perfectly willing to make money from production on their own ground. He cites The National Audubon Society warning that drilling "will destroy the integrity" of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Yet the same group had wells running from the 1940s through the late 1990s. "Audubon set limits on development consistent with its mission: drilling was carefully controlled, workers went home when the birds arrived, biologists monitored ecological impacts," he writes. Bandow says the ANWR is "vast, barren tundra, which sustains little wildlife during the harsh winter" and does not need federal control. By spinning it off, even to environmentalists, the land could be better used. JUSTIFIABLE FORCE: Police shot Carlo Giuliani during riots at the Group of Eight summit in Italy. He was approaching a jeep of the Carabinieri paramilitary police with a fire extinguisher lifted in his arms. That's enough to justify force, argues Rod Dreher in The New York Post. "In the middle of a riot, when a masked aggressor is attempting to strike you in the head with a heavy metal object, you point your gun and you shoot," he remarks: "Despite their political pretensions, these creeps are no better than murderous soccer hooligans, and they deserve to be treated as such," he said. WHERE HAVE ALL THE JOCKS GONE? While collegiate basketball and football garner lots of media attention, colleges are cutting back other mens' sports thanks to Title IX, a law meant to eliminate "gender discrimination" in athletics. Ann Coulter writes in USA Today that dozens of teams "are being decimated in pursuit of an insane feminist dream." Coulter cited congressional figures that "colleges eliminated 171 men's wrestling teams, 84 men's tennis teams, and 56 men's gymnastics teams between 1981 and 1999." She writes that men are naturally overrepresented in sports-and that's normal. Yet among elites, "to state that women are not as interested in competitive sports as men is heresy."

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