Ryan and life. Much has been made of Paul Ryan's leadership on economic issues, but he has not shied away from social issues. During the 2010 election, Ryan told The Weekly Standard, "I'm as pro-life as a person gets." When Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels called for a "truce" on social issues, Ryan responded, "You're not going to have a truce. Judges are going to come up. Issues come up, they're unavoidable, and I'm never going to not vote pro-life." And his pro-life views are not merely political expediencies. He "gets it." Here's a passage from an article he wrote for the Heritage Foundation in 2010:
"Pro-life conservatives are natural optimists. On balance, we see human beings as assets, not liabilities. All conservatives should find it easy to agree that government must uphold every person's right to make choices regarding their lives and that every person's right to live must be secured before he or she can exercise that right of choice. In the state of nature-the 'law of the jungle'-the determination of who 'qualifies' as a human being is left to private individuals or chosen groups. In a justly organized community, however, government exists to secure the right to life and the other human rights that follow from that primary right."
Cherokee gambling approved. The federal government has granted final approval to a new gambling compact that will allow the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to operate Las Vegas-style casinos in Western North Carolina. The way the law works, even though Native Americans have some sovereignty on their own land, both the state and the federal governments had to approve gambling expansion. Our policy regarding "Indian gaming" has always seemed hypocritical and racist to me. It says, essentially, that casino gambling is bad, and we don't want it around-but it's OK for Indians, so long as you give the state a portion of the proceeds. Of course, one of the ironies is that the casinos are run by publicly traded companies such as Harrah's, so unless the Cherokee own stock in Harrah's, it's unlikely that the tribe will gain much more than a few hundred mostly minimum wage jobs.
Sarah silenced. Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin will not speak at the Republican National Convention. Palin made the announcement herself. "This year is a good opportunity for other voices to speak at the convention and I'm excited to hear them," she said in a statement on Gretawire, the blog of Fox News' Greta Van Susteren. "Everything I said at the 2008 convention about then-candidate [Barack] Obama still stands today, and in fact the predictions made about the very unqualified and inexperienced community organizer's plans to 'fundamentally transform' our country are unfortunately coming true." The statement has the defiant tone that her supporters have come to love, and her detractors love to mock, but it is not clear if the decision for her not to speak was hers or the RNC's.