- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 3, 2006

Still cool

“The fact that Tony Blair plays one for relaxation should surely have sealed its fate by now. How cool can it be to fantasize about strumming the same musical instrument as the prime minister? Yet the Music Industries Association claimed … that guitar sales in Britain have reached an all-time high. …

“The basic design of the electric guitar … has barely been altered and arguably not at all improved on since the 1960s. Yet … it would appear that, halfway through the first decade of the 21st century and more than 50 years after the birth of rock and roll, this relatively primitive six-stringed instrument remains the pre-eminent tool of pop culture, the ultimate musical object of desire.”

—Neil McCormick, writing on “Everyone wants to be an axeman,” Thursday in the London Telegraph

Baby bust

“All European countries have low birthrates, and so do many Asian ones, including Japan, China, both Koreas, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Japan, Italy, Russia and Spain are the countries with the lowest birthrates, with the typical woman giving birth to not much more than one child during her lifetime. …

“Not long ago, many persons were concerned, and some still are, about the rapid growth in world population. If they were right, one might have expected the specter of declining population to be welcomed. Yet most countries with low birthrates are worried about the prospects of declining population. To reverse this trend, many of them have proposed or implemented subsidies to women who have larger families. France has expensive systems of allowances to women with more than one child. Vladimir Putin proposed an even more liberal system of benefits to encourage Russian women to have additional children.”

—Gary S. Becker, writing on “Missing Children,” yesterday in Opinion Journal at www.opinionjournal.com

ACLU mullahs

“Compare the concept of democracy — where individuals may speak and act and express their faith according to their own understandings — with theocracy, where an elite few dictate what all individuals can and cannot say, do or express concerning their beliefs.

“Think Iran.

“Think Ahmadinejad and his coterie of Islamist extremists, exercising total control over the oil-giant nation, funding and arming Hezbollah, orchestrating much of the inhuman violence in Iraq … actively and defiantly preparing nuclear capability while at the same time maintaining an absolute dictatorship over the religious practices — even expressed public opinions — of Iran’s millions of citizens.

“Not a pretty picture, is it?

“Now think ACLU.

“Think a relatively small, but highly organized group of lawyers, rather extravagantly funded by ultraliberal donors, overtly defending and promoting activities and ‘progressive’ judges’ rulings that are very offensive to the majority of Americans. Think of a little group who portray themselves as ‘defenders’ of civil liberties, who increasingly and arrogantly intimidate elected officials into defying the expressed wishes of the majority and thereby deprive them of civil liberties.”

—Pat Boone, writing on “The ACLU: A bunch of theocrats?” Saturday in WorldNetDaily at www.worldnetdaily.com

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