- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 7, 2008

Freedom facts

U.S. combat casualties in Iraq were at an all-time low in November, with five combat deaths reported. That is to mourn. Still, it is good news, comparatively speaking. There were 27 combat deaths in November 2007. But the contrast was overlooked by major newspapers, according to an analysis by the Cyber News Service.

Coverage of the Iraq war has fallen by 70 percent in the New York Times, going from 13 front-page stories in November 2007 to four last month. The drop is similar at The Washington Post, which ran 15 front-page stories about Iraq two years ago — and four last month.

“U.S. progress in Iraq received scant coverage,” the analysis concluded.

But see for yourself. For insight into the real situation in the proverbial “sandbox,” visit www.mnf-iraq.com, the official site of the Multi-National Force in Iraq. Don’t miss the Freedom Facts, located under the heading “Fight for Freedom.”

Sound advice

For everyone who mourns the lost dignity of fragile audiocassettes or old records — including ancient 78s — here’s a handy-dandy panacea.

The Memory Master CD Recorder from Crosley will play 78-, 33- and 45-rpm records plus cassettes. But it also will digitally convert those formats to CD form with “one touch.” Imagine serenading a Beltway traffic jam or Junior and his astonished friends with a big, scratchy blast of, say, Ina Rae Hutton or Cab Calloway, right from the family collection.

Better yet, this device also sports a USB hookup to transfer the records or cassettes to your computer and comes with appropriate software suitable for PC or MAC. The unit also will play CDs, has an AM/FM radio, remote control, stereo speakers and features a hardwood housing in black or paprika brown. It’s $450; the company has a more modest version — the Archiver — at $250.

For information, visit www.crosleyradio.com or call 866/CROSLEY.

Holy roller

President Bush has 44 days left in office, and his legacy is definitely taking on substance. He leaves behind a Faith-Based and Community Initiative that “fundamentally changed the government’s strategy for improving the lives of the downtrodden,” according to Peyton Miller of the Harvard Political Review.

Some 19,000 groups have participated. Herewith a partial review, the stats provided to us by the White House:

Access to Recovery (provided 270,000 health vouchers to recovering addicts), the President’s Prisoner Re-entry Initiative (reduced rates of rearrest of participants to 15 percent, less than half the national average), Supplemental Educational Service providers (after-school tutoring for 515,000 children), President’s Community Health Center Initiative (created or expanded 1,200 community-based health centers), Homelessness Initiative (reduced chronic homelessness by 30 percent), and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (supported life-saving treatment for 2 million people here and abroad).

Meanwhile, more than $2.2 billion in federal grants were awarded to faith-based organizations. The idea has spread: To date, 35 governors (19 Democrats and 16 Republicans) and 70 mayors of both parties have their own faith-based and community-initiative offices or liaisons.

Days of yore

Hip-hip hurrah for John Adams, elected second president of the United States on this day in 1796, and Martin Van Buren, elected the eighth president on this day in 1836.

A solemn salute for the 67th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor today, resulting in the deaths of 2,400 Americans and the wounding of 1,200. Two hundred Japanese warplanes destroyed five of eight battleships, three destroyers and seven other ships, along with 200 aircraft.

“With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph — so help us God,” President Franklin D. Roosevelt told the nation within hours.

See the entire speech at www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/dec71941.html.

Last but not least, Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev arrived on American soil for the first time on this day in 1987, enjoying “Gorbymania,” a cowboy hat and the company of President Reagan. The pair signed off on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force agreement, lending the Reagan mantra “trust but verify” a whole new dimension.

Quotes of note

“Obama cool.” — ABC’s Terry Moran, on the new style coming to Washington.

“Democrats are big spenders. Second only to Republicans.” — Veronique de Rugy in Reason.

“We can’t be the ‘old white-guy’ party. It’s just not going to work.” — former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, on the Republican Party to Newsmax.

“Congress made doormats out of taxpayers.” — Citizens Against Government Waste President Tom Schatz, on the $621 million Capitol Visitor Center.

By the numbers

What government reforms would help “Main Street” more?

88 percent of Americans want Social Security safeguarded.

87 percent want to reduce the national debt.

85 percent want pensions and retirement accounts protected.

84 percent want more alternative energy exploration.

82 percent want affordable health care for all Americans.

78 percent want increased regulation of financial institutions.

77 percent want to cut taxes for working Americans.

56 percent say the government hasn’t helped them enough.

Source: Consumer Reports survey of 2,000 adults conducted in late October.

Contact Jennifer Harper at jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.

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